As we all learned from Sully, planes are not to be trusted. The massive, sophisticated machinery in these multi-million dollar aircrafts can be completely undone by something as small and minor as an errant bird, sending the passengers into a screaming spiral of terror. As pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, Tom Hanks heroically guided an airliner into the Hudson River for a safe crash landing, and Harrison Ford survived a similarly perilous plane crash while giving his amateur pilot’s license a workout not too long ago. Another day, another celebrity-adjacent story pertaining to aircraft engine failure.
Decades before Taken got tooken, Charles Bronson went on a revenge rampage. Liam Neeson had his very particular set of skills, but in 1974’s Death Wish, Bronson had a well-kempt mustache, a dead wife, a hospitalized daughter, and a white-hot grudge. The middle-aged man cut a violent swath of retribution through the criminal underground in search of justice for the female members of his family, and in doing so, spawned a genre of brutal, occasionally sadistic action films rooted in mature masculinity. Bruce Willis was one of the many beneficiaries of Bronson’s legacy, and now he’ll repay the favor with a remake of the classic action flick.
A thought to chew on this morning: is the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War the It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of superhero movies? Both films sought to engineer success by jam-packing as many celebrities and other known quantities into its run time, assured that volume of wattage would surely translate to box-office paydirt. In the case of Stanley Kramer’s epic comedy, it worked, but the jury’s still out on Marvel’s latest superpalooza. Today brings the news that yet another big name will indeed be shoehorned into the third installment of the Avengers ensemble franchise, and fans are sure to be pleased.
Boutique studio A24 has made a name for themselves by doing things differently — that goes for the movies they buy, how they’re released, and especially how they’re promoted. The latest trailer for their upcoming thriller It Comes At Night mercifully eschews the Inception BWAAAAAAM and the creepy-children pop cover for a novel approach, pairing context-free images from the film with various disturbing quotes about fear, distrust, and evil. Instead of using pull-quotes from glowing reviews, the A24 marketing team figured they couldn’t get an endorsement more ringing than one of serial murderer Charles Manson’s family motto.
Is Johnny Depp somehow Johnny Depp-proof? With the early receipts for the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now promising another blockbuster in the bag, it would appear that the actor’s somehow invulnerable to his own noxious public profile. Though the revelation that he had physically abused longtime partner Amber Heard came to light last year, it apparently hasn’t diminished his earning potential, and frustrating as that may be, it means we’re in for a whole lot more Depp. And if producer Jerry Bruckheimer has anything to say about, more Jack Sparrow in specific.
From the ranks of the Sons of Anarchy cast, Taylor Sheridan has emerged as one of the buzziest screenwriters working today. He took Cannes by storm and scored an intelligent sleeper hit with Sicario, his south-of-the-border drug war drama. He made it to the Oscars with another yarn of crime and the solemn-faced folks working to stop it, the timely Western standoff Hell or High Water. And now, the accomplished writer has delivered another potboiler set on the grand expanses of the American plains, with a sweetened deal: he’ll get the chance to prove himself as a filmmaker, too, taking his debut directorial credit on Wind River.
For those who engage in it, speculating on the significance of obscure clues in the Star Wars universe has gone beyond a hobby and grown into a way of life. Even something as simple as a three-word phrase — one word of which is “the” — can spark months of obsessive investigation. And while George Lucas’ disciples will have to wait until December to finally learn the identity of The Last Jedi’s title figure, that has not stopped the dogged gumshoes of Vanity Fair from pumping key figures for information.
The prevailing message of the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming has been that of novelty. This will be a fresh take on the Peter Parker mythos, making him younger than ever, sticking him in the treacherous social minefield of high school, and assigning him a lovably bratty irreverence more in-step with the comic-book original. Plus, Aunt May is young and hot now! But while Marvel and Sony’s advertising has gone to great lengths to assure audiences that this will not be their father’s Spider-Man (and it definitely won’t be the Andrew Garfield one we’re all psychologically working to repress), there is one respect in which this production is business as usual.
It’s not a Cannes Film Festival without a little bit of controversy. This year, Netflix has the hot potato, as the festival has practically torn itself in twain on the matter of the online streaming platform — to purists, they’re the barbarians at the multiplex gates, but to those in support, they’re deep-pocketed benefactors for such directors as Korea’s Bong Joon Ho. And after his new film Okja got nearly pulled from competition, allowed back in, unofficially rejected by Jury President Pedro Almodovar, and then booed following technical difficulties at the screening, Bong wanted to clear the air around Netflix.
We owe a lot to scientists — they cured polio, got us on the moon, and they‘re doing their darnedest to stop us from methodically killing the planet. But man, what a bunch of nerds. It seems like every time biologists discover a new species of animal and need to give it a name, they take the opportunity to bust out a reference to their favorite bit of geek-approved pop culture. Lest we forget the velvet worm named after My Neighbor Totoro, and we’d be remiss to overlook the euglossa bazinga, a rare bee with a Big Bang Theory catchphrase as its namesake. And it appears that now the nerds are at it again.
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