June 9 is gonna be a big day in 2017: not just this writer’s birthday, not just the funniest numerical date of the year (6/9 — nice), not just the release of well-pedigreed indies Beatriz at Dinner and It Comes at Night. The day will undoubtedly be dominated by the grand debut of Universal’s remake of The Mummy starring box-office king of summer Tom Cruise and breakout star Sofia Boutella. We’ve seen the trailer, we’ve pored over the scoop that Cruise’s mummy-fighting hero will also himself be a walking-dead type, and we’ve pondered the larger implications of Universal going all-in on a connected universe of monster movies. And today, a pair of new tidbits with slake our thirst for new Mummy details.
Much online e-ink has been e-spilled over the question of which actor will take up the mantle of international superspy James Bond for the 25th installment of the perennial franchise. Will incumbent star Daniel Craig return for another go-round as 007, or will he be replaced by the likes of new challengers Tom Hiddleston, Dan Stevens, Emily Blunt, or Idris Elba? Who knows (not us), but as the mission to secure a star has been playing out, another big change-up has unfolded largely in the background.
Alien Vs. Predator. Freddy Vs. Jason. Kramer Vs. Kramer. Plessy Vs. Ferguson. Soon, a new rivalry shall join the ranks of the great cinematic grudge matches. You saw Bradley Cooper plumb new depths of moral compromise with American Sniper in 2014. Now, he’ll go up against his greatest nemesis yet: it’s American Sniper Vs. American Assassin — Battle of America.
While the post-credits scene was once a surprise specially afforded to those superfans with the dedication to sit through the final frames of a film, it’s now become par for the course, a de facto advertisement for whatever a franchise might have up its sleeve next. Marvel Studios has turned this into standard operating procedure, to the point where viewers expect nothing less than another tasty morsel of footage, the cinematic equivalent of the delicious fries waiting for you at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag. How to continue taking audiences off-guard, then? Marvel could do no post-credit scene at all, that’d certainly throw people for a loop. Or... they could do five.
This past weekend saw the Coachella Music Festival descend on the deserts of Indio, California for a multi-day celebration of artistic expression, obscenely expensive designer drugs, and that thing where white women dress up in traditional Native American garb. Among such Top 40 stalwarts and tastemaker-blog darlings as Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead and Lady Gaga, an unexpected name claimed the mainstage: German composer of film scores Hans Zimmer, bringing his touring act to new highs for the festival attendees. Above, you’ll find the most complete, cleanly-recorded account of Zimmer’s massive live show to date, in which the multiple Academy Award-winner shreds with the best of them.
The great American music festival is the new hot guerrilla filming site. First, Terrence Malick hit up Austin City Limits with Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, and Michael Fassbender for his dreamy music-centric romance Song to Song. Now, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have put the attendees of Coachella on notice: their dream of momentarily sharing the silver screen with the world-straddling pop star/career weirdo is finally coming true.
Audiences who stuck around after the end credits of newly released cinematic demolition derby The Fate of the Furious were disappointed to learn that there would be no bonus stinger scene, as has been customary in past installments of the franchise. (In addition to the pre-existing disappointment resulting from learning that Charlize Theron’s character is named Cipher.) It’s atypical for the series to refrain from teasing its next ride, and many fans are wondering what gives. Wonder no longer! Vin Diesel, as fate would have it, is reportedly to blame.
If Zack Snyder if the filmmaking equivalent of a supervillain, and that’s precisely what he is, then his dark origin story came in 2009. He had earned a lot of admirers for his adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, rendering the account of the Spartan warriors’ doomed last stand with visual panache and lots of sexy slow-mo. In 2009, he tackled an even more dense and beloved graphic novel with Watchmen and began his long, illustrious career in mangling things comic book nerds love. His Watchmen was literal, goofy, dim-witted, and dull, slavishly faithful to the source material without for a moment understanding what makes it work. It is history best overwritten.
Having successfully shepherded the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast remake to a billion-dollar worldwide gross, Bill Condon now has the world in his palm. An Academy Award winner with blockbuster bona fides, he’s pretty much free to take whatever project he’d like. Today brings news of what his next big endeavor might be, and it looks like he’s going to make a lateral move to stick with big budget studio work. Condon chronicled the life of British filmmaker James Whale with the celebrated Of Gods and Monsters, now he’s poised to tackle Whale’s work head-on.
Much in the same way that I have always wondered who delivers mail to mailmen (if they live in their own district, are they allowed to deliver mail to themselves? is that a conflict of interest?), the writers of the new action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard ponder who a career killer goes to when he finds himself a mark. Even professional assassins need a little muscle from time to time, and when one especially ill-tempered sunuvagun hires a body guard with a short fuse, violent egos clash with nose-crushing results.
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