IN THIS WEEK’S “Marvel Phase 4” story, we finally have our Phase 4 announcement! The next Marvel films coming up ARE: Black Widow, Thor 4: Love and Thunder – Natalie Portman will return – as the first female Thor!, Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, being described as the MCU’s first horror film, The Eternals, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, AND shows for Disney+ like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, WandaVision, Hawkeye, and What If…?
And there will even be a Blade reboot down the road (Phase 5) starring Mahershala Ali. AND Kevin Feige manged to inform San Diego Comic Con attendees that Marvel WILL be doing a Fantastic Four film in the future. Wow, LOTS of interesting cool stuff from Marvel.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Thor 4 details” story, To cheers loud enough to shake Valhalla to its foundations, Natalie Portman took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H with the mighty hammer Mjolnir in hand. Yes, Portman’s Jane Foster will become Thor in director Taika Waititi’s next Marvel Studios film Thor: Love and Thunder.
The astrophysicist Foster became the Goddess of Thunder in comic book writer Jason Aaron’s extraordinary “Thor” series starting in 2014. Foster was dying of cancer but she found herself worthy of Mjolnir when Thor himself suddenly became unworthy — he would go on to call himself the Odinson and ride a freaky giant goat, while Foster’s Thor fought for justice. The only problem was that when she became Thor, the transformation each time would cause all the progress Foster had made with her chemotherapy to vanish. Being a superhero, being Thor, was the right thing for Foster to do — but it was literally killing her. Which made her all the more heroic, and thus all the more worthy of wielding Mjolnir.
Who knows how much of Aaron’s storyline will make it into Waititi’s film? Chris Hemsworth will be back as the God of Thunder — will he lose his powers? Will he become just the Odinson? Who knows?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Making progress” story, With Spider-Man: Far From Home crossing the $1 billion worldwide box-office milestone, Sony is now looking to get the Venom sequel off the ground and executives recently met with a handful of new directing candidates.
Sources tell Variety that Andy Serkis, Bumblebee director Travis Knight and Rupert Wyatt are among the directors meeting for the coveted job on the film that has Tom Hardy set to return in the title role. Insiders say these are just meetings and no one has moved into a front-runner position.
Ruben Fleischer directed the first pic in 2018, but is not returning as he is in post-production on Zombieland: Double Tap.
Sony hopes to shoot the film in the fall.
Venom, from Sony Pictures’ arsenal of Marvel characters, grossed a massive $855 million worldwide. The news comes after the studio recently dated an untitled Marvel sequel for October 2020. Comic-book enthusiasts put the pieces together to assume that slot was for Venom 2, giving it the same release date as its predecessor.
The next film in this universe is Morbius, starring Jared Leto, which is set to bow next summer.
Kelly Marcel wrote the script for the sequel. Serkis previously directed Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and Breathe. Wyatt directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes and more recently, Captive State.
The first Venom also starred Michelle Williams and featured a last-minute cameo by Woody Harrelson as chief Venom villain Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage.
Sony had no comment.
I don’t think I do, either. Except, you know, Venom was really weird, man. Not even good or bad…just weird.
IN THIS WEEK’S “NOOOOOO!” story, Rutger Hauer, the versatile Dutch leading man of the ’70s who went on star in the 1982 Blade Runner as Roy Batty, died July 19 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness. He was 75.
Hauer’s agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed the news and said that Hauer’s funeral was held Wednesday.
His most cherished performance came in a film that was a resounding flop on its original release. In 1982, he portrayed the murderous yet soulful Roy Batty, leader of a gang of outlaw replicants, opposite Harrison Ford in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir opus “Blade Runner.” The picture became a widely influential cult favorite, and Batty proved to be Hauer’s most indelible role.
More recently, he appeared in a pair of 2005 films: as Cardinal Roark in Sin City, and as the corporate villain who Bruce Wayne discovers is running the Wayne Corp. in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
In True Blood, he played Niall Brigant, the king of the tribe from which the Stackhouse family is descended and the faerie grandfather to Sookie, Jason Stackhouse and Hunter Savoy. Hauer also recurred on ABC’s medieval musical comedy Galavant as Kingsley in 2015.
He was a natural at horror and vampire roles, starring as Van Helsing in Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, and as the vampire Barlow in the 2004 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot along with Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher and Donald Sutherland.
