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WIRE Buzz: The Witches reviews; Candyman sets 2021 date; MGM nabs Mercy Sparx comic

By Jacob Oller
The Witches 2020

The reviews are in for Robert Zemeckis' straight-to-HBO Max remake of The Witches, and critics were less than bewitched with the director's take on the classic Roald Dahl story and how it holds up to Nicolas Roeg's well-loved 1990 version.

Writing at The AV Club, A.A. Dowd (who gave the film a C) explained that the film is less like the scary original than it is Zemeckis' Forrest Gump, including "folksy voice-over, boomer nostalgia, and expensive technological tricks." "One is reminded of why Dahl can be tricky to adapt by even those with the right sensibility," Dowd writes. Finding star Anne Hathaway as a fun bit of camp, he still calls the film an "imposter" trying to pass itself off as an adaptation of the Dahl original.

Owen Gleiberman, much more positive on the film, wrote at Variety that the movie had a "prankish flair" and that Hathaway's turn was strong enough to be its "sick-joke center of gravity." He notes that it "doesn’t have much in the way of emotional pull," but that "the best parts have a crackpot malevolence that’s hard to resist."

EW's Leah Greenblatt explained that The Witches "casts the wrong kind of spell" despite "a deliriously loony performance by Anne Hathaway." It has the "misfortune of doubling down on all [Dahl's] eccentricities," Greenblatt writes, "while somehow finding only a fraction of his magic." She also gave the film a C.

The Witches is out on HBO Max on Oct. 23.

Next, one of the year's most anticipated horror films has settled on a new date after its coronavirus delay.

Variety reports that Nia DaCosta's updated take on '90s horror favorite Candyman, starring Watchmen lead Yahya Abdul-Mateen II dealing with the supernatural Chicago slasher, has settled its new date as Aug. 27, 2021.

Candyman also stars Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Tony Todd, and Vanessa Estelle Williams. The film was bumped over a year since its initial plans for a release in June of this year. Now the "spiritual sequel" is set to give fans plenty of time to work up the courage to say the name of the hook-handed killer in the mirror over and over again.

Until then, DaCosta will be prepping her next film — another big one in terms of genre clout — Captain Marvel 2.

Finally, a fan-favorite comic is getting the big screen treatment.

According to Deadline, MGM has snapped up the film rights to Mercy Sparx, the Josh Blaylock-created comic about a female demon looking to navigate the tricky supernatural and ethical questions raised by someone from Hell trying to live (and perform their mission) on Earth. 

With 10 years under its belt, the comic has tons to pull from, but the film looks to be in the vein of a "female Constantine." Hunting fallen angels, dealing with those tricky parts of the Christian afterlife...there's plenty of comparison to make, but thankfully with the titular lead bringing something new to the table.

Nick Shafir is set to write the script, while Blaylock is executive producing The Picture Company and Assemble Media are producing.

No word on when the Mercy Sparx movie hopes to hit the screen.