Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

Now that you've picked this week's league, check out these upcoming movies related to this week's "Charlie's Angels," "Ford v Ferrari," "The Good Liar," plus some of the other movies with new trailers released this week.

Seberg (12/13/2019)
The three new stars in this week's reboot of "Charlie's Angels" include one relative newcomer and unknown (Ella Balinska), one that's on her way to becoming a name star (Naomi Scott, who costarred as Princess Jasmine in "Aladdin"), and the star of the Twilight movies. Following the "Twilight" movies, Kristen Stewart has spent most of the last seven years focusing on either outright indie arthouse movies or films from directors like Ang Lee ("Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"). Following "Charlie's Angels," Kristen Stewart's next film will be the 1960s-set civil rights true story "Seberg" as actress Jean Seberg (the star of Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless"), who found herself targeted by the FBI because of her political affiliations with members of the Black Panther Party. "Seberg" is an Amazon Studios movie, but they're releasing the film in theaters as part of an "awards season" bid.

Cats (12/20/2019)
If you've been on social media even a little bit the last few months, there's a good chance you've already seen this trailer. Sir Ian McKellen does star in the new mystery thriller "The Good Liar," so that's our cue to revisit "Cats," in which McKellen will play Gus the Theater Cat. "Cats" is a truly star-studded affair, with some of the other felines portrayed by James Corden, Dame Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and Jennifer Hudson, whose Grizabella gets to belt out the musical's signature song, "Memory." The "Cats" movie probably should've come out 20+ years ago when it would've been a more timely adaptation, but the wait allowed for improvements in motion capture computer animation. Having said that, the perspective of human actors in cat-sized bodies also makes for some jarringly bizarre screen captures like that shot of a cat holding silverware. And what's up with some "Cats" wearing coats and furs, but other "Cats" are apparently naked? (The MPAA gave "Cats" a PG for "peril, some thematic elements, and rude humor.")

Underwater (1/10/2020)
In addition to her franchise play with "Charlie's Angels," Kristen Stewart is also moving away from her long line of arthouse films with the underwater action/suspense thriller "Underwater," which appears to also be a monster movie of some sort. "Underwater" is one of the last movies produced by 20th Century Fox just before its acquisition earlier this year by Disney, and we can probably guess that post-Disney, Fox won't be producing many more films exactly like this one. It is sort of interesting that this was a Fox movie, because that's also the studio behind the "Alien" franchise, which this movie sort of resembles, from its female lead, to the claustrophobic setting inside a ship (outer space, underwater, it's all sort of the same vibe).

Fantasy Island (2/14/2020)
Sony Pictures is the studio behind this week's "Charlie's Angels," the latest entry in a franchise that started off in 2000 as an adaptation of the popular 1970s TV show. Sony is also using "Charlie's Angels" to launch the trailer for their next big TV show adaptation which was also an ABC show from the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the similarities sort of stop there. "Fantasy Island" was set on an apparently magical tropical locale where vacationers were promised literal wish fulfilmment, except in a "Twilight Zone" sort of twist, they didn't always get exactly what they thought they were asking for. Michael Peña (from the "Ant-Man" movies) takes over the role of Mr. Roarke from the late Ricardo Montalban, with Lucy Hale (TV's "Pretty Little Liars") and Maggie Q (TV's "Nikita") playing two of the island's latest tourists, and Jamaican actress Parisa Fitz-Henley in a role similar to Herve Villechaize's "Tattoo."

Sonic the Hedgehog (2/14/2020)
Once upon a time, one of this weekend's new films was supposed to have been the video game adaptation "Sonic the Hedgehog," but that was also before Paramount Pictures released the original trailer. Fans quickly took to social media to voice their complaints about Sonic's appearance, including his eyes (too small), his legs (too muscular), and his teeth (too many, too human, and too obvious). The film's director quickly responded by saying that they heard the objections, and Paramount took the unusual step of actually delaying the film's release three months so that Sonic's entire appearance could be redone. We finally got to see the result this week with the relaunch of the trailer, but it also feels like the tone of the trailer is much lighter and more fun. This "Sonic the Hedgehog" trailer might also be more embracing of the character's video game roots, including sound effects from the games throughout.

Scoob! (5/15/2020)
If there's one consistent theme in the new kids movies for the first half of 2020 that we're starting to hear more about is that studios are reviving old franchises (not that this is a new approach either though). We just talked about the movie based on the 1990s videogame franchise "Sonic the Hedgehog," and our second trailer is for an animated reboot of the "Scooby-Doo" franchise, which is being shortened down to just "Scoob!" Some of the story appears to be an origin story about how Shaggy and Scooby-Doo first met, but the trailer also teases other adventures, including a few of the other 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, like Blue Falcon, Dyno-Mutt, and Captain Caveman (none of them are seen in the trailer but we know they're coming).

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (5/22/2020)
It's probably a coincidence, but the third "SpongeBob SquarePants" movie also does the "Scoob!" thing of showing our beloved characters as children. Originally titled "The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge," this movie also has the distinction of introducing CGI animation to SpongeBob's look, versus the more traditional 2D animation style from the first two movies and the Nickelodeon TV series. There's also a surprise guest star in the trailer (who is not "computer animated"), but we won't give it away (especially since you would never guess who or what it is until you actually see it).