Unlike the previous Obi-Wan Kenobi — sorry, Alec Guinness — Ewan McGregor has long been excited about the prospect of returning for more Star Wars movies, telling Empire Magazine last October that he was the “right age” to make two more movies as the beloved character. While fans were sometimes unimpressed by the prequels, McGregor’s winning performance as the young Jedi was one of the highlights of the film, leading fans to clamor for a standalone Kenobi movie while McGregor was still the right age.
Cinephiles have film festivals, and audiophiles have music festivals, and never the twain shall meet. At least that was the case until Hans Zimmer took the Coachella Music Festival by storm twice in the last month. Just about a week ago, we shared the first video released by Coachella, a live performance of Zimmer’s soundtrack from Interstellar. And now the festival has followed up with a second performance, this time of Zimmer’s score for The Dark Knight (via Heroic Hollywood). If you’ve ever wanted to watch one of your favorite film composers shred like a rock star, well, here’s your chance (at least until John Williams decides to shock us all with his Mad Max: Fury Road-esque guitar gimp suit).
Hollywood tends to operate with a little bit of a delay. A few years ago, it became public knowledge that the American government uses drone strikes to carry out attacks on enemy combatants from halfway around the world. As such, we’re now seeing a handful of movies that use those headlines to make a statement about the dangers of modern warfare. In 2014, IFC Films released Good Kill, a drama starring Ethan Hawke about a family man who begins to question the morality of killing people from halfway around the world. The latest film to tackle this issue is Drone, the new film starring Sean Bean with a similar premise but a decidedly more lurid execution.
Alright, a gold friggin’ star to the person who thought of this one. With the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 hitting Netflix today, most of the conversation has been dominated by lifelong fans of the show — fans like myself — who are some combination of excited and apprehensive about the return of their favorite television series. But what about the next generation of MST3K fans? How does Netflix introduce them to their service? Why, by riffing on another Netflix property that everyone already knows and loves, of course!
To understand why I’m more excited than most for The Mummy, it’s important to make a list of all the things that I’m a sucker for. Tom Cruise movies? Check. Trailers or commercials that use the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black’ as a musical cue? Check-check. Movies where soldiers fight monsters? Check-check-check. In fact, if you do the math, the only thing on my Hollywood wishlist that the second The Mummy trailer doesn’t deliver is a John Wick-style gunfight, and there’s still time. One of those might still find its way into the final movie.
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
If nothing else, the announcement that Warner Bros. is working on expanding the universe of The Matrix really makes me want to revisit the original films. Like most people, I was enamored with the first and disappointed by the sequels; the now-outdated CGI character modeling and frequent technobabble written by the Wachowski Sisters caught me a bit by surprise, and I was unnecessarily tough on the movies as a result. Now, though, I wonder if I might see the sequels with different eyes. When was the last time a blockbuster movie franchises so clearly marched to the beat of its own drum? Maybe this time around I will fully embrace the weird.
It’s probably time to admit that we take Ridley Scott’s films more seriously than Scott himself. While we argue over cinematic universes, director’s cuts, and unnecessary sequels, Scott is out there having a good time making whatever movies pop into his mind at any given moment. Sometimes that means promising another half-dozen Alien movies before his newest one has even been released. Sometimes that means producing a Blade Runner sequel that few people wanted. And sometimes, just sometimes, it means bringing back a Roman warrior from the literal dead.
Right now, at this very moment, there are people in Austin, Texas who have seen Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver. And yes, I’ll admit it, I’m insanely jealous. It’s not just that Baby Driver is the first film by Wright since 2013’s The World’s End; it’s also not that Wright has assembled one of the more effortlessly cool heist film casts in Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey; it’s also that the first trailer for Baby Driver seems to show Wright pushing his own stylish sense of rhythmic editing to the max, going all in on his visuals in a way we still haven’t seen in one of his movies. You thought you liked Wright before? Try him with a couple of machine guns a few really fast cars.
With Hugh Jackman’s Logan opening in theaters this weekend, the top spot of this list was never in doubt. The questions were always whether audiences would respond well to the first major R-rated superhero movie. Was the big opening of Deadpool an abberation or a sign of things to come? If today’s numbers are any indication, the answer is, maybe a little bit of both.
One of the side effects of CGI is our inability to appreciate the effort that goes into a good movie scene. A few decades ago, you could look at a shot from a movie and instinctively know how much time and energy went into it. You could see the production design, the costumes, the makeup, the lighting, all of which required people to make real things with their hands and put them in front of the camera. These days, we just chalk everything up to computers without thinking much about what that means.
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