With Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver hosting 2016’s first episode of SNL, a Kylo Ren sketch of some kind was inevitable. After all, you don't get the actor who plays the villain in one of the biggest movies of all time to appear on your comedy variety show and not have him reprise that character. And we'll give the show this much: we never would have predicted a faux episode of Undercover Boss set on Starkiller Base, with the angry, murderous Kylo Ren going undercover amongst his troops as a radar technician named Matt.
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.”
The idea of a movie about an evil mirror tormenting and killing people over the years may seem a little silly, but 'Oculus' makes it work. Set in two time frames, it tells the story of how the "Lasser Glass" destroyed one family and how the survivors reunite years later to exact their revenge. We have an exclusive look at the history of this (thankfully fictional) object, narrated by star Karen Gillan who rips off a monologue on all the mirror's devilish deeds.
'Star Wars: Episode 7' has had so many potential cast members at this point that we just want to throw our hands up in the air, yell "Figure it out already!" and return only when director J.J. Abrams is ready to reveal his final ensemble. But alas, the draw of George Lucas' science fiction universe is too great and we can't help but cling to every scrap of information and ever rumor as if our life depended on it. The latest buzz circling around the internet is that relatively unknown British actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers is being eyed for a leading role.
With 'Joe' about to hit theaters, audiences will soon get a reminder of just how good Cage can be. But let's celebrate his long-awaited return to excellence by combing through his filmography and picking the moments that best define his special brand of craziness. Anyone can be good, but only Nicolas Cage can be Nicolas Cage.
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