Internet sleuths have been captivated by the photos, which were recently developed and document a couple’s trip to the Swiss-Italian border with a dachshund.
Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Wonder Woman 1984—whose release has been delayed multiple times in the face of continued theater closures due to the pandemic—will keep to its new December 25 theater release date. The catch: it will also debut on HBO Max that same day. Now WarnerMedia has announced that it will follow a similar concurrent digital/theater launch plan for all the movies slated for release in 2021, Variety reports. It’s yet another staggering blow to movie theaters still struggling amidst a raging pandemic that shows no sign of slowing down, particularly in the United States.
“After considering all available options and the projected state of moviegoing throughout 2021, we came to the conclusion that this was the best way for WarnerMedia’s motion picture business to navigate the next 12 months,” said CEO Jason Kilar in a statement. “Our content is extremely valuable, unless it’s sitting on a shelf not being seen by anyone. We believe this approach serves our fans, supports exhibitors and filmmakers, and enhances the HBO Max experience, creating value for all.”
Warner Bros.’ 2021 slate of films will be available to HBO Max subscribers for 31 days, after which they will only be playing in theaters. Once the traditional time has elapsed between theater and home release, the films will be available to rent via the usual online platforms (Amazon, iTunes, or Fandango). The current slate includes The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho, and Matrix 4.
There’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy, which is why black comedy is a film genre that is notoriously tough to get right. Despite good performances and some nice moments, Fatman—in which Mel Gibson plays a gruff, grizzled, disillusioned Santa—doesn’t quite succeed tonally in finding that elusive sweet spot. The trailer was certainly promising, but the concept is better than the ultimate execution. That said, it’s still pretty entertaining, and a solid addition to the growing genre of what one might call “anti-holiday” films.
(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)
Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime), the film co-stars Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies, Blindspot). Per the official premise:
Im Film “Hexen hexen” haben die bösen Protagonistinnen deformierte Hände. Das wird nun unter dem Hashtag #NotAWitch kritisiert – von Menschen mit ebendieser Behinderung.
A young man and woman on a distant planet called the New World find themselves on the run from a town of religious fanatics in Chaos Walking, a forthcoming film directed by Doug Limon and based on the award-winning sci-fi trilogy of the same name by Patrick Ness. And the film boasts two megastars: Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, and Tom Holland, the latest incarnation of Spider-Man in the MCEU.
The series consists of three novels—The Knife of Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men—as well as three short stories set in the same fictional universe, intended as companion pieces to the novels. The series takes place on a planet called New World, where we meet Todd, a boy living in a religiously devoted settlement known as Prentisstown, led by the megalomaniac mayor, David Prentiss. There are no women left, and all the men are afflicted by something called the “Noise,” which makes their thoughts audible, driving many of them mad. The same is true for Todd’s little dog, Manchee. This is purportedly the result of biological warfare on the part of a native intelligent species known as Spackle, who resented the arrival of the colonizers. The germ killed all the women and left the men with the Noise.
One day, Todd discovers a patch of silence (a “hole in the Noise”) in a nearby swamp, and when he tells his adoptive parents about it, they insist he has to flee Prentisstown. Back in the swamp, Todd comes face to face with Viola, a young girl who has crash-landed on New World in a small scouting craft, ahead of an incoming ship of new planetary settlers. They are relentlessly pursued by the Mayor, his son Davy, and an evil preacher named Aaron as they seek refuge with other, more peaceful settlements—including a town called Haven that is rumored to have a cure for the Noise—in hopes of finding a way to warn the incoming ship of the potential violence they face.
An interstellar ark transporting the last humans on Earth to a new home inadvertently brings along a shape-shifting alien stowaway in Breach, a new sci-fi action film starring Bruce Willis and directed by John Suits. The trailer just dropped, and the film looks like a fairly generic mix of elements from Alien, The X-Files, and Event Horizon. But anything that lets Willis “yippee-ki-yay” his gun-toting way to saving humanity from aliens in space is okay by me.
Suits is best known for 2016’s Pandemic, essentially a zombie horror thriller shot entirely from a first person point of view, like a video game. He also directed the recently released short Diehard is Back, a fun Willis-starring commercial for Diehard batteries that pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the franchise, including a few cameos that should delight fans. (“From fighting his way to Advance Auto Parts to racing against the clock to install his new DieHard Battery—McClane will stop at nothing, to start his car again.”) So I’m hopeful that Suits can bring a fitting mix of suspense, action, and humor to Breach, and just let Willis be Willis.
Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shapeshifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board.
Let’s face it: this is going to a dismal holiday season for film lovers, with most movie theaters shuttered for the foreseeable future and just one major release—Wonder Woman 1984—left standing after studios shifted all their blockbusters to next year. And even Wonder Woman 1984 is likely to end up getting bumped to next year from its currently planned Christmas Day release date unless we can get this raging pandemic in check quickly.
On the bright side, streaming platforms and VOD are doing their best to fill in the gap, and the dearth of major new releases is giving a lot of smaller indie films a better chance to find an audience. Plus, HBO Max just dropped the official trailer for Superintelligence, an action comedy starring Melissa McCarthy—and directed by her husband, Ben Falcone—that will drop Thanksgiving Weekend.
But the decision to skip the usual broad theatrical release in favor of the streaming platform was made last year—before the pandemic hit. That makes this film an intriguing potential harbinger of what the media ecosystem for films might look like in the future, especially for midbudget films. It was a big marquee acquisition for the fledgling HBO Max, which officially launched in May.
A young American man hiking through Norway’s countryside just might be the modern incarnation of the Norse god Thor in Mortal, an intriguing new film from Norwegian Director André Øvredal. This is definitely not Marvel’s version of Thor, and while it shares a basic premise with the recent Netflix YA drama, Ragnarok, both visually and tonally, it’s a very different beast.
American actor and singer Nat Wolff stars as Eric, whoM we first meet walking through the woods of the island of Askøy, near Bergen. He dreams of a fire breaking out and finds that fire is real when he awakens—and that he has an odd, painful wound on his ankle. Limping into town for provisions, he is confronted by local teenagers, one of whom mysteriously collapses and dies just from touching Eric. This brings him into police custody, where he meets a young psychologist named Christine (Iben Arkelie). She discovers that he has unusual electromagnetic powers that tend to run out of control whenever Eric’s stress and anxiety ramp up—which, alas, is quite often, given his circumstances. Christine seeks to help him control it; a US Embassy rep named Hathaway (Priyanka Bose) wants to control Eric, and if she can’t—well, she’ll just have to take him out (or try).
As a filmmaker with a foot in both Hollywood and his native Norway, Øvredal also brought us last year’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (adapted from the series of children’s books from the 1980s by the late amateur folklorist Alvin Schwartz) and the 2010 dark fantasy/mockumentary Trollhunter. (It’s fantastic, if you have’t seen it.) Next he’ll be adapting Stephen King’s 1979 dystopian horror novel, The Long Walk (as always, coronavirus willing). We sat down with Øvredal to learn more about the process of making Mortal.
It’s Halloween weekend, and with the ongoing pandemic putting a kibosh on the usual large parties and gatherings, it’s the perfect opportunity to order in and binge-watch horror movies. There are plenty of classic films to choose from, but if you’re keen to discover something new, October has been a remarkably good month for solidly entertaining indie horror comedies, along with a handful of films that fall under a rubric I’d call “prestige horror.” And for once there’s not a zombie in sight; we’ve got vampires, werewolves, and mutant monsters running amok instead, along with some really bad hair.
(Some mild spoilers below but no major reveals.)
Love and Monsters