Thursday, July 5, 2018

Celebrities You Can Be Proud to Be a Fan Of

Everyday we read, or watch, the news. Every single day there’s another shooting, or a group being discriminated against, or a child screaming for his mother. Political discourse has turned into political war. Religion and atheism are both demonized… even science is facing a battle on the perception of reality.

It’s rough.

In times like these, entertainment is even more important than usual. The problem is that even our entertainment news is filled with horrific gossip or the outing of another sexual predator.

Now, Trust the Dice will never peddle in gossip. We don’t want to destroy the lives of our artists. These people are responsible for giving us a break from the world, or offering us a new perspective on it, through their projects. They speak to our fantasies and allow us to learn to dream. For the most part, that means I don’t give a fuck who they are as people. However, there’s nothing worse – as a fan – than adoring the hell out of someone and then finding out they are a bullshit rapist that needs a swift punch to the face.

I’m ashamed to say I used to watch the Cosby Show. That’s a part of my childhood that’s just destroyed. Luckily, my mom and I bonded over many other shows as well – but some people may have only had that. Bill Cosby hurt a lot of women, but he also let down so many others that it’s ridiculous.

Our entertainers have a responsibility to the world. They have influence… and how they use that influence MATTERS.

As bad as it feels to know you were once a fan of someone who wasn’t worthy of it, that’s how good it feels when you realize another of your favorites is actually a great person when the cameras are off.

In a break from the horrific news out there, we’re going to be concentrating on some people in the entertainment industry that you can be proud to be a fan of. You can hold your head high and know that these people have used their influence for good. You can watch their films/channels, or listen to their music, knowing that the money they get from it will go to something that will help the world and make us realize that there is some faith in humanity left.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the work of Oprah, or the general over-all awesomeness of Tom Hanks and Keanu Reeves. Plenty of people are also in the know about Zach Galifianakis and his friendship with the elderly homeless woman he took under his wing. I want to concentrate on other people. People with good deeds that aren’t as well-known. I’m not just interested in donations to charity, either (though I’ll go into some of that as well). The people I list below have done more than just slipped an organization some money. They’ve sacrificed or given their time to a cause.

And time is worth so much more than money.

Although this list is in countdown order, that does not mean that Trust the Dice places more value on some kinds of good than others. There is some consideration to the ordering, but mostly it’s based on how well-known the story is. We attempted to stay away from people with confirmed sexual misconduct or scandal issues, which is why you may only see one person of the two involved in something.

20 – Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters: No Way Back, The Muppets, Drunk History) is often considered one of the nicest guys in musical entertainment. He’s been good to his fans and he regularly plays at charity events.

A huge amount of Grohl’s time is spent on charity. He gives money, too, but it’s time I really care about.

Aside from charity concerts such as the Autism Speaks’ BlueJean Ball and Teenage Cancer Trust, he’s also done such things as reading books to kids and donating signed memorabilia in order to raise funds for various causes.

Grohl has also been known to protest the Westboro Baptisthate group. (I will not call that crap a church anymore.) 

Dave Grohl is known to have supported at least 15 charities with monetary donations, including: Live Earth, Milk+Bookies, White Knot for Equality, Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and ACLU of Southern California. 

19 – Drake

I was a fan of Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2009) back in the day, so Drake (Ice Age: Continental Drift, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Drake: Started From the Bottom) will forever be Jimmy to me. That said, he’s doing the rap game proud. His music certainly isn’t the worst out there, but I’m more concerned with what he’s done with his celebrity status.

He’s not as big on charity as most people on this list, but he has some seriously set rules that he holds his fans by, and that’s a BIG deal in the rap community.

In November of 2017, Drake was performing in Australia and saw a man in the audience touching some of his female fans. Drake stopped the show and immediately called the man out, threating to ‘fuck him up’ if he didn’t stop. 

This shouldn’t have been a big deal, because saying something in that situation SHOULD be the norm – but it’s not. So, when someone influential steps up and makes sure others see his example, that’s something that needs to be acknowledged and supported.

Drake is known to have supported at least 1 charity with monetary donations, including: THORN. 

18 – John Cena

This amusing WWE superstar is pretty well-known for his work with the Make-A-Wish foundation. It would be easy to create a list of kids he’s helped during his days working with the charity. Very easy, in fact… because he’s a record holder.

That’s where the ‘less-known’ part comes in. In 2015 John Cena (Blockers, Ferdinand, Psych: The Movie) granted his record-breaking 500th wish for the foundation. The amount of time and energy that goes into granting those wishes during his already very limited free time is astronomical.

I don’t know how many more he’s fulfilled since 2015, but I know he never stopped… so his number is ever growing.

John Cena is known to have supported at least 2 charities with monetary donations, including: Kids Wish Network and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

17 – Robert Downey Jr.

I know about Robert Downey Jr.’s (Chef, Due Date, The Avengers) past and I can’t even tell you how little I care. That said, I don’t think there was nearly enough attention paid to that time he visited a kid as his Tony Stark persona in order to give him a bionic arm. I mean, are you kidding me? That must have been the coolest day of that kid’s life. Not only did he get to meet Downey Jr., but he also got to start learning how to use his brand-new arm!

That’s not the only time Downey Jr. has donated his time to a cause. He also raised over £1 million while raffling away a chance to spend time with him on the red carpet for the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron. That money went to Julie’s House, a children’s hospice in the UK.

Our pasts shape us, but they do not define us. No one proves that quite as much as Robert Downey Jr. does.

Robert Downey Jr. is known to have supported at least 15 charities with monetary donations, including: ALS Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, Stand Up to Cancer, and Melanoma Research Alliance.

16 – Benedict Cumberbatch

We’re going to see a lot of people that have done huge things. And where Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Doctor Strange, Zoolander 2) is a strong supporter of equal pay for men and women in Hollywood – to the point of expressing the idea that he would not accept an acting job where the pay was lopsided – that’s not what we’re going to talk about here.

