With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
In 2012, a videotape of professional wrestler and handlebar mustache advocate Terry ‘Hulk Hogan’ Bollea engaged in sexual congress with one Heather Clem (estranged wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, in one of this story’s more surreal details) surfaced online. Looking to hold someone responsible for what he felt was a violation of privacy, Hogan moved to take legal action against both Clem and Gawker, the media aggregation web site that originally posted the tape in question. Florida’s state court turned into a battleground, not just between the Hulkster and one of the Internet’s trashier publications, but between the moneyed elite and the free press.
Last summer, a spat allegedly broke out between Fast and Furious franchise megastars Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson while shooting the latest installment The Fate of the Furious. There were rumors of unprofessionalism on set, Johnson threw around the term “candy-ass” pretty liberally, it was a hoot for all involved. But it did cast some doubt on Johnson’s future with the series; there was no telling whether the performer could be persuaded to return for another collaboration with a guy he seemingly couldn’t stand. But a new revelation today (well, new for all of you — Johnson and I are well-documented besties and have been Gchatting about this all week) clarifies the fate of this furious man.
The Avatar franchise has turned into James Cameron’s Xanadu, a vanity project of staggering scale to which the public will seemingly never be permitted access. It’s kept him busy since 2009, as he’s concurrently scripted a whopping four sequels to the immensely lucrative 2009 sci-fi epic. Perhaps, one day, it shall be his tomb. But to us unwashed rabble in the general populace, the grand Avatar franchise is little more than an idea, and a weird idea at that. As our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer noted not too long ago, pretty much everybody has moved on from Avatar as a cultural touchstone. Cameron seems more jazzed about this plan than anyone else, but he’ll have to put his dreams on hold for a little while longer.
It would appear that the likes of Deadpool and Logan, what with all their foul words and visible bloodletting and brief pegging interludes, have changed the game of superhero movies. It was once basic showbiz logic that a massively-budgeted capes-and-tights flick couldn‘t afford to go for the R rating and lose the portion of the audience that’d restrict. More minor one-off projects like Watchmen, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman could take that risk and repeatedly found that it paid off, but now mainstream heroes have adopted this more daring approach and met with attractive box-office receipts. And in keeping with their tried-and-true business strategy of doing everything Marvel does, but a year later, DC Films has no stated their intention to get into more mature material.
Less than a month now separates us from the premiere of Logan, and the nationwide nerd conniptions that it’s sure to induce. Those of us down for a quick trip to Berlin could theoretically get an earlier look, but the rest of us will have to make do with the virtues of patience. At least 20th Century Fox has made it a little easier on the rest of us commoners by running a minutelong clip from the film during the Super Bowl last night, and teasing some typically smartmouthed repartee from the lovable mutant.
What the world needs now, in these turbulent and chaotic times, is more erotic thrillers. They were all over the place in the '90s, and yet somehow they've fallen out of favor in the decades since There have been a few cropping up in recent years, inspiring hope for some kind of erotic thriller renaissance; an obsessive younger man terrorized Jennifer Lopez in last year's The Girl Next Door and Morris Chestnut got caught in between two possessive women in this summer's When the Bough Breaks. Today brings the first look at the next film to join their esteemed ranks and contribute to the slow resurgence of the noble but underserved erotic thriller.
2016 has already been a bastard of a year: beloved public figures died, Nazis became a thing again, America began its slow skid into fascism, and Bones got cancelled. When do the hits stop coming? Is there no respite from the barrage of tragedies that this monstrous year has heaped upon us? No, no there is not. Because throughout the seemingly unending cluster-F-word of 2016, one light on the horizon has held us up, both as a nation and as a human species. From indignity to indignity, we’ve always been able to pin our hopes on the glorious day of May 19, 2017 — known to you and I, of course, as the release date for the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson-led reboot of beloved ‘90s lifeguard soap opera Baywatch. But even after this year’s parade of tragedies, [Don LaFontaine voice] there is one tragedy more.
Even for a case in which a 12-year-old girl gets stabbed nearly 20 times, it was particularly heinous: young Payton Leutner of Waukesha, Wisconsin was recovered bleeding out in the woods near a slumber party she had been attending in 2014. Her attackers were two of her good friends, fellow middle schoolers. What could have possessed a couple of innocent kids to suddenly turn psychopath without warning and leave their pal for dead in the middle of the night?
Writer-director Max Landis has his fair share of detractors. There are some who accuse the man of failing upwards, that his status as the son of cherished filmmaker John Landis has landed him some choice jobs (the recent sci-fi series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detection Agency, for one) through good ol’ Hollywood nepotism, despite the fact that his films have almost uniformly performed poorly at the box-office and with critics. His most vocal critics express complete bafflement every time the writer responsible for such widely panned flops as American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, and Mr. Right lands an increasingly high-profile gig, their only conclusion that the Landis name is what has gotten him this far.
Late last night, a little after the midnight hour, Hell froze over. Reports of pigs and other assorted swine growing wings and taking flight started pouring in from all over the country. Dogs and cats were living together — it was mass hysteria, all because the Chicago Cubs had finally won the World Series after a 108-year drought.
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