That ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Has Its Cast, Release Date

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Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” reboot has announced its cast, which caused many on the Internet to have civil discussions another freak out on the all-women ghostbusting team.

The cast will be Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. While Wiig and McCarthy were pretty much a given to be in the film, it was surprising that two fairly newish SNL cast members got the other two roles. There is no word yet if Dan Aykroyd will loom around the set with Crystal Head Vodka on his breath.

The new “Ghostbusters” film is set for release on July 22, 2016.

 

Apparently There Might Be A ‘Beetlejuice 2′

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In an age where Hollywood apparently solely exists on making sequels, rebooting old movies and bringing comic books to the silver screen, it came as no surprise that eventually someone would convince perpetual goth kid director Tim Burton to finally make a follow-up to his 1988 hit movie, “Beetlejuice.” And this time, those ideas of the ghost with the most “going Hawaiian are seemingly off the table.

According to Consequence of Sound, the sequel will be set in modern times. Winona Ryder, according to Tim Burton, is interested in returning as Lydia, the mopey teenager who rebels against her parents by hanging out with the ghosts of Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ film careers characters trapped in limbo in the after world.

That leaves the one name that pretty much needs to be attached to the project, Michael Keaton, to realistically make this happen. He has stated he is interested in returning to the sleaze-ball ghost, and if it’s anything like the first film, Beetlejuice himself might only take up limited time on-screen. In the 1988 movie, “the character only has 17 minutes of screen time out of a 92-minute running time,” according to the Huffington Post column linked above.

Personally, this is a movie I loved growing up and despite my frustration with Hollywood relying on established franchises to reboot or make endless sequels to, I would welcome a return to “Beetlejuice.” This movie, and the first Batman movie, are really the only Burton movies I can still watch fondly.

‘Community’ Season Six To Rise From The Ashes In March

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Much like  Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” franchise, the TV show “Community” continues to look like it is dead at the end of each season, only to inexplicably rise again. The show has lost three of its stars (Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown), its showrunner Dan Harmon was fired (after a very public feud with Chase) and brought back, and the show had survived NBC’s chopping block more times than I can recall.

Then last spring, NBC finally dropped the ax in an attempt at forever killing off the show before its foretold prophecy of “six seasons and a movie” came to fruition. Then something called “Yahoo Screen” swept in at the zero hour and revived the show against all odds. Not only that, but it offered the now-Web only series pretty much the same budget it had while under NBC, thus not affecting production costs.

Now free of conventional time slots, “Community” will now be available to watch at anytime the viewer finds acceptable. Granted, I only watched the show streaming on Hulu (and I’m guessing, much of the show’s fanbase does as well). So it seems Web-based streaming was a pretty obvious choice for this show to survive.

The announcement video features the cast and Harmon talking about how we, the viewer, already know who they are and they do not need to remind us who they are for more than a minute. It’s a very “Community” way of informing us that the show will continue to metaphorically stalk the Camp Crystal Lake’s of our imagination in a hockey mask and slay the camp counselors that represent our sense of humor with meta jokes.

The season debut is March 17 with a 13-episode run. Also, Chase has said he will return for a cameo as well.

More Cast and Plot Announcements For Season 2 of ‘Fargo’

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The Sheriff of Rock County, Minn. will look a lot like “Cheers’” Sam Malone for the second season of “Fargo.” That’s because Ted Danson has been cast for the role as Hank Larsson.

A bunch of the cast for  season two was announced. It includes Patrick Wilson as young Lou Solverson, whom is the son-in-law of Danson’s Larsson and the future Bemidji diner owner we met in season one. Jean Smart has been cast as Floyd Gerhardt, the matriarch of  a Gerhardt crime family. According to a press release on the show’s official Facebook page “she’s stood by her husband’s side for 40 years, but now that he’s out of the picture she thinks it’s her turn to run things.”

Also, some of the plot was announced in the release: “The all new “true crime” case of Fargo’s new chapter travels back to 1979 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota, where a young State Police Officer “Lou Solverson” (Wilson), recently back from Vietnam, investigates a case involving a local crime gang and a major Mob syndicate. Helping him piece things together is his father-in-law, “Sheriff Hank Larsson” (Danson). The investigation will lead them to a colorful cast of characters that includes “Karl Weathers” (Nick Offerman), the town lawyer of Luverne, Minnesota.  A Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist. Three-time Emmy winner Brad Garrett will play “Joe Bulo,” the front man for the northern expansion of a Kansas City crime syndicate. The new face of corporate crime, Joe’s bringing a Walmart mentality to small town America. His number two is “Mike Milligan” (Bokeem Woodbine). Part enforcer, part detective, Mike is always smiling – but the joke is usually on you. Bulo and his crew have their sights set on the Gerhardt crime family in Fargo, currently led by matriarch “Floyd Gerhardt” (Smart). With her husband at death’s door, Floyd takes over the family business, frustrating her eldest son, “Dodd Gerhardt” (Jeffrey Donovan).  An impatient hothead with a cruel streak to match his ambitions, Dodd can’t wait for both his parents to die so he can take over and expand their business from kingdom to empire. “Bear Gerhardt” (Angus Sampson) is the middle son, an intimidatingly large man who, although inarticulate, is the most decent of his clan. “Rye Gerhardt” (Kieran Culkin), the youngest of the Gerhardt clan, views himself as a big shot, but in reality he’s just a small dog who barks big.”

