I Suspect I Know Who Mads Mikkelson Is Playing In Marvel Studios’ Upcoming Doctor Strange

According to Superherohype, Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal) will have a role in Scott Derrickson’s upcoming Marvel Studios feature, Doctor Strange.

Assuming that to be true, they also let slip a little more information than they may have intended, because they also mention that he’ll be playing a villain.

And since Baron Mordo is taken, there’s only one real option, in my humble opinion because, while Doctor Strange has a pretty deep Rogue’s Gallery, most of them are so esoteric that–like Marvel is doing in the case of Thanos–they’ll more than likely use Strange’s introduction to reveal a character who’s presence will reverberate throughout the entire MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

And that character will more than likely be…wait for it…Dormanmu (Eternity or the Living Tribunal would also be kind of awesome, but I suspect that it’s too early for either of them)!

image courtesy of Marveldirectory.com

Think about it, and I think you’ll agree that there are few Doctor Strange villains that they could introduce that would not only drive comics fans apeshit, but would impress casual viewers as well.

And Dormammu, played by Mikkelson, would be beyond incredible.

And this is where Scott Derrickson being a horror director will come into play, namely he has to create the atmosphere were one of Marvel’s stranger villains will not only appear realistic, but demonic and terrifying as well.

Something he’s well-equipped to do if you’ve seen either Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil or The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

And he actually has an interesting mythology, which should buttress his credentials, and connection, with the audience.

And keep in mind that Marvel has done this type of casting in the past, using big-name actors in roles that obscure the actor themselves, such as Vin Diesel as Groot in Guardians Of The Galaxy or James Spader, in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

And Dormammu has the potential–especially if they stick to Steve Ditko’s original designs, as opposed to more modern interpretations of the character–to be absolutely unbelievable.

Sinister 2 – Review

Sinister 2 movie poster

“The ideas behind Sinister 2 are a lot scarier than the movie itself.”

What bothered me most about Ciarán Foy’s Sinister 2 is pretty much exactly what bothered me about Scott Derrickson’s original film, namely that it takes an interestingly horrific idea–children committing heinous crimes–and virtually undermines it by looking at it from the perspective of an adult.

There’s a scene (one of many), when Dylan Collins (Robert Daniel Sloan) is being coerced into watching homemade snuff films made by the children, now disembodied ghosts, that killed their families for the demon, Bughuul (he of the hideously silly name, played by Nicholas King).

There’s an interesting addition to the mythology that indicates that when Dylan finishes watching the ghosts’ home movies, he would be compelled to murder his family, before being taken by the demon.

One horrific murder happens during Christmas, when one of the children kills his family and put the bodies in four graves (which I assume weren’t pre-dug) and buries them up to their necks.

Visually, it was pretty effective, though logically made no sense at all.

They died in their home, yet a young boy supposedly not only dragged four people (one of them probably weighing somewhere in the ballpark of 180-200 pounds) out of their home one at a time (no other way he could do so), then dug graves deep enough that when they lied down horizontally they could be easily buried?

Remember that I mentioned earlier that this happened during Christmas?  The reason it’s worth bringing back up is because earth. like anything else, freezes when cold, which makes it really hard to break.

And a little kid not only dug one shallow grave, but four others?   Extremely unlikely.

These overly elaborate murder scenarios–there’s another aptly titled ‘Fishing Trip’–took me out of the movie virtually every time they turned up, because while they may look horrific, they didn’t make any practical sense.

The movie between the frankly ridiculous ritual murders was pretty effective as we witnessed the ghosts trying to sway Dylan to their will, though there are few things less scary than children trying to look scary, when happens a lot in this movie.

Quibbles aside, Sinister 2 is worth catching because it’s genuinely atmospheric and Foy’s direction is effective, though as a movie it’s merely interesting, when it could have been terrifying.

And I would advise that you leave the theater three or four minutes before the movie finishes because the ending is just too dumb for such a smart director like Ciarán Foy.

Victor Frankenstein – Trailer

I don’t know about this.  Notice the title.  It’s not “Frankenstein,” but “Victor Frankenstein,” the point being that they seem to be moving away somewhat from Frankenstein’s Monster, to the man that assembled Frankenstein’s Monster.

That’s an important difference, and one I am not sure I like.  Then again, I’ve always been more of a werewolf/Wolfman sort of guy, but what interested me about Frankenstein’s Monster was the idea of a being that, while of our world, doesn’t quite fit in or even know how to navigate it.

Besides, looking at the trailer, I am not entirely sure what tone they’re aiming for.  It feels less like a horror movie than an adventure movie with horror overtones (it may sound like I’m picking nits, but there is a difference).  And sure, I like the line from James McAvoy (Victor Frankenstein) that seems like it came straight from Mel Brooks’ remarkable Young Frankenstein, but–while Young Frankenstein is incredible and well worth seeing if you haven’t–I am not sure if it’s the template they should be working from.

Unless they commit to the horror of the character, comedy or any semblance to Brooks’ movie will be wasted.

It’s worth mentioning that, for some reason, unlike werewolves and vampires, it’s been difficult to approach Frankenstein, especially if 2014’s I, Frankenstein or 1994’s Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein are any indication.

