Author

Jordan Smith
  • The New 'Mortdecai' Trailer Shows Johnny Depp Being Fun Again
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 12, 2014
    We thought we wanted serious Johnny Depp. We were wrong. After watching Depp struggle through a dry turn as a megalomaniacal calculator in Transcendence, a performance that was about as dull as a couple lines of binary code, we realized that we missed the old Johnny Depp. We missed the actor that could bring the swaggering pirate Jack Sparrow to life, the actor who could capture the horror and ecstasy of a drugged-up Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the actor who could put his own spin on Willy Wonka without succumbing to a stale impersonation of Gene Wilder. The actor we see in this first trailer for Mortdecai. In the film, Depp plays the eponymous Charlie Mortdecai, a debonair and extremely European art dealer who is part-time rogue, full-time buffoon. In the clip, we see Mortdecai, fully equipped with his own man servant and a world-class moustache, traipsing around the world and getting into trouble with both women and the law. The teaser is light on actual plot, but there appears to be a ton of fun shenanigans heading our way, thanks to a cast filled with the likes of Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Aubrey Plaza, and Olivia Munn. Lionsgate While we admire Depp's recent attempt to play a more serious role after years of playing wacky eccentrics, but serious shouldn't be synonymous with boring, and given the two options, we’d much rather see Depp let loose and embrace his wilder inclinations. Depp has a certain silliness that allows him to play such absurd characters better than just about anyone else in Hollywood, and it's good to see the actor back in his kooky comfort zone. Stay strange Johnny! Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Our Hopes and Expectations For 'Better Call Saul'
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 11, 2014
    Today, we got our first look at AMC's upcoming series Better Call Saul: a very, extremely, exceedingly brief teaser trailer (seriously, it’s 10 seconds long... less if you shave off AMC’s logo at the end) in which bus bench lawyer and hero of sorts, Saul Goodman, lays out his usual sleaze. And in it, there’s a brief ray of hope. Breaking Bad, the show from which Better Call Saul is spinning off, ended on an extreme high note. Walter White’s last dozen or so episodes were a near perfect send-off for any television junkie's standards... but the whole thing was bittersweet. While Walt's story was over, at least series creator/former X-Files writer and producer Vince Gilligan was free to dream up his next landmark TV show. But instead of venturing out into uncharted territory, Gilligan is creating a Breaking Bad spin-off. We were prepared to say goodbye to Gilligan’s meth-riddled version of Albuquerque for good, but now we've been sucked right back in. A spin off is usually the worst idea one can have in the television industry, but perhaps a spin-off of one of this decade’s finest television series will be worth the trouble. If there’s one man whom we have faith in, It’s Gilligan. AMC If Better Call Saul is going to become a great television show in its own right, it needs its own identity. Breaking Bad is a great foundation upon which to build a new story , but whatever is built on top needs to be its own unique and individual piece of art. We don’t want to see Breaking Bad 2, or 2Breaking 2Bad (on second thought we kind of do want to see 2Breaking, 2Bad), but something with its own story to tell, something that justifies its own existence. Sure, a vocal and deluded set of fans will balk if Better Call Saul isn’t just a tweaked version of all the things we collectively loved from Breaking Bad, but those people would never be satisfied anyway. Let's hope and pray Gilligan creates something gripping, funny, dramatic, insightful, and most importantly, something new to fall in love with for the first time. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • The Best and Worst Winners of the Teen Choice Awards
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 11, 2014
    Universal Pictures via Everett Collection The Teen Choice Awards have been throwing surfboards at the most popular things in teen pop culture for over a decade, and last night's ceremony continued the tradition with huge wins for films like The Fault in our Stars and Divergent. While the organization doesn't always lend to the most surprising list of winners, but there have been cases where shockingly good (and shockingly bad) things have walked away with the night's big prizes. Here is our list of the top five best and worst winners of the Teen Choice Awards. The Best Black SwanWho knew teens loved Darren Aronofsky?  