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There is a tower defense game I love to play on the iPad called Kingdom Rush. Not too long ago they released a new version called Kingdom Rush Frontiers which is the most imaginative and adorable version of the game yet. Like all fantasy games, it’s completely tangled up in the vision of JRR Tolkien, with elves, dwarves, rangers and even in this version an ent. Each stage has many extras like little dragons, gnomes, fairies, magic mushrooms and even a game of Simon. It’s adorable and a great way to pass the time.
I found the first Hobbit movie two years ago to be similar to a tub of Cosy Shack rice pudding in that I never got sick of each and every bite, and I just liked watching people named Thorin and Elrond run around. Since then, while I have yet to tire of Cosy Shack, I have tired of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies because they are nothing but a map in Kingdom Rsh blown up to IMAX size and length and noise. Maybe it’s just me being 11 years older than when the Return of the King came out, or Peter Jackson being 11 years older, but The Battle of Five Armies seemed to take as much from Jackson’s fanfic King Kong remake as it did the slim book it was based on. And that is not good.
I’m just going to lay down some thoughts here in no particular order. And yeah MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE
“Where is my Cozy Shack Rice Pudding for elevenses?”
• The opening sequence with Smaug setting fire to Laketown and Bard shooting him down was easily the best sequence in the movie. It also steeled me for disappointment because Bard’s little speech before he uses his last arrow is one of my most favorite parts of the book:
“Arrow! Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!”
Perhaps saying this would have slowed down an intense action sequence, but I really missed it.
• I’ll admit, this movie did stump me as a Tolkien scholar. When, just before the big battle kicks off about 45 minutes from the end, the orcs employ giant sandworms called were worms that recall nothing so much as the lampreys that took up about three hours of the 8 hour King Kong…I thought “THIS GOES TOO FAR!!!!” But lo and behold, while I knew about stone giants, Queen Beruthiel and the Variags of Khand, I happened to miss the one sentence in the VERY FIRST chapter of the Hobbit that mentioned were-worms:
“Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.”
That’s what Bilbo says. It’s clearly a reference to a more primitive fairy tale version of Middle Earth that Tolkien explored in The Hobbit. So you get a pass there, Peter Jackson….but JUST BARELY.
• Similarly, Thranduil, king of the Sylan elves of Mirkwood rides an Elk into battle. This struck me as…well it looked awesome. And it seemed sort of Tolkienish. But then Radagast has a bunny sled, Dain rides a boar and in the middle of the BoFA, suddenly out of nowhere some ridable mountain goats appear to enable Thorin, Kili, Fili and Balin to go hopping up a mountain. I understand that the mountain goat steeds were introduced in a longer cut of theemovie—Warner Bros insisted Jackson deliver a brisk 2:20 cut of the film and a LOT of stuff was left out. I think if I’m sitting in a movie theater for two hours and 20 minutes of cgi action I’ll take another 10 minutes to explain where dwarves got mountain goats to ride but then…I don’t run a studio. Anyway, one cute animal steed I could take, but three whole movies of them???
• AND YET THEY COULDN’T SHOW BEORN FOR MORE THAN 10 SECONDS???? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.
• All that said, Lee Pace as Thranduil astride an elk…OMG. Thranduil was the best thing in the last two movies. He has the only truly funny moment in the whole Battle of Five Armies—I won’t spoil it for you because it is so so precious—and despite being effete and aloof is a total badass in battle.
• Am I the only one who thinks that Thranduil and the only female on screen maybe hooked up after Legolas is sent off to find Strider? Thranduil is a lonely elf who has lost love and now so is Tauriel. The age difference doesn’t matter because ELVES ARE IMMORTAL. If I were Tauriel I would totally go for it.
• Ever since I heard about these films and how the Hobbit was going to be three movies, I was all set up for the scene where the White Council kicks Sauron out of Dol Guldur. Maybe I just built it up in my mind too much because in the movie it seemed like an after thought. Yes we got to see Battle Action Galadriel and Battle Action Saruman and Battle Action Elrond, but…this should have been the ultimate Boss battle and it was…eh.
• ALSO…9 figures of CGI and you couldn’t make it look like Cate Blanchett was not carrying a dummy?
• Battle of Five Armies carries over one of Jackson’s WORST habits from King Kong: The Subplot Character Who Goes Nowhere. In King Kong it was Tintin, I mean Billy Elliott, I mean Jimmy, who has many long conversation with the ship’s captain about responsibility and duty and something, and you think it’s going somewhere and….it was a lot of wasted time. In BoFA that character is Alfrid, the two-faced assistant to the Master of Lake Town. At first Alfrid is just a slimy Wormtongue like character. But when he attaches himself to Bard after the death of Smaug, we see Bard begin to trust him a little, despite Alfrid being completely inept at everything he tries. At the end of the battle, Alfrid absconds in drag with all the gold he can stuff into his bra. REALLY. Was he merely there for comic relief the whole time? Or did he have an actual story arc? Also, he had really weird shoulders, and at first I just thought he idolized Linda Evans in Dynasty and favored shoulder pads. Then I realized that he was supposed to be a hunchback—yes it’s the deformed, slimy weasel thief trope. I think Alfrid was just around to throw in some comedy and keep the dwarves in battle mode, but it was positively Jar Jar esque.
