The Ugly Side Of Fandom

If you’ve seen videos of cosplay or the various ‘Cons’ the first thing you notice is that they feature all sorts of quirky, colorful (and often brilliant) costumes, which is why it’s understandable if you thought that that was what comic geek culture was all about (besides costumes and the–virtual–worship of certain movies and comic characters).

And for the most part, you’d be right, though there are instances when a comic character that began “life” as a white person, and is reinterpreted as a person of color in the movies (Oddly, when a male character was reinterpreted as female, in the case of 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, when Starbuck was underwent gender reassignment, fans only offered token resistance while most were relatively sanguine about it) when you often see the ugly side of fandom.

Before I begin, you’ll noticed that I deliberately don’t use the term “race” because, besides being a misnomer, it has always bothered me because white people are genetically identical to black people, yellow people, beige people, and so on.

I bring this up because the reaction to John Boyega, dressed as a stormtrooper in the beginning of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, has been pretty distressing for some members of the fan community.

Comic book fans tend to be sticklers for detail, which to a degree I can understand. If someone has been following a character for the better part of their lives, it probably feels amazing to see the character on the big screen; till that is, they see that the character has been interpreted in a manner opposite to what they have known and anticipated.

That being said, it feels that whenever an actor of color is cast in a prominent role in a comic book movie, some in the fan community lose all sense of propriety, and logic goes out the window.

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‘Antboy’ Review

Antsy movie poster

“Entertaining for children, and (probably) mildly interesting for adults.”

Antboy, a film by Danish director Ask Hasselbalch, is a decent enough movie about a little boy named Pelie (Oscar Dietz) who’s bitten by an scientifically-enhanced ant, and gains certain insect-like abilities, like climbing walls, enhanced strength and acidic urine (?).

The synopsis above probably sounds a bit familiar–except the acidic urine; I have no idea where they got that from–because it’s essentially the story of Spider-Man, though luckily the movie plays more as a love letter to superhero movies than any sort of (blatantly obvious) attempt at perjury.

In fact, when the movie is caught in the trappings of genre it’s at its most interesting, though there’s a fly in the ointment (see what I did there?).

And that’s that the movie is dubbed into English (from Dutch).  The dubbing isn’t terribly done, which ironically makes it worse because when characters talk, it’s sort of, but not quite, in sync with the way their lips move.

It’s oddly distracting and took me out of the movie virtually anytime someone spoke, which was quite often.  In fact, if it were released in Dutch with English subtitles I suspect that it would have been a much more enjoyable experience (you can opt-in for subtitles on Netflix, though I don’t know if that means subtitles with an English or Dutch vocal).

Though if such things don’t bother you, then check out Antboy.  It’s a cute movie with a few moral lessons that it doesn’t hammer you over the head with, and should definitely appeal to younger children.

Antboy is currently on Netflix.

‘Jurassic World’ Teaser Trailer

James Gunn, the director of Guardians Of The Galaxy, has some interesting words for studios that create cinematic universes based on weak properties, and it’s worth reading.  I mention it because Jurassic Park has spawned two sequels, Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III so perhaps the time has arrived for a relaunch of the property.  Besides, Universal–the studio releasing Jurassic World–is unlike most other studios in that they don’t have much in the way of tentpoles like Disney and Sony, so they have to do the best with the properties they have.

Chris Pratt–also from Guardians Of The Galaxy–is playing the lead, so can we expect to see at least one dance-off between him and an dinosaur?

One can only hope.

‘Late Phases’ Trailer

I know that this is going to sound odd, but I have a pressing need for Adrián García Bogliano‘s Late Phases to be a entertaining, well-done horror film, of the werewolf sub-genre.  For a start, I have seen Bogliano’s Here Comes The Devil, and it’s pretty mediocre.  I haven’t yet seen Cold Sweat–it’s currently on #Netflix, though for whatever reason I have had a only passing interest.

Late Phases has been getting quite a bit of good buzz, so that’s at least reassuring–then again, so did Here Comes The Devil, so I guess that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

More recently, I have seen Annabelle and Ouija, neither of which meets my strict definition of what a horror film could–or should–be (which is that the film doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly gory, or even violent–though it helps–but it does have to be suspenseful, create a sense of tangible unease and/or discomfort, and make the viewer uneasy and perhaps most importantly, get the blood racing, pardon the pun).

Late Phases stars Ethan Embry–an uber-talented and extremely under-rated actor if there ever was one–and Nick Dimici (Stakeland) which makes me want to see it even more.

Reasons For And Where A Potential Tron: Legacy Sequel Could Begin

Tron: Legacy movie poster

 

  • Demand

I am still reasonably sure that there will be a sequel to the 2010 Joseph Kosinski film, Tron: Legacy.  The original earned over $400 million worldwide, on a budget of $170 million.  When you take into account promotional costs–which I don’t have access to, but I’ll add on another $100 million, which sounds fair–then Tron: Legacy actually wasn’t that profitable, if at all.

But you have to also keep in mind that it earned over $400 million, which shows is that there’s definitely interest in the property, and demand for a potential sequel, with the caveat being if Disney can build on that demand.

  • Disney Has Few Homegrown Options of Its Own

Disney, as a movie studio, is in a pretty unique position.  There’s their Marvel Studios arm, which produced the recent box office hit, Guardians Of The Galaxy, as well as the upcoming The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man, and many others.

