Netflix has come a long way from those little red envelopes full of DVDs. Today the movies-by-mail rental company is a full-fledged movie and television studio with an impressive slate of original films, documentaries, mini-series, and cartoons. And they keep adding new content constantly; a week after Season 3 of the acclaimed series House of Cards, they unveiled Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from Tina Fey; two weeks later they debuted Bloodline starring Friday Night Lights’s Kyle Chandler.
Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas won just one Oscar (for supporting actor Joe Pesci) at the 1991 Academy Awards. (The year’s Best Picture winner was Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves.) But the film seems to grow more popular and critically acclaimed every year, to the point where it’s now considered one of Scorsese’s masterpieces, one of the best movies of the 1990s, and perhaps the best gangster film ever made without the word “godfather” in the title. Astonishingly (at least it feels astonishing to an old man like me), it’s been 25 years since Goodfellas made its debut in theaters, an anniversary Scorsese and his cast and crew will celebrate next month with a 25th anniversary screening and reunion at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
The news out of Disney’s shareholder meeting keeps on coming. This one isn’t much of a surprise: Disney is making Frozen 2. In a related story, the sky is blue and water is wet (until a princess with freezing powers comes along and turns it into ice).
The name “Disney” brings to mind images of fair princesses, charming princes, magical fairy tales, and simple happily ever afters. In recent years, though, Disney has begun rethinking their classic properties, and releasing more thematically complex versions of their famous films. Sleeping Beauty became Maleficent, which turned a wicked witch into a sympathetic anti-hero; a whole mess of fairy tales turned into Into the Woods, where happily ever after preceded a whole bunch of death and tragedy. The ranks of Disney Princesses grew to include women like Merida, the bow-slinging heroine of Brave, and Anna and Else from Frozen, who rescued each other from an prince, rather than the other way around. Every value and concept that Disney had established and reinforced through decades of repetition was seemingly up for reconsideration and revision.
With their new Cinderella just days away, Disney is continuing its streak of turning its animated classics into live-action features with the news, via the Wall Street Journal, that Dumbo is ready to make the transition from animated elephant to ... well, still-animated elephant surrounded by live-action actors. If that idea doesn’t get your ears flapping, maybe this will: the Journal says Tim Burton will be the man who’ll direct the new Dumbo.
After years of complaining from people who didn’t have or couldn’t afford cable (or whose parents refused to give them their HBO Go password), HBO is finally delivering a standalone streaming service, HBO Now. Today, the company announced some of its availability details, including pricing and when and where it will be available.
If you’ve always wanted to go indoor sky diving, have breakfast at Randy’s Donuts, and take a helicopter tour around L.A. with Robert Downey Jr. then you have pretty eclectic taste in activities. Nonetheless that is exactly what you could do with RDJr. if you win his new charity contest through Omaze. As detailed in the video above, the grand-prize winner gets a trip to Hollywood to attend the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron and walk the red carpet with Downey (and, y’know, the rest of the Avengers cast). Plus Downey will put you up in a fancy hotel and do all those other swanky activities.
We have very sad news to report from The New York Times: Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock for almost 50 years, has died. Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, told the Times the cause of death was “end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” The beloved actor and director was 83 years old.
If the prospect of a new live-action version of Cinderella wasn’t enticing enough, the new Disney film is opening with a special added attraction: “Frozen Fever,” a short sequel to Frozen, the most popular movie (and most dastardly earworm) of 2013. And here I thought “Frozen fever” was a mental illness that made kids sing “Let It Go” over and over again until their parents begged for the sweet release of death. My mistake.
At long last, the Oscars are in the books for another year. As usual, the Academy Awards made for a night full of memorable moments, great speeches, and huge disappointments. (You deserved better, Boyhood.) Here now, the highs and lows of Oscars 2015 — all the things the Oscars got right this year, and all the things they got wrong:
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