It’s a Minion world, and we’re all just living in it. The little pill-shaped yellow critters have left an indelible imprint on the cultural mainstream, for better (footage not found) or for worse (try googling “minions memes,” I dare you). Kids and adults alike have latched onto the phenomenon with an uncommon enthusiasm, and now the numbers reflect the totality with which the Despicable Me universe has permeated modern life. In the seven brief years since Illumination Entertainment loosed the original Despicable Me on an innocent populace, the franchise has grown into the largest of its kind — the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
Though Michael B. Jordan was the breakout star of Creed as Apollo Creed’s rip-snorting fighter son Adonis, Sylvester Stallone got the best material (and the Oscar nomination). His arc saw aging boxer Rocky Balboa coping with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mourning the loss of his friends and loved ones, and ultimately confronting his own mortality. It was meaty stuff, ending on a note of hope and rehabilitation as Rocky scaled the famed Philly steps once again, a bit worse for wear but still tough as nails. Stallone recently spoke out about his plans for the character in the impending Creed sequel, and with Rocky’s health back on the upswing, it looks like the Italian Stallion may have some fight left in him.
Christopher Nolan doesn’t do small movies — if he’s going to mount a war picture, you can bet it’s gonna be one of the biggest (and priciest!) to date. He’s seemingly spared no expense for his new film Dunkirk, reportedly corralling thousands of extras, destroying vintage planes, and dominating the land, sea, and air all for a grand new vision of combat. And in order to fully convey the enormity of his ambitions, Nolan went all-in and mounted his production on 70 millimeter film. For laymen, that means he used a larger film strip while shooting to capture more brilliant colors, richer sound, and a greater sharpness of detail. For those who don’t give a hoot, it means this film will rattle your bones.
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.
Spider-Man’s a true New Yorker: he understands when to take the 6 train versus rolling the dice on the 2nd Avenue subway, he knows where to get the Bronx’s best chopped cheese, and when he needs a snack in a pinch, he hits up his friendly neighborhood bodega. In the latest promotional spot for the umpteenth reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, the web-head is late to a big NBA Finals watching party at Tony Stark’s place. (The commercial was written to air specifically during the basketball playoffs this year.) But when he ducks into a nearby bodega — for those uninitiated, it’s really just a corner convenience store, but immeasurably better in every way — he has a chance encounter.
Decades before Taken got tooken, Charles Bronson went on a revenge rampage. Liam Neeson had his very particular set of skills, but in 1974’s Death Wish, Bronson had a well-kempt mustache, a dead wife, a hospitalized daughter, and a white-hot grudge. The middle-aged man cut a violent swath of retribution through the criminal underground in search of justice for the female members of his family, and in doing so, spawned a genre of brutal, occasionally sadistic action films rooted in mature masculinity. Bruce Willis was one of the many beneficiaries of Bronson’s legacy, and now he’ll repay the favor with a remake of the classic action flick.
Tom Cruise has made it a professional point of pride that he does all of his own stunts. 54 years old, still ripped, and with nothing to lose, he’s made headlines and earned respect by jumping out of every structure imaginable, developing proficiency with various firearms, and most recently and notably, clinging to the side of a aircraft in active flight like a little gecko with a death wish. It would appear there’s nothing the man won’t do (aside from keep his shirt on for the full duration of a studio film), and a special report from the set of his upcoming thriller American Made has raised the bar even higher.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
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