(Bruce) Wayne’s World

I didn’t particularly like the first two trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice  because they’re both filed with much bombast and thunder–as far as I can tell–signifying very little.  And I might be reading into things a bit, but if feels as if director Zach Snyder equates blowing things up with seriousness, which if that were true would put Michael Bay on the same hallowed ground as Martin Scorsese or Alfred Hitchcock.

Though with the third–and apparently the last–trailer Snyder’s finally gotten the tone right, eschewing large scale mayhem for something a bit more intimate as Batman fights a group of well-armed thugs.

The combat seems very evocative of the fighting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, except more CGI-enhanced .

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Suicide Squad & Deadpool Sitting In A Tree…

k.i.l.l.i.n.g.  (though based on the tone of Deadpool‘s Valentine’s Day trailer, you’d be forgiven if you thought the latter).

Both Deadpool and Suicide Squad seem to be exploring the darker sides of their prospective universes though if you ask me I think DC Films should thank whatever deity they worship that Fox’s entry is coming out six months before because while both films promise a darker–and certainly more violent, if the former’s R rating is any indication–take on superhero movies only one of them seems to be really innovating in the space.

The trailers for Deadpool promise a sense of irrelevance and fun that would be a serious differentiator if the two films were competing against each other directly.

That’s a line of commentary that’s pretty much negated by both coming out months apart, though its an interesting thought exercise.

 

The Punisher We Need

For some reason Marvel Comics’ Punisher has been a difficult nut to crack–despite the fact that the character is essentially Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) from 1974’s Death Wish, a movie that went on to do pretty well at the box office.

His first appearance was in New World Pictures 1984 movie The Punisher, and despite the criticism that surrounds that movie, wasn’t terrible–which isn’t to imply that it was great, though it was enjoyable in its own way–and Dolph Lindgren (and his ever-present Swedish accent) interpreted the material pretty well.

Unfortunately, not even the Punisher couldn’t get people into theaters, and the movie flopped.

The character was revisited again in LionsGate’s 2004 movie The Punisher, this time starring Thomas Jane.

Jane does pretty well in the role, despite not being as physically similar to the character as Lundgren.

And it once again underperforms–despite that if you move forward ten years to 2014 Denzel Washington starred in the successful movie interpretation of The Equalizer (based on a 1985 CBS television series) who essentially IS the Punisher.

Lionsgate tried again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone which was similar in tone to the 1984 movie (with its violence intact and intensified, if nothing else).

And it too didn’t do that well, and since you’d be lucky to get one chance at success, never mind three, you’d be safe in assuming that the Punisher had killed his last opponent. Continue reading

Can We Stop With The ’67 Characters’ Nonsense?

Screenshot 2016-01-13 21.10.48.pngRecently quite a few venues are running with the idea that the Russo brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War) are going to have 67 characters in their upcoming two-parter. Avengers: Infinity War.

This is, on the face of it, nonsensical because last time I checked Marvel Studios haven’t even introduced 20 characters, never mind 67.

Besides, it would be also be outside the typical method they use to introduce new superheroes (most of their main characters were introduced via solo movies, expect for the Falcon, Black Widow, War  Machine, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Quicksilver, Vision, and Winter Soldier, most of whom are supporting characters–with the exception of Winter Soldier and Black Panther, the latter whom will have a solo movie).

And if it were true, we’d more than likely be talking about cameos–extended or otherwise–typically a most unsatisfying way to introduce new characters.

Which is why I believe that what the Russos are talking about is that they are considering from 67 characters to use, as opposed to actually including 67 characters.

Similar wording, huge difference.

 

The Vehicle – The First of Five Reasons Why The Case Against Steven Avery Makes No Sense

I’m a huge fan–probably not quite the right word considering the subject matter–of Netflix’s Making A Murderer series because it’s pretty engrossing  television, though not without controversy.

Having watched the entire first series–and currently rematching it–what I find remarkable is how Steven Avery was ever convicted in the first place.

So what I’ve decided to do was make a series of videos focusing on the aspects of the case that I find particularly troubling.

One: The Vehicle

Somehow Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hasn’t Made As Much As Avatar

Star Wars: The Force Awakens–I’m starting to warm up to that subtitle, at last–is approaching the box office of Avatar and I don’t understand it.

What’s confused me is that I don’t understand how it is that Avatar was able to reach such box office heights in the first place.

Let’s be honest, it’s not a particularly innovative movie–besides how it was made, that is–and the story is essentially cowboys and indians (Cowboys & Aliens?) with an environmental twist.

(Though if I were honest, it lost me when they had an AMP–Amplified Mobility Platform–grab a knife).

It’s a battle suit.  Make the weapon part of it.  That way, it can’t drop it.

Screenshot 2016-01-05 19.54.39.png

Anyway, that’s not to say that the latest Star Wars movie is innovative either–it’s essentially Star Wars: A New Hope, which was mildly disappointing,  with some shiny new effects.

That being said, after Lucas’ machine-tooled prequels (which were as innovative as Avatar in their own way) Star Wars fans would have paid virtually anything to see a movie evocative of the original trilogy.

And if LucasFilm under Disney is capable of nothing else it’s creating audience-pleasing entertainment (if their Pixar, Marvel Studios and Disney Animation divisions are any indicator) for the greatest possible amount of people.

 

 

Hellraiser Sequels As Good As Or Better Than The Original

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is–when viewed in retrospect–hasn’t aged particularly well.

The acting is often campy and overwrought–probably due to a relatively small budget–and some of the special effects weren’t even that good in 1987.

Though Barker did the best with the resources that he had, though I get the feeling that what made the movie most successful was that it took advantage of the ignorance of the average American moviegoer (a ‘cenobite’ is member of a religious order living in a convent or community.  That’s it, though Barker’s genius was that he was able to imbue the word with powers and intimations beyond its humble origins).

Ironically enough, some of the sequels–most of which, rightly so, are maligned in the minds of movie goers–managed to capture that mixture of weirdness and perversity crucial to Barker’s work with even less in the way of budget.

So here’s a list of the best Hellraiser sequels, in order of release.

• Hellhound: Hellraiser II

Arguably the best of the series; it was directed by Tony Randel–who also directed the underrated Amityville: It’s About Time–and took the foundation and characters Barker created and turned them into something greater than the sum of its parts.

It also improved upon Barker’s original in virtually every way, and had some really trippy and disturbing imagery.

• Hellraiser: Inferno

The first Hellraiser film from Miramax, as well as the directoral debut of Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange), Hellraiser: Inferno is interesting because it manages to take the Hellraiser formula and successfully take it into a more psychological direction.  The horror’s there, but the movie is more of a journey into the mind of its protagonist (in this instance, Det. Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer).

• Hellraiser: Hellseeker

By this time the Hellraiser movies budgetary restrictions are painfully apparent, but director Rick Bota does well with a story that brings back Kirsty Cotten (Ashley Lawrence) and connects directly to the original movies.

• Hellraiser: Bloodline

For some reason Hellraiser: Bloodline is much maligned–which probably has more than a little to do with the fact that the original director, Kevin Yeager, left the production due to studio interference and had to be replaced by Joe Chappelle, who had to cobble a movie together from Yeager’s completed footage–though I have always found it more interesting that most of the sequels.

Not everything worked, but when it did it was pretty effective.

But don’t take my word for it.  Most of the Hellraiser films are on Netflix, so you can choose for yourself which is the best.