by Hunter Bush
Howdy, cinemaniacs! Welcome to Everything Old is New Again (EOiNA to her friends), your bi-monthly update on Hollywood's long-standing love of Adaptations, Remakes, and Legacy Sequels. In fact, now that I think about it, the last two movies I watched as of this writing were both adaptations: Wayne's World was inspired by the popular SNL sketch and Full Metal Jacket was based on the book The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. See what I mean?
How's your Spring shaking out? It's finally starting to look Spring-ly in Philly, which is nice. I, weather-cynic that I am, keep expecting one last snowfall, but (*fingers crossed*) that doesn't seem likely.
If you're a regular EOiNA reader, firstly: thank you, and secondly: maybe you noticed that my last round-up didn't include any mentions of Marvel's latest, Avengers: Infinity War. Well, funny story: in between my posting the last EOiNA and this one, they changed the release date on me from the first weekend of May to the last one in April!
BUT, if you're interested, I did see and review Infinity War and you can read that RIGHT HERE.
Alright. Enough old business, on to the new:
TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL - If you had told my younger self, sitting too-close to the TV, wearing out a homemade bootleg of Tremors, that there would be six movies spanning from the 1990 original to the far-distant year of 2018, I would have said "That makes sense. Tremors is one of the best movies I've ever seen." If you'd asked me which character I thought would be that franchise's star, I never would have guessed Michael Gross. Yet here we are! The Tremors sequels began as fairly paint-by-numbers, with parts 2 and 3 following the original's "alien-creatures-terrorize-desert-town" plot pretty faithfully, each with a small evolution to the creatures' mythology. The 4th was a prequel and the 5th went really-big game hunting in Africa. This time, Gross's excellent gun nut-turned-reality TV survivalist Burt Gummer & his long-lost bastard son (Jamie Kennedy. Ugh.) go to an arctic research station to fight Graboids (or Shriekers or Ass-Blasters or maybe all 3?) Gummer is the beating heart of the series, and Gross *gets it* like few others, always perfectly walking the line between "horror" & "comedy" while co-stars lean a bit too far to one side or the other. For him alone this direct-to-DVD & VOD installment might be worth it, but I get a really strong vibe that they just filmed in the same desert as always but tinted everything blue (because: arctic!) and it just makes my eyes tired.
ANYTHING - In this film from writer/director Timothy McNeil, based upon his 2007 play of the same name, John Carroll Lynch plays Early, a widower newly moved to Los Angeles who befriends and begins to have feelings for Freda (Matt Bomer), his trans sex worker neighbor. As always, I am here for anything John Carroll Lynch does. Maura Tierney (another fave) plays Early's daughter, who is protectively skeptical of Freda's intentions with her father, whom she sees as vulnerable. While I'm sure this will be an emotionally complicated film about love and loss, the trailer shows some genuine humor (as in, not pratfalls and gags but the ability to smile despite how bad things may seem). Movies about broken people are intrinsically compelling, and the restorative powers of love are undeniable. I don't think this will be a film for everyone, but I'm certainly interested.
DEADPOOL 2 - I was already gonna tell you that Deadpool 2 seems like a must-catch movie for anyone who would, intellectually, like to watch some super-people movies but can't get past the self-seriousness that frequently runs rampant (like a mercenary on a unicorn) throughout such films because, like 2016's Deadpool, DP2 seems to balance all that business with an irreverent fourth-wall breaking tone that makes it easy to enjoy. And then...Espolòn tequila went and made Deadpool their creative director! Gang, I cannot tell you how much a mouthy, pop-culture fixated super-mercenary who loves unicorns and now shills for my favorite tequila seems like the most positive kind of targeted marketing for me, personally! Anyhoo, DP2 prominently features Cable (Josh Brolin, recently of Avengers: Unlimited Breadsticks fame) as we were literally promised in Deadpool's post-credits stinger, which most likely means timey-wimey hijinks, as Cable most usually travels back in time, Terminator-like, to prevent some unimaginably horrible future from coming to pass. This time the subject/object of Cable's quest seems to be young Russell (Julian Dennison from the excellent Hunt for the Wilderpeople), but what Cable's intentions towards Russell are remains to be seen. The cast also features Terry Crews and the excellently-named relative newcomer Zazie Beetz, as well as an unrevealed part played by IT's Bill Skarsgård. That's right, Pennywise himself plays an undisclosed character. So settle in, things are gonna get fun I betcha!
