Lost In Space – Date Announcement Trailer

Lost In Space–a television series originally created by Irwin Allen–apparently has more lives than a cat.

The original series came in 1965 and ran till 1968.

It was a series I grew up watching , which I recall it being wildly uneven.  Clearly low budget–though not as low as British series like Doctor Who, another long-running series–I was glued to the television when the adventures of the Robinson family aired.

The problem at least for me was while time advanced, visually the show never really did.

Though in 2003 a new series based on the original series, The Robinsons: Lost In Space made it to pilot stage (directed by John Woo) but never developed into an ongoing series.

It wasn’t terrible, but seeing that’s Woo’s strengths lie in Asian action movies, the pilot followed a similar route, which was a significant change from the original series.

It was eventually relaunched as a movie in 1998.

The Lost In Space movie (directed in workman-like fashion by Stephen Hopkins) was actually pretty accurate to the original series, which is probably why it wasn’t particularly well-received and somewhat boring (with the original series you didn’t have much in the way of options on a Saturday afternoon if you were looking for your science fiction fix.  A feature film?  The options were somewhat greater).

Though you’d be excused if you thought that that was the end for the crew of the Jupiter 2 because Netflix recently dropped a trailer for another reboot.

And it’s an odd bird in that you don’t see much (the Robinsons are boarding what I assume is the Jupider 2 (against a very obvious green screen) while a voice over tells of humanity eventually leaving an earth that apparently can no longer keep us safe.

The implication is geological collapse, though there’s a scene of black and white footage where an African-American receives a injection that was a bit off-putting (Tuskegee Experiments and all that), though that might have just been me.

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Is ‘Ready Player One’ in Trouble?

Screenshot 2018-02-20 02.04.40I’m genuinely concerned about Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One.  Reason being, there may indeed be a buzz building for this movie, but if there is I haven’t heard it.

In the past Spielberg directing a project was a guaranteed smash.  Now, with a lot of viewers I’d wager not even knowing who he is, not so much.

Then there was 2016’s The BFG, a movie that earned just over $183 million in box office receipts worldwide.

And that would be an accomplishment indeed if it were made by any other director and wasn’t budgeted at $140 million.

As it stands, the movie was certainly a box office disappointment (and likely a failure).

Now, the fate of The BFG might have little to no indication of how Ready Player One will fare in theaters, but what it does indicate is that in these days of the very way we watch movies in a state of flux, things that were typically a sure thing–such as the movies of Steven Spielberg–are perhaps no longer so.

The Roar Heard Around The World

Screenshot 2018-02-15 02.43.15Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a bit of an anomaly less because it was written by two African-Americans, Ryan Coogler and Joe Ryan Cole, with a primarily African-American cast than taking those things into account the movie has been gifted a relatively large budget–for a Marvel Studios feature–of $200 million.

And that’s pretty convincing sign of Kevin Feige’s faith in the production, which has been borne out by the box office.

Domestically the movie has (so far) earned $235 million, while pulling in $169 million in international receipts, for a total or $404 million.

It should go without saying that’s pretty amazing opening, increasing the likelihood that this movie joins the Billion Dollar Club before its run is complete.

Next Black Panther will be released in Russia, Trinidad, Peru, Venezuela, Japan and China.

A Perfect Vehicle for Michael Bay

Screenshot 2018-02-11 19.53.04And that’s not a sentiment I come by all too often because Bay’s movies are all about what’s on the surface, and typically lack anything approaching nuance (though to be fair he definitely knows his audience.)

Though that audience is generally not terribly discriminating, which is why it’s so maddening when the Transformers movies do so well (except for the last one), while Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim performed particularly weak domestically and would not have warranted a sequel if it hadn’t done so well in China.

As you can probably tell, I’m by no means a fan of Michael Bay as a director though if you’re looking for someone to handle big, brash spectacle, they’re few directors that can wrangle chaos as beautifully.

When he plays to his strengths–Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock–he can be pretty amazing. though when he doesn’t (pretty much every other Transformers movie, Pain and Gain) it’s typically not too good because Bay typically has a tin ear as far as dialogue and the way humans actually interact with each other.

So when I heard that he’s considering directing a movie based on DC’s Lobo, I was okay with it because Bay is like the Main Man himself: shallow, all about bombast and climax not so much about anything approaching nuance and character development.

Rob Liefeld is an Authority on Nothing (Beyond Himself and Some Very Bad Art)

Let’s be clear: Despite having originally ‘drawn’–we’ll get back to that in a moment–Deadpool Rob Liefeld is often treated as some sort of Deadpool authority and gets credit for creating the character, which leaves out entirely that he did so with Fabian Nicieza.

