Friday, July 03, 2015

Now Designed to Bore!


That is the sad, crucial question that the clumsy Terminator Genisys begets.

Why did this Alan Taylor-helmed wannabe-blockbuster reboot have to even exist and why did it have to insist on being so complicated and awkward? Why did it have to effectively zap the excitement that would surround watching Emilia Clarke in like, anything ever again? I mean, her once-buzzy, seemingly inspired casting feels misguided now, which brings me to this follow-up Q: Will this – her just-a’ight take on Sarah friggin’ Connor – affect how we appreciate her on HBO’s Game of Thrones?

Nah. I revisited the show’s fifth season premiere after the poorly attended showing I caught, and it proved to be a good palate cleanser.

Why is this movie bumming me out this badly?

Terminator Genisys adds nada to the mythology that James Cameron birthed in 1984. If anything, this turkey jumbles it even further. If the goal was to restart som’in’ for millennials, rewriting time-travel canon at whim and with little to no regard for reason, then success, ’cause, y’ know...nostalgia and s--- (but really ’cause, y’!). If, however, the idea actually was to rework The Terminator and its earned sequel, 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, while honoring ’em and take that story down a new and inventive road, well then, as the kids would say today: #fail.

The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, were a fairly perfect cinematic pair. They told the story they wanted to tell, and while the second one teased the possibility of more (we got...meh in 2003), that combo’s been quite widely acknowledged as a fantastic example of why less should’ve been more.

But, y’ know...Hollywood.

Terminator Genisys begins in the not-so-distant future, in 2029. Skynet’s sentient, and it already has judged humanity: The machines have killed about 3 billion people and, for all intents, won its war against man. As he always does, John Connors leading the Human Resistance, and as played by Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), he is a towering presence that, unfortch, looks a tad outta place, like he belongs in a much different production because Clarke serves more Machiavelli than badass, which I guess works given the twist the movie’s trailers totally gave away leading to this weekend. As he also always does, John sends his most trusted ally, Kyle Reese (The Divergent Series Jai Courtney), back in time to protect his mother, Sarah Connor (the Clarke a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryan), but not before Skynet sends a T-800 cyborg to kill her, and not before Matt Smith can reveal the nature of his mysterious role.

Look, what follows is a proper scramble of everything we’ve known until this point about that original T-800 traveling back to the ’80s, about the original timeline, and, I think, even about this new timeline.

Arnold Schwarzenneger is back for his fourth go as the Terminator/protector, and that is what truly counts here. Thank goodness for the guy.

In this one, Ahnuld plays Sarah’s beloved Pops because some unrevealed someone sent him back to when she was a kid to keep her from that moment on and prep her for the moment in ’84 when the original Terminator arrives in L.A. and for that of this movie’s Kyle’s.

It’s all more convoluted than it has any right being, and way more ungainly than it needs to be. Pops is a protective old-school-dad type now, deadly but a papa bear, and his relationships with the surprisingly straight-manier Sarah and Kyle, especially, are set up for a brand of humor that hardly ever lands

End o’ the day, it’s a good thing Schwarzenneger’s still in this game. He is the welcome constant we need to put up with all these convenient alterna-timelines and what-is-Genisys? explanations that come outta nowhere and probably aren’t designed to go anywhere else than Yet Another Unnecessary Sequelville.

My Rating **

Photo: Paramount Pictures.

No DuVernay for Wakanda

Not to say that the folks at Marvel have a woman problem, but, clearly, there is some sort of an issue.

Ava DuVernay, the Academy-snubbed director of Selma, spent the better part of the summer movie season so far being strongly talked about as the frontrunner to helm Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman.

Alas, DuVernay has confirmed that she will not be calling the shots on the 2017 blockbuster.

“I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” the director told Essence magazine in New Orleans today. “Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me[, but i]n the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye.

Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.

I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda, and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see [the movie].

The key here is not that DuVernay said that she and Marvel did not agree on how the movie should play out. That really isn’t all that rare. The important takeaway here is that DuVernay has publicly acknowledged a truth a lot of filmmakers (like Alan Taylor or Kenneth Branagh) have come to realize after working with the studio: that Marvel has a very singular vision and that they are sticklers for it. If you wanna work with them, you better adapt.

You do not need like, to fully understand that (what DuVernay revealed) – itsuper-clear.

More than a woman problem, Marvel seems to have a problem with wanting good directors to do they good work that Marvel wants, not the good work of which these helmers are capable. There is a recipe that needs to be followed, and it has been a wildly successful recipe, but is it sucking the imagination outta all these Marvel movies? (Not to mention, why are the powers that be reportedly and seemingly turning to a black director for Black Panther and a female director for its planned female-hero-centric Captain Marvel movie? That reads a little...som’in’. Like, why should a black director helm a black-superhero movie and why should a lady director – would that be a ladirector? – oversee a lady-superhero movie?)