ON CHESIL BEACH - I was not familiar with Ian McEwan's 2007 novella before coming across it in research for this column, and while the story doesn't immediately seem like something I'd like, I am very intrigued to see how it works as a film. The novella is the story of Edward (Billy Howle) and Florence's (Saoirse Ronan's) courtship and brief marriage, which ultimately ends over, let's say, "a disagreement involving sexual politics"? I'm not sure how to really talk about this story because it's a very thin plot. I could sum it up in a sentence or two, but would theoretically give away the ending? Honestly, though, this film's success or failure is going to rely on the emotional weight of their relationship, not the bullet-points of a story. That's what I'm most curious to see on the big screen: how well the emotional core of the film is built and how well it works to carry the film.
DARK CRIMES - Speaking of Carrey-ing a film, (sorry but that's a solid transition) Dark Crimes (which was finished in 2016 but is only now being released) has been popping up on my radar the past few weeks, always under the umbrella of "Jim Carrey in a dramatic role". The film, based on David Grann's 2008 article True Crime: A Postmodern Murder Mystery (inspired by the case of novelist and convicted murderer Krystian Bala) follows Carrey as Tadek, some sort of troubled investigator (the poster's tagline reads "It takes a dark mind to solve a twisted crime") looking into a murder (or murders) tied to the city's fetish underworld. Marton Csokas plays novelist Kozlow, who Tadek believes wrote his crime "fiction" novel as a kind of confession. I'm guessing he totally did it btw, but who cares? This is Jim Carrey with a full-on Drama Beard, doing an accent and everything (I'm pretty sure...he doesn't say a whole lot in the trailers) and I'm here for it. I love watching actors cast outside of their comfort zones and, despite me not loving all of those films, I love that Carrey has never been afraid to go there. To be honest, the plot sounds a bit like Christopher Nolan's Insomnia, and the fact that it's been shelved for two years isn't super encouraging, but it has the benefit of being inspired by true events and features Charlotte Gainsbourg as a woman whose past is tied to the same underworld as (presumably) the victim(s?).
FAHRENHEIT 451 - Just take the night off, gang. Mark your calendars and set the DVR or whatever cuz I'd wager you're gonna wanna see this. Michael B. Jordan is one of the most deservedly in-the-limelight actors right now and Michael Shannon is an actor who I think is well on his way to being an all-timer and they're co-starring in an adaptation of one of the most important and affecting books about the importance of art ever written. Ray Bradbury is one of my all-time favorite authors and Fahrenheit 451 is one of his best. Jordan plays Guy Montag, a “fireman” in a future where the job description isn’t putting out fires, but burning all books. The visuals look incredible, the cast also features the underestimated Sofia Boutella and the message is both timeless and incredibly timely. I'm there. And I'm probably gonna cry.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY - For anyone following along, this film was originally supposed to be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors of The LEGO Movie and Jump Streets both 21 AND 22, but somewhere along the way they had a falling out with the higher-ups at the House of Mouse and were replaced by Ron Howard. I've made the argument before (about super-people movies) that, since Star Wars is now almost its own category of film, it would only benefit the franchise to expand out into other genres. I thought by allowing Lord & Miller to make a Star Wars "comedy" was bold and exciting. I guess we'll see. There are some incredible visuals in the trailers for Solo, but so far I am having a hard time getting past Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo (for my money Chris Pine did a better Han Solo impression in 2009's Star Trek). While I hope to enjoy the Solo we do get and I'm sure Howard will do just fine (he wouldn't have been the replacement director otherwise) part of me will always mourn the loss of Lord 'n' Miller's Solo (right up there with Edgar Wright's Ant-Man).
HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES - Based on Neil Gaiman's 19-page short story, director John Cameron Mitchell's HtTtGaP stars Alex Sharp as a young punk in the late 70's who ends up at a different party than he and his friends had expected, one full of aliens (or similarly otherworldly beings) disguised as human beings. They appear to come in peace though, as it seems they're on a fact-finding mission or possibly some sort of alien Rumspringa, allowing Enn (Sharp) only 48 hours to show Zan (Elle Fanning) what life on Earth is like. Nicole Kidman (looking quite a bit like Daryl Hannah's Pris from Blade Runner) heads up a supporting cast that will be instantly recognizable to any BBC One viewers with the likes of Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas, and Tom Brooke, just to name a few. I love Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the same love for a time and place that made that films (and play) so enjoyable seems to be present here. I'm calling it now: I'll see this before Solo.
