There are few impersonations on SNL we enjoy as much as Jay Pharoah’s President Barack Obama, the chief subject of the latest episode’s cold open. But in a nice twist, the leader of the free world soon finds himself transforming into a monster of a man. Did you really think SNL would get Dwayne Johnson to guest host and not bring back The Rock Obama?
Well, this was unexpected. After a few years of development, Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with a big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and they’re doing so with the director most likely to break the brains of the novel’s biggest fans: Steven Spielberg. Yes, Spielberg is going to direct a science fiction story powered by raw ‘80s nostalgia for the same studio where he produced Gremlins and The Goonies.
Man, the rebooted Star Trek movie series really has this whole “casting actors we really like” thing down. The latest report from Star Trek 3 has the great Idris Elba cast as the movie’s villain, whose identity remains, for the moment, a mystery.
The Late Late Show With James Corden made its grand debut last night, with seemingly every celebrity in existence popping up to say hello. But for his first official guest, Corden snagged everyone’s favorite actor: the one and only Tom Hanks. More importantly, he got Tom Hanks to get really silly and there are few things better than Hanks throwing caution to the wind and embracing his inner comedian. In this case, he got the two-time Oscar winner to re-enact all of his movies in less than eight minutes.
What does a movie studio want out of its sequels? Is a sequel a failure if it simply matches its predecessor or does it need to make more money? That’s the big question that’s swirling around Insurgent, which made almost exactly as much as Divergent did one year ago. Seriously: there’s only a $500,000 difference in their opening weekends. So is Insurgent a success or a disappointment?
Suddenly, Disney’s upcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast is looking like a very wise move. After all, their new take on Cinderella shook the box office out of the doldrums, launching with numbers that feel more at home with the summer than March. Yes, it even took down that might spring movie season titan Liam Neeson.
With Star Wars: Episode 7 less than a year away, Disney and Lucasfilm are facing a conundrum: just how many billions do they want to make from ancillary merchandise? Get ready for Star Wars bedsheets and Star Wars lunch boxes and, of course, countless new Star Wars action figures. You will be able to fight other adults in the toy aisle at Target like never before! However, Star Wars aficionados hoping to celebrate their fandom in a quieter way will also have their fair share of options, namely 20 new books bridging the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
With Taken, Liam Neeson became an unlikely action star, with his quiet, solemn masculinity lending gravitas to even the silliest dialogue and story beats. But rather than use the success of that instantly meme-able film as an excuse to pursue more period dramas and British weepies, Neeson embraced his newfound action hero identity. Now, after seven years of snapping necks and gunning people down across several continents, it looks like he’s ready to retire from the action hero game for good.
With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
Did anyone think that SNL was going to get Chris Hemsworth to guest host and not do an Avengers sketch? Of course not! Although Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t out for another two months, this bit takes place after the events of that film, following Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they deal with the fallout from winning their toughest battle yet. Well, at least some of them are dealing with the fallout. Thor is just partying.
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.”
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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