MONDAY DECEMBER 11, 2017
 
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Forget everything you know about Van Helsing (2004). Remove the smell of the Salvation Army VHS shelf from your nostrils, put aside your evergreen Halloween costume – the most enduring box office hit of eight years ago is getting a facelift. Of course those doing the lifting have their work cut out for them (GET A CRANE!) considering how pervasively the film entered popular culture

The “total reboot” (TOTAL?! I hope they keep his hat!) is outlined by screenwriter Alex Kurtzman:

I think that these kinds of movies have evolved a lot since then. You know, The Dark Knight was a major, major corner-turning moment in the way that genre and superhero stories could be told. Really grounded in reality. Really grounded in really cool things. That’s what I’d like to do without sacrificing the fantasy element. We aspired to do that as well on Trek, you know, keep it real.

Yes, The Dark Knight was a corner-turning moment, as it was so completely really grounded in really cool things. What audiences crave is a movie about a swashbuckling superhero who fights Frankenstein with projectile saw blades that also reflects their real life, you know? [Via CraveOnline

In Other News: Popeye Movie Gets a Director

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Numerous sources report filmmaker Nora Ephron has died of pneumonia due to complications from leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron got her start in the film industry co-writing the fact-based drama Silkwood (1983) for Mike Nichols, but her true success came in romantic comedy. Her films When Harry Met Sally (1989) (also as writer) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993) (her second directorial effort) are widely considered high water marks in a genre known for disposable entertainment value.

After Sleepless Ephron’s output fluctuated, going darker with Mixed Nuts (1994), an ensemble comedy involving suicide hotline workers, and Michael (1996), starring John Travolta as an uncouth angel, to mixed critical and commercial success. Nevertheless she remained one of the most recognizable and bankable female directors in the industry, scoring a huge hit with You’ve Got Mail (1998) and capping her career with the widely successful Julie & Julia (2009).

In an odd side story, Ephron was a briefly married to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, and reportedly told “anyone who would listen” the proper identity of Deep Throat years before it was officially revealed to be Mark Felt.

In Other News: Jennifer Lawrence Helps Unconscious Person

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Actress Jennifer Lawrence has pulled a Gosling and helped a stranger in need. The Hunger Games star reportedly found an unnamed female, from the photo provided by People apparently quite young, and stood guard while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. The female was treated on-scene and not taken to hospital; "alcohol may have played a role in the incident." Damn, when I get wasted and pass out in public all I get are crack addicts trying to steal my shoes.

In Other News: Zach Galifianakis is Engaged

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Popeye, the hottest pop culture property of 1933, will be returning to the big screen, albeit in a form more suitable than the bizarre, largely-forgotten live-action version from 1980. A 3D, computer-animated take on the mumbling spinach addict and his screeching girlfriend will be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the man behind beloved cult series Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack. So that’s a positive sign.

Production will begin this fall, with a projected release date to be determined. Better hurry up, World War II is almost over. 
[Via Empire Online]



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Some time ago we slapped together a list of beautiful female celebrities married to otherwise hopeless dudes, as the list of awkward male celebrities married to beautiful women is about as long as three Moby Dick’s and a Ulysses.

It will soon include Hangover star Zach Galifianakis, who is reportedly set to marry his longtime girlfriend, 29-year-old blonde beauty Quinn Lundberg. Congrats to them both, but especially Galifianakis because look at her! A source (probably Justin Bartha) told Celebuzz “The wedding invite is very Zach ... while it has the formal and standard details of who, what, when, where ... Zach included a drawing of himself and his bride-to-be. He made sure he looked like a little troll, while Quinn is a stunning tall blonde princess.” That is SO Zach, always “making sure” everyone knows he’s a ghoulish creature of myth.

Related: TORO reviews The Hangover 2



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[html]Billy Corgan apparently has something of an ego, though it’s worth noting how few extremely successful people don’t have a high opinion of themselves.

