“Brave New World” (on NBC’s otherwise underwhelming new streaming service, Peacock) is the kind of bizarre, futuristic fiction I live for, but maybe it’s just me; I’m not hearing a ton of buzz about this show. Most of the Peacock talk is about what a letdown this service is turning out to be rather than the series, and I’m not impressed with the service’s offerings either but I did like BNW, which is an adaptation of the Aldous Huxley novel. I especially liked seeing Alden Ehrenreich again; he was great as a young Han in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Harry Lloyd’s character Bernard is just as smug here as his “Game of Thrones” character Viserys. He’s almost the same cringey snob, but with different hair. Lloyd is a great actor, as he really makes you want to smack him.
While it’s not particularly deep, I like the series’ exploration of relationships and topics like privacy, monogamy, and family, and the social commentary of New London’s citizens popping happy pills every time they feel any level of discomfort. Heaven forbid anyone have a pang of guilt, jealousy, or fear, or concern for others. The self-absorption and silly trends are very timely in our “influencer” culture.
The second episode is one of the best: The elites travel to the Savage Lands, a theme park that holds up a mirror to our own weirdness and entertains its visitors with re-enactments of shotgun weddings and Black Friday stampedes. Bernard and Lenina can hardly imagine living in a world with these “savages,” a world where they aren’t plugged in and sedated until they feel nothing. (Possibly the most unlikely aspect of the show is the collective sex drive of such heavily medicated people.)
I think the writers failed to flesh out the characters who are in control in this utopian (dystopian?) society, and that seems kind of important. There were only nine episodes. They could have gone more in depth with Indra and Mustafa and added a couple extra episodes in order to make that part of the story more interesting and comprehensible. It would have made the finale less confusing, but maybe the confusion was meant to be part of the cliffhanger. I guess we’ll see, if the show gets renewed for a second season, which has not yet been announced.
‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’
If you hated “Justice League” and wish it had been longer, here is some good news for you: The Snyder cut, coming to HBO Max, is reportedly going to be a four-hour film or a miniseries. Snyder said, “I feel like they’re gonna study this whole thing in film school.”
After the tragic death of his daughter, Snyder stepped down from directorial duties during post-production of the 2017 film, and Joss Whedon took over. To put it mildly, Snyder was not happy with Whedon’s work: “There would be no chance on earth that I would use a shot that was made. … after I left the movie. I’d destroy the movie, I would set it on fire before I would use a single frame that I did not photograph,” Snyder said during a Comic-Con@Home panel.
All I know is if you think I’m going to watch four hours of Snyder’s pretentious magnum opus – you are correct.
Bill & Ted
I’m very excited about the third Bill and Ted movie! “Bill & Ted Face the Music” will be released on Sept. 1 on video on demand, and in select theaters.
Top photo: “Brave New World,” NBC Universal Television Distribution.
When I was in my teens and twenties I was somewhat obsessed with vampires. I loved “The Lost Boys” (which is getting a musical prequel – no I’m not kidding) and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Vampires fit into my goth aesthetic* but also the idea of immortality and what it would be like to never age or die is an intriguing concept all by itself.
It’s why I love Matt Haig’s novel “How to Stop Time” about a 400-year-old man who looks like he’s 40. It’s interesting to imagine what kind of perspective you would have if you were centuries old, but still living as a young(ish) person. And of course you would wonder, Why me?
In “The Old Guard,” Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron) faces similar questions. She and her fellow immortals are mercenaries, but in modern times, they have a harder time keeping a low profile. U.S. Marine Nile (KiKi Layne) is the “new guard” to Andy’s old.
Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star in “The Old Guard,” which was adapted from a comic book by Greg Rucka, and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees”).
Prince-Bythewood is the first black woman to make a comic book film, and she’s also working on adaptations of the Black Cat and Silver Sable comics. The film which would have combined the heroines’ stories in one movie called “Silver and Black” has been cancelled (boo!), but the characters are now reportedly getting separate series (yay!). Prince-Bythewood has said that the research and preparation she did for the now-cancelled film, which included getting advice from “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, helped her with “The Old Guard.”
In Charlize Theron news, her character Furiosa is reportedly being recast in the Mad Max prequel, a decision Theron said was “a little heartbreaking, for sure. I really love that character, and I’m so grateful that I had a small part in creating her.”
Fortunately, we will be seeing Theron again in an “Atomic Blonde” sequel (which will reportedly be a Netflix exclusive) and also (I hope) a sequel to “The Old Guard.”
My latest late-night binge is Netflix’s “Warrior Nun.” If you were a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or even if you weren’t, you may enjoy this comic book adaptation about an order of nun soldiers who fight demons.
