The beginning of the year is often slow in terms of releases – we already addressed this phenomena in detail in one of our previous posts, which described what are known as ‘dump months’. However, it will soon be one month until the curtain fell on the mainstream award season, and quality films will slowly but steadily start making an appearance once again. April doesn’t exactly look like film lover heaven, but it nevertheless seems set to raise a few eyebrows with its offerings. This week, we will look into three such projects: two remakes, one sequel, and one original IP.
Considering how many blank pages Stephen King has filled throughout his entire life, and how readily adaptable many of his works are to film format, it will be a major surprise if we get a year without a film inspired from his books. 2019 revisits an old classic – Pet Sematary, one of my favourite King novels. What is notable is that the film is a remake, exactly 30 years after the latest adaptation of the same book, and features no hugely famous actors. Which might actually be a plus in this case.
As opposed to Stephen King adaptation, good stop-motion animations are considerably rarer occurences. Last year we got two: the excellent Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, and Early Man by Nick Park. This year, we’re getting Missing Link, which at least on paper looks promising, since it’s written and directed by Chris Butler, the writer of Kubo and the Two Strings and writer/director of ParaNorman. So far, we know it has a star-studded cast (of voices), including Stephen Fry, Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson, Zack Galifianakis and Timothy Olyphant.
It’s more of a reboot than a remake, although it was originally intended to be a sequel. I might have confused you there for a second, but stay with me – I’ll explain. This was initially supposed to be Hellboy 3, sequel to the first two films written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Pearlman in the main role. However, since the former was not given full rein on the project, and the latter refused to return to the films under anyone other than the Mexican director, the producers decided to change the formula a little bit. They shifted the rating to R, paving the way for more mature content, cast David Harbour (you know, Jim Hopper from Stranger Things) in the main role, and hired many other famous figures, including Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane.
I’ve honestly lost track of the films in The Conjuring universe, especially since they dropped the franchise name in favour of standalone titles. Which is not a bad thing from a creative standpoint, and seems to have worked equally well with regard to marketing. Anyways, The Curse of La Llorona (or The Curse of the Weeping Woman as it is known in a variety of markets) is the sixth entry in the franchise. Just in case you were wondering, The Nun is the other standalone film, and the pair will be joined by The Crooked Man sometime in the future. Meanwhile, the third Annabelle sequel, Annabelle Comes Home, is due to be released in late June 2019.