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  • At the Screwvies: Episode 115

    22 hours ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: What's up guys, hope you're enjoying the end of your summer vacation. Hopefully its spent in Singapore surrounded by insanely wealthy socialites and living a life of luxury. Instead of us, trapped in a crappy dimly lit apartment, trying desperately to clean up all the puppet jizz that's literally everywhere and went on for way too long. Its a felt Jackson Pollock if there ever was one. So yeah, I had hoped for a slightly better end to the summer season, but here we are.


    LARRY: Damn that was quite a descriptive intro, Mad. Not sure I’m happy about it.


    STICKMAN: Puppet Jizz is our lives now, we might as well accept that.


    MADHERO: Once you've seen a puppet blow its load, its hard to forget. Anyway, we might as well take a break and go talk about some news.


    LARRY: *shudders*


    NEWS

    ACADEMY AWARDS ANNOUNCE 3 HOUR RUN TIME AND NEW CATEGORY OF BEST POPULAR FILM FOLLOWING DECLINING RATINGS

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    Normally, we wouldn't be talking the Oscars until at least October, but recent changes have sounded off the biggest change to the Academy since 2009, when they expanded the Best Picture nominees from 5 to a maximum of 10. That change, initially implemented to get more known films in the biggest category, has largely failed, and the show in general continues to decline in ratings, with the latest show scoring the lowest ratings in their history. This has led to some pretty major changes which have been received... let's say mixed.


    Under pressure from ABC, the show will be cut to 3 hours, as well as from 2020 on, will be held earlier in the year. That shorter length will mean that some award winners and speeches will be done whilst commercials are going on and will appear later at some point in the broadcast. While I don't think anyone will disagree with the length, its shitty that some smaller awards will not be allowed to shine to millions. The more egregious decision, comes in the form of a new category: Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film, meant to highlight the blockbusters that generally have an hard time getting nominated. Pretty much everyone has dunked on this decision, with it being a pretty blatant attempt to get films like Black Panther on the ballot which is otherwise a less sure thing. As of right now, its hard to say what the award even means, but it can't help but sound condescending to both normal and unorthodox Best Picture nominees. Look forward to our predictions at the end of the year.


    LARRY: I’m still waiting to hear exactly what that award even means, to be honest. But on paper, it doesn’t sound like a good idea.


    STICKMAN: Siiiiiigh. The Oscars just don't get it.


    MADHERO: O those poor blockbusters. Now we finally get to see Vin Diesel win a Oscar for Fast 10.


    STICKMAN: Everyone's asked them to take mainstream cinema more seriously, instead they're throwing it the world’s worst  bone.


    MADHERO: Its doing what the Best Picture award was meant to do when it expanded, which it did in the beginning (Districht 9, Avatar, Toy Story 3) but only made room for more "arty" films. Which should be fine, the best films should be nominated, but it didn't help matters.


    STICKMAN: The best films should be nominated, but I think we can all agree that they generally aren't. Some? Maybe. But not most.


    LARRY: The best films from the general consensus, sure. Arthouse films generally always have a strong showing.


    MADHERO: Its still really difficult to know what this category is going to entail. That's up for speculation, and the Academy has stated that films nominated for this new category can still get nominated for Best Picture, but that road feels a lot more difficult now.


    LARRY: Yeah, again, so many factors could determine what this award means. I’m waiting to hear those before I blow a gasket. But I can see why people aren’t happy.


    STICKMAN: My main thing right now is presenting some of the awards outside of the show. That's fucking stupid.


    LARRY: Yeah I HATE that. That’s upsetting me more, honestly. The Tonys do that and it’s so annoying.


    MADHERO: It sucks for the lesser categories who won't get a chance to shine, so that ABC can add more staged invasions of cinemas with hot dog cannons.


    STICKMAN: There shouldn't be "lesser categories" though. The awards are a celebration of cinema and the people who make them. Not just Brad Pitt getting a free pizza.


    LARRY: Exactly. Every category is worthy of being showcased.


    MADHERO: I can't pretend to care as much about Short Documentary as I do the main categories, but it’s still nice for those people to get recognition, like the winner of Best Short doing her speech in sign language.


    STICKMAN: It's not about what one person cares about, though. It's about the achievement of reaching that level of recognition, and also shining a spotlight on less celebrated corners of the medium. I FEEL.


    LARRY: If someone is getting an award, it deserves to be recognized as a part of the ceremony. Period. This is only going to create a more thorough dichotomy between types of awards, which sucks because everyone in the industry works hard.


    STICKMAN: Instead of adding a Popular FIlms category they should be adding Stunt Work or Motion Capture .


    MADHERO: We're going to see what happens in terms of ratings. Its obvious thosr have continued to decline which is why it has happened. Will this change things? i doubt it, but we'll see in late February.


    SONY DETAILS PLANS FOR SPIDER-MAN FILMS. SILVER SABLE/BLACK CAT MOVIE NOW 2 SEPARATE FILMS. VENOM LOOKING TO BE PG-13 FOR POTENTIAL CROSSOVER

    So, we’ve known for a while now that, despite the trailers receiving mixed reactions and the actual film not having even been released yet (oy...), Sony is putting its bets on Venom to kickstart a brand new cinematic universe focused on the many supporting baddies in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. We knew they were working on several different projects, but perhaps we didn’t realize just how deep this delusion goes. Somehow, they seem to be topping their last ridiculous effort to MCU the Spidey universe, which was canned after ASM2 was a commercial and critical failure.


    Besides for our goopy friend’s cinematic return, which is now probably going to be PG-13 instead of R to potentially crossover with Spidey’s escapades in the MCU, we got Morbius starring Jared Leto, the previously announced “Silver and Black” movie, focusing on Silver Sable and Black Cat, will now be two solo films, with original director Gina Prince-Bythewood most likely going from director to producer. As far as new stuff, Richard Wenk is writing a solo film for Kraven the Hunter (now THAT’S a movie I would pay to see), we are also seeing Sony pushing diversity in a trio of solo films for Silk, a Korean-Amerixan female superhero, Jackpot, an older heroine (and, depending on which identity they choose, a lesbian), and Nightwatch (not much there but he’s cool I guess). While all of these plans sound ridiculously out of nowhere story-wise and have barely even begun development, at least there’s diversity I guess. The bottom line is that clearly Sony has learned nothing since their last fuck up, and if Venom turns out to be as shitty as it looks, we’re looking at yet another cinematic universe going up in flames...or down in goop...I dunno.


    STICKMAN: Make it stoOoOOop.


    MADHERO: Extreme Detective Cooper voice: ITS HAPPENING AGAIN!


    STICKMAN: Why can't they wait and see what the response to Venom is before making 50,000 film plans and shoving teasers for them all into their movies. Did they learn nothingggg from Amazing Spider-Man?


    LARRY: Apparently not. Literally nothing.


    MADHERO: Just you wait when they revive that Aunt May spy prequel thing


    STICKMANLast Saturday at 10:37 PM

    Oooyyy. I will say, the focus on diversity is great, I think that's important, although I feel for Sony it's more them sniffing the cash train that was Black Panther, but there you go.


    LARRY: What’s hysterical to me is that, with the Fox merger, it’s only becoming clearer that Sony has no reason to own the characters it has the rights to. They simply don’t understand how to do the cinematic universe. It’s so fucking frustrating.


    MADHERO: I mean, they own the license still. Its very much a miracle that Spidey is in the MCU, but the way they're handling this now just screams like they're reviving their Amazing Spider-Man plans, which crashed in a wall.


    STICKMAN: Amazing Spider-Man as a series was really dogged down by the need to establish a UNIVERSE with over-arching mysteries and characters who will become more important later on. Except it didn't work because they didn't make a good enough film with that.


    LARRY: I loved that stupid plot line about the Sinister Six in ASM2. It was so pompous, it was almost like watching a trainwreck happen before it actually happened.


    STICKMAN: Venom looks to be another car crash, prove me wrong, Sony,  I'd love for it to be great, but yeah. Unlikely.


    MADHERO: I feel like Venom is probably going to be its own self-established thing with major sequel bait, but that the films are going to be separate for now. I do find it hilarious they're trying to go PG 13 now.


    LARRY: It looks like a total misfire. Going PG-13? What a joke. You joke about him dismembering people limb from limb and then just like...cutaway? Bullshit.


    STICKMAN: Especially after the trailer's edgy obsession with body parts.


    MADHERO: To be fair, they never promised a R-rating. It just seems like that was the initial plan and they backed out. There's some pretty edgy content in the trailers and that'll be softened, like a turd.... in the wind.


    LARRY: A goopy black turd.


    JAMES GUNN NOT GOING TO BE RE-HIRED BY DISNEY. WILL LIKELY STILL USE HIS SCRIPT AS BASIS

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    A couple episodes ago, we talked about the disappointing news that was James Gunn being fired as director of GotG Vol 3 following a resurfacing of offensive tweets by a right-wing campaign to get him discredited. It's fair to say the story has been a source of constant interest from the various entertainment news outlets of the world, and whilst not much has actually changed, there's still a lot more to unpack. There was apparently some pressure from Marvel Studios towards the heads at Disney to reinstate him as director, including the whole Guardians cast signing a letter. For one fleeting moment, rehiring seemed a possibility, with studio head Alan Horn meeting with James Gunn to discuss things, but he’s ultimately decided to stick to their gun(n)s and not rehire him for the position.


    However, in a move that somewhat negates any moral high ground the studio has by sacking him as director, they still intend to use his script, which does mean he'll still both be credited, and paid by the studio, but seems weird after everything that’s happened. Dave Bautista specifically being very vocal and scathing about the situation, threatening to quit. Despite this, Disney seem to be refusing to budge on the issue,. For Gunn though, there's plenty of interest from other studio's, so he'll find new work, but that does not change the fact how much of a shame this is.


    MADHERO: God, this has only been going on for a month but already feels like forever.


    LARRY: They will use his script but not have him on as director? So...acknowledge his place in the film’s production and credit him yet act as tho he’s this disreputable, offensive person that doesn’t hold Disney’s values?


    STICKMAN: Movies sure are a thing.


    MADHERO: Its a complicated scenario, and it'll likely still use his script albeit with some polishing. Its still a first draft. They can't use it without reaching a settlement with Gunn, but the chance of him directing seems to be officially over.


    LARRY: Alan Horn can go suck Venom’s big tongue for all I care. The man is a hypocritical asshole with no backbone. This is the same dude who banned publications from going to see early critic screenings because of good journalism. I can’t say I’m surprised but I can I’m angry as hell.


    STICKMAN:  Are you telling me Disney aren't the house of magic and wonder and are instead a money-grabbing, cynical corporation teeming with greed and corruption?


    MADHERO: It continues to suck. The reason why especially.  It was all so very unnecessary


    STICKMAN: This situation sucks, especially now they're not even taking any moral high ground and are instead being stubborn about a rash and uncoordinated termination of a major player in their biggest live action franchise. But there you go, Christopher Robin out now in cinemas.


    LARRY: Alan Horn, the man who succumbed to an alt-right rapist and his stupid smear campaign.    


    MADHERO: Oof. Nothing more to add there.


    STICKMAN: None of us are getting jobs at Disney in the future now.


    CHRIS PINE AND CHRIS HEMSWORTH SEEMINGLY OUT OF STAR TREK 4 AFTER PARAMOUNT TRIES TO LOWER SALARY

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    For fans hoping to see two Hollywood Chris’ on screen together at last, those dreams may never see the light of day, sadly. We know that there's a Star Trek 4 in development, having recently hired a hired a director in SJ Clarkson: the first woman to direct one of the films. We also knew it was going to involve some time travel, which would let Chris Hemsworth return as Kirk's father, whom he played before his breaktrhough as Thor.


    However, it now seems that negotiations have fallen through for both Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth The studio is attempting to lower the Chris’ pay cuts due to the last film, Star Trek Beyond, underperforming, but the Chrises won’t budge. And it’s not hard to see why: Pine and Hemsworth are both big players in massive franchises, so to have their pay cuts lowered for a franchise that may not even be worth their time? That’s no good. Thankfully, the remaining mainstay cast members are likely to return, like Zoe Saldana and Jon Cho. But will the series’ main character have to be recast? We’ll have to wait and see.


    MADHERO: Well this sucks. Was really hoping for a Star Trek 4 and it was surprising they went through when Beyond underperformed


    STICKMAN: Can't wait to see what timeline altering bullshit they come up with for Kirk suddenly looking like another vaguely attractive white man.


    MADHERO: Hohoho, Chris Pine is not vaguely attractive. I guess with Wonder Woman he has another franchise to fall back on.


    LARRY: I mean...this won’t stop ST4 I feel. The episodic format makes things a lot more flexible. I can see them leaving Kirk behind and introducing some new protagonist.


    STICKMAN: I feel like there are more people than you'd expect that would be mad about a recast.


    MADHERO: There were people mad when this movie happened, and hell, they just casted a new Spock in Discovery. We know that Chekov won't be recast after Yelchin's death, but either way its a complex scenario. You can’t really skimp on budget with something like Star Trek,


    LARRY: But they sure can try. It’s even funnier cuz it’s the company’s fault Beyond underperformed. It was marketed poorly.


    STICKMAN: There's a lot more space action film competition now then there was when the first Star Trek film came out. Gotta stand out or be fantastic, and Beyond was...okay.


    MADHERO: It’s a shame that it underperformed when it’s probably the best in the trilogy. That Sabotage sequence remains fucking awesome.


    STICKMAN: Sabotage bit was great. Rest of it was....fine.


    MADHERO: We'll always have Discovery, the return of Picard, and that weird Tarantino thing that may or may not happen.


    LARRY: That’s true, it’s not like ST is dead. It’s kinda going through a resurgence.


    STICKMAN: Star Trek Discovery took a weird ass turn in the last half of the season, but it kinda worked. Maybe this next Star Trek movie should take risks and not play it safe or repeat previous stories. Or just...y'know, not boothherr.


    MADHERO: Or go where no one has gone before.


    BEN SCHWARTZ CAST AS SONIC THE HEDGEHOG IN LIVE-ACTION MOVIE

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    It remains hard to believe, but we are getting an Sonic the Hedgehog movie in 2019. We all lost our collective minds when we heard that Jim Carrey was going to play Ivo Robotnik/Doctor Eggman, and we've now seen set photos showing the movie takes place in Green Hill and there will be a chase scene in San Francisco, maybe something similar to City Escape in Sonic Adventure 2. Of course, one of the bigger questions still remained: who would be playing Sonic? Would Roger Craig Smith reprise his role, or would we get some stunt casting and see Jaleel White return? Not the case, as the role has now gone to Ben Schwartz, who's probably best known for being Jean Ralphio in Parks and Recreation.


    Considering Jean Ralphio was an annoying little prick trying way too hard to be cool, its good casting. Schwartz seems really excited about it on his Twitter account, which can't help but be endearing. It also continues his weird crusade to play every blue-tinted characters from 90's childhood, playing Leonardo in the new Ninja Turtles series, Dewey in the Ducktales reboot, and he was a Smurf in the Lost Village. While my excitement for the film mainly revolves around the inevitable meltdown of the Sonic fandom, I can't deny this is pretty good casting. Now to see what he actually looks like.


    STICKMAN: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


    MADHERO: As Ben Schwartz said: I'M SONNNNNNNNNNNNIC!


    STICKMAN: Set photos showed Sonic driving a Range Rover or something and I just...this film gonna be a glorious trainwreck.


    LARRY: I don’t really know Ben Schwartz super well. But from what I’ve seen, he is kinda funny. Would make for a good voice role.


    MADHERO: He's great as an annoying douchebag in Parks and Rec, and that at least are some parts of Sonic's characters. He's also a pretty good voice actor, so he's actually a pretty good choice imo.


    STICKMAN: I feel Roger Craig Smith was an obvious choice to make, he's the modern Sonic voice actor and does a great job, but oh wellllll.


    LARRY: This movie clearly has no intention of replicating modern Sonic lol. At least not in actually interesting ways.


    STICKMAN: WHAT'S THE PPOOOINTT. WHY DO VIDEO GAME MOVIES HAVE TO BE THEIR OWN STUPID THING NOBODY ASKED FOOOOR.


    LARRY: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik has my ticket purchased. This movie could look like the dirtiest turd and I would pay for a ticket.


    MADHERO: I'd have probably gone for Roger Craig Smith as well, but I think Schwartz is a good choice. But hey, I'm just sitting from afar waiting for the bomb to go off


    STICKMAN: I am also waiting for the fireworks but doing so without paying to see the movie. This and Detective Pikachu make 2019 the year of Live Action/CGI mascot video game movies. And I mean...that's a thing?


    MADHERO: 90's video game movies we should've gotten 15 years ago.


    STICKMAN: Can't wait to hear your reasoning for being all on board with a stupid Sonic movie where Green Hill is an American town and Sonic drives an SUV but are also massively opposed to the mere existence of Detective PIkachu, Larry.


