Just as the nation’s mushroom-takers have begun to hit up their connections in preparation for this May’s opening of the lush, psychedelic new amusement park Pandora — The World of AVATAR, yet another attraction has appeared on the horizon. At present, Star Wars superfans can immerse themselves in the fantasy universe with the series of films, novels, spin-off films, animated television programs, various board games, and Disneyland’s popular Star Tours ride. But some diehards demand more, a fuller and more transportive experience. And Disney CEO Bob Iger has some great news for them. (And less-great news for everyone else.)
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...
Step right up, step right up and get your tickets here for the most dangerous, poorly-maintained, testicle-pulverizing amusement park on the planet! Deadline played the old-timey carnival barker this morning for Johnny Knoxville, announcing that the human crash-test dummy had suckered Paramount into funding another one of his deranged comic experiments. In the spirit of unscripted prankapalooza Bad Grandpa (a film destined to be confused with the Robert De Niro schlock-comedy Dirty Grandpa until the end of time) and the notorious Jackass series now comes Action Park, guaranteed to cause at least one instance of grievous bodily harm or your money back!
Just when pundits had begun to reduce the Oscar fracas to a two-horse race between toe-tapping populist favorite La La Land and critically-adored downbeat character piece Moonlight, a possible spoiler has come out of nowhere. Last night, the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards gave Hollywood’s union of performers a chance to recognize some of their own whom had done outstanding work over the past year. The most coveted award of the ceremony is the prize for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture, regarded by some as a bellweather for Oscar night, and it went to unexpected contender Hidden Figures.
Look, you can’t blame a studio for taking notice when something is working and wanting to replicate their own success. Sequels wouldn’t get greenlit unless someone, somewhere, wanted them. It makes perfect fiscal sense for upstart animation studio Illumination to follow up on their blockbusters Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. But, god, did they have to announce them all at once like that?
We’ve got 11 long months to go before anyone will get a look at Star Wars: Episode VIII, so Lucasfilm has tried to pace itself with leaking details of the hotly anticipated upcoming release. Today, however, they dropped a big one: on the official Star Wars web site, a new announcement revealed the subtitle for the eighth installment in what the site refers to as “the Skywalker saga.” The post declared, “We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.”
As is tradition, the night before the Oscar ceremony takes place, the 37th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards will descend on Los Angeles to commemorate the worst that Hollywood had to offer in 2016. A mean-spirited diss-fest in the estimation of some, a good-natured ribbing to others, the so-called Razzies are twice as unpredictable and ten times as frank as the usual awards program. The expected categories of Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actor/Actress share space with the distinctions of Worst Screen Combo and Worst Prequel, Remake, Ripoff, or Sequel at the ignominious ceremony. Some celebrities take the jokes in stride (Sandra Bullock famously showed up to receive her Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve the day before she dropped by the Oscars to pick up her Best Actress prize for The Blind Side), but the program goes widely ignored by the industry overall.
When we last checked in with the evolving lawsuit that Paramount and CBS filed against the creators of Star Trek fan film Axanar, things weren’t looking so hot for DIY producer Alec Peters. In a ruling chockablock with Trek puns, the judge declared that a jury of Peters’ peers would be responsible for determining whether his film infringed upon Paramount’s legal copyrights in terms of actual people, places, and things (“objective substantial similarity”) as well as overall spirit and feel of the Star Trek franchise (“subjective substantial similarity”). I’m no legal professional, but even this layman could see pretty plainly that Peters’ ass was legal grass, and Paramount was preparing to mow it.
Forcing audiences to watch a movie in which a dog lives, finds true happiness, and then dies over and over again would’ve been an act of sadism all on its own. But the crew of the upcoming family film A Dog’s Purpose have recently been outed as sadists of another, more stomach-churning sort. TMZ posted a shocking video from a second-unit shoot for the film in which an animal handler forces a reluctant German Shepard into rushing waters, the dog begins drowning, and handlers rush to retrieve the animal amid cries of “cut it! cut it!” PETA has already called for a boycott of the film, with the most shame heaped upon the industry supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited, and the rest of the fallout has been swift.
Superheroes don’t have to come from the brightly-colored pages of American comic books; the Power Rangers series that captivated youngsters during the ‘90s and early 2000s had roots in Japan, stemming from their tradition of kaiju films. It’s a powerful bridge between cultures, the universal desire to watch a team of teenagers with extraordinary abilities team up to beat the stuffing out of gigantic monsters, And now it’ll connect generations, too, as the official trailer arrives today with the promise of the same spirit of teamwork and towering-menace-fighting that made them an unlikely cross-Pacific sensation two decades ago.
Join me, as we step back in time to the simpler and more innocent era of two days ago: the trailer for British TV network Sky Arts’ new program Urban Myths had just surfaced, teasing a collection of whimsical shorts featuring fictionalized versions of such celebrities as Bob Dylan, Adolf Hitler, and Cary Grant. One segment in particular commanded more headlines than any other, an episode featuring Liz Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Michael Jackson taking a drive through the country in the wake of 9/11. White actor Joseph Fiennes shocked everyone with his getup as the post-skin-whitening Jackson, and many cried foul at what is technically a blackface performance. The late King of Pop’s daughter Paris tweeted that she was “incredibly offended” by the performance and that it “makes [her] want to vomit.”
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