Anyway, I am ambivalent about either possibility for an answer. Indubitably, Kevin Feige, the mastermind at the top of the studio, knows what’s up, so I will trust that we will continue to be entertained for a good, long while. I would prefer not be put in the kind of situation that, as an audience member, makes me wonder what if.

That is no fun.


Bringing Venture to the Empire

Kinda love this.

Come Season 2 of TV’s biggest hit in ages, Empire, an Academy Award winner will be roaming about Empire Entertainment.

See, Marisa Tomei is joining the show in the fall, as a demanding, hip-hop-loving venture capitalist who gets all up in the Lyon family drama. Worry not, if you do not care for the actress – she is only recurring.

Tomei joins a roster of second-season guests that already includes Chris Rock and Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz.


America (Ferrera) Trumps Trump

It was only a matter of time until someone expressed a thoughtful, beyond-personal opinion on Donald Trump’s self-made brouhaha.

And that person was America Ferrera.

The Emmy-winning actress wrote an open letter that The Huffington Post published yesterday, in which she thanked Trump for his racist remarks about Mexicans and Latinos in general, for “Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.

“You, Mr. Trump, are living in an outdated fantasy of a bigoted America.

“You may not reduce [Latinos] to drug dealers and rapists. We are moms and dads, sons and daughters. We are valedictorians and honor students. We are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, journalists, politicians and we are the future of America.

Snap! And well put.

Click here to read Ferrera’s letter in its entirety. Its a must.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

He Is King Arthur

Once Upon a Time...there will be King Arthur.

Come the fifth season of the TV fantasy this fall, British actor Liam Garrigan (TV’s 24: Live Another Day) will be on hand as the knightliest of the Knights of the Round Table.

Garrigan’s character will be good and just, but also a master manipulator who can carry a good grudge to the grave...and beyond.

Oh dear.


All the Way MLK

As you probably and should know, Bryan Cranston is reprising his Tony-winning role as Lyndon B. Johnson on the Steven Spielberg-executive produced HBO adaptation of All the Way.

Now comes word that the Falcon himself, Anthony Mackie, will be on hand to tell that story.

Mackie has been tapped to play Martin Luther King Jr. on the production, which will chronicle a piece of American history that starts the moment JFK was assassinated; covers LBJ’s turbulent first year in office, which included some clever power moves to pass Civil Rights legislation in Congress; and concludes with a landslide re-election victory lap.

The MLK part is expected to be quite significant on the small screen, so that’s good for the Marvel stud.


Out for Revenge

At long last, we finally have us a video to go with Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money.

And it’s a doozy.

The 100-million-in-digital-sales singer has taken a page from the likes of, say, Lady GaGa, to deliver a stroylined opus, co-directed with Megaforce, that finally answers the question of who the bitch who better have her money is.

It’s her accountant, played by Mads Mikkelsen from TV’s Hannibal. And he done som’in’ he shouldn’t have, for RiRi is out for bloody, torturous, explicit revenge.

Here, have a watch.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Thickester’s New Dawn

Alright, Robin Thicke – you are on the comeback trail.

The somewhat-disgraced singer seems to be cooling it with the gimmicky pop that made him infamous and going back to the R&B that first made him famous (and kinda sexy) with the release of a new down-tempo sort of ditty, Morning Sun.

Talk about a return to form, something the needed to do post-Paula (and Paula Patton).

Although there is still some work to do now. No guy should refer to himself as “papi.

Thats still an ew move, dude.


Finding Utopia

Rooney Mara and David Fincher are finally set to reunite.

Not for The Girl Who Player with Fire, though.

The Oscar-nominated star-and-director combo from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is quite possibly getting back together for HBO. See, Fincher is going to helm the first season of the straight-to-series new drama Utopia, which Gillian (Gone Girl) Flynn is writing based on the hit British series, and Mara is thisclose to grabbing the starring role on it.

The Carol actress would play Jessica Hyde, and Utopia will center on a group of die-hard fans of an underground novel who find themselves in a pop culture thriller of their own when they learn that the author has written a follow-up in secret. As some start to seek it out, a twisted game of truths and untruths begins to reveal itself to them, sometimes with deadly consequences.

I say do it. Maybe this can help revive Lisbeth Salander.

Btw, what ever happened to Mara and Fincher’s Red Sparrow project? Is that still in the works?


Bringing On the Screams?

Season 4 of Netflix’s House of Cards is gonna be a bit of a scream.


Neve Campbell has joined the show as a regular, in a role that, of course, is being kept super-under wraps.

The Underwoods and their conniving drama will be back on the streamer some time next year, though, so we only have to wait, what...six-seven-eight months?

Totally doable.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marc Jacobs the Tease

Marc Jacobs may have just learned that, you know what – he needs to work on his angles.

