Tag Archives: King

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Is A 1980s Cinematic Nostalgia Trip

WARNING – SPOILERS!!! Pac Man, Back to the Future, and Blade Runner are only a few titles that make up the 1980s cinematic nostalgia trip in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, now playing in theaters. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One follows a young man named Wade Watts who lives in a dystopian United States in 2045. Humanity, as Wade knows it, is plagued by a failing economic system, an ominous corporate-governing body, and a tainted outdoor environment, all the result of an energy crisis caused by global warming, corporate greed, and the depletion of Earth’s fossil fuels. Since the real-world is no longer a pleasant place to spend your time, Wade, like most people, spends his days in the OASIS, an interactive virtual reality comprised of games and puzzles from every video game, movie, book, or television show made primarily between 1980 and 1990, although there are a few exceptions. The OASIS is the mind-child of James Halliday (obviously Cline’s own doppelganger) who, prior to his death, left a hidden Easter Egg inside the OASIS that, if found, provides the winner with his massive fortune and control of the corporation running the OASIS, and that’s where Wade’s (or Parzival as he is named in the OASIS) story begins. Continue reading

Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’ Is A Cultural Phenomenon Because We Made It So

A week after its release in theaters across America, director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel comic-adaptation, Black Panther, is still setting box office records. The film is the 5th highest domestic debut of all time, and the highest grossing February release in history, with a staggering $202,003,951. It earned more in just 3-days in theaters than any other film featuring a black director and predominantly black cast with an impressive worldwide opening weekend gross of $350 million. The success of the film has not only shattered age-old myths surrounding the “unpopularity” of all-black ensemble movies in Hollywood. It is also changing the way Hollywood, and America at large, view films that deal primarily with black and African American culture. But why is Black Panther such a big deal for America and not simply just another superhero movie with a hero who happens to be black? Continue reading

New World War II Drama ‘Darkest Hour’ Brings Churchill’s Perseverance and Leadership To Modern Audiences

Despite the new World War II drama Darkest Hour now playing in theaters nationwide, “Who was Winston Churchill?” still sounds like a question you’re likely to find on one of those ‘the dumbing down of America has happened’ videos. While Churchill may not have been American, himself, his influence and importance in the events of the mid-20th Century cannot be overstated. Winston Churchill was elected Britain’s Prime Minister in 1940, a position he held throughout the remainder of World War II and again from 1951 to 1955. Before his career in politics he had worked as a writer and served as a member of the British Army. His election in 1940 came at a time when Britain’s, and indeed the future of the whole of Western Europe was uncertain. Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and, by the time of Churchill’s election, was already marching across France, pushing British forces to the shores of the English Channel, where the famous evacuation at Dunkirk took place (if you haven’t seen Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, I highly recommend it!).

With the United States still hesitant to enter the war effort in either Europe or the Pacific, the newly appointed Prime Minister was faced with the choice of either regrouping and rallying national support to continue the war effort against Nazi Germany, or agreeing to sign a peace accord with Hitler and the Axis Powers. As the United Kingdom stood at the brink of invasion, it was up to Churchill to persuade Parliament, King George VI, and the people of Britain that the war could be won and that it was worth fighting, an extremely difficult prospect considering the ever-growing influence of Nazi Germany and the reluctance of the United States to enter the war. Continue reading

North American Box Office Earnings Down Despite ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Opening

the last jedi

The wait is over! Fans of the Star Wars saga are flooding movie theaters across the country today as The Last Jedi makes its nationwide debut. Following 2015’s The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi picks up roughly 30 years after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, and finds a new band of heroes struggling to defeat the evil First Order. But unlike The Force Awakens, which was written and directed by JJ Abrams, The Last Jedi takes on a much darker tone, diving further into character backgrounds and bringing to light the tragic fate of Luke Skywalker and his failed Order of Jedi Knights. That means fans will get to see much more of Mark Hamill in the new film but, given the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, can also expect to see some beloved characters get killed off in the telling. Thus far most critics are hailing writer/director Rian Johnson‘s installment in the series, which is said to be entirely his own, despite what Abrams may have set up with in the previous film. Although The Last Jedi is expected to launch with a worldwide box office haul of roughly $425 million, it will likely not be enough to match the North American Box Office earnings record for 2016. Continue reading

A New ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series Is In The Works At Amazon Studios

frodo, sam, and gollum

Let’s be honest, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Four months after JRR Tolkien‘s estate settled a lawsuit with Warner Bros. Studios regarding the profits from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Amazon Studios has announced a multi-season LOTR television series is in the works exclusively for the company’s streaming service. The series will reportedly cover stories from Tolkien’s early writings, focusing on material pre-dating the events in the book and film trilogies.

