Grunting at the Screen (283)

15 May



“Digital Transformation is ongoing.”




White Chamber (Grunting – 255) has a release;

a woman awakes in a white cubic room designed only for interrogation.

It is on video on demand platforms from the start of May.


Incidentally the director Paul Raschid is now working on something I am not sure belongs in here; The Complex, described as an interactive film.

In near future films four scientists are trapped in a bio-containment lab while a terrorist attack is happening outside.

The reason I doubt this is a purview of Grunting is the finished program will eventually be distributed on gaming platforms.

We’ll see.





Pedro Almodóvar has joined the chorus of major directors in commenting on the superhero movie trend.

Predictably he is not interested, and for very understandable reasons; they are too big, too involved, and too distant from the actual directing process. Not intimate enough for his process.

But uniquely Almodóvar’s problem with the subgenre is the lack of sexuality of any kind; the characters are entirely missing the sensual aspect of life. Hme. Not what I’d bring up.*

Curiously enough, outside the film world in the comics, the sex lives of caped heroes is the matter of much discussion, and in some comics the characters are very…human indeed.

Not what you would find in movie; but perhaps of interest to Almodóvar.

But again I have to ask… who is asking? The majority of directors who have made detracting comments about comic book movies, and exclaimed they would never make one… well have provided no evidence of ever having been asked…


At this point I am thinking the only ones who truly care are the journalists who are trying to create some kind of controversy…

Just saying. A little probing shows many of the directors just don’t care that much, the few who do may well be showing some measure of sour grapes. The Biggest Superhero films in the last ten years have been made by directors who came out of Television and Independent Film, while The Great and the Good of Hollywood have been side-lined to watch themselves become irreverent. And some of those men are having problems with their careers which may explain why they are so grumbly.





El Chicano, the Latino superhero movie directed by Ben Hernandez Bray got a review.

Didn’t I mention it? Hme, seems like I didn’t (which does not seem like me).

I’m not going to make a joke about it being Mexico’s finest superhero movie; first of all because Mexico has had a lot of Superhero movies before, but mostly because this film was made in Canada…

I’m not even going to try to explain that.

El Chicano is a mythical masked vigilante who has been dolling out rough justice on the streets or East Los Angeles for decades. Police detective Diego Hernandez suspects his own brother has held the mantle of El Chicano and he decides to take it up himself.


The review suggests it is violent, full of profanity and vulgarity. The budget is low, you cannot imagine how low; $6M and you won’t mistake it for a $250m Marvel movie but for what it is, it’s pretty effective.


And I am astonished it got a theatrical release.


I like promise of violence and bad language…

El Chicano hit the theatres on May 3





The coming of the superproducer.

Talking about El Chicano it is directed by Ben Hernandez Bray but all the film blogs are talking about producer Joe Carnahan.

Or how about Crawl, director is the much acclaimed Alexandre Aja, but who gets all of the attention? Producer Sam Raimi.

Third case, in fact most obvious case. Brightburn.

From back when it was an unnamed feature in danger of being cancelled the only name associated with it was producer James Gunn. The actual director, by the way, is David Yarovesky.

Perfect is directed by Eddie Alcazar but the headlines are all about producer Steven Soderbergh

Perfect will be released in New York on May 17 and in Los Angeles on May 24, followed by the VOD release on June 21, 2019.


It is not entirely sinister. A neophyte director has trouble getting their names out there; having a powerful producer greases the wheels. Joe Carnahan has nothing but praise for Ben Hernandez Bray and what he brings to the table, he is also critical of an industry that has made it so difficult for new directors to break out.

Many now respected directors started as the protégés of much more famous faces.

But it is a thin line between getting a hand up and being erased.

It is beginning to look like the auteur theory is on its last legs. It used to be thought that the director was the all-powerful visionary who conceives and brings into being the impossible artefact that is a feature film.

Now she or he just looks like a hired hand.

Well not entirely, in most get respect and credit.

These cases may be an anomaly, or they may be the future.





As suspected, Ad Astra’s (Grunting 134) release has been delayed.

It has missed its slot in the Cannes Film Festival. There is some speculation that it will make its debut in the autumn on the festival circuit.

One film blog suggested it benefited as a Fox movie from not competing with Disney releases now they are one company.

The silence surrounding the film seemed ominous. So far there has been no marketing for Ad Astra, just about anything could have happened. However Disney has now published release dates for many of the Fox films. Surprisingly Ad Astra has not been consigned to the January dumping ground, or shuffled off to streaming media. It will be seen in the autumn.

It had been due on in January 2018, and then January 11, 2019 and then May 24th 2019. Ad Astra will get a release from Sept. 20, 2019.





Against all expectations it looks like Roland Emmerich’s project Moonfall (Grunting -207) is a go.

After Independence Day Resurgence (which I caught on TV and was only half as bad as I expected) crashed and burned like a downed saucer I expected Emmerich to go hide in his garage. But no he’s back.

Moonfall is looking like a cross between Armageddon and 2012; a mysterious force knocks the moon out of orbit and it begins to fall causing global catastrophe, a rag tag band of heroes take one last chance to go the moon and divert it back into space with alien technology (really? Cause traditionally they would use nukes…)

Anyway Emmerich plans to tackle it after he finished Midway.





Project Ithaca (Grunting – 270) has a new trailer and a release date.

It opens in select US theatres and On Demand June 7.





