What you’re watching there is the trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, one of the most acclaimed movies of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. The reception to the film at Park City was so overwhelming that Fox Searchlight paid a whopping $12 million for the rights to distribute the movie. (Coincidentally, last year’s winner of the U.S. Grand Jury and Audience Awards was Whiplash, which went on to become an indie hit and a multiple Academy Award winner, so that gives you some sense of Me and Earl’s potential.)
Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas won just one Oscar (for supporting actor Joe Pesci) at the 1991 Academy Awards. (The year’s Best Picture winner was Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves.) But the film seems to grow more popular and critically acclaimed every year, to the point where it’s now considered one of Scorsese’s masterpieces, one of the best movies of the 1990s, and perhaps the best gangster film ever made without the word “godfather” in the title. Astonishingly (at least it feels astonishing to an old man like me), it’s been 25 years since Goodfellas made its debut in theaters, an anniversary Scorsese and his cast and crew will celebrate next month with a 25th anniversary screening and reunion at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
The news out of Disney’s shareholder meeting keeps on coming. This one isn’t much of a surprise: Disney is making Frozen 2. In a related story, the sky is blue and water is wet (until a princess with freezing powers comes along and turns it into ice).
The name “Disney” brings to mind images of fair princesses, charming princes, magical fairy tales, and simple happily ever afters. In recent years, though, Disney has begun rethinking their classic properties, and releasing more thematically complex versions of their famous films. Sleeping Beauty became Maleficent, which turned a wicked witch into a sympathetic anti-hero; a whole mess of fairy tales turned into Into the Woods, where happily ever after preceded a whole bunch of death and tragedy. The ranks of Disney Princesses grew to include women like Merida, the bow-slinging heroine of Brave, and Anna and Else from Frozen, who rescued each other from an prince, rather than the other way around. Every value and concept that Disney had established and reinforced through decades of repetition was seemingly up for reconsideration and revision.
Here’s something strange in the neighborhood: Deadline reports that Sony isn’t waiting for Paul Feig’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot (with its cast of comedy all-stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon) to debut before planning additional Ghostbuster sequels or spinoffs. They’re already getting to work on what the trade describes as a “guy-themed” offshoot with an all-male cast.
After years of complaining from people who didn’t have or couldn’t afford cable (or whose parents refused to give them their HBO Go password), HBO is finally delivering a standalone streaming service, HBO Now. Today, the company announced some of its availability details, including pricing and when and where it will be available.
The technology in Neil Blomkamp’s movies is so fully realized and intricately detailed that it feels like another one of his characters. Now Blomkamp’s made Chappie, a film where that’s literally true in the form of a police robot given the gift of human consciousness. The result is one giant metaphor for itself; a story of the world’s first true artificial intelligence and how it is almost corrupted by violence, presented in a movie where any semblance of serious consideration of what it means to be alive is drowned out by gunfire, explosions, and macho posing.
We have very sad news to report from The New York Times: Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock for almost 50 years, has died. Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, told the Times the cause of death was “end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” The beloved actor and director was 83 years old.
It’s been a decade since Will Smith was “Will Smith” onscreen. Sure, he’s made movies in the last ten years; science-fiction pictures, dramas, comedies. He even played Satan, once. But none of them riffed on that classic Will Smith persona that everyone loves; the infectious charm, the seductive smile, the cocky but casual swagger. (What’s that? Men in Black 3? No, they never made a third Men in Black. You must be confused.)
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