Then there’s Pixar, which creates cutting edge CGI features that manage to be extremely profitable, which isn’t easy to do (if you think so, take a look at DreamWorks SKG’s releases sometime, which if it weren’t for the success of How To Train Your Dragon 2, would be bleak).

And there’s also Disney Animation, which ever since John Lassiter, the head of Pixar, began running things, has become a hit-making machine with movies like  Wreck-It-RalphFrozen and most recently Big Hero 6 which has managed, domestically, to outgross Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

And I haven’t even gotten into Lucasfilm, which has the potential to be massive with the new Star Wars films they have in the pipeline.

So what becomes of Disney?  Are they a holding company for their more successful branches, or can they produce unique content of their own (Maleficent‘s success to this day is something of a mystery to me, as in I don’t see, considering how relatively niche the movie is in some ways, how it did as well as it did)?

I think that they can, and a sequel to Tron: Legacy would be a great way to show it.

Now on to where the story of Tron can go.

There’s a moment during Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy that could have defined the entire series, though it’s a relatively small (and unfortunately wasn’t built upon) and easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention.  When Quorra (Olivia Wilde) takes Sam (Garrett Hedlund) to see his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges).  Kevin exlains that he brought in Tron, and created Clu to keep an eye on things when he couldn’t be on the Grid.

Flynn eventually uttered this line:  “It was a coup.  Clu had been corrupted.”

This is an important line because it leads to the most seminal event in the entire movie, which is Clu overthrowing Kevin and taking control, and if there’s a sequel it’s the perfect point for it to begin.

Because it leads to the question:  How did Clu become corrupted?  If you recall earlier in the movie, you meet Edward Dillinger (Cillian Murphy) who’s a star programmer at Encom.

The point being that Edward Dillinger is the son of Ed Dillinger (David Warner), who in the original movie was Sark though more importantly he’s the creator of the MCP (Master Control Program).

So, going to back to Tron: Legacy, the question of the day is:  How was Clu corrupted?  Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that it wasn’t a random event, but the work of Edward Dillinger!  This means that he’s not only aware of the Grid, but intends to take it over in his father’s name.

And how would he do so?

After corrupting Clu, he would then go about trying to create a new MCP which serves two goals:  It gives him control of the computer world, as well as, potentially, control of Encom.

But most importantly such a direction by Disney completes the journey began in Tron, continued in Tron: Legacy and brings it full circle, and toward what could be a very sastifying conclusion that pleases fans of the original film, its sequel, and others the world over.

And if Disney charts the course I have so carefully mapped, I hope that they also bring back Wendy Carlos, who’s talent, genius and ability defined the original film, and was sorely missed in the sequel.

Mortdecai – Trailer

MortdecaiMaybe it’s just me, but I am getting the feeling that Johnny Depp is coasting just a little bit.  I laughed when I saw the trailer the the upcoming Mortdecai–he’s pretty amusing–but you’ve also seen variations of this schtick from him before (particularly in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) and I just wish he’d do something every once in awhile like the character he played in Blow.

Preferably something small and without the weird quirkiness–and fake mustaches–he seems to invest in many of his characters would also be welcome.

Comforting Skin – Review

Comforting Skin poster

“”Comforting Skin” is a decent movie, yet why do I feel gyped?”

Derek Franson‘s Comforting Skin is actually a pretty decent thriller, though its biggest problem is that it advertises itself as one thing, when in actuality it’s something else.

If you look at the trailer, it feels to me like a horror movie in the vein of Psycho or Magic (or some other movie where someone loses their mind, and goes on a killing spree).  As if that weren’t interesting enough, her tattoo talks to her (voiced by Victoria Bidewell, who also plays ‘Koffie’).

In theory it sounds like a great movie, that is till you actually see it, when it becomes fairly obvious that Comforting Skin, while a thriller, isn’t a horror movie.  Horror-adjacent maybe, but a horror movie?  Not at all.

Koffie is a single woman who who lives with a friend, Nathan (Tygh Runyan) whom she appears attracted to, though she doesn’t let on.  Nathan is an actor, which is fitting because his hair looked like he was in an Off-Broadway production of Streets Of Fire (which is a bit unfair though it was distracting as hell).

Bidewell is a pretty actress, though not incredibly so.  She makes up for being somewhat conventionally attractive by being very bold, and unafraid of nudity in service of the story.  It was refreshing to see, especially for a woman that has a few curves and doesn’t look anorexic.

Koffie was feeling a bit insecure, after going to clubs night after night, yet having no one to show for her efforts.  Seeking to shake things up, she gets a tattoo and hopes that it’s the beginning of a change.

And it is, though not of the sort she expected; which leads to the biggest problem with Comfortable Skin–besides not being a horror film, despite coming off as one in the trailer and the poster–namely that the whole tattoo subplot is unnecessary to the movie.  You could excise it like an unwanted growth, and things would unfold pretty much the same.

Which is a pity because the last thing that I recall seeing about tattoos that drove people to murder was the X-Files episode, Never Again.

So if want to see some killer tattoos, I guess I’ll have to watch it again.

 

 

Comfortable Skin is currently on Netflix.