    LARRY: Jim. Carrey. Period. Does it look like I’m acknowledging my decision here is rational?


    MADHERO: I'll be sittign from afar, thinking about my former Sonic fan days and laugh.


    STICKMAN: Sonic is dumb and anyone who likes Sonic games is dumb. 


    ALFONSO CUARON DROPS TRAILER FOR NEW FILM ROMA

    As the Summer season draws to a close, we inevitably, as film nerds  start to turn our attention to Oscarbait season. With that potent October-December period approaching rapidly, and the big film festivals gearing up their tantalizing lineups of acclaimed directors and rising talents, we of course, start to get our first look at these potential awards frontrunners. Last episode we talked about Barry Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk', which is looking very nice indeed...this week we've got our first look at Alfonso Cuaron's next movie, Roma. The director of Children of Men and Gravity takes his time making films, but they tend to come out of it pretty damn well, and this seems to be no exception.


    Promising to be a far more personal and intimate film than his previous two releases, Roma is a black and white, Spanish language production that aims to have a limited theater release (Presumably for awards eligibility) followed by a release on the increasingly robust Netflix, who seem to have their hands on several of the biggest contenders for the coming months. The film is set in 1970s Mexico, and is based on Cuaron's own experiences growing up in a middle class home during an escalating and ultimately bloody clash between government forces and student protesters. The trailer showcases some beautiful visuals, and some of the gritty street-level chaos he previously showcased in the spectacular Children of Men. On a whole this is clearly a smaller scale, niche affair compared to his previous sci-fi blockbuster, Gravity, but it's looking very bit as promising at this moment.


    MADHERO: Man, this was a gorgeous trailer. I honestly didn't know this movie was going to be black and white honestly.


    STICKMAN: I'm always here for black and white films that utilise the contrast to make great visuals.


    MADHERO: It definitely looks to be Cuaron's most personal film, which is funny after such a big film like Gravity. He takes his time, but he always delivers.


    LARRY: Yeah it’s a good trailer. Makes me curious to learn what the actual plot is about considering the trailer does nothing to show me. But hey, it beats black and white waves for 30 seconds.


    STICKMAN: I explained what the premise is, bruh.


    LARRY: Yeah the trailer doesn’t do that. That’s my point.


    STICKMAN: It conveys a mood and hints towards a time of cultural tension.


    MADHERO: Its a bit more interpretative. It’s really weird how slow Cuaron works. I really thought there was something between Children of Men and Gravity, but nope. Then again, the latter took quite a while to get made. Going back to Mexico, to essentially his childhood is gonna be an interesting experience.


    LARRY: Aesthetically it’s nice, but I wanted a few more concrete details. I’m mixed with Cuaron personally, so I’m hoping this return to his roots makes for something less pretentious and more personal.


    STICKMAN: I feel it said plenty without any words, which was cool. But there you go. I love Cuaron, even his Harry Potter film was the best one.


    LARRY: I wasn’t a huge fan of Gravity. But I do like Children of Men and Azkaban.


    MADHERO: To me, Cuaron hasn't gone wrong for me yet. Its gonna be a different ride from him, but I'm sure it'll be amazing.


    ---------------

    MADHERO: Alright, I think that's about it in terms of news. The end of August is upon us, and we actually have an event movie to end the summer with a bang. Just a bummer that event ain't for us. Damn you under-served market who finally get to see themselves on screen! I have nothing for me, a white man!


    STICKMAN: We have an event movie? Is it Godzilla?


    LARRY: I say it’s an event movie for everyone!!


    MADHERO: I'm of course referring to puppets everywhere who finally get to see themselves on screen, and I guess Asian people as well get something nice.


    LARRY: We can all celebrate representation!! Those puppets need love!!


    STICKMAN: #MakePuppetsJizzAgain


    MADHERO: ....Let's talk about the Asian movie first.


    MOVIES

    CRAZY RICH ASIANS

    DIRECTOR: Jon Chu (Jem and the Holograms, Now You See Me 2)

    STARRING: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Lisa Lu, Chris Pang, Sonoya Mizuno

    SYNOPSIS: Chinese American economics professor Rachel Chu (Wu) accompanies her boyfriend (Golding) to Singapore for his best friend's (Pang) wedding, only to become thrust into the lives of Asia's rich and famous.

    LARRY: Visual splendor and representation? Nice.


    STICKMAN: See, this film isn't not for me because of who it's about, it's not for me because it's a romantic comedy. Looks very nice visually, for sure.


    MADHERO: So as someone who grew partially in Asia, its funny to see this film come to life in such extravagant fashion.


    LARRY: Yeah, it’s a romcom, but after Love, Simon, I’ve come to accept the importance of the genre if it means good representation, and I’m here to support that.


    MADHERO: Yeah, its funny, with the traditional having largely been relegated to Netflix. Apparently they were very interested in distributing this, but the director really wanted a theatrical release


    LARRY: And for good reason.


    STICKMAN: I think it's great these films exist but I'm a lonely man without anyone to hold me at night and I care not for the romance of others.


    LARRY: If that doesn’t summarize Sticky perfectly, I don’t know what does.


    MADHERO: Its basically the Asian version of Black Panther. Its great that it not only does representation well, but that its also a pretty good romantic comedy.


    STICKMAN: I bet it has better CGI than Black Panther.


    MADHERO: Don't need no CG when you have Michelle Yeoh.


    LARRY: How did we get two Akwafina movies this year...?


    MADHERO: Well when you need as much Asian actors as you can, it just sorta happens. Like I said, its not for me, but I'm glad so many people get to see themselves represented. And hey, my sister liked it.


    STICKMAN: Representation is important, films that aren't romantic comedies are more important, though.


    MILE 22

    DIRECTOR: Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day)

    STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey

    SYNOPSIS: An elite American intelligence officer (Wahlberg), aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer (Uwais) with sensitive information out of Indonesia.

    STICKMAN: The Overwatch movie we've all been waiting for.


    LARRY: Oh hey, Mark Wahlberg.


    MADHERO: I guess the 22 refers to the Rotten Tomatoes score


    STICKMAN: OOHH SHIT B-B-BUURRN. What a perfectly good waste of Iko Uwais.


    LARRY: Now I just wanna rewatch The Raid.


    MADHERO: Mark Wahlberg can play a lot of things. A genius is not one of them. Also wasting Iko Uwais through shitty editing should be a war crime. I saw some clips and its Taken 3 levels of cuts.


    STICKMAN: Disgusting. The Raid 2 is where it's really at. Get that man a John Wick movie stat.


    MADHERO: This is the 4th Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg joint, and maybe its time to call it quits on this relationship.


    STICKMAN: Mark Wahlberg should try some brighter colours one day. Less black leather, maybe a nice pink number?


    LARRY: A few warm blues. A neon purple?


    MADHERO: Lets eat a Wahlburger and get outta here.


    THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

    DIRECTOR: Brian Henson (Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island)

    STARRING: Bill Barretta, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks

    SYNOPSIS: In a world where puppets exist but are reviled by society, puppet private investigator, Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta), reunites with his ex-partner Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) to find a serial killer who murdered Phil's brother and is now targeting the cast members of the 1980s television series The Happytime Gang.

    MADHERO: Oh man, what a journey this has been.


    STICKMAN: If you can call plummeting off a cliff a journey.


    MADHERO; One part of me is amazed this movie is actually coming out. The other is annoyed that it looks kinda bad.


    STICKMAN: The trailers are just so embarrassing and edgy. This is a disaster.


    LARRY: I know this isn’t really clever at all, but yeah, this movie looks really bad.


    STICKMAN: Mellisa McCarthy, like...you want to give her a chance  and not just immediately assume everything she's in sucks? But then...she stars in films like this? It's like a warning sign.


    LARRY: McCarthy self-enables her own shitty spiral of films. She collaborates with similar filmmakers multiple times, and sticks to a relatively similar style of humor in each film.


    MADHERO: I don't think you can accuse of being safe with a project like this, but yeah, not a fan. The original pitch sounded really clever and interesting in that it took a hardboiled noir approach. That seems all gone in favor of way more puppet jizz.


    STICKMAN: We don't get many puppet films, can we like, not make them awful when we do them? Lets make a puppet horror movie where the humans are the monster.


    MADHERO: Stickman, you should probably check out Puppet Master soon.


    ALPHA

    DIRECTOR: Albert Hughes (From Hell, The Book of Eli)

    STARRING: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Leonor Varela, Jens Hulten, Johannes Johanesson

    SYNOPSIS: After a Steppe bison hunting expedition 20,000 years ago in Europe goes awry, a young man (Smit-McPhee) struggles against the elements to find his way home, all the while developing a friendship with a wolf.

    LARRY: Ooh doggies.


    STICKMAN: Oh good another dog movie.


    MADHERO: Boy meets dog meets Ice Age meets The Revenant


    LARRY: What a mixture.


    MADHERO: Apparently this movie is actually pretty good. I get the feeling this probably sat on a shelf and they're only releasing it now to be rid of it


    STICKMAN: Also it looks nice visually but other than that it seems very generic and obviously heavy on the MAN'S BEST FRIEND sentimentality which is very overdone. Marley and BC.


    MADHERO: It does look very pretty in the trailers. Also apparently the actors don’t speak English, which is a nice risky move.


    LARRY: I have a friend who saw it and surprisingly liked it, so I may give it a shot. Not on the top of my list, tho.


    STICKMAN: I figured they weren't speaking English since nobody talks in the trailer apart from an obviously forced in narration.


    MADHERO: That felt very old school. It was weird.


    STICKMAN: Anyway this movie looks okay and it's got doggies in it so.


    A.X.L.

    DIRECTOR: Oliver Daly (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Alex Neustaedter, Becky G, Thomas Jane, Dominic Rains

    SYNOPSIS: A.X.L. is a top-secret, robotic dog who develops a special friendship with Miles (Neustaedter) and will go to any length to protect his new companion.

    MADHERO: The first man/dog relationship? FUCK THAT! GIVE ME ROBO-DOG!


    STICKMAN: The sequel to Alpha, but like, the 8th installment in the series where things got a bit out of hand. And they end up in space or whatever.


    LARRY: On the other hand....... I’m just surprised the name AXL made it past the writer’s room.


    STICKMAN: Shoulda called it Bark and BYTE.


    MADHERO: This again feels like someone that sat on a shelf and is only now coming out to be rid of it. Also no surprise its coming from Global Road, a studio that's begging to die.


    STICKMAN: I mean the robot dog is cute I guess. I'm getting Monster Truck vibes though.


    LARRY: It’s pretty ferocious looking. Not very cute.


    STICKMAN: Nah. You shouldn't judge a robot by its weaponry Larry, did you learn nothing from The Iron Giant.


    MADHERO: Its very much a grown up Monster Trucks, but it probably wasn't as pointlessly expensive.


    STICKMAN: You better believe we got sick bike tricks, robot dogs, you betcha. Don't even worry about it.


    MADHERO: You can either watch prehistoric doggo's or future doggo's. What a time to be alive.


    LARRY: I choose no doggos, thanks.


    STICKMAN: I'm really more of a cat person.


    ---------------

    MADHERO: Alright, no dogs then. Then maybe we'll go for MOVIE OF THE WEEK


    STICKMAN: OoOoOOHH? WHAT DOG FILMS DO WE HAVE HERE THEN?


    MADHERO: I don't think there's any dogs involved  in my movie. Don't really know if its also the case for you guys.


    LARRY: There are....I think no dogs. I honestly cannot recall.


    MADHERO: Maybe they're hidden under all those hoods. I guess that's kind of a tease of what you're talking about, so maybe you go first.


    LARRY: Wowwwwwwwww. Alright, well here goes nothing...


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    LARRY: My MOTW is the ridiculously spelled BlacKkKlansman, the latest Spike Lee joint. As I’m sure we all know, Lee can be a bit hit or miss because of how politically volatile and strongly stylistic his filmmaking is. However, I can attest that this is one of his better joints, and arguably a return to form to the nuanced, powerful days of “She’s Gotta Have It” and “Do The Right Thing.”

    Naturally, a story about a black cop infiltrating the KKK seems to be pretty straightforward, but believe it not, Lee doesn’t paint one side as a clear hero, bringing multiple sides of the discussion into the light, from cops, to Jews, to black protestors, and not shying away from seeing the shades of gray. Beyond this, there is also incredibly poignant, almost disturbing juxtaposition that makes for some of the most intense and captivating scenes of the year. Beyond this, it has an excellent cast, smart cinematography, pitch-perfect pacing, and an ending that, while a bit too indulgent in my opinion, will surely leave people speechless. Along with Blindspotting, this is a film that takes its politics and uses them to portray an interesting, hilarious, and action-packed narrative.


    MADHERO: Ooooooooh, things about to get spicy in here.


    LARRY: I mean...it’s good. It’s very good.


    STICKMAN: I can't work out if this is a comedy or not. Trailer gave off comedy vibes but I've been hearing a lot of people talk about how shocking and upsetting it is.


    LARRY: It has comedic elements for sure, but it is rooted in drama.


    MADHERO: I figured as much. A lot of Spike's movies still have some comedy in them. Do the Right Thing is also a drama steeped with a lot of comedy.


    STICKMAN: I guess the drama just tilted on the comedic angle a lot.


    LARRY: Yes, especially when it comes to David Duke.


    MADHERO: Speaking of the Dukester. How's Topher Grace? I hear he and Adam Driver might be up for Best Supporting Actor.


    STICKMAN: Venom himself up for an Oscar? What crazy times.


    LARRY: I think Driver comes much closer than Grace. No question.


    MADHERO: I'm gonna see this film as soon as I can. I don't think it'll have the same response as it'll have in the States, but that's stating the obvious.


    STICKMAN: I'm pretty sure it's not screening at my cinema but then what else is new. Guess I'll wait and seeee.


    LARRY: Hopefully you’ll get the chance to see it!!


    STICKMAN: SPEAKING OF...uhh....what's your film Mad.


    MADHERO: Well. Its up to me to bring it back to the mainstream and go for something the whole world can enjoy. Does a movie like Avengers Infinity War even need introduction? Chances are that you've probably seen it, enjoyed all the memes and are chomping to bits for the eventual Avengers 4 to come in 2019.

    Its been a film where we had to dedicate an entire spoiler special to, and for good reason. A lot happens in Infinity War, and it really does feel  like its the endgame, even when we'll get a whole other batch of Marvel movies afterwards. It breaks so many rules in the movie playbook: it doesn't really have a set protagonist/main character, and it ends in a really unexpected fashion. So by this point, you already know whether you're with this film or not. Its gonna be impenetrable for anyone that's not been on the MCU ride, but for the millions that are ,its a great time that leaves you begging for more.


    STICKMAN: Never heard of it.


    LARRY: Avengers? Sounds like some arthouse indie.


    MADHERO: Oh. Well, guys, there's this thing called the MCU. There's 20 of them, and you need to see at least half to get this movie sooooo..... GOOD LUCK!


    LARRY: Meh, I’ll pass.


    STICKMAN: I'll have to check it out some time I dunno. Not really my thing.


    MADHERO: Well when you do, lemme know what you think. These films are really funny, but this one is definitely more of a bummer that won't make you feel so good, but it has some great action along the way.


    STICKMAN: I'll stick to the DCEU I thin-I CAN'T EVEN JOKE ABOUT THAT.


    LARRY: I mean, it’s not like this film has both John Brolin AND RDJ. I mean, that may make me reconsider.


    MADHERO: Quite a few actors, yeah. Too many some would say. Anyway, what's your MOTW Sticky? Is it something we've all heard of?


    STICKMAN: OH LOOK, IT'S A QUIET PLACE. The hit horror movie of 2018....well....it's a hit movie anyway, whether or not you consider it horror, or merely an intense sci-fi drama is up for debate, and the real hit HORROR of the year so far has to be Hereditary...but...there's one thing you can't deny about A Quiet Place, which is that it's very good indeed.

    Starring that guy from The Office and Emily Blunt as parents trying to protect their children, both born and unborn in a post-apocalyptic America, where aliens that hunt based on even the smallest detectable sounds have invaded and wiped out most of the population. Those that survive have to live in basically total silence, making for a very unique and constantly tense cinematic experience, which made for a fantastic, oddly surreal time at the cinema, and I'm sure will still work well now it's on the ol' home videos. Again, as a horror film it's somewhat lacking, I feel, but as a drama, and a high concept sci-fi film? It's really great stuff, and well worth a watch, providing you can deal with the tension, and the feels.


    LARRY: So, yeah, this movie is damn good.


    MADHERO: Oh hey, I've heard about this movie, which may or may not be good considering you're meant to be quiet.


    STICKMAN: It's all very hush hush. But not like the movie, Hush.


    MADHERO: It remains really weird that it was John Krasinski directed this film. It’s definitely something you expect from a new genre filmmaker. Not Jim of the Office.


    LARRY: Yeah, I agree that this movie makes for a very unique filmgoing experience. Actually forces the audience to shut up.


