Some comic book characters are easier to adapt than others. Superman, for instance, may have hundreds of writers and artists to his name, but the core principles of his character remain the same: he’s powerful, he’s kind, and he’s an idealist in a universe that doesn’t often reward characters for putting their faith in other people. Even when someone like Frank Miller wants to give the character a modern spin, it’s done by exaggerating these core principles, not setting them aside entirely.
Raise your hand if you get bored and try out different accents. This is a habit I picked up as a kid that continues to this day. After watching the first season of Justified, for example, the rural Kentucky accent wormed its way so deeply into my brain that I had a hard time turning it off. As a result, one of my favorite videos of 2016 was this Wired piece where a dialogue coach weighed in on 32 different performances. It really highlights the amount of detail that goes into every single sentence an actor delivers.
I’ll admit, I was one of those people mildly excited for Independence Day: Resurgence. Not only did the film return both Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman — as well as the up-and-coming Maika Monroe — it was also a welcome trip down memory lane to the original Independence Day, one of the first really big blockbuster movies I remember seeing in theaters. I know I’m not the only one whose interest in the film was pure nostalgia; as it turns out, this link to the past is exactly why Will Smith chose not to come back for a second film.
Earlier this week, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made headlines when she suggested that the time was not quite right for a female Star Wars director. In our own write-up of her comments, we noted that the reasoning behind Kennedy’s comments was sound, if not a little depressing: there’s an added degree of pressure on any female director, and the last thing Kennedy wants to do is put someone in a situation where they cannot succeed. Still, with so many male filmmakers seemingly being thrust from anonymity to nine-figure productions, Kennedy’s comments also hinted at an institutional double-standard that is a source of frustration to so many.
Every year, when the bottom drops out of the summer movie season and audiences decide to stay home and watch television instead, some well-meaning critic will publish an article asking if cinema is dead. And every year, I pose the same question in response: “Is Tom Cruise still an action star?” As long as Tom Cruise is running across multiplex screens — fighting rogue nations, government consiparcies, and even the occasional mummy — there is still hope for cinema. Then, when Cruise’s career is done and Hollywood is in ashes, then, cinema, you have my permission to die.
In the four decades that Star Wars has dominated pop culture, we’ve never had to hear a soundtrack for a live-action movie that wasn’t written by John Williams. Williams wrote the original trilogy, and then the follow-up prequels, and even dove back in for the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So the fact that Williams did not write the music for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is just one of many ways in which Rogue One represents a departure from the main story. No Star Wars crawl, no John Williams, no problem? I guess we’ll see.
I’ve always wondered why more horror films aren’t set in corporate environments. While the office remains a popular setting for comedies and the ubiquitous faux-documentary television programs, anything darker — such as the 2006 horror film Severance which centers on a group of coworkers in the midst of an office wilderness retreat — remains the exception rather than the rule. For how much hidden animosity and frustration your typical office building contains, you’d think this would be an area ripe for exploration by the right twisted storyteller.
I’d be hard-pressed to name a Disney villain I like as much as Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston. In addition to being a Sondheim-esque twist on the traditional idea of a fairy tale prince — vain, violent, and eager to confuse chivalry with misogyny — the character of Gaston has also become something of a method actor’s dream for Disney theme park employees. Remember the time that Gaston challenged a kid to a push-up contest? Or how about the time that Gaston got shouted down by a young girl? It turns out that no one goes viral like Gaston, either.
Few actors have seen their stock plummet as much in the last year as Johnny Depp. Despite a long career and many memorable roles, Depp’s narrow comfort zone as an actor — and the domestic abuse revelations that came out during Amber Heard’s divorce proceedings — have made it difficult for audiences to get excited for any new projects. We can barely keep track of all the talented actors and actresses out there; why waste time with one who doesn’t deserve our admiration?
Even with a little bit of distance from their initial release, there’s not a lot to enjoy about the Star Wars prequels. They’re still poorly acted, overly reliant on CGI, and too bogged down in origin stories instead of developing new characters for us to care about. That being said, give credit to George Lucas for writing a powerful arc for Senator Palpatine. Palpatine’s methodical dissolution of the Old Republic — and our mounting horror as we watch him convince the galaxy to give up freedom in exchange for a false sense of safety — aren’t enough to save the Star Wars prequels entirely, but they do represent some of the smartest writing of Lucas’ career.
One of the peculiarities of the modern studio system is that we often know the date a movie will be released long before we know the date when a movie will actually go into production. For example, we’ve known since last year that Jurassic World 2 would be released in June of 2018, but here it is, the end of 2016, and we’re just now learning the timeline to actually make the darn thing. Production schedules, like box office gross, sometimes have a logic all their own.
This hasn’t been a great month for Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool 2. Between the departure of director Tim Miller and the loss of composer Junkie XL, the sequel to the breakout superhero hit has been losing momentum at a time where it should be locking in the moving parts for the next iteration of the film. That still hasn’t stopped 20th Century Fox from pushing forward with the sequel, which apparently will begin shooting as early as January 2017, production problems be darned.
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