• The actual main action of the film, such as it is, involves Thorin’s falling prey to the gold lust of the dragon, and how it ultimately destroys him and nearly Dale and Erebor and the free peoples as well. I thought Richard Armitage did a fine job of showing the evolution of the character, even if turning evil only meant wearing a black fur coat for a while (he liked Joan Collins in Dynasty?) Once he throws off the coat, he turns back to his regular self. As you do.
• Bilbo’s story arc is mostly from the book, with his giving the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard so they can make Thorin keep his part of the bargain and avoid war. When I was a kid and read The Hobbit this whole part of the book annoyed me greatly. WHY WAS EVERYONE BEING SUCH A DICK??? They killed the dragon, can’t they just have a party and be friends? As an adult, this was more satisfying and realistic
• If you had told me that there would someday be a movie version of Mt. Gundabad, I would have been so excited. But then it is thrown in just so Legolas and Tauriel can go off and…spend some quality spying time together. WHY. The actual amount of the book that this movie adapts is only three or four chapters so they had to throw in all kinds of extra action.
• If you read the book, you knew that Thorin, Kili and Fili, the three most loveable dwarves, are all doomed to die. In the book, they just die in the general battle. Because this is a movie and plotlines must be ended they first have to go to Ravenhill where Azog is flying kites and tooting horns. Legolas and Tauriel must get there because they have to warn Thorin that another army of orcs is coming! Seeing as how HE WAS ALREADY SURROUNDED BY AN ARMY OF ORCS. Ravenhill does appear in the books, but a short trip to my bookshelf to retrieve my childhood copy of The Hobbit reveals that IT IS NOT ACTUALLY ON THE MAP IN THE BOOK AS IT IS IN THE MOVIE MAP. Not that it all has to be like the book, but in the LoTR trilogy when they threw in extra stuff my heart soared with joy at seeing things I had only imagined being acted out on a giant screen. In general in the Hobbit the additions are all to make a giant, bloated movie that will make a lot of money. (I did like the call back to the Battle of Azanulbizar in part one.) Ravenhill is one of the worst examples of that. “Say how can we get all the main characters separated from the fray?” “What about that Ravenhill thing?” “Great idea!” Once on this remote locale, Legolas, Tauriel, Azog, Bolg, Thorin, Kili, Bilbo and anyone else who had a story arc run around and have tumultuous fights. This also leads to the ONE truly creepy and memorable shot in the whole film when Thorin and Azog are having it out. I won’t spoil it!
• I did not hate all the Hobbit movies as the above may indicate. The problem is that with the Lord of the Rings films I had years to think it was going to suck and then they turned out to be better than I had ever dared dream. With The Hobbit I had year to think it was going to be great and…it wasn’t.
• That said, when they announce the inevitable three pack of extended editions, I will pre-order it lickety split.
Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that I love these movies. I would watch the extended edition of the extended edition of the Extended Edition if it existed. Also, this is entirely based on the movies and not the books. I have read the books but it's been a long time, and I think the movies should stand on their own.
For the most part, I enjoyed The Battle of the Five Armies
A horror movie about an evil children’s book is, understandably, not everyone’s thing. But given that I’m both a horror fan and a big kidlit nerd, I’ve been waiting for Australian indie film The Babadook to hit US theaters since I first saw the trailer online several months ago. Despite its cleaning up at Sundance, the movie’s US release is so limited — only two local cinemas are showing it, one in a theater the size of a living room — that the screening my boyfriend and I attempted to see over the weekend was sold out. We wound up watching it at home on demand…which was probably for the best, since it minimized the number of people I bothered with my shrieking.
The Babadook was partially based upon director Jennifer Kent’s short film Monster, about a child who’s afraid of his plush monster toy and his mother who’s exasperated by his fear — only to come face-to-face with the real monster. The Babadook expands upon and complicates this plot. Its protagonists are young widowed mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Sam (Noah Wiseman). Sam has both an active imagination and serious behavioral problems: he builds weapons, in preparation for “when the monster comes,” and takes them everywhere; has nightmares that prevent him from sleeping through the night; and is ostracized by other children for both his monster obsession and his dead father. With Sam’s seventh birthday (also the anniversary of his father’s accidental death) approaching, money tight, and Sam out of school due to his weapons-smuggling, Amelia is nearing her breaking point.
Then Sam chooses Mister Babadook, a book that mysteriously appears on his book shelf, for a bedtime story.