Recent reviews of his latest Smashing Pumpkins album Oceania must be tying that ego in knots, as every single one of them comes to the exact same conclusion: it makes many preceding years of his life wholly irrelevant. Behold this collection of bittersweet praise. [Mostly via Metacritic]

Pumpkins-Oceania-250x250.jpg“That's our brilliant Billy Corgan, and it's wonderful to have him back.” - The Boston Phoenix

“Corgan’s best work since the ‘90s.” - Chicago Tribune

“The Smashing Pumpkins album that people hoped for more than a decade ago.” - Boston Globe



“This is the album that needed to surface back in 2007.” - Consequence of Sound

“The most memorable and rousing songs Corgan has delivered since 1993's Siamese Dream.” - All Music Guide

“For the first time in quite a while [the band] sounds energized and alive.” - BBC



“It’s a shame that Oceania is not the first [Smashing Pumpkins] comeback record.” - Sputnik Music


“[Corgan has] finally delivered the Smashing Pumpkins album that everybody wanted the first time he decided to revive the name.” - AV Club

“Comfortably the best post-reformation Pumpkins album.” - Music OMH



“It's a wonder why Corgan has consistently struggled to recapture his muse with the Smashing Pumpkins.” - Slant

“It does shed some hope of a reformatted direction for a band that many believed was long dead.” - Pop Matters



“The album feels bigger and covers more ground than anything he's done in a decade.” - Pitchfork



And so on. Nothing like being told you don’t suck as much as you did for a while to make a guy feel creatively fulfilled.

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Hype for 50 Cent’s debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’ rose after the artist was shot 23 times in the face [citation needed], and now his upcoming 5 (Murder by Numbers) has its own unusual promotional boost. The rapper / “actor” (lol) was injured in an auto accident last night after his SUV was rear-ended by a Mack truck, a Mack truck that must have been doing below 10 m.p.h. to not have killed the guy. Reached for comment, 50 mumbled incoherently while reporters nodded with the pretense of understanding.

ThisIs50 dot com has a whole gallery of accident pictures, if that’s the kind of thing you want to look at. [Via Entertainment Weekly]


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As we reported several weeks ago Swedish indie popper Jens Lekman is set to release his third album I Know What Love Isn’t September 4. You’ve already heard “Erica America,” now let its official video forcibly erase whatever wonderful imaginary visuals you made up for yourself. Did it involve an empty room in some warehouse? If so you have a very dry imagination.

 Check it out below all this other crap.

In other Jens Lekman news, Jens Lekman will be touring with Taken By Trees in the autumn. Full dates are here, with Canadian highlights below.

October 4 - Toronto (Phoenix)
October 5 - Montreal (National)
November 2 - Vancouver (Commodore Ballroom)



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jennymccarthyplayboy.jpgLast month we reported on Jenny McCarthy’s return to Playboy, and here’s the cover. All of you turned on by women who look industrially smoothed should be thrilled.

The photo spread of plastic surgery buried in makeup and layered by a version of Photoshop so powerful it can’t be released to the general public hits newsstands next month, after which McCarthy will be coated in wax and preserved for Playboy’s 2048 Summer Issue. [Via Dlisted]


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HBO has made the 72-minute first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom available to watch via YouTube (and other, lesser streaming portals) after its premiere last night. The show, a cable news drama starring Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill, has drawn mixed reviews for its sermon-ish tone. But given the time to grow and evolve, something no critic likes to admit has been necessary for every TV show that has ever existed, it could turn into something great. Enjoy, then get back to work!

Watch on YouTube

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[html]The debate on what, exactly, a DJ is or is not supposed to do to be considered legitimate and talented is best left to the deadmau5es of the world. Anyway, somebody paid Paris Hilton money to stand around and shift the pitch on various pre-recorded remixes, and the result is a little awkward. En ... joy?

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[html]It seems to be a good month for painfully abstract album art from experimental indie bands. Above we see the cover image for Yeasayer’s third album Fragrant World, and I’ll eat my hat if anyone can tell me what the hell it’s supposed to be.

In other news revolving around Yeasayer’s third album a second official track has been released. Check out “Longevity” below, with the previously heard “Henrietta” beneath it. Fragrant World drops August 21 via Secretly Canadian.





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In a move recalling George Costanza funneling Christmas gift obligations into The Human Fund, the Obama Administration has requested you forgo receiving any gifts this year and instead ask friends and family to divert the money into their reelection campaign.

According to BarackObama.com the Obama Event Registry is “a great way to support the President on your big day. Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate — and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.” Yes, gravy bowls do not go very far though they do serve the singular, somewhat important purpose of storing gravy. After you’ve put your gravy in a leftover wine glass or just eaten the turkey dry like a true communist, you will know your uncle’s $12 went toward a better future for all of us. 

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step_up_miami.jpgThe Miami Heat recently won the 2012 NBA Finals, but their good name has been besmirched by this poster advertising the umpteenth entry in the Step Up series (actually Step Up: Revolution rebranded for Germans who might expect something very different from that title).

