This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Shooting a movie’s not like performing a play. The theatrical process is primal, all rooted in emotion and immersion within the fictional moment. Production on a feature film requires far more on a technical level, to the point where actors will be ordered to pick up a spoon in the exact same way ten times, just to be safe. (David Fincher famously went through one hundred takes to nail the opening breakup in his magnum opus The Social Network.) For the typical actor, most of filmmaking is waiting around for stuff to happen — but that’s far less tiresome when you get to hang out with Carrie Fisher between calls of “ACTION!”
Much online e-ink has been e-spilled over the question of which actor will take up the mantle of international superspy James Bond for the 25th installment of the perennial franchise. Will incumbent star Daniel Craig return for another go-round as 007, or will he be replaced by the likes of new challengers Tom Hiddleston, Dan Stevens, Emily Blunt, or Idris Elba? Who knows (not us), but as the mission to secure a star has been playing out, another big change-up has unfolded largely in the background.
A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
Ever since the now-infamous photo of Pennywise the evil homicidal clown peeking out of a drainpipe surfaced online, fans of Stephen King’s seminal horror novel It have been concerned about Seth Graeme-Smith‘s upcoming film adaptation. There was fair cause for worry, too; it looked as if light was coming from several different sources, like a hasty photoshop job one might find on the box art for some direct-to-DVD cash grab. The only person who could really set the It devotees at ease would be Stephen King, who has seen dozens upon dozens of his works make the jump to the silver screen. And it would appear that he’s now done just that.
A new Batman vehicle demands, in a more literal sense, a new Batman vehicle. As Ben Affleck prepares to don the cape and cowl once more to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie, modifications have also been made to his singular whip, the teched-out Batmobile. Snyder applied his bigger-is-better filmmaking ethic to the Batmobile in last year‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, diverging from Christopher Nolan’s utilitarian, industrial look towards something a little more tanklike. And today, Snyder’s taken to his favored social media channel of Vero to offer fans an advance look at what the latest edition of the Batmobile has to offer.
With every new studio release, Ridley Scott likes to remind us all of his background in advertising. The director behind the canonized “Nineteen Eighty-Four” Macintosh commercial tends to mount an inventive promotional campaign for each of his motion picture efforts — both Prometheus and The Martian showed off their elaborate, space-ready production design through early faux-featurettes, and Scott has pulled the same move today. This morning saw the release of a “prologue” video titled “The Last Supper” in relation to the upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant, and while it gives viewers a chance to familiarize themselves with the crew of a major interstellar colonization effort, it’s also a chilling bait-and-switch unto itself.
[Taylor Swift voice] John Carpenter never goes out of style. The master filmmaker influenced a generation of movie nerds with his hyper-competent, crowd-pleasing genre pictures such as Halloween, The Thing, and They Live. His fingerprints are all over the modern horror canon, with his synths-and-neon aesthetic informing everything from Stranger Things to the widely under-appreciated The Guest. The latest film to kowtow to the Carpenter’s far-reaching legacy is The Void, a new chiller than many readily compared to The Thing when it debuted at Texas’ Fantastic Fest last fall. And with a new trailer available today, viewers can start to judge that for themselves.
Google is a wonderful company! They manufacture high-quality products and provide a web-surfing experience unparalleled in its intuitiveness and user ease. They’ve made tracking down a specific page in the endless expanse of the Internet into a few simple clicks, drastically cutting down research time. They connect people. They make the world a better place.
The last time was saw Jack Nicholson on the big screen was 2010, in James L. Brooks’ middling dramedy How Do You Know. He played a weaselly white-collar crook who asks his son to take the rap for a crime he committed, in a performance characterized by the usual Nicholsonian deviousness. The movie didn’t make too much of a splash, forgotten after a few weeks taking up space in cineplexes. That film may take on an unexpected tragic air in light of the breaking news that it may contain Nicholson’s swan song.
Superheroes don’t have to come from the brightly-colored pages of American comic books; the Power Rangers series that captivated youngsters during the ‘90s and early 2000s had roots in Japan, stemming from their tradition of kaiju films. It’s a powerful bridge between cultures, the universal desire to watch a team of teenagers with extraordinary abilities team up to beat the stuffing out of gigantic monsters, And now it’ll connect generations, too, as the official trailer arrives today with the promise of the same spirit of teamwork and towering-menace-fighting that made them an unlikely cross-Pacific sensation two decades ago.
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