The upcoming Lion King will bear only a slight resemblance to the Disney animated classic families know and love. As with director Jon Favreau’s earlier rework of The Jungle Book, this film will shoot in live-action (a questionable term when all of the main characters are computer-generated imaged, but whatever) and eschew the musical numbers of the original film. A new casting notice has apprised us of yet another change to the fabric of the film, specifically that Simba’s toucan pal Zazu will now spend the film pointing emphatically to graphics in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen and screaming at fictitious office coworker Janice in Accounting.
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
Will The Emoji Movie be horrible? We just don’t know. The premise of “Toy Story, but with the little pictorial icons that live inside your smartphone” sure sounds like something that an executive with an analytics page for a heart would come up with, but it’s the critic’s responsibility to reserve judgement until the film can be seen in full. At least today brings us a bite-sized sample of The Emoji Movie with a new trailer that contains both a painfully out-of-fashion “Bye, Felicia” reference and a sincerely humorous joke about forgotten phone passwords. So it’s really anyone’s guess, at this point.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
Today marks the one-year mark until we get the sequel to the 2015 box-office-crusher Jurassic World, and Universal wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion. Now look down at that glass of water you've got close at hand. Tiny ripples in the center, a distant thunderous thudding in the distance. New information is close at hand.
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.
As we all learned from Sully, planes are not to be trusted. The massive, sophisticated machinery in these multi-million dollar aircrafts can be completely undone by something as small and minor as an errant bird, sending the passengers into a screaming spiral of terror. As pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, Tom Hanks heroically guided an airliner into the Hudson River for a safe crash landing, and Harrison Ford survived a similarly perilous plane crash while giving his amateur pilot’s license a workout not too long ago. Another day, another celebrity-adjacent story pertaining to aircraft engine failure.
Rick Moranis: the guy Woody Allen calls a nebbish, a nervously tittering lead of family films (he lit up millennial living rooms with his Honey, I... trilogy) and bluer comedic works (Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs) alike. He was everywhere in the ’80s, but took an eminently understandable hiatus from acting beginning in the ’90s after his wife Ann succumbed to breast cancer. He did a noble and difficult thing by focusing all his energies on dutifully raising his motherless children, turning his back on fame and his public. Though he’s still taken the occasional job — he gave his kids something to love by contributing voice work to Brother Bear — he’s shied away from highly visible gigs. Until now!
Serious question: does any single entertainer have such complete dominion over their chosen field as Weird Al Yankovic wields over the song parody? Skeptics may scoff that musical spoofery is a stupid thing to become really, really, virtuosically good at, but the point stands that Yankovic has completely and totally mastered his preferred art form. So when the producers behind the upcoming film adaptation of the Captain Underpants chapter book series needed to find a talent for their theme music, of course their choice was obvious. In no insignificant way, Weird Al Yankovic was born to write a peppy pop tune about tightened-whiteys.
We owe a lot to scientists — they cured polio, got us on the moon, and they‘re doing their darnedest to stop us from methodically killing the planet. But man, what a bunch of nerds. It seems like every time biologists discover a new species of animal and need to give it a name, they take the opportunity to bust out a reference to their favorite bit of geek-approved pop culture. Lest we forget the velvet worm named after My Neighbor Totoro, and we’d be remiss to overlook the euglossa bazinga, a rare bee with a Big Bang Theory catchphrase as its namesake. And it appears that now the nerds are at it again.
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