‘Iron Man 4′ Is A Go!

Iron Man Flying

According to Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man 4 is happening and truth be told I am a little torn by the decision.  It’s a good thing because Downey, for millions of people (including this writer) embodies Tony Stark.

It’s not such a good thing because Marvel has to know that they’re just delaying the inevitable.  Originally when this question was posed to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios,  he said something to the effect that the plan was to have the Iron Man franchise to be similar to James Bond, in that the actor who plays Bond is important, but less so than the franchise itself.

In other words, the actor who plays Iron Man would change from time to time.

The thing is that Marvel Studios is known for their thriftiness (or miserliness, depending upon how you look at such things) and it goes without saying that they must be paying Downey a butt-load of money, to put on the red and gold suit again (though in Marvel and Feige’s defense, Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion on a $200 million budget, so $50 million–what he earned for Iron Man 3–was just a drop in the bucket).

‘Pride’ Review

Pride movie poster

“”Pride” Is A Prime Example Of Why The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) Has Outgrew Its Usefulness.”

It’s normal, as humans, to try to define the world around us in as concise a manner as possible.  And it makes sense because when we were evolving as a species there were probably many instances where there just wasn’t time to go into a 50-word description about how that other tribe of proto-humans from the far side of the mountain were somehow different than we were.

That being said, a problem simplification brings is that it sacrifices nuance at the altar of  efficiency, often doing a disservice to whatever it is that that’s being described.  I mention this because Matthew Warchus’ Pride will probably be labeled as a gay movie–and while that’s not exactly inaccurate–it doesn’t tell the whole story, because in many ways the movie is about all of us, no matter how we define ourselves sexually.

It revolves around a gay rights organization headed by Mark (Ben Schnetzer) who decides to raise funds to support striking coalminers in Wales.  Both groups are vilified, and despite the miners virtually starving they were at first reluctant to accept support from a group that was openly gay.

So there’s the conflict between those that hold more traditional beliefs, versus those that were more progressive though what the movie didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the fact that events were unfolding just when AIDS was just beginning to cut a devastating swath through the Gay community; yet Mark’s organization still chose to assist the mineworkers.

It may not have been as clear-cut as that, but the movie does create that impression.

Pride is also very monochromatic, though it’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate reflection of the history, or just the tendency of filmmakers to exclude people of color.  That being said, some do appear in crowd, club and parade scenes, and that’s about it.

Overall, Pride is an entertaining, and at times inspirational, movie that should be seen by as many people as possible because it’s less about sexuality than being true to yourself and people helping people, very often those on the face of it you hold nothing in common, other than a shared humanity.

And if that’s not something to be celebrated, then nothing is.

By the way, I just learned that Pride is rated R, which leaves me a bit baffled.   It’s a relatively tame movie–and while I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s been “Disneyfied“–there’s cursing, and suggestions of some Gay subcultures–there’s nothing that would offend anyone that’s the least bit respectful of the right of other people to live as they choose.

I also may be ranting a bit here, but Pride is based on the lives of real people, so why it is IMDB and CBS Films (one of the companies that produced the film) failed to include the last names of the characters is a bit beyond understanding.

‘Pride’ Trailer

What has bothered me for a long time about a lot of Queer cinema is that it tends to be very white–in that it revolves around white people (generally males) with nary a person of color to be found.  And Matthew WarchusPride doesn’t on the face of it seem any different.

That being said, what it does do is appear to revolve around people that occupy different social strata, which is also something that I think is neglected in in movies that deal with homosexuality in any in-depth, and hopefully meaningful, way (that being said, I do understand that that isn’t the story the movie is trying to tell, per se).

Betrayal! Thy Name Is Krieger!

Considering how ISIS (the International Secret Intelligence Service)–not the terrorist organization currently in vogue–seemingly did everything they could undermine their own efforts, they hardly needed help from outside.

Or inside, for that matter.

That being said, I feel reasonably certain that there there was someone within ISIS doing just that.  Perhaps they were too caught up in their struggle with ODIN (the Organization of Democratic Intelligence Networks) and various flavors of international terrorists/arms dealers to notice what was going on right under their noses.