    STICKMAN: He does a good job in the directing seat, but also gives a great lead performance. He's a real go gette.r that Jim.


    LARRY: I absolutely loved Krasinski in this film. Hard to imagine him as macho but then you give him a beard


    STICKMAN: Now he's a real daddy type.


    MADHERO: Slight weakness to nails tho.


    STICKMAN: Oof. Chekov's Nail. But yeah, just imagine The Last of Us with the sound turned off and you've got a good idea of this movies tone.


    LARRY: Perfect description, honestly. Except no infection and zombies and stuffz


    -----------------

    MADHERO: Cool. I think that about wraps up everything. Its time to go back to school as Hollywood faces the September Slump. Guess we'll just go to this not at all creepy Sunday School.


    LARRY: Uh oh


    STICKMAN: There are Nun scarier schools than that.


    MADHERO: Well its either that or....... damn.... September Slump is gonna make this difficult to discuss. We'll make it work though. Laaaaaaaaater


    STICKMAN: INSERT JUMPSCARE HERE GOODBYE


    LARRY: GOTTA TURN MY VOLUME DOWN OH WAIT BYE

  • Mile 22 Is Sloppy, Choppy, and, Worst of All, Kind of Boring.

    4 days ago

    ericvespe

    I was looking forward to Mile 22. I knew it wasn't going to be high art or even giant budgeted spectacle, but there's plenty of room between those two things for a fun movie.


    The premise is simple: a squad of badasses have to get from point A to point B in a certain amount of time and pretty much everybody in-between those two points is trying to kill them. We've seen this one done before. The low key, but still pretty solid, Bruce Willis starrer 16 Blocks did it and The Raid kind of did it as well, but the twist here was it was a modern warfare take of a trained group of people instead of one guy fighting his way through some baddies.


    When you add in Peter Berg directing, Mark Wahlberg starring and a team comprised of people like Ronda Rousey, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais and John Malkovich as their eye-in-the-sky overseer then you have the makings of some real fun B-grade entertainment.


    The problem is they fucked it up on a fundamental level. 



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    Structurally this thing was doomed from the script stage. Wahlberg and his team don't even start on their title 22 mile trek until halfway through the movie so the whole reason you want to watch the movie feels rushed. I could forgive that if they spent the first half of the movie really focused on character, making us care about the team before they go into the shit, but instead they spend that time trying to be quippy while over-explaining a hilariously convoluted plot.


    The Raid's Iko Uwais is a cop who has knowledge of the location of some deadly powder that I guess acts like a nuclear bomb, irradiating entire cities if sprinkled on the ground. He'll tell the US where all this stuff is if they can get him safely out of his country. It's 22 miles from the embassy where he's being held and the airplane that will take him to America and it's up to Mark Wahlberg and his crew to get him there.


    We don't really need anything else plot-wise, but nobody told director Peter Berg or screenwriter Lea Carpenter that. No, there's a subplot about evil Russians infiltrating the mission and a ridiculously in-depth backstory on Mark Wahlberg's childhood. I get that we need these characters to have personality and tics, but making Wahlberg's character an autistic genius who puts together “impossible” puzzles in his spare time doesn't really match up with the high-strung 'roid rage character he plays for most of the movie. In fact it seems like the only reason we're given that particular backstory is so he has a reason to snap a rubber band around his wrist over and over again in his many monologue scenes.


    Critics were unkind to Ben Affleck's The Accountant, but at least his character is consistent. His ability to be an incredible assassin was directly tied into his character making his autism work for him. There's definitely a conversation to be had about using a real thing that real people have to integrate into their lives this way in movies, but we can all agree that Affleck's character being autistic meant something to that film's story We don't get anything like that in Mile 22.


    They tell us Mark Wahlberg is a genius, but we never see any evidence of it. He's just a good soldier. He doesn't ever outthink his opponent or show more focus or anything. He's just good at shooting and working under fire. That's it.


    The movie also lets down his squad. Ronda Rousey is established as a good fighter and you know she's tough because she says “fuck” a lot and... then doesn't do anything with her. The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan is given some dramatic meat with a pending divorce and child custody battle brewing while she's supposed to be dealing with this intense situation. Cohan does a good job showing the character's ability to compartmentalize without making her feel cold and uncaring about her family, but that doesn't change the fact that for the first half of the movie her character doesn't do much more than awkwardly get angry at phone calls with her soon to be ex, inexplicably played by Berg himself.



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    Iko Uwais is the standout here. His character is mysterious, multi-layered and the only one who gets a chance to really show off just how formidable he is. It might help that he also choreographed most of the fight scenes and he's involved with roughly 90% of them, but it's a testament to just how effortlessly badass he is that his choreography shows through Berg's quick-cut editing style at all. The geography is rarely established and the hand to hand scenes are shot so close and cut so quickly that it's doubly frustrating for anybody who has seen The Raid films and know what Uwais is capable of.


    They try to do something interesting and different with the ending. Naturally I won't go into any detail on that, but I will say I liked the direction, but it was too little too late at that point.


    So the movie fails on a character level, on a pacing level and on a fun action film level. Those are the three things that should have been a given with this idea and talent involved. The movie was a big whiff for me and I'm no film snob who thinks everything should be a Criterion film. I walked in excited to have a good time at the movies and left angry at the missed opportunity here.

  • Rodriguez Does Rodriguez

    1 week ago

    gianella

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    Alright. I came up with this idea months ago. This has been a long time coming.


    I, Gianella Rodriguez, have decided that it is imperative that I go through acclaimed director Robert Rodriguez’s filmography and watch it all. Why, you ask? Because I’m a tad unhinged and am attracted to doing mildly not-normal things. You know how Andrew Panton went a month only eating chicken when he won a round of PUBG? I live for that brand of strange self-infliction except I doubt this will be a painful process because I like watching movies and I like Robert Rodriguez. One day I’ll pull a ‘watch Grown Ups 2 every week for a year’-esque project but today’s not that day.


    I have equal admiration and resentment towards Robert Rodriguez. Admiration because he changed the filmmaking game with ‘El Mariachi’ (which I haven’t seen) and resentment because he owns the Twitter handle @Rodriguez and while no one else is more deserving of that ownership than he is, I covet the hell out that. I think he’s cool, we’ve got the same last name, I’m gonna watch all his movies. Simple.


    Here’s how I think it’s going to go down. I’m going solely off the Wikipedia page and as of August 2018, it lists 20 films that he has directed (including his short film Bedhead and not including 100 Years because c’mon). The plan (which is less of a plan that I came up with and more a plan that just conveniently fell into my lap) is to watch around about a movie a week and topping it all off at the end with Alita: Battle Angel which is set to come out this December. How effortlessly convenient.


    So there you have it. I’m calling this Rodriguez Does Rodriguez. It’s like the only reason I’ve been put on this earth is to do this.


    (You can also follow this journey on my blog or on Letterboxd - I'm posting on here too though because if you scroll down enough you'll see exactly when I came up with this idea, lmao)

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 114

    2 weeks ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: Oh bother, it looks  like we're in the  tailend of the summer already. That sure went by quicker than expected. We're seeing the last summer movies popping up to see if they can get some of that scrum diddly munny. And hey, its surprisingly packed with content, be it Disney playing with your feels, giant sharks and passe internet memes. Everyone is represented.


    STICKMAN: “When you become an adult, all summers waste by, as do days, months, years...life as we know it. It's all passing as by and we're never going to accomplish all our dreams before we die.” - Winnie the Pooh.


    LARRY: Man I didn't realize Pooh was such a tormented figure...


    MADHERO: Its usually delivered with more whimsy. This is more something the Meg would tell after it chomps you, but enough about that.


    NEWS

    LUCASFILM ANNOUNCES CAST OF STAR WARS EPISODE IX. CARRIE FISHER OFFICIALLY PART OF THE CAST.

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    Its that time of the year again: another Star Wars movie is officially in production. No, not the Last Jedi remake everyone (actually no one) is craving, but Episode IX, which releases in December 2019, giving us a nice break after Solo, not that too many saw it. Anyway, while plot details are kept under wraps. We have returning director JJ Abrams join Twitter and reveal a behind the scenes picture, and we got some word of the casting. The usual suspects are of course there (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver etc.) with the cast now being joined by Keri Russell (The Americans), Richard E. Grant (Logan, Game of Thrones) and relative newcomer Naomi Ackie.


    Mark Hamill, despite all the conspiracies, will be in the film as well, presumably to annoy Kylo Ren a bit as a ghost, as well as Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando. The big question was of course going to be Carrie Fisher, who died in late 2016. Instead of going with CG (a la Rogue One) or recasting, the film will use previously unreleased footage of The Force Awakens to put her in the film.  How seamless this'll be remains to be seen and it’s going to be quite the challenge, but its a great last tribute for her and her iconic presence.  More will likely be revealed around the year, but this seems like a good start.


    STICKMAN: Woooo


    MADHERO: JJ Abrams is on twitter and that's at least one good thing to that hellscape. And I guess this is nice as well


    STICKMAN: JJ Abrams' Twitter is just a Cloverfield sequel in disguise.


    LARRY: I'm happy to see they're at least trying to give Leia the ending she deserves


    MADHERO: The story was very much that Force was going to be Han's story, Jedi Luke's, and IX's would be Leia's. Obviously a lot has to be reconfigured to make that work. We don't know how much extra footage there is to work with, but I admire what they're doing for sure in regarding Fisher's legacy.


    LARRY: Yeah, woulda been reeeeeeeeally bad had they CGI'd it. CGI Leia in Rouge One was really weird for me.


    STICKMAN: I don't really see how they can't use CGI, but I guess the face at least will be authentic? I dunno.


    MADHERO: I think it'd be weird. It was weird in Rogue One and to use if for someone that recently deceased would've just felt wrong. Don't think response would be good, even if it would've been understandable.


    STICKMAN: After Last Jedi I can't say I'm particularly excited for a continuation of these films, but hey ho, I'm sure I'll be hearing about it 100% of my time on planet earth in the coming months towards release anyway.


    LARRY: That's the spirit!


    MADHERO: Well its got ya boi back. Will get his own emoji and everything.  Will also be neat to see Billy Dee Williams back, and I'm super curious about Russell's role because she's an great actress.


    STICKMAN: #JJAbrams forever.


    LARRY: Personally I'm excited for Episode IX. Russell is a great actress, happy to see her included. Billy Dee is gonna rock socks as Lando, and I'm also curious to see how Luke's storyline will be concluded as ghost Luke. All in all, lots to look forward to.


    MADHERO: Hes gonna annoy Kylo Ren to death and just chug all the space milk he can find.


    STICKMAN: All I know is with two massive saga-ending films releasing in the same year, in addition to Frozen 2....Disney gonna be rolling in fucking money.


    WARNER BROS SELLS ANDY SERKIS’ JUNGLE BOOK ADAPTATION MOWGLI TO NETFLIX. SERKIS TO MAKE ANIMAL FARM ADAPTATION FOR NETFLIX

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    Over the last year, it's fair to say Netflix have been  starting to show their true financial muscle in terms of greenlight...and even acquiring big budget or high profile film releases exclusively for their service. the most recent and notable of which was The Cloverfield Paradox from Paramount. Now it's the turn of Warner Bros to quickly drop and sell off a big budget project of their own, and 

    it seems like good news for Andy Serkis at the very least.


    The first news to come out was that Warner Bros had dropped the rights to their take on a live action/CGI hybrid Jungle Book adaptation, Mowgli. That entered pre-production around the same time as Disney's massively successful live action/CGI remake of The Jungle Book, and has lived in its looming shadow ever since. Several name changes and delays later, and Warner Bros seem to be done with it. It's now coming exclusively to Netflix, with its release date pushed back to sometime in 2019. Further good news for Andy is that Netflix has also greenlit his longtime passion project, which is a live action/CGI motion capture remake of Animal Farm, the seminal George Orwell work most well known in the cinematic world for its problematic 1954 animated adaptation. With Netflix in charge, hopefully this long-planned movie will be a bit more true to the original novel, but either way, Netflix is now the home of all things Andy Serkis, it seems.


    MADHERO: I don't know whether to feel good or bad about Mowgli being moved to Netflix, but it probably saved WB a big dud and a smudge on Serkis' directing career so maybe its for the best.


    STICKMAN: I'd imagine even if it is good, it would've been a bust financially.


    LARRY: Yeah I agree. "An actually dark and gritty Jungle Book" probably doesn't sell tickets.


    MADHERO: Even if the original trailer was impressive, the Disney version loomed so large that Netflix was probably the best option. I do hope the film is actually good as well. Its got a great cast and visuals looked impressive.


    LARRY: If anything, it coming to Netflix gives it more accessibility, not to mention a theatrical run on top of that so Serkis' work can still be appreciated on screen.


    STICKMAN: Andy Serkis' directorial debut got a positive reception even though it looked sentimental as fuuuuck. At least this is more in the wheelhouse you'd expect from the guy.


    MADHERO: Netflix continues to be a bit of a dumping ground for movies that studios don't really know what to do with (Annihilation, Cloverfield Paradox). Hopefully this one is more of the former


    STICKMAN: And how about that Animal Farm, eh.


    MADHERO: That's gonna be a weird one, since that's a pretty simple story that I'm not sure needs the live-action treatment, but I trust Serkis and I'd imagine he could play a pretty good Napoleon.


    STICKMAN: I'm excited for that performance mostly.


    LARRY: I'm hella excited for it, tbh. I'm always here for an Orwell adaptation.


    STICKMAN: And at least the CIA aren't involved this time...THAT WE KNOW OF.


    COEN BROTHERS’ ANTHOLOGY SERIES BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS BECOMES ANTHOLOGY MOVIE INSTEAD. TAKES PART IN VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

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    When the Coen Brothers make moves, the film world listens. Originally meant to be an anthology television series for Netflix, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," is now a feature-length film that will make its premiere at the heralded Venice Film Festival. The film, starring Tim Blake Nelson as Scruggs and set along the Western frontier, will retain its anthology structure throughout its running time at a 132 minute length. After premiering at the festival, it is set to hit Netflix alongside a theatrical run for awards consideration.


    "Scruggs" joins a long lineup of Netflix acquisitions hitting it big at Venice this year, including Alfonso Cuaron's return to Spanish-spoken filmmaking "Roma," Paul Greengrass' account of the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks in "22 July," and a newly restored version of the once uncompleted Orson Welles project "The Other Side of the World." Venice is looking to be embracing Netflix films, and streaming platforms in general, with Amazon Studios and Luca Guadagnino's "Suspiria" remake also hitting Venice. This is in stark contrast to Cannes, who have recently taken the controversial stance to ban entries that are not theatrically distributed in France, which many have seen as a direct response against Netflix. Either way, we'll see if Venice's acceptance of Netflix will pay off, as this year's festival race is capped with countless big players, and will for sure be one to remember.


    STICKMAN: Is it bad I'm kinda disappointed this isn't a TV show any more. Seems like a lot of stuff from this is gonna be cut forever, and I wanted to see a Coen brother take on a TV shoooow


    MADHERO: I'm kinda mixed on it. I'd have been very interested in what a Coen anthology series would've looked like, and making it a movie seems fine to me, cause they're great filmmakers, but you always go and ask what could've been.


    LARRY: Fair point. But 132 minutes is a loooooooong time. You can fit a lot in there.


    MADHERO: Yeah. With it just being over 2 hours, you can't help but wonder how much was cut. While Fargo the tv show is very much its own thing separate from the Coen brothers, it does give a bit of a glimpse of what it might've looked like  as a tv show.


    STICKMAN: Love me some Fargo, also love me some Alfonso and Greengrass...and Suspiria. This is the rare film festival that is speaking to me before it even starts.


    LARRY: This year's festival circuit looks amaaaaaaaaaazing. And I'm hella glad to see Venice embracing Netflix projects too.


    MADHERO: Yeah, tons of great films coming to Venice. That's usually the start of Oscar talk alongside Toronto. But we're getting new Greengrass and Cuaron,  but also directors like Yorgos Lanthimos and Damien Chazelle's First Man.


    LARRY: Lanthimos' new film looks crazy. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, Victorian drama, lots of weirdly wide angles.


    MADHERO: I mean, its Lanthimos. Crazy is what you get. Suspiria is gonna be a tense ass 2.5 hours.


    STICKMAN: After Killing of a Sacred Deer I can't say I'm super interessteed. The rest I'm all into. We're all huge La La Land fans here, right?


    MADHERO: It is interesting to see this festival embrace streaming ventures as much as they do when you compare it to Cannes. Does make you wonder what we'll see come Oscar time. Mudbound got some nods, but could we see a Netflix Best Picture film nominee soon?


    STICKMAN: It'll happen eventually. Maybe not this year though.


    LARRY: Mudbound was one of the best films of 2017, so let's hope so. Netflix does good stuff. It deserves recognition.


    STICKMAN: The Cloverfield Paradox's campaign for Best Picture starts HERE.


    LARRY: Eh, not that.