Handsome, energetic and fluent in several languages, Hauer made his first mark in the late ‘60s in the Netherlands as the star of Paul Verhoeven’s medieval TV series Floris. He vaulted to the top ranks of Dutch stardom in 1973 opposite Monique van de Ven in Verhoeven’s sexually explosive drama Turkish Delight, which became a box-office smash and garnered an Oscar nod as best foreign film.
After three more Dutch features with Verhoeven that became art-house successes in the U.S., Hauer segued to a Hollywood career with a flashy role as a terrorist in the 1981 Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks.
Hauer increasingly turned to action-oriented parts in the ‘80s: He toplined the big-budget fantasy Ladyhawke (1985), reteamed with fellow Hollywood transplant Verhoeven in the sword-and-armor epic Flesh and Blood (1985), starred as a psychotic killer in The Hitcher (1986), and took Steve McQueen’s shotgun-toting bounty hunter role in a modern reboot of the TV Western Wanted: Dead or Alive (1986).
His major artistic triumph came in Ermanno Olmi’s Italian production The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988); his sensitive turn as a homeless drunk and petty criminal who finds redemption in Paris carried the feature, which collected the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
During the ‘90s, Hauer gravitated to more routine roles in American and international productions and played the vampire lord Lothos in the original film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
He debuted as a small screen star as Nazi official Albert Speer in the 1982 telefilm adaptation of Speer’s book Inside the Third Reich. His most admired TV work came in projects that turned on World War II themes: He received Golden Globe nominations for his performances as the leader of a concentration camp revolt in Escape From Sobibor (1987) and an SS officer in the alternate-universe drama Fatherland (1994).
This sucks. I’ll miss you, Rutger Hauer. R.I.P.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Mobbed up” story, Jennifer Lawrence is set to star in Makeready’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Teresa Carpenter true-crime story Mob Girl.
Lawrence will also produce the film, which is based on the life of the mob wife turned police informant Arlyne Brickman, alongside Justine Polsky via their production company, Excellent Cadaver. Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino has been tapped to direct the adaptation with Angelina Burnett adapting the script. Sorrentino will also produce the project alongside Wildside’s Lorenzo Mieli.
The film follows Brickman who grows up among racketeers on the Lower East Side of New York City where she’s drawn to the glamorous and flashy lifestyle of New York mobsters. Soon after, she begins dating “wiseguys” and running errands for them, before getting in on the action herself — eventually becoming a police informant and a major witness in the government’s case against the Colombo crime family.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What’s up for George Miller?” story, George Miller might be 74-years-old, but he very well might be more popular now than ever before. The filmmaker behind the ‘Mad Max’ franchise seems to have struck a chord culturally with ‘Fury Road,’ the 2015 film that many feel might be the very best action film of all time. And so, even though by this age, many folks are retiring and relaxing, Miller is busier than ever before, with multiple ‘Mad Max’ projects in the works, as well as a film with Tilda Swinton attached.
Speaking to IndieWire, Miller talked about the status of those projects, and why he’s “cautiously optimistic” about his “Darwinian struggle of the fittest” film with Swinton might get made. But before we get to that, there’s talk about those long-awaited ‘Fury Road’ follow-ups.
“There are two stories, both involving Mad Max, and also a Furiosa story,” revealed the filmmaker. “We’re still solving, we’ve got to play out the Warners thing, it seems to be pretty clear that it’s going to happen.”
If you’re confused by the “Warners thing,” the filmmaker has been involved with a legal battle over ‘Fury Road’ with the film’s studio, Warner Bros.
“It all started because of the chaos at Warner Bros. and not [now-former boss] Kevin Tsujihara, it was pre all that,” explained Miller. “He wasn’t the antagonist, because a lot of people didn’t know what was going on and were not prepared to make a definitive stand; everybody was running around fearful, it seems, through three regimes. It was hard to get anyone’s attention, so we went to litigation. The chaos has stabilized and it’s become extremely positive as the dust seems to have settled after [the AT&T merger].”
But as mentioned, regardless of the outcome of that legal battle, Miller isn’t resting on his laurels. He’s been moving forward on his already-announced romance epic that stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, titled Three Thousand Years of Longing.
“[‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ is] a story in various stages of writing that had to be put aside; it’s been around almost 10 years. We’re starting pre-production before the end of the year and shooting early next year,” said the director.
He added, “But I’ve been there too often when you announce movies are going to happen and then they fall away. It happened three times on ‘Fury Road,’ and eventually, we got the damn thing made. We’re just coming out of a meeting as we speak, and we’re well into pre-production on this one. I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s going well.”