The book is a bit crudely written and illustrated, but creepy nonetheless. Direct-address text accompanied by black-and-white pop-up illustrations inform the reader that supernatural creature Mister Babdook will come out of the darkness of your closet, ceiling corner, etc., to watch you, and “you can’t get rid” of him once you’ve seen him. (It’s actually not unlike the story line of Liniers’s What There Is Before There Is Anything There.) Reading Mister Babadook exacerbates Sam’s intense fears about monsters and disturbs Amelia, who responds by first hiding, then tearing apart and trashing the book. When it reappears on their doorstep — pieced back together and with even darker content, this time depicting a Babadook-possessed Amelia harming Sam and their pet dog in pop-ups that seem to move on their own — Amelia suspects she and Sam are being stalked. Of course, the truth is much worse.
The movie’s supernatural element is legitimately frightening. The Babadook’s inhuman sounds and movement give me the serious heebie-jeebies, and the idea that underneath his already-scary-as-hell gaping-maw-and-claws exterior lies something that will make you “wish you were dead” doesn’t help. As promised by the book, Amelia and Sam can’t get away from the creature — or each other — and are trapped in their own home, cut off from any real help. The limited setting (mostly the house’s interior plus a bit of their small town) and cast contribute to the film’s claustrophobic feel.
But what’s especially effective is the way the supernatural horror works with the more insidious horror of a parent fast approaching a psychological break. Sam is a very difficult child; Amelia is grief-stricken, sleep deprived, financially strapped, isolated, and emotionally unsupported — in a word, desperate. It’s not hard to imagine Amelia harming Sam, herself, or someone else in a rage or in a fugue state, with or without any malevolent supernatural influence.
Other horror films (perhaps most famously The Shining) also depict a stressed parent manipulated by otherworldly forces towards hurting his or her family, but I can’t think of one whose parent-off-the-deep-end is as convincing or sympathetic as Davis’s Amelia. Her vulnerability makes her moments of Babadook-fueled (or just unhinged?) violence that much more disturbing. As Sam, Wiseman is both frustrating and genuinely endearing, an impressive feat given his very young age.
Is the Babadook real, and has monster-fighter Sam been right all along? Or is it a delusion shared by mother and child? You’ll have to watch the movie and decide for yourself. And if it reaches its crowdfunding goals, Mister Babadook may soon be available as an actual pop-up book — eek!
She Makes Comics, Marisa Stotter’s documentary about women in comics, is now available. You can download it for $9.99 or pre-order a DVD for $19.99 (It’s $24.99 for both.), all from the Sequart website. The documentary studies the history of women in comics with interviews with Karen Berger, Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jenette Kahn, Becky Cloonan, Colleen Doran, Wendi Pini, Kate Leth, Raina Telgemeier, Marjorie Liu, Louise Simonson…and yes, little old me. Hugh Armitage has a very favorable review.
Here’s an exclusive clip from the film where Liz Schiller, Jackie Estrada, Trina Robbins and I about the formation of the Friend of Lulu, a long running organization for women in comics that pioneered a lot of the approach to marketing and retailing to female readers that you see today. Among the events discussed, the 1993 meeting in San Diego where Friends of Lulu was born—one of my fondest memories ever.
In order to spread some festive cheer, Blackstone’s Policing has compiled a watchlist of some of the best criminal Christmas films. From a child inadvertently left home alone to a cop with a vested interest, and from a vigilante superhero to a degenerate pair of blaggers, it seems that (in Hollywood at least) there’s something about this time of year that calls for a special kind of policing. So let’s take a look at some of Tinseltown’s most arresting Christmas films:
1. Die Hard, directed by John McTiernan, 1988
Considered by many to be one of the greatest action/Christmas films of all time, Die Hard remains the definitive cinematic alternative to the usual saccharine cookie-cut Christmas film offering. This is the infinitely watchable story of officer John McClane’s Christmas from hell. When a trip to win back his estranged wife goes awry and he unwittingly finds himself amidst an international terrorist plot, he must find a way to save the day armed only with a few guns, a walkie talkie, and a bloodied vest. With firefights and exploding fairy lights abundant, this Bruce Willis tour de force is the undisputed paragon of policing in Christmas films.
2. Home Alone, directed by Chris Columbus, 1990
In a parental blunder tantamount to criminal neglect, the McCallister family accidentally leave their youngest member, Kevin (played by precocious child star Macaulay Culkin), ‘home alone’ to fend for himself over Christmas as two omnishambolic burglars target the McCallister household. As the Chicago Police Department work through the confusion of the situation, Kevin traverses his way through a far from silent night. Cue copious booby traps and slapstick as the imagination of an eight-year-old boy ingeniously holds the line in this family-fun classic.
3. Batman Returns, directed by Tim Burton, 1992
Gotham is a city perennially infested with arch-criminals whose seemingly endless financial resources demand that they be tackled head-on by a force who can match them pound-for-pound (or dollar-for-dollar, if you prefer). Enter Gotham’s very own Christmas miracle: billionaire Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter ego Batman (Michael Keaton), who provides a singular justice-hungry scourge against the criminal underworld. As the Penguin (Danny DeVito) hatches a nefarious plot which threatens the city, Batman’s wholly goodwill must prove resilient. Though director Tim Burton went on to make The Nightmare Before Christmas the following year, Batman Returns itself is hardly a Christmas classic.
