Articles on this Page
- 03/29/17--13:10: _The company respons...
- 03/29/17--13:13: _Vin Diesel chokes u...
- 03/30/17--08:20: _'Ghost in the Shell...
- 03/30/17--08:45: _The early reaction ...
- 03/30/17--10:28: _A 'Batgirl' movie i...
- 03/30/17--11:26: _A director explains...
- 03/30/17--11:43: _The trailer for Net...
- 03/31/17--07:25: _Charlie Hunnam almo...
- 03/31/17--08:30: _The best movies and...
- 03/31/17--08:33: _Here's everything l...
- 03/31/17--08:44: _Here's everything c...
- 03/31/17--09:08: _'Ghost in the Shell...
- 03/31/17--10:13: _The original ending...
- 03/31/17--14:09: _The terrifying 'It'...
- 04/01/17--06:50: _How the original 'G...
- 04/02/17--07:00: _54 of the most hila...
- 04/02/17--07:15: _What happened to ev...
- 04/02/17--08:41: _'The Boss Baby' soa...
- 04/03/17--13:12: _Amazon confirmed it...
- 04/04/17--07:42: _RANKED: The 28 best...
- 03/30/17--11:43: The trailer for Netflix's 'War Machine' starring Brad Pitt is here
- 03/31/17--08:33: Here's everything leaving Netflix in April that you need to watch
- 03/31/17--08:44: Here's everything coming to Netflix in April that you need to watch
- 03/31/17--09:08: 'Ghost in the Shell' is racist in unexpected ways
- 03/31/17--10:13: The original ending of 'Frozen' was extremely dark
- 04/02/17--07:00: 54 of the most hilariously bad Amazon movie reviews (AMZN)
- 04/04/17--07:42: RANKED: The 28 best car chases in movie history
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has decided to retain the services of the accounting firm that was responsible for the greatest error in Oscars history.
Following a six-hour meeting, the Academy's board of governors decided Tuesday night that PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been working with the Academy for 83 years, will be working next year's Oscars, according to The Hollywood Reporter, despite the envelope flub that led to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing "La La Land" as best picture instead of the rightful winner, "Moonlight."
But there will be some changes to help make sure a screwup like this never happens again.
According to the trade, new protocols include PwC chairman Tim Ryan taking on a greater oversight role, a third accountant will being seated in the control room to ensure a more immediate response if a mistake were to occur, the accountants taking part in the rehearsals, and all accountants checking their electronic devices before going near the Oscars stage.
The best-picture error occurred when PwC accountant Brian Cullinan was reportedly busy on his phone tweeting a photo of Oscar winner Emma Stone. Meanwhile, he had handed the wrong envelope to Beatty and Dunaway to award the best-picture Oscar.
Cullinan and the other accountant who worked this year's Oscars, Martha Ruiz, will never work the show again.
It turns out Cullinan was specifically told not to use his phone backstage before this year's Oscars. According to THR, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson informed the board that she became aware that Cullinan had used his smartphone and social media while working on past Oscars ceremonies, leading to him being explicitly told not to do so this year.
Cullinan still has his job at PwC.
He said that he decided to go forward with “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to make good on a promise Walker made that there would be an eighth chapter in the long-running series. That film, “The Fate of the Furious,” opens next month. Universal later surprised the audience by debuting the full movie.
“It was Paul Walker who promised eight,” Diesel said. “It played over and over again in my brain.”
Walker died in an automobile crash in 2013. He was 40-years old.
“Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,” Diesel said. Diesel, who has called Walker his best friend, said the actor continues to live through the characters.
“You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium,” Diesel said. “There’s something beautiful about that. There’s something celebratory about that.”
Fighting back tears, Diesel put a hand over his eyes.
“I always feel like he’s looking down on us so we didn’t want to let him down,” Diesel said.
Diesel wasn’t the only member of the franchise to reflect on Walker’s legacy.
“We move and operate in the memory of Paul Walker,” co-star Tyrese Gibson added.
CinemaCon is an annual exhibition industry trade show unfolding this week in Las Vegas.
Diesel said that “The Fate of the Furious” will kick off a new trilogy. Before each “Fast and Furious” movie, he said he asks himself a question.
“How do you reinvent yourself?” Diesel said. “How do you defy expectations?”
When Diesel announced in 2015 that the series would move forward, he used CinemaCon as a platform, telling theater owners that the film would be the best movie ever made.
“Hold me to that,” he said.
Paramount already had an uphill battle on its hands with its live-action adaptation of "Ghost in the Shell." Trying to make a global blockbuster out of a legendary Japanese manga is no easy feat (Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks has had the US rights since 2008), not to mention the 1995 animated movie that's considered a classic.
But then casting Scarlett Johansson as the main character, Major Kusanagi, led to a public-relations nightmare. The movie is now labeled as just the latest example of Hollywood whitewashing.
It's an issue that can't be dismissed. But facing all the spin from the filmmakers — that's it's an "international" story and Johansson's comments that she"would never presume to play another race of a person"— I went into the movie willing to accept that this could work.
More on that later. Let's get to what I did like about the movie.
For fans of the manga or the anime movie, you will be happy to hear that this "Ghost in the Shell," directed by Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman"), very much pays homage to both with dazzling visuals and special effects. You will certainly see a lot of similarities to the "Matrix" franchise, as the Wachowskis pretty much used "Ghost in the Shell" as their guide to make their own heralded sci-fi franchise (all the way down to people having a network portal in the back of their head). And the cityscapes have a distinct "Blade Runner" vibe.
