REEL NEWS: JUNE 22ND-JUNE 29TH
This week; a Game of Thrones book update, Hollywood continues to respond to Black Lives Matter, The 90s Nostalgia Age is about to begin, Hollywood have been served (lawsuits) and Margot Robbie is off to plunder for treasure.
Michael Keaton is in early talks to appear as Batman in the upcoming The Flash movie, according to ‘The Hollywood Reporter’.
This may not be Keaton playing an older version of the Ben Affleck or Robert Pattinson Batmen, but of his Batman who exists in the DC Multiverse.
‘The Hollywood Reporter’ also mentions the rumour that Keaton is signing on for more than just The Flash, but other DC properties with a role akin to Nick Fury in the MCU.
While still early days, this announcement gives an indication as to the direction of not only the Flash solo film, but the course correction of the DC film universe.
It has long been rumoured that The Flash will adapt the pivotal Flashpoint storyline from the comics, which saw Barry Allen/Flash alter reality after he prevents his mother’s death.
Since the DC films received disappointing reviews and box office earnings, the online discourse has been that The Flash film will provide a soft reboot to the universe.
Keaton’s potential casting, all but confirms that Andy Muschietti, director of It, will adapt Flashpoint with Ezra Miller still attached.
Crash Bandicoot 4
The mentally unhinged marsupial is spinning into a new game.
Crash returns to fight his nemesis and creator, Dr Neo Cortex who has been stuck in the past all this time in Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
The trailer reveals varied level settings such as the classic jungle as well as new ones including a sprawling metropolis and an Asian mythology inspired world.
The game also has a new mask powers including time and gravity manipulation, and Crash, Dr Cortex and Crash’s sister Coco are playable characters.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is not technically the 4th instalment of the franchise, but the 4th from original series developers Naughty Dog.
The original Naughty Dog trilogy of games was remastered in 2017, with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled remastered in 2019.
With the remastered games, as well as the Spyro remaster and the reboot of Ratchet & Clank, the 90s nostalgia age will soon begin.
If the return of the 90s wasn’t clear enough, buy Crash 4 digitally and you can get the (sigh) ‘Totally Tubular’ skins for Crash and Coco.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 2nd.
Joel Schumacher RIP
Visionary director Joel Schumacher has died aged 80 after battling cancer for over a year.
The costume designer-turned-director is famous for directing cult classics like the homo-erotic vampire film The Lost Boys and infamous for directing Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
He helped launch the careers of actors like Rob Lowe, Demi Moore and Matthew McConaughey, who thanked the late director for giving him his first leading role in A Time to Kill.
In a statement to Variety, McConaughey said, “Joel not only took a chance on me, he fought for me…I don’t see how my career could have gone to the wonderful places it has if it wasn’t for Joel believing in me back then”.
Other collaborates with Schumacher also praised the director, including Seal who sung ‘Kiss From a Rose’ for Batman Forever or Kiefer Sutherland who starred in The Lost Boys.
Schumacher was undeniably a visually striking director who clearly made a film his own lavish way, while also being an openly gay man in the height of the AIDS crisis and a close-minded Hollywood.
In response to the negative reactions to Batman and Robin, Schumacher responded in a mature and poignant way.
“If you love a movie, there are hundreds of people who made it loveable for you. If you don’t like it, blame the director. That’s what our name’s there for”
Joel Schumacher (1939-2020)
The Broken Hearts Gallery Trailer
The first trailer for the first major studio release since the lockdown has been released.
The Broken Hearts Gallery has the honour of welcoming people back to theatres, now a full month before Christoper Nolan’s Tenet, but more on that later.
The film follows Lucy, who has a habit of keeping mementos from previous relationships, and when she discovers others follow her habit, capitalises on it and creates a gallery around it.
From executive producer Selena Gomez (of all people), and Sony Pictures, the film stars Geraldine Viswanathan (Miracle Workers), Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation) and Molly Gordon (Booksmart).
Perhaps what the world needs right now is a rom-com with a woman of colour as the lead, and a female director and writer.
Marvel’s Avengers War Table
Marvel’s Avengers is still a thing.
