After six years, one of the Oscars’ boldest (and most desperate) experiments may be coming to an end. In 2009, the Academy Awards changed its rules to allow up to 10 films to receive Best Picture nominations. The thought process was simple enough: with double the potential nominees, more mainstream fare could get nominated and ratings for the annual Oscars telecast would increase. But that didn’t work. This year’s ceremony was a disaster (in more ways than one) and the Academy is apparently ready to call this whole thing off and return to the old ways.
When he passed away last week at the age of 83, Leonard Nimoy was mourned by actors, artists, politicians, scientists, engineers, astronauts and even the President of the United States. That should tell you something. Few characters have had such a seismic impact on popular culture as Star Trek’s Spock and countless people all over the world felt like they had lost a friend. Amidst the countless tributes, there is now one that stands out: a brief but powerful remembrance from Zachary Quinto, who picked up the Spock mantle in 2009’s Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.
Even when it’s at its best, modern SNL is rarely shocking. Funny, strange, silly and clever, sure. But shocking? Nah. The show doesn’t seem to set out to offend every week. So when the show broke out a fake commercial that depicted 50 Shades of Grey star and guest host Dakota Johnson joining the radical terrorist group ISIS, jaws rightfully hit the ground. Who approved this? And could they start approving more sketches?
When The Avengers arrived in 2012, the massive final battle between Earth’s mightiest heroes and Loki’s alien army ended up being much bigger and more exciting than the trailers suggested. From the sound of things, we may be in for a similar treat with Avengers 2. In a new interview, writer/director Joss Whedon discussed many aspects of the upcoming sequel, but it’s his comments about the Avengers 2 ending that should get you the most interested.
The Oscars may not carry the same amount of commercial clout as the Super Bowl, but it still offers advertisers an opportunity to appeal to a very specific audience. In this case, it’s Apple and legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese teaming up to sell the cinematic potential of the iPad. And yes, this commercial wants to tug on your heartstrings.
Every single film production hits snags and runs into problems. Some are just a little more public than others. Now, the troubles facing the upcoming Mission: Impossible 5 have become public and they certainly sound bad on paper: Production has been temporarily shut down while director Christopher McQuarrie rushes to fix what is apparently an “unsatisfactory” ending. That’s an ominous sign for a movie that recently had its release date pushed up from December to July.
After years of false starts and delays, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales finally began filming in Australia yesterday. And that’s not a moment too soon for the franchise’s star, Johnny Depp, who hasn’t headlined a hit since 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. So, this brings up two important questions. First, will a fifth Captain Jack Sparrow adventure resuscitate Depp in a post-Mortdecai world? Secondly, can new directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning inject new life into a series that ran out of steam two movies ago?
In between all of the tributes and montages and musical performances, the SNL 40th Anniversary Special actually found time for some original content. Right after a montage celebrating the short films that have been featured on the show over the years, Zach Galifianakis took to the stage to introduce a new digital short from Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler. Unlike most of Samberg’s original shorts, which usually traded in genial silliness, this one looked inward and examined a subject that everyone who has ever been on the show should be familiar with: breaking character.
We knew going in that the SNL 40th anniversary special would be chock-full of just about every famous person who has ever walked within spitting distance of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the opening monologue was quick to make use of this genuinely insane temporary cast of stars. Things got started on the right foot when the always-welcome Steve Martin took the stage ... but then he was joined by Tom Hanks. And then things got really crazy.
Remember how so many Star Wars fans lost their minds when we first saw Kylo Ren’s bizarre hilted lightsaber in the trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7? Well, they’re about to lose ‘em all over again. Hasbro is introducing a new line of toys that will allow children (and their parents) to customize their own Jedi weapons. If you should a little hilt was crazy, then you probably aren’t prepared for what people will soon be able to create in their homes.
‘Magic Mike’ was a perfect storm of a movie. For some of the moviegoing population, it was a chance to load yourself up with frozen margaritas and go watch a bunch of extremely attractive, chiseled men strut their stuff on camera. For cinephiles, it was the next film from the ever-versatile genius Steven Soderbergh, whose filmography is littered with experimental and pop masterpieces alike. It was a big hit, a sequel was greenlit, and now, the first ‘Magic Mike XXL’ poster has arrived, placing returning star Channing Tatum (and his abs) front and center.
In news that should surprise approximately no one, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that “binge-watching” has been linked to depression, loneliness, and the inability to make wise decisions, like getting off the couch and doing anything else. Researchers Wei-Na Lee, Yoon Hi Sung and Eun Yeon Kang surveyed 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29, asking them about their mental and emotional states while they marathoned TV shows on Netflix (the study defined binge-watching as at least three episodes in a row).
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