The soul-crushing drama Black Swan earned the director the well-deserved Teen Choice Award for Choice Drama, something even the Academy Awards failed to do that year. You can't surf an Oscar, so we'd say Mr. Aronofsky came out ahead. Toy Story 3The Teen Choice awards rightly heralded Pixar's Toy Story 3 as the best animated film of 2010, presumably because it was impossible to vote for The Vampire Diaries in this category. Jennifer Hudson for DreamgirlsActress and singer Jennifer Hudson was awarded the hallowed surfboard in 2007 for her theater-shaking performance in Dreamgirls. We're sure the gigantic, sea-worthy trophy enjoys a place of distinction right next to Hudson's Academy Award, which the actress won for the same performance. The Sixth SenseBack in 2000, when director M. Night Shyamalan was being heralded as the next Spielberg (boy have things changed), the filmmaker netted the Teen Choice Award for Choice Drama for his spooky thriller, The Sixth Sense. The Hunger Games: Catching FireThe second installment in the Hunger Games franchise winning the award for Choice sci-fi film has always been a foregone conclusion, given the film's audience, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is actually a fantastic science fiction film in its own right, and the best one to be released in 2013. The film would have won the award regardless of its quality, but a broken clock is right twice a day, and this time, it was on the money. The Worst Taylor Lautner for AbductionResidual heat from the Twilight series is the only explanation we can fathom for Taylor Lautner winning anything for Abduction. Despite the fact that hardly anyone actually bothered to see the film (it only managed to gross $28 million domestically) and it was universally panned by critics (currently sitting pretty at a 4 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), the actor walked away with the Choice Action Star flotation device in 2011. The film also won the award for Choice Action Film over Mission Impossible: Ghost Protoc0l, but let's not even open up that can of worms.Rihanna for Battleship2012's Battleship didn't do Taylor Kitsch many favors, but it did net Rihanna an award for acting. The R&B mega-star took home the Choice Breakout Star award, even though her performance is almost exclusively made up of one line utterances and exclamations like "What happened?", "Ahhhhhhh!", and "You look like Colonel Sanders, actually." The even bigger crime was that Noomi Rapace was passed over in the same category. Adam DeVine for Pitch PerfectNow there's nothing particularly awful or even wrong with Adam DeVine's smarmy performance in Pitch Perfect. In fact, we even sort of liked him in the movie. Unfortunately, DeVine earns a spot on this list for the sheer quality of talent he beat out for the Choice Villain award. Acting heavyweights Javier Bardem, Tom Hardy, and Ben Kingsley left the Teen Choice Awards empty handed in favor of DeVine. Drake Bell for Superhero MovieThankfully, the string of awful spoof movies that ran rampant in the 2000s is finally over, but back in the craze's heyday, Drake Bell won the Choice Breakout Star award for Superhero Movie. Anyone that has seen more than one frame of Superhero Movie knows why that's a travesty. Ashton Kutcher for KillersRemember that film with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl where Kutcher plays a secret assassin? No? Good. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Can Any of This Week's Releases Beat 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at the Box Office?
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 08, 2014
    Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection Guardians of the Galaxy cruised to the top of the box office last week, bashing several records in its wake, including the highest August opening of all time. But what's harder than getting to the top is staying there. The film's second weekend faces some stiff competition from a big group of new releases, including the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, the Daniel Radcliffe rom-com What If, the Helen Mirren-starring Disney family movie The Hundred-Foot Journey,  the dance flick Step Up All In, and the tornado-laden Into the Storm. Can Marvel's misfits withstand the onslaught and reclaim box office gold once again? We analyze each films chances of winning the weekend. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Guardians of the Galaxy's fiercest competition comes by way of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is likely to be the second biggest moneymaker in August. It's a strong contender, and the turtles might have the muscle (and the ninja skills) to knock Guardians off of its pedestal. Previous Films in the FranchiseTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: $25 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  II: The Secret of the Ooze: $20 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: $12 million TMNT: $24 million The Past Five Michael Bay FilmsTransformers: Age of Extinction: $100 million Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $97 million Transformers: Rise of the Fallen: $108 million Transformers: $70 million The opening weekends for the previous four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films have topped out at about $25 million, which on its own wouldn't be enough to topple Guardians of the Galaxy. But the film's attachment to producer Michael Bay, who is a proven money maker in Hollywood, will likely give this latest reboot a significant boost. The film's marketing has been smart to smatter the Transformers director's name all over the promotional material for the film. The hype for this film is huge and the Guardians might not survive this fight. Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection INTO THE STORM The effects-driven disaster film is facing some stiff competition, but disaster films in the past have been able to carve out a nice chunk of box-office cash. Into the Storm is also looking to capitalize on the last legs of the found footage trend. Could Into the Storm rain on Guardians of the Galaxy's parade? Notable Natural Disaster FilmsThe Impossible:  $3 million2012: $65 millionThe Day After Tomorrow: $69 millionTwister: $41 million The Past Five Found Footage FilmsEarth to Echo: $8 millionA Haunted House 2: $9 millionDevil's Due: $8 millionParanormal Activity: The Marked ones: $18 millionA Haunted House: $18 million Sadly, Into the Storm likely doesn't have the momentum to reach the top of the charts this weekend. The public's interest in found footage films is slowing in earnest, and Into the Storm doesn't have the same hype surrounding it as the best in the genre. The film's negative reception from critics certainly won't help matters either. CBS Films/Entertainment One WHAT IF? Can Daniel Radcliffe make it in Hollywood without Harry Potter? It's been a question surrounding the actor ever since the massive franchise came to an end in 2011. Radcliffe has boatloads of charm, but all of the likeability in the world doesn't equal movie tickets sold.   The Past Five Romantic ComediesAbout Last Night: $26 millionThink Like a Man Too: $29 millionThe Other Woman: $25 millionBlended: $14 millionAnd So It Goes: $5 million The Past Five Daniel Radcliffe FilmsKill Your Darlings: $53,000The Woman in Black: $20 millionHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $169 millionHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: $125 millionHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: $78 million What If is an indie export from Britain, and the film isn't opening up in nearly enough theaters to give Guardians of the Galaxy any reasonable competition, but even if the film was widely distributed, the romantic comedy genre isn't a strong enough contender to compete with the superheroes wizzing around in Marvel's latest smash hit. Daniel Radcliffe was a massive box office draw in the Harry Potter franchise, but the actor still hasn't proved himself a moneymaker out of his wizard robes. Walt Disney Studios THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY This delightful comedy-drama featuring two competing restaurants stationed right across the street from each other is going after a completely different market than Guardians of the Galaxy, but is this slice of feel good counter programing good enough to contend with not one but two comic book films? Notable Feel Good ComediesChef: $2 millionAdmission: $6 millionThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: $6 millionThe Help: $26 million The Past Five Helen Mirren FilmsRed 2: $18 millionMonsters University: $82 millionHitchcock: $287,000The Debt: $10 nillionArthur: $12 nillion The Hundred-Foot Journey looks like a great film to take your mom to in the crush of CGI adventures clogging the theaters, but we highly doubt it will come anywhere close to Guardians of the Galaxy. Helen Mirren isn't as big of a draw as you might expect, and similar films in the same vein have only enjoyed moderate success. Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection STEP-UP: ALL IN The improbably long-running dance movie franchise has somehow reached its fifth entry, but will it reach the top of the box office by weekends end? Previous Films in the FranchiseStep Up: $21 millionStep Up 2 the Streets: $19 millionStep Up 3-D: $16 millionStep Revolution: $12 millionThe Step Up franchise certainly has its work cut out for it. The series' box office totals have been steadily declining with each release, with the last one only managing to secure $12 million in its opening weekend. There's no possible way the newest Step Up film will top Guardians. In fact, with how crowded this weekend is, Step Up might get lost in the shuffle entirely. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Studio Ghibli's Best: 'Whisper of the Heart' Is a Wonderful Tribute to Earnest Effort
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 07, 2014
    Studio Ghibli Dreams are easy things to keep; having the gall to actually reach for them is the hard part. There has never been a film about reaching for dreams quite like Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart. Written by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Yoshifumi Kondō, who was primed to be Miyazaki's virtual heir before his sudden death in 1998, Whisper of the Heart follows junior high student Shizuku, a bookworm with secret ambitions of becoming a writer. When Shizuku meets and falls for Seiji, a boy with the mission of traveling to Italy to becoming a world class violin maker, it sends her into a tailspin of an identity crisis. After all, what use is a directionless girl to a boy who already has a beautiful dream he’s willing to sacrifice for? This sets Shizuku on the path toward her own goals: she throws her entire being into writing a novel based on the Baron, an ornate cat statue with his own tragic past. But will the young girl's story be any good? Unlike many of Studio Ghibli's efforts, like the fantastical Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke, Whisper of the Heart is a film grounded in the very real, albeit beautifully realized streets suburban Tokyo... but that's not to say that it's lacking in any magic. Whisper of the Heart is a textured and spirited coming-of-age story filled with feelings that should resonate with nearly everyone. Every vibration of Shizuku's story can be felt by any person who sees him or herself as an artist. There are tough lessons rumbling deep under the surface of the film, and the two young dreamers are quick to realize that failure is a real possibility. Sadly, actual success may be a grasp to far, but their dreams are still worth striving for.  Whisper of the Heart is not a film simply about dreams or passions. It’s deeper than that. At its sweet, nurturing soul, it's a film about effort. Not simply giving your aspirations lip service, but working doggedly towards reaching them, and knowing the road paved towards anything worth having is never an easy journey, but one that's sincerely worth taking. It all starts with a single step. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Chris Pratt Does His Best Eminem Impression and More Highlights
