Despite the fact that Spider-Man is Marvel‘s most popular and successful character - by the comic book standards, anyways - the studio hasn’t left anything to the imagination in the Spider-Man: Homecoming marketing blitz. We’ve seen Tom Holland‘s face on everything from car commercials to NBA spots to computer advertisements, ensuring that everyone around the world knew that a Spider-Man film was going to be in theaters this weekend. Heck, we were probably one hip-hop song away from throwing the whole franchise back to the nineties heydays of corporate synergy.
With a handful of major Hollywood stars choosing to speak out on behalf of gender pay equality in Hollywood, we’ve been treated to an unprecedented amount of transparency over these past few years. Major stars like Jessica Chastain, Keira Knightley, and Jessica Lawrence have all spoken out publicly about their own negative experiences on Hollywood franchises, and each passing week, more stars are encouraged to share their own experiences. Through it all, one important theme has emerged: in many of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, female actors are not being paid as much as men.
While plenty of fans hold Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man film close to their hearts, it’s probably fair to say that the costume for Willem Dafoe‘s Green Goblin hasn’t aged particularly well. Given the dynamic costumes for the current generation of Marvel villains - including Frank Grillo‘s Crossbones, Cate Blanchett‘s Hera, and plenty more - Dafoe’s Green Goblin seems a little bulky and a lot campy, not unlike a Power Rangers villain that wandered out of his franchise and somehow ended up in the Marvel universe. It certainly gets the job done by the standards of the day, but rewatching scenes from that film suggest that the studio had a missed opportunity to do something a little more memorable with the character.
Despite the runaway success of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, the writer-director has faced increasingly diminishing returns as a filmmaker ever since. Whiz-bang visuals and an impressive cast weren’t enough to save Elysium, while Chappie has become better known in film circles as an internet meme (“That’s Chappie!”) than a film worth seeking out. Add in Blomkamp’s failed attempt at an Alien sequel and it seemed the director’s star had fully faded… that is, until Blomkamp announced his decision to create a serious of outrageous and expensive short films at zero cost to the public.
Here’s a quick question for you, who is the most important actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We all know who the highest-paid actor is — that would be Robert Downey Jr. — but is he still the most important actor in the franchise as well? Has Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth surpassed him? How about one of the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy or a newcomer like Tom Holland? Is anyone in the MCU so irreplaceable that Marvel couldn’t introduce another version of their character? It’s a very interesting question, and one that the studio and actors are no-doubt struggling with internally.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, Edgar Wright fans: did the filmmaker’s action-packed Baby Driver score big with audiences? Or does this weekend belong to sequels, sequels, and more sequels? This weekend was always going to belong to Despicable Me 3— it’s a big hit with the kiddos, don’t you know— but there’s definitely some room for optimism in how the rest of the weekend Top 10 shook out. Here’s the numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
If you spend enough time reading interviews with writer-directors, you may find yourself wondering how big a role music plays in the creative process. Hollywood is littered with movies that were written under the influence of a particularly strong playlist; filmmakers who have been given control over every aspect of production, from screenplay the final cut, can sometimes appear to be writing to the music that influenced them along the way. That’s one of the beautiful things about the work of James Gunn. Not only does he exhibit a delightfully eclectic taste in ’70s and ’80s music, he often finds ways to bring those songs directly into the action of his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
Even dating back to the beginning of his career, Paul Thomas Anderson has always liked working with musicians. In 1997, while putting the finishing touches on Boogie Nights, Anderson and several of his cast members snuck in an iconic music video for Michael Penn’s Try (and yes, Michael is the older brother of actor-writer-director Sean). Over the next two decades, Anderson would lend his talents to the music videos of a diverse group of artists, including — but not limited to — Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Radiohead, and Joanna Newsom. Anderson’s most recent music video, released just this April, was for the song ‘Right Now’ by the band Haim, proving that his film schedule won’t keep him from shooting more music videos going forward.
Despite the fact that the Sundance Film Festival purports to cater to independent artists, there’s still a push towards established names over new artists. Take Gook, for example. Although the film ultimately received an audience award, you won’t find Gook on any of the pre-festival lists of highly anticipated films, perhaps suggesting that our industry still focuses a bit more on the filmmakers whose work we already know (to the detriment of those just starting out). Thankfully, the film about race relations during the Los Angeles riots found its distributor over the summer, and now audiences around the country will have a chance to see Gook in theaters.
Ah, Deep Blue Sea. On the one hand, it’s a cheesy movie about killer sharks with a cast of actors — Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J — who, although talented, aren’t exactly setting the industry on fire right now. On the other hand, though, it’s undeniably one of the most fun shark movies of them all. That Samuel L. Jackon speech! Those shark attacks! LL Cool J keeps talking to his parrot! What more could you want out of a silly blockbuster than the type of goofball energy that Renny Harlin and his crew brought to bear for the original fil
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