Is Apple 00Crazy!?

I just read in The Hollywood Reporter that Apple is reportedly vying for the rights to distribute James Bond (along with Amazon, Sony and Warner Bros) movies, which I am trying to get my head around.

Now keep in mind such a move would likely give Apple exclusive access to Bond’s entire back catalog (as well as future releases) though doesn’t Apple–via iTunes–already have this (on an unexclusive basis)?

It’s worthy repeating that Apple isn’t buying the right to produce Bond movies (that would be a serious coup) but the right to distribute them, though seeing that movie theaters will continue to be with us (though perhaps the window from theaters to digital would shorten) there would have to be a considerable effort to expand to other media; a risky effort because not only would you have to be not only concerned about the failure of a particular venture, but of diluting or damaging the franchise as well).

After all, do you remember a cartoon called James Bond Jr (Nor does anyone else; that’s not a bad thing if you’re able to digest the uber-cheesy theme song)?

I suspect part of what makes James Bond such an institution is it’s exclusivity, which seemingly would directly conflict with Apple’s (and Amazon’s long-term plans).

Besides, if Apple Apple really wanted content, they could relatively easily buy a film studio.

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The Water Seems Fine

I have to admit that when I learned a bit more about Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water I was somewhat underwhelmed (partially because the color palette of the trailer seemed too evocative of earlier Del Toro films and partially because it also seemed like a stealth Hellboy prequel, which sucks because we never ended up with a third movie in the series; though that’s no longer the case, it will be an entirely different animal than the Del Toro movies).

So reviews have begun to filter in, and they so far seem rather effusive with their praise (though keep in mind that there have been relatively few reviews thus far; no more than eight to ten.  So expect The Shape of Water‘s perfect score to fall when more are posted) with lots of comparisons to Pan’s Labyrinth–though for my money The Devil’s Backbone is a more interesting movie.

Scorsese Joker Project: Proof The DCEU Remains Broken

For those of us who thought that the greatest problem with the DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) was Zach Snyder’s stewardship, you were right (sort of).

Though to be fair, that’s like blaming the small (relatively speaking) bit of iceberg that remained above the surface for sinking the Titanic.

Reason being, some executive(s) okayed Snyder’s approach, which is the real issue.

I bring it up because there’s talk of a Joker origin movie that seems to exist outside the DCEU (essentially an Elseworlds-type of story).  And this is a problem because–while Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were popular, they existed outside the DCEU, which means that everything that this new movie establishes will likely not be a part of the current universe as well.

And there are so many different DCEU’s as it is.  There’s the version that exists in movies, which has finally begun to gain traction with Wonder Woman.  Then there’s the DCEU as it exists on television, which shares characters like the Flash and Superman.

Now there’s what I call the Elseworlds DCEU, that takes characters people are aware of, and places them outside the universe proper.

This is where the Nolan Batman movies reside

If you’re a comic reader, the latter scenario I mentioned is hardly an unusual one (Marvel Comics had their own take on stories based in an alternative Marvel Universe called What if… ) but moviegoers might find it a bit confusing.

Though what’s worse is that the DCEU has failed to establish their mainstream characters with anything resembling consistency, so now they’re creating alternative takes, seemingly independent of the greater DCEU!?

Such a move may be profitable in the short term, but it does not bode well for the DCEU as a whole.

Star Trek – A Gay XXX Parody

If you’ve been thinking that the only thing wrong with Star Trek was that they were missing gay sex, then I have the video for you!

Though to be fair, what cause my eye was the poster, which is surprisingly  faithful to that of one of the better Trek movies, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (though the font is more reminiscent of the Star Trek television series).

And I am reasonably certain Star Trek is not in the public domain so the only reason I can think of Paramount’s lawyers not setting their phasers on ‘lawsuit’ is perhaps because it’s either flown beneath their radar or they think it’s not worth the bother.

If only Axanar were so lucky.

Though the worse thing is (okay, the second worse thing) that the porn parody is likely more faithful to the original Trek (know as the Prime timeline) than the Kelvin timeline-based movies.

Marvel’s The Punisher – Teaser Trailer

There have been three movie incarnations of The Punisher since he was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. in 1974, and while a popular character in comics, his movies never quite seemed to connect with audiences.

