What is a David Gordon Green film? The answer to this question has perplexed film scholars for years now: he began his career with the dreamy lyricism of tone poems George Washington and All the Real Girls, took a detour into stoner comedy with Your Highness and Pineapple Express, returned to difficult character studies for Prince Avalanche and Joe (or as I like to call it, Irrefutable Evidence That Nicolas Cage Is Still a Good Actor), then whipped up a studio-sized flop in haywire political satire Our Brand Is Crisis. Predicting his next move is all but impossible, so what luck that today brings the official news of what he’ll do next — and prepare yourself, because it just as incongruous with the rest of his scattered filmography as you’d expect.
Though he looks like he eats cement and can crack dudes in half like Bane snapping Batman across his knee, John Cena’s just a big ol’ softie on the inside. The professional fighter has always been warm and cordial to his many fans, he loves posting dumb jokes online (the ultimate Celebrities! They‘re Just Like Us move), and he proved himself a game comic performer in 2015’s Trainwreck with Amy Schumer and Sisters starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In this respect, he’s the perfect choice to voice Ferdinand, a mighty bull with a kind and gentle heart. If the role was any more squarely in Cena’s wheelhouse, he’d be romancing an esteemed comedic actress.
The suit makes the man, and that’s seldom more true than for the superhero set. Batman would be another joe-schmo billionaire industrialist without the arsenal of weaponry built into his armor, Iron Man would literally die without his hardware, and now we can add Peter Parker to the list of superheroes whose own clothes act as unofficial sidekick. In the latest trailer for upcoming threeboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, we get a glimpse of some nifty new modifications (courtesy of Stark Industries) to Spidey’s trademark red-and-blue spandex. A new generation’s Spider-Man needs some modern upgrades, and the latest iteration of the suit includes a detachable mini-drone and what I can only describe as “skintight suction technology.”
USA Today recently ran a new interview with Jon Watts, director of the upcoming re-re-reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, far in advance of the film’s July 7 release date. Watts got the chance to explain the fundamental differences between his foray into the Marvel universe and the films that came before, stating that the fundamental regular-guyness of Peter Parker will set him apart from the likes of Thor and Iron Man: “My whole approach for this movie is that we’ve seen the penthouse level of the (Marvel) universe. We’ve seen what it’s like to be a billionaire inventor and to be a Norse god. We’ve seen the very top of this world. But we’ve never seen what it’s like to be just a regular joe.”
One of last year’s finest films, and certainly the most challenging documentary, was Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine. The concept was ingenious: the film tracks actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to portray the late newswoman Christine Chubbuck and tease out what factors could have compelled a woman to shoot herself in the head on live television. It was a beguiling interrogation of authenticity and artifice, tracing the limits of performance as a means to locate truth, and now the world of documentary film has begun to follow Greene’s groundbreaking example. The new trailer for Casting JonBenet offers a glimpse at a film using Greene’s methods, and applying them to an equally disturbing footnote in history.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
It’s weird — with every new trailer, the upcoming big-screen reboot of beloved ‘90s TV series Baywatch appears to get a little bit better. The first trailer promised a lightly amusing clone of the smart-alecky 21 Jump Street reboot, the second trailer advertised a competently-produced action tentpole with a healthy sprinkling of meta humor, and now, the so-called “official” trailer (does that make the first two unofficial?) teases what appears to be a sincerely funny comedy. At the very least, whoever cut this thing made it abundantly clear that stars Zac Efron and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson have more chemistry than an eighth-grade science class.
There’s no arguing that superheroes currently own the cineplex, but in a slight change of pace, one of this upcoming summer’s cape-clad defenders won’t hail from the pages of Marvel or DC. Kids (and nostalgia fetishists in their mid-to-late twenties) will get a colorful crimefighter of a different stripe with Captain Underpants, the computer-animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s long-running line of sophomoric chapter books about a delusional elementary school principal’s adventures in doo-doo derring-do. The first trailer hit the internet today, and if you were wondering if it contains the same Steve Aoki club banger as the War Dogs trailer, then have I got some good news for you!
The hyper-competent likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot have their place, but when it comes to detectives, I prefer the bumblers — your Clouseaus, your Columbos, your Ace Venturas. Whether inadvertently stepping on clues or grilling perps in farcical interrogation sessions, sleuth stories come bursting wth potential for humor, and it looks like Jeff Garlin will be the latest actor to follow the zig-zagging footsteps of the goofy gumshoes that came before. Today brings the first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming mystery movie Handsome, and with it, our first look at Garlin’s accident-prone (and well-named) LAPD homicide investigator Gene Handsome.
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