Sometimes bringing hope to the world is about affect a single person.

Last November, while Cumberbatch was in a car in London, he saw a delivery boy getting mugged. Although simply calling for help would have been fine, he proceeded to jump out of the car and pull the attackers off the cyclist. He then fought with the criminals until his driver jumped out to help him and they ran off.

This story did get picked up by the media, for about a minute, this past June. It didn’t get nearly as much attention as it should have, and only months after it occurred, likely because of the way Cumberbatch looks at it. When asked why he did it, he always just responds that he had to… and then refuses any more questions.

He saved a man because he didn’t see another option and THAT is beautiful.

Benedict Cumberbatch is known to have supported at least 11 charities with monetary donations, including: Save the Children, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Dramatic Needs, and the Children Defense Fund. 

15 – Nicki Minaj

Whether you like or hate Nicki Minaj (Steven Universe, A Magical Holiday, Barbershop: The Next Cut), you have to acknowledge that she’s accomplished quite a bit.

She’s done a lot of performing for charity shows, such as the VH1 Divas Salute the Troops concert. She’s raised a ton of money and donated tracks to charity albums. What caught my eye is a little more personal, though.

I went to college and earned a Bachelor’s degree. Although I use what I learned in my fictional writing, I can’t do what I was initially supposed to.

When I left college, I wanted to go to work at the morgue. My mentor was a forensic dentist and I was all set up to get a glowing recommendation from him. I went to his lectures, he introduced me to influential anthropologists, and he brought me into the morgue to work alongside a group of other forensic dentists from time to time. I had shit grades, but enough real-life experience that I would have been able to get a foothold.

The first body I saw in the morgue was an infant and it fucked me up. I tried to keep on the same path for a while, but that child was always in my mind and I wasn’t really able to move passed it. I decided, after graduation, that I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t be able to see that again, it would break me. I was able to handle the rest of it, but that was my limit.

So, I’ve got a dusty diploma and nothing but a few realistically written death scenes and a huge amount of student loan debt to show for it.

What does that bullshit have to do with Nicki Minaj?

Minaj was contacted by one of her fans on Twitter who was jokingly asking for tuition money. She tweeted back that she’d pay if proof of straight A’s could be provided.

A bunch of fans showed her proof and she came through big time. She donated over $18k to students that contacted her for help and promised to start a charity to help others in the same way.

Underneath the controversy and big… hair, Minaj has a huge heart to match.

Nicki Minaj is known to have supported at least 3 charities with monetary donations, including: Get Schooled Foundation, Red Cross, and Save the Music Foundation.

14 – Mark Edward Fischbach/Sean William McLoughlin

YouTubers have been getting a bad reputation lately. The media is quick to jump on any of them that do dumb or bad things, but they refuse to acknowledge that not all YouTubers are like the dickwad brother (Jake and Logan Paul). In fact, a lot of YouTubers are doing great and important things.

Mark Fischbach (Markiplier’s December Charity Livestream: Toys for Tots, Smosh: The Movie, Who Killed Markiplier?) – aka. Markiplier – and Sean McLoughlin (Bendy and the Ink Machine, Late Late Show, Cringemas) – Jacksepticeye – are gamers that have spent a HUGE amount of time working with charities to raise money. They also constantly reach out to their fans in order to make them smile.

Roughly once a month they both do charity live streams that last upward of eight to nine hours, and longer charity streams can be expected around special occasions. Although I can’t find an exact number, I can tell you that they have collectively raised millions of dollars for charity through their streams on Twitch and YouTube. A holiday stream in 2016 that included both of them raised upwards of $1 million alone… and there’ve been many more since then.

Aside from that, Markiplier does a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish foundation and was named the Make-A-Wish Celebrity of the year once. Jacksepticeye spends a lot of time showcasing games meant to speak out about depression and when Logan Paul made that incredibly disgusting video in the suicide forest, Jacksepticeye responded by doing a live stream that raised over $200k for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Although they usually work alone, the two do occasionally team up and, when they do, the result is magical.

As for the argument on whether or not they’re celebrities? They have over 19 million subscribers each. I’m going to go with ‘yes.’

Markiplier and Jacksepticeye are known to have supported at least 15 charities, collectively, with monetary donations, including: Gates Foundation, Save the Children, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, AbleGamers, Environmental Defense Fund, and Cancer Research Institute.

13 – Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ (The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, The Crazy Ones, The Face of Love) charity work was really very well-know. He performed on USO tours and at charity gatherings. He donated loads of money and helped raise even more. He even did a lot of work with Make-A-Wish and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – going out of his way to visit sick kids whenever possible

The part that people might not know, is the kind of stuff he did for his friends.

He had a close friendship with Christopher Reeve (Speechless, Above Suspicion, Superman). After Reeve was paralyzed, Robin Williams went to visit him in the hospital. At the worst moment, when nerves were running the highest, Williams pranced right in – dressed as a doctor – and started a routine about being a proctologist there for Reeve’s exam.

And that’s not the only time he went full-on Patch Adams, either.

When Sharon Osbourne (Jake and the Never Land Pirates, It’s a Boy Girl Thing, Austin Powers in Goldmember) was diagnosed with cancer and had given up, he went right into her room and climbed into bed with her. By the time he left, she was laughing and ready to get back to the fight. 

Williams shared himself with the people in his life and the people who’s lives he’d touched. His soul lives on in the people that knew him.

Robin Williams is known to have supported at least 36 charities with monetary donations, including: Doctors Without Borders, YMCA, Keep Memory Alive, American Foundation for AIDS Research, and Dogs Deserve Better. 

12 – Ian Somerhalder

You know Ian Somerhalder, most likely, from The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017). He’s been pretty big on TV since the early 2000s, though, so you could really know him from any number of other shows as well.

He has a certain look about him, however, and that can lead people to write him off as just being the same kind of person as the characters he plays. That said, he’s actually incredibly active in charitable ways.

