Friday, September 15, 2017

Halloween: The Return of Laurie Strode


Information has been slowly trickling out about David Gordon Green’s untitled Halloween continuation coming in 2018. Now, we know who Michael will be facing ... again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

'It' Gets Supersized


After shattering box office records this weekend, in less than a week, Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It has become a legitimate phenomenon.

While other corners of the internet debate over whether It is a horror movie or not (spoiler: it totally is), production of the story’s second half is gearing up as Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman are hard at work on the script. Chapter 2 is presumed to be released sometime in 2019.

In the meantime though, for the home release on Blu-ray and Digital later this year, Muschietti tells Yahoo Movies that he is working on a director’s cut to add back approximately 15 minutes to the film. Given the original novel ran over 1000 pages, one would suspect there was quite a bit on the cutting room floor.

More and more movies recently have included “Director’s Cuts” on home video release and this is certainly not a new development in home media. But most of these titles reek more of justifying a purchase to a film that viewers didn’t really like to start with (cough, BvS or Suicide Squad). But any chance to see more of the Loser’s Club battling Pennywise or even just shooting the shit is more than welcome. In this case, Warner Brothers and New Line could release the film with nary a special feature and I’d preorder anyway so kudos on giving the fans what they want.

And I’m sure the extra 15 minutes will not be the sewer sex scene.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Theater Scum: Mother's Assassin

Creepy husbands or John Wick Jr.? Who will will this round?

Mother


Darren Aronofsky has plenty of acclaimed films on his resume including the Oscar-nominated Black Swan and the oh-my-god-so-depressing Requiem for a Dream. His movies generally aren’t the standard Hollywood type which makes it all the better that he continues to get the big projects and attract the big stars that normally would be relegated to the single screen Indie theater.

I can’t tell you much about Mother! other than Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem have the seemingly perfect life until he goes a little whacky (shocker). Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer round out the top-notch cast in what looks to be a potential mind-fuck of a movie. I, for one, can’t wait.



American Assassin


Based on a novel by Vince Flynn, American Assassin looks to be a greatest hits of the past fifteen years’ worth of action and espionage. Dylan O’Brien, who is definitely an actor I haven’t heard of, is going after a terrorist group after his puppy, err... I mean girlfriend, is killed.

Along the way, he meets up with grizzled old Michael Keaton for some training and presumably some life lessons along the way. It looks pretty entertaining but nothing that I couldn’t get watching any of the Bourne or Taken movies on my shelf. 

Why JJ Abrams Directing Star Wars IX is Just Fine


As it turns out, making a successful Star Wars film is hard.

Fans were excited for new chapters in their favorite franchise among the stars when Disney announced it was purchasing Lucasfilm and the rights to further films in 2012. But it has not all been smooth sailing since then.

The first new Star Wars film in over a decade, The Force Awakens, made close to a billion dollars worldwide and was received favorably, even if the tide of fandom has turned on JJ Abrams and his over-reliance on elements from previous films. In December 2015, any Star Wars fan likely would have been gushing over the film. Now, it’s met more with a shrug.

Since The Force Awakens though, most of the other announced properties have gone through an upheaval. Josh Trank was fired from his spinoff. Gareth Edwards was forced to do massive retooling on Rogue One. Chris Lord and Phil Miller were let go during production of the upcoming Han Solo film. And just last week, Colin Trevorrow, who was in pre-production on 2019's Episode IX, was let go.

A common component for these departures and story changes is Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Lord & Miller and Trevorrow were reportedly let go because of disagreements in style or substance in the universe Kennedy is overseeing, as is her charge. Rogue One did well enough that we can forgive the film that could have been. Only time will tell if Ron Howard can step into Lord & Miller’s shoes to make a cohesive movie.

But the news that Abrams is stepping back into the director’s chair for Episode IX is good news. For all the (valid) criticisms you can throw at TFA, Abrams is a self-proclaimed huge Star Wars fan who did more right than wrong in the film. Yes, having another Death Star stand-in is tiresome and structuring the third act almost beat-for-beat like that in Episode IV is just lazy.

But Star Wars is back, thanks in part to Abrams easing audiences back into this fanciful world. Great new characters in Rey and Finn have been introduced, Kylo Ren, a villain that could match Darth Vader’s ferocity is lurking about, and we have most of our old friends back for new adventures. But most of all, Abrams knows the system and knows the expectations Kennedy has for this series. We may not ever get a Star Wars film that completely breaks the mold, but our desires will be satiated. JJ will do just fine on Episode IX, you guys.

Besides, would you really rather have George Lucas take over?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Movie: Return of the Living Dead (1985)


Send... more... paramedics.

For all the zombie movies I’ve seen, including the worst of George Romero’s output, I never got around to Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead for one reason or another. Considering I wrote a senior-year high school paper on the original Night of the Living Dead, I knew of the existence of co-writer John Russo’s offshoot to the seminal zombie flick but never had much interest. But when one come across a pristine Blu-ray special edition to a highly-regarded film, what choice does one really have?

Dear James Cameron: Please Do Something Other Than Avatar


I do not care for these Avatar movies. I have made that case before.

In between stepping on a deserved landmine about feminism and over-promising a return to greatness for his signature series, James Cameron has apparently been spending the past eight years honing his talents for not one, nor two, but FOUR sequels to his CGI Dances with Wolves property. Granted, Avatar is somehow the highest grossing worldwide film but the demand for these additional sequels is ... what’s the opposite of palpable?

The Dissolve had a great piece back in the day about the disposable nature of Avatar and it’s legacy only a few years after its release. For such a huge movie-going experience, no one talks about Avatar except for the promised forthcoming sequels. Have you seen any Avatar cosplay recently? Any Halloween costumes since Obama was elected a second time? Avatar is currently at its nadir of pop-culture relevance.

And yet, we still supposedly have four ... more ... sequels coming sometime in the next five years.

But Jim Cameron, as much as I love your earlier work including the good Terminator films and Aliens, I could not give less of a damn about any more Avatar movies. To this day, I still have not seen the first ... and I plan on sticking to that.

In the meantime, Terminator is changing hands (again) to producers who promise a return to form (again) albeit with you in the producer’s chair to steer the ship. While I am over the substandard Terminator films we’ve gotten since 2003, that is a franchise that has remained in the public conscience, even if the stories have long since run out.

But what about your existing projects? The Abyss has not had a proper video release in the past 17 years (although one is rumored to be coming). One of my favorite of yours, True Lies, hasn’t even gotten that much attention. Clearly, you are a hands-on guy with video releases and making sure they are on-par with your original vision. So, can you divert some resources to these?

Given the creative talent you have, how about tackling a new property or unleashing some new technological breakthrough like you did with Avatar’s 3D? Instead of going back to the same boring well of white men saving inter-dimensional species, surely there is another story or genre that you can lend your abilities to.

At the very least, I guarantee that Avatar 2, 3, 4, or 5 will not match the box-office gross or the cultural impact of the original. So please James, free yourself. Team up with Arnold again and knock our socks off. I bet it will be more fulfilling in the long run other than the Scrooge McDuck-style vault of money you undoubtedly have.

Love,

Puck