Happy Batman Day! Ever since everyone’s favorite orphan superhero celebrated his 75th birthday back in 2014, fans have kept Batman’s anniversary alive with a series of events and celebrations at comic book shops around the world. If it caught you by surprise this year — and don’t worry, I had no idea of the significance of today until about two hours ago — now might be a great time to circle September 17, 2017 on your calendar so you can do it up right next year.
Now that summer is officially drawing to a close, people are preparing themselves for the inevitable shift from the blockbuster season to the award season. Sometimes the award season movies have months of build up, with endless festival buzz and Oscar speculation; sometimes, though, a film is just sort of there, expected to do well because of its cast and crew but with no real hype to speak of. One such movie is Passengers, the high-concept science fiction film from Sony starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Much like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Passengers seems expected that special holiday mark between blend of big budget entertainment and arthouse sensibility.
The fact that Stan Lee is guaranteed to appear in nearly every single Marvel movie is one of those small little charms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that I hope never goes away. Sure, some people probably view it as an annoying break in the fourth wall, but it also reminds audiences that we are watching a superhero comic book movie. These movies don’t need to choose between being cartoonish and deadly serious; they can be both, often at the same time, and Stan Lee always helps drive that point home.
I’m sure there’s a point at which movies like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow will lose their appeal to me, but that day is not today. A story that centers on a character forced relive a certain period of time — to repeat his or her actions until they get them just right — might be seeing an uptick in popularity due to video games, but how many times have wanted to have a moment of our day back so we could do it again? So this first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming film Arq pushes all the right buttons for me as both a fan of science-fiction and a fan of, you know, obsessing over moments of my life.
“I am Groot.” With the exception of one small variation, this is the only thing we hear from Vin Diesel’s Groot throughout Guardians of the Galaxy. What makes this such a funny running joke isn’t the fact that he only says the one phrase, though; it’s the fact that Rocket Raccoon understands him perfectly, unearthing complicated sentiments and emotions from three simple words. Translating Groot’s dialogue would be like un-bleeping the profanity in an episode of South Park: you pretty much already know what Groot is saying, and the jokes just work better this way.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: whenever you need to cast someone as a giant floating face planet, get Kurt Russell. Russell has long been one of our most self-deprecating movie stars, an immensely talented actor with movie star looks who, for some wonderful reason, always preferred to play the buffoon over the action hero. Movies like Big Trouble in Little China and even the more recent The Hateful Eight reveal that Russell is never happier than when making fun of his movie star persona.
This weekend, as he normally does, Dwayne Johnson went on Instagram to say goodbye to his most recent movie shoot and say hello to the next thing in his pipeline (seriously, the only time this guy sleeps must be when he is flying from one movie location to another). And while it’s worth noting that Johnson thanked many of the Fast 8 cast and crew excluding Vin Diesel — the feud lives on! — it was another small comment about his upcoming production of Jumanji that turned a few heads.
It’s a testament to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Ant-Man was a critical and commercial success despite its highly publicized production issues. While many of the other films in the series deal with world domination or destruction, Ant-Man lowered the stakes a little bit and gave us an old-fashioned heist film about a group of lovable losers and an evil corporation. And none of these losers were quite so lovable as Michael Pena’s Luis, who stole an entire film from both Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd.
At this point in his career, there shouldn’t be much cause for behind-the-scenes drama when it comes to Tom Cruise movies. Cruise wants to star in another Jack Reacher movie? Pay the man. Cruise wants to play a special forces operative fighting a centuries-old mummy? Pay the man. Cruise wants to release a movie where all he does is run for two hours? By all that is holy and good in this world, pay the man!
Now that we have a little bit of distance from movies like Norbit and Meet Dave, it’s probably time to start thinking about an Eddie Murphy renaissance. In his day, Murphy has been an award-winning comedian, a movie star and a serious dramatic lead; a few bad decisions over the last decade should not be enough to unravel his talent as a perform
Sad news today for fans of the Star Wars films and Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits: Kenny Baker, the man who brought droid R2-D2 to life, has passed away at the age of 81. According to The Guardian, Baker’s passing comes after a long battle with an unspecified illness.
File this one under Least Surprising News of All Time: according to producer Simon Kinberg, the upcoming sequel to the surprise hit Deadpool will poke fun at superhero sequels. No word yet on whether the character of Deadpool will continue to make movie references, talk to the camera, and poke fun at the successes and failures of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise.
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