Last year, we published a video essay on Arnold Schwarzenegger that suggested that Arnold is much an auteur as the directors he has worked with. While most people still think of movies like Terminator and True Lies as the work of James Cameron, our own Matt Singer argued — and rather persuasively, I might add — that Arnold’s status as a cinematic auteur should be just as important a factor in how we evaluate his films. No matter who is behind the camera of an Arnold movie, you know the types of characters and narratives you are going to get.
Let’s say you’ve been given three wishes by one of those C-list celebrities that keep appearing as the Ghost of Christmas Whatever in Hallmark specials. What do you wish for? Since I like to think of myself as a good person, I’d probably spend the first two wishes ridding the world of hunger and violence or cleaning up our carbon footprint with a snap of my fingers. But my third? That one I might waste on unlimited money, so I could continue to make movies that solidifies Emily Blunt as the biggest action star of our generation. Forget Scarlett Johansson; after The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sicario, and Edge of Tomorrow, Blunt is the woman to beat in my book.
If there is any silver lining to the quagmire of sadness and disappointment that was 2016, it might just be the overdue recognition of Jared Harris as one of the better talents of the last two decades. Like many incredibly talented actors who don’t fit neatly into the Hollywood mold of the leading man, Harris has spent his career bouncing around as supporting characters and weirdos before finally finding his niche as a middle-aged heavyweight. Call it the Michael Caine career path if you want, but either way, it ends with us finally giving an extremely talented actor his full measure.
Odds are good that a few of you read this headline and thought, “Wait, there’s a Mortal Kombat reboot in production?” It’s true! Despite mixed success as a feature film and a web-series, Warner Bros. has decided to once again chase that sweet video game industry money with a big screen remake of the popular video game franchise. James Wan — who joined the project all the way back in 2015 as the executive producer — recently described the film as the fantasy version of Enter the Dragon, expressing a great deal of enthusiasm for the universe that he and the Mortal Kombat screenwriters had created.
A few weeks ago, Deadpool director Tim Miller shocked the world — or a nerdier and more profane subsection of the world, anyways — by walking away from Deadpool 2. As reporters scrambled to make sense of why Miller would leave one of the breakout franchises of 2016, reports emerged that Miller and star Ryan Reynolds had very conflicting ideas for the upcoming sequel and that 20th Century Fox had thrown their support behind Reynolds’ vision for the franchise. Deadpool 2 was officially in the hands of Ryan Reynolds now, but the film still needed a director, and the hunt was on.
As times change, standards change, and we occasionally find ourselves bumping up against old traditions that need to retire. Even some of our most beloved childhood movies feature behavior and activities — smoking, strong language, casual misogyny — that went unnoticed and unappreciated by our older selves. Given the well-established health risks that smoking poses, one person recently took it upon himself to sue Hollywood in an attempt to get onscreen smoking banned. I’ll give a moment to guess who won.
This past weekend, Paramount Pictures kicked off the publicity tour for its upcoming Ghost in the Shell adaptation with a global launch party in Tokyo. Cast and crew were on hand to talk about the film; exhibitions of the film’s art and costume designs were on display for those in attendance. For the rest of us, something even better was announce: the first theatrical trailer for Ghost in the Shell is here, and it is not exactly short on style.
Since screenwriters are often the most overlooked part of any Hollywood production, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Jon Spaihts, but odds are good that you have pretty strong feelings about his work. Spaihts broke onto the scene back in 2007 when his script for Passengers was named to that year’s Black List; while that film is just now finding its way into theaters, Spaihts is also one of the writers behind Doctor Strange, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus series, and the upcoming cinematic universe of monsters at Universal Pictures. In other words, Spaihts is a name to remember.
If it seems like Hollywood has been trying to get a Freddie Mercury biopic off the ground for years, well, that’s probably because Hollywood has been trying to get a Freddie Merecury biopic off the ground for years. Back in 2007, it was rumored that Sacha Baron Cohen had signed on to play the famous lead singer of Queen, kicking off a decade-long futile struggle to get the film made. Over the next ten years, Cohen would officially join the film, quit, potentially rejoin, and then sign the project’s death warrant by officially airing his creative differences with the surviving members of Queen.
Tom Cruise is not one for subtlety. After spending the last decade in peak physical condition and proving his prowess through a series of action films, the actor was seemingly worried that we still did not get the point of how impressive he is. So what does Cruise do? He signs on for Methuselah, a movie about a famous biblical character who lived over 900 years and was considered a great warrior and leader for almost all of them. Yes, Tom Cruise, we get the point. You’re amazing and will never actually die
One of the biggest Hollywood success stories of the past few years was Deadpool, the R-rated superhero movie from 20th Century Fox. From dead in the water to surprise box office smash, Deadpool became a perfect parable for young filmmakers who have a story to tell and won’t let failure stand in the way of getting their movie made. Unfortunately, though, life doesn’t always adhere to clean narratives. Despite all the setbacks that Deadpool director Tim Miller faced along the way, it turns out there was only one thing that could cause him to throw in the towel: success.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens left us with plenty of unanswered questions, perhaps no question looms as big over the franchise as the lineage of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Ever since the film was released, fan theories have run wild with the questions of why Rey was abandoned by her parents and how she may have come by her force sensitivity. Is she the daughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Is she the daughter of Luke Skywalker? What is the significance of that flashback sequence? Inquiring minds want to know.
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