With all the new pieces in play in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it sure seems like Lucasfilm is setting the Star Wars universe up to go somewhere special. Once Kathleen Kennedy and company made the decision to blow up the preexisting Star Wars canon, we watched firsthand as they began the process of stitching together a new continuity. There were Star Wars books explaining the events that followed Return of the Jedi, new television shows that wove together the old and new trilogies, and even video games fleshing out some of the new planets and species we’d seen in The Force Awakens.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve quickly cycled through the various stages of superhero hype with Wonder Woman. First it was judging the trailers, then guessing at the potential box office, then responding to the initial buzz. And now, with fans and critics alike praising what Patty Jenkins and her team have put together, we can move to the final stage of the process: openly discussing the possibility of a sequel. Oh, those folks who haven’t seen the movie will catch up eventually. Right now it’s all about the next one.
It’s been a few years since Charlie Sheen has appeared in a feature film of any type, but to hear the actor say it, he’s already lined up his big comeback project. For a while now, Sheen has been talking up the possibility of a Major League sequel that brings back the cast and crew of the original film. And now it sounds like the actor has put in the work and might be closer than ever to getting that film made with a bunch of familiar faces.
There was a time not so long ago when Memorial Day weekend was a big deal for Hollywood, but this weekend felt more like a bunch of under-performers gathering together and learning very little about life. Call it the anti-Breakfast Club, if you will. This certainly isn’t what Hollywood had in mind for most of the franchises, and while Johnny Depp’s latest pirate movie did OK, OK seems to be the operative word of the summer if you’re not a movie about superheroes or literate villagers. Here’s the weekend gross through Sunday afternoon:
Behold, the gag reel. Long a staple of the home video market, the gag reel was perhaps at its most popular in the 1990s, when Jackie Chan released a string of movies that included painful outtakes during the closing credits. When studios realized that they could package an entire DVD release around the special feature menu, the gag reel became a mainstay of any comedy releases over the last 15 years. And because Deadpool was one big improvised joke with enough physical humor to make Mel Brooks blush, it was a natural fit for the film’s Blu-ray release as well.
What if I told you that there was another Star Wars universe very different from the one you know? In this universe, Han Solo doesn’t sound like Harrison Ford and Darth Vader doesn’t sound like James Earl Jones. Here, Princess Leia is played by a Broadway star instead of Carrie Fisher. And Luke Skywalker and C-3PO ... well, actually, those parts are still played by Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels. Some things are just multiversal constants.
I’ve often wondered if there will come a time when people will heartily defend the Resident Evil franchise. They’re not perfect movies, of course, and they increasingly have very little to do with the video game franchise they’re based on, but there are moments when Paul W.S. Anderson’s direction and Milla Jovovich’s star-power combined to elevate the whole affair into a kind of pulp extravagance that plenty of films cannot match. Given a bit of distance — or at least a bit of separation from a crowded field of VFX-driven action movies — maybe these films could get a critical boost to match their box office numbers.
It’s a battle of the science fiction blockbusters this weekend, with Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 giving us a photo finish at the box office. The two movies couldn’t be more different in style, tone, and aesthetics, but they equally captured audiences’ attention and shined a light on what the future has in store for both franchises. Here’s the box office numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
It’s funny how things tend to come in pairs. Just a few minutes after watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Titus Burgess perform a song from Disney’s Broadway adaptation of The Little Mermaid as part of this weekend’s Vulture Festival, I happened to read an interview with the Wonder Woman screenwriter who explains how his film was influenced by the Hans Christian Andersen classic. At this rate, I’ll be in the bathtub and humming along to “Under the Sea” by the time the sun goes down.
With Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay each working on $100 million films in Hollywood, there’s a sense that things are getting better for female directors. It’s a bit more complicated than that. For many women filmmakers, the toughest part of Hollywood is getting the second (or third) film made. Take You Were Never Really Here director Lynne Ramsay. Her 2011 standout film We Need to Talk About Kevin, now considered one of the best horror films of the young century, was her first feature film in nearly a decade. And if you think she decided to simply take six years off between that film and her next project? Probably best to check some of the assumptions that went into that statement.
Cesar Millan, better known as the Dog Whisperer in most pet circles, has built himself quite a little entertainment empire. Not only have his books and television shows taught countless people how to set boundaries with their pets, he’s also caused a million fights when one person in a couple thinks it’s funny to hiss “tsst!” at their partner during a discussion they find annoying. In other words, he’s been a boon to human-animal relationships and something else entirely to human-human relationships.
Life kinda sucks when you’re a Disney pirate. One day you’re going about your business, plundering and looting in as family friendly a manner as you can muster, and the next thing you know you’re a undying ghost with all kinds of weird restrictions. Collect the gold, avoid moonlight, walk on water but not on land… honestly, is there even a rulebook for this sort of thing? The trial-and-error process these poor pirates must go through to figure out the boundaries of their life has to be exhausting.
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