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.
Yesterday, Indiewire film critic David Ehrlich ran an illuminating essay on Netflix’s testy relationship with the original films it releases, explaining how their model of bypassing theatrical release and going straight to streaming ultimately degrades the viewing experience and makes the movies harder to find and appreciate. (This comes hot on the heels of an official denunciation from the Federation of French Cinemas against the Cannes Film Festival for allowing TV into their lineup for the first time ever.) Clearly, his words went straight to the top of Netflix’s corporate office, as the online video giant has issued a letter to their shareholders assuring them that everything’s going to be fine and movies aren’t dead, probably.
Over the years, Disney’s made a rich tradition out of refashioning their amusement park rides as feature film attractions. There have been successes (Pirates of the Caribbean and its many demon-spawn sequels, and Eddie Murphy vehicle The Haunted Mansion), flops (the Tomorrowland movie, the horrifying Country Bears picture) and whatever Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars movie was. But the massive entertainment conglomerate has not given up hope on its cross-vertical synergy potential. Today brings the news that yet another of Disney’s thrill-a-minute rides will soon make the jump to the big screen, and let me break it to you now that a hideously insensitive It’s a Small World movie remains, for the moment, an impossible dream/nightmare.
After the release of the shocking Sausage Party racked up an equally shocking $140 million (far more than any of us expected a movie involving anal beads forcibly yanked out of an anthropomorphized hot dog bun to make), it was only a matter of time until more bawdy animation followed. Cartoons for grown-ups may be on their way to a moment in the sun, as today brings the news that Netflix has launched production on an R-rated project in a similar vein. But they won’t stop at desecrating the sacred space of the grocery store. This time, nothing short of our nation’s origin story will provide the canvas for whatever vulgarity they’ve got in store.
What exactly does the term “break the internet” mean? Web-surfers understand the definition as “causing a commotion of such great size and scale that the World Wide Web could shut down as a result of its enormity,” and yet the phrase only conjures one image to mind — that of Kim Kardashian on her notorious Paper Magazine cover, popping champagne directly onto a glass balanced atop her buttocks. So when Disney announced yesterday that their sequel to video game hodgepodge Wreck-It Ralph would bear the subtitle Ralph Breaks the Internet, we may interpret it one of two ways. Either Ralph’s going to go on an epic quest through the online wilds, or the 8-bit hero is about to blow our minds with the roundest ’donk in the history of animated cinema.
Have you seen Holy Motors? If not, add it to your to-watch list post-haste. French filmmaker Leos Carax’s bizarro collection of connected vignettes follows a odd man named Mr. Oscar as he goes about his day enacting a series of elaborate role playing scenarios, from a facially-scarred hitman to a hair-eating troll to a motion-capture technician creating an alien phantom. I’m not selling it all that well, but trust me when I say there’s a reason it usually ends up in conversations about the finest films of our young millennium. And continue trusting me when I tell you that news of another feature project from the less-than-prolific Carax is ample reason to prick up your ears and pay attention.
Pixar’s 2016 was something of a mixed bag, having landed a true-blue blockbuster with Finding Dory but then missing out on the coveted Oscar nomination. They’ll get back in the saddle in 2017 with Coco, a vibrant fantasy about the power of music, family, and remembrance of those lost to us. In the film, a lonely young boy finds a link to the past through an enchanted stringed instrument and sets off on an incredible journey with an animal companion, encountering all manner of dreamlike wonders (along with a monster or two) on the way. It bears mentioning at this point that this film is, in fact, not Kubo and the Two Strings.
Hey, are you between the ages of 18 and 25? Are you of Middle Eastern descent? Are you free from April of this year right on through to January 2018? Have you ever been described as ‘telegenic,’ and most importantly, can you hit a high C? Then good news, you have a solid shot at landing one of the starring roles in Guy Ritchie’s upcoming live-action Aladdin remake for Disney!
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.
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