How badly do we need these 2021 movie remakes?

An onslaught of reboots and remakes are barreling down the pipeline, bringing reimagined versions of Spy Kids and Sex and the City.

Spy Kids

Troublemaker Studios / Dimension Films

From the director who brought you the original Spy Kids comes… Spy Kids: Again! Spy Kids: Still Spying. Spy Kids: Spy Daddy starring spy wife Meghan Trainor (the NO singer married Daryl Sabara, who played Juni Cortez, back in 2018).

Director Robert Rodriguez, who has made a handful of good movies – Planet Terror, Death Proof, Machete, the OG Spy Kids – apparently feels compelled to redo his first entry in the Spy Kids Universe, reimagining the body horror of those anthropomorphized thumbs for another round of cinematic punishment. According to Variety, this reboot will revolve around the activities of a multicultural family.”

The plot of this film was already so bonkers. Remember Floop’s Fooglies? Sure, the VFX could use a timely update, but it’s unclear how exactly you could build upon the source material of two children discovering their parents are spies and having to save them from OSS agents and Alan Cumming.

Necessity rating: 7/​10 walking thumbs

The Great Gatsby

So we beat on, viewers against the streaming services, borne back ceaselessly into the same old shit.” So goes the last line of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seemingly only existing novel (in the eyes of Hollywood, at least). Leonardo DiCaprio raising a coupe of champagne to the camera, now a great meme, still isn’t enough to dissuade rich producers from trying their grubby hands at a remake.

The good news: this will be a closed-ended (meaning no second seasons) miniseries. Also, Fitzgerald’s estate is involved. This version of Gatsby will, according to The Hollywood Reporter, explore New York’s Black community in the 1920s as well as the musical subculture. Sounds interesting enough to get the, erm, green light.

Necessity rating: 6/​10 coupes of champagne

And Just Like That…

And Just Like That… we will be treated to the next chapter” of Sex and the City. Perhaps more infuriating than the funny character of Samantha being supplanted by, according to Sarah Jessica Parker via TMZ, the city of New York”? The name of the series itself. And Just Like That… sounds like a magician’s verbal flourish. What was so wrong with Sex and the City”? The drama this reboot is already embroiled in… Whew! Cattrall reportedly refused to join the reboots, and Jason Lewis, the actor who played Absolut Hunk Smith Jerrod, waded into the feud declaring he was Team Carrie.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Parker said that COVID-19 will obviously be part of the storyline because that’s the city [these characters] live in. And how has that changed relationships once friends disappear? I have great faith that the writers are going to examine it all.”

So, add rich girl pandemic wallowing about not being able to dine indoors to the already insufferable memorandums Carrie types out on her keyboard. We can’t wait.

Necessity rating: 4/​20 Marlboro Lights.

Dune: The Sisterhood

Based on the novel by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Sisterhood of Dune, this straight-to-TV series will be an offshoot of the Denis Villeneuve-directed Dune coming to cinemas. The most promising part is that Villeneuve is attached to direct the pilot. The script for the series was written by Jon Spaihts, who also co-wrote the screenplay for Dune. It appears as though this is Warner Media trying to hedge their bets on Dunes runaway success with a series, much like Disney+ did with The Mandalorian.

Necessity rating: We will be streaming. 9/​10.

Clueless

The joke tells itself: Deadline reported that the new show is like if Mean Girls meets Riverdale meets a Lizzo music video.” It’s being produced by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) and written by Marquita Robinson (Netflix’s Glow). It’s allegedly focused on Dionne’s character, which could be an interesting peek at her extensive hat collection.

Necessity rating: 6/​10 virgins who can’t drive

Jodie

Daria, the cutting and deadpan animated teenager that ruled over the late Gen X era, is getting spun-off onto Comedy Central, a sister-channel to MTV, which aired the original series from 1997 – 2002. The new series will centre on Jodie Landon (voiced by Tracee Ellis Ross), the wry-humoured valedictorian of Lawndale High, and one of only two Black classmates of Daria’s, as she graduates college and begins work at a tech startup. Like Daria did for her generation, Jodie aims to satirize workplace culture, the artifice of social media, and other Gen Z struggles.

