Listen to Kyle on St. Paul Filmcast

I recently appeared for the second time on St. Paul Filmcast, where I joined Nick Palodichuk as we talked to filmmaker Wes Johnson, writer/composer of several films. I’m embedding the tweet below, and you can find the episode on Podbean and other apps where podcasts can be found.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Sony and Disney Save Spider-Man! Third Film Announced!

Last month, we learned that Disney and Sony had parted ways over the Spider-Man/MCU deal that they had previously reached. As reported, the original deal ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home earlier this year. Talks were taking place to continue that deal, but they ended with the two parting ways.

Now, it’s been reported that indeed a deal has been reached between the two companies to continue with one more installment, for now, to be released July 16, 2021. Part of the new deal is a Spider-Man appearance to be made at a later date (I’m guessing Avengers 5 or some variation of the Avengers series like Young Avengers or something).

This is a save-face move as well as a best possible situation for both companies, which were feeling the burn of fan hatred everywhere. I’m wondering what the number was that was reached, but I doubt we will hear about it. With all that, I’m wondering if that means that Spider-Man will still be appearing in Venom 2 as we all assumed (something that MCU supposedly put an end to), or if that was part of the deal reached.

There’s still a lot to learn about all this, but it is still huge and unexpected news nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this a good move? Wait, of course it is! Let me know anyway.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Jurassic Park Leads Return for Next Installment

I mean, we all knew that was going to happen, right?

It’s been officially confirmed that Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill will be returning in roles – not cameos – but actual character appearances in Jurassic World 3. This next film has been teased as the finale of not just the trilogy but the entire saga. That being said, when your franchise brings in billion-dollar takes, this franchise isn’t ending, and soon, we’ll be seeing Jurassic Galaxy, right?

In all seriousness, the three performers that began this saga are coming back to close out this trilogy, and that’s pretty cool news, right?

I like the opportunity to bridge these two halves of the franchise. Up until now, there’s only been a little bit of cross-cover between the Jurassic Park films and the Jurassic World films, specifically Jeff Goldblum in Fallen Kingdom and BD Wong in the World films. To me, having the main cast of Park and the main cast of World actually come together just sets this film down an interesting trajectory.

That’s not to say that Jurassic World 3 isn’t going to suck. It still might, but I think all the recent news from Jurassic World 3 has been solid, from the new short film to this news of the next installment.

So what do you think? Is this the right call? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

Jurassic World 3 finds a way on June 11, 2021.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Sid Haig Passes at 80

Character actor Sid Haig has passed. The actor, most known for his character Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Family Trilogy. For those who followed Haig, he had recently come across some health problems but rumors were that he was recovering, so this was a big shock for me.

You can see Haig’s final film, 3 From Hell, in select theaters and soon on VOD. I’ve left some of his more prominent work below, so leave a comment with your favorite Sid Haig role.

 

Selected Filmography:

  • THX 1138 (1971)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • The Big Bird Cage (1972)
  • Beware! The Blob (1972)
  • Coffy (1973)
  • Foxy Brown (1974)
  • Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (TV) (1976)
  • Galaxy of Terror (1981)
  • Boris and Natasha (1992)
  • Jackie Brown (1997)
  • House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
  • Kill Bill vol. 2 (2004)
  • The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
  • House of the Dead 2 (2005)
  • Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)
  • Halloween (2007)
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009)
  • The Lords of Salem (2012)
  • Hatchet III (2013)
  • Bone Tomahawk (2015)
  • 3 From Hell (2019)

Rest in Peace, Sid Haig.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Will Smith is Nicky Barnes in The Council

Will Smith, hot off his success with this year’s Aladdin with Gemini Man garnering high praise in its early reactions, has joined the upcoming Netflix film The Council, which will see Smith re-teaming with his Concussion director Peter Landesman. Landesman, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, will focus on the crime syndicate which controlled Harlem in the 70s and 80s. Smith will play crime boss Nicky Barnes.

This is just another solid add for Smith, who will also be seen soon in the animated film Spies in Disguise as well as the anticipated sequel Bad Boys For Life early next year.

Not having seen Concussion, I can’t speak much for the upcoming re-team, but I like the idea of Will Smith taking equal measure fun popcorn movies and serious artful films, and I think especially coming off the zaniness that will likely flourish from Bad Boys For Life, this is a solid move, and one that he’s smart to take. Reviews for generally good from Concussion, and if he enjoyed the work, then all the better.

The question that now gets raised is who else will fill the roles of The Council? There were several members at the top of the organization, and it’ll be interesting to see who joins the project next.

So what do you think? Are you excited by the idea of The Council and is Will Smith the right choice for Nicky Barnes?