Did you know that he has a strong urge to protect animals and the environment?

Somerhalder founded the IS Foundation in 2010. 

The foundation is dedicated to viewing humanity as part of the environment instead of as a separate entity. It’s been at the helm of the creation of an animal sanctuary and a grant fund for animals in shelters. Somerhalder has also personally rescued various animals and has testifiedagainst elephant poaching in congress.

He is a great friend to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Ian Somerhalder is known to have supported at least 12 charities with monetary donations, including: Alzheimer’s Association, Teen Cancer America, The Humane Society, United Nations Development Programme, and Elton John AIDS Foundation. 

11 – Eddie Redmayne

You can probably tell from Eddie Redmayne’s [ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Danish Girl, Jupiter Ascending, Les Miserables) filmography that he’s a huge supporter of the LGBTQ community. His work in that community, specifically in helping transgender youth, is enough for him to make this list – but it’s well-known. His name is almost synonymous with it.

So, what else is there?

Redmayne spoke to GQ in 2016 and explained that he knew he had it easier than most when he got into acting after college, because there was always money available for him. As a result, as he rose in popularity, he decided to occasionally pay the rent of fans that were in drama school trying to break into the business. 

That’s right, Redmayne has gone out of his way to pay rent for people he’s never met so that they can try to fulfill their dreams without helplessly treading water – especially in places like New York where the rent of a studio apartment in only a decent neighborhood (not even a good one) can range around $3k per month.

One assumes he has some kind of proof that they’re actually drama students and that they meet some kind of GPA requirement – or at least, one hopes.

Eddie Redmayne is known to have supported at least 9 charities with monetary donations, including: Epilepsy Action, March of Dimes, International Medical Corps, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation. 

10 – Dwayne Johnson

Who doesn’t love The Rock (Ballers, Rampage, Baywatch)? Seriously. There’s always something small and awesome coming out about what he’s done for friends, family, or perfect strangers. Anyone see that video of him dressed as a giant Pikachu for his kid? That’s some wholesome shit, right there. I recommend it.

He’s done a ton of stuff for fans, like becoming ordained in order to surprise a YouTuber by officiating his wedding. He’s also been a huge member of the Make-A-Wish community. Cena might be beating him for the record, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t spend a huge amount of time making his fans at the foundation smile

On top of all that, there’s the Dwayne Johnson ROCKFoundation. It utilizes physical fitness and education to help protect the health and smiles of kids all around the world. 

The Rock is just a national treasure and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known to have supported at least 12 charities with monetary donations, including: I Have a Dream Foundation, Make the Difference Network, Parkinson Society Maritime Region, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and Red Cross.

9 – Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Red State) is a polarizing figure in the entertainment industry. Between his raunchy films and that time he told big Hollywood to basically fuck off at Sundance 2011, people have varying perspectives on him.

Personally, I think that’s all a reason to love him – especially considering everything that’s come out about big Hollywood lately. But I’m biased. I enjoy a little bit of chaos in my awesome.

What he’s listed here for is how he reacted to the news when Harvey Weinstein was outed as the douche-king of entertainment.

If you’re familiar with Smith, then you know that – in his early career – he put out quite a few films with the Weinstein Company.

When the truth came out, he immediately told his fans on Twitter that he was ashamed to have ever been connected with Weinstein. On his next podcast he spoke about how no movie was worth what Weinstein did and that he was ashamed he’d ever been one of the voices supporting him. He then pledged to take any future residuals from his films produced by the Weinstein Company (which is all of them before 2008, except for Mallrats), and immediately donate it to the Woman in Film charity.

Smith’s mistake was created without his knowledge, he had no idea who Harvey was behind closed doors. You want to believe you’d know if it was you, but chances are, you wouldn’t. Psychopaths know how to disguise their crimes to people outside the know.

People make mistakes. It’s about how they fix them that really matters and Smith put his money where his mouth is. That’s rare.

Kevin Smith is known to have supported at least 5 charities with monetary donations, including: The Wayne Foundation, Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, Declare Yourself, Food Bank for New York City, and The Lunchbox Fund. 

8 – Ryan Gosling

There’s not just one thing involved in Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love, Drive, The Notebook) being on this list, but a bunch of little things.

Once, Gosling ran into some girl scouts selling theircookies and opted to buy them out. Every. Single. Box. He then went around just giving people boxes of girl scout cookies. As a former scout, myself, this amuses me greatly. And he probably made those girl’s day. There were some cool prizes for selling those cookies.

Another time, Gosling was credited for saving a woman frombeing hit by a New York taxi. Let me tell you, I absolutely believe that taxi would have hit her. Yellow cabs are fucking crazy over here. I saw one drive on the sidewalk once. Aside from that, though, there was the time he was recorded stopping a fight in themiddle of the street

Then there was the time Hurricane Katrina pretty much sank the south and he just decided to load up his car with supplies, quietly drive down to Mississippi and help rebuild a monastery. No fan-fare at all.

That’s what really gets me with Gosling. Everything he does, he does quietly. He doesn’t post about it on social media or get the media involved… he does it because he believes he should. He’s just a genuinely good guy who gives a fuck.

And if he saves anymore people in NY I’m going to pitch a super hero to Marvel based on him. Maybe he’ll be part of the Defenders.

Ryan Gosling is known to have supported at least 8 charities with monetary donations, including: Mercy for Animals, Invisible Children, ONE Campaign, ENOUGH Project, and The Art of Elysium.

7 – Jennifer Hudson

Hudson has had a hell of a life. I hold a special place in my heart for people who have been through the kind of shit she’s been through but still have enough hope left to give some to others. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

Jennifer Hudson’s family was brutally murdered in 2008. That’s rough for anyone to come back from, but Hudson did it with incredible heart. She took part in the creation of a new charity, the Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims.

The charity is pretty self-explanatory by its name. It helps the families of murder victims get back on their feet – a subject that must be painful for Hudson.

Her activism doesn’t end there, though.

