Ennio Morricone Dead at 91

It’s a sad day for the world of cinema. Ennio Morricone, perhaps the most prolific and respected¬† composer in the world of film, has died at 91.

Morricone scored over 400 films along with many television projects and short films, and yet he went without Academy Awards wins until late in his life, finally winning for The Hateful Eight. He was nominated several times for the films Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy, and Malena.

I’m going to cover some of my favorite work from Morricone and then drop a selected filmography.

The Man With No Name Trilogy: Morricone essentially created the musical style of Spaghetti Westerns with his work on this trilogy, and his score is practically as iconic as Clint Eastwood’s lead character.

Exorcist II: The Heretic: Say what you will about this truly awful film, but Morricone’s score is still pretty damn good.

The Thing: John Carpenter’s classic isolation horror tale is made all the more claustrophobic by the chilling Morricone score that layers the film in a blanket of paranoia almost as thick as the snow on the ground.

Once Upon a Time in America: Keep making new longer cuts of this movie so that we can get more Ennio Morricone music in this movie. It’s extended cut is a staggering journal of life in old America and the score showcases a new side to Morricone’s skillset, and it reunited him with Sergio Leone.

The Untouchables: This feels like Morricone at his most bombastic and heroic. He enhanced the heroes and villains quite nicely and makes an iconic cop film even more unforgettable in the process.

The Hateful Eight: I love The Hateful Eight, and I love the score for The Hateful Eight. The movie could’ve flat-out failed, but Morricone’s music blended so well with Tarantino’s dialogue. It’s a truly special pairing.

Rest in Peace, Ennio Morricone.

Selected Filmography:

  • A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
  • For a Few Dollars More (1965)
  • The Battle of Algiers (1966)
  • The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
  • The Invisible Woman (1969)
  • Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)
  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
  • The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)
  • The Canterbury Tales (1972)
  • Arabian Nights (1974)
  • 1900 (1976)
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
  • Orca (1977)
  • Days of Heaven (1978)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
  • Red Sonja (1985)
  • The Mission¬† (1986)
  • The Untouchables (1987)
  • Cinema Paradiso (1988)
  • Hamlet (1990)
  • Bugsy (1991)
  • In the Line of Fire (1993)
  • Wolf (1994)
  • Disclosure (1994)
  • U Turn (1997)
  • Lolita (1997)
  • Bulworth (1998)
  • The Legend of 1900 (1998)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1998)
  • Mission to Mars (2000)
  • Ripley’s Game (2002)
  • The Hateful Eight (2015)

 

Do you have a favorite Ennio Morricone score? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

-Kyle A. Goethe

[IndyPendence Day] Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Ke Huy Quan

Screenplay: William Huyck, Gloria Katz

118 mins. Rated PG.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Music, Original Score

 

Happy IndyPendence Day! Let’s celebrate with the prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, set one year prior. Yes, I’m talking about Temple of Doom, probably the darkest film in the Indiana Jones saga.

The year is 1935, and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, The Call of the Wild) has found himself stranded in India with his sidekick, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan, The Goonies, Second Time Around), and a nightclub singer named Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw, Black Rain, Due East). Now, in order to get home, Indy has agreed to retrieve a sacred stone for some local villagers from the walls of Pankot Palace. What Indy doesn’t expect, though, is that his journey will lead him into a deeper darkness than he has seen before, and there’s a lot more insidious work being done at Pankot Palace.

The decision to make Temple of Doom into a prequel instead of a follow-up is due to a rather silly reason. George Lucas did not want the Nazis to be the main focus off the film, which is notable, but the film didn’t need to be a prequel to forgo the Nazis, but it matters not as most of this franchise does not rely on previous knowledge. Temple of Doom does break the mold and go in a wildly different direction than its predecessor. For example, Indy is not hired for this mission and merely falls, quite literally, into it. The entire story is set after a botched mission, and it’s nice to see Indy kind of out of his element. He’s always capable of thinking on his feet, but the task required of him this time around does not allow himself to plan or plot to complete it.