Alba Baptista (a Portuguese actress in her first English-speaking role) stars as a quadriplegic orphan who dies but is resurrected when an angel’s halo is placed in her back, giving her the ability to walk again – and also magical demon-hunting abilities.
I know it sounds bizarre and sort of silly – because it is, but it’s crazy and fun. Just go with it.
I guess audiences can’t get enough witchers and slayers. Another supposed-to-be summer 2020 blockbuster has been postponed: “Monster Hunter,” a film adaptation of the video game, has been delayed till April 23, 2021. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil,” “Mortal Kombat”) and starring Milla Jovovich (who is married to Anderson), Tony Jaa, T.I., Ron Perlman, Meagan Good, and Diego Boneta, the movie follows a UN military team who end up in an alternate world where Hunters fight monsters. The soldiers and Hunters work together to keep the monsters from entering the portal to Earth.
In describing the monsters, Anderson said in an interview with Empire, “We’re building them in even more detail than the dinosaurs of Jurassic World. And they look even better. …” OK. But. Does your movie have Star-Lord? Didn’t think so.
The trailer for “The One and Only Ivan” is here, and it looks like the plot may be a little different from the book, but I’m still looking forward to seeing it. It’s coming to Disney+ on Aug. 14.
HBO Max released a trailer for all their new stuff, including a cool-looking new Ridley Scott show called “Raised by Wolves.” (Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.)
There’s also a release date (Aug. 6) and a trailer for the new animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks.” Check it out below.
Photo credits: “The Old Guard” and “Warrior Nun,” Netflix; “Interview with the Vampire” and “The Middle,” Warner Bros.; “Jurassic World,” Universal Pictures.
First, let’s talk about Marvel. “Black Widow” will be the next film in the franchise to hit theaters. (When theaters will open is another matter.) Although it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it will serve as the first entry of Phase Four. The story of Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, also stars David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz.
Natasha’s character was never my favorite and I think it’s because she never got a great storyline. At first I thought it was because she doesn’t have superpowers, but then neither does Iron Man – unless being a rich genius is a superpower.
I think she didn’t get a better story (or her own film – until now) because she’s a woman. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Captain America all got their own movies in Phase One.
Now that “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Marvel” have proven that audiences want to see a female-led superhero flick, we are finally getting Black Widow’s origin story. Is it a day late and a dollar short?
Rumor has it that the MCU’s Phase Four is ushering in replacements for the heroes who didn’t survive “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” Could Flo Pughbe the new Black Widow? Suddenly I’m excited about this film. Go, Flo!
“Black Widow” was originally scheduled to be released in U.S. theaters in May, but has a new release date of Nov. 6.
The “Doctor Strange” sequel, titled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will have a different director this time around – Sam Raimi (“The Evil Dead”).
Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor will return as the titular doc and Mordo. The film is reportedly going to be darker than its predecessor – I hope not too much darker as I don’t especially want to see horror when I go to a Marvel movie. We’ll see what happens with that – in 2022.
Taika Waititi, who directed “Ragnarok,” will be back to direct the next Thor sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which will star Natalie Portman. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson will also return. This one is also scheduled for a 2022 release.
Rounding out Phase 4 are “The Eternals,” set for Feb. 12, 2021, a Spider-Man sequel (Nov. 5, 2021), and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” (May 7, 2021) – which will be the first Marvel film with an Asian lead. Shang-Chi will be played by Simu Liu.
“The Eternals” will also mark some firsts – Makkari will be the first deaf superhero in the MCU, and Phastos will be the first gay superhero in the MCU.
“Captain Marvel” and “Black Panther” sequels are also in the works and expected to be released in 2022.
Oh did you think that was it? Fasten your seat belts, sci-fi fans – Marvel is just getting started. There’s also a “Blade” reboot with Mahershala Ali (!), a “Fantastic Four” movie, a “Loki” series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “WandaVision” (which will tie into the Doctor Strange sequel), “Ms. Marvel,” “Moon Knight,” “She-Hulk,” an animated series called “What If … ?”, a “Hawkeye” series, a third Ant-Man film, and a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Did I forget anything? Probably.
The fourth movie in the franchise is set 30 years after the second film. A family moves to a small town where they discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters, some of whom will make appearances. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts will reprise their roles. (Harold Ramis passed in 2014.)
The film will be directed by Jason Reitman, and also stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Paul Rudd. Originally scheduled to be released this month, the film now has a release date of March 5, 2021.
Christopher Nolan wrote and directed two of my favorite movies, “Interstellar” and “Inception.” His new mind-bender, “Tenet,” is scheduled to be released Aug. 12. The cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.
They filmed in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (Filming was done before pandemic-related shutdowns.) It’s Nolan’s most expensive original project yet, with a production budget of roughly $200 million. The film’s release date has been postponed twice, and each pandemic-related postponement cost Warner Bros. between $200,000 and $400,000 in marketing fees.
