With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
The first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a sleeper success, doing surprisingly solid business at the box office and earning equally solid reviews from critics. But it was home video that transformed this little a cappella comedy into a genuine sensation, instantly becoming the favorite film of 12-year-old girls (and their initially reluctant parents) all over the world. So the new ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer arrives with the air of an event film. The sequel is not an underdog, but the Bigger, Flashier, and Louder follow-up that has the confidence to suggest that there is an entire franchise to be found here.
After six long years, our national nightmare is over. The sequel to ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ has finally arrived. In the stunningly titled ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,’ Kevin James reprises his role as the portly rent-a-cop with a bad habit of stumbling into dangerous situations that are beyond his meager pay grade. This time, he fights thieves while attending a security conference in Las Vegas, as you are wont to do when you visit Las Vegas in a comedy sequel.
‘Magic Mike’ was a perfect storm of a movie. For some of the moviegoing population, it was a chance to load yourself up with frozen margaritas and go watch a bunch of extremely attractive, chiseled men strut their stuff on camera. For cinephiles, it was the next film from the ever-versatile genius Steven Soderbergh, whose filmography is littered with experimental and pop masterpieces alike. It was a big hit, a sequel was greenlit, and now, the first ‘Magic Mike XXL’ poster has arrived, placing returning star Channing Tatum (and his abs) front and center.
The massive success of the ‘Despicable Me’ films have created a monster. Monsters, actually. Well, cute, yellow, strange little monsters that countless children (and some adults) all over the world have fallen in love with. Yeah, ‘Minions’ is going to be huge and it’s all going to be thanks to those little guys. However, the presence of a major star like Sandra Bullock can’t hurt and Universal has released the first images of her supervillain character, Scarlet Overkill.
Forged in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ring of Power was stripped from the hand of Sauron following the final battle with the Last Alliance and became of a keepsake of Prince Isildur. Now corrupted by the One Ring, Isildur fell in battle, losing the ring to the river. From there, “Isildur’s Bane” fell into the hands of the creature known as Gollum and from there, into the hands of the Hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins. It was only through the efforts of the Fellowship of the Ring and the brave Frodo Baggins that the One Ring was destroyed forever ... or so we thought. Because the ring has fallen into the hands of a young Texas boy, who was suspended from school for wielding such an accursed tool.
‘Breaking Bad’ may be completely, definitively over, but that doesn’t mean Walter White is ready to leave popular culture alone. Oh, no. As long as Bryan Cranston is alive and as lone as insurance companies are prepared to back dump trucks full of cash up this house, we’ll get to see America’s favorite meth dealer pop up every so often. So while it’s weird to se Cranston play Heisenberg one more time in an Esurance commercial, it’s not that surprising.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
With the Super Bowl arriving this weekend, every corporation in the world is fighting for your attention, spending ludicrous amounts of cash on tiny advertisements for things that most people already like. The same goes for movies and the biggest sporting event in the United States is no stranger to premiering new trailers and TV spots for massively anticipated films. So, without further ado, let’s all take a moment to watch the new ad for ‘Minions’.
A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
After the jam-packed month of December, with its huge family-friendly blockbusters and awards season Oscar bait, we have arrived in the month of January. Formerly a dumping ground for mediocre films, the month has taken on a new identity in the past few years as a testing ground for unique genre films (think ‘Cloverfield’) and a solid place to release a horror movie, which seems to do quite well right around New Year’s for whatever reason. This year, we have ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death,’ which had a fairly solid opening. Not solid enough to topple the Christmas Week champions, but no one is complaining too much.
As expected, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won the weekend, but a quick examination of the actual numbers makes this victory feel just a little hollow. The same goes for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ and ‘Annie,’ both of which took second and third place without putting forward particularly impressive numbers. Yep, the holiday box office looked just a little rough this weekend.
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