I didn’t get around posting last week because I was at the most magical place on Earth, Disney World. If you’re wondering whether I woke up before sunrise just for a shot at getting a pass that would possibly let us on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance if the ride ran smoothly all day, the answer is “duh.” And twelve hours later, it really was worth the wait. Anyway, the top stories this week are mostly about Disney. I’d call that a real coincidence, but it isn’t because Disney owns everything.
You know how to fly, don’t you…?
It’s rare that a single movie scene is able to so perfectly encapsulate my emotional state. But, before you read on, I invite you to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman’s best scene and follow his emotional trajectory from utter confusion to gloriously righteous fury. And now you know how I reacted to the news that Steven Spielberg has dropped out of directing Indiana Jones 5. Yes, the inventor of the modern blockbuster, the master engineer of cinematic spectacle, and the genius who brought Dr. Henry Jones Jr. to life has decided to hand over the franchise reins to James Mangold. If you want to smash a window with a crowbar, I won’t judge you.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten a hold of ourselves, I’ll share a few thoughts before I burst into tears again. From the moment I saw the headline, I found myself oddly able to imagine what a James Mangold Indiana Jones movie might look like. All other the factors aside, he’s an inspired choice. I didn’t like Walk the Line or Logan (though they were beautifully shot), but I loved 3:10 to Yuma and Ford v. Ferrari. Mangold has a Spielberg-esque ability to balance entertainment and prestige. So, there is some hope…as long as he doesn’t pull a Logan and just kill the characters because it’s the edgy thing to do. Retroactive spoiler alert.
But as much as I can imagine a Mangold-direct Indiana Jones, I truly can’t imagine an Indy movie without Spielberg behind the camera and George Lucas sitting next to him in the producer’s chair. My guess is that Spielberg overwhelmed himself with a fear of not being able to improve on the maligned Crystal Skull — and that’s why the movie has been stuck in development hell forever. I suppose there’s some virtue in spreading the creative risk to a new director, though The Beard had more than just redemption at stake here. He had fortune and glory, too.
A new new hope
Two weeks ago, we shared the life-changing news that The Rocketeer 2 is back in development. Haven’t you felt so much better since then? Okay, fine, I haven’t either, but that’s mostly because global warming has nuked us out of any good snowstorms this winter. Anyway, when the first Rocketeer rumors leaked, director J.D. Dillard tweeted, “dear universe, i would like to make a sequel to this movie.” The universe was apparently listening to the guy. But it needs some serious hearing aids because, rather than granting him his wish as requested, it guided him instead to a galaxy far, far away. He’s got a new Star Wars movie in development and — get this — nobody knows anything about it! Classic non-news situation.
Dillard got high marks from critics for his first two features, Sleight and Sweetheart. As we all know, Lucasfilm has a track record for hiring exciting talent (Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Colin Trevorrow, Josh Trank, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff) and then having Kathleen Kennedy suddenly fire them. I sincerely hope Dillard avoids this fate because Kennedy sure seems to have no clue what she’s doing at this point (see story above). Also, if we can’t have Dillard for The Rocketeer, might I suggest Overlord director Julius Avery? Yes, I might!
Be my victim
Bernard Rose’s Candyman is one of my favorite horror movies. The original, based on a Clive Barker story, wove a clever mythology that juxtaposed the immediate brutality of the post-Civil War black experience with the systemic injustices of early-90s public housing in Chicago. In other words, it’s the kind of story that’s ripe for Jordan Peele’s vibrant brand of social justice horror. We finally have our first look at what’s being described as a “spiritual sequel” to the original (though it kind of seems like an actual sequel), releasing in just three months. It looks amazing! Also, it better have Tony Todd return as the title character or I will boo so loudly throughout the entire movie that AMC will ban me and I won’t be allowed back to boo Avatar 2/3/4/5:
- Have you ever wanted to see a detective movie where the story’s lead suspect “may have a power that makes animals, objects, and humans disappear…in his butt”? You’re in luck, because the future Best Picture-winner Butt Boy will hit screens in early April — and here’s a trailer to prove that this is for real.
- Check out this trailer for Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bills, a comedy about a couple that discovers an occasional inconvenience at their new apartment caused by the teachings of a cult leader (played by our good friend Taika Waititi).
- Mark Ruffalo hinted that he might be in the Disney+ She Hulk series. Again, I say to you: duh.
- Bad Robot picked up a spec script for a supernatural Western revenge thriller and I’m not saying it’s a Cloverfield prequel.
- Jurassic World 3 AKA Jurassic Park 6 is now officially AKA Jurassic World: Dominion. You know what would be funny? If the movie ends with an asteroid destroying the dinosaurs again. And the humans, please. Can you imagine Ian Malcolm yelling must go faster while running away from an asteroid? I’d pay to see that. But I don’t think you can actually outrun an asteroid.