Guillermo Del Toro has been able to build a very unusual career for himself, balancing smaller Spanish-language titles that have been very personal with giant American blockbusters that are somehow equally personal. They're just personal to different sides of his personality, and when you're a filmmaker who is both a wicked-smart erudite voracious reader, an art collector whose tastes are all over the place, adult and part of a loving, close-knit family, raising strong daughters with a strong wife, who also just happens to be a filmmaker who is a 13-year-old boy who delights in the creepies and the crawlies and the gross and the absurd and superheroes and has a house full of the most amazing toys of all time including secrets rooms and part of the Haunted Mansion, then "personal" can cover a whole lot of ground.
Is it even possible to make a great licensed video game title?
How many times have you bought or rented a game because you love a movie or a TV show and you want to experience what it would be like to live in that world or be that character?
One of the appeals of the "Arkham" video games that Rocksteady have put out over the last few years is the way their combat system and the various gadgetry all gives you the feeling that you are, indeed, Batman. While not a direct adaptation of a film, the last Middle-Earth game, "Shadows Of Mordor," did a great job of creating a fun game, but it had little or nothing to do with the experience of the films.
I've still never been to Legoland. When I'd attend Comic-Con for work, my family would stay with me in the hotel, then sneak off to Legoland during the day. I can only imagine what's happened to attendance at the park since "The LEGO Movie" was released. It seems like LEGO, which was already a massive international success, kicked into an even more insane gear after the success of the movie.
Warner Bros. obviously sees it as a massive new franchise, and in addition to the sequel, which Rob Schrab is set to direct, they're making a LEGO Batman movie that Chris McKay will be directing. For those who don't know Rob Schrab, he's an absolute lunatic, and if anyone's going to be the right person to follow up the meta-movie weirdness of the first film, it's him.
When I spoke to Joss Whedon about "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" during the film's release, I asked him about one of the scenes that was cut between script and production. While I'll respect his request not to detail the scene completely, I can say that it had to do with Hulk's ultimate fate in the film. While it wasn't the exact same fate that he ultimately has in the finished film, I think it's safe to say that Whedon laid down some explicit ideas that became the foundation for the much more ambiguous ending.
Keep in mind the last few images we see of the Hulk. He's in the Quinjet. He's already told the Widow that there's no place on the planet that he feels like he's not a threat to someone else. In those last few moments, he looks up at the sky above the Quinjet, and then the next time we hear about him, no one can find him. He's just gone. The Quinjet showed up, but there's no Hulk. Anywhere.
Marvel is making an "Inhumans" movie.
Yes, I know they already announced that they were making an "Inhumans" movie, going so far as to give the film a date and everything, and last year, they started seeding the idea of the Inhumans on the show "Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD," going so far as to transform Skye, one of the main characters of the series, into an Inhuman. This season, she's beginning to get comfortable with her powers, and she's hunting for new Inhumans who she can help.
It remains an event each and every time there is a new film by Joel and Ethan Coen. At this point, I feel bad for ever having doubted them. I may not have liked "The Ladykillers" or "Intolerable Cruelty" at all, and it may have felt like they had run out of gas in a major way, but thankfully they caught a second wind that has led to a rich and varied list of films over the last few years.
What I love about this first look at "Hail Caesar!" is the era they're playing with. I love the studio system of the '50s as a backdrop, and there is so much about the trailer that delights me that I feel like it's going to be one of those Coen movies we can revisit over and over and over and still find new things in it each time.
Why is it so hard to make a good Peter Pan film?
By my count, there's one great film version of the story, and it's not the Disney version. Maybe the problem can be best summed up by noting that when PJ Hogan released his version in 2003, there were several critics who clutched their pearls and freaked out and acted nervous about the way the story's subtext threatened to become text. Why? Because he told the story the right way, and when you tell the story the right way, it is crystal clear that "Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up" is about that transitional moment when we cross from being children into something else. It is about loss of innocence and the fear of that loss. It is about a refusal to allow adulthood to gain any foothold, and what it is one would have to deny to stay a child forever. There is a staggering amount of meat on the bone if you really want to dig into it, which is why I don't understand making a version of Peter Pan that utterly ignores everything that defines Peter Pan in the first place.
Surprisingly, there will be a new Paul Thomas Anderson film in theaters from October 16th to October 22nd. That's this month. If you are as baffled as I was when I opened the e-mail, let me assure you that you did not accidentally black out and forget an entire announced project.
Instead, this is a new video called "Divers," built around the song by Joanna Newsom and the artwork of Kim Keever, and it's being released exclusively to theaters to count down to the release of Newsom's new album, also called "Divers." Newsom appeared in Anderson's most recent film, "Inherent Vice," playing a role that spurred some fascinating conversations with other fans of the film, and she's a remarkable vocalist as well. Anderson directed the first video from her album, "Sapokanikan," and I've watched it four or five times now. It's a challenging song, and Newsom's performance is so vulnerable and raw that it's hard to look away.
F. Gary Gray's about to get paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaid.
And why not? "Straight Outta Compton" has been a monster hit for Universal, a surprise to many box-office prognosticators, and in a strange way, that film brought Gray full circle. After all, his first film was "Friday," starring Ice Cube, and his latest film is a blockbuster biopic of, among other people, Ice Cube.
There is no franchise more important for Universal to finish out in style than the "Fast and Furious" series. Right now, the announced plan is for there to be three more movies, one final trilogy, that will round the entire series out to ten full movies. That is, frankly, amazing when you consider what a low-key hit the first film was. No one would believe you if you went back in time to the summer the first film came out and you told people that eventually, each entry in that series would be bigger than the one before it, with a cast of dozens, packed with gigantic physics-busting set pieces that push the state of the art of blending effects and stunts. It just seems impossible that the first film eventually would lead to the mayhem in the streets of Los Angeles that closed out the last movie.
This year at the San Diego Comic-Con, I moderated a panel about "Kung Fury," the completely insane movie by David Sandberg. I was approached about moderating by Seth Grahame-Smith, and the night of the panel, I had a chance to chat with Grahame-Smith a bit. Since his breakthrough success with the book "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies," he's managed to stay hard at work as a screenwriter while publishing a number of other books and supervising the translation of his breakthrough to the bigscreen.
It feels like things are starting to pay off now, though. He brought "Pride" to the Comic-Con this year, and he seemed absolutely delighted with the end result. He's the writer of "The Lego Batman Movie," which is one of those films I would not dare underestimate on a commercial level. After the way Batman essentially walked away with "The Lego Movie," it seems likely a solo film starring the character is going to be a major event for family audiences.