While critics and fans alike roundly rejected the Star Wars trilogy of prequels, they agreed that at least one aspect of it was worthwhile: breakout crowd-pleaser Jar Jar Binks. The universally beloved Gungan earned a wide fanbase with his charming dialect made up of screeching and some sort of alien ebonics, and his constant cartoonish bumbling was a welcome reprieve from the series’ usual heroism and valor. Fans cried foul when Phantom Menace’s major supporting character was downgraded to tertiary status in Attack of the Clones and barely present for Revenge of the Sith, but today brings the welcome news that our sweet Jar Jar will get some much-deserved closure in an upcoming Star Wars novelization.
Summer movie season starts a little earlier every year, and in 2017, it has consumed May, April, and even our beloved March. Logan will kick off the big-budget bonanza in the first weekend of March, and then cede the floor to the gargantuan Kong: Skull Island the weekend after. Even so, these two releases in particular inspire hope rather than dread when reflecting upon the studio-fronted franchise releases encroaching beyond their summer stomping grounds. All the previews have suggested that these two films will have something original to bring to the table, and the latest clip for Kong: Skull Island confirms that if nothing else, we’ll have some delectable character acting to enjoy.
If you grabbed some random schmo of the street and demanded they name a composer of film scores, they’d probably name John Williams if they could come up with any answer at all. (Unless you ended up with some smart-aleck in the know who busted out Alexandre Desplat or Mica Levi or something.) Williams is responsible for pretty much every movie theme hummed by general populace over the last four decades: as you read these words, I know you’ll hear the triumphant fanfare of the Star Wars score, or the ominous duh-dum of the Jaws theme. And today, Hans Zimmer can go right ahead and eat his heart out, because Williams’ most famed compositions will soon be immortalized in one essential compilation.
We‘ve still got months to go until Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes over cineplexes, but the people are hungry. By this time last year, we had already gotten our first teaser for Rogue One, and the barbarians are pounding on the gates demanding fresh material. Sure, Lucasfilm could placate their more rabid fans by pulling back the curtain on one of the new toy lines that will accompany the December release, but that’s thinking small, and Lucasfilm doesn’t do small. You want to see the new toys? Well tough tauntauns, because all you’re getting today is a look at the box they’re coming in. Here is that box:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe had its Big Bang in 2008, with Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr.’s debut as the incorrigible Tony Stark. In casting a charismatic leading man, feeding him some genuinely fresh one-liners, and stitching them together with a few impressive action setpieces, producer and MCU mastermind Kevin Feige had struck gold. He then went to work methodically stripping the mine clean, roping Chrises Evans and Hemsworth into multi-film contracts and watching as the billions rolled in. He devised a winning formula of easy screen-idol mass appeal and an eminently palatable house visual style to go along with it, a method still yielding massive success to this day. (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor 3, and Spider-Man Who Even Knows What Number, coming to theaters in 2017!) And it all began with R.D.J. as an irresistible new breed of defender, the sort of guy you either want to be or be with. One year earlier, Marvel’s idea of a blockbuster superhero was Nicolas Cage as a flaming CGI skeleton clad in S&M biker gear.
With the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory earlier this month, team captain and Gisele Bündchen spouse Tom Brady earned his fifth ring and hit a new professional high. He’s now won more Super Bowls than any quarterback in NFL history, having earned MVP status in four of the five to boot. While he’s begun to earn the ire of the sporting community for essentially turning the current-day Pats into the late-’90s Yankees (and for the business with the ball deflating and the Trump chumminess and the wearing Ugg boots in public and whatnot), Brady’s still an immensely popular athlete with an inspiring narrative behind his career. And that can mean only one thing: it’s time for a wicked pissah of a biopic.
During the production process for last summer’s Suicide Squad, Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto attracted some headlines with his series of menacing pranks pulled on his costars. Mailing Margot Robbie dead animals or used condoms, threatening to stab David Ayer for giving notes, sending Will Smith a box of bullets — he’s full of wacky antics, and today brings the news of Leto’s latest put-on. As part of what I can only assume is his latest diabolical, Joker-style ruse, Leto has announced that he’s going to get into feature directing.
Like any job, writing about the latest news in the world of entertainment can wear on you after long enough, so you gotta appreciate the little pearls of amusement where you can get them. Personally, watching the latest solo Batman project fall apart in slow motion has been a perverse thrill over the past couple of months: star Ben Affleck was gonna direct (maybe) the film titled The Batman, then he was definitely gonna direct it, then he backpedaled a little bit, then he requested that people stop asking him about it, then he face-planted onto the sidewalk with the costly flop Live By Night, and then look at that, he wasn’t taking the director’s chair after all. The indignities kept coming, as Warner Bros. ordered sweeping rewrites to this floundering project before landing Planet of the Apes remake maestro Matt Reeves to fill the directorial vacuum.
Will Arnett’s gravelly voice has defined some of his most beloved roles: it made his bombastic doofus G.O.B. into Arrested Development’s MVP, it turned him into a worthy rival for Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, and it perfectly suited him for the role of the Lego universe’s Caped Crusader. As the star of The Lego Batman Movie, he brings a certain actorly gravitas to every punch line, and the best part is that he can take that skill with him anywhere. Trying to quell a dispute between his kids? Batman lays down the law. And in a new segment from the BBC Radio 1 station, he puts his voice to good use once more, as a prank on an unsuspecting toy store.
Teen love is simply too pure for this compromised world. (In the movies, anyhow. In real life, the love between teens is like a knockoff version of love you’d buy in Chinatown for eight dollars.) Cancer drove Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort apart in The Fault in Our Stars, and in the new film The Space Between Us, the vague atmospheric chemistry of Earth separates Asa Butterfield from his one true love Britt Robertson. Butterfield’s coming back for seconds at the teen-weepie-romance buffet, too, as a new report from Deadline indicates today.
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