The first movie was in 1978, with Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/The Punisher.  It was okay, though he never displayed the the iconic skull emblem the character is known for (this lack of fidelity to the character was made up by it being somewhat gory).

The next version was in 2004 with Thomas Jane (who while physically is probably a bit short, he brought acting chops beyond Lundgren’s). It was okay, but failed in some really peculiar ways, such as as some underwhelming special effects and odd story beats (what I like to call the ‘fire hydrant scene’ is pretty bizarre).

Though at least he wore the iconic skull.

Thomas Jane also appeared in a short as The Punisher in 2012 (The Punisher: Dirty Laundry).

The Punisher next made another appearance in 2008 (This time played by Ray Stevenson) in Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.  

Easily the best interpretation of the character in movies–though some of the violence was way over the top and more cartoonish than anything seen prior–Stevenson brought the size of Lundgren, and the acting chops of Jane to the role.

Though it still underperformed in theaters.

Enter 2017, and the Punisher is back.  Introduced in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil and graduating to his own series (a better format for the character than movies) Jon Bernthal brings us a Punisher worthy of the name.

The DCEU Finds Redemption

There a story on Superherohype where Ben Affleck says that the portrayal of Batman in Warner Bros/DC Films upcoming Justice League would be a more ‘traditional’ portrayal of the character.

What!?

The fact that Affleck has to tell viewers this is indicative of perhaps the greatest problem the DCEU has (yet) to overcome: namely a loss of support from their core audience, which are the people who grew up reading the comics these characters first appeared in.

Which is such a weird place to be because it’s a problem of their own making in that all they needed to do was to make their superheroes more faithful (I understand that no character translates wholly intact from the printed page to the movie screen but it’s almost as if Warner Bros wasn’t even trying) to how the characters appeared in the comics, then literally sit back and rake in the cash.

But if Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have shown us anything, it’s seemingly not quite that easy.

Or does it?  Maybe the greatest problem with the three aforementioned movies has less to do with their their fidelity to the source material (though that’s certainly there) than an attempt to be visually and esthetically different from Marvel Studios.

And on some level that’s understandable.  What isn’t is creating such an esthetically and morally unappealing interpretation of Batman and Superman (though what’s worse is that there’s nothing wrong with such portrayals per se.  It’s more a question of starting with a more traditional interpretation then have events turn the character dystopic–which was said, but never shown in reference to Batman).

That’s an important journey viewers would have not enjoyed embarking on, and would have shown the seminal events that resulted in a murderous Batman (something the character studiously avoided during for the bulk of time he has existed).

Wonder Woman–for the DCEU–is literally a game changer in that it not appears more faithful to the comics than the aforementioned movies, yet managed to appeal to both critics and the bulk of the moviegoing audience.

It may not have quite restored faith in the fledgling cinematic universe that is the DCEU

The Defenders – Trailer 2

Marvel Television, as far as I can tell, is in a bind entirely of their own making.

While I enjoy the series that have done thus far–with a particular emphasis on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.–I do feel a certain reluctance on their parts to embrace the fantastic wholeheartedly (which is an interesting, though odd, problem to have).

This has a lot to do with why why the only costume we’ve seen of the four superheroes that make up The Defenders is Daredevil (which is less a costume than tactical combat armor in varying shades of red) and why the upcoming The Inhumans looks so grounded.

And so ordinary.

Comicbooks are a celebration of the fantastic, the weird, the uncanny and the strange;  a perspective that seemingly ill-fits with the Nolanesque esthetic that Marvel has created for television.

Which isn’t to say all characters should wear costumes.  I get why Jessica Jones and Luke Cage don’t–Jones tried the costumed superhero route; it didn’t take while Cage has always had less a costume than accoutrements (a tiara–there has to be another name for that–coupled wits a chain for a belt and a yellow shirt) that was more indicative of a 1970’s fashion esthetic–the character was created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska–than anything else

But Iron Fist?  He’s a character where a costume would actually make sense.  It would protect his identity–and by extension that of his family–as well as give him clothing in line with someone who engages in martial arts combat on a (more or less) regular basis.

And that’s not necessarily to say that they have to go with the spandex body suit, though something along those lines would really be appreciated.