The story follows Major (Johansson) from her creation — the Hanka Robotics company seemingly saved her brain from a body about to perish and placed it into a robot — to joining the anticyberterrorism task force known as Section 9.
The iconic shot of Major free falling off a skyscraper is here, as is her taking on all comers guns blazing. Johansson plays the part as very robotic, though not as stiff as in her most recent enhanced-human role, in 2014's "Lucy."
Section 9 is led by Chief Daisuke Aramaki, played by legendary Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano, while Danish actor Pilou Asbæk plays Major's second-in-command, Batou.
The team learns of a new criminal who is determined to take down Hanka, and it begins to investigate. It turns out Kuze (Michael Pitt) has built his own network and uses it to jump in and out of bodies to follow through on his task to kill the Hanka scientists who created him. Major realizes through Kuze that even though she was told she was the first of her kind, she's certainly not.
There are many philosophical moments, particularly about the meaning of a person's "ghost" or soul. In an imagined age when machines have not only taken over everything around us but now enhance us, the movie examines the only thing we have ownership of anymore: our own being.
That abstract thinking will be welcome for fans of "Ghost in the Shell," as will shoutouts to various tropes from the Japanese comics and anime movies (like director Mamoru Oshii's love of basset hounds).
But let's get to the part that didn't sit well for me and probably won't for many others.
(Warning: Spoiler coming.)
Major suffers "glitches" in her ghost that turn out to be related to her past life. We come to learn that before she was encased in her robot body, she was a runaway, and Hanka took her and other outcasts from a house and used their brains to create cyborgs. Major was once a Japanese woman named Motoko Kusanagi.
This will most likely infuriate those who were already upset that Major was not played by an Asian actress. Not only did the makers of the movie and Paramount clearly whitewash, but they doubled down by showing in the movie that Major has the brain of a human who was once Japanese but sports the synthetic features of a pretty white woman.
There's an obvious economic motivation behind Johansson's casting. She's a proven box-office draw, both in the US and abroad. Paramount is looking at dollars over common sense. But when the entire industry is rightfully being hammered about its lack of diversity, the blindness of all involved in "Ghost in the Shell" is remarkable.
And it also points out a big, gaping hole in Hollywood's diversity problem. Though there's an obvious effort to hire more directors who are female and of color, the lack of diversity at the studio-executive level has the potential for its own kind of damage.
It's likely that numerous directors passed on making the new "Ghost in the Shell" because they predicted a public backlash, but if an executive wants to make a movie a certain way, sooner or later, the person will find a director who will take the job.
We applaud when we see a diverse cast and crew, but we need to focus on the people filling the boardrooms.
"Ghost in the Shell" opens in theaters on Friday.
Hollywood's attention has largely turned to Las Vegas, where this week at CinemaCon studios are show off their most impressive upcoming work.
On Wednesday, Universal had the floor and surprised everyone in attendance with a screening of "The Fate of the Furious." The latest chapter in the hugely popular "Fast and the Furious" franchise has Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson joining newcomers Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.
There's clearly a lot of excitement for this movie, which comes out in theaters on April 14. Based on the reactions of those who were in the room, the hype is real.
Excited reactions ranged from "perfection" to "crazy, fun, and yet very different ending." See for yourself:
The Fate of the Furious is another winning entry in the franchise. Crazy, fun, and yet very different feeling. I laughed, I cried, I cheered— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) March 29, 2017
#fateofthefurious is exactly what you buy your ticket for. A few fun “so bad they’re good moments” and Statham has a movie-stealing scene— Aaron Couch (@AaronCouch) March 29, 2017
I adored every ridiculous, silly, charming, absurd, fun second of The Fate of the Furious.— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) March 29, 2017
For the rest of us, we'll just have to settle for watching the trailer daily until the movie hits theaters.
Whedon is nearing a deal to write, direct, and produce an untitled Batgirl pic for Warner Bros. as part of its DC Extended Universe.
No other producers are currently attached. Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, is overseeing with Jon Berg and Geoff Johns. The new project originated in the past month.
Batgirl is one of the most popular superheroes in the world, but has never gotten her own movie. The project will also feature other characters from the world of Gotham.
Batgirl first appeared in DC Comics in 1967 as Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon in “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!” by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino.
The Batgirl project will be the second movie from DC Films to star a female lead after Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman,” which opens June 2. Extensive footage of the film was shown Wednesday at CinemaCon.
Whedon would be making a big move from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its DC counterpart, having written and directed “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” for Disney-Marvel. He also created the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” “Dollhouse,” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel,” followed by last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” Its upcoming films, which have already been dated, include “Wonder Woman”; “Justice League,” debuting Nov. 17; and “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa and hitting theaters in December of 2018.
The studio is also developing a “Suicide Squad” sequel and “Gotham City Sirens,” a spinoff to “Suicide Squad” with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn character; “The Batman,” starring Ben Affleck with Matt Reeves directing; a “Shazam” film and a Black Adam spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson; and projects based on the Flash and Cyborg characters.
Whedon is repped by CAA.
Luc Besson has always had an eye for casting actresses who are mesmerizing on the big screen.
There was Natalie Portman in her breakout role in "Léon: The Professional," model-turned-action star Milla Jovovich in "The Fifth Element," Scarlett Johansson in "Lucy," and for his latest movie, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," you can add two more names: Cara Delevingne and Rihanna.
