The cinematic universe we really want continues to grow.
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There will be a lot of talk about cinematic universes, their success, and their necessity this week. Much of that is going to happen between fervent masses whose hearts (and personal pop culture identities) are branded with either a Marvel or DC logo. But let’s take a moment today to talk about the cinematic universe that really matters: the Monsterverse.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have been working on it since Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla dropped in 2014. Last year’s Kong: Skull Island, from Jordan Vogt-Roberts, continued to build out the world a bit with Ape vs. Helicopter vs. Samuel L. Jackson action. For 2019, Trick ‘r Treat director Michael Dougherty is already in production on Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which will further tie things together. Then in 2020, we’ll be offered a respite from the next American presidential election when Godzilla vs. Kong hits theaters in May.
This week, we found out who will be seated in the director’s chair for Godzilla vs. Kong: Adam Wingard, director of highly acclaimed thrillers such as You’re Next, The Guest, and the recent surprise Blair Witch movie. The move continues Legendary’s trend of plucking successful, talented directors from the indie sphere and giving them a shot at directing a giant monster movie. It worked well for Edwards, who went on to make Rogue One. Vogt-Roberts and his magnificent beard have been circling a Metal Gear Solid movie. And Dougherty, well, let’s let him focus on Godzilla 2 for now.
These filmmakers are the reason why this cinematic universe is among my (our) favorites. That, and Legendary’s commitment to casting the hell out of these movies. Skull Island got Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, and John Goodman. Godzilla had Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and this goddamn gem of a moment from Ken Watanabe:
Godzilla: King of the Monsters continues this prestige casting trend with Millie Bobbie Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance, and the return of Mr. “Let Them Fight” himself. Basically, we’re getting several huge monster movies in which the cast has almost as much awards cred as the teams doing the VFX. (Well, that may be stretching it a bit, but you get the idea).
Wingard is a fine choice as a filmmaker who understands how to build, maintain, and manage tension in his films. It will be fascinating (and likely delightful) to see what he does on a much larger scale. Plus, in the end, we’ll at least get to see two of the most brilliantly designed iterations of these monsters duke it out.
My body is ready.
Today in Pop Culture History
Today is Clint Eastwood‘s birthday. Somewhere in America, he’s likely shouting grumpy 87-year-old man things at a TV tuned to Fox News. We choose to remember him more fondly as Dirty Harry.
Colin Farrell also celebrates his birthday today. Have you seen The Lobster? You should see The Lobster. It’s some of his best work.
On this day in 1990, Seinfeld debuted on NBC. It would go on to become the greatest show about nothing of all-time.
What You Need to Know Today
Diablo Cody is writing a Jagged Little Pill musical based on the work of Alanis Morissette. Will it be any good? “Ahhh dunno!” (Enjoy that joke, 90s kids.)
Director Doug Liman has now said that his Edge of Tomorrow sequel, the ludicrously titled Live Die Repeat and Repeat, will pick up moments after the end of the first film. That said, it doesn’t exactly go forward — because, you know, time travel.
It’s been a hot minute since we saw Gabrielle Union on the big screen, despite her success as star and producer of BET’s Being Mary Jane. That said, she’ll join forces next with V for Vendetta director James McTiegue on Breaking In, a home invasion drama. Come to think of it, those are two names I haven’t typed in a while.
Jacob Oller put down some words about Wonder Woman and the cycle of fandom around the DC Cinematic Universe. It’s a potentially controversial article if you don’t take the time to read it.
Also on the Wonder Woman beat, this week’s Filmmaking Tips is all about director Patty Jenkins.
Our coverage of the Cannes Film Festival is wrapping up this week as our troops return home and file their final reviews. Via that link, you’ll find reviews of all the big award winners plus some thoughts on the Cannes Ban.
Shot of the Day
Happy Birthday, Mr. Eastwood.
Perfect shot: DIRTY HARRY (1971) DoP: Bruce Surtees | Dir: Don Siegel pic.twitter.com/N8BMdW9ojr
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) May 16, 2014