American Mary – Review

“What I Imagine Bill Cosby’s Fantasies Are Like.”

I have to admit that I approached Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska’s American Mary with more than a little bit of reluctance.  Part of it was due to the reviews, which were mainly positive, though there was an implication that there was something more to it, a torture porn-ish aspect, which I find distasteful (truth is, most movies critics labelled as ‘torture porn’ that I have seen I don’t necessarily deserve the label, in that there’s a point to the violence).

And speaking of which, I don’t think that I have actually seen one movie that that label applies, and I have seen some particularly violent movies.

So I am saying that it doesn’t exist?  I have no idea, though I haven’t yet seen it.

So I avoided it (besides, most movies are more terrifying in my head than they ever could be in reality–in celluloid?).

Though good horror movies (on Netflix) are getting hard to find, so why the frak not.  That being said, I’m still avoiding The Human Centipede movies though; just don’t see the point)

But I gave American Mary a look, and was glad I did.  It’s pretty clever, and surprisingly more nuanced than I gave it credit for being.

And Katharine Isabelle, who plays Mary Mason, has real presence in a role that rides entirely on her shoulders.  She’s pretty reserved no matter what happens to her, which makes sense in the world that her character occupies (What’s also interesting is the contempt that some surgeons hold not only for each other, but for their patients.  I have no idea how accurate a portrayal that is, but it’s an interesting contrast to how they tend to portrayed–as saints–on most network television).

Mary Mason is fascinating, particularly the transition from optimism to a cynicism as extreme as any surgery she does in the movie.  And the Soska sisters understand that its not about the gore–it’s not terribly bloody, though there are moments–than the suggestion of gore.

American Mary is currently on Netflix, and it’s worth remembering that a woman scorned cuts deeper than any scalpel.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept – Wing Commander (1999)

Gerry Anderson, it could be argued, was one of the first producers of science fiction to see what a tremendous role hardware design, such as spaceships, could play.  In virtually all his television series and movies, design has been crucial (more often than not, to the detriment of character development).  In fact, the Eagle from Space: 1999, arguably a space craft as iconic as Star Trek’s Enterprise, lead directly to designs like the Millennium Falcon, from Star Wars (George Lucas was known to have been directly inspired, in a visual sense, by Space: 1999).

In fact, Brian Johnson, who handled special effects on movies like The Empire Strikes Back (among many others) cut his teeth on Anderson productions.

I bring up spaceship design because Chris Roberts‘ 1999 movie Wing Commander is a movie that, on the whole, had designs that appeared more functional than iconic, a fact that wouldn’t endear the movie to tech-heads.  In fact, the design of the spaceships are remarkably similar to those of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon, that came two years earlier (I assume that the same FX houses worked on both features).

Despite being, in terms of spaceship design being somewhat uninspired, it had actors like David Sushet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot), Tchéky Kayro, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner, Freddie Prince, Jr. and Matthew Lillard, which is why its box office failure is so perplexing to me.

In fact, despite the aforementioned failure, the movie is unintentionally prophetic in that it plays like a young adult novel (by no means an insult.  Some of the best books I have ever read, such as John Christopher’s The White Mountains trilogy, were young adult novels) instead of being based on a video game.

That being the case, for a reboot I would commission more iconic spaceship designs, but that’s about it.  The movie does so much right that I can only think that its problem during its original release was one of timing.

The Living – Review

“The Ties The Bind Are Nurtured By Blood”

Jack Bryan‘s The Living is a pretty impressive thriller that revolves around a man, Teddy (a virtually unrecognizable Fran Kranz, Cabin in The Woods) who after a night of drinking beats his wife, Molly (Jocelin Donahue).

He had no memory of it happening, but Molly’s bruised and bloody face speaks for itself.

It’s not said explicitly, but it seems that this was not the first time that he had hit his wife.  So her mother, Angela (Joelle Carter), and brother, Gordon (Kenny Wormald), are fed-up, and respond in desperate and unexpected ways, setting in motions events that move rapidly beyond their control.

What works especially well is that the biggest names are Kranz (who’s nothing like the character he plays in Woods) and Chris Mulkey, neither of whom are exactly household names.  This is a benefit because, in such a small, almost intimate story there aren’t any stars big enough to pull viewers out of the movie, would which would probably be the case if we were watching Tom Cruise or Charlize Theron, for example.

If you’re looking for a taut, well-acted thriller you could certainly do worse than The Living.

The Living is currently on Netflix, because some people will do anything for family.

Zoolander 2 – Teaser Trailer

The first Zoolander was released over 14 years ago, and while I recall it being intermittently funny, I am not quite sure that it warranted a sequel (despite being successful, box office-wise).

Which makes me wonder why it’s taken over 14 years for Ben Stiller to come up with one.  That being said, there were funny moments in the original, though for the most part if felt like one of those Saturday Night Live skits that doesn’t know when it’s outstayed its welcome.

Another thing is that Stiller, despite being primarily a comedian, always seemed to make movies (such as The Cable Guy) that despite the comedic elements, were more creepy than they were funny.

The teaser is pretty amusing, though.