The internet will never stop arguing about when it is okay to show films with explicit content to children. But, there is one thing that we’re pretty sure everyone can agree on: showing the violent and disturbing The ABCs of Death to five classes of unsuspecting students is an act of irresponsible idiocy on just about every conceivable level. Columbus, Ohio substitute teacher Sheila Kearns was rightfully let go from her job back in 2013 when she screened the film for her substitute Spanish classes, but the courts have handed down an additional punishment: 90 days in jail.
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?
With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
Modern SNL has one of the strongest female line-ups in the show’s history, so it’s always a pleasure when the writers give this group of extremely funny ladies a chance to shine together. This sketch is a weird one because it feels like such an odd and specific concept that must have been a real pain in the butt to pitch in the writer’s room, but the execution is simply sublime: a group of women start being brutally honest with the people in their lives and immediately celebrate to the impossibly catchy sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”
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 Divergent Series: Insurgent (which the real, actual title of this film) has been bombarding us with trailers for so long that it feels like the movie should have come out by now. But alas, the next chapter in this young adult dystopian romantic action series is still a month away and Summit has released the final Insurgent trailer. To their credit, this is easily the most effective preview they’ve cut so far, even if it seems like it’s in an alien language to the people who skipped Divergent.
When Warner Bros. revealed their ambitious slate of DC superhero movies, Shazam was scheduled for April 5, 2019. That’s four years away, which is an awfully long time to sit on a project that already has a lead in Dwayne Johnson. However, the latest news from The Rock himself suggests that the 2019 release date may have been more of a guideline than an actual plan and that Shazam may arrive sooner than expected.
As the kids of the ‘80s and early ‘90s are dragged kicking and screaming into middle age, their nostalgia for the things they enjoyed in childhood has only grown stronger. And Hollywood has responded in kind, taking those childhood obsessions and transforming them into movies that are specifically crafted to appeal to adults with fond memories instead of kids. That’s why director Joseph Kahn’s new grim ‘n gritty Power Rangers short film is brilliant and unsettling in equal measure. On one hand, it’s exquisitely made and just tongue-in-cheek enough. On the other, it’s exactly the kind of movie that we’re worried will actually get made in the next few years.
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