What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Movies')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Movies, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,816
1. New Line to take over Vertigo adaptations

Morpheus," god of Sleep

Creating a shared universe on-screen is tough work, especially if you’re starting at the ground-level like Warner Bros is doing with their DC Comics properties.

Currently the studio has nine films currently either in production or in pre-production stages, which are slated to establish the DC Cinematic Universe (The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, etc…).

With all that in mind, it left many to wonder about the status of films like Sandman and Guillermo Del Toro‘s long simmering Dark Universe. According to THR, the former, and most other Vertigo adaptations, will now be handled by WB’s sister arm New Line, which they absorbed many a moon ago.

Strangely, Dark Universe will remain at Warner Bros, and will conceivably continue to be attached to the DC properties that surround it. The bad news? Del Toro is off the project, which sadly, is not a new feeling where he’s concerned. On the other hand, Shazam! will continue to be developed by New Line, meaning much like the Vertigo properties they’re working on, Shazam! may very well not be connected to the DC Cinematic Universe either.

You get all that? In summary: all of Warner Bros. superhero movies except Shazam! will be developed by WB, all Vertigo movies except Dark Universe will be developed by New Line. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

1 Comments on New Line to take over Vertigo adaptations, last added: 6/30/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
2. Kevin Feige responds to WB Exec regarding Marvel/DC movie differences

feige-003-660x440.jpg

There’s a nice piece in The Hollywood Reporter, that’s getting lots of ink right now, in which Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige goes pretty in-depth (along with Paul Rudd) regarding a number of details about their upcoming slate, Ant-Man, why they aren’t coming to SDCC this year, etc.

But one of the quotes that caught my eye was Feige’s fairly pointed response to Warner Bros’ Greg Silverman recently stating that the difference between DC and Marvel films is that WB’s slate will be filmmaker focused and that they make “films about superheroes rather than superhero films”. Of which, Feige had this to say:

Warner Bros.’ Greg Silverman told THR that the difference between the DC/Warners movies and Marvel movies is that Warners allows directors to fulfill their visions. How do you respond?

FEIGE My response is: Look at the movies. Iron Man and Iron Man 2 are as Jon Favreau films as you can see. Kenneth Branagh has his stamp all over Thor. Captain America: First Avenger is very much a Joe Johnston film. The greatest example of that, look at Guardians of the Galaxy with James Gunn. And the one I always point out is Avengers. We knew the general structure when we sat down with Joss [Whedon]. But I don’t want you to think we gave him a story. We gave him a “Here’s where we think the movie should start, here’s where we think this character should come into it; it would be fun if something like this happened in the middle and in the end a hole opens up and aliens pour out into Manhattan.” So arguably, there were many pieces in place, and yet now that everyone has seen the movie, it’s completely a Joss Whedon film. He was able to take all the elements that were handed to him – that were studio-imposed, if you want to look at it that way – and make it his own. We wouldn’t have hired any of the filmmakers we’ve hired if we just wanted somebody who would do what we say.

To be honest, I’m not sure I agree with Feige here, and it’s worth noting that he mostly only highlights “Phase 1″ films, whereas the offerings of “Phase 2″ have seemed far more of a piece with one another structurally. My biggest beef with Marvel films, beyond the fact that their stakes are constantly huge yet the danger never feels immediate, is that each film carries a very similar A to B to C plot structure. The fact that literally every movie in Phase 2 (except Iron Man 3, which people don’t like talking about for some silly reason) has something falling from the sky in its third act (or rising as the case may be in Age of Ultron) tells you that there’s definitely a formula, set by the first Avengers film, that these movies are being poured into.

Yes, there are some superficial differences, Guardians of the Galaxy has some of James Gunn‘s wit, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier covers itself in a fairly entertaining conspiracy tale, but criticism is definitely warranted in this case.

The fact that Phase 2 firmly kicked into place right around the time of the Disney buy-out of Marvel, well, I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions.

9 Comments on Kevin Feige responds to WB Exec regarding Marvel/DC movie differences, last added: 6/29/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
3. Rumor: Green Lantern Reboot to focus on multiple Lanterns?

green-lantern_610

Up to this point we at least have some idea for what the majority of DC’s future cinematic output is going to look like. While the 2016 films (Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad) are totally on the books and are either done filming or getting there, later year films like Wonder Woman, Justice League Parts 1 and 2, Aquaman, Shazam, and The Flash all have stars attached, and writers or directors. Even Cyborg already has its lead.

The one wild card here in the rebooted Green Lantern. Nary a peep has been whispered about it in recent months other than a casting rumor here and there, and Tyrese Gibson going on a promotional crusade to get the part.

But now, thanks to Collider, we finally at least have a rumor to chew on.

According to their report, they’ve heard that the new Green Lantern film will not just star Hal Jordan or John Stewart, but both of them, and potentially Guy Gardner as well. Going further, they state that the Green Lantern franchise from that point will never focus on just one Green Lantern, but the entire Corps. Matt over at Collider also surmises that we may end up meeting the new Green Lanterns (at least John and Hal) at SDCC during Warner Bros’ sure to be massive Hall H presentation.

Collider isn’t generally in the business of breaking unfounded rumors, and Latino-Review is hearing basically the same thing. So while it’s still a rumor, and even they admit things could still change for a film that’s years down the line in the production cycle (2020), it’s probably the most promising idea I’ve heard regarding this franchise in some time.

2 Comments on Rumor: Green Lantern Reboot to focus on multiple Lanterns?, last added: 6/25/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
4. Say What?! Michael Keaton to Star and Produce Film Adapation of Boom’s Imagine Agents

When I was a kid, I wasn’t as well versed in pop culture as I am now.  Thus, I missed out on Beetlejuice and Michael Keaton’s stint as the Batman.  My first experience seeing him in theaters was in his role as washed up actor Riggan Thomson in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Best Picture winning Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).  What a first experience it was.  His acting blew me away, so I’m glad to say that we’ll be seeing him again in cinemas through an adaptation of Brian Joines’ Imagine Agents.

imagineagents

As announced on The Hollywood Reporter, award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios is excited to reveal that Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman) will star in and produce a film adaptation at 20th Century Fox of the comic series Imagine Agents, created by Brian Joines.

Written by Joines (Krampus) and illustrated by Bachan (Rocket Salvage), Imagine Agents is the story of two agents who work for clandestine organization I.M.A.G.I.N.E. to keep kids’ imaginary friends under control. Little do they know that an abandoned “friend” from long ago is about to disrupt the status quo and turn everything upside down. The series was published from October 2013 to January 2014, with a collected edition released in December 2014.

Imagine Agents has been the most rewarding project I’ve worked on and the fact it’s going to be a movie with Michael Keaton, whose work had a huge impact on my teenaged years and indirectly played a role in my decision to become a writer, is just a mind-blowing continuation of that reward,” said Joines.

BOOM! has a first-look feature film deal at 20th Century Fox that includes first-dollar gross on films based on any of its comics, which the publisher splits with its creators.

BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie will produce the film with Keaton and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. President of Development Stephen Christy will executive produce with Anonymous Content’s Eli Selden. Senior Vice President of Film Adam Yoelin will co-produce in cooperation with Anonymous Content’s Ashley Zalta.
Keaton, best known for his roles in Beetlejuice and Batman,  is coming off his award-nominated performance as washed-up superhero actor Riggan Thomson in New Regency Pictures’ Birdman and is currently filming The Founder, a biopic about Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s fast-food chain.

1 Comments on Say What?! Michael Keaton to Star and Produce Film Adapation of Boom’s Imagine Agents, last added: 6/25/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
5. Tom Holland is your new Spider-Man, Jon Watts to direct rebooted film

Tom+Holland+sgu3IKYLLMXm

After months and months of speculation, we now have a 100% official new Peter Parker as Tom Holland (The Impossible) will debut as rebooted version of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War as well as the next stand-alone Spider-Man film hitting theaters in 2017.

Not only did Marvel and Sony announce their newest web-slinger, but they also jointly unveiled that relatively untested directed Jon Watts will helm the solo feature. While Holland’s name had been bantied about for a while, and he was generally considered the front-runner along with Asa Butterfield, Watts is more of a surprise choice, though he did show up on the studios’ director short-list that was produced a few week’s ago. Watts’ only major feature to this point was last year’s horror outing Clown, and his recent Sundance debuting film Cop Car was met with mixed reviews.

But, at the very least, the speculation on this topic can end, and we can look forward to further discussion on villains and just how Peter Parker will play into the new Captain America feature.

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige compared Watts to some of the other director choices made by the studio in the past:

“As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life. We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.”

Amy Pascal, who is working hand in hand with Feige on this project, spoke to Holland’s casting specifically:

“Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world. With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

So there you have it, a Spider-Man and a director are now in place. What do you think about these two choices? Are you excited about the future of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler?

