Whenever SNL breaks out the “guest host answers audience questions” template for the opening monologue, it feels like a sign that the writers waited until the last possible moment to write this bit and couldn’t come up with anything better. And yet, when they use this formula for Chris Hemsworth, it works for one reason and one reason alone: their guest host has a couple of famous (and not-so-famous) brothers who can join him on stage.
It’s an SNL sketch premise so silly that it feels like it belongs in the early ’90s, not 2015. Taking place in the distant future, the scene asks us to believe that chickens have evolved to be more intelligent than humans and that a chicken could command a spaceship of human beings and, most importantly, that a crew member played by guest host Chris Hemsworth would fall in love with the chicken.
Fox’s new series Empire is huge. Like, insanely, impossibly, jaw-droppingly huge. In an age where ratings are steadily declining across the board as audiences cut cables and enter the brave new world of streaming, it’s a phenomenon. And like all phenomenons, it has to get targeted by SNL. In the most recent digital short, Empire is re-imagined with a brand new character: Chip the office manager, played by guest host Chris Hemsworth.
Did anyone think that SNL was going to get Chris Hemsworth to guest host and not do an Avengers sketch? Of course not! Although Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t out for another two months, this bit takes place after the events of that film, following Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they deal with the fallout from winning their toughest battle yet. Well, at least some of them are dealing with the fallout. Thor is just partying.
With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
After years of false starts and delays, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales finally began filming in Australia yesterday. And that’s not a moment too soon for the franchise’s star, Johnny Depp, who hasn’t headlined a hit since 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. So, this brings up two important questions. First, will a fifth Captain Jack Sparrow adventure resuscitate Depp in a post-Mortdecai world? Secondly, can new directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning inject new life into a series that ran out of steam two movies ago?
The first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a sleeper success, doing surprisingly solid business at the box office and earning equally solid reviews from critics. But it was home video that transformed this little a cappella comedy into a genuine sensation, instantly becoming the favorite film of 12-year-old girls (and their initially reluctant parents) all over the world. So the new ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer arrives with the air of an event film. The sequel is not an underdog, but the Bigger, Flashier, and Louder follow-up that has the confidence to suggest that there is an entire franchise to be found here.
Before he was a CGI creation, Jedi master Yoda was a puppet. Before green screens became the norm, the Dagobah set for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was built elevated off the ground to accommodate Yoda’s puppeteers. And before he brought Yoda to life, puppeteer and voice actor Frank Oz was best known as the man behind Miss Piggy. In a weird way, that makes the most wizened character in the ‘Star Wars’ universe a distant relative of the extended Muppet family.
Okay, Marvel. This is cute. As exhausting as “teasers for trailers” can be, we’ll give you credit for this ‘Ant-Man’ preview, which is more of a snarky joke than an actual piece of marketing. Technically, this is our first look at footage from the upcoming film, but someone has apparently saturated the video with Pym Particles because the screen is literally too small for us to actually comprehend anything that’s going on.
The 'Taken' films have been a blessing and a curse for star Liam Neeson. Sure, he's found great success in his newfound career as an aging action hero, but the days of Neeson being a completely respectable presence in prestige films seem to have come to an end. So the 'Taken 3' trailer fills us with mixed feelings. We'd love to see Neeson doing something else, but man, he sure is good at killing people.
Appropriately, the Thanksgiving holiday box office was all about the leftovers. While two high profile new releases struggled to open, films from the past few weeks continued to do solid business. In fact, this was one of the most varied weekends at the box office in quite some time, with YA adaptations, animated family movies, epic blockbusters, and small independent films all performing better than expected.
It's been three years since ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ was unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace, convincing even the most die hard fans of Disney's lucrative franchise that Captain Jack Sparrow needed to take a break. Maybe forever. And yet, these past years have been filled with rumors and casting and almost-casting for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’ Like it or not, this film is coming and now it has the young up-and-comer Brenton Thwaites in its drunken, slurred, overlong clutches.
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