    BEN AFFLECK TO DIRECT MOVIE ON THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MCDONALD’S MONOPOLY SCAM. MATT DAMON TO STAR

    matt-damon-ben-affleck-mcdonalds-monopol

    Chances are that at some point last week, someone in your feed shared the pretty damn wild Daily Beast article chronicling the life of Jerome Jacobsen, an ex-cop who through his job as head of security at a marketing firm managed to get extremely rare pieces of McDonalds' Monopoly game: pieces he used to scam McDonalds to about 24 million dollars worth of prizes. The story involves a network of mobsters, psychics, strip-club owners, drug traffickers and a family of Mormons. It all ended in FBI's Operation: Final Answer, which is a pretty great name. The article is wild, and definitely worth a read if you have the time.


    This story was a lot, so naturally a massive bidding war ensued for the rights. Fox eventually won to the tune of 1 million, beating Warner Bros and Netflix in the process. Ben Affleck is now in line to direct the film, with his good buddy Matt Damon in line to play Jacobson, and Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool) are writing the script. This has all the ingredients to be something amazing. While Affleck is more in the news for being tired of Batman, his dumb phoenix tattoo, and the disappointment of his last movie Live by Night, he's still a pretty great director with 3 great films under his belt, and its nice to have him just behind the camera this time. I can't wait to see this real life Coen Brothers movie to hit the big screen in 2019/2020.


    STICKMAN: MCDONALDS, MCDONALDS, MCDONALDS.


    MADHERO: But we have food at home.


    STICKMAN: Sweet memes.


    LARRY: Is that a John Mulaney reference? Because if so, good work.


    MADHERO: It’s an reference to an internet alignment chart, but sure. Let's go with that. Anyway this story is pretty wild.


    LARRY: Yeah this is one of those weird things you hear about and then immediately forget about. Remember when Tetris became a movie?


    STICKMAN: I can't wait to see if this film can get the image rights to McDonalds AND Monpoly for this heist movie where they both get fucked over.


    MADHERO: Not to mention Hasbro, who own the Monopoly liscense. There's quite a few hurdles to go through, but either way there's still a really weird story there. Also I fail to see what Tetris has to do with this.


    LARRY: I’m saying that this is weird and merely a blip, like the Tetris news. Weird projects get made and then forgotten about. Nice to see Affleck doing a new project tho


    STICKMAN: Remember Ben Affleck? What happened to that guy.


    MADHERO: But there’s actually a great story here, so its not like Tetris. Did you read the article, Larry? Live by Night was a bit of a dud both critically and commercially, but he still has 3 very good movies under his belt.


    LARRY: Yeah I read it. I also read once they were developing a movie about the woman who sued McDonalds over the hot coffee she spilt on herself.


    STICKMAN: Maybe she can have a crossover in this.


    MADHERO: And then it all turns out to be a part of The Founder Cinematic Universe and Michael Keaton recruits everyone to take down Burger King.


    LARRY: Get that made, dammit.


    STICKMAN: LET'S DO IT, MOVING ON, apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.


    RYAN REYNOLDS TO PRODUCE AND POSSIBLY REVIVE A NEW HOME ALONE REVIVAL TITLED STONED ALONE

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    Remember Home Alone? The cherished Christmas family classic about a little boy left behind by his family, and having to ward off burglars and shit? Well...what if instead of a child, it was Ryan Reynolds, and instead of going on charming escapades with burglars and church and shit, he was getting stoned off his ass? Interested?


    Well...I present to you STONED ALONE, a R rated spiritual successor for Fox, who own the franchise. Keeping the home invasion theme but adding an adult and heaps of that sweet sweet 'Mary Jane', Ryan Reynolds will potentially play a 20 year old (Yes, I know) stoner who gets left behind by his family when they go on a ski trip, and gets baked instead. He's also producing the film, and the director of the upcoming, reasonably well received 'Never Goin' Back' is set to direct. This...sure is a film project? It has the potential to turn out fun in a dumb way, but it's just baffling we even got to the point where a weed-centric reboot of Home Alone became a thing to begin with.


    LARRY: Oh wow we actually went with this.


    MADHERO: As many a wee lad of the 90's, I grew up watching the Home Alone movies on home video and all I can really say to this is: fucking what now?


    STICKMAN: Why couldn't they get Mcahaheleey KAlukin back for this, I'm sure he's a massive pothead now.


    LARRY: What is the plot even gonna be? Is Ryan Reynolds gonna talk to animals again?


    STICKMAN: He's gonna be Deadpool but ruder, cruder, and without access to a time machine.


    MADHERO: Culkin's too busy filming the Pagemaster NES game review with AVGN. I can maybe buy this with Culkin, but Reynolds are a 20's something is bridge too far.


    LARRY: It would be SO MUCH BETTER with Culkin.


    MADHERO: It kinda feels like something that gets left on the cutting room floor of National Lampoon, or maybe a Funny of Die skit.


    STICKMAN: Or even worse, one of those EPIC MOVIE style films. What if...Home Alone but WEED? BWAHAHAHA. And then Batman turns up and does Gangham Style.


    LARRY: I don’t see how this film can work, to be honest. But I’m sure Seth Rogen is gonna get attached and everything will be fine.


    STICKMAN: Fuckin weed dude, ahuh huh huh huh uh uh u uh uh


    MADHERO: Ok, lets not go that far. Those films died a deserved death. I can't really see how this would work as a full length film, let alone a Home Alone revival, but maybe they'll deliver the next Harold and Kumar or something.


    STICKMAN: De Niro for Stoned Alone. He plays a 20 year old pothead. Stick a baseball cap on him  and nobody will notice the age gap.


    MOONLIGHT DIRECTOR BARRY JENKINS RELEASES DEBUT TRAILER FOR JAMES BALDWIN ADAPTATION “IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

    Mah boi Barry is back, y'all. After taking the indie world by storm with his 2016 Best Picture winner, "Moonlight," writer/director Barry Jenkins is returning with his new film, "If Beale Street Could Talk," and its first trailer has officially dropped!


    Based on a novel by acclaimed black author James Baldwin (whose voice is prominently featured in the trailer through voiceover), it tells the story of Tish and Fonny, a young black couple, and the struggles they face when Tonny is falsely accused of rape and goes to prison. It's not clear how closely the film will follow the novel, but what we do know, based on the trailer, that it will certainly feature many emotional highs and lows. The cast is filled to the brim with talent, from Regina King and Brian Tyree Henry to Dave Franco and Diego Luna, and the trailer looks to continue Barry Jenkins' career of exploring the black experience on film with exquisite cinematography. Here's to another rousing success when it premieres at TIFF this year.


    STICKMAN: I have no idea what I watched but it was lovely.


    MADHERO: I can't say much about the story since I haven't read the book, but my god, this trailer really was beautiful to look at.


    STICKMAN: That brick pavement/house shot though. Moonlight was a fuckin outstanding movie, not to mention pretty devastating.


    MADHERO: Its the same cinematographer from Moonlight, James Laxton, and that film also found beauty in the normal and even decrepit.


    LARRY: The cinematography looks to use a lot of the same techniques and color tones of Moonlight. Lots of darker lighting and muted tones. My favorite shot personally is in the train station.


    STICKMAN: Let's not forget the 50,000 slow motion smoking shots. That's his thing I guess. We all have our kinks.


    LARRY: Very a e s t h e t i c


    MADHERO: It seems a tad brighter than Moonlight, but I may be misremembering sone of it. This is a film you know is going to get major play come Oscar time, which is probably why its heading to Toronto. It'll be very interesting to see Jenkins tackle a period piece after Moonlight, which felt 

    almost timeless in a weird way.


    STICKMAN: Moonlight covered a child growing into a man and yet felt lost in time simultaneously. So yeah, period is a weird choice but I trust hiiiim.


    LARRY: I’m just excited to see a black artist tackle the work of someone considered one of the most brilliant black authors and writers...ever. I’ve read a lot of Baldwin’s work and it’s incredible. Not the first thing I’d pick to translate to film, but leave it to Barry.


    STICKMAN: Always Bet on Barry.


    MADHERO: I have not read his work because I'm a uncultured swine, but I understand his importance in African American history.


    STICKMAN: I am not familiar with the work buuuut that means the film feels very mysterious to me and I'm kinda into that. Let's all get Breakfast at TIFFanies.


    LARRY: It’s gonna be a ridiculously diverse season, lemme tell ya.


    -------------------

    MADHERO: Speaking of an incredibly diverse season, that's what we have if you wanna go to the theaters. Its got a little bit of everything. Jason Statham fighting a giant shark, Disney playing with your nostalgia of things you love, a Spike Lee joint and even......A YA ADAPTATION?! REALLY?! IN 2018! Dang


    STICKMAN: Alright, who messed with the space time continuum.


    LARRY: I’ll take End of the Summer for 200.


    MADHERO: Alright. This boy inspired by the author's son is now all grown up and played by Obi Wan Kenobi in this new Disney movie.


    LARRY: WHAT IS CHRISTOPHER ROBIN


    MOVIES

    CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

    DIRECTOR: Marc Forster (World War Z, All I See Is You)

    STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Nick Mohammed, Sophie Okonedo

    SYNOPSIS: Christopher Robin (McGregor) is now all grown up and has lost all sense of imagination. Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood re-enter Christopher's life to help him find it again.

    LARRY: 200 in the bagggggg Anyway I heard this is good if you have a soul.


    STICKMAN: That seems like a shitty stance to make but there you go. Maybe people are fed up of Disney's factory made nostalgia sentimentality bullshit.


    MADHERO: Boy this film is seeing some division between critics and audiences, that's for damn sure. Critics seem much more mixed on it, but audiences that have seen it seem to really like it.


    STICKMAN: Cinema audiences eat up Disney's shit like it's fine dining so that's probably why. Usually critics do too, so I dunno what happened here.


    LARRY: Apparently the first 10 min are just reeeeeeeeally sad and nostalgic and it’s got all the feels. It wears its heart on its sleeve, I guess.


    STICKMAN: Gosh where have I seen that before.


    MADHERO: Someone's being cranky. Maybe Sticky needs a Pooh bear in his life to deliver some folksy simpleminded wisdom


    LARRY: Still waiting for my Paddington vs. Pooh cage match.


    STICKMAN: I dunno, usually the reviews for these kinda films are through the roof for the same reasons audiences enjoy them, but not this time, something obviously went wrong, and it's not just YOU DON'T HAVE A SOUL DISNEY NO MAKE YOU CRY.


    LARRY: It was just a joke, Stix lol


    MADHERO: Feels hard to say whether its genuine since I haven't seen it. I probably will with the family though. I loved Winnie the Pooh back in the day, and this probably ain't no Toy Story 3, but it might hit some similar beats. That or you can be a total Eeyore about it.


    STICKMAN: I shall passssss, if you can believe it.


    THE MEG

    DIRECTOR: Jon Turteltaub (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Last Vegas)

    STARRING: Jason Statham, Li Bingbinb, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis

    SYNOPSIS: After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor (Statham) must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

    MADHERO: And now for something completely different.


    LARRY: WAIT THE JEOPARDY BIT UHMMMM 400


    STICKMAN: The only thing in JEOPARDY IS JASON STATHAM IN THIS MOVIE.


    MADHERO: Look man, I only know so much about American gameshows and that's all I had. Now lets talk about Jason Statham fighting a giant prehistoric shark.


    STICKMAN: It sure is a film, could be fun and entertaining, could be awful. The trailers suggest it could go either way, and nobody's seen it yet.


    MADHERO: I feel like this movie is getting a lot more hyped than something like this normally would. Maybe all those years of Sharknado releases have made us soft on shark movies.


    LARRY: I have yet to see why people are that engaged with it, but if it’s silly fun then I’ll have silly fun.


    STICKMAN: Sharknado, of course, on its sixth and "final" installment this month. Which will win the hearts of shark movie lovers this SUMMER.


    MADHERO: Has Sharknado had Megalodons yet? It probably has, but I really don't care.


    STICKMAN: The Meg is a weird film to be made in a post Sharknado world...shark movies are kinda the thing of low budget TV  fare these days. But here we have THE STATH in IMAX fighting a absolute unit.


    LARRY: He better punch the shark


    STICKMAN: He will. I'm sure. I will say, this film has the best use of "Opening Wide" on a poster in cinema history.


    MADHERO: The posters for this film in general have been great. Props to the marketing team.


    THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME

    DIRECTOR: Susanna Fogel (Life Partners)

    STARRING: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minjai, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson

    SYNOPSIS: Audrey and Morgan (Kunis, McKinnon) are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her (Theroux) was actually a spy.

    LARRY: My parents say this yesterday and said it was a clunker. Apparently it’s gratuitously violent


    MADHERO: O hey, there's Larry's parents' mini review. Also that's a shame. Going from reviews, it sounds like it wasn't really able to get the tone right between action and comedy.


    STICKMAN: The Evil Dead of romantic spy comedies.


    LARRY: A thumb gets cut off apparently and my mother just can’t stop saying how much she hated that scene.


    STICKMAN: Your parents should do this show instead of us.


    MADHERO: I mean, I've probably seen worse, but I guess if its not what you expect, it can be pretty odd. And violence like that can be really funny if its played for laughs. I hear it just kinda loses steam and falls prey to improv.


    STICKMAN: I find comedies with excessive, realistic violence to be an odd combo.


    LARRY: It sucks too cuz I like Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. Sucks to see them in a stinker that’s kinda meant to be a vehicle for them.


    MADHERO: I guess you're better off renting Spy.


    LARRY: Ew No. That movie is overrated and bad.


    STICKMAN: Johnny English is the real MVP. Spectre was a good romantic horror, at least.


    LARRY: 600. Lets keep the bit going.


    MADHERO: This Spike Lee joint starring Denzel's son tells the crazy true story of a black man infiltrating the KKK, and no, its not the Chappelle sketch.


    STICKMAN: DJANGO UNCHAINED. Wait, this isn't 2013. FUCK


    BLACKKKLANSMAN

    DIRECTOR: Spike Lee (Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Chi-Raq)

    STARRING: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins

    SYNOPSIS: Ron Stallworth (Washington), an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and become the head of the local chapter.

    STICKMAN: Oh shiiiiiit, this looks pretty coooool.


    MADHERO: This movie looks wild and I'm so fucking here for it.


    LARRY: Some fo’ real, fo’ real shit. Topher Grace as David Duke. The best supporting actor race begins NOW.


    STICKMAN: This is gonna be so controversial when it comes out and I'm  here for this.


    MADHERO: That was not something I saw coming. But yeah, I'm mainly ready for this to turn some heads. Spike Lee can be a bit of a wildcard, but Jordan Peele may have given him a proper projectile. Plus this is one of those crazy ass stories that you need to see on screen.


    STICKMAN: I find Spike Lee hit and miss, but this is looking like a real hit. Good luck spelling the name though.


    LARRY: Looks to have solid performances and a multi-faceted story. Let’s hope it works. Also Adam Driver as a guy pretending to be a Klan member is a hilarious aesthetic.


    STICKMAN: Adam Driver as anything is a hilarious aesthetic.


    MADHERO: This is definitely going to be in the conversation come Oscar time.


    THE DARKEST MINDS

    DIRECTOR: Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2 + 3)

    STARRING: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Harris Dickinson, Skylan Brooks, Bradley Whitford

    SYNOPSIS: Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens (Stenberg, Dickinson, Brooks) form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.

    MADHERO: Oh man. Talk about being late to the fucking party. This is like coming to the club at 5 AM, asking where everyone is, and getting told that the party was yesterday and the bar is going to be demolished.


    STICKMAN: Oopsie. Live action directorial debut of one of animation’s few female directors. It's crazy to think how big YA books were just a few years ago. Now they're basically all dead.


    LARRY: This looks like if every major young adult thing and the X-Men had a disgusting baby.


    MADHERO: I do feel bad for director Jennifer Wuh Nelson after coming from Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3. But yeah, this seems like something that sat on a shelf and no one knew what to do with.


    LARRY: I still think the shot in this trailer where the boy telekinetically has the girl float over is suuuuuuuuuper rapey. Every time I see it in a theater, it gets worse.


    MADHERO: Also I don't know why they gave Gwendoline Christie such a terrible wig.


    STICKMAN: She can't catch a break. Somebody give her a good role.


    MADHERO: She'll always have Brienne of Tarth. Moving on.


    LARRY: 800!! Wait I guess this is 1000 now


    STICKMAN: I'd like to phone a friend, Chris.


    MADHERO: This outdated internet meme grew in popularity thanks to a webseries and free video game about collecting some scribbles.


    STICKMAN: Keyboard Cat.


    LARRY: Nyan Cat


    SLENDER MAN

    DIRECTOR: Sylvain White (The Losers, The Mark of the Angels)

    STARRING: Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Javier Botet

    SYNOPSIS: A group of teenage girls (King, Telles etc.) attempt to investigate the mystery of the Slender Man (Botet) after a friend of theirs goes missing, only to become haunted by the Slender Man themselves.