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Batman Day] Batman Returns (1992)

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Michael Murphy

Screenplay: Daniel Waters

126 mins. Rated PG-13.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Makeup

 

On this day in which we celebrate the caped crusader, let’s take a look at the strangest, and dare I say, greatest, live-action Batman film, Batman Returns.

It’s Christmastime in Gotham City, and the rich businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken, Catch Me If You Can, Irreplaceable You) is showing his holiday spirit by secretly trying to get a power chemical plant built in the city. When he gets kidnapped by the sinister Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito, Matilda, TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), a man more known by his moniker, the Penguin, Max sees a way for each of them to get what they want as he attempts to get Cobblepot into public office as Gotham’s mayor. It’s during this time that Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton, Birdman, Dumbo) begins looking into Cobblepot’s background and see him as a threat to the city.

There’s a surface-level love for Batman Returns that springs out of the fact that it was my first experience with Batman of any level. I hadn’t read any of the comics when I saw the film, I hadn’t watched the cartoon, I hadn’t seen any of the other films. It was my first and most memorable experience of the caped crusader.

Michael Keaton has always been the actor I’ve most associated with the Batman and Bruce Wayne role, and I think he’s the actor that’s always embodied the conflict of the two roles and the sacrifice that he feels is necessary for him to give to Gotham for its protection. He’s better in this sequel than the previous film because here he’s even more conflicted about his role. He’s put through trials that test his commitment to Batman, most notably through his interactions with Selina Kyle and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray, Avengers: Endgame).

Director Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Beetlejuice) put a lot of himself into this film, more than its predecessor, and it’s especially apparent with the villains. Danny DeVito’s Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman both have some altered history with their origins, and there are liberties taken with a lot of what makes them villains, and part of that is likely from Burton’s very obvious disinterest in comic books. While that can be a death knell for a film, I really like his take here, and I think he is able to juggle multiple villain arcs alongside his hero in a way most superhero films cannot.

There’s another accomplishment to Batman Returns that most reviewers and fans tend to overlook regarding its villains. Returns features a third villain, remarkably made from scratch, in Max Shreck. Yes, he’s just as much a villain in the film as Penguin or Catwoman, perhaps a little less zany, but a villain all the same, made by a terrifically unhinged performance from Christopher Walken. Without Walken, the film may not have worked at all. In fact, I would say that I remembered Shreck more than the other two as a child. He was frightening because he was very real, and the role he plays in both the Penguin’s master plan and Catwoman’s origin makes for an effective creepy character.

After the success of his first Batman film, Tim Burton was able to really explore his version of Gotham City and its inhabitants with his special visual blend of gothic and supernatural influences. This is a very arty Batman film, and that’s mostly due to Burton being at the top of his game here. He’s playing with his cinematography, he’s exploring the sound and music of Gotham, and he’s relishing in a classical costume design within the confines of this world.

Batman Returns is perhaps the most unique of all the Batman films in that it is really experimenting with its tone, look, feel, and world. It’s hard to find a flaw, but if there’s one, it’s that the film does take a little pushing at the beginning to get it moving, and in the modern superhero landscape, some of its zanier elements might seem laughable, but revisiting this film in honor of Batman Day has reminded me of how rich an experience Batman Returns is. I highly recommend a rewatch if it’s been awhile.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Tim Burton’s Batman, click here.

For my review of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, click here.

For my review of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, click here.

For my review of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, click here.

For my review of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, click here.

For my review of Tim Burton’s Dumbo, click here.

[Stephen King Day] The Mangler (1995)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Cast: Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor

Screenplay: Tobe Hooper, Stephen David Brooks, Harry Alan Towers

106 mins. Rated R for gory horror violence and language.

 

I always had a fondness for the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mangler, a strange film about a possessed laundry-folding machine, so I took a chance to revisit the film this year in honor of Stephen King’s birthday. In hindsight, I wish I had kept this one buried in my memory.

The laundry press at Gartley’s Blue Ribbon Laundry service has been acting funky. First of all, a woman named Sherry, niece to owner Bill Gartley (Robert Englund, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nightworld: Door of Hell), cuts her finger on a lever, and later that same day, the machine goes haywire and traps Mrs. Frawley, an older worker, in its safety shield, dragging her through the machine, crushing her body in the process. John Hunton (Ted Levine, The Silence of the Lambs, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and his brother-in-law Mark (Daniel Matmor, Hit It, A Dark Truth) are on the case, investigating the accident, but what they discover is more horrifying than any normal work-related problem. The laundry press is possessed by a demon, and it’s out for more blood.

The Mangler is not a good movie, and at 106 minutes, it’s quite a slog of a movie. This was one difficult sit-through that I did not remember or expect. I recall more recently reading the short story from King, and the added mythology and plot in this adaptation don’t add much of merit to the film. In fact, having really liked King’s story, which, like so many, offered an EC comics or Twilight Zone-style to them, would have made a great movie in the right hands, but it seems now that Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) was not the right person for this job. There’s so many strange changes made to the story that benefit neither the adaptation nor the overall feeling and tone of the movie.

