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

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

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: The Mystery of Mrs. Booth “Will Be Answered”

[WARNING: Contains Spoilery Talk for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood]

So everyone working in Hollywood appeared in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering, which is currently in theaters. One of the quicker appearances involved Rebecca Gayheart, who showed for a scene playing Cliff Booth’s wife in a flashback. The flashback happens to revolve around the question of whether or not Cliff, played by Brad Pitt, murdered his wife. It’s a bit of a legend around the Hollywood stunt scene that Mr. and Mrs. Booth were not happy, and we are meant to wonder if Mrs. Booth was murdered on the high sea or if it was just an accident.

By the end of the film, we still have no idea, but Gayheart, and apparently Pitt, do know.

Gayheart spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the film, and she said:

I tend to believe that that question will be answered at some point.

She didn’t elaborate on how or where, but there has been speculation of a Netflix miniseries version of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and there’s also that mystery tenth film. Or, maybe she’s bullshitting us. Who knows?

I don’t want the question answered unless it’s fluid to another story. If, for example, Tarantino decided his tenth film should feature Cliff Booth or his wife, then sure, let us know, but I don’t see a version that will make me want to know. It’s like the totem in Inception. I actually don’t want to know.

So what do you think? When, if ever, will we find out the answer to this mystery? Should we ever find out or is this mystery better left mysterious? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (2019)

Director: Daniel Gray Longino

Cast: David Harbour, Kate Berlant, Alex Ozerov, Mary Woronov, Alfred Molina, Heather Lawless, Marion Van Cuyck

Screenplay: John Levenstein

32 mins. Rated TV-14.

 

I came across Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein on Netflix during a random searching, and I had to watch it. I’m a sucker for mockumentaries and short form comedy, so this was an easy choice.

David Harbour III (a fictional version of David Harbour of Revolutionary Road and Hellboy) is on the search to discover the mystery behind his father, David Harbour Jr., and the play that obsessed him. That play is Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein. By recreating his father’s office and visiting with his father’s agent and the play’s producer, David deconstructs the convoluted and extremely confusing video footage of the play while attempting not to drive himself insane in the process.

The short film is made by David Harbour’s performance. He plays a fictionalized version of himself as well as playing his father, in an Orson Welles-esque role, and the film works because of him. There’s a lot of strange comedy to the film, and that comes from a bonkers screenplay from John Levenstein (Illegally Yours, TV’s Kroll Show).

It’s simple to say that I’ve watched this short twice and still couldn’t completely unravel the confusion in its many layers, from the confusion between who is playing Dr. Frankenstein and who is playing the Monster in the play, to which lines in the play are actually in the play versus which lines are monologues about acting forcibly added in to elevate his father’s pride. It’s watching the story and letting yourself by unraveled by it that makes it funny, though not something that I would call classically comical. It’s a stupid short film but it is worth watching at least once.

Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein is not great cinema, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it for what it was and I think the run time is perfect as it would have made a terrible feature, but I cannot begin to explain how it all fits together, and that’s kind of the point. Give it a try yourself and see what you can make of it.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Comic-Con] Russo Brothers Discuss Magic: The Gathering Animated Series Potential

Anthony and Joe Russo had a panel at Comic-Con this week where they discussed a multitude of topics, of course some of it centered on Avengers: Endgame, but surprisingly, we got some insights on other projects they’ve been working on, including the upcoming Netflix animated Magic: The Gathering series.

The two talked about how Magic had an impact on their youth (something we share), which is great to hear that this is more than a payday for them and they likely have some passionate ideas on where to take it.

There was also talk that the animated series could potentially spin-off into live-action. Not much more was elaborated, but I’ve always felt that, while the series makes sense as an animated one, I would love to see a crack at live-action with a Game of Thrones or The Witcher vibe to it. There’s so much content to pick and choose from with Magic: The Gathering that I feel would be very easily translatable into either a live-action or animated format, but the idea that they are playing with all options is very cool.

So what do you think? Does Magic: The Gathering work better as live-action or animated? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman May Actually Happen with Netflix and WB

News and reports of a Sandman film or TV series have ebbed and flowed around the entertainment world for so long that it seemed we would never get an adaptation, and Sandman would find itself among The Crow remake and other development hell projects, but now the possibility of a Sandman series has been reinvigorated by a new deal between Netflix and Warner Bros. Television.

Details are still sketchy, and I’m not going to confirm anything outside of hearing and rumors, but this sounds like the real deal. There is no episode count in any of the reports. What is mentioned is that the series looks to be the most expensive DC Entertainment series ever made.

The last we heard of a Sandman film was with Joseph Gordon-Levitt spearheading the project, but he left a few years back over creative differences, amounting to the fact that he believed the project would be best suited for a series with a big network push. His wish has come true apparently.

