Those of us who have dutifully followed Dwayne Johnson’s social-media updates from the set of the Jumanji reboot (fully titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a series of words I will never say out loud) have been hotly anticipating the first official trailer for months now. And after all the online teasing from the Rock about how much excitement audiences can expect from his new revival of the ’90s kids’ classic, he’s finally putting his money where his bulging, oiled-up biceps are. Welcome to the jungle, director Jake Kasdan has fun and games, if by “fun” we mean “a massive FX budget” and if by “games” we mean “body-switching humor.“
The universe of The Conjuring just keeps expanding outward. James Wan’s ’70s-set creepfest made swimming pools of money for New Line Cinema, which made a greenlighting a sequel pretty much a no-brainer. When that film sold like hotcakes too, New Line moved onto an Annabelle spinoff and a scheduled sequel, a solo project for the demon nun that torments Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, and yet another spinoff for the bowler-sporting Conjuring 2 villain known as The Crooked Man. And now the seventh film in the connected Conjuring world has been announced, promising more highly lucrative scares for New Line.
The people cannot get enough Batman. He’s everywhere: he fought Superman, now he’s in the Justice League, soon he’ll return to another solo movie, and he ended up back in the news due to Adam West’s passing — we’re living in the Batman-est of all possible worlds. And those Batmaniacs clamoring for more time with the Caped Crusader before he returns in Justice League on November 17 are in luck, because Bruce Wayne and a couple familiar friends will storm nationwide theaters for a special one-night engagement this summer.
Today marks the one-year mark until we get the sequel to the 2015 box-office-crusher Jurassic World, and Universal wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion. Now look down at that glass of water you've got close at hand. Tiny ripples in the center, a distant thunderous thudding in the distance. New information is close at hand.
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.
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.
As we all learned from Sully, planes are not to be trusted. The massive, sophisticated machinery in these multi-million dollar aircrafts can be completely undone by something as small and minor as an errant bird, sending the passengers into a screaming spiral of terror. As pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, Tom Hanks heroically guided an airliner into the Hudson River for a safe crash landing, and Harrison Ford survived a similarly perilous plane crash while giving his amateur pilot’s license a workout not too long ago. Another day, another celebrity-adjacent story pertaining to aircraft engine failure.
There‘s a new gay icon in Hollywood currently enjoying a moment of enhanced visibility. If you find Ellen too squeaky-clean, Neil Patrick Harris too eager-to-please, or Lance Bass too Lance Bass, then you’re in luck, because a new LGBT champion has emerged from the shadows to capture the hearts of millions. He’s here, he’s queer, and he wants to eat the child that cracked open his cursed pop-up book: good citizens of the Internet, the Babadook has burst out of the closet, and he’s hungry.
From the earliest announcement of its premise, Disney/Pixar’s latest project Coco has sounded a little derivative on paper. The angle of “boy uses enchanted stringed instrument to contact family members from beyond the grave during fantastical journey” bore an unfortunate resemblance to last year’s outstanding Kubo and the Two Strings, and moreover, the recent animated film The Book of Life also imagined a vibrant hidden world behind the culture surrounding Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. But today brings the first real taste of Coco with an official trailer, and I am pleased to report that in practice, it sure looks like its own thing.
Pronouns — terrifying, right? At least when they don’t have antecedents, that is. There’s suspense baked right into the title of It Comes At Night, the upcoming feature from Trey Edward Shults, director of last year’s self-assured debut Krisha. So what is the ‘it,’ and why is it coming at night? The attendees of the Overlook Film Festival are keeping mum, having gotten the first glimpse at the film this past weekend when it popped up as the festival’s secret surprise screening. They offered rapturous but spoiler-free praise, but luckily for the rest of us, a new trailer and poster have surfaced to shed a little light on what’s going on while simultaneously compounding the mystery.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Shooting a movie’s not like performing a play. The theatrical process is primal, all rooted in emotion and immersion within the fictional moment. Production on a feature film requires far more on a technical level, to the point where actors will be ordered to pick up a spoon in the exact same way ten times, just to be safe. (David Fincher famously went through one hundred takes to nail the opening breakup in his magnum opus The Social Network.) For the typical actor, most of filmmaking is waiting around for stuff to happen — but that’s far less tiresome when you get to hang out with Carrie Fisher between calls of “ACTION!”
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