And the name of their Manchurian Candidate?  Doctor KriegerDr. Krieger!  A man so stupid–or was his ignorance a deliberate ruse to lull his fellow agents into a sense of false complacency?–that he regularly operated on people, yet couldn’t name any of the bones of the human body!

And while ISIS imploded at the end of the fourth season, but Krieger’s antics sped it along the way.

As proof I offer Conway Stern (Coby Bell), who worked for ISIS before it was discovered that he was attempting to steal the plans for a device known as a ‘whisper drive,’ which could render submarines undetectable.  Due to the Truckasaurs-like strength of Agent Lana Kane (Aisha Taylor), Conway lost his hand as well as the drive, though he was still able to escape.

Conway.gif

Yikes!

If you’ve followed Archer you’re probably aware that Krieger (Lucky Yates) was probably a clone of Hitler, which if you’ve seen The Boys From Brazil you’d know that Hitler clones are usually up to no good.

Conway 2

The most blatant example of Krieger’s perfidy?  There are quite a few, but the one that sticks in my craw is from the third episode of the first season, Diversity Hire, when ISIS hired Conway Stern, an African-American Jew (“A diversity double-whammy!“) mainly because Archer (accidentally) outed all the other agents of color, resulting in their deaths.

Conway 3Could Dr. Krieger have betrayed ISIS because of some deep-seated hatred of everything they stood for (I honestly have no idea what that is) or is the truth more mundane, and Krieger was just an monumental asshole?

I think the latter.

No Crossovers: Why 20th Century Fox & Sony Need To Go It Alone

I understand why some fans of characters like the Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Spider-Man and The Avengers want to see all their favorite heroes on the screen at the same time.  Imagine the Avengers..avenging, when Spider-Man swings by or the X-Men encountering Iron man or Captain America?  It’s not impossible, though it is very unlikely because Iron Man and Captain America are owned by Marvel Studios, while Spider-Man is licensed to Sony/Columbia and the X-Men, which includes Wolverine, are licensed to 20th Century Fox.

As I said, I get it, though unlike some what I also understand is that there are even more reasons why it shouldn’t (any time soon, at any rate).

Let’s look at this on a studio-by-studio basis.

Continue reading

‘Birdman’ Trailer

I don’t quite know what to make of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.  On one level it appears to be a superhero drama, on another it appears to be a dark comedy.  I get the feeling that this Birdman only exists in the imagination of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) whom appears to be a washed-up actor.

What his potentially means is that people may go into this movie expecting one thing, and getting another; which is never a good thing.

Besides, we all know that there’s only one ‘Birdman.’

The Signal

Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 said: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Most movies seem to have taken those words to heart, because they tend to be be all the same, no matter whether they’re comedies, action movies, or Biblical epics.  Sure, actors may change, special effects improve, but when all is said and done, they’re still the same.

Though there are exceptions, such as William Eubank‘s The Signal.  What makes this movie so remarkable is that it takes ideas that you have seen before, and mixes them up in such a way as to create something that at least feels new.   

And that’s saying something.

There were a few instances that I though that I had this picture made, and I was often sort of right; though it’s that little bit of uncertainty, that small helping of doubt, that made it such a clever and enjoyable ride.

This perspective even filtered down to the way the film was directed because The Signal starts as one thing, and before you know it, right under your nose, morphs into a bigger, more interesting thing.

Most movies are made in a way that the audience knows what’s going to happen before the characters on screen or the director (deliberately?) neglects to show you information that would make everything that unfolds a whole lot clearer.

Which is one reason that I can’t watch Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects without getting irritated.  Keyser Söze literally builds an life out of found items in the police station, which is clever but I don’t recall the character acting with the high level of scrutiny that such an act would have required.

But as I said, The Signal is different.  The characters on screen are in the dark, though you are too, both literally and figuratively.

It’s a scary feeling, but I have to admit that I liked it.

A lot.