The Entertainment Guide

Welcome to Kosmo’s Korner! To address the obvious, your immediate suspicions are indeed correct – this is a fresh addition to The Entertainment Guide. Last month, a highly confidential deal was struck behind closed doors and shuttered windows to greenlight the glorious creation of the new section that you now read at this very moment. And so, the Korner is born. I can gladly say … “IT’S ALIVE!”

The purpose of this column is not to bring you mediocre-at-best parodies of Universal monster movies – but you can bet that film references will play a part. Each month, it is my sworn responsibility to bring you personalized recommendations and helpful information relating to the hottest new film releases. Because there’s always time to marvel at the magic of cinema.

Additionally, it wasn’t just small businesses that suffered from the pandemic’s reverberating effect; COVID-19 took quite a toll on movie theaters as well. With an exciting slate of blockbusters making their debut in 2023, the film industry is ready to bounce back! It could be potential billion-dollar franchise movies like Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and Fast X, awards contenders such as Dune: Part Two and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, or highly anticipated feature films intended to close out a saga (or set up a reboot, who knows anymore) including Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. That’s just a small sampling of the thrilling motion pictures coming soon, so I say take the opportunity to support your local theaters.

If you’re also in the mood for more local art, don’t fret! There’s an abundance of theater performances and visual arts gallery shows approaching this year in southern Minnesota. And when not much is being released cinematically, I’ll keep you posted on a must-see theatrical performance or a marvelous art display you won’t want to miss. The Korner isn’t exclusive to one category! In fact, there are some terrific events onstage at the Northfield Arts Guild this month, including musical performances of Newsies Jr. from the Purple Door Youth Theater, directed by the fantastic Rachel Haider. And, Pauline Jennings’ CASTastrophe series is back in town! After a critically acclaimed weekend of shows back in September, Jennings and company are excited to bring back CASTastrophe 3: The Diva Edition for an encore presentation. Be sure to check that out if you missed the last one!

I’m very excited to kick off the new year by writing for The Entertainment Guide. And while New Year’s Resolutions often don’t last long, I hope to accomplish mine this year. I’m sure you do, too! So, a friendly suggestion: if you have any interest in local art or entertainment, try it out this year – whether it’s attending an event or getting involved in it. What better time than 2023? I think everyone’s prone to be more adventurous coming out of the pandemic. So, add  getting out to enjoy local art, cinema and culture to your list of resolutions this year! After all, that treadmill resolution will still be there next year.

Kosmo’s New Year Film Kritique

Now let’s review the films that finished off 2022 and are starting the 2023 film season. There may not be much that includes the “buzz factor” releasing this month, but there’s still plenty of films showing on the big screen, most of which debuted in movie theaters last month, aiming to get their payday in for the holidays. 

The author at the original Puss in Boots movie

DreamWorks Animation’s newest feature, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, finally arrived 11 years after the original Shrek spin-off, garnering exceptionally positive reviews and proving that Universal’s animation properties now rival those of Disney’s. The Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, penned by the writer of 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody and starring Naomi Ackie as “The Voice” herself, along with Stanley Tucci as legendary record executive Clive Davis, provided another alternative for those looking to take a trip to the cinema one last time in 2022. But, by far, the film that stirred up the most excitement was, expectedly, Avatar: The Way of Water. The first installment of the Avatar franchise screened 13 years ago in 2009, becoming a cultural phenomenon and seizing the status of highest grossing movie of all time. Including re-releases, the film has earned over $2.9 billion dollars worldwide. Director James Cameron took viewers on a sweeping journey across the moon of Pandora, introducing audiences to the Na’vi people as well as an immersive new technical form of storytelling.

Now, five years of writing, three years of filming, five years of editing, eight delays, 28 MCU movies and 3,000 TikTok challenges later, director/co-writer/co-storyboard contributor/producer/co-editor James Cameron has presented the highly anticipated second chapter to the Avatar saga, with a mere 348 films in the franchise left to go! (Just kidding, but Cameron has stated he has plans for an Avatar 7!)

I’m not attempting to turn this into a Cameron love-fest. In fact, I have my own strong opinions about him – including a theory (containing much evidence, mind you) that the director has initiated a coup within Lucasfilm to take down the Star Wars franchise. But, that’s for another article … if I’m even allowed to publish it.

Despite not fully delivering on the projected box office earnings yet, Cameron’s visual spectacle still earned one of the best box office openings of 2022 and received acclaim from critics. Avatar: The Way of Water has already been nominated for two Golden Globes and six Critics’ Choice Awards as well as being named one of the top ten films of 2022 by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review. The Canadian filmmaker must be pleased…apart from the nervous breakdown-inducing stress centering around the fact that the film must generate over $1.6 billion to make any profit whatsoever. Given Cameron’s track record with hits, it’s not impossible that this film will turn a profit in the end.

See you next time!