So, yeah, Miller seems to be more busy than ever.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Oscar-y movie” story, Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios have released a new The Goldfinch trailer teasing the highly anticipated upcoming adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Directed by Brooklyn helmer John Crowley, the film stars Ansel Elgort as a boy whose life was upended when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when he was 13 years old. The star-studded ensemble is anchored by Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Barbour, and the film was shot by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, who chose The Goldfinch as his next project after finally winning the Oscar for his work on Blade Runner 2049.
The film opens in theaters on September 13th and also stars Oakes Fegley (Pete’s Dragon) as Young Theo, Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk) as Boris, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Young Boris, with Sarah Paulson, as Xandra, Luke Wilson as Larry, and Jeffrey Wright as Hobie. Rounding out the main ensemble cast are Ashleigh Cummings (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) as Pippa, Willa Fitzgerald (Little Women) as Kitsey Barbour, Aimee Laurence (Chicago P.D.) as Young Pippa, Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story) as Lucius Reeve, and Boyd Gaines (2014’s Driving Miss Daisy) as Mr. Barbour.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Goldfinch:
Theodore “Theo” Decker was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day…a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Crash Returns” story, It’s hard to believe but David Cronenberg’s erotic thriller Crash is already 23-years-old. Debuting at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Prize, the film has sustained a cult audience due to its unique story and, of course, the controversy that comes with any film that depicts sexual situations that are instigated by violence. Now, almost a quarter-century after its premiere, Crash is getting a brand-new 4K restoration and a spot at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Recorded Picture Company and Turbine Media Group have completed work on their 4K restoration of “Crash” that was supervised by the film’s writer-director Cronenberg and director of photography Peter Suschitzky. Perhaps best of all, the 4K restoration is the uncut, NC-17 version of the film. As mentioned, the film has been selected to screen at this year’s Italian festival and will then look for worldwide distribution afterward.
For those that aren’t familiar with Cronenberg’s cult-classic, Crash tells the story of James Ballard and his wife Catherine, who are on the hunt for authentic experiences. They cross paths with a scientist that seeks sexual fulfillment by crashing cars. “Crash” is based on the novel by author J.G. Ballard.
“Strange to think that this movie needed restoration,” said Cronenberg. “Seems like only yesterday that we were shooting it. Just emphasizes the fragility of our beautiful art form, but also its resilience. Wonderful to see it and hear it in its full glory after its loving resurrection by Turbine.”
Recorded Picture Company’s Jeremy Thomas added, “Delighted that this meticulous restoration, done by Turbine and supervised by David Cronenberg and Peter Suschitzky, will be available for people who loved the film and new audiences, and fans of David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard.”
And for those film geeks out there that are curious how the 4K restoration was created, the uncut Crash was created based on the original negative of the film. Multiple film experts were brought in to oversee the transfer and ensure that nothing was lost in the conversion. This meticulous approach helped preserve grain structure and detail.
I love J.G. Ballard as an author, and Cronenberg as a director. He’s not always everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s always fascinating.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What about Jojo?” story, After earning $854 million worldwide with his Hollywood studio debut Thor: Ragnarok, writer-director Taika Waititi is returning to indies this fall with his anti-hate satire Jojo Rabbit. The Fox Searchlight release notably features Waititi in front of the camera as Adolf Hitler, but the movie’s story has a lot more on its mind than just mocking the Nazi dictator.
Jojo Rabbit is based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. The film stars newcomer Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler, a young boy living in Nazi Germany with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson). Jojo’s imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler (Waititi), but the boy is forced to confront his nationalism after Rosie decides to hide a young Jewish girl (Leave No Trace breakout Thomasin McKenzie). The supporting cast also includes Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, and Game of Thrones Emmy nominee Alfie Allen.
That should give folks a bit more explanation as to what the movie is about.
Fox Searchlight will open Jojo Rabbit in theaters October 18.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What a genius” story, The reboot of the Men in Black series has come under scrutiny by Sony chairman Tom Rothman as he believes the idea of the movie was just not strong enough. In an interview with Business Insider, Rothman spoke about why he thinks the reboot of the beloved franchise had some issues and what went wrong.
During the interview, Rothman said the story of the new film was not creative enough and compared it to the fifth highest-grossing film of 2017, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. He said, “I think it probably was that there was not a strong enough idea in the story [of Men in Black: International]. Especially when you compare that to, say, ‘Jumanji,’ which had a very, very strong idea.”
