Anyone familiar with the now-defunct Star Wars extended universe knows that characters like Emperor Palpatine are considerably less dead in the books than they are in the movies. With cloning a huge canonical part of the Star Wars mythology, it was only a matter of time before some adventurous writer decided to bring major villains back from the dead; that is how Luke Skywalker ended up facing off against the clones of a young Palpatine (not to mention an evil Luke Skywalker clone). And with Lucasfilm demonstrating a willingness to pick and choose from the extended universe as they see fit, you’d be forgiven for wondering if we’d eventually find out that Palpatine 2.0 was the one pulling all the strings.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a middle-aged white comedian sits down for an interview and starts complaining about the things he can’t say onstage. This isn’t exactly a new complaint in the stand-up industry. For years, the old guard of legendary comedians have argued that modern audiences are too sensitive these days to the detriment of comedy; and sure, while there are certainly those who look for offense in any commentary — no matter how benign — it’s more than a little frustrating to hear some comedians claim that their decades-old material isn’t funny anymore.
In case it was lost in the midst of the Hollywood shuffle and kerfuffle, we spent the better part of last week wandering the mean streets of Toronto in search of quality cinema. That means we attended the Toronto International Film Festival and reviewed some of the key movies that’ll be hitting theaters in the next couple of months. And while most critics have returned home to frantically finish their last few reviews and recaps, the festival itself did not officially wrap until today, with the festival organizers announcing their winners at the closing ceremony earlier today.
It’s now been two weekends since Pennywise the Dancing Clown was unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences, and Hollywood may never be the same. Seriously. The kind of box office numbers we’re seeing right now will inspire, uh, major changes in how Hollywood tries to jump on specific trends. And while two new movies made a sort of solid showing for themselves over the weekend, the fact is this: it’s Pennywise’s world. We’re just living in it. Here’s the box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
It’s been a relatively quiet last couple of months for Josh Boone’s X-Men: The New Mutants. While there are certainly bigger and louder comic book movies to chase down — hello, Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War — Boone’s film managed to avoid headlines and will have the rare chance to genuinely surprise audiences when it starts rolling out the marketing material. And while there’s still a few hurdles left to overcome — the movie is still months away from hitting theaters, after all — at least Boone and his cast can celebrate the end of production on his standalone X-Men movie.
If there’s one bone I can pick about the most recent adaptation of Stephen King’s It, it’s that the movie doesn’t spend enough time with Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Sure, we get that incredible opening sequence where he lures Georgie to his death, but people are right to call Bill Skarsgard’s character one of the most iconic horror characters in decades: he’s fantastically creepy and desperately in need of a lot more screen time. And now, with Andy Muschietti working on a director’s cut for the home video release, we might have one of the first scenes we’d like to see added back in.
Here’s a funny thought for you: someone is about to be swayed into seeing Blade Runner 2049 by this new batch of character posters. I’ve written before that Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t really have much left to prove to audiences — you’re likely already in or out, and have been for quite some time — but that doesn’t apply to everyone. Somewhere, on some website, somebody is going to look at this international poster of Ryan Gosling and think to themselves for the first time, oh, yeah, I think this might actually be a movie I want to see. Job well done, graphic designers.
In their mad rush to kickstart a cinematic universe without actually giving new characters individual movies, Warner Bros. has often struggled in the shadow of its Marvel competitors. Fans who are rooting for the success of the DCEU — those willing to see see the good and the bad of the movies, at least — know that movies like Wonder Woman are important because they create personal and well-rounded characters that we can then smash up against each other in movies like Justice League. After all, nobody would care who gets invited to an All-Star Game if there wasn’t an entire season’s worth of plays and memories to get us to that point.
Sad news today out of Mexico, where it appears a location scout for the popular Netflix series Narcos was found shot to dead earlier this week. Carlos Muñoz Portal, who had previously worked on high-profile projects such as Sicario and Spectre, was reportedly looking at possible locations for the upcoming season of the Netflix series, which is said to be focusing on the infamous Juarez cartel. Despite the lag between when Portal’s body was discovered and when the news was reported by industry publications, little progress has been made in providing any firm details on the crime.
When I was younger, one of my favorite parts of buying movies was seeking out the best package of special features. I must’ve owned three or four different copies of Evil Dead over the years, with each new release or re-release featuring a brand new interview with the filmmakers, unseen behind-the-scenes footage, or a new featurette on the film’s enduring appear to fans. These days, absent the occasional Criterion Collection, Arrow Films, or Scream Factory release, my hunt for special features has mostly died out, but that’s only intensified my appreciation for VFX sizzle reels. It’s the on special feature I still find I get excited for.
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