Hudson has also performed at events like Hope for Haiti and the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh’s Pride in the Street. She’s done her best to better a world that must seem even darker to her than most. That’s always worth acknowledging.

Jennifer Hudson is known to have supported at least 28 charities with monetary donations, including: Save the Music Foundation, The Rainforest Foundation, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

6 – Kristen Bell

Very few people don’t know about Kristen Bell’s [ The Good Place, A Bad Moms Christmas, The Disaster Artist) call to a young girl with a brain tumor while in-character as Anna from Frozen. In the same tone, people are likely familiar with her actions during HurricaneIrma. During that hurricane, she took in Josh Gad’s family – who were stranded without shelter – and entertained a hotel full of elderly that had been evacuated from their homes for their safety. 

Bell is known for those small acts of kindness that mean the world to the recipients. But she’s more than a few good deeds.

In 2015, Bell joined up with the ‘This Close’ campaign in order to spread the word about vaccines and how important they are to Polio eradication. Poliomyelitis is a crippling and often-fatal disease that infects the brain and spinal cord. It was once very prevalent, but as vaccines were developed the likelihood of contracting it has become near non-existent in most countries.

Bell will undoubtedly be involved in doing even more good as time goes on, keep an eye on her.

Also, watch the video of Dax Shepard (CHIPS, The Boss, Parenthood) giving her a chance to meet a sloth. That should put a smile on your face during a gloomy day.

Kristen Bell is known to have supported at least 23 charities with monetary donations, including: The Humane Society, Alcheimer’s Association, UNICEF, ASPCA, and Invisible Children. 

5 – John Legend

After researching John Legend (La La Land, Crow: The Legend, Soul Men), I have to wonder if he’s actually the most charitable celebrity of his age range. He and his wife, Chrissy Teigen (The Mindy Project, Inside Amy Schumer, Need for Speed: The Run), have two children that I know of, and I’m not sure how they found the time to do that with the sheer amount of charity work he does.

He appears at charity concerts, records music for charity albums, auctions himself off, creates events… it’s absolutely insane how much he does. So, I figure if I don’t focus on just one thing, I’ll be writing this article for the rest of my life and then I won’t meet my deadline.

What I’m going to concentrate on here is his work with the Show Me Campaign.

Through the Show Me Campaign, Legend is involved in Teach for All/Teach for America. The charity is dedicated to finding teachers interested in confronting ‘educational inequity.’ Legend focuses on the Springfield City School District and the Harlem VillageAcademies

His passion for education, and ensuring that there is equality within education, is incredibly inspiring.

John Legend is known to have supported at least 46 charities with monetary donations, including: Malaria No More, THORN, Feeding America, Global Poverty Project, and War Child. 

4 – Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron (Monster, Atomic Blonde, Tully) was born in South Africa. It’s safe to say that she had a drastically different upbringing that the majority of the other people on this list. Different country, different laws, different challenges. It’s impossible for me to accurately judge much of what she’s done because of that, but there are a few things that can’t really get lost in translation.

In 1999, Charlize Theron took a stand against rape in her home country. The ad she put out wasn’t even a full minute long but was banned because of how ‘controversial’ it was. The slogan was “Real Men Don’t Rape.” After watching the video a few times, I still don’t understand the points raised against it, but I do know it takes courage to put out an ad like that in a place that would deem the idea of standing against rape as a controversy to begin with.

Her activist work doesn’t stop there.

Theron received the title of ‘United Nations Messenger ofPeace’ in November of 2008. Before that, she created the Africa Outreach project – a charity designated to helping find a better life for ‘impoverished children’ in South Africa. 

When it comes down to it, Theron has dedicated her life to helping fight domestic violence, rape, and the abuse of children. Somewhere in the middle of all that, she managed to become an Oscar-winning-level actress.

Charlize Theron is known to have supported at least 36 charities with monetary donations, including: American Stroke Association, Food Bank for New York City, YouthAIDS, Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund, and Dogs Deserve Better. 

3 – Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher (That 70s Show, Annie, Jobs) seems like such a spaz, doesn’t he? The majority of his parts see him acting like a moron that’s just kind of accidentally funny. He’s done some dramatic parts that showcase his acting ability, but for the most part – it’s the comedy life for Kutcher.

He’s pranked his fellow actors, portrayed himself as a burnout, and otherwise just shown himself in the public eye as a goofy guy.

Do you know how surprised I was when I learned that he was one of the founders of THORN, a charity geared toward ending child trafficking and catching pedophiles? 

That’s no laughing matter at all.

THORN has impact reports starting in 2015 and those reports highlight the tools and projects THORN has been utilizing to help law enforcement find victims and shut-down predators. The entire thing is incredibly impressive and immediately altered my perception of Kutcher.

It’s not nearly as widely reported as I think it should be. 

Ashton Kutcher is known to have supported at least 17 charities with monetary donations, including: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Declare Yourself, and UNICEF. 

2 – Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg (Catch Me If You Can, Jurassic Park, Minority Report) is arguably one of the most famous directors of our time. You might have known that he’s also very big on charity. He’s put out PSAs meant to support military families, donated a huge amount of money, and has worked with Make-A-Wish. But it’s his work dealing with the subject of the Holocaust that I’m really focusing on here.

Did you know that Spielberg outright refused a salary for making Schindler’s List (1993)? He decided that the story was way too important for him to focus on the money that could be made from it. Not to mention that he actively referred to any money he might have made from it as ‘blood money.’ 

What about that money, though? The ‘blood money’? After all Schindler’s List was a huge success.

Well, he took all that money and pumped it into creating a charity called the Shoah Foundation, which is all about honoring and remembering the survivors of the Holocaust. 

He continues to put money and effort into the Shoah Foundation, while still offering charity elsewhere. He is definitely one of the good ones.

Steven Spielberg is known to have supported at least 14 charities with monetary donations, including: Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, Righteous Persons Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, American Humane Association, and Healthy Child Healthy World. 