2 Comments on Tom Holland is your new Spider-Man, Jon Watts to direct rebooted film, last added: 6/25/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
6. Charlie Chaplin Lines

charlienamespic 1pic2cartoon Chaplin by monica gupta

Charlie Chaplin Lines

हर दिल अजीज चार्ली चेप्लिन के जन्म के 125 वे वर्ष पर उनके फ़िल्मी जीवन में व्यंग्य की कथा के साथ-साथ उनकी स्क्रीन पर उपस्थिति का 100 वां वर्ष मनाने के लिए ये साल यानि 2015 चार्ली चैपलिन वर्ष के रूप में मना रहा है. हास्य रेखाओं के रचनाकारों ने उन्हें श्रद्धांजलि देने के लिए कार्टून और हास्य चित्र बनाए हैं।इनमें से लगभग 200 कार्टून एक विशेष पुस्तक में शामिल किए गए हैं.चार्ली चैपलिन लाइन्स’ के रूप में सबसे पहले भारत में चार्ली चैपलिन वर्ष समारोह 25-27 जून , NCPA मुंबई में कार्टून/करिकेचर प्रदर्शनी आयोजित की जा रही है।

खुशी की बात ये भी हैं कि इसमे मेरे बनाए चार्ली चैपलिन भी शामिल हैं …. Charlie Chaplin Lines  :)

 

vintage everyday: Rarely Seen Candid Photos of Charlie Chaplin While Filming on Venice Beach, California, ca. 1914

These rarely seen photographs may be from on-site at the shooting of 1914 silent film Kid Auto Races at Venice (also known as The Pest) on Venice Beach, California.

This is an Essanay Studios film starring Charlie Chaplin in which his “Little Tramp” character makes his first appearance in a film exhibited before the public. See more…

The post Charlie Chaplin Lines appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
7. Sony’s and Marvel’s Peter Parker Must be White and Straight

d10d17b73e809b172f16a9a4337f3fc568bef111Well here’s something super progressive.

According to a leaked agreement between the Sony and Marvel studios that share film rights for the Spider-Man franchise, the Spider-Man character and his alter ego Peter Parker can only be portrayed under the strictest terms.  Most of these terms are par for the course for Marvel films, which have historically frowned upon portraying their characters killing for fun or expressing pedophilic desires.  However, in addition to these stipulations, there are some other interesting ones in the contract.  Notably the last one in this excerpt.

 

spiderman002

So.  Spider-Man can’t be gay unless his alter-ego is gay?  Okay….what are the stipulations to Peter’s character, then? 

spiderman001

So Peter Parker cannot be poor, must be white, and…must be straight.  Great.

When Gawker broke the story, they indicated that the contract between Sony and Marvel forbid Spider-Man from being any race except Caucasian and from expressing same-sex desires.  That is not true.  Peter Parker must be white and straight.  Then again, I highly doubt that Marvel or Sony would make a Spider-Man film using another alter-ego such as the black Miles Morales out of fear of confusing the general audience who only knows Spider-Man as Peter Parker.  Thus, while Gawker did sensationalize their claim to some extent, closing the opportunity for a studio to change Peter’s race or sexuality is tantamount to ensuring that we do not end up with a movie featuring a black or gay Spider-Man.

In the past, Marvel has demonstrated that they are willing to race-bend characters such as the traditionally white Nick Fury.  At the time, it was heralded as a great movie for representation in the predominantly white Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, Nick Fury was, up until recently, never really considered an A-list hero, thus minimizing Marvel’s risk.  It’s unfortunate that film studios still appear to be unwilling to take the plunge and truly commit to creating a more diverse looking cinematic landscape.

15 Comments on Sony’s and Marvel’s Peter Parker Must be White and Straight, last added: 6/21/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. Review: Inside Out may be Pixar’s best film yet

pixarThere are moments in life, for everyone, when sorrow creeps into our happiest memories. Time passes. We change. We lose things. We lose people. Our past experiences take on a new shape. Occasionally the shift is sharp and profound; an earthquake. Other times it’s gradual and unnoticed; erosion.

But sorrow isn’t always a burden. Sometimes it’s a salve.

Coming from a culture of children’s stories that focus on happy endings for the good guys, it’s a message that’s at once simple and unexpected. Inside Out isn’t concerned with saving the world or ridding it of evil. There are no villains and there is no hero. There’s simply a girl trying to learn the value of sadness and it’s ability to co-exist with joy; the undeniable collusion of the two.

Inside Out  follows 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a happy child whose life is uprooted when her parents decide to move from the Midwest to California. While Riley is our protagonist, we spend most of the movie with Riley’s feelings, exemplified by colorful characters living in Riley’s head and controlling her reactions to the world around her. The leader of that crew is Joy, voiced appropriately by Amy Poehler. Joy is the cartoon embodiment of Poehler’s character from Parks and Recreation, the eternal optimist known as Leslie Knope. She wrangles a crew of Riley’s other emotions, including Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black),  Fear (Bill Hader), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Kaling and Smith channel their characters from The Office, each with an edge towards their specific emotion. Black is, well… Lewis Black, and so on.

That’s honestly the whole external plot: Riley is shaken by the move and the loss of her friends, and suddenly Sadness begins to drive her reactions. But it’s what’s inside that counts here. When Joy attempts to take control of Riley’s reactions, Joy and Sadness butt heads and both end up accidentally being cast out of mission control entirely. The two feelings spend the movie trying to understand each other and make it back to mission control in one piece, but with Disgust, Anger and Fear too afraid to step up and take the wheel, Riley stops feeling anything. The word “depression” is never used, but it’s a clearly intelligent attempt to demonstrate what depression looks like to those who’ve never experienced it. Rather than an exaggerated or temporary dose of Sadness, depression is nothing.

Inside Out feels like a movie written by a parent who watched his or her child suddenly learn to deal with more complex emotions; a child learning how one thing can make you feel more than one way, rather than bouncing from one extreme to the next, and how confusing that can be. But it isn’t specifically a movie for children, either. In addition to a crew of fairly adult comedians and a mature message, the world-building is especially impressive, kids movie or not. We have the emotions “driving” Riley, core memories that shape her personality (they look like glowing bowling balls), and other colorful, physical representations of very abstract concepts.

As heavy as all of this sounds, it’s really the opposite – Inside Out manages to do all of this while being bright, fun, and a surprisingly hilarious movie. It’s fresh, clean air. The voice talent is a huge part of that, as well as the small moments we spend watching the emotional control centers of other characters (just imagine what the Emotional HQ of a hormone-driven teenage boy looks like and you’ll get the picture). But at the end of the day the credit is most likely down to Pete Docter, the film’s writer and director. Docter was the driving force behind Pixar’s 2009 feature, Up, which took home an Oscar for best animated feature.

It’ll be a huge shock if Inside Out doesn’t end up with similar accolades, and in my mind it’s a contender for best picture awards, animated or not. It’s not easy to pull off a movie that says something intelligent without being heavy-handed; that remains rooted in reality while living in imagination. But every now and then the planets align, the Movie Gods smile upon us, and we get a widely-popular, successful film that deserves every bit of it.

Here’s hoping (and knowing) that’ll be the case here.

0 Comments on Review: Inside Out may be Pixar’s best film yet as of 6/19/2015 11:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
9. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition

Ant-Man ThorWe’re halfway through both the actual calendar, and the Summer blockbuster season (which started in May).  Even though it feels like a Friday night at the video store circa 1990, there have been some amazing movies released so far. Dinosaurs are battling robots for box office supremacy, and Pixar is once again at the front of Best Animated Feature Oscar speculation with “Inside Out”.

Here’s the latest movie schedule, culled from various sources… Not much to update, except for the Smurfs getting an actual title.  There will probably be more after San Diego and D23.

NOTE:  My colleagues have noted the confusion over Warner Brothers’ superhero schedule.

To be clear: past Suicide Squad, Warners Brothers/DC Entertainment has not matched announced movies with opening dates.

So, you will see a listing like:

Unknown 2018 Flash

and

3/23/2018 Untitled DC 

That does not mean that there are two movies scheduled, only that DCE is planning movies, and has claimed dates. Other news sites have linked titles to dates. This has not been officially announced or confirmed by Warner Brothers, and until I see official confirmation, will continue to list the names and dates separately. When do I expect to see that confirmation? Either at a shareholder’s meeting, or sometime in July or August, just like last year. Like last year, I expect Marvel, via D23, to make a bigger splash than DC, although DC could try to win Comic-Con this year, given Marvel Studio’s suspected absence.

Updates are in bold.  I have included links back to Box Office Mojo, which is the source of this data.


