Movie News Roundup: Tarantino Retires, Miyazaki Un-Retires.
A lot of shake-ups are happening among directors lately, and DC is having a rough month.
Quentin Tarantino to retire after two more films.
The director of cult classics like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction reiterated his interest in leaving film making after his 10th film. In 2014, Tarantino had ruminated on retiring after number ten, saying “it’s not etched in stone.” It seems he may be more eager to get out the chisel this time around, as his talk at a California conference was more emphatic: “drop the mic, boom.” His last film, his 8th, The Hateful Eight, grossed 155 million dollars on a 44 million dollar budget. Tarantino did not elaborate on any specific projects for numbers 9 or 10, but has been researching 1970’s film culture in conjunction with a possible project, as well as talks about a crime drama set in Australia in the 1930’s.
DC’s Flash movie loses a director.
Seth Grahame-Smith was set to make his directorial debut on DC’s stand alone Flash movie has stepped aside due to creative differences. While he is an unknown as a director, Grahame-Smith had previously written scripts for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. His current treatment for The Flash is still said to be alive at this time, though a new director may make significant changes. The Flash is set to release in late 2018, though the red and yellow speedster will make his first full appearance in 2017’s Justice League film.
Wonder Woman headed into re-shoots.
DC’s woes may be increasing as Wonder Woman is headed back for re-shoots after wrapping in May. While re-shoots are increasingly common for big budget films such as Star Wars and Suicide Squad, the black cloud of bad press that has been dogging Warner Brothers certainly lends an ominous note to this news. Previously, an alleged WB insider had called the film “a mess”, and Wonder Woman had already lost a director over creative differences. Now coupled with the loss of The Flash’s director and the decision of Rick Famuyiwa to also forgo directing a DC project, this looks like a franchise that cannot hold onto creative talent and a studio that is all to eager to jump in and muck around with their films.
Hayao Miyazaki ends retirement for at least one more film.
Famed Japanese animator and director Hayao Miyazaki is back in the saddle again. After retiring in 2013 hot on the heels of his Oscar nominated film The Wind Rises, Miyazaki was under constant speculation of unretiring due to his hands on approach to managing Studio Ghibli. After completing a short CG animated piece called Boro the Caterpillar that will debut next year, Miyazaki entered talks to create a new feature film that he hopes will be released in 2020.
Ciarin Hinds lands villainous role for Justice League.
DC and Warner Brothers had at least one piece of good news this cycle as they aquired Ciarin Hinds (Game of Thrones, Rome, The Woman in Black) to play the central villain in the 2017 Justice League movie. Steppenwolf is a New God, a cadre of powerful beings who often clash with the Justice League. He wields an electric axe and has godlike powers and stamina. He is the uncle of the tyrant ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid, and leads their armies in conquest of inhabited planets. Think of him like Zod on steroids.
I can’t say I have much love for the DC lore or for a baddie named after a 60’s rock band, but Ciarin Hinds is a boss and I think he will provide more than enough gravitas in the role.
Johnny Depp set to weird his way through Fantastic Beasts 2.
If you stayed till the end of Fantastic Beasts, you may have noticed a familiar face suddenly appear. Yup, Johnny Depp is in this mofo. Depp plays a rival to Albus Dumbledore, who were once friends (and maybe more…) As viewers of the first film can probably guess, his character is going to be central to the narrative arc of the Fantastic Beasts series, and now it’s official. Johnny Depp is signed on to star in the near-certain sequel.
Well that was fast. No sooner has Fantastic Beasts proven itself a legitimate heir to the Harry Potter cinematic dynasty does it step on a landmine. Can they keep Depp from chewing the scenery as is his wont lately? His character is going to be as important as Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort was to Harry Potter, so there’s little question he’s going to have a ton of appearances.
Neil Patrick Harris revealed in Netflix’s reboot of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.
