Christian Toto is a film critic and podcaster and runs the website HollywoodInToto.com.
Latest from Christian Toto
Post-apocalyptic movies have plenty in common. The survivors feast on dwindling food supplies. Basic necessities like clean water, medicine and electricity are suddenly in short supply. And the force that caused the disaster, be it man-made or technologically driven, isn’t the only thing to fear.
Matt Damon stepped on a #MeToo rake last year. The Suburbicon star attempted to explore sexual assault allegations following Harvey Weinstein’s downfall. Big mistake. At the time, Sen. Al Franken had become the latest casualty of the #MeToo movement. Several women accused the Liberal Democrat of inappropriate touching. That’s when Damon stepped up to the microphone.
Two key players at Comedy Central are taking a public victory lap. Sarah Babineau and Jonas Larsen oversee the network’s series development slate. They chatted with Vulture.com on a number of topics this week. And, most surprisingly, just how gosh darn diverse the channel is in 2019. The latter seemed curious. Vulture.com pressed onward, oblivious to an ideological elephant tap dancing in the corner.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the greatest gift to political satirists since a certain Apprentice star hit the scene. If comedians ever tire of Trump jokes involving orange skin, huuuuge promises or small hands, she’s the next comedy revolution. Only the vast majority of comics won’t lay a glove on her. Which brings us to Stephen Colbert.
Late night comedians have put out the “Welcome” mat for Democrats running against President Donald Trump next year. We’ve already seen Sen. Kamala Harris fawned over by both Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah on The Late Show and The Daily Show, respectively. Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillebrand surfed Colbert’s couch, too, as did Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Sen. Bernie Sanders appears regularly on Colbert’s show.
Annapurna Pictures desperately needed a hit going into the 2018 Oscar campaign. Instead, the struggling studio went 0 for 3 at the box office. Both Destroyer and If Beale Street Could Talk sank like stones at the box office despite solid reviews. The studio’s biggest casualty? The high-profile Vice, the hard-left propaganda piece created by Adam McKay.
Brie Larson’s promotional push for Captain Marvel couldn’t be more woke. The Oscar winner railed against too many white male reporters, trumpeted the film’s feminist agenda and dictated which under-represented writers could pen her glossy magazine profiles. Super chutzpah!
Sorry to Bother You caused quite a stir last summer. Not only did Boots Riley’s film overperform at the box office, it earned raves from film critics nationwide. The movie just snared a Best First Feature award from the Independent Spirit Awards. Could the film’s strong anti-capitalist bent have anything to do with it? The Guardian asked, “Sorry to Bother You: is this the most shocking anti-capitalist film ever?”
It’s all but official. Empire co-star Jussie Smollett lied about getting attacked by two Trump supporters on a sub-zero Chicago street. Smollett says two men attacked him, doused him with bleach, threw a noose-like rope around his neck and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. Oh, and one cried something about being in “MAGA country,” meaning President Donald Trump’s supporters were to blame.
Modern Hollywood has never been so vocal. Talk shows. Social media. Awards stages. Marches. Rallies. Protests. Name the venue, and a star or starlet is there, promoting a crush of causes. It’s inescapable, from climate change to “Hitler 2.0” AKA President Donald Trump.
It’s rare for people to agree on, well, anything these days. Politics. TV. Movies. Religion. Is pineapple pizza delicious or a crime against humanity? We love to disagree. We thrive on it. Yet we all came together over the weekend. Audiences were in virtual lockstep over Maroon 5’s Super Bowl Half Time performance.
Maroon 5 got the gig of a lifetime, but the band would rather talk about anything else. Adam Levine’s group will entertain millions midway through Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Sunday. The musicians won’t chat up the gig prior to the big game, though.
The director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise lost the gig after old, disgusting jokes surfaced. Disney reluctantly fired James Gunn, and the studio is now searching for his replacement. It’s safe to say Scott Derrickson’s gig as the man behind the Doctor Strange films won’t suffer a similar fate even though one of his toxic Tweets is only a few hours old.
Special interest groups are abandoning the annual Women’s March in droves. The National Council of Jewish Women, Emily’s List and most recently, The Southern Poverty Law Center have all cut ties with the March. Will Hollywood be next? Actresses Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano, both far-left activists, denounced the Women’s March late last year after initially embracing the movement. Neither is an A-list star.
The co-director of There’s Something About Mary could nab his first Oscar thanks to his brilliant race drama. Inspired by true events, Green Book follows a black pianist (Mahershala Ali) as he travels through the racist south circa 1962. Viggo Mortensen plays Ali’s driver, a New Yorker who harbors profoundly racist views of black Americans.
Comedians speak truth to power. They challenge the government, defend the weak and stick up for the little guy one barb at a time. Oh, and in between, they make us laugh. In reality, most comedians follow Leftist groupthink, avoid certain topics like kale and kiss up to those in power when it suits them. Remember the years 2008- 2016, when President Barack Obama lived in the White House? Comedians either ignored or defended him.
Nimesh Patel learned the hard way how intolerant some college students are in our woke age. And, by comparison, how even the Reddest of Red State types can withstand a shot at their preferred politician. Trump fans have thicker skins than the the snowflake college crowd.
The anti-Dick Cheney movie Vice is getting a lot of award nominations, but it's also getting plenty of rotten tomatoes hurled at it. Newsday gave it one star. Other critics either called it the year’s worst film or on the very short list for that dishonor. And then there’s the race card. Two critics from prominent news outlets repeatedly used the race of the film’s title character, and even its creator Adam McKay himself, to denigrate the project.
Two can play this “Apology Game,” says rapper/actor Nick Cannon. Cannon scored plenty of headlines by defending his friend, Kevin Hart, following his ouster as Oscar host due to homophobic jokes told nearly a decade ago. Cannon isn’t done speaking out, and making some valid points along the way. He appeared on BuzzFeed News’ “AM to DM” program and addresses a number of hot button issues.
Conservatives note that an avowed anti-Semite like Louis Farrakhan maintains a Twitter account while a gaggle of conservatives no longer do. Think Anthony Cumia, Owen Benjamin, Roger Stone, Sabo, “Gay Patriot” Bruce Carroll, Gavin McInnes and Laura Loomer. Former Republican candidate Jesse Kelly became the most recent example.