Crossbones From Captain America: Civil War!

CrossbonesVarious movie sites have posted an image of Crossbones from the upcoming Captain America: Civil War and unlike most of the cast of Suicide Squad, he looks pretty awesome.

For those of you that don’t recall, at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier you see Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) in a hospital bed after almost being killed by the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier that crashed into the Triskelion.

He’s clearly much, much better.

(And can someone tell Chris Evans to take a break already!  He’s just finished Age of Ultron a few months ago, and he’s already segueing into another major production).

Deadshot

And here’s Will Smith from the upcoming Suicide Squad.  Crossbones looks like he’d eat his lunch.

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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Jem and the Holograms – International Trailer

While I don’t think that I am intended as the target audience for John Chu’s upcoming Jem and the Holograms , the trailer doesn’t play nearly as irritatingly as I thought it would.

And sure, the face paint is a few decades out of style–the comic they’re based on a line of Hasbro toys, which spawned a cartoon, is from the mid-Eighties–it seems that the movie deals issues of family and loyalty as well.

And while I still have no desire to see it, it’s comforting that it’s not just a paean to ‘girl power.’

And if successful it gives me hope that we’ll eventually see a movie based on another Hasbro property, Rom: Spaceknight!

Extraterrestrial – Review

The last film from The Vicious Brothers (who aren’t–biologically speaking–brothers) was the send-up of found footage reality shows, Grave Encounters.  It was one of the better examples of the genre because it was able to take many of the tropes that come with it (How is it that no matter what or where something happens there’s a camera conveniently located to capture it?  How are people are able to run with a camera in their hands and still manage to maintain an image that’s not nausea-inducing?  It’s almost as if they’re working with a steady cam or something) and at least make them interesting.

As a result I went into Extraterrestrial with higher expectations than I would traditionally, and was a bit let down.  Visually, aboard the alien spaceship–the last half hour or so of the movie)–was way too indebted to better alien abduction movies, like 1993’s Fire In The Sky.

Another problem was that the aliens were particularly murderous, which seems a bit at odds with the whole studying humanity part of their mission.  And speaking of violent tendencies, there’s a scene that plays with a joke earlier in the movie about the anal probing that aliens supposedly love doing on those they abduct.

Only this time, it’s used as an implement of torture. which makes you wonder what sort of highly advanced culture would travel seemingly light-years across the galaxy, just to kill someone by drilling into their ass.  Besides, if their intent from the start was murderous, then why bother bringing them aboard their ship at all?  Especially since these aliens–while resembling those from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind–aren’t nearly as munificent.

This tonal inconsistency is particularly irritating in the last ten minutes of the movie, when it turns to The X-Files, complete with its own ‘Smoking Man.’  It’s an interesting homage, but it literally makes no sense because what would be the point of the military killing the abductees, when no one would believe them anyway?

And those that did would probably be so much on the fringe that it wouldn’t even matter.  The scene in question doesn’t ruin the movie, but the needless cynicism came pretty close.

Extraterrestrial has recently landed on Netflix.

Late Phases – Review

“Late Phases Is An Interesting Diversion, Though Hardly The Best The Werewolf Genre has To Offer.”

When all is said and done, what separates great werewolf movies from also-rans is the quality of the titular beast itself, which unfortunately isn’t Late Phases strongest point.  The aforementioned monsters here look less like wolves than large hairy gnomes, which is interesting–and a little bit odd–because it’s not like research material–wolves–can’t be found in zoos or on the Internet.

In nature they’re beautiful, powerful creatures (and significantly larger than you’d think) that are in their way quite graceful.

The closest filmmakers have come to capturing the innate grace and power of the animals has been in movies like Dog Soldiers (where director Neil Marshall actually had them played by dancers, in an effort to give them a certain elegance of movement) and Joe Dante’s The Howling.

In John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London, while it had groundbreaking practical effects by FX virtuoso Rick Baker, the creature itself was more bear-like than wolf (which had a lot to do with how bulky it was.  Wolves aren’t massive in that sense, and they move with an ease that Landis’ monster lacked).

Where Late Phases does shine is in its depiction of relationships, in particular, those between fathers and sons.  Nick Damici does well as Ambrose, a soldier who’s blinded in combat, and whom can’t seem to put the war, the Vietnam War, behind him.

Ethan Embry holds his own as his son, Will, who’s doing the best he can for his father, though the tension between the two is always bubbling beneath the surface.

Damici plays blind well, though something’s a bit off about his performance.  Part of it is that he really looks like Charles Bronson, which is distracting.

Another is that he seems always tense, as if his sense of peace went along with his vision.

As I implied, the movie is for the most part petty well-done, though it’s at it’s weakest when the werewolves make their appearance.

Which is a pity, since it is after all a werewolf movie.

Late Phases is currently stalking on Netflix.

Lucifer- Trailer

Overall I think the movement of superheroes from the comic shop to the television has been a good one, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything that’s made the transition is necessarily that good.

I have noticed a variance in quality, which I think happens for three reasons.  The first is that the line that separates a series about superheroes from a soap opera that happens to have superheroes is a thin line; a rubicon that I believe the CW’s Arrow crossed long ago.

While on the other end of the spectrum, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stumbled a bit during its first season, mainly because it wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be, but as the producers embraced more of the Marvel Universe–cinematic and comics–it found its footing (though the ratings haven’t consistently reflected the change in direction, creatively) in the second.

Another comic-based series was NBC’s Constantine which was recently cancelled, though another Vertigo property, Lucifer, is coming soon to Fox.

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Sense8 – Trailer

Sense8 

“When the going gets the tough, the tough make television.”

As far as I am aware, that’s not a real quote, though it accurately describes what’s going on with the Warchowskis, Lena and Larry.  Coming off the box-office failure of Jupiter Ascending (the first time I heard of it I associated it with Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators-Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, which is never a good thing), the siblings moved on to working with Netflix on a miniseries, Sense8.

Judging from the trailer, it’s about eight people who’ve never met, from all over the world.  They all seem linked in such a way that the capabilities and perspectives of any of them can be called on and manifested in any of the others.

Which is kind of cool if you have kickboxers among your retinue–as they apparently do–but I wonder how things would look if they were composed of a bunch of less-capable individuals.

Then again, Sense8 was written by Michael Straczynski, not anyone connected with Happy Madison.