To put it diplomatically, American relations with Russia have gotten decidedly complicated over the past year or so. It’s almost something of a relief, then, that political satirist extraordinaire and Veep creator Armando Iannucci would take a step into the past for his harebrained take on the Kremlin. His hotly anticipated new feature The Death of Stalin (the writer-director’s first film project since 2009’s In the Loop, a specimen of nearly perfect comedy) takes us back to the ’50s heyday of the USSR, at a pivotal moment prior to the superpower’s downfall. And as a titan falls, Iannucci laughs his head off at the little people maneuvering to avoid getting crushed.
The corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street is a Los Angeles icon, once the heart of the city’s booming film production and now the nexus of the world-renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame. Usually, the most frightening thing a person will experience at the intersection is an encounter with improv comics attempting to strong-arm you into attending their latest show, but a new horror will soon dawn in the area. Locals now have bigger things to worry about than spending the day sad after accidentally overhearing an actor speaking to their agent on the phone.
I know that this very web site has declared a personal fatwa against slowed-down pop songs in movie trailers, but I can’t help but feel like the spots advertising the upcoming remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 cult object Flatliners won’t be complete until they’ve tapped a creepy children’s choir to cover the Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side).” It’s perfect! The song is about permeating the boundaries between life and death, the film deals with the same topic (only with what appear to be unsettling CGI zombies in the mix), it’s bananas that some enterprising ad executive hasn’t made the connection.
Today brings a new message from your friends at Monarch Sciences, a totally legit operation that’s completely on the up-and-up. No way they‘re irresponsibly experimenting with genetic mutation and irradiation, no siree, they‘re just another innocent chemical processing corporation trying to make an honest buck in a shrinking workplace. (The chemical processing industry has gotten rough ever since the recession, and mom-and-pop conglomerates are taking the hit especially hard.) The truth, as anyone who saw the Godzilla remake from 2014 already knows, is that Monarch Sciences was responsible for the creation of the thunder lizard, and now they’re back up to their usual business.
There’s some bio-terrorism a-brewin’ in London, and it’s up to Noomi Rapace to track down the no-noodniks responsible and dispense some harsh and uncompromising justice. Nope, it’s not another iteration of the Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo franchise, it’s the new trailer for the upcoming espionage thriller Unlocked. Rapace plays a stone-cold killer who does everything Jason Bourne did (but in chunky heels) as she shoots her way through the United Kingdom’s capital city to disarm a viral germ bomb of some manner or another. It’s a glowing green liquid in a syringe; whatever it is, we know it’s not good news.
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.
When young Jews hit that magical age of 13, they go through the coming-of-age ceremony known as a bar mitzvah (for boys) or a bat mitzvah (for gals). There’s music, dancing, and food, you receive lots of money for bravely keeping a straight face while assorted relatives pinch your cheeks, and if you’re really lucky, a major late-night personality will bless your entry into the world of adulthood with his virtual presence.
While you and I may know July 3rd as “Fasting in Anticipation of Tomorrow’s Onslaught of Grilled Meats Day,” a certain subset of conspiracy-monger recognizes it as World UFO Day. Apparently, one such believer resides at Sony, as the studio released a mysterious new video on the 3rd and included the hashtag #WorldUFODay in the caption on YouTube. In it, a glowing green air traffic controller’s matrix appears on screen with some slightly-garbled dialogue in the background about an enigmatic foreign craft entering their airspace. While some may find its significance confounding, Spielberg fans recognized the clip straightaway.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
In a newly posted video, film score composer Mark Korven shows off his demon baby, a one-of-a-kind noisemaker he’s affectionately dubbed The Apprehension Engine. Tired of the same old samples cropping up in movie after movie, the musician (whose credits include Vincenzo Natali’s Cube and, more recently, colonial-era chiller The Witch) wanted something he could use to produce original sound effects. He commissioned guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith to create the nightmarish machine in the video above, which uses metal rulers, curled scrap metal, and other assorted bits of junk to generate supremely disturbing... music?
Boys, girls, people of all ages, the Serkis has come to town! Andy Serkis, that is. The motion-capture professional will take the lead of the neo-Planet of the Apes franchise once more on July 14 for War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter in the trilogy. At this point, audiences pretty much know what to expect: the great clash between hostile humanity and peaceable simiankind rages onward and approaches a final reckoning, as the Serkis-played chimp Caesar wrestles with the terrible responsibilities of leadership in wartime. But before audiences can revisit Apeworld for one last battle, 20th Century Fox wants to be sure we all appreciate just how much went into this film.
Funny how there aren’t any movies about creepy-looking dolls that stay inanimate. The tradition of killer miniatures is a rich and varied one, stretching from smart-mouthed icon Chucky to Twilight Zone resident Talking Tina to the gang of supremely ticked-off slave toys in Tales From the Hood’s third quarter. The unsettling lifelessness of a doll’s visage has made it a reliable source of horror in the past, and the Conjuring franchise struck its own vein of gold with the homicidal, pigtailed Annabelle. The precocious little psychopath got her own starring vehicle in 2014 with the simply-titled spinoff Annabelle, and now we’re taking a step back in time to witness her dark baptism in blood.
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