Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: ‘The Magical Place’

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.DIf the blogosphere is any indicator, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be on rocky ground.  That sentiment appears reflected in its ratings.

Speaking of which, they have dipped precariously since its premiere high of 4.7 (representing millions of households) to a rating of 2.1, tying a season low.

That may seem a bit grim, but keep in mind that network television overall has been getting pummeled by cable, video games, and the Internet for awhile now; so while a 2.1 isn’t great, its not terrible either and as a marque series for the network, it will probably be renewed as long as it remains stable (it doesn’t hurt that the ABC network is owned by Walt Disney, which Marvel is a division of).

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Rebooting ‘Night of the Living Dead’

Hollywood is now talking about rebooting George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” which doesn’t necessarily need it, if you give it any thought.  That being said, I am not against it (as I tend to be) because the original is a good film, but also a product of its time, which was 1968.

So perhaps we’ll see a more topical ‘Dead’ film.  Another reason is that, unlike with John Carpenter, George Romero sometimes has a hand in the reboots of his films (if only a writing credit).

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Was ‘Babylon A.D.’ Really That Bad?

While researching an article for WhatCulture, I noticed that the 2008 Vin Diesel vehicle, “Babylon A.D. was ranked at No. 92 on ‘The Worse Of The Worse,’ Rottentomatoes’ countdown of the worse movies from 2000-2009.

I haven’t seen it in quite awhile, but I remember liking it a lot more than most of the critics that reviewed it.

It was directed by Mathieu (if I were to have a child, and wanted to name him ‘Matthew,’ I would definitely use the French spelling.  Very, very awesome) Kassovitz, who’s prior film, “La Haine” (Hate) I thought was interesting less for the subject matter – it revolved around a few friends and the violence that came about as a result of their actions – than the fact that Kassovitz seemed like a Parisian Spike Lee to me.

Various critics savaged the film, which I would normally be bothered by if it were for the fact that Kassovitz himself didn’t like the film (he claimed that studio interference ruined it.  It wouldn’t be the first time, and I am reasonably certain not the last).

I am going to have to catch it again, though I don’t recall it being nearly as incomprehensible as many (if not all) of its reviewers say it was.

Silent Running

Silent RunningMost of the films that are being remade these days don’t need to be, while those that could really use it, generally aren’t.

For instance, Douglass Trumbull’s “Silent Running,” a film about a future Earth that exhausted its resources, is a prime candidate for rebooting because its ‘dying earth’ theme is even more relevant in these days of global warming and environmental degradation.

The movie entirely takes place aboard the ‘Valley Forge,’ one of three space freighters that each hold three huge domes, habitats filled with plants and (small) animals.

Speaking of which, that particular plot point doesn’t really make sense to me because large animals – assuming that they haven’t been killed off – would need conservation as much as smaller ones (which could have been done, though there was no mention of it).

The purpose of the plant life is to re-green an Earth that has undergone some sort of environmental cataclysm.

Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern, who must have been the Nick Cage of his day) tends to the flora and fauna.  He’s there with three other astronauts, and soon the order comes to destroy the habitats that hold the forests, because the freighters that they are attached to are going to be repurposed.

While the others are ready to leave, Lowell is a firm believer in the importance of Nature, and doesn’t want to destroy the habitats.  Speaking of which, what doesn’t make sense as to why they are destroying them, when they could easily be put into orbit around Earth (they’re able to detach from the freighters) as opposed to destroying them.

What’s also sort of odd is that despite all the potential for drama, the movie isn’t terribly dramatic, despite the fact that Freeman Lowell murders the rest of the crew.

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TV Shows Cancelled Before Their Time?

I recently caught the entire run of “666 Park Avenue” on Netflix recently.  It was a clearly expensive, good-looking and well-designed series, though its portrayal of evil, personified by Terry O’ Quinn, was somewhat bland (due less to O’ Quinn, who can play sinister with the best of them, than the writing, which leaned toward soapiness) as the owner of a hotel who could be Satan (or someone relatively high in that unholy hierarchy).

I mention it because I read recently that “Ironside” was cancelled on NBC after airing only three episodes.  I am getting the feeling that Blair Underwood needs to steer clear of NBC, considering that his last show for the network “The Event,” had a similar fate (though like ‘Park Avenue,’ it at least lasted a season).

