People like a legend. When Heath Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose in January 2008, he had just completed principal photography on his Academy Award-winning role of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s grown-up Batman flick The Dark Knight. With zero foundation in confirmed public knowledge, a narrative sprung up around Ledger’s troubled final days, that the psychological demands of portraying a figure as sick and twisted as the Joker weighed too heavily on the actor. The apocryphal notion that the role ultimately drove Ledger to suicide is way off the mark, however, explains Ledger’s sister Kate.
Over this past weekend, CinemaBlend ran an interview with Marvel Studios decision-maker Kevin Feige. As per usual, the man was exceedingly tight-lipped about the future of his beloved superhero playthings, but even his obfuscating non-answers contained the tiny seedling of a revelation within them. While getting grilled about the fate of the Avengers franchise, its third entry of Infinity War slated for 2018, Feige let slip that there was a good reason that the already-scheduled fourth installment has no subtitle as of yet. Though the film was originally planned as the second half of Infinity War, the two projects were recently split into their own individual spheres, and Feige doesn’t want the fourth installment’s full title coming out because apparently it contains a spoiler.
For a franchise about slightly sketchy space crooks and intergalactic military types, the Star Wars films are almost conspicuously free of profanity. It makes sense from a business perspective — keeping the series PG-13 ensures that it’ll be open to a wider array of viewers — and yet the absence of cussing feels especially noticeable in a movie starring the famously coarse-tongued Carrie Fisher. The closest the series came to a four-letter word was Han Solo getting dissed as a “scruffy nerf-herder,” but a recently discovered cache of lost footage from the original 1977 Star Wars is going to change all that in short order.
Yesterday, Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich ran an illuminating essay on Netflix’s testy relationship with the original films it releases, explaining how their model of bypassing theatrical release and going straight to streaming ultimately degrades the viewing experience and makes the movies harder to find and appreciate. (This comes hot on the heels of an official denunciation from the Federation of French Cinemas against the Cannes Film Festival for allowing TV into their lineup for the first time ever.) Clearly, his words went straight to the top of Netflix’s corporate office, as the online video giant has issued a letter to their shareholders assuring them that everything’s going to be fine and movies aren’t dead, probably.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
Last summer’s Jason Bourne may be 2016’s biggest movie we‘ve all already forgotten about. The franchise‘s revival put Matt Damon back in the driver’s seat after trying a legacyquel with Jeremy Renner, and the crowd responded in kind with a princely $164 million box-office take in the U.S. alone. But even as the Jason Bourne formula continues to yield fiscal gains for all parties involved, Matt Damon appears to have grown unsure about the franchise’s continued viability. In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, he expressed his doubts about the future of the secret agent that made him a bona fide movie star.
A new Batman vehicle demands, in a more literal sense, a new Batman vehicle. As Ben Affleck prepares to don the cape and cowl once more to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie, modifications have also been made to his singular whip, the teched-out Batmobile. Snyder applied his bigger-is-better filmmaking ethic to the Batmobile in last year‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, diverging from Christopher Nolan’s utilitarian, industrial look towards something a little more tanklike. And today, Snyder’s taken to his favored social media channel of Vero to offer fans an advance look at what the latest edition of the Batmobile has to offer.
Chances are, you’re currently reading these words on a phone, computer, or tablet manufactured by Apple. Maybe on your morning commute, you listen to music downloaded from the ITunes Music Store. If you are an on-the-go sort of person who’s not afraid to be made fun of, you may have an Apple Watch wrapped around your wrist right now. The tech giant’s influence has permeated so many facets of modern life, and as we patiently await Apple’s big foray into the burgeoning field of teledildonics, they’ve announced plans to plant their flag on one more heated battlefield.
Before Scarlett Johansson launched a thousand essays by taking on the role of Motoko Kusanagi, the cybernetic crimefighter was nothing more than a drawing. The original Ghost in the Shell anime debuted in 1995 and blew audiences away with its futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic, influencing everything from The Matrix to the Star Wars prequels. In the film, the robotic government agent cuts through the dystopian world of 2029 in search of the Puppet Master, a sentient computer virus taking over human hosts and causing havoc. The film’s flashy Hollywood remake is only a couple months away on March 31, but before that, the original will infiltrate theaters in a special engagement.
It was only a matter of time. The long string of biographical depictions of troubled geniuses, an ignominious tradition more recently carried on by the likes of The Imitation Gameand The Theory of Everything, had to inevitably yield an Albert Einstein biopic...
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