johnny depp grindelwald

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: why J.K. Rowling and the crew of the Fantastic Beasts sequel should not try to defend the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald.)

I’m disappointed. I’ve long upheld Harry Potter to be a series that explores the devastating consequences of domestic abuse and encourages tolerance and empathy. I admired J.K. Rowling, the author of those beloved books and now a screenwriter of the prequel series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as a proponent of those same standards.

But the magic threatens to be lost. Director David Yates and others involved in the new films have recently been scrambling to defend the casting of Johnny Depp as the evil wizard Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts and its upcoming sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald amid domestic abuse allegations from Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard. And now Rowling has jumped in to defend Depp. Read More »

/Answers: The Best Movies About Making Movies

James Franco The Disaster Artist

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. In this edition, we celebrate The Disaster Artist by asking “What is your favorite movie about making movies?” Read More »

the room screenings

A lot of people can’t understand why someone would want to watch a bad movie – even one that’s “so bad, it’s good.” Yet many bad movies find a completely intentional audience, several years after the fact.

Take Ed Wood. The filmmaker died obscure and broke in 1978. Now he’s a famous cult figure with an award-winning biopic to his name, whose movies are screened all over the world. The same thing is happening right now to Tommy Wiseau, the strange (French? Polish? Extraterrestrial?) director behind The Room. This film was laughed off the screen when it opened in 2003. But it’s since become a beloved midnight movie that inspired a hilarious tell-all book and now, a behind-the-scenes film with serious Oscar potential: The Disaster Artist.

Whether we’re talking about Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Room, or some other amazingly bad movie, there’s always one thing in common: young people. Young people have been instrumental in the success of all these reclaimed trash masterpieces. This is no accident. Young people are the perfect audience for bad films, for several reasons. The most basic is that college students have a great time watching these movies with their friends and a whole lot of alcohol. Some like to hone their most creative insults on these failed works, treating it like a witty bloodsport. But there’s also an odd sincerity to this interest in bad movies, one that keeps young people coming back to poorly edited, horribly acted, and barely scripted films again and again.

Read More »

Star Wars The Last Jedi 57

This past weekend, I had a chance to sit down with Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson to talk about the new Star Wars film, which no one outside of Lucasfilm has seen yet. Since the filmmakers can’t say much about the film, I decided to ask about the marketing.

In the last trailer and some recent TV spots, we’ve begun to see moments from the movie that seem like they might be spoilers, but many fans believe the scenes (like the moment between Kylo and Rey in the final trailer) might actually be deceptively edited to help protect spoilers. In the interview, Rian admitted that the marketing manipulates, but never misrepresents the final film.

While the full interview will be posted next week, I wanted to share some excerpts from the discussion, especially as we barrel into the final stages of The Last Jedi marketing.

Read More »

disney buys fox

You probably know the story by now: Disney is in negotiations with 21st Century Fox to buy the company’s film and television assets. If it comes to fruition, it won’t be just the biggest movie news story of 2017 – it will be the biggest movie news story of the decade. Or more.

If this news fills you with excitement, dread, or something in-between…welcome to the club. The /Film staff has mixed feelings about this development, which could shake Hollywood to its core in ways both exciting and terrifying. So let’s run down the pros and cons of Disney buying Fox and what it means for both companies…and film industry itself.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Dunkirk vs. Darkest Hour

It’s one of those strange coincidences that occurs every few years: two different films cover the same subject matter and happen to be released in close proximity. Typically, it happens in big-budget situations – audiences were able to see two different movies about asteroids headed for Earth (Armageddon and Deep Impact) as well as two different movies about anthropomorphized ants (Antz and A Bug’s Life) in 1998. This year, something similar is happening and even more remarkably so. Two very different, very British films cover a specific period in World War II: the evacuation of British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France.

This summer, Christopher Nolan delivered his latest big-budget affair, the relentlessly intense, excellent Dunkirk; Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, currently in limited release, follows Winston Churchill as he makes the decisions that would kickstart the Dunkirk evacuation. The difference between the two films is stark.

Read More »

Black Mirror season 4 review

Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker’s dark, twisted, technology-driven Twilight Zone riff, is about return to Netflix for yet another season of woe and punishment. There’s a cold cosmic justice at work in Black Mirror; a sense that any transgression, no matter how mundane, will be met with the bleakest of punishments. It can often make for an unpleasant experience. Yet Black Mirror explored exciting new possibilities last season, with the acclaimed San Junipero – an episode that revealed that hopefulness was also a possibility in the Black Mirror universe. Best of all, it was an episode that wasn’t obsessed with conveying a twisted moral – it simply used the Black Mirror premise to tell a story about two characters and the results were stunning.

Black Mirror season 4, sadly, does not have an episode that resonates as much as San Junipero did last season. The show once again continues down a dark, unrelenting path – which is to be expected, since that was the built-in methodology long before San Junipero came along. But how does Black Mirror season 4 stack up as a whole? The good news is that the latest season of Black Mirror goes off into new, unexpected directions and has fun playing around with style and form. The six episodes that occupy the latest season all vary in plot, tone, and message, which is a welcome change compared to previous seasons, which had a tendency to blur together.

Read More »

The Post review

Steven Spielberg‘s latest film, The Post, once again proves that the acclaimed filmmaker hasn’t lost his touch. In less than a year, Spielberg has put together an expertly crafted film. Even more than that: he’s made what might just be the most important film of 2017. In tackling an historical story focused on the importance of a free press, Spielberg is holding a mirror up to today, reminding us what’s past is prologue.

Read More »

Twin Peaks season 3 Blu-ray review

David Lynch‘s stunning Twin Peaks season 3, also known as Twin Peaks: The Return, comes to Blu-ray as a must-have box set loaded with fascinating and revealing looks behind the production. Just as they did so many years ago, David Lynch and Mark Frost have created a TV event unlike any other before, and probably unlike anything that will ever come after it. Here, as one cohesive Blu-ray, we have the chance to watch the saga unfold from beginning to end, which might very well be the best way to experience the show. Our Twin Peaks season 3 Blu-ray review below pulls back the red curtain and journeys into the unknown. Join me?

Read More »

Happy Trailer

Comic book writer Grant Morrison has written Justice League, Wonder Woman, Batman, Judge Dredd and much, much more. So it may be surprising that the first Grant Morrison comic to get adapted for television or film is Happy!, which premieres on Syfy this week.

Happy! stars Chris Meloni as Nick Sax, a  grizzled detective who is already a strung out has-been when he almost dies. After the near-death experience, he can see Happy, an animated horse with the voice of Patton Oswalt. Happy is the imaginary friend of a kidnapped girl, so Sax teams up with him to find her.

Following our interview with showrunner Brian Taylor, Morrison spoke with /Film by phone about adapting his short four-issue comic and his many other projects in the TV and comic world. Happy! airs Wednesdays on Syfy.

Read More »