More Doctor Strange ‘Motion’ Posters

While not strictly speaking ‘trailers,’ I don’t quite know where to put this latest crop of Doctor Strange motion posters.  And while admittedly there’s less ‘motion’ than a curious melting around the abdomen, that’s technically motion too.

Here’s Baron Mordo (that’s his name and not a title, honorary or otherwise, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor)

The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton)

And Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelson)

They didn’t include Dormammu, but you know’s he’s there (where else could Kaecilius have gotten those burns around the eyes?  By staring that the lord of the Dark Dimension, that’s how!

What’s So Strange About A Little Less Doctor Strange?

Reading my blog, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been a dearth of Doctor Strange-related posts, despite there being quite a bit of material released over the past few months.

That’s no accident. I’ve been a fan of Doctor Strange long before the movie was a gleam in Kevin Feige’s eye, so I’m not among those that need convincing.

Though more importantly, I don’t want to know anything more about the movie. I can’t go into it as if I had never heard of the character before, though what I can do is to make sure that no more plot elements are revealed because Marvel Studios never translates their characters exactly, as they are in the comics, to the screen.

For instance, one of the things that differs is that Baron Mordo is apparently not only not waiting to betray Strange, but is genuinely his friend.

So if I give myself half a chance I might end up surprised!  And in a world where you can virtually find out the most intimate details about virtually anything in a matter of minutes that’s saying something.

Though sometimes things slip between all the trailers–like Doomsday appearing in the trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice–interviews and junkets, and I am not at all interested in either seeing that happen or reporting on it if it does.

So if something interesting happens as far as Doctor Strange goes I might give it a write-up, but I am going to be extremely selective when I do because friends don’t spoil movies for friends.

Fist Fight – Trailer 1

screenshot-2016-09-26-00-53-21Richie Keen’s Fist Fight looks to be pretty funny (and Charlie Day looks pretty short, especially when you consider that Ice Cube can’t be any taller than 5’6, give or take) but it also looks particularly one-note.

And while I haven’t seen the movie, I get the feeling that it’s going to end one of two ways:  Ice Cube beats Charlie Day within an inch of his life (possible, though unlikely), or some deus ex machina enables Day to get out from receiving the beating of his life.

What I don’t expect to happen–unless the movie movie is much more clever than I give it credit for–is that Ice Cube somehow gets his arse handed to him by a guy that the trailer establishes as pretty incompetent as far as fighting goes.

Ghost in the Shell- Official Sneak Peek

screenshot-2016-09-22-15-59-32And by ‘Sneak Peek’ they mean they aren’t going to show us anything that’s in the least bit interesting.

Though that not quite true. Keep in mind that there was a controversy earlier this year over not only the casting of Scarlett Johannson as a character that in the anime was Japanese, but rumors that producers were intending to make her look Asian.

Seeing her appearance in the Sneak Peek, it’s possible that making her look Japanese is what they were doing, especially when you take into account how her hair’s cut. That being said, it doesn’t appear that her eyes have been altered to mimic epicanthic folds, either digitally or via make-up, though it’s hard to tell definitively.

The worse thing is that the choice of Johansson needn’t have been a controversial one because all they needed to do was the create a new character that happened to be American.

And sure, there would be some people who would complain about that–particularly fans of the anime who tended to be purists–but that discussion would be significantly better, and certainly less strident, than one of whitewashing, which is pretty indefensible.

Blair Witch – Review

Screenshot 2016-09-17 01.03.48.png

If you happen to be a fan of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 found-footage horror The Blair Witch Project, then Adam Wingard’s sequel/reboot Blair Witch will feel very familiar.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Blair Witch follows the same beats as its predecessor, as James (the brother of Heather Donahue from The Blair Witch Project) gets together a group of friends to search for his sister after receiving a videotape where she turns up for a brief moment, leading him to hope against hope that she was still alive somewhere in the depths of Maryland’s Black Hills.