~ Wow, you think of that by yourself, did ya? I guess that’s why they pay you the big money, huh? *eye roll*
The 2019 reboot Men in Black: International featured a new cast, dropping regulars Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) and Will Smith (Hancock) in favor of a new cast which included Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Endgame). The, apparently, lackluster story followed Agents H & M as they try and uncover a mole within the ‘Men in Black’ organization.
Rothman, who was also the Chairman of Fox Entertainment Group before it was bought by Disney, commented on risk in the movie business and its effect on “Men in Black: International.”
“You have to try to manage risk. In the case of Men in Black, we had two co-financiers on that movie and that manages the risk.” he said. “I really do believe you cannot eliminate risk in the movie business. If you try to eliminate risk, you will eliminate creativity, and if you eliminate creativity, you will eliminate success.”
However, all is not lost with the franchise, with Rothman speaking about the positives and even saying this is not the last we will see of the secret alien organization. “I think the truth of the matter is the audience really liked that film and the cast was wonderful, Tessa and Chris were great and did a terrific job,” he added. “‘Men in Black’ remains a very important asset that the company owns, and I would be very surprised if that is the last movie.”
~ Of COURSE it won’t. :I
IN THIS WEEK’S “Riddick?!” story, Vin Diesel loves dropping news on his Instagram account, and his latest is a doozy. It appears the script for Riddick 4 actually exists, and to prove it, Diesel held the physical copy it. Titled Riddick 4: Furya, the script presumably brings back Diesel’s Pitch Black character for yet another adventure. But is anyone even interested in that? Besides Vin Diesel?
~ I am, actually. It’s maybe my most favorite Vin Diesal character (next to Groot).
In 2000, Vin Diesel starred in Pitch Black, a surprisingly fun horror/sci-fi film from writer/director David Twohy that ended up being a sleeper hit. As is the Hollywood way, a sequel soon followed – the ambitious but not nearly as enjoyable 2004 film (I like it!) The Chronicles of Riddick. This sequel was not a hit and probably should’ve marked the ending of the franchise for good. But no! In 2013, Diesel and Twohy tried to get things going again with the film Riddick. It had its fans, but wasn’t exactly a smashing success.
But Vin Diesal, like Sylvester Stallone, ain’t no quitter. So now there’s a script for Riddick 4: Furya (Furya is Riddick’s homeworld). Diesel and Twohy have been talking about this film since at least 2015, where Diesel revealed it was going to be an origin story. “Do you want to know where it all began with that dark character Riddick?” Diesel asked in a 2015 video he posted. At the time, Twhoy suggested the sequel might start shooting in early 2017 – but that obviously never happened. But now it might! At the very least, the script definitely exists.
But, will anyone- besides me- even care? Who knows if this will actually see the light of day – or a camera – but Diesel and Twohy are trying.
IN THIS WEEK’S “How did I not know this?!” story, Hot on the heels of the teaser for Nickelodeon’s TV movie revival of Rocko’s Modern Life, the other anticipated NickToon return that fans have been waiting for has also been given a new teaser and official release date.
Invader Zim ran on Nickelodeon from 2001 through 2006, and now the NickToon is back with a TV movie called Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus. This project was expected to arrive last year, but got delayed with the Rocko’s Modern Life TV movie and has now been relegated to a release on Netflix instead of the cable network for kids. And now we finally know when it will arrive thanks to a new Invader Zim Enter the Florpus teaser that just arrived.
Invader Zim followed a space alien named Zim who is sent on a mission to infiltrate Earth by his own planet as a way of just getting rid of him. Much to their surprise, Zim succeeds in setting up a base on Earth as he poses as a human child and plots the planet’s downfall. But Zim’s arch nemesis Dib is trying to foil his planet domination at every turn, though no one believes the claims that Zim is actually an invading alien. Here’s the synopsis for the TV movie:
“In INVADER ZIM: Enter The Florpus, ZIM discovers his almighty leaders have no intention of coming to Earth and he loses confidence in his own amazingness for the first time in his amazing life, which is the big break his human nemesis Dib has been waiting for. At some point, GIR rides a tiny donkey, and that’s all anyone should really care about.”
Series creator Johnen Vaszquez is back as executive producer and writer, along with original cast members Richard Horvitz (The Angry Beavers) and Rikki Simons as ZIM and GIR. The rest of the cast also includes Andy Berman as Dib Membrane, Melissa Fahn as Gaz Membrane, Wally Wingert as Almighty Tallest Red; Kevin McDonald as Almighty Tallest Purple; Rodger Bumpass as Professor Membrane, Dib and Gaz’s father; Olivia d’Abo as Tak, ZIM’s Irken nemesis; and Paul Greenberg as Poonchy, one of ZIM and Dib’s human classmates.
