Spinning Headlines – Week 45: Weekend Box Office, RIP Leonard Cohen/Robert Vaughn, Ghost in the Shell, Valerian, Kong: Skull Island, Hayao Miyazaki, Robert Redford… Spinning Headlines – Week 45: Weekend Box Office, RIP Leonard Cohen/Robert Vaughn, Ghost in the Shell, Valerian, Kong: Skull Island, Hayao Miyazaki, Robert Redford…
The weekend box office, RIP to Leonard Cohen and Robert Vaughn, Hayao Miyazaki not retired yet, Robert Redford retiring from acting, "The VVitch"-director to... Spinning Headlines – Week 45: Weekend Box Office, RIP Leonard Cohen/Robert Vaughn, Ghost in the Shell, Valerian, Kong: Skull Island, Hayao Miyazaki, Robert Redford…

How was that for a week, huh? I figure it’s time for some escapism now, so let’s take a look at some select, non-political movie & TV news that popped up on the radar…



1 1 Doctor Strange BV $43,032,000 -49.4% 3,882 $11,085 $153,014,169 $165 2
2 2 Trolls Fox $35,050,000 -24.8% 4,066 +6 $8,620 $94,014,315 $125 2
3 N Arrival Par. $24,000,000 2,317 $10,358 $24,000,000 $47 1
4 N Almost Christmas Uni. $15,564,000 2,376 $6,551 $15,564,000 $17 1
5 3 Hacksaw Ridge LGF $10,775,000 -29.1% 2,971 +85 $3,627 $32,264,321 2
6 6 The Accountant WB $4,570,000 -22.2% 2,342 -346 $1,951 $77,725,755 $44 5
7 N Shut In EC $3,700,000 2,058 $1,798 $3,700,000 1
8 4 Boo! A Madea Halloween LGF $3,550,000 -54.1% 2,104 -130 $1,687 $70,408,079 $20 4
9 7 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Par. $3,325,000 -39.0% 2,584 -495 $1,287 $54,586,711 $60 4
10 5 Inferno Sony $3,250,000 -47.3% 2,656 -920 $1,224 $31,582,015 $75 3

No big surprise there – Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” took the top billing for the second week in a row, taking in $43 million and change. The three newcomers of the week gave no competition; Denis Villeneuve‘s “Arrival” taking position three with $24 million, Christmas-comedy “Almost Christmas” – perhaps being released a tad too early – took $15,5 million and “Shut In” – a Europacorp home invasion-thriller starring Naomi Watts took only $3,7 million and might die a very quick death at the box offices, methinks.



Yes – the year 2016 gave some quick jabs and reminded us that it’s still going strong, as the entertainment world lost two legends again. First came the news of the passing of singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen. Cohen passed away at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 82. Then, only a little time later it was announced that actor Robert Vaughn, the last surviving castmember of the original “Magnificent Seven” and the star of “The Man From UNCLE” as well as countless other movies and TV series, had passed away at the age of 83 after a short battle with acute leukemia. Hats off for these gentlemen.




I believe Hayao Miyazaki simply likes what he does too much to spend his years in retirement. Lets not forget that his announcing of retiring after the completion of the 2013 film “The Wind Rises” was hardly the first time he did that; he first “retired” after his Academy Award-winning classic, “Spirited Away“, back in 2001 – only to return with “Howl’s Moving Castle” in 2004, and several times after that. And it looks like he has one story left to tell. For the last couple of years he’s been working on a CGI animated short for the Ghibli Museum, titled “Kemushi no Boro” (or “Boro the Caterpillar”). But on this sunday in a NHK television special, he announced that he was dissatisfied by the way the short turned out, and will continue to develop “Kemushi no Boro” as a feature-length animated film. Don’t expect it to come out anytime soon, though – he says it might take as long as 5 years before it’s finished. But I like this piece of news. I like to hear that Miyzaki-san is still out there, working his magic. That’s something we could all use in this world.




Well – in completely opposite news, screen legend Robert Redford announced during an interview with his grandson Dylan Redford, that he is “getting tired of acting.” Redford said “I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take. At this point in my life, age 80, it’d give me more satisfaction because I’m not dependent on anybody. It’s just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching—that’s sort of where my head is right now.  So, I’m thinking of moving in that direction and not acting so much.” Redford will, however, continue to direct movies as well as work on the Sundance Film Festival and has two more acting gigs in the works: a “love story for older people who get a second chance in life” titled “Our Souls at Night” with Jane Fonda, and “a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek” called “Old Man with a Gun”. “Once they’re done then I’m going to say, ‘Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,’ and then just focus on directing.

That’s a shame – I feel that he has still done some very solid acting work in the past few years, like “Lions For Lambs“, “The Company You Keep“, “All is Lost” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier“, but I guess age catches up on everybody eventually. The full interview can be read HERE.



Well – they certainly made an effort in to replicating a whole slew of key moments from the original work here, didn’t they? I don’t know what else to say at this point – from the plots synopses and cast lists it seems that they are adding scenes/characters/plotlines from both the original Anime classic as well as its sequel – and even the serial continuation “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex“, so who knows what the end result is going to be.




That’s what he tells, anyway. In an interview with Collider, Yates stated that “it[the Harry Potter-universe]’s lovely being part of it and I love doing it. How long will I stay with it? I’d like to say I want to stay with it for the whole thing.” He does feel like doing five movies over the course of eight years might become a question of sheer stamina and continues on saying: “If there’s any point in that period where I go, “You know what, it might be wise to step away for a bit,” I would, to give someone else a shot.

