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.
Two decades ago, could any of us have predicted the future that awaited Harry Potter? One massively successful book expanded to seven, which begat a theme park, a universe’s worth of merchandising, eight films, a play, and a new tangentially related franchise. And for those fans who still want more Potter, there is Pottermore.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
In a newly posted video, film score composer Mark Korven shows off his demon baby, a one-of-a-kind noisemaker he’s affectionately dubbed The Apprehension Engine. Tired of the same old samples cropping up in movie after movie, the musician (whose credits include Vincenzo Natali’s Cube and, more recently, colonial-era chiller The Witch) wanted something he could use to produce original sound effects. He commissioned guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith to create the nightmarish machine in the video above, which uses metal rulers, curled scrap metal, and other assorted bits of junk to generate supremely disturbing... music?
Say you’re filmmaker Alex Kurtzman. To the outside observer, it would appear you have it all: a multi-picture deal with Universal to spearhead their Dark Universe initiative, more money than God, probably a bunch of boats, Tom Cruise’s cell phone number. And yet you’re driven mad by the one thing you can’t seem to get, which is the respect of the critics. Like pretty much everything you’ve ever done, the reviews have been downright vitriolic (and to make matters worse, your latest film The Mummy has not been the cash factory Universal was hoping for, now poised to lose the studio a cool $95 million even after a handsome global gross), souring your day even as you fail upwards into the next multi-million-dollar project.
Spend long enough interviewing actors for a living, you start to pick little things up. For instance, whenever a performer’s discussing their most recent production and utters any variant on the phrase “it really felt like the cast and crew was one big family,” that’s a major red flag that they’re full of crap. Costars are coworkers, and usually for about six months, and that’s on the longer side. But the ladies of Pitch Perfect 3 seem to be pretty earnest when they gush about the spirit of sisterhood and camaraderie that dominated the atmosphere on set. And for those as skeptical of myself, they proved it with video evidence.
A celebrity ritual no less time-honored than the public callout, the public apology is a vital part of being and remaining famous. Think of it like an annual physical, but for your public profile: say something wild enough to grab some headlines and ensure that your name’s sticking in the population’s heads, let it sit for a short while, and once the time is right, issue a dignified apology to show humility and self-awareness. It’s a rich Hollywood tradition, and Elizabeth Banks is the latest personality to run this gauntlet. But when you come at the king, and most especially when that king is literal King of Hollywood Steven Spielberg, you best not miss.
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