We’ve reached the doldrums of August, where studios release the titles not marketable enough for the summer movie season and not quality enough for serious award consideration. That means an odd mixture of horror films, formerly prestigious movies that have lost a little bit of their luster, and absolute junk just looking for a few screens to dominate for a couple of weeks. Oh, and what do you know? That perfectly describes this weekend’s new releases! Gee!
As someone in his early 30s, I feel like everything I do comes with the risk of hurting myself. I go for a run without stretching every single muscle? Hurt myself. I reach down to pick something up? Hurt myself. I sit in one position for an extended period of time without straightening out my back? Hurt myself. That’s just one of a dozen reasons why I find Tom Cruise so impressive: at 55-years-old, it’s not like Cruise is going to hurt any less after his physical activities, he just finds ways to pick himself back up after something goes wrong.
Leonardo DiCaprio has made a career out of playing historical individuals who were too smart for their own good. From Catch Me If You Can to The Aviator to J. Edgar to The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio’s niche is to play fiercely intelligent men whose vision often exceeded their grasp. So who better to play someone as notoriously ahead of his time — and just as notoriously impatient when it came to finishing projects — as Leonardo da Vinci? The world-renowned painter, architect, and inventor will apparently be the subject of an upcoming biography, one that DiCaprio’s production company quickly snapped up before it even hit bookshelves.
Here’s a guilty confession for you: I kinda liked the second Starship Troopers movie. Granted, I caught it on DVD when I was still a teenager, so I’m not entirely sure it withstands the test of time, but Starship Troopers 2: Heroes of the Federation is such a blatant ripoff of John Carpenter’s The Thing — a deserted outpost where a species develops the ability to mimic human physiology — that I couldn’t help but enjoy it a little. When you’re directed by a guy known for Star Wars and Robocop special effects, you’re at least going to have a few fun visuals to keep you company along the way.
While plenty of fans are undoubtedly excited to see Terminator 2 back in theaters next weekend, you’d be forgiven for wondering if it would come with completely reworked new segments. There was always a chance that James Cameron would pull a George Lucas and tinker like mad with his theatrical re-release. Well, good news: that doesn’t seem to be the case. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight (via iO9), Cameron explained that he was content to let his past work speak for itself, noting that he’s “changed as an artist” and didn’t want want to “second guess” himself on the creative decisions he made back in the early ’90s.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been dominating the conversation, Rian Johnson’s film wasn’t the only movie featured in next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Their annual Fall Movie Preview includes updates and photos from a handful of upcoming releases, including Stephen King’s It, arguably the most highly anticipated movie of the fall. We’ve already seen Mark Hamill fight people with a lightsaber, but a bunch of kids running around the Northeast in the 1980s fighting a supernatural monster? Why, we haven’t seen that since Stranger Things came out! And that was a whole year ago!
As a die-hard Stephen King fan, I have a theory: we need one or two filmmakers who truly understand his work to adapt all of his films. Take Frank Darabont. The writer-director has worked on three of King’s most successful adaptations - The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist - and seems to understand the world in King’s head better than any five other filmmakers put together. Given the current wave of ‘80s nostalgia, we’re likely to see more King books be adapted to film, and finding a cinematic King Whisperer would go a long way to avoiding middling adaptations like The Dark Tower.
With two new releases and a third movie switching from a limited to a wide release, this was a weekend of big changes at the box office. Gone are familiar stalwarts like Wonder Woman and Baby Driver, and in its place are (with respect) the also-rans of summer, a few genre-driven films looking to carve out a name for themselves in a time of year devoid of major blockbuster releases. Here are the numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
Be honest with me: did you really want to see a picture of The Emoji Movie at the top of this article? You had to be hoping that Atomic Blonde or Dunkirk would hang strong enough to keep The Emoji Movie from finishing in the top spot of its opening weekend, right? Well, good news for you: it’s not the highest-grossing movie in America this weekend! Has there ever in the history of Hollywood been a box office one-two as disparate as Dunkirk and The Emoji Movie? Actually, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know. Here’s the projected grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
As with any landmark television show, one of the fun parts of revisiting Downton Abbey is seeing the number of careers it launched. Abbey served as a pretty incredible pipeline of talented British actors and actresses, all of whom seem to be landing solidly on their feet in Hollywood. That’s the good news for Abbey fans: the bad news is that with increased success comes increased scheduling difficulty. This wasn’t a series like Firefly where you basically only needed to lock down a handful of actors; to do Downton Abbey right, you’d want to bring in a dozen-plus members of the original cast, and that’s an increasingly tough proposition.
While Colossal may not have broken box office records, it was a welcome reminder that Anne Hathaway deserved better than whatever rom-com hell we’d locked her in for the past few years. In fact, as Lauren Duca recently pointed out on Twitter, now would be a perfect time revisit our opinions of the actress altogether, dating all the way back to her breakout role in The Princess Diaries. I mean, it can’t be a coincidence that now that we’re learning to appreciate Hathaway again, we’re suddenly getting talk of another Princess Diaries movie. These strange things happen all the time.
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