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 07, 2014
    YouTube/Whoo Kid Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com. Will the real Star-Lord please stand up? Chris Pratt sure has the superheroics down, but who knew his rap game was so impressive? Head over the VH1 to hear the Guardians of the Galaxy star's flawless rendition of Dr. Dre and Eminem's "Forgot About Dre." Queen Bey the prophet It really is Beyonce's world. We're just living in it. Flavorwire dishes on a 2006 interview with the R&B diva that essentially predicts her current world domination. The young and the beautiful The kids are taking over! Check out Celebuzz's list of 17 young models with famous parents. Netflix, just tell me what to watch already! Having a hard time choosing what to binge next? You're not alone. Hollywood.com has a list of 8 Netflix categories that need to exist. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Would Audiences Have Seen 'Guardians of the Galaxy' If It Wasn't a Marvel Film?
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 05, 2014
    Walt Disney Studios/Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy grooved its way to a cool $94 million intake over the weekend, proving that Marvel can get as weird and silly as its wants and people will still flock to the theaters. It’s a huge moment for the studio, proof that Marvel is king of the superhero mountain top. But we have to wonder what the box office results would have looked like if anyone else had dared to make a Guardians of the Galaxy. What if the film didn’t have the big red Marvel stamp sewn into every inch of marketing? If Guardians didn’t tease its tenuous connections to the Avengers cinematic universe, would people have still coughed up nearly a hundred million dollars to see it? The answer: no way. The truth is, if any other studio tried to make a film about a tree, a misanthropic raccoon, and two green people, it would have been laughed out of the theaters without making its money back. If the film were was just an original script with no ties to comic books, it would have a hard enough time just getting made, let alone becoming the biggest August opening of all time. But since this flick isn't simply Guardians of the Galaxy but Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, a talking racoon has suddenly become the key to box office success. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't look or feel like any of what Marvel has ever done before. The film is much more of a space opera than your standard superhero flick, but the film doesn't need superheroes to be successful. In building its universe, Marvel has created a phenomenon of must-see movies. The studio has turned its films into a mosaic, a puzzle of films to be sorted out and put together by fans, pieces that come together to form one larger picture. Even though Guardians is the weirdest piece yet, it still has necessary connections to other movies. Marvel has created a fleet of unmissable films. If you want to understand everything that happens in Avengers: Age of Ultron, you better make sure to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a spectacular marketing plan, one helped by the fact that Marvel's films are generally pretty good, but one that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for other blockbusters without recognizable source material or connections to larger franchises. Sadly, the only way an space opera like Guardians of the Galaxy could have survived in today's film market is if it's a part of a Marvel's cinematic universe. The sad truth is that big sci-fi blockbusters don't do well unless they're a part of some larger franchise or well established universe of films. It’s why the nearly great Edge of Tomorrow only managed to scrape together $28 million in its opening weekend. We bet if the Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner was proceeded by the page flipping Marvel title card, it would have made twice its opening weekend gross. We're also willing to bet that if Marvel had created a story about giant robots beating back a swarm of monsters and set it in their cinematic universe, it would have made three times as much money as Pacific Rim, a film whose lifetime domestic gross amounts to what Guardians of the Galaxy made in half a week. Sadly, films like Edge of Tomorrow and Pacific Rim only prove to studios that there's no use in tyring to produce blockbusters that aren't already a part of recognizable franchises or universes. People aren't interested anymore. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Why Vince Vaughn Starring in 'True Detective' Isn't as Terrible as It Sounds
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 05, 2014