I’m very excited, even as someone who hasn’t delved into Sandman much, but it appears that I should get started reading now that we have an actual series seemingly coming together. Stay tuned for more.

So what do you think? Should there be a Sandman series at Netflix or is there a better home for the project? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Netflix Nabs Film Adaption of Ubisoft’s The Division

We’ve been hearing murmurs of a film adaption of the Tom Clancy video game The Division for a little while now, and it appears the film has found a distributor in Netflix.

The film will star Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain and is set to be helmed by Deadpool 2 director David Leitch.

It’s exciting to see Netflix making another big play in acquiring a video game adaptation. Properties like The Division feel like an easier transition from video game to film, and I personally think that hardcore gamers who see The Division pop up on their Netflix queue would have no reason not to give it a try.

But it also has that Tom Clancy name on it, a property title all its own. Film adaptations of Clancy’s books have been profitable, so it will be interesting to see if this one can corner markets of viewers from multiple streams of entertainment. I think it’s a power play that is set to do well.

The game tells the story of a pandemic moving through New York City in which the city turns to chaos and riot. It is not known what character Chastain would be playing but Gyllenhaal will be an agent within the Strategic Homeland Division who will be working to quell the chaos and outbreak.

So what do you think? Did you play The Division? Will you be tuning in for the film on Netflix? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 7 – Hush (2016)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegel, Michael Trucco

Screenplay: Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel

81 mins. Rated R for strong violence/terror and some language.

 

When Maddie (Kate Siegel, Hot, Oculus), a writer working on her follow-up novel, stays in her isolated home to find solitude, she is not prepared for the horrific night that awaits her. Maddie is deaf due to a childhood illness, and she cannot hear the killer who taunts her from outside. This killer is a man looking to play a game of cat and mouse, and Maddie is his next target. Maddie must use her remaining senses to keep herself safe and stop the killer from collecting another victim.

I met Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Ouija: Origin of Evil) once at the premiere for his film Absentia, and while I’ve never shied away when I have issues with his work, I found Hush to be a very capably put together little horror/thriller. It’s concept is simple and that’s what makes it so compelling. His direction is clean and unwavering, maintaining focus on Siegel’s Maddie as often as possible. This single-setting film works very well and cruises through its tight run time.

John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, Peppermint) plays the killer quite well in a way I haven’t seen him yet. From all the work I’ve watched of his, I’ve never seen him embody menace in such a way. He is a terrifying presence. Michael Trucco (Next, The Bye Bye Man) also appears in a small but crucial role as a next-door neighbor looking for his missing spouse.

While not everything works perfectly in Hush, the film is brisk, exhilarating, painful, and enticing. Mike Flanagan uses his single-setting and small cast very nicely, never going for full-blown mayhem and instead focusing on the silence of the hunt. Maddie grows and evolves as the film’s runs along, making her a formidable foe to the masked killer.

Hush is one to watch for. If you missed it when it soft-dropped n Netflix in 2016, please take some time to check it out. The risk is minimal and you may find it quite enjoyable like I did. If you don’t, eh, it’s only 81 minutes.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Mike Flanagan’s Absentia, click here.

For my review of Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, click here.

For my review of Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, click here.

 

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Kyle’s Top Ten Films of 2017

 

Hey folks, another year has come and gone and here we sit, at the end of it, looking back on what was. 2017 had some truly great films and I’m going to count down my top ten today.

Just a couple notes before we get into all this:

  • These are my personal top ten films of the year from the many I have seen. I judge the films from my list in their success as a film in what they are trying to accomplish.
  • I haven’t seen all the movies released in 2017. If you read this list and find that something is missing, let me know, drop a comment, and start the conversation. Everyone loves a good recommendation.
  • Due to some of the heavy-hitters of Oscar season still on the way, this is a tentative list and it will change as more limited release films open up.

There, with all that out of the way, my Top Ten Films of 2017.

 

  1. Wind River

-I was not entirely excited about Wind River. That’s not to say anything wrong about the marketing, but I didn’t know anything about it and, living in an area with intense cold several months of the year, I wasn’t all that interested to see it in the summer. Thankfully, my other plans fell through and I ended up at the theater. Wind River is the powerful tale of a murder on an Native American Reservation and the unlikely duo who team up to solve the mystery. It’s been said a lot but this is Jeremy Renner’s best performance of his entire career. Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Sicario) jumps into the director’s chair this time around and crafts a tightly-paced and shocking look at these characters and their world. It’s emotional, exciting and thought-provoking in every stroke.

 

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi is an incredible new addition to the Star Wars lore for the simple fact that it surprised me. I haven’t been genuinely surprised in a Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. Writer/Director Rian Johnson created a follow-up that subverts expectations while simultaneously honoring what has come before and driving forward on a new path. Not everyone loved it (someone once said that the people who hate Star Wars the most are the fans) but I enjoyed it for all the reasons that others didn’t love it. It’s exciting, emotional, and funny, and I cannot wait to see it again.

