Matthew Monagle Biography
Over the past few weeks, Josh Gad has systematically been chipping away at the defenses of Murder on the Orient Express co-star Daisy Ridley to try and get his hands on a few tasty Star Wars: The Last Jedi spoilers. We’ve checked in on the series three times over the past month as Gad quickly escalated his efforts, bringing in ringers such as Dame Judi Dench — seriously, how to say no to Judi Dench? — to try and guilt Ridley into letting something slip. And now, for his last-ditch effort, Gad has pulled out all the stops.
It’s amazing how much difference a song makes. We’ve been treated to several teasers for Guy Ritchie’s upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie, and to this point, I would have described them all as just OK. Ritchie’s particular brand of historical fiction and modern action aesthetics — including his signature fast-slow-fast brand of fight choreography — is something I’ve gone back and forth on a little bit in the last few years. I’m not a big fan of Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, but I did rather enjoy The Man From U.N.C.L.E., meaning King Arthur was kind of a net zero in my book.
Remember those few days last August where Tom Cruise’s salary negotiations had shut down production on Mission: Impossible 6? For a moment there, it looked as though one of the best action movie franchises on the planet had finally shut down. No more age-defying stunts from AARP member Cruise; no more innovative action sequences from unexpected movie directors. When things were finally smoothed over between star and studio in September, I’m not ashamed to admit I breathed an audible sigh of relie
Sometime over the last couple of months, writer-director Shane Black slipped onto Twitter without very many people noticing. While admittedly a bit of a neophyte when it comes to social media, Black has immediately grasped the most important aspects of the platform. You know, sharing funny tweets, complaining about politicians, taking pictures of his dogs, and, oh yeah, throwing out exclusive content from the set of his long-anticipated Predator sequel. You know, just normal, everyday Twitter stuff.
While moviegoers tend to treat American cinema as existing outside the government channels we see in other countries, the truth is far more complex than that. The National Endowment for the Arts affects the industry in any number of ways: from directly supporting actors and playwrights in American theater to supporting organizations focused on education and exhibition, the NEA plays an important role in ensuring that filmmakers are given the tools they need to make their vision a reality. So when The Hill recently reported that the current administration was considering privatizing PBS and eliminating the NEA entirely, artists and educators were rightfully terrified.
While it’s been a few years since we last saw Lindsay Lohan in a feature film, that doesn’t mean the former Disney wunderkind hasn’t been busy. Not only has Lohan popped in for a handful of guest appearances on shows like Two Broke Girls and Eastbound & Down, she’s also been hard at work on her big screen comeback, The Shadow Within, a supernatural thriller about a private investigator who is looking into the death of her werewolf father. It may not compare to her previous heights as a child actress, but it’s a living. Not everybody gets to be a movie star.
It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I finally found time to catch Moonlight in theaters, so you’ll excuse me if the buzz around Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s film hasn’t quite worn off yet. Moonlight isn’t just a powerful story of one person’s struggle with his sexuality, it is also one of the most powerfully acted and beautifully shot films of the decade. In my professional opinion as a film critic, we should just throw awards at that movie until both filmmakers are forced to move into bigger houses just to store them all. That’s my professional opinion, mind you.
If I were a Marvel sales rep, I would get down on my knees every day and thank Thanos for the series of events that led to Baby Groot. Baby Groot might just be the pinnacle of Hollywood marketing; not only is his cute visage the perfect thing to slap on every action figure, lunch box, and stuffed animal from here to the moon, it’s also a character that sidesteps typical customer cynicism. If fans felt for one moment that Baby Groot was a thinly veiled attempt to sell them more junk, they would push back on James Gunn and Marvel with all their strength. But instead, we are treated to one of the baddest killing machines in the galaxy who happens to be totally adorable, too.
It’s been nearly 17 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie ushered in a new era of superhero movies, and in that time, we’ve seen studios crank through actors with alarming frequency. We’ve seen three Spider-Man, a handful of Batmen, three Punishers across the big and small screens, and dozens of big-budget Marvel and DC movies break records at the box office. In the midst of all this chaos has been Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the one actor-character combination that seemed immune to bad reviews and flagging box office numbers. And with Jackman set to take one final turn as Wolverine in Logan, the actor is taking a little time to stop and reflect on his impact in Hollywood.
A few years ago, when details started emerging about George Miller’s failed attempt at a Justice League movie, the biggest heartbreak for me was losing Armie Hammer as Batman. I’ve been a big fan of Hammer’s since his early appearances on the horror-comedy series Reaper; in my book, he’s on the same level as someone like Chris Pine, another actor who possesses the marquee good looks of a Hollywood leading man but the instincts of a character actor. And despite working in big summer movies with some of Hollywood’s most visionary directors, Hammer has watched his opportunities sink under bad reviews. He’s been good; his movies, not so much.