With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
Decades before Taken got tooken, Charles Bronson went on a revenge rampage. Liam Neeson had his very particular set of skills, but in 1974’s Death Wish, Bronson had a well-kempt mustache, a dead wife, a hospitalized daughter, and a white-hot grudge. The middle-aged man cut a violent swath of retribution through the criminal underground in search of justice for the female members of his family, and in doing so, spawned a genre of brutal, occasionally sadistic action films rooted in mature masculinity. Bruce Willis was one of the many beneficiaries of Bronson’s legacy, and now he’ll repay the favor with a remake of the classic action flick.
A thought to chew on this morning: is the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War the It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of superhero movies? Both films sought to engineer success by jam-packing as many celebrities and other known quantities into its run time, assured that volume of wattage would surely translate to box-office paydirt. In the case of Stanley Kramer’s epic comedy, it worked, but the jury’s still out on Marvel’s latest superpalooza. Today brings the news that yet another big name will indeed be shoehorned into the third installment of the Avengers ensemble franchise, and fans are sure to be pleased.
Beaming families, teary smiles, mortarboards in the air — it’s graduation season, which means that more importantly, it’s celebrity commencement address season. While some high-profile speakers have received a chillier reception than others, the A-lister speech has long been a reliably amusing diversion in between long-winded orations from dusty academic types. Maya Rudolph took plenty of artistic license with “The Star-Spangled Banner” at my graduation ceremony from Tulane a few years ago, an unforgettable experience that I was too drunk to currently remember. But today brings video of another movie star taking the stage before a mass of fresh-faced students blissfully unaware of how hard getting a job is. Ladies, gentlemen, Will Ferrell is in the house.
The Overlook Film Festival just began its inaugural proceedings last night, inviting cinephiles and horror enthusiasts to take in some film with a singular location for a backdrop: the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon, better known to you as the Overlook Hotel and the setting of Stephen King adaptation The Shining. One could scarcely imagine a scene more apropos for the revelation that another big King remake is in the works, so Blumhouse (you know, the studio behind every horror blockbuster of the last few years) head Jason Blum and director-writer Akiva Goldsman took full advantage of their unique surroundings for a major announcement. And in the immortal words of Nelly, it’s getting hot in here.
Over this past weekend, CinemaBlend ran an interview with Marvel Studios decision-maker Kevin Feige. As per usual, the man was exceedingly tight-lipped about the future of his beloved superhero playthings, but even his obfuscating non-answers contained the tiny seedling of a revelation within them. While getting grilled about the fate of the Avengers franchise, its third entry of Infinity War slated for 2018, Feige let slip that there was a good reason that the already-scheduled fourth installment has no subtitle as of yet. Though the film was originally planned as the second half of Infinity War, the two projects were recently split into their own individual spheres, and Feige doesn’t want the fourth installment’s full title coming out because apparently it contains a spoiler.
While the post-credits scene was once a surprise specially afforded to those superfans with the dedication to sit through the final frames of a film, it’s now become par for the course, a de facto advertisement for whatever a franchise might have up its sleeve next. Marvel Studios has turned this into standard operating procedure, to the point where viewers expect nothing less than another tasty morsel of footage, the cinematic equivalent of the delicious fries waiting for you at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag. How to continue taking audiences off-guard, then? Marvel could do no post-credit scene at all, that’d certainly throw people for a loop. Or... they could do five.
A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
Netflix, for all their diverting original series and Bong Joon-ho subsidization, has also been responsible for the introduction of a great evil into the world. I am referring, of course, to their seemingly infinite-picture development deal with chronic Phoner-of-It-In Adam Sandler. Netflix signed Sandler to a four-movie deal back in 2014, which has been going decidedly less-than-great so far — his Western spoof The Ridiculous Six was a big pile of donkey turds, and the trailer for his upcoming Sandy Wexler has not inspired much more confidence. When the news hit a few weeks ago that Netflix would re-up their deal with Sandler for four more movies, our coverage of the notice contained the words “oh no.”
Though he looks like he eats cement and can crack dudes in half like Bane snapping Batman across his knee, John Cena’s just a big ol’ softie on the inside. The professional fighter has always been warm and cordial to his many fans, he loves posting dumb jokes online (the ultimate Celebrities! They‘re Just Like Us move), and he proved himself a game comic performer in 2015’s Trainwreck with Amy Schumer and Sisters starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In this respect, he’s the perfect choice to voice Ferdinand, a mighty bull with a kind and gentle heart. If the role was any more squarely in Cena’s wheelhouse, he’d be romancing an esteemed comedic actress.
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.”
Did you know that they apparently made another Terminator movie in 2015? Despite having seen it in theaters back during its original run, this still strikes me as new, hard-to-believe information. If there was really a new installment of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular sci-fi/action franchise as recently as two years ago, wouldn’t someone remember that? Wikipedia claims that the film (subtitled Genisys, which sounds fake but okay) attempted to launch Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke’s big-screen phase of her career, included a clutch starring role from Ahnuld himself, and earned the second-most of any entry in the series. Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty major occurrence to have entirely fled the public‘s collective pop-cultural memory. I’m skeptical — does this look like a real movie to you?
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