The release also stated filming begins Jan. 19 and will air in the fall on FX. This is really sounding like it’s going to be pretty cool.

 

Best Of Pop Culture 2014

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Once the three day blitz of Festivus/Christmas Eve/Christmas Day has passed, that means there is only one more week left in the year. And 2014 was a pretty solid year. “Fargo” came to Bemidji, we got a snippet from a new Star Wars film, D’Angelo came back with a pretty great album, “Weird Al” got his first No. 1 album (about time) and we found out “Twin Peaks” will return to traumatize a whole new generation just to name a few.

So here is my list of may favorite moments in pop culture for 2014.

Best Album: D’Angelo “Black Messiah”

I’m glad I waited to write this later than others, because it seemed like a week after everyone released their best album of 2014 list that R&B/funk genius D’Angelo dropped what was the best album of the year with “Black Messiah.” A brilliant, funky, angry album, “Black Messiah” has great beats, fuzzed out guitar riffs,  awesome vocals.lyrics and cool production. It blows that garbage album by U2 that Rolling Stone claimed the best album out of the water ten-fold. Seriously Rolling Stone, find a new band or artist to hype beyond U2, Springsteen, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones or the surviving Beatles — music did continue after 1986.

Best Humor Album: “Weird Al’s” “Mandatory Fun”

“Weird Al” is a national treasure. At least he should be. He took such earworm songs as “Happy” and “Blurred Lines” and gave them the proper parodies that I enjoyed listening to with “Tacky” and “Word Crimes.” To which I must again say: He is a national treasure.

Best Movie: ?

I only went to one movie this year, and I don’t think “X-Men: Days of Future Past” would probably be the best film released in 2014. And I streamed “The Interview” from home, and that can’t be the best movie of 2014.

Best Movie I Actually Saw In The Theater: ”X-Men: Days of Future Past”

That was a fun flick. I enjoyed it. The X-Men movies are a lot better when Bryan Singer is helming them. Because, let’s face it, “X3″ was a terrible movie. I also liked combining the actors from “First Class” with the original films as well.

Best Trailer For A Film That Will Not Be Released For A Whole Year: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

Let’s face it, this is a franchise that needed a new start after those horrible prequels nearly destroyed it. And I’m confident that with Abrams involved (despite the initials J.J. appearing in his name) that we will not have to endure another Jar Jar Binks fiasco. And seeing the Millennium Falcon in action again was great.

Best TV Show That’s Growing On Me: “Gotham”

This show started off so uneven that I basically hate-watched the first four episodes or so. It’s not the best writing on TV, but it is getting better, especially with toning down some of the more over the top elements and actors (ahem…Edward Nygma). I’m looking forward to where they will be taking this, as long as we don’t experience another Balloonman episode.

Best Comedy TV Show: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

With “Parks And Rec” hanging its hat this year (and after a pretty forgettable season last year) it seems “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will be carrying the torch. I love the irreverent humor of this show, and anything with Terry Crews is destined to be great.

Best Decision NBC Made: Bringing Back Dan Harmon to “Community”

The year 2014 was brought in on a great note when “Community” showrunner Dan Harmon was brought back after being fired after season three. Season four was a mixed bag that lacked a lot of what made “Community” a great show, though to be fair the writers did do a good job keeping the show watchable. Season five felt like the show was back to its elements, and bringing in Jonathan Banks as Professor Hickey was so hilarious. Even though it was great, NBC had other thoughts, because they cancelled it. This is just my opinion, because I have no idea what their reasoning was, but canceling this show right when it was getting back on track was a horrible decision. But it was saved at the last minute by Yahoo Screen (to be honest, this was the first I ever heard of Yahoo Screen). I’m not sure how I’m going to watch this through my TV, but I’ll have to find a way.