It’s pretty certain this one won’t go straight to streaming. As one of the few filmmakers who still shoots with film stock rather than digital photography – and this one is also shot in IMAX – Nolan is adamant that it appears on the big screen.
So what’s the movie about? The plot has been somewhat shrouded in mystery. It’s a spy movie, and it looks like a time travel movie, but it’s apparently … not? It looks trippy, and it has the distinction of being the only film mentioned in this post (and the previous one) that isn’t a sequel or an adaptation. Three cheers for originality!
‘The Matrix 4’
This isn’t the Keanu Reeves sequel we wanted (what happened to Bill and Ted?) but I guess it’s the one we’re getting. Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back in the fourth Matrix movie. Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson will also return. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Toby Onwumere, Erendira Ibarra, Priyanka Chopra, and Andrew Caldwell will also star. The release date is April 1, 2022.
‘Godzilla vs. Kong’
The fourth film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza Gonzále, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, and Demián Bichir. Adam Wingard directs, and the release date has been moved to May 21, 2021.
‘Jurassic World: Dominion’
The sixth film in the Jurassic Park franchise and the final film in the Jurassic World trilogy will be directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Isabella Sermon, BD Wong, Mamoudou Athie, DeWanda Wise, Dichen Lachman, Scott Haze, and Campbell Scott.
The film has reportedly resumed filming following COVID-19 delays. The studio has spent approximately $5 million on safety protocols including on-site doctors and nurses, 150 hand sanitizer stations, 1,800 signs, and thousands of tests for cast and crew. If all goes as planned, it will be released June 11, 2021.
Of course, Universal isn’t the only studio taking such precautions. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would begin reopening to film and television production on June 12, and Los Angeles County health protocols must be agreed to as a condition of film permit release. Filming in other locations are following similar protocols.
“The Umbrella Academy” Season 2 trailer dropped – I’m really looking forward to this one!
The increased Season 2 budget for “The Boys” means “bigger, better, and bloodier.” I’m on board for bigger and better. Bloodier, not so much. Replace bloodier with more Billy Butcher and I’m in.
And one more – an astronaut series called “Away,” starring Hilary Swank, is coming to Netflix.
What film or series are you most excited about? Tell me in the comments or on my Facebook page!
All release dates are subject to change.
Photo credits: “Black Widow,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Black Panther,” Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, “Jurassic World,” Universal Pictures.
Fans of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel “Brave New World” will be happy to hear there’s a release date for the adaptation, a series which will air on NBC’s Peacock – on July 15, which is also the launch date of the new streaming service.
The series is set in a future society that is rigid and controlled. Bernard (Harry Lloyd) and Lenina (Jessica Brown Findlay) go to the Savage Lands where they become involved in a rebellion and meet John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich). Hannah John-Kamen and Demi Moore also star. David Wiener is the showrunner.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m very excited about the upcoming adaptation of one of my favorite books, the post-apocalyptic novel “Station Eleven,” by Emily St. John Mandel. The miniseries is coming to HBO Max, but the premiere date still has not been announced. Mackenzie Davis and Hamish Patel will star.
Another film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” is coming in 2021. This one changes the setting from ’80s England to ’60s Alabama, and is written by Robert Zemeckis, Guillermo del Toro, and Kenya Barris. The cast includes Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, and Jahzir Kadeem Bruno.
Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”) is also working on an adaptation of “Pinocchio” for Netflix, which will also be released in 2021. The film, a musical, will feature stop-motion animation and the voices of Ewan McGregor, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, and David Bradley.
Another miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand” is coming to CBS All Access. Filming was reportedly completed in March, but a release date has not yet been set. James Marsden, Amber Heard, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alexander Skarsgård will star.
The latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” will be directed by Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”). The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. The film is scheduled to be released in U.S. theaters Dec. 18.
“The Old Guard,” July 10 Charlize Theron stars in this superhero film, based on the comic book of the same name. KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star. “The Old Guard” will premiere on Netflix.
“Cursed,” July 17 The Netflix series is adapted from the illustrated fantasy novel of the same name, by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler. It is based on Arthurian legend, from the viewpoint of a young woman destined to become the Lady of the Lake.
“The One and Only Ivan,” Aug. 21 I love this book (by Katherine Applegate), about a gorilla who lives in a cage in a shopping mall. The film adaptation is a mix of live action and CGI and was originally going to be released in theaters, but will premiere on Disney+.
Bryan Cranston, Ramon Rodriguez, and Ariana Greenblatt star, and the voice cast includes Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Chaka Khan, Mike White, Brooklynn Prince, Ron Funches, and Phillipa Soo.
“The Boys,” Sept. 4 The subversive superhero series, based on the comic book, will return to Amazon Prime for Season 2.