L. Frank Baum‘s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has proven a malleable property over the years. Of course everybody knows and loves Victor Fleming’s 1939 film adaptation, then came the urban-set musical revision The Wiz, the villain’s-eye-view retelling Wicked, Sam Raimi’s limp-noodle Oz the Great and Powerful, NBC’s crazytown new gritty-reboot series Emerald City, not to mention the dozens of films that have paid homage to the timeless scenes of Fleming’s film. (The bit in O Brother, Where Art Thou? when our heroes sneak into a KKK meeting like it’s a Winkie stronghold is a particular standout.) And today brings the news that the merry old land of Oz will get yet another new spin, and this time, there will be blood.
I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of Get Out earlier this week, and hoo boy, that right there is one fine motion picture. Our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer made as much clear in his ringing endorsement from Sundance, but take it from me: very spooky, very funny, has something to say, insanely well-cast and even more well-acted. It’s an easy movie to love, and while the box-office receipts from this upcoming weekend will rule on whether audiences agree, the critics of America have already made their voices heard. And those voices are ringing out in perfect unison, a harmony sounding out as if from an angelic choir: “THIS MOVIE RULES.”
Sound the alarm emojis — last night brought a new update on the slow gestation of Martin Scorsese’s next feature film project, the mob drama The Irishman. It’s already a hot property, boasting a cast including Marty favorites Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci along with newcomer Al Pacino, who already spent the last two decades acting as if he was in the third act of Goodfellas anyhow. “Martin Scorsese doing another crime epic with some of today‘s greatest living actors” turned out to be quite the tantalizing prospect, too, because last night brought the news that Netflix has purchased the rights to the film right out from under Paramount.
It is usually to humankind‘s advantage that the flame of hope is not easily extinguished. When the pursuit of a lofty ideal grows difficult, the unshakable bedrock of hope has provided the righteous with strength and fortitude. But hope can also be a heartbreaker, constantly teasing us with the faint chance of achieving an impossible dream. Up until today, fans were able to cling to the possibility of a third installment of Guillermo Del Toro‘s Hellboy franchise, however remote. But the director took to Twitter earlier today to deliver the sad news that we may now finally abandon hope — it ain’t happening.
Over the course of the eight Nightmare on Elm Street films, Robert Englund made dream stalker Freddy Krueger from a slasher-film specter into a major cultural icon. His sartorially questionable striped sweater/fedora combo, the pepperoni-like complexion, the razor-blade gloves — it’s all been enshrined in the horror hall of fame for years. He officially laid his signature character to rest with 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, turning the role over to Jackie Earle Haley for the 2010 remake, but a new project indicates that Englund and Freddy can’t get rid of one another that easily.
James Gray got played hard on his last release, the classically-minded drama The Immigrant. The film earned rapturous reviews out of its premiere at Cannes and landed a distribution deal with the power players at the Weinstein Company — who then let it languish in obscurity before quietly releasing it over a year later. The film was a triumph among critics but a huge missed opportunity from an industry perspective. Hopefully, Gray will have a better go with the less domineering Amazon Studios, who will release his new picture The Lost City of Z in April.
I‘ve never seen 75 million dollars. It’s more than I have ever had, will ever have, and in all likelihood, more than I will cumulatively earn over the course of my entire life. I can’t really even conceive of how much money that is, the buying power it represents. So the news that Ben Affleck singlehandedly lost $75,000,000 for Warner Bros. with his pricy and apparently unappealing Live By Night has been kind of hard to process. Why doesn’t he have to go to jail? How is he allowed to continue directing movies? This defies all the laws of Monopoly, my lone primer on the ins and outs of macroeconomics.
Look, you can’t blame a studio for taking notice when something is working and wanting to replicate their own success. Sequels wouldn’t get greenlit unless someone, somewhere, wanted them. It makes perfect fiscal sense for upstart animation studio Illumination to follow up on their blockbusters Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. But, god, did they have to announce them all at once like that?
We’ve got 11 long months to go before anyone will get a look at Star Wars: Episode VIII, so Lucasfilm has tried to pace itself with leaking details of the hotly anticipated upcoming release. Today, however, they dropped a big one: on the official Star Wars web site, a new announcement revealed the subtitle for the eighth installment in what the site refers to as “the Skywalker saga.” The post declared, “We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.”
When Meryl Streep took the stage at the Golden Globes ceremony and delivered an impassioned speech calling out President-Elect Donald Trump as an overbearing bully, everyone had their reaction. Many rose up in support of the esteemed actress, celebrating her fiery diatribe as a heroic display of speaking truth to power. Others took issue with her anti-Trump stance, painting the woman as another pampered Hollywood liberal trapped within her bubble of privilege. A third, smaller faction of mixed martial arts enthusiasts took grave offense to Streep’s fleeting diss leveled at MMA and NFL football, and invited the multiple Academy Award winner to settle the matter in the octagon.
Chances are, you’re currently reading these words on a phone, computer, or tablet manufactured by Apple. Maybe on your morning commute, you listen to music downloaded from the ITunes Music Store. If you are an on-the-go sort of person who’s not afraid to be made fun of, you may have an Apple Watch wrapped around your wrist right now. The tech giant’s influence has permeated so many facets of modern life, and as we patiently await Apple’s big foray into the burgeoning field of teledildonics, they’ve announced plans to plant their flag on one more heated battlefield.
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