Best TV Show: “Fargo”

To adapt such an iconic film like “Fargo” must have been no easy task, I’m sure. But Noah Hawley pulled it off with the FX series. And since it took place in a fictionalized Bemidji, I had the unique opportunity to not only blog and live Tweet each episode, I got to interview Hawley himself just prior to the premiere for a news story. So that made the whole experience a pretty awesome one.

There it is, my favorites of 2014. I’m looking forward to 2015.

REVIEW: ‘The Interview’

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Let me start off by saying, I did not go into this film expecting “Dr. Strangelove” in terms of a political comedy. It was created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the two who created “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express” and “This Is The End.” So my expectations were more toward a plethora of fart jokes, drug references and grown men behaving like 16-year-olds.

And on that end, it did not disappoint. In fact, it was overwhelmingly present throughout the film. At times, painfully so.

Since I have already written about the whole North Korea hacks Sony elements and the follow-up with President Obama part of this whole weird saga, I will leave that element mostly out of this review.

Here is the basic premise: Rogen plays Aaron Rapaport, who  is a producer of a tabloid talk show starring Dave Skylark (James Franco). After meeting an old friend at a party who works for “60 Minutes” and clearly doesn’t respect what he does, Rapaport decides he wants to up the level of legitimacy of his and Skylark’s show from tabloid to serious journalism. So they arrange to have Slylark interview North Korean President Kim Jong Un, who is a fan of their program. 

Then the CIA steps in and wants the two to poison Un, because he has nuclear missiles? To be honest, the rational for killing North Korea’s president is pretty hazy beyond a now someone can do it because they are in the same room as Un scenario. I could have missed something there. Also not really shown, nor explained, was any training the two receive in order to take out a world leader beyond the poisoning him part.

Side note, Lizzy Caplan is pretty funny in her role as Agent Lacey, who tricks Skylark into the assassination plot. Again, not high-brow humor.

It was not a big surprise that Skylark (a bumbling goofball) hits it off with Kim Jong Un (played by Randall Park). They share a love of margaritas, Katy Perry, basketball and budding bro’mance becomes full bloom. Until Skylark realizes Un isn’t exactly the bro he seems to be.

I will not spoil it with all the details. It was a fine crude comedy, though probably just a one-time viewing for me. But the whole situation in the lead up to this release was what made this otherwise unremarkable film something that got many people to watch.

First, there was the whole Sony being bullied into not showing this angle. Especially with the hacking into their computers and the release of private information from employees. Because such actions harmed more than the heads of the company, the release of that information harmed lower-rung employees too. So it felt like a lot of people watched it to spite the hackers allegedly from North Korea and the North Korean government itself for being allegedly behind such an action.

The whole story was so insane, almost the action of a comically very insecure Bond villain, that it piqued my interest and so it was some of that plus me and my wife being kind of bored on Christmas Eve night that got us to watch. Full disclosure, she did not find it great.

Second, this was also the first time that a major box office release was screened in some theaters and into people’s homes via streaming services on it’s opening day. That was unprecedented. This was not a straight-to-DVD film, this was a big budget movie. I personally enjoyed watching it at home as I was allowed to pause the film when I needed a short break and I didn’t have to hear other people chatting away during the film. Not that I dislike going to the theater, I just probably wouldn’t go to the theater to watch a movie like this.

And that raises some questions: Will Movie companies start releasing some of their non-blockbuster films in this fashion to get a wider audience? Was this a one time thing due to circumstances? We now know that a blockbuster film can be screened at home and the theaters, so will that change some of the thinking at the studios?

Who knows for now. At least the film wasn’t completely horrible. It was only $6 for a 24-hour rental.

The Replacements Release A New Track

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The Replacements are anything but predictable. The Minnesota punk group that helped spearhead alternative rock of the early 90s (though having imploded way before Nirvana hit it big) reunited for a series of concerts that I wish I was able to see (I can’t believe I missed them with The Hold Steady and Deertick this past summer).

They have also been hinting at a follow-up to 1990′s  ”All Shook Down,” which many fans consider more or less a Paul Westerberg solo venture. Well, for those wanting to hear some new material, the ‘Mats released a 24-minute mostly instrumental-jazz track, because that is totally something the Replacements would do. It’s titled “Poke Me In My Cage” and it is pretty odd.

It was recorded at Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham, Mass. on Oct. 28. So, enjoy.

‘Fargo’ Releases A Season 2 Scrap

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Even though it is not set to air until late 2015, the folks behind the FX hit show “Fargo”  gave Entertainment Weekly a peek from a page from a script from the new season that basically nobody has any real context (beyond knowing “Breaking Bad’s” Todd and the Mary Jane from “Spider Man” are in it) in figuring out just what does this scene even mean? It does mention blood, wet blood to be precise, so there is that.

