In an alternate timeline, perhaps one in which we didn’t elect a reality TV star as president, there exists a different version of Passengers — one that directly and artfully addresses the dubious morality of its male lead. That version is directed by Ruben Ostlund, the Swedish filmmaker behind the brilliant, darkly comedic relationship drama Force Majeure. This alternate version of Passengers probably wouldn’t star Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, either; or if it did, it would have possibly given them much more compelling material to work with.
When actors move behind the camera, they bring a new perspective to the directing process, one that’s often more character-driven; more verbose than visual. In 2014, we experienced what happens when a stunt coordinator moves behind the camera, and the result was a glorious action film as sharp as its titular protagonist. Chad Stahelski and David Leitch pumped decades of stunt experience into John Wick, which cast the immortal Keanu Reeves as a would-be retired assassin out for revenge. Two years later, Stahelski took on the second chapter of John Wick’s journey on his own, delivering a fitting follow-up that’s just as lit as its predecessor.
Alright, SXSW, let’s do this. With just weeks to go before the start of this year’s fest, SXSW has announced even more additions to their 2017 lineup, including the world premiere of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist — the actor / writer / director’s new film based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s totally bonkers cult favorite The Room. The programming team has also announced this year’s Midnighters lineup, featuring several intriguing genre films to play in the late-night slot (aka peak mind-melting hour).
Today in Uh, Okay news, the ridiculously prolific Dwayne Johnson is teaming up with the WWE and Film4 to produce a wrestling dramedy based on the Channel 4 British documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family. The film, which centers on the life of WWE wrestler Paige and her family, will be written and directed by the brilliant Stephen Merchant — of all people.
Paramount performed a little maintenance on their calendar last night, removing both World War Z 2 and the repeatedly delayed Friday the 13th reboot from their upcoming release schedule — but that’s not all. The studio has reportedly completely shut down production on their new Friday the 13th project, which was set to begin filming in just six weeks. With no release date (again) and pre-production halted, it seems that Jason Voorhees’ revival may be delayed indefinitely.
When you were a kid, did you ever spend time with like, an aunt who listened to those adult contemporary radio stations — the ones that were all Michael Bolton and Toni Braxton and Celine Dion? You know, the stations that played “Margaritaville” and the Beauty and the Beast theme song every hour on the hour. If you don’t remember, then maybe Ariana Grande and John Legend’s cover of “Beauty and the Beast” will jog your memory.
If someone asked you to recall Keanu Reeves’ earliest acting gig, you might think of Parenthood or Babes in Toyland. As it turns out, the intensely likable star of John Wick: Chapter 2 started his career a bit earlier than that, and like us non-famous folks, Reeves’ first job wasn’t exactly pleasant; in fact, it was kiiiiiind of awkward, but that just makes this little-seen footage of Reeves as a teenage reporter on a Canadian kids’ show all the more rewarding.
SXSW really isn’t slouching with this year’s film festival programming (they rarely do), and today brings even more exciting additions to the lineup, including a pair of our most highly-anticipated films of 2017: Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver and Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. The latest programming announcement also includes several intriguing indies, new films from Joe Swanberg and Evan Katz, and documentaries featuring beloved icons like Bill Nye and the Muppets.
The tale as old as time (OK, that’s an exaggeration) is returning to theaters this spring with Disney’s new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. With less than two months left to go until the studio’s latest reimagining (and guaranteed box-office hit) arrives, Disney has revealed when we’ll see the new — and final — trailer, and as an added bonus, they’ve thrown in some enchanted motion posters.
When the 2017 Academy Award nominees were announced this morning, the list offered the usual array of snubs and surprises — the latter of which ranged from pleasant to baffling; Moonlight picked up eight nods and a record number of black actors were nominated (Oscars #NotSoWhite this year), while Passengers picked up two nods (they just had to give that movie something, didn’t they). As expected, many of this year’s picks feel “safe”; it says something when the most divisive nominee is a musical about jazz — or is it? Maybe the Academy’s La La Land love and its increased inclusivity are distracting from the low-key elephant in the room.
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