A ‘Strange’ Case of Nonsense

A few days ago Kevin Feige confirmed that there would be a Doctor Strange sequel, which must have been a comfort to the people too clueless to not know better. The original movie earned almost $678 million–on a budget of $165 million–so if there weren’t a sequel it certainly wouldn’t be because it wasn’t profitable.Then let’s not forget that Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill (director and co-writer) have both said numerous times on Twitter that they not only did they think that there’d be a sequel, but that they were looking to have Nightmare as the villain. And that’s on top of Strange’s great showing in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, making the character more popular than ever. And if that weren’t evidence enough consider that some of the actors that portray the foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe–Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans in particular–will likely sacrifice themselves to stop Thanos in Avengers 4, which means they’ll need more heavy-hitters like Benedict Cumberbatch to replace them.As I implied earlier, fairly obvious.

Advertisements

Doctor Strange – Review

doctor-strange-poster-1

“Visually, Marvel’s Doctor Strange is unlike any movie you’ve probably seen.”

And that’s not hyperbole.  Some of the visual effects in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange may have had their genesis in other movies–such as Inception–but he takes them to places that you have never seen before.

Green screen is also nothing new, but the way it’s used to define movement in an landscape often modeled on the work of M.C. Escher, is.

Though like I mention in my review, it feels as if the human relationships weren’t quite as fully-realized as those aforementioned effects (with perhaps the exception of Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One, who every time she turns up on screen the movie takes a moment to catch its breath.

As a result, Doctor Strange is that odd sort of movie that you want to see again not only because of special effects worthy of the name, but to see if the personal and interpersonal relationships in the movie fare as well.

Doctor Strange International Trailer

Comicbook.com posted an international trailer for Scott Derrickson’s upcoming Doctor Strange, and you can see it here.

I haven’t watched it because a movie trailer is a like a single puzzle piece, which when combined with others form a more complete image of what that movie happen to be.

The problems start when you assemble those pieces, which defeats the purpose of seeing it, if whomever is doing the marketing isn’t careful.

As I said, I stopped watching new Doctor Strange trailers a few months ago; an embargo I have no intention of stopping.

Though if you want to–and I don’t advise it–eat your heart out (not literally.  You need it to live and even if you didn’t, there’s that whole chest bone you have to contend with) but don’t be shocked if the movie is just a bit less amazing when you finally catch it.

 

You Need Faith For That To Work, Mr. Vincent!

Screenshot 2016-07-24 00.45.09That’s paraphrasing vampire Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) to Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) from Tom Holland’s 1985 Fright Night, though it fits what I think I’m seeing from Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange.

It feels almost as if Kevin Feige (or his bosses at Disney, maybe) has a bit less faith in it than in prior projects.

And keep in mind that this is the studio that created hits based on a guy who can shrink to the size of an ant and another which had at its heart (and as its heart) a talking tree and a raccoon.

And if that wasn’t enough there’s director Scott Derrickson’s proven record of success, though probably the biggest thing he tackled prior was 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Which did well, though not remarkably so, at the box office.

There’s no other way that I can explain the 15-minute preview Marvel Studios has  released in theaters that showcases the (hopefully) unique visuals that the movie has to offer.

In a character like Doctor Strange the visuals are a HUGE part of what makes him who he is, so much so that you literally cannot divorce him from them; so revealing them too early potentially spoils–or at the least undermines–an important aspect of the movie.

And I could be wrong–after all, I haven’t seen it–but I’d think that the less the audience sees of the prior to seeing the movie, the better.

Doctor Strange – Trailer Into Reaction

With all the seriously positive buzz coming off of Captain America: Civil War you’d think that I would be all Marveled-out by now, but not at all because Marvel Studios also released a trailer for Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange last evening.

And I really enjoyed it, so much so that I shot a reaction video for it, though I thought to myself that since it isn’t something that I intend to do for all trailers that perhaps it would be a good idea to create an area for my blog specifically for it.

So, welcome to Trailer Into Reaction.

 

Doctor Strange Trailer This Tuesday!?

Screenshot 2016-04-06 16.05.58

The Doctor Is In!  And He’s Strange! 

According to Comicbookmovie.com, the first trailer for Scott Derrickson’s (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil)  upcoming Doctor Strange will be released this Tuesday!

As you can tell from Derrickson’s resume, he’s really into horror movies.

And that’s a good thing because there’s always the chance that not only will Doctor Strange be scarier and weirder than anything that Marvel Studios has done so far, but that it–or a sequel if it does well at the box office–could be used as a launching pad for the adventures of The Midnight Sons, characters that inhabit the darker, more supernatural corners of the Marvel Universe, like Ghost Rider (the rights have reverted back to Marvel a few years ago), Blade (ditto) and Morbius, the Living Vampire.

And before anyone rules out The Midnight Sons, keep in mind that ten years ago no one in their right mindwould think that there would ever be a movie based on Doctor Strange, Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts.

Though come November, there will be.

Hellraiser Sequels As Good As Or Better Than The Original

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is–when viewed in retrospect–hasn’t aged particularly well.

The acting is often campy and overwrought–probably due to a relatively small budget–and some of the special effects weren’t even that good in 1987.

Though Barker did the best with the resources that he had, though I get the feeling that what made the movie most successful was that it took advantage of the ignorance of the average American moviegoer (a ‘cenobite’ is member of a religious order living in a convent or community.  That’s it, though Barker’s genius was that he was able to imbue the word with powers and intimations beyond its humble origins).

Ironically enough, some of the sequels–most of which, rightly so, are maligned in the minds of movie goers–managed to capture that mixture of weirdness and perversity crucial to Barker’s work with even less in the way of budget.

So here’s a list of the best Hellraiser sequels, in order of release.

• Hellhound: Hellraiser II

Arguably the best of the series; it was directed by Tony Randel–who also directed the underrated Amityville: It’s About Time–and took the foundation and characters Barker created and turned them into something greater than the sum of its parts.

It also improved upon Barker’s original in virtually every way, and had some really trippy and disturbing imagery.

• Hellraiser: Inferno

The first Hellraiser film from Miramax, as well as the directoral debut of Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange), Hellraiser: Inferno is interesting because it manages to take the Hellraiser formula and successfully take it into a more psychological direction.  The horror’s there, but the movie is more of a journey into the mind of its protagonist (in this instance, Det. Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer).

• Hellraiser: Hellseeker

By this time the Hellraiser movies budgetary restrictions are painfully apparent, but director Rick Bota does well with a story that brings back Kirsty Cotten (Ashley Lawrence) and connects directly to the original movies.

• Hellraiser: Bloodline

For some reason Hellraiser: Bloodline is much maligned–which probably has more than a little to do with the fact that the original director, Kevin Yeager, left the production due to studio interference and had to be replaced by Joe Chappelle, who had to cobble a movie together from Yeager’s completed footage–though I have always found it more interesting that most of the sequels.

Not everything worked, but when it did it was pretty effective.

But don’t take my word for it.  Most of the Hellraiser films are on Netflix, so you can choose for yourself which is the best.