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

Onward To Be Released Early Online

This whole situation keeps surprising me. It would seem that Disney has set to release Onward online for purchase as of 3/20 for $19.99. The film will also be available for viewing on Disney+ on April 3.

The film unfortunately did not perform very well being released as the virus scare really kicked into high gear. While I’ve not seen the film, it did receive solid reviews and deserved to make its money back. The film’s directors, Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae, were really wanting to see the film back in theaters when they reopen, but putting it up for sale today online, that pretty much kills that option.

I’m not really convinced that this is a good call comparatively because I think this movie could have legs upon theaters reopening and releasing it online today may get the home video purchase from parents and families, but I think that would be there later on just as much.

I also think the drop on Disney+ is really interesting, and the only way this would actually help their service is if they are still struggling to keep their subscribers with the lack of content. I know that has been an issue with the service since the end of The Mandalorian. I know I paused my subscription after that show and The World According to Jeff Goldblum ended their seasons. Onward would make more people interested in returning to it (but I’m a physical media fan so not I!). In that case, it would make sense to save Disney+ with the early inclusion of Onward.

So what do you think? Is putting Onward on home video and Disney+ the right more or is Disney setting up a significant loss of revenue? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Black Widow Delayed Indefinitely

COVID-19 has finally claimed a Marvel movie. It looks like Marvel has removed Black Widow from their release date of May 1st. The Scarlett Johansson-starring superhero film is just the latest tentpole film removed from release. Disney also removed The Personal History of David Copperfield from their Searchlight Pictures banner and The Woman in the Window from 20th Century Studios from their scheduled dates.

These films join other Disney-owned films like Mulan, The New Mutants, and Antlers.

To be fair, this isn’t an easy choice and one that doesn’t appear to be up to the company after forced closings in several states as well as Regal and AMC’s decision to shut down for the time being. This isn’t entirely up to the studios nor is it up to the movie theaters.

Now, I’ve been saying since all this coronavirus stuff has been building that we need to take it seriously. I’m not out there panic buying food and supplies (I’m looking at you TP-buyers) but I firmly believe that we need to be making smart decisions moving forward until this situation is over. That means social distancing and not going to places that we don’t need to go. Let me be completely clear on this: we do not NEED to be going to the cinema right now. Trust me, I feel like I NEED to be going to the movies, and my own birthday was a few days ago, and I didn’t go to the theater. In any given week, I’m at the theater 2-4 times, so if I’m saying our theaters should be closed and we shouldn’t be going, then that really means something.

So yes, good on Disney for playing it smart and removing these films from their schedule. Disney is losing billions right now from their parks and film releases, so I’m happy that they are moving films off the schedule in the interest of public health (and their pocketbooks).

Now, what do you think? I’m hearing people clamoring for Black Widow to be released directly on Disney+, but that will never happen as Disney would lose tens of millions of dollars, so do you think the early delay of this film seems like a good idea, and when do you feel like we’ll actually see Black Widow? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

[#2020oscardeathrace] Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

Director: Joachim Rønning

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Leslie Manville, Michelle Pfeiffer

Screenplay: Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster

119 mins. Rated PG for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling [PENDING]

 

I was genuinely interested in Maleficent when it came out back in 2014. I liked the idea that Disney was taking a different route with their live-action adaptations by focusing on the villain. It’s an overall rough move, but I admired the attempt. Unfortunately, that was all for naught, as Disney merely decided to make Maleficent (Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted, Kung Fu Panda 3) into the hero and make the King an evil bad guy. It was a disappointing move that essentially turned Maleficent into a film that didn’t work. Now, some years later, Disney is going back into the world of Maleficent with a sequel, and to be fair, the trailers seemed quite intriguing. But would Mistress of Evil be a course-correction, turning Maleficent into the villain we all know her to be, or is this another misfire?

Five years have passed since the death of the evil King Stefan, Maleficent has been protecting the Moors with Aurora (Elle Fanning, Super 8, A Rainy Day in New York) serving as Queen. When Prince Phillip from Ulstead proposes marriage to Aurora, Maleficent is forced to play nice when meeting Phillip’s parents, King John and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray, Avengers: Endgame). That plan goes south when Ingrith creates toxicity at their first dinner together, manipulating the situation to make Maleficent look like the evil creature that the people of Ulstead believe her to be. She flees but is attacked by Ingrith’s soldiers and is injured, rescued at the last second by a winged creature who looks similar to her. Now, with Maleficent in hiding and Ingrith twisting the narrative, it would appear that there’s no stopping an all-out war between the humans and the magical creatures, and it’s up to Maleficent to stop it.

