For a movie directed by a well-regarded arthouse stalwart with mainstream appeal and starring an actress who was the biggest movie star on Earth as recently as three years ago, it’s weird that mother! has remained almost entirely shrouded by secrecy. We know that Darren Aronofsky’s new movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, it’s some manner of home-invasion psychothriller, and the cast includes Javier Bardem, Kristen Wiig, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. We saw the poster, which finds JLaw ripping her own heart out in a lush vernal scene like Mola Ram on vacation in Argentina. But apart from that, it’s a big, strange question mark. Word on the street says a trailer is on its way, and yet it’s still impressive that a project this high-profile has gotten so far while remaining almost totally incognito.
“James Franco doing a movie about the creation of legendary disasterpiece The Room” was a tantalizing prospect when first announced, either a brilliant turn for his career-spanning preoccupation with artifice in showbiz or another insufferable bout of navel-gazing. The first trailer for the comedy due December 1 (before going wide on December 8) isn’t really either, landing somewhere closer to Hail, Caesar! in its farcical send-up of filmmaking frustration. 2017 has gotten its “Would that it t’were so simple,” now say it with me: “I did not hit her, it’s not true, it’s bullsh*t, I did not hit her, I did not. Oh hi, Mark.”
When young Jews hit that magical age of 13, they go through the coming-of-age ceremony known as a bar mitzvah (for boys) or a bat mitzvah (for gals). There’s music, dancing, and food, you receive lots of money for bravely keeping a straight face while assorted relatives pinch your cheeks, and if you’re really lucky, a major late-night personality will bless your entry into the world of adulthood with his virtual presence.
It may be hard to believe now, but there was once a time when studios would wait until a release had proven itself at the box-office before investing in a massive franchise around it. But the likes of DC, Marvel, and the future firee at Universal who came up with the Dark Universe boondoggle have now set a standard of placing the cart before the horse, and other studios cannot help but follow suit. Fox is the latest showbiz entity to go all-in on an untested concept, banking that the respectable profits generated by that Goosebumps movie from 2015 that you’ve already forgotten about shall be a bellwether for future riches.
Rough day to be Ben Affleck, the kind of day that makes you just wanna get away from it all by sneaking into your car and having a quick sad-vape. His performance as Batman has begun to emerge the fanbase’s most-loathed, and to add insult to injury, he was ousted from the director’s chair on upcoming solo film The Batman. Now, even more insult has been added to that injury, as replacement director Matt Reeves has begun to clean house and get himself comfy in a new franchise.
It’s a big day for independent directors making the jump to studio work and proudly bringing their blackness with them. We got a look at the latest photos of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther just this morning, and now Entertainment Weekly has also released a preview of Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the children’s fantasy book A Wrinkle in Time. The Selma and 13th filmmaker has been hard at work in New Zealand, marshaling the largest studio budget ever entrusted to a woman of color ($100 million), and she’s got a whole lot to show for it. There’s magic, wonder, diverse representation and a whole bunch of other stuff, but mostly, there’s Oprah’s eyebrows.
The Wonder Woman sequel train has pulled out of the station, and even with Patty Jenkins’ crossover superhero hit still playing in theaters, it’s already begun to pick up steam. Star Gal Gadot will return for the second solo project for the indestructible Amazon, they’ve landed writer Geoff Johns (who co-produced the Green Lantern movie, so, yikes) to handle the script, and while Jenkins has yet to put her Jane Hancock on the dotted line for another film, details of plot are now solidifying. For Wonder Woman, Diana battled those no-good fascists in World War I, and the sequel will reportedly plop her down in another historical era to intervene in a real-life global crisis. This time, the Rooskies will be the ones shaking in their boots.
The upcoming Lion King will bear only a slight resemblance to the Disney animated classic families know and love. As with director Jon Favreau’s earlier rework of The Jungle Book, this film will shoot in live-action (a questionable term when all of the main characters are computer-generated imaged, but whatever) and eschew the musical numbers of the original film. A new casting notice has apprised us of yet another change to the fabric of the film, specifically that Simba’s toucan pal Zazu will now spend the film pointing emphatically to graphics in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen and screaming at fictitious office coworker Janice in Accounting.
Ryan Gosling is about to play himself. (In the DJ Khaled sense, not the Being John Malkovich sense.) The actor’s been on something of a roll recently, scoring critical plaudits for The Nice Guys and La La Land last year — the latter of which ended up a surprise blockbuster and less-surprise Oscar hoarder — and continuing on into 2017 with this past spring’s Song to Song. He’s got Blade Runner 2049 on the docket for this fall, a likely smash that may earn him admiration among nerd circles, the last niche demographic he has not yet charmed. But with the world at his feet, Gosling’s now making moves to dash all the goodwill he’s recently built up.
The memory of Ang Lee, sensitive humanist auteur from Taiwan's New Wave has become a distant memory over the past decade or so. All hail Ang Lee, constructor of boundary-pushing technical spectacle! He earned his second Best Director Academy Award for besting the hazard-trifecta of children, animals, and water with Life of Pi and then introduced public audiences to high-framerate hyperreal photography with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk last year. (Though opinions on the extent to which he succeeded on that second one vary wildly.) And now, the news is out that he’ll rejoin us in 2019 for another huge undertaking.
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
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