A few key members of the SNL cast and crew must love “The Californians” because the much-derided sketch was brought back to life for the show’s star-studded 40th anniversary special. For those of us who have always enjoyed this bizarre sketch (and there are about three of us), it’s a welcome return and we will greedily drink up the angry tears of everyone else.
In between all of the tributes and montages and musical performances, the SNL 40th Anniversary Special actually found time for some original content. Right after a montage celebrating the short films that have been featured on the show over the years, Zach Galifianakis took to the stage to introduce a new digital short from Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler. Unlike most of Samberg’s original shorts, which usually traded in genial silliness, this one looked inward and examined a subject that everyone who has ever been on the show should be familiar with: breaking character.
We knew going in that the SNL 40th anniversary special would be chock-full of just about every famous person who has ever walked within spitting distance of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the opening monologue was quick to make use of this genuinely insane temporary cast of stars. Things got started on the right foot when the always-welcome Steve Martin took the stage ... but then he was joined by Tom Hanks. And then things got really crazy.
In the midst of an otherwise dull (and occasionally painful) red carpet special that aired before the SNL 40th anniversary show, special guest Jim Carrey livened things up by by making Matt Lauer really uncomfortable. His comedic weapon of choice? The recently suspended/disgraced NBC newsman Brian Williams.
In the Jurassic World trailer, careful editing ensured that we only catch tiny glimpses of the Indominus Rex, the genetically modified dinosaur cooked up by scientists to increase attendance to their theme park. But if you were expecting our first really good look at this guy to come from another trailer, you were wrong. This is the year 2015. These kinds of things get revealed in toy form these days.
Despite being based on a niche comic book and starring a cast of characters who are total unknowns to most people, Suicide Squad is quickly shaping up to be one of the most intriguing superhero movies on our radar. Much of our interest comes from the cast director David Ayer has assembled for his supervillain-themed men-on-a-mission tale. Even with Tom Hardy dropping out, the film is still set to feature Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Viola Davis (and, sigh, Jai Courtney), which makes this one of the nuttiest ensembles ever assembled. Now, Ayer is looking to plug that Tom Hardy-shaped hole with Joel Kinnaman.
The first Crimson Peak trailer is here and it showcases a side of director Guillermo del Toro that we haven’t seen in far too long. Before Pacific Rim and Hellboy and even the dark fantasy of Pan’s Labyrinth, he made horror movies. Now, del Toro has returned to the genre where he made his name and the first footage from the resulting film looks as gorgeous and creepy as you’d imagine.
Remember how so many Star Wars fans lost their minds when we first saw Kylo Ren’s bizarre hilted lightsaber in the trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7? Well, they’re about to lose ‘em all over again. Hasbro is introducing a new line of toys that will allow children (and their parents) to customize their own Jedi weapons. If you should a little hilt was crazy, then you probably aren’t prepared for what people will soon be able to create in their homes.
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.
The original 1984 ‘Poltergeist’ is one of the best horror films ever made. With its PG rating, it’s also one of the great Trojan Horses of genre cinema. Parents show it to their kids, thinking it will be a a little scary but totally family-friendly experience, only to realize too late (usually around the point where the guy hallucinates his face being torn off) that the movie means business. So, when we dive into the first look at the upcoming ‘Poltergeist’ remake, we do so with the skepticism of people who think the original masterpiece holds up as well today as it did over 30 years ago.
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