We honestly thought we’d heard the last of John McTiernan as a director, but he is back, and with a Science Fiction movie.

Tau Ceti 4; on the war-torn fourth planet in the Tau Ceti system four strangers arrive to bring peace: at any cost.

The screenplay is by McTiernan himself, Uma Thurman and Travis Fimmel have been cast.

The film is being sold at Cannes.

No schedule.





After I Am Mother (Grunting 219) got shuffled off to Netflix I wasn’t going to bother to show the trailer. I have nothing against Netflix but these films don’t make it to the cinemas, and don’t go to disk.

However this trailer is just so damned cool, I can’t resist.





They are calling it “Science Fiction horror”; Friendship Game to be directed by Scooter Corkle. The script by Damien Ober;

a group of teens stumble on an object that tests their loyalty to each other with increasingly destructive games.

Bella Thorne is cast and they are selling the movie at Cannes.

No Schedule.





Antoine Fuqua’s Infinite (Grunting -270) about battling immortals now has a release date.

It is now due August 7th 2020





Just hearing about Auggie, Directed and written by Matt Kane;

a retired man is given a pair of augmented reality glasses, through them he finds an artificial companion he falls in love with.

It has already has its premier at Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival. It is being distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

No release date.





We don’t need to wait to tell you about Ben Ramsey and his series Interface. We found this one on Film Combat Syndicate (Go visit them sometime  ). And it seems this is a labour of love five years in the making.

He gets an “A” for effort.

It’s a bit on the rough side.

Actor/writer/director Ben Ramsey has been associated with genre movies for years, he previously directed a feature called Blood and Bone but interface is his labour of love. This is the official summary for interface; In the future the ultimate gaming console is the human mind. When the games begin to kill the players in real life, one cop must go undercover into the virtual world of gaming to bring these deadly mind- hackers down for good.

There is no indication of when and in what medium it will appear.





Direct to video Science Fiction films are popping up like mushrooms after rain. Latest is Beyond White Space, (Grunting -267) oops sorry, they are calling it “White Space.” (Because there is nothing beyond White Space!)

Let’s just call it Moby Dick meets Gravity.

No extras of course; and reviews? They have been rather mediocre. But the effects are said to far exceed what is expected for its budget.

Here’s a trailer.





Bacurau is a Brazilian feature premiering at the Cannes Film Festival,

director is Kleber Mendonça Filho;

a film-maker travels deep into the interior to a village that has disappeared off the map. When he arrives he finds all is not as it should be, the villagers have secrets.

(there are suggestions of UFO and alien involvement)



It is still seeking international distribution.





Everyone is looking for the follow up to “The Wandering Earth.” OK, so I know that big hit was released unheralded on Netflix, but it had an effect; the international shockwaves are slow but very real.

Anyway the current contender for the crown is “Shanghai Fortress” (Grunting 244).

It has come to the Cannes festival

It is expected to debut in early August. How well it does will give us some idea if there is a real trend here or if “The Wandering Earth.” was a flash in the pan.






It looks like the Dune movie has its champion of publicity; Josh Brolin. Brolin has been enthusiastically tweeting from the set trying to keep the level of interest and attention high.

Just as well because, as expected Denis Villeneuve has been very quiet.


Will it be enough? Who knows? A lot depends on the Studio, Legendary.


The studio behind Blade Runner 2049 played it close to the chest and in fact forbade the crew from talking to anyone.


Legendary by contrast better be doing outreach, stoking interest and getting a potential audience on board.


I have no doubt Dune will be very special, Villeneuve will work to make it an exceptional piece of Science Fiction cinema. He has done it twice before he is the second safest pair of hands in the industry.**

The issue is whether the audience will understand it is being served up with the best cinema it could ask for.




And now for the X-Clock.


Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has stated it will be some time before they start developing new material based on the characters recovered from Fox.

Feige is usually very honest.

But I think he is mistaken here.

See, the X-Men may have declined in critical stature, but they still make money. And Disney does not leave money on the table.

So my question is, just how long will it take for them to announce new material based on Fox acquisitions? As a ground rule let’s say it has to be based on characters already used by Fox, not new characters that happened to in Fox’s back pocket. And further it has to be a new product not a guest starring role in one of Marvel Studio’s already successful IPs.

I say we will have an announcement within a year. Plenty of time for the fans to forget what Kevin Feige said, and for them to get over the last true Fox movies.

Disney took control of Fox in March, I expect an announcement before the end of March 2020; it may be a TV show for Disney+, a feature film, a show for ABC. But Disney does not leave money on the table.

And I think I know how it will be done. Feige has been absolutely specific. No immediate plans to integrate the X-Men with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But that does not mean they can’t have their own universe. A parallel universe. The Spider-Man Far From Home trailer plainly states that Parallel, Multiple universes are now canonical to the MCU. Looked at that way Disney can get back on track making X-Men movies while moving closer to the inevitable meeting of universes. And then we can have the event fanboys are slathering over: Avengers Verses X-Men.




*And if anyone would, it would likely be me.

** If you are wondering the number one is Christopher Nolan.


I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.


Get down to Film Combat Syndicate, you’ll be surprised.


And if you want some movie news about other than sequels and reboots try


And if you want to check out releases beyond the usual try First Showing. Fiction/


Most Indie Film blogs are pretty boring but Indie Activity reports on Science Fiction as well.



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