Short version: let's see Marvel add some different shades to the Marvel movie universe.
So, basically, it's "CSI: 666."
Makes sense. Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't really do horror films. When you look back at his long and storied career as a producer, you see several recurring things, but horror seems like it's never really been part of his cinematic diet. I guess you could argue that some of the "Pirates" movies have some creepy elements, but those films are ultimately family adventure movies with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in.
So what attracted him to the story of Detective Ralph Sarchie, a real-life NYC officer who gets involved in a case that subjects him to some insane supernatural attention? Hard to tell, but the finished film, directed by Scott Derrickson and adapted from Sarchie's non-fiction book by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, plays like a police procedural first and foremost. It's a dark and grimy film, and while I think it's juggling a whole lot of cliches, there is something genuinely admirable about the way it tells this story and the way it handles the supernatural onscreen.
One of the banes of my existence is imprecise language.
How many stories do you think are generated each week because someone misreads something or because the language in the original piece was confusing? A great example last week was watching people excitedly post the news that you'd be able to see the entire film "Guardians Of The Galaxy" in IMAX on Monday, and that it would be 17 minutes longer than the regular theatrical cut!
HBO can't make everything, damn it.
It's fascinating to me how "Make it a series for HBO!" has become a rallying battle cry for genre nerds everywhere any time there's something that seems hard to figure out as a feature film. And while I'm sure HBO would happily put every single thing ever on the air, that's just not economically possible. They have to choose, and sometimes they don't particularly love having to make those choices because they end up losing material that they would like to make simply because they don't have enough room or time to produce every show.
Michael Lombardo recently expressed excitement about the possibility of doing a "MaddAddam" series with Darren Aronofsky, and in the same interview, he talked about how upsetting it was to lose the rights to "American Gods," which they tried to develop for a while.
For many comedy performers, the ultimate sign of success is being able to create a comedy film that is tailored to their sensibilities, that shows off their strengths as a performer, and that they feel some sense of authorship over, and Melissa McCarthy has more than earned that right. It's not about "Bridesmaids" or "Identity Thief" or any individual performance she's given so far, and it's not about "Mike and Molly" or the fanbase she's built there. It's about a certain degree of inarguability that a performer reaches, and that's where McCarthy is right now.
Along with her husband Ben Falcone, she wrote "Tammy," a road-trip movie that Falcone directed, and if this is the reward she gets for all the hard work that got her to this point, then I'm glad they both got to have the experience. I just wish they'd made a good movie in the process.
Now that Mark Ruffalo's giving lots more interviews about his role in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" and he's talking about the possibility of another solo Hulk movie, there are certain questions that are being repeated and rehashed in a million different ways and places, and watching from the sidelines without comment is becoming impossible for me.
As a result, I may have to delve into spoilers a bit here. I also need to be careful because I visited the London set of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," and anything I saw or learned during that trip is heavily embargoed. So I'll tread lightly, but in order to fully address the rumors that are bouncing around, I'll need to discuss one major event from the final act of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron."
The premise of "Audition" is irresistible as a horror movie set-up. It's not only clever, it also does a tremendous job of commenting on just how casual the misogyny is in many horror films, from concept to execution to the marketing. "Audition," at least in the original Miike film, is about setting those scales right, delivering some magnificent horror to those who have earned it.
One of the words that was used most frequently when describing "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" was "surprise," and with good reason. After all, the previous attempt to bring the long-running science-fiction franchise back to life was a nightmare, a truly terrible film that is a narrative disaster even among the narrative disasters that mark many of Tim Burton's lesser films. It seemed like Fox had limped along trying to get an "Apes" movie made for so long that they were willing to try anything.
Scott Frank came close to getting a film make called "Caesar," and it sounded like he was on the right track. His basic idea started with a Fox-mandated remake of "Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes," but went in a very different direction. His film was designed to be a hard-science story about what might happen if we made the advance in genetic modification that would lead to apes that spoke and thoughts the same way we do, and he researched the state of the art of motion-capture and character animation.
