‘Flatliners’ Likely to Die at the Box Office

The reboot of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller Flatliners (directed by Niels Arden Oplev) premieres later this month, and is likely to have an uneventful–and short–run in theaters.

Reason being, IT has shown remarkable strength for an R-rated horror movie (and so far is making all the monies) but when you figure in Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) being released two weeks later, it will take more than a shot of adrenaline to save the thriller.

And looking at the second trailer, you’ll likely get an idea why.

It’s not only hard to tell what’s going on and why it’s happening though worse of all there doesn’t seem a particularly–based on the trailer–compelling reason to see it.

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Flatliners (2017) – Trailer

imageJoel Schumacher often gets a bad rap because he directed movies like Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  

And having seen both of those movies in their neon-lined, homoerotic glory some of that opprobrium is certainly deserved though it has the unfortunate (and perhaps unintended) effect of tainting everything Schumacher has done before or since.

For instance, he also directed The Lost Boys (which also had a homoerotic subtext, though unlike in the case of his comic book adaptations, fit the material).  I also recall Falling Down being enjoyable, as was Flatliners, a supernatural-tinged drama revolving around four medical students who participated in experiments where they ‘kill’ each other, then bring themselves back from the brink of death.

I don’t recall why they were doing that, though I’m reasonably sure the reasoning was pretty ludicrous. 

The hook of the movie was that, when they came back, they came back haunted by events that took place in the their pasts.

I recall it being visually pretty interesting, though the third act was a bit trite and simplistic. 

And unlike what some entertainment web sites may allege, the upcoming Flatliners isn’t a reboot, but a sequel to the 1990 movie.

Which is a really good thing since the story is essentially going to be the same as the original movie, so they might as well use it as a starting point and movie into (hopefully) new places. 

 

 

 

3 Reasons Why Batman v Superman Underperforming Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

No one likes it when movies they support don’t do well at the box office.

Though few fans are as passionate–or as vocal–as those of Marvel Studios and DC Films.

All you have to do is to read the forums for sites that focus on superhero content–like Comicbookmovie.com and Superherohype.com, to name two–to realize that enthusiasms run deep whenever these studios and the characters they control are concerned.

For instance, even fans of Batman will acknowledge that Joel Schumacher’s interpretation wa akin to cinematic arsenic as far that the franchise and the character were concerned.

That being said, if that weren’t the case, would Christopher Nolan ever have  been given the chance to reinvigorate the franchise?

Probably not.

I mention it because it’s another good reason why Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice underperforming isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s fairly obvious that Zach Snyder–either through lack of knowledge or by design–doesn’t know how to interpret either Batman or Superman, so a creative refreshening is necessary.

“Warner Bros has already begun playing musical chairs with their executives,” though the question is is it enough.

Only time will tell because–if the Titanic has taught us anything–it’s that sometimes the danger is a lot greater than we assumed at first glance.

Batman Needs To Shed The Cape

ComicbookmovieRecently DC revealed the latest costume for Batman, via Comicbookresources.  Despite not being a huge fan of either DC Comics or the character, I really like it.  The current iteration of Batman is caped, and while it sticks with tradition, these days it doesn’t quite make sense.

The character was originally created in the 1940’s with a design intended to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, with his cape being evocative of a bat’s wings.

In movies the most recent version of the character continues that tradition, and that’s the problem.  When Zach Snyder–director of Man of Steel as well as the upcoming Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice rebooted Superman he removed his shorts (so to speak), which were originally inspired by circus strongmen.

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Marvel Studios, Save Spider-Man!

Typically, Spider-Man would be the one doing the saving, but even Spidey is powerless against studio executives who don’t have any real understanding of what they’re doing.

And what many commenters–I mean you, AMC Movie Talk in particular–seem to be missing about the mess that’s stemmed from the Sony email dump is not that the executives involved are throwing ideas agains to wall to see what sticks (pardon the pun), it’s that the ideas that they are considering are really, really bad.

For instance, a standalone movie feature Aunt May?  As a spy?

