Christian Toto is a film critic and podcaster and runs the website HollywoodInToto.com.
Latest from Christian Toto
Quick show of hands ... who misses Hollywood's Bush-bashing years? You’ll get a blast from the recent past with “War Dogs,” a new comedy ripped from real headlines. Only this isn’t “In the Valley of Elah 2” or “Redacted: Even Redactier.”
The new Ghostbusters film may lose as much as $70 million for Sony when all is said in done. Possibly much more. If that comes as a surprise to you, don’t feel ashamed. You’ve probably been reading press accounts about the film for the past few weeks. Media bias thrives in both news and entertainment coverage.
Heather McDonald’s fans know her as the unexpurgated comic who says just about anything on stage or screen. That’s only partially true. McDonald, who played a pivotal role in E!’s long-running Chelsea Lately, knows she needs to be careful with every gag she lets loose now. The PC Police might be watching. “I don’t think any joke or Tweet is worth losing a job over. I have three kids. It’s not worth it to me. In some ways I’ve censored myself,” McDonald says.
Johnny Carson delivered, and he did so without revealing his party affiliation. That was then. Now, we have late night comics choosing sides. Some, like Trevor Noah, Larry Wilmore and Seth Meyers, are essentially signing up for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Ghostbusters is the reboot our culture deserves. That’s hardly praise. The new film features a meandering story, a crush of stale one liners and several lame set pieces. What it offers? Duel victimization storylines ripped from today’s snowflake-encrusted headlines. Our heroines feel used, abused and neglected.
The Crips, the notorious gang who in 2014 were responsible for a third of the crimes in San Diego and 13 percent of the city’s total murder rate, are the good guys. God-fearing Christians? They cleanse their weapons in holy water before killing innocents. Yes, the low-fi horror franchise isn’t just attacking the Tea Party, the rich and NRA members in The Purge: Election Year. Franchise mentor James DeMonaco expands the target list to include Christians for round three.
The star of “Inside Amy Schumer” and last summer’s “Trainwreck” made sure of that. Since rising to “It Comic” status, Schumer has used her platform to speak out on a number of causes. She wants to be taken seriously. Even if she turns serious issues into yuk-yuk satires (that flunk the fact-check test).
Weiner began as a comeback story and ended up a profile in total humiliation. That isn’t the biggest takeaway from the documentary capturing Congressman Anthony Weiner’s precipitous fall from grace. It’s a damning portrait of modern journalism, the kind that reminds you why so many people don’t believe reporters. They trust their collective gut. And they’re right.
If someone in the movie business lost a job due to his or her skin color social media would rise up in anger. Venomous tweets. Righteous social media memes. And, if things really heat up, a hashtag campaign. The same holds true if a worker got passed over because of gender or religious beliefs. Who wouldn’t support that cause
Bond. Jane Bond. Captain America and Bucky ... soldiers, friends ... lovers. Yes, those Social Justice Warriors are having a busy May, trying to force their values on pop culture touchstones embraced by the masses. With Daniel Craig stepping away from the Bond franchise, SJWs are determined to cast X-Files alum Gillian Anderson as the next 007. Never mind that the character has been “manned” by seven different actors over the past 50 years.
Lena Dunham's cameo in "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" got cut from the film's final version. That hardly matters. Her pungent progressive streak infects every frame. The sequel to the surprisingly rich “Neighbors” plays out like a Salon.com article brought to life. You won’t find a liberal talking point untapped before the end credits roll.
Comedy Central's political programming didn't take a hard-left turn yesterday. Yet its cumulative impact might have caused big changes within the network.
Longtime Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless is stepping down at the end of the month. The decision was hers, according to reports. It’s hard to think the channel’s declining ratings didn’t factor into the move.
Reporters often take their time "debunking" documentaries, assuming they ever do at all. Take the sexual assault expose The Hunting Ground. Most of the attacks on the film came after it hit select theaters and was about to make its CNN debut. The anti-vaccination film Vaxxed also got some scrutiny mere days before its planned Tribeca Film Festival screening. Most documentaries avoid intense media scrutiny. And then there's Climate Hustle.
We're about to re-live the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings all over again, courtesy of HBO. The respected pay channel debuts Confirmation at 8 p.m. EST April 16. The movie casts Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, the law professor who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her in the work place.
Some of the real-life Republicans who played key roles in the film aren’t happy about the production. They cite an early version of the script they deemed unfair and floated potential lawsuits against its depictions. Who’s right? We won’t know until the film debuts, but here are four signs Confirmation may be heavily tilted in Hill’s favor:
Talk about a slam dunk news story for our celebrity-saturated times. Unexpurgated rapper Azealia Banks launched one of the nastiest personal attacks against a politician in recent memory. How gross was it? Even Donald Trump wouldn’t stoop this low. Not on his worst day.
The target? Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The attack? Banks wished a group of large black men would gang rape Palin. Why? Banks got snookered by a fake news story saying Palin approved of slavery.
You can't please everybody, especially hard-left film critics who don't cotton to heroism draped in the American flag.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi isn’t getting pummeled by critics in the grand Michael Bay fashion. It’s still angering critics who treat any film with masculine heroes fighting for their fellow man as cliches, cartoons or worse.
President Barack Obama's comedic Achilles' heel has been an open secret for nearly eight years.
It took that long for one satirist to target it. Obama's ego became inescapable.
Someone finally noticed this week. Was it Trevor Noah, Bill Maher or the team at Saturday Night Live? Surely HBO’s John Oliver found it first, right? We’re told he’s brilliant by a fawning press. Turns out it was Joe Dirt himself, SNL alum David Spade, who made the call.
It looks like new Daily Show host Trevor Noah will survive his Twitter vetting. The South African comic took some heat immediately after getting the gig earlier this week. Social media users scoured his past tweets, finding a number of jokes targeting women and Jews. Comedy Central rushed to stand by its new hire, and it appears the Stewart-to-Noah baton pass will take place later in the year as scheduled.
Noah would never get in trouble merely for making gross remarks about Republicans.
Many Hollywood stars protested Michael Brown’s death after an altercation with police officer Darren Wilson by striking the now famous “hands up” pose. Brown allegedly had his hands up when Wilson fatally shot him, or so the media repeatedly told viewers based on unconfirmed accounts. News anchors and star athletes also played upon the meme.
They all were dragged into a lie, or as The Washington Post describes it, a “four Pinocchios” level lie. Do these celebrities owe us an apology? An explanation at the very least?