1 – Betty White

Who doesn’t love our resident grandma of entertainment? Her mere existence is a shining beacon of hope for humanity.

Betty White has been acting since the golden age of Hollywood. You can see clips of her young and in black and white. In fact, she’s a world record holder. She holds the record for Longest TV Career for anEntertainer (Female). If the category wasn’t split between males and females, she’d still either have the longest TV career overall, or be tied for it – since she and the male winner of the title both began in 1939. It would come down to the day.

Her rise to stardom would have been quick and unstoppable… except she put a stop to it herself.

When World War II hit, White decided that it was more important to get involved than to concentrate on her own rising career.

Back then, women were limited in how deeply involved they could get. Still, White joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS). It’s difficult to tell just how much this impacted her career. It wasn’t like joining the National Guard. Instead, AWVS was considered an alarmist group that was blowing the whole ‘Nazi’ thing out of proportion.

Regardless of how it affected her at first, though, I imagine people were grateful for the group when Pearl Harbor occurred and the AWVS was already 18,000 members strong and ready to get to work on providing services and support to the nation.

White spent that time delivering supplies and helping send off US soldiers… just generally doing her part. She was a national hero along with the rest of the people involved in the organization.

Betty White is known to have supported at least 26 charities with monetary donations, including: GLAAD, Red Cross, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Speaks, and PAWS/LA. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In July (2018)

According to: Cat

20 – Bleeding Steel (7/6)

Tag Line: One man must unravel the past to save the future.
Production Companies: Village Roadshow Pictures, Sparkle Roll Media, Heyi Pictures
Director: Leo Zhang
Writers: Siwei Cui, Erica Xia-Hou, Leo Zhang
Actors: Jackie Chan, Nana Ou-Yang, Erica Xia-Hou, Show Lo, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, Damien Garvey, John Jumane
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes

Moviefone Blurb: Hong Kong police inspector Lin Dong learns that a biochemical invention has been surgically implanted into his missing daughter. With help from a hacker, Lin tries to connect the dots between the device, a sinister army and a strange phenomenon.

Normally, a Jackie Chan (Rush Hour, The Foreigner, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature) movie would rate far higher on my list. But, frankly, I’m confused by the trailer and blurbs. I can’t tell if the girl Chan’s character needs to protect is his daughter, as the blurbs suggest – or someone else entirely. All the same, I love the sci-fi blending with action genre. While some of it feels like it might come across a bit over-the-top, it’s certainly interesting. I’m willing to give any project he’s involved in a try. 

19 – Damascus Cover (7/20)

Tag Line: His only weapon is his cover.
Production Companies: Cover Films, Vertical Entertainment
Director: Daniel Zelik Berk
Writers: Daniel Zelik Berk, Samantha Newton,
Actors: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Olivia Thirlby, Jürgen Prochnow, Navid Negahban, Yigal Naor, John Hurt, Aki Avni
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes

Moviefone Blurb: Agent Ari Ben-Sion receives an assignment from Mossad to smuggle a chemical-weapons scientist out of Syria. When the mission goes wrong, Ben-Sion soon learns that he's a pawn in a much bigger plan.

John Hurt (Immortals, Jayne Mansfield's Car, Doctor Who the Time War) was one of the great actors of our time. (I promise I’m not biased just because he played one of the incarnations of The Doctor.) He always brought such an interesting sage quality to his roles. This is his final credited film listed on IMDb. It’s unclear whether or not he was working on anything else that wasn’t announced at the time of his death; so this very well may be it. That’s what got my attention here first.

Of course, there’s much more that this movie has to offer. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (London Town, Black Butterfly, Vikings) is always intense and intriguing in his roles – protagonist and villain alike. Though, admittedly, most of his characters tend to walk a darker path even when they aren’t the primary nemesis of a story. His screen chemistry with Olivia Thirlby (The Darkest Hour, Dredd, The Wedding Ringer) appeared to be on point, from what the trailer revealed. I’m excited to see her involved with this project.

The intrigue runs thick in this tale, and its mysterious aire is appealing almost as much as the action within the feature. 

18 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7/13)

Tag Line: How now, spirit?
Production Companies: Empyrean Pictures, 5B Productions, Dream Movie
Director: Casey Wilder Mott
Writers:  Casey Wilder Mott, William Shakespeare
Actors: Rachael Leigh Cook, Paz de la Huerta, Avan Jogia, Fran Kranz, Ted Levine, Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Mia Doi Todd, Finn Wittrock
Genre: Comedy
Rated: NR
Length: 104 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Mistaken identity, unrequited love, and the supernatural are combined in Shakespeare's classic set in the woods of Greece on a moonlit night.

I absolutely love to watch film adaptations based on Shakespearean plays. This particular one is one of my favorites of his comedies. It seems like it will be a lot of fun. The blurb for the film reads as “Film students, fairies and a hippie sprite experience a night of enchantments, flirtations and unrequited love.” 

That sounds like one wild ride of a modern take on the tale. Here’s a twist – the dialogue in the movie follows the play as it is written, rather than an adaptation to current vernacular. I understand that means it is not going to be for everyone. The beauty of watching the plays or films in this way is that actions and body language can fill in some of the blanks that linguistic confusion creates when simply reading the text. 

17 – The Row (7/27)

Tag Line: They're going to get in.
Production Company: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films)
Director: Matty Beckerman
Writer: Sarah Scougal
Actors: Colin Egglesfield, Dylan Sprayberry, Randy Couture, Lauryn Kent, Lexi Atkins, Mia Rose Frampton, Sarah McDaniel, Malea Rose
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 82 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A college freshman trying to get into a sorority discovers a dark secret about the house she's pledging for after a series of murders terrorize the campus.

