We’ve reached the doldrums of August, where studios release the titles not marketable enough for the summer movie season and not quality enough for serious award consideration. That means an odd mixture of horror films, formerly prestigious movies that have lost a little bit of their luster, and absolute junk just looking for a few screens to dominate for a couple of weeks. Oh, and what do you know? That perfectly describes this weekend’s new releases! Gee!
As someone in his early 30s, I feel like everything I do comes with the risk of hurting myself. I go for a run without stretching every single muscle? Hurt myself. I reach down to pick something up? Hurt myself. I sit in one position for an extended period of time without straightening out my back? Hurt myself. That’s just one of a dozen reasons why I find Tom Cruise so impressive: at 55-years-old, it’s not like Cruise is going to hurt any less after his physical activities, he just finds ways to pick himself back up after something goes wrong.
Leonardo DiCaprio has made a career out of playing historical individuals who were too smart for their own good. From Catch Me If You Can to The Aviator to J. Edgar to The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio’s niche is to play fiercely intelligent men whose vision often exceeded their grasp. So who better to play someone as notoriously ahead of his time — and just as notoriously impatient when it came to finishing projects — as Leonardo da Vinci? The world-renowned painter, architect, and inventor will apparently be the subject of an upcoming biography, one that DiCaprio’s production company quickly snapped up before it even hit bookshelves.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been dominating the conversation, Rian Johnson’s film wasn’t the only movie featured in next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Their annual Fall Movie Preview includes updates and photos from a handful of upcoming releases, including Stephen King’s It, arguably the most highly anticipated movie of the fall. We’ve already seen Mark Hamill fight people with a lightsaber, but a bunch of kids running around the Northeast in the 1980s fighting a supernatural monster? Why, we haven’t seen that since Stranger Things came out! And that was a whole year ago!
With two new releases and a third movie switching from a limited to a wide release, this was a weekend of big changes at the box office. Gone are familiar stalwarts like Wonder Woman and Baby Driver, and in its place are (with respect) the also-rans of summer, a few genre-driven films looking to carve out a name for themselves in a time of year devoid of major blockbuster releases. Here are the numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
What did you see this weekend? Was it the dour World War II epic? The raunchy New Orleans sex comedy? Or the movie where Cara Delevingne shoves her head into a telepathic jellyfish’s butt? Truly, with options like this, anyone who complains about the death of cinema has no idea what they’re talking about. Anyways, here’s the box office numbers through Sunday afternoon:
Are you familiar with a ‘sunk cost’ concept? That’s when a business allocates resources to get a project or product off the ground only to see it struggle to deliver; instead of treating that seed money as an expense they’ve written off and will never recover - a ‘sunk cost’ - the company continues to throw good money after bad in a vain hope of eventually recouping its financial losses. You see this happen in Hollywood every now and then, where a studio spends millions of dollars to market a movie it knows is probably going to fail. Or, in the case of a film like Gambit, a studio keeps hiring people to write or rewrite the film despite zero evidence it’ll actually get made.
For many people who grew up in the 1990s, Home Alone is a film that ages alongside them. When you’re a child, you feel an immediate kinship with Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin, sharing in his delight at being able to run around the house entirely rule-free. The older you get, though, the more you find yourself goggling at the actions of John Heard and Catherine O’Hara‘s parents. How on earth could they manage to leave their youngest child behind? Was it really that easy to breeze through airport security in the ‘90s? Why do I still feel so sympathetic towards them even after all that?
This just isn’t fair. Only hours after we found out that horror icon George Romero has passed away, we’ve also learned that the world has lost veteran character actor Martin Landau at the age of 89. According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, Landau passed away unexpectedly after a short illness, leaving behind a legacy of television and film work that any actor would be proud to call their own. From his breakout role in North by Northwest to his regular work with Tim Burton, Landau has been a versatile
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