Actor Michael Kenneth Williams Passes at 54

It’s a sad day to report the loss of such an incredible talent as Michael K. Williams, who died on September 6th. Deadline confirmed his passing with a statement from a rep, “It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams.” The rep also requested privacy for the family at this time and did not give a cause of death.

The actor, who was 54, had a incredible range of credits stretching back to the 90s, and what struck me was how much he had done that I hadn’t even seen. I’ve seen his work in films like Gone Baby Gone, 12 Years a Slave, The Purge: Anarchy, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, and more, but my most frequently viewed work came from the cult television series Community, where he played Professor Marshall Kane, the Biology professor at Greendale Community College. While getting notes together to talk about Williams, I watched those episodes again, and I was shocked to find that he only appeared in 3 episodes of the 110-episode series. Maybe that was the biggest impact of the actor. Whether he had a few minutes or a few years to play with a character, he always left an impression.

His impression could be felt all around the business over the last few days, with everyone from Ava DuVerney to Spike Lee to Leslie Jones all taking a moment to talk about the impact he had on them. If you have a chance, seek out Wendell Pierce’s words on his relationship with Williams.

Williams will perhaps best be remembered for his work in television, including The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and most recently, the now-cancelled Lovecraft Country, for which he is nominated for an Emmy. Below is a selected filmography of his work. Rest in Peace.

Selected Filmography:

  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
  • I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
  • Gone Baby Gone (2007)
  • The Wire (2002-2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
  • Brooklyn’s Finest (2008)
  • The Road (2009)
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • RoboCop (2014)
  • The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
  • Kill the Messenger (2014)
  • Inherent Vice (2014)
  • Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
  • The Gambler (2014)
  • Triple 9 (2016)
  • Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
  • The Night Of (2016)
  • When the Bough Breaks (2016)
  • Assassin’s Creed (2016)
  • The Public (2016)
  • Hap and Leonard (2016-2018)
  • SuperFly (2018)
  • When They See Us (2019)
  • The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)
  • Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
  • Lovecraft Country (2020)
  • F Is For Family (2017-2021)


-Kyle A. Goethe

Mad Max: Fury Road Prequel to Drop in 2023

I’ve been nervous to read any news concerning Warner Bros or HBO Max as of late. Their industry-shattering announcement to shuffle all their 2021 releases to a theatrical/HBO Max combination release has really altered the cinematic landscape, so I was very concerned with some of their bigger franchises, like Mad Max. It looks now like they have officially dated a few films, including the Fury Road prequel, for releases in 2023.

Furiosa is now dated for June 23, 2023. The prequel, which will see George Miller return to the world he helped create way back with the original Mad Max decades ago, is set to star Anya Taylor-Joy as the younger Furiosa, replacing Charlize Theron. Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will also star.

Warner Bros also dated the Looney Tunes-style Coyote vs. Acme for July 21, 2023 and The Color Purple musical for December 20, 2023.

To me, this is a good piece of news, even if I’d rather have a Mad Max sequel instead of a Furiosa prequel. I’m much more invested in Mad Max after 4 films and I just want to see more adventures of his, but any new installment is a good deal overall, especially with George Miller directing. I’ve been a little concerned about George Miller actually returning to this franchise, as he’s getting up in age a bit, and overseeing such a technical and effects-driven film can be rather taxing. He’s also consistently brought up other projects that have interested him, so I’ve wondered when, if ever, he would return to this world.

This news also says that Warner Bros is still interested in the theatrical experience. The quotes all seem to point to a theatrical release, so I’m still holding out hope that this HBO Max/Theatrical plan for Warner Bros is only a 2021 thing.

So what do you think? Are you excited to see this world further expanded with a Furiosa prequel? Do you think it will be released to theaters? Leave a comment below and let me know!

-Kyle A. Goethe

Boss Baby Sequel to be Born a Few Months Later

The current state of cinema in America has had a hand in another shift, this time involving Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, and the upcoming Boss Baby sequel. Just announced this week, The Boss Baby: Family Business will move from its positioned release date of March 26 to the new date of September 17. This move also bumps another Universal/DreamWorks production, The Bad Guys, to be moved off the release schedule entirely, rumored now to drop in 2022.

The original film grossed $520 million and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. The sequel will see the return of Alec Baldwin as the voice of Ted, the titular Boss Baby as well as Tom McGrath in the director’s chair. Family Business will pick up years later with Ted as an adult dealing with his niece (voiced by Amy Sedaris), who is the new boss baby.

