Something Wicked This Way Comes Comes Again!

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

“By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.”

–Macbeth

A few hours ago I was re-linking my movies in iTunes (for some reason iTunes linkages break sometime, though I have suspicions why it happens) when I noticed Jack Clayton’s movie of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

There’s talk about it being rebooted, and if any movie warranted such treatment, it’s this one.  Jack Clayton’s version wasn’t in any way bad, but Bradbury’s novel–it’s been quite awhile since I last read it–was about innocence, loss and young people longing to become adults, without understanding all that such a transition entails.

Which isn’t to say that the movie didn’t touch on those themes, though it did so hesitantly, instead of going for the jugular, so to speak.

Like The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes was caught in the odd space Disney occupied for quite awhile, when as a viewer you weren’t quite sure who they were making them for.  They were oddly schizophrenic, playing a bit too intense for children, yet not serious enough for older viewers.

And speaking of older viewers, Jack Clayton was not the first choice to direct.  For awhile there was talk of Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Osterman Weekend, The Killer Elite, Convoy, etc) helming, which would have been a very, very interesting choice mainly because he was accustomed to dealing with violence, more so than Clayton.

Though that doesn’t mean that Jack Clayton’s movie was pretty entertaining, though the idealized world depicted in the movie wasn’t one that I was terribly familiar with.

Hopefully the reboot will have a greater sense of universality about it (and hopefully take place in times closer to our own) though that might have a lot to do with the nature of the novel itself, in that anytime you’re working with a medium based upon imagination, how you envision things is very much a partnership between the reader and the writer.

A Case For Lesser Known Directors

Some people are critical of Marvel using lesser known directors for the superhero properties–the main one being that they’re cheaper than better known talent.  This relates directly to rumors that they’re considering  Rick Famuyiwa and Ava DuVernay, for upcoming Marvel projects.

And while their relative inexpensiveness is undeniably a factor, I don’t think it’s nearly as important as some make it out to be.

What’s more interesting is that Marvel has a history of allowing relatively inexperienced (in the terms of handling massive productions that require huge special effects budgets) directors to build multi-million dollar franchises.

Which isn’t to say that it always works out.  After all, Edgar Wright left the upcoming Ant-Man because his vision (and screenplay) didn’t quite mesh with what Marvel Studios wanted, and Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) was a bit put out because Marvel demanded certain changes during filming that he was not particularly happy about.

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Will Smith And The Suicide Squad!

David Ayer, director of the upcoming Suicide Squad, has released a photos of the entire cast via Twitter yesterday.

Suicide Squad photoAnd it looks as if it’s following Man of Steel’s lead, by which I mean it’s going to take itself way too seriously.  As a director, Ayer is talented (I haven’t seen a lot of his work, though I enjoyed End Of Watch and–to a lesser degree, Sabotage) but I am not at all crazy about this picture.  Everything looks dirty and somewhat grimy and it feels as if DC Entertainment is saying that even the idea of bright colors and just a hint of joy is anathema.

So it looks like I will continue to wait for the day till DC Entertainment realizes that you can take something seriously, without it being so deadly serious.

Deadshot

A picture was released of Will Smith as Deadshot is a bit more successful, though on top of the release of Jared Leto’s Joker last week I am feeling a bit underwhelmed about this latest entry into the DC Cinematic Universe.

And it’s not that the movie, in and of itself, appears to be a bit dark; it’s that everything they touch seems to turn murky and by extension there’s a pall of sameness that washes over properties that shouldn’t look anything alike.

And I understand that I’m not being paid the big bucks–or even small ones!–to comment on these issues, but it seems the brains trust over at Warner Bros. can’t see the forest for the trees.

There’s No Way Batman Can Take Captain America

Having just seen Avengers: Age of Ultron–review coming soon–can we just accept one thing:  Namely that there is no way on Earth that Batman can take Captain America?

Unlike what some people may believe…

And while not having seen Zach Snyder’s interpretation of the iconic superhero, there’s virtually no way that he’s in Captain America’s league.  After all, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he’s doing stuff way beyond the kin of most men (which is actually pretty in line with the character in comics as well, while Batman tends to be portrayed as being much more agile than he has so far demonstrated in movies), such as mastering multiple forms of martial arts, and enhanced reflexes and speed, though most importantly he’s an actual soldier, and has fought in actual battles and wars, while Batman has experienced nothing on that scale.

This is on top of Batman being, essentially an ordinary man, while Steve Rogers is anything but, thanks to the Super Soldier serum.

When you combine that with the qualities that I have already mentioned, he’s way out of Batman’s league.

And keep in mind in Age of Ultron he literally TOSSES A MOTORCYCLE!  He uses momentum to do so, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless.

While in the Batman movies (certainly the Christopher Nolan ones) he’s certainly less acrobatic that Cap, and definitely not as good a fighter (though this may have more to do with the design of the Batman costume, which if the way the character seems to move is any indication, is pretty restricting).

Still, based upon the movies not only is there virtually no way that Captain America can lose (unless Batman attacks in his BatWing, and even then…).

Jared Leto As The Joker!

The Joker / Suicide SquadYou can say a lot of things about how DC Entertainment is creating movies, though one thing you can’t say is that they’re playing it safe.  Superman killing Zod, the virtual destruction of Metropolis, they’re definitely looking to make themselves a real alternative to Marvel Studios.

ScreenRant recently posted the photo to the left, of Jared Leto from the David Ayer’s upcoming Suicide Squad.

And while it’s an interesting interpretation, I am not too fond of it.  It’s trying too hard to be edgy, and comes off as just a bit desperate.

In my eyes, the Joker is somewhat subtle.  You can’t necessarily tell what he’s going to do by looking at him, while this version seems to wear his intentions on his sleeve, so to speak.

I think it’s a bit much, and could use a huge dose of subtlety.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Dominates Foreign Markets

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron International posterIt’s kind of incredible to believe, but Marvel’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron is well on the way to breaking even!  This is because, while it won’t open domestically till May 1 (though there were showings for critics), its already premiered overseas in 11 foreign markets, where its estimated to earn over $160 million over the coming weekend.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was produced for somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million, though considering how massive a production it is compared to the first film (it takes place in the United States, South Africa, Seoul, and other countries, and has more characters, which typically means more special effects) the cost only increased by $25 million (which I have a sneaking suspicion has a lot to do with Issac Perlmutter).

And I know for most people $25 million is nothing to sneeze at (myself included!) but for a special-effects heavy extravaganza like Age of Ultron, it’s actually not that much money. As I have said for awhile now, the $1.5 billion earned by the first movie is not only going to be surpassed, but it will be so in record time.

Valiant Movie Universe: Too Little, Too Late?

Bloodshot 1Based on a deal between Valiant Entertainment and DMG Entertainment, characters like Bloodshot, Harbinger and Archer & Armstrong will be coming to your local cinema, though there’s an important question which I don’t see being asked, which is if there’s an audience for them.

Currently, there’s a Big Two as far as movies based on comic books go, and that’s Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment, though that’s not to imply that there haven’t been other players.  For instance, Dark Horse Comics in the movies have been represented by Hellboy, The Mask, Virus and Timecop, Malibu Comics with Men In Black and Cowboys & Aliens and Image Comics with Spawn.

The Hellboy movies have been moderately successful, though the sequel to The Mask, 2005’s The Son of The Mask was a box office failure.  Malibu, which later evolved to the Ultraverse, was absorbed into Marvel Comics, and soon vanished.

Which was still more successful than the efforts of comic companies like Avatar Press (Faust) and Image Comics (Spawn, which  did reasonable well at the box office), though barely registered among many.

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