Netflix is in a full court press to dominate streaming content for younger audiences, with series such as Star Wars The Clone Wars and with proposed franchise reboots such as The Magic School Bus and Richie Rich. There latest acquisition is the Lemony Snicket franchise, which they are rebooting into a live action series starring Neil Patrick Harris as the main antagonist, Count Olaf.
The series centers on three orphans who are shuffled from relative to relative, all while their wicked uncle Count Olaf attempts to gain control of their family fortune. The series was previously adapted into a live action film starring Jim Carrey in 2004 that had a modestly successful run, but it never developed into a full blown franchise. The new series is set to debut next January.
Furby: The Movie, AKA another Series of Unfortunate Events.
The rush to strip-mine old iconic toys and turn them in to movies is in full swing. This year we got Max Steel and Trolls, and we’re set to see even more toy-based movies. The Weinstein Company has announced the acquisition of the rights to make a film based on Furby, a family of electronic toy animals that was a life-threatening holiday craze in the late 1990’s. This fits with the wider trend of Hasbro turning all of their properties into movies. What started with Transformers and Battleship is going to include Furby, Barbie, Monopoly and He-Man in the near future. There’s even a Candy Land adaptation being helmed by Adam Sandler. Dear god…
Live Action Vol-Tron to follow Power Ranger’s lead?
From the “is that still happening bin?” we get another whisper of Voltron becoming a live action film. The film has been in movie hell since at least 2004; in 2007 20th Century Fox attempted to make the property into a dark and gritty post-apocalypse styled film; in 2011 Relativity picked up the rights but went nowhere fast; finally we have Universal opting to bleed out on the altar of Voltron, with David Hayter (X-Men franchise) writing the script.
While this property has been a curse on each studio to option it, it has a few new wrinkles now. With Power Rangers blazing the trail, there may be perceived value in a franchise like this. Secondly, a very well received animated series on Netflix has restored a little of the luster to the property. Does that mean we’re going to see it finally? Only time can tell.
Freddie Mercury biopic gets new lease on life.
After the big blowout that caused Sacha Baron Cohen to drop out of starring in the Freddie Mercury biopic, now titled Bohemian Rhapsody, the film seemed all but doomed. Into this morass comes Rami Malek, who is hot off of the hit show Mr. Robot. Malek is set to take the starring role as Mercury, and Bryan Singer (X-Men franchise) is set to direct the piece. The project is making strides, but with Singer embroiled in legal trouble recently, this is far from a done deal.
Mortal Kombat to get reboot.
After two decades of silence from this video game inspired series, the cry of “Mortal Kombat!” may be returning to cinemas. New Line Cinemas has brought in producer James Wan (Furious 7) and director Simon McQuoid to the project. Though McQuoid is not a household name for cinema, he is currently a highly sought after commercial director. There is currently no time-table for the film or actors associated with it, though a few comments seem to indicate that the film may focus on a new protagonist who enters the fight as both sides are already heavily involved in a war for Earth.
It’s a bit of Alien plus The Thing, and the cast seems pretty solid. Still wish movie scientists would stop touching the damn alien life forms…
XXX3, the Return of Xander Cage
Thoughts. Big, dumb, fun?
Can the Mt. Dew soaked escapades of Xander Cage translate after all these years? The action looks like a mix of awesome and goofy. Could be a brain-dead popcorn flick.
Thoughts: Skip it.
Luc Besson hasn’t had the best luck lately, and this film hardly looks like a return to form. Where is the smart and stylish action flicks we fell in love with?
Thoughts: Rent it.
Could be quirky enough to overcome the low brow elements, and Woody Harrelson looks to be having a lot of fun with the role.
Can Shia rehabilitate his career with a soulful war drama? That genre has been iffy as of late.
Thoughts: Rent it.
I like the visuals, but the initial premise is pretty bog standard. I think if you skip the first half hour, you may find a decent horror movie here.
The Belko Experiment
Thoughts: Give me more.
I know its the teaser, but I’m very interested in James Gunn’s side project. The full trailer should be out soon, we’ll check back in.