This move makes sense to me. I wasn’t a big fan of the original Boss Baby, but I cannot deny that it was quite successful and well-deserving of a follow-up. The IP hasn’t really left the pop culture scene, as the original film spawned a Netflix series and a special choose-your-own-adventure short film. Whether or not I like the movie, the franchise has significant potential. With all the theater problems of the last year, it’s a smart move to push this film into September and save its monetary potential.

What do you think? Was it a smart move to push The Boss Baby: Family Business into September? Or would it have been better to drop on a streaming service? Let me know in the comments below!

-Kyle A. Goethe

Zac Efron Joins Blumhouse’s Firestarter

Zac Efron has reboot fever. In addition to joining Disney’s new take on Three Men and a Baby, Efron has also just joined Blumhouse’s new take on Firestarter, based on the novel by Stephen King.

Deadline is reporting that the new film, written by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, TV’s Rectify) and directed by Keith Thomas, will be produced by Akiva Goldsman and Jason Blum, who teamed up previously for the Paranormal Activity franchise. There’s no notice in the report about the role that Efron would play, but it seems likely that the role will be that of Andrew McGee.

King’s novel features a pyrokinetic little girl and her father on the run from a secret government agency who wish to use her abilities for military and other bizarre purposes. It was previously adapted in 1984 starring Drew Barrymore as Charlie McGee and David Keith as her father, Andrew McGee. That film received a sequel miniseries, Firestarter: Rekindled, in 2002.

It’s been some years since I last read King’s novel, and as I’ve said before, no studios care if you’ve read the book, but I have, so I’ll try to give it the thought. When I think back on Firestarter, I know that Andrew McGee was always cast on the younger side in the book as well, and I could conceivably see Efron as a young father protecting his nine-year-old daughter. I think it’s just that Efron has seemingly always played younger than his age that gives the notion that he’s still a High School Musical-type. I could definitely see him adding the warmth of a father who has no idea what to do in the scope of protecting his dangerous daughter from the clutches of an insidious government organization.

It all comes down to the casting of Charlie, and the chemistry between the two. There’s also a number of meaty roles from the antagonist side of things, but knowing only the initial casting of Efron (and the presumed role of Andrew), things are looking very good so far.

Now, what do you think? Do you like Zac Efron for Firestarter? Are you a fan of his previous work? Let me know/Drop a comment down below.

Firestarter does not currently have a release date.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

John Wick-Helmer Chad Stahelski Has Interest in Blade!

You may not know Chad Stahelski right now, and outside of the John Wick franchise, it’d be hard to blame you. The director of the trilogy, set to return to the franchise with the 4th and 5th installments shot back-to-back, was mostly known in the industry for his stunt choreography in films like Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Matrix, and The Hunger Games, but now he’s becoming a hot director among action films, with an upcoming take on Highlander in the near-future.

Stahelski was recently speaking with Comicbook.com when he was asked it he’d ever take on a Marvel film of his own, and he said:

“If the opportunity ever came, the one that really jumps out to me would be like ‘Blade.’ If they were going to redo ‘Blade’ or something like that, just because I feel that one, for some reason, the vampire martial art action vibe. That would be a cool one to stretch and try and reinvent.”

For this film fan, I find that Stahelski is doing impressive work with Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise, and given the choice of him continuing on that path of leaving to do a Blade film, I’d rather see him do more Wick. Purely selfish, but I like when he has an edge and Marvel won’t give him that. Even as far as Highlander goes, that’s a tough egg to crack, and I think he’s capable, but much like Justin Lin’s work on the Fast & Furious franchise, Stahelski seems to only get better with each film.

All that being said, if Marvel approached him for Blade and he said Yes, I could only be excited. His stunt coordinating on Winter Soldier and its follow-up, Civil War, were both so kinetic and raw and they excited the realm of superhero films and became hard action films. What Stahelski could bring to a vampire martial arts action film could only be good, and I’m all for it as long as he keeps turning out good work (the most frequent John Wick film is the best one yet, fight me).

So what do you think? Would you like to see Chad Stahelski keep on directing John Wick films or should he broaden out by trying to nab a Blade film? Is there another property you’d like to see him tackle? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

John Wick: Chapter 4 is scheduled for release on May 27, 2022.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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

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

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

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