When the mind thinks of the densest, most sprawling narratives realized over the past couple of decades, the kaiju-influenced action show Power Rangers usually doesn’t pop up first. But a quick scan online would reveal that the series has run for a mind-boggling 837 episodes (and counting!) over the course of 24 seasons since 1993. The series has assumed many forms since then, rebooting itself as a show about ninjas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm), samurai (Power Rangers Super Samurai) and dinosaur-themed warriors (Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers Dino Charge, and Power Rangers Dino Super Charge — kids love their dinios). It is, by anybody’s measure, a lot of television.
It would appear that the likes of Deadpool and Logan, what with all their foul words and visible bloodletting and brief pegging interludes, have changed the game of superhero movies. It was once basic showbiz logic that a massively-budgeted capes-and-tights flick couldn‘t afford to go for the R rating and lose the portion of the audience that’d restrict. More minor one-off projects like Watchmen, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman could take that risk and repeatedly found that it paid off, but now mainstream heroes have adopted this more daring approach and met with attractive box-office receipts. And in keeping with their tried-and-true business strategy of doing everything Marvel does, but a year later, DC Films has no stated their intention to get into more mature material.
At 79 years old, Ridley Scott’s nearing the age register where movie lovers start to respectfully confer in quiet tones about how many features the director‘s got left in him. The acclaimed filmmaker behind two dozen beloved projects has no intention of slowing down in the near future, however. As if in direct response to those who may question his continued abilities as a filmmaker, Ridley has defiantly responded that he’ll stop making movies when he’s dead, and that he doesn’t plan on dying any time soon, and that he hopes you like the new Alien movie because he’s just getting started.
Last summer’s Jason Bourne may be 2016’s biggest movie we‘ve all already forgotten about. The franchise‘s revival put Matt Damon back in the driver’s seat after trying a legacyquel with Jeremy Renner, and the crowd responded in kind with a princely $164 million box-office take in the U.S. alone. But even as the Jason Bourne formula continues to yield fiscal gains for all parties involved, Matt Damon appears to have grown unsure about the franchise’s continued viability. In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, he expressed his doubts about the future of the secret agent that made him a bona fide movie star.
Imagine that both handsome, rakish doctor Oscar Isaac and well-to-do bearded reporter Christian Bale are fighting for your hand in marriage. With two such dashing suitors fawning over you, it’d take something huge to spoil it, something like... a genocide. The new trailer for historical romance drama The Promise has all that and more, featuring a tortured courtship with nothing less than the epic sweep of militaristic annihilation for a backdrop. That, and Oscar Isaac’s handsome, permanently-stubbled face. In the parlance of Hollywood executives, that makes this a ‘four quadrant’ picture.
L. Frank Baum‘s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has proven a malleable property over the years. Of course everybody knows and loves Victor Fleming’s 1939 film adaptation, then came the urban-set musical revision The Wiz, the villain’s-eye-view retelling Wicked, Sam Raimi’s limp-noodle Oz the Great and Powerful, NBC’s crazytown new gritty-reboot series Emerald City, not to mention the dozens of films that have paid homage to the timeless scenes of Fleming’s film. (The bit in O Brother, Where Art Thou? when our heroes sneak into a KKK meeting like it’s a Winkie stronghold is a particular standout.) And today brings the news that the merry old land of Oz will get yet another new spin, and this time, there will be blood.
Upstart stop-motion animation studio Laika hasn’t been doing so hot as of late. Though such early efforts as Coraline and Paranorman generated healthy grosses, the box-office receipts have been in a steady decline with The Boxtrolls and last summer’s Kubo and the Two Strings. Though their films have been marvels to behold across the board, their expenditures have increased as they’ve expanded and invested in new technologies, and Kubo ended up as their first flop when it needed to be their biggest hit. In what might seem like the most dire sign of all for the studio, Kubo director and Laika President/CEO Travis Knight has now taken high-profile work elsewhere.
Disney’s concept for Christopher Robin — a live-action reimagining of the happy tales of Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang — was kind of weird from the start. The idea was that the film would rejoin Pooh’s young pal Christopher Robin as a family man swept up in his professional life, with Pooh returning to remind the jaded grown-up of the wonderment of childhood. Perhaps Disney recognized what a tricky sell that might be, and accordingly decided to throw all the talented people they could at this. They brought in acerbic indie-circuit favorite Alex Ross Perry to draw up a script, and then hired eclectic director Marc Forster (responsible for everything from World War Z to Stranger Than Fiction to Finding Neverland to Quantum of Solace) to head up the operation.
Zack Snyder made a lot of enemies with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but critical dressing-down and scattered fan backlash won’t stop him. To quote esteemed post-structural thinker Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott: to those of you who hated, you only made Zack Snyder more creative. The director has redoubled his efforts as he continues work on the post-production process for the Justice League movie due November 17. They wrapped shooting back in October, so all that’s left is the time-consuming and often tedious process of digitally piecing the film together in the editing suite. But ever the barker for his corner of the D.C. universe, Snyder has offered his many supporters a glimpse into the in-progress cut that he’s toying with at present.
Armond White is something of a notorious name in the world of film criticism. While the caliber of his writing commands respect from many of his peers, his contrarian opinions and coarse manner often land him in the middle of mini-controversies within cinephile circles. This is a man who got himself expelled from the New York Film Critics Circle for heckling 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen at the organization’s annual awards dinner. This is a man who publishes an annual ‘Better Than’ list of favorite movies, so he can both name the films he loved and diss the ones that you did in one fell swoop. This is a man who could not give less of a damn what you, me, or anyone else thinks.
I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of Get Out earlier this week, and hoo boy, that right there is one fine motion picture. Our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer made as much clear in his ringing endorsement from Sundance, but take it from me: very spooky, very funny, has something to say, insanely well-cast and even more well-acted. It’s an easy movie to love, and while the box-office receipts from this upcoming weekend will rule on whether audiences agree, the critics of America have already made their voices heard. And those voices are ringing out in perfect unison, a harmony sounding out as if from an angelic choir: “THIS MOVIE RULES.”
How do you say “sike!” in Japanese? Master animator and Studio Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki dun got us again, totally convincing us that he was really retiring this time by saying things like “I am done making movies” and “This time is for real.” We believed him like a bunch of fools when he announced a “semi-retirement” following the completion of Princess Mononoke, we believed him when he said he wanted to call it quits after Spirited Away, and we believed him back in 2013, when he declared The Wind Rises to be his final feature. The Boy Who Cried Not Making Any More Movies has pulled the same trick on us all again, with the news that he’ll un-retire one more time for a new feature called Boro the Caterpillar.
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