OCEAN'S 8 - I'm an oddly big fan of Steven Soderbergh's 2001 Ocean's Eleven (less so of the follow-ups from 2004 & 2007 respectively) and also a big fan of Sandra Bullock, so an Ocean's spin-off starring Bullock as Danny Ocean's (George Clooney's) estranged sister Debbie is kinda right up my alley. In Ocean's 8, Debbie puts together an all-female crew to rob New York's Met Gala, which if you're unaware, is an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and is appropriately known for the lavish and expensive outfits of its attendees. Debbie's crew is rounded out to the full eight by Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Awkwafina, but the film is sure to feature appearances by celebrities both from the fashion world and not, as well as cameo appearances by at least Matt Damon and Carl Reiner from the Soderbergh Ocean's films.
INCREDIBLES 2 - This sequel to the incredibly fun and lovable 2004 Pixar original seems, so far, to be a great addition to a movie universe I love! It seems like we're joining the super-powered Parr family shortly after the end of the first Incredibles (Baby Jack-Jack is still a baby) and now it's Elastigirl / Mom's (Holly Hunter's) turn to get a semi-top-secret "in-costume" gig, leaving Mr. Incredible / Dad (Craig T. Nelson) to become a stay-at-home dad with the aforementioned Baby Jack-Jack who has various superpowers but no ability to control them (sounds fun). The rest of the main cast all return to voice their characters: Sarah Vowell as the Invisibility controlling Violet Parr, Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Incredible's best friend and fellow crime-fighter Frozone, and Brad Bird as superhero costumer Edna Mode, though not Spencer Fox who presumably aged out of voicing speedster son Dash Parr and was replaced by Huck Milner for this one (sorry, Spencer). There are also a bunch of new characters/voices including Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, and Isabella Rossellini (!). Odenkirk's character is the one offering Elastigirl the new job, so he's probably secretly evil, which would be a fun thing to hear Odenkirk sink his teeth into. The end of one trailer also featured an appearance by someone calling themselves The Screen Slider, who seems to have technology/hypnotism powers? I have a feeling that there's gonna end up being a lot more to this movie than these first trailers have let on and I am here for it!
TAG - I dunno gang. Having just come off of seeing Blumhouse's Truth Or Dare, I'm a bit gun-shy about movies based on concepts as thin as a kid's game...but I've gotta admit this looks fun. Based on a series of articles published in the Wall Street fucking Journal of all places ("It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It", "In Epic Game of Tag, There's a New It", & "Tag, He's It For Another Year", all from 2013) this movie follows a group of friends who play tag for an entire month every year. Not exactly high concept, but not everything has to be. This is essentially going to be a string of "Can you believe THAT happened"s & "I can't believe they played tag THERE"s with just enough conversation in between to pass for a movie, and not a stunt show. But to look on the bright side: the cast is kinda perfect. Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, & Jake Johnson are your players, all trying to tag the so-far-untaggable Jeremy Renner before he "retires". Brian Dennehy is also in the cast, ideally yelling at all of them to behave like adults.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM - I wasn't a big fan of the first Jurassic World, because it felt like a rehash of the events of Jurassic Park, but had traded 50% of the likable human characters for 1000% more CGI dinosaurs in a time when CGI dinosaurs are no longer the exciting novelty they were when Jurassic Park roared onto screens in 1993. Needless to say, I kinda don't give a shit about Fallen Kingdom. The plot this time around is that the dino-island is gonna go volcanic, destroying all the majestic creatures unless they can be saved, especially Blue the guess-what-color-tinted raptor that Star Lord taught pet tricks like "Sit" and "Beg" and "Don't Kill Me". So yeah, Chris Pratt gets roped into going back to dino-island with the rest of them. The first trailer was pretty much just everybody in a giant hamster ball trying not to get stomped by dinosaurs running from the erupting volcano (so, poilers, I guess), but then an interesting thing happened: the latest trailer came out showcasing a sequence where a raptor (or some such) is sneaking into a house to get some sleeping humans? It all has a very "haunted house" vibe which I thought was a really, really interesting thing to attempt in a JP movie! Logically, I know it'll just be one sequence, and probably much shorter than I'd like, but it lit the barest spark of interest inside me: I might actually go see this.
Alright gang, that about wraps up Vol. 3 here at the Everything Old is New Again ranch. Thanks for dropping by and y'all come back now, y'hear?