A Cure For Wellness – Trailer

Having watched The OA on Netflix a few weeks ago–check it out, it’s really intriguing and pretty clever at times–I’ve come to notice that Jason Issacs in the latter part of his career seems to be specializing in criminally-inclined medical professionals.  

And I think it was his turn as a trauma surgeon in 1997’s Event Horizon that sent him over the edge. 

So, in The OA he’s a doctor who’s seeking the secrets only those that have had near death experiences can reveal, while in the upcoming A Cure For Wellness he apparently has not only continued experimenting with people against their will, but is potentially connected to a much larger conspiracy.  

Some people have mentioned that the trailer plays a lot like Shutter Island, and while there are similarities, it seems so much more similar to John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness–with a dash of The Wicker Man–that another lawsuit might be in order though if I recall, Madness was written by Michael De Luca, not John Carpenter. 

‘S’ Is For Seer

As self-driving cars become more ubiquitous, the rate of them being involved in accidents will likely increase.

Though driverless cars, while closer to becoming reality than ever before–were foretold pretty accurately about sixty years earlier in the British adventure series Department S (I assume that the ‘S’ stands for the first letter of the last name of Sir Curtis Seretse, played by Dennis Alaba Peters), who headed a fictional organization that handled situations that stumped more traditional law enforcement.

The episode, Who Plays The Dummy, at heart revolved around the villains attempting to use a guidance system to sabotage an American space launch, though self-driving cars featured prominently in the episode.

I don’t claim that this is the first use of driverless cars as a plot device–I recall there being one in the Sean Connery James Bond movies-but few echo so closely to what is going on with driverless cars today (and it should go without saying that as soon as the technology is perfected someone will try to use it from some sort of criminal enterprise).


The OA – Review

I published a video earlier this week on YouTube reviewing Netflix’s The OA, which I thought was a pretty remarkable bit of television.  

I figure that I’d expand on what I said in the video, without spoiling the experience for people who haven’t seen it yet (besides, spoilers suck).

Brit Marling wrote most of eight episodes with Zal Batmanglij, (the latter having directed them all as well) and also played ‘OA,’ a woman who when she apparently dropped off the face of the Earth seven or so years ago was blind, yet could now somehow see.

How she regained her vision is one of the lesser mysteries in a series filled with them as OA accounts for the missing time.  

We also come to learn that OA’s given name was Prairie (given by whom and why being another one of those minor mysteries central to her story).

What’s perhaps most interesting is OA/Prarie’s status as a narrator, which is to say that as the series goes on what she believes and the truth are not always the same things. 

It’s this tension between whether or not OA/Prairie’s version of events is an accurate one is at the heart of the story.  

Spider-Man: Homecoming Teaser Trailer


A teaser trailer for Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming was released today, and having seen it I almost wish they hadn’t. 

First off, it has a very found footage type of feel (which is to say a bit cheap). 

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it ends with Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) exclaiming, “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” 

And while that quote is out of context, it comes off as a bit too self-reverential for comfort. 

Hopefully the full trailer will bring some much needed context. 

4 Reasons Fox Is Ill-Equipped To Handle Their Marvel Franchises

 1.Fox Remembered Way Too Late That These Characters Were Based On Comicbooks

If you recall The original X-Men movie their costumes were black leather, which was probably done because the producers thought that audiences wouldn’t accept superheroes in all their technicolor, spandex-clad glory.

And at the time, they were probably right.

Though times change–though thankfully not about spandex–and  an upstart studio by the name of Marvel started producing superhero-based movies that interpreted these characters–visually as well as thematically–more faithfully than was typically the case.

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By way of illustration, here’s an image of Jean Gray/Dark Phoenix (Famke Janssen) from X-Men: The Last Stand.








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And here’s the version of the Dark Phoenix from The Uncanny X-Men comic.

Notice a difference?  The movie version tried to reinterpret the comics’ version, but is too tentative to be effective.  And that’s not for a moment to be interpreted to mean that the costume would have worked if it looked exactly comics-faithful (I suspect that it wouldn’t have).

Though the design they ended up going with?  Too safe by half.




2. The Galactus Cloud 

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This is Galactus, a character that literally survives by devouring PLANETS!   He’s one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, and instantly recognizable to most comics fans.