THIS IS AMAZING NEWS!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Heathen” story, Twilight and Miss Bala director Catherine Hardwicke has signed a deal to direct the adaptation of Vault Comic’s best-selling and acclaimed epic feminist comic book series Heathen, for Constantin Film and Prime Universe Films, the companies announced on Wednesday.
Kerry Williamson has signed on to write. Williamson previously penned the Tyler Perry-starring “Alex Cross” and most recently, Netflix’s “What Happened to Monday.” She is currently working on an adaptation of the fantasy series “Sandman Slim” for director Chad Stahelski and Studio 8.
Written and drawn by Natasha Alterici, Heathen centers on Aydis, a young female Viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed “heathen.” Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the God-king Odin.
The comic’s first trade paperback sold out in a week and has returned for a second printing; the second trade paperback will release in July. The book was recently selected by Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA) to be included in its 2018 “Great Graphic Novels For Teens” list.
Constantin Film’s Robert Kulzer will produce with Adrian Askarieh whose Prime Universe Films is currently in a two-year first look with Constantin. F.J. DeSanto will also produce. Constantin’s Martin Moszkowicz will executive produce along with Damian Wassel, Vault’s CEO & publisher. Kulzer and Margo Klewans will oversee on behalf of Constantin.
Hardwicke is currently in production on Quibi’s “Don’t Look Deeper,” which stars Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer and newcomer, Helena Howard.
This sounds cool.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Post Walking Dead” story, The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln has joined Naomi Watts in Penguin Bloom, the Glendyn Ivin-directed adaptation of the bestseller written by Bradley Trevor Greive. Shaun Grant and Harry Cripps wrote the script and production begins in Sydney, Australia in August.
Watts is producing alongside Emma Cooper and Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky.
Set on Sydney’s northern beaches, Penguin Bloom is the true story of a unique little bird that saves a family. Cameron and Sam Bloom and their three boys were an everyday family until a shocking, near-fatal accident left Sam paralyzed. She fell from a balcony while on holiday in Thailand, and was left paralyzed from the chest down. As the family struggled to adjust to her new situation, an unlikely ally entered their lives in the form of an injured Magpie chick which the Bloom clan called Penguin. The wild bird became a mascot for the family. The book was published in the U.S. under the title Penguin The Magpie.
Watts plays Sam Bloom, and Lincoln, in a role that is closer to his turn in Love Actually than The Walking Dead, plays Cameron Bloom, who took the pictures that illustrate the bestselling book. Director Ivin helmed The Cry and Safe Harbor. The Blooms will be exec producers on the film along with Ricci Swart.
Well, this is definitely a different role than a zombie-killing sheriff.
IN THIS WEEK’S “CIA Dude?” story, According to THR, Bridges has agreed to star in the upcoming FX series The Old Man. In the series, which is based on the novel by Thomas Perry, Bridges will portray a former CIA operative that is trying to enjoy his retirement off the grid. That all changes when he’s the target of a hit, and now, must come out of retirement to deal with the threat. Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine will write and produce the series. The duo was previously responsible for the period action series, Black Sails.
No word on when we might see The Old Man debut on FX, but production is expected to begin in the fall.
IN THiS WEEK’S “More Godzilla, anyone?” story, At long last, Criterion has revealed its 1,000th entry to be the ultimate Godzilla collection, with all 15 films of the Japanese monster series’ original Showa era films beautifully burnished for the first time. This massive set, with all films digitally restored, ranges from Ishirō Honda’s 1954 original-that-started-it-all Godzilla to Honda’s 1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla, which was his directorial swan song.
Also featured in the set are such iconic Godzilla face-offs as King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) and more.
Criterion promises “a landmark set showcasing the technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling, and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.”
Special features in the new Criterion Collection set include recent audio commentaries from film historian David Kalat (who’s authored books on the Godzilla series); a Directors Guild of Japan interview with Ishirō Honda; a discussion with Repo Man and Sid and Nancy director Alex Cox about his love for the Showa-era Godzilla films; new and archival interviews with cast and crew members; plus, in Criterion tradition, a lavish hardcover book accompanying the set with all new illustrations and essays.
Slated for release October 29, 2019, the set is now available for preorder.
It’s about $225 so I will not likely get it. But I would LOVE it.
~ Thanks for stopping by this week! I’m off the Las Vegas for the Star Trek Convention, sooooo, yeah. Later!