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

Kyle’s Top Ten Worst Films of 2019

2019 has ended. It has, and we have to deal with it. There were amazing movies, and there were stinky movies. We can’t hide that. I was blessed in that there were fewer awful films and quite a few just disappointing films, so the year didn’t hurt me like I have been before.

Just a few notes while we get things going here:

  • I didn’t see every film in 2019. That means I didn’t see all the bad movies in 2019. This is just a list of the lowest ranking movies I saw.
  • This is my personal list. You may have liked some of these. I just didn’t. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
  • I still have not seen The Emoji Movie from 2017. Sticking it out.

Alright, let’s just get it going…

 

10. Cats

To be honest, I didn’t hate Cats. It actually hurt me quite badly to put in on the list because I didn’t want to get on the hate bandwagon, but there’s one thing that forced my hand. The reason Cats is on this list is because the studio felt it was “okay” to release this movie with unfinished visual effects. Sure, they decided to “fix” them by sending out an updated version only two days later, but by this point, they had basically screwed over the fans that showed up opening night. So not a great move. I caught the film with the unfinished visual effects and it kept taking me out of the movie, spoiling the insanity that I was mildly enjoying.

 

9. The Secret Life of Pets 2

This sequel just should not have happened. The first film wasn’t all that great, but this sequel ended up completely ruining their characters, making none of the pets nor humans very enjoyable to watch. If the worst sin is being boring, The Secret Life of Pets 2 is guilty as well. It was nice to see Harrison Ford show up, but I’m certain that someone just put a mic on him and recorded, and he was likely not even aware that he was voicing the dog. The worst part of it all is that this was supposed to be about the Secret Life of Pets, and neither this film nor its predecessor utilize this idea.

 

8. Jexi

I just wish this film wasn’t marketed as a comedy. I hate when a marketing campaign doesn’t understand the film its marketing. Oh wait, this was supposed to be a comedy? Seriously? Well, I must have missed something because I don’t remember laughing at all. Jexi was a terribly unfunny movie filled with really poor attempts at jokes. Her was a better and funnier version of this story and Jexi just seems both lazy and a little too late to work at all. Now that I know it was a comedy, I’m even more broken up by the experience.

 

7. Child’s Play

I hate that this movie exists. Don’t get me wrong, I actually was fairly won over by the marketing campaign, which was brilliant at poking fun at the release date they shared with Toy Story 4. Yeah, I was actually pretty excited to see it after all that, but I hate the disrespect that MGM was showing to the creators of the franchise. The whole backstory is rather convoluted, but suffice it to say that the main franchise is still going on and has new installments on the way. Still, I went to see it, and it was bad. Outside of Mark Hamill, nothing worked in this poorly constructed film.

 

6. Rent Live

Rent Live aired earlier this year, and I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t really care for Rent as a musical. But I really didn’t like this version of Rent, done live as a sort-of concert experience on a square stage visible from all sides. None of it really worked, I was with Rent fans that seemed disappointed, and overall, I was just incredibly bored throughout the whole affair. I just wanted it to end. It’s one of the worst versions of this musical I’ve yet to see, and I hope I never have to sit through that one again.

 

5. Overcomer

You all know that I don’t try to hate on religious cinema. There are religious movies that I love and adore, but some of these movies are so schmaltzy and without any reality. Overcomer is one of those movies. I just don’t find any of these characters interesting or layered enough to maintain energy for 90-some minutes. Overcomer was just kind of boring, and I didn’t connect to the narrative or really anything.

 

4. The Dirt

You know, I was very excited for this Motley Crue biopic coming off Bohemian Rhapsody and with the excitement of the incoming Rocketman. This film, from the director of the Jackass films, was just not good at all. The focus was placed on the debauchery of the band and not on creating realistic characters or anything worth watching. It’s exactly what you would expect the director of the Jackass films would do with a Motley Crue biopic. There were two small elements/scenes that worked, but it was too much ugh and not enough good.

