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 Talk 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.

 

 

‘The Equalizer’ – Trailer Two

The Equalizer is going to be a monster, despite the R-rating.  Denzel Washington is as reliable as it gets, as far as consistently entertaining actors go.  I also like how the characters that he tends to play don’t overcompensate in terms of their physicality, by which I mean you can see from the trailer that Washington is a tad paunchy, yet he’ll still believably kick you ass.

That it’s being directed by Antoine Fuqua pretty much ensures that it’s an event.

Besides, I can only see Guardians of the Galaxy so many times…

‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Review

Deliver Us From Evil movie poster

“There Is A Devil, Of This There Is No Doubt.  But Is He Trying To Get In, Or Trying To Get Out?”

One of of the worst horror films that I can recall was 1978’s Cruise Into Terror.  It’s been awhile, but I remember that it starred George Kennedy (going about things in his typically mildly-befuddled fashion) as the captain of a cruise ship.

The ship was also transporting a child-sized Egyptian sarcophagus for some reason.   It contained an evil entity, perhaps even Satan itself.  It never manifested physically, but it’s baneful influence was felt by everyone aboard the ship (kind of like Cthulhu-lite), till someone chucked it overboard.

Two things in particular stuck in my head:  The first was that, when the sarcophagus was sinking to the ocean floor, you clearly see that whatever was within it was breathing (by the sides of the sarcophagus pulsing).

It wasn’t an accident, but it was particularly dumb because a sarcophagus is essentially a very ornate coffin, so the body within isn’t resting directing against it, never mind being constructed in such a fashion that that just isn’t possible.

Though the important thing to remember is that there’s no way to tell if an occupant was breathing or not from the outside.

The other thing was that, when Satan was on its way to Davy Jones’ Locker, a woman said ominously in voiceover:  “There is a Devil, of this there’s no doubt.  But is he trying to get in, or trying to get out?”

And do you know what?  That simple line wedged itself in my teenaged mind, and in retrospect virtually redeemed everything about that damn waste of celluloid.

Continue reading

No Crossovers: Why 20th Century Fox & Sony Need To Go It Alone

I understand why some fans of characters like the Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Spider-Man and The Avengers want to see all their favorite heroes on the screen at the same time.  Imagine the Avengers..avenging, when Spider-Man swings by or the X-Men encountering Iron man or Captain America?  It’s not impossible, though it is very unlikely because Iron Man and Captain America are owned by Marvel Studios, while Spider-Man is licensed to Sony/Columbia and the X-Men, which includes Wolverine, are licensed to 20th Century Fox.

As I said, I get it, though unlike some what I also understand is that there are even more reasons why it shouldn’t (any time soon, at any rate).

Let’s look at this on a studio-by-studio basis.

Continue reading

‘Fury’ Trailer

What is it that calls actors to war (in movies that is, because I am reasonably sure few in the cast of David Ayer‘s Fury served in any conflict)?  John Wayne, who’s name was actually Marion, starred in quite a few war films, during World War II no less.

He didn’t serve in the military, though the reasons why are open to discussion or debate.

Fury is the second war film from Brad Pitt, Inglorious Basterds was the first, and I wonder what it is that motivates him, as well as other actors, to choose such roles.

Is it playing with big guns and tanks (the movie revolves around the crew of a tank in World War II)?  Is it the attraction of working with a director/writer who’s known for creating strong, compelling character (Whom are generally men.  Ayer doesn’t seem to invest much in women beyond their capacity to support men) pieces?

I have no idea, though it is interesting speculation.

What Separates A Successful Movie From One That Isn’t

Honestly, I have no clue.  Sure, I have ideas (and who doesn’t?) though you have to keep in mind that when I wrote that I thought that Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent was doomed to failure a few months ago that my reasoning was, for the most part, based on logic.  The “for the most part” is that I don’t think Angelina Jolie is a particularly good role model for young women.  Sure, she’s involved with all the right charities, but she also appears almost skeletal in pictures.

That’s not a good thing when, I assume, many of her fans are women of various ages, some of which happen to suffer from body-image issues.

And back on the logic side, there’s the fact that the production was troubled to such a degree that another director was brought in to help with reshoots.  And while that’s not necessarily a guarantee that a production is doomed, it’s not a good sign.  For example, the last time I recall it happening was when Oliver Hirshbiegel‘s 2007 movie The Invasion had reshoots done by the Wachowski’s.

And we all know how well that turned out.

More often than not, I don’t think much of movie studio executives.  From what I know of them, they appear to be a somewhat pampered, self-important lot that more often than not interfere more than they help any particular project.

In fact, if I were a studio executive and someone had brought me the screenplay–Hell, if Jolie handed it to me herself–I would have respected her enough to listen (though I don’t know how attentively) to the pitch before I wished her ‘Good day.’

And that’s even before a $180 million price tag would even had been mentioned.

Continue reading

‘The Equalizer’ Trailer

This movie is going to be huge.  With The Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Guardians Of The Galaxy coming, The Equalizer probably isn’t on too many people’s radar, though it should be.

It’s based upon the 1985 CBS television series that starred the late Edward Woodward.  He played a private detective, and former intelligence agent, that specialized in cases defending people that had no other options, often against criminals that managed to evade the law.

In this current version Denzel Washington plays a former black-ops commando who wants out of that life, but finds himself picking up his guns (or a sledgehammer) to defend a young girl against Russian gangsters.

Despite a plot that sounds somewhat similar to 2004’s Man On Fire (or perhaps 2004’s Deathwish, hopefully minus all the rape). I expect this movie to reflect the action sensibilities of its director, Antoine Fuqua, who also directed Washington in the 2001’s Training Day, which earned Washington the Academy Award for Best Actor.