When I first wrote about the true-crime documentary series The Jinx a couple of weeks ago, I was the only person I knew who was watching it. A few weeks later, it’s all anyone is talking about. It’s been one of the top trending topics on Twitter for three days straight, and my personal feed is clogged with debates about the case and the ethics of the filmmakers’ behavior. As I left my hotel in Austin yesterday morning, pundits were discussing the show on CNN; as I wrote most of this piece at the Austin airport, two men at the table next to me in the food court were talking about it as well. I spent a month recommending the show to people who looked at me like I was crazy (“The Jinx? Like the kid’s game?”). The show went from total obscurity to inescapable pop-cultural phenomenon in a matter of hours.
Robert Downey Jr., presenting a bionic Iron Man arm to an exceedingly well-dressed 7-year-old fan named Alex, who was born with a partially developed right arm. The arm wasn’t built by Tony Stark, but rather by a college student named Albert Manero who makes low-cost 3D-printed bionic limbs for children. But Downey received the honor and pleasure of presenting him with his new arm, and comparing it to one of his own Iron Man suits.
We have very sad news to report from The New York Times: Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock for almost 50 years, has died. Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, told the Times the cause of death was “end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” The beloved actor and director was 83 years old.
This Sunday’s Oscars will be the 87th annual Academy Awards. In nearly a century of honoring Hollywood’s best, the Academy has sometimes has made some bold choices, and some dumb choices. This gallery has them all; the complete history of nine decades of Best Picture winners in pictures. Some are classics, still watched to this day. A few are almost totally forgotten to history. (Cavalcade, anyone?) But they all won. Even Crash, somehow.
For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. For cinephiles (or people too cheap or lazy to leave the house), Valentine’s Day means snuggling on the couch and watching a romantic movie. If you’re planning a Netflix night this weekend, picking the right film is key. There’s nothing worse than inviting that special someone over for a private screening, lighting a few candles, pouring a glass of wine, and then killing the mood by putting on In the Ream of the Senses.
After the news that Marvel and Sony had come to an agreement to co-produce a new series of ‘Spider-Man’ movies, while also introducing the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the items we immediately turned our attention to was Sony's planned ‘Sinister Six’ spinoff, which was deep into development and was teased all through last summer’s ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ Director Drew Goddard (‘The Cabin in the Woods’) had been working on the film since last year (he even left Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ series to focus on it) with a November 2016 release date planned. The future of that film seemed very tenuous this morning following the big announcement, but now comes news that the film is still in development at Sony.
It’s great when a movie understands exactly what it is. ‘Magic Mike’ was an intelligently made Steven Soderbergh movie about life in Great Recession America. But it became a huge surprise hit in the summer of 2012—grossing $167 million worldwide against a budget of just $7 million—because it had Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and an assortment of the finest man-candy in Hollywood bumping and grinding with their shirts off. The marketing for ‘Magic Mike XXL’ seems to have an innate sense of this. The first poster is a picture of Tatum with his shirt off, pointing at his crotch where the word “Coming” is suggestively placed. And this teaser trailer is basically Channing Tatum (and the rest of his team of shredded male strippers) dancing, stripping, and then dancing with their shirts off. I smell box-office gold. Wait, no, that’s baby oil and Muscle Milk. But those things smell a lot like box-office gold when they’re in ‘Magic Mike XXL.’
‘American Sniper’ had a record-shattering weekend at the box office, grossing an astounding $105 million from Friday to Monday. It’s already the second biggest earner of Clint Eastwood’s entire career after ‘Gran Torino,’ and with six Academy Award nominations (and great word-of-mouth) behind it, it’s posed to become his biggest hit ever.
Google “Gone Girl” and “Hitchcockian” and you get 37,400 results. (37,401, once this piece goes up.) Critics and viewers hailed David Fincher’s adaptation of author (and screenwriter) Gillian Flynn’s domestic drama as a superb modern version of an old-school thriller by the Master of Suspense. Whether that was Fincher and Flynn’s goal all along, or simply an interesting byproduct of their work, it’s interesting in light of today’s news that Fincher and Flynn are looking to reteam—along with their ‘Gone Girl’ star, Ben Affleck—on a remake of one of Hitchcock’s most beloved films, 1951’s ‘Strangers on a Train.’
Back in October, it was reported that ‘Lucy’ and ‘Avengers 2’ star Scarlett Johansson had been offered $10 million to anchor the new, American (and live-action) version of the classic Japanese anime ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ It took a while for Johansson to decide (“Hm, do I really want $10 million? This is a tough one!”), but Variety now says she’s made up her mind: Johansson will star in the new ‘Ghost’ for director Rupert Sanders.
Dig this, blockheads: The ‘Peanuts’ gang, originally created by cartoonist Charles Schulz, have appeared in so many incarnations in their 65-year history. They’ve been a comic strip, a series of much-beloved television specials, a Broadway musical, greeting card staples, and even the successful pitchmen for life insurance. Now, for the first time, they’re becoming a 3D feature film, with this year’s ‘The Peanuts Movie.’
“Nothing is over!” These are the words of Col. John J Rambo, the hero of ‘First Blood’ (better known as ‘Rambo’) and then ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II’ and then ‘Rambo III’ (the only one people call by its actual title and then ‘Rambo’ (better known as ‘Old Rambo’). After what basically amounts to a movie-long chase, ‘First Blood’ concludes with a heartfelt speech from star Sylvester Stallone, explaining how nothing (meaning the Vietnam War) is over for him; that his mind is too scarred from his brutal deeds and by the cruel treatment he’s received on the homefront. It’s a powerful (if occasionally incomprehensible) scene.
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