Christian Toto is a film critic and podcaster and runs the website HollywoodInToto.com.
Latest from Christian Toto
Robert Redford is a world class actor, a movie star of the first order and an indie film inspiration. Redford’s Sundance Film Festival helped fuel the rise of auteurs like Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Redford, like Greta Thunberg, is not a climate scientist, though.
Reporters have spent days detailing why Terminator: Dark Fate became the year’s most embarrassing flop. The movie made just $29 million stateside, and its foreign box office totals are equally weak ($94 million and counting). That’s no way for a franchise reboot to perform. Most observers are writing the saga’s obituary.
Steve Coogan is unabashedly pro-European and anti-Brexit. The comic actor from Stan & Ollie, Philomena and The Trip franchise often lets his films do the talking for him. He attacked conservative talk radio most recently with Hot Air, and his new film, Greed similarly swipes modern-day capitalism.
At 89, Clint Eastwood isn’t slowing down. In fact, his upcoming drama Richard Jewell began shooting in July and is primed to make its Oscar season debut Dec. 13. Eastwood is known for his unfussy filmmaking. Still, given his age it’s reasonable to think he wants to tell as many stories as possible before he leaves this mortal coil. And then what?
Jane Fonda keeps pulling off the impossible in Hollywood. The Oscar winner stepped away from cameras in 1990 only to stage an improbable comeback with the 2005 hit Monster in Law. She was in her mid-60s at the time in an industry where turning 40 can stop a career cold.Now, at 81, Fonda stars in her own celebrated Netflix comedy, Grace and Frankie. The series treats aging with humor and respect, giving Fonda yet another showcase for her gifts.
It’s been a bad few weeks for Cancel Culture. Yes, a man who donated a cool million to a children’s hospital got “cancelled” for Tweets he sent as a teen. And Saturday Night Live quickly fired a new cast member after his racist comments not-so-magically surfaced. Still, cancel culture got hit with a few nasty uppercuts in recent weeks. Most notably, comedians Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle and Sebastian Maniscalco hammered Cancel Culture from their stand-up pulpits.
Cancel Culture types pack an emotional point when they call people out for telling the “wrong” jokes. Marginalized groups shouldn’t be the butt of gags. They’re already at a disadvantage in our culture, and being mocked can only make matters worse. Children like eco-activist Greta Thunberg and Parkland High School students deserve a measure of protection.
Even Inspector Clouseau could spot the media’s distaste for the fifth Rambo installment. Rambo: Last Blood hit theaters Sept. 20, racking up a solid, but unspectacular $19 million. While fans cheered Sylvester Stallone’s latest sequel, critics loathed it. The 28/85 critic-audience split over at RottenTomatoes.com says it all.
There’s little daylight between the current Democrats running for the White House and Hollywood messaging. Consider the following topics: Justice Brett Kavanaugh? Impeach! The rich? Raise their taxes! Gun control? We need more! Trump? Impeach! (unless it hurts our chances in 2020)
Dave Chappelle used some comic sleight of hand before blasting cancel culture in his latest Netflix special. Fellow comedian Bill Burr hit the same target seconds after walking on stage during his own Netflix hour, dubbed Paper Tiger.Together, they struck a blow against the PC comedy police that’s already left a mark.
One of the Left’s favorite phrases jumps to mind regarding Hollywood’s take on conservatives. The term “othering” means treating people as somehow different, and inferior, to you or the group you belong to. Here’s a quick example: When then-candidate Donald Trump used the word “the” before Latinos and African-Americans during the 2016 campaign the Left claimed he was “othering” them for political gain.
Bll Maher must have loved The Last Supper. The HBO host loathes religion, so the title alone would make him smile. More importantly, the 1996 satire follows Leftists who murder conservatives to make the world a better place. And yes, even 23 years ago, liberals played the Hitler Card against those with whom they disagreed. Sound familiar?
The press is getting worse at lying. Liberal media bias has been around for decades, but it often couched itself in subtle ways. An ignored story here, a lack of ideological labels there. Instead, we all shrugged. We know the truth. The charade is over. We all read Twitter and can see how news reporters can’t even hide their progressive bona fides on social media. That proved clear last year when media outlets reported on a mega-million dollar deal between Netflix and former President Barack Obama.
The stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan’s new film caught him by surprise, but not for anything in the movie itself. He noticed how professional film critics treated the tale of a man fronting not one but two families. Gaffigan shared his dismay at the film’s critical reaction on the latest episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
Saturday Night Live rarely mocks Democrats. That’s obvious in the Age of Trump, but it also held true during President Barack Obama’s two terms in office. SNL player Jay Pharoah said the show “gave up on the Obama thing.” The few times the show mocked Obama’s policies the media took notice. Which brings us to The Babylon Bee. For the uninitiated, the Bee serves up Christian satire with a heaping helping of political humor. Yes, the site often pokes fun at President Trump.
Few pundits know the media better than Rush Limbaugh. The radio titan skewers the press’ liberal bias from his talk show perch. Limbaugh can predict media patterns with frightening accuracy. He did it again this week, mocking how reporters looked away as he gave millions to charity. Literally. At the same time most media outlets ignored some good news for No Safe Spaces, the Adam Carolla/Dennis Prager feature heading our way this fall.
The creative team behind Unplanned couldn’t have been happier with their film’s debut north of the border. That’s not the end of the story, though. Unplanned earned a robust $18.8 million at the U.S. box office, but the film initially struggled to find distributors to bring it to Canadian crowds. For context, many indie features fail to crack $1 million at the U.S. box office.
Today’s stars say the worst things possible about Republicans. The current Commander in Chief endures the nastiest rhetoric. The attacks typically involve the words “Hitler,” “Holocaust” or garden-variety “fascist.” President Donald Trump isn’t alone, though. Conservatives like Paul Ryan, Betsy DeVos and Justice Brett Kavanaugh also receive celebrity-based attacks beyond the pale of polite banter.
Plenty of Hollywood starlets talk up the #MeToo movement.To a point. Some, like Alyssa Milano, let select Democrats slide based, apparently, on the “D” in front of their names. Others speak in generalities, perhaps fearful that “naming names” could hurt their careers.
Hollywood collectively assumed Special Counsel Robert Mueller would prove President Donald Trump colluded with Russian agents to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton. Even worse, Trump did everything he could to obstruct the fight to learn the truth. Saturday Night Live made Mueller a recurring character, brought to life by arch Trump critic Robert De Niro. The Trump presidency, the show declared, was on borrowed time.