    LARRY: Arguably a worse meme than the two we dropped.


    MADHERO: Another one late to the party.


    STICKMAN: Hey I have an idea, let's release a film based on a real children related knifing on the same day as the knifing happened guys. Oh wait oops. Now people are mad.


    MADHERO: Slenderman probably reached the height of its popularity back in 2012 with the Slender game, but of course that stabbing made the whole thing rather.... gross. Which is why they probably moved it to August, but now Sony wants nothing to do with it


    STICKMAN: I'll give this film credit for having some inventive visuals at least. Could've put in zero effort but they  put in a solid 10% at the least.


    LARRY: Still a hard pass.


    MADHERO: I honestly don't find Slender Man all that scary. Sure, the concept of making children do horrible things, maybe, but its a tall pale guy in a suit with  some tentacles.


    STICKMAN: Slender Man is the long arm pasty white boi.


    LARRY: Yeah I just had no connection to the source material and this looks like...a little too generic for me I guess. And you know I don’t do well with horror.


    MADHERO: Well you're in luck, what with Sony sending it out to die, you'll never have to bother with it


    LARRY: Yayyyyyyyyy


    STICKMAN: I mean, I'll check it out on Netflix maybbeee. Horror films and whatnot.


    -------------------

    MADHERO: Speaking of Netflix......HOW ABOUT SOME MOVIE OF THE WEEK?!


    LARRY: Yeeeeeeeeeee


    MADHERO: Ironically though, I don't think any of us have a Netflix movie, with us all seeing a movie in the theater where its usually nice and cool and we get to survive this awful heatwave.


    STICKMAN: Air Con in cinemas is very important. As was Con Air in cinemas.


    MADHERO: Sticky, fellow survivor of the European heatwave that swept the nation. What's your movie of the week?


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    STICKMAN: WELLLL, it's a film that I not only had to survive a heatwave for, but also a month long football delay for to. For most folks who are reading this(?), Ant-Man and the Wasp probably feels like a distant blip on the movie radar. It came out early July in the US, but it's taken an whole month to reach the UK, thanks in part to the World Cup, and a knock on effect of Incredibles 2 also being delayed. THAT SAID...I finally saw it, and it was definitely worth the wait.

    It's a really funny film, with super creative action sequences that play with size, both big and small really well, there's a lot more SIZE PLAY as it were, in this film, compared to the first. Whilst the previous film was a heist, this one feels like a game of hot potato with a science laboratory, which I certainly can't say the same of for many other films.  Most importantly though, in with the laughs and the action, is a really charming and likeable cast, one you actually want to spend time with and root for, even more so than the first, with side-characters a little more fleshed out this time. Also..ANTSSS.


    LARRY: Oh hey I enjoyed this one too.


    MADHERO: I only saw this very recently as well, though the delay wasn't as long here


    STICKMAN: Football is a bad boy


    MADHERO: I'm ok with it. But yeah this movie is a lot of fun. Nice to once again have something smaller after Infinity War


    LARRY: Indeed. Lots of fun action beats too.


    STICKMAN: I continue to enjoy the many scales and tones the MCU can provide whilst still feeling cohesive. This film isn't heavy on the references either which is nice.


    MADHERO: It definitely is lesser MCU in my opinion, but its still a fun time and the size changes are a lot of fun


    LARRY: Dem post-credits tho.


    STICKMAN: I wouldn't call it lesser MCU at all, the stakes are lower, sure, but it's still a ton of fun and I really like the main cast. The post-credits scene felt...inevitable but also jarring given the initial ending of the film.


    LARRY: No yeah it being lower stakes doesn’t make it lesser MCU. Most of my favorite MCU movies are comedies. Or are moreso comedic in tone.


    STICKMAN: I laughed a bunch and it looked amazing in IMAX, so I'm a happy boy. WHAT ABOUT YOU, SOMEONE ELSE, WHaT DID YOu WATCH.


    LARRY: ...man, I should go see it in IMAX. I feel like it’s worth it.


    MADHERO: Well, Larry. Did you see your film in IMAX?


    LARRY: Nope! It isn’t playing on IMAX. Too low-budget.


    STICKMAN: Must be pretty SHIT THEN


    MADHERO: Oh. One of those. Well, spill it out.


    LARRY: My MOTW is Blindspotting, the feature debut of director Carlos Lopez Estrada and the writing debut of rappers/spoken word artists Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. I know this movie doesn’t have a set UK release, but let’s hope it does because this is easily one of the best films of the year.

    The film tells the story of two friends: Collin, a black man about to be finished with year-log probation after a two month prison sentence, and Myles, a family man with a wife and son. Both live in Oakland and soon begin to struggle with their friendship as gentrification of the city showcases their differences in privilege and identity. It’s a very political movie and touches upon a lot of topics, but first and foremost, it’s the story of two friends seeing things for what they really are. It’s excellent written, balancing humor and suspense excellently. Beyond that, there’s a lot of solid editing and cinematography on display, and its incorporation of spoken word especially gives it an extra kick of originality. I’m just happy to see a relatively underground, low-budget indie film be woke not for the sake of being woke, but through its storytelling. Be sure to check this one out when you can.


    STICKMAN: Oh hey, following up a movie I had to wait to watch with a movie I can't watch, NICE. This looks cool though.


    LARRY: Sorry Stix. Let’s hope it’s successful enough here in the states to go wider.


    MADHERO: I hadn't heard of this movie beforehand but I'm hearing more about it and that's its supposed to be really good.


    LARRY: It’s excellent, make no mistake. They’re also coming out with rap EPs based on the characters.


    STICKMAN: I've been hearing a lot of buzz. What do Larry's parents think of it though I wonder.


    MADHERO: Daveed Diggs is really going on up in the world. He's been killing it recently.


    LARRY: Love Diggs dude. The man is a BEAST. His rapping is insane and he does some incredible spoken word in this film.


    MADHERO: He's got the Snowpiercer TV series coming up and seems to be in demand. I've seen the film described as a comedy, but how funny is it?


    STICKMAN: Snowpierecer huh. Ahem


    LARRY: It’s definitely very, very funny, but it has its fair share of “holy fuck” moments.


    MADHERO: Great to hear its getting the attention it deserves.


    LARRY: Fun fact!! When I went to go see Sorry to Bother You, the same theater was hosting Blindspotting’s premiere. Coulda met Daveed Diggs if I had tried.


    STICKMAN: But you failed. Now we move on to Mad's film.


    MADHERO: Alright. My film is a movie that needs no introduction. Its quite remarkable how remarkably consistent the Mission Impossible films have been since 3. They've been one of the most solid and consistently entertaining action films out there, and they consistently impress with their audacity. Whether its climbing the tallest building in the world, hanging on a plane, and in the case of Fallout, doing a halo jump. Its all really exciting stuff.

    And in Fallout, its fairly early on and doesn't let up. I've seen a lot of people make the comparison to Mad Max Fury Road, and while its not quite as manic as that, its got some remarkable pacing for an close to 2.5 hour movie. The plot itself is fairly standard Mission Impossible stuff, but Henry Cavill's mustache proves to be a really fun addition, being a hammer compared to Tom Cruise's scalpel. So yeah, if you're in the mood for jaw dropping action, Fallout is the way to go.


    STICKMAN: HELLL YEAAHH BOOIII. This film was fucking craaazy. I saw this in IMAX and that halo drop was INSANE!


    MADHERO: HELL YEAH, DUDE! GOD, THIS MOVIE'S ACTION IS SO FUCKING GOOD


    LARRY: I wanna see this so bad. it came out when I was traveling, so I didn’t catch it opening weekend, but I’m going to catch it this week.


    STICKMAN: This one is the best of the most recent three for sure.


    LARRY: Wow. That’s saying a lot really. Protocol and Rogue are both excellent.


    MADHERO: When I saw Ant-Man, they showed footage on how they did the halo jump, and it absolutely boggles the mind. While Infinity War spectacle is nice, its great seeing these real life stunts as well.


    STICKMAN: They really are, like Mad said...3-6 have all been consistently great. They're all really good except 2, which is really bad.


    LARRY: I like ‘em all. Except 2, yeah.


    STICKMAN: Fallout is potentially the best of the series, but I'll require a rewatch for that  I BELIEVE.


    MADHERO: So yeah, go see Tom Cruise break his ankle on IMAX. Highly recommended. Can really hear that crack.


    ------------

    MADHERO: Anyway I think about wraps up everything. We'll be going through the last doldrums of summer trying not to get covered in puppet jizz.


    STICKMAN: It's too late, that happened a long time ago.


    LARRY: Ewwwwwwwww NOOOOO


    MADHERO: Eugh, fine. Then lets see if we can escape Indonesia via Mark Wahlberg, or meet up with some insanely wealthy Asians.


    LARRY: MUCH PREFERRED.


    STICKMAN: Puppet jizz though.


    LARRY: NO.


    MADHERO: This next episode might get nasty. Later everyone.

  • 8 or Higher, Bro! (July 2018)

    2 weeks ago

    tomtom4468

    Here's my replacement for Best & Worst! Every single month, I will curate an IMDb list of films and TV shows I rated 8 or higher in that particular month that I will share with you and only you. This way I can give you the random recommendations without having to spend like an hour writing out long paragraphs on every single movie. It's the best of B&W without the boring work on my end! And yes, I am making a How I Met Your Mother reference with that title. 


    So here's my first 8 or Higher, Bro IMDb list! Enjoy!...


    https://www.imdb.com/list/ls024330898

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Stand With James Gunn. Will Disney?

    3 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    It's been less than two weeks since the movie world was rocked by James Gunn's removal as the main creative force behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. By now you've all probably read a dozen different think pieces and articles detailing the reasons why and arguing whether or not it was the right call by Disney's Alan Horn, so I will do my best not to rehash the same arguments here, but I do want to talk through my personal thoughts about whether or not it was the right choice a bit now that the dust has settled a little bit.


    Horn has unquestionably been one of the strongest executives in Disney's history. Under his watch Marvel was brought into the fold (remember Iron Man and Captain America were Paramount films), Star Wars was bought and relaunched, Pixar was fully integrated into the company and the live-action remakes of classic Disney movies have been raking in money hand over fist. The studio has grown into an entertainment behemoth with all the positives and negatives associated with that.


    An example of the positive side is the money the studio was willing to invest in a relatively unknown comic book property spearheaded by a writer/director most known for offensive humor-filled horror just because he was backed by Marvel's Kevin Feige. The negative side being how quickly they dropped the very same guy at the first sign of controversy, even after he made 1.6 billion dollars for the studio with just two movies.



    Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Vol.-3-We-React-



    I disagree with Horn's decision to part ways with Gunn, but I'm still trying to understand it. The biggest deal of his reign as chairman is this pending merger with Fox. It not only takes out a chief rival, it also sets Disney Studios up for the world of tomorrow by giving them a huge amount of diverse IP to utilize with their subscription-based streaming service.


    The timing of this decision can't be coincidence. Just a week before the shareholder vote to approve the merger right wing pundits started spamming the internet with Gunn's offensive joke tweets from 6-10 years ago. With a deal this big any and every little thing can screw it up, so I have to imagine taking a calm, measured approach to this potential scandal was less of a priority than making it go away as quickly as possible.


    That feels right to me, although I'll be the first to admit I don't know the daily ins and outs of Disney's executive life.


    So, he made the call and fired Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which was written and expected to go into production possibly as early as the end of this year or the beginning of 2019.


    But now what? That's the question.


    The shareholders have voted to approve the merger and Disney is now facing more pressure from the entertainment industry over their decision to fire Gunn than they ever did from Mike Cernovich's mobs demanding Gunn's head. Actors, directors, producers and nearly all the entertainment journalists have all spoken out about how this is, frankly, bullshit.


    Just today the entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast put out a joint public statement calling for Gunn to be reinstated. And when I say “entirety” I mean it. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista (who has been the most vocal about this from the day Disney fired Gunn), Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker all signed a measured, passionate defense of Gunn.



    37768678_1801530399901312_88133284682688



    Would all these people be willing to band together and refuse to work on the next Marvel movie if Disney doesn't reconsider? What about refusing to do any promotion for the next Avengers movie? Maybe, maybe not, but either way it's a big deal in this day and age for these high profile people to take a stand against what they view as an injustice, knowing damn well it puts them all in the crosshairs of the people organizing these obviously politically motivated, targeted attacks.


    Even someone as inconsequential as me got targeted over my support of Gunn, with dozens of random Twitter users calling me a pedophile apologist because I dared defend a guy who once made bad jokes about the subject 10 years ago. I can't imagine what Chris Pratt's social media is going to be like in the wake of this.


    I don't claim to know James Gunn's heart. I've met the guy a few times over the last 10 years and get along pretty well with him on a movie geek (and cigar appreciator) level. I first interviewed him for his great horror comedy SLITHER and have talked to him a few times, both on and off the record, in the years since. I may not know him well, but my impression of the man is the same I get from reading the Guardians cast's letter or the description of him I see repeated over and over again from people who have worked with him.


    Yes, he's got a dark sense of humor. That's obvious from his filmography. You don't start your career in Troma if you're a Sunday school teacher. You don't get your big break writing a hard R-rated zombie movie if you're scared of crossing lines. You don't make a movie like SUPER if you have any qualms about offending people to get a message across.


    Beneath that humor, though, is heart. The message of the Guardians movies isn't to be cynical assholes that like to shock people. Quite the opposite, actually. It's about shedding that devil-may-care persona and being able to fully love. It's about the strength of the family you choose, not necessarily the family you're born into.



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    Movies aren't made by a single person, but it's clear that without Gunn's voice Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn't have been the lightning in a bottle experience it was. That's why, creatively, the cast and many entertainment reporters feel like Disney is cutting its nose off to spite its face here and why they're imploring the studio to reconsider.


    Will Disney listen?

  • The End of Best & Worst

    3 weeks ago

    tomtom4468

    We had a good run here for awhile, but all good things must come to an end. Before I go any further, let me make it perfectly clear... I'M NOT LEAVING THIS SITE! I love posting on RT and I will not be abandoning this account anytime soon. In fact, I'm already working on something new to replace this with. This is just the end of this particular series.


    I'm making this decision for a couple of reasons...


    1.) It kinda got boring. For awhile there, this was something I was just doing because I felt like I had to. I wasn't enjoying writing these posts, it felt like an annoying grind and it lost its appeal very quickly.


    2.) I changed my viewing habits. Recently, I made the decision to not see every single movie that comes out like I was before. Obviously, that puts something like this in an awkward position. I don't really see the point in doing a monthly blog post of best and worst movies if I'm not making the effort to see as many movies as possible.


    So that's it. It's over. Don't go away because I will be doing something else real soon! Until then, maybe check out some of my podcasts...


    Clark Film- http://clarkfilm.libsyn.com/ 

    The Clark Sessions- http://clarksessions.libsyn.com/ 

    The Television Archive- https://anchor.fm/tvarchive 

    CBM Weekly- http://cbmweekly.libsyn.com/ 

  • A Peek Behind The Curtain Of Robert Rodriguez's and James Cameron's Alita: Battle Angel!

    3 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    James Cameron took a very long break after the exhausting production and release of Titanic. People forget now, but the common thought in Hollywood was that Cameron was working on a Heaven's Gate-level bomb. Too much money was being spent on a romantic historical romance, they said. The audience just wasn't going to show up. Then the movie made two billion dollars.


    It was twelve years before Cameron made another movie and that next movie was almost Alita: Battle Angel. In fact, he was developing it alongside what would become Avatar and went back and forth between the two on which would be his Titanic followup. At the end of the day his script for Alita was just way too long and Cameron couldn't manage everything he wanted to do in just one movie, so he shifted focus to Avatar and once again made box office history.


    Cut to 2015. Robert Rodriguez was having lunch with Cameron and asked him what projects he worked on that never happened. Cameron mentioned Alita and Rodriguez asked to read it, all 180+ pages of it.


    Rodriguez was immediately enamored with the story, based on the Japanese manga, of an android girl discovering her history and deciding on whether she was going to be a force for good in the world or the brutal weapon she was constructed to be.


    So Rodriguez came back to Cameron with an interesting request: Could he edit the script? He was clear that he didn't intend to rewrite it. He said he could edit the material already there down to a shootable version and Cameron could do whatever he wanted with the result... Re-develop it for himself, throw it out, whatever.


    Cameron said sure, go for it and four months later Rodriguez sent him the drastically shorter script and when Cameron and his longtime producing partner Jon Landau read it they were astonished because while the script was shorter by a third they couldn't tell what had been snipped. Everything they wanted to say with this story was there. The action set pieces were still there and still thrilling, the tale of a girl transitioning into womanhood was still at the forefront. It was the movie Cameron had in mind, just more concise.