Square Enix held a livestream, or ‘War Table’ for their upcoming Avengers game and revealed story details, campaign levels, gameplay, multiplayer aspects and customisation.
In a story trailer shown during the ‘War Table’, it was revealed that Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, a.k.a M.O.D.O.K will be the major antagonist, with villains like Abomination seen as well.
Kamala Khan a.k.a Ms. Marvel will be a playable character as she works to unite the broken Avengers who are blamed for infecting San Francisco with the alien Terrigen mist, and the death of Captain America.
Gameplay-wise, the combat is your basic light/heavy/combo/special style with single player Hero Missions and 4-player Multiplayer levels, all part of the larger campaign.
They also showed off the variety of cosmetic outfits for the heroes and upgrades for gears, skills and perks which are sure to be either unlocked through 40 hours of gameplay or, everyone’s favourite, micro transactions.
The more of this game is revealed, the more it looks like the next Destiny or Anthem crossed with Star Wars: Battlefront II.
An online heavy game that will most likely crash Day One that is riddled with game breaking microtransactions. But hey, you get to play as Thor!
Boots Riley’s Next Project
Rapper/Producer/Screenwriter/Director/Activist Boots Riley has a new project in the works.
I’m A Virgo will be a TV series starring Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us) as a 13-foot tall man living in Oakland.
“It’ll be dark, absurd, hilarious, and important” the Sorry to Bother You director tweeted.
The series will be on a streaming service, although no service has been named.
Given Riley’s political activism, and his previous film, Sorry to Bother You’s, analysis of capitalism and race, expect something thought provoking and challenging from this.
The Winds of Winter Progress
Winter is Coming. Sllllloooooooowwwwwwwllllllllllly.
George R. R. Martin has given an update to the long-awaited next instalment in the Song of Ice and Fire book saga.
Martin sites COVID-19 for forcing him to isolate himself in a cabin in the mountains and start working on more chapters on the 6th book in the Game of Thrones book series, The Winds of Winter.
On his blog post, Martin wrote, “I am spending long hours every day on The Winds of Winter, and making steady progress…It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go”.
The last book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, was released in 2011 before Martin dedicated his time between the hit HBO show and various conventions around the world.
In the blog post, Martin admitted his feelings about not travelling to New Zealand for a convention and said, “I can always visit Wellington next year, when I hope that both COVID-19 and The Winds of Winter will be done”
Well at least something good might come from all of this.
B99 Episodes Have Been Scrapped
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Season 8 might be coming out a bit later than expected, after the showrunner has decided to start from scratch.
According to Terry Crews, who plays Lieutenant Terry Jefferson on the show, showrunner Dan Goor has discarded the four full episode scripts he has written.
Crews said in an interview with Access, “We have an opportunity here and we plan to use it in the best, best way possible.”
The show has tackled issues like racial profiling and police corruption before, but never with such disdain for the system of policing.
With COVID and now Black Lives Matter, this season of B99 is set to be one of the most topical and tough seasons to confront.
Multiple upcoming major Hollywood productions have been hit with lawsuits regarding intellectual property and contract rights.
The first is the Will Smith-starring King Richard biopic based on the life of Serena and Venus Williams’ coach and father, Richard Williams.
The lawsuit comes from TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multi Media, who accuse the filmmakers of “cold calculating misappropriation and interference with Plaintiff’s intellectual property” in the suit.
They accuse the filmmakers of Breach of Contract and Breach of Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, among other breaches.
TW3 Entertainment and Power Move were sold the rights to Richard William’s book 3 years ago for $10,000 by William’s son Chavoita Lesane.
Lesane was also involved with any film rights related to the book that the companies would earn a cut of.
In the suit, TW3 and Power argue that their “good faith and contractually protected efforts to bring an amazing story into visual art form were met with Defendant’s greed and disregard for Plaintiff’s existing rights”.
They filed this suit at Warner Bros, Will Smith’s production company and even Richard Williams himself.
King Richard is currently on hiatus from production and set to be released in 2021.
The second lawsuit relates to Netflix’s Enola Holmes and the Conan Doyle estate.
