With the rise in on-demand and streaming options for home viewership and American reluctance to leave the house at an all-time high, brick-and-mortar theaters have scrambled to keep viewers in the seats...
A firm believer that it’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks, a 44-year-old Tennessee man named Joey Williams returned to college in 2003 to complete the degree he never finished. While enrolled at Jackson, Tennessee’s own Lambuth University, he decided to get the full collegiate experience by joining the football team as a lineman and playing alongside the young bucks — one of whom, in a stranger-than-fiction twist, just so happened to be Williams’ son. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing college ball that was once stymied by a busted knee in his senior year of high school, Williams provided NPR with an inspirational human-interest story for their segment “A Lineman At 44.”
Up until very recently, Georgia was a haven for film productions, the rolling amber waves of generous tax breaks beckoning to crews from Hollywood to New York. That all changed when the Georgia state legislature moved to pass a new bill that harshly restricts the rights of LGBT individuals under the guise of religious freedom. The Free Exercise Protection Act grants any religious official the option to refuse to officiate a non-hetero couple’s wedding, and permits any employer to discriminate in hiring and service practices on the basis of sexual orientation, all under the rationale that being forced to interact with queer men and women in any capacity would violate their religious freedom. Such giants of the entertainment industry as Disney/Marvel, Warner Bros., AMC, Viacom and Sony have all urged a veto to the bill, with the threat of withdrawing all operations from Georgia looming over the legislators.
French thinker Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s popular novella The Little Prince uses the story of a young boy and a grounded pilot as a portal to hidden worlds of profound emotion, conjuring loneliness, sadness and helplessness from simple language and potent symbols. And so it was weirdly fitting when, a mere week before the film adaptation’s scheduled release, Paramount abruptly dropped it from their slate and pulled it from theaters. Not unlike le petit prince himself, Mark Osborne’s animated rendering of the beloved story was abandoned and left to float around in the vast expanse of the film marketplace. This story has a more straightforwardly happy ending than de Saint-Exupéry’s, though — Netflix has now picked up the rights to the film.
The tough thing about using someone else’s ideas to make money is that it’s not entirely legal. This lesson had to be learned the hard way this past weekend by Alec Peters, producer of an independent film titled Prelude to Axanar. The Star Trek fan film drew quite a bit of ire from copyright holders Paramount after a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo brought this grassroots DIY production over half a million dollars last summer. The promise to make a “studio-quality” film including characters, settings, and other elements from the heavily-licensed Star Trek franchise with no engagement from the relevant studio spelled doom for the Axanar team, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
We’ve been looking forward to Laika’s upcoming fantasy adventure Kubo and the Two Strings since the first trailer surfaced back in December. The fledgling studio has accrued a ’00s-Pixar-level spotless track record in the past seven years; their releases Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls dazzled critics and audiences alike with their blend of ceaselessly clever humor and stop-motion wizardry. There’s no reason to believe Kubo won’t continue this hot streak for Laika, and the latest trailer to appear online cements this as one of the year’s most exciting animated releases. (Though the potential for crossover appeal in the world of furries is not quite as great as that of Zootopia. Point, Disney.)
Historically, the addition of space travel into the mix has never failed to revitalize a flagging franchise. Take Clive Barker’s series of Hellraiser films, for instance: four films in, and the engine was losing steam. So for Bloodline, the film split into a triptych across centuries, the frame story for it all taking place on a spacecraft orbiting Earth. Demonic tormentor Pinhead killing people on Earth — not very scary, but Pinhead killing people in space — I’ll take two tickets, please. So, in this respect, Ice Age: Collision Course is without a doubt the Hellraiser: Bloodline of the Ice Age franchise.
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