4. Lethal Weapon, directed by Richard Donner, 1987
With a blizzard of bullets and completely bereft of snow, LA-based Lethal Weapon lacks nearly all the usual trimmings of a Christmas film. Seasoned detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is close to retirement when he’s paired with the young (and morose) Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) to tackle a drug smuggling gang. As their stormy investigation progresses, Murtaugh and Riggs’ unlikely union flourishes into a double-act worthy of Donner and Blitzen (and, judging by the pair’s return in a subsequent three installments of the series, their entertaining policing partnership always leaves audiences wanting myrrh…).
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, directed by Jeremiah Chechik, 1989
In this third installment of the Griswold family’s catastrophic holidays, Clark (Chevy Chase) navigates his way through the perils of yet another disastrous calamity, but at least this time he has his Christmas bonus to look forward to. Things take a bizarre turn for the criminal when the bonus isn’t forthcoming, resulting in a myriad of mishaps of Christmas paraphernalia and SWAT teams. As the tagline for the film attests, ‘Yule crack up!’
6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, directed by Shane Black, 2005
Petty thief Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself embroiled in a series of increasingly byzantine cases of mistaken identity as both a method actor and criminal investigator. Reality cuts through when Harry is shepherded into a murder investigation involving the sister of his childhood crush, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan). Perhaps one of the less christmassy films on this list, there are definitely still a few seasonal signs parceled in to this murder/mystery thriller.
“There’s something about this time of year that calls for a special kind of policing”
7. Miracle on 34th Street, directed by George Seaton, 1947
Arguably the ultimate Christmas film, Miracle on 34th Street is the classic tale of the legal battle around the sanity and freedom of a man who claims to be the real Santa Claus. This original film won three Academy Awards including Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Edmund Gwenn’s portrayal of Kris Kringle (‘the real Santa Claus’). Despite being remade in 1994 and adapted into various other forms, the 1947 version remains the quintessential Christmas film which no comprehensive watchlist could be without.
8. Bad Santa, directed by Terry Zwigoff, 2003
Dastardly duo Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and Marcus (Tony Cox) make their criminal living by posing as Santa and his Little Helper for department stores, and then opportunistically stealing as much as they can. As the security team for their latest blag hunts them down, Willie meets a boy determined that he is the real Santa and the race is on for the degenerate pair to reform their lifestyles before they are stuffed.
What would would you add to this list? Tell us your favourite policing Christmas film in the comments section below or let us know directly on Twitter. Merry Christmas everyone!
Headline image credit: [365 Toy Project: 019/365] Batman: Scarlet Part 1. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 via Flickr.
This gets a HYPE ALERT rating since I’m in it, but Marisa Stotter’s documentary She Makes Comics will finally be available on December 9th—either as a DVD from Sequart or via digital download. The film was directed by Stotter and produced by Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert of Respect! Films, with exec producers Julian Darius and Mike Phillips (both of Sequart) and Columbia University comics librarian Karen Green. The film was screened a few weeks back and everyone who saw it greatly enjoyed it. I enjoyed being interviewed for it, and it’s a story well worth telling, if I do say so myself. Previous documentaries of comics interviews often included a few women, but this puts the spotlight on key figures in the history of comics including Karen Berger, Wendy Pini and Kelly Sue DeConnick.
The film was funded on Kickstarter. Previous Sequart films include Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, and The Image Revolution (I’m in a couple of those too MORE HYPE.)
She Makes Comics tells the little-known story of women in comics, highlighting the contributions they have made to the medium since the turn of the 20th century. It features interviews with such prominent figures as historian Trina Robbins,Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, underground comics artist Joyce Farmer, former DC Comics publisher Jenette Kahn, Wendi Pini, Colleen Doran, Karen Berger, and dozens of others.
She Makes Comics is now available to order on DVD and as a digital download at SheMakesComics.com. The digital version ships on 9 December. DVD orders shipping domestically and placed by 16 December will arrive in time for the holidays.
Suicide Squad is the first of a variety of DC movies based on non-Superman or Batman heroes, set for August 5, 2016, and Variety has just listed the cast and it’s a big one:
Jared Leto – The Joker
Will Smith – Deadshot
Tom Hardy – Rick Flagg
Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn
Jai Courtney – Boomerang
Cara Delevingne – Enchantress
Tom Hardy already played Bane, making him among many two-timer superhero stars, but it would be Will Smith’s debut as a four-color hero although he played Hancock in…Hancock.
This is obviously a high octane cast, with WB hoping to catch up with Disney/Marvel and their cinematic comics-based blockbusters. They’re said to consider it their “Ocean’s Eleven” for superheroes. David Ayer is the director, with Charles Roven and Richard Suckle producing.
