LESSON #1: MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN— After rumors had been swirling for months, Slumdog Millionaire Academy Award winner Danny Boyle has been confirmed to direct the 25th James Bond film. Daniel Craig will star and production will begin before the end of this year. Word is Boyle’s go-to Trainspotting writer John Hodge pitched a screenplay idea the producers enjoyed, which will bump Neal Purvis and Robert Wade from their six-film and 16-year run as the long-time franchise screenwriters. Not that Bond was getting stale, but the Boyle/Hodge tonic of energy and wit couldn’t be a better fit for elevating the franchise and Craig’s performances. Another ideal match this week came with the announced casting of Jamie Foxx to step into the chains and cape of Al Simmons in a new film attempt from at Todd McFarlane’s comic staple Spawn. The Ray Oscar winner has the right intensity, chops, and stature to elevate this film from the joke it was over 20 years ago with its first film. Universal Pictures-backed Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Whiplash, Insidious, The Purge) is perfect nest as well. The one drawback is McFarlane insisting on directing. He should really defer to experienced hand.
LESSON #2: MATCHES NOT QUITE MADE IN HEAVEN— Eyebrows were raised and heads were scratched this week when director Zack Snyder answered a social media question of what’s next for him with the answer of adapting Ayn Rand’s 1947 tome The Fountainhead. While nothing has been confirmed, for most armchair film producers and studio executives online (i.e. public fans), the Snyder M.O. of style doesn’t exactly match the visions and fiction of Rand. I don’t care what their name is, from Martin Scorsese or Todd Haynes filming children’s novels or Patty Jenkins making a comic book film, directors can’t branch out, evolve, grow their talent, or spread their wings without the opportunities to do so. I’ll be the kind of guy that says “give the guy a chance.”
LESSON #3: JAMES CAMERON IS A HYPOCRITE, BUT A REVOLUTIONARY HYPOCRITE— Another week passing on the calendar in 2018 equals another provocative entry of James Cameron industry commentary. Speaking at an event in Australia, Cameron railed against the “disservice” that is the studio cash grab of converting films to 3D in post-production instead shooting them in full 3D intentionally like his own Avatar film. Mind you, this is the same man who post-converted his own Titanic to make more money and pad his stats. Cameron may be a phony talker, but he’s still a true radical pioneer looking for the next big thing. He followed his admonishing words with his Avatar sequel goals of creating and capitalizing on glasses-free 3D. If he pulls that off, he can bluff all he wants because he’ll talk the talk and walk the walk with that magical dazzlement.
LESSON #4: LEAVE SOME THINGS AS TIME CAPSULES AND TRIBUTES TO DIFFERENT ERAS— Ten years of pre-production musical chairs to remake James O’Barr’s graphic novel The Crow lost another song and set of players. Financial woes have led Sony Pictures to call off the latest remake attempt planned by young director Corin Hardy (The Hallow) and motivated chosen star Jason Momoa. Sure, today’s cinematic capabilities could make a heck of a film and Momoa is stellar dark hero type, but there’s something about the mystique of all things The Crow that belongs in the past. The original 1989 mini-series and the ill-fated 1994 film feel like thematic testimonies for then not now. Even with a Logan-like R-rating, The Crow wouldn’t play popularly or to the same effect today. I say leave it as a monument to the era and the late Brandon Lee. Along the same lines, please someone stop Kevin Smith and stick a fork in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot shooting this summer. Now that’s something that belongs in the past. That schtick was funny when they were in their twenties and has diminished ever since. Watching Smith and Jason Mewes now in their forties likely dropping the same dated man-child snark is not going to go well. Can you imagine if these two ended up as the next Lemmon and Matthau busting each other’s balls 40 years from now in their eighties? Please no. Leave Jay and Silent Bob buried.
LESSON #5: SOME TIME CAPSULES DESERVE TO BE OPENED— Going back a decade even earlier than the 1990s, I know I was one of many stoked by Tom Cruise’s tweet on Thursday declaring #Day1 to the long-desired and much-anticipated Top Gun: Maverick sequel, slated for a July 12, 2019 release. As the years of Mission: Impossible films have shown (including Mission: Impossible – Fallout later this July), Tom Cruise remains an nearly-ageless action hero. I also trust the top-shelf brand of action capable from director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion, Only the Brave). Nostalgia rules and they can pull this off. This will be worth the 33 years of unearthed dirt (or at least I hope so).
DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud member and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends. Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium.