Overlord – Official Trailer

I’ve considered Adolph Hitler and the rise of Nazism fascinating for quite awhile now, though not for what I believe are typical reasons. What interests me is that there was literally no way Hitler could have done what he did without the defacto acquiescence of the German people (at least initially, before his mad enterprise built a momentum all it’s own).

After all, military force can only go so far when someone has to make government function so by default you’re dealing with lots of ordinary people, doing whatever it is that they do, perhaps only distantly realizing they’re–in ways both big and small– in league with a monster.

And that’s of course assuming they didn’t agree with his ‘final solution.’

Vincenzo Natali’s Cube is one of the better examples of a movie where people are placed in a situation where they–literally and figuratively–have to deal with a situation, a process doing whatever it is designed to do seemingly without oversight or accountability.

This brings me to J.J. Abrams’ Overlord which appears to fit firmly in the ‘Germans Are Bad Department,’ but appears to play with Heinrich Himmler‘s fascination with the occult.

And…it feels like something we’ve all seen before. In fact, what separates it from more other examples of Nazi-based horror is what looks like a relatively healthy special effects budget (in fact it virtually a gorier version of Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy).

And I’d be the last person to criticize horror movies in general though I wish this one had aimed for something more than what appears to be fairly obvious.

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Is Star Wars Too Massive To Fail?

No franchise is too big to fail, though typically a decline–the same logic applies to whether we’re discussing movie franchises or nations– comes before a fall.

And that’s important because if you pay attention to the signs you may be able to delay or even avert a worse-case scenario.

The Last Jedi is taking a bit of a bashing among a large amount of moviegoers–some have gone as far as starting petitions to have it removed from canon–yet despite this apparent animus the movie has earned almost $400 million domestically ($395,627,411) and a similar figure overseas (&396,061,433).

And that former figure is pretty amaxing when you take into account it has only been out eleven days domestically.

Part of its wellspring of profits has to do with–despite the anger it is generating in some quarters–that the same people who are doing the complaining are actually seeing the movie (and in some instances more than once).

Another important detail is that The Last Jedi may be angering some people but it’s doing so for all the right reasons, namely characters that many fans have literally grown up with have begun to change in ways that they don’t necessarily agree with.

But it is change, and proof Lucasfilm isn’t resting on their laurels (which likely had a lot to do with Transformers: The Last Knight underwhelming at the US box office.  After all, there is only so many times you can blow something up before it gets not only boring, but tedious).

Though change is a double-edged sword in that if it’s done too quickly or perceived as too radical–like how Warner Bros treated Superman in Man of Steel (and Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice–you’re going to start with underwhelming box office receipts, which if not addressed have the potential to ruin a franchise.

And as critical as I tend to be of Sony Pictures, they at least saw the writing was on the wall as far as their Spider-Man franchise was concerned, and let Marvel Studios shepherd the character on it’s third reboot, resulting in the most profitable outing for the character yet  (an arguable assertion since Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007 while Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 and the value of the American Dollar was likely higher; though the budget of the former was $285 million versus $175 million for Homecoming; on top of It earning just over $10 million less than Spider-Man 3).

So perhaps The Last Jedi isn’t necessarily a good metric to determine if people are growing tired of the Star Wars universe, which is the path to the Dark Side.

That responsibility will likely be carried by the next film in the series–as well as the new trilogy Rian Johnson is working on–because while The Last Jedi has clearly divided audiences, if J.J. Abrams can’t unite them, Johnson may have done more damage than the Sith every could.

Rogue One: Trailer

I enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ interpretation of the Star Wars universe with The Force Awakens, but it felt too shiny, too clean.

Now Rogue One feels like a Star Wars movie should.

Or maybe it’s just seeing old school Star Destroyers and the original Death Star, though I think that it’s the grim tone, the grit and the desperation of a Rebel Alliance put on the ropes by an ascendant Imperial Empire.

Desperation suits Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens -Review

J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a pretty serious job ahead of him.  In directed the latest Star Wars movies he had to manage to invigorate the franchise, while not alienating long-time fans of the movie.

I’ve discussed this point and more below in my first video review.  It’s a feature that I tend to explore more in future, particularly for bigger movies.

That being said, overall Abrams did a good job, but it’s not perfect.

Postmortem: The Thing (2011)

With John Carpenter’s The Thing–based on Christian Nyby’s 1951 movie The Thing From Another World and the original John Campbell short novel, Who Goes There?–we got to see a director at the peak of his powers.  Carpenter was able to combine Rob Bottin’s extraordinary creature effects with a taut story of an otherworldly threat that had the ability to mimic whomever it killed.

So you can imagine that when Universal Pictures decided to do a sequel in 2011–without Carpenter’s input–that fans would probably not be too keen on it.

And that’s a bit of an understatement, with many–myself included–hating the movie on general principal.

Having recently re-watched Matthijs van Heijningen’s prequel, it’s actually pretty good.  And while I wished that it had more in the way of practical effects–though as far as I can tell the CGI is based on designs from Alec Gillis and Bob Woodruff (who are credited) and while it’s not as innovative as the practical special effects of Rob Bottin, They’re okay.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Trailer

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Teaser Trailer 3

I’ve included the teaser trailer for the upcoming third trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens partally because I still think it’s particularly douchy to make the trailer the event, as opposed to the movie.

After all, we’re talking about Star Wars here.  The hype for this movie is unbelievable and J.J. Abrams is a solid-enough director that I expect that he’ll live up to the hype.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official)

And speaking of the trailer, it’s gorgeous.  That being said, what’s more interesting is that it gives the impression that all the mythology around the Jedi have been lost to time and become just that, mythology.

Which implies that a significant amount of time has passed, but seeing that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are in the movie, it couldn’t’ be that much.

Mea Culpa: The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Edition

I admit it, I shat the bed, figuratively speaking.  When I saw the trailer below, I assumed that it was for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, and should have known better.

Why?  Because a huge clue was staring me right in the face the entire time, which I have posted just below.

Bat Robot logo

Bad Robot logo

For those who are unaware, Bad Robot is the production company owned by Abrams (Mutant Enemy is owned by Joss Whedon, which is why you see it credited at the beginning of Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

For it to appear on the latest Star Wars trailer would mean that mean that Disney and Lucasfilm were sharing the wealth, so to speak, with Bad Robot.

Which is a relatively stupid idea, if you give it any sort of thought because Disney just finished paying $4 billion for Lucasfilm and the last thing they would do is to share any potential profits with Bad Robot–which isn’t to imply that Abrams isn’t making a buttload of money from directing it, because he probably is.

I have posted the actual trailer below (The Force Awakens will always sound to me like the title of a movie on Lifetime, mainly because there’s something oddly feminine about it) and it’s pretty good, though not quite as dynamic as the fake.