 

3. Five Feet Apart

I was given the book for Five Feet Apart upon entering the press screening, and I decided to read it after seeing the incredibly disappointing film. The book wasn’t all that good either. I just felt like this movie didn’t offer anything worthwhile on its premise, which I initially found intriguing. The film could’ve put something interesting into its premise and before long it devolved into a typical cliche teen romance flick. Once it got there, I was over it and I never got back in.

 

2. Playmobil: The Movie

I heard terrible things about Playmobil, but I had no idea what I was getting into. I now know, but this movie hurt real bad. This was a bad ripoff of The Lego Movie and just like so many of the other ripoffs, this one doesn’t work because it isn’t about anything. When your movie begins with a musical number followed by the awkward death of parents, it just isn’t going to maintain much else. Playmobil was real dumb and real forgettable.

 

1. Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

This supposedly true story of a rodeo rider who gets paralyzed and continues to fight for her ability to ride once again is the stuff of Lifetime Movies nightmares. It’s on Netflix right now, and it’s not good. There just isn’t a single part of this movie that works. I just don’t even want to talk about it anymore. It’s my least-favorite film of 2019.

 

So there it is. These are my least-favorite films of the year.

Glad that’s over. Is there something I missed here? What did you think was the worst movie of the year? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Kyle’s Top Ten Films of 2019

Hello once again!

2019 was crazy. The end of another decade! Another year where everything in my personal and professional life. Now, as we awkwardly segue into a new decade, let’s take a look back at the year that was in film. If you enjoy reading my list, give a listen to St. Paul Filmcast, where Nick Palodichuk counted down the best of 2019, the best of the decade, and more!

Now for our obligatory stipulations and notes:

-I did not see every film that was released in 2019. That would be an impossibility, but I did see quite a few. Of course, as always, life happens and some films were missed. So if you don’t see something on this list, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong. It just means I may have missed something it…or it doesn’t belong.

-These are my personal selections of films from the year. These are not predictions for Best Picture at the Oscars or films that are undeniably the 10 best films of the year, hands down, full stop. Some films have different placements at the end of the year than they would have based on their initial scoring, and even though some of them had major flaws, enjoyment can go a long way.

 

Alright, no more fluff. Let’s just do this thing…

 

Honorable Mentions:

Alita: Battle Angel, Ready or Not, Knives Out, Shazam!, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

 

10. Us

I said in my initial review for Us that, while I think Get Out is an overall better film for Jordan Peele, Us is the one I find myself going back to more often. Peele takes a classic story of doppelgangers and turns it into a story of classes and the versions of ourselves that we hide away. Us is a great example that it’s not the story you tell but how you tell it that creates a truly great film. It’s the best horror film of 2019, a year where the gems were tougher to find. It’s genuinely one of the more enjoyable experiences of the year as well, mining everything from its premise.

 

9. Jojo Rabbit

Director Taika Waititi had a nearly impossible task of creating a film about Nazi Germany starring a Nazi child who has an imaginary friend who happens to be Adolf Hitler that pokes fun and also creates a worthy narrative. He succeeded in ways I never would have thought with Jojo Rabbit. It isn’t as funny as other Waititi films but it certainly has heart in all the right places. The film takes a story that starts celebrating hate and turns it into a story that celebrates love. It’s truly a cinematic achievement that proves Waititi can do just about anything.

 

8. Toy Story 4

I can’t believe how much I loved Toy Story 4. I’ve never been a giant Toy Story fan but I found myself being won over by Toy Story 3, and while I felt it was a great film with a serviceable ending to the series, I now realize how much better Toy Story 4 is at ending the story. What Toy Story 4 does better is that it understands that Andy’s never been the character we’ve been following. It’s always been Woody. The focus of this fourth installment is paying off the character beats that the first three films set up for Woody. It’s a heartfelt, emotional, and very funny new film in a franchise that has continued to impress audiences.

