The Hunt, Serkis, Apes: Weekly Round Up

The Hunt: Why Universal’s average looking horror movie just became one of the most important films of 2019.

The Hunt, Serkis, Apes: Weekly Round Up

Right, so… um. Let’s get this out the way first, and then we can move on to other stuff, because I could rant about this thing all day and I’m pretty sure that’s not what you guys are all here to find out about. So… The Hunt, that Blumhouse satire that sounds suspiciously like The Most Dangerous Game, has been pulled by Universal Studios as a result of some… let’s say controversy, but the truth is it’s totally contrived.

Universal aren’t to blame, the movie suddenly became a whole lot more interesting, art doesn’t create The Hunt killers, and Donald Trump’s a dick. Moving on…

Last week I spoke about the Venom sequel, Sony’s follow-up to 2018’s inexplicably successful and downright bad comic-book adaptation starring Tom Hardy. The studio were meeting with several potential directors for the project, and it looks like they’ve actually managed to secure one. Rather surprisingly, the most interesting one as well.

That’s right, Andy Serkis, everyone’s favorite Gollum, has signed on to direct the movie. While this still leaves questions lingering over his Animal Farm project for Netflix (seriously, I need that movie in my life), it’s a rather tantalizing prospect none the less. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first movie, and Serkis’ time as a director has been so-so, but he has the chops, and this film is also set to star Woody Harrelson as Carnage, so that’s certainly exciting.

The film is being written by Kelly Marcel, who was behind the script for Fifty Shades of Grey, but Serkis was quoted this week saying that star Tom Hardy has been “very involved with the writing with Kelly Marcel of the new story”, so take from that what you will.

Whether or not Tom Holland will appear in Venom 2 remains a mystery at this point, although it does seem somewhat unlikely. Sony haven’t ruled out the possibility of the MCU’s web-head showing up in their own movies, though.

Speaking of the MCU, The Eternals has fast become one of the more intriguing of the post-Endgame Marvel projects. With a cast full of impressive star-wattage, including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Selma Hayek to name a few, it’s hardly lacking for reasons to go see it. But, despite the many casting announcements, it has been oddly absent of any recurring cast members from other MCU properties.

This might not seem that weird, but given the Marvel Cinematic Universe is built on its connectivity, it does seem somewhat peculiar. That might have all changed this week, though, with the announcement that Gemma Chan, who appeared in Captain Marvel as the Kree Warrior Minn-Erva, has been cast in role. Whether or not she’s actually playing Minn-Erva is yet to be revealed, but I reckon it’s a safe bet.

Disney have also been busy this week announcing some of the properties we’ll be seeing head to their streaming service, Disney+. Among the many announcements was one that struck a chord, and not necessarily a good one.

While the streaming service was already understood to become the home for some of Disney’s live-action remakes (the “lesser” ones, I guess… although quite why you all aren’t interested in a live-action Lady and the Tramp update is beyond me… and can we get The Aristocats going soon too, please?), Disney also revealed this week that it would be the home for some updates to Fox properties they now have under their name. Because, and let’s not forget this, Disney are buying everything, and they now own your entire childhood and young adult years.

Four titles were revealed during this announcement, including Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But there was one that really caught my attention.

Sigh… Home Alone. I mean, quite why anyone needs to remake Home Alone after Chris Peckover’s grossly underseen, underappreciated and excellent 2016 horror/thriller Better Watch Out already to the premise to its darkest, most extreme place is beyond me, but here we are. And all would be fine, I guess, if it wasn’t for the fact that Disney decided that they would also like to cast Melissa McCarthy in the role of Kevin’s mum.

I mean, c’mon! Catherine O’Hara is iconic in the Chris Columbus directed, John Hughes scripted original classic, but Melissa McCarthy! Really!? Are you trying to annoy me, Disney? Why don’t you just cast James Corden in the Joe Pesci role and I can gouge my own eyes out right here, right now, yeah?

Or maybe I just won’t watch the film. I don’t know.

Anyway, our last story this week brings us somewhat full circle, back to Andy Serkis, but it also ties in quite nicely with the reminder that Disney is now a giant, franchise swallowing, childhood owning, pop-culture behemoth that will quite possibly be the key to our downfall as a civilization.

While discussing Disney’s future plans for the many Fox franchises they have now acquired, which include the likes of Alien, Die Hard, Predator, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Avatar, CEO Bob Iger specifically mentioned Planet of the Apes as a top priority. Fox had success with their recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, which starred Andy Serkis as the mo-capped lead, Caesar.

I quite like the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy, and I’d be eager to see more. Sadly, this announcement, along with others, seems to suggest that Disney are lining Fox up to focus more on bigger, higher profile properties in their production slate, which likely means the end of decent mid-range movies or, as I like to call them, the more interesting ones.

The Hunt: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen… for a very specific purpose … The Hunt. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, a group of globalist elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, GLOW), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off, one by one, as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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