To paraphrase baseball great and latter-day Confucius figure Yogi Berra: it ain’t over ’til David Lynch states in non-ambiguous language that it’s over, and even then, you can never be too sure. As if from on high, the esteemed filmmaker has handed down to we mere mortal a new season of his cult-beloved TV series Twin Peaks, but his fans know full well that the good Lynch giveth and the good Lynch taketh away. For even as he was givething us new TV, the fear persisted that he had takethed away any hope of another feature film in the future.
Those of you with an interest in the changing face of theatrical exhibition and film festival bylaws (there are dozens of us!) may have caught wind of some recent meshugas unfolding in France. This year’s main Competition slate at the Cannes Film Festival included two films from online-streaming giant Netflix, Bong Joon Ho’s creature feature Okja and Noah Baumbach’s singlehanded resurrection of Adam Sandler The Meyerowitz Stories. But there‘s been some consternation about opening the gates of Cannes to films that may never see release in France outside of the Internet. Is a movie that doesn’t play in a movie theater a movie at all?
Last summer, a spat allegedly broke out between Fast and Furious franchise megastars Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson while shooting the latest installment The Fate of the Furious. There were rumors of unprofessionalism on set, Johnson threw around the term “candy-ass” pretty liberally, it was a hoot for all involved. But it did cast some doubt on Johnson’s future with the series; there was no telling whether the performer could be persuaded to return for another collaboration with a guy he seemingly couldn’t stand. But a new revelation today (well, new for all of you — Johnson and I are well-documented besties and have been Gchatting about this all week) clarifies the fate of this furious man.
A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
You may remember pop star Beyoncé Knowles from her stint in the late-’90s/early-’00s R&B girl group Destiny‘s Child with “Pretty Girl Rock” singer Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (not the one from Manchester by the Sea). But did you know that the celebrated performer has cultivated an active solo career in the years since the group that made her famous broke up? Believe it or not, Knowles released a string of successful studio records over the past decade, starred in the music-video-compilation film Lemonade last year, and wed rapping man Jayson Z in 2008. And with that, I have completed my impression of someone who only heard of Beyoncé when scanning her Wikipedia page just now. We all know who Beyoncé is. She‘s Beyoncé.
Ever since the now-infamous photo of Pennywise the evil homicidal clown peeking out of a drainpipe surfaced online, fans of Stephen King’s seminal horror novel It have been concerned about Seth Graeme-Smith‘s upcoming film adaptation. There was fair cause for worry, too; it looked as if light was coming from several different sources, like a hasty photoshop job one might find on the box art for some direct-to-DVD cash grab. The only person who could really set the It devotees at ease would be Stephen King, who has seen dozens upon dozens of his works make the jump to the silver screen. And it would appear that he’s now done just that.
I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of Get Out earlier this week, and hoo boy, that right there is one fine motion picture. Our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer made as much clear in his ringing endorsement from Sundance, but take it from me: very spooky, very funny, has something to say, insanely well-cast and even more well-acted. It’s an easy movie to love, and while the box-office receipts from this upcoming weekend will rule on whether audiences agree, the critics of America have already made their voices heard. And those voices are ringing out in perfect unison, a harmony sounding out as if from an angelic choir: “THIS MOVIE RULES.”
Donald Trump is the President of the United States now. Wily performance-art prankster Shia LaBeouf does not intend on taking that sitting down. The daring mind behind #ALLMYMOVIES (that time the Beef watched every single one of his movies back-to-back in reverse order at New York’s Angelika Film Center) and I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE (that other time when he put a paper bag over his head before walking the red carpet at the Berlinale) has unveiled his latest work of highly conceptual living art. And if you live in the New York metropolitan area and are willing to go to Queens, you could be part of it.
The last time was saw Jack Nicholson on the big screen was 2010, in James L. Brooks’ middling dramedy How Do You Know. He played a weaselly white-collar crook who asks his son to take the rap for a crime he committed, in a performance characterized by the usual Nicholsonian deviousness. The movie didn’t make too much of a splash, forgotten after a few weeks taking up space in cineplexes. That film may take on an unexpected tragic air in light of the breaking news that it may contain Nicholson’s swan song.
Forcing audiences to watch a movie in which a dog lives, finds true happiness, and then dies over and over again would’ve been an act of sadism all on its own. But the crew of the upcoming family film A Dog’s Purpose have recently been outed as sadists of another, more stomach-churning sort. TMZ posted a shocking video from a second-unit shoot for the film in which an animal handler forces a reluctant German Shepard into rushing waters, the dog begins drowning, and handlers rush to retrieve the animal amid cries of “cut it! cut it!” PETA has already called for a boycott of the film, with the most shame heaped upon the industry supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited, and the rest of the fallout has been swift.
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