Banks, Wheatley, Spielberg: Weekly Round Up

Banks, Wheatley, Spielberg: Weekly Round Up

Banks, Wheatley, Spielberg: Weekly Round Up: Okay, let’s start with a couple of stories that I think are absolutely great. It’s not often that I get to talk about the kinds of movies I really want to talk about here, since so much of the movie news information is centered around the major studios in Hollywood. But, this week, we got confirmation of a release date for the brand-new Ben Wheatley movie, In the Earth.

Now, for those of you who may not know, Ben Wheatley is a British filmmaker and the man behind some of the most interesting, frightening, and original films of the last few years. He broke onto the scene with his gangster drama Down Terrace, and more recently made the move to Netflix with the latest adaptation of Rebecca.

As a filmmaker, though, Wheatley is perhaps best known for his work in the folk horror genre, with the likes of Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England all earning praise from genre fans and critics alike. He has often been named as instrumental in the so-called folk horror revival, and his movies, which are soaked in a sort of “Britishness”, really do plunge the depths of horror the history of these isles is steeped in.

This will likely come as no surprise, but I’m a fan, so you’ll understand why, when news broke in September that the director has secretly filmed a micro-budget horror movie during lockdown, I was incredibly excited. A return to the genre he has helped essentially redefine is an exciting and tantalizing prospect, and of course the assumption was that there would be some sort of folkloric aspect to this, given his previous output. This assumption was later more or less confirmed when we discovered the title.

Since then, though, all has been relatively quiet, until this week we when we got ourselves a poster and a release date following the film’s premiere at Sundance. The film is being distributed by NEON and will be released on April 30th. It stars Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, and Reece Shearsmith.

Anyway, if you were under the impression that the weird, psychedelic world of Ben Wheatley was going to be as strange as it got this week, I’m here to tell you just how wrong you were, because our next story is… well… let’s just get too it.

Cocaine Bear. It’s the film no one knew they wanted, but now everyone needs. And no, I didn’t make that up, that’s a real thing and this week’s next key piece of movie news, because that’s the title of Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie’s Angels director Elizabeth Banks’ next film. That’s right. Cocaine Bear… tell me you’re not already sold?

Inspired by a story reported by the New York Times in 1985, in which a 175-lb brown bear was found dead in the woods after consuming 40 packets of cocaine that had apparently been dropped from an airplane piloted by a drug smuggler, Cocaine Bear will be produced by the team behind The LEGO Movie and the 21 Jump Street films, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Now, if you weren’t already on board, their involvement should definitely have you chomping at the bit, since they have impeccable form when it comes to taking absurd, totally out there, definitely-shouldn’t-work concepts and delivering stone cold classics.

However, we’re not quite sure when we’ll be getting to see this insane spectacle, as Banks is still currently developing her big screen adaptation of the classic series, The Magic School Bus, which she will reportedly both direct and star in as Ms. Frizzle. Still, let’s hope she gets a move on because… well… I really, really wanna see Cocaine Bear.

And now for this week’s final piece of news, which, much like the project the news details, is all about Steve Spielberg.

It was reported this week that Spielberg has co-written a new screenplay with his Lincoln and Munich collaborator, Tony Kushner, that centers around a Jewish teenager and movie buff growing up in Arizona during the 1950s and 1960s. Spielberg was apparently working on this script while in post-production for his upcoming West Side Story remake, with an intention to begin shooting the project sometime in July, aiming for a 2022 release.

Now, it isn’t uncommon for filmmakers to draw on their own experience when making their films, indeed Spielberg himself has been known to do so from time to time (especially in relation to certain… er… father issues), but this will be the first time Spielberg has so directly tackled himself as a subject, so it could be a very interesting new challenge for the director.

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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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