That doesn’t mean that this Indy adventure is without its faults. I find that the film meanders quite a bit in its search to find footing for its story. While it contains my two favorite sequences in the entire franchise (the opening in Club Obi-Wan and the mine cart chase), the rest of the film is more forgettable outside of the big ritual scene. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine the film has a two-hour run time if you haven’t seen it in a while because so much of that first half of the film is dedicated to exposition and nonsense.

Having Short Round as Indy’s sidekick in this film elevates it so much because of how we see Indy through him. The two performers have such great chemistry that all of their scenes have a sense of fun amidst all the horrors. It’s amazing that Ke Huy Quan wasn’t even trying to audition for the role but instead was providing moral support for his brother who was auditioning. He was picked out and put into a room to do a scene with Ford that ended up getting him the role that hundreds were passed over for. It does add the question of whatever happened to the character as he doesn’t appear in Raiders despite it taking place only a year later.

On the other hand, new character Willie is, I’m sorry to say, absolutely awful. Kate Capshaw has nothing to do in this movie that’s worth a damn and the film would be so much better without her. I’ll agree with Capshaw’s quoted description of Willie as “not much more than a dub screaming blonde.” In fact, the only notable accomplishment that Willie does in the film is scream 71 times in two hours.

As I said above, Temple of Doom, for all its faults, contains the two best scenes of the franchise, most notable the mine cart scene. It’s one of the best action set pieces in any film ever. That’s where the film truly wins; it has some of the coolest visuals of the franchise. The ritual chamber is epic in scope, the Pankot Palace scenes are elegant and magical, and even the opening in Club Obi-Wan is elaborate and intense, an unforgettable way to open a movie.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the weakest film in the original Indy trilogy of the 1980s but it has elements that make it stand out as truly unique. Ford gets to flex some new acting muscles here and his dynamic with Short Round is wonderful. There are things, however, that don’t work, most notably Willie Scott, the weakest Indy love interest by a stretch. Still, though, there’s enough here to warrant a watch and a rewatch.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, click here.

For my review of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, click here.

For my review of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, click here.

For my review of Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, click here.

For my review of Steven Spielberg’s The Post, click here.

Pirates of the Caribbean Goes Sparrow-less, Margot Robbie to Lead New Film

Jack Sparrow is out, Harley Quinn is in.

Margot Robbie, recent star of Birds of Prey and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, is set to lead a new take on Pirates of the Caribbean, which may or may not be a spin-off, with Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson penning the screenplay.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Disney is very invested in the Pirates of the Caribbean IP and franchise, and they are also still developing a spin-off that was announced last year being worked on by Ted Elliot and Craig Mazin. The most notable absence from both of these announced projects is Johnny Depp, who became famous for Jack Sparrow, who appeared in all 5 Pirates films thus far.

So what does this mean? Right now, who knows? It seems like Disney wants to turn Pirates of the Caribbean into a cinematic universe where they can create unique and original stories set within the very-defined world of the Pirates of the Caribbean world, and I’m all for it. I only request that they actually develop the universe with the parameters that have been defined by the previous films. They don’t need to directly connect, they just need to exist in the world. I’m so sick of franchises just starting over when they run into trouble.

So there are two independent Pirates of the Caribbean films on the way, one of them starring Margot Robbie. Are you excited for Pirates of the Caribbean to continue with Margot Robbie in the lead? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Father’s Day] Father of the Bride (1991)

Director: Charles Shyer

Cast: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams

Screenplay: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer

105 mins. Rated PG.

 

It’s Father’s Day, and while I am not a father (to my knowledge), I figured now would be a great time to watch a good Father’s Day movie.

George Banks (Steve Martin, Roxanne, Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk) is dealing with the worst situation of his entire life: his 22-year-old daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams, The Christmas Chronicles, TV’s According to Jim) is getting married to a man he’s never met. As the impending date of the nuptials nears, George’s sanity gets closer and closer to shattering.

The central relationships in the Banks family are the strongest element of the film, specifically between George and Annie. I could genuinely believe that they were father and daughter. George doesn’t hate the idea of her marrying, but he’s terrified of losing his daughter. He wants to be a father for just a little longer. I really enjoyed both of them, and I enjoyed Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, Poms) as George’s wife, Nina, who is so easily won over by Annie’s fiance.

