So, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the world is a pretty scary place right now. Millions of Americans are worried about the future of their healthcare; millions more are struggling under the weight of college debt. North Korea is threatening nuclear attacks on our country. No matter your political alignment, there’s at least a dozen horrifying news stories competing for your attention ever single day. In times like these, even stupid little news stories can be a welcome break from the monotony of horror spitting out of our Twitter feed.
Be honest with me: did you really want to see a picture of The Emoji Movie at the top of this article? You had to be hoping that Atomic Blonde or Dunkirk would hang strong enough to keep The Emoji Movie from finishing in the top spot of its opening weekend, right? Well, good news for you: it’s not the highest-grossing movie in America this weekend! Has there ever in the history of Hollywood been a box office one-two as disparate as Dunkirk and The Emoji Movie? Actually, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know. Here’s the projected grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
As with any landmark television show, one of the fun parts of revisiting Downton Abbey is seeing the number of careers it launched. Abbey served as a pretty incredible pipeline of talented British actors and actresses, all of whom seem to be landing solidly on their feet in Hollywood. That’s the good news for Abbey fans: the bad news is that with increased success comes increased scheduling difficulty. This wasn’t a series like Firefly where you basically only needed to lock down a handful of actors; to do Downton Abbey right, you’d want to bring in a dozen-plus members of the original cast, and that’s an increasingly tough proposition.
Here’s an anecdote about Hans Zimmer for you. When I was in grad school, through several months of trial and error, I learned that I could write to one soundtrack and one soundtrack only: Zimmer’s score for Interstellar. I would listen to the entire album on repeat - minus the final track with the Dylan Thomas poem, of course - and crank out hour after hour of academic writing. I’ve often joked that Zimmer is the reason I finished my degree, but if we’re being honest with each other, it may be closer to the truth than I’m comfortable admitting.
For someone who has practically perfected the art of the blockbuster action movie - from The Bourne Identity to Mr. and Mr. Smith to Edge of Tomorrow - it seems strange that no major studio has managed to land Doug Liman for one of their tentpole franchises. Despite being (at times) connected to movies like Gambit and Justice League Dark, Liman continues to carve his own path in Hollywood, tackling projects seem to challenge him more than draw on his strengths. To hear the director say it, though, he would sign on the dotted line for one particular Hollywood blockbuster should producers come a-knockin’.
While Colossal may not have broken box office records, it was a welcome reminder that Anne Hathaway deserved better than whatever rom-com hell we’d locked her in for the past few years. In fact, as Lauren Duca recently pointed out on Twitter, now would be a perfect time revisit our opinions of the actress altogether, dating all the way back to her breakout role in The Princess Diaries. I mean, it can’t be a coincidence that now that we’re learning to appreciate Hathaway again, we’re suddenly getting talk of another Princess Diaries movie. These strange things happen all the time.
While any self-respecting comedy fan undoubtedly knows the Naked Gun movies by heart, I hope those same fans are also aware of Police Squad!, the short-lived 1982 ABC comedy series that set the stage for Leslie Nielsen’s Frank Drebin character. Created by the Zucker Brothers and serving as a hilarious sendup of police procedurals, Police Squad! was a slightly drier version of the movie characters we would all come to know and love. The show was infamously cancelled after only six episodes, with ABC executives claiming that the rapid-fire comedy and plethora of visual gags were too complex for television audiences. Thus, Police Squad! remains a television show impossibly ahead of its time.
One of the underrated aspects of Marvel’s cinematic universe is its overabundance of good characters. Take Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter, for example. Most other major movie franchises would jump at the opportunity to have a character as beloved as Peggy Carter; for Marvel, fairly or unfairly, she’s a character they can afford to leave behind. That is, until it was announced that Captain Marvel would take place sometime in the 1990s, opening the door for Atwell’s Carter to appear once more in the MCU. Would she be interested in coming back to play the character? You’d better believe it.
One of the big items to emerge from last weekend’s Comic-Con was the news that Zack Snyder would be taking a backseat in the DCEU going forward. This report - which falls somewhere between a rumor and a substantiated story - spoke directly to a shifting creative hierarchy behind the scenes at Warner Bros. With Geoff Johns now serving as DC’s answer to Marvel’s Kevin Feige, things look increasingly uncertain for the ‘old guard’ of DCEU filmmakers, including both Snyder and Suicide Squad director David Ayer, despite both directors’ involvement in upcoming films.
While it probably wouldn’t be fair to say that I enjoy James Franco as an actor, I certainly find him to be one of the more interesting talents working today. Unlike most actors, Franco is entirely immune to decline; he can make an independent horror film or a second-rate biopic and immediately pivot into a new blockbuster franchise or prestige television series. And since his career refuses to conform to any established patterns, it makes it really difficult to know if his upcoming projects are actually any good. Is The Vault an arthouse horror film or a movie elevated from the VOD ranks by Franco’s presence? Who knows?
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