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.)
It’s weird — with every new trailer, the upcoming big-screen reboot of beloved ‘90s TV series Baywatch appears to get a little bit better. The first trailer promised a lightly amusing clone of the smart-alecky 21 Jump Street reboot, the second trailer advertised a competently-produced action tentpole with a healthy sprinkling of meta humor, and now, the so-called “official” trailer (does that make the first two unofficial?) teases what appears to be a sincerely funny comedy. At the very least, whoever cut this thing made it abundantly clear that stars Zac Efron and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson have more chemistry than an eighth-grade science class.
There’s no arguing that superheroes currently own the cineplex, but in a slight change of pace, one of this upcoming summer’s cape-clad defenders won’t hail from the pages of Marvel or DC. Kids (and nostalgia fetishists in their mid-to-late twenties) will get a colorful crimefighter of a different stripe with Captain Underpants, the computer-animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s long-running line of sophomoric chapter books about a delusional elementary school principal’s adventures in doo-doo derring-do. The first trailer hit the internet today, and if you were wondering if it contains the same Steve Aoki club banger as the War Dogs trailer, then have I got some good news for you!
This past week, Beauty and the Beast raised quite a few public eyebrows (mostly in Malaysia) with its so-called ‘exclusively gay moment,’ in which Josh Gad’s LeFou fleetingly reveals that he like-likes Gaston. While this was not breaking news to any gaydar-equipped viewers of the 1991 original, it still made quite a splash online, with conservative voices objecting to the homosexual agenda imposing on innocent kids' entertainment and progressives leaning the other way, calling for a more meaningful expression of queer identity than a three-second glimpse of two men waltzing.
The latest trailer for the upcoming DreamWorks film The Boss Baby — an animated comedy featuring Alec Baldwin voicing a baby who is, bear with me here, a boss — was specially cut together to be paired with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake, which premiered this past Friday. The video, jocularly titled “A Tale NOT As Old As Time” in reference to the line from the 1991 film’s theme music, features the Baldwin-voiced infant making Cogsworth and Lumiere play with one another as playthings before he directly accosts the audience. For a movie that would appear to be marketed to children, it sure does contain a joke about sticking a candlestick in there somewhere.
This week’s most high-profile release is the big Power Rangers reboot (I’m sorry, that’s Haim Saban‘s Power Rangers, please nobody sue me) and the earliest round of reviews has begun to surface over the past few day or so. They are, to put it somewhat charitably, mixed. The early consensus is that the film squanders what could have been remake-ready material — a multiethnic group of telegenic teens working together to form a gigantic robot that battles evil aliens sounds like a pretty hard concept to foul up — with a generic and often painfully unfunny take.
Did you know that they apparently made another Terminator movie in 2015? Despite having seen it in theaters back during its original run, this still strikes me as new, hard-to-believe information. If there was really a new installment of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular sci-fi/action franchise as recently as two years ago, wouldn’t someone remember that? Wikipedia claims that the film (subtitled Genisys, which sounds fake but okay) attempted to launch Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke’s big-screen phase of her career, included a clutch starring role from Ahnuld himself, and earned the second-most of any entry in the series. Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty major occurrence to have entirely fled the public‘s collective pop-cultural memory. I’m skeptical — does this look like a real movie to you?
2015’s remake of old-school espionage show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a rollicking good time, but more than that, it was an audition reel for its stars Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill. Hammer brought his marksmanship and high-speed combat skills to Ben Wheatley’s upcoming shoot-‘em-up Free Fire, and now part-time Superman Cavill has also landed a new role befitting his ultra-smooth fighting prowess. He’ll have to run, jump, most likely get shirtless, and appear alongside Tom Cruise in what just might be his most dangerous assignment yet.
Samuel L. Jackson has never shied away from controversy. To quote Samuel L. Jackson (as the fitted-cap-sporting, status-obsessed supervillain from Kingsman): “Do I look like I give a f–k?” And in fact he did not, speaking candidly earlier this month about his disappointment in the preponderance of black British actors taking roles Jackson feels should have gone to African-Americans.
It was established last week that we may all have to do quite a bit of waiting before we get a peek at James Cameron’s many Avatar sequels. Who’d have guessed that the best thing to tide us over until then would be the latest film featuring the Smurfs? The latest trailer for Smurfs: The Lost Village looks rather familiar, as a search party goes on an expedition to a land filled with bioluminescent wildlife, weird and mighty beasts, and peaceable blue-skinned natives. As one Smurf so elegantly puts it, “It‘s like a workout for your eyes!” Indeed, those viewers looking for a lush vision of a hidden world may be in luck.
As an avowed walker and train-taker, I’m not much of a car guy, personally. But I know a thing or two — I can change a flat tire, correctly identify where jumper cables should be clamped, and I know enough that anyone who offers to sell you a ‘flux capacitor’ is having a laugh at your expense. The auto part was imagineered (a make-believe word for ‘invented’ that the folks at Disney originally imagineered) for Back to the Future, the all-important component that gives Marty McFly‘s Delorean the power to traverse time. And now, you too can attempt to flaunt the laws of metaphysics by souping out your ride of choice (imagine how a silent, time-traveling Prius would freak out people in the ’50s) with your very own flux capacitor.
Director Ava DuVernay is a stylish woman in a pretty general sense, but it was doubly impressive that she came so extremely correct to the Oscars last month. As Nick Kroll and John Mulaney noted in their monologue at the Independent Spirit Awards slightly beforehand, DuVernay had just gotten off of a globe-crossing flight so that she could return to Hollywood from New Zealand, where she‘s been hard at work shooting her adaptation of fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. (And making history while she’s at it, as the first black female director to command a budget of $100 million.) It would appear that shooting on this grand undertaking has recently come to an end, with DuVernay now allowing the public a little glimpse at their production via Twitter.
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