Apart from the obvious question of “Who Was Asking for Maleficent 2?” comes the realization that, to a lesser extent, this follow-up repeats the same mistakes as the original. Again, we have a marketing campaign selling us on Maleficent, the Mistress of Evil, one of the greatest villains in history, and the movie is Maleficent Lite, the “Diet Coke of Evil” as Mike Myers once put it. Yet again, we have an opportunity to see a hero turn to darkness, and yet again, the decision is made to keep her heroic. This film rides the line a little better than before, but it still keeps Maleficent heroic.

The performances are all just fine, specifically Jolie, Fanning, and Pfeiffer, but I feel like the writing for Queen Ingrith intrudes on Pfeiffer’s performance, making her a little mustache-twirly at times. I don’t get her motivation as a villain considering how the first film framed Maleficent, and I need more from her character to showcase why she has it out for Maleficent.

Outside of all that, some of the action is fun even though this movie is so CGI-heavy that it’s tough to take any of it seriously. The CGI is just a little too glossy. It’s enjoyable enough, and what can I say, it’s a better movie than its predecessor, but not by much.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a poor title for this film considering Disney isn’t actually willing to make a story about the real villain and chooses to sugarcoat this story making the villain into the hero…yet again. It’s disappointing because this sequel just feels like broken promises stretched into two hours. I think there are people that will enjoy it, and I believe it is a wholly better film than the first one, but I don’t think we need this franchise to continue.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent, click here.

Turner & Hooch Series Set at Disney+?

The folks over at Disney+ seem bent on resurrecting as many dead IPs as possible for their new streaming service, and now it seems that Turner & Hooch is the next on the docket.

The original 1989 film starred Tom Hanks as a detective solving crimes with his dog. Not much is currently known about the new series and how it will adapt the original film into the new series, but Matt Nix (TV’s The Gifted and Burn Notice) will write and executive produce.

Personally, I feel like Turner & Hooch has a potential. It’s been a bit since I last caught the film, but it lies in that realm of recognizable IP that isn’t a holier-than-thou classic film. People don’t hold the film as perfect and untouchable, and I think, if done right, a series could work. It’s just a question of whether or not Disney and Fox know what to do with it.

So what do you think? Can a Turner & Hooch survive over at Disney+? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Harriet (2019)

Director: Kasi Lemmons

Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn

Screenplay: Gregory Allen Howard, Kasi Lemmons

125 mins. Rated PG-13.

 

It’s crazy to think that it’s 2019 and we still don’t have a major memorable release about the life of Harriet Tubman. Maybe I’m just not thinking about one or can’t bring one to mind, but I don’t think one exists. In fact, the film we’re talking about today almost didn’t get made at all, sitting on a shelf at Disney for years until they relinquished rights to the script. So with all that, how did it turn out?

When a young slave woman named Minty (Cynthia Erivo, Bad Times at the El Royale, TV’s Genius) escapes and heads for the border, she takes on the new name of Harriet Tubman and joins up with William Still (Leslie Odom Jr., Murder on the Orient Express, TV’s Smash) and the Underground Railroad to become one of the most celebrated slave-rescuers in history. Director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Black Nativity) shows Harriet’s religious views when she has visions giving her direction in saving slaves, and it shows her fearless nature in the pursuit of freedom for her fellow slaves.

Let’s talk Cynthia Erivo here. I really liked what she did with the role, and I think she almost-flawlessly plays the role of Harriet Tubman. Almost-flawlessly. My big problem with the way Harriet is portrayed is that I don’t think the visions of God that she has works very well onscreen. I think there’s a better way to put this on film. It just didn’t work for me. I really think there’s a way to get this element put to screen better, and I keep thinking how, if it were put to film better, then it could be considered a strong film about religion. I kick on religious films a lot because I don’t think they successfully convey religious tones in a strong enough manner, and I think with the strong production of a film like Harriet, this could be something really cool if it were pulled off better. Back to Erivo, though, this film proves without a doubt that Erivo is capable of carrying a lead performance.

Director Kasi Lemmons does some good work in the film, but her presentation is a little formulaic and straight-forward, and what she needed to remember while making the film is that there’s a lot of the same thing happening in the film. That’s not to knock the incredible thing that Harriet Tubman accomplished, don’t think I’m saying that. All I mean is that the notion of her moving slaves to safety could’ve been given something more visual to represent the journey. Outside of her initial escape, I don’t the length of the journey is presented extremely well. It’s serviceable, but not truly accomplished in the movie.

From the supporting cast, I really enjoyed Leslie Odom Jr. as William Still and Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, UglyDolls) as Marie Buchanon, a friend to Harriet who gets her on her feet when she makes it to the north. They are both exemplary performers who elevate the material. Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Boy Erased) also stars as Gideon Brodess, the son of the man who owned Harriet in the south. I didn’t like the way his character was portrayed in the film didn’t make him a fleshed-out character. I think the way to make a powerful villain is more than just being menacing and violent. There are moments early on in the film where he interacts with Harriet about their past and then it is barely mentioned after her escape. I would have liked their childhood past delved further into in the film through flashback to help fuel his character arc. Again, Gideon isn’t a bad villain. He does villainous things in the film, but I don’t think he’s a realistic villain and I think the finale of the film would have been more powerful if he was given more to do than be menacing.