I’m not so sure about this. Yeah – there’s the question of fatigue, but also the franchise just becoming more and more stale by a singular vision. Why is the third Harry Potter-movie, “The Prisoner of Azkaban” still the best in the series? Because the studio and the producers had the balls to take a risk and hire a wildly personal and independent filmmaker in Alfonso Cuaron to make it. After that movie, they got in Mike Newell, who always felt like he was a bit miscast and somewhat over his head, and then it’s been really a David Yates show… Nothing against Yates personally – he’s a perfectly fine craftsman – but the whole thing became a bit visually repetitive (I mean, hell – even his Tarzan-movie looked to be using the same color palette, based on the trailers!). But I guess at this point the franchise is not for risk-taking anymore; just make sure the people come back and buy those tickets.




In Indiewire’s “Filmmaker Toolkit”-podcast Robert Eggers, the writer/director of the indie horror juggernaut ($40+ million on a budget of $3 million) revealed his future plans; a remake of “Nosferatu” – the 1922 classic by director F. W. Murnau. The remake will be produced by former Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8. Eggers is fully aware of how taking on such a classic sounds though, and it wasn’t his original idea for a sophomore feature: “[It’s shocking] to me,” said Eggers. “It feels ugly and blasphemous and egomaniacal and disgusting for a filmmaker in my place to do ‘Nosferatu’ next. I was really planning on waiting a while, but that’s how fate shook out.

It turns out that Eggers has been a lifelong fan of the original, and has even directed a play of “Nosferatu” as a High School senior. He has plans to continue on with the absolute attention to historical authenticity that was very evident in “The VVitch”; “‘Nosferatu’ has a very close, magical connection for me. Though if I were to make the movie 17-year-old Rob was going to make of ‘Nosferatu’ it would have been something between like ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘Sin City,’ whereas this is going to be the same approach as ‘The Witch,’ where 1830s Biedermeier Baltic Germany needs to be articulated in a way that seems real.

Thoughts? I know the idea of a filmmaker remaking his childhood favorite movie might cause some concern that the remake will be another bloated epic like Peter Jackson‘s “King Kong“, but I would assume that Eggers will not have THAT much money to burn…



…and it looks pretty pretty. Although there have been a lot comments on whether that is actually the Gungan “Gooba-fish” from “The Phantom Menace” making a cameo there. Hell – I haven’t read by a couple of “Valerian” comics – maybe George Lucas and his design team actually snagged that idea from THOSE? Anyway, if this film manages to have that same sense of wonder and imagination as Luc Besson‘s “The Fifth Element” but without the annoying screeching comedy-sidekick (yes Chris Tucker, I mean YOU!), this might be a fun time at the movies.



The Angry Birds Movie

April and the Extraordinary World


Finding Dory

Ice Age: Collision Course

Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kung Fu Panda 3

The Little Prince

Long Way North

Miss Hokusai


Monkey King: Hero is Back


Mustafa & the Magician

My Life as a Zucchini

Phantom Boy

The Red Turtle

Sausage Party

The Secret Life of Pets





25 April

Your Name.


That’s the list from which the final nominees for next years Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature” will be picked from. Apparently this list of 27 features is a new record for this category. I know the one I’m rooting for: “Zootopia“. I saw it twice in the theaters and subsequently a few more times on Blu-Ray. I did a review of it on this site and I really believe that it’s something everyone should see, as it’s message has certainly not faded as the year has gone along, au contraire.



Well, it’s still looking interesting. And the cinematography by Robert Richardson is looking downright amazing. Seems like another  worthy addition to Director Affleck’s filmography.



EW released the first clear picture of the face of the new King Kong, from the upcoming “Kong: Skull Island“. It looks like Kong all right. Under the EW link there’s also an interview with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts that’s worth a read. His comments on that first-look image: “That sequence comes from a point in the movie where you’re not quite sure who Kong is, what his purpose is, how people should be perceiving him. Through the folly of man, where our initial instinct is to attack anything that is not a known quantity, both sides jump the gun, Kong and the humans, and it kicks off a relatively messy engagement. At first, of course you’re going to perceive something like that as a terrible threat and monster — the physicality of him alone.

A huge part of the movie was designing him and creating the creature so that when you did see him it sort of short circuited your brain and was divisive to people, where certain people immediately say ‘That’s a threat,’ certain people immediately say, ‘That’s a God,’ certain people immediately say, ‘That’s a savior.’ Visually and instantly, what happens when you see this thing towering over you and what is your sort of emotional and intellectual response?



The title of the Steven DeKnight-directed sequel will be “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom“, as revealed by the director on the first day of filming.



-A Harley Quinn-spinoff featuring Margot Robbie, reprising her role from “Suicide Squad” as well as the Birds of Prey is being written by Screenwriter Christina Hodson.

-Colin Trevorrow‘s “Star Wars: Episode IXwill be shot on 65mm film – the film format closest to IMAX. Christopher Nolan already shot large portions of “Interstellar” and the bulk of “Dunkirk” with this stock.

-The 20th Century Fox “X-Men“-series will continue without director Bryan Singer, and will go through a “reconfiguration” – whatever the hell that means. Possibly re-casting, as the “First Class“-actors have finished their three-picture contracts and Hugh Jackman is finished with Wolverine after “Logan“.

-“Mission; Impossible 6” is back on track and has a new release date: July 27th, 2018.

-Actor Tom Holland has apparently signed to play Spider-Man/Peter Parker for six movies – three solo-movies and three appearances at other MCU films. Pretty much following the usual Marvel long-term casting deals.




Last Tuesday/Wednesday. I doubt anything else would’ve topped that, right?


That is all.

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I Am Better

Coming from the frozen wastelands of Finnish tundra. Mr. Better seeks warmth from his television & home theater and all the wonders they provide. He occasionally dabbles in the arts of drawing and photography.