The estate is suing Netflix and the book series publishers and author, Penguin Publishing House and Nancy Springer over copyright infringement.
The basis of the lawsuit comes from the estate’s claim that the depiction of Sherlock Holmes in the book, and potentially the film, is one closer to the only copyright protected Conan Doyle Holmes’ stories.
The last 10 Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are owned by the estate, and show Holmes as a ‘warmer character’ than previously.
This was due to Conan Doyle losing both his son and brother during World War 1 and wanting to write a more optimistic and considerate character than the cold-hearted sleuth was before.
The estate also sued the makers of the 2015 film Mr. Holmes, which starred Sir Ian McKellen as an aged detective, on similar grounds.
Coincidentally, the first images of the Netflix film were released and show the Holmes siblings and the titular, teenage detective pulling a Fleabag-style look.
Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola, Henry Cavil as Sherlock and Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes with Helena Bonham Carter not pictured, but playing the matriarch, Mrs. Holmes.
Enola Holmes is set to be released sometime September.
The disaster film is making a comeback as the world experiences 4 different disaster films at once.
The 90s blustering disaster film, Twister is being remade from Universal.
Joseph Kosinski, director of TRON: Legacy and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick, is attached to direct.
The original starred the late Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as recently divorced storm chasers that have a breakthrough device to track twisters.
No word on the story or who is writing or a release date.
Release Date Shuffle
Another week, another film release date shuffle.
This time, Nolan’s Tenet has been struck again with another 2-week delay, pushing the film’s release date to August 12th.
This comes after being pushed from July 17th to July 31st recently.
As a result, Disney have followed suit and have pushed the release date of Mulan from July 24th to August 21st.
Also, Bill & Ted Face The Music was moved to August 28th from August 14th, to avoid clashing with Tenet’s release.
As the America continually fails to keep infection rates down, and sit on the precipice of a second wave, this may not be the last push back for either film.
Splash Mountain Redesigned
With the ongoing Black Lives Matters protests, Disney have finally acknowledged the problematic elements of the Splash Mountain ride.
Located in Disney Land, World and Tokyo, the ride will no longer be associated with the offensive 1946 film Song of the South, which romanticises the plantation fields worked by African-American slaves.
Characters from the film, including the Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox appear in the ride, but the ride does not explicitly mention the film they are from.
Now, the Disney Imagineers who design the theme parks and rides will redesign the ride into a The Princess and the Frog theme ride.
In the announcement, “The new concept is inclusive-one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by…”
Fitting, as the New Orleans part of Disney Land is located next to the ride and is the setting for the 2009 animated film.
It is unclear whether the Imagineers will just redesign the ride or completely overhaul the entire attraction.
Magic School Bus Live Action Movie
90s educational book series and animated show, The Magic School Bus is getting a live action adaptation.
Elizabeth Banks (Charlies Angel’s) has been cast as the manic and negligent teach Ms. Frizzle, who takes her class on wild and informative trips.
Not just any trips as, with her wonderous educational transportation, Frizzle can take her students inside the human body or to the Moon.
The movie is being developed by Scholastic Entertainment and Universal Pictures, with no director attached.
Scholastic Entertainment recently helped produce the Jack Black starring Goosebumps films and an upcoming Clifford the Big Red Dog due out in November from Paramount.
Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange 2
Little is known about Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, but now the villain, or one of, has been revealed.
Chiwetel Ejiofor confirmed that he will return as Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange 2, in an interview with Screen Rant.
Ejiofor said, “We’re hoping to start pretty soon is what I can tell you…I can’t wait”.
Mordo was last seen announcing his mission to remove all magic from the universe after walking away from the Mystic Arts and feeling betrayed by the Ancient One.
Mordo may play the major villain of the film, but with the multi-dimensional title, there might be a more powerful and threatening villain for Strange to encounter on his deranged journey.
Netflix have revealed a behind-the-scenes featurette of their adaptation of the video game Cuphead, The Cuphead Show.
The Cuphead Show, based on the game, has a nostalgic animation style to it much like the game.
