Logan – Trailer# 2

Twentieth Century Fox’s Logan is indicative of their problems managing their X-Men franchise.  

Supposedly it’s going to be R-rated, not because Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a mutant who’s primarily features are a healing factor, Adamantium-coated claws and a bestial nature to match, but because Deadpool had an R- rating, and it gave Fox almost 800,00 reasons to do the same.

Money see, money do.

So it’s not as if the executives actually understand the character, because if they did they would have had him be PG-13 in the X-Men movies, and R in the context of his own features.

Which isn’t for a moment to imply that the character can’t work as PG-13, only that he’s better suited for a harder rating. 

Santa Clara Diet – Official Trailer

Netflix is hitting it out of the park as far as their work producing superhero-based action series is concerned (their pact wirh Marvel Television will soon introduce Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders–though as far as Frank Castle goes, perhaps ‘reintroduce’ would be a better choice of words since he played a prominent role in Season two of Daredevil) though their horror offerings?  

Not too impressive.  We got two seasons of Hemlock Grove, which started out promisingly, then jumped the shark relatively quickly. 

Their latest entry has it’s tongue firmly in cheek as Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) play a couple that lets nothing–including Sheila being a zombie–get in the way of their love because the family that slays together, stays together. 

The trailer is hilarious, though what’s particularly novel is that–as opposed to being something to be shunned–their children seem to have adapted amazingly well to their mom’s altered state (it helps that she looks pretty healthy, minus the whole ‘no heartbeat’ thing.

The title is also particularly clever in that it not only refers to the often goofy diet fads that tend to emanate from the West Coast, but Sheila’s somewhat unique dietary requirements. 

Movie Magic: The Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War)

These days as a mover goer I know full well that practical effects combined with CGI can create virtually any type of effect imaginable. 

Though what I find infinitely more interesting is when a movie’s special effects are so seamless that I don’t know that what I happen to be looking at is a special effect, which brings me to Captain America: Civil War.  

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There were two scenes where I recall the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a full-on CGI character: when he was sliding down the side of a building when chasing the Winter Soldoer (Sebastian Stan) and another when he was slowing hinself down after momentum carried him beyond the Soldier in a second confrontation.

Beyond those two instances, I assumed that the character–as well as many of the locations–were entirely practical.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that virtually every scene featuring the Panther had three or four layers of CGI over a practical stuntman, and most of the locations were CGI enhanced as well!

Movie magic indeed.  

Marvel Television & Netflix: Sound & Vision In Harmony

While Marvel Studios is doing some amazing things in the movie space, we sometimes forget that Marvel Television is making waves of their own on the small screen.

And while they have been doing solid work with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter arguably their strongest work so far has been the series that have have done with Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Along with a distinctive visual palate, each series is aurally unique was well, each evocative of different places and/or eras.   

Daredevil opening sequence

Jessica Jones opening sequence

Luke Cage opening sequence

Daredevil’s theme was composed by John Paesano, Jessica Jones’ by Sean Callery and Luke Cage’s by Ali Shaeed Muhammad and Adrian Younge.

At this point I can’t wait to see and hear what Iron Fist and The Punisher bring!

 Is Marvel Studios Still Producing An Inhumans Movie?

Numerous sites have declared Marvel Studios’ movie based on the Inhumans as either dead or removed from the Phase Three production slate

Though there are reasons to suspect that the former isn’t true and a feature–while removed from Phase Three–is still very much alive. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter with Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment Group president,  a interesting bit of information was revealed.

“ABC also hopes that Inhumans — which is not a spinoff of the network’s Agents of SHIELD and does not replace the planned feature film (italics mine).”

Whether or not The Inhumans remains in development at Marvel Studios remains to be seen, but the possibility that it does suddenly looks a little bit brighter.  

The Moon (Knight) Rises?

The idea that James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy) is particularly fond of Moon Knight is really great news because I can think of nothing better than seeing the Fist of Khonshu on the big screen.

But the hurdles for that happening are two-fold.  First Gunn is occupied working on Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, so he doesn’t have time to direct.  

The second issue is that Marvel Studios’ production slate is booked so far in advance that even if Gunn were ready to go tomorrow there’s no guarantee that they could fit it into their schedule (according to Screenrant their production slate is filled all the way to 2028).

And that’s working on the assumption that Kevin Feige even thought it was a good idea.

But there’s a way to make it happen.  Instead of directing, what if Gunn wrote a treatment that could be ready for shooting but more than likely would form the basis of the movie that others could build on.

Then Marvel Studios would create a new imprint, in the vein of Marvel Knights, that would handle more adult-orientated characters that might warrant an R-rating (and Kevin Feige has said that he didn’t want to create R-rated movies.  This way he technically wouldn’t have to though more importantly the characters would remain faithful to the versions that their fans have come to expect).    

An important aspect of this strategy would be production budgets falling somewhere in the ballpark of $50-80 million because, while no one wants a movie to fail, if it weren’t able to meet expectations losing somewhere in the ballpark of $80 million is small change compared to the production budgets of most superhero movies today.  

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.