Jesse Plemons and Kristen Dunst play Peggy and Ed Blomquist, who reside in sunny freakishly cold Luverne in southwest Minnesota in 1979, not too far from where I worked for two years. And yes, I do find it odd that this show has taken place in two locations I have either lived in or have lived very close to.

Also odd is that my wife and I were officially married in Sioux Falls, S.D., the city Lou Solverson hinted at in season one as the place he saw some pretty evil stuff go down and thus is one of the locations season two will take place in. So that adds to the whole “Fargo” is eerily following my life for some reason theory.

According to EW, the couple “find themselves caught in an escalating war between a local crime gang and a major Mob syndicate.” I’m guessing that syndicate is probably based in Sioux Falls. Though I’m sure that Fargo syndicate from season one will come into play at some point for the obligatory justification for calling a show “Fargo” that doesn’t even take place in either Fargo or North Dakota.

Noah Hawley, showrunner of the series, told EW “the earlier time period and even more rural setting gives the show an almost Western-like quality.” He also goes on to say “The scope of the storytelling this season is a lot bigger, it has more of an epic feel to it.” Which sounds like this season will be even more ambitious than season one. Which I for one will look forward to.

The Sony, ‘The Interview’ and North Korea Saga Continues

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In a premise that could make up a pretty unbelievable international political thriller, the Sony hack story has continued to ramp up the what the… meter upon the national consciousness by including computers hackers, world leaders, international corporations and the stars of Judd Apatow’s TV cult classic “Freaks and Geeks.”

Last night, the hacker group known as Guardians of Peace thanked Sony for pulling “The Interview,” a film by known political heavyweights James Franco and Seth Rogen where they are tasked with killing Jabba the Hut North Korean President Kim Jong Un. Now, in the spirit of the grade school bully who wants your lunch money everyday for the rest of your life, the group wants Sony to never release the movie in any format. They told Sony “…we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version, down from any website hosting them immediately.” But, much like trying to get dirty water out of a lake, this may prove to be difficult for Sony.

Since this occurred with the threat of terroristic attacks and the hacks themselves leaked out untold amounts of personal information of Sony employees, President Obama has spoken out on the situation after the FBI determined the hacks came from North Korea. While saying pulling the film was a “mistake” and messing up James Franco’s name in his speech, the president also somewhat conceded the whole ridiculousness of the situation by saying ”the notion that [a satirical comedy film] was a threat to them I think gives you some sense of kind of what regime we’re talking about.”

Sony, for its part, has countered those calling them cowards by explaining the logistics of having a ton of theaters refusing to screen the film left them with limited options. They have also countered much hyped concept of streaming the movie via services like Netflix by saying none of these services have stepped forward with an offer.

All this over a movie from the guys who created “Superbad.” Just keep that in mind as this whole thing continues.

UPDATE: North Korea And ‘The Interview:’ Things Have Gotten Weird

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It has been 10 years since the twisted minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of “South Park”) took aim at North Korea’s then-psychopathic leader (dictator) Kim Jong Il and lampooned him in puppet form with “Team America: World Police.” And a lot has changed since then. Apparently North Korea now has the Internet to find out about these things.

North Korea’s new leader apparently doesn’t like being lampooned for American audiences. The recent cyber attacks at Sony Co., which has embarrassed the company with a seemingly never-ending barrage of unflattering in-company emails, allegedly is connected to North Korea. The hacks are allegedly in retaliation toward James Franco’s and Seth Rogan’s comedy “The Interview” in which tabloid journalists are in cahoots with the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s answer to the Pillsbury Doughboy  leader Kim Jong Un, son of film buff/tyrant Kim Jong Il.

On Wednesday, feeling the pressure from theaters that decided to pull the film after the hacking group (ironically named Guardians of Peace) threatened a 9/11-style retaliation for those who dare sit in a movie theater and chuckle at the expense of North Korea’s president — a man known for such sophisticated tastes such as hanging out with Dennis Rodman — Sony decided to pull the release all together for the time being.

What does that mean? At this point, only the folks at Sony know. What I think will happen is that, due to these hackers and the subsequent media frenzy, this film will now be much more popular and make more money than if they hadn’t bothered to bully the company into not releasing it on its intended day in the first place.

So yeah, this whole thing has gotten very weird.

UPDATE: Sony has apparently shelved “The Interview.” In response to this whole fiasco, Alamo Drafthouse announced it was going to screen “Team America” in place of “The Interview.” This has been shutdown by Paramount for undisclosed reasons. Also, everyone from Steve Carell to Mitt Romney have made their feelings known about this situation via Twitter, thus making this the weirdest event in pop culture for 2014.