And below is the version of that was used in Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.

img_0038Yep, it’s a cloud–a very cool-looking cloud, to be sure, but a cloud nonetheless–though perhaps what’s even worse is that I have seen some concept drawings never used in the film where the cloud was used to obscure Galactus and his space ship.

Which is a great idea that would have made a lot more sense than just the cloud alone, and would have really motivated fans of the Fantastic Four into the theater.

3. The Problem With Wolverine

Fox’s fixation with Wolverine is something I carp on on pretty much a regular basis (and since I see no reason to stop now…)

For a time, Wolverine was as popular in the comics as he was in the movies, though due to the way comics work it’s easier to give an uber-popular character space to grow (perhaps by spinning them off into their own title), while not alienating people who prefer other members of the team he happened to be a member of.

Movies don’t work as efficiently or as quickly as publishing a comic, so when producers of the movies noticed that Wolverine was so popular with moviegoers (as he was with fans of the comics) they made a serious mistake: They made him the center of which all things revolved.  There were other characters, though most were treated not nearly as well as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (with the possible exception of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto and maybe Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique).

What made the comics such a success–other than John Byrne–was that the X-Men were always a team. Individual members would rise and fall in terms of prominence, but when all is said and done, everyone would share the spotlight at some point.

4. Declining Box Office Receipts

While some may think that reducing movies to box office figures isn’t a good thing–and how enjoyable a movie is doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how much money it earns–it’s a fact of life that if a movie doesn’t finish its run in the black, the likelihood is that that’s the last we are going to hear about it (until the inevitable reboot) because no one typically sets out to make movies that fail.

That being said what’s surprising isn’t that the X-Men movies have been popular–most of the movies were–but a few weren’t financially successful.

The third film in the series, X-Men: The Last Stand, earned somewhere in the ballpark of $459 million worldwide, on a production budget of $210 million.

Typically, a rule of thumb is that a movie has to earn three times its production costs to be in the black, something The Last Stand did not do.

For that matter nor did its follow up, X-Men: First Class, which earned $354 million on a $160 million budget (which reminds me: the special effects in First Class we’re so bad in places that they looked unfinished, which made me wonder where that $160 million went because whatever it was, it wasn’t toward special effects).

X-Men: Days Of Future Past was one of most profitable of the series, earning $748 million on a $200 million budget, while it’s sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, didn’t quite fare as well, earning $544 million on a budget of $178 million (profitable, if you use the 3X rule, though not terribly so).

The latest rumor is that Fox intends to reboot the X-Men movies, though what they apparently can’t count on is Marvel Studios saving their franchise in a similar fashion to what will probably be the case with Spider-Man because all signs indicate that it’s not in the cards.

Silence – Official Trailer 1

Silence, the latest movie from Martin Scorsese, looks absolutely gorgeous, as the two images I have included from the trailer will attest to. 


My problem with the movie–sight unseen–are less with the auteur behind the camera than the subject matter, which revolves around two Catholiic missionaries, played by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, who head to Japan in search of one of their number who apparently vanished. 

Being Catholic missionaries, there is literally no way that they aren’t going to try to impose their beliefs on people that aren’t, shall we say, terribly receptive to them (at least initially). 

It’s likely where the central conflict of the movie stems, but the notion of having one’s beliefs forced upon others has always been a very touchy issue for me. 

Another sticking point is Adam Driver, who if he were anymore wooden, you could replace with Keanu Reeves and barely notice the difference 

Collateral Beauty – Trailer 2

Having just seen the trailer for Collateral Beauty, initially the first thing that came to mind was Meet Joe Black, where Brad Pitt was the personification of Death (though this time the honor goes to Helen Mirren). 

That is, till I noticed that Will Smith seems to be playing some sort of savant (revealed in the meticulous patience required to set up all those dominoes, which I assume he did), that was probably brought on by some sort of trauma, such as the death of his wife and daughter..

So, essentially he’s trying to heal himself, though to do so he has to go back to the place of the original trauma, but his mind is torn, which is why he’s apparently seeing ghosts (they represent his mind warring with itself, in an effort to heal). 

So now it’s more like Identity (I guess), minus the gnarly murders.