ST. LOUIS — "Do we really need another Marilyn Monroe story?"
A fair question asked by a commenter on my Film Buffa Facebook page after I posted this picture of Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. She's starring as the legendary actress and entertainer who had one of the most mysterious deaths that still boggles the mind to this day. It's that endless intrigue that writer/director Andrew Dominik chases in his reportedly two-hour, 46-minute biopic, "Blonde," which is based on Joyce Carol Oates' novel. However, most of Dominik's film is a fictionalized account of her personal life, something that many see as a mystery. Was she damaged by the overabundance of fame, or did she just get in with the wrong crowd?
"Blonde" leans hard into the "Marilyn was more of a curse than a gift" ideal, which makes the story extra juicy if you ask me. Also, getting Bobby Cannavale to play Joe DiMaggio and Adrien Brody taking on Arthur Miller, with the supporting cast stretching way beyond those two gents. Dominik directed gems like "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "Killing Them Softly," which both sit in the top 5 echelon of Brad Pitt performances. Here, it's de Armas looking for Oscar gold playing the tortured bombshell.
What else is new and juicy in the world of entertainment news and opinion? Let's get into a few other things before I leave you to your Thursday activities.
Steven Spielberg's winter Oscar puncher, "The Fabelmans," is based on Spielberg's post-war childhood in Arizona, where all the filmmaking machinations started to move for him. Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, and Michelle Williams. It spans from young Steven's eighth year into his teens, which represents the first time he has depicted his life on screen. The Jewish filmmaker could retire today and hold an incredible record of film, but he continues to strip the paint away and try new things. Now, if he could just do another "Minority Report" with Tom Cruise, that would be grand.
Speaking of Cruise, he helped "Top Gun: Maverick" soar to box office records, something that brought the 60-year-old star a hefty payday. It's a maneuver that Cruise has practiced throughout his career, dating back to "Mission: Impossible 2." He doesn't take a huge salary up front to do the film, so he waits for the movie to perform well and then gets paid. Cruise's payday for the sequel topped $100 million, which is the same mark that several of his films have topped at the box office. Love or hate the guy, but he's an exceptional entertainer in a day and age where old lions are usually thrown out for younger models. Cheers, Tom.
Yes, there is absolute truth to the rumor that "Maverick" co-star Miles Teller and Cruise have discussed another sequel, but that's where the talks begin and end... for now. Just enjoy the highly satisfying new "Top Gun" film. Few climaxes of an action adventure can deliver like that.
Something that Marvel needed to deliver on may be coming to fruition. A matter of days after announcing their next 45 films, including a "Daredevil" series with Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio, there is a report circulating that Jon Bernthal could be returning to play Frank Castle's The Punisher in a new series or film. Either way, this must happen. If you're going to give every established IP comic book invention a spot on your next phase's slate, this wicked rendition of a Marvel fan fave needs to be included.
With no offense to Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane, Bernthal personified the angst and anger of Castle in the Netflix (now Disney Plus) series, which ran two seasons. He brought the physicality and dark areas of the avenging soldier to the forefront with his usual visceral display of ferocity, but it needs another season or story to fully flesh it out. Make it happen, Kevin Feige.
Finally, a word of advice for B.J. Novak fans. Go see his new film, "Vengeance." A full review will hit Dose of Buffa later this week when the review is finished marinating, but I can tell you it's a quietly profound and unconventional take on the opioid crisis that mixes in a very entertaining Texas-set story. If you can do both at once, tell a good story with some humor and meaning, you've made a fine film. Novak, whom fans of "The Office" will recognize, wrote and directed the film as well. It's not what you think, and maybe exactly what you need. A good old fashioned indie can indeed, (h/t to the lovely Holy Elle), surprise the average movie fan.
Happy hunting. Find more of the Film Buffa's takes on Twitter 24/7.