For a movie directed by a well-regarded arthouse stalwart with mainstream appeal and starring an actress who was the biggest movie star on Earth as recently as three years ago, it’s weird that mother! has remained almost entirely shrouded by secrecy. We know that Darren Aronofsky’s new movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, it’s some manner of home-invasion psychothriller, and the cast includes Javier Bardem, Kristen Wiig, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. We saw the poster, which finds JLaw ripping her own heart out in a lush vernal scene like Mola Ram on vacation in Argentina. But apart from that, it’s a big, strange question mark. Word on the street says a trailer is on its way, and yet it’s still impressive that a project this high-profile has gotten so far while remaining almost totally incognito.
The X-Men have grounds for a lawsuit. The latest trailer for the forgettably-named upcoming action-thriller American Assassin begins with a squadron of new recruits going through a training exercise in a high-tech virtual facility. Hard-light holograms act as attackers, and though they may be projections, the “shots” they fire definitely hurt like real bullets. This dangerous room bears a suspicious resemblance to the Xavier School’s Danger Room, to the point that the wheelchair-bound telepath could probably hash this out outside of court for a fat stack of settlement dough. These may be fictional characters in fictional situations, but the American Assassin trailer does not give the average news-post writer much more to discuss.
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
Do you wanna build a snowman... again? Disney sure hopes so, as they announced in a new press release today that their mega-successful Frozen would gain a sort of mini-sequel in an upcoming short to be bundled with Coco. But Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is no ordinary lead-in to the main event; it sounds like quite a bit has gone into the short that Disney repeatedly refers to as a “featurette,” running at 21 minutes and including four new songs, as well as returning cast members Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff. Parents, batten down the hatches, for a new ‘Let It Go’ is close at hand.
Rick Moranis: the guy Woody Allen calls a nebbish, a nervously tittering lead of family films (he lit up millennial living rooms with his Honey, I... trilogy) and bluer comedic works (Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs) alike. He was everywhere in the ’80s, but took an eminently understandable hiatus from acting beginning in the ’90s after his wife Ann succumbed to breast cancer. He did a noble and difficult thing by focusing all his energies on dutifully raising his motherless children, turning his back on fame and his public. Though he’s still taken the occasional job — he gave his kids something to love by contributing voice work to Brother Bear — he’s shied away from highly visible gigs. Until now!
Beaming families, teary smiles, mortarboards in the air — it’s graduation season, which means that more importantly, it’s celebrity commencement address season. While some high-profile speakers have received a chillier reception than others, the A-lister speech has long been a reliably amusing diversion in between long-winded orations from dusty academic types. Maya Rudolph took plenty of artistic license with “The Star-Spangled Banner” at my graduation ceremony from Tulane a few years ago, an unforgettable experience that I was too drunk to currently remember. But today brings video of another movie star taking the stage before a mass of fresh-faced students blissfully unaware of how hard getting a job is. Ladies, gentlemen, Will Ferrell is in the house.
Now that Austin Powers has safely moved past its “overexposure through incessant quoting” phase, there’s a lot to love about the movie. The peppy flute theme from Quincy Jones, Myers’ screwloose double-turn as the International Man of Mystery and his pinky-brandishing nemesis, the kitschy ’60s-by-way-of-’90s design, it‘s all a pretty good time. (Not to mention that the tactfully obscured nude scene is a marvel of blocking and composition.) A recent oral history has gotten Myers’ most beloved comic creation back in the public eye, and amidst rumors that a sequel may be in the cards at some indeterminate point in the future, another surprising discovery has been made.
In a refreshing change of pace, international tensions with Russia have increased due to something other than statements issued from the executive branch of the federal government. The latest subject of global controversy is none other than Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live-action remounting of the classic animated fantasy-romance. And rest assured, it’s not the sacrilege of revising the high-water mark of Disney’s ‘90s run that the Russkies are ticked off about. Not since the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy vehicle The Interview nearly set off World War III with North Korea has Hollywood come this close to igniting a powder keg, and all because LeFou has come out of the closet.
Will Arnett’s gravelly voice has defined some of his most beloved roles: it made his bombastic doofus G.O.B. into Arrested Development’s MVP, it turned him into a worthy rival for Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, and it perfectly suited him for the role of the Lego universe’s Caped Crusader. As the star of The Lego Batman Movie, he brings a certain actorly gravitas to every punch line, and the best part is that he can take that skill with him anywhere. Trying to quell a dispute between his kids? Batman lays down the law. And in a new segment from the BBC Radio 1 station, he puts his voice to good use once more, as a prank on an unsuspecting toy store.
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