When the Cannes Film Festival descends on the French Rivieira, movie billboards and banners crop up all around the Croisette area to catch the attention of industry big shots in town. One such poster advertised a little film called Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, a new animated project out of Korea in which Chloe Grace Moretz voices the apple-eater of note Snow White. But the passersby at the festival were none too pleased with the advertisement, see if you can guess why: it displays two Snow Whites, one thin and tall, the other shorter and a bit plumper. The tagline? “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”
Is Pixar losing their touch? They’re no longer the coolest animation house, having ceded some of that street cred to the international curators of GKids and the stop-motion prestidigitators at Laika. They’re not the most profitable, either, as their box office receipts are regularly dwarfed by the money factories erected by parent company Disney or Illumination. (Last year’s mega-smash Finding Dory was sorely needed after the underperforming The Good Dinosaur.) Pixar’s rep as the industry’s most creativity-driven, unfailingly excellent studio has faded as they’ve leaned a little harder on moneymaking sequels — Cars 3, coming soon! — but today brings the news that they’ve taken a significant step into regaining supremacy over the industry.
Even as Marvel continues to crank out massively scaled spectacles, they’re always keeping one eye on the future. Ant-Man sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp won’t shrink down and infiltrate theaters until July 6, 2018, but the wheels of pre-production have begun turning on the sequel audiences apparently asked for.
Those fans curious about when they’d see a new Wonder Woman poster need no longer wonder. [douses self in gasoline, flings immolating body off of steep cliff into shark-infested waters] Now that the customary pun penance — punance, if you will — is all over and through with, we can present the new one-sheet for Warner Bros.’ upcoming big screen outing for Diana Prince without any further ado. And it just might be the most handsome poster yet, a swirl of warm primary colors with the focus on a radical juxtaposition.
The world has come one step closer to bearing witness to the full scope of James Franco’s artistic vision. As the latest component of his ongoing interrogation of celebrity, performance, artifice, and vague pseudo-intellectualism, he’s adapted The Disaster Artist, actor Greg Sestero’s true account of his time behind the scenes of the calamitous production of The Room. Famed as one of the most bafflingly incompetent movies of all time, the real weirdness came off set, where director/writer/financier/star/madman Tommy Wiseau (played by Franco in the movie) engaged Sestero in a bizarre, homoerotically charged rivalry. Which makes the fact that Franco’s brother Dave will play Sestero just that much stranger.
Serious question: does any single entertainer have such complete dominion over their chosen field as Weird Al Yankovic wields over the song parody? Skeptics may scoff that musical spoofery is a stupid thing to become really, really, virtuosically good at, but the point stands that Yankovic has completely and totally mastered his preferred art form. So when the producers behind the upcoming film adaptation of the Captain Underpants chapter book series needed to find a talent for their theme music, of course their choice was obvious. In no insignificant way, Weird Al Yankovic was born to write a peppy pop tune about tightened-whiteys.
Those of you with an interest in the changing face of theatrical exhibition and film festival bylaws (there are dozens of us!) may have caught wind of some recent meshugas unfolding in France. This year’s main Competition slate at the Cannes Film Festival included two films from online-streaming giant Netflix, Bong Joon Ho’s creature feature Okja and Noah Baumbach’s singlehanded resurrection of Adam Sandler The Meyerowitz Stories. But there‘s been some consternation about opening the gates of Cannes to films that may never see release in France outside of the Internet. Is a movie that doesn’t play in a movie theater a movie at all?
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
For every superhero, there is a season — turn, turn, turn. As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters today following months of anticipation, America now turns our gnat-like attention spans to the next big super-release. In about a month, we’ll have another cape-free caper, with Wonder Woman scheduled for June 2. And while we’ve all had time to gape at the trailers and posters and Instagram posts from those on set, we still have yet to actually glimpse any in-context footage. Until now, that is!
For my money, Rose Mary Walls is the worst mother in the whole of literature, and that includes Sophie Portnoy. A million-dollar heiress who refused her wealth because she believed it’d be good for her children to grow up in abject poverty with a profligate alcoholic, she put her daughter Jeannette through hell. Jeannette would later translate her tragic upbringing into the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, which director Destin Daniel Cretton will soon translate once more onto the silver screen. And in addition to the first official still above, that film has inched closer to being by laying claim to a release date.
In case you weren’t aware, a pretty major situation has been percolating in the entertainment industry over the past month. Unsatisfied with the conditions of their work and continued employment, the Writers’ Guild of America went to the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers to renegotiate the terms of their collective contract. A bitter standoff summarily broke out, with the possibility of another writers’ strike — you may remember the last freeze-out, which stretched from late 2007 into early 2008 — looming on the horizon. Today brings a resolution to the saga of the last few weeks, and in true Hollywood fashion, everyone’s getting a happy ending.
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