I’ll admit, I was one of those people mildly excited for Independence Day: Resurgence. Not only did the film return both Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman — as well as the up-and-coming Maika Monroe — it was also a welcome trip down memory lane to the original Independence Day, one of the first really big blockbuster movies I remember seeing in theaters. I know I’m not the only one whose interest in the film was pure nostalgia; as it turns out, this link to the past is exactly why Will Smith chose not to come back for a second film.
One of the stranger stories to end the year was the sudden departure of director Tim Miller from Deadpool 2, the sequel to 2016’s biggest breakout hit. Given the original film’s agonizing production history, it seemed like shooting a sequel would be a walk in the woods; instead, Miller’s decision to walk away from the project caught everyone by surprise, and rumors have swirled about creative differences ever since. Thankfully, Miller himself recently spoke at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects (via iO9) and put some of these rumors to bed.
File this one under ‘Least Surprising News Stories of the Day’: right on the heels of releasing the first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony has announced the release date for Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, proving that no title is so awkward as to prevent Hollywood from slapping the number ‘2’ on it and calling it a day.
One of my favorite parts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was Gal Gadot’s costume as Wonder Woman. Not only was it a much-needed splash of color in an otherwise monochrome film, it was also a nice departure from the overly bulky superhero costumes that have become the norm. Ben Affleck might be a great Batman, but there were times when he looked a little bit like Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story, too padded up to put his arms down, let alone fight his way through a warehouse of bad guys. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, looked every bit the agile warrior we were hoping for.
I’m not really sure how I feel about the new Hollywood trend of teasing out your trailers. On the one hand, it kind of takes the fun out of the equation; one of the best parts of coming back from a long day of meetings or classes is seeing that a brand new Star Wars spot has been dropped in your absence. On the other hand, though, it’s a real boon for cultural writers like me. Rogue One hints online that their next trailer will be released during the Olympics? You better believe we’ll be ready.
Between the epic run of Game of Thrones and the impressive first season of Westworld, odds are good that you’re currently rocking an annual subscription to HBO or HBOGo. Few networks are still in the business of appointment television, but with social media sites like Twitter exploding into a flurry of spoilers after each new episode of both shows, fans are finding that their only real options are to watch on time or to not watch at all. In fact, we can sometimes get so caught up in the flurry of long-form television that we forget that HBO has some pretty darn good movies, too.
While Tom Holland’s introduction as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War has to be considered a rousing success, perhaps our favorite part of the character was what we didn’t see: namely, yet-another origin story that puts him through the familiar paces of spiders, wrestling, and that old yarn about great power and great responsibility. Any self-professed Spider-Man fan knows Peter Parker’s history like the back of his hand; the fact that Captain America: Civil War was content to pick up the character’s life midstream bodes well for Marvel’s approach to the character in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
How far would you go to see one of the most anticipated movies of the year a few days early? Would you drive to the theater on the other side of town? Drive to a neighboring city? Cross state boundaries? Or — gee, I don’t know — fly all the way from your hometown to the United Kingdom for a chance to see a movie like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 24 hours before everyone else?
Ah, the Pokémon franchise. It seems like only yesterday that millions of people were wandering the streets of their hometowns, eyes locked to their smartphone screens as they flung Pokeballs at imaginary creatures hovering over local businesses. The Pokémon Go craze, with its innovative use of technology and beloved cartoon characters, brought the popular animated series back into the public spotlight. And with news that Legendary Pictures would shoot a new live-action Pokémon movie in 2017, it was only a matter of time before some of the original films found their way back into theaters.
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.
It seems like the only time that people talk about trailers is to complain about them in some fashion. They gave away too much, they gave away too little, they didn’t feature the right colors or characters or soundtrack. It’s tough to cut an enticing movie trailer in 2016, not least of all because of our culture’s increasing hand-wringing about what constitutes a spoiler. A good trailer — one that gives you just enough without giving you everything — should be celebrated as its own miniature art form.
When an incredibly talented actor or actress signs on to do a superhero movie, there’s a tendency to wonder if their time could be better spent doing more independent films. When it was announced that Cate Blanchett would be joining Thor: Ragnarok, for example, people were confused. Blacnhett has been nominated for major awards for her work in movies like Carol and Blue Jasmine; does she really to do a Marvel movie to maintain her status as an A-list celebrity?
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