MOVIE CHEAT SHEET: Meet the Monster Universe
Forget the tights-clad superhero world. Universal Studios are rebooting their monster universe. Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and more are back. UNIVERSAL
BRIAN GASPAREK/ 24 HOURS
THE BIG STORY:
Stay classy, Universal Monsters
When it was announced that Universal Studios was gearing up to re-launch their classic monster universe, I shuddered. As much as I adore their spooky roster, I assumed they were preparing to mimic the likes Marvel and DC. You know, bastardizing their iconic characters (Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, etc.) by cranking out a never-ending pile of indistinguishable, cookie-cutter sequels/crossovers, all in the name of a buck. Thankfully, this is not the case. This week, Universal Monsters producer Chris Morgan squashed my distress when he assured fans that the UMU is going to be the farthest thing from the two superhero universes. These monster films are going to be deep, dark and thought provoking. Most importantly, each will be very different. According to Morgan, "We live in a world of superhero movies now - and by the way, I love them and I see them all and I have a great time - but I can't identify with them as closely as I want to because I know I'll never be perfect like that. Whereas the monster movies are saying that everybody has darkness in them, everyone has secrets and things they are ashamed of and don't want to say or something that feels monstrous and dangerous about them. We're just kind of embracing that and saying, 'That's ok.'
The films are just going be interesting, emotional, action-y, largely global sorts of films. I think The Mummy trailer sets up, in a really good way, kind of the tone of these films." The utterance of an anti-Marvel/DC Universe sounds so damn exciting. I'm really pulling for the new UMU to deliver. It has the potential to be something special.
Potter nerds rejoice! Good news has arrived. A young Albus Dumbledore will indeed be featured in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and he will be portrayed by Jude Law! I'd say that's a damn fine casting to match Johnny Depp's Grindelwald. Good work Warner Bros.
The Countess doesn't want a bloody Downton Abbey flick
We may all want to see a Downton Abbey movie, but the Countess seems to think that the creative well has been tapped. According to Violet Crawley herself, Maggie Smith, the idea of extending the classic PBS show into a film would be a ball call. "I just think it's squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean? I don't know what it could possibly be. It was so meandering, what would you [do]? Anyway that's not my problem. That's the Lord's [creator Julian Fellowes'] problem." Hmm. It kind of just sounds like she doesn't want to show up for it. She is the Countess after all. I guess she can do what she wants.
You're better than that, Mr. Hopkins
I love Sir Anthony Hopkins. We all do. He's a legend. But it's hard to respect a few comments that came out of his mouth this week. When discussing his upcoming roll in Transformers: The Last Knight, Tony proclaimed that the Transformers franchise is not only "terrific," but also that the world's most garbage director, Michael Bay, is a "genius." And he was serious. He went to say that Bay is of "the same ilk as Oliver Stone and Spielberg and Scorsese," and that "he's a savant." This kind of filthy, lowbrow chatter breaks my heart. I'll write it off as old age confusion so I can live with it.
Butt-kicking Charlize Theron is by far the best Charlize Theron. And if you need a reminder beyond Mad Max: Fury Road or this weekend's The Fate Of The Furious, you need to check out the new trailer for her upcoming Brit spy flick, Atomic Blonde. Aside from Theron's Lorraine Broughton awesomely whooping everyone in sight for two straight minutes, the film looks smart, sexy, and captivating. Stream the trailer, and then add it to your summer flick list. It's going to be sweet.
BEST AND WORST IN THEATRES:
Un-bro-lievably solid: The Fate Of The Furious
Whether you dig brainless, popped-collar action flicks, or just have an inexplicable soft spot for this franchise (like me), you're going to love The Fate Of The Furious. Critics are calling it the best edition in the series thus far. Vin Diesel and his pals have somehow managed to elevate the stunts, explosions, humour and general ridiculousness to the next level. If you're a fan of the franchise, get your butt to the theatre. You're going to have a blast. If you're not, keep quiet and let us have our fun.