George gets into some pretty frustratingly fun interactions early on in the film, like meeting the in-laws in their lavish home. I would have liked more of these situations because as the film moves along, they lose these moments. In that way, it also lost me a little.

For all the love I have for the central family dynamic, I was unimpressed with Martin Short (The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Addams Family) as Franck Eggelhoffer, the comedic wedding planner who is so unintelligible that he grew old rather quickly. I started out really enjoying his character, and it didn’t work after a while. The filmmakers just leaned so heavily into Eggelhoffer as a supporting character.

Father of the Bride has some really entertaining characters and comedic set pieces. The problem is that it just doesn’t have enough of them to keep the film in that upper tier of Steve Martin comedies. The movie has plenty of heart, though, and that keeps the emotional core strong enough to entertain enough. I still recommend the film but I wish it were stronger.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Dune Not Expected to Be Delayed?

We still have half a year until Denis Villeneuve’s epic adaptation of Dune, but in the world of COVID-19, nothing is off limits. Some films that should have been released by now won’t be seen by audiences until 2021. With all that, it seems like Dune‘s place in the holiday season of 2020 is not expected to change.

This August, Dune is expected to get some planned reshoots. Of course, reshoots are not out of the ordinary, and with that report, Dune is still expected to hit the release date. Now, this is all contingent on COVID-19 and a potential flare-up in cases, but as of now, that is the only things standing in Dune‘s way.

The film is rumored to have footage in front of the Inception anniversary screenings coming on July 17, but there’s been no real confirmation on that.

I’m so happy to hear that Dune isn’t expecting a delay. I get the feeling that every film that gets delayed will carry a stigma, completely out of its hands, and I think Dune needs as many good vibes as it can get.

Don’t get me wrong! I expect Dune to be brilliant. Everything I’ve seen from Villeneuve has been exemplary, and Dune‘s one of my most anticipated of the year (I’m planning on slaying through the novel this fall in eager anticipation), but this film already carries some baggage related to the divisive nature of the previous adaptations, a failed Alejandro Jodorowsky film, and the supposedly unfilmable nature of the novel, but in the climate of a post-Game of Thrones pop culture landscape, Dune has a real chance. It’s just the question of whether film-goers will turn up for it. Villeneuve’s last big budget sci-fi film, Blade Runner 2049, underperformed even though it is incredible.

This is a film to keep watching out for, and I cannot wait to see the first trailer.

So what do you think? Are you excited for Dune? Do you think it will hit its release date? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

Dune is still, as of now, expected to arrive on December 18.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Warner Bros. Teases Major Film Announcements

There’s been a lot of projects being moved around right now as the impacts of the Coronavirus are felt throughout the industry. With all that, though, new projects are still being green-lit, or in this case, teased.

Warner Bros. has been using their social media platforms to tease announcements related to several major IPs. Specifically, their Instagram has hinted at important September announcements for The Goonies, Beetlejuice, and Sherlock Holmes (the Guy Ritchie films).

For The Goonies and Beetlejuice, several commentators online have deduced that the most likely connection is not sequels or remakes but 4k gift sets, both of which are scheduled to street date in September.

So what’s the deal with Sherlock Holmes? Will this film receive a gift set? Is one warranted? The film isn’t that old, and it doesn’t have the same following that a major WB film like The Goonies or Beetlejuice. Do these posts have anything in common or is it just coincidental and we’re reading too much into it? That seems the most likely option, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Sherlock Holmes has had a third film in development for some time, and now that Robert Downey Jr. is no longer Iron Man, this may open the door for that third film quite nicely. The last I heard, Rocketman and Eddie the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher was attached to the sequel (please give us a villainous turn from Taron Egerton) but that was some time ago and Fletcher has his name attached to several projects. Could this be a sequel finally moving forward?

If that’s the case, maybe that means that sequel announcements for all three films could be in the pipeline. Sure, it’s doubtful, even though sequels have been discussed for decades for The Goonies and Beetlejuice. Steven Spielberg, producer of The Goonies, seemed to suggest that a sequel could never live up to the original and was, therefore, not worth it. The same has been suggested by various members of the Beetlejuice cast and crew.