According to Variety, this isn’t all. Jesse Eisenberg will reprise his role as Lex Luthor from Batman v Superman. And the role of Amanda Waller is yet to be cast, but the studio really wants Oprah Winfrey for the role, with Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer also in the running.
Oprah, queen of multimedia and one of the richest people in showbiz, does the occasional acting job and she’d be…interesting in the role.
Suffice it to say no scenery will be left unchewed on this one.
Suicide Squad is about a bunch of supervillains who are given a chance for redemption with one last, possibly fatal mission. The first verions was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru; the modern version by John Ostrander and Ryan Scott. Other well-regarded runs have been created by Keith Giffen and Kim Yale.
With nothing else to do but digest turkey and fight crowds, the internerd has quickly turned, just as we knew it would, to the “Claymore” lightsabre in the new Star Wars: TFA trailer. This lightsaber not only has a blade, but two mini lightsabers coming out of each hilt, reminiscent of the real universe blade the Claymore, a giant sword that had little swords as hilts. The “Claymore saber” would seem to be highly…cumbersome to use as you would be in eminent danger of stabbing yourself with your own hilt at all times. But…it looks cool, so what.
And so on. Personally, we think whoever made the sword just decided to make a tricked out, lowrider lightsaber, damn the practicalities, becuae that’s what you do.
BTW for the shot by shot speculation and spoilters, io9 has a good breakdown. And for all your spoiler/leak needs, Star Wars Underworld. I’m not going to be one of those people who hangs on every leak and makes baby JJ Abrams cry, so read at your own risk.
The teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been officially released on Youtube, Itunes and in theaters. THe film opens in 13 months, so don’t jump over the barricade just yet.
Nice opening shot with John Boyega showing that not all stormtroopers are Django Fett any more. And Shaky-cam tracking shotof the Millenium Falcon showing that this is not a George Lucas movie. Also brief shot os Daisy Ridley riding some kind of uncomfortable transport vehicle and I think Domhnall Gleeson as a fighter pilot?
And a t-shaped lightsaber just because.
One theater in Texas is showing this teaser on repeat for an hour or so.
Hi everyone! So, that was another fun hiatus. Since our last episode: My family moved from our Wisconsin home of 20 years, to the Fort Wayne area. I’ve made it a project to check out all the area coffee places and review them on FourSquare (and also hopefully find a new favorite haunt or two). Put […]
Great Hera! Variety has reported that Michelle Maclaren will direct Warner Bros’ “Wonder Woman” standalone motion picture. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the film aside from the fact that Gal Gadot will star as Princess Diana of Themyscira, and Charles Roven is a producer.
Maclaren is known for her work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, the Emmy award winning series “Breaking Bad”, and HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. Looks like Maclaren has over 20 years experience in Hollywood, so this feels like a really, really choice.
Here’s a video of Maclaren at work on the “Breaking Bad” set (FYI, spoiler alert):
“Wonder Woman” is set to hit theaters some time in 2017.
You should probably know going into this that I hated the book.
Like, seriously. Hated. But, regardless, I had high hopes for the movie. Well, maybe not high hopes. More like midlevel hopes.
I had some hopes, okay?
As far as the acting goes, I don't have much to say. They were all fine. Jen Lawrence did a good job crying. And crying. And crying. Josh did a good job of looking ugly. Liam
When he was little, one of my husband’s favorite Christmas movies was “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” I laughed out loud the first time he told me the title, sure he was making it up. But no, it’s a real movie starring a young Pia Zadora as a martian child. The acting is terrible, the […]
The Guardians of the Galaxy dvd comes out next week (BluRay following a few weeks later) and director James Gunn is making the press rounds to promote the extras, including stuff that was left out of the ending:
There are three characters that got cut out [of the "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" montage]: Nebula, the Collector and Grandpa Quill. Nebula and Collector we decided, at a certain point, they’re kind of bad guys in the first movie. It was a real joyous experience with that finale so we thought we’d keep it to the characters that were part of “the good team.” Which includes Yondu. He did fight on the good guys side. So we thought we would keep it to them.
Grandpa Quill we cut because he was in old age make up and we were a little afraid people wouldn’t recognize that it was him from the beginning of the movie. And also, it was a pretty sad moment. It was Grandpa Quill and he has this photograph of Meredith and Peter as a little boy and he looks up at the stars and we go up to the stars and it was really sweet. It means that he must have seen Quill getting abducted at the end of that day and is still waiting for him to return but it was freaking sad so we took it out.
Nebula’s was actually my favorite. Nebula’s I really liked a lot because she’s lost her arm and she’s just pissed off and she’s just walking through this field all pissed off with a busted Ravager vehicle behind her. And she’s just pissed off and I loved it.