Robert Englund is horribly miscast, appearing almost like a version of Freddy Krueger that had survived to old age. He brings a nose-twisting grossness and annoyance to Gartley, but then you have Levine, who struggles with some of the more cringe-worthy dialogue here (he starts swearing at a possessed ice box as one point in an absurdly laughable moment taking itself too seriously).

There are several times in the film that something interesting comes up, and it almost seems that Hooper is righting the ship, only for it to devolve into a wholly unlikable mess. I really liked the setting mostly being placed at the Blue Ribbon Laundry, and I think the setting is hyper-unclean in a way that I would have been able to believe. I really like the production design and the overall look of the laundry press. I even kind of the dug the finale, though it has aged very poorly, but even after all that, the film sort of limbers on past the point of my minor enjoyment.

The Mangler was advertised as the product of King, Hooper, and Englund, three horror geniuses, but I doubt anyone involved in this film would have been happy to have their name associated in such a way, especially King, who wrote a solid if somewhat absurd short story but had no hand in the film. This is one of those adaptations I would caution even King fans to shy away from. You have better things to be doing…like the laundry, for example.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive, click here.

For my review of Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot, click here.

For my review of Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, click here.

For my review of Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter’s Body Bags, click here.

[Early Review] Ad Astra (2019)

Director: James Gray

Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Live Tyler, Donald Sutherland

Screenplay: James Gray, Ethan Gross

122 mins. Rated PG-13 for some violence and bloody images, and for brief strong language.

 

I’m assuming Brad Pitt (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, World War Z) saw his Ocean’s Eleven costars George Clooney and Matt Damon receive acclaim for making a space movie, and he got incredibly jealous. Well, be jealous no more Brad. The balls in your court now, Julia Roberts.

Ad Astra is the story of Roy McBride (Pitt), astronaut and son to the famous H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive, Just Getting Started), who disappeared on a secretive interstellar expedition some 30 years ago. Now, in the near future, Earth has been ravaged by a series of power surges believed to be caused by Cliff’s secret experiment, The Lima Project. Roy has been tasked with traveling to Mars to deliver a message to space, hopefully reaching his possibly still living father, in order to put an end to the power surges before they threaten the entire solar system.

I admire the idea of taking Heart of Darkness and moving it into the sci-fi genre. It worked so well as a war film when Francis Ford Coppola turned it into Apocalypse Now. The problem for me came out of an unimpressive shell for this film. I don’t think we got enough insight into The Lima Project or The Surge or many of the science fiction elements that would have enriched this telling of the classic story. The film kept being marketed as the closest thing to actual space travel, but then I kept getting hung up on the sound work every time there was an explosion. The film looked gorgeous, but my investment was wavering throughout.

Brad Pitt is incredible as Roy, giving a subtle but impressive performance as a man who hasn’t taken much care in his world as he sinks himself into his work, ignoring all outside relationships and distractions. The whole film is carried by Pitt as no other character is given much screen time to match him. In fact, Pitt’s performance is so internalized that he doesn’t even look like he’s acting at all. I liken his work here to another space film from last year, First Man with Ryan Gosling. Comparing this subtle work to Pitt’s other major film this year, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, just goes to show that this is an actor who really can do it all.

There’s a lot to really love about Ad Astra. I think, from a technical view, everything is seemingly executed quite well, but I just wasn’t drawn in by the story in the way I wanted to. It’s magnificently shot and the score is impactful and deep. The effects were strong, but the story just didn’t take me. Still, I would recommend you checking it out if you’re a fan of sci-fi, as this contemplative opera showcases another incredible performance from Brad Pitt.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Is The Office Getting a Reboot?

Peacock, perhaps the silliest name of an official studio streaming service, is considering a reboot of The Office as a distinct possibility for their upcoming slate.

Not much is known out of this idea, and the question has to be raised: will we see any returning faces? A good number of the main cast of The Office has been moving onto bigger things, but could we see some of the secondary members of Dunder Mifflin back on screens?

I’m not saying that this is a bad idea for the studio. People love The Office. It’s likely the most-watched property ever on Netflix (though we’ll likely never know for sure because Netflix won’t tell), and even through the generally mixed reaction of the final two seasons, the show kept its numbers up.

More than anything, I’m going to be a little selfish and just think about what I want, and I’m concerned that a reboot might sully the good name of the property for me. For me, I find that the series finale to The Office is one of the best series finales in television history, and why consider going back to the well on that?

Oh, that’s right, money. I get it.

So what do you think? Should The Office get the old reboot treatment, and how do you think it should be handled if it is? Let me know/Drop a comment down below.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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