Gerry Anderson’s ‘Firestorm’ On Kickstarter!

Gerry Anderson, the prolific British producer of shows like Space Precinct, UFO, Space: 1999, Terrahawks and Thunderbirds, died in 2012 but despite that fact he’s in a sense back with a new series, Firestorm, with the initial episodes being funded via Kickstarter.

As I said, Anderson embarked upon the greatest adventure two years ago, though before Alzheimer’s led to his eventual decline he sold his Firestorm concept (which he developed with John Needham, who also worked with him on Space Precinct and The New Adventures of Captain Scarlet) to a Japanese company, which created a CGI-enhanced cartoon based on the property.

Now Gerry Anderson’s son, Jamie, is running Anderson Entertainment and it appears that he’s acquired the rights to Firestorm, and he’s going back to the future, by which I mean he’s going to make the new series with puppets, models, practical special effects and cool ships (a hallmark of Anderson’s features).

So if you can send a little love his way–by which I mean a donation to the production via Kickstarter–do so because I get the feeling that this is going to be awesome.

‘Iron Man 4′ Is A Go!

Iron Man Flying

According to Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man 4 is happening and truth be told I am a little torn by the decision.  It’s a good thing because Downey, for millions of people (including this writer) embodies Tony Stark.

It’s not such a good thing because Marvel has to know that they’re just delaying the inevitable.  Originally when this question was posed to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios,  he said something to the effect that the plan was to have the Iron Man franchise to be similar to James Bond, in that the actor who plays Bond is important, but less so than the franchise itself.

In other words, the actor who plays Iron Man would change from time to time.

The thing is that Marvel Studios is known for their thriftiness (or miserliness, depending upon how you look at such things) and it goes without saying that they must be paying Downey a butt-load of money, to put on the red and gold suit again (though in Marvel and Feige’s defense, Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion on a $200 million budget, so $50 million–what he earned for Iron Man 3–was just a drop in the bucket).

Prelude To Axanar

I don’t traditionally like to link to full movies but Prelude To Axanar is something special, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a huge fan of the Star Trek universe (as far as the televised series’ are concerned,  I prefer Star Trek: Deep Space Nine most because Capt. Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) wasn’t above engaging in realpolitik when the high-mindedness of The Federation didn’t do the job, which enabled him to essentially trick the Romulans into the Dominion War on The Federation’s side).

Prelude To Axanar started life as a Kickstarter and has already reached its funding goals, though they are still accepting contributions.  One purpose of the project is, I assume, as a  showcase for what the producers can do, and I have to admit that it’s impressive.

What I like is that is that it appears to be less about the personalities that actually fought in the conflict, than the conflict itself.  I like character development as much as the next person, but the producers decided–rightly in my view–it’s that such an important conflict in the Star Tek Universe that it would take precedence.

Besides, it stars Tony Todd,  Gary Graham and and Kate Vernon, who despite having seen recently playing Colonel Tigh’s wife on the Battlestar Galactica reboot, I didn’t recognize.

‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ Is On Netflix

I know that I have written on the reboot of the The Town That Dreaded Sundown before, but since the original has just turned up on Netflix, I though I’d throw something together.   If you’re into horror movies, it’s worth checking out because it’s a pretty good movie, though another reason is that if you intend to catch the upcoming reboot, it would be good to see the original first, for comparison’s sake.

What’s always creeped me out about it is that you see the killer quite a bit–though never his face.  It’s an acknowledgement that he moved around with a degree of impunity that only a person who was local, and by extension known to the community, could.

And as far as I am aware he was never caught, though for whatever reason the killings stopped.

The movie also has a narrator, which reminds me of the approach taken during certain parts of Tobe Hooper’s  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s not a particularly gory movie, though the filmmakers do a good job of crafting the atmosphere of a small American town held tightly in the grip of fear.

Another thing that I enjoy about the movie is while a lot that you see on the screen is based on speculation, there’s no attempt to glorify or make him any scarier than he already is.

 

‘Pride’ Review

Pride movie poster

“”Pride” Is A Prime Example Of Why The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) Has Outgrew Its Usefulness.”

