For decades, people have made fun of Roger Moore. Moore starred in more James Bond movies than anyone else, but his entire twelve-year, seven-film run is widely regarded today as a goofy, cartoonish disaster. After Moore retired from the role following 1985’s ‘A View to a Kill,’ the Bond franchise refocused, growing darker and more serious. Now 007 belongs to Daniel Craig, who’s as stern as Moore was cheeky. Craig’s Bonds (and the Jason Bourne movies that helped inspire their solemn tone) have been so hugely successful, that there is an assumption that over-the-top spy movies like Moore’s wouldn’t work in 2015. ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ proves they can.
This is sort of a surprising-not-surprising news item. Universal is readying a sequel to last year’s phenomenally successful comedy ‘Neighbors,’ which starred Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as married thirtysomethings whose suburban bliss with their newborn baby is spoiled by the arrival of a rowdy frat house next door. The first movie didn’t exactly leave a bunch of loose ends for Rogen, Byrne, and Efron to continue into another film, and comedy sequels don’t have a great track record. But the first movie did gross over $268 million worldwide against an $18 million budget. Hence the not-surprising part: Universal’s announcement that they’re working on a ‘Neighbors 2,’ which they hope to have in theaters by next summer.
It’s great when a movie understands exactly what it is. ‘Magic Mike’ was an intelligently made Steven Soderbergh movie about life in Great Recession America. But it became a huge surprise hit in the summer of 2012—grossing $167 million worldwide against a budget of just $7 million—because it had Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and an assortment of the finest man-candy in Hollywood bumping and grinding with their shirts off. The marketing for ‘Magic Mike XXL’ seems to have an innate sense of this. The first poster is a picture of Tatum with his shirt off, pointing at his crotch where the word “Coming” is suggestively placed. And this teaser trailer is basically Channing Tatum (and the rest of his team of shredded male strippers) dancing, stripping, and then dancing with their shirts off. I smell box-office gold. Wait, no, that’s baby oil and Muscle Milk. But those things smell a lot like box-office gold when they’re in ‘Magic Mike XXL.’
Episode 415 of ‘Seinfeld’ was called “The Movie,” and it ended with Jerry delivering a monologue about the guy in every group of friends who can’t follow the plots of films and invariably spends them whispering confused questions to their seatmates (“Why did they kill that guy? I thought he was with them? Wasn't he with them? Why would they kill him if he was with them? Oh, he wasn't with them. It's a good thing they killed him!”) ‘Jupiter Ascending’ turned me into that guy. If you can explain the plot of this baffling movie in all of its intricacies, you are either a genius or one of the Wachowskis who wrote and directed it. It’s hard to believe that a movie that contains this much exposition could also be this confusing, but it does and it is. Something went horribly wrong here.
The dust has barely settled from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and already we’ve got a look at the lineup for the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival. After an initial announcement that included opening night film ‘Brand,’ about comedian Russell Brand,’ things have filled out really nicely with a ton of promising-sounding selections.
Woe be unto humanity if teenagers discover time travel. That’s the main takeaway from the entertaining new found-footage thriller ‘Project Almanac,’ in which a quintet of adolescents find a time machine, and do exactly what a bunch of adolescents would do if they found a time machine: Party, prank, and screw around with no thought to the consequences of their actions. These kids know and cite ‘Looper’ and ‘The Terminator,’ but the movie they should have paid attention to was ‘The Butterfly Effect,’ because they seem caught off-guard when their innocent misadventures in the timestream begin to ripple out in dangerous ways.
An afternoon update from our We Swear We’re Not Making This Up Desk: TheWrap reports that Kevin Spacey, Oscar-winner for ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘American Beauty,’ will next appear as the star of a comedy called ‘Nine Lives.’ The “high-concept comedy” is described thusly (and, again, we didn’t make this up):
After stops and starts and leaks and reversals, Quentin Tarantino’s 70mm Western ‘The Hateful Eight’ is now, finally, officially, definitively, happening. The Weinstein Company announced today that production has begun in Telluride, Colorado.
It feels like several years have passed since Christopher Nolan released ‘Interstellar,’ but that’s just because I’m still stuck on that tidal-wave planet where time dilates and stuff. In reality, it’s only been a couple months since Nolan’s latest epic sci-fi film, which opened to positive reviews and, despite its heady subject matter, went on to earn more than $660 million worldwide. Love it or hate it, you have to at least respect the fact that Nolan’s still making huge blockbusters based on original ideas and deeply personal subject matter—as opposed to board games or toys or something.
If you haven’t watched Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s ‘The Interview’ yet, either because you’re too cheap to spend $6 to rent it online, or you were worried North Korean hackers would catch you buying it and share your private emails slagging your boss with the world (I’m sorry Mike! When I called you “a giant goober,” I meant that in an affectionate way, like Goobers candy! Which everyone loves!) you are in luck. As part of their quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that they will “exclusively” offer the comedy to its U.S. and Canadian customers starting this Saturday, January 24. Sorry Netflix Netherlands! You’re out of luck for now.
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