It’s a Minion world, and we’re all just living in it. The little pill-shaped yellow critters have left an indelible imprint on the cultural mainstream, for better (footage not found) or for worse (try googling “minions memes,” I dare you). Kids and adults alike have latched onto the phenomenon with an uncommon enthusiasm, and now the numbers reflect the totality with which the Despicable Me universe has permeated modern life. In the seven brief years since Illumination Entertainment loosed the original Despicable Me on an innocent populace, the franchise has grown into the largest of its kind — the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
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.
The Avatar franchise has turned into James Cameron’s Xanadu, a vanity project of staggering scale to which the public will seemingly never be permitted access. It’s kept him busy since 2009, as he’s concurrently scripted a whopping four sequels to the immensely lucrative 2009 sci-fi epic. Perhaps, one day, it shall be his tomb. But to us unwashed rabble in the general populace, the grand Avatar franchise is little more than an idea, and a weird idea at that. As our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer noted not too long ago, pretty much everybody has moved on from Avatar as a cultural touchstone. Cameron seems more jazzed about this plan than anyone else, but he’ll have to put his dreams on hold for a little while longer.
We’ve got 11 long months to go before anyone will get a look at Star Wars: Episode VIII, so Lucasfilm has tried to pace itself with leaking details of the hotly anticipated upcoming release. Today, however, they dropped a big one: on the official Star Wars web site, a new announcement revealed the subtitle for the eighth installment in what the site refers to as “the Skywalker saga.” The post declared, “We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.”
Kevin Costner currently shares the screen with Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae in the new release Hidden Figures, but the frequent actor hasn’t gotten behind the camera in some time. He took the Oscars by storm as the helmer behind Dances with Wolves in 1990, followed that up with the bizarro The Postman in 1997, and returned in 2003 with the Western Open Range. But for the past 13 years, it’s been all radio silence from Costner as to when audiences can expect another go at directing. As he’s hit the interview circuit to promote Hidden Figures, however, the actor has floated an idea for a grand project on a scale unlike anything he’s attempted before.
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