The Fifty Shades of Gray Phenomenon

I have no intention of seeing Fifty Shades of Gray, mainly because it’s not my kind of movie.  Besides, if I were going to watch S&M I’d rather not watch the Lifetime version of it.

Though what I find interesting is how well received the film has been, and that director Sam Taylor-Johnson is returning to direct the sequel, despite the difficulties she experience the first time around.

That being said, clearly there are millions of people who feel different because so far the movie has earned almost $500 million (the bulk of which, over $400 million, was from overseas.  It’s an important distinction because it implies that attitudes about sexuality in movies (and probably in general) are different in places like Europe and Latin America than they are domestically.

Another interesting thing is that–unlike most movie studios–Universal seems to be doing remarkably well with a strategy built around low-budget features, as opposed to other studios, which are built around expensive and massive tentpoles.

Though Universal’s strategy creates maximum profit at minimal cost, which is pretty remarkable.

Very generally speaking, movies that put sexuality forward tend to do better overseas than here.  Conversely, films that are action-heavy tend to do better here than they do in other countries.

John M. Chu Does Action Better Than Christopher Nolan

Yeah, I didn’t believe it either, till began to think of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, starting with The Dark Knight Rises backward, and John M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which I am currently watching on Netflix.

As much as I hate to admit it, Chu captures action much better than Nolan, which almost feel like sacrilege to say, but it’s true.

Maybe it has something to do with John M. Chu’s background in dance, because he seems to understand movement better, which is important.

That being said, Retaliation is composed of more than actions scenes, and overall Nolan is a much more ambitious, interesting director, though physical action just isn’t his thing (though I need to see Inception again, just to be sure).

Avengers: Age Of Ultron International Poster

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron International posterI fully admit that I am posting this primary because I can’t get that creepy-ass xylophone music that accompanies the second trailer out out of my head.

I also read that The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is going to released in India before it is domestically, which is really awesome if you happen to live there, not so much if you don’t.  Lately it appears that more and more event movies are being released overseas (though more commonly in Europe) before the United States, which I think it has something to do with the prevention of piracy–though it that means that Americans are more or less likely to do so I am not entirely certain.

Another nifty advantage of such a strategy is that it front-loads some serious profits into the equation in that the movie will–in the case of the first The Avengers, makes literally hundreds of millions before it appears domestically.

And to be fair, it’s coming out in India the 24th of April; May 1st isn’t all that far away.

I also don’t know who’s idea it was to have James Spader voice Ultron, but they deserve a pay raise because decision making like that deserves some sort of recognition.

Spider-Man Returns To The Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Morning After

Spider-Man, climbing

A few hours ago I wrote a piece for MoviePilot about Spider-Man’s return to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and overall I am pretty happy about the way things have turned out.  Technically speaking, it’s not quite Spider-Man returning to where he belongs, but under the circumstances it’s probably as good as it’s going to get.

That being said, there are caveats.  The most significant in my eyes being that Avi Arad is still going to be involved with the franchise, though in an Executive Producer capacity–prior he was a producer.  The problem is that Arad supposedly forced Sam Raimi to shoehorn in another villain to Spider-Man 3 (a move that pissed off Sam Raimi so much that he hired Topher Grace to play Eddie Brock/Venom for no other reason than Arad DIDN’T want him in the role) resulting in the the weakest of Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies, critically speaking–though in Arad’s defense, it was the highest grossing Spider-Man movie.

Another is that Kevin Feige is producing with Amy Pascal, the former Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), who also produced Marc Webb’s tone deaf The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Despite TASM2 Webb is a pretty talented director, though perhaps not the right person for the franchise) and let Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and their mediocre magic-blood filled writing virtually ruin the franchise.

Though hopefully Feige will be able to keep things under control, after all he has done exceedingly well guiding the course of the MCU (that being said, part of the deal is for the next Spider-Man to be produced by Sony–Feige and Pascal remaining as producers–with Spidey meeting with his compatriots from the Marvel’s end of the street, which begs the question:  With the contracts for many of the heavy-hitters in the MCU expiring (such as Robert Downey, Jr./Iron Man and Chris Evans/Captain America) then who is Sony expecting to turn up in their movie?

Though the best news of all is that this pretty much puts the kibosh on any Aunt May spy dramas that were under consideration by Sony.

Thunderbirds Are Go! Goes Practical (Sort Of)

Gerry Anderson as a producer has always fascinated me.  Despite being behind some of the most innovative puppet (Supermarionation)-based television series, he was never entirely satisfied with working with them, and always wanted to work with flesh and blood actors.

That being said, he first time that he did so, in UFO, Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun (Doppelgänger), Space: 1999 and Space Precinct the characters tended to exhibit a range of expressions and emotions not too far distant from the puppets he wanted to move away from.

Though what I found telling was that in his The New Adventures Of Captain Scarlet, which created in Hypermarionation (CGI and image capture), the vehicles looked fantastic, characters moved with a fluidity absent from any of the Anderson puppet-based series.

Yet the obvious care that went into vehicle design and movement was absent from the characters faces, which looked as stony, as puppet-like, as ever.

I mention these things because ITV recently released a video of some of the props that WETA is using for their upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! and what’s most interesting is that despite the characters–as far as I am aware–being entirely CGI they’re still creating physical props to work with.

It’s an interesting approach, which I wish that Anderson would have perhaps considered with his Captain Scarlet series.

Do We Really Need A Poltergeist Reboot?

Poltergeist poster

 

This is part of what I hate about Hollywood.  With the Poltergeist reboot trailer about to drop any day now, I wonder why anyone is remaking a movie that doesn’t particularly need it.  Tobe Hooper’s (or Steven Spielberg’s, depending upon whom you ask) haunted house thriller is not only one of the better movies it its type, but its aged pretty well too.

Then there’s the person that was chosen to direct: Gil Kenan.  So far he’s done two films, Monster House and City Of Ember, neither of which in my eyes making him a good choice for the reboot (despite obvious parallels to Poltergeist and Monster House).

There are SO many bad movies that would warrant a reboot, yet for some reason they start with the (potential) ruining of a classic.

How The Scene Should Have Went: Guardians Of The Galaxy

James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy was without a doubt one of the best movies of 2014.  Marvel Studios’ motley group of space heroes was certainly a surprise, though like any other movie there were things that could have been improved.  For me, the first would have been some sort of explanation about how StarLord’s mask worked (perhaps it encased the wearer within a small envelope of atmosphere, which would explain how he could go into space without anything protecting his body but a leather suit and duster).

The second thing that bothered me a bit was the scene where we first meet The Collector, Taneleer Tavan  (Benicio Del Toro), and he was speaking to his Attendant.

Their conversation began with him asking if her people had elbows.

“I don’t have to remind you what happened to the last Attendant who disappointed me?”  said The Collector.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Attendant sceneNow here’s what the Attendant should have said:

“You mean that Attendant that’s been a foot behind me the entire time?  The Attendant that there’s no possible way that I could’ve missed?  You mean that Attendant?”

Seeing what her fate was a few scenes later, perhaps it would have been better if she had been a bit more defiant while she had the chance.