Yesterday, Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich ran an illuminating essay on Netflix’s testy relationship with the original films it releases, explaining how their model of bypassing theatrical release and going straight to streaming ultimately degrades the viewing experience and makes the movies harder to find and appreciate. (This comes hot on the heels of an official denunciation from the Federation of French Cinemas against the Cannes Film Festival for allowing TV into their lineup for the first time ever.) Clearly, his words went straight to the top of Netflix’s corporate office, as the online video giant has issued a letter to their shareholders assuring them that everything’s going to be fine and movies aren’t dead, probably.
While the post-credits scene was once a surprise specially afforded to those superfans with the dedication to sit through the final frames of a film, it’s now become par for the course, a de facto advertisement for whatever a franchise might have up its sleeve next. Marvel Studios has turned this into standard operating procedure, to the point where viewers expect nothing less than another tasty morsel of footage, the cinematic equivalent of the delicious fries waiting for you at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag. How to continue taking audiences off-guard, then? Marvel could do no post-credit scene at all, that’d certainly throw people for a loop. Or... they could do five.
My fellow millennials can join me in fond memories of the Saturday mornings spent rapt before new episodes of The Jackie Chan Adventures on Kids! WB. Revered martial arts movie star Jackie Chan played an Indiana Jones-esque fictionalized version of himself, a former archaeology professor who takes up the arguably more vital work of protecting the world from demons and monsters. He teamed up with his precocious niece Jade, his powerful but cranky Uncle, and their hulking foe-turned friend Tohru in pursuit of the mystical talismans, little octagonal stones that imbue their holder with fantastical superpowers. The show was just as fun as it sounds, full of Shaw Brothers-caliber kung fu action and slapsticky humor from the always-game Chan.
Dito Montiel needs a win right now. The noted indie writer/director was the object of some ridicule (from me) when it came out that his latest feature, the Shia LaBeouf-led war picture Man Down, attracted exactly three viewers in all of Britain. The movie didn’t fare so well stateside either, and Montiel’s previous effort Boulevard got lost in the shuffle when star Robin Williams abruptly died prior to release. Montiel’s coming returning in grand fashion this month with a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival for his latest film The Clapper, an adaptation of the novel he wrote in 2007 titled Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper. And with a new clip surfacing online today, we can make our own judgement on whether Montiel has cause for hope or if he should hedge some of those bets.
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.
Valued readers of ScreenCrush: I had the good fortune of catching an early screening of Edgar Wright’s new picture Baby Driver just last night, and while I have been sworn to semi-secrecy, I can safely and gladly echo the sentiments of my esteemed colleague Britt and affirm that holy biscuits is it good. It is a damn fine moving picture. I won’t say much more than that, and luckily, I don‘t have to because today brings the arrival of a new trailer for the high-octane crime thriller. Comin’ in hot, wheels skidding in a perfectly narrow drift, the trailer arrives with the hyperkinetic editing and blazing soundtrack cuts that make this movie such an unfettered joy.
Netflix, for all their diverting original series and Bong Joon-ho subsidization, has also been responsible for the introduction of a great evil into the world. I am referring, of course, to their seemingly infinite-picture development deal with chronic Phoner-of-It-In Adam Sandler. Netflix signed Sandler to a four-movie deal back in 2014, which has been going decidedly less-than-great so far — his Western spoof The Ridiculous Six was a big pile of donkey turds, and the trailer for his upcoming Sandy Wexler has not inspired much more confidence. When the news hit a few weeks ago that Netflix would re-up their deal with Sandler for four more movies, our coverage of the notice contained the words “oh no.”
Christopher Nolan might just be the most bankable Hollywood director this side of James Cameron. Whether shepherding the most successful comic book franchise DC has ever seen or trying his hand at dizzyingly high-concept original projects, Nolan has always met with a monster windfall at the box office. It’s almost as if his films never go out of style. That‘s supposed to be a joke about the song Taylor Swift wrote about Harry Styles. Who is in Christopher Nolan‘s new movie. This is very clearly not my wheelhouse, so let’s just push right ahead as if that never happened.
It’s been a long week — for you, me, ScreenCrush, America, and Earth. It’s nice to be able to take a moment on Friday to enjoy some more uplifting news, and today has happily obliged us with the announcement that Joe Manganiello went right ahead and wrote a Dungeons & Dragons screenplay. The man I assume must be the most ripped D&D nerd on the planet recently made a guest appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where he informed host Josh Horowitz that he had co-authored a script based on the popular table-top roleplaying game with a “playwright friend from Carnegie Mellon” last year. Somewhere in the great dork beyond, Gary Gygax is looking down on Manganiello and smiling.
Distinction is all relative. Sure, maybe Jordan Peele’s blockbuster horror film Get Out isn’t the highest-grossing movie of the year. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing directorial debut ever, or the highest-grossing February release ever, or the highest-grossing film from a black director. But gosh darnit, Get Out is too widely liked to pass through a theatrical run without setting some kind of record, so the showbiz bookkeepers of the internet did some research and found a title that they could rightly pin on Peele’s project.
In the years since Shrek Forever After, our most recent check-in with the friendly Mike Myers-voiced ogre, DreamWorks’ animated franchise has matured from a massively successful creative property into something vaster and stranger. Gradually but undeniably, the Shrek films have turned into a Whole Big Weird Internet Thing, with various denizens of the World Wide Web creating disturbing fan-art and cracking absurdist jokes about the smart-alecky series of animated films. In certain online circles, even uttering the words “Some-BODY once told me” is enough to prompt a barrage of surreal humor and warped image macros. And now that Shrek lives on as a sense-stymieing parody of its former self, what better time to revive the franchise?
Fake news alert! Our precious readers who also scan less reputable publications than good ol’ Screencrush may have noticed an eye-catching item on Showbiz 411 last night. The “exclusive” headline defiantly asserted, “Jeremy Renner NOT in ‘Mission Impossible 6,’ Said to be Too Busy with ‘Avengers’.” The article explained that Renner’s ongoing gig as the Avengers’ resident archery expert Hawkeye would keep him too busy to rejoin Ethan Hunt for what would be a third go-round in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But when word got back to director Peyton Reed, he set the record straight and called this less-than-factual bit of showbiz reporting out for the act of international subterfuge that it truly is.
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