Cuphead, the game, follows Cuphead and his brother Mugman on their journey to repay their debt to The Devil, but there is no word on The Show’s story.
Cuphead is a 2D side scroller that is hand animated and evokes the Fleischer brother’s style of animation from the 1930s and 40s, with film grain included.
The brief look is a gorgeous throwback to that era with classic Looney Tunes episodes and hijinks.
Margot Robbie Pirates of the Caribbean Reboot
Margot Robbie is setting sail for the Caribbean in a new Pirates of the Caribbean reboot.
Robbie is partnering up again with Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson for a female-lead entry of the Disney adventure franchise, The Hollywood Reporter exclusively revealed.
Disney is already developing a Pirates reboot with franchise writer Ted Elliott and Chernobyl and The Last of Us series writer Craig Mazin.
This female focused version will be a separate reboot to that version, as Disney attempt to reclaim the financial glory of one of their most successful franchises.
Across five films, the Pirates franchise has earned over $4.5 billion globally, with the last entry, Dead Men Tell No Tales, coming in with the second lowest earnings ($795 million) and the worst reviews (30% average on Rotten Tomatoes).
In all honesty, the least Johnny Depp there is, the better.
The Boys Season 2 Trailer & Premiere
The Boys are back in town. Sorry I couldn’t resist.
The superhero satire Amazon series The Boys has a first look clip for Season 2.
The clip shows psychotic Superman, Homelander and Queen Maeve filming an Army recruitment kind of video before being interrupted by the newest member of The Seven, Stormfront.
Amazon also revealed the premiere date and release schedule of the series with the first three episodes dropping September 4th, then all episodes released weekly.
The first season was dumped online in one hit, so this new release model might indicate Amazon’s consideration of the show as more prestigious than the disposable release model favoured by Netflix.
The first season was a sharp, brilliantly satirical take on not just the superhero film genre, but the comic book industry, patriotism, religion and heroism.
Hopefully the second series maintains the same bloody and quick-witted level of quality.
Say it with me now: BLACKFACE IS NOT COMEDY AND WHITE VOICE ACTORS SHOULDN’T VOICE NON-WHITE CHARACTERS
Finally, it’s good to know that mass, life-risking protests is what it takes for Hollywood to realise that maybe they should be actually inclusive of non-white actors.
Many white voice-actors have decided to “promptly” and “selflessly” step away from voicing characters of colour and making way for actual people of colour to play them.
It’s not as if they should have thought of this before they signed on to the roles and been considerate of the industry bias and lack of representation, but hey at least they are trying. For some about 30 years too late, but sure.
So, let’s go down the list:
Jenny Slate will stop playing mixed-race character Missy on Netflix sex comedy Big Mouth
“Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions” Slate wrote on an Instagram post.
Kristen Bell will not voice Molly on the AppleTV+ animated show who is biracial.
“Kristen will continue to be a part of the show in a new roel but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly” a statement from the producers said.
Mike Henry has left the role of Cleveland Brown on Family Guy and The Cleveland Show.
Henry tweeted, “I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour”
Alison Brie also reflected on her choice to play Vietnamese-American character, Diane Nguyen on Bojack Horseman.
“I now understand that people of colour should always voice people of colour” Brie wrote on Instagram.
The biggest reaction was from The Simpsons producers which vowed to change its casting attitudes.
“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white actors” the statement said.
This is certainly a change of tone from when the producers responded to the documentary The Problem with Apu by essentially telling their audience to stop whining and shrugging their shoulders at the problem.
Now to address the blackface in the room. And Jesus Christ is there a lot of it.
In the pursuit of “comedy”, many sitcom creators figured that the funniest thing around was smothering shoe polish on their face. Comedy gold.
Again, there is a shocking amount of shows that have only now taken the “initiative” to remove these “jokes” from the series.
Community, 30 Rock, Scrubs, The Golden Girls and The Office all had either episodes removed entirely from streaming services or had the scenes in question edited out.
The fact there is an appropriate response as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement is a sign of the glacial change that will occur over the next who-knows-how-long.
Yet, it still took thousands of innocent black deaths and millions of people publicly protesting and risking their health for people to take notice.