Tag Archives: star

90th Academy Awards Ceremony Falls Flat Despite The Efforts of Jimmy Kimmel

kimmel oscars

Jimmy Kimmel has become something of a favorite when it comes to awards show hosts in Hollywood, but even his calm and collected approach to comedy wasn’t enough to make the 90th Academy Awards any easier to watch. To no one’s surprise, the event was littered with awkward moments, transparency montages, and overrated acceptance speeches, the latter of which Kimmel tried to spare us by enticing winners to keep their speeches short in exchange for a new jet ski. The host even joked about the crystal-laden stage, commenting that “each of the 45,000 Swarovski crystals on the stage represents humility,” even though the site was really enough to make anyone working an honest 9-to-5 cringe. Despite presenting some well-deserved wins for Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Gary Oldman, and Roger Deakins, the “brilliance” of the event was overshadowed with failed Star Wars skits, a hotdog-throwing prank, and several desperate attempts to whitewash the #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo, and #TimesUp movements.

In regards to the latter, a special pre-filmed segment featuring interviews with Hollywood elites discussing equal representation in the business was presented by Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Selma Hayek, who urged viewers at home to make movies about their own life stories. Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani also took an opportunity to address the Dreamers, reassuring those who were watching that “Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.” The best take on the present state of Hollywood, however, came from Kumail Nanjiani, who commented that, “Some of my favorite movies are by straight white dudes, about straight white dudes. Now you can watch my movies and relate to me. It’s not that hard. I’ve been doing it my whole life.” In the end, a lot of jokes were made about the laughable spectacle that is Hollywood, but in the end we’ll see how much change actually occurs before the Oscars return next March. A full list of winners can be seen here.

Will Disney’s Bid For Fox Properties Mean Another Monopoly For The Cable Industry?

disney fox merger

Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. 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

Watch The Star Wars Saga In “Machete Order” Before ‘The Last Jedi’ Opens This Friday

As you are no doubt aware, the next installment in the latest Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi (Episode VIII), is opening in theaters nationwide this Thursday, December 14th at midnight. Whether or not it will be a frame-by-frame remake of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), like The Force Awakens and A New Hope (1977), has yet to be seen, but fans will undoubtedly be packing theaters to capacity from Friday until well into the New Year. If you already have a ticket for opening weekend, then let us know what you think. If not, however, you can still get your Star Wars fix by taking a brief (and by brief, I mean roughly 12-14 hours) refresher course with watching the series in “Machete Order.” Let me explain.

The Machete Order was first suggested by a fan of the series named Rob Hilton in preparation for the release of 2015’s The Force Awakens. According to Hilton, the machete order is a more effective way of watching the previous films, particularly for young viewers who are not familiar with the series. Obviously, with seven feature-length films and an eighth coming out this week, knowing where to start to get the full experience can be an overwhelming ordeal. Should you begin with the original trilogy and work your way up, or should you start with 1999’s The Phantom Menace and proceed chronologically? Continue reading

Oscar Contender ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Is Now Playing In Theaters

Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s latest dramatic dark-comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri drew mass acclaim on the film festival circuit this season, winning awards at BIFA, and the Venice Film and Toronto International Film Festivals. McDonagh, along with lead cast members Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous) and Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men, Zombieland) are already expected to receive Oscar nominations for their telling of a mid-Western mother (Mildred Hayes) who abruptly calls out the local sheriffs department for failing to resolve their investigation into her daughter’s brutal murder. Supporting actor Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Moon) is also being praised for his role as second-in-command Officer Dixon, in a film Woody Harrelson describes in the Hollywood Reporter as, “Super Troopers meets Seven Psychopaths,” (the latter another of McDonagh’s feature films).

Three Billboards was a huge hit at the British Independent Film Awards, winning for Best Music and Best Editing and receiving nominations for Best Director, Best Actress (McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson and Rockwell), Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Additionally, Three Billboards won the Feature Film award at the Denver International Film Festival, as well as Best Screenplay (Venice Film Festival), Gala/Special Presentations for McDonagh (TIFF), Overall Winner (Leeds), and Supporting Actor of the Year for Rockwell (Hollywood Film Awards). The trailer is nothing short of mesmerizing, and all bets say this one will be one of the top contenders of the Holiday season, so be sure to see it on the big screen before all the theaters are teeming with Star Wars fanatics.

Watch The New Trailer For ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’

Last night during the Vikings-Bears Monday Night Football game, the latest trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi premiered during the halftime commercial run. The new film, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad), will follow the events of JJ Abrams’ Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and feature veterans Mark Hamill and (the late) Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Fisher had completed filming on the project prior to her untimely death last December, but her role was expected to be expanded upon even further for Episode IX, which JJ Abrams has agreed to return for after Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World) fell away from the film earlier this year. The Last Jedi will focus Rey’s Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, as well as on other Force Awakens characters like Finn and Poe as they continue their campaign against the evil First Order. Actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac are all reprising their roles for the new installment. You can see The Last Jedi on big screens near you this December 18th. Enjoy the trailer!

May the Fourth Be With You….Happy Star Wars Day From MADE

For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!

*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!

‘A Cure For Wellness’ Now Playing In Theaters Nationwide

Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Rango) has teamed up once again with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli (Rock of Ages, Pete’s Dragon) for a new thriller titled A Cure for Wellness. The story follows a young business executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious wellness center isolated in the Swiss Alps and comes to suspect that the center, although renowned for its miraculous (if not unconventional) treatments, is not all it’s made out to be. Leading the cast are actors Dane DeHaan (Lawless, Kill Your Darlings), Jason Issacs (The Patriot, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Volume II, Everest), Ivo Nandi (Sons of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire), Adrian Schiller (Bright Star, The Danish Girl), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and Harry Groener (Patch Adams, Road to Perdition). Continue reading

Disney and Lucasfilm Begin Planning Princess Leia’s Fate After Fisher’s Death

leia

In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, movie-makers at Disney and Lucasfilm are beginning to look to Princess Leia’s future. Although Fisher has reportedly finished filming all of her scenes for the upcoming Episode VIII release this December, Leia was expected to play a much more significant part in Episode IX, which is slated for a December 2019 release. The over-arching storyline for the upcoming films included a reunion between Leia and Luke Skywalker, as well as a confrontation between Leia and Kylo Ren, who killed his father, Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now with Fisher gone, the fate of the character has yet to be fully realized. Continue reading