I waffled a bit as to whether or not this movie made the cut this month. The trailer gave me the impression that it’s going to follow the recipe of most sorority horror movies. I’m not sure that it’s going to be as scary or disturbing as I’d like it to be – but it does, at least, look interesting.  I was left wondering what the big dark secret in the past was going to be when I watched the trailer. They were at least successful in hooking me there. That ray of hope I always cling to often brings bitter disappointment – and yet, I live for the times my faith is rewarded.

Another stand-out in favor of this film is the fact Randy Couture (The Expendables, Stretch, Hawaii Five-O) is in it. His Olympic-level wrestling, military service, and stellar UFC career have served him well in the action movie genre. I enjoy seeing actors step out of their normal wheelhouse occasionally. OK, well sort-of in this case. His character is a police detective, so it’s not THAT far removed from military service.  I think the protective dad role will suit him well. 

16 – Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (7/13)

Tag Line: A Gus Van Sant film.
Production Companies: Iconoclast, Anonymous Content, Big Indie Pictures, Amazon Studios
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: John Callahan, Gus Van Sant, Jack Gibson, William Andrew Eatman
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto, Kim Gordon, Udo Kier
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 113 minutes

IMDb Blurb: On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.

 Jack Black (The D Train, Goosebumps, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) you say? I’m already interested. Then there’s Joaquin Phoenix (Hotel Rwanda, Walk the Line, You Were Never Really Here), Rooney Mara (The Social Network, Her, The Secret Scripture), and Jonah Hill (How to Train Your Dragon, The Lego Movie, War Dogs) involved as well. This movie certainly packs in an eclectic star-studded cast.

Even though the cast may be full of heavy-hitters, it’s really the story that caught my attention. This biopic is about a guy that found the inner strength and ability to make that lemonade out of life’s lemons that everyone’s always talking about. It’s inspirational, and it looks like Phoenix is going to be capturing the essence of the role well – of course, he usually does.

I didn’t even recognize Jonah Hill in the trailer until his name was flashed across the screen. His character looks to be both charming and insightful. I might usually roll my eyes a bit at his projects, but it looks like I’m really going to enjoy this one.

15 – Our House (7/27)

Tag Line: Houses Are As Haunted As You Make Them
Production Companies: Prospero Pictures, Senator Film Produktion, XYZ Films
Director: Anthony Burns
Writers: Matt Osterman, Nathan Parker
Actors: Thomas Mann, Nicola Peltz, Percy Hynes White, John Ralston, Christine Horne, Lucius Hoyos, Allison Hossack, Carlyn Burchell
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A young genius accidentally invents a device that amplifies the paranormal activity within his family's house, possibly bringing back the spirits of loved ones, and unleashing things far worse.

The concept of wireless electricity is not a new one. It’s something that those on the bleeding edge of energy technology have been chasing for quite a while. In some areas we’ve taken baby steps in that direction – for example: those charging stations you just set your phone on rather than plugging it in. The big picture application would ideally provide electricity to a larger environment, such as the main character in this movie experimenting with a light bulb; or across greater distances. It all has to do with electromagnetic fields – at least some leading theories do. But I digress…

Needless to say, I’m rather geeked over the science aspect here. Fans of paranormal research may start connecting the dots as to why this plays well into a horror movie. If the sci-fi element of the movie isn’t what’s appealing, it looks like there’s plenty of genre staple chills and thrills. It’s extra creepy to think that in some ways the theories involved might make the scenario plausible …ish; but you don’t have to understand that aspect of it to get what’s going on, if they’ve done this right.

I can’t say that I’ve seen this particular concept played out quite this way before, and I’m thrilled and intrigued. I recognize some of the young cast and I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.
14 – Puzzle (7/27)

Tag Line: From the producer of Little Miss Sunshine
Production Companies:  Sony Pictures Classics, Big Beach
Director: Marc Turtletaub
Writers: Oren Moverman, Natalia Smirnoff
Actors: Kelly Macdonald, Irrfan Khan, David Denman, Bubba Weiler, Austin Abrams, Liv Hewson, Myrna Cabello, Helen Coxe
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 103 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world - where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined.

This move ensnared my attention unexpectedly. I practically had a profound epiphany while watching the trailer because what one of the characters was saying resonated so profoundly. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles, and these wise words gave some perspective as to why I find it such a zen experience. I’m hoping there’s significantly more of that throughout the movie, and that the trailer didn’t already give us all the best parts of puzzle philosophy.

Aside from that, I think a lot of us can relate to how repetitive and monotonous the daily grind can be. The journey to finding something you’re passionate about can be an interesting one. That is, at the essence, what this seems to be all about. It looks to be a story with warmth and wit.

13 – No Postage Necessary (7/13)

Tag Line: Sometimes love rewrites the code.
Production Company: Two Roads Picture Co.
Director: Jeremy Culver
Writers: Jeremy Culver, Morgen Culver
Actors: George Blagden, Charleene Closshey, Robbie Kay, Stelio Savante, Michael Beach, Raymond J. Barry, Michelle Moreno, Matthew Cornwell
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 104 minutes

Moviefone Blurb: A convicted computer hacker helps make ends meet by stealing mail while disguised as a postal worker. Then, a letter written by a heartbroken widow to her husband changes his world.

The film concept of a con-man trying to get their act together when they meet someone special isn’t a new one – but this dramedy seems to have elements that make it feel fresh. The element of crypto-currency involved in the story is very ‘now.’

I really enjoyed the trailer and it got me excited to see how things unfold, so it seems to be worth a real chance. It’s got some really stiff competition on its release date, however.

12 – Eighth Grade (7/13)

Tag Line: Written and directed by Bo Burnham
Production Company: A24
Director: Bo Burnham
Writer: Bo Burnham
Actors: Elsie Kate Fisher, Daniel Zolghadri, Fred Hechinger, Imani Lewis, Luke Prael, Catherine Oliviere, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 93 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A teenager tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth-grade year before leaving to start high school.

