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

Without Remorse Finds Its Director

Stefano Sollima, director of Sicario: Day of the Soldado, is officially in talks to direct Without Remorse, based on the novel by Tom Clancy. The film will see Michael B. Jordan star as Clancy favorite John Clark, and Paramount Pictures hopes to use Without Remorse to jumpstart a franchise which will see Jordan return as Clark at least once more.

Jordan is signed to two films right now as Clark, the second being a Rainbow Six film.

Without Remorse will be produced by Akiva Goldsman, Jordan, Josh Applebaum, and Andre Nemec.

The John Clark character has previously been seen on film played by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber in Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears, respectively. In both films, he is seen as more of a supporting player whereas Jack Ryan is the lead, but with Without Remorse, John Clark finally rises to the front of the pack and leads his own adventures.

For me, I haven’t yet seen Sicario: Day of the Soldado, but from some of my closer colleagues’ opinion, they actually liked the sequel which garnered mixed reviews. While not being as strong as the original Sicario, Day of the Soldado is seen as a capably made action film by some.

Stefano Sollima has also been tapped to direct the Call of Duty film, so he’s getting to be a hot property for genre action. That’s a good sign for certain.

So what do you think? Is Sollima the right choice to kickstart the John Clark franchise? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

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[Early Review] Rings (2017)

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Director: F. Javier Gutierrez

Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

Screenplay: David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman

102 mins. Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, thematic elements, some sexuality and brief drug material.

 

It’s been 12 years since American audiences were given another installment in The Ring franchise. Maybe we should’ve waited longer.

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In Rings, we are treated to several teases before a convoluted plot actually begins. Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Summertime, L’Universale) and Holt (Alex Rose, The 5th Wave, Sniper: Legacy) are high school sweethearts, but when Holt goes away to college and subsequently goes missing, Julia tracks him down to a group who passes around a video tape that promises to its viewers that they will die in seven days upon the initial viewing. The cursed must then make a copy of the tape, or in this case, video file and show it to someone else. When Julia is cursed, she does whatever is possible to end the curse without passing it along to someone new. But can she learn the secret of Samara (Bonnie Morgan, Minority Report, The Last Witch Hunter) before it’s too late?

Rings is the third installment of the American version of this franchise, and the best thing I can say about it is this: it isn’t the worst. At least, I think it’s not the worst. I do not remember much of The Ring Two except being bored the entire time. Rings is less terrible but still pretty bad. It’s leads are absolutely dreadful (think The Bye Bye Man dreadful). Even though they aided by the somewhat-capable Johnny Galecki (TV’s The Big Bang Theory, In Time) and the strangely popular franchise Viagra in Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Magnificent Seven), the film flounders in its attempt to reinvigorate an unwanted franchise. Most fans of even the original American classic from Gore Verbinski pine for its Japanese predecessor, and Rings does little to sway any new fans to its cause.

First of all, the film is poorly edited. There is an opening scene. Then, there is another opening scene. Finally, we meet our actual leads in a third opening scene. The film could have these moments appear less monotonous if it only juggled some of this exposition to later in the film.

Then there’s the issue of the mystery, which seems interesting as it starts to unravel before ultimately turning the story into a mixture of clichés from more recent better films and before too long, Rings becomes a standard slasher flick with no substance.

Finally, there’s the pacing. At around 100 minutes, this movie felt like it would never end. I sat there, wishing I could check the time before realizing I would be asked to leave (pre-screenings do not allow phone usage). Then, I almost thought to do it just to get out of the theater, but I stuck it out for you, readers.

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I won’t even get into all the new images in the actual video tape that look like CG from an early 1990s video game version of The Ring because it just hurts. Rings was supposed to jumpstart a dead franchise. Sadly, it just convinced the world to keep it dead. And it didn’t even take seven days (but it sure felt like it).

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

 

So have you seen Rings? What did you think? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

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