Spectre – Final Trailer

I like this trailer a lot.  What I like about the Roger Moore Bond movies was their sense of scale.  Sure, many of them are sort of silly, but the villains tended to be larger-than-life, as were their schemes.

Specter seems to harken back to those movies (or the trailer does, at any rate).

The Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan Bond movies also tried to meld the esthetic of Moore’s movies with a somewhat more grounded approach (Dalton’s Bond, with perhaps the exception of The Living Daylights, never quite seemed to gel, while Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough were probably the strongest from Brosnan, and Die Another Day the silliest–and the most Moore-like), an esthetic that has grown into its own with Daniel Craig’s interpretation.

The X-Files- Official Trailer

If you’ve haven’t been living in a cave–or were in a  place with more to offer than what’s coming on television–you probably noticed that The X-Files was coming back in the form of a six-episode series.

And I think that that’s a good thing.  The cast looks pretty much the same–Gillian Anderson is aging really, really well–though what I am more interested in is that the series had typically been ahead of the curve in terms of its perspective on the very real growth of the surveillance state, combined with an interesting take on various paranoid-mined musings, urban myths and folk tales.

If the trailer is any indicator, it feels like they’re playing catch-up (and while I am admittedly curious, didn’t Cancer Man die via missile toward the end of the show’s television run?) this time around, though they’ve been off the air for awhile.

Part of what led to the downfall of original series–if you call a nine-year run a ‘downfall’ for me was its convoluted mythology, which after a point seemed to make scarcely any sense at all.  It’s an error that I hope the limited series doesn’t make–they don’t have the time to–and decides. while the truth may be out there, some things are better left unsaid.

Why Superhero Fatigue Is Nonsense (With Zombies!)

Superhero fatigue” seems all the rage among some, but it’s a dubious concept at best, and easily disproven.  Reason being, if superhero fatigue were a thing, it would have been proceeded by ‘zombie fatigue.’

Look at the 2013’s World War Z, the Brad Pitt-starrer that was for awhile looking like the Fantastic Four of its time.

Except that it wasn’t, and despite a $190 million budget it went on to earn over $500 million and spawn a sequel.  And zombies haven’t only been successful in movies.

And speaking of zombies, whether or not they shamble (as God and Romero intended) or run despite the fact that their muscles should have atrophied as much as their bodies have, they clearly aren’t going anywhere.

AMC’s The Walking Dead has not only spawned a spinoff, Fear The WalkIng Dead, but the show continues to be a ratings behemoth for the cable network.

And for the life of me, I don’t quite understand it.  Where I used to work I was the first person to sing its praises (I didn’t have cable, so I purchased the first season via iTunes) and introduced it to anyone that would listen.  The fifth season has recently turned up on Netflix, and I have been watching that too, and its pretty good.

Though what it’s also, is relatively one-note in that while the cast may change, very little about the series itself does.  Not really,

Screenshot 2015-09-28 08.42.08

The scene above, from season 5, episode 10, Them possessed a bit of gallows humor the series sorely misses on a regular basis.

Though there are relatively rare instances when it rises above its humble origins, like in the picture above, though that’s the exception because, except in relatively rare situations, the series refuses to embrace the absurdity of the situation.  It’s as if the writers and directors have a mandate (like the one DC Entertainment supposedly has toward humor), and that mandate is that things will be as grim, as relentlessly bleak, as possible.

And I understand that.  After all, the series exists in a world were dying isn’t quite what it used to be.  The thing is, what the series misses–a lot–is that there’s humor to be found in the bleakest situations.

So, The Walking Dead has lasted over six seasons and shows no sign of slowing down and consistently remains one of the highest rated shows on television, while also being, sometimes literally, a pretty grim slog.

So if a series as repetitive–though admittedly enjoyable (in a end-of-the-world hopeless kind of way) as The Walking Dead–can not only grow, but thrive, then I expect that superheroes, be they in movies or on television, will as well.

The Jungle Book – Official Teaser Trailer


The teaser trailer to Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book has recently dropped, and visually it reminds me of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (which isn’t a bad thing, especially considering that it was remarkably successful despite the having actors unknown to most Americans–and probably a large percentage of international audiences as well–with perhaps the exception of Gérald Depardieu and if you push it, Rafe Spall and Irrfan Khan).