To the left we see two lovers having sex dance in the middle of the street while traffic zips by, represented by those blurry yellow and red curves below them. Somehow, the female making hot, sweaty dance has wrapped her leg around and under the traffic blur, suggesting she is 30 feet tall and flexible enough to bend the laws of space and time.

However, we must appreciate the subtle use of side-boob here, the very reason Thomas Edison invented 3D. [Via IMP Awards]

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[html]What is this stabbing pain in my chest? answered longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek this past Saturday, after suffering a mild heart attack. He was admitted to L.A.’s Cedar-Sinai Medical Centre but is reportedly doing well. E! Online notes this is Trebek’s second such attack since 2007, though this recent scare will again not effect production of the game show when it begins shooting its 29th season next month.

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[html]It’s amazing how many endless permutations there are of the romantic comedy formula that keeps people who so obvs want to be 2 gether apart for 90 minutes. Like what if they broke up but very much wanted to stay together but just couldn’t for some reason even though they got along very well as friends? That sounds plausible, let’s throw our tripods away and get real.

Anyway, here’s a trailer for Celeste and Jesse Forever, a movie about me (played by Andy Samberg) and my girlfriend Rashida Jones. Based on my true story, co-starring Spotify Playlist.



Another great indie rom com cliche I'm hoping never goes away: the "other guy" who is so clearly wrong for the girl because he basically asks if he can molest her. Doesn't that happen all of the time, ladies?

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[html]Oh boy. We’re all for marriage equality (I think, I haven’t really asked around the TORO office but I’m just gonna take a wild and crazy guess) but for all good intentions this PSA from Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is pretty lame. Check it out:




Really? That’s it? Gay people should have access to legal and social equality because your sister is one of them? Don’t get me wrong, that’s an honest and legit reason, but the only reason? You couldn’t come up with, let’s say, two reasons? “I have less than half a minute to speak from the heart.” Also, where are you Ben Gibbard? A sauna? Some sort of cabin?

Turns out this is part of a series supporting Proposition 74, currently on the ballot in Washington state. Not to be outdone, there are plenty of equally curt and fundamentally useless videos from other musicians, in case you’re wondering if your favourite metrosexual indie pop singer is a bigot or not and it has any remote effect on your own perspective. Changing hearts and minds, 18 seconds at a time. [Via Stereogum]

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Love both dating and the thrill of an auction? Then why not check out WhatsYourPrice.com, a new online dating site that lets you bid for first dates with "Beautiful People."

Heck, we bet it beats sittitng around watching Storage Wars!

According to reps of the site, it's become increasingly popular with female college students looking for help to pay tuition and student loans. Apparently 35 per cent of the website's 400,000-plus members, are young college students -- a high percentage of them coming from Georgia State, Kent State, NYU, Temple and UCF. College students get a free premium upgrade when they register with a dot-EDU email address.

And from there, they can fill out their profile and wait for the money to roll in. College members go on an average of 5.4 first dates a week and receive an average of $121.00 for each date.

"Most college students are single and many actively date during the summer," says company founder Brandon Wade. "Our website provides a way foor them to monetize their romantic pursuits."

We like that ... "monetize your romantic pursuits."

Sure sounds better than "paid escort."

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oz-great-and-powerful.jpgSorry, “first look” is a pretty spurious term to use in this case. That’s an out-of-focus photo of a teaser poster presumably assembled using stock pictures, à la this Die Hard 5 print. But it does confirm that a movie about the least interesting character in The Wizard of Oz is actually happening. SPOILER ALERT it turns out he’s not actually a wizard, and a pretty lousy fake wizard at that.

Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful, starring Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff and James Franco as the "wizard" will hit theaters March 8 of next year.

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Though Lie to Me ultimately failed to retain viewers and turn “You’re lying” into the pervasive catchphrase we all hoped it would become, actor Tim Roth will be sticking with television, thank you very much.

Roth has signed on to lead Knifeman, a series about “a radical, self-educated surgeon who will go to unorthodox lengths to uncover the secrets of the human body.” How exactly does a surgeon become “self-educated” without leaving a trail of misused corpses? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

David Cronenberg will executive-produce the series and direct its pilot. After that the team will shop Knifeman around to various networks, ‘cause that’s how TV is made, kids. Hopefully it will not emulate Dead Ringers (1988), Cronenberg’s other project about radical surgeons. Not the kind of thing I need to sit through every week. [Via Deadline]

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