Delevingne is one of the leads in this adaptation of the legendary French sci-fi graphic novel, while Rihanna plays a shape-shifting entertainer named Bubble.
Having already become one of the biggest artists in the music industry, Rihanna has moved her attention to movies and TV of late. She played Marion Crane in the latest season of “Bates Motel” and recently wrapped on the female-focused “Ocean’s Eleven” movie, “Ocean’s Eight.”
Besson talked to Business Insider and other press on Monday after showing the trailer for "Valerian," and when Rihanna came up, he pointed out the surprising ease of working with the pop superstar.
“What was amazing was all the entourage is out, she's on the set by herself, totally open, and you can mold her how you want,” he said. “There's no distance, nothing. She waits for you to do something with her. She offers herself like clay.”
He admits, however, that he was shocked to get her on the set at all. It seems she basically never has free time.
“The most difficult thing was trying to catch her to get her on set,” Besson said. “I think her schedule is worse than any president in the world — I couldn't believe it. She can land at midnight, work until 2am, and I thought I was busy. But she's the queen.”
“Valerian” opens in theaters through STX Entertainment on July 21. See the trailer below:
Netflix debuted the full-length trailer for its original movie "War Machine" starring Brad Pitt on Thursday.
"War Machine" is written and directed by David Michôd, who wrote and directed 2010's "Animal Kingdom."
From the producers of the Oscar-nominated "The Big Short," the film is based on the book "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan" by the late Michael Hastings. The film is fiction, but Pitt's character is based on General Stanley McChrystal, who was fired after Hastings published an exposé about him in Rolling Stone, and it has a decidedly satirical bent. The film follows Pitt's character, who is brought in to command NATO forces in Afghanistan.
In the trailer, Pitt's character tells the president of Afghanistan, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, "My team and I are about to embark on a new direction."
When asked what that direction is, Pitt says, "We build Afghanistan into a free and prosperous nation."
"Sounds a lot like the old direction," Kingsley says.
The film also stars Tilda Swinton, Topher Grace, and Anthony Michael Hall. It makes its debut on Netflix on May 26.
You can watch the trailer below:
Every movie set in the jungle has its stories, but this one is going to give you the creeps.
While showing footage of his upcoming movie "The Lost City of Z" at CinemaCon on Thursday, the film's star Charlie Hunnam (best known from "Sons of Anarchy") revealed to the audience some of the perils of making a movie that's set in the Amazon, including insects crawling into your body and nearly getting struck by lightning.
“The greatest ordeal was in my hotel room — a beetle had burrowed into my ear and I woke up to a sound of a drill in my ear,” Hunnam said, according to The Wrap. “Years ago, I had a similar experience where I had a girlfriend who had a moth fly into her ear so I knew what had happened.”
Hunnam went on to tell the audience that it was 3 a.m. when the beetle made its way into his ear. Not wanting to wake up anyone, he decided to “MacGyver this” and try to get it out himself by using a Neti Pot. But it didn't work. So he went back to sleep.
That's right. Charlie Hunnam felt something crawling in his ear so he went back to sleep!
He woke again after feeling the beetle move once more. This led him to finally contacting the producers of the movie who then got him to the hospital to get it out.
Oh, Hunnam also said he almost got hit by lightning on the set, too.
“A lighting bolt struck about where the speakers are [pointing to something onstage] and knocked me off my feet — and I was like, ‘Okay, let's go!'”
That near-death experience is still tame compared to what happened to the person he's portraying in the movie. "The Lost City of Z," based on the 2009 David Grann book of the same title, retraces the journeys of explorer Percy Fawcett to find the ancient lost city. In 1925, he disappeared with his son in the Amazon while looking for it.
Made through Amazon Studios, the movie will be in theaters April 21 and then available for streaming on Amazon after its theatrical run.
As the calendar moves to April, you will get the chance to stream some great movies and TV.
On iTunes you will can buy (and soon rent) hits like "La La Land" and "Split."
Amazon has its original titles like "The Handmaiden" and season three of "Catastrophe" on offer.
Hulu premieres its highly anticipated new series "The Handmaid's Tale."
While on HBO, shows like "Veep,""Silicon Valley," and "The Leftovers" begin new seasons, and the Oscar-winning (it's true — Google it) "Suicide Squad" comes to the channel and its streaming services.