It’s normal, as humans, to try to define the world around us in as concise a manner as possible.  And it makes sense because when we were evolving as a species there were probably many instances where there just wasn’t time to go into a 50-word description about how that other tribe of proto-humans from the far side of the mountain were somehow different than we were.

That being said, a problem simplification brings is that it sacrifices nuance at the altar of  efficiency, often doing a disservice to whatever it is that that’s being described.  I mention this because Matthew Warchus’ Pride will probably be labeled as a gay movie–and while that’s not exactly inaccurate–it doesn’t tell the whole story, because in many ways the movie is about all of us, no matter how we define ourselves sexually.

It revolves around a gay rights organization headed by Mark (Ben Schnetzer) who decides to raise funds to support striking coalminers in Wales.  Both groups are vilified, and despite the miners virtually starving they were at first reluctant to accept support from a group that was openly gay.

So there’s the conflict between those that hold more traditional beliefs, versus those that were more progressive though what the movie didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the fact that events were unfolding just when AIDS was just beginning to cut a devastating swath through the Gay community; yet Mark’s organization still chose to assist the mineworkers.

It may not have been as clear-cut as that, but the movie does create that impression.

Pride is also very monochromatic, though it’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate reflection of the history, or just the tendency of filmmakers to exclude people of color.  That being said, some do appear in crowd, club and parade scenes, and that’s about it.

Overall, Pride is an entertaining, and at times inspirational, movie that should be seen by as many people as possible because it’s less about sexuality than being true to yourself and people helping people, very often those on the face of it you hold nothing in common, other than a shared humanity.

And if that’s not something to be celebrated, then nothing is.

By the way, I just learned that Pride is rated R, which leaves me a bit baffled.   It’s a relatively tame movie–and while I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s been “Disneyfied“–there’s cursing, and suggestions of some Gay subcultures–there’s nothing that would offend anyone that’s the least bit respectful of the right of other people to live as they choose.

I also may be ranting a bit here, but Pride is based on the lives of real people, so why it is IMDB and CBS Films (one of the companies that produced the film) failed to include the last names of the characters is a bit beyond understanding.

‘The Houses October Built’ Trailer

After the mild letdown that was Annebelle, I am on the lookout for a really effective (read: scary) horror movie.  I had my hopes on The Houses October Built–awesome title, by the way–till I learned that it’s made in the style of a found-footage movie, which implies that, at the very least, it’s not going to be too good.

We’ll see, though why didn’t they just make it into a regular movie?  Probably so that they can do it on the cheap, I imagine.

‘Annabelle’ Review

Annabelle movie poster

“”Annabelle” has so much potential, most of which it doesn’t live up to.”

I have seen some God-awful, cringe-worthy movies, which John Leonetti‘s Annabelle thankfully isn’t; though it is in a way worse because it had the potential to be so much more than it ended up being, which is a passable horror movie; a trifle that you almost instantly forget upon learning the theater (which is mainly due to the movie’s tendency to play it safe, when daring was called for).

Annabelle is a prequel to The Conjuring, and you can see and feel that movie’s DNA all over the place, like a violent crime scene minutes before the arrival of a forensics team.  It’s not a bad thing, though it may have something to do with Annabelle never really feeling like its own movie, instead seemingly content to exist in the shadow of the latter.

Which is a pity because there’s a scene toward the end of the movie–if it had been allowed to play out–would have been like a punch to the solar plexus, and resulted in significantly elevating the material.

Though instead we get an ending that some might consider a bit of a cop-out, where a character sacrifices themselves for people they barely knew (which could have worked if the character in question were better fleshed out).

Another problem was that atmosphere was sacrificed at the altar of the  jump scare, which killed any change the movie had at building terror on the slow burn; the best kind.

Another smaller issue was that the doll was ghastly looking long before any demonic possession took place, which made it an odd choice for the film makers to use.  The possessed doll was supposed to have been a Raggedy Ann, which I think theatrically would have worked better just because it looks innocent and generic, as opposed to a toy that could have been assembled by the Devil himself.

I mentioned earlier that the movie relied on jump scares, which movies tend to do when they don’t have enough atmosphere to hold them together.  It’s a pity because there’s a terrifying movie somewhere in Annabelle waiting to get out.

I know this because you can see hints of its presence all over the place, just before they’re snuffed out, stillborn.