Blade Runner 2049 – Teaser Trailer

A teaser trailer was released for Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original.

Looking at the trailer, it–at least on the surface–seems to hold a lot in common with the original.

Which is problematic in some ways because the first movie was very much lots of style with relatively little in the way of substance.

Though at least it continues Scott’s fixation with Easter Island-sized heads.

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The Magnificent Seven – Review

screenshot-2016-09-23-21-57-45Antoine Fuqua, arguably one of preeminent action directors working today, has once again teamed with Denzel Washington, whom he worked with on Training Day in 2001 and The Equalizer in 2014 with his reboot of John Sturges’ 1960 Western, The Magnificent Seven.

And it’s a good movie, though to call it ‘magnificent’ is a bit of hyperbole though the reason that it attracted so much attention on its initial release is probably the least unimportant thing about it.

And that was the fuss made over its  diverse cast, though when you look at history of the American West, what’s more inaccurate were the portrayals that pictured it as entirely occupied by white people, to the exclusion of tNative Americans, Chinese and African-Americans that were present as well.

As I said earlier, it’s not a great movie, though it’s well done, entertaining and at times pretty amusing.

Though there are some moments where present day filming techniques and CGI get in the way of the illusion (which I go into in my video) but those instances are relatively few and far between.

It runs a bit long and could have used some trimming, though when all is said and done. it’s a pretty good 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.

What The Heck Is Going On With Justice League Dark?

Screenshot 2016-08-24 17.24.35.pngWarner Bros/DC Films’ Justice League Dark has had one of the most confusing journeys in to theaters in recent memory.

Originally intended as a project for Guillermo del Toro to direct, for unknown reasons those plans were abandoned, and it morphed into a cartoon (It’s worth mentioning that how the situation unfolded–minus the animation–is vaguely similar to how he was treated by Legendary Pictures, where he was set to direct the sequel to Pacific Rim before that project passed to Steven DeKnight–Spartacus, Marvel’s Daredevil–with Del Toro remaining as a producer, which is the case with Justice League Dark as well).

At the time that made no sense to me, and how the situation has evolved hasn’t made things any clearer, especially when you consider that Del Toro is indisputably one of the best directors of the weird and fantastic, so why he would move on from a project he originally seem very intent on helming feels a bit odd.

And things only get weirder because today  Comic Book Resources reported that Doug Liman, who was originally in line to direct Gambit for 20th Century Fox (a troubled production that won’t see the light of day any time soon) has turned up at the helm of Justice League Dark.

Yeah, I’m confused too because this latest turn of event literally makes no sense that I can see.

First off, why did Del Toro leave the production in the first place.  Then, why was the live action movie seemingly abandoned for an animated one.

And if things weren’t messy enough, how has the project returned, in a feat worthy of John Constantine himself, under Doug Liman?

And that’s not to imply criticism of Liman because he’s a really talented director but it feels to me that Guillermo del Toro is being treated a bit shabbily.

Can Geoff Johns Save The DCEU?

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Can Geoff Johns save the DCEU, otherwise known as the DC Extended Universe?

Let’s just say I HIGHLY doubt it.  And it’s worth mentioning that I speculate out of love because–while DC characters like Batman and Superman aren’t my favorites–I don’t wish them ill, either.

Which is why I find the movies released so far just vexingly disappointing.

Check out my reasons why in the video below.

The Second Week Curse Strikes Suicide Squad!

Screenshot 2016-08-03 19.14.16Which, if you follow Warner Bros. and DC Films is pretty much par for the course because, as big as the 67.3 percent fall for Suicide Squad was, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice performed even worse, declining 69 percent.

And this is problematic because it all the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) movies so far have lacked legs, and declined precipitously in their second weeks.

What this seems to say is that their movies are drawing fans of the material, but not expanding much beyond them.

And it should go without saying that this is a HUGE problem because it’s easy to get those viewers that are fans of the material, not so much for people that are unaware of it.

This is why Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy was such a surprise:  a movie that featured a CGI tree-man-thing and a raccoon managed to get people not only interested in the subject matter, but curious enough to go to the theater to see it.

Though it’s not unusual for movies of these type to fall in their second weeks. Another Marvel Studios movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier fell to $41 million in its second week; though it opened to $95 million domestically, falling just over 50 percent, but not enough to stop it from ending its run at over $714 million, on a $170 million budget.

While Suicide Squad?  If it finishes its run at much over $500 million, with a budget somewhere in the range of $174 to $250 million, I’d be pleasantly surprised.

Suicide Squad – Review

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“David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is a better movie than either Man of Steel or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Which unfortunately isn’t saying all that much.”

By my reckoning the greatest problems with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was that director Zach Snyder forgot–or choose to ignore–two important things:

First, both Batman and Superman were originally made for children.  Now, I can understand the drive to make them more acceptable to adults, but what I don’t get is why he had to alienate younger folk in the process.

Though by doing so he removed two of the things that made them (particularly Superman) interesting to their millions of fans, which is a sense of wonder and possibility.

And while Superman was never my favorite superhero, I also never though of him as a god, something that Snyder has fixated on and feels the need to bludgeon viewers over the head with.

Zach Snyder’s fingerprints are all over Suicide Squad as well, particularly his tendency to equate murkiness and dreariness with darkness of tone.

And I’m also not sure that David Ayer was a good choice for the material (especially considering his filmography, such as End of Watch and Fury, though to be fair he seems to get that this stuff is essentially silly, so nothing’s any more serious than it needs to be) though he seems acquit himself well.

What’s more problematic is that the story–also written by Ayer–is way bigger than it needs to be.  Deadshot, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, Slipknot, the Enchantress and Killer Croc are like the Avengers composed of lesser versions of Hawkeye, with the exception of El Diablo, Headshot and the Enchantress.

Which isn’t to say that they can’t be lethal, but if you’re looking for someone to stop an evil that threatens the world they probably wouldn’t be the first group you’d call.

But there’s a more serious problem that directly links to Zach Snyder’s treatment of Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Namely Batman, when he encounters Deadshot and Harley Quinn, he kills neither one. If you recall in Batman v Superman he was really keen on killing virtually every person that opposed him.

Here? Not so much.

It’s not a corner that half-decent writing couldn’t get themselves out of, though it’s also a place that Snyder shouldn’t have taken the character in the first place.

And I fully understand that the movie would have been quite a bit shorter if Batman killed off Deadshot and Harley Quinn, but it would have also been truer to what Zach Snyder was doing before the soft reboot of the DC Extended Universe, which Suicide Squad is the first movie in.