 

7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Can You Ever Forgive Me? surprised the hell out of me when it came out last year. Not only was it the best performance of Melissa McCarthy’s career, but it was also a great showcase for director Marielle Heller, who crafted a film that, on the outset, sounds kind of boring. When she decided to tackle a Mr. Rogers biopic, I was unsure, but the inspired choice to cast Tom Hanks as the legendary television personality worked incredibly well. Hanks elected to play the essence of Mr. Rogers and not do an impression, and that decision also paid off nicely. There’s one specific scene in the film that pushed it past mere biographical film and into a life-changing experience, and if you’ve seen it, I think you’ll know which one: the diner scene. I won’t get any further into it so you can enjoy it for yourself, but A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, like the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, was a life-changing experience.

 

6. Rocketman

Rocketman was the first film this year that I felt could have been my favorite of the year, and it outlasted quite a few as the year went on. This Elton John biopic is really more a musical based on John’s work than a 100% true-to-life biopic. Again, it gets more of the essence of Elton than a certifiable account, and for that, it’s all the more magical. Dexter Fletcher showcases his unique voice once again with his second collaboration with Taron Egerton, who may miss out on the awards love this year, but he’s on the path to being a true superstar performer. If the film has any one problem, it’s that its framing device, a very Dewey Cox-inspired look back at his whole life, is a bit simple, but it works. Check out Rocketman. Absolutely.

 

5. Parasite

Just like a parasite itself, this movie stayed with me, feeding off me. I simply cannot stop thinking about it. Bong Joon Ho creates a strange amalgam of comedy, horror, suspense, and drama in this unique and singular experience that needs to be seen to be believed. Parasite is better when you don’t know as much, so I’ll leave the details out of it, but this movie, like Us, is a film about many things, most notably and powerfully class, the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-notes, and its title is evocative of so many element in the film. Parasite deserves to be on everyone’s Top Ten of the year.

 

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4. Avengers: Endgame

I mean, c’mon! Avengers: Endgame is absolutely incredible. Sure, you can make the argument that it only works as well as it does because of the previous twenty-some films that came before, but it’s an accomplishment that Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers stuck the landing. It’s a big-budget television series and this is the series finale that works especially well. The snappy and quick editing help to gloss over some of the sillier and nonsensical things in the films, and it’s just damn fun. That means a lot. It’s a three-hour movie that rushes by, and even though it’s the twenty-second film, it never feels like a slog or a rehash. A pitch-perfect ending that makes me only more curious for what’s next.

 

3. 1917

I was blessed to see 1917 in 2019 (the film doesn’t open wide until later this month), and it’s a powerhouse World War I film, and one of the best war films ever made. Director Sam Mendes clearly learned a lot from his time with the James Bond franchise, and working with Director of Photography Roger Deakins, he was able to plan out a war epic that’s made to look like a single shot. The amount of work that goes into a movie like 1917 is staggering. I couldn’t make a movie like this. There are few who can. It’s a surprisingly-touching film about wartime brothers and the cost of something as simple as delivering a message. 1917 is an epic experience.

 

2. The Farewell

The Farewell is quite different from 1917 in terms of its overall style, choosing to go small instead of big, but that doesn’t change its overall impact. Lulu Wang takes an interesting story and populates it with layered and warm characters who deal with a problem that there really is no right solution to. The film follows Awkwafina’s Billi as she learns that her grandmother is dying and her family has chosen not to tell her, instead fabricating a family wedding in order to see her one last time. It’s a film about culture clash and ethical questions that is surprisingly funny at the same time, and the ending absolutely broke me. Seriously, Kleenex should have invested in this film. The Farewell flew under some radars in 2019, but it shouldn’t fly under yours. Seek it out immediately.

 

1. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Here we are. My favorite film of the year. I cannot deny how many times I have watched Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. It keeps drawing me back in, and each time I see it, I discover something else I like about it. Quentin Tarantino has crafted the ultimate hangout film that feels like it was pulled right out of the 60s, and some of my earlier criticisms have softened each time I’ve watched it. I get why some out there won’t like this movie. My wife wasn’t big on it, but for me, this movie is built on a central relationship between Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth, a relationship stronger than just about any other in 2019. It’s an awesomely fun time at the movies, and it’s my favorite film of 2019.

