Rebecca Thomas has already directed one feature, the 2012 oddball drama Electrick Children. That account of one girl’s imagined immaculate conception via cassette tape (it’s a weird movie) drew positive enough reviews, but failed to make enough of an impact to propel Thomas into the next professional echelon. She regrouped by taking a gig directing a TV show for Netflix, under the impression that the work would be a fine holdover while she plotted her next film — little did she know, Stranger Things would blossom into a full-blown phenomenon and blow open the gates to Hollywood for the filmmaker.
Hard to believe that eight years have already passed since Michael Jackson’s death, but time’s a goon like that. And as the King of Pop settles in the ground, the question of what shape his legacy will take must be answered. While we’d be remiss to gloss over the ethical lapses and general trainwreckishness of the man’s final years (and doubly remiss not to point out the cruel, exacting factors in his life that drove him to that mental state), the time has come for a bit of enshrinement. Next month, the Michael we prefer to remember — the virtuosic performer, the boundary-pushing titan of black art — will return for a glorious new tribute.
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.
The world approaches a great cataclysm in the latest trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy novel The Dark Tower, but the specific nature of that cosmic upheaval, I know not what. Not having read the source novel, I’ve decided to go into the film cold when it premieres on August 4, and so far, I’ve done a pretty solid job of keeping myself unsullied by plot revelations. The new international trailer does me a favor, too, by playing all of its details of plot close to the vest. There’s a whole lot of ominous talking, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey appear to have some manner of beef that could decide the fate of the known universe, but beyond that, I’m in the dark (tower).
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
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