I wouldn’t be particularly enthused about this movie, if it weren’t for Favreau’s Zathura and Chef, both of which show that he has a way of bringing out the best in child actors.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two – “For Prim”

Is it just me, or do the Hunger Games movies come off as just a bit pretentious?  Then again, I was never a huge fan of the movies–I watched them though they never reached the the level of something that I felt I had to see.  I also wasn’t among those that read the Young Adult novels, so that might have something to do with it.

Or maybe it’s just the time between one chapter of the series and the next.  I’ve grown accustomed to binge watching and enjoy watching movies in sequence, when I want to watch them, as opposed to a studio dictating when I should see something.

Or perhaps I’m tired of watching Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) being used by various factions.  I know that President Snow is on the wrong side of history–dictators, whether in reality or fantasy–always tend to be, but Katniss always seemed to me essentially unable to control her own destiny, moved about like a pawn on a chessboard.

So I hope this third chapter has he at least becoming her own person, and taking control of her life from dictators and partisans alike.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept – Tourist Trap

Tourist Trap posterDavid Schmoeller’s 1979 movie Tourist Trap is a particularly effective horror movie–particularly due to the score by Charles Band, speaking of whom doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his composing, which here is at times playful, harrowing and cinematic–that unfortunately is showing its age.

The movie revolves around a tourist attraction, Slaussens Lost Oasis, where Mr. Slaussen (Chuck Connors) owns a museum that showcases the mannikins that are the work of his brother, who’s more than little bit insane.

Slaussen tries to keep his brother hidden–in a way very similar to Hitchcock’s Psycho–but his brother refuses to stay put, preferring to escape from the house he’s held in to lure tourists to their deaths.

The premise of this movie is awesome, and doesn’t actually need that much in the way of tinkering story-wise, other than to bring the special effects more in line with modern sensibilities and technologies.

It’s also worth mentioning that, Besides Psycho, the movie also has more than a passing similarity to Brian DePalma’s Carrie, (which came out three years earlier) yet despite this it somehow manages to be not only original, but its own animal.

It goes without saying that effects need to be practical because it would work best when there’s actually something that actors are acting against (which is typically the case, though there are some instances when it CGI is perhaps a better fit, though not in this movie).

Another thing with mentioning is that what makes Tourist Trap as effective as it is is that the acting (particularly by Jocelyn Jones as Molly and Connors that elevates the material beyond many better known examples of the horror genre).

In fact, I suspect that the writers of the 2012 remake of Maniac (Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur) must have at least heard of Tourist Trap because it plays very similar, especially in its third act.

Five Ways To Make The Upcoming Masters Of The Universe Reboot Awesome

With all the talk of a new movie based on Mattel’s Master of the Universe line of toys, it’s almost as if people have forgotten that there has already been an attempt to bring Skeletor and his minions to the big screen.


And it was actually not that bad–especially considering that it came from Cannon Films, which no longer exists, though they weren’t known for spending a shit-ton on their productions–the movie had some good names, Frank Langella in particular as Skeletor was a coup–and the movie started strongly, before petering out.

Besides, I imagine that Mattel is a bit cheesed-off seeing how many billions Hasbro earned from the movies based on their Transformers line.

1.  Remember What Came Before

I get the feeling that the producers of the upcoming Masters Of The Universe reboot don’t want to watch the first movie made in the late eighties, though they should.

It was George Santayana who wrote “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (which is why Fox needs to return the Fantastic Four to Marvel Studios, but that’s another post)” and the producers of the upcoming Masters Of The Universe reboot need to watch Gary Goddard’s 1987 movie because it’s actually got a lot going for it.

And it also has a lot that should to be avoided this time around, such as…

2. Don’t Design Your Soldiers To Look Like Darth Vader

Skeletor's Soliders

I’m sure it’s tempting, after all Star Wars is one of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made.  That being said, It’s hard to create a property that’s unique and has a feel of its own, without dealing with characters that look a lot like others from (probably) much better movies.

In other words, you can get away with a base that looks distrubiningly like Vader’s head in the Justice League cartoon.

In a live action movie?  Not so much.

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