Hard to believe that eight years have already passed since Michael Jackson’s death, but time’s a goon like that. And as the King of Pop settles in the ground, the question of what shape his legacy will take must be answered. While we’d be remiss to gloss over the ethical lapses and general trainwreckishness of the man’s final years (and doubly remiss not to point out the cruel, exacting factors in his life that drove him to that mental state), the time has come for a bit of enshrinement. Next month, the Michael we prefer to remember — the virtuosic performer, the boundary-pushing titan of black art — will return for a glorious new tribute.
It’s a Minion world, and we’re all just living in it. The little pill-shaped yellow critters have left an indelible imprint on the cultural mainstream, for better (footage not found) or for worse (try googling “minions memes,” I dare you). Kids and adults alike have latched onto the phenomenon with an uncommon enthusiasm, and now the numbers reflect the totality with which the Despicable Me universe has permeated modern life. In the seven brief years since Illumination Entertainment loosed the original Despicable Me on an innocent populace, the franchise has grown into the largest of its kind — the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
While my Twitter mentions and my inbox’s spam folder have made it abundantly clear that video game enthusiasts do not like movie critics, by and large, they do like movies. The video gaming site Machinima (itself a property of Warner Bros., which is worth knowing) recently conducted a survey that indicates as much, polling gamers about their moviegoing habits and preferences. And while the gaming community remains on constant watch for the twin scourges of studio-sponsored bribery and bias among critics, they have not allowed them to dampen their enjoyment of a night out at the cineplex.
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.
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.
Shia LaBeouf gets arrested a lot. And not “a lot” relative to law-abiding namby-pambies like you or me, I mean “a lot” relative to a street-level Adderall dealer. There was the incident in 2005, where he got an assault with a deadly weapon charge after threatening his neighbor by driving directly into his car, the 2007 arrest outside a Chicago Walgreens, the 2008 drunk driving accident and subsequent license suspension, the 2011 bar fight, the 2014 disorderly conduct charge outside Studio 54, a public intoxication arrest in 2015, and then a minor harassment violation back in this most recent January during an anti-Trump demonstration. That’s quite the rap sheet, but it’s like the old judicial system proverb goes: “Seven strikes and you’re out, unless you’re famous and wealthy, in which case just try to be more careful next time.”
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.
Last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them left some questions unanswered — namely, where to find the fantastic beasts. The film never made good on the explicit promise of its title, its best guess at where the fantastic beasts might be located landing somewhere around “all over the place.” As such, a sequel was all but necessary, in the hopes that it can finally clarify the movements and settling patterns of fantastic beasts. (That, and the first movie made over $800 million.) And as principal photography got rolling in England this morning, new plot details and casting notices have been made public, though none brings us any closer to a workable knowledge of fantastic beasts, and/or where to find them.
Spend long enough interviewing actors for a living, you start to pick little things up. For instance, whenever a performer’s discussing their most recent production and utters any variant on the phrase “it really felt like the cast and crew was one big family,” that’s a major red flag that they’re full of crap. Costars are coworkers, and usually for about six months, and that’s on the longer side. But the ladies of Pitch Perfect 3 seem to be pretty earnest when they gush about the spirit of sisterhood and camaraderie that dominated the atmosphere on set. And for those as skeptical of myself, they proved it with video evidence.
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.
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