Summer movie season starts a little earlier every year, and in 2017, it has consumed May, April, and even our beloved March. Logan will kick off the big-budget bonanza in the first weekend of March, and then cede the floor to the gargantuan Kong: Skull Island the weekend after. Even so, these two releases in particular inspire hope rather than dread when reflecting upon the studio-fronted franchise releases encroaching beyond their summer stomping grounds. All the previews have suggested that these two films will have something original to bring to the table, and the latest clip for Kong: Skull Island confirms that if nothing else, we’ll have some delectable character acting to enjoy.
We‘ve still got months to go until Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes over cineplexes, but the people are hungry. By this time last year, we had already gotten our first teaser for Rogue One, and the barbarians are pounding on the gates demanding fresh material. Sure, Lucasfilm could placate their more rabid fans by pulling back the curtain on one of the new toy lines that will accompany the December release, but that’s thinking small, and Lucasfilm doesn’t do small. You want to see the new toys? Well tough tauntauns, because all you’re getting today is a look at the box they’re coming in. Here is that box:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe had its Big Bang in 2008, with Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr.’s debut as the incorrigible Tony Stark. In casting a charismatic leading man, feeding him some genuinely fresh one-liners, and stitching them together with a few impressive action setpieces, producer and MCU mastermind Kevin Feige had struck gold. He then went to work methodically stripping the mine clean, roping Chrises Evans and Hemsworth into multi-film contracts and watching as the billions rolled in. He devised a winning formula of easy screen-idol mass appeal and an eminently palatable house visual style to go along with it, a method still yielding massive success to this day. (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor 3, and Spider-Man Who Even Knows What Number, coming to theaters in 2017!) And it all began with R.D.J. as an irresistible new breed of defender, the sort of guy you either want to be or be with. One year earlier, Marvel’s idea of a blockbuster superhero was Nicolas Cage as a flaming CGI skeleton clad in S&M biker gear.
Teen love is simply too pure for this compromised world. (In the movies, anyhow. In real life, the love between teens is like a knockoff version of love you’d buy in Chinatown for eight dollars.) Cancer drove Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort apart in The Fault in Our Stars, and in the new film The Space Between Us, the vague atmospheric chemistry of Earth separates Asa Butterfield from his one true love Britt Robertson. Butterfield’s coming back for seconds at the teen-weepie-romance buffet, too, as a new report from Deadline indicates today.
Because Hollywood continues to keep him employed and because he’s got a symmetrical, reassuring face, it’s easy to forget that Michael Fassbender’s had something of a rough year. He started 2016 off by losing the Academy Award in February, having been nominated for the already-aging-poorly Steve Jobs. He then served up a hat-trick of dismally-reviewed starring roles in X-Men: Apocalypse (yikes), The Light Between Oceans (double yikes), and Assassin’s Creed (inadvertently fun in a goofy way, but mostly yikes). He‘s geared to get back on track in 2017, however, with the festival-vetted family crime drama Trespass Against Us slated for a release later this month and the more hotly anticipated The Snowman on the way as well.
Ah, the Super Bowl: the one magical night each year in which the nation unites under the binding forces of domestic macrobrewed beer, buffalo chicken wings, and good ol’ American football. Everyone’s got something to enjoy at the big game, whether that’s the competition itself or, for those of us unable to enjoy sporting events due to PTSD over a childhood of getting picked last, trailers for a movie in which Scarlett Johansson plays a sexy police robot. The Super Bowl regularly doubles as the premiere for a handful of brand new previews of upcoming blockbusters, and Paramount has done us all the solid of giving us a three-day jump on the fun.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s got quite a bit of experience when it comes to portraying characters on either side of the law. He was a dooly appointed federal mahshal in Shuttah Island, played the Boston mob against itself for Martin Scorsese in The Departed, and took on more dastardly roles in such films as Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street. With an Oscar now under his belt, DiCaprio is on the hunt for new roles, and today brings the news that Paramount has given him one squarely in his wheelhouse.
It’s been a topsy-turvy week for awards prognosticators, relative even to the usual topsy-turviness of an industry based entirely on guesswork and speculation. Deadpool frightened and confused Oscar oddsmakers when it unexpectedly snatched up a Best Picture nomination from the Producers Guild Awards program on Tuesday, and then officially rejiggered everyone’s slate of predictions when director Tim Miller earned a nomination from the Directors Guild of America. What had been all but forgotten as a superhero oddball is staging a late-phase charge among the groups of professionals that vote for Oscar nominees — nothing is out of the question.
It’s the inevitable question money-minded executives must ask when an original movie musical starts to gain traction with the general public: “So,” he asks, bitten-down cigar chomped between his teeth, “we taking this thing to Broadway or what?”
At the Golden Globes on Sunday night, both Jenna Bush and Michael Keaton made the embarrassing faux pas of conflating new releases Hidden Figures and Fences into the single title Hidden Fences. It’s an easy enough mistake to make — when there are a whopping two movies featuring black ensembles in theaters at the same time, who can expect anyone to keep them straight, least of all people whose one job revolves around the ability to keep them straight? It was a real foot-in-mouth moment for both celebrities, reflective of the minimal attention that white audiences pay to film championing black performers and creators.
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