Date Title Studio
7/10/2015 Minions Universal
7/17/2015 Ant-Man Marvel
7/24/2015 Pixels Sony/Columbia
8/7/2015 Fantastic Four Fox
8/14/2015 Underdogs (2014) (Metegol) Weinstein
10/23/2015 Jem and the Holograms Universal
11/6/2015 The Peanuts Movie Fox
11/25/2015 The Good Dinosaur Pixar
12/18/2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney
2/12/2016 Deadpool Fox
3/4/2016 Zootopia Disney
3/25/2016 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice DCE
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War Marvel
5/27/2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Fox
6/3/2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Paramount
6/17/2016 Finding Dory Pixar
7/8/2016 ??? (Was Doctor Strange) Marvel
7/8/2016 Star Trek 3 Paramount
8/5/2016 Suicide Squad DCE
8/19/2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus/Laika
9/23/2016 Storks Warners
10/7/2016 Gambit Fox
10/7/2016 Monster High Universal
11/4/2016 Doctor Strange Marvel
11/18/2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Warners
11/23/2016 Moana Disney
12/16/2016 Rogue One Disney
12/25/2016 Nation Awakes Aamir Sajjad Ventures
1/13/2017 Power Rangers Lionsgate
2/10/2017 Untitled LEGO Batman Film Warners
3/3/2017 Untitled Wolverine Fox
3/10/2017 Captain Underpants Dreamworks
3/31/2017 Get Smurfy in 3D Sony
3/31/2017 Ghost in the Shell Disney
5/5/2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Marvel
5/26/2017 Untitled LEGO Movie ? Warners
5/26/2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII Disney
6/9/2017 The Fantastic Four 2 Fox
6/16/2017 Toy Story 4 Pixar
6/23/2017 Untitled DC DCE
6/30/2017 Despicable Me 3 Universal
7/7/2017 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney
7/28/2017 Unititled Spider-Man Sony/Marvel
9/22/2017 Ninjago Warners
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok Marvel
11/17/2017 Untitled DC DCE
11/22/2017 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
2/9/2018 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/9/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
3/23/2018 Untitled DC DCE
5/4/2018 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 Marvel
5/18/2018 The LEGO Movie Sequel Warners
6/15/2018 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
7/6/2018 Black Panther Marvel
7/13/2018 Untitled Fox / Marvel Fox / Marvel
7/20/2018 Spider-Man (animated film) Sony
7/27/2018 Untitled DC DCE
11/2/2018 Captain Marvel Marvel
11/16/2018 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
11/21/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
4/5/2019 Untitled DC DCE
5/3/2019 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 Marvel
5/24/2019 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/14/2019 Untitled DC DCE
7/12/2019 Inhumans Marvel
4/3/2020 Untitled DC DCE
6/19/2020 Untitled DC DCE
11/20/2020 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
Unknown 2016 Popeye Sony
Unknown 2016 Untitled Lego Movie Warners
Unknown 2017 Wonder Woman DCE
Unknown 2017 Justice League, Part One DCE
Unknown 2017 Lego Batman Warners
Unknown 2018 Flash DCE
Unknown 2018 Aquaman DCE
Unknown 2018 Lego Movie 2 Warners
Unknown 2018 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
Unknown 2019 Shazam DCE
Unknown 2019 Justice League Part Two DCE
Unknown 2020 Cyborg DCE
Unknown 2020 Green Lantern DCE
Unknown 2020 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 3 Sony
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 4 Sony
UNKNOWN Untitled Frozen sequel Disney
UNKNOWN Incredibles 2 Disney
UNKNOWN Cars 3 Disney
UNKNOWN Sinister Six Sony

 

5 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition, last added: 6/21/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
10. The Jurassic world of … dinosaurs?

The latest incarnation (I chose that word advisedly!) of the Jurassic Park franchise has been breaking box-office records and garnering mixed reviews from the critics. On the positive side the film is regarded as scary, entertaining, and a bit comedic at times (isn't that what most movies are supposed to be?). On the negative side the plot is described as rather 'thin', the human characters two-dimensional, and the scientific content (prehistoric animals) unreliable, inaccurate, or lacking entirely in credibility.

The post The Jurassic world of … dinosaurs? appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on The Jurassic world of … dinosaurs? as of 6/19/2015 5:59:00 AM
Add a Comment
11. Jesse Eisenberg confirms he’ll be at Hall H

 

jesse-eisenberg-lex-luthor2

Toss this into the “no duh” pile, but it’s good to get confirmation about Warner Bros’ plans for SDCC.

Speaking to the folks at Collider regarding his upcoming road-trip drama The End of the Tour (which looks promising, by the way), our newest Lex Luthor, Jesse Eisenberg confirmed that he will indeed be at the mega-event in just a few weeks, and he plans to spend a significant amount of time in Hall H:

I’ll be there…I think I’m there for the hour I’m on the stage.

Eisenberg also had further praise for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice screenwriter Chris Terrio, who jumped onto the project after Ben Affleck was cast as Batman and completely rewrote the existing script:

I like what this writer does, this guy Chris Terrio. He wrote this movie we did and I just think he’s so great. He’s such a good writer. I like what he does with characters, I like what he does with wordplay and cleverness. I like anything he writes.

I’m certain that given Marvel Studios not appearing in San Diego this year, that the Warner Bros panel will indeed be the talk of the entire Con. Here’s hoping whatever they show, a full trailer seems almost a certainty, gets released online right away and not in some lower quality bootleg form first.

We’re only a few weeks away, it should be a madhouse!

3 Comments on Jesse Eisenberg confirms he’ll be at Hall H, last added: 6/19/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. What I’m Feeling About Pixar’s “Inside Out”

inside out fathomOther members of Team Beat will be along soon to give their reviews of Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out”, debuting tomorrow. There was mention of a news embargo, but it looks like other sites are beginning to talk about the movie.

Since I paid $25 to see the Fathom Events sneak peek, I’m not really prevented from reviewing it as a fan, but I don’t want to rock the boat…

So here are some random “feels”…

  • Disney isn’t marketing this movie very well. Right now, they should do two things IMMEDIATELY: 1) Push this as a great movie to take your father (and mother) to go see for Father’s Day. Yes, the movie centers around a 12-year-old girl, but the family dynamic is important. 2) Release a clip of Joy and Sadness meeting Bing Bong. He’s the breakout supporting character.
  • Get there early, because, like every Pixar movie ever, there’s a short before the feature. This one is called “Lava”, and it rivals the Carl & Ellie montage from “Up”. The director wrote the music, and even performed it a few times on television. I won’t link to YouTube, because you should hear it first as part of the cartoon. (And you’ll probably get sick of hearing it from every ukulele player for the next five years.)
  • Where does “Inside Out” rank among all Pixar films? Well, I’ve been a fan since watching “Tin Toy” back in 1988… I’ll place it up there with “Up” and “WALL-E”. It’s definitely the front-runner for Best Animated Feature this year, but there are a lot of contenders to come.
  • The Fathom Event was good.  AMC Times Square screwed up a bit… First, they started handing out the swag (a lanyard with a secret online code, and a mini-poster) FIVE minutes before the show started, and with only ONE usher handing out stuff.  Some people didn’t get the lanyard, and for $25, well, the disgruntlement can be enflamed. They also had some nice jazzy marimba music as background music, but Disney had little video vignettes with each of the voice actors and their roles.  They didn’t turn on the audio until the previews began, and then we had to yell to get them to do that.
  • The previews: The Good Dinosaur and Zootopia.
  • Then there was a 15?-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the Steve Jobs Building at Pixar, guided by Pete Docter (the director) and Jonas Rivera (the producer) working a steady-cam. Yes, you’ll want to freeze-frame the movie, just to see all the goodies on the walls and shelves. While John Lasseter’s office is epic (and wait until you see his house!), the smaller offices of the staff are even cooler! Here’s hoping this film gets added to the DVD release.
  • Afterwards, there was a nice live-streamed interview with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler in Sydney, Australia. (The Opera House makes a nice backdrop!) They took moderated questions from Twitter, which is something I wish Hall H would do.
  • I didn’t notice many Easter eggs, but I didn’t really look for them because I was lost in the movie. John Ratzenberger plays “Fritz”. (I’m not exactly sure who that was.) There is also a reference to “The Good Dinosaur”, quite possibly the most blatant pre-film cameo of all the Pixar movies. No reports of A113 or Pizza Planet yet, although there is a good pizza joke.
  • Stay for the credits.
  • Oh, and it passes the Bechdel Test. In multiple combinations.

 

0 Comments on What I’m Feeling About Pixar’s “Inside Out” as of 6/18/2015 9:12:00 PM
Add a Comment
13. Sense8


It's possible that Sense8, the new Netflix series from the Wachowskis, is the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. I don't know, because from the second episode it put its hooks into me so deeply that my critical, skeptical mind could not keep up. Certain elements of this show appealed to me so deeply that I was overwhelmed and had no ability to keep critical distance. Those elements were all related to a kind of queer ethic and queer vision, an approach to life that I've been a sucker for for decades, but have hardly ever seen expressed in a mainstream pop culture item.

First, I should note that even in my soggy, sappy, besotted love affair with this show, I couldn't miss some of its more obvious weaknesses. The major one for me is its globalized Americanism, well critiqued by Claire Light at The Nerds of Color in a post I pretty much entirely agree with, especially regarding the lost opportunity of a truly global production — imagine if, instead of writing it all themselves with J. Michael Straczynski, the Wachowskis had worked more as showrunners and farmed out the writing and maybe even directing to people from the actual places they depicted. I appreciate, for instance, that they reportedly liked Nairobi Half Life (I did, too!) and so had one of its producers, Tom Tykwer, direct the Nairobi scenes. But what if they'd brought in the actual Kenyan residents who wrote and directed Nairobi Half Life instead of just the German director who supported it but didn't really have a lot to do with its production? (For that matter, why not at least help Nairobi Half Life get broader distribution? I was lucky enough to see it when it played for one night in a nearby theatre, but as far as I know it's not available for home viewing in any way in the U.S.) But no. Though Sense8 is remarkable in many ways, it's still a product of big money, big egos, and a traditional production process. An anti-hegemonic pose is a whole lot easier to achieve than actually doing something to undermine hegemony.

Despite all this, I still fell hard for Sense8, and a lot of that has to do with a thought I had during the first episode: "I'm watching a sci-fi action soap opera kind of thing with queer people in it," and then later, "I'm watching a sci-fi action soap opera kind of thing that actually has more than a whiff of queer ethos to it."



That got me thinking about representation. I'm so used to seeing major media depict the world not as I know it, but as it is supposed to be known by a narrow norm, that when something like a pop cultured representation of something like what I know does make it into the mainstream, the gob smacks. It's not just about what I know of the world, however, because pop culture isn't really about the realistic representation of anything. It's more like a realistic representation of what we dream and hope for, a representation of yearnings and desires that are familiar and fitted into the whizzbang and weep of melodrama.

Halfway through my viewing of Sense8, I took a break and watched the documentary Vito, about Vito Russo, author of The Celluloid Closet and an important gay rights activist. The documentary is effective, though hagiographic — The Celluloid Closet may be historically important in having reached a large audience, but it's awful as film criticism, and the material in the movie about the gay liberation and AIDS struggles gets terribly simplified (a perhaps inevitable consequence of a focus on one person). Nonetheless, Vito was interesting to watch while in the midst of Sense8 because it's a powerful story and because it does a good job of showing the importance of chosen families and chosen communities for queer people, even ones who have, as Russo did, a supportive biological family.

That's one of the great attractions of Sense8: it is very interested in communities, especially chosen ones. The sensates themselves have no choice about being part of their group (and I wonder what they'll do if they ever get tired of each other!), but the show does an excellent job of presenting good and bad families, chosen families, biological families, and communities of support. This stands in fierce opposition to mainstream family values, where biological family ties are sacred and uplifting. That's a story many queer people have no ability to participate in, and an important emphasis in a lot of queer culture is on the creation of intentional families and chosen communities.

In Sense8, for instance, Nomi's mother is horrible: she misgenders her, and she is complicit in torture of her. It might be nice and affirming and optimistic if they could reconcile, as they would in a mainstream show. Her mother would then learn to see Nomi as she wants to be seen and blah blah blah. But no. There's no redemption for her, nor should there be. She's no better than Wolfgang's abusive father was. We don't necessarily want Nomi's mother to be killed, but there's no need for Nomi to put effort into keeping this dreadful woman in her life. Call it a queer commandment: Thou shalt not put effort into maintaining a relationship with a family member who doesn't recognize you as you, or who doesn't respect your humanity.


I've never seen a mainstream movie or show that so well embraces the differences of queerness within a general ethic of common humanity. The mainstream liberal impulse these days is to take the queer out of queerness and extend the umbrella of normality. (Even your racist, sexist, bullying old uncle is welcome to the gay tent if he's willing to stop calling us faggots! Hooray for progress!) It's a message that appeals to Gay, Inc., allowing the mainstream to celebrate gayness alongside white supremacy, militarism, neoliberalism, etc. And certainly there's some of that in Sense8, but there's also an attention to details of sexual difference and oppression that Richard Dyer was writing about way back in the late '70s in a piece that's a bit dated (obviously) but still useful:
Now it may be true that we are still at the stage where we need to assert, to others and to ourselves, that we are part of the human race. But such assumptions assume that there is no real difference between being gay and being straight. Yet, from a materialist standpoint, gayness is different physically, emotionally, and socially from heterosexuality. It is physically different not in the sense of involving different genetic factors (the equivalent sexist argument for the fascist arguments of behavioral psychology) but in the sense of being a different physical activity—two women in bed together is not the same as a man and a woman together or two men. It is different emotionally because it involves two people who have received broadly the same socialization (being both the same gender) and have thus formed their personalities in relation to the same pressures and experiences. It is socially different because it is oppressed. ... 
What this boils down to in terms of films is that if you are representing sexual and emotional relationships on screen, it does make a difference whether they are gay or straight. One will not do as a metaphor for the other. Neither will either do as general metaphors for human sexuality and relationships.
The various relationships in Sense8 — gay, straight, trans, poly — are represented as the same in the sense of filled with love and capable of love and defined by love. (The Wachowskis are, in terms of their sensibilities, hippies.) But these relationships are not materially the same either to each other or to heterosexual relationships, and there's some good attention paid to exactly what Dyer pointed to: the physical, emotional, and social differences.

This is announced with a wonderful shot early on in the show where, after sex with Nomi (Jamie Clayton), Amanita (Freema Agyeman) drops a wet strap-on to the floor — a gauntlet plopped right into the center of the viewer's field of vision.


Sense 8 is definitely explicit (including full frontal Max Riemelt, which I would never complain about), and so it attends to the basic material, physical reality of queer sex in ways that movies and shows that don't have any explicit scenes do not. If anything, I wish Sense8 was more explicit, particularly in the Lito scenes (but the filmmakers probably pushed the actors as far as they were comfortable, and some viewers are already saying the show is porn, so...). Emotionally, Sense8 keeps the queer in queerness primarily through the affinity and comfort the sensates feel with each other, which seemed to me like the experience of first being in a space with other people whose emotions and desires are similar to yours — the first experience not only of a liberatory queer space, but also of, say, a particular fan community or any other place where your marginalized pleasures and enthusiasms are shared. This experience is sexualized in the sensate orgy scene, which wonderfully shows the erotic currents within that feeling of being around people who get you as you. (There's a certain Stranger in a Stranger Land element to it, too.) That the orgy is centered around Will (Brian J. Smith), the working class cop who's pretty darn hetero, is a great touch — instead of the queer being welcomed by and into the norm, the norm is brought into the queer. Late in the season, when Will and Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) first encounter each other, Will says something like, "Have we met?" and Lito responds, "Yes, we had sex," and the look on Will's face is perfect: right there, we see him come to grips with the queer within himself.

It's socially that Sense8 really fits into Dyer's rubric, particularly through the experiences of Nomi and Lito. The Wachowskis and Straczynski found a pulpy but effective way to make clear the emotional stakes in Lito's life as a closeted movie heartthrob — if you can sit through some of the later episodes without screaming out at him, "Come out! It'll be okay! Come out, Lito!" then you are stronger than I.


One of the reasons I typically prefer melodrama to verité drama is that I'm not especially interested in "rounded" characters — "roundedness" is a construction that depends on particular conventions and ideologies that I generally find boring and/or exhausted. Dyer gets at how this relates to queer subject matter:
Inscribed in the concept of the well-rounded character is the ideology of individualism, the belief that an individual is above all important in and for himself, rather than a belief in the importance of the individual for her or his class, community, or sisters and brothers. This cardinal precept of bourgeois ideology as against feudal or socialist ideology is built right into the notion of the "rounded character," who may well feel some pulls of allegiance to groups with whom she or he identifies, but who is ultimately seen as distinct and separate from the group, and in many cases, antagonistic to it. Rounded characterization is then far from ideal when you need (as we do) expressions of solidarity, common cause, class consciousness, fraternity and sorority.
Sense8 doesn't give us well-rounded characters, at least not in the way Dyer means, though the characterizations have some depth. They're still types, sometimes even clichés. This is melodrama, after all. The ways the actors and writers work with the expectations and possibilities offered by the types and clichés is what's interesting, and the ultimate effect of the show is indeed toward "expressions of solidarity, common cause, class consciousness, fraternity and sorority".

In some obvious ways, Sense8 draws on superhero stories, but the superhero stories it draws on are ones like The X-Men and Fantastic Four rather than Superman or Batman, and the kinds of superheroes it gives us are not ones with extraordinary, alien superpowers (beyond the psychic powers), but rather people with specific, relatively human skills who are able to benefit from each other. It is, then, a story of mutual aid.

The premise of people with special psychic powers and particular connections to each other pre-dates superhero stories, and the familiarity of that premise is, I think, actually a virtue of the series. What's innovative is not the basic idea, but the way that idea is developed. The entire first season of twelve episodes (each roughly an hour each) is, in traditional terms, basically set-up. What almost any other series would dispense with in an episode or two, Sense8 spends the season on: the characters discovering their abilities and each other, learning a bit about the malevolent forces that seemingly want to destroy them (but by the end of the season we learn hardly anything about this malevolent force), wandering around. It's a triumph of subplots with the main plot only becoming clearer by the end when the sensates realize they need to band together to protect each other. This allows us to spend a lot of time seeing their circumstances — meeting not just each major character, but developing an understanding of the various minor characters who are the people of their lives. It's a wonderfully humane structure, even if it denies some viewers the sort of plot-driven arc they'd prefer.

I could go on and on about various details I appreciated, including the exquisite use of the divine Jean-Claude van Damme and the sometimes goofy but amazingly powerful use of such familiar songs as "Mad World" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (in the haunting Antony & the Johnsons version; very well chosen for all sorts of reasons) and, especially, "What's Goin' On" ...  but I won't go on. You can make up your own mind. For all the ways Sense8 falls short, for all its faults and even failures, its virtues overwhelmed me, and I'm grateful this show exists, grateful it was made, grateful to have watched it.


0 Comments on Sense8 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
14. SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By Nick Eskey

Funko, the company best known for their “POP!” line of figurines, will be releasing a plethora (great word huh?) of Comic Con exclusives this year. A new list of additions will be released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until June 29th, so make sure you check back for the latest news.

This year to the pleasure of some Con-goers, and dismay of others (especially resellers), Funko is not offering a pre-buy option. So those who want these hot toys better fight for their lives.

Without further ado, here’s a peak of what’s in store so far:

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar - Cheesy Skipper

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar – Cheesy Skipper

If you love those little black and white flightless birds of the Madagascar movies, this Cheesy Skipper is waiting for you. Complete with a bag of their favorite “cheezy dibbles,” this leader of the covert penguin group also is sporting a cheese flavor-dust motif.

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man - Black Out Ant-Man

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man – Black Out Ant-Man

Just in time for Marvel’s newest movie, Ant-Man makes the scene equipped with his black and red power suit. Get him before he shrinks out of sight.

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 - 6" Baymax Unmasked

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 – 6″ Baymax Unmasked

Need a personal healthcare companion who also knows how to kick major butt? This 6 inch Baymax Unmasked is your man. Err… robot. Don’t let this super-sized lover of hugs get passed you. Just look at those giant eyes!

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil' Gruesome (Green)

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil’ Gruesome (Green)

Hannah-Barbera cartoons have a place in animated history. This little blood sucker, affectionately named Lil’ Gruesome, is from the “Wacky Races” series. Changing it up from his normal purple to a truly gruesome green, this monster will be racing straight to Comic Con.

ReAction: Terminator 2 - T1000 with Hole in Head

ReAction: Terminator 2 – T1000 with Hole in Head

What’s better than an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator? A shape-shifting cop Terminator! From Terminator 2, we have this somewhat posable T1000 figure reminiscent of the toys sold in stores in the 70’s and early 80’s. Adding to the cool factor is the hole in the head from one of the movie’s most famous scenes.

Hikari: Universal Monsters - Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

Hikari: Universal Monsters – Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

And last on our Monday reveal list is this gem from classic Japanese cinema. This Metaluna Mutant is packaged in a black and gold box and limited to 500, so it’ll be a must get for all exclusive toy collectors.

Stay tuned and check back for our Wednesday reveal!

1 Comments on SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements, last added: 6/17/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
15. The Peanuts Movie trailer showcases a potential November gem

peanuts

The new trailer for The Peanuts Movie has arrived, and it’s a 2015 release that hasn’t gotten a lot of notice, but based on what we see below, this might be an animated year-end surprise (though I’m not sure “Baba O’Riley” was the best music choice here).

Commemorating the 65th anniversary of Charles M. Schulz‘ seminal creation, here’s the synopsis for the new outing for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and company:

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.

The Peanuts Movie hits theaters on November 6, 2015.




Please enable Javascript to watch this video

3 Comments on The Peanuts Movie trailer showcases a potential November gem, last added: 6/17/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
16. Jurassic World is #1: you got what you deserved

landscape-1434391992-jurassic-world-box-officeJurassic World’s ascent to the biggest box office opening of all time has everyone flustered. It’s take of $208.8 million in its first weekend beat even The Avengers which made a mere $207.4 million. (It’s still ahead adjusted for inflation but Gone With the Wind is still the biggest by that metric.) The opening shattered analysts’ projections, leading to a particularly befuddled take by Deadline:

Tracking typically wears the dunce caps in these off-kilter prediction scenarios. However, distrib chiefs sincerely swear NRG, Screen Engine and Marketcast’s systems aren’t broken, and as one forecasting insider asserts: “We’re not paid to predict box office, rather identify pockets of strength, threats and opportunities in the marketplace for the studio. … It’s a five-week journey with daily phone calls.”

Okay so you had a….threat pocket? This wonk talk is Onion worthy.

So as various execs and and analysts around Hollywood drew their own estimates, what truly happened with Jurassic World is that it became a beast unto itself. That’s when the film started over-indexing and beating everyone’s expectations. And the catalyst for the WOM heatwave can be pinned squarely to social media — which, unlike tracking, captured auds’ need-to-see vibe. Adds another Universal insider: “When you go into the weekend, you are armed with your expectations based on historical data, relying on movies released during the same time period as well as assessing different variables in the marketplace. But when the film gets a chance to be itself and grows through the weekend, you lose your historical data.”

While some are still reeling from the over-indexing, Variety had a more sensible deduction: CHRIS PRATT.

“He’s the modern action hero,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “He’s funny, he’s charming, he’s self-deprecating. I call him Jimmy Stewart in a leather vest. He just has the perfect sensibility for today’s audiences.”

Also…dinosaurs. People like dinosaurs. Bold, I know.

Jurassic World toppling the Avengers is the first blow for a world where superheroes aren’t everything, and makes the generally blah reaction to Avengers 2 look a little more serious. But Jurassic World is still a pretty bland film, as the above still suggests. I know it’s hard to act scared of a screen piece of wall, but look at the kids in that photo. I couldn’t tell if Nick Robinson as the teen heartthrob was supposed to be generally insensate to any outside stimulus, or just no one could take the time to prod him with a stick.

I pretty much agreed with everything that Beat critic Hannah Lodge said about this film. It’s got an awful script, lethargic acting, some nice dinos, and a troubling obsession with running in high heels. Like Lodge, all I could think of during the second half of the movie was whether Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire was STILL running around in high heels. It turns out Howard made a point of learning how to do it and insisted on wearing them while she was running away from dinosaurs. I knows it’s a fantasy.,.but you can’t run away from dinosaurs in high heels. And there was no internal logic. At one point Pratt’s Owen even mocks her shoes, which YOU’D THINK would set up a scene where she ditches them. I kept expecting her to find some running shoes in the old compound from Jurassic Park but no such luck. She just kept running and running. A line without a payoff…that pretty much sums up the entire Jurassic World  script. The one clever thing it did was to combine the predictable roles of Feisty Girl Lead and Annoying Corporate Wonk into one role! Innovative!

Even with that, as a movie, Jurassic World, was on its own fairly low terms, a better film than Avengers 2. I hadn’t memorized the trailer for JW, so when I saw the movie at a screening, I went in thinking “This is going to be a dumb CGI fest but I’m just going to let go, let God, and give in.” I appreciated how the movie had ONE big menace, and all the action was built around a confrontation with that menace, instead of branching off to go to Wakanda to pick up some vibranium and set up three spin-offs—and perhaps audiences did as well. OTOH, if you did memorize the trailer then you pretty much saw everything cool in the movie. But that didn’t stop anyone from going to the theater. It also hit the sweet spot of millennial 90s nostalgia. All we need in the sequel when Dr. Wu pulls out his bag of Indominus Furiosa babys and sets them loose is a cameo for Dr. Ian Malcolm.

As usual the bombastic success of a film with a lackluster storyline has led to lamenting how Hollywood’s hands are tied when it comes to making anything good as Matt Patches writes for Esquire:

This is not just an issue with Trevorrow or his blockbuster. Hollywood’s cynicism is hitting peak levels and continues to trickle into our multiplexes. Movie studio executives would love to greenlight to discover the next Spielberg or nurture a moderately-sized thrill ride into a big-budget classic. But they also want to make money. There are movies that challenge the balancing act with whirlwind intensity; Christopher Nolan’s Inception takes the frustration of imagining and executing action movies and turns it into an action movie. That subtlety is hard to come by. With change and reversion seemingly out of the question, creative types feel compelled to boo and hiss in their movies. Trevorrow employs Jake Johnson to spit his fire. Last month’s Tomorrowland lectured audiences in the dangers of apocalyptic disaster movies. And on the Oscar campaign trail for last year’s Hollywood satire, Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu just came out and say what the film danced around: superhero movies are “cultural genocide.” A few months later, when Birdman won the Academy Award for Best Picture, voters could pat themselves on the back for recognizing great filmmaking. They could make Birdman—isn’t that real cinema? And then the next morning, most of the voters returned to their movie studio jobs and pushed sequels, reboots, and $150 million toy adaptions through the pipeline.

I can’t refrain from adding to the laments however, as I peruse the box office total of Mad Max Fury Road after five weeks: a relatively moderate $138.6 million. It’s made more worldwide, but set against that $200 million budget it’s still not a big moneymaker. HOW! How can this galvanizing, senses-shattering, mind-expanding masterpiece of heart and magic have made only this much when twaddle like Jurassic World is setting records? Why, oh lord, why?

Yes yes, I know, MMFR was R-rated. Meanwhile parents were secretly eager to go see JW with their kids.

Will the religious fervor for the church of George Miller pave the way for an actual sequel? Hard to tell, but I doubt we’ll see Miller allowed to spend money on that level again, alas.

In my previous inquiry into the actual reason that people found the practical effects of Mad Max Fury Road so profoundly affecting compared to CGI spectacle, I didn’t find much from a psychological viewpoint, but several people pointed me towards this Cracked piece from a few months ago, 6 Reasons Modern Movie CGI Looks Surprisingly Crappy by David Christopher Bell. This piece sums  up  some technical reasons for the affectlessness of CGI, using shots from the Jurassic World trailer as examples. Digital grading, unrealistic camera angles, bad physics, and things our minds just reject. For instance this shot of a helicopter falling into a dinosaur:

404996_v1

Sure, that looks pretty awesome, but destruction on that scale should blow our fucking minds. The response to dinosaurs wrecking a helicopter should be nothing short of paralysis, but this scene has no sense of gravity or consequence. There’s no scale to it. There’s even going to be a scene where (minor spoilers) a Pteranodon picks up a woman and literally drops her into the mouth of the Mosasaurus. It doesn’t matter how real the CGI looks, because that scene belongs in a fucking Sharknado movie. It’s an absurd cartoon orgy.

There’s some more technical discussion at a site that offers AfterEffects plug ins of all places, 10 Reason Why CGI is Getting Worse Not Better, which lays out most of the same arguments as the Cracked piece, with some more scolding over the orange-and-blue digital grading that every movie is saturated with these days, and also “ratcheting up the sequel-itis:”

The CGI in every sequel has a major goal: it has to be more impressive, complex, and crazier than its predecessor. The stakes have to be higher. Filmmakers try to create engagement with more explosions rather than letting story, plot, and character development produce interest.

Another huge issue is that in a world of endless sequels, we no longer have to worry about our main character’s well-being. We don’t need to be invested in the characters because there’s no chance they’ll die. They aren’t in any real peril. The actors have already signed up for two sequels! James Cameron is working on three Avatar sequels simultaneously! What’s happening now is that filmmakers are making scenes more and more extravagant to offset this sequel fatigue. They keep pushing the limits to keep us saying ‘well surely they can’t survive this’ until it gets utterly ridiculous.

So true. I actually felt that JW was a little moderate in its uses of CGI, but how many big bad dino-hybrids do you think will be in the sequel?

For one little moment, it seemed the rapturous response to Mad Max Fury Road might have Hollywood thinking that more is not better. The unexpected success of Jurassic World has laid that idea to rest, just like you knew it would. It would be nice to think that MMFR might influence some filmmakers to take more chances in that direction, and I don’t doubt that we’ll see endless allusions to it as we did after The Matrix and 300 came out. But given the way Hollywood plucks indie directors out of the schoolyard and gives them huge blockbusters to direct while the SFX unit handles all the action—JW’s Colin Trevorrow had directed one movie previously, and nothing in the film shows the slightest hint of style—it’s not very likely the next generation of action filmmakers will be making waves or demands. These days moviemaking is just too expensive and leviathan to take chances.

RaptorGang

And you know, Chris Pratt on a motorcycle and his henchdinos. That’s one things CGi is good for.

18 Comments on Jurassic World is #1: you got what you deserved, last added: 6/16/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. On Christopher Lee


Over at Press Play, I have a brief text essay about and a video tribute to Christopher Lee, who died on June 7 at the age of 93. Here's the opening of the essay:
Christopher Lee was the definitive working actor. His career was long, and he appeared in more films than any major performer in the English-speaking world — over 250. What distinguishes him, though, and should make him a role model for anyone seeking a life on stage or screen, is not that he worked so much but that he worked so well. He took that work seriously as both job and art, even in the lightest or most ridiculous roles, and he gave far better, more committed performances than many, if not most, of his films deserved.
Read and view more at Press Play.

0 Comments on On Christopher Lee as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Rupert Wyatt to direct Gambit solo feature

gambit-x-men-movie-writer

From a report in EW today, Rupert Wyatt, whose Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a feature I found to be a surprising delight a few years back, has been enlisted by 20th Century Fox to take on the (presumably rebooted) solo debut of the card-flinging mutant Gambit.

Gambit, which is set to hit screens in October of next year, joins a line-up of X-Men spin-off features for the studio that includes next March’s Ryan Reynolds-starring Deadpool and the Josh Boone directed The New Mutants, which currently has no release window. Channing Tatum will star in Gambit, and take over the role of Remy LeBeau from Taylor Kitsch, who played the character in the much-derided X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

2016 is looking to be the year of the X-Men presumably, with Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Gambit all hitting the screen within those 12 months. Gambit is scheduled to open on October 7, 2016.

 

0 Comments on Rupert Wyatt to direct Gambit solo feature as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. SDCC’15: Star Wars will indeed be in Hall H this year

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Oscar-Isaac

Here’s a bit of a shock; given that Marvel Studios (the feature film division anyway) reportedly won’t have a presence at San Diego Comic Con this year, you figure it’d be safe to assume that LucasFilm/Disney would save Star Wars for D23 as well.

You know what they say about assuming…

Lucasfilm announced today that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will indeed have a panel in Hall H this year on Friday July 10th. In attendance will be director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. “Special guests” have also been cited in the announcement released below. Who wants to bet those guests include a certain trio of Star Wars vets? Here’s the panel info and other fun events those attending SDCC will be able to take part in, provided you can handle the surely massive line to get there:

Friday, July 10, Star Wars Schedule

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hall H 

Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy, director J.J. Abrams, writer Lawrence Kasdan, and special guests provide a special look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Publishing 2015, Part 1: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.; Room: 7AB

Join a dynamic, all-star, New York Times-bestselling panel of authors including Alexandra Bracken (the Darkest Minds series), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark and Grim series), Tom Angleberger (The Origami Yoda series), and Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) in conversation with Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain about the new Star Wars retellings for a younger generation of fans. From  picture books to novels, these authors present A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in perspectives that will change the way readers understand who these beloved characters are and how they became legends for legions of fans.

Star Wars Publishing 2015, Part 2: 11:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Room: 7AB

Join a variety of authors as they talk about their upcoming projects from that galaxy far, far away. Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain, authors from Del Rey and other publishers will participate in a discussion on writing stories for the exciting new future of the Star Wars universe.


Hasbro Star Wars, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Room: 7AB 
Join a variety of authors as they talk about their upcoming projects from that galaxy far, far away. Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain, authors from Del Rey and other publishers will participate in a discussion on writing stories for the exciting new future of the Star Wars universe.

Join members of the Hasbro and Lucasfilm teams as they discuss the popular Hasbro Star Wars line. Attendees will get an in-depth look at Hasbro’s latest action figure offerings, and word on the Holonet is there may also be a few surprises, including a special product reveal.

Star Wars Collectibles Update with Lucasfilm’s Anita Castellar, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Room: 7AB

Join eFX, Gentle Giant Studios, Kotobukiya, and Sideshow Collectibles for product development insights and exclusive previews of the latest in Star Wars collectibles. In attendance will be Anita Castellar, a self-professed Star Wars fangirl who manages licensing for hardline categories at Lucasfilm such as toys, collectibles, consumer electronics, automotives, and more.

ILM 40th Anniversary, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Room: 7AB

For 40 years, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has set the standard for visual effects, creating some of the most memorable images in the history of modern cinema. From advances in the photo chemical process, optical compositing, motion control, and models and miniatures — to the company’s pioneering efforts in computer graphics, digital compositing, film scanning and recording, morphing, digital environments, performance capture, character animation and modern digital pipelines, ILM continues to break new ground in visual effects for film, television, themed attractions, and new forms of entertainment. The presenters will discuss the company’s work from its earliest days and breakthroughs along the way.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition at San Diego Comic Con 2015

For the first time, Star Wars joins forces with characters from across The Walt Disney Company in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition – the next chapter in the best-selling hybrid toy/video game series. Fans are invited to the Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop, located at the heart of Gaslamp District, for the opportunity to play as Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul or any of the Star Wars characters featured in Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic and Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire.

Fans will also have a chance to step into the “Disney Infinity Only in the Toy Box” mediated reality experience, where guests virtually enter the Toy Box and interact alongside their favorite Disney Infinity characters, such as engaging in lightsaber duels with Darth Vader or Yoda, and take home a customized photo and video with their chosen character. Other Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop activities include a Toy Box TV Live Edition webcast on Twitch featuring new announcements, surprise guests, contests with prizes, and exclusive giveaways.

 

0 Comments on SDCC’15: Star Wars will indeed be in Hall H this year as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. Review: Jurassic World – Something old, something new, something borrowed, and Dr. Wu

jurassic-world-super-bowl-trailer-1

I didn’t have high hopes for Jurassic World. Each attempt to reinvigorate the franchise has failed worse than the last, and despite the glimmer of hope provided by Chris Pratt, I wasn’t buying the raptor-taming, motorcycle-riding persona from the trailers. And while it wasn’t as bad as I had feared, it also wasn’t anywhere near as good it could have been. Basically, there’s not much I can add to the conversation about the quality of Jurassic World that you don’t already suspect. It straddles a line of mediocrity, with some moments of fun and others of absurdity.  Stupid/Fun.

To be honest, I spent at least half of the most suspenseful scenes wondering how Bryce Dallas Howard was still running in around high heels, constantly scanning to see if she’d chucked them in favor of going barefoot. It sounds stupid, but if you’ve tried wearing stiletto-style high heels on grass, the practicality of it will eat away at you (apparently the secret is staying on your toes, according to Howard). Spoiler: she never chucks the heels. Ever.

But what struck me most about Jurassic World was how much of a hybrid it is of things I’ve seen before, which makes the entire film’s premise sort of meta. Jurassic World focuses on the business of running a successful dinosaur theme park, and the need to create bigger, better, and scarier dinosaurs to satisfy the demands of the public (read: you, the viewer, are the public). So they make a hybrid dinosaur – actually, several – and splice together components of each that they know work, hoping to create something even more spectacular than the original versions, but missing the mark.

So what elements were cobbled together to make this beast?

Something old

Remnants of the original Jurassic Park are littered throughout the film, with one character literally sporting a t-shirt with the original logo. We see the old jeeps, the old facilities, and constant references to Dr. Hammond. But the formula of the first film is the most recycled item. Two scared kids who are going to get chased by dinosaurs a LOT? Check. Romantically linked man and woman, neither of them parents, charged with saving them? Check. Ridiculously evil dude stealing stuff, e.g. Newman? Check. CEO with a huge vision and complete lack of common sense? Check. The list goes on, and on. And on. Fortunately, in that “something old,” Jurassic World only seems to acknowledge the existence of the first movie, essentially setting itself up as a sequel instead of the fourth in a series.

Something new

Well, attempting to train raptors to do tricks definitely counts as new territory for the film. And there is, of course, a new big bad: Indominus Rex. Genetically engineered to be part T-Rex, part it’s-a-secret, it’s larger and scarier than anything in the original, in theory. While almost every character in Jurassic World maps directly onto a character archetype in the original, Howard’s portrayal of an uptight, by-the-numbers, and cold business woman is fairly unique for the series (and unfortunately probably one of the worst new elements).

Something borrowed

I don’t want to spoil anything outright, but I’ll say this: watch the newest film rendition of Godzilla and watch Jurassic World and you’ll see some clear parallels.

Dr. Wu

Technically, there’s only one single character in the film who actually comes back from the original – Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong), the mad scientist who spearheads the genetic recreations in the first film and continues his work here. He’s back to his old tricks, plugging away at his attempt to play god, and looks like he’s barely aged in the process. It’s kind of incredible. He lands some good lines about the dinosaurs – that since the beginning of the park, they’ve always been hybrids; human idealizations and engineering of what dinosaurs should look like. Wu’s appearance, however, felt like it should have been another “remember Jurassic Park?” type of cameo, but extends further, and eventually goes off the rails into an odd side-plot that feels like it’s there mostly to create fodder for a sequel.

…And Wu rhymes with new? So there you go.

Some of those winks and nods mentioned above do help to increase the fun factor; indeed, they borrow heavily on the huge amount of nostalgic good will built in the first film, reminding you of how good dinosaur movies can be, how incredible it was seeing a dinosaur tear apart a jeep, or how intelligent and menacing raptors can are in this world. And in spite of the wooden acting and bad dialogue, the film doesn’t look half bad. But the formula for Jurassic World relies so heavily on its predecessor, it also succeeds in reminding you that it’s nowhere near as good.

If you see the Jurassic World, watch how the final scenes play out (again with the meta), and you’ll realize the filmmakers know it too.

 

4 Comments on Review: Jurassic World – Something old, something new, something borrowed, and Dr. Wu, last added: 6/11/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
21. Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona is getting the animated treatment by Feast director

nimonabanner

It’s been a good couple of weeks for Noelle Stevenson.

Just two weeks after the announcement that her collaborative Boom! Studios comic Lumberjanes was getting a live-action adaptation, now comes word that her Eisner winning solo venture, Nimona, is going to be an animated feature.

In a report from THR, FOX Animation has picked up the rights for the graphic novel which is set in a Medieval future, where a young shape-shifter teams with a disgraced knight to overthrow the corrupt regime of the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. Nimona was a webcomic that Stevenson began in 2012 while she was still a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, it was released as a graphic novel this past May by HarperCollins.

Marc Haimes will pen the script, while the project will be directed by Patrick Osborne, who directed the Oscar winning Disney short, Feast, an utterly fabulous bit of whimsy that means Stevenson’s beloved creation should be i great hands.

Congrats Noelle! Talk about well-deserved success for one of the industry’s continually rising talents!

1 Comments on Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona is getting the animated treatment by Feast director, last added: 6/12/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
22. Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor will be Doctor Strange’s Baron Mordo

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oscar nominated for the incredible 12 Years A Slave (also known as one of the few movies to ever make me openly sob in the theater), is the latest prestigious thespian to join the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ejiofor, long rumored to be a part of the upcoming Doctor Strange in some form or fashion, was confirmed today by Deadline to be playing the role of Baron Mordo, the Sorcerer Supreme’s long-time enemy. In the comics, Mordo is Strange’s fellow pupil under the guise of The Ancient One (reportedly being played by Tilda Swinton), and after Strange thwarts Mordo’s plans to kill their instructor, they become adversaries.

Deadline’s report is quick to note that this version of the character will actually be “an amalgamation of characters culled from Doctor Strange’s mythology”. This sounds a bit similar to the approach taken with Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2, but hopefully the results will turn out a bit better here.

Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and will see release on November 4, 2016.

So, readers, what do you think about the new Baron Mordo?

3 Comments on Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor will be Doctor Strange’s Baron Mordo, last added: 6/12/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
23. Are Marvel and Sony at odds about the new Spider-Man?

You knew it had to be coming. As soon as it was reported that Sony and Marvel would collaborate on all decisions related to Spider-Man for the SECOND live-action reboot of the character, it was just a matter of time before signs of dischord might surface.

We’re talking about two billion dollar studios and one of the biggest franchises of all time. There was no way this was going to be totally sunshine and happiness.

And according to Jeff Sneider over at Meet the Movie Press, that very conflict is starting to take shape as Sony is lining up behind the casting of Tom Holland (The Impossible, Wolf Hall) and Marvel is backing Charlie Plummer (Boardwalk Empire). According to Sneider’s sources, those two along with Matthew Lintz (Kill the Messenger) are the final contenders for the role.

Surprisingly, there’s no mention of Asa Butterfield, who was long thought to be the front-runner for the role. Is he out?

Spider-Man’s scenes for Captain America: Civil War were supposed to begin shooting this month in Atlanta, but with casting at a stand-still, some changes may end up having to be made. Or perhaps something will snap into focus over the weekend or next week. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.

1 Comments on Are Marvel and Sony at odds about the new Spider-Man?, last added: 6/14/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. New Fantastic Four TV Spot Focuses on Team Dynamic & Highlights Distinct Lack of Confidence

The buildup to Fox-Marvel’s Fantastic Four has been incredibly quiet compared to the way that the Disney-Marvel typically advertises their superhero beat-em-ups.  The film releases on August 7th, and so far we’ve gotten two trailers and now this TV Spot, which demonstrates how far CGI has come since 2005.  We still know very little about the plot, although it seems like the film is going to spend a sizable chunk of time building up to the accident that causes Marvel’s first family to gain their powers.

I understand why Fox is choosing to be cautious with this film given how strongly they were lambasted by filmgoers after 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer.  That said, the understated ad campaign isn’t doing the film any favors as it displays a lack of confidence in the content.  From the limited amount of content we’ve seen so far, the film looks fine.  It might even have the potential to be great.  It’d be nice if Fox’s attitude reflected their faith in that possibility.

3 Comments on New Fantastic Four TV Spot Focuses on Team Dynamic & Highlights Distinct Lack of Confidence, last added: 6/16/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
25. Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Curse of Macbeth’s Candle

[I wrote this the Monday after the movie opened, then forgot it was in my drafts folder. Since it’s doubled the Chinese box office of the first film in one week, and has yet to open in Japan, it looks like it might hit $1 Billion overseas. But not $450 Million in the U.S. Anyway, I know the beginning of the blockbuster season was an eternity ago, and forgotten like every other Marvel event, but since the Marvel Cinematic Universe is  an ongoing money-making machine, this is still relevant.]

Ultron Comic

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.








Enter a Messenger

Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.

Macbeth, Act V, Scene V 

Sunday afternoon [May 4], I sat and watched Avengers: Age of Ultron with friends. We waited in line, but it wasn’t very long, and we got decent seats. Even though I paid $15 to watch, I did enjoy the movie, but I was sorely disappointed overall.

Here’s how I would have pitched the movie:

  1. Following the success of the multiple “Marks” in Iron Man 3, Stark International markets “Iron Legion” androids.
  2. The first “real world” test during the raid of Strucker’s lab is less than stellar.  Instead of A.I., the IL bots are drone soldiers, remotely controlled by soldiers far away. Then Tony sees his nightmare vision, and decides to create a better A.I.
  3. Ultron gains sentience during the cocktail party, processes a million scenarios in a microsecond, and instantly disappears into the Internet.
  4. A year passes. Secrets from the Battle of Midtown surface, including the decision to nuke Manhattan. Public opinion begins to turn against SHIELD and the Avengers. (See: DC’s “Legends”) (Include the current Zeitgeist of online harassment and “preaching to the choir”.) NASA reports that it has lost contact with a Lunar rover during landing.
  5. Marvel Eastern EuropeNobody notices that Sokovia [Latveria?], an isolated postage-stamp country in eastern Europe has had a regime change… their media is closed (a la North Korea), and the images released are, of course, CGI’d by Ultron. Meanwhile, its factories are converted to producing more armored robots. (Remember how Hitler rearmed the Rheinland right before the Second World War?)
  6. A suitcase nuke explodes at the Ka’aba during the Hajj. Pakistan retaliates, and the Avengers have to once again deflect a few nuclear missiles, this time from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. As the missile detonate high in the mesosphere, Earth is hit with a worldwide blackout. Y2K15. Computer systems are offline. Substations and energy plants suffer extensive damage. There are a few nuclear plant meltdowns, most are self-contained. Did the Avengers cause the blackout via the nuclear missiles? Some think so, and voice their opinions online, and in public protests, and via talking heads.
  7. People begin acting strange. Hydra? Extremis? Organic nanites replicating in human hosts are the cause, affecting the brain chemistry and neuron passageways. Some people, unaware of the tiny robots, suspect this is another symptom from the nuclear bombs. [Reference the strange health symptoms from Ground Zero.]
  8. People become cyborg zombies, and Ultron activates a backdoor in the Stark robo-soldiers, turning them into Ultroids.  The U.S. and others go to DefCon 1, as everything goes south very quickly. Minutes after Cheyenne Mountain is locked down, meteorites from the Moon begin to pummel the region, and other parts of the globe.
  9. A team of Avengers is sent to the Moon to take out the rail gun built by Ultron’s nanites. Micro-gravity, lack of atmosphere, are the dangers, including Ultroids. [Tease the Inhumans and the Blue Area of the Moon.]
  10. While humans outnumber the Ultroids on Earth, the Ultroids are repaired by nanite swarms. The Deus Ex Machina? Iron Man himself. He uploads open-sourced armor schematics that anyone can build. (From Mark XL models similar to Tony and Rhodey, to simple Kevlar suits and “Iron Chariots” built from subcompact cars.) Lots of human casualties, a la Stalin. Maybe you add some visual teasers of other heroes fighting. (This gets the fans on your side. “YOU can be a superhero!” Maybe it’s like the 501st. Maybe it’s guys modding cars like people build Batmobiles and droids.)
  11. Eventually, Ultron is cornered, but escapes by broadcasting himself into deep space.  The world starts to recover, but doubt remains. Did Ultron mirror himself? Is there Ultron code hibernating online? What about those nanites?
  12. In the end credits, we hear Ultron speaking with Thanos, as we learn that Ultron (along with Loki) was just one part of Thanos’ plan to acquire the Infinity stones.

This then leads into Captain America 3: Civil War

civil-war-marvelPublic opinion immediately turns against Stark International. Class action lawsuits are filed. Tony Stark goes into protective custody as the United Nations immediately coordinates global recovery efforts, overseen by SHIELD. Faced with technical and extraterrestrial threats, a global government is created with great oversight powers, allowing countries sovereignty unless they threaten the peace. [See: Squadron Supreme miniseries.]

Stark International is “internationalized” as part of SHIELD, in return for protection against all lawsuits. Tony becomes a modern-day Howard Hughes, out of the limelight, hidden away in a SHIELD facility, doing mad scientist stuff. Iron Patriot assumes most of Iron Man’s duties.

Sokovia [Latveria] is the first to refuse SHIELD inspectors. It soon becomes a SHIELD “protectorate”. Public opinion is mixed… it was an oligarchy before Ultron, a possible powder keg. Now? And what do other countries think of this? Which will be next? And what is

Hydra planning?  (American conservatives are conflicted… they want security and a strong military, but will they give up freedoms?

So there’s the New World Order conspiracy theory, there’s the question of how do you control the superheroes, and who handles that power? SHIELD has been compromised once, why not again?

That’s where Captain American and Tony Stark disagree. The world itself is split. East vs West. Security vs Freedom. Conservatives vs Progressives. Brains vs. Heart.


But maybe that’s all too dark for Marvel and Disney Consumer Products.

Were I a comics fan, I’d feel a little manipulated by Marvel. “Age of Ultron” is misnamed. There’s no “age”… it’s more of a “week”. There’s no robo-apocalypse; the robot hordes teased on the San Diego poster never really appear. (Just like those classice Marvel comic book covers!)Avengers Ultron movie poster

Tony Stark is correct in this movie…  the Avengers aren’t ready for another Big Threat like the Chitauri.  They can barely handle Ultron, or a trickster god with a simple mind-control device.  But that’s the crux of superhero team movies… how do you create a threat that’s too big for one superhero to battle? Eight heroes against one stupid robot? That’s not too difficult. Both Avengers movies don’t have that “End of the World as We Know It” urgency, or even a comeback moment from the Despair Event Horizon.

battle new york tshirt

Replace the text with “I survived 9/11″, and consider the public’s reaction to anyone selling these shirts.

Perhaps we’re standing in the shadow of Victor von Doom’s tears and Superman’s gravesite, and we don’t want to be reminded of the real world around us. Maybe these types of movies should be nothing more than a death ray, a mad scientist, and a secret agent to thwart them, just like the Saturday matinees of yore. Perhaps we want escapism from the Big Threats in the real world, just as James Bond was a major distraction from the Cold War. We can handle radioactive gold vaults, atomic earthquakes, explosive space modulators, even disintevaporaters. Crumbling office buildings, not so much. That might be why Guardians of the Galaxy did so well… it has more fantasy than the Avengers. more distance from the real world, while replicating and mixmastering most of the tropes from the Avengers heroes.

Keep it simple and formulaic in tone… it worked for James Bond, it works for Transformers, it works for The Fast and the Furious (which likely will be the #1 movie of the year). Introduce the Macguffin, define the heroes and villains, create conflict, save the day, make it look cool, and Act Three sets up the next phase of the franchise, rising the action and anticipation with each subsequent movie.  If you want to win awards, make a black comedy about superheroes or doomsday devices.

This might be what dooms the DC slate, if it gets made.  Too much sound and fury, grim and gritty, Sturm und Drang, not enough escapism. Best to keep things light, maybe define a role model for the younger viewers. Make it all popcorn and picture shows, like Juvenal suggested, and pay no attention to the projectionist. Your suspension of disbelief is what keeps you from falling into the abyss.



 

1 Comments on Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Curse of Macbeth’s Candle, last added: 6/13/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts