When The Dark Crystal was released in 1982, it came as quite a shock. Yes, it was from director Jim Henson’s studio, but these creations certainly didn’t look anything like the Muppets we were used to seeing from Henson. This movie was dark, and even kind of scary! It’s taken nearly four decades, but that world is going to be explored again, in a new series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, that will serve as a prequel to the original film. Even though computer graphics have come a long way in the last 37 years, the series will be performed in old-school fashion, with puppeteers, but this time, the voices will come from an all-star cast that includes names like Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, Harvey Fierstein, Sigourney Weaver, Andy Samberg, and Taron Egerton, among others. The Rocketman star Egerton says he vividly remembers seeing The Dark Crystal for the first time, and it was an experience that stuck with him. (Click on the media bar below to hear Taron Egerton)
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will debut August 30 on Netflix.
The CW certainly loves to do crossovers with its DC properties, which has produced some of its series’ most memorable episodes. Now that there are five Arrowverse shows airing on the network — The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and the new Batwoman — the crossover is going to be bigger than ever. How big? So big, it’s going to take two different actors to play Superman! Interestingly, the two actors both have experience playing the Man of Steel. Tyler Hoechlin has had a recurring role as Superman on Supergirl. And Brandon Routh, who now stars as Ray Palmer/The Atom on Legends of Tomorrow, played Clark Kent and Superman in the 2006 film Superman Returns. Now that Routh will be putting on the cape and tights again, we asked him what it felt like to step into that iconic costume for the first time. (Click on the media bar below to hear Brandon Routh)
The five-part Arrowverse crossover will begin this December and conclude next January on The CW.
It looks like all of the elements are in place for Terminator: Dark Fate to win back fans of the franchise who were disappointed in Salvation and Genisys. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Check. Linda Hamilton? Check. A film gritty enough to earn an R rating? Check. At Comic Con, director Tim Miller confirmed what many had been hoping: The series is returning to its R-rated roots, and he told us why. (Click on the media bar below to hear Tim Miller)
Terminator: Dark Fate will open in theaters on November 1.
For The Lion King, its well-known opening number is also somewhat of a prophecy: The Circle of Life is playing out, as fans whose parents took them to see the movie when they were young will now be taking their own kids to Disney’s new remake. That’s not just holding true for fans — even the movie’s new voices are feeling it. Donald Glover, the new voice of adult Simba, says the Lion King experience has become so much more meaningful now that he’s got a son of his own.
The Lion King is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Ironically enough, going back into the danger zone is going right into Tom Cruise’s comfort zone. As the star returns to the skies for Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to 1986’s Top Gun, he feels like the experience he’s gained over the past 33 years will result in the new movie being even better than the first. Cruise, who’s developed a reputation for being a perfectionist on his sets, told us he has very specific ideas about how to make movies work, and he devises plans with just one thought in mind. (Click on the media bar below to hear Tom Cruise)
Top Gun: Maverick will open in theaters on June 26, 2020.
With their bold themes, grand staging, and epic musical numbers, many of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals have made the transition from the stage to the screen. Soon, joining Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, and Jesus Christ Superstar in the adaptation line is possibly Webber’s most beloved musical of all, Cats.
Based on the T.S. Eliot novel, Cats was first staged in London in 1981; after it crossed the pond to Broadway, it won seven Tony Awards. Since then, it has toured the globe and inspired thousands of productions, gaining millions of fans in the process. The film version will feature an all-star cast — joining Oscar winners Dame Judi Dench and Jennifer Hudson are Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jason Derulo, and Taylor Swift. With an end-of-year release, it’s no secret they’re looking for a lot of awards season love with this one.
Take a look at the trailer for Cats and let us know what you think. If you’re a fan of the musical, are you looking forward to the movie? And if you haven’t seen the musical, does this pique your interest?
One of my best friends in high school was the grandson of former NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh Dryden. When NASA decided to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in honor of Neil Armstrong in 2014, I asked my friend how he felt about losing the name. He replied with no hesitation: If it took somebody as amazing as Neil Armstrong to replace his grandfather’s name, that was a huge honor.
Such is the way Armstrong is revered as a true American hero.
With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing only a day away, Armstrong’s signature accomplishment has once again put him in the spotlight. While the new documentary Armstrong certainly doesn’t shy away from the historic event, it does strive to place it in the context of a man whose life was extraordinary in many ways.
