May 2019

Actor Will Smith made sure that his passion for Bollywood style movies was infused into Aladdin – a natural fit. Films from India have a specific style in the acting and especially in the singing and group dancing. Smith has visited India several times for personal and professional reasons and when he accepted the role as the Genie, he asked Guy Ritchie, the film’s director, to put a Bollywood influence into the movie. It led to the “full Bollywood flavor” in a Prince Ali sequence. At a Tokyo red carpet event, Will Smith stated that he tried to put Bollywood style into his own acting and that he’s interested in future collaborations with Bollywood film makers. The word “Bollywood” is a combination of the words “Hollywood” and “Bombay.” It refers to the huge movie industry that has grown up in India. The funny thing is that the name of the city Bombay has since been changed to Mumbai – maybe it should be called Mollywood.

A standing ovation for more than four minutes from the sometimes snooty Cannes Film Festival audience at Rocketman’s world premier says it all. This is the second summer in a row to be dominated by a music legend biopic. Last year it was Bohemian Rhapsody about Freddie Mercury and this year it will be Rocketman about Elton John.

Early reviews make it clear that Taron Egerton, who plays Elton, carries the film on his back with his own singing – a point of contrast between him and Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury by lip syncing the songs.

Another contrast to Bohemian Rhapsody, and most other biopics, is that Rocketman’s story is driven by Elton John’s classic songs rather than by a story line in which the songs are placed. It is more a musical than a drama with music. Still the story gets told.

Like other compelling biographies, Elton John’s story is one of massive highs and equally massive lows. There is the almost instant ride up to stardom followed by the myriad of addictions – drugs and sex and food – followed by a happy ending, a clean and sober adulthood. There is the one constant through all of this, Elton’s writing partner, Bernie Taupin, played by Jamie Bell.The production is an ‘R’ rated sequin-fest that will surely produce an Oscar nomination for Taron Egerton and for production values like costumes and maybe for director Dexter Fletcher, who incidentally was brought in to save Bohemian Rhapsody. And so it goes full circle.

Last Wednesday Taylor Swift did her first sit down interview in two years with Ellen DeGeneres. The focus was less on her newly released video WE! and more on her personal habits – some real personal.

Apparently she shaves her legs almost every day, to which Ellen speculated, “You must be really hairy?” There was a whole discussion about how shaving cream was essentially soap, so the shaving process is also the washing process. It went on.

Then Swift revealed that in the middle of a sleepless night she is inclined to go down stairs to search for food. The mess left behind for the morning she described as looking like a raccoon had rummaged through the kitchen.

With Lil Nas X (Montero Lamar Hill) is a twenty-year-old American rapper, singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. He began as an internet personality, but came to the forefront with his hit 2018 single “Old Time Road.” The core song is terrific, but Lil Nas X raises the level by finding a way to combine his urban rap with the pure country sound of Billy Ray Cyrus – Miley’s dad.

The remix with Cyrus went viral in April, 2019 breaking Drake’s record for most streamed song in a week. Though the song ran up multiple charts including number one on Billboard’s Top 100, its listing on the magazine’s Hot Country Songs Chart was taken down because “it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart” as a country song. Boo to them. Before all the attention around the song, the wit and rhythm of Lil Nas X began to find an audience on the internet when he was 16. He was clever enough to break through the noise by connecting himself to Nicki Minaj. The strength of this creative powerhouse makes Lil Nas X a force to watch in the future.

Watch his new music video for “Old Town Road Remix” with Billy Rae Cyrus below:

Similar to years past, this years E3 Gaming Convention was filled with surprises both good and bad. One game in particular came with a very bittersweet unveiling and that is Square Enix’s new Avengers game.

Although the gameplay looked fantastic and the game is sure to garner more than enough sales upon debut, there is one major issue creating whispers among the fans. The new Avengers video game will NOT feature the likenesses of stars we are used to seeing. Therefore Thor will not look like Chris Hemsworth, Captain America will not look like Chris Evans, and of course Tony Stark will not look like Robert Downey Jr.

When asked why the game developer was not using the familiar faces to journey through the virtual Marvel universe, the creators made it pretty clear that this group of Avengers stands separate from the others.

An excerpt from a “TechTheLead” article states the following:

“Crystal Dynamics’ Shaun Escayg clarified the issue in an interview with CNET, explaining that he and his team always intended to make an Avengers game that would not use the MCU as a crutch – they wanted to return “to the roots, which was the comic books.”

We were inspired by the comic books. We wanted to make sure our characters lived in our story, and therefore represented our story.” Escayg went on to say.

He also stated that using the likeness or the voices of the MCU cast was an idea that the team never even considered to begin with and that they have always intended for the game to be their own spin on the Avengers story. ”

All in all this new rendition might be just what is needed for a fanbase that has fallen into a bit of Marvel stagnation and complacency. We have something new and unpredictable to look forward to. A new storyline, new characters, and a new platform, what else could we possibly want? More.