Amazon acquired the rights to the series for a whopping $200 million, but the series is expected to cost a further $150 million in production costs per season. Given the popularity of the content, however, expenses don’t seem to be a cause for concern. A rep for Amazon was quoted in a statement as saying, “The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.” Continue reading

New Adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’ Is Making History In Film and Political Arenas

Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Stephen King’s It. As if the brute force of nature isn’t enough to unite Americans in these tumultuous political times, Stephen King’s It might just have done the trick. King, an ardent opposer to Donald Trump, has been in a Twitter-war with the President ever since his infamous 2016 presidential campaign and subsequent election. To quote the author’s own Twitter account, “Trump is no leader. He has 2 default positions: “Not my fault” (it’s China’s) or “not my job” (DACA). What a bitter joke he is!” The feud has gone so far as to cause Trump to block King on Twitter. It also prompted Trump supporters to call for a boycott of director Andy Muschietti’s new adaptation of King’s 1000+ page horror novel, It, about a demon that terrorizes children in a small town in Maine by taking the form of a fiendish clown. The call was made via Reddit, so one might think there was a pretty good chance of a successful boycott. There wasn’t. Continue reading

Toronto International Film Festival 2017 Kicks Off September 7th

One of our favorite film festivals here at MADE, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is kicking off its 2017 festivities this week. Known for its wide range of genres, independent films, and documentaries, TIFF is the unofficial audition for the annual film-awards season that wraps with the Academy Awards celebrations every February. This years entries are no exception. Some of the more anticipated showings are documentaries surrounding Grace Jones (Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami), Barack Obama (The Final Year), and Lady Gaga (Gaga: Five Foot Two), as well as an under-the-radar entry from comedian Louis CK (I Love You, Daddy) that will appear in black and white. As always there is a plethora of noteworthy entries, so many, in fact, that it seems impossible to filter out a ‘most anticipated’ list.

A full schedule of entries and festival events for TIFF 2017 can be found on the festival website. Personally I am really looking forward to Darkest Hour, Hostiles, and Kings. Continue reading

Stephen King Adaptation ‘The Dark Tower’ Opening In Theaters This August

Author Stephen King is making a big cinematic comeback in 2017. A new adaptation of his 1986 horror-classic It is opening in theaters this September, and is expected to be a two-part installation with the second film following soon after. Before It hits theaters, however, another Stephen King adaptation will see a nationwide release in the form of The Dark Tower. Based on the final novel in his eight-part series, The Dark Tower, the film follows a man named Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger, who faces off with the Man in Black, Walter O’Dim, in an effort to stop him from destroying the Dark Tower, a mystical building that serves as the center of all universes. In writing the series, King drew inspiration from several sources, including the Arthurian Legend, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the American West. Continue reading

MTV Awards Debuts Latest Trailer For Stephen King’s ‘It’

Audiences received a horrifying treat this week at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards. The latest trailer for director Andres Muschietti’s new adaptation of author Stephen King’s infamous fright novel, It premiered at the ceremony. Taking place in the small town of Derry, Maine, It begins when several local children begin disappearing, leaving only gruesome evidence behind. As the townspeople continue to be terrorized by the strange occurrences, a group of local kids decide to join forces after realizing the culprit of the events is a demonic, evil clown called Pennywise. Fearing for their lives (and those of the entire town), they vow to hunt down and kill the nameless demon. Continue reading

Look For This Week’s Limited Releases In Theaters Near You

There are few interesting indie releases opening in local theaters this weekend, alongside Jordan Peele’s directorial horror debut Get Out. The first is a war-drama titled Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons (The Host, Woman in Gold) and Samantha Barks (Les Miserables, The Christmas Candle) as lovers facing the oncoming Ukraine Genocide of 1932-1933 under Joseph Stalin. The film comes from director George Mendeluk and follows a young artists (Irons) as he works to save his love, Natalka (Barks), from being rounded up and executed as part of the death-by-starvation camps that would be made all the more famous during Hitler’s time in Nazi Germany during World War II. The script comes from writer Richard Bachynsky Hoover and co-stars Terence Stamp (Superman, Young Guns) and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile). Continue reading