And a very happy Alien Day to you, ScreenCrush readership! I trust you’ve already paid homage to the late John Hurt with the customary tense salad dinner and pantomimed death-spasms, and have refilled the ceremonial offerings at the Yaphet Kotto shrines we all keep in our closets. Today’s a day filled with wonders, many of which we outlined earlier this month, including various special screenings, a live trivia challenge, and plenty of exclusive merchandise to gussy up the mantle in need of something that says “expulsive viscera.” But one of today‘s surprise offerings dwarfs all pre-announced attractions, at least in terms of potential to give me nightmares.
Paul Verhoeven came out of 2016 looking pretty rosy, wowing the audiences at Cannes with the premiere of his devious erotic thriller Elle before bringing the film stateside for a surprisingly positive reception that culminated in a Golden Globe win, and an Academy Award nomination for his star Isabelle Huppert. He’s not quite at the levels of popularity he enjoyed during the ’90s, when viewers lined up for the likes of Basic Instinct and Starship Troopers, but he’s got the spotlight and poised to do something big. So, those of you who had ‘lesbian erotic nun drama’ in the Paul Verhoeven’s Next Picture pool, please come collect your winnings.
If I learned anything about Abu Dhabi from watching the entirety of Sex and the City 2 while sitting in a tattoo parlor waiting room (which actually happened and is not a joke), it’s that the United Arab Emirates city is a mecca of wealth. The oil-rich nation has concentrated much of its affluence in its capital, and accordingly, the area has exploded with development in recent years. Skyscrapers have cropped up like so many dandelions, massive tourist resorts now dot the coastline, and high-end boutique shopping caters to such fashionable visitors as Carrie Bradshaw and her pals. And while Abu Dhabi’s latest attraction won’t invite as many Dolce & Gabbana puns as one might like, it will delight comic book fans worldwide.
People like a legend. When Heath Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose in January 2008, he had just completed principal photography on his Academy Award-winning role of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s grown-up Batman flick The Dark Knight. With zero foundation in confirmed public knowledge, a narrative sprung up around Ledger’s troubled final days, that the psychological demands of portraying a figure as sick and twisted as the Joker weighed too heavily on the actor. The apocryphal notion that the role ultimately drove Ledger to suicide is way off the mark, however, explains Ledger’s sister Kate.
In the ’70s, Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken starred in the seminal Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter. It ranks among the more harrowing entries in an already brutal genre, unflinchingly depicting the conditions of abject inhumanity in the war zone and then bringing the trauma home to spiritually gut a declining Pennsylvania industry town. A lot has taken place since then, however. We’re now living in a post-Dirty Grandpa world. The news of another collaboration between De Niro and Walken no longer heralds an intense drama with awards potential in its very DNA. They’re now the twin titans of Grandpa Cinema, and their latest project has to reflect that.
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.
Over this past weekend, CinemaBlend ran an interview with Marvel Studios decision-maker Kevin Feige. As per usual, the man was exceedingly tight-lipped about the future of his beloved superhero playthings, but even his obfuscating non-answers contained the tiny seedling of a revelation within them. While getting grilled about the fate of the Avengers franchise, its third entry of Infinity War slated for 2018, Feige let slip that there was a good reason that the already-scheduled fourth installment has no subtitle as of yet. Though the film was originally planned as the second half of Infinity War, the two projects were recently split into their own individual spheres, and Feige doesn’t want the fourth installment’s full title coming out because apparently it contains a spoiler.
Ahh, summer camp: any kid who was shipped off for six-to-eight weeks of rigidly scheduled fun holds the memories near and dear. There’s something sweetly all-American about the mess hall meals, late-night gabfests, the smooches stolen after s’more-and-singalong campfires. And who better to desecrate all that is wholesome than the one and only John Waters, that baron of bad taste?
Never lacking in ambition (at least when it comes to the expanding frontiers of branding and marketing), Marvel boldly announced back in 2015 that the third film in the Avengers series would be unlike those that came before it. At the time of the project’s initial reveal, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige clarified his plans to split Avengers: Infinity War into two parts that would be released independent of one another. This was cause for great excitement, as moviegoers love nothing more than to shell out for two separate tickets just for the privilege of waiting up to a year to see the conclusion of a self-contained story. Incredibly, however, Feige backpedaled on that can’t-fail proposition shortly thereafter, amending their plans to separate Avengers 3 1 and Avengers 3 2 into the simpler Avengers 3 and Avengers 4.
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