Those of us who have dutifully followed Dwayne Johnson’s social-media updates from the set of the Jumanji reboot (fully titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a series of words I will never say out loud) have been hotly anticipating the first official trailer for months now. And after all the online teasing from the Rock about how much excitement audiences can expect from his new revival of the ’90s kids’ classic, he’s finally putting his money where his bulging, oiled-up biceps are. Welcome to the jungle, director Jake Kasdan has fun and games, if by “fun” we mean “a massive FX budget” and if by “games” we mean “body-switching humor.“
Netflix has risen to the top of the pile when it comes to festival season acquisitions, the streaming giant cleaning up at this year’s Sundance, and poised to do the same at TIFF after causing Cannes to go into a tizzy. One of the funniest and most rave-reviewed films out of Sundance this year was Jack Black’s The Polka King, which starred Black as real-life Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan, and Netflix has just snatched it up.
2015 seems like forever ago — we were all so clean then, so innocent and unaware — but it hasn’t been all that long since Jack Black starred in the big-screen adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps chapter books. Though the movie itself was pretty middling, Black had gobs of fun as Stine himself, playing the noted kiddie-horror writer as a Vincent Price-esque Gothic weirdo. And it would now seem that Black had a good time with his foray into horror from his comedy home, as some wise casting director has obliged him with a high-profile new gig that should send him deeper into the genre.
With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
Board games are sort of perfect for the current Hollywood franchise model. Board games are both recognizably familiar and new every single time you play. They end, but they can always be restarted by clearing the board and resetting the points to zero...