If you’ve made use of the internet in the past week, then you may very well be aware of a recent personnel change-up on the set of the gestating Han Solo spinoff film. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are out, Ron Howard’s in, but as with most showbiz behind-the-scenes drama, the details have been kept under wraps. That is, until The Hollywood Reporter ran an illuminating new item this morning, getting the dish on what really drove the two filmmakers away from this project. The catch-all code word of “creative differences” does not even come close to doing justice to the antipathy between the Lord-Miller brain trust and Lucasfilm.
After months stretching into years of personnel changes, rewrites, unceremonious departures, rumors, hearsay, and scuttlebutt, World War Z’s long-delayed sequel may finally be good to go. Paramount’s been on the hunt for a director for some time now after the original film’s helmer Marc Forster chucked up the proverbial deuce back in 2013. Industry types have bandied about David Fincher’s name as the most probable replacement, and a big lead feature about newly crowned Paramount head Jim Gianopulos in The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Fincher’s in, this is real, and it’s all happening. In the parlance of Entourage, “David Fincher’s doing the movie!”
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers remains one of the truest stealth triumphs of ’90s cinema, an open-palmed slap to the face of the military-industrial complex in the guise of a rough and tumble sci-fi shoot-’em-up. Ever the cultural subversive, Verhoeven mocked the spirit of jingoistic patriotism that motivates American warfare overseas and tricked 121 million dollars’ worth of us into watching him do it. And after twenty years, in a time that has made satire a high-wire balancing act between exaggerated fiction and our insane reality, the film will return to the cultural conversation with a sequel. Which will be a cartoon.
Rick Moranis: the guy Woody Allen calls a nebbish, a nervously tittering lead of family films (he lit up millennial living rooms with his Honey, I... trilogy) and bluer comedic works (Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs) alike. He was everywhere in the ’80s, but took an eminently understandable hiatus from acting beginning in the ’90s after his wife Ann succumbed to breast cancer. He did a noble and difficult thing by focusing all his energies on dutifully raising his motherless children, turning his back on fame and his public. Though he’s still taken the occasional job — he gave his kids something to love by contributing voice work to Brother Bear — he’s shied away from highly visible gigs. Until now!
Our relatively brief national nightmare of the new Transformers movie being three hours long is over. It’s a small but curious story, yielding little more than a detail in terms of intel on Michael Bay’s latest film, but more telling with regards to how information is generated and spread online today.
Spider-Man 3 truly is The Godfather III of its franchise: widely reviled as the weak point in a strong trilogy, fascinating in its own embarrassing and imperfect way, appreciated by some for what it is, but largely forgotten when compared to its towering predecessors. (More delightful still, this makes Topher Grace the Sofia Coppola of Spider-Man 3 by default.) But perhaps the film is due for a bit of a reappraisal, as an upcoming rerelease of the original trilogy has promised a recut version of the third installment. And in a fleeting surprise this past weekend, that new “editor’s cut” of the film popped up online for anyone to pore over.
For those who engage in it, speculating on the significance of obscure clues in the Star Wars universe has gone beyond a hobby and grown into a way of life. Even something as simple as a three-word phrase — one word of which is “the” — can spark months of obsessive investigation. And while George Lucas’ disciples will have to wait until December to finally learn the identity of The Last Jedi’s title figure, that has not stopped the dogged gumshoes of Vanity Fair from pumping key figures for information.
The prevailing message of the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming has been that of novelty. This will be a fresh take on the Peter Parker mythos, making him younger than ever, sticking him in the treacherous social minefield of high school, and assigning him a lovably bratty irreverence more in-step with the comic-book original. Plus, Aunt May is young and hot now! But while Marvel and Sony’s advertising has gone to great lengths to assure audiences that this will not be their father’s Spider-Man (and it definitely won’t be the Andrew Garfield one we’re all psychologically working to repress), there is one respect in which this production is business as usual.
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