    He was so impressed with the work Rodriguez did he figured he had found the man to actually make the movie a reality. Once again Avatar took priority for Cameron who was neck deep in all the sequels he was writing, so he tasked Rodriguez with directing Alita. Cameron was always a phone call away to answer questions and Cameron's right hand man, Jon Landau, was always at Rodriguez's side.



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    You'd think that could be suffocating for a filmmaker who has defined his career by getting his complete vision on the screen doing as much of the movie as he could. From operating his own camera to writing, producing, composing, editing and even doing his own VFX, Rodriguez has a reputation for being a lone wolf, creatively speaking.


    But in this case his vision was to make this film as much like a James Cameron movie as possible. He underlined this to me when I visited the Austin set of Alita: Battle Angel last year. He said he didn't want to make a Troublemaker Studios movie, he wanted to make a Lightstorm movie, which is why all the footage from the trailers look a bit different from what you expect from a Robert Rodriguez joint. Lots of CG and dynamic action, yes, but also huge practical sets and a little bit more breathing room when it comes to the editing and character moments.


    Wrongly or rightly Rodriguez's style has become synonymous with greenscreen filmmaking pretty much since Sin City. But that's definitely not his approach this time out.


    The result is an approach that hopefully takes the strengths of both Lightstorm and Troublemaker and melds them into something new and unique. The integration was so important to Cameron that he even had a sign put up at his California offices that said “Troublemaker West,” and Rodriguez answered by putting a sign up in his Austin studios that said “Lightstorm South.”


    A full year of preproduction went into designing this crazy world. James Cameron's art team worked hand in hand with Rodriguez's Austin team and came up with designs that are both faithful to the look and feel from the original Manga while also being something that worked for the big screen.



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    In the Battle Angel world cybernetic augmentation is the norm. Sometimes it's slight... a hand, a foot, an arm. Sometimes it's major. There's one character, played by Jackie Earle Haley, that is pretty much just a human head on a gargantuan 8 foot tall robot brute body.


    The design team took that year and cranked out many variations of cybernetically enhanced people. I saw art of an old man playing a double-necked guitar with robotic arms that had two hands, one for each neck of the guitar, for instance. You've seen the trailers by now, so you've seen a glimpse at how far they've gone to populate this world.


    The majority of the film takes place in Iron City, a poor slum city that lives off the discards of the rich, exclusive, protected floating city above them. This is where Christoph Waltz's Dr. Ido finds a broken Alita (played entirely in motion capture by Rosa Salazar) in a junkyard. Something about her moves him and what he does to help her might give a hint at what exactly he feels for this person.



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    She awakens with a new body constructed with loving care and attention to detail. Floral patterns are intricately carved with silver metallic flourishes. It's a small body, built for a child. We find out Dr. Ido built this for his sick daughter, with the intention of giving her back her mobility and freedom, but he was too late. In short he begins to view this stranger as the daughter he never had.



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    This is a story of second chances. Ido has a second chance at being a father and Alita has a chance to be a different kind of person. She may not remember her past, but her past remembers her and it's not exactly filled with rose pedals and puppy dogs.


    For the set visit I was walked around Iron City, which was built on Troublemaker's backlot, just across the fence from where I sit typing this over at Rooster Teeth's Austin Studios offices, as a matter of fact. On screen the city will tower dozens of stories tall. They didn't go that far in reality, but they did build multiple connected city blocks up two stories. CG will take care of the rest, but the foundation will be real. Every wall, window, door, sign, road, step will be real so it won't just look like actors composited against a CG backdrop.


    Iron City had a very Rodriguez feel. This place looks like futuristic Desperado. Heavy Latino influence, but mixed with a handful of other cultures, especially Asian, to create a new blend that's lived-in, patched together with every available resource and feels like it's covered in dust.

    The only filming I got to witness with my own eyes was a crowd scene as spectators cheer and boo the players of a brutal but popular sport called Motorball. If you've ever seen the James Caan Rollerball, think of it that way, but with way more robot augmentations that allow for some crazier games.


    Christoph Waltz was in the stands watching on nervously. Alita is taking part and the deck is stacked against her. While in the stands Waltz recognizes some of her competitors as assassins and tries to warn her that this isn't just a game and her life is in danger.


    One thing I noticed is that most of the extras weren't dressed super futuristically. This isn't Blade Runner where everybody is wearing plastic ties and holding glowing umbrellas. There was a punk vibe to those in the stands, but still pretty modern-looking.


    In short everything I saw and personally experienced felt every measure the combination of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez I was promised by producer Jon Landau at the beginning of the visit. They're taking some wild swings with this one, particularly in the design of Alita herself. 



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    Much has already been made about the giant anime eyes. Some hate it, some love it, some are just perplexed by it. It's weird and so will a bunch of this movie, but that's usually the secret to Cameron's success. Giant CG blue cat people was weird as hell, too, but then became the biggest movie in the world for a decade.


    There's no guarantee this movie will hit anywhere near Avatar levels. In many ways it's a harder sell and the filmmakers seem to know this.


    When asked if this movie was being planned as the start of a franchise or a complete one off, Landau gave a real interesting answer. He said they didn't want to have the hubris to assume a sequel, but they wanted to be smart and have some pieces in place for further films. That's the reason for the slight change in the title. The original manga is called Battle Angel Alita. The reason for calling it Alita: Battle Angel makes it easier to title potential sequels, like Alita: Fallen Angel, etc.


    I myself can't make any kind of final judgment call on what we'll be getting come December 21st, but I can say whatever the final product ends up being it wasn't haphazardly thrown together. It has two insanely creative filmmakers joining forces with all the strengths of their individual teams and some of the best effects houses in the world to tell a futuristic action adventure with actual time spent on character development.


    Anyway, I hope that gives you guys a little peek behind the curtain at what's been going on with Alita: Battle Angel. Thanks for reading along and thanks to Fox and Troublemaker for letting me wander the streets of Iron City and letting all you guys know about what I saw.



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  • At the Screwvies: Episode 113

    4 weeks ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: It is upon us once again. The Great Comic-Con News Flood.  That time of year when every studio decides to tease whoever is crazy enough to make the trip to San Diego and stand in line for literal days to get into Hall H to get a small teaser none of us get to see, except for Warner Bros, who does release its stuff. It was enough for Larry to say " fuck that" and go see family abroad instead.


    STICKMAN: The great Comic Con flood has consumed Larry. He won't be seen for at least two weeks. Thoughts and prayers.


    MADHERO: Tis a shame. Who knows what our theater expert would think of Mamma Mia. Now its up to us heathens to talk about it. But before we do that, might as well dip into said flood and find the good stuff.


    STICKMAN: I hope there's a big lizard boy in there.


    NEWS

    JAMES GUNN FIRED FROM GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 FOLLOWING RIGHT-WING SMEAR CAMPAIGN.

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    Okay, so...this is maybe one of the most shocking, out of nowhere news stories we've ever covered on At the Screwvies. Marvel may have sat Comic Con out, but they've stolen the media spotlight big-time, for all the wrong reasons. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and 2  has been fired from Marvel Studios, Disney, and production of Vol 3 following a right-wing internet campaign calling for his termination, following the re-emergence of offensive tweets from over 9 years ago.


    The tweets in question were poorly conceived jokes about rape and pedophilia that, at the time, weren't nearly as controversial as they are now. These were tweets that had already been brought to light in 2014 following his hiring for the first GotG film, where Gunn apologized profusely and everything moved on smoothly.  These same jokes are now deemed reason for instant termination. These actions of course, were spearheaded by a far-right personality most well known for the moronic 'Pizzagate' debacle, and he himself is known, to this date to make poor taste comments regarding the semantics of rape. This situation is truly perplexing, and somewhat depressing. Whilst the jokes in question are indeed awful,  this is something dealt with a long time ago, and Gunn has proven himself to have evolved since then. His sudden termination throws the future of the MCU into chaos, as both GotG3, and the wider cosmic side of the series leaned heavily on the style/tone he established in two highly loved, financially successful films. Drax actor Dave Bautista has already rallied support to the director,  as well as support from Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, his brother Sean Gunn and Chris Pratt, so it's going to be interesting to see where things go from here. A shitty, shocking situation for sure.


    MADHERO: Well, this was quite the shocker


    STICKMAN: Genuinely didn't believe it when I saw the tweets. I thought it was a joke.


    MADHERO: I heard it from Hollywood Reporter, who don't usually report bullshit. I honestly did not know there was a controversy going on, even when Gunn explained on Twitter about his past tweets. I never in a million years thought it would lead to this.


    STICKMAN: I'm in a fortunate enough position where I don't hear about this shit until things like this happen. So yeah, this came completely out of nowhere.


    MADHERO: I think the biggest bummer of the situation is how it isn't actually done by people who care that Gunn tweeted something offensive. They just wanted to punish him for being vocally Anti-Trump. Disney of course was in a similar situation with Roseanne Barr, but that was incredibly recent and continuous behavior, whereas Gunn's was close to a decade now.


    STICKMAN: Yeah, this was never a campaign for decency, it was a revenge crusade. It's a fucking shitty situation and the people who made it happen are a brigade of spineless cunts. Not that cunts have spines, generally.


    MADHERO: Pretty much. Lets not mince those words: those jokes made by Gunn were pretty fucking bad, and he admits as much. He's very much shed that needlessly provocative image and become a much better person as a result. While I have no doubt that GOTG Vol. 3 will probably turn out fine regardless, it feels like a far bigger issue than just 1 movie. This really sets a dangerous precedent.


    STICKMAN: The things he said were bad, but if we don't give people the chance to atone and grow from these things, what hope do any of us have, really? We've all said shitty things online, ill-informed,  backwards or heat of the moment kinda shit. I'm sure we'll (mostly) much better people now.


    MADHERO: You can't really expect a human being to be flawless throughout their whole life. Its gonna be interesting what happens and if Disney will turn this decision around with pressure from the cast. My guess is they won't, but we can hope for the best.


    STICKMAN: I'd really like to see Disney just be like....alright, our bad, sorry guys, and this situation resolves itself. But I see it as a bridge burned, that'll be hard to repair. It's just a damn shitty situation and nothing good will come from it.


    WARNER BROS RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR AQUAMAN

    As part of the big Warner Bros trailerpalooza, we got our long awaited trailer for the next DCEU/Worlds of DC goaround: Aquaman. Much pressure exists on this movie what with the character initially introduced in Justice League, which didn't exactly do great and left people mixed on Jason Momoa's interpretation of the character. Plus, Aquaman has always been an easy punchline for being able to talk to fish and not much else. DC has desperately tried to make him cool, with some hilarious results. But still, with all these movies, there's always the hope that this'll be more of a Wonder Woman than BvS, because we all want these to do well.


    With all that pressure, this trailer actually comes out of it pretty well. We get a quick dose of his origin and the overall story (evil half brother Patrick Wilson is taking the throne and is ready to wage war with the surface) as well as a quest to get some magical macguffins to seal his claim to the throne. Easily the highlights are the shots of Atlantis and the creature design, with an surprisingly accurate Black Manta and some wild underwater monsters and armored sharks. It looks pretty damn wild and varied. James Wan is a very capable filmmaker who already succeeded under enormous pressure with Furious Seven. Hopefully, he can do the same with this.

    STICKMAN: I'm very conflicted.


    MADHERO: It was probably the weakest of the trailers we'll talk about, which doesn't include Crimes of Grindelwald. I'm really impressed with the world design, and that's cause I absolutely adore underwater life, so I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. Key word being cautiously.


    STICKMAN: I'd be very cautious yeah, this is the last of the DC films that were in the works after the BvS fallout, so there's no telling how much it was affected. Some parts of it look amazing visually, other parts look awful...that crowd cheering scene? Oof.


    MADHERO: The shark in the aquarium doesn't look great either, as does Amber Heard's wig. Still, don't wanna reel on effects too much when they're still going through work. Will judge after the release. I'm surprised how cool Black Manta looks all things considered.


    STICKMAN: Black Manta did look cool, and some parts of the film looked fun, they definitely seem to have balanced the tones out a bit more.


    MADHERO: It probably looks the most like an MCU film of any of the films they've released so far. I think one of the things that gives me hope is James Wan, who's proven himself under enormous pressure as a very capable blockbuster filmmaker.


    STICKMAN: James Wan needs to escape from the DC lot at Warner Bros, run to the horror department and start making The Conjuring 3 already, for fuck's sake.


    MADHERO: Why do that when you make all the spin-offs? Its gonna be interesting how this does after Justice League tanked, but I wanna believe in lil Aquabro, cause I'm a glutton for punishment.


    STICKMAN: Aquabro was awful in Justice League and I have no reason to trust the DCEU at all. Prove me wrong, Warner Bros, prove me wrong.


    WARNER BROS RELEASES SURPRISE SHAZAM TRAILER. SHOWS OFF COMEDIC TONE

    Whilst we were all expecting the Aquaman trailer to finally drop at Comic Con this year, and indeed this was confirmed well in advance...the jury was definitely out on the April 2019 DCEU follow-up getting anything shown off outside of the fabled Hall H. Despite this, Warner Bros surprised us all with our first, rather substantial trailer for SHAZAM, and things are looking quite different from what we've seen from the DCEU prior.


    And it is indeed a DCEU film, which wasn't 100% clear prior to this trailer, but is now deafening clear thanks to its frequent use of Justice League themed t-shirts, a batarang, and some expositional newspapers. Other than that, you could be mistaken for thinking we had established a very different DCEU, because this film is looking very bright, bubbly and comedy-centric, everything DCEU film's prior (With the exception of Wonder Woman) stood violently against.  We're introduced to Asher Angel's Billy Batson, who after moving in with a new foster family, who's other child is the wheezy asthma kid from last year's IT, is chosen by the titular hero to embody his many powers, activated by saying his name, which of course, turns him into Zachary Levi, who's on fine form as a kid turned superhero adult. After that we see him and his foster brother testing out his abilities, and encountering Mark Strong in shitty makeup. The whole film looks a lot more fun than anything we've seen from DC lately, and hopefully that will pay off for a fresher, more entertaining movie next April.


    MADHERO: Well hey, we might have been proven wrong.


    STICKMAN: Well...this could go wrong very easily, but it is a promising first look.


    MADHERO: This trailer is very confident in its tone, a very clear idea what it wants to be. The training sequence and finding out about the powers feels very Chronicle almost, albeit a lot nicer in tone.


    STICKMAN: It's like Chronicles but with actual superheroes and less child abuse....so far at least. And a lot less Max Landis, which as we all know is the best thing.


    MADHERO: Exactly. While I was a little surprised by his casting, I can't deny that Zachary Levi is pretty much a perfect fit as a child stuck in the body of a superhero. He seems to be having a lot of fun in this trailer.


    STICKMAN: He was the most assuring part of the trailer, he's doing great in that role, we can already tell.


    MADHERO: Yeah, his performance (and to an extent Asher Angel's performance as kid Billy Batson) are what going to make or break this movie. Its gonna be interesting how Mark Strong is gonna fit in it. He's not in it much but his role is also pretty comedic apparently.


    STICKMAN: I'm more hopeful for this than Aquaman that's for sure, which is kinda sad when you think about it.


    MADHERO: Its a much more smaller film than that one. Plus its completely fresh. I was happily surprised, and hope the film will as well.


    STICKMAN: It just makes me want to shout out...hey this looks neat.


    BLUMHOUSE SHOWS OFF FIRST TRAILER FOR M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN’S GLASS

    Its been a while since M. Night Shyamalan produced what's probably his greatest twist of all: the fact his movie Split, a neat little Blumhouse thriller showing off James McAvoy's acting range, turned out to be the long awaited sequel to 2000's Unbreakable, Shyamalan's interesting take on the superhero genre (even more so today, now that they dominate the Hollywood landscape). With Split being a huge success, the long awaited crossover was announced fairly soon after, with the film shown off where else: Comic-Con.


    Picking up close after Split, it  shows David Dunn (Bruce Willis), James McAvoy's many personalities and Samuel L. Jackson's Mr. Glass stuck in a psychiatric ward, questioned by Sarah Paulson on their supposed delusion of grandeur. We get a bit of a recap of what every character's been up to, with McAvoy continuing kidnapping girls and Bruce Willis going all pre-cog on us. We get some teases of the inevitable clash between the hero and villain, as it looks like Brucie might be in a bit of a pickle. Its looking atmospheric, intriguing and it looks like M. Night is able to make Bruce Willis give a shit. That's remarkable on its own.


    STICKMAN: I'm in the minority who thought Split was a huge pile of shit, so I'm not really feeling this weird crossover with cliche dialogue.


    MADHERO: Oh daaaaaaaaaaaang. Someone's raining over the parade with their perfectly valid opinions that I happen to disagree with.


    STICKMAN: Itsone of those films I genuinely don't get the mostly universal love for? The dialogue was really  bad, and whilst James McAvoy gave a very diverse series of performances, they were all pretty camp and sometimes offensive. Also, I don't really get what Glass' super power is...he's...easy to hurt? Amazing.


    MADHERO: Well he'll be one orchestrating the confrontation in all likelihood. Plus he’s super duper smart. I know you really did not like Split, but what about Unbreakable?


