Zach Snyder and the Island of Ill-Concieved Ideas 

It seems that finally Zach Snyder has fallen out of favor at Warner Bros, though my question is why it took so long to happen.   Keep in mind while he’s overseen produced no flops while the creative force behind the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) though what he has done was produce three movies–Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad–that were extremely devisive as far as the perceptions of critics and movie goers.

You’ll notice that I didn’t include Wonder Woman, the best received DCEU movie (and on track to being the most profitable) yet?  That’s no accident.  Snyder’s star has been in it’s descendecy for quite awhile, and Wonder Woman was the first movie produced with a new management team in place.

And the worse thing is that I don’t necessarily blame Snyder.  Warner Bros management (at the time) should have taken his ideas for a murderous Batman and an apathetic Superman and thrown them onto the Island of Really Ill-Conceived Ideas where they belonged, as opposed to entertaining them as as they did.

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‘The Mummy’ Likely To Die A Slow Death

Remember 2014’s Dracula Untold?  That Luke Evans starrer was originally supposed to be the first movie in Universal’s Dark Universe imprint till they did a ‘Green Lantern‘ and changed their minds.

Though based on reviews coming in for Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot they might have been better served by going with their original plan.

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich calls The Mummy, “…the worse movie Tom Cruise has ever made–it stands out like a flat note on a grand piano.

Robert Abele, writing for The Wrap says that “(The Mummy)…is an out-of-the-gate stumble that doesn’t even have the sense to sport its own so-bad-it’s-fun personality. It’s the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster that’s cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller or even Tom Cruise vehicle.

Which isn’t to imply that all reviewers disliked the new take on a classic horror character.

Jeff Grantz of Heroic Hollywood says that “Overall, I really enjoyed The Mummy.  I think that this was an excellent start to the “Dark Universe…

Mixed reviews are nothing new, though what’s problematic for The Mummy is that the negative review are extremely negative, while the positive ones appear filled with caveats; so expect The Mummy–despite the presence to A-list actors like Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe–to slowly sink beneath the desert sands.

This is a manifestation of the issue I discussed on Screenphiles, namely that Universal, with Dark Universal, is trying to make stories that are bigger, grander and more epic than they have any reason for being.

Hollywood Ain’t All Glamour (Featuring Studio ADI)

Anyone who thinks being an actor is all glamor and copious consumption–which isn’t to say that that isn’t there, but that’s hardly the case for everyone that makes the movies many of us love–needs to spend some time with the actors that bring characters like the Predator and Pred-Alien to life.

As evidence, take a look at this clip from Studio ADI, from the making of the 2007 movie Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.  The video shows how they shot a scene toward the end of the movie, when the Pred-Alien squares off against a Predator sent to hunt it down on the roof of a hospital.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the people playing the Pred-Alien and Predator must have had a particularly difficult experience, despite the efforts of the people working to keep the actors comfortable.  After all, they’re stuck in constricting suits–in the case of the former, probably barely able to breathe, hear or see–in an almost torrential downpour.

Which isn’t to imply that there was any other way to do it, because to go the CGI route would have probably made things like like a middling video game.

Though to make matters worse, to have to discover after the fact that all the hours of hard work you just went through could barely be seen in many instances because the movie was so badly lit…

Why Is The Upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! Seemingly All CGI?

Thunderbirds Are Go!Maybe it’s just me, but I am just not seeing the logic.  Computer graphics have enabled filmmakers to create the seemingly impossible, and while I think that I will always prefer practical effects, I do understand that the leaps that CGI have reached are pretty impressive and such effects can’t often cannot be done any other way.

That being said, the upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! will be all CGI, but with the characters rendered in the fashion of puppets.

Huh!?  Since they’re working with a tool that gives producers literally the ability to create what they want, why not stretch the medium a bit?  In other words, if they aren’t going to use actual puppets–like in the fashion of Gerry Anderson series like the original Thunderbirds, Terrahawks, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, among others, then why not use people, combined with green screen and CGI?

Would it be more expensive to do so?  Probably, because you’re talking about practical sets, enhanced by special effects.  Then again, Anderson’s series were always innovative and unique, while it appears what they are considering doing is nothing of the sort (besides, it has already been done with the New Adventures Of Captain Scarlet).

I know that Weta, the company that is handling special effects, best known for the work they’ve done for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, seemingly doesn’t have much in the way of experience with puppetry, though it’s a skill set worth keeping alive.

 

‘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.

‘Pride’ Trailer

What has bothered me for a long time about a lot of Queer cinema is that it tends to be very white–in that it revolves around white people (generally males) with nary a person of color to be found.  And Matthew WarchusPride doesn’t on the face of it seem any different.

That being said, what it does do is appear to revolve around people that occupy different social strata, which is also something that I think is neglected in in movies that deal with homosexuality in any in-depth, and hopefully meaningful, way (that being said, I do understand that that isn’t the story the movie is trying to tell, per se).

No Crossovers: Why 20th Century Fox & Sony Need To Go It Alone

I understand why some fans of characters like the Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Spider-Man and The Avengers want to see all their favorite heroes on the screen at the same time.  Imagine the Avengers..avenging, when Spider-Man swings by or the X-Men encountering Iron man or Captain America?  It’s not impossible, though it is very unlikely because Iron Man and Captain America are owned by Marvel Studios, while Spider-Man is licensed to Sony/Columbia and the X-Men, which includes Wolverine, are licensed to 20th Century Fox.

As I said, I get it, though unlike some what I also understand is that there are even more reasons why it shouldn’t (any time soon, at any rate).

Let’s look at this on a studio-by-studio basis.

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