Armstrong’s life story is told in full, starting with his childhood in Wapakoneta, Ohio. (Ironically enough, among the establishing shots of modern-day Wapakoneta is a glimpse of the town’s cinema. On the marquee? The recent Armstrong biopic First Man.) Through archival interview clips with his parents, we learn how young Neil was fascinated with airplanes and aspired to be an aircraft designer.
That introduction sets the tone for the entire documentary. We get glimpses into Armstrong’s life from the people who knew him best — family members, friends, and colleagues — along with plenty of candid home movies, NASA footage, and old television broadcasts. Armstrong even contributes his own words, narrated here by one of Hollywood’s space pioneers, Harrison Ford.
Most of the documentary focuses on establishing the Apollo 11 moonwalk as a pivotal moment in Armstrong’s life, but not as a singular defining moment. Rather than branding Armstrong a hero because he walked on the moon, it shows us that Armstrong was chosen for the moonwalk because he was already a hero.
He had handled himself in exemplary fashion as a pilot during the Korean War, as one of the courageous X-15 test pilots, and during a difficult Gemini 8 mission that could have ended in tragedy if not for his actions. In one particularly telling moment, former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin reveals that Buzz Aldrin was initially suggested as the first man on the moon, but he vetoed the idea because he saw Armstrong as a steadier, more dependable representative of the mission — not just before and during the flight, but afterward. Griffin knew the historical responsibility that would come with being the man to take that “one small step,” and he was convinced Armstrong was the right man for the job.
Obviously, the lunar landing changed Armstrong’s life forever, and the rest of the film paints Armstrong as a reluctant celebrity who, after retiring from the space program, tried to resume a normal life but could never quite outrun the demands of his historic achievement. Indeed, when his friend, former Taft Broadcasting President/CEO Charlie Mechem, asked him to serve on the company’s board of directors, Mechem tells us how Armstrong grilled him for two hours about what his role would be. Armstrong, he recalls, wanted to make sure he was not being chosen solely because of the star power — or, in this case, moon power — attached to his name.
Armstrong’s life was one filled with extraordinary moments, a mix of great triumphs and great tragedies, and these moments are painted vividly in the film. The stories are told well, the NASA mission footage is spectacular, and the candid films are wonderfully revealing of the private personality behind the public persona. The Armstrong family was heavily involved in the project — indeed, Neil’s son and granddaughter collaborated on the song that plays over the closing credits — and it is easy to see why they wanted this film to stand as a non-dramatized counterpoint to First Man. Given his aversion to the spotlight in his later years, Armstrong may have been embarrassed by a movie with all of the Hollywood trimmings. Armstrong serves as a fact-based, low-glitz alternative that probably tells the story in the manner its subject would have preferred.
You don’t have to be Tiger Woods to play miniature golf. You don’t even have to be sober to play miniature golf! And who doesn’t have great memories of miniature golf, whether it was a date, fun with buddies, or a family outing? That’s the pure genius behind ABC’s new miniature golf competition, Holey Moley, according to correspondent Jeannie Mai: No complicated rules, and every single viewer can picture themselves playing along. (Click on the media bar below to hear Jeannie Mai)
Karl Urban has been involved in plenty of movies with built-in fan bases. Of course, he’s Dr. McCoy in the rebooted Star Trek series, he appeared in two Lord of the Rings films, he was in the film adaptation of the Judge Dredd comics, and he even made an appearance in the Marvel Universe (Thor: Ragnarok). Now Urban is starring in another film based on a comic book, The Boys. Urban told us he wasn’t necessarily looking for another role like this, but when he came across it, he knew there was no way he could turn it down. (Click on the media bar below to hear Karl Urban)
Even before she became a household name, everybody knew Jane Lynch — they just didn’t know they knew her. She was one of Hollywood’s most active character actors, scoring guest-starring roles on dozens of TV shows. It’s almost impossible to have turned on a television in the last 25 years and not seen Lynch. Of course, thanks to high-profile roles on Glee and Two and a Half Men, she’s no longer a stranger to anybody. In fact, she’s now recognized everywhere she goes. And, especially now that she’s been hosting Hollywood Game Night — as herself, of course — she told us she’s always running into people who act like they know her, and she admitted it makes her a bit uncomfortable at times. (Click on the media bar below to hear Jane Lynch)
Hollywood Game Night airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.