Daria has remained an oft-referenced cultural icon for over 20 years, leaving Jodie with a pair of worn-in Converse to fit into. What might be welcome to many, however, is the opportunity to broaden the scope of the original series’ arguably limited perspective.

Necessity rating: 3.5/5 necks being stood on

The Many Saints of Newark

Anthony Neste / HBO

Every person who streamed The Sopranos for the first or 40th time during quarantine should be looking forward to The Many Saints of Newark, the film which will serve as a prequel to the beloved HBO series that ended in 2007 (though you’d never know it since the show has remained firmly planted in the cultural conversation’ ever since).

Newark, which premieres in September on HBO Max, will use the 1967 Newark riots as a backdrop to explore tensions between the African-American and Italian-American communities of New Jersey. Michael Gandolfini will play the teenaged version of the role his late father made famous, while Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga have been cast as younger versions of the OG cast.

It’s a rare feat for a show that ended 15 years ago to still hold such a cherished place in the zeitgeist, so the film will likely be scrutinised from the get-go. However, with such heavy involvement from the show’s original crew (creator David Chase wrote the screenplay), things are looking promising.

Necessity rating: 8/​10 fuggedaboutits

Scream

Though director Wes Craven sadly passed away in 2015, his Scream franchise has slashed on, most recently in the much-maligned MTV series that, in its final season in 2019, saw Tyga, Keke Palmer and Mary J. Blige face-off against the deadly prank-calling Ghostface (one wonders if Craven’s passing prior to this was, perhaps, for the best then?)

The series, known for its biting humour, star-studded cameos and multiple trick opening kill scenes, hasn’t been back to theatres since Scream 4 (which ultimately served as Craven’s final film) underperformed at the box office in 2011, cancelling plans for two more entries into what was supposed to round out a new trilogy. Now, the directors of the recent cult classic Ready or Not are bringing the series back, with Scream 5 (which will just be called Scream) set for release in January 2022. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are confirmed to return.

Necessity Rating: 3.5/5 bags of stale pick n’ mix from Vue Cinemas

Carrie

Everett

One wonders if, when Stephen King sat down to write his coming-of-telekinesis classic in 1973, he foresaw his awkward teen antihero haunting screens of all sizes for generations to come. Actually, after writing three pages, he threw the manuscript into the trash (his wife later dug it out and encouraged her husband to finish it).

The Carrie universe should have ended with Sissy Spacek’s career-defining performance in Brian DePalma’s 1976 film, the first and best adaptation of King’s debut novel. Unfortunately, a slew of cash-grab attempts have kept Carrie ablaze in some form or another – though they were all grab and no cash – including a panned 1988 Broadway musical (which was performed by the cast of Riverdale in a 2018 episode), a justly-forgotten direct sequel in 1999, as well as misguided remakes for TV (2002) and the Chloë Grace Moretz-starring feature film in 2013.

This time, FX is taking a stab at a TV series adaptation, which Collider reported might feature a trans performer in the title role.

Necessity rating: 4/​10 hands-jutting-out-from-a-grave

Scarface

Universal Pictures

Luca Guadagnino hasn’t directed an original film since 2009’s Tilda Swinton-starring I Am Love put him on the cinematic map. While his adaptation of Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name (2017) was quite ubiquitously praised, his dour remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria (2018) proved to be critically divisive. 40 years after Brian De Palma’s Scarface, which itself was a remake of a 1932 Howard Hawks film, gave Al Pacino his most iconic role, Guadagnino is looking to make, according to his comments so far, something well done, current and shocking.” Behind De Palma’s buckets of cocaine and decadent visual flourishes, Scarface is a seminal deconstruction of the American Dream, and it is tempting to wonder what Guadagnino’s distinctly lush, Italian perspective might add to the blueprint laid out before him.

Necessity rating: 3.5 out of 5 little friends


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