Suicide Squad – Comic-Con trailer

Gotta admit that the Suicide Squad trailer looks pretty good.  My hopes drooped for a moment when I saw Will Smith during the snowy street scene (which looked very cheap, and was clearly shot in a studio), then rose in my esteem pretty quickly.

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The Avengers: Age Of Ultron – Trailer 3

It goes without saying that the latest trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is all sorts of awesome.  This time around we get a little more on Ultron, as well as his motivations (and there’s a logic to his approach in that if you get rid of people you’re going to get rid of much of our problems, seeing that we’re at the heart of most of them) and ‘The Twins’ (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) as well as the odds that the Avengers are up against this time around and it goes without saying that they’re pretty overwhelming.

And this being a Marvel Studios trailer, stick around till the end because you have to have the ‘Vision’ to see where Marvel is going with this.

The Fifty Shades of Gray Phenomenon

I have no intention of seeing Fifty Shades of Gray, mainly because it’s not my kind of movie.  Besides, if I were going to watch S&M I’d rather not watch the Lifetime version of it.

Though what I find interesting is how well received the film has been, and that director Sam Taylor-Johnson is returning to direct the sequel, despite the difficulties she experience the first time around.

That being said, clearly there are millions of people who feel different because so far the movie has earned almost $500 million (the bulk of which, over $400 million, was from overseas.  It’s an important distinction because it implies that attitudes about sexuality in movies (and probably in general) are different in places like Europe and Latin America than they are domestically.

Another interesting thing is that–unlike most movie studios–Universal seems to be doing remarkably well with a strategy built around low-budget features, as opposed to other studios, which are built around expensive and massive tentpoles.

Though Universal’s strategy creates maximum profit at minimal cost, which is pretty remarkable.

Very generally speaking, movies that put sexuality forward tend to do better overseas than here.  Conversely, films that are action-heavy tend to do better here than they do in other countries.

John M. Chu Does Action Better Than Christopher Nolan

Yeah, I didn’t believe it either, till began to think of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, starting with The Dark Knight Rises backward, and John M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which I am currently watching on Netflix.

As much as I hate to admit it, Chu captures action much better than Nolan, which almost feel like sacrilege to say, but it’s true.

Maybe it has something to do with John M. Chu’s background in dance, because he seems to understand movement better, which is important.

That being said, Retaliation is composed of more than actions scenes, and overall Nolan is a much more ambitious, interesting director, though physical action just isn’t his thing (though I need to see Inception again, just to be sure).

Avengers: Age Of Ultron International Poster

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron International posterI fully admit that I am posting this primary because I can’t get that creepy-ass xylophone music that accompanies the second trailer out out of my head.

I also read that The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is going to released in India before it is domestically, which is really awesome if you happen to live there, not so much if you don’t.  Lately it appears that more and more event movies are being released overseas (though more commonly in Europe) before the United States, which I think it has something to do with the prevention of piracy–though it that means that Americans are more or less likely to do so I am not entirely certain.

Another nifty advantage of such a strategy is that it front-loads some serious profits into the equation in that the movie will–in the case of the first The Avengers, makes literally hundreds of millions before it appears domestically.

And to be fair, it’s coming out in India the 24th of April; May 1st isn’t all that far away.

I also don’t know who’s idea it was to have James Spader voice Ultron, but they deserve a pay raise because decision making like that deserves some sort of recognition.

Practically Speaking

If you’re a big fan of movies, particularly horror and sci-fi, you’ve probably taken a position on whether or not movies should use CGI (computer-generated imagery) or practical effects (which include prosthetics, animatronics, models and miniatures).

Personally, I am a HUGE fans of practical effects.  That being said, I understand that there are things that you can’t do as well practically as you can do with CGI–for instance if you’ve seen Alex Proyas’ The Crow, there are numerous scenes where cars are moving through city streets that’s clearly part of a miniature cityscape which probably would have worked better with actual cars, unless Proyas deliberately wanted it to look like models–and when it’s done well,  CGI can add a dynamism to scenes that isn’t always possible practically.

On the other side, when you’re dealing with practical effects the actors and actresses are performing against an actual thing, as opposed to (in some instances) a tennis ball.

This means that you’re not only likelier to get a better performance out of them, the scene that they appear in looks more real.

One of my favorite filmmakers, producer Gerry Anderson, was a huge advocate of miniature effects (which probably has a lot to do with him coming from a background of making shows that revolved around puppetry, like Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, The Thunderbirds, and The Terrahawks) which he incorporated into live action in movies like Doppleganger (also known as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) and television shows like Space: 1999, UFO and Space Precinct.

In the video clip below Tom Woodruff, Jr and Alec Gillis, of StudioADI, discuss why it is that studios sometimes choose CGI effects over practical ones.  And as usual, nothing is as simple as movie fans would like it to be.

Rocket Raccoon Sighted!

Hint of Rocket RaccoonOriginally when I watched the teaser for “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” I wondered where Rocket Raccoon was.  It appears that he actually turns up, but only for a moment (he’s behind a clearly pissed Groot, firing a gun).

Thanks to faraway for the eagle eye!