Dwayne Johnson seems to be everywhere these days, especially in the cinema.

His newest film, “Jungle Cruise,” takes its title from the Disney theme park adventure cruise up a river but has been transformed into an unexpected journey aboard a ramshackle boat down the Amazon. He plays Frank Wolff, opposite Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton, who enlists him to search a tree with healing powers that could change the future of medicine.  The cast also features Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramirez, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti. Opens July 30, 2021…and likely will be a blockbuster, considering the Disney ties. …

Johnson, Blunt in “Jungle Cruise”

Other Johnson flicks on the horizon:

  • “Red Notice,” a Netflix film featuring Johnson as an Interpol agent searching for an art thief, with Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds aboard for the ride. Rawson Marshal Thurder, who directed his blockbuster “Skyscraper,” is at the helm, so expect visual fireworks. Due this year.
  • “Black Adam,” playing the title character in a D.C./Warner Bros. release, originally destined to be a baddie in “Shazam.” Now the character gains its own movie, with Jaume Collet-Serra directing, following his association with Johnson in “Jungle Cruise.” The cast includes Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodges, Sarah Shahi and Pierce Brosnan. Due  Dec. 22
  • “Fast & Furious 10,” based on the late Paul Walker’s franchise (and now Vin Diesel’s trademark), in which Johnson returns as Luke Hobbs. The speeding roadsters include Diesel as Dominic Toretto, plus Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang.  Directed by Justin Lin. Opening April 2, 2022.
  • “San Andres 2,” a sequel to the disaster adventure what amassed $473 million in world ticket sales, so a second installment is not a surprise. Alexandra Daddario is said to direct, but this one’s still in development.
  • “Doc Savage,” based on a pulp magazine adventurer, with Johnson as the lead. Shane Black is writing and directing. No timetable yet.
  • “Big Trouble in Little China,” the John Carpenter classic featuring Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, is due for a makeover. No timetable.
  • “The King,” which sounds like a flick about Elvis, is the much-delayed, multi-challenging biopic of sorts, about King Kamehameha. Johnson, who is part Samoan, Hawaiian and black, is eager to team up with directors Husain El-Minbawi and Robert Zemekis. There is hometown pride to create this one but expect controversy in the playout. Still on the drawing boards – and while Johnson has the physique to portray the king, the Hawaiian community may question ethnicity on this one. …

Food for thought

Lanai, left, and his Aloha Plate partners and food truck

Though Lanai Tabura and his cohorts of the Aloha Plate food truck were eliminated from the Food Network’s Food Truck series recently, the local boys made a good impression, as they have in seasons past (and having won the food truck during season four).  So kudos to Lanai, his brother Adam and fellow chef Shawn Felipe for bringing aloha to the nation via the TV show.

Food mattered, but so did the spirit of aloha, in competition and culinary savvy, and these guys were great chefs and embodied the Hawaiian spirit. …

Around town

Entertainer Willy Falk and his partner Andrew have been in and out of town, returning to their New York digs. They flew to Maui first, then paused in Honolulu, before flying home.

Willy Falk

And it was quite an experience. Their usual Maui hotel choice was going for $2,000, but they found a b&b at a more reasonable rate; rental cars were absurdly priced, but unavailable anyway, but located an affordable vehicle via

It had been a joyous but topsy-turvy visit, since they were even booed by Hawaiian activitists on Maui, shouting “go back home.”

Such is the tumultuous tone amid the visitor industry, as things return to normalcy.

Had a chance to dine with them at Assaggio Bistro in Kahala, which didn’t have our reservation but managed to provide a table, yet another small pock mark on the recovery process. The New Yorkers dodged Waikiki hotel rates (as if rooms were readily available) by staying at the Kaimuki home of the late Neva Rego, still occupied by her business partner Betty Grierson, so that was a blessing.

Willy had been signed to create and star in a Disney cruise on the East Coast, rehearsals for which were halted at the start of the pandemic, and soon will begin again, with plans to finally launch after this long delay.

Because Willy is a Punahou grad, he knew the late entertainer-philanthropist Joy Abbott, also an alum, so there was some discussion about her passing two years ago, and a memorial service held earlier this month. One thing we agreed on: Abbott not only was a wonderful singer and theatrical pillar, she missed her calling as a stand-up comic. “I once had a competition with Joy, to see if we could come up with 25 jokes with the punch line, and she won,” he opined. …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …

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