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.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Between its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 and its theatrical release last month, Laura Poitras’ WikiLeaks documentary Risk transformed into a different film. In that interim year, her subject Julian Assange nabbed quite a few headlines as he stuck his thumb in the 2016 Presidential election, and Poitras rightly believed she’d have to recut the film to account for all the new developments. And now, in a similar situation, another festival-feted nonfiction film has been made to rewrite its own story as real-world news breaks.
When the Cannes Film Festival descends on the French Rivieira, movie billboards and banners crop up all around the Croisette area to catch the attention of industry big shots in town. One such poster advertised a little film called Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, a new animated project out of Korea in which Chloe Grace Moretz voices the apple-eater of note Snow White. But the passersby at the festival were none too pleased with the advertisement, see if you can guess why: it displays two Snow Whites, one thin and tall, the other shorter and a bit plumper. The tagline? “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”
Is Johnny Depp somehow Johnny Depp-proof? With the early receipts for the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now promising another blockbuster in the bag, it would appear that the actor’s somehow invulnerable to his own noxious public profile. Though the revelation that he had physically abused longtime partner Amber Heard came to light last year, it apparently hasn’t diminished his earning potential, and frustrating as that may be, it means we’re in for a whole lot more Depp. And if producer Jerry Bruckheimer has anything to say about, more Jack Sparrow in specific.
Aside from behaving like a normal, un-intimidating human being, there’s nothing Michael Shannon can’t do. When stuck in waiting rooms or the like, a fun way to pass the time is imagining Shannon taking over the lead role in any movie. It’s a can’t-fail formula for success: Jaws, but the shark is Michael Shannon? I’m there. Mulholland Dr., but Michael Shannon takes over both of Naomi Watts’ parts? Two tickets, please. A Transformers movie where Shannon appears in place or the giant alien robot? That would actually somehow make more sense. So when you see a headline that says “Michael Shannon bigfoot dramedy,” you can pretty much stop reading.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Yesterday, Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich ran an illuminating essay on Netflix’s testy relationship with the original films it releases, explaining how their model of bypassing theatrical release and going straight to streaming ultimately degrades the viewing experience and makes the movies harder to find and appreciate. (This comes hot on the heels of an official denunciation from the Federation of French Cinemas against the Cannes Film Festival for allowing TV into their lineup for the first time ever.) Clearly, his words went straight to the top of Netflix’s corporate office, as the online video giant has issued a letter to their shareholders assuring them that everything’s going to be fine and movies aren’t dead, probably.
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