You can see how all of these might have added to the film a bit. The Mary Sue link above does a good job of showing how adding to Nebula’s story would have been cool, as her arc with Gamora wasn’t really worked out all the way. But the bit with the grandpa…yes it sounds sad, and I know the ending was all Buckaroo Banzai triumphal stuff…but would it really hurt to be LITTLE sad sometime, Marvel? Not Agent Coulson is dead but he’s getting his own TV series sad, but human beings are frail and life is tragic and beautiful and it isn’t all exoskeletons and CGI sad. Feelings. Guardians broke a lot of MArvel molds, but it ended up being a ragtag bunch of heroes who save the whole freakin’ universe again. Superhero movies have fallen into a rote pattern of gaudy noisiness without much actual human emotion involved. I mean we don’t have to have Cinema Paradiso or Alexander Payne, but like…a sad grandpa? Is that really too much?
None of these scenes will be on the DVD BTW. Saving them for the ultra super deluxe version I guess. OH and here’s the trailer for the DVD:
This past weekend, Disney released its newest action-comedy, Big Hero 6. The movie chronicles the special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.
Big Hero 6 has been getting tons of great reviews, and earned an impressive 88% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps most impressively, it beat out Christopher Nolan’s highly buzzed-about sci-fi epic Interstellar at the box office, taking an an estimated $56.2M in its first weekend. That makes it the second best cartoon opening of the year, trailing only The Lego Movie.
This isn’t just a win for Disney and Big Hero 6—it’s a win for diversity, and those who make the argument that diversity sells. Big Hero 6 takes place in a future “San Fransokyo” and features an extremely diverse cast of characters: Go Go Tomago, Tadashi, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred. And, unlike some cartoons, it doesn’t whitewash its casting: the voices behind the characters are just as diverse as the characters themselves. Hiro, Tadashi, and Go Go are all voiced by Asian American Actors (Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, and Jamie Chung, respectively) and the diverse cast is rounded out by Damon Wayans Jr. (Wasabi), Genesis Rodriguez (Honey Lemon), and Maya Rudolph (Cass).
That means, of the 10 top billed characters in the movie, 6 are voiced by people of color. That’s significantly higher than Hollywood’s standard dreary stats of underrepresentation. It also means that a movie featuring people of color in the top roles earned more money than a major blockbuster film starring several Oscar-winning actors and directed by one of the most famous directors in Hollywood. And not a very diverse one, I would add.
How’s that for proof that diversity sells?
Not everyone loves Big Hero 6. Some fans of the original comics were disappointed to see that while the characters in the original comic were all Japanese, Disney chose to recast some of the characters in the movie as other races. You can see more about the changes they made here. Was Disney afraid that a cast of all-Japanese characters might scare off the American moviegoing audience? We’ll never know.
Diversity done well can be hard, but it’s worth celebrating the wins even when they’re complicated. You may have noticed the Diversity 102 logo at the top of this blog post. From here on in, we’re going beyond the Diversity 101 story that everyone tells: there’s not enough diversity, there’s nothing out there, diversity doesn’t make money, people don’t care. It’s important to acknowledge that there’s work to be done, but the story goes deeper than that. There are many exciting things happening, and we want to spotlight them.
So, are you going to see Big Hero 6 this weekend? Did you see it already? What did you think?
You know how sometimes people “Float an idea”? Well I think this idea is floating in a little leaky toy boat that will soon sink to the bottom of nightmare pool. According to Latino Review the Sony movie folks are now so flummoxed about what to do with the Spider-Man franchise that they are thinking about making a solo Aunt May movie. Now your first thought on this would be, “Oh like The Whales of August or Philomena? Well Helen Mirren and Judi Dench are always looking for good roles.” But the idea is young Aunt May as…a spy?
Yes, an Aunt May movie. A movie about Aunt May as a youth, before she was shouldered with the responsibility of raising Peter Parker. The target mood is some sort of espionage story in the vein of AMC’s Mad Men, which sounds like a way of saying “classier Agent Carter” without name-dropping Marvel’s upcoming series.
But the whole point here is that I NOT mention Marvel, because Sony isn’t giving up the Spider-Verse before they make an attempt at a movie based on the completely fabricated past of May Parker. Well, the espionage part is fabricated.
Latino Review brings up, as I will Trouble by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson which was all about young May Reilly as a sexually active your lady and her getting knocked up on a singing weekend and…what was that I was saying about Philomena?
Aunt May has of course been used as a supporting character in many ways but this is the wildest idea for the whole “comic book movie craze” we’ve yet heard. Although, Avi Arad, surrent Spider-verse movie producer, was around when Trouble was green-lit and…
Not toyetic, Avi. Not toyetic.
If anything all this crazy movie news makes it clear just what a steady hand Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige has. Please, keep Kevin Feige alive. He is all that stands between us and the abyss.
We can’t really improve on the Oothousers write-up on the latest Fantastic Four movie developments. Fox has so little fait in this film that they keep pushing it back and forgetting to talk about it—making Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter’s ban on the FF perhaps for the first time a bit sympathetic.
