With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
As we all learned from Sully, planes are not to be trusted. The massive, sophisticated machinery in these multi-million dollar aircrafts can be completely undone by something as small and minor as an errant bird, sending the passengers into a screaming spiral of terror. As pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, Tom Hanks heroically guided an airliner into the Hudson River for a safe crash landing, and Harrison Ford survived a similarly perilous plane crash while giving his amateur pilot’s license a workout not too long ago. Another day, another celebrity-adjacent story pertaining to aircraft engine failure.
A thought to chew on this morning: is the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War the It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of superhero movies? Both films sought to engineer success by jam-packing as many celebrities and other known quantities into its run time, assured that volume of wattage would surely translate to box-office paydirt. In the case of Stanley Kramer’s epic comedy, it worked, but the jury’s still out on Marvel’s latest superpalooza. Today brings the news that yet another big name will indeed be shoehorned into the third installment of the Avengers ensemble franchise, and fans are sure to be pleased.
From the earliest announcement of its premise, Disney/Pixar’s latest project Coco has sounded a little derivative on paper. The angle of “boy uses enchanted stringed instrument to contact family members from beyond the grave during fantastical journey” bore an unfortunate resemblance to last year’s outstanding Kubo and the Two Strings, and moreover, the recent animated film The Book of Life also imagined a vibrant hidden world behind the culture surrounding Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. But today brings the first real taste of Coco with an official trailer, and I am pleased to report that in practice, it sure looks like its own thing.
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.
George A. Romero has fully laid claim to the dominion of all things Dead — whether that’s Night of the Living, Dawn of the, Day of the, Land of the, Diary of the, or Survival of the. The elder statesman of horror cinema has no intention of resting on his laurels, however. Perhaps riding the wave of renewed interest in Night of the Living Dead that accompanied its gorgeous restoration last year, Romero has announced plans for a new addition to the ever-expanding of the Dead universe. And it looks like his new breed of zombies have a need for speed.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
The sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy is fast approaching, only two short weeks out from today. But of course the media blitz has long since begun, wallpapering major cities with colorful posters depicting the main lineup of intergalactic crimefighters/occasional crime-doers. Sharp-eyed fans will notice some shifting personnel, too — blue-faced gun-for-hire Yondu (Michael Rooker) earned a lot of fans with his magical floating murder-arrow in the first film, and has been accordingly bumped up to main-cast status through sheer fan demand. As for new faces, Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff bring some fresh blood to the franchise as Star-Lord’s long-lost father Ego and empath servant girl Mantis, respectively.
Because we tend to think of him more commonly as “slick neo-soul songbird” or “La La Land’s chief threat to the integrity of jazz” or “husband of Chrissy Teigen,” it can be easy to forget that John Legend’s got an Oscar under his belt. The musician and composer took the golden statuette for Best Original Song with his original tune “Glory” from Ava DuVernay’s thunderous Martin Luther King biopic Selma, and ever since, he’s been Hollywood’s go-to guy for poppin’ fresh (is that still what the kids are saying?) theme music. And today, a new announcement from Disney reported by Deadline lines up Legend’s next big gig.
Vin Diesel is a pro when it comes to doing awesome things in places where they should not be done. He drove a muscle car out of a skyscraper in the most recent installment of the Fastly Furious franchise. In 2005 family comedy The Pacifier, Diesel brought white-knuckle secret agent action to a sleepy suburban neighborhood. And in a newly revealed clip from the upcoming xXx sequel Return of Xander Cage, he straps on a pair of skis and speeds through the jungle like it’s an Alpine black diamond trail. This is the poetry and pain of Vin Diesel, always pulling the raddest of stunts in the unlikeliest of spots — unstuck in time and place, an innovator unappreciated in his era, the Van Gogh of shredding the gnar.
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