The fate of Hellboy has long been trapped in development hell, boy. Franchise director Guillermo Del Toro and star Ron Perlman were both interested in another installment, but legal complications made that tricky, then there was scheduling stuff, then the studio was being uncooperative, you name it. Del Toro said it was definitely gonna happen, then that it wouldn’t happen, then that it might happen, then that it probably wouldn’t but hey you never know, then that yes, there absolutely 100% will not be a Hellboy 3. And he’s holding true to those final words, because there won’t be a third chapter of his Hellboy franchise — as the new one’s gonna be a [deep breath] reboot.
Pronouns — terrifying, right? At least when they don’t have antecedents, that is. There’s suspense baked right into the title of It Comes At Night, the upcoming feature from Trey Edward Shults, director of last year’s self-assured debut Krisha. So what is the ‘it,’ and why is it coming at night? The attendees of the Overlook Film Festival are keeping mum, having gotten the first glimpse at the film this past weekend when it popped up as the festival’s secret surprise screening. They offered rapturous but spoiler-free praise, but luckily for the rest of us, a new trailer and poster have surfaced to shed a little light on what’s going on while simultaneously compounding the mystery.
If I learned anything about Abu Dhabi from watching the entirety of Sex and the City 2 while sitting in a tattoo parlor waiting room (which actually happened and is not a joke), it’s that the United Arab Emirates city is a mecca of wealth. The oil-rich nation has concentrated much of its affluence in its capital, and accordingly, the area has exploded with development in recent years. Skyscrapers have cropped up like so many dandelions, massive tourist resorts now dot the coastline, and high-end boutique shopping caters to such fashionable visitors as Carrie Bradshaw and her pals. And while Abu Dhabi’s latest attraction won’t invite as many Dolce & Gabbana puns as one might like, it will delight comic book fans worldwide.
Shooting a movie’s not like performing a play. The theatrical process is primal, all rooted in emotion and immersion within the fictional moment. Production on a feature film requires far more on a technical level, to the point where actors will be ordered to pick up a spoon in the exact same way ten times, just to be safe. (David Fincher famously went through one hundred takes to nail the opening breakup in his magnum opus The Social Network.) For the typical actor, most of filmmaking is waiting around for stuff to happen — but that’s far less tiresome when you get to hang out with Carrie Fisher between calls of “ACTION!”
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.
The sound of metal grinding against metal. The proud yelp of Mark Wahlberg’s serious-actor concerned voice. (“We’re not givin’ up on Prime, okay?!“) The rippling waves of incoherent computer-generated imagery glinting in the post-apocalyptic sun. It can all only mean one thing: there‘s a new trailer for the latest chapter in Michael Bay’s ongoing giant-fighting-alien-robot opera Transformers. Allow me to quickly assuage any concerns by confirming that yes, a whole bunch of crap blows up real big, yes, a huge CGI thing crashes into another CGI thing, and yes, Megan Fox is no longer with us. But let’s dig in anyway, shall we?
Star Wars is great, everyone’s pretty much on the same page about that one, but the problem is that it’s just so dang long. Eight movies, with more on the way? And they’re all two-plus hours? And there are TV shows?! It would take a viewer days if not weeks to wade through all of that action, and so the minds at Lucasfilm and Disney have done us all the service of condensing Star Wars into segments a little closer to bite-size. In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes; likewise, in the future, new Star Wars content will be between two and three minutes long.
No bubble can last forever — it must eventually pop, as is the nature of bubbles. Marvel has built a vast media empire on the strength of such stars as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth, but no actor would be content with playing and re-playing the same role forever. All good (and obscenely lucrative) things must come to an end, and Evans has begun the long and painful process of consciously uncoupling from Captain America’s star-spangled shield and cowl. But a new quote from the actor suggests that he may not be the first big name to make a departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fake news alert! Our precious readers who also scan less reputable publications than good ol’ Screencrush may have noticed an eye-catching item on Showbiz 411 last night. The “exclusive” headline defiantly asserted, “Jeremy Renner NOT in ‘Mission Impossible 6,’ Said to be Too Busy with ‘Avengers’.” The article explained that Renner’s ongoing gig as the Avengers’ resident archery expert Hawkeye would keep him too busy to rejoin Ethan Hunt for what would be a third go-round in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But when word got back to director Peyton Reed, he set the record straight and called this less-than-factual bit of showbiz reporting out for the act of international subterfuge that it truly is.
The suit makes the man, and that’s seldom more true than for the superhero set. Batman would be another joe-schmo billionaire industrialist without the arsenal of weaponry built into his armor, Iron Man would literally die without his hardware, and now we can add Peter Parker to the list of superheroes whose own clothes act as unofficial sidekick. In the latest trailer for upcoming threeboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, we get a glimpse of some nifty new modifications (courtesy of Stark Industries) to Spidey’s trademark red-and-blue spandex. A new generation’s Spider-Man needs some modern upgrades, and the latest iteration of the suit includes a detachable mini-drone and what I can only describe as “skintight suction technology.”
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
When pals asked, “What was your favorite part of Rogue One?” and I responded, “The part at the end when they all died,” it sounded like a bitter joke. But it‘s true — the choice to take advantage of the film’s stand-alone nature by concluding with the cast’s noble, obliterating sacrifice was a bold and decisive storytelling choice that helped distinguish Gareth Evans’ film from the rest of the franchise. The characters meant more in death than they ever did while living, and the selflessness of their risky suicide mission attests to the power of the human spirit in wartime. But this was not always the game plan.
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