Here's everything coming to your favorite streaming platforms. We've highlighted some standouts in bold:
Available April 3
"The Real Housewives of Potomac" (Season 2)
Available April 4
Available April 6
"Archer" (Season 8)
"The Real Housewives of New York City (Season 9)
Available April 11
“La La Land”
“Underworld: Blood Wars”
"Better Call Saul" (Season 3)
Available April 18
“A Dog’s Purpose”
Available April 20
"Fargo" (Season 3)
Available April 25
“Fifty Shades Darker”
Available April 1
“Days of Thunder”
“Eddie Murphy Raw”
“Kiss the Girls” (1997)
“Saturday Night Fever”
“Searching for Bobby Fischer”
“The Ghost and the Darkness”
“There Will Be Blood”
Available April 2
“Hello, My Name Is Doris”
Available April 3
“Real Housewives of Potomac” (Season 2)
Available April 4
“The Last Exorcism”
“Southern Charm” (Season 4)
“Office Christmas Party”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
Available April 6
“Archer” (Season 8)
Available April 7
“American Playboy” (AMAZON ORIGINAL, Season 1)
Available April 8
“In a World”
“Barbershop: The Next Cut”
Available April 9
“The Perfect Match” (2016)
Available April 11
“Better Call Saul” (Season 3)
Available April 13
“The Handmaiden” (AMAZON ORIGINAL)
Available April 14
“Fortitude” (Season 2)
“The Love Witch”
Available April 20
“Fargo” (Season 3)
Available April 21
“Bosch” (AMAZON ORIGINAL, Season 3)
“Thirteen” (Season 1
“Thunderbirds are Go!” (AMAZON ORIGINAL, Season 3)
Available April 27
Available April 28
“Catastrophe” (AMAZON ORIGINAL, Season 3)
Available April 30
“Animal Kingdom” (Season 1)
Available April 1
"A Horse Tale"
"Agent Cody Banks"
"Ben Collins: Stunt Driver"
"Beyond the Sea"
"The Big Empty"
"Days of Thunder"
"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"
"Eddie Murphy Raw"
"Ferris Bueller’s Day Off"
"Fifteen and Pregnant"
"Fight to the Finish"
"The Giant King"
"The Ghost and the Darkness"
"Guns of the Magnificent Seven"
"Hemingway’s Garden of Eden"
"I Am Number Four"
"Kiss the Girls"
"March of the Penguins"
"Mighty Joe Young"
"The People vs. George Lucas"
"The Puffy Chair"
"Return of the Living Dead 3"
"Return of the Living Dead 4"
"Return of the Living Dead 5"
"Saturday Night Fever"
"Searching for Bobby Fischer"
"Shaun of the Dead"
"Thelma & Louise"
"Twice Upon a Yesterday"
"Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys"
"Under the Sea"
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit"
Available April 2
"Hello, My Name is Doris"
Available April 4
"Dimension 404" (Series Premiere)
"The Last Exorcism"
Available April 5
"Preacher" (Complete Season 1)
"Prison Break" (Season 5 Premiere)
Available April 6
"NHL Road to the Outdoor Classics" (Ep. 4)
Available April 7
"The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds"
"Steve Byrne: Tell the Damn Joke"
Available April 8
"Camp Lakebottom" (Complete Season 1)
"First Dates" (Series Premiere)
"Barbershop: The Next Cut"
"Beyond the Edge"
"Perfect in ’76"
Available April 9
"The Perfect Match"
"In A World"
Available April 10
Available April 13
"Short Term 12"
Available April 14
"The Man Who Knew Infinity"
"The Straight Story"
Available April 15
"DOT" (Complete Season 1A)
"Sid the Science Kid" (Complete Seasons 1 & 2)
"Sid the Science Kid: The Movie"
Available April 18
"Famous in Love" (Series Premiere)
"My Hero Academia" (Complete Season 1)
"Ain’t Them Bodies Saints"
"Election Day: Lens Across America"
Available April 19
"Pretty Little Liars" (Season 7 Premiere)
"Teen Beach Movie"
"The Even Stevens Movie"
"Stuck in the Suburbs"
Available April 21
"LA Story" (Complete Season 2)
Available April 22
"Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation" (Series Premiere)
Available April 24
"Top of the Lake" (Complete Season 1)
Available April 25
"Origins: The Journey of Humankind" (Series Premiere)
"Wayward Pines" (Complete Season 2)
Available April 26
"The Handmaid’s Tale" (Series Premiere)
Available April 29
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Complete Season 4)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Netflix has released the batch of titles that will be removed from its streaming service in April, and it's time to say bye to some classics.
The John Hughes comedy "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," along with two romantic movies, "The Princess Bride" and "Under the Tuscan Sun," are headed out.
Here's everything that's leaving Netflix in March. We've highlighted the titles we think you should watch in bold.
Leaving April 1
"Ally McBeal" (Seasons 1 - 5)
"Angel" (Seasons 1 – 5)
"Better Off Ted" (Season 1)
"Barbershop 2: Back in Business"
"Bones" (Seasons 1 - 4)
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Seasons 1 - 7)
"Dollhouse" (Season 1)
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
"House, M.D." (Seasons 1 - 8)
"Lie to Me" (Season 1)
"Menace II Society"
"Resident Evil: Extinction"
"Rosewell" (Seasons 1 - 3)
"Stomp the Yard"
"Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"
"Superman: The Movie"
"The Agony and the Ecstasy"
"The Boys from Brazil"
"The Princess Bride"
"The Riches" (Seasons 1 - 2)
"The Usual Suspects"
"The X-Files" (Seasons 1 - 9)
Leaving April 3
Leaving April 7
"Legit" (Season 2)
"Wilfred" (Season 4)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
April is bringing new movies and television to Netflix, including some classic films and a slew of original content.
It includes classics like "Schindler's List," comfort food like "The Great British Bake Off," and movies from late last year, like "The B.F.G" and "The Queen of Katwe."
Find the full list of new releases below. We've highlighted some of our favorites.
