Nathan Rabin’s New Movie Site

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Nathan Rabin is one of my favorite critics and I am currently reading his book My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man’s Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure with great pleasure.

He has just started a new website, Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place, where he’ll be writing about movies, Weird Al Yankovic (they wrote a book together), and lots of other stuff. If you are as big a fan as I am, you’ll want to provide some support via Patreon.

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Critics

Why Kenan Thompson is SNL’s MVP

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 8:00 am

At Huffington Post, Maxwell Strachan writes about Kenan Thompson, about to set the record for the longest-term performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He makes a good case for the reason Thompson is so good: he’s not just supremely talented and the ultimate professional, he also a team player, always focused on what is best for the sketch, the cast, and the show rather than what is best for him. And he explains how Thompson’s quiet consideration and modesty has made it easy to underestimate his contribution.  I’m glad to see him get this long-overdue recognition.

What makes Thompson special is not best utilized in movies, or on a pre-recorded sitcom, or behind a desk ― but right there, live on air at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

“If you were designing the person perfect for SNL, most of the components would look like Kenan,” Lorne Michaels told me in a phone interview earlier this year.

Thompson makes everything at SNL better. The writers can rely on him to bring them back a laugh. The cast members know that he’ll set them up for their own moment. And the crew members know that they’ll have someone who will act as an on-stage director, controlling the tempo of the sketch and the people around him.

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Television

Ways to be Wicked: Descendants 2

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm

“Ways to Be Wicked” is the pop rock anthem performed by the Villain Kids (aka the VKs) – Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart – which opens the movie “Descendants 2.” The movie premieres July 21, 2017 (8:00 p.m. ET/PT) on five networks – Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, Disney XD and Lifetime.

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips

The Summer Blockbuster Season Starts This Week! Here’s What’s Coming

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 8:00 am

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Believe it or not, the summer blockbuster movie season starts this week, and we are getting a bunch of big movies over the next three months. Summer means superheroes, sequels, family movies, raunchy comedies, and quirky indies. The summer of 2017 has all of that and more. Here’s a peek at what’s coming.

May 3

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2” They’re back to save the universe again, with another rockin’ soundtrack of 70’s hits, and Kurt Russell joins the cast.

May 5

“The Dinner” Brothers, one a smooth politician (Richard Gere), one a bitter schoolteacher (Steve Coogan), and their wives (Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney) get together for a wildly expensive dinner and a very tough conversation.

May 12

“Snatched” Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play a mother and daughter who have some exciting and hilarious adventures on a trip to South America.

“Paris Can Wait” Diane Lane stars in a story about a woman whose trip to Paris has some unexpected detours.

“King Arthur: Legends of the Sword” The Guy Ritchie version of the classic tale stars Charlie Hunnam.

May 19

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” A Heffley family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention.

“Everything Everything” Amandla Stenberg (Rue in “Hunger Games”) plays a sheltered teen who has been confined to her home all her life because of illness — until she meets the boy next door.

“Baywatch” Co-star Zac Efron calls this affectionate and sometimes silly feature based on the television series “a high five to summer.”

May 26

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” We get a glimpse of a young Captain Jack Sparrow in this new entry in the series based on a theme park ride.

“War Machine” Brad Pitt stars in this sharp satire about a four-star general.

June 2

“Captain Underpants” Two fourth graders (voices of Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) hypnotize their nerdy principal into thinking he is a superhero in this animated film based on the wildly popular series of books.

“Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot plays the Amazonian superheroine Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins (“Monster”).

“I, Daniel Blake” Ken Loach directed this award-winning film about people crushed by the bureaucracy of the social safety net in the UK.

June 9

“The Mummy” Tom Cruise stars in this update of the classic horror tale.

“My Cousin Rachel” Daphne du Maurier’s book about a mysterious woman stars Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin.

June 16

“Cars 3” Lighting McQueen and Mater are back for another race, this time against a new generation of competitors.

“All Eyez on Me” The biopic of rap star Tupac Shakur, starring Demetrius Shipp Jr.

“The Book of Henry” A gifted child and his single mother try to help a young girl in danger.

“Maudie” A disabled young woman becomes an artist and finds love.

“Rough Night” Scarlett Johansson has a wild bachelorette party that goes very wrong in this raunchy dark comedy, one of two Girls Gone Wild-style takes on a “Hangover” comedy this summer.

June 23

“The Beguiled” Sofia Coppola directs the remake of the Clint Eastwood Civil War story about an injured soldier (Colin Farrell) taken in by a girls’ school, this time with more of the women’s perspective, starring Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst.

“The Big Sick” This indie film based on the true story of the courtship of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, complicated by her illness, has been a festival hit.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” Like “Fate of the Furious,” this is a series entry that has the leader “going rogue.”

June 28

“Baby Driver” Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, and Lily James star in what looks like a musical version of “Drive,” from writer/director Edgar Wright, who always has his own twist on genres.

June 30

“Despicable Me 3” Gru, Lucy, and the girls are back, and this time they meet up with Gru’s long-lost brother (also played by Steve Carell) and a new bad guy who is stuck in the 1980’s.

“The House” Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler play a married couple who need money for their daughter’s college tuition. So of course they turn their home into an illegal gambling den.

July 7

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Tom Holland’s winning but brief appearance in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has fans looking forward to his first starring appearance as Spidey.

July 14

“War for Planet of the Apes” Any hope for peace is gone as the apes are stronger and more effective and the humans are less trustworthy.

July 21

“Dunkirk” One of WWII’s most intense operations was the rescue at Dunkirk, and this film from Christopher Nolan shows us how it happened, with an all-star cast that includes Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Jack Reynor, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance.

Copyright Universal 2017
Copyright Universal 2017

“Girls Trip” The second Girls Gone Wild films of the summer stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith as old friends who take a journey to the Essence Festival.

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” Luc Besson’s dream project is the comic book series that helped inspire the look of “Star Wars.”

July 28

“Atomic Blonde” Charlize Theron plays the title character in a stylish spy thriller with non-stop action.

“The Emoji Movie” Yes, it’s a movie about emojis, with Patrick Stewart providing the voice for the poop emoji.

“An Inconvenient Sequel” The follow-up to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary about climate change has some good news along with more inconvenient bad news.

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips
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