Believe it or not, I have nothing against her.  As a supporting character she’s pretty interesting, though the problem is that Sony hasn’t even properly developed Spider-Man at this point, and they’re not only talking about spin-offs, but they’re considering a movie based on a character that was never designed to headline in the first place (which isn’t to say that there weren’t comics that featured Aunt May, but despite having not read any I feel relatively safe in saying that they would’ve come relatively late in the cycle).

After all, the movie and the comic are called “The Amazing Spider-Man,” not “The Amazing Aunt May” for a reason.

Is there a possibility that saner heads will prevail, and Sony will finally be able to produce a Spider-Man movie worthy of the name?  Perhaps, but based upon their most recent output, I am just not seeing it.

People criticize–in most instances quite justifiably–Joel Schumacher and his excesses on the Batman films (Bat-nipples, and shots showing the Bat-posterior in all its glory) though when you think about it Schumacher was in his own way paying homage to the comics.  Sure, it was garish, silly (in a very bad way), and campy, but you could see that there was respect for the characters as well.

I get the feeling that Marc Webb is following a similar path (minus the overtly blatant homosexual references) because he–as well as writers like Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci–don’t actually understand the character.

When you combine this lack of understanding with studio interference and budgets way larger than they should be, then the recipe is exactly what we’re seeing unfold a Sony.

Where we can witness a  studio doing the seemingly impossible, taking a comic character loved the world over and ending up with a box-office flop.

 

 

‘As Above, So Below’ Review

 

As Above, So Below movie poster

As Above, So Below, let’s be clear, isn’t a particularly good movie, but it is a damned entertaining one.

The story, such as it is, revolves around Scarlett (Perdida Weeks), who’s searching for the clues that would lead her to the Philosopher’s Stone, which I should mention that her father was also searching for, before he hung himself.

Bad omens aside,  Scarlett is accustomed to going where saner heads refuse to tread, so she charges on and eventually makes her way to Paris, where a vital clue to her quest awaits.

As Above, So Below is also a found footage movie, despite the film not being found by anyone (which is a little odd, when you think about it).

John Erick Dawdle also directed Devil and Quarantine, and while those are both better films, they’re not nearly as frenetic or fun.  Though what’s curious about the film is thatthere’s a campiness, a silliness to As Above, So Below that I am not sure is not was deliberate.

For instance, there’s a scene that I call the ‘creepy woman inside the club’ scene, that is so silly–and I mean laugh out loud silly–that I couldn’t imagine what was going through Dawdle’s mind when he filmed it.  There’s even a later scene–when Scarlett and her gang are exploring the Catacombs of Paris–that is almost as silly (you’ll know it when you see, or hear, it).

The first scene I can see as a mistake that just slipped by the director.  The second…I wasn’t sure what’s going on.  Maybe he’s channelling his inner Joel Schumacher or something (in the sense of camp because Schumacher never did anything so odd by accident).

So As Above, So Below when all is said and done, in terms of the total package, is a bit lacking.  That being said, it’s fun, and besides–you probably already seen Guardians of the Galaxy (twice)it’s worth checking out.

And if anyone could stomach the Transformers (Any of them.  Take your pick), this’ll be walk in the park.  Or maybe a climb in the cave.

The Flash – ‘My Name Is…’ Trailer

I don’t know what it is about Warner Bros superheroes.  For some reason, if the movies are any indicator, Metropolis and Gotham City are where dreams and hope go to die.  Overall, everything is dark (more so, at least in a physical sense, in Gotham) and gloomy, as if the inhabitants carried invisible weights upon their shoulders.

And this gloominess is apparently contagious, because their superheroes are the same.  And the thing is, I actually get it in the case of Batman.  He’s not called ‘the Dark Knight’ for nothing, though Superman?  Not so much.

It’s what I have come to call ‘Nolanitis,’ because it’s a way of visualizing superheroes that became popular with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films (Tim Burton’s Batman lived in a gothic, dark Gotham as well, but his version was way more pulpy and very much like the comics writ large while Nolan’s films–which are just as cartoony as Burton’s and Schumacher’s; don’t let anyone tell you different–there’s a nihilism that I am not quite sure works, considering the subject matter.

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