The Villainy of Ben Mendelsohn

Is it even possible that Ben Mendelsohn can play anything but a villain? I’m admittedly not too familiar with his filmography–I first noticed the actor from Netflix’s Bloodline (2015-2017) where he was less an antagonist than just troubled–though the next thing I caught him in was 2016’s Rogue One where as Admiral Krennic he was so villainous that if he had a mustache he would likely have twirled it, Snidely Whiplash-style.

He supposedly was in 2012’s The Dark Knight (I assume his role was a relatively minor one because I don’t remember seeing him) though I suspect I’ve seen him more than I think because he’s been appearing in movies since the early 1980’s.

I bring him up because Entertainment Weekly has just released some photos from Marvel Studios upcoming Captain Marvel with Mendelsohn as–you guessed it–a villain.

I’d be worried he was being typecast I’d it weren’t for the fact that he’s so prolific.

Here’s he’s playing the leader of the shape-shifting Skrulls.

Dunkirk – Trailer 1

For an ‘EVENT THAT SHAPED OUR WORLD’–emphasis their’s, not mine–I readily admit that I have never heard of this particular conflict in World War II, though I don’t know if that’s due to a failing of the American education system or a de-emphasis of it because it doesn’t seem to directly involve the United States.

Having read on the Dunkirk evacuation on Wikipedia I assume it to be the latter because, while the United States did fight in WWII, we weren’t a part of this particular episode. 

That being said, I enjoy War films, though looking at the trailer I hope the movie has occasional elements of the miraculous and bizarre (which may be present, just not in the trailer) like Apocalypse Now because I can think of nothing as surreal as war, where extreme acts of inhumanity and brutality play out side by side with those of remarkable heroism and bravery.

Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) so I expect this movie to be very grounded, which is a pity.  

Are Universal & Legendary Preparing A Movie Based On Marvel’s Namor The Submariner?

Welcome To The Rumor Mill, where I occasionally take a closer look at a rumor winding its way through the Interwebs to see if there’s any fire to accompany all the smoke.

A few days ago, I wrote a piece, Is Sony Mismanaging The Spider-Man Franchise, as part of the My Two Cents column.  In that particular article I spent some time clarifying the history of Marvel Studios as well as taking a look at Sony’s Spider-Man movies (those by Sam Raimi as well as Marc Webb).

I also mentioned that Universal has the license to Namor The Submariner (they had the Hulk as well, though due to its sub-par box office performance they let the rights revert back to Marvel) though Matt McGloin at Cosmicbooknews takes things a bit further by promoting the idea that Universal is working on Namor with Legendary Pictures (fresh off their somewhat acrimonious breakup with Warner Bros).

The evidence McGloin sites is that Thomas Tull, the head of Legendary, had worked on numerous superhero films when his company partnered with Warner Bros.  While that’s true–Legendary and Warner Bros produced Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises)–that doesn’t mean that he’s working on Namor.

Cosmicbooknews also informs us that “…Universal and Legendary announced a mystery tentpole movie for November 4th, 2016.”

Other sites have confirmed that as well, but there’s no mention of Namor.  So where did Cosmicbooknews get that bit of information from?

I suspect that Latino-Review lies at the epicenter of this particular rumor, and while their position, and the evidence they use to support it, is interesting, it’s so circumstantial that it’s also more wishful thinking than anything else.

Verdict:  It’s entirely possible–and in fact very likely, if only based upon the popularity of Marvel superheroes–that there that there will be a movie based on Namor in the near future, though there’s nothing that says that it’s coming November 4th, 2016.  Until I can locate more supporting evidence, I have to say that this rumor lacks smoke, never mind fire. 

‘Interstellar’ Trailer

The British trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar was posted by Warner Bros a few hours ago, and it’s…OK.  It seems that at some point in an indeterminate future we lose the ability to feed ourselves (despite the huge cornfields in the trailer) though luckily Matthew McConaughey is around to pilot a mission to find other habitable worlds.

Along the way the astronauts apparently encounter the sphere from Sphere.

The trailer also reminded me of Salvage 1, though I assume that McConaughey didn’t build his spaceship out of junk.

Though what I am really curious about is if Christopher Nolan can make a huge movie that has nothing to do with Batman.  Technically you could say he already has, being that he also directed Memento as well as Inception.

Though Memento was his first mainstream feature, and had a relatively small budget ($7 million dollars)–he directed Following prior–and Inception came between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, which was a really great place to be.

The question remains: Can he still bring his A-game without the Bat?

Postmortem: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Have you ever seen a movie, like “Prometheus,” for instance, in which you were blown away when you first saw it in the theaters, only to see it again and wonder what the whole point was?  In this edition of ‘Postmortem’ I take another look at “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” a movie that I enjoyed the first time around, though I wanted to see it could stand repeated viewings.

I divided it up into six areas:  3D, Violence, Acting, Villains, Heroes and Story.

  • 3D

When I caught the 3D version of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” having already seen the non-dimensionally enhanced version two weeks earlier, I did so primarily to see if it holds up to repeated viewings though I was also curious as to whether the 3D was necessary.  And for those individuals that haven’t seen it in 3D, don’t worry about it.  It isn’t necessary and doesn’t add much in the way of value, though in scenes where large machinery was in play, like with the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers, or when there are explosions with lots of debris it was very interesting.

Other scenes, in other words most of the movie, not so much.

Verdict:  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” isn’t markedly different–with the exception of a few scenes where it really pops–in 3D.  Check it out if you’re curious, but your money could be better spent elsewhere.  

  • Violence

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is without a doubt an action movie.  There’re numerous fight scenes early on, and they tend to be very visceral and physical.  Is it as violent as “Man Of Steel,” which for me sets the benchmark for superhero movie violence (including movies like “Kickass” and “Kickass 2,” though they differ in that gratuitous violence is what they’re selling to an extent.  Both are bloody and so over-the-top that they play more like a cartoon than anything else, which is their whole point)?

I’d have to say, No.  Captain America is violent, without a doubt, but that violence is of a more “realistic” nature and focused on individuals, as opposed to hundreds or thousands of people.  The scale of the violence in ‘Winter Soldier,’ as well as the way it’s edited,is focused less on the destruction itself and more on the athleticism of armed and unarmed combat.

Verdict: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an action film, but one that’s on a very human scale.  As a result, comes across as thrilling, as opposed to gratuitous.

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