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 News 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…

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Official Teaser Trailer

Mad Max: Fury Road is the latest from George Miller, though so much time has passed since the last movie–twenty-nine years ago–that I wonder how many people will actually remember the character.

That being said, I get the feeling that with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron starring that they’re popular enough to overcome the fact that an inordinate amount of time has passed.

I remember when Miller was going to work on a Justice League movie…now that would have been interesting!

‘Zeroids vs. Cubes’ Coming Soon!

There is no doubt that Gerry Anderson, the creator of iconic series like The Thunderbirds, Terrahawks, UFO, Space: 1999 and Space Precinct, is a creative genius.

That being said, I don’t think that he ever really grasped the potential of the Internet, as a creative avenue to enhance his existing series, or introduce new ideas, which doesn’t seem to be an area that his son, Jamie, is neglecting.

His most recent effort, Zeroids vs. Cubes, is a web series based on characters from his 1983 series, Terrahawks, which revolved around a Earth-based force (similar in some respects to The Thunderbirds) that come together to face the alien threat of Zelda and her robotic Cubes.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!

Terrahawks wasn’t the best Anderson series (I’d give that honor to either Space: 1999, UFO or perhaps Space Precinct–an incredibly underrated series that, if it were not for issues of an inconsistent tone would have probably been much bigger than it was) but like most of his shows, it was fairly obvious that he invested a lot of energy in vehicle design and special effects.

And while Zeriods vs. Cubes will be a cartoon and not necessarily the best medium to reflect Anderson’s typically excellent special effects, it will be worth seeing if it only introduces the world of Gerry Anderson to a larger (and Internet-bred) audience.

What Lies At The Heart Of Horror

I don’t claim to be a particularly deep person, though I think I understand what it is that’s at the heart of my enjoyment of horror movies.  I think that a good horror movie makes me feel.  Generally speaking, I have in the past been relatively numb to much that went on around me.

Living in such a way not only isn’t true to the way humans are supposed to live; it’s not true to what we are, which tends toward the communal.  it’s also not true to any attempt to being in touch with the Natural world around us, despite the glee which we tend to either to pave it over or otherwise beat it into submission.

A good horror movie–or a entertaining, well-done movie of any type, really–allows me for a little while to step out of the conventions and straitjackets that society impose, and to touch a purer, more primal self.

Which is probably why movies like Annabelle and Ouija are so mediocre:  They both hint at fears and emotions linked to something old and primal, but don’t deliver, because they do so so hesitantly and tentatively that it seems barely worth the effort (unless you’re talking about box office, which means that we are going to see many more Annabelles, because it was hugely profitable).

And if filmmakers are so afraid of revealing the Id, what could they possibly tell me, or anyone else, about it?

Which is why I am enthusiastic about movies like It Follows, The Babadook and Late Phases.  Not only are all three getting really good buzz, but apparently they touch upon the collective fears that keep us up at night, the things that turn a shadowy corner into something potentially dangerous.

It Follows International Trailer

The Babadook Trailer 2

Late Phases Trailer