On November 1, Team StarKid released Apocalyptour: Live in Los Angeles, a live DVD showcasing one of the three LA dates on the troupe’s national concert tour which took place in May and June of this year.

For Apocalyptour, StarKid released a physical DVD and a digital download of the content simultaneously – a first for any of their productions – meaning that the fans who had to wait days or weeks for the shipping of their SPACE Tour DVDs can access this show immediately upon purchasing. Thanks to this development, you can read our take on the new StarKid DVD below.

It’s still a bit of a jolt to see the faces of Team StarKid in high definition DVD quality, performing on a huge stage in front of a packed house. It feels confusing somehow, almost a little wrong, to see them in a glossier and more professional medium than their homemade videos or admittedly increasingly no-longer-so-grainy YouTube footage taped in small dark theatres, and you start to wonder at the enormity of it all, asking, “Who let them do that? How did this happen? When did StarKid go from this to THIS?”

When something exists primarily on the Internet, it can be difficult to grasp how large a scale it may be affecting, how far it truly reaches. For many people, being a StarKid fan is still quite a small and underground thing, something that isn’t fed to them through filters of PR, advertising, marketing and record labels. But the reality of the situation is that this merry troupe spent the early summer crossing America, selling out venues that most contemporary musicians would be lucky to fill, and being met at each stop with a fan fervour that the stars of Broadway would rarely be met with at any stage door, unless they’re hosting an extra-special celebrity. They may not be household names, but the Internet is bigger than any household, and Team StarKid have grown to become the Internet’s biggest rock stars.

Apocalyptour: Live in Los Angeles differs structurally from 2011’s SPACE Tour DVD in that it presents the Apocalyptour concert in full, from start to finish, as opposed to cutting between musical numbers with talking heads and behind-the-scenes moments. On one hand, the lack of backstage footage is somewhat disappointing. For many fans, the individual personalities in Team StarKid are as big a draw-card as the songs, and when the group goes on tour, fans desire as much personal content as possible – exposure to the antics of their favorite StarKids unguarded in their natural habitat. However, Apocalyptour supplies what SPACE does not in presenting fans with a full run-through of the performance, from curtain up to curtain down, so fans at home may experience the entire set as if they were there in the audience of the Los Angeles House of Blues.

Unlike SPACE, Apocalyptour features a scripted story – written by Brian Holden, Nick Lang and Matt Lang – in which the StarKids have decided to give up singing and dancing to become travelling archaeologists. They uncover an Apocalyptic prophecy and when they accidentally activate it, they are faced with Margaret, the Mayan god of chaos and death. Margaret (played excruciatingly hilariously by a straight-faced and be-skirted Jim Povolo) also happens to be the god of musical theatre, so the StarKids are forced to go back to their singing and dancing ways, performing to save their lives – and the world – from destruction. In the end, the crisis is averted and Margaret herself joins Team StarKid.

The concept is rescued from being cheesy by how self-aware the script is. It’s nowhere near as tight as one of their musicals, because here, the story merely serves as a fuzzy backdrop to get from number to number in a set-list made up of songs created for other musicals, but the humour is full of lamp-shading and self-deprecation. Not a single person could have missed the joke about how an absent StarKid being “consumed by a giant, greedy Fox” was one of the signs of the impending Apocalypse. When a performance from Brian Rosenthal as Joey Richter’s Heart is praised by the others, Joey quips that “he used to be a lot better but then he got cast in a non-Equity production of Young Frankenstein,” referencing A.J. Holmes, the originator of the Heart role in Me and My Dick. When asked by Margaret if the StarKids were criminals, Dylan Saunders offers that he likes stealing from Whole Foods, and Joey pipes up again saying, “and I appeared on the Disney show Jessie, Fridays at 8 p.m.,” before the others clap hands over his mouth and drag him off. Later, when Margaret fails to be impressed by the group, she calls their performance “skimpy and lyrically uninspired,” direct quotes from critical reviews of Starship, by Time Out and the Chicago Reader respectively.

And in classic StarKid style, they never go for the obvious joke. These are people who have a habit of, first and foremost, doing things that they themselves find funny, including playing tricks on the audience. When they perform the title number to Me and My Dick, the group censors themselves, cutting one another off coyly to avoid saying the “D” word. Someone unfamiliar with their wickedness – a parent, perhaps – would pick up the obvious missing rhyme and make the leap that StarKid was attempting to make the show family-friendly, due to the large number of young fans the group has accrued despite the adult material of some of their musicals. It’s a fair assumption. That’s what StarKid want you to think. But the joke is a double-cross, as they end the entire set with a reprise of the “Me and My Dick” chorus, dragging it out to the last minute when they use the actual lyric, in a matter of fact and self-satisfied way.