    STICKMAN: Unbreakable was pretty good but I don't think it's aged super well. Given Bruce Willis hasn't given a damn in anything since Looper, I dunno what to expect from his role in this. Samuel L Jackson is always worth turning up for, though.


    MADHERO: Well Shyamalan has managed to wrangle some of his best performances out of him in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, so I hope he does the same here, cause no one wants to go to a movie theater seeing Bruce Willis not give a shit. They can do that with his Direct to DVD movies.


    STICKMAN: And any other movie he's starred in since Looper. Anyway, I'm not particularly interested in this, but I guess it's neat that Unbreakable is getting a sequel...I guess. Mhmmh.


    WARNER BROS AND LEGENDARY SHOW OFF EPIC TRAILER FOR GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

    Oh boy OH BOOOOYY. Now this is what I was wanting from Comic Con most of all. With a May 2019 release, it wasn't a done deal that this would have anything to show for itself outside of Hall H, but after a somewhat shoddily produced teaser trailer, and MONARCH based viral marketing campaign made a splash on the internet earlier in the week, this became a done deal. And thus, here it is...and holy shit, what a first impression it makes.


    Oh boy OH BOOOOYY. Now this is what I was wanting from Comic Con most of all. With a May 2019 release, it wasn't a done deal that this would have anything to show for itself outside of Hall H, but after a somewhat shoddily produced teaser trailer, and MONARCH based viral marketing campaign made a splash on the internet earlier in the week, this became a done deal. And thus, here it is...and holy shit, what a first impression it makes.


    Following on from 2017's Kong Skull Island , and more specifically the 2014 previous Godzilla film, the next installment in Legendary's semi-successful 'Monsterverse' is seeking to remedy the less lauded aspects of the previous Godzilla movie, namely it being too dark and...well, lacking much in the way of Godzilla...and is doubling down, or moreso quadrupling down on the monster madness.  Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah all make an appearance in this trailer in some capacity, with the latter two being teased oh so deliciously. The premise seems to involve young girl Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and her mother (Vera Farmiga, continuing her Worst Mom Ever streak) taking her along as she awakens the four most deadly kaiju, or 'titans' on the planet, supposedly in order to restore balance to a dying Earth. But judging from the devastation displayed in the trailer, with Washington DC looking less like a city and more like a burning sand pit? She's not done a very good job. Overall this is a fantastic first trailer, demonstrating the same style of epic visual splendor as the first film, albeit one more visible, and loaded with glorious monster carnage. ROLL ON MAAAAAY.


    MADHERO: Holy fuuuuuuuck. I don't know what it is about the MonsterVerse, but they've got some of the best trailer editors working on it. Skull Island had some amazing trailers, and this really comes out kicking.


    STICKMAN: They really know how to sell a film, hopefully this time they'll be able to make a film that lives up to that standard too. I liked Godzilla 2014 a lot, and Skull Island was really fun too, but both of them were pretty flawed at the same time.


    MADHERO: I think the 2 biggest complaints about Godzilla is that it didn't have enough Godzilla or kept relentlessly teasing him, and the fairly generic bad monsters as the bad guys. And this trailer, while just a small snippet, seems to suggest they're fixing both.


    STICKMAN: Oh boy oh boy. We got the goodies this time, with more yet to be seen within the film, apparently. If Gigan turns up, who's the best Godzilla monster, I will scream.


    MADHERO: Godzooky or GTFO. Its gonna be pretty wild if there's more than just these 4, but they'll no doubt be teasing throughout the marketing. Gigan is probably a bridge too far, but maybe Barogun, or Gamera for maximum crossover appeal.


    STICKMAN: No doubt we'll find out before the film comes out, because merchandising leaks and WHAT NOT. But I  was already stoked for this film, obviously...but the trailer...which not only existed, but managed to be better than anything any of us could have expected? OH MAN. Now I'm horny.


    MADHERO: That Mothra shot was fucking gorgeous.


    STICKMAN: There's so many great shots, but yeah, that one, with the music and all, FUCKIN MAJESTIC AS HELL. Mothra gonna fuck shit up.


    MADHERO: A lot of shit is gonna get fucked looking at the trailer. Its gonna be a blast.


    JOKER ORIGIN MOVIE STARRING JOAQUIN PHOENIX OFFICIALLY HAPPENING. WILL RELEASE ON OCTOBER 2019

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    When it comes to WB'S DC productions, its always a bit of a wait and see what actually gets made or not. For a while, it felt like we got a new announcement every week, and who knows what even goes ahead. One of those pitches was a standalone Joker origin story directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) which would not be the origin of Leto Joker (guess we'll never know who tattooed Damaged), but in the style of a 70's or 90's Scorsese crime film. It all sounded a little silly, but not only is it happening: its got a star, a name and even a release date.


    Simply titled Joker, it will star Joaquin Phoenix of all people as the Clown Prince of Crime before he fell in a vat of acid, and Zazie Beetz (Domino in Deadpool 2) is in talks to be his love interest, as well as Robert de Niro just to add to the Scorseseness of it all. Shooting is supposes to happen in September, with n release date planned for October 2019, which is really fucking fast for this type of film. That speed is thanks to the relatively low budget (around 55 million), which gives them the oppurtunity to be more experimental and hard edged (its almost definitely rated R). Needless to say, this is a weird project, and giving Joker an origin is a bad idea. But Phoenix is one of my favourite actors and I'm very curious with his take, and he picks his projects carefully. So yeah, very conflicted about this


    STICKMAN: Like you say, promising cast and all that...and although the Joker has had origin stories, they tend to be parallel to another story, I'm not sure I'd dedicate an entire solo-film to this alone.


    MADHERO: Well the Joker is still an insanely popular character that they'd like to make money on with more than just Batman films that aren't being made right now. Its all sounding like a one-off experimental type thing.


    STICKMAN: I'm not even sure Joaquin Phoenix is suited to the role, necessarily. He's a great actor, but I can't really picture him in white makeup and red lipstick, prancing around like a murderous clown.


    MADHERO: Yeah, but we said the same about Heath Ledger back in the day. Phoenix has a lot more range than people give him credit for, but I don't really know how to compare to any of the other Jokers that have been on screen.


    STICKMAN: It's not entirely assured that he will be the Joker as we know him in this film. It depends on how they play it. It's a weird idea, and like you say, it could work big time, and open the door for more experimental DC films that offer more than just blockbuster entertainment, or it's going to be a massive disaster and the only one of these we see.


    MADHERO: It feels more something like Logan than anything done beforehand. That's probably what they're going for. I have no idea what to make of it, but its coming out fairly soon, so I guess we'll find out.


    STICKMAN: The close release date is also a bit troubling. BUT OH WELL. It's not like DC have ever made a bad mov-oh.


    ----------------

    MADHERO: Phew,  I think that about does it for all the news out there. You almost forget that with all this talking and announcing and whatnot, that Hollywood actually releases movies as well. Its almost.....impossible to follow everything.


    STICKMAN: So much news, hoo wee. So much news.


     MADHERO: Its alright, Stickman. We could go at it again, but let's focus on this varied list of films of which we're only interested in one.


    STICKMAN: What a great idea....I guess?


    MOVIES

    MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT

    DIRECTOR: Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation)

    STARRING: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Michelle Rodriguez, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett

    SYNOPSIS: When an IMF mission ends badly, the world is faced with dire consequences. As Ethan Hunt (Cruise) takes it upon himself to fulfill his original briefing, the CIA begins to question his loyalty and his motives.

    STICKMAN: OHHH BAYBEEE


    MADHERO: Apparently the best action movie since Fury Road according to some critics, and if that isn't enough to get you interested, well I don't know what will.


    STICKMAN: I'm fuckin pumped as HELLL. The last few Mission Impossible films have been really great, so I'm glad this has not only continued that trend, but upped it again? How many other franchises top themselves at film 6.


    MADHERO: Its weird. I always like these films, but then I don't really feel excitement up until the moment they're almost out. And its pretty wild  it just keeps going with the spectacle. Guess it helps having someone as insane as Tom Cruise.


    STICKMAN: They fucking throw him out of a god damn plane in this one. They literally have to launch Tom Cruise into space next time to beat the stunts in this one.


    MADHERO:  Also I guess now we know that Cavill's Justice League ruining moustache was worth it.


    STICKMAN: I hear his villainous motivation in this film is chasing all the girls.


    MADHERO: Ooooh. Topical. Reports are that the last half hour is an absolute ride and I'm here for it.


    STICKMAN: I'm fucking reaaadddy. Gonna see that shit in IMAX, even though they've forced it to be in 3D here. FUCK.


    MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN

    DIRECTOR: Ol Parker (Now Is Good)

    STARRING: Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Lily James, Cher, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard

    SYNOPSIS: Sophie (Seyfired) is pregnant with Sky's (Cooper) child while running her mother's villa. Sophie will find out more of Donna's (Streep, James) past and how she came to start up her villa without a mother to guide.

    STICKMAN: Oh shit, here we go again.


    MADHERO: Credit where credit is due, that's the best sequel title since Electric Boogaloo.


    STICKMAN: I feel like this joins the likes of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 in the camp of...REALLY...A SEQUEL AT THIS STAGE?


    MADHERO: The original Mamma Mia feels like it released a million years ago and yet it was only 2008, which was.....10 years ago. Fuck.


    STICKMAN: It's the same age as The Dark Knight. And clearly, has had the same impact on modern cinema.


    MADHERO: To be fair, its not a film made for us. Its a light fluffy jukebox musical and it apparently gets the job done. Better than the first, but stuck using ABBA's B material with a few repeats. Hopefully now they're given to people who can actually sing.


    STICKMAN: For me, the original was like getting a hammer to the balls and I couldn't sit through 5 seconds of it. This is getting a 2D IMAX screening through...for those who want the ultimate....Mamma Mia...experience...Mamma MiMAX?


    MADHERO: I saw the first one with my family and it was not a good time. Luckily, I don't have to see the 2nd one, but I hope those that do will have fun.


    TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES

    DIRECTOR: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail (episodes of Teen Titans Go)

    STARRING: Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, 

    SYNOPSIS: The Teen Titans (Menville, Cipes etc.) learn that almost every hero in the DC Universe has their own films. However, they find a window of opportunity for their own movie by having their own nemesis: Slade (Arnett).

    MADHERO: Boy this could not release at a better time after that Titans trailer.


    STICKMAN: FUCK BATMAN.


    MADHERO: Got fucked so hard that he's not in this movie, but Alfred is. Yet they did get Wil Arnett and cast him as Slade/Deathstroke.


    STICKMAN: Batman's in the movie,  he's played by Jimmy Kimmel. So that's another reason not to watch this film I guess.


    MADHERO: O dang, my bad. Its made for kids, so its fine. We can watch Titans instead, like adults too cool for school.


    STICKMAN: I think maybe Titans...in all its forms, just aren't for me. I'm too...complex..and dark...and alone. You see. Hnngh. Sometimes, the darkness, feels good.


    MADHERO: Let the kids have their goofy cartoon again. I will grumble in the corner wishing for my old Teen Titans while the writers point and laugh at me.


    STICKMAN: What annoys me about Teen Titans GO is that they know it sucks...they know people want something else, and that's the joke? If you're aware of the problem why not course correct instead of laughing about how bad you aAAaAAAArre.


    MADHERO: Because META!


    STICKMAN: AAAAGGH


    THE EQUALIZER 2

    DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven)

    STARRING: Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Pedro Pascal, Jonathan Scarfe, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman

    SYNOPSIS: Robert McCall (Washington) learns that one of his longtime friends has been murdered. McCall decides to return to his old ways and seek out, find and punish the perpetrators.

    STICKMAN: Who saw this getting a sequel.


    MADHERO: Worse. Who saw this getting a sequel and NOT call it The Sequalizer.


    STICKMAN: Ahh, huge missed opportunity. Shut it down.


    MADHERO: It feels weird that this is Denzel's first every sequel. The Equalizer was a perfectly adequate dad action movie. And the sequel is....just doing that again, but now its REVENGE!


    STICKMAN: I've never seen the previous film...it looked...fine? Nothing amazing, which seems to be an accurate summary.


    MADHERO: I feel like Washington as a actor and Fuqua as a director can do way better. I'm more baffled by its existence than the film itself, which just looks really generic.


    STICKMAN: Yeah, you'd feel Denzel would be above this, but hey ho. Gotta pay the bills.


    MADHERO: We all fall prey to the easy paycheck. Speaking of which....


    UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB

    DIRECTOR: Stephen Suscu (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Andrew Lees, Connor del Rio

    SYNOPSIS: A teen picks up a new laptop from a lost-and-found bin and finds a cache of secret files on it. While on a video call with his friends, he discovers the disturbing nature of the files

    MADHERO: Boy this really is the "boy, who'd have throught that'd get a sequel" type of episode.


    STICKMAN: I mean it's a horror film, and a bad one too, that means it's GUARANTEED to get a sequel.


    MADHERO: I don't think I ever saw the original, and don't really have plans to tbh. Instead of a spooky cyber ghost, it seems to be criminals now.


    STICKMAN: That's not nearly as stupid though. It just won't work.


    MADHERO: I don't really have many strong opinions for this film. Its reviews have been surprisingly decent. And lord knows I've felt tense awaiting a Facebook message, so you know you can milk horror out of it.


    STICKMAN: The basic premise of a found footage screen capture film is neat...and there's a more promising looking film along that nature coming out in the future, as for this one....passssss.


    MADHERO: Also, before I forget. Apparently this movie has 2 different endings, so you may get something completely different depending on where you see it.


    STICKMAN: That's kinda weird, but neat. I GUESS.


    -----------------


    MADHERO: Alright that's it for all the movies. A lot of sequels for movies made for your mom or dad. But if Mission Impossible ain't for you. Don't worry. There's always MOVIE OF THE WEEK!


    STICKMAN: OH SHIIIIIIIET


    MADHERO: As it turns out, its quite difficult to go see a movie on vacation because you're supposed to do other stuff, but I think I've managed.


    STICKMAN: Did you though, did you reaaaaally?


    MADHERO: I meaaaan......ok fine. Here it is.


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    So with me having gone on vacation, I haven't really been watching a lot of movies in the theater since Incredibles, so I had to look at what came out on DVD, and noticed a film that might actually really benefit from having a home release. With Comic-Con going on, there's probably no better time to talk Ready Player One again: the ultimate movie for you to go "hey, I recognize that" made by one of the greatest directors of all time.


    Now RPO is definitely not one of Spielberg's better films, but it does do a good job in erasing a lot of the navel-gazing and in-love-with-itself attitude of the original novel its based on. Its a ginourmous roller coaster ride, and Spielberg is an expert craftsman of those, but hadn't really done one since Tintin in 2011. The action is absolutely bonkers to follow, which makes spotting some of the references difficult. Luckily, you can now pause the movie whenever you want and look, and spot that supposed Amaterasu from Okami you desperately tried to find but couldn't. It'll probably take all day, but its something to keep you busy.


    STICKMAN: I haven't seen this film but I hear it's got Xenomorphs, Master Chief and Mecha-Godzilla, so that's worth something.


    MADHERO: All of those are pretty damn easy to spot. MechaGodzilla especially.


    STICKMAN: A giant robo-boy with missiles is hard to miss I guess. Some people seem to love this film and others seem to hate it with a fiery passion.


    MADHERO: I thought it was fine. Again, it removes a lot of the more problematic elements of the book, but it still has a pretty clunky script and really underdeveloped characters. Its a movie you go to for the rollercoaster ride, and not necessarily the story.


    STICKMAN: Seems like it's at least fun, and full of things to point at and go "There they are"


    MADHERO: Too many things, which is why watching it at home is perfect. Because damn it, Hello Kitty is there somewhere.


    STICKMAN: Hello Kitty is piloting Mechagodzilla, duh.


    MADHERO: What about your film? Is Hello Kitty in there?


    STICKMAN: Hello Kitty was never really here. SOOOO, although I saw Incredibles 2 last week and liked it quite a lot, we've spoken about that a lot recently, so I thought I'd go to the DVD releases and talk about my current favourite film of the year,  YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE. Previously mention Joaquin Phoneix stars in, maybe one of his best roles as a tormented, broken rescuer of kidnapped and trafficked young girls. And when I say broken, I mean...TRULY broken. I've never seen another performance like this, it's quite spectacular.

    Beyond his performance alone, the visuals are spectacular, and the sound design is incredible. The soundtrack, by Jonny Greenwood, of Radiohead and Phantom Thread fame is one of this year's best too. It's not an easy watch, this film very quickly goes to some dark places and never comes back out...and this is a arthouse/narrative hybrid film, so some people may find it a frustrating watch, but for me, it's an experience the likes of which I've never seen at the cinema, and I can confirm, it's still marvelous on Blu Ray too.


    MADHERO: Oh. I don't think Hello Kitty is a part of this.