Harriet is a strong enough biopic on Harriet Tubman that is worth your time. It’s far from perfect, but it’s pretty damn powerful nonetheless. Harriet won’t be accepting any Oscars come 2020, but this is still a solid history lesson about an incredible human being and an incredible triumph of the human spirit. This is still one worth checking out.

 

3.5/5

-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

Kevin Feige Twists the Knife: “It Was Never Meant to Last Forever”

Kevin Feige has further broken our hearts on this Spider-Man situation, stating that he is glad for what Disney and Sony were able to do with Spider-Man but that “it was never meant to last forever.”

Early last week, it was Deadline that reported talking breaking down to continue the deal for Spider-Man in the MCU. The biggest detail that Deadline has repeatedly stuck to is that Disney wanted a 50/50 deal for co-financing the next several films with Spider-Man, something that Sony was smart to reject.

Feige’s stance on this seems to be coming from a place of covering for Disney’s overly-aggressive negotiations, and I can respect that, but it just seems to solidify that, at least for now, the deal will not be reached. It’s saddening because I’ve really enjoyed the flavor that Spider-Man and Tom Holland have brought to the MCU and I cannot wait to see where it goes next.

But I don’t think that this spells the end for Spider-Man in the MCU. I guarantee that this deal, which has been very lucrative for both companies, will not find some way to continue, even if that continuation is not immediate or takes longer than it already has. Not to mention, I don’t think that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will be rebooted again, especially after Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest-grossing Spider-Man film and the highest-grossing film in Sony’s history. There’s some spoilery places that Far From Home goes, and I think Sony will continue on with that story without the MCU. In fact, there’s already kind of a good setup for Spider-Man not being in the MCU within the finale of Far From Home.

So, no. I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of Tom Holland’s MCU appearances or his take on Spider-Man, but it does hurt that, at least for the moment, it seems like negotiations have completely stopped. Here’s hoping one day they can make his deal work for both parties again.

So what do you think? Is Spider-Man better off outside the MCU, and do you think we will see Tom Holland as Peter Parker again? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Box Office Report] Angel Has Fallen Hits #1 But Good Boys Holds On Strong

Angel Has Fallen has delivered a #1 debut, bringing in about $21.25 million. This is an impressive opening weekend haul for the third installment of this franchise, landing just behind the opening weekend of London Has Fallen. If you’ve read my review, you’ll know that I felt that Angel Has Fallen dropped significantly in its quality over the previous film, and I didn’t have a lot of faith, but this franchise is like the little engine that could. It also seems to be hitting with fans, as both CinemaScore and Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes are quite high.

Coming in second this weekend is Good Boys, the R-Rated comedy taking in $11.75 million, which isn’t too bad of a second-weekend dropoff. For me, Good Boys having this strong of a second weekend isn’t all that shocking, as the film managed to actually give a fun and funny film in a year that hasn’t seen much from that genre. As we’re seeing, this weekend was led by some strong adult fare.

Third place this weekend belonged to the religious and uplifting drama Overcomer (with perhaps the worst title of the year) raking in a surprisingly high $8.2 million. This one, like Angel Has Fallen, is seemingly performing well with its core audience after netting a A+ CinemaScore. I’ve been particularly judgmental about religious cinema, noting that I’ve never seen very strong characters or dialogue in this genre, but I cannot speak for Overcomer as I have not caught it in theaters yet.

The Lion King is sticking out in in theaters as I expected it would, netting $8.2 million. The remake now stands at $1.5 billion at the box office, a number I didn’t expect to see given it’s mixed critical response. While I enjoyed the remake, I wasn’t sure how it would hold, but Jon Favreau has seemingly won another battle for Disney.

Lastly, Hobbs & Shaw placed fifth with $8.1 million. This is another one that I enjoyed, though not as much as I would have hoped, and I wasn’t sure how strong it would hold. I’m happy that it is winning over audiences because I think the pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham could do some serious damage in a sequel and I want to see where they take a follow-up.

Other releases this weekend included Ready or Not ($7.55 million) and The Peanut Butter Falcon ($3 million). Hopefully more people come out to catch Ready or Not. The bonkers horror/comedy/action film was just a joy in theaters and I want to see it make a splash after Fox/Disney buried the marketing.

So there you have it. This weekend’s Top 5 was mostly aimed toward the heavy-hitting adult fare like Angel Has Fallen, Good Boys, and Hobbs & Shaw, but more family-friendly fare like Overcomer and The Lion King mixed it up a bit. What did you see this weekend? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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