It’s August now, and horrifying as the information that 2017 is more than half over may be, it’s still a good time to take a step back and take stock of how the year has been going so far. For Earth, and to a greater extent, America — not good. For the movies — pretty great! The first half of the year has seen a generous number of strong releases at the arthouse and multiplex, and review aggregation site Metacritic has done us a service in our effort to keep track of it all.
With the arrival of San Diego Comic-Con last week, the major announcements started flying fast and furious. After the avalanche of release date announcements, trailer releases, and other first-look headline-generators, the news broke that the gears of progress had begun turning for James Bond’s next cinematic outing. The official Twitter account posted that the still-untitled James Bond 25 would hit American theaters on November 8, 2019 after an earlier release in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and also presumably after shiploads of online pirates have gotten their mitts on it. Americans do not tend to take delayed release dates lying down.
Adam Wingard’s adaptation of popular anime series Death Note drew a lot of heat before the public even saw a single frame, as fans of the original were displeased to learn he’d set the film in the U.S. instead of the original Japan and make the Asian lead into a white guy, a move we shall henceforth refer to as “Ghost in the Shelling.” And while the question of whitewashing will most likely persist on through the film’s August 25 release, we still have yet to see whether it will be a competent horror film on non-politicized terms. Today, the public can start to get an impression of whether the film is garden-variety bad in addition to being #problematic.
Tomas Alfredson ain’t prolific, but he sure is good at what he does. It’s been six years since the Swedish director’s last film, the brilliantly slippery espionage yarn Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and before that, he put a novel spin on the vampire flick with the gentle, poetic Let the Right One In. The news of another project from the elusive filmmaker is cause for great commotion, and the newly revealed trailer for that film — frost-choked serial killer thriller The Snowman — reminds us why. It has a lot to do with snow, and a lot to do with Michael Fassbender.
Behind every great man, there’s a great woman; behind Wonder Woman, there was a wondrous man. Dr. William Moulton Marston was a professor of psychology when he first ginned up the idea for DC’s most famed distaff defender, working under a pseudonym to protect his reputation. But the man had more secrets than the average reader might realize. He and his wife Elizabeth entered into a passionate polyamorous relationship with one of William’s students, Olive Byrne, though the time’s standards of propriety forced them to live in secret. And then there was all the bondage stuff.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that in the film A Bad Moms Christmas, there will be moms, they will be bad, and it will be Christmas. The sequel to 2016’s sleeper hit has now gotten its first trailer, and if nothing else, I can confirm for you beyond any shadow of a doubt that A Bad Moms Christmas will star a collection of moms, all of whom will indulge in varying levels of badness. This year, the reason for the season is mom-ing, and doing it badly.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
Funny how there aren’t any movies about creepy-looking dolls that stay inanimate. The tradition of killer miniatures is a rich and varied one, stretching from smart-mouthed icon Chucky to Twilight Zone resident Talking Tina to the gang of supremely ticked-off slave toys in Tales From the Hood’s third quarter. The unsettling lifelessness of a doll’s visage has made it a reliable source of horror in the past, and the Conjuring franchise struck its own vein of gold with the homicidal, pigtailed Annabelle. The precocious little psychopath got her own starring vehicle in 2014 with the simply-titled spinoff Annabelle, and now we’re taking a step back in time to witness her dark baptism in blood.
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