    STICKMAN: I mean she might turn up, I won't spoil it for you.


    MADHERO: Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors, so I'm still very much planning on seeing this. Lynne Ramsey as well really impressed/depressed me with We Need to Talk About Kevin, and I think this might do the same.


    STICKMAN: She's a great director, Kevin like you say, was a great, but depressing film...this one's a weird mixture of emotions, dark, upsetting, but in a weird way...kinda uplifting? I dunno, maybe it's just the music doing that. It's a unique cinematic experience, that's for sure.


    MADHERO: You see this play in Oscar time? I feel like this is something that's really going under the radar.


    STICKMAN: I feel like this is the sorta film that'll get shut out...early in the year release, difficult subject matter and obtuse presentation. Sound Editing nomination seems pretty guaranteed though.


    ------------

    MADHERO: Awesome. I think that about wraps everything up. No vacations for now, which is good because you might be cornered by your former stuffed animals or a huge shark. There's really no inbetween.


    STICKMAN: Do you mean...PooooooooOOOOOooooOOOOOOOOHH!?


    MADHERO: Yes, Pooh. The silly old bear is giving Obi Wan a bit of a bother.


    STICKMAN: Well, as the bear himself would say "Fucking hell". GOODBYE


    MADHERO: Later everyone. Don't let Slenderman catch you.

  • Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal and Carlos Lopez Estrada Reveal How Friendship Made BLINDSPOTTING Possible!

    1 month ago

    ericvespe

    Summer movie season is in full swing right now. You can still find at least three superhero movies in theaters as well as a big, dumb action movie staring The Rock and the latest Mission: Impossible film hits screens in a little over a week. But that doesn't mean there aren't smaller, more meaningful movies out there.


    One is coming out this weekend called Blindspotting. I saw this film at Sundance and raved about it back then. Now you have a chance to see what I was talking about. Starring Hamilton's Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar and Jasmine Cephas Jones, this is one of those everything movies. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make your butthole clench in pure tension. You know, everything.


    Blindspotting is about a man in the final days of his parole who witnesses a policeman shooting an unarmed man. He's traumatized by the incident, but can't speak out for fear of revealing that violated his parole. At the same time his crazy best friend isn't helping matters by constantly acting as the well-intentioned, but bad influence in his life. 


    It's a great film and I was super excited to sit down with the two leads, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, alongside their director Carlos Lopez Estrada to talk about how this film about friendship was actually born out of friendship as well as just how great their supporting cast is and how they struck an authentic balance between real world issues and escapism entertainment.


    It's a good chat. Enjoy!



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    Eric Vespe: Hey, guys. So, I saw the movie at Sundance and flipped for it. It spoke to me in a way I wasn't quite expecting and I think it's because of the way the humor of the film pushes the narrative. It's a movie with deadly serious content, but first and foremost it's almost a buddy comedy. I cared about the stakes of the movie because I cared about the friendship between you guys. Was that your way into the story?


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: The movie is based on friendship. It sounds like a corny thing to say, but it's true. The movie's a result of the friendship between Rafa and Daveed for... how many years?


    Daveed Diggs: Hella years.


    Rafael Casal: (laughs) Hella years. We're coming up on two decades.


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: Then there was a friendship between Daveed and myself. It started professionally and then...


    Daveed Diggs: It became romantic.


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: It wasn't romantic, it was just physical. (laughs) Then through Daveed I met Rafa. It's oversimplifying the process a little, but a lot of people came to (the movie) because of friendship. (Producers) Keith Calder and Jess Wu have been working with these guys for 9 years as well. A lot of the actors are either friends or friends of friends of people who these guys have worked with. It is a family endeavor and I'm glad to hear that energy translates when you watch the movie. Calling this movie a passion project is a serious understatement. They could probably tell you a little more about the real genesis.


    Daveed Diggs: (to Rafa) You said something great a little while ago about humor and male relationships... about how men interact with each other.


    Rafael Casal: Just say it's my quote, but Daveed will say it.


    Daveed Diggs: Rafa says that one of the ways that men stay friends with each other is by making jokes. That's what we do. We're always sort of covering up...


    Rafael Casal: It's the barrel roll out of tension. We have two main emotions that men are socially accepted to express. It's anger and humor. Those are the two conditioned ways to fluctuate. 


    Really the movie runs the way heterosexual male friendship tends to toggle. It's devoid of too much talk about feelings and it's very much humor-humor-humor until it boils up and because of that I think the characteristic of the film I love the most is just how much they try to keep bringing humor into it until it's completely impossible. Even in the end it's Miles' final barrel roll that gets us to a place of hope between the two of them, by trying to get them to laugh. That's the survival nature of friendship.


    Daveed Diggs: It sets up this thing where you can't trust humor any more. It's not enough. But then the final statement is pretty much if we acknowledge that we both changed we can still make jokes.



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    Eric Vespe: I relate to that a lot. It's also important for audiences to know, too. You can tell people Blindspotting has great messages about gentrification and police brutality and the unfairness of the parole system and their eyes might glaze over. It might sound like homework. But if you can tell them it's a funny movie and you're going to connect with the characters that changes the conversation that gets people to give it a shot.


    Daveed Diggs: The buddy comedy in a world that won't let it be one... the reason that we say that sentence so much is because that sentence, and when you see the movie you'll get this, is to me the definition of what “Blindspotting” is. You say “a buddy comedy in a world that won't let it be one” and all people hear is the “buddy comedy” part and the second half is lost. You don't entirely know what it means, so your eyes float to “buddy comedy.”


    The first press we ever got was “Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs are doing a buddy comedy set in Oakland.” Yeah, we gave you the full sentence, but that's where your eye went.


    The in is that it's a buddy comedy, but it doesn't ignore the world that it exists in and it's that world that won't let it be one. The inherent seriousness of the time we're in gives you the buddy comedy, but puts it in the world that we're in.


    The world just unfolds as it is, which is why I never throw out the gun control and violence themes or even really police shootings. We're just now starting to add that because we're being told to. (laughs) We're being told it's helpful.


    Eric Vespe: Speaking of, your character witnesses a police shooting and the guy playing the officer is Ethan Embry. He's so damn good in this thing. He's a deeply flawed character, but not a one-dimensional bad guy. I felt I was empathizing with him and I never in a million years would have thought I'd do that with a person in his position.


    Rafael Casal: The amazing thing about empathy is all you actually have to do is make them human. You'll forgive so many flaws in a character's personality or political position as long as they feel full and human.


    Daveed Diggs: And I don't think we're even asking for forgiveness. It's just that you can sort of understand it. What we don't see is him over there and laughing and high-fiving two weeks after he shot a kid. His life probably sucks. You don't have to let him off the hook for being poorly trained and for shooting somebody because he was scared of a person running away from him. You don't get off the hook for that. You don't get brownie points for that, but also your life is probably pretty shitty.


    From our perspective (Ethan's character) couldn't reconcile with his wife after that. There's no turning back from that. The great thing about Ethan as an actor is that he made that whole movie in his head. He had the whole story of that officer in his head.


    Rafael Casal: The other side of this film.


    Daveed Diggs: And he asked us a ton of questions about it. We didn't write that into the script, so he came to us and asked us questions. Where is this guy from? Does he have other infractions?


    Rafael Casal: Do you think he came from the military? He gave it that much thought. I don't think at any point Ethan was trying to create a character that he thought was morally right. He just wanted a three-dimensional human being who is also a product of his surroundings and biases.


    Daveed Diggs: I don't think Ethan likes him very much!


    Rafael Casal: But I think he got him, which is nearly impossible when you read this script and invest in the main characters. To be able to find a sincere way into that officer...


    Daveed Diggs: It's a thing we asked of everybody involved in this film. So much of the focus is necessarily on us, but it was really important to have all these characters who were fully realized and felt like they had their own lives. So everybody had to do that work, without necessarily the lines to support it. Jasmine (Cephas Jones) came to the Bay a little bit early and just hung out. She's soooo New York.


    Rafael Casal: She's so Brooklyn! She was there for two days. She came to the Warriors parade...

    Daveed Diggs: It happened to be when the Warriors won the title.


    Rafael Casal: She hung out with two of the women who here character is based on and within two hours had the speech pattern down and was just walking around with it. They did her hair and I just kept forgetting that was Jasmine. It was magic.


    Eric Vespe: Janina (Gavankar) is great, too. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when she's doing your hair. It's the most romantic not-romantic scene ever. It's romantic in that these are two people who get each other and care for each other, but they're not at a place where they can become an item again.


    Daveed Diggs: We auditioned here by seeing if she could braid hair. She can't, so that's an incredible acting job. You'll see she focuses on the back of the head. (laughs)



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    Carlos Lopez Estrada: I think Janina is one of those casting stories that I'll always remember because she came in to read towards the later end of the process. We had seen a lot of actors, some very, very talented people came in to read, and we were having a hard time making a decision. It was an important role. Then she walked into the room and did a handful of things that no one had done and I think understood the depth of the character in ways that we hadn't even fully grasped.


    We had a conversation with her about the script and about how she related to it being an Indian woman and understanding how minorities feel. It's just one of those things I'll never forget. She walked out of the room and we all just looked at each other and said, “Wow. How could we not work with this woman?”


    Daveed Diggs: She taught us things about Val in the audition.


    Rafael Casal: She totally changed the character.


    Daveed Diggs: There's that moment at the end of that scene after their hug she just said “Okay, bye” and walked out. No one else had played it that way. There was always this longing pathos thing, but she did it that way and I was like “... okay.” I was reading with her.


    Rafael Casal: She just cut the scene off!


    Daveed Diggs: All of us were like “That's how that scene was supposed to go! Shit.” It gave her so much more agency than I think even we were giving to that character. The best of our abilities we were still two dudes trying to write women and she came in and was like “This is how I would do it in this moment.”


    Carlos Lopez Estrada: She's not like Val, but in many ways she is. She'd come up to all three of us and we would give her direction and she'd say “Actually, I'm not sure if I agree with that” and we'd have these really interesting conversations.


    Rafael Casal: She really took Val from us.


    Daveed Diggs: Thank goodness.


    Rafael Casal: She'd be like “Val's this person. I know her better than you, so we're going to do it this way.” We were like “Okay!”


    Eric Vespe: It's a tough character because that archetype could come across as naggy.


    Daveed Diggs: It could come across as naggy, I know! It's tricky. There was an edit where we failed her, really. There was an early edit where she came off that way and it wasn't because of her performance, it was because we were choosing the wrong shots. For time we cut a bunch of things out, so we had to go back put more of her in. She gives this wonderfully nuanced performance with so much empathy in it, but for time we cut a lot of those moments and we were watching it going “We have to put that back.”


    Rafael Casal: There's the balance of sweet and stern and she gave us so many different takes of each one in each scene. Compiling that, you have to have just the right amount of Val's sweetness and kindness that you understand why her and Collin were together, but also just enough coldness that you get that this isn't a happily ever after thing.


    Eric Vespe: Absolutely. I love the movie and I think a lot of people are going to love the movie as well. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.



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    The movie's out in select theaters this weekend and goes wide on July 27th. If you like good things, go watch it!  

  • The Aquaman Poster Is Released And The Internet Is Already Clowning It

    1 month ago

    ericvespe

    My history with the modern DCEU is a little rocky, but I'm by no means a DC hater. Growing up the only good comic book movies were DC films! Superman and Superman II, the two Tim Burton Batman movies. Hell, I even liked Supergirl as cheesy as that was.


    The Dark Knight was my favorite movie the year it came out and I still hold it up as a masterpiece of popcorn entertainment.


    DC is just having some trouble finding its footing in the Marvel era. It's a tough road to hoe for Warner Bros. We've seen so much of Batman and Superman, so how do they both give us what we want and also something new?


    There's no easy answer to that question, but I think the key lies more in their less-familiar characters. Wonder Woman has been all over pop culture, but she never got her moment in the sun quite like she did in her own standalone movie. Patty Jenkins embraced the good-hearted Diana and also made her a badass who will stand up and fight for those that can't. It was more than just "cool moments." 


    Could James Wan work similar magic for Aquaman? I'm optimistic, not because I have any deep love or nostalgia for the character (I don't), but I like Wan as a filmmaker. He's got a great eye and distinctive voice. 


    While I think they blew it pretty hardcore with Batman V Superman and Justice League, I still hold out hope DC rights the ship. 


    So, when I share some images of the internet joshing the new Aquaman poster know it comes from a place of good fun. Here's the official one:



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    The movie could be amazing, but that poster is pretty silly. Even DC fans are making fun of it. Looks like a photoshoot at the local aquarium. People have pointed out that the big mean shark on the right side of the poster is a stock image that you've seen a million times before, but hey, short cuts happen.


    The internet isn't as forgiving as I am, though. Here are a few of my favorite instant photoshop jobs I saw today:



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    Alright, the last one is kinda mean and snarky, but it made me laugh.


    One nice thing I'll say about this poster though is that it shows a lighter, more fun vibe. I've seen a few clips and unfinished effects shots from this movie at various Conventions over the last 12 months or so and Wan isn't shying away from making this weird as hell, which is why I'm still hopeful we'll get something special out of this movie when it premieres this holiday season.


    In the meantime I'm sure we'll be getting a new trailer soon since they're going to be doing their big Hall H presentation at Comic-Con this week. We'll know soon enough exactly what kind of movie we're in for here.

  • Skyscraper Is Just As Silly As You Expect, But Also Pretty Fun

    1 month ago

    ericvespe

    It's hard to remember in these days of comic book movies being all the rage, but the state of the big studio summer blockbuster was pretty dire before movies like Blade, X-Men and Spider-Man changed the game. For every Independence Day we get a dozen Dante's Peaks.


    Enough time has passed that it's strangely nostalgic to see a traditional big, goofy disaster movie again. Skyscraper is by no measure a serious attempt at drama, but it's not trying to be. All it wants to do is entertain you by throwing one of the most charismatic action stars in history into increasingly ridiculous set pieces as he has to scale a burning building to rescue his family. If you can accept it on its own level you should be able to have some fun with it.



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    In terms of scripting it's a great example of set up and pay off. In fact you could almost call Skyscraper Chekhov's Gun: The Movie.


    If you're unfamiliar with the term, Chekhov's Gun simply means if you show a gun a wall at the beginning of a story by the end of that gun better have gone off. It's a storytelling principle that is in place so writers don't promise things they don't deliver on.


    The first act of Skyscraper is all about showing us stuff that pays off later. We're walked through this magnificent high tech tower in Hong Kong called The Pearl and things big and small are set up to be revisited later, from giant wind turbines to a garden section in the middle to even a sword hanging on the wall of the CEO's penthouse apartment.


    While the script, written by director Rawson Marshall Thurber, won't be winning any awards it's tighter than you'd expect and does right by its lead characters. Yes, there's Dwayne Johnson's one-legged security specialist Will Sawyer who is instantly likable and heroic and all that, but there's also his wife, Sarah, played by Neve Campbell, who skirts the typical damsel in distress trope. She's always proactive from scene one and nobody's victim. She's smart, kind, supportive, instantly catches on that something's wrong and calmly goes about finding a way out for her and her children. In any other big blockbuster type movie she'd just be waiting for the hero to come rescue her, but not here. It's a welcome breath of fresh air and Neve Campbell gives it her all.


    Johnson is his typical bundle of muscle, sweat and charm. Gotta hand it to The Rock. That dude never phones in a performance, which is crucial when you're dealing with a story as silly as this. You want to see The Rock trying to jump into a fiery building from a construction crane.


    Skyscraper really is The Towering Inferno mixed with Die Hard, but leans more towards Towering Inferno than you may think.


    Despite what the many sequels try to tell you, the original Die Hard worked because Bruce Willis was an everyman, not an action hero. Willis has taken the mantle of the action star post-Die Hard, but you have to remember up to that point he was a comedic romantic leading man, famous mostly for his quick-witted banter with Cybill Shepherd on Moonlight. He wasn't a muscle-bound action hero, he was just a dude who got hurt and didn't just shrug off his injuries.


    That's not what Skyscraper is. It is physically impossible to make The Rock an everyman, and that's a compliment to the hardest working man in show business. Seeing him kick ass is why people buy tickets to his movies. He's more in the Schwarzenegger mold than early Willis and he uses that to his advantage every time out, especially in last year's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle where his perfectly sculpted body was the central joke.


    In short, Skyscraper delivers on what it promises. I doubt it'll ever be anybody's favorite movie, but it's an audience pleaser and never gets boring, which is the worst sin a movie like this could commit

  • Indiana Jones 5 Delayed! Disney shifts their schedule around!

    1 month ago

    ericvespe

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    There was a massive shift in Disney's release schedule today. Most of these new dates affect movies still in development, so don't worry. Avengers 4, Captain Marvel, Episode IX, Frozen 2 and all those are still coming when you expect them.


    Most of the moves are earlier than previously announced, the one exception being a big year push for Indiana Jones 5. Originally slated for 7/10/2020 the movie will now come out 7/