So many potential threads and yet so little to really go on here.

So what do you think? Are these sequels or merely 4k releases, and do these posts have anything at all to do with each other? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Edgar Wright to Direct Adaptation of The Chain

Edgar Wright has been attached to direct an adaptation of Adrian McKinty’s The Chain, with a script to be written by Jane Goldman. The plot’s been described as:

“The Chain tells the story of Rachel, who learns that her 11-year-old daughter has been kidnapped. The only way to get her back is to kidnap another child. Her daughter will be released only when that next parents kidnap another child.”

This will be the first time Wright has directed a film that he hasn’t had a hand in writing.

To me, this sounds wild and weird and twisted and just about everything that I would be interested in seeing. We’ve never seen Wright tackle a genre like this. He’s played in horror with parodies like Shaun of the Dead and more straight horror with the upcoming Last Night in Soho, but never something so straight-laced dark. It’ll be interesting to see how he works this material, and so far, he hasn’t disappointed me yet, so I’m all in on this one. Now, the question concerning casting begin…

So what do you think? Is The Chain the right choice for Edgar Wright’s next project? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

Wright’s next film, Last Night in Soho, will release in 2021.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Godzilla vs Kong Moves to 2021 as More Release Dates Shuffle

We knew that more release dates would adjust as movie theaters slowly begin to awaken in the wake of COVID-19. It just hurts all the same.

Warner Bros has adjusted several release dates for the sake of saving their bottom line, and one of those casualties is Godzilla vs Kong, a film that was supposed to have already been out before its first delay some months ago.

The film, directed by Adam Wingard, was shifted from November 2020 to May 21, 2021, and will now face off during the beginning of summer movie season next year. Just recently, the film was given its rating from the MPAA, PG-13 for intense sequences of creature violence/destruction and brief language, so it would seem that the film is mostly done at this point and just awaits a solid release date to earn back its budget and perform well, something that the MonsterVerse has struggled with as of late.

This is completely understandable, and I stand behind movie theaters staying closed until they can safely reopen, and I also want these films to perform well when they finally release because I have a lot of faith in them, but it frustrates me all the same. I won’t get into my thoughts on the handling of COVID-19 by the government because this isn’t that kind of site, but I want to be in the theaters again and I want to see the next step in the MonsterVerse be a successful one for the franchise.

So what do you think? Is this the right call for Godzilla vs Kong and are you excited to see it? What’s been your favorite film in the MonsterVerse so far? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

Godzilla vs Kong will arrive in 2021 with Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, and Ziyi Zhang returning.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Keanu Reeves Returned to Matrix 4 Because of “Beautiful Script”

The details surrounding The Matrix 4 have been, at least to this film fan, very confusing. The last film, The Matrix Revolutions, ended with the deaths of Neo and Trinity, and yet Morpheus lived, but now with the production of the new film, we’ve learned that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are returning to the franchise, and as of now, I’ve heard nothing of Laurence Fishburne’s return.

Regardless, The Matrix 4 is happening with Lana Wachowski directing and a screenplay from Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon. From what Reeves is saying, it’s that screenplay and the story presented by Lana that convinced him to return to the franchise. Reeves, talking to Empire, said:

“Lana Wachowski wrote a beautiful script and a wonderful story that resonated with me. That’s the only reason to do it. To work with her again is just amazing.”

Honestly, this brings so much joy and excitement to my mind. I already couldn’t wait for a new Matrix film, but knowing that the script and story brought Keanu back only adds to my interest. I’m a huge fan of Cloud Atlas, a previous work from the Wachowskis (Lana’s sister Lilly stepped away from Hollywood a few years back), which was based on David Mitchell’s novel. I love that he contributed to the screenplay, and I’m all the more excited, albeit very confused, about where the story is going.

So what do you think? Should the series have stayed dead or is now a great time to return to this universe? Let me know/Drop a comment down below.

The Matrix 4 hits theaters in 2021.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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