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.
Though its characters certainly look realistic, it would be a mistake to call the newly reimagined The Lion King a “live-action version” of the 1994 Disney classic (as some have done), when it’s really just a different form of animation. But most people will just be calling it “spectacular.”
The Lion King was arguably the high point of Disney’s ’90s renaissance, so director Jon Favreau and his crew didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. They just made it a shinier wheel. The story and characters are essentially unchanged from the original, but they’re painted on an entirely new canvas. And it’s the canvas that’s the real star of the movie.
More than any of the voice actors’ work, more than any of the animators’ work, I found myself most impressed with the breathtaking landscapes filmed by Favreau and his MVP, famed cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. These stunning shots, filmed in Kenya, provide a superior backdrop for the animators, who respond with top-notch work of their own. Clearly, countless hours have been spent studying the biomechanics of these jungle animals and their rippling, sinewy muscles, because there are times when it’s easy to wonder whether these animals are real or animated.
This heightened realism means the fights and stampedes are a lot more intense than the original, and even the emotional impact of Mufasa’s death is greater when you see young Simba nestle himself into his father’s still-warm body, his face showing carefully nuanced anguish, rather than old-style cartoon sadness.
Having voiced Mufasa in the original, James Earl Jones and his classy baritone return to provide a tangible link between the old and new versions, and his presence here is welcome. Among the new voices, Seth Rogen is the standout as Pumbaa, the malodorous warthog. Beyoncé brings a lot more sass to the grown-up Nala than in the original movie, but she also provides one of the film’s rare missteps — her melisma-laden performance of Can You Feel The Love Tonight? is far too over-the-top compared to her duet partner, Donald Glover’s. There’s no denying Beyoncé’s talents as a singer, but her vocal acrobatics throw the duet’s balance jarringly out of whack.
(The film’s other holdover songs, mostly produced by Pharrell Williams, have been pretty faithfully updated. A new Beyoncé track, Spirit, is nice but not as memorable as the original songs, and another new addition — a new Elton John song that plays over the end credits — finds the Rocketman rocker sounding surprisingly spry at age 72.)
As with the other recent Disney remakes, there have been a few updates to bring the films in step with today’s culture. In addition to Nala being a much more feisty and ferocious female than the 1994 version, Rogen’s Pumbaa has a made-for-social media moment when he proudly stands up to body-shaming bullies.
Knowing that the current crop of Disney do-overs are inevitably judged against their predecessors, it feels like Favreau has gone out of his way to pay homage to the original, as some of its most iconic shots have been painstakingly reproduced here. But again, with the story remaining the same, the key difference here is the cinematography and animation. And while the original certainly has that old-school Disney animation charm, this new version is absolutely spectacular in its realism. It’s clearly the best of the Disney remakes so far, and this new version will likely stand beside the original as a classic.
The summer of 1984 got off to a big start at the box office with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Memorial Day weekend, followed by blockbusters like Ghostbusters, Gremlins, and Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock. Up against that competition, it’s not surprising that The Karate Kid opened up in fifth place in its opening weekend. But as word of mouth about the movie spread, it kept people coming to theaters and, although it never ranked higher than fourth in any given weekend, it finished the year as 1984’s fifth-biggest movie. It also had its own legendary catchphrase: “Wax on, wax off!” Those words, of course, represented the training advice of the sage Mr. Miyagi, played in the film by veteran actor Pat Morita. While Morita passed away in 2005, his spirit lives on in Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid sequel series that’s currently in its second season (with a third already announced). Ralph Macchio, who starred in the movies as well as Cobra Kai, says he doesn’t think the film would have had such an enduring legacy without Morita’s contributions. (Click on the media bar below to hear Ralph Macchio)
Cobra Kai is currently streaming on YouTube Premium.
ABC’s Wednesday nights have been all fun and games this summer, with Press Your Luck, Card Sharks, and Match Game back to back. It’s a throwback to a bygone era, when you could sit on the couch and watch game shows for hours. And that’s exactly what Joel McHale — who’s now hosting Card Sharks — says he used to do when he was younger. (Click on the media bar below to hear Joel McHale)
Patrick Stewart’s impressive on-screen résumé stretches back through 55 of his 79 years, including more than 150 credits. And that doesn’t even take into account all of the stage work he’s done over the years. But, when all is said and done, he will best be remembered for one signature role: Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Already, Stewart has played the role on two Star Trek shows and in four movies, along with several appearances in video games and animated shows. Right now, he’s shooting a brand-new series built around the character, Star Trek: Picard, further cementing Stewart’s association with Picard. When we talked to Stewart in the past, he admitted that, after spending so much time in Picard’s shoes, it’s sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction between himself and his character. (Click on the media bar below to hear Patrick Stewart)
Star Trek: Picard will premiere later this year on CBS All Access.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters comes out via DVD special edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 4K UHD Combo Pack on August 27. The feature also arrives on Digital August 6.
Starring Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Thomas Middleditch, Godzilla: King of the Monsters features the titular creature facjng off against Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah. The feature, directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus) made over $384 million worldwide.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ special features include commentary by director Michael Dougherty, deleted scenes, and a plethora of special features (including “Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian,” “Mothra: Queen of the Monsters,” and “King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine”).
Where does Godzilla: King of the Monsters stack up amidst your favorite Godzilla films? Feel free to comment below!
Summer Night centers on a group of twentysomethings over a 24 hour period in a small Northern California town as they deal with their respective relationships and their growing steps towards adulthood. The film marks the feature directing debut of actor Joseph Cross (Running with Scissors, Big Little Lies).
With a talented cast that includes Victoria Justice, Analeigh Tipton, and Justin Chatwin, it’s Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood) who serves as the narrative’s central figure. Jameson (Coltrane) is a teacher who, while juggling feelings for his ex-girlfriend (Elena Kampouris) and a new love interest (Justice), feels a bit stagnant in his own life.
“Ellar just has this intrinsic thing where you want to watch him and spend time with him,” said Cross. “He’s got a meditative spirit and I thought that was the right person, he’s obviously not our narrator but he’s a little bit of our de facto eyes into the world in this storyline. We had a really good time.”
Click on the media bar to hear Joseph Cross talk about how Summer Night is not your average coming of age tale:
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood represented a reunion for Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, who first collaborated on 2009’s Inglorious Basterds. While it took them a decade to find another project to work on, Pitt says he was thrilled that they were able to get back together, because Tarantino’s sets are unlike anything he’s ever experienced in his long, successful career. (Click on the media bar below to hear Brad Pitt)
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26.