FILM BITES is a weekly update on the most notable updates in the world of film and pop culture.
Fantastic Four Teaser Premieres (Finally)
There it is. Finally, a trailer in all its glory and its . . . well, we’re not sure exactly what it is still. Far from confirming any specific thing about the film, it reinforced that it will be an incredibly stripped-down affair, thankfully devoid of the found-footage concept that defined director Josh Trank’s last film, Chronicle.
As a matter of fact, it looks like Trank flat-out Chronicle-d the Fantastic Four. I can see a scenario where Trank’s hypothetically R-rated sequel to his hit debut was flat-out turned out and Trank took the Fantastic Four as an elaborate “fuck you.” As long as it results in a film as worthwhile as Chronicle but on a franchise scale that only a big budget can provide, I’m OK with this spiritual successor. Color me further intrigued.
Mission: Impossible 5 Celebrates Christmas in July
Paramount’s game of release-date-chicken with Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended this week, with the casualty being Mission: Impossible – moving forward a full 5 months from Christmas to a July 31 release.
There’s really nothing to do hear but congratulate ourselves on a job well-done as a species.
I am an unabashed Tom Cruise fan (his antics be damned) and he consistently turns out entertaining action films at a decent clip for a 52-year-old (Edge of Tomorrow was an instant classic for me). Cruise has long-time collaborator Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher) behind the camera and one of my absolute favorite actors, Jeremy Renner, as backup. It’d be a shame to have the goodwill built up on the last film, Ghost Protocol, wasted (and I have a sneaking suspicion producers would like to exceed the franchise-best $700 million gross too).
Good news for those who like equality and diversity in film: Paul Feig’s (Bridesmaids) pipe dream of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot shockingly become reality. Feig announced on Twitter that he has reunited his Bridesmaids’ co-stars Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy and recruited SNL favorites Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon to round out the new Ghostbusters team.
Why is this important? Well, previously Hollywood was known for treating women as expensive decorations than human beings who desired representation in culture. Now, diversity for the sake of it can be heavy-handed and distracting when handled wrong. It can’t be superficial; it needs to permeate a work, just like it permeates the lives of those affected by institutionalized racism, sexism, or classism.
Look at it this way, with outrage over the lack of nominations for Selma, with the roaring success of FOX’s hip hop drama Empire, with the domination of The Hunger Games, there is obviously a very big itch to be scratched among under-represented minorities that frequently go to the movies for the same reason we all go to the movies – to be transported to another reality for a brief period. They want protagonists they can identify with, not one they have to conform to. Diversity isn’t only healthy; it’s a good business decision.
A New Indiana Jones?
This one sounds so pie in the sky, as it seems that everyone and their grandma wants Chris Pratt’s brand of roguish, everyman charm and blue-collar vulnerability. Now rumor has is Disney wants a slice of Pratt to rejuvenate the Indiana Jones franchise.
First off, would Pratt even want to be Indiana Jones? Those are some huge shoes to fill and the last film left a horrible taste in most mouths regarding the franchise. Would, or rather could, Pratt help reinvigorate the franchise for new-owner Disney? He could . . .
But he’s a member of the Marvel universe (and their long-term contracts) as Star-Lord and beginning a sure-to-be franchise role in the upcoming Jurassic World. Three franchises is a lot to juggle and increases the likelihood of one of them just plain sucking (I love you, Jeremy Renner, but it’s true). Pratt doesn’t need Indiana Jones, not at least until they have a director and writer who can breathe life into the character first.
X-Men on the Big and Small Screen
Now that Marvel broke the seal on cross-media superhero universes, everyone is attempting to manufacture the magic. Warner Bros. is going for the multiverse approach, which is basically a lazy excuse to not attempt any cohesion when adapting their properties (ironically, D.C. comics ran into this same problem before resetting the timeline into a singular one on the infamous crossover Crises on Infinite Earths . . . which then promptly collapsed.)
In FOX’s case, it is in preliminary negotiations for an “X-Men” TV show while Bryan Singer announced on Twitter the actor and actresses playing the young versions of iconic OG X-Men, Tye Sheridan (Mud) as Cyclops, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as Jean Grey, and Alexandria Shipp (Aayilah) as Storm. Implicitly, it’s likely these will become our protagonists as McAvoy and Fassbender’s reign as Professor X and Magneto appears to be concluding in 2016.
Without a central creative brain trust and a true visionary at top, like Marvel has in Kevin Feige and their stable of writers and directors, each other studio is left flailing (especially Sony as it continues to stick its smelly dick in the mouth of the Spider-Man property at every opportunity). My optimism for quality content from FOX and Warner Bros. with their DC properties is, shall we say, nonexistent. As always, I’m open to suggestion