Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Trailer

I see what they’re trying to do with Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but for the life of me I’m not entirely sure why (other than a studio banking on nostalgia and an establised iP, that is).   I haven’t seen Joe Johnston’s 1995 Jumanji, which I assume this movie is a reboot of, in awhile but this feels so…excessive.

And perhaps that approach is warranted, since the movie is revolving around a video game system, as opposed to the board games of the prior movies.

Though Jumanji–and it’s sequel of sorts, Zathura–felt like relatively small affairs when all is said and done, while the reboot feels massive and lacking the intimacy–and perhaps the heart–of those earlier films.

And while I know that Sony has a deal in place to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios that deal likely does not extend to this movie.

Here’s a closeup of the above poster…


And here’s a closeup from one of the stingers (end credit scenes) at the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Coincidence!?  Probably.

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Five Reasons Why Don Coscarelli Should Direct ‘Doctor Strange’

I happened to be recently watching Don Coscarelli‘s “Bubba Ho-tep,” when I occurred to me that since Marvel Studios is working on a Doctor Strange feature (supposedly with John Hamm as the lead) he would be a perfect choice to direct it.

Off the top of my head, there are five reasons that this is the case.

  First, Coscarelli Knows Strange (Pardon The Pun)

This is the director who created the four movies that comprise the Phantasm series, so his genre bonafides are in order.  And speaking of those films, only two of them, “Phantasm” and “Phantasm II,” are worth seeing.  The others are a bit repetitive and in my view for die-hard fans of the series.  That being said, what all the films are is innovative in terms of their special effects and underlying plot.

What they also share in common is that they’re very unusual movies (even when they don’t particularly work, it’s interesting to see where Coscarelli is going with them).  Then there’s the fact that they’re all made with shoe-string budgets, yet don’t look like that is the case.

And speaking of show-string budgets, if you look carefully at any of the films in the series, you can tell (based upon the way that the Sphere sometimes travels) that there were instances that someone more than likely just chucked it down a corridor.  This could be interpreted as being cheap, but if you keep in mind that they were often working with somewhat minimal resources, you can see how innovative Coscarelli and his effects team sometimes were.

 Humor Matters, And Coscarelli Understands That

In his more recent films, particularly “Bubba Ho-Tep” and the vastly underrated “John Dies At The End” you see that Coscarelli understands the role humor plays in crafting an interesting and fun horror film.  This is a principal that is applicable to any type of movie.  A well-placed joke can do a lot to alleviate tension, and make an upcoming scare even more effective.  Most importantly, you would never mistake either film for a comedy because the humor happens as it does in life, which means it’s of the situational variety, as opposed to slapstick.

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‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Going To Be Better Than Anticipated?

Captain America 2I have to admit that while I enjoyed the first Captain America feature, I didn’t love it.  Sure, it had all the elements for an awesome adventure: direction by Joe Johnston, director of the underrated “The Rocketeer”; a Marvel character steeped in Americana and history, and the Tesseract (known as The Cosmic Cube in Marvelese).

Yet somehow it didn’t quite gel for me. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch, but it did feel a bit clunky.

When I heard about the sequel, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” I was curious, though not overly enthusiastic.

That is, till I heard some of the music for the upcoming movie.  Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, says that ‘The Winter Soldier’ will be a political thriller in the vein of “The Day of the Jackal” and have a more international flavor.  The snipped of music reflects this change, moving beyond the overly patriotic tones of the first film.

I know that you can’t tell what a movie is like (entirely) by its music, but “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is shaping up to be very, very interesting.

‘The Rocketeer’ Redux

This is an interesting bit of news.  According to Vulture, by way of Superherohype, there’s talk of a reboot of Dave Stevens’ ‘Rocketeer,’ which I think is a really cool idea.  The original film, directed by Joe Johnston, most recently of “Captain America,” didn’t do too well at the box office, earning almost $47 million on a $35 million dollar budget, but there was an earnestness to it that was refreshing.

Personally, I am not sure why it failed (other than not enough people going to see it, that is).  After all, it came out only ten years after “Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” had the same retro vibe, but somehow never managed to find an audience.

Despite the presence of Nazis, gangsters, and Timothy Dalton.

For those of you that don’t remember the original, here’s the trailer.

‘Captain America’ Review

Edited 7/25 917, 949, 950, 951

If you’re looking for a Captain America whose roots drink heavily of the 1940’s, you’re in the wrong movie.  If you’re looking for nostalgic entertainment of a time that’s in the vein of Indiana Jones, you’re found it.

Karina Longworth, of The Village Voice, criticizes Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: The First Avenger” primarily on the basis of being historically inaccurate.

Admittedly the character was created in the 1940’s, during World War II, though I doubt that anyone is seeing the film looking for an exact interpretation of history during the period–and let’s be clear–the film isn’t very accurate, except in broad strokes.

To approach it otherwise makes little sense because this is a film that is going to be marketed all over the world.  To make a jingoistic film–no matter how accurate that would have been–is nothing short of ridiculous because the last time that I checked, the purpose of making movies is to make a profit, and to make a film in the manner that Mrs. Longworth suggests would be essentially throwing away $140 million dollars.

After all, the movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is based upon a comic book, which may in some ways mirror what’s going on in contemporary society, but should by no means be expected to accurately reflect that society.

Then there’s the fact that I have seen very few films, never mind comic books, of any genre that accurately reflect what’s going on in this country with the nuance and sophistication necessary to do so successfully.

Besides, I get enough of jingoism as it is.  I don’t want to see movies exhibiting what I think of as a pox on the American character unless there’s a reason to do so, or there’s something to be learned.

That being said, I suspect that a more literal interpretation of “Captain America: The First Avenger” would have been an interesting one, though ironically enough, not realistic, especially from a financial perspective.

Which is the one that matters (for better or for worse).

Now on to my review.

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