Original sci-fi stories are slowly becoming more popular in Hollywood. It’s an exciting prospect, as normally we’re all inundated with adaptations of superhero comics or popular books or remakes of older films that we already know the endings to. Movies like Interstellar and Oblivion are, arguably, a lot more exciting, allowing a director or a writer to create their own world from scratch, and keeping the audience in the dark as to how it all ends. Passengers is one of these, a sci-fi romance with a central mystery at its core that’s bound to keep viewers guessing until the end.
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Well that was quick! Not long after debuting the first official teaser poster, James Gunn has revealed the first honest-to-goodness teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — and if you were digging that poster, you’re going to love this teaser, which features the delightfully familiar sound of “ooga chaka, ooga chaka, ooga ooga chaka.” Everyone sing along!
Doctor Strange could come out of nowhere and wow us all, but barring that, it’s been a lackluster year for superheroes at the movies. And as if responding to our culturewide cry for help (or at least a little fun from time to time), James Gunn and the crowd-pleasing Guardians of the Galaxy franchise have returned to get audiences psyched up for the impending sequel, cheekily titled Vol. 2, as if the second installment in cassette-obsessed Star-Lord’s mixtape series. The first theatrical poster is here at last, obviously:
If you’re going to make a movie that’s basically just two people in the entire cast, it might as well be two of the most charismatic and attractive people on the planet.
Trailer teasers seem to be the next big thing for large-budget blockbusters these days, giving us a taste of a taste of the movie we’ll be buying tickets for months from now. Today brings us the trailer teaser (or trailer trailer) for the new original sci-fi Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and helmed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), Passengers is set on a luxury spaceship housing 5,000 passengers all bound for a colony 120 years’ journey away. For everyone to remain alive until they get to their new home, all of the people onboard are put into hypersleep so that their bodies remain in stasis. Mysteriously, two of these passengers are awakened by the ship 90 years before the end of the trip, they first fall for each other and then learn that they’re the only people who can save the crew from a deadly malfunction.
As good as many of the Marvel movies have been — and they’ve been very, very good — perhaps my favorite part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its complicated web of secrecy and lies. Each cast member has to be prepared to talk about Marvel movies at a moment’s notice, to speak to the entire design of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, without giving away proprietary information or giving entertainment reporters the wrong kind of soundbite. If Disney were smart, they would launch an Aaron Sorkin-produced television series about the politics of press junkets. I would watch the heck out of that.
Guys, you’re never going to believe what just happened. One of the actors in an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster just predicted that his new movie will be full of incredible special effects and awesome set pieces! This changes everything we thought we knew about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And here I thought the sequel was going to be a hard-hitting expose on Peter Quill’s abandonment issues with his father, the giant face planet played by Kurt Russell. You know, real somber stuff.
Awards season may be underway with the official start of the Toronto Film Festival, but the fall of 2016 picks up right where summer left off with Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ a loud and frenetic update of an old classic very few people were clamoring for. The question with any remake is why; why a new version and why one now? The movie just made its world premiere as the opening night film of TIFF 2016, and I still don’t have a satisfying answer to that question.
Now that summer is officially drawing to a close, people are preparing themselves for the inevitable shift from the blockbuster season to the award season. Sometimes the award season movies have months of build up, with endless festival buzz and Oscar speculation; sometimes, though, a film is just sort of there, expected to do well because of its cast and crew but with no real hype to speak of. One such movie is Passengers, the high-concept science fiction film from Sony starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Much like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Passengers seems expected that special holiday mark between blend of big budget entertainment and arthouse sensibility.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: whenever you need to cast someone as a giant floating face planet, get Kurt Russell. Russell has long been one of our most self-deprecating movie stars, an immensely talented actor with movie star looks who, for some wonderful reason, always preferred to play the buffoon over the action hero. Movies like Big Trouble in Little China and even the more recent The Hateful Eight reveal that Russell is never happier than when making fun of his movie star persona.