    Sony Pictures via Everett Collection Vince Vaughn is known for crashing a couple of weddings in his day, but he's certainly not known for his dramatic acting chops, which is why it is surprising to learn that the actor is being considered for a role on the second season of True Detective, per Variety. The world of prestige cable drama might seem completely wrong for Vaughn, but the actor does have some a few bright spots of dramatic work in his career. I know, I know, he was in The Internship, but if you look past the dreck, there are times where Vince Vaughn really impressed us. SwingersThere was a time where a young Vince Vaughn was the hot new commodity in Hollywood. Swingers kicked both Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn's careers into the stratosphere, thanks to a sharply written script and a brilliant turn as Trent Walker, who is as smarmy as he is charming. A hard balance to find, but one Vaughn nails. It's so money. Into The WildInto the Wild is mostly a showpiece for Emile Hirsch's talents, but Vaughn delivers a great performance in only a few minutes of screen time as Wayne. In one of the best scenes of the movie, Vaughn and Emile's characters drunkenly lament the horrors of society. MadeFavreau's follow up to Swingers didn't enjoy the critical success of the previous film, but Vaughn was charming as ever as Ricky Slade. In this film, we get glimpses of Vaughn showcasing his talents for drama and comedy. PsychoGus Van Sant's gonzo idea of making a shot-for-shot remake of the most celebrated horror film of all time didn't win any favors with critics back in 1998, but the film isn't completely without merit. Vaugn made for a creepy contemporary version of Norman Bates. Does it lay a finger on the original performance by Anthony Perkins? Eh, probably not, but what could? Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Why the Music in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Works So Perfectly
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 04, 2014
    Marvel Studios As the dopiest bandit in the known galaxy jaunts through a damp cave, his Walkman blaring the sounds of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," the Guardians of the Galaxy tile card pops onto the screen in giant, blocky letters. From this second on, I knew my ears were in for a treat. It's not often that the music in a film can be called a character in its own right, less so for a giant blockbuster. But just like Rocket, Groot, Drax, or Gamora, the soundtrack playing throughout Marvel's latest adventure adds its own personality to the film. It's particularly surprising, since the films in Marvel's ever-expanding universe have never stood out for their musical choices. The company can sure bring in the proper talent to put together a witty script, or deliver dazzling action at the drop of a hat, but the scores backing Marvel's efforts have always felt like a means to an end: Insert generic flourish here, conjure heroic horns there. And while Guardians of the Galaxy had its own cinematic score that's currently slipping through the cracks of my memory, each and every pop songs peppered throughout the film is still ringing through my brain on repeat: The spacey sounds of David Bowie as the Guardians cruised toward Knowhere, the propulsive punk sounds of the Runaways as Quill and crew get suited up for their upcoming brush with death. Who knew the Piña Colada song would fit so perfectly in galactic prison break orchestrated by a raccoon?  Guardians of the Galaxy was already a film brimming with character, but the music, a wondrous collection of '70s rock, punk, and Motown really gave the film a consistent theme, its own distinctive style that showed a willingness to do things just a little bit differently. It seemed odd, running up to the release of the film, that James Gunn's space opera had such a reverence to the rock titans of the '70s and '80s, but it all makes perfect sense in context.  The film, whose plot follows the story of a boy ripped from Earth in 1988, is appropriately jam packed with winks and nods to Troll dolls, Full House, Kevin Bacon, and the classic space sagas of the decades in question. But it's the soundtrack that really brings everything home. The music is fun, nostalgic, and wonderful,  just like the film surrounding it. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • What to Watch Instead of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' This Weekend
    By: Jordan Smith Aug 01, 2014
    Fox Searchlight Pictures via Everett Collection Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy has all about taken over the planet this weekend, but for the spandex weary among us, there is some salvation out there. While it might not seem to be the case, there are other films hitting multiplexes this weekend, none of which feature a talking racoon. Seek out these films for some refreshing, comic book free counterprogramming. Guardians of the Galaxy's use of '70s arena rock has me craving something a little more funky?Then check out the James Brown biopic Get On Up, where Chadwick Boseman brings the Godfather of Soul back from the dead with vibrant performance. Enough with these movies based on the funny pages! How about something a little more literary?If you're craving to use your noggin a bit this weekend, check out Child of God, an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name directed by James Franco. I want to watch American Pie, multiplied by Risky Business, and flogged on the head by the Disney Channel.If you really like Selena Gomez (and we mean really) you might want to check out Behaving Badly. No more high energy space hijinks. I like my comedy like I like my coffee: dark, gritty, and depressing.Well you're in luck. Director John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson have teamed up once again with Calvary, a film about the Catholic Church sex scandal. Hilarious. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //