‘Dark Skies’ Is On Netflix

If you’re like me, when you think ‘Christmas’ you also think ‘horror,’ you’re in luck because Netflix has one of the better alien abduction movies, Scott Stewart‘s Dark Skies.  What makes it work is that it, unlike most movies of this particular genre, spends its time letting us get to know the family that is under siege by forces way beyond their control and understanding, so that by the time the proverbial shit hits the fan, you’re invested.

Which makes everything all the more terrifying.

Trust me.  If you like intelligent, well-done alien invasion thrillers, Dark Skies is right up your alley.

By the way, the movie co-stars J.K. Simmons, and as usual, he’s awesome.


Marvel Studios Prepares to ‘Wow’ Us Again!

Yeah, I'm all that AND a bag of chips!

Yeah, I’m all that AND a bag of chips!

If you’ve seen Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Avengers or any of the Thor, Captain America or Iron Man movies, you’re familiar with the work of Marvel Studios.

Their approach to television have been a bit more tentative.  Currently they have only one show, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (MAOS) on ABC (Disney owns both Marvel Studios and the ABC television network) and another is going to be introduced soon, Marvel’s Agent Carter, also on ABC.  While MAOS took awhile to build momentum, in its second season it’s currently one of the best comic-based series on television.

Though Marvel Studios is preparing to enter the television space in a huge way, though not in the fashion you’d traditionally expect.

They entered into a deal with Netflix, which resulted in four new series, Daredevil (20th Century Fox lost the license), A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage–also known as Power Man–and Iron Fist coming in 2015.

Daredevil was recently completed and the producers of A.K.A. Jessica Jones have found both their Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter).

In reference to Colter (and Krysten Ritter, for that matter), I am not too aware of what he’s done, but when I look at filmography, I know that I have seen him but didn’t realize it at the time.

Though what’s most interesting is that Marvel Studios is following the same approach that they took with their feature films, which is to created individual series based upon the three aforementioned characters, as well as Iron Fist before bringing them all together in an event series, The Defenders.

As I said, Marvel Studios wasn’t the first to the game, but looks like they’ve changed the way the game is going to be played from now on.

Get Hard – Trailer

If I can get one thing for Christmas it will be that Will Farrell NEVER appears nude–or semi-nude, for that matter–in movies ever again.  His sense of shamelessness and boldness are to be applauded, but he’s not exactly easy on the eyes.

Doughy and the antithesis of athletic, Chris Evans he’s not.

In any case, Get Hard revolves around Farrell’s character, who’s arrested for embezzling money (or some sort of financial wrongdoing) and is to be sent to jail in 30 days.

Not wanting to be raped in prison he gets Kevin Hart to teach him how to become “hard“–because Farrell’s so misinformed he thinks that all black people have spent time in jail and are thugs.

Hopefully, hilarious hijinks ensue.

The title is also pretty fun, because it has a dual meaning, which makes me wonder if the MPAA somehow missed it (if only because they’re notorious for sucking the fun out of everything).

Marvel Studios, Save Spider-Man!

Typically, Spider-Man would be the one doing the saving, but even Spidey is powerless against studio executives who don’t have any real understanding of what they’re doing.

And what many commenters–I mean you, AMC Movie Talk in particular–seem to be missing about the mess that’s stemmed from the Sony email dump is not that the executives involved are throwing ideas agains to wall to see what sticks (pardon the pun), it’s that the ideas that they are considering are really, really bad.

For instance, a standalone movie feature Aunt May?  As a spy?

Believe it or not, I have nothing against her.  As a supporting character she’s pretty interesting, though the problem is that Sony hasn’t even properly developed Spider-Man at this point, and they’re not only talking about spin-offs, but they’re considering a movie based on a character that was never designed to headline in the first place (which isn’t to say that there weren’t comics that featured Aunt May, but despite having not read any I feel relatively safe in saying that they would’ve come relatively late in the cycle).

After all, the movie and the comic are called “The Amazing Spider-Man,” not “The Amazing Aunt May” for a reason.

Is there a possibility that saner heads will prevail, and Sony will finally be able to produce a Spider-Man movie worthy of the name?  Perhaps, but based upon their most recent output, I am just not seeing it.

People criticize–in most instances quite justifiably–Joel Schumacher and his excesses on the Batman films (Bat-nipples, and shots showing the Bat-posterior in all its glory) though when you think about it Schumacher was in his own way paying homage to the comics.  Sure, it was garish, silly (in a very bad way), and campy, but you could see that there was respect for the characters as well.

I get the feeling that Marc Webb is following a similar path (minus the overtly blatant homosexual references) because he–as well as writers like Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci–don’t actually understand the character.

When you combine this lack of understanding with studio interference and budgets way larger than they should be, then the recipe is exactly what we’re seeing unfold a Sony.

Where we can witness a  studio doing the seemingly impossible, taking a comic character loved the world over and ending up with a box-office flop.



Blackhat – Trailer

Isn’t it remarkable what a few days can bring?  A few weeks ago, a thriller like Michael Mann‘s Blackhat–a movie that revolves around about Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) a cyber criminal released from prison to counter the threat of a cyber terrorist with the ability to bring a nation to its collective knees–would probably have been an interesting diversion and little else, till Sony Pictures was hacked and thousands of no longer private emails and social security numbers were released.

Imagine how devastating such an attack could potentially be if it were aimed at our infrastructure instead, which we hopefully won’t have to discover any time soon.

Though what’s sort of interesting in reference to the trailer is that the unseen terrorist sounds strangely like Trevor Slattery/faux Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) from Iron Man 3, which makes me wonder if this is some sort of unofficial sequel (It’s not, but the idea that Mann might be in the superhero business makes it more than worth the scorn such a comment might traditionally elicit).

Blackhat isn’t the type of movie that I would traditionally see, but I have to admit that I am a bit curious.

Don’t Blink – Review

Don't Blink movie poster

“”Don’t Blink” is a pretty interesting twist on an alien invasion story.”

Travis OatesDon’t Blink could have been one of the better horror films to come along in quite awhile, if not for one pretty significant problem, which I will go into in a moment.

Though the issue isn’t that it’s a bit of a slow burn, and takes its time getting to where it’s trying to go.  It’s worth mentioning that there’s little in the way of gore, though that means that the story has to hold up even more than is traditionally the case, because there little to distract you from what’s going on.

What helps immensely is that Don’t Blink is a good looking movie.  Too many lower budget movies–I don’t know how much it cost, but it couldn’t be that expensive–often look like they save money by skimping on things like lighting, which is never a good move.  Luckily that’s not the path taken in this instance, because the cinematography by Jayson Crothers is really good and makes things look more expensive and rich than they probably are.

Which leads to that problem that I alluded to earlier, which unfortunately is related to the story.  I don’t mean that it’s not well-written, though it does feel underwritten, and the characters being little more than sketches, as opposed to fully fleshed-out.

Remember that I mentioned that Don’t Blink was an alien invasion movie?  I honestly think it is, but you’re given so little information–other than people vanishing mysteriously and unexpectedly–that you have no idea why anything is happening.

For awhile it’s interesting to watch as things unfold, but soon you’re left wondering what’s the point and begin to come up with theories of your own, such as maybe it’s a people-eating house in the vein of Burnt Offerings?  Or maybe it’s like Poltergeist, and restless spirits are running amok?  That being said, it’s probably aliens, which I am reasonably sure of because of a cameo by a certain Doctor who goes all MIB on us (which he’s actually listed as in the credits).  The thing is, should anyone have to wait till the last five or ten minutes of a movie to hopefully learn what’s been driving the action for the past hour or so?

I don’t think so.  This lack of information doesn’t ruin the movie though in hindsight it bothers me a bit that the filmmakers didn’t seem to buy into their own central conceit.

Don’t Blink is currently on Netflix, by way of IFC Midnight (where some pretty interesting horror is coming from, it’s worth mentioning).

‘Preservation’ Trailer

In my seemingly never-ending search for some entertaining movies of the horror variety, I found the trailer for Christopher Denham‘s Preservation.  Things seem to start relatively simple: three people go camping, before some vaguely threatening weirdness starts.

We can’t tell who’s behind it, but considering one of the brothers on the trip is played by Pablo Schreiber (who can’t possibly be as intimidating as he appears in movies and television shows), who plays twisted like nobody’s business.

We don’t know who’s behind the mysterious happenings, though the trailer gives the impression that one of the three campers is a bit on the unstable side.

Or are they…