Hard to believe that eight years have already passed since Michael Jackson’s death, but time’s a goon like that. And as the King of Pop settles in the ground, the question of what shape his legacy will take must be answered. While we’d be remiss to gloss over the ethical lapses and general trainwreckishness of the man’s final years (and doubly remiss not to point out the cruel, exacting factors in his life that drove him to that mental state), the time has come for a bit of enshrinement. Next month, the Michael we prefer to remember — the virtuosic performer, the boundary-pushing titan of black art — will return for a glorious new tribute.
Christopher Nolan does things his own way. That’s led to some of his greatest technical coups to date; when he wanted to defy gravity for Inception, he built a giant rotating box the size of a hallway. Armed wth the biggest budgets studios can afford, he employs new technologies and puts them fully through their paces, all to bring his massively ambitious visions to life. And for his latest epic Dunkirk, Nolan wanted to blaze his own path yet again. But this time, his plans didn’t involve fancy equipment or elaborate sets.
An animated short film titled In A Heartbeat has been circulating online this week, usually attached to captions expressing refreshed delight. See, the short revolves around a young boy at prep school whose crush on a classmate manifests as an anthropomorphic heart that bursts out of his chest and exposes his feelings. What’s made this short into a festival favorite and word-of-mouth sensation is the crucial detail that this boy’s crush [pregnant pause] is on another boy! What would have otherwise been a saccharine little wisp of an idea most likely yielding comparisons to Lava is invested with greater purpose by gaily zigging where hetero films have repeatedly zagged.
We won’t know if the upcoming live-action Lion King remake is a ‘good movie,’ however you might define the term, until its release on July 19, 2019. But with two years to go until the big unveiling, director Jon Favreau is already off to a strong start. There‘s been a clever little edge to his casting thus far, as he’s tapped black actors for the lion roles in the film (Donald Glover will voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will lend his velvety baritone to sage father Mufasa) and white actors as the other members of the animal kingdom (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will voice Timon and Pumbaa; John Oliver has signed on as toucan Zazu), reinforcing the allegory of discord among the royal family and fully transposing it to its African setting.
Dave Bautista, the thinking man’s musclebound movie star, is all over the place these days. He reprised his role of literal-minded team heavy Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 back in the spring, and come fall, he’ll appear in Blade Runner 2049 in an unspecified role. On top of that, he won over festival audiences for his turn as a determined survivor in post-apocalyptic Brooklyn in the upcoming Bushwick as well. And Bautista’s hot streak is showing no signs of stopping any time soon, as the mixed-martial-artist-turned-screen-star has taken another high-profile role right in his wheelhouse.
Channing Tatum’s a delight — fleet-footed dancer, lovably lunkheaded actor, and crooner of the occasional showtune, he’s got more of a claim to the title of America’s sweetheart than just about anybody. But while I may love Channing Tatum, and you may love Channing Tatum, he’s got one critic he just can’t seem to win over: his four-year-old daughter Everly.
It all began when Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon went all in on an obscure, absurd joke until it grew into an all-encompassing metaphor for the disappointment and frustrations of life. (As is the show’s wont.) In the recent opener for Season 3, profligate alcoholic scientist Rick speaks at length about his lifelong quest to track down some Szechuan Sauce, a discontinued condiment that McDonald’s packaged with McNuggets as part of a promotion for Mulan in the ’90s. (It makes more sense in context, but barely.)
Ahh, post-production, that magical time when a director can use computers and good old-fashioned ingenuity to fix the hundred little things that went wrong while shooting. Flubbed lines can be re-recorded and spliced in, flawed shots can be surgically removed, and inconsistencies in continuity can be digitally erased from the frame. That last one has become something of a major concern for the Justice League production as it winds down, because the process of reshooting has dealt director Joss Whedon one hairy, noticeable continuity error.
Just yesterday, we noted the release of a new trailer for the upcoming re-adaptation of Stephen King’s seminal killer-clown novel It. Things seemed pretty normal, at first brush: terrified kids, children’s entertainer straight out of your worst nightmares, eerie red balloon, the whole nine yards. But sharp-eyed viewers have now noted a little Easter egg squirreled away for a split-second in one shot near the end of the trailer. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it, “it” referring in this instance to “IT.”
In the idyllic planned community of Suburbicon, everything appears to be in its right place. Apple-cheeked kids race home from school every afternoon, white picket fences outline immaculately manicured lawns, and a cheery mailman greets you in the same way at the same time every day. But there‘s trouble brewing in this homogeneous paradise. Is that a drop of blood?
I know that this very web site has declared a personal fatwa against slowed-down pop songs in movie trailers, but I can’t help but feel like the spots advertising the upcoming remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 cult object Flatliners won’t be complete until they’ve tapped a creepy children’s choir to cover the Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side).” It’s perfect! The song is about permeating the boundaries between life and death, the film deals with the same topic (only with what appear to be unsettling CGI zombies in the mix), it’s bananas that some enterprising ad executive hasn’t made the connection.
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