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Why Pitting ‘Ant-Man’ Against Superman AND Batman At The Box Office Is A Brilliant Idea

The Astonishing Ant-ManMarvel Studios is on a roll.  Earlier this year “Iron Man 3” earned $1.2 billion worldwide, while the year before that “The Avengers” earned over $1.5 billion.  Even with characters that aren’t necessarily as popular, like Thor and Captain America, Marvel is making a mint.

In fact, they are so confident about their prospects that the budget of the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World” has increased significantly over the prior film, which cost $150 million, compared to $200 million for “The Dark World.”

But their boldest move yet has to be placing their upcoming “Ant-Man” against the sequel to “Man of Steel”, which opens two weeks earlier.

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Why ‘Pacific Rim’ Will Spawn A Sequel

Pacific Rim - Victory!I should mention that I have said the same thing about “Tron: Legacy,” and while there appears to be minimal movement on that front, all signs seem to indicate that it is happening.

Guillmero Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” which cost somewhere between $180-200 million to produce, and earned just over $407 million worldwide – most of that overseas – is going to result in a sequel.

How do I know this, you may ask?  Other than my almost obsessive desire to see the more of the universe that Del Toro created, that is?

First, Pacific Rim isn’t a continuation of anything.  It’s not a sequel, or based upon an existing franchise.  In such situations, marketing is crucial, though considering that Legendary Pictures was divorcing itself from its partnership with Warner Bros. at the time, it can be argued that ‘Rim’ performed relatively weak in this country (just over $100 million) primarily for that reason.

By way of comparison, you have to keep in mind that Star Trek: Into Darkness earned just over $465 million, and the likelihood of a sequel is high, despite that it performed significantly weaker overseas than Pacific Rim.

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A Matter Of Continuity : ‘The Avengers’

I think Marvel Studios “The Avengers” is – so far – the best superhero film ever made.  It takes itself seriously enough that it doesn’t come off as silly, yet remembers that this stuff is based on comic books, which were originally geared toward children (though in places like Japan – and to an extent in Europe – anime and comics have been geared toward all ages for a long while now).

But no film is perfect.  I happened to be watching it again – for the fifth or sixth time – when I noticed a small continuity error that I hadn’t prior. I should define what an continuity error is.  It’s an inconsistency from one scene to the next that tends to be due to someone missing a particular detail. Sometimes it can literally drag you out of a film, though oftentimes they don’t even register till you see the film again, as was the case with me.

Avengers Notice the guy circled in red.

This screenshot is from early in the film, when Captain America and Bruce Banner are first landing on the  S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier.  The person circled is busy marshaling (I have no idea what they’re called.  It differs based upon which source you happen to read) which is to help guide aircraft once they’re on the runway.

People that do this are important because they help get planes where they should be.  Without them, a pilot could potentially misunderstand where they should be, causing problems for other planes.

Now look at the man carefully.  He’s standing to the right of the airship, and he’s not under it – which would make no sense, since the pilot(s) of the craft wouldn’t be able to see him but also because you can see his shadow further right, which wouldn’t be the case if he were being overshadowed by the airplane. Continue reading

Robert Downey, Jr. – or is it Tony Stark – Shills For HTC

HTC isn’t doing too well in the smartphone wars.  All that I have read says that their premium smart phone, the HTC One is a gorgeous, well-thought out device.  That being said, with Apple and Samsung sucking up all the oxygen it’s hard for other smartphone makers to find some air to breathe.

HTC seems to be thinking that the reason that they are not doing as well as they think they should is because of an information deficit, which is why they are paying Robert Downey, Jr. somewhere in the ballpark of a billion dollars to alleviate.

And it’s possible that they’re right, though what I would ask is how much are that spending on R&D (Research & Development) because, at the end of the day, it’s the products that matter most.

Exclusive ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Trailer

How does Conan O’ Brien get these scoops?  I’d be careful if I were him because from what I hear the Sony legal department is just waiting to catch infringers in its legal web.

Heck, Conan has money, so he’ll be OK.  Me, I am not too sure.

Despite my doubts, I have to believe in the right publish what’s true, so caution be damned!