Tom Cruise has made it a professional point of pride that he does all of his own stunts. 54 years old, still ripped, and with nothing to lose, he’s made headlines and earned respect by jumping out of every structure imaginable, developing proficiency with various firearms, and most recently and notably, clinging to the side of a aircraft in active flight like a little gecko with a death wish. It would appear there’s nothing the man won’t do (aside from keep his shirt on for the full duration of a studio film), and a special report from the set of his upcoming thriller American Made has raised the bar even higher.
When the Cannes Film Festival descends on the French Rivieira, movie billboards and banners crop up all around the Croisette area to catch the attention of industry big shots in town. One such poster advertised a little film called Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, a new animated project out of Korea in which Chloe Grace Moretz voices the apple-eater of note Snow White. But the passersby at the festival were none too pleased with the advertisement, see if you can guess why: it displays two Snow Whites, one thin and tall, the other shorter and a bit plumper. The tagline? “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”
Boutique studio A24 has made a name for themselves by doing things differently — that goes for the movies they buy, how they’re released, and especially how they’re promoted. The latest trailer for their upcoming thriller It Comes At Night mercifully eschews the Inception BWAAAAAAM and the creepy-children pop cover for a novel approach, pairing context-free images from the film with various disturbing quotes about fear, distrust, and evil. Instead of using pull-quotes from glowing reviews, the A24 marketing team figured they couldn’t get an endorsement more ringing than one of serial murderer Charles Manson’s family motto.
Our relatively brief national nightmare of the new Transformers movie being three hours long is over. It’s a small but curious story, yielding little more than a detail in terms of intel on Michael Bay’s latest film, but more telling with regards to how information is generated and spread online today.
The game is afoot, chums. There’s been a murder most foul, and you are a suspect. That is, in the event that you happen to be Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Tom Bateman, Lucy Boynton, or one of the other travelers aboard the Orient Express. As the grand locomotive makes its hazardous journey through a snow-tipped mountain range, one of the riders commits a heinous crime, and it falls to none other than the great investigator Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also happens to be directing this hullabaloo) to sort out the facts in pursuit of the truth.
At a hectic airport, two strangers get bumped from their flights to extremely time-sensitive engagements: he’s an expert surgeon who’s got to get to a Baltimore hospital in time for a delicate procedure, she’s an accomplished photojournalist on her way to her own destination wedding. They catch an off-the-books flight with a small, independent operator, but ultimately get what they pay for when that craft malfunctions and crash-lands on a snowy mountain, leaving the pair injured and helpless. If they intend on returning to civilization with their lives, it’ll take all of their resourcefulness and convenient medical know-how to survive.
From the ranks of the Sons of Anarchy cast, Taylor Sheridan has emerged as one of the buzziest screenwriters working today. He took Cannes by storm and scored an intelligent sleeper hit with Sicario, his south-of-the-border drug war drama. He made it to the Oscars with another yarn of crime and the solemn-faced folks working to stop it, the timely Western standoff Hell or High Water. And now, the accomplished writer has delivered another potboiler set on the grand expanses of the American plains, with a sweetened deal: he’ll get the chance to prove himself as a filmmaker, too, taking his debut directorial credit on Wind River.
As noted in a new item at Variety today, Sony has been on something of a roll when it comes to getting female talent behind the camera. They’ve put together a respectable slate of films directed by women: Catherine Hardwicke was tapped to translate narco thriller Miss Bala for American audiences, Broad City mastermind Lucia Aniello wrote-directed the upcoming bachelorette-shenanigans comedy Rough Night, Michelle MacLaren landed the Sam Claflin-led thriller Nightingale, and perhaps most intriguingly of all, Elizabeth Banks has taken her next directorial project with a reboot of Charlie’s Angels. And for the latter two, today brings concrete news of impending developments.
The prevailing message of the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming has been that of novelty. This will be a fresh take on the Peter Parker mythos, making him younger than ever, sticking him in the treacherous social minefield of high school, and assigning him a lovably bratty irreverence more in-step with the comic-book original. Plus, Aunt May is young and hot now! But while Marvel and Sony’s advertising has gone to great lengths to assure audiences that this will not be their father’s Spider-Man (and it definitely won’t be the Andrew Garfield one we’re all psychologically working to repress), there is one respect in which this production is business as usual.
Aside from behaving like a normal, un-intimidating human being, there’s nothing Michael Shannon can’t do. When stuck in waiting rooms or the like, a fun way to pass the time is imagining Shannon taking over the lead role in any movie. It’s a can’t-fail formula for success: Jaws, but the shark is Michael Shannon? I’m there. Mulholland Dr., but Michael Shannon takes over both of Naomi Watts’ parts? Two tickets, please. A Transformers movie where Shannon appears in place or the giant alien robot? That would actually somehow make more sense. So when you see a headline that says “Michael Shannon bigfoot dramedy,” you can pretty much stop reading.
Nearly two decades out from his first film, and the viewing public hasn’t gotten any closer to answering the philosophical quandary of what, exactly, a Sam Mendes film is. He’s hopped from an accented dramedy about suburban malaise to a grim-and-gritty graphic novel adaptation to an off-kilter war drama to a pair of coolly-received literary adaptations to James freakin’ Bond. The most effective method of predicting the subject of a new directorial outing from Mendes involves dartboards, tea leaves, and cloud-reading, and today’s announcement of a new project for the esteemed Brit helmer adds yet another baffling left turn to his eclectic oeuvre.
Everything’s gone topsy-turvy in 2017, and not in the fun way, where Mike Leigh dramatizes the life and times of operetta composers Gilbert and Sullivan. Our reality TV star President now clutches glowing orbs of power with foreign dignitaries, young people are pouring lattes into gutted-out avocados, and four hours can’t elapse without some precedent-shattering new development on the global stage. In a year where straight-up kookoo-bananas insanity has settled into the new normal, doesn’t it make a nonsensical sort of sense for real-life supervillain Jared Leto to assume the reins of power at our beloved Fandor?
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