Here’s a guilty confession for you: I kinda liked the second Starship Troopers movie. Granted, I caught it on DVD when I was still a teenager, so I’m not entirely sure it withstands the test of time, but Starship Troopers 2: Heroes of the Federation is such a blatant ripoff of John Carpenter’s The Thing — a deserted outpost where a species develops the ability to mimic human physiology — that I couldn’t help but enjoy it a little. When you’re directed by a guy known for Star Wars and Robocop special effects, you’re at least going to have a few fun visuals to keep you company along the way.
We’ve reached the doldrums of August, where studios release the titles not marketable enough for the summer movie season and not quality enough for serious award consideration. That means an odd mixture of horror films, formerly prestigious movies that have lost a little bit of their luster, and absolute junk just looking for a few screens to dominate for a couple of weeks. Oh, and what do you know? That perfectly describes this weekend’s new releases! Gee!
With the exception of technical honors, there’s still probably no Academy Winner as surprising as Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. To be fair, Tomei’s performance is absolutely delightful — funny at times, forceful at others, and the perfect counter for Joe Pesci’s endless barrage of conversation — but movies like My Cousin Vinny don’t typically take home Academy Awards for anything, least of all performances. That award speaks to the soft spot everyone has in their heart for that film; it may not be the most prestigious work of either Tomei or Pesci’s careers, but it’s a hard movie to say no to after a long day at the office.
Man, I hope someone at Warner Bros. is diligently saving the countless emails being sent about Justice League right now, because this is going to make one heck of a documentary. In the past two days alone, we’ve heard Joe Morton describe the studio as altering the entire story of one of the film’s core characters and Ben Affleck admitting that Justice League’s dual directors make it unlike anything in Hollywood history. And now, at least one rumor is making the rounds that suggests that Justice League’s reshoots were a lot more necessary than the studio would have you believe.
Well, that’s one way to promote your upcoming home video releases! A few months ago, fans who sat all the way through to the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were treated to more than a handful of bonus scenes: they were also treated to “Guardians Inferno” by The Sneepers, a fictitious disco band that also included a guest appearance by noted German pop star David Hasselhoff. No bonus footage could hold a candle to the infectious disco pop of the song, and plenty of people - myself included - immediately went home and listened to the track on repeat. It’s everything we want the delightfully weird Marvel universe to be.
Decades after the release of the original Star Wars films, it’s a testament to the power of the franchise that we’re still capable of discovering new things about some of our favorite characters. Take Leia Organa, for example. Fans who have rooted for her based on the events the original three films have found a whole new reason to root for her as the leader of a Star Wars anti-terrorism unit, but now we’ve learned something new about her character: she’s also one of the most learned characters in the entire Star Wars universe, and has been for a very, very long time.
With two new releases and a third movie switching from a limited to a wide release, this was a weekend of big changes at the box office. Gone are familiar stalwarts like Wonder Woman and Baby Driver, and in its place are (with respect) the also-rans of summer, a few genre-driven films looking to carve out a name for themselves in a time of year devoid of major blockbuster releases. Here are the numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
With Warner Bros. sharing updates for so many of its DCEU films at this past month’s Comic-Con, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the in-production films that were absent from the presentations. Films like Chris McKay‘s Nightwing. Earlier this year, McKay explained that his Nightwing movie would serve as a kind of counter to the traditional Batman films - exploring what it’s like to come from nothing instead of a life of privilege - and fans who loved The LEGO Batman Movie were cautiously optimistic about a standalone Dick Grayson film. So it came as a bit of a surprise, then, when the DCEU executives remained silent on their latest project.
If you’d told me back in 2004 that James Wan, then-director of Saw, would become the architect of horror’s more important cinematic universe a decade later, I would’ve thrown my hands up in the air and declared the the end of the genre. So I’m as happy as anyone to see that Wan’s The Conjuring universe continues to impressive (and improve!) with each subsequent entry. Coming off the heels of The Conjuring 2, one of the better haunted house movies of the last couple of decades, Annabelle: Creation shows that the franchise shows no signs of slowing down… at least not until we’ve explored every item in the Warren’s Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque trophy room.
They say the flame that burns brightest also burns quickest, which might explain America’s short-lived fascination with Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci was a singular political figure: from his methodical recreation of Donald Trump hand gestures to his, ah, poorly conceived late night phone calls, Scaramucci was immediately the most colorful character in an administration that already featured a surplus of memorable individuals. So when Scaramucci was fired from his official position as White House spokesperson, there was a half-ironic sense of loss, a feeling that we’d only begun to scratch the surface of Mooch madness.
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