And truth be told I am not particularly fond of Nicieza as a writer (he did a run on Marvel Comics’ New Warriors that was simplistic to the point of being infantile on top of being borderline offensive) but to imply that Leifeld created Deadpool all by his lonesome is wrong.

And I emphasized ‘drawn’ deliberately because Liefeld’s art was less based on any sort of recognizable human anatomy than human anatomy via a Salvador Dali filter.

And it would be different if Liefeld were making some sort of ironic statement about the pliability, the changeableness of the human form.

But, nope, that’s just the way he drew people.

I recall hearing that Adolf Hitler got a lot of grief over how bad his paintings were, yet looking at how Liefield has literally built a career out of drawing badly, maybe Hitler deserves another look.

Here are two paintings by Hitler.


                                 Tree at a track, 1911

This is a pretty nice painting that shows a grasp of artistic technique as well as perspective.  It’s not quite my cup of tea (and I wonder if the actual painting is this dark or in need of a cleaning) but it’s not bad.

         Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ, 1913

A Eurocentric treatment of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child.  It’s not a terrible–or even bad–painting.  The anatomy of both figures feels right (though Mary’s right hand is a bit iffy) and the face of the child is a bit too knowing–though that’s likely a choice of the artist than any deficit on heir part.

The layout of the picture is fine, as is the grasp of color as well as shadow and light.

Now here’s some work from Rob Liefeld.


Now granted, we’re talking about comic books as opposed to fine art but that doesn’t change that Liefeld  has, at best, a tenuous grasp of human anatomy.  For instance, look at Warchild’s MASSIVE chest!

And speaking of his chest, it looks like he’s thrusting it forward–which is odd because his arms appear to be on the same plane (which is frankly not possible with human anatomy).

And by the way, where’s his midsection?  His groin literally leads into the upper part of his abdomen.

And here’s why that’s worth mentioning.  Your abdomen is where your large and small intestines are (never mind your ribcage, among other structures and organs) so if you don’t have the space to hold them there’s no way you’re going to be as physically massive as this dude is because your intestines are important for processing nutrients as well as waste products.


Check out that lady’s lower back!  Her upper body is literally thrust so far forward that it’s literally broken (never mind not aligning with her buttocks and legs).

And how tall is Badrock anyway?  Because she’s either standing on a small hillock or mound or he’s somewhere in the ballpark of 15-20 feet tall (you can’t see his knees in the picture, yet you can see virtually all of her).

So yeah, I guess I’m just a bit salty that one of the worst artists in comic history is having a career renaissance of a sort.

Is Valiant Still Aligned with Sony?

Valiant LogoWith the preeminence of Marvel Studios and to a lesser extent, DC Films, people can perhaps be forgiven for forgetting that Marvel and DC aren’t the only players in town.

There’s Dark Horse (Time Cop) who’s rebooting Hellboy but there’s also Valiant Comics, which have been seemingly preparing to make a movie to feature films for awhile.

Valiant were aligned with Sony, though that was under prior management; now they’re under control of DMG Entertainment and it’s CEO, Dan Mintz.

This is a particularly relevant question, especially considering that Sony seems to be emphasizing Spider-Man (and other Spiderverse characters like Venom, Black Cat and Silver Sable) while they could perhaps be building a cinematic universe of their own, independent of Marvel Studios.

 

Guillermo del Toro’s Time Has Come at Last

img_0018I’ve never been particularly fond of the Academy Awards, partially because they–and awards shows in general–typically have a very self-congratulationary air about them, creating the illusion that they’re a lot more important than they actually are (there’s an art to making movies to be sure, but they’re typically the efforts of hundreds of individuals, despite whichever director happens to win) and particularly because the movies that do win awards–such as Best Picture–in some instances are those that many people wouldn’t be likely to see.

And sometimes it feels that many filmmakers–in an effort to win–will create films that are designed to do just that (though to be fair that has as much, if not more, to do with the studio that’s releasing he film as well).

Which is why I am so impressed by the work of Guillermo del Toro (despite not having yet seen The Shape of Water) and believe he deserves the win.

He loves his monsters, and he’s at his best when he uses them as allegories for the human condition.

And from what I can tell, his latest movie is no different.  

And that’s what so amazing for me.  From Chronos to Pacific Rim, del Toro never abandoned the creatures that haunted his dreams as a child, seemingly in an effort to win an award.

Instead, we’ve caught up with his esthetic, which for me is the very definition of what separates genuine Art from the the also-rans.

Which is also why he deserves at the very least the  ‘Best Director’ statuette.

For ‘Best Picture’ I’m leaning toward Get Out, which is also managed to move beyond the bounds of genre as well.