"A Weekend with the Family" (2016)
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)
"Across the Universe" (2007)
"An American Tail" (1986)
"An American Tail: Fievel Goes West" (1991)
"An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster" (1999)
"Boy Bye" (2016)
"Born To Be Free" (2016)
"Cool Runnings" (1993)
"Good Witch: Season 2" (2016)
"Only for One Night" (2016)
"Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin'" (1971)
"Schindler's List" (1993)
"Something's Gotta Give" (2003)
"Wynonna Earp: Season 1" (2016)
"Trouble with the Curve" (2012)
"Tropic Thunder" (2008)
"The Tenth Man" (2016)
"The D Train" (2015)
"Chewing Gum: Season 2" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Louis C.K. 2017" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Disney’s The BFG" (2016)
"El Faro De Las Orcas" NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Dawn of the Croods: Season 3" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"The Get Down: Part 2" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Win It All NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Kubo and the Two Strings" (2016)
"Documentary Now!: Season 2" (2016)
"Kevin Hart: What Now" (2016)
"DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2" (2016)
"Chelsea: Season 2"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"El Elegido" (2017)
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Sandy Wexler"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Disney’s Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (1993)
"Slam"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Lucas Brothers: On Drugs"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"A Plastic Ocean"
"Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 1"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Girlboss: Season 1" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On: Season 1"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Sand Castle" NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Tales by Light: Season 2"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show: Season 4" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"The Prestige" (2006)
"Tramps"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Season 1-3 (2016)
"The Secret Life of Pets" (2016)
"Liv and Maddie: Season 4" (2016)
"Long Nights Short Mornings" (2016)
"Disney’s Queen of Katwe" (2016)
"The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Vir Das: Abroad Understanding" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Real Rescues: Season 6-7" (2012)
"Las Chicas del Cable: Season 1"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"A Murder in the Park" (2014)
"Casting JonBenet"NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Dear White People: Season 1" NETFLIX ORIGINAL
"Rodney King"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Small Crimes"NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
"Sofia the First: Season 3" (2015)
When Scarlett Johansson was originally cast to lead the live-action adaptation of "Ghost in the Shell," there were complaints that the movie was whitewashing its lead role. In the manga and anime, the lead character is Major Motoko Kusanagi, but the live-action version changed it to Major Mira Killian
The conventional wisdom argued that in order to fund a blockbuster film, they needed a “name” like Johansson. To be fair, Johansson is one of the few female stars that can open an action film. The 2014 film "Lucy," which is based on nothing except a misunderstanding of how the human brain works, opened to $43 million and went on to gross $463 million worldwide. That being said, studios have never balked at casting white, nothingburger actors to lead their movies, which is how we get stuck with folks like Sam Worthington, Jai Courtney, and Garrett Hedlund. Paramount is a studio that needed Johansson’s name recognition for "Ghost in the Shell," but seemed oddly okay to put "Ben-Hur" on the shoulders of Jack Huston, a fine actor but one who had never carried a movie before.
So the opportunity that could have come to a Japanese actress like Rinko Kikuchior Tao Okamoto instead went to Johansson, arguably the safer bet financially, but inconsistent with how studios approach other blockbuster films. But watching "Ghost in the Shell," I was struck by how Johansson’s casting is just the tip of the iceberg in the film’s unsettling treatment of race.
[Spoilers ahead for Ghost in the Shell]
What’s striking throughout the film is that director Rupert Sanders wants to set his film in a futuristic Tokyo, happily latches on to imagery from the anime and manga that was inspired by modern Tokyo, and then populates the majority of the film with non-Japanese actors. In terms of the main cast, the only major characters played by Japanese actors are Major’s boss Aramaki (“Beat” Takeshi Kitano), her fellow agent Saito (Yutaka Izumihara), and Hairi (Kaori Momoi), a woman whose daughter disappeared. Beyond that, there are some nameless henchmen and a handful of background performers, and that’s really all you see of Japanese people in a film that’s set in Japan.
Sanders wanted to give his film an international look, and while I appreciate the casting of folks like Pilou Asbæk (Denmark), Danusia Samal (born in London but of Kurdish and Polish descent), Chin Han (Singapore), Lasarus Ratuere (Australia), and Anamaria Marinca (Romania), that’s still a majority of white people in a film that’s based in Japan. So why have it take place in Tokyo at all? If it’s the future, why not go the route of past scripts of "Akira" and move the setting from “Neo-Tokyo” to “Neo-Manhattan” or just avoid naming the location?
The answer seems to be that Sanders wants all of the Japanese aesthetic with none of the people. The film wants to separate the culture and the population because while the culture is cool, casting Japanese actors into more than two roles is apparently too much of a hurdle. The result is a setting that’s constantly distracting as you wonder not only how far into the future "Ghost in the Shell" is supposed to be, but what exactly happened to reduce Japanese people to a minority in their own country (a country that is currently so homogeneous that its population is currently 98.5% Japanese).
But if you think about that for more than half a second, that still makes no sense because someone, somewhere at Hanka had to say something like, “You know, we should keep everything—same height, build, even the hairstyle, but I would really like it if she could be Caucasian.” And it happened more than once! Kuze was formerly a guy named Hideo (traditionally a Japanese name), and once again they’re like, “This is all well and good, but can we make the shell a white person?”
In a sharper, more subversive script, "Ghost in the Shell" could be about the festishization of Western culture and destructive white standards of beauty, but "Ghost in the Shell" is not that movie. Time and again, it’s a film that puts white people above all else, and does so thoughtlessly. It’s a film where whiteness is not only the default, but in fact meant to override Japanese people. Japan is meant to provide what’s cool—from the source material to the setting—but in the hands of Rupert Sanders’"Ghost in the Shell," white people are deemed to be superior because of the color of their skin.
The ending of "Frozen" could have been very different than the happy one we got, and which helped catapult the Disney movie into becoming an instant classic.
"Frozen" producer Peter Del Vecho told Entertainment Weekly that at first Elsa and Anna were not sisters and weren't royal. Elsa still had her Snow Queen powers, but she was evil.
