“James Franco doing a movie about the creation of legendary disasterpiece The Room” was a tantalizing prospect when first announced, either a brilliant turn for his career-spanning preoccupation with artifice in showbiz or another insufferable bout of navel-gazing. The first trailer for the comedy due December 1 (before going wide on December 8) isn’t really either, landing somewhere closer to Hail, Caesar! in its farcical send-up of filmmaking frustration. 2017 has gotten its “Would that it t’were so simple,” now say it with me: “I did not hit her, it’s not true, it’s bullsh*t, I did not hit her, I did not. Oh hi, Mark.”
It may be hard to believe now, but there was once a time when studios would wait until a release had proven itself at the box-office before investing in a massive franchise around it. But the likes of DC, Marvel, and the future firee at Universal who came up with the Dark Universe boondoggle have now set a standard of placing the cart before the horse, and other studios cannot help but follow suit. Fox is the latest showbiz entity to go all-in on an untested concept, banking that the respectable profits generated by that Goosebumps movie from 2015 that you’ve already forgotten about shall be a bellwether for future riches.
When someone says someone else fights like a girl, it’s intended as a diss with a nice dollop of misogyny on top. But the next time some jerk comes at you wth that nonsense, you can turn it into a compliment by yelling, “Oh yeah, well Charlize Theron does all her own stunts and could snap your spine in half like a pretzel rod, so there!” and run away weeping. In the light of a new behind-the-scenes video from the Atomic Blonde production, it is the ultimate comeback. For Charlize Theron does indeed fight like the girl (er, woman) she is, and that’s one hell of a way to fight.
The upcoming Lion King will bear only a slight resemblance to the Disney animated classic families know and love. As with director Jon Favreau’s earlier rework of The Jungle Book, this film will shoot in live-action (a questionable term when all of the main characters are computer-generated imaged, but whatever) and eschew the musical numbers of the original film. A new casting notice has apprised us of yet another change to the fabric of the film, specifically that Simba’s toucan pal Zazu will now spend the film pointing emphatically to graphics in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen and screaming at fictitious office coworker Janice in Accounting.
Ryan Gosling is about to play himself. (In the DJ Khaled sense, not the Being John Malkovich sense.) The actor’s been on something of a roll recently, scoring critical plaudits for The Nice Guys and La La Land last year — the latter of which ended up a surprise blockbuster and less-surprise Oscar hoarder — and continuing on into 2017 with this past spring’s Song to Song. He’s got Blade Runner 2049 on the docket for this fall, a likely smash that may earn him admiration among nerd circles, the last niche demographic he has not yet charmed. But with the world at his feet, Gosling’s now making moves to dash all the goodwill he’s recently built up.
The world approaches a great cataclysm in the latest trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy novel The Dark Tower, but the specific nature of that cosmic upheaval, I know not what. Not having read the source novel, I’ve decided to go into the film cold when it premieres on August 4, and so far, I’ve done a pretty solid job of keeping myself unsullied by plot revelations. The new international trailer does me a favor, too, by playing all of its details of plot close to the vest. There’s a whole lot of ominous talking, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey appear to have some manner of beef that could decide the fate of the known universe, but beyond that, I’m in the dark (tower).
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
The Hollywood Reporter recently unearthed a vintage interview with comics giant Stan Lee from back in 1977, and on the occasion of Spider-Man: Homecoming’s release, they’ve decided to share some of its contents with the public. And if I may editorialize for a moment, it’s the single most relatable, humanizing media appearance the famously camera-friendly Lee has ever done. Because the unearthed truth of this Q&A is that Stan Lee did exactly what I would do — what any of us would do, really — if I was the head of Marvel Comics during the ‘70s: mess with DC all the time.
It wasn’t so long ago that Edgar Wright voiced some misgivings about the business of sequels, saying “I guess I would rather be telling new stories than revisiting old ones.” But in that very same interview, he emphasized that he has no hard-and-fast rules for how he chooses projects, and that if reviving an established property felt natural and creatively productive, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility. He batted around the idea of following up on cop-parody Hot Fuzz back then, and now today, he’s reignited fan murmurs of an entry into sequeldom with Baby Driver.
Last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them left some questions unanswered — namely, where to find the fantastic beasts. The film never made good on the explicit promise of its title, its best guess at where the fantastic beasts might be located landing somewhere around “all over the place.” As such, a sequel was all but necessary, in the hopes that it can finally clarify the movements and settling patterns of fantastic beasts. (That, and the first movie made over $800 million.) And as principal photography got rolling in England this morning, new plot details and casting notices have been made public, though none brings us any closer to a workable knowledge of fantastic beasts, and/or where to find them.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that in the film A Bad Moms Christmas, there will be moms, they will be bad, and it will be Christmas. The sequel to 2016’s sleeper hit has now gotten its first trailer, and if nothing else, I can confirm for you beyond any shadow of a doubt that A Bad Moms Christmas will star a collection of moms, all of whom will indulge in varying levels of badness. This year, the reason for the season is mom-ing, and doing it badly.
Will The Emoji Movie be horrible? We just don’t know. The premise of “Toy Story, but with the little pictorial icons that live inside your smartphone” sure sounds like something that an executive with an analytics page for a heart would come up with, but it’s the critic’s responsibility to reserve judgement until the film can be seen in full. At least today brings us a bite-sized sample of The Emoji Movie with a new trailer that contains both a painfully out-of-fashion “Bye, Felicia” reference and a sincerely humorous joke about forgotten phone passwords. So it’s really anyone’s guess, at this point.
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