The corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street is a Los Angeles icon, once the heart of the city’s booming film production and now the nexus of the world-renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame. Usually, the most frightening thing a person will experience at the intersection is an encounter with improv comics attempting to strong-arm you into attending their latest show, but a new horror will soon dawn in the area. Locals now have bigger things to worry about than spending the day sad after accidentally overhearing an actor speaking to their agent on the phone.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Netflix has been notoriously secretive about their data, whether that’s subscription demographics or the all-important individual streaming figures for specific titles. Though they’ve grown into a major player in the world of entertainment, we really have no earthly idea whether Netflix is successful or not. (They almost definitely are, unless this is the single most brazen bluff in showbiz history.) The only knowledge we have of Netflix’s inner workings comes from the occasional missive issued by content head Ted Sarandos, who made one such announcement in a recent letter to shareholders. Among the financial jargon and quarterly earnings reports, Sarandos dropped the chilling detail that Netflix’s 100 million-strong user base has collectively streamed over 500 million hours of Adam Sandler movies since The Ridiculous Six opened. Today, ScreenCrush invites you to consider the brain-collapsing enormity of that number.
As noted in a new item at Variety today, Sony has been on something of a roll when it comes to getting female talent behind the camera. They’ve put together a respectable slate of films directed by women: Catherine Hardwicke was tapped to translate narco thriller Miss Bala for American audiences, Broad City mastermind Lucia Aniello wrote-directed the upcoming bachelorette-shenanigans comedy Rough Night, Michelle MacLaren landed the Sam Claflin-led thriller Nightingale, and perhaps most intriguingly of all, Elizabeth Banks has taken her next directorial project with a reboot of Charlie’s Angels. And for the latter two, today brings concrete news of impending developments.
L. Frank Baum‘s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has proven a malleable property over the years. Of course everybody knows and loves Victor Fleming’s 1939 film adaptation, then came the urban-set musical revision The Wiz, the villain’s-eye-view retelling Wicked, Sam Raimi’s limp-noodle Oz the Great and Powerful, NBC’s crazytown new gritty-reboot series Emerald City, not to mention the dozens of films that have paid homage to the timeless scenes of Fleming’s film. (The bit in O Brother, Where Art Thou? when our heroes sneak into a KKK meeting like it’s a Winkie stronghold is a particular standout.) And today brings the news that the merry old land of Oz will get yet another new spin, and this time, there will be blood.
The last time was saw Jack Nicholson on the big screen was 2010, in James L. Brooks’ middling dramedy How Do You Know. He played a weaselly white-collar crook who asks his son to take the rap for a crime he committed, in a performance characterized by the usual Nicholsonian deviousness. The movie didn’t make too much of a splash, forgotten after a few weeks taking up space in cineplexes. That film may take on an unexpected tragic air in light of the breaking news that it may contain Nicholson’s swan song.
Forcing audiences to watch a movie in which a dog lives, finds true happiness, and then dies over and over again would’ve been an act of sadism all on its own. But the crew of the upcoming family film A Dog’s Purpose have recently been outed as sadists of another, more stomach-churning sort. TMZ posted a shocking video from a second-unit shoot for the film in which an animal handler forces a reluctant German Shepard into rushing waters, the dog begins drowning, and handlers rush to retrieve the animal amid cries of “cut it! cut it!” PETA has already called for a boycott of the film, with the most shame heaped upon the industry supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited, and the rest of the fallout has been swift.
Kevin Costner currently shares the screen with Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae in the new release Hidden Figures, but the frequent actor hasn’t gotten behind the camera in some time. He took the Oscars by storm as the helmer behind Dances with Wolves in 1990, followed that up with the bizarro The Postman in 1997, and returned in 2003 with the Western Open Range. But for the past 13 years, it’s been all radio silence from Costner as to when audiences can expect another go at directing. As he’s hit the interview circuit to promote Hidden Figures, however, the actor has floated an idea for a grand project on a scale unlike anything he’s attempted before.
Space is terrifying; at this point, that much is beyond debate. All people do there is die! (And make game-changing scientific discoveries, sure, but at what cost?) Space tried to murder Sandra Bullock in Gravity, it came back for Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar, and that’s not even counting all the space-set films that are supposed to be horrifying. None moreso than Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece Alien, back in the news these days due to its upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant, the trailer for which made for a primo excuse to leave the dinner table and its various political arguments this Christmas night.
One of the greatest advantages of living in or around a major metropolitan area, at least for cinephiles, is the abundance of repertory screening options. Independently run theaters will run older, foreign or rare movies to impassioned audiences who may not have had access to the material otherwise, balancing their filmic diet with a healthy balance of new releases and classics. Sure, pert near everything can be found online if you’re willing to investigate some shadier torrenting sites. But the experience of seeing a movie in a dark theater on the big screen, especially a nicely lived-in celluloid print and all its endearing pops and scratches — that makes a difference.
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