With Oscar season just around the corner, now is the time for all the smaller award shows to announce their big annual winners. Earlier this weekend, we saw the Directors Guild of America give their biggest honors to movies and television shows such as La La Land, Game of Thrones, Veep, and O.J.: Made in America. And now it’s time for the animation industry to share their selections for the best animated films and television shows of 2016.
With everyone’s feeds full of horrible news stories these days, you’ve probably already forgotten about the video of alleged animal abuse on the set of A Dog’s Purpose. Back in January, TMZ shared leaked footage of animal handlers aggressively dragging their canine star into a tank of water. The clear signs of the dog’s panic caused an internet firestorm, with star Josh Gad distancing himself from the project and PETA calling for an immediate boycott of the film. A Dog’s Purpose still performed well enough in its opening weekend, but the scandal no doubt cost it ticket sales at the box office.
For most people, the decision to make a sequel to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey is probably the punchline to a bad joke. But have you actually stopped and looked at the box office numbers for Fifty Shades of Grey recently? We’re not talking about $100 million at the global box office; we’re not even talking about $200 million. We’re talking about $571 million worldwide, more than Mad Max: Fury Road and Creed combined and the eleventh highest-grossing movie of the year. With those kind of numbers, you pretty much have to make a sequel. I don’t blame them.
While the Academy Awards may leave a sour taste in the mouths of those who think artists shouldn’t be forced to compete, there’s no denying that an Oscar nomination is still a powerful piece of validation for a lot of filmmakers, especially those from other countries. Filmmakers like Asghar Farhadi — whose 2016 film The Salesman will be seen by many Americans due to its Best Foreign Language Film nomination — should be able to take this time to engage with audiences about the importance of this work. Instead, Farhadi will have to watch the Academy Awards on television like the rest of us.
Cyberattacks — or, as newly elected President Trump would say, “the Cyber” — are an increasingly common part of the world we live in. With most private information and secure data now available online, one tech-savvy computer user can do more damage to an institution than hundreds of lawyers or corporate spies. And while we might think of cyberattacks as being reserved for the Big Evil Corporations of the world, it turns out that not even film festivals are immune from being targeted.
After starring in arguably the greatest television series of all time, Bryan Cranston has certainly earned the right to pick any movie or television projects that he darn well pleases. That didn’t prevent a few people from raising their eyebrows when it was announced that Cranston would be joining the cast of the new Power Rangers reboot as their leader and mentor Zordon. Sure, we all know that Cranston got his start as a Power Rangers voice actor back in the day, but is he really so loyal as to work on a new live-action movie when he could be out there, winning Oscars or lighting up Broadway
I’d be hard-pressed to name a Disney villain I like as much as Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston. In addition to being a Sondheim-esque twist on the traditional idea of a fairy tale prince — vain, violent, and eager to confuse chivalry with misogyny — the character of Gaston has also become something of a method actor’s dream for Disney theme park employees. Remember the time that Gaston challenged a kid to a push-up contest? Or how about the time that Gaston got shouted down by a young girl? It turns out that no one goes viral like Gaston, either.
It seems to me that Moana brought in two very different audiences this holiday weekend. For some, Moana was the newest entry in a long line of Disney princess movies and a step in the right direction for the studio in terms of inclusiveness and empowering young women. For others, it was a chance to cure their Lin-Manuel Miranda withdrawals after the turnover of the Hamilton cast and the end of the regular Ham4Ham sidewalk performances. That probably explains the odd mix of millennials and children at the recent matinee you attended.
Do you prefer pie or strudel? It’s a valid question. If you ask the faceless horde over at Yahoo! Answers, the correct response is pie (and it isn’t really even that close). But if you ask Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them character — and noted muggle — Jacob Kowalski, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a piping hot strudel for dinner. The secret ingredient? Why, magic, of course.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times began a six-part story on Kelli Peters, a school volunteer and PTA member in the community of Irvine, California who became the unwitting subject of a bizarre conspiracy to ruin her family’s name. A few days later, Peters’ tell-all book, I’ll Get You! Drugs, Lies, and the Terrorizing of a PTA Mom, hit bookshelves across the country. It wasn’t long before the film rights to the book were shopped around in Hollywood, and now it appears a major star is interested in playing the role of Peters herself.
I don’t think it’s a particularly bold statement to say that Justin Timberlake is one of the great all-around talents currently working today. Everyone knows his music and his hilarious appearances on Saturday Night Live, but with a filmography that includes everything from Inside Llewyn Davis to The Social Network, Timberlake has also proven himself several times over as an actor. Whatever Timberlake decides to do, odds are he will do it very, very well.
The relationship between Broadway and and Hollywood has always struck me as a bit unfair. Hollywood basically gets its pick of pre-packaged products: wonderful lyrics, showstopping dance numbers, and beloved songs. Broadway, meanwhile, has to do most of the heavy lifting when adapting a movie for the stage. Oh, you want to make Waitress into a Broadway musical? That’s great! You’ll just need to write a whole new suite of songs. And figure out all the choreography. And rewrite the book to make those first two things fit. Because the movie has none of that.
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