Mappelboom reads the news – 20 April 2016 edition

Talking to you guys about recent movie news is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I don’t want to discuss all the news with you – you’ve already got a billion other sources for that I’m sure – but just the stuff that I personally think is interesting. The news that gets me excited, makes me angry, breaks my heart, or simply makes me laugh. I’m thinking one of these little articles every 1-2 weeks should be a good start. Here’s the first one.

Jason Statham to fight a giant prehistoric shark in MEG

Well, this caught me by surprise. They’ve been trying to make MEG into a movie for ages, the most recent attempt having Eli Roth (CABIN FEVER, HOSTEL) in the director’s chair. I wasn’t super comfortable with that choice, but I was happy the project was at least moving forward again. I read the book “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten when I was still in high school and immediately knew it would make a great film. It’s about a couple of scientists who go down into a trench and accidentally bring a prehistoric supershark back up with them, as you do. The monster wreaks havoc and eats an absolute shit-ton of people, until finally our hero Jonas (that’s not too on the nose, is it?) gets swallowed by the thing and destroys its fucking heart like he’s Kevin Sorbo or something. It ROCKS.

Well, after Eli Roth dropped out a couple months ago the movie is now back on, this time with Jon Turtletaub as director. That’s the guy that did NATIONAL TREASURE and THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, so no reason to get excited there. Don’t hold your breath for an R rating either; this will be a proper mainstream blockbuster so don’t expect to see a lot of blood and body parts floating in every direction. Still, I love giant shark movies and we haven’t had a great one since DEEP BLUE SEA in 1999, so I’m ready to give this one a shot. Especially now that we’ve got Jason Statham on board – such perfect, pulpy casting! I’m seeing a lot of potential here, all we can do now is pray they don’t fuck it up. Would be a shame for the film to finally happen after all this time, only to end up being a big pile of shit…

First ROGUE ONE trailer released

Yeah, I’m pretty late with this one but man… looks good, doesn’t it? It’s the first of the Star Wars spin-off films that we’ll be getting at least every two years from now on, and to me, it’s worth getting excited about. This universe is so expansive, you could make a Star Wars film in any type of style or genre you can imagine. ROGUE ONE is a heist movie, but maybe we’ll get a pure action film further down the line, or stories that focus on fan favorite characters that never got enough screen time in the original films (can’t wait for a Darth Maul spin-off myself). Plus they could hire some really awesome directors. What if Spielberg finally did one, or Christopher Nolan? What about getting Gareth Evans to make a THE RAID-style martial arts film in the Star Wars universe? Hell, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian already have official characters thanks to THE FORCE AWAKENS, it’d be a shame not to make use of them!

ROGUE ONE is up first though, which is directed by another Gareth – namely Gareth Edwards, who previously did MONSTERS and the GODZILLA reboot from 2014. Judging by the trailer we’ll get plenty of luscious visuals (love that shot of the AT-AT’s attacking), and that cast is impressive. Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, even Donnie Yen! I don’t know about you, but to me it’s almost more thrilling to get a film like this than it is to get another chapter in the “official” saga. With THE FORCE AWAKENS we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but this… this is something new.

If there’s one thing to be doubtful about it’s Felicity Jones, who doesn’t come across too well in the trailer. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t seen her in anything before, coupled with that godawful line: “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” In any case, people tell me she’s usually great so I’m not too worried yet.

Pedro Pascal and Channing Tatum added to the cast of KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Matthew Vaughn is one of my absolute favorite directors working today. I love STARDUST and KICK-ASS, think X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is the best entry in that franchise by far and KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE was number 2 on my “Best of 2015” list, beaten only by THE FORCE AWAKENS. KINGSMAN was a film that felt like it was made explicitly for me, to play to my specific tastes, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard Vaughn would be making a sequel. I will admit, there’s one downside: Colin Firth, whose character was by far the best thing about the first film, is unlikely to return. I mean, it’s possible – there have been rumors – but I’m not holding my breath. Good thing then that Vaughn is filling up the sequel with a cast so cool we might not even miss Firth if he ends up not showing up after all.

No, I’m not talking about Halle Berry, who apparently will play the head of the American equivalent of the Kingsmen, or Julianne Moore, who’s on board as the villain. I’m sure those guys will be fine, but the additions that are really giving this thing some potential are Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal. Although unconfirmed, it seems both of them will be playing American agents, which is great. Tatum, in the right part, has crazy charisma and can be incredibly funny, plus the dude knows his way around an action scene. And Pedro, well… ever since his absolutely magnetic turn as Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne, on Game Of Thrones, I’ve been hoping he’d become a proper movie star. In fact, if it had been up to me, this is the guy I’d have cast as Doctor Strange in the upcoming Marvel film. It’s almost a shame those films have become so successful they no longer have to look for actors in a certain price range, but can just walk right up to guys like Benedict Cumberbatch and convince them to play the lead. I mean, I like Cumberbatch and I’m sure he’ll do a decent job, but I already knew how he was going to play that character before I even saw that recent trailer. Pascal would have been more unpredictable and much, much more interesting.

Anyways, apparently he’ll play a “swaggering, sharpshooting cowboy” in this, which makes me hope he gets a scene just as cool as Firth massacring that entire church full of people in the first one. Out of all the upcoming films that I’m currently aware of, if I could pick one to watch right now, it’d be KINGSMAN 2.

Trailer for THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN released

That’s a pretty damn effective trailer, one of the better ones in recent memory (ROGUE ONE being another). Admittedly it’s become a cliché to use an old song in a fresh arrangement (most often a creepy, haunting one) but hearing “House of the Rising Sun” here got me really pumped up. I love this type of story, plus that cast is promising: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee… The only dude here that I don’t like is Peter Sarsgaard, who I’ve seen in villainous roles too often before, without ever making an impression. The director is Antoine Fuqua, who’s a bit hit-and-miss. He did classic stuff like TRAINING DAY, but also pure shite like KING ARTHUR. Usually though, he’s somewhere in the middle, making mildly entertaining action films like SHOOTER, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and THE EQUALIZER, so who knows how this’ll turn out.

Anyways, I guess it’s too much to hope for a majestic, sweeping Western score or an R-rating, but that trailer makes THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN look like a lot of fun even so. In case you were wondering, I know it’s a remake of a classic, and normally I’d detract points for that, but in this case I think enough time has passed since the original to not make a big thing out of it.

That’s it for now, but I’ll try to post articles like this more often. Check back here for my thoughts whenever something BIG gets announced, like, anything related to Meryl Streep or British costume dramas, or documentaries about the rise of Hip Hop culture in the mid-1980s or some shit. Trust me, I’ll be all over that.

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