Rarely does a movie hook me so hard with trailers and posters, but everything that Thor: Ragnarok is putting down is right up my alley. If the film ends up being more Ant-Man than Guardians of the Galaxy — mostly cookie-cutter superhero fare with a few interesting visuals along the way — I’m going to be all kinds of sad. This is Taika Waititi’s world, Marvel: we just happen to be living in it. Let the man’s imagination run free and I promise we’ll support you.
When shouldn’t you release a clip for a movie? I can understand releasing entire chunks of a movie on YouTube when you’re working with an unproven or questionable title; if you’re trying to entice audiences to see some mediocre horror film, then by all means, release one of the movie’s better jump scares in an effort to get them into the theater. But when you’ve got a title as recognizable as Blade Runner 2049, with several excellent trailers and a few smart television spots, why bother? How many people could possibly be on the fence at this point?
As all eyes turn to the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, it’s worth remembering that another major film festival is still wrapping up. That would be the 74th Annual Venice Film Festival, the oldest major film festival and home to several of this year’s most enticing fall movies. Whether you prefer your movies to have dark humor, biting social commentary, or underwater monsters, odds are good there was something for everyone in Italy these past week or so.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of encountering Halo Top ice scream, I’ve got some world-changing news for you: no longer will you need to feel bad for eating ice cream by the pint! The California ice cream company, which recently passed Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs to become the highest-selling ice cream in grocery stores, is the current zeitgeist of low-calorie sweets. Sure, maybe the flavor is a little more bland than you’d prefer, and sure, maybe eating ice cream by the pint — regardless of its constitution — is probably not the best idea, but at only 240 calories a pop? You could do a lot worse with your stress-eating.
It isn’t very often that a documentary becomes a hit with mainstream audiences, but that’s exactly what happened with Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me back in 2004. The documentary followed Spurlock on a month-long experiment in unhealthy diets, with the filmmaker eating exclusively at McDonald’s for weeks on end. The result was a smash hit: Super-Size Me grossed $11.9 million dollars — good for 25th all-time among documentaries — and even garnered an Academy Award nomination. More than that, though, is the effect the film had on the fast food industry, with publications like Refinery29 saying years later that Spurlock’s film likely helped companies “increase consumer awareness of size, as well as ingredients and nutrition.”
One of the fun parts of film criticism is trying to identify which blockbuster movies that open to middling reviews will undergo a critical re-appreciation in the years to come. For example, while audiences were generally disappointed with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus on its release, the movie has slowly gained steam with critics, becoming something of an under-the-wire classic in the last few years. And now, just a few months after the release of Kong: Skull Island, there are already those who have argued that its unique aesthetic makes it one of the better action movies of the year.
If you’re not lucky enough to attend the Toronto International Film Festival this year, you can spend it like the rest of us: keeping an ear to to the ground and trying to decide which TIFF releases will be must-see movies of 2017 and 2018. One early standout is I, Tonya, a humorous look at the life of infamous figure skater Tonya Harding. Our own Senior Editor has described it as darkly hilarious film with dynamite performances (review coming soon!), and that seems to be the general consensus: it’s funny, it’s twisted, and, for as much as any of you care, it’s an early contender for all kinds of award season glory.
If you’ve been reading the site for any length of time, then you know that movie-themed amusement park rides are a bit of a passion for Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer. Matt has previously written about the end of the Great Movie Ride and run pieces on the upcoming Avatar amusement park as well; that, combined with his love of all things Terminator 2, means that he should probably be the one to write up this news item. But since he’s not here and I am, I guess I’ll deliver the bad news: the Terminator 2 3D ride is being shut down.
Over the year’s, Marvel’s marketing strategy seems to have pivoted slightly. As the movies have become more successful and the core group of actors have settled into their roles, Marvel seems to now be emphasizing the fresh blood in its pre-release publicity. Tom Holland gushing about playing Spider-Man? Brie Larson discussing the importance of Captain Marvel? Taika Waititi having a blast talking up his cast and crew? It doesn’t really matter what side of the camera you were on; if you’re still riding that Marvel high, you’ll be the one to do the talking.
Of all the news stories you expect to be fake, “Black Sergeant Infiltrates the Klu Klux Klan” would have to be pretty far up there. Only it really happened. For years during the ’70s and ’80s, Officer Ron Stallworth dedicated his life to infiltrating gang cultures, in particular that of the KKK. This is what led Stallworth to become (against all odds) a black card-carrying member of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s; unsurprisingly, this is also what makes Stallworth’s story ripe for cinematic adaptation in the year 2017.
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