This was around the end of 2008, the start of 2009, and when he moved on, Fox must have remained excited about the basic idea. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver pitched their own origin movie, using alzheimer's research as the jumping-off point, and they ended up writing the film that Rupert Wyatt directed. That film, featuring a performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, wasn't the biggest box-office hit of 2011, but it was a film that was respected and liked and that people were pleasantly delighted by, something that almost always ends up creating more passionate fans. It's one thing when we've all got some pop culture icon jammed down our throats. Even when it's done well, it feels pre-packaged. But when something that we aren't expecting wins us over, we tend to be much more passionate about it.
Legendary Pictures plans to be in the "Pacific Rim" business for a while, and I couldn't be happier to hear it.
In a special YouTube announcement video, director Guillermo Del Toro announced that there will be an animated series set in the world of "Pacific Rim" that will start soon, and that the comic book series set in that world will also continue to be published. More importantly, Del Toro has now set April 7, 2017 as the date for the release of the sequel to the film, which Universal will distribute in the U.S.
"Pacific Rim" is an important overall property for Legendary. It was developed completely in-house, and they own the rights to everything that was created for the film. They managed to make something like $400 million worldwide with it, and the way the film earned money overseas is one of the reasons it's getting a sequel even if it's not perceived domestically as a success. It's also been a merchandising beast, and Legendary knows full well that there is a fanbase they can use as a foundation when trying to develop a sequel.
I am excited to see what happens with this series and Guillermo. I've known him for a long time, and I've never seen him happier than he was when he was shooting the first film or when he got to show it to people. It delights him. The notion of being able to play with a world where there are kaiju and jaegers and the Drift and all of that is already established and now they can just tell stories that are about more than establishing the rules… it's ridiculous how much fun this is. I love that he has the chance now to build off of the ideas he established in the first film. The worst thing in the world is when Guillermo gets excited because he's sure he's going to make a film and then it doesn't happen. His "Hellboy 3" pitch is amazing, and I'm not sure we'll ever get to see it, which is just plain wrong.
I loved the ambition of "Pacific Rim," and I can't wait to see what story they choose to tell this time. The animated show sounds like an opportunity to really show us a bunch of different perspectives on this world, and I hope they get really daring with some of these various spin-offs.
"Crimson Peak," Guillermo's gothic haunted house movie, is in theaters October 16, 2015.
Greg Ellwood assures me that the buzz about Jack Reynor and his work in "MacBeth" later this year is very positive, and I'm glad I got a chance to ask Reynor about it. When I asked him if there was a culture shock that kicked in going from "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" right into Justin Kurzel's film version of "the Scottish play" with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard starring, he got real serious real fast.
He lit up when it was mentioned. "It's a step in my career that I'm incredibly proud of," he said, "and I am… fortunate to be in a position to do something like that… it was an amazing experience, and I worked with people who I have just the height of respect for."
Discussing the insane on-set conditions of making a Michael Bay "Transformers" film, Reynor was all smiles. "Not doing it is not really an option."
Reynor and his co-star Nicola Peltz discussed the practical effects and stunt work that even the primary actors in a Bay film are called on to do. It's a mark of honor to survive one of his sets with all four limbs intact, I'd even say. Bay likes to create a very real environment for these incredibly complicated effects, and part of what makes me laugh in the theater is seeing how huge the scale is this time of some of the practical builds and mechanical rigs and the way they marry things together. The next-level slick that is on display is ridiculous. That's what I can't really get past with Bay. He's diabolical in the way he stages things. He may well be a madman, and if that's true, then the "Transformers" films are even more important as they document his swing into this kind of wild, over-the-top kinetic destruction, played at a volume and a size that's just not possible for anyone else to do.
"There are things that Nicola and I were called on to do that we will never ever do again in our lives," Reynor said, almost wistful about it, even as he laughed at the memory in disbelief.
For the full video interview, watch the embed at the top of this story.
"Transformers: Age Of Extinction" opens everywhere tomorrow.