Of course, no individual could be fairly credited with having singlehandedly invented the modern understanding of what it means to be cool, but Japanese filmmaker Seijun Suzuki is as good a place as any to start. With such films as Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter, he reimagined the gangster figure as an icon of bold sartorial style, unflappable stoicism, and casual Zenlike profundity. A few years later, these films would go on to inspire French New Wave classic Le Samouraï, which would later trickle down to the cinema of Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch. But to ascribe Suzuki’s importance to his influence on others would be an insult; his films map an entire engrossing world unto themselves.
It was back in July that the news of an impending return from everyone’s favorite B-movie mockery program Mystery Science Theater 3000 first broke. Fans of Manos: the Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians were atwitter with excitement for a revival of the long-running program last seen in 1999, breathlessly speculating on which schlock gems would get roasted this time around. And while the fodder for the upcoming eleventh season has yet to be named, Netflix has finally announced a release date and included a new press photo of the whole wisecracking robotic gang.
It is usually to humankind‘s advantage that the flame of hope is not easily extinguished. When the pursuit of a lofty ideal grows difficult, the unshakable bedrock of hope has provided the righteous with strength and fortitude. But hope can also be a heartbreaker, constantly teasing us with the faint chance of achieving an impossible dream. Up until today, fans were able to cling to the possibility of a third installment of Guillermo Del Toro‘s Hellboy franchise, however remote. But the director took to Twitter earlier today to deliver the sad news that we may now finally abandon hope — it ain’t happening.
It doesn’t matter if you’re some regular schmo or the Asgardian God of Thunder, living by yourself can get a little lonely. Thank Odin for Darryl, then, the milquetoast desk-jockey roommate of the Avengers’ resident hammer-thrower Thor. We first met the mild-mannered pencil-pusher in a short called “Team Thor,” directed by upcoming Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi and bundled as an extra with the Captain America: Civil War home media release. That amusing glimpse into the tensions between the two cohabitants was a fan favorite, not to mention a brief preview of the comic sensibility that What We Do in the Shadows (another film about roommates sniping at one another) director Waititi would bring to the Marvel universe.
Fake news has metastasized into one of the day’s greatest scourges. Web sites perpetuating false information have destabilized the public’s trust in what is monolithically referred to as “the media,” and what’s worse, elected officials can now use the cry of “fake news!” to discredit any factual reports that they’re not pleased with. Truth has grown into a sadly scarce quantity these days, and just about everyone agrees that the last thing we need is even more misinformation spread around just for the sake of promoting a movie, even if that movie happens to be a visually sumptuous dive into insanity.
Cheerio, and cor blimey! The BAFTAs, Britain’s most prestigious film awards program, took place last night in London and recognized the finest achievements of the year on the silver screen. And in 2016, regardless of which side of the Atlantic your awards show happens to transpiring, that means an evening-long salute to awards juggernaut La La Land. With a little less than two weeks to go before Oscar night, Damien Chazelle’s crowd-pleasing musical picked up a few more accolades to pad its portfolio and brighten its chances for the big dance.
After months of rumormongering and speculating and debating over whether Lin-Manuel Miranda has what it takes to make the jump to the big screen from Broadway, sequel Mary Poppins Returns has finally begun shooting. Disney sent out an official press release yesterday announcing that the production was officially underway at Shepperton Studios in Burbank, California, with a project release date of Christmas Day in 2018. (Nothing gets people in the mood for a movie-musical quite like the holidays, it would seem, as director Rob Marshall’s last film Into the Woods found a release date in late December as well.) And along with the news that the gears are now turning, the press release provided a full cast list and more comprehensive description of the plot as well.
Remember that part in The Dark Knight when the Batman knock-offs all pop up in the multi-level parking garage to help the Caped Crusader dispose of some European gangsters, but they just end up getting in the way? They tell the Batman that they were just trying to help, and Wayne chides them for facing men with guns while wearing hockey pants. This may ring some bells for you, but Stephen Lawrence, the subject of the curious new documentary short Being Batman, has evidently forgotten that brief bit. (I’d guess he’s also glossed over the part in The Killing Joke wherein writer Alan Moore suggests that a man would have to be insane to dress up as a bat and fight crime at night.)
Why is it that James Cameron’s updates about progress on his colossal plotted Avatarfranchise always kind of sound like threats?
In a brash nose-thumbing to the concept of economic bubbles, James Cameron went all in on his Avatar franchise gambit and decided to produce the next four films in the planned pentalogy concurrently...
Over the course of the eight Nightmare on Elm Street films, Robert Englund made dream stalker Freddy Krueger from a slasher-film specter into a major cultural icon. His sartorially questionable striped sweater/fedora combo, the pepperoni-like complexion, the razor-blade gloves — it’s all been enshrined in the horror hall of fame for years. He officially laid his signature character to rest with 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, turning the role over to Jackie Earle Haley for the 2010 remake, but a new project indicates that Englund and Freddy can’t get rid of one another that easily.
James Gray got played hard on his last release, the classically-minded drama The Immigrant. The film earned rapturous reviews out of its premiere at Cannes and landed a distribution deal with the power players at the Weinstein Company — who then let it languish in obscurity before quietly releasing it over a year later. The film was a triumph among critics but a huge missed opportunity from an industry perspective. Hopefully, Gray will have a better go with the less domineering Amazon Studios, who will release his new picture The Lost City of Z in April.
With The Best Man and its sequel The Best Man Holiday, director Malcolm D. Lee gave the audiences of America something regrettably uncommon: a film created and staffed by black talent, centered on the particulars of black life without getting into weighty histrionics or overreaching with Madea-style drag. They’re fun, airy movies, and from the looks of the first trailer for Lee’s latest project Girls Trip, he’ll keep it light as he flips to the distaff side of the coin. At this point, giving black moviegoers two hours of enjoyable respite from all this business [gestures broadly to entire world] practically qualifies as a public service.
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