Matt Singer is the managing editor and film critic of the website ScreenCrush.com. For five years, he was the on-air host of IFC News on the Independent Film Channel, hosting coverage of film festivals and red carpets around the world. He’s been a frequent contributor to the television shows CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents At the Movies, and his writing has also appeared in print and online at The Village Voice, The Dissolve, and Indiewire.
Matt Singer Biography
Mad Max: Fury Road didn’t have a pitch perfect weekend at the box office (because Pitch Perfect 2 scored a massive debut and earned about $25 million more dollars than it did), but its $44.4 million opening already makes it the highest grossing Mad Max movie of all time in the U.S., and its $100 million worldwide and counting is nothing to sneeze at. Director George Miller has already made it clear that Fury Road is designed to kick off a whole new run of Mad Max films with new series star Tom Hardy, and if the next sequel does happen, he’s even got a title picked out and everything. Miller told Jeff Goldsmith on The Q&A Podcast that the fifth Mad Max film would be called Mad Max: The Wasteland.
This week’s big release is Tomorrowland, a movie inspired by the futuristic section of Disneyland. It’s the latest step in the ongoing symbiotic relationship between cinema and theme parks. Disney has rides based on movies (Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey) and they make movies based on rides (The Haunted Mansion, The Country Bears) and then the movies they make based on rides influence new versions of those rides (Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow was invented for the screen, but now he’s featured as an audio-animatronic performer in the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions). It’s the snake that eats its own tail, and then puts that tail up for sale in the gift shop.
All right, so Steve Jobs has nothing to do with Jobs, the Ashton Kutcher biopic about late Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs — except for the fake that they’re about the same person. The twist, supposedly, for this new Jobs biopic, which is directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin, is that the whole film is set at and around three different Apple product launches. (Kutcher’s version featured a more traditional biopic structure).
The best argument for Tomorrowland is its release date; a week after Mad Max: Fury Road, about a world destroyed by an oil war, and a week before San Andreas, in which an apocalyptic earthquake destroys half of North America. Less a blockbuster action film than a stern but well-intentioned lecture accompanied by an elaborate audiovisual presentation, Tomorrowland argues that rampant cynicism is actively poisoning our future. People become so convinced by movies like Mad Max and San Andreas that the world is doomed that they start to believe it really is. So they give up, and dystopia becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
That’s a scene from 2011’s Goon, a warm but irreverent comedy about a sweet-natured (but incredibly tough) enforcer for a minor league hockey team. Goon was a Slap Shot for the 2000s, right down to the way it almost immediately gained a small but deeply passionate cult fanbase, and it boasted one of the best performances of Scott’s career. (Seriously. He’s awesome in it. And he’s great as Stiffler, too, and doesn’t get the respect he deserves as a comic actor in general. But that’s a conversation for another time.)
When Frank Grillo’s character was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he seemed like a decent dude; working for S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside Chris Evans’ Cap to save a bunch of kidnapped hostages. But for longtime Marvel readers, Grillo’s character’s name, Brock Rumlow, was a major red flag. In the comics, Rumlow is the real name of Crossbones, a deranged super-villain and frequent associate of the Red Skull. Sure enough, by the end of Winter Soldier, Grillo’s Rumlow revealed his true allegiance to Hydra (an organization created by none other than Red Skull) and squared off with Anthony Mackie’s Falcon in hand-to-hand combat.
According to Latino Review, after a long search, Butterfield has secured the role of Peter Parker for Sony’s newer, hipper, younger, version of Spider-Man. Word on the Interwebs (heh) claims this new Spider-Man will make his onscreen debut in next March’s Captain America: Civil War before spinning off into his own solo movie franchise that will be released by Sony but made in conjunction with Marvel and would be considered part of the official Marvel Cinematic Universe. That film (or, let’s be honest, franchise) would be separate from the animated Spider-Man movie that is also currently in development at Sony, under the direction of Lego Movie filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Next week, after three final shows, David Letterman hangs up his double-breasted sport coat and retires as the host of the Late Show with David Letterman. Today, CBS announced the lineup for the final episodes. Monday Tom Hanks and Eddie Veder will appear; Wednesday will be “an hour filled with surprises.” In between, in a decision perfect in its own circular way, Bill Murray will join Letterman for the final time.
I know the default mode of all movie bloggery is skepticism, cynicism, and snark. But I read the news from The Hollywood Reporter that the men of The Lonely Island — Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone — are in production on a “musical comedy” and all I feel is joy and excitement, like a man who’s on a boat, or a different man enjoying a lazy Sunday, or a third person who just cut a hole in a box for the express purpose of then stuffing his junk in that box.
T-minus one week and counting until the very last Late Show with David Letterman and the tributes are coming faster and faster, and sadder and sadder. I hope on the last installment of Stupid Pet Tricks one of the tricks is a shih tzu shedding a single tear for the end of this venerable late-night franchise, which comes to a close on May 20. It’s only fitting.