Anyway, after a bunch of strange reveals about the films such as the superpowers being treated as disabilities and cast members being forbidden to read the comics by director Josh Trank, actor Toby Kebbell who plays Doctor Doom in the movie has made the most amazing reveal of all:
I’m excited to see it too, and my nerves really…The only thing I can tease you about is what I worked on most was the voice because nobody—even in the cartoons, when I was watching them I was like, “So where’s he from?” There’s a mild change and I’ll tell you because of our history.
He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that. The Doom in ours—I’m a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I’m “Doom”.
#doomergate? It’s about ethics in the Baxter Building? Is Amanda Palmer writing “A Poem for Domashev?”
My email is full of folk begging me to confirm that this is some kind of Clickhole-like joke and they are just playing the audience. Are they? Maybe the real von Doom WOULD be an annoyed internet troll these days.
The new FF film opens August 7, 2015. August is traditionally a sink hold for action films, despite Guardians of th Galaxy winning out of the slot. Will FF have as much luck?
When a criminal plot threatens the hi-tech metropolis of San Fransokyo, brilliant young robotics whiz Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter) leaps into action with his tech-savvy friends, and his robot companion Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit) in Disney Animation's adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics series. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Today the kids (12 & 13) and I went to see Big Hero 6. We were
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the vast movie slates announced by Sony, Marvel and WB? So are we, but here’s a chart helpfully put together by our own Tireless Torsten Adair that will help you plan out the next six years of your life even more. There are approximately 69 superhero, comic book and animated movies coming to you over that time, which works out to nearly 11.5 movies a year! At $12 a pop… well, let’s just say I hope they have matinees near you.
Throw in that there are now so many comic-book based TV shows on that I don’t even have room to record them all—Walking Dead, Arrow, Gotham, The Flash, Agents of Shield and Constantine—and…well, it is either a Golden Age or a Golden Glut.
WHOA — Marvel really did announce a Captain Marvel movie for 2018, and Black Panther for 2017, with Chadwick Boseman (42) joining Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans on stage.
Today’s Marvel presser was roundly liveblogged, and it was apparently a tumultuous event at the Disney owned El Capitan theater. The entire Stage 3 line-up was announced and it goes like this:
Captain America: Civil War for May 6, 2016 — huh what could THAT refer to. Spinning out of Avengers 2 no doubt. Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Doctor Strange November 4, 2016. Directed by Scott Derrickson. No official Cumberbatch confirmation. Doctor Strange was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Guardians 2 moved up to May 5, 2017. The Guardians of the Galaxy created by various people, including Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.
A third Thor movie: Thor Ragnarok July 28th, 2017. Thor was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman on November 5, 2017. Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Avengers: Infinity War in TWO PARTS, just like Harry Potter for 2018 and 2019, while Chris Evans is still in shape. The Avengers created mostly by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Captain Marvel for July 6th, 2018. Carol Danvers was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan; in her role as Captain Marvel she was developed by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy.
And as predicted, the Inhumans for November 2018 The inhumans were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby because there is like, nothing they did not create.
Also released, this sweet concept art for the Black Panther:
If you’re keeping score at home….well, this is a BIG chart. Collating. As several folks pointed out, DC revealed thei rmovie slate at an investors conference and mostly to keep investors happy following the failed Rupert Murdoch takeover and shaky stock earnings. Marvel held a popular event where fans were present and involved. A lot of people don’t want to get into the WB vs Disney thing, but I can assure you, it is real.
Also, aren’t you glad that Marvel settled with the estate of Jack Kirby so that his legacy with these characters can be fully explored going forward? Yes you are.
Marvel Studios is holding a press conference at 2 pm edt/11pdt today and you can follow along at the Marvel live blog, or Twitter or smokesignals, or whatever method you prefer.
While most guess it could be about the ‘Batch being cast as Doctor Strange, it could also be about other mystery slots in the movie schedule, or it could be the Age of Ultron trailer that was supposed to officially debut tonight, or about Katee Sackhoff starring as lady Captain Marvel in Avengers 3.
Just kidding about the last one. it’s most likely an event planned before the Avengers:Age of Ultron trailer leaked last week—it was originally supposed to debut after tonight’s Agent’s of Shield, but had to be released early after internet leaks spearheaded by the rogue international terror group HYDRA.
Anyway whatever it is The Beat will be LIVE on the scene at our computer to live reblog all the live retweets of the people who are on the scene for what is sure to change to way we look at October 28th and the Age of Ultron trailer FOREVER.
A peaceful fun-filled night of friends relaxing with a few drinks and playing with Thor’s hammer turns to TERROR in extra Avengers: Age of Ultron footage shown after Agents of SHIELD last night. Just watch.
BTW, it now has been confirmed that despite some 30 superhero movies on the docket, not one of them is a Hulk stand-a-lone. As shown thus far, Mark Ruffalo’s rather humorous Hulk seems more like a soupçon, a spicy garnish, and not the center of a whole film. Do we really need to see a whole movie about Bruce Banner looking sad after he’s accidentally smashed someone he loves to bits? No.