This is despite an extensive search for the intrepid explorers, which the movie notes; though the funny thing is, despite having seen The Blair Witch Project I am not entirely sure what happened to her either, though I can say for certain that it wasn’t very good.

There’s a sub-plot about a filmmaker who’s interested in filming James’ search, which while evocative of the first movie is somewhat pointless and goes nowhere in particular.

Things proceed as you’d expect, which is good for moviegoers though not so much for James and his crew, as the force that vanished his sister reaches out to claim him and his friends.

As I mentioned earlier, Blair Witch feels very familiar, though it does differentiate itself in some important ways. For a start, it feels more like an actual movie than what proceeded it. This is important because my biggest problem with The Blair Witch Project–and why I preferred Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2–was that the former felt less like an actual movie than someone’s idea of a movie.

(It’s worth mentioning that watching the frenetic camera movement of Blair Witch initially made me mildly nauseous–though I suspect this had more to do with a lack of sleep the night before).

Money matters, and more often than not a humdrum movie (the only thing that saved the Transformers movies were their giant robot-sized budgets) can be made better–at least visually–with a large production budget. Blair Witch was produced for $5 million, and while that’s probably the catering budget for bigger films it’s still significantly more than the original movie, which cost $60,000 in 1999 dollars (I don’t know what that is in 2016, but I imagine it’s significantly less).

Though what surprised me most was how funny the movie is. Most of the humor was supplied by Peter (Brandon Scott) by the way he reacted to the chaos that unfolded around him.

It’s refreshing to see a character in a horror movie acting (for the most part) like a normal human.

That being said, it wouldn’t be a horror movie if people weren’t willing to venture into places where anyone with a modicum of common sense would fear to tread, but that’s a cliche that is typical for the genre.

Blair Witch isn’t perfect–then again, neither was the movie that inspired it–though what it is is a worthy follow up to one of the most innovative horror movies of it’s time.

Passengers – Official Trailer

Screenshot 2016-09-20 16.39.34.pngVisually, Morten Tyldum’s Passengers holds a huge debt to Pixar’s Wall-E, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Apple’s design esthetic.

In other words, it’s attractive, but doesn’t appear to strike any new ground.

The same thing can be said of the story, which revolves around two people who accidentally emerge from suspended animation 90 years too (or was it?), and eventually fall in love.

As I said, it’s nothing new.

Though it’s welcome that Jon Spaiths wrote the screenplay (Prometheus–before Damon Lindelhof came in and purged it of direct connections to the Alien movies and Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange) so there’s perhaps the hope of a mystery (which is at least hinted at) to balance Lawrence and Pratt looking all starry eyed at each other for over an hour.

Underworld: Blood Wars – Trailer into Reaction

When I first heard of Underworld I imagined it would be incredible. Vampires and werewolves engaged in a conflict that’s spanned ages!  A war that raged for the most part outside of human knowledge?

Yes, please!

Eventually I saw the movie and realized that vampires and werewolves go great together–that is till you shoehorn in elements of The Matrix, gun fetishism and skin-tight faux-leather costumes.

Both vampires and werewolves as traditionally depicted are supremely powerful beings.  In fact, outside their various weaknesses–the sun and various religious iconography for the former and silver, typically in the form of a bullet or a bladed weapon for the latter–they’re like minor deities with an appetite for destruction.

(The vampire may have more weaknesses, but unlike the werewolf don’t wage a regular war with their animalistic natures, so in their own way even they’re more dangerous.)

Then there are the creatures in the Underworld movies.  They don’t sparkle like those sacrilegious Twilight vampires, though in a way they’re worse because no horror fans take Stephenie Meyer‘s work seriously, while the creatures of Underworld make a pretense of following tradition, just before abandoning them in bullet-time.

Though now that I think about it, it’s even less about their over-reliance on handguns than the entire approach to the characters, which are way, way too indebted to the Wachowskis for inspiration.