Iron Fist Revealed!

I understand that Marvel Television in its ‘street-level’ heroes tends to seek a more grounded, realistic esthetic than those typically employed by Marvel Studios.

That probably has a lot to do with why of all the Defenders only one, Daredevil, has a costume (which is more in the vein of tactical armor than a costume, per se).

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage wear civilian clothes, as does Iron Fist (at least in the first season of his series).

And for awhile I thought that the latter in his civvies that might be a good decision, till I saw this image from the series.

 That’s Johnny Yang as an ‘Iron Fist’–which is less an individual than an honorific, though only one seems to exist in any given period of time–and he looks pretty awesome.

The way they muted the colors and gave the costume a very real-world feel works really well, and I would have been glad to see it in more detail.  It was technically in the series, though the footage of it was so (deliberately) blurry you couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

Maybe they kept it under wraps because Danny Rand (Finn Jones) in–hopefully The Defenders–tries to capture some of his lost history, and dons the costume as a result.

 

Fists of Mud

I have to admit, I’m a bit concerned.

None of the three series Marvel has produced for Netflix thus far (two seasons of Daredevil, one of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) have been without criticism, but typically it’s muted by the heaps of praise they receive.

Regrettably that had not been the case with Marvel’s Iron Fist, which out of the box is getting some scathingly negative reviews, something that the prior three series didn’t have to deal with.

The Hollywood Reporter says: ‘the partnership between Marvel and Netflix was due a dud.’

Variety claims that ‘Not one element of this plodding piece works.  The action scenes lack spark, snap, and originality.’

Now keep in mind that’s just two reviews–there’s a thrid, but Twitter keeps crashing on me when I’m linking to it–but while I am sure that there will be many more positive reviews, it’s the tone of the negative ones that rankle.

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. 

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!

I (Think) I Finally Understand The Ghostbusters Brouhaha

When I heard all the brouhaha over Paul Feig’s reboot of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 Ghostbusters I didn’t quite understand what it was all about; beyond the obvious, such as recasting the leads as women.

You see, because while I enjoyed the original movie, it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

And Brendan Mertans Ghostheads didn’t change that, what it did was help me understand why it is that some people feel so passionately about the movie in the first place.

Ghostheads, a Kickstarter-financed movie is currently on Netflix is about people who’s lives have been changed by the original movie (it also features an interview with Feig.  It was good to hear him respond positively to the idea of Ghostbusters fandom, which is welcome, especially considering his reaction to people on Twitter who have not responded well to his reboot).

It’s a fascinating look into these people’s lives, and appears to be nothing about positive.

That being said, there’s something a bit odd about people who devote so much of their lives to a movie; though to be fair it’s no more strange than the average Trekkie.

Though more importantly, what it says is that some people use Ghostbusters as a way to meet other people, to be part of something bigger than themselves, like a massive, worldwide social club.

And if you look at it that way, it’s pretty cool.

The Twilight Zone – Time Enough At Last – S1 E8

If there were a overarching theme to Time Enough At Last, the eighth episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone, it would have to be that no matter how bad things may at first seem, they can get much, much worse.

After all, you have to keep in mind that about midway though the episode a nuclear strike decimates an unnamed American city, seemingly leaving unharmed a single survivor, Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith), and that’s not even the worse thing that happens.

And if being the lone survivor of a nuclear war weren’t bad enough, Bemis’ fate is particularly tragic–in that typically ironic fashion that The Twilight Zone is know for–because what happens to him is undeserved, especially considering that he’s a pretty good-natured and friendly person, whose only peccadillo is that he likes reading more than dealing with people.

Though part of the message of the series was often the very random nature of fate, in that sometimes very bad things happened to people not because they deserved them, or were somehow bad themselves, more so that things sometime happen, whether or not we feel they’re deserved.

It’s the contrast between Bemis’ final fate and what he deserves that makes the episode particularly shocking. though a lot of the credit goes to Burgess Meredith’s portrays of Henry Bemis a particularly sympathetic one.

Postmortem: Avalanche Sharks (2013)

Screenshot 2016-03-23 19.36.23

If I were to tell you that Keith Shaw’s Avalanche Sharks–despite the poster proclaiming ‘Snow Sharks’–wasn’t a very good movie, you’d probably say something to the effect of ‘Duh, it’s about sharks that ‘swim’ though snow, devouring skiers.  What about that scenario screams Academy Award to you?’

And I get that, though the movie doesn’t do itself any favors by skipping over what should have been the most interesting part, which is the curse itself.

The sharks aren’t real animals–which is fairly obvious–but a manifestation of a Native American spell cast hundreds of years ago against the people who were trying to take their lands.

The movie ignores this aspect of the story–it’s mentioned as a legend occasionally, but nothing in-depth.  It’s almost as if the producers of the movie forgot that film is a visual medium, and what you can’t see might as well never have happened.

And speaking of ‘visual,’ visualize this:  An old shaman, hidden away in a cave and defended by his tribe’s greatest warriors, crafts a spell that would summon these ghost animals to defend his people, who are under attack by soldiers.  He’s seemingly betrayed by someone he trusts, and their position is overwhelmed, costing the shaman his life, as well as that of his guardians.

Though the traitor is allowed to live, though he too is betrayed and he receives nothing and lives with the memory of his crime, till the day he dies.

The spell to summon the Avalanche Sharks is never completed, and the members of the tribe that aren’t killed outright are scattered all over the country in the event known as The Trail of Tears.

Back in the current day, distant relatives of the Shaman’s tribe are compelled to return to the mountain.  With so many of his blood relations on the lands which used to be theirs, the Shaman grows powerful enough to reach out to any individuals of the same bloodline with a Bloodsong, which compels that person to do the Shaman’s bidding

This being, his name forgotten, is known simply as the Shaman and being unable to let go of his pain, and seeks to inflict it upon others.

He compels this individual to complete the ceremony he began thousands of years prior, summoning the spirit animals known as Avalanche Sharks from the Great Beyond, who then go about slaughtering anyone that isn’t linked to the tribe by blood.

That’s a lot more complex that anything that happens in the movie, and could have potentially turned Avalanche Sharks into a horror classic as opposed to a campy trifle.