You know those rare moments when everyone on the internet seems to be talking about the same thing? Sports, politics, entertainment, whatever… those are the moments that make social media both a blessing and a curse. Take, for instance, a talented (if not slightly unknown) actress named Jodie Whittaker. If you were to go to Google Trends right now and look up her name, you’d see a sudden spike in searches, indicating that everyone everywhere is suddenly obsessed with learning more about her career. Why on earth could that be?
This just isn’t fair. Only hours after we found out that horror icon George Romero has passed away, we’ve also learned that the world has lost veteran character actor Martin Landau at the age of 89. According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, Landau passed away unexpectedly after a short illness, leaving behind a legacy of television and film work that any actor would be proud to call their own. From his breakout role in North by Northwest to his regular work with Tim Burton, Landau has been a versatile
Sometimes I feel like we don’t appreciate Mark Hamill enough. Oh, sure, we trot him out for any Star Wars or Batman events and allow him to shoot off bemused one-liners about his place in nerd culture, but that’s only part of what makes his celebrity so fascinating. Hamill has spent the past 40+ years hearing about a series of movies he made at the beginning of his career, and somehow, he has avoided becoming either jaded or entitled about his celebrity. When you ask Hamill to talk about Luke Skywalker, he comes across as both blunt and self-effacing without ever doing a discredit to the character or his importance to many. Something tells me that isn’t as easy as he makes it look.
If you spend enough time reading interviews with writer-directors, you may find yourself wondering how big a role music plays in the creative process. Hollywood is littered with movies that were written under the influence of a particularly strong playlist; filmmakers who have been given control over every aspect of production, from screenplay the final cut, can sometimes appear to be writing to the music that influenced them along the way. That’s one of the beautiful things about the work of James Gunn. Not only does he exhibit a delightfully eclectic taste in ’70s and ’80s music, he often finds ways to bring those songs directly into the action of his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
For the past week, fans have been doing their best lawyer impressions and trying to figure out how movies like Venom and Spider-Man: Homecoming will connect in the broader Marvel universe. It wasn’t that long ago that Sony producer Amy Pascal hinted that Venom would be somewhat connected to the Spider-Man of the MCU, which confused the heck out of all of us and started the rumor mill working overtime on how Sony and Marvel’s properties might work together. Of course, as is always the case with the particularly juicy rumors, there was always the chance that someone misspoke.
Gather ’round, children, and let me tell you of the time before post-credits sequences. You see, in those days, we didn’t even know that a movie could continue after the words ‘The End’ flashed on the screen. Once a film was done, it was done, no more movie, and we’d have to have to find ways to entertain ourselves. We’d turn to the person next to us and strike up a con-ver-sation about the movie we just finished, or we’d quietly gather our belongings and head to the exit. But you know what we didn’t do? Watch more movie. Yessiree, we made our own fun back in those days. You kids have it soft.
This is kind of a necessary evil of the film criticism industry: now that Edgar Wright has a new movie in theaters — Baby Driver is really fun! You should go see it! — it was only a matter of time before someone asked the director for clarification on his decision to leave Marvel’s Ant-Man. In hindsight, Wright was always something of an odd choice for a Marvel movie. A visionary and idiosyncratic filmmaker, Wright was probably always a bad meeting away from the fabled “creative differences” dissolution, and when he left the project in 2014, fans were upset but not exactly surprised. Therefore, someone was always going to ask Wright during a Baby Driver interview to explain his decision to leave the film.
Alright, I’m going to be completely honest: when I saw that Power Rangers director Dean Isrealite had commented on his film’s PG-13 rating, I thought we were in for another round of confusing comments about the need for R-rated summer movies. Given the worldwide success of Deadpool, we’ve seen plenty of studios succumb to the siren song of mature adaptations. Warner Bros. has openly pledged to make more R-rated DC animated movies. 20th Century Fox will reportedly push for an R-rating with its upcoming Venom cinematic universe. Even Marvel, the current lead dog of superhero films, has felt compelled to weigh in on the issue (spoiler alert: it’s not going to happen). So sure, why not add Power Rangers to the mix?
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Deadpool 2 is officially underway! Even though we’ve spent more than a year analyzing and talking about Ryan Reynolds’ merc with a mouth, the success of the original Deadpool movie is still kinda hard to believe. A $58 million R-rated superhero movie that went on to gross $780 million worldwide? A comic book movie that broke the mold so thoroughly that now every major studio is openly courting the R-rated crowd? Deadpool was a phenomenon, and none of us can wait to see if Reynolds and company are capable of avoiding the sophomore slump.
It’s amazing how much difference a song makes. We’ve been treated to several teasers for Guy Ritchie’s upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie, and to this point, I would have described them all as just OK. Ritchie’s particular brand of historical fiction and modern action aesthetics — including his signature fast-slow-fast brand of fight choreography — is something I’ve gone back and forth on a little bit in the last few years. I’m not a big fan of Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, but I did rather enjoy The Man From U.N.C.L.E., meaning King Arthur was kind of a net zero in my book.
Over the past few weeks, Josh Gad has systematically been chipping away at the defenses of Murder on the Orient Express co-star Daisy Ridley to try and get his hands on a few tasty Star Wars: The Last Jedi spoilers. We’ve checked in on the series three times over the past month as Gad quickly escalated his efforts, bringing in ringers such as Dame Judi Dench — seriously, how to say no to Judi Dench? — to try and guilt Ridley into letting something slip. And now, for his last-ditch effort, Gad has pulled out all the stops.
As times change, standards change, and we occasionally find ourselves bumping up against old traditions that need to retire. Even some of our most beloved childhood movies feature behavior and activities — smoking, strong language, casual misogyny — that went unnoticed and unappreciated by our older selves. Given the well-established health risks that smoking poses, one person recently took it upon himself to sue Hollywood in an attempt to get onscreen smoking banned. I’ll give a moment to guess who won.
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