"We started out with an evil female villain and an innocent female heroine and the ending involved a big epic battle with snow monsters that Elsa had created as her army," Del Vecho said.
This alternate version of the movie opens with the prophecy that “a ruler with a frozen heart will bring destruction to the kingdom of Arendelle.” We learn that Elsa was stood up at the alter on her wedding day and froze her own heart so she will never love again. So Anna and everyone else assume Elsa is the one the prophecy warns of.
Cut to the ending, and Elsa creates an army of snow monsters to attack Anna and Kristoff. To counter the army, Prince Hans (still two-faced) triggers a huge avalanche, not caring that it will put the people of Arendelle in jeopardy. Anna convinces Elsa to use her powers for good to save Arendelle.
Then the twist.
It turns out the prophecy in the beginning is about Hans, not Elsa. Hans is the one with the frozen heart. So Elsa saves Arendelle and her heart is unfrozen so she can love again.
Yeah, that's a lot to take in. And everyone behind the movie thought so, too.
"It wasn’t satisfying," Del Vecho said. "We had no emotional connection to Elsa — we didn’t care about her because she had spent the whole movie being the villain. We weren’t drawn in. The characters weren’t relatable."
Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee went back to the drawing board and began to flesh out the story that would go on to win two Oscars (best animated feature and original song for "Let It Go") and earn over $1.2 billion at the global box office.
There seems to be a lot of excitement for the new "It" movie.
The latest scary adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel had its trailer premiere on Wednesday, and it completely blew up. In the first 24 hours, the trailer was viewed globally 197 million times.
That's a new record, according to Deadline.
The previous record holder was "The Fate of the Furious" back in December with 139 million views in a day. According to the trade, 81M views and over 1.8M shares of the "It" trailer came from US Facebook instances alone.
The movie about the frightening clown Pennywise and the seven kids who try to destroy him doesn't hit theaters until September, so expect a few more trailers before then.
But New Line and Warner Bros. are certainly pleased with the reaction so far.
Watch the trailer (again) here:
You probably didn't know about "Ghost in the Shell" until the Scarlett Johansson live-action adaptation, out Friday, came around. That movie has now been clouded by the controversy surrounding alleged "whitewashing" of what was originally a Japanese character — a necessary, though complicated, conversation about the story's origins and how Hollywood operates. But if nothing else, hopefully the new movie sends people back to the bold, brilliant manga and anime franchise on which it's based.
"Ghost in the Shell" has had a cult following in the US since the 1995 release of the anime movie directed by Mamoru Oshii (and it's big business in Japan). But it has also quietly influenced many of the movies you watch, and how we think about the future of technology and humanity for decades. You've seen bits and pieces of it before.
The Wachowskis openly cited the anime movie as an inspiration for "The Matrix." James Cameron called"Ghost in the Shell""a stunning work of speculative fiction," and the future of his "Avatar," in which humans remotely operate alien bodies, certainly bears a resemblance to the anime.
But the Wachowskis' movie looks closest to "Ghost in the Shell." The 1999 blockbuster even has the same holes in the backs of characters' necks to "plug in." The "digital rain" of green Matrix code contains reversed Japanese characters, a shoutout to its predecessor.
The ideas that drove "The Matrix" are also ripped straight (lovingly so) from "Ghost in the Shell." Oshii and the creator of the "Ghost" manga (a type of Japanese comic) Masamune Shirow posed serious philosophical questions about a potential future when our human bodies have been intimately fused with technology — mechanically enhanced and able to plug into the internet straight from our minds.
In the '95 "Ghost in the Shell," Major Motoko Kusanagi is a brain inside a manufactured body, the "ghost" inside the "shell." Her robotic parts are owned by the government, and she does the bidding of an anti-cyberterrorism task force known as Section 9. She questions who she is, who she was, and what it even means to be human. If even your brain has been augmented by technology, are you still you?
In one crucial scene, Major explains that she thinks about becoming someone else. She feels constrained by her cyborg self and dreams of something more. Meanwhile, a hacker known as the "Puppet Master" who was designed as a government tool has gone rogue and is hijacking people's brains, implanting false memories.
At the end of "Ghost in the Shell," in an unsettling twist that speaks to the deeper philosophical meaning of the movie, Major actually merges with her ostensible enemy, the Puppet Master, who is not chained to a body. The old Major does not exist, and neither does the Puppet Master, but rather they've created a new being, who's free to roam around what Major calls "the net," which is "vast and infinite."
You know what else is vast and infinitie? The Matrix, where human beings live out programmed lives while their physical bodies atrophy in pods. As in "Ghost in the Shell," their memories have been implanted. The question of what is "real" and what is virtual — and whether the difference even matters — is at the heart of both movies.
"Ghost and the Shell" and "The Matrix" became central to what was known as "cyberpunk" sci-fi in the 1990s. It's often remembered for its aesthetics — the dark trench coats, that mix of grimy urban sprawl with futuristic computer enhancement — but cyberpunk was also a movement that, at the end of the millennium, challenged people to think about how technology would fundamentally change what it means to be human.
Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks bought the US movie rights to "Ghost in the Shell" nine years ago, and it's not hard to see why. Spielberg's 2001 movie "A.I." resembles "Ghost in the Shell" not only in its cyberpunk atmosphere, but also in its own wrenching philosophical conundrum: If you build a "robot who can love," is his love any different from a human's? Is his love "real"?
