The suit makes the man, and that’s seldom more true than for the superhero set. Batman would be another joe-schmo billionaire industrialist without the arsenal of weaponry built into his armor, Iron Man would literally die without his hardware, and now we can add Peter Parker to the list of superheroes whose own clothes act as unofficial sidekick. In the latest trailer for upcoming threeboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, we get a glimpse of some nifty new modifications (courtesy of Stark Industries) to Spidey’s trademark red-and-blue spandex. A new generation’s Spider-Man needs some modern upgrades, and the latest iteration of the suit includes a detachable mini-drone and what I can only describe as “skintight suction technology.”
Writing about the latest developments in movie-centric news isn’t a bad job, by any means — I could be mining ore and plucking chickens like my Eastern European forefathers — but some days still make you wanna sharpen up your morning coffee with something a little stronger. The recent trend of movie studios airing brief mini-trailers to tease the release of upcoming slightly-longer trailers numbers among my least favorite developments in online buzz-cultivating, and leave it to Zack Snyder and the DC cinematic universe to take that to the next level. Running a trailer for the trailer is some weak-ass bull, the sort of thing those nerds at Marvel would do — this is DC, baby, where they run five trailers for the trailer.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
It’s weird — with every new trailer, the upcoming big-screen reboot of beloved ‘90s TV series Baywatch appears to get a little bit better. The first trailer promised a lightly amusing clone of the smart-alecky 21 Jump Street reboot, the second trailer advertised a competently-produced action tentpole with a healthy sprinkling of meta humor, and now, the so-called “official” trailer (does that make the first two unofficial?) teases what appears to be a sincerely funny comedy. At the very least, whoever cut this thing made it abundantly clear that stars Zac Efron and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson have more chemistry than an eighth-grade science class.
There’s no arguing that superheroes currently own the cineplex, but in a slight change of pace, one of this upcoming summer’s cape-clad defenders won’t hail from the pages of Marvel or DC. Kids (and nostalgia fetishists in their mid-to-late twenties) will get a colorful crimefighter of a different stripe with Captain Underpants, the computer-animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s long-running line of sophomoric chapter books about a delusional elementary school principal’s adventures in doo-doo derring-do. The first trailer hit the internet today, and if you were wondering if it contains the same Steve Aoki club banger as the War Dogs trailer, then have I got some good news for you!
This past week, Beauty and the Beast raised quite a few public eyebrows (mostly in Malaysia) with its so-called ‘exclusively gay moment,’ in which Josh Gad’s LeFou fleetingly reveals that he like-likes Gaston. While this was not breaking news to any gaydar-equipped viewers of the 1991 original, it still made quite a splash online, with conservative voices objecting to the homosexual agenda imposing on innocent kids' entertainment and progressives leaning the other way, calling for a more meaningful expression of queer identity than a three-second glimpse of two men waltzing.
This week’s most high-profile release is the big Power Rangers reboot (I’m sorry, that’s Haim Saban‘s Power Rangers, please nobody sue me) and the earliest round of reviews has begun to surface over the past few day or so. They are, to put it somewhat charitably, mixed. The early consensus is that the film squanders what could have been remake-ready material — a multiethnic group of telegenic teens working together to form a gigantic robot that battles evil aliens sounds like a pretty hard concept to foul up — with a generic and often painfully unfunny take.
Pixar’s 2016 was something of a mixed bag, having landed a true-blue blockbuster with Finding Dory but then missing out on the coveted Oscar nomination. They’ll get back in the saddle in 2017 with Coco, a vibrant fantasy about the power of music, family, and remembrance of those lost to us. In the film, a lonely young boy finds a link to the past through an enchanted stringed instrument and sets off on an incredible journey with an animal companion, encountering all manner of dreamlike wonders (along with a monster or two) on the way. It bears mentioning at this point that this film is, in fact, not Kubo and the Two Strings.
As an avowed walker and train-taker, I’m not much of a car guy, personally. But I know a thing or two — I can change a flat tire, correctly identify where jumper cables should be clamped, and I know enough that anyone who offers to sell you a ‘flux capacitor’ is having a laugh at your expense. The auto part was imagineered (a make-believe word for ‘invented’ that the folks at Disney originally imagineered) for Back to the Future, the all-important component that gives Marty McFly‘s Delorean the power to traverse time. And now, you too can attempt to flaunt the laws of metaphysics by souping out your ride of choice (imagine how a silent, time-traveling Prius would freak out people in the ’50s) with your very own flux capacitor.
Director Ava DuVernay is a stylish woman in a pretty general sense, but it was doubly impressive that she came so extremely correct to the Oscars last month. As Nick Kroll and John Mulaney noted in their monologue at the Independent Spirit Awards slightly beforehand, DuVernay had just gotten off of a globe-crossing flight so that she could return to Hollywood from New Zealand, where she‘s been hard at work shooting her adaptation of fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. (And making history while she’s at it, as the first black female director to command a budget of $100 million.) It would appear that shooting on this grand undertaking has recently come to an end, with DuVernay now allowing the public a little glimpse at their production via Twitter.
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.
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