Meanwhile, the first ad for Agent Carter, an 8-episode winter event has been released:
One of the fun things about reading fiction is imagining what the characters would look like, sound like, and act like in real life. And with the recent spike in YA-novels-turned-movies, it’s not a stretch to wonder who might be cast to play some of our favorite characters. There have been some great movies recently based on YA novels, but few of them have featured diverse casts or characters. So we thought we’d give Hollywood a little help and showcase a few of our favorite movie-worthy YA novels, and how we’d cast them:
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz
What it’s about: This tender novel looks at the deep and evolving friendship between two teen boys in 1980s El Paso.
Why it should be a movie: Although it’s not action-packed, the space this book gives to the quiet moments shared between Aristotle and Dante would make it a great character study. It won a Printz Award Honor and in the hands of a capable filmmaker definitely has potential to win awards on the movie side as well.
Who we’d cast:
Ari is sensitive and introspective but also big and strong, and he has a melancholy side that comes out sometimes too. We’d cast Diego Boneta as Ari.
Dante is endearing and earnest, even when he’s struggling with his feelings. He can be full of angst without being angsty. We think Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey could bring to life Dante’s charm.
Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
What it’s about: A story of first love that follows two teenagers in 1980s Nebraska who help each other through difficult circumstances.
Why it should be a movie: Actually, Dreamworks jumped on the movie rights early, so Eleanor and Park is headed to the big screen already. But some readers fear that in the hands of Hollywood, Eleanor and Park could change. In the book, Eleanor is overweight and Park is half Korean, two characteristics not often seen among leading men and ladies onscreen. In a Hollywood is notorious for whitewashing, casting this movie accurately would be nothing short of groundbreaking.
Who we’d cast:
So few women are allowed to appear onscreen overweight that it was really tough just to find someone who might resemble Eleanor. We thought Emma Kenney could be a good fit (though she’s skinnier than Eleanor) but perhaps there’s a great unknown actress out there waiting to be discovered, too.
So few Asian actors are given big parts that it wasn’t easy to find a potential Park. But we think maybe Sam Tan could pull off that goth exterior and super-sweet center that make Park irresistible to Eleanor.
Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac
What it’s about: In the post-apocalyptic Southwest, Apache teenager Lozen works as a monster hunter in order to keep her family safe.
Why it should be a movie: Killer of Enemies is action-packed so it could pull in a wide audience, and the fight scenes between Lozen and the genetically-engineered monsters she hunts would be incredibly fun to watch. Plus, what’s the last movie you watched with a Native main character?
Who we’d cast:
If finding other casting options with hard, finding a Native actress to play Lozen was near impossible. But since Hollywood has a long history of whitewashing Native characters (Johnny Depp as Tonto, we’re looking at you) it’s extra-important that Lozen be played by a Native actress. We thought Amber Midthunder, who is an enrolled member of the Ft. Peck Sioux Indian Reservation, could be a good choice. But it would be nice if she weren’t the only choice.
The model who posted for the front cover could be a pretty good Lozen, too:
Lozen’s love interest Hussein is a musician, a sensitive listener who’s a good counterpart to Lozen’s stoic strength. We could see Avan Jogia balancing Lozen out pretty well.
What books are you hoping to see as movies? Who’s your dream cast? Let us know in the comments!
Jeebus it’s dueling franchises today as the actual title of Star Wars Vii, the very first SEQUEL was released. And it’s…
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
OR SW:TFA as we will all call it, because “The Force Awakens” is a horrible title.
“Man, remember the closing scene in The Force Awakens? It was RADICAL.”
It should have been called RISING FORCE. Everyone would like to say that!
“What are you doing this weekend, dude?”
“Going to see Rising Force again!!!”
Possible plot lines? The force may awaken in youngsters or oldsters. Or Han Solo, who is battling broken leg and has trouble standing up let alone awakening.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens on December 18th, 2015, a year and a day later than THE HOBBIT THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES, so we’ll have some continuity there. It stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie, along with returning stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker and Warwick Davis.
The first trailer for the final Peter Jackson movie set in Middle Earth has been released, and it seems The Hobbit; The Battle of the Five Armies will be a three hour battle scene between small dots representing orcs and small dots representing elves. Along the way Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom and many other hot hot guys will glower and look sad while getting shouty about who gets to battle where.
This trailer significantly DOWNPLAYS the whole White Council storyline, in which Galadriel, Gandalf, Saruman and some buds go to Dol Guldur and mix it up with Sauron in an early form known as The Necromancer. This is pretty much the money shot of the whole, endless, Dwarf-farting, Elf-singing, people of Laketown-cowering, Thorin-squabbling, Kili-flirting trilogy. Also downplayed….SMAUG.
The final episode of The Hobbit totes has the best scenes, what with the arrows and the burning and the fighting and the casting out and all that. But it’s been such a loooong journey here…
A’i na vedui, Dúnadan!
The Hobbit; The Battle of Five Armies opens on December 17th, 2014.