It seems appropriate that Matthew Vaughn and Guy Ritchie began their film careers working together, and that they each seem to have helped define the British film industry now for sixteen years, because this year, both have decided to take on the most British of all British subjects… James Bond.
From the first encounter they have on the street, the car-to-car gunfight, to the big boat action at the end, this looks like a blast.
I am really happy to see Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer here. Warner Bros. has a fair amount invested in Cavill at this point, and while I may not hold the most popular position on "Man Of Steel," I think Cavill in general was well-received. I like the voice it sounds like he's doing here, and I think Armie Hammer's Russian growl is very funny at first listen.
I never thought I'd say this about a bigscreen adaptation of "50 Shades Of Grey," but it's true: the damn thing's just not trashy enough.
The urge is understandable. When Dana Brunetti and Mike De Luca bought the EL James book, they knew full well what they were buying, and they knew that the first thing they had to do was approach this as a top-of-the-line A-list production across the board if they wanted anyone to take it seriously. The distance between this and about ten million movies that played on Cinemax at 2:00 in the morning is not that great, and if this is going to be the equivalent of the book as a movie, then it can't just be a modest hit. It needs to be a monster, a phenomenon. It needs to be something that people go see over and over, that people can't stop talking about.
Jerod Neece, one of the masterminds behind the wildly-successful-and-constantly-metastasizing SXSW Film Festival, just tweeted the full line up of midnight movies. I think there was a certain poetry to the way he put it:
Ahhhhh, Jerod, you silver-tongued devil. What do you have up your sleeve?
It's been a while since we had a full-fledge home video hit, a movie that did fine in theaters but that turned into a phenomenon at home, and most of the time, when that happens, the sequel ends up being a much bigger film than the first one.
"Pitch Perfect" was that full-fledged home video hit, and I'm guessing there are plenty of you who watched it any time you saw it go by on cable, over and over, so that the first film is basically burnt into your own personal hard drive by now. The characters, the songs, the jokes… all of it is aca-permanent now.
In news that makes sense to anyone who likes (A) Spider-Man, (B) Marvel Studios, or (C) money, a deal has finally been struck that returns Spider-Man to the fold so that he is now free to appear on occasion in the giant cross-over team movies that Marvel will be making, like the two part "Infinity Wars" movie.
This also means that we'll see a Sony Spider-Man world that feels like it is taking place in the same universe as the rest of the Marvel movies, something that is very promising and exciting. This is something we first mentioned on "Ask Drew" last year, when Sony was still struggling to figure out how to make the deal work. One of the reasons it was so hard to pin down the reporting on that story was because it was a completely liquid story. From day to day, it sounded like new ideas and new possibilities were being discussed, with no single voice in charge of how things would go. When the Sony hack happened, it proved a lot of what we were saying was right, and then Latino Review pinned the story down hard a week after that. This is something that all involved wanted... but it still wasn't easy to make it happen.
One of the primary things that has made Mark Millar, Matthew Vaughn, and Jane Goldman such a logical and fruitful collaboration is their shared love of the subversion of the overly familiar and a real knack for finding what's fun or interesting about an archetype and turning it inside out. They did it with "Kick-Ass," and now they seem to have perfected the model with "Kingsman: The Secret Service."
The easy pitch for "Kingsman" would be "an R-rated version of 'Harry Potter' by way of James Bond," and that's not inaccurate. But it doesn't fully encapsulate all the ways that "Kingsman" works, and this is as aggressive a slice of mainstream entertainment as I've seen in recent memory. Fast and brash and told with a dangerous amount of cheek, this feels like a reaction to the Bond films in the same way that "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" was a reaction to the old Republic serials.
So much content. That's what I'm working on right now. We're in the middle of a sort of redefinition here at HitFix, and it's an exciting time to work here. I'm excited by trying to have more fun with what I'm writing and publishing, and even though I've largely been able to steer my own ship since moving here, there were certain requirements that could eat time and keep me from publishing a lot of the things that I wanted to publish.
PARK CITY - Sundance saw the debut of not one but two films that both fit the broad definition of a "horror film," each with decidedly strong ideas about gender politics, but only one of the two seems to me to be genuinely worthwhile.
Eli Roth has become defined largely by the excesses of his films, and I'm sure that's perfectly fine with him.
Like many life-long gorehounds, when finally given a chance to make his own films, he happily ladled on buckets of blood. What I found interesting about Eli's films is how he seemed to be working one theme repeatedly, constantly exploring the fear that people have of the unknown in the world around them. "Cabin Fever," "Hostel," "Hostel II," and "The Green Inferno" all feature characters leaving their homes, the places where they are comfortable, and heading out to some corner of the world where they are then promptly and completely punished for doing so.
One of the things I have learned is that taking your kids with you to an interview is never a bad move.
This week, Toshi and Allen had a few days off school for parent-teacher conferences, and so when Tuesday morning rolled around, I had an early date with Mila Kunis at the Four Seasons, and they went along with me.
By "date," of course, I mean five minutes of camera time in one of their conference rooms in front of the usual junket crew, all in support of "Jupiter Ascending," the new Wachowskis film that opened today. But when we walked into the room, Mila saw the boys and immediately started having a conversation with them instead of me, and I can't possibly blame her.