What’s coming up in 21st century cinema

This Week In Movies: August 31, 2015

Twice a year we enter, what I like to call, “The Movie Offseason.” Along with January–February, we’re coming into the late-August–September season of movies that just don’t measure up. Studios take some time to catch their breath after an explosion-fueled summer and gear up for the playoffs — Oscar season. I anticipate these next weeks to be slow at the theaters, but the PR Department of major studios are still at work cranking out some interesting news to keep us all biting our nails. Let’s get into it.

Toby Kebbell up for Kong: Skull Island

This is a shining light for Hollywood. There was a time, quite recently in fact, when one bad movie could set an actor back years in their career. Mike Myers (The Love Guru) and Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern) know this all too well. Seeing Fantastic Four and knowing Toby Kebbell, the young, unsung talent that he is, is still being sought after puts a big, wide smile on my face.

Kebbell would join the ranks of Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers) and Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) along with other actors in negotiations: Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, and John C. Reilly. The Legendary and Universal Studios film is described as, “a team of explorers venture deep inside the treacherous and primordial home of the king of the apes.” Kebbell’s role is undisclosed, but his marvelous work as Koba in last summer’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might just give us a clue.

Christian Bale to star as Enzo Ferrari in new biopic

Director Michael Mann has a special talent for getting the best performance out of his actors. Previous biopics, such as Ali and Public Enemies, along with celebrated works: Collateral and The Insider, prove that point, and harping on Christian Bale’s talents is like harping on Yo-Yo Ma’s — I think we all understand he’s great. Based on the book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Race, The Machine, I hope the pieces come together once again for another Oscar-level film.

Jennifer Lawrence & Amy Schumer team for sisters comedy

I don’t know what kind of writing skills J-Law has, but her charisma and free-spirited lifestyle make this writing duo an obvious match and extremely intriguing. Amy Schumer’s “pull no punches” comedy style is a breath of fresh air in the politically correct world we’ve entered, and pure comedy is Lawrence’s last frontier. She’s taken action heroine (X-Men and the Hunger Games series), drama (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and Joy: coming soon), and horror (House at the End of the Street) but starring in a laugh-out-loud popcorn comedy, in the vein of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, alongside Schumer might be just what the doctor ordered.

In an interview with The New York Times, Lawrence admitted they’re “almost done writing” and put roughly 100 pages worth of comedy on paper. Considering Lawrence’s level of stardom and talent and Schumer’s newfound, and long awaited, film comedy power, don’t be surprised when this project gets put on the fast-track for theaters.

First photo from Assassin’s Creed film featuring Michael Fassbender in costume

With comic-book movies still at bat, video game movies are certainly on deck. We’ve been hearing rumblings of video game adaptions swirling around for years, but only now are we getting some real results. First up is Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, set for June 2016. Forthcoming are the likes of Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Minecraft, The Last of Us, Uncharted, Portal, Angry Birds (Yes, that Angry Birds), and, of course, Assassin’s Creed. Michael Fassbender stars as Callum Lynch, a descendent of family in a secret order of assassins. Directed by Justin Kurzel, who directed Fassbender to critical acclaim as the title role in the upcoming Macbeth, Fassbender’s newest character will utilize his deadly lineage to experience the life of Aguilar, his ancestor, in 15th century Spain on a mission to dismantle the Knights Templar.

The picture looks perfect! It’s Affleck in the Batsuit. Reynolds as Deadpool. Upcoming movies are so shifty that we can never know until we know. When real photographs of characters get released, or announcements of production schedules happen, movies become real and we can finally say, with authority, how excited we are to see it on screen. Truthfully though, this pic has little significance. It’s simply a man in a costume. But because this time it’s that man in that costume, we can all rejoice and be glad.