The loose plot uses throwaway lines to lead into musical numbers. Brian Holden, having a moment of insecurity about their situation, is told by the others to man up and shut up, which prompts his rendition of “Guys Like Potter,” A Very Potter Sequel‘s song about Snape getting bullied. Other songs are grouped thematically, such as a collection of scheming villain songs from several StarKid productions, and a section of the set dedicated to various duets. Given that only nine of the thirty-something people involved in Team StarKid appeared onstage at the Apocalyptour, the songs were all rearranged for different soloists and groups by StarKid’s musical director, Clark Baxtresser. Some, such as Joe Walker and Brian Rosenthal’s Voldemort/Quirrell duet “Different As Can Be,” remain almost identical to their original performance, but the award for most creative new arrangement would have to be a tie between the jazzed up, up-tempo redesign of “Guys Like Potter,” and the duet between Dylan Saunders and Jaime Lyn Beatty on a mash-up of “Sami” from Little White Lie and “Harry” from A Very Potter Musical. Originally the same song, written by Darren Criss, it was transferred from one production to another before StarKid had any audience to speak of.

Other musical highlights include the beautiful harmonies on Starship‘s “The Way I Do,” some of Criss’ finest work as a composer; Joey Richter and Lauren Lopez on “Granger Danger,” which was genius the first time we saw it and still holds up – in fact somehow keeps improving – after three and a half years; the build-up from solo to group number on Holy Musical B@man’s “Dark, Sad, Lonely Knight,” and the impossibly infectious “Super Friends” from the same production. StarKid also seemed to draw inspiration from their prodigal son, as their rendition of A Very Potter Musical‘s “Not Alone” – also a Darren Criss trademark solo number – features a strong solo by Jaime Lyn Beatty and gospel choir-style backing vocals, an arrangement that seems to echo Criss’ performance of the number at the 2010 Trevor Project Live event. “Not Alone” is also the only performance on the DVD where the sounds of the crowd singing along are turned up in the audio mix, and the effect is haunting.

All in all, Apocalyptour: Live In Los Angeles is an enjoyable watch for any StarKid fan. Despite the caricature of slap-dash mediocrity Team StarKid humorously paint of themselves, the performances are skilled and solid, and the entire production demonstrates the growth of this group of people – who, never forget, basically fell into this – both as artists and as businesspeople. The desire to keep improving and produce professional quality work for an audience initially drawn in and made loyal by the grassroots, DIY dynamics of your operation must be a delicate balance to maintain; yet maintain it StarKid do, and in doing so, they continue to create something that the world has never quite seen the likes of before.

Apocalyptour: Live in Los Angeles is available now at Team StarKid’s web-store. For those still craving behind-the-scenes content, the physical Apocalyptour DVD features an exclusive video diary chronicling the day leading up to the tour’s final show in New York City. Apocalyptour: Live In Los Angeles includes performances by Dylan Saunders, Joey Richter, Joe Walker, Brian Holden, Brian Rosenthal, Jim Povolo, Meredith Stepien, Lauren Lopez and Jaime Lyn Beatty. Apocalyptour featured songs by A.J. Holmes, Carlos Valdes, Darren Criss, Mark Swiderski, Nick Gage and Scott Lamps, music direction by Clark Baxtresser, tour direction by Julia Albain, and was filmed by Liam White.

Quiz: How well do you remember the 2007 Oscars?

3:32 pm EST, January 18, 2017

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

Read full article

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

In 10 years, will we look back at the 2017 Oscars and remember every detail of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling awkwardly accepting award after award for La La Land while the other nominees politely clap and try not to grit their teeth? Or will the event fade into distant memory?

Maybe we can get an answer to that question by dialling back the clock to 2007 and see just how clearly we remember the 79th Academy Awards.

How did you do? Tell us how well you remember the 79th Academy Awards in the comments!

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be unveiled Tuesday, January 24.

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

Read full article

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

“Sources connected to production tell us eight outboard motors were used to churn the water and recreate a rushing river,” says TMZ. “The dog eventually got in the water — or was forced in — but was quickly submerged.”

At 1:28 in the below trailer you can see a scene that looks similar to what was being filmed in TMZ’s video:

Universal and their partners at Amblin told TMZ in a statement, “Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”

A Dog’s Purpose stars Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson. It opens next Friday, January 27.

Update: Josh Gad, who voices a dog in the movie, issued the following statement on Instagram. He speaks highly of the film but says he finds the leaked video “disturbing.”

“While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the marking of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.”

Since apparently some of you did not see the statement I issued last night, here it is again.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on

We’re suddenly way less interested in seeing this.

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Read full article

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.