This movie, written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham (Adventures in the Sin Bin, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, Bo Burnham: What.), feels important. I think this is something my daughter needs to see post-haste. She just graduated eighth grade and is high school bound in the fall. (Seriously, time needs to slow down!) Not only does this story seem funny and endearing, it speaks to kids on a level that’s relevant to the vast majority – and not just girls.

I originally thought I was reading it wrong that this movie is Rated R – but that’s correct. It’s cited that the reason is due to language and some sexual references, and the like. Nothing’s seeming to set off my parental alarm bells, though parents may wish to screen the film before having their kids partake.

11 – Blindspotting (7/20)

Tag Line: What Do You See?
Production Companies: Snoot Entertainment, Lionsgate, Codeblack Films
Director: Carlos López Estrada
Writer: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs
Actors: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Rolanda D. Bell, Casey Adams
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Lifelong friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about the intersection of race and class, set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland.

My husband grew up in and around Oakland, CA and the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve heard all sorts of stories, and movies set in that area always fascinate me. This movie’s story might use Oakland as its framework, but I don’t think you have to be from there or familiar with it to get the impact.

The film looks both funny and full of grit and relevance. I’ve read that the character of Miles is actually based on a man that walked across the set on their first day of shooting. From what I see of that character in the trailer, I can only imagine how that went down.

10 – Bleach (7/20)

Tag Line: None
Production Companies: Cine Bazar, Warner Brothers
Director: Shinsuke Sato
Writer: Tite Kubo
Actors: Miyavi, Masami Nagasawa, Hana Sugisaki, Erina Mano, Sôta Fukushi, Ryô Yoshizawa, Yôsuke Eguchi, Seiichi Tanabe, Yû Koyanagi, Taichi Saotome
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: NR
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: A high school student by the name of Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts for as long as he can remember. When an unusual ghost appears he must take the powers of a "Death God" or Soul Reaper to destroy it. He uses these powers to protect his friends and defeat major enemies.

Bleach (2004-2012) just happens to be one of my favorite anime series of all time. It also holds the distinction of being the only anime series I actually went out of my way to try to read the manga it originated from when I got impatient between seasons airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

While the series creator has been reluctant over the years to bring the story to a live-action experience, it seems that he finally was presented with a production he could get behind. He worked closely with the movie to ensure that it stayed as true as possible to the manga and anime. I am hoping that this will translate into giving fans a reason to rejoice… if a bit cautiously. We all realize that translating animation to live-action is a dicey prospect. I sincerely hope that this is one of those rare gems that actually gets it right. So far, the trailer seems to indicate that’s the case.

While this movie is releasing in Japan this month, it’s possible that there might also be some limited release here in the States. I can’t wait for it to become available on one of my streaming services – I think I’m even more excited about this than I was the live adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist (2017).

 Shock and Awe  (7/13)

Tag Line: The truth matters.
Production Companies: Acacia Filmed Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings
Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: Joey Hartstone
Actors: Woody Harrelson, James Marsden, Rob Reiner, Milla Jovovich, Jessica Biel, Tommy Lee Jones, Luke Tennie, Richard Schiff
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A group of journalists covering George Bush's planned invasion of Iraq in 2003 are skeptical of the president's claim that Saddam Hussein has "weapons of mass destruction."

Rob Reiner (A Few Good Men, The Bucket List, LBJ) is one of my very favorite directors. Seriously, this is the man that brought us The Princess Bride (1987) – which is one of the films I find myself randomly quoting on a regular basis; second only to the works of that merry band of British comedians that had us chasing the Holy Grail with coconuts… but I digress.

My silliness aside, this seems to be a rather serious dramatic flick focusing on the reports of those infamous ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that were supposedly in Iraq and the dance of journalists with White House intrigue. The cast looks amazing, and the trailer really sucked me in. Given today’s political climate where the truth wars with ‘alternate facts,’ this seems to be a movie on a mission with its message.
– The First Purge (7/4)

Tag Line: Witness the birth of an American Tradition
Production Companies: Platinum Dunes, Perfect World Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Director: Gerard McMurray
Writer: James DeMonaco
Actors: Y'lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Steve Harris, Marisa Tomei, Luna Lauren Velez, Patch Darragh
Genre: Horror, Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes

Moviefone Blurb: To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the others, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

The political and social climate within the U.S. seems to be drawing scarily close to the insanity portrayed in franchise launched by The Purge (2013). It’s rather terrifying, really.  That’s part of what makes this series so chilling – it’s crazy but just plausible enough that it could be our future.

As the title suggests, this is a prequel taking us back before the events of all the other films. None of the characters from the other installments appear in this movie, but that really is to be expected because this is an origin story. Each of the other sequels seem to take a different perspective, also; so this wasn’t anything really unexpected.

The First Purge has some stiff competition at the box office this month, but perhaps it will get lucky with some staying power with its holiday release and that particular alignment of 4’s. 

7 – Sorry to Bother You (7/6)

Tag Line: A film by Boots Riley.
Production Companies: Annapurna Pictures, Ten Acre Films, Cinereach, Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions, MACRO, The MNM Creative Space Program
Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Actors: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 102 minutes

IMDb Blurb: In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.

I’ve got to say this movie looks absolutely hilarious. I spent many years working in a call center – and this takes having a ‘professional voice’ on the phone to an entirely new level.

This seems like a really good film to cut loose and have a good laugh with.  

– The Equalizer 2 (7/20)

Tag Line: There Is No Equal
Production Companies: Escape Artists, Columbia Pictures
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim, Richard Wenk
Actors: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, Jonathan Scarfe, Tamara Hickey, Abigail Marlowe
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: NR
Length: 129 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

The Equalizer (2014) was a fantastic movie with an unexpected depth beneath all the action. I can’t wait to see what its sequel brings to the table. It must be something special, considering this is the first sequel ever for Denzel Washington (Unstoppable, Safe House, Fences) and the first time Antoine Fuqua (Tears of the Sun, Olympus Has Fallen, Southpaw) has directed a sequel to one of his own movies. That’s saying something profound all on its own.