 

  1. Thor: Ragnarok

-With Thor: Ragnarok, Director Taika Waititi and Marvel Studios have given the public the closest thing to a new Flash Gordon that we are likely to get. A rollicking 80s road-trip style space movie with everyone’s favorite god of thunder and his pal the Incredible Hulk,  Ragnarok embodies the best of what the MCU has to offer, an incredibly fun and riveting blast of a film that stands on its own while contributing to a larger narrative. In Hela, we get an interesting villain with ties to Thor, and new characters like The Grandmaster, the Valkyrie, and Korg keep the thrills light and fluffy.

 

  1. Okja

Okja is one of the best films that Netflix has ever released. It is a strange tale, a unique tale, a funny-at-times tale, and a heartfelt tale. It’s the story of a girl and her superpig Okja. The company that created Okja , Mirando, has invested a lot of money in crafting a creature that is environmentally conscious with a minimal carbon footprint that tastes great, and now they plan on harvesting Okja to make billions for themselves, but Mija is not about to let the company take her friend. The film is one of the weirdest I’ve seen in a long time, but thanks to top-notch directing from Writer/Director Bong Joon-Ho from a great screenplay by him and Jon Ronson, Okja is a powerful ride from beginning to end.

 

  1. Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a film made for the theater experience. I was lucky that a colleague of mine got tickets to the 70mm/IMAX presentation and I was floored by the majesty of it all. The scenes in the air were breathtaking. The sequences on the beach were thrilling. The scenes on the boat were emotional. The whole film experience was astounding. Then, I watched it again when it hit home video. The film is still exhilarating. Even with the loss of the massive screen, this is a tightly-packed narrative that has so much going on but still feels so focused.

 

  1. Blade Runner 2049

-Who would’ve guessed that a sequel to a cult classic sci-fi thriller would be good? Blade Runner 2049 is even better than the original! How the hell did that happen? Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) takes what works about the original film and crafts a companion piece that stands on its own and connects really nicely to the original film. Blade Runner and its sequel become two sides of the same coin, a breathtaking double-feature that is well worth the lengthy runtime. Harrison Ford returns as Deckard and joins Ryan Gosling’s Agent K, providing some of the best work in either of their careers.

 

  1. Lady Bird

-Greta Gerwig directs Lady Bird with such realism that it brought me back to a time in my youth when I was very much like Saoirse Ronan’s Christine. This incredible coming-of-age story feels like it’s the first of its kind in a world where dozens of similar films are released each year. The terrific chemistry between Christine and her mother is palpable and real. The film wanders through Lady Bird’s life as she encounters situations that many of us have been through in this interesting semi-autobiographical look at adolescence from a fantastic up-and-coming director.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

 

  1. War for the Planet of the Apes

-How the hell did Planet of the Apes craft one of the best trilogies of all time? How does that happen? Matt Reeves takes on his second film in this franchise following Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and after having seen a few times, I can honestly say that War tops it. Andy Serkis is an actor who deserves performance credit for his role as the immensely complex Caesar, and he is matched on the battlefield by the chameleon that is Woody Harrelson, a man that can be joyful in one instant and terrifying in the next. Matt Reeves should be considered one of the hottest acts in Hollywood right now for his recent track record, and I look forward to his take on The Batman (if it ever does happen).

 

  1. The Big Sick

The Big Sick has been a critical darling since it was released in early 2017. The story, based on true events, is a dramedy based on the relationship of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily. The movie mixes emotion and comedy to present one of the best and truest representations of love I’ve ever seen. The performances in it are all fantastic, especially Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily’s parents. The Big Sick has a lot of award consideration and I’d be more than happy to see it take away some Oscars when the time comes as it hasn’t had a wide viewing outside of the general film community, and a few statues may help with that.

 

  1. The Shape of Water

-I hadn’t even heard of The Shape of Water at the beginning of 2017. In fact, it was only during an interview for The Bye Bye Man that Doug Jones even dropped he was working on a fish romance film with Guillermo del Toro that I even knew of the film’s existence but little else. Thankfully, late last year I was able to catch a screening for the film, and I just fell in love with it. I had always said that Pan’s Labyrinth would likely be del Toro’s masterpiece, but The Shape of Water is just so personal and lovely and strange and beautiful that I couldn’t get it out of my mind long after my initial viewing. Doug Jones, like Andy Serkis, won’t garner awards recognition for his work here and that’s a shame. Thankfully, Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Shannon turn in career-topping work here and the film is getting a lot of talk now. See this movie. It’s the best film of 2017.

 

Well, there you have it. These are my favorite films of the year. I look forward to #2018oscardeathrace to begin, and I may see a few favorites get knocked off as I continue catching up on what I missed in 2017, but overall, it was another great year for films. We’ll see you in 2018 (which is like, right now).

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

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