Among the most difficult aspects of parenting is the matter of simply filling the hours in a day. Kids become bored after approximately twenty unstimulating minutes, so moms and dads have to constantly plan out diversions to keep their offspring occupied. Disney just did the parents of America a real solid, however. Animated movies have long been a go-to option for parents hoping to run out the clock, and they’ll be able to go back to Moana for seconds later this month, when the film re-enters theaters for a one-day sing-along engagement.
J.J. Abrams made his bed, stuffed it with money and gold bricks, but now he‘d rather not lie in it. The director has risen to the top of Hollywood’s most-wanted list in recent years as a serviceable conductor of franchise pictures; he did right by the Mission: Impossible series, then moved on to mount the massive Star Trek resurgence, and brought Star Wars back to the grateful people of Earth with Episode VII. But this whole money-in-the-bank reputation comes with its downsides. Speaking with People, Abrams indicated that he‘s had his fill of franchise pictures and would prefer to explore some original concepts in the years to come.
Truly, there is no greater type of entertainment industry news story than “bizarre legal proceedings.” Strange and ill-fated court cases pepper the world of showbiz, and today brought a long-awaited conclusion to one of the weirdest and most nonsensical in recent memory.
It’s every woman’s fantasy: not the perfect man, but the man who is perfect in all ways except one, which can only be changed with the gentle touch of a lover. Anastasia Steele, the Dakota Johnson-played protagonist of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, shares this widespread fixer-upper fetish, and she makes as much clear in the new trailer for Fifty Shades Darker. In the film disappointingly not titled Fifty-One Shades of Grey, Ana accepts Christian back into her life under the condition that he cut it out with all the brooding angst that originally attracted her to him and got old pretty quickly. They let one another back into their lives (and beds, and red-lit sexual torture chambers), but tragedy may cut the honeymoon phase short.
Despite volumes of scholarship from feminist theorists on its undertones of spousal abuse and insidious romanticizing of male brutality, Disney‘s Beauty and the Beast has remained a cherished childhood favorite worldwide. Kids love talking furniture, go figure. The live-action remake starring Emma Watson and an unrecognizable Dan Stevens is hot on the way to its March 17 release, and Disney has now released two new TV spots to further amp up the anticipation. In the first, embedded above, the Beast implores lovely Belle to “think of the one thing you’ve always wanted, and feel it in your heart.” We get a glimpse of the timeless ballroom-waltz scene, some barroom carousing from Gaston, and yet another look at the deeply unsettling character designs for Lumiere and Cogsworth.
Stocks in magic are down. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was less than fantastic (hey-o), the much-touted stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won’t come to Broadway for months, and we can assume that the constant onslaught that was 2016 sapped many children of their belief in the wonder of magic. The Harry Potter-industrial complex needs a shot in the arm, and head honchos over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park may have just the thing to inspire a little excitement.
It’s not uncommon for movie studios to recycle their sets between productions, or for different crews to make use of the same locations. For sharp-eyed viewers, this can create the surreal effect of fictional universes overlapping and coexisting with one another. Take Hogan’s Heroes, for instance: the company behind the popular POW camp-set sitcom put the compound on which they shot most of their episodes up for sale after they had wrapped. It was later used for numerous other shoots, most notably in the pornographic Nazi-exploitation film Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S.
Showbiz is weird sometimes: director Justin Kelly premiered his first feature-length film I Am Michael at Sundance in January 2015, where James Franco earned scattered praise for his performance as real-life “ex-gay” Michael Glatze. Instead of sitting on his hands and waiting for the film to land a distribution deal, Kelly went right ahead and commenced work on his second feature, the gay porn saga King Cobra, which premiered at Tribeca back in the spring of 2016. “James Franco in a movie about gay porn” proved to be a more hooky angle, and the film was shown in theaters across America this past fall. That bump to Kelly’s profile enabled him to finally land distribution for I Am Michael, the trailer for which surfaced yesterday in advance of its release on January 27. Both debut and not, Kelly’s first film will be his second release. Just a fun film-industry fact.
The world’s still stinging from the loss of Carrie Fisher yesterday, and while we will most likely remember her first as Princess Leia, the actress cultivated a long career of comedy after her Star Wars years. Her one-woman show Wishful Drinking was a must-see on Broadway, and her hilarious, often inscrutable Twitter account will stand as a testament to her bizarre wit. In the wake of Fisher’s sad death on Tuesday, one video in particular has begun to pop up again, and it might just be the comic’s most searing public appearance of all.
More streaming services than you can shake a virtual stick at have cropped up over the past year, which makes it all the more aggravating when that one movie you want to watch is nowhere to be found. You shell out every month for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Shudder, Filmstruck and a dozen more, and yet once that craving to rewatch The Lion King hits, you’re plum out of luck. What’s the point of having countless hours of programming at your fingertips for your immediate enjoyment if that doesn’t include The Little Mermaid?
Sometimes, the best films are the ones with the simplest concepts. For instance, “just 100 minutes of Keanu Reeves beating the pus out of Russian gangsters” turned out to be a premise worth its weight in gold, as if cinema has never really needed more than Keanu in an all-black suit delivering beatdown after beatdown. In 2014, John Wick effortlessly reminded audiences of how competent, how brutal, how downright fun action cinema could and should be, and the studios responded in kind with news of a sequel. But all dogs would do well to watch their little doggy backs in the months to come, because Wick’s got more than a movie on the horizon.
If you heard the title Rock Dog and made the reasonable assumption that the film is about a dog who rocks, then well done, you’ve cinched your saddle up on the basic premise of Lionsgate’s upcoming animated feature. Bodi (voiced by Luke Wilson) is a dog, who dreams of one day rocking. But this dog cannot rock — not yet, anyway. For the dog to attain his dreams of rock stardom, he’ll need the help of feline record producer Angus Scattergood (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a cartoon kitty version of Ralph Fiennes in A Bigger Splash. But the new trailer released today seems to indicate that rock is well within this dog’s abilities, and that after undergoing a substantial personal transformation, he will take up his rightful mantle as the one true rock dog. Rock Dog.
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