 

So there you have it. These are my favorite films of the year. I’m looking forward to the #2020oscardeathrace to begin, and the list may change a bit once that happens. No one sees everything. So what is your Top Ten Films of 2019? I’d love to hear it. Thanks again for a great 2019 and we will see you in 2020 (which is, of course, right now).

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

Dexter Fletcher to Shed Light on a Henchman with Renfield

I’m a big fan of Dexter Fletcher right now. Not only did he direct the recent Rocketman, he also came aboard to complete production on Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was let go partway through shooting. Further back, he directed the criminally underrated and underseen Eddie the Eagle, a hugely entertaining biopic.

Now, according to Variety, Fletcher has been attached to helm Renfield, a film based on Dracula’s henchman from the novels and seen in many various forms across adaptations. In the 1931 Dracula, Renfield was an amalgam of the Renfield from the novel, a lunatic who is in allegiance with the vampire, and elements of the Jonathan Harker character from the novel. In Francis Ford Coppola’s version, Renfield retained much of the insanity and imprisonment that the character was originally intended to serve, so it will be interesting to see which version of Renfield we’ll be getting in Fletcher’s version. The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman pitched the story and Rick & Morty‘s Ryan Ridley penned the flick.

I really like this idea, but I’m curious about Universal’s plan for these monster films. It certainly seems as though they abandoned any thought of the Dark Universe after the poor reception of The Mummy, an interesting notion because it was not the Dark Universe that made The Mummy bad; it was The Mummy not being very good that did it.

Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which is coming in the next few months, was previously discussed as a new low-budget entry point into a new Dark Universe, but since he was hired on, that hasn’t been mentioned since, so will Dexter Fletcher’s film be at all connected to that film or James Wan’s potential Frankenstein film, or even Paul Feig’s Dark Army monster film? I don’t need the answers right now, but it is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

There’s also the question of Dexter Fletcher’s involvement in Sherlock Holmes 3 and what’s the plan with that film? Will it come first or is Fletcher stepping away? This report raising lots of questions and very few answers.

So what do you think? Is Dexter Fletcher the right man for Renfield, and do you think he’s still attached to Sherlock Holmes 3? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard

Screenplay: Lee Hall

121 mins. Rated R for language throughout, some drug use and sexual content.

 

It’s about damn time we got an Elton John biopic, and boy was this one worth the wait.

Elton John (Taron Egerton, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Sing), in classic biopic form, needs to go to rehab, and while he’s there, he recounts all the moves in his life that led him to this place, from his friendship with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell, Billy Elliot, The Adventures of Tintin) to his explosive working relationship with music manager John Reid (Richard Madden, Ibiza, TV’s Game of Thrones). In his recollection, Elton begins to see that the biggest obstacle in his happiness might just be the reflection in the mirror.

Rocketman might just be the best musical biopic I’ve seen in a long time, and perhaps the best one, though I’m speaking as someone who thoroughly enjoyed it and just saw it. Director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle, Sunshine on Leith) has seemingly craft a film that is equal parts musical extravagance and true life biopic storytelling. The events are somewhat incorrectly placed on a timeline, but it is done in the service of the character and the story, and I didn’t mind. What Fletcher does so well in this film and in previous work is that he has such a flair for making his style its own character without sacrificing the story and characters. His style has the similar effect as what Quentin Tarantino does with his musical choices. He uses them to aid his characters. If he has a flaw in the film (and it’s really only a nit-pick), it’s that he goes full classic biopic by having the main character recount his entire life in rehab, a move that almost feels cliché now, but I brushed past it.