The designer lit up the Internet today when he accidentally (was it an accident, though?) Instagrammed a hint of penis while sharing a literal profile pic of his bum as he invited someone “to try [it]. in the time of silliness.


Update: MJ has acknowledged his faux pas on July 2, chucking it to having meant to send [the ass pic] by DM. Oops, my mistake,” and, of course, apologizing for any offense he may have caused.



It is getting to be that time more and more, huh: the time when all the OG designers start to take a bow and retire (ish) from their posts.

Donna Karan announced today that she is stepping down as the chief creative force of her namesake company, Donna Karan International, this after 30 years at the helm.

Karan is not going away completely, though. The designer will remain a close adviser to the company, but her main focus from now on will be her Urban Zen Foundation.

Good for her.


Mama Jen


For real?

Jennifer Aniston has decided to scrub all the good will Cake bought her last year in order to join Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and her Horrible Bosses 2 co-star Jason Sudeikis in...Mother’s Day, a new star-studded joint to be directed by Garry Marshall.

Well. We knew this was bound to happen, since Marshall already gave us both New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.

I wonder who else will jump on this bandwagon....

But back to LAniston: Fine. Whatever. But then Mean Moms, OKRRR.


They Will Get Their Man

Secret In Their Eyes is gonna be most polarizing, if the response I’ve seen on Facebook to its just-released trailer is any indication.

A remake of the 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film, the Billy Ray-directed film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as an FBI agent who becomes consumed with finding and capturing the murderer of his partner’s (Julia Roberts) teenaged daughter, much to the, well...not the chagrin of but the, you know, understanding disapproval of their district attorney-supervisor/pal (Gwyneth Paltrow Nicole Kidman). What he encounters instead, or as well, is an unspeakable revelation that will serve as commentary on the devastating effects seeking vengeance can have on the human soul.

So get ready to feel good at the movies!

Secret In Their Eyes is set to open on Oct. 23.


The Age of Garfleck Is Ovah

Looks like the tabloids were right: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are done.

Indeed, the couple – married since 2005 (it was their 10th anniversary yesterday) – is getting a divorce, [a]fter much thought and careful consideration,” surely in consideration of the three kids they share: Violet, 9; Seraphina, 6; and 3-year-old Samuel.

And another one bites the dust.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Boldly Going Beyond

FYI, people: The follow-up to 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness will be titled...Star Trek Beyond.

So #Beyond away when the time comes.

The Justin Lin-helmed threqueel in the ongoing threequel starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto et al. is due out next July.

And in case you were wondering, Pine and Quinto are on board for a fourth outing.

Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Bring On the Second Volume!

And henceforth, the sequel to last summer’s surprise mega-hit Guardians of the Galaxy (you know...Chris Pratts starmaker) shall be known as...Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Director James Gunn confirmed as much, so there you have it.

The title, fans will know, is a riff on a nostalgia-tinged plot point in the original blockbuster, as well as on the title of its well-received soundtrack.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is due in theaters on May 5, 2017.


The Coke Peddler


Into the Woods’ Billy Magnussen – soon to be seen as Kato Kaelin on FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson – has landed one of the three leads on the network’s new drama pilot Snowfall.

To be directed by John Singleton, the pilot serve as an introduction to a potential chronicle of the crack cocaine epidemic in 1980s L.A.

Magnussen will play the black sheep of a very prominent family who is just desperate to forge his own identity and willing to do anything to step from outta the shadow of his father. Anything – including becoming a major player in the nascent cock trade in town.


Trump Fired

NBC has done its patriotic duty – just in time for the Fourth of July.

The Peacock has handed Donald Trump his walking papers.

As you probably know, Trump is running for president this election cycle. Seriously. And seriously. And as you also probably know, the Donald has been on a xenophobic rampage lately, saying really dumb things about Mexicans and opposing trade agreements and picking a fight with Univision, which dropped his beauty pageants in the wake of his comments.

Now NBC is cutting ties with the guy, so that means the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants will have to be, I dunno, streamed on Trump’s campaign website or som’in’. This also means his Apprentice franchise is off the Peacock’s schedule.

In characteristical style, though, Trump is vowing to sue NBC for its action.

What else would you expect, right.


Update: Macys announced on July 1 that it, too, is cutting ties with Trump. Literally. The retailer will not carry his line of neckties – or shirts or cuff links – any longer.

I Could Make a Filthy Joke Here...

Team Swallow, Gwendoline Christie.

The Game of Thrones fan fave has been tapped for a role in Swallows & Amazons, the story of four 1929 children holidaying with their mother in the Lake District that go sailing to a nearby island on their boat, the Swallow. They set up camp for a few days, but soon discover that the island belongs to a couple of girls that arrived their on their boat, the Amazon.

A rivalry ensues.

Oh...the adventures of childhood.