With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
It’s an SNL sketch premise so silly that it feels like it belongs in the early ’90s, not 2015. Taking place in the distant future, the scene asks us to believe that chickens have evolved to be more intelligent than humans and that a chicken could command a spaceship of human beings and, most importantly, that a crew member played by guest host Chris Hemsworth would fall in love with the chicken.
Fox’s new series Empire is huge. Like, insanely, impossibly, jaw-droppingly huge. In an age where ratings are steadily declining across the board as audiences cut cables and enter the brave new world of streaming, it’s a phenomenon. And like all phenomenons, it has to get targeted by SNL. In the most recent digital short, Empire is re-imagined with a brand new character: Chip the office manager, played by guest host Chris Hemsworth.
Did anyone think that SNL was going to get Chris Hemsworth to guest host and not do an Avengers sketch? Of course not! Although Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t out for another two months, this bit takes place after the events of that film, following Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they deal with the fallout from winning their toughest battle yet. Well, at least some of them are dealing with the fallout. Thor is just partying.
Even when it’s at its best, modern SNL is rarely shocking. Funny, strange, silly and clever, sure. But shocking? Nah. The show doesn’t seem to set out to offend every week. So when the show broke out a fake commercial that depicted 50 Shades of Grey star and guest host Dakota Johnson joining the radical terrorist group ISIS, jaws rightfully hit the ground. Who approved this? And could they start approving more sketches?
With Dakota Johnson guest hosting, last night’s SNL had no shortage of 50 Shades of Grey jokes. For her part, Johnson seemed equally bemused and embarrassed by her controversial new hit, rolling with whatever the show threw at her and always coming out looking far better than her naysayers expected. Her ability to make fun of herself and the film that has turned her into an overnight movie star really came together in the only sketch of the night that required her to play herself.
Modern SNL has one of the strongest female line-ups in the show’s history, so it’s always a pleasure when the writers give this group of extremely funny ladies a chance to shine together. This sketch is a weird one because it feels like such an odd and specific concept that must have been a real pain in the butt to pitch in the writer’s room, but the execution is simply sublime: a group of women start being brutally honest with the people in their lives and immediately celebrate to the impossibly catchy sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”
When Paul Walker tragically died last November, the world mourned an actor who was not only a welcome screen presence, but a genuinely well-liked and respected guy. It was especially hard to hear the reactions of his 'Fast and Furious' franchise co-stars. This is a series all about friendship and family, so the loss of a key member of that crew hits hard. 'Fast and Furious 7' recently resumed shooting after an extended hiatus to rework the film and fans have been wondering how the production will work around the loss of a major character. Now, Universal hinted at a strange but touching solution.
In a move that really shouldn't surprise too many people, the ever-picky David Fincher is out of the director's chair for the upcoming (and untitled) Steve Jobs biopic, scripted by Aaron Sorkin. The 'Zodiac' and 'The Social Network' director has a reputation for being demanding, and it looks like Sony balked at his requested fee and level of control.
This weekend saw a neck-and-neck race for the first spot at the box office, with the animated 'Rio 2' offering strong competition for last week's champion, 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier.' When the dust, debris and feathers settled, the one starring the superhero took the first slot, but there is no shame in a second place that strong.
It really doesn't feel like 'SNL' unless there's a commercial parody video, which have been the show's bread and butter for decades. Last night's episode had the first memorable fake ad in awhile, offering a look at the thankfully fictional CNN pregnancy test.
What begins as a fairly typical 'SNL' sketch soon transforms into one of darker sketches the show has put on in recent memory, exploring the dissolution of a marriage thanks to dog food choices. Guest host Seth Rogen and regular cast member Cecily Strong bring their finest comedic chops to the scene, wringing every possible ounce of discomfort out of every moment.
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