Taron Egerton is on fire here. It’s his best performance of a small but impressive career. He owns the screen in every scene, aided by John’s impressive wardrobe (someone start talking Best Costume Design here), but it is his performance, a richly-layered look at Elton John on the inside and outside, that is the biggest takeaway from the film. He blends into Fletcher’s visual storytelling so well, and the chemistry between him and the supporting players is astounding. Then there’s the singing (Egerton does his own in the film), which, although not sounding exactly like Elton John, aids the character he is playing and has a real feeling to it that doesn’t feel like he’s just trying to match someone else. I’d rather have it this way.

The supporting cast does a great job when not overshadowed by the grandiose nature of Elton John. I really like Jamie Bell and it is great to see him get some impressive moments to shine in conversations with Egerton. Richard Madden needs to be in more movies after work in Game of Thrones and Bodyguard, and he plays John Reid in such a menacing and cruel way that works well without seeming completely mustache-twiddlingly villainous. Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, A Dog’s Way Home) appears in the film in a physical transformation as Elton’s mother Sheila, and it’s some of her best work as well. Dexter Fletcher has a knack for collaborating and getting the absolute best from his actors, and it’s on full display here.

Rocketman has become my favorite film so far this year. It’s an impressive feat that showcases why filmmakers like Dexter Fletcher need to be getting more work, and it is a great standout performance from Egerton. See this one as soon as you can. This is one film we’ll be talking about for some time.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Box Office Report] Secret Life of Pets and Dark Phoenix Win the Weekend in Underwhelming Openings

The new releases of this past weekend failed to make a large impression at the domestic box office. The Secret Life of Pets 2 opened to $47.1 million. To compare, the first film knocked it out of the park with a $104.3 million opening weekend, a record-breaker for original animated properties. So I didn’t expect the second film to hit that, but it is surprising how not-close it got, especially after opening on 4,561 locations, second highest theater count ever to Avengers: Endgame. I found the first film’s marketing to be much better on an underwhelming film experience. I expected the original film to be about the secret lives our pets have when we aren’t around, much as the titles suggests. Instead, it was a cheaper less-interesting version of Toy Story.

Fox’s last outing with this iteration of the X-Men, Dark Phoenix, opened to a disappointingly low $33 million, making it the lowest-opening of all the X-Men films and an absolute disaster set to perhaps even lose money, close to half the $65.7 million for X-Men: Apocalypse. News and rumors of the production nightmares as well as the reshoots and release date changes spelled potential doom for this film long ago, but I don’t think I expected it to fail on opening weekend. I had assumed that on its second weekend, we would see a higher drop-off, but this was a surprising turn of events. I checked out Dark Phoenix on Thursday night, and while I felt it was far from the worst in the franchise, it was still in the lower half of rankings, with a disappointingly soulless reinterpretation of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Disney’s live-action Aladdin claimed third place this weekend with $24.5 million on its third weekend of release. The newest of Disney’s live-action interpretations of their famous properties, Aladdin stumbles in a few places but overall is a fun nostalgic ride that aims to try something new with the story, and I really enjoyed it. Globally, it sits at $604 million, which is currently the fourth highest-grossing film of the year behind Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, and China Film Group’s The Wandering Earth.

Fourth place this weekend is Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the third film in the MonsterVerse behind Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, with $24.5 million. King of the Monsters has struggled in its release even though I felt like it was a major step up from the 2014 Godzilla, including all that kaiju which I love so much. The film has issues with its human characters but I liked them more than the blander humans of the 2014 film. It’s doing just fine globally, but its domestic run has been a rough one.

Rocketman nabbed fifth place this weekend, the musical biopic of Elton John claiming $14 million. I caught the film yesterday, and I absolutely adored it, and I hope it holds onto the Top Five for a bit longer.

Late Night opened in limited release with $249 thousand in four theaters. I quite enjoyed Late Night, and it should see some recognition for Emma Thompson’s incredible performance as an aging late-night talk-show host.

Next weekend should be an interesting one as Men in Black International drops alongside the newest Shaft sequel and Jim Jarmusch’s zombie film The Dead Don’t Die. Late Night will also open in wide-release.

So what did you see this weekend? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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