Of course, "Ghost in the Shell" hardly invented these questions. They've vexed people as long as technology itself. But it did wrap up those themes in a cool-looking package that continues to hook filmmakers and cult-movie fans. The recent acclaimed indie hit "Ex Machina" imagines the power (and possible destruction) of a robot who can think for herself — and dress up just as if she were a real woman. (Sound familiar?)
The new "Ghost in the Shell," while full of thrilling cyperpunk action and visual detail, sadly takes only small stabs at the deeper philosophy of the franchise. In the most provocative scene, Major hires a female prostitute simply so she can feel the woman's flesh-and-blood body, what it's like to be "fully human." When asked what she is, Major says, "I don't know." You can feel Scarlett Johansson doing everything to convey the character's anguished searching for herself, how she lives between cyborg and organic worlds. But by the end, the movie cops out with a corny and racially uncomfortable backstory reveal that, as one critic points out, is more "Bourne" than cyberpunk.
Johansson's "Ghost in the Shell" may not live up to its source material, but the "vast and infinite net" imagined by the groundbreaking anime movie is still out there, haunting our dreams of the future.
For the past few years, Joe Grabinksi has chronicled the most hilariously bad Amazon reviews of popular movies.
Grabinski's Twitter account, "Amazon Movie Reviews," has amassed almost 200,000 followers, and is a pitch-perfect mixture of extremely misguided reviews and just plain wacky ones.
We asked Grabinksi to update a list of his favorites he put together for us last year. These are the best of the bad. The ones he chose range in tone from clueless to angry, to some that we truly hope were meant as a joke. A few things we noticed: Parents tend to blame movies for everything, and at least one person still really cares about VHS.
Get your popcorn ready.
Hunger Games (2012)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (2014)
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2017 is the 40th anniversary of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," the first entry in one of the most beloved motion picture franchises of all time. Over those forty years, "Star Wars" grew to include numerous sequels, prequels, spin-offs, animated series, and video games (of widely varying quality), and the brand is showing no signs of slowing down. The most recent film in the saga, "Rogue One," brought in over one billion dollars at the global box office.
So whatever happened to the folks who starred in those first three space movies? Some of the cast of the original "Star Wars" trilogy went on to become household names, some of them faded into obscurity, while others are sadly no longer with us; forty years is a long time, after all. Let’s take a look back at the major players in the ensemble cast of the greatest sci-fi story ever told and see what they’re up to today.
Here's what happened to everyone who starred in the original "Star Wars" trilogy:
20. James Earl Jones/David Prowse
Darth Vader, the conflicted villain of the "Star Wars trilogy", was chiefly played by two actors: David Prowse and James Earl Jones. Prowse stood at 6’5″, establishing Vader as an intimidating force to be reckoned with. Before "Star Wars," Prowse had a great many credits as a hard-working actor, usually playing a tall monster of some sort, including Frankenstein’s monster in the 1967 comedy spoof, "Casino Royale," and Android in four episodes of the 1970s version of "The Tomorrow People." In the years since the end of the trilogy, Prowse has more-or-less faded into obscurity, sometimes popping up on British television or Star Wars fan projects. Most recently, he made an appearance in the web series, "Mission Backup Earth."
While James Earl Jones never wore Vader’s iconic black suit, the actor’s booming voice became one of the most iconic elements of the entire "Star Wars" saga. Jones reprised his role as Vader in multiple "Star Wars" projects, including 2005’s Episode III, 2016’s "Rogue One," and several episodes of "Star Wars Rebels." Outside of "Star Wars," Jones has had a variety of high-profile roles in movies such as "Coming to America" and the "Jack Ryan" movies starring Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford. Jones’ most notable leading role came long before "Star Wars," when he played a boxer based on the legendary Jack Johnson, one of the greatest fighters who ever lived, in 1970’s "The Great White Hope." He’s currently set to reprise his other iconic voice role, Mufasa, in the upcoming live-action remake of "The Lion King."
19. Kenny Baker
Before being cast as rambunctious droid R2-D2 in "Star Wars," the 3′ 8″ Kenny Baker worked in a traveling troupe of little people. During the pre-production of the original space fantasy, George Lucas found Baker to be the only person that was both small enough to fit inside the R2 frame and strong enough to operate it, and just like that, a sci-fi icon was born. After attaining stardom as the most popular cinema robot of all time, Baker went on to appear in a bunch of movies, including "Labyrinth,""The Elephant Man," and "Willow."
In 1999, he returned to play R2 in "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," and stayed on for the entire prequel trilogy. All told, he’s one of just a handful of actors to appear in the same role across the first six "Star Wars" films. For "Episode VII: The Force Awakens," Kenny Baker returned as a consultant, but did not operate R2-D2 himself, as the actor had been suffering from severe respiratory problems for many years. On August 13, 2016, Kenny Baker died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 81.
18. Anthony Daniels
R2-D2 was rarely seen without his friend and counterpart, C3PO, played by Anthony Daniels. Like Kenny Baker, Daniels played his character in all six entries of the first two "Star Wars" trilogies. However, he also returned in the golden suit for "Episode VII," and even made a brief cameo in "Rogue One." With this, Anthony Daniels became the only actor to appear in all eight live-action "Star Wars" movies. He has also voiced C3PO in numerous spin-offs, such as "The Clone Wars,""Rebels," and even in a brief scene in "The Lego Movie," alongside Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian (but more on him in a bit!).
Outside of "Star Wars," Daniels is likely best known for providing the voice of Legolas in Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of "The Lord of the Rings," and for starring opposite Helen Mirren in two noteworthy episodes of "Prime Suspect." No matter what else he does, Anthony Daniels will forever be loved and remembered for playing C3PO, the endearingly anxious protocol droid who keeps on finding himself trapped in situations which call for the exact opposite of etiquette and protocol.
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DreamWorks Animation, which is behind classics like the "Shrek,""Madagascar," and "Kung Fu Panda" franchises, looks to have another hit on its hands with its latest release, "The Boss Baby," taking in an estimated $49 million over the weekend, according to Boxofficepro.com.
That dethrones Disney's "The Beauty and the Beast," which has been No. 1 at the box office for the last two weeks. The movie came in second with $47 million.
The live-action remake now has a domestic total of $395 million, $876 million worldwide.
But all wasn't well for DreamWorks this weekend. Its long-developed, $110 million live-action retelling of the popular Japanese manga, "Ghost in the Shell," only earned $19 million over the weekend.
"The Boss Baby," starring Alec Baldwin voicing the baby and released by 20th Century Fox, was perfectly scheduled on the calendar. The kids who had finally seen "Beauty and the Beast" enough times to get their fill of the remake of Disney's 1991 animated classic (or were a little too young to go see it) were ready to be entertained by a baby wearing a suit.
Paramount's "Ghost in the Shell" just never seemed to have any momentum going all the way back to its casting of Scarlett Johansson as the movie's main character, Major. That led to accusations of whitewashing after critics saw the movie that didn't let up into opening weekend.
But a controversy like whitewashing typically doesn't enter the mind of the average moviegoer. So there's a little more that goes into the movie's failure than that. Though "Shell" is visually stunning, it's likely its lack of substance (a deep psychological story about keeping your soul in an age of cyborgs) that might have gone over everyone's head. Or just didn't motivate them to go see the movie opening weekend and wait until it's available to stream.
However, don't be surprised if the movie rebounds at the international box office. The big reason to cast a star like Johansson is she has as much international clout as she does domestically. Despite all the whitewashing talk, she could be the movie's saving grace.
The two most popular Amazon original shows in most countries are “The Grand Tour” and “The Man in the High Castle,” and they are central to Amazon’s strategy for world domination, according to Amazon Studios boss Roy Price.
Amazon doesn’t release viewership numbers, but during a MIPTV keynote on Monday, Price revealed that these blockbuster series were the most popular.
“‘The Grand Tour’ is an expensive show but it’s well worth it,” Price said of the new show from the team behind "Top Gear." The Financial Times had previously reported that Amazon had paid $250 million for three seasons of the show, though Price declined to comment on the figure.“It’s actually efficient and good economics,” Price continued.
How is that?
In the subscription video business — Amazon, Netflix, HBO Now, and so on — what moves the needle are the shows that people are talking about, and compelled to see, Price said. Those are the shows that are going to make them sign up for a free trial, or convert a free trial to a paid subscription.
The “real focus is the crème de la crème,” Price said. The “actual shows people are talking about.” That's not the only thing Amazon cares about. Price said that people watch a lot of movies on Amazon Prime, especially when they are new customers. But at the top of the totem pole are the blockbuster originals that can appeal to a global audience. In the hyper-competitive world of peak TV, Amazon cares most about the top 10 shows on its platform, according to Price.
And in deciding which shows will work, though Amazon is a tech company, data can only get them so far. “You can look at what people watch but you can’t be too deterministic about it,” he said. “The show that will be real gamechanger will be a rule breaker, not what people are watching today.”
There's something about a good car chase in a movie that's a joy for the senses.
Maybe it's the incredible talent of stunt drivers (and added visual effects in the last 30 years) that makes you feel you're in danger even though you're comfortably in your seat, or the high stakes of the moment in which the characters we're rooting for will either get out of the situation or have a gruesome finale, but an impressive car-chase scene can make even a mediocre movie a beloved classic.
The "Fast and Furious" movies have collectively taken the car chase to the next level. To prepare you for the latest movie in the franchise, "The Fate of the Furious" (opening April 14), we decided to look back on the best car chases ever pulled off.
See where the memorable chases from movies like "Mad Max: Fury Road,""Terminator 2: Judgment Day," and "Bullitt" rank on our list:
28. “The Rock” (1996)
Before Michael Bay brought nerve gas to Alcatraz, he had a Hummer wreak havoc on the streets of San Francisco. When John Mason (Sean Connery) tries to make a run for it in the beginning of the movie, he hops into a Hummer, and let's just say he doesn't obey traffic laws. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) is honestly no better in a commandeered Ferrari.
27. “Lucy” (2014)
After taking a dangerous synthetic drug that has given her special powers, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is on the hunt for the person responsible for making her this way. In Paris she thinks she's got a lead on one of the bad guys through sensing people's data on their devices and thus begins her insane chase to find the person through rush-hour traffic. At one point driving on the sidewalk, she never gets a scratch on her car, but she leaves destruction in her wake.
26. “The Italian Job” (2003)
Though the original "The Italian Job" had a great chase with Mini cars, it's the 2003 reboot that really pushed the envelope. The custom-made Mini Coopers featured in the scene in which Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Jason Statham race through underground Los Angeles had to be built with electric motors, as combustible engines aren't allowed in the subway tunnels they shot in. And most of the actors did their own stunt driving.
Fun fact: "Fate of the Furious" director F. Gary Gray also helmed this movie.
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