Washington’s character of an unassuming guardian – and sometimes, avenging – angel is riveting. The action looks spectacular, even aside from all the explosions in the trailer. I enjoyed the banter as the bad guys get taught their lesson. I also love the element of comedy woven through all the badassery.   

5 – Siberia (7/13)

Tag Line: What would you sacrifice for love?
Production Companies: Buffalo Gal Pictures, Company Films, Summerstorm Entertainment
Director: Matthew Ross
Writers: Stephen Hamel, Scott B. Smith
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Molly Ringwald, Ana Ularu, Aleks Paunovic, Veronica Ferres, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Eugene Lipinski, Dmitry Chepovetsky
Genre: Crime, Romance, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 104 minutes

Moviefone Blurb: An American diamond merchant and his lover get caught in the crossfire when a business deal goes wrong in Russia.

A bonus for the cast of Siberia was that they didn’t have to go there to film it! The movie was shot in Canada. I guess cold is cold, though. Moving on!

Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Neon Demon, To The Bone) and Molly Ringwald (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Bad Night, Riverdale) in the same movie? This isn’t the first time that’s happened and I’m hoping it won’t be the last. Honestly, I’m already sold regardless of what the story might be.

All the same, the trailer paints a rather intense picture of this story with twists and turns, and a sprinkle of romance.

4 – Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (7/13)

Tag Line: Family vacation. It will suck the life out of you.
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, MRC, Sony Pictures Animation
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writers: Michael McCullers, Genndy Tartakovsky, Todd Durham
Actors: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon
Genre: Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Animated, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 85 minutes

IMDb Blurb: The monster family embarks on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else's vacation at the hotel. It's smooth sailing for Drac's Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

My family and I have really enjoyed this series. That being said, I hope they don’t run it into the ground to where people roll their eyes at the name as they ask what number it’s up to now, ala a certain animated dinosaur franchise.  Yet, this third installment looks like a lot of fun in the same vein as the prior two installments. (Yes, that was on purpose. Vampire jokes. I slay myself… ok ok back to the movie!)

I like that this movie transplants the Dracula clan and friends to new environs rather than the same hotel space. I think this will be a great movie for the whole family to see this summer. 

– Mission: Impossible – Fallout (7/27)

Tag Line: Some missions are not a choice.
Production Companies:  Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Bad Robot
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller
Actors: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rated: NR
Length: 147 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.

I honestly can’t get enough of this franchise. I loved the television series, and have really enjoyed all the movies. The action and level of the stunts in these films is insane. It’s definitely one thing that Tom Cruise (Knight and Day, Rock of Ages, American Made) has going in his favor that he performs his own stunts. Unfortunately, that resulted in a broken ankle during the filming of this installment. It caused an 8 week filming delay, but they managed to maintain the release date. It’s said he had to train for a year in order to do the HALO jump shown in the trailer. Color me impressed. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it many more times – regardless of how loony the man might be in his personal life; he remains one of my favorite actors.

Though, this 6th Mission Impossible movie also features Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Sand Castle) in his second role as a CIA agent. It’s reported he had a lot of fun working on this movie and with the training, as it was far different from his usual prep for his role as Superman in the DC Cinematic Universe. He’s explained that training for those films is more focused on body sculpting to fit the character’s aesthetic rather than the fight choreography and the like required for films such as this. I’m excited to see his adversarial role pitted against Ethan Hunt here.

Cruise has mentioned that if this film does well, they’ll likely continue making them. I can certainly keep my fingers crossed but I don’t think it’ll be necessary. I have faith this franchise will remain around a good while yet. I can’t wait to see this installment, and to learn what craziness they might have planned in the future. I’m also highly curious if this movie actually has a nuclear incident, as the name seems to suggest.   

2 – Skyscraper (7/13)

Tag Line: The sky is the limit.
Production Companies: Seven Bucks Productions, Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Flynn Picture Company
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Noah Taylor, Roland Møller, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

IMDb Blurb: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he's been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building...above the fire line.

I’ve heard a lot of scuttlebutt that this film is supposed to be a remake of some sort. Dwayne Johnson (Snitch, San Andreas, Moana) has gone on record stating clearly that it is not – this is a stand-alone movie. I happen to see both sides here. This film’s plot is somewhat similar to Die Hard (1988), but that movie lacked the whole massive fire scenario. Of course, you can’t help but think of The Towering Inferno (1974) in that aspect. That film is closer to The Poseidon Adventure (1972), however, but with a burning building rather than a boat. This movie seems to be a little bit of a mashup of some elements from both stories to make something new.

That being said, I’ll watch just about anything that The Rock (Johnson) is involved in. It’s sure to be packed with crazy action and wit. I just hope that my fear of heights isn’t going to kick in while watching. I entirely skipped that movie about the tightrope walker. That was a giant nope. I want to see this movie badly enough, however, that I might white knuckle my way through it all the same.

1 – Ant-Man and the Wasp (7/6)

Tag Line: Real heroes. Not actual size.
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
Actors: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 118 minutes

IMDb Blurb: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

It’s a new movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – is there REALLY a need for me to say more?

I will, though, even if it’s not a lot. Not only does this new installment of the Ant-Man story look to be hilarious, I love what they’ve done with the tech and the whole shrinking and enlarging factor. The shrinking the building into something portable with wheels and the car chase scene where the small car re-sizes to launch the other vehicle are some of my favorite bits from the trailer. I’m sure the movie is packed with quite a few of those moments.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Bleeding Steel .20
Siberia .19
The Row .18
Puzzle .17
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation .16
Occupation .15
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind .14
Mission: Impossible – Fallout .13
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again .12
Bleach .11
Shock and Awe .10
The Equalizer 2 .9
Eighth Grade .8
Far From the Tree .7
Unfriended: Dark Web .6
Sorry to Bother You .5
The First Purge .4
Blindspotting .3
Skyscraper .2
Ant-Man and the Wasp .1