Pop Culture Link Round Up 3.12.15

Neill Blomkamp’s next film will be part of the Alien franchise and while Sigourney Weaver will reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, it looks like Blomkamp will be taking a leaf out of Brian Singer’s Superman Returns playbook:  

“Chappie” director Neill Blomkamp suggests his hotly anticipated “Alien” film may gloss over the events of “Alien 3″ and “Alien: Resurrection,” if not ignore them entirely.

“I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of ‘Aliens,’” he told Sky Movies while promoting “Chappie.” “So it’s ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and then this movie.”

Franchise star Sigourney Weaver, who will reprise her iconic role as Ellen Ripley, endorsed the plan, saying, “I would love to take Ripley out of orbiting around in space and give a proper finish to what was such an excellent story.”

and this:

Fans of both movies may be disappointed, but they can rest assured that their memories and their dvd’s (or blu-rays; possibly even their VHS tapes) will not retroactively disappear. You’ll still be able to enjoy both movies. Heck, you can even pretend Blomkamp’s movie doesn’t exist in continuity if you want to.

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Anyone up for some theatrical horror?

I’ve only seen a few plays in my life, and I’ve had little desire (and really, little opportunity) to see any others. THIS one, though? I’d see it in a New York minute:

Throughout the National Theatre of Scotland’s Let the Right One Inadapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and Tomas Alfredson‘s film, audiences are subjected to a parade of lyrically gruesome images: a man tied upside-down to a tree, his throat perfunctorily slit and drained into a bucket; another man literally self-effacing with acid; a diminutive teenage girl in a candy-pink sweater whose mouth brims with vomit when she actually tries to eat candy, and whose face cascades with blood every time she enters a home uninvited. All of this stirs a reverent, rapt silence in the audience. This is not the type of play where spectators listlessly turn to their programs mid-show, pretending that looking up the catering credits will somehow enhance their experience.

No, such special effects, though often attempted, aren’t often performed with ease or elegance onstage, and for that reason, audiences are rigidly captivated. But despite their remarkability, none of these macabre flashes induces fear as universally as a girl merely popping out of a box. Late in the play, we see the vampire protagonist/antagonist hybrid, played by Rebecca Benson, enter a box. We see another man enter the room in which the box lurks. An immense sound claps, the lights wax blinding, and suddenly Benson has abandoned the box, and we, the audience, are physically altered: hearts palpitate, couples’ hands clasp, and deep breaths vacuum the room.

It turns out the spectacle of the breakability of the human body here carries less weight than a theatrical game of peek-a-boo, because this shocking occurrence, this moment tailored purely to startle, is so rarely attempted in theater. Unanimous, physical panic is a novel sensation for theater audiences. In Shakespeare, bloody-handed kings will see ghosts. In Sarah Kane, characters will suck out one another’s eyeballs. In Sweeney Todd, civilians’ innards are spiced, serenaded, and crushed into pies. But if theater history were broken into video-store categories, “horror” would not appear; unlike with film, there is not a genre of plays whose fundamental aim is to induce palpable dread in its audiences.

This notion seems in some ways counterintuitive: theater by definition necessitates a captive audience, so wouldn’t the promise of real-time, live horrors make the stage the ideal vessel for the genre? Let the Right One In, which runs through March 8 at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse, with its provenance in and transcendence of horror tropes, sheds light both on the relative nonexistence of theatrical horror and its potential for growth into a relevant stage genre.

In his New York Times review, Ben Brantley used a flattering superlative to describe this achievement, comparing the play not to the film on which it’s based, but to another horror film entirely: “A production of the National Theater of Scotland, Right One offers the most gut-twisting presentation of the middle teens as a supernatural horror story since Brian De Palma’s movie cameras invaded the girls’ locker room in Carrie.” In resorting to film analogies to pay his compliments, Brantley underlines both the dearth of theatrical horror and this production’s potential to set precedents.

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Excited about the April 10 debut of all 13 episodes of Netflix and Marvel’s Daredevil series?

To whet your appetite, here’s a trailer:

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A release date for Star Wars: Episode VIII; plus details on a spin-off movie

Disney and Lucasfilm have announced details of the upcoming “Stars Wars” films at its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Rian Johnson has also been confirmed to write and direct “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which will hit theaters May 26, 2017.

Gareth Edwards’ upcoming standalone film, starring Felicity Jones, will be called “Rogue One.” The movie starts filming in London this summer and opens Dec. 16, 2016.

“Rogue One,” based on an idea by Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, was written by “Cinderella” scribe Chris Weitz.

Kathleen Kennedy will produce the standalone film alongside Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz.

Plot details of “Rogue One” are unknown.

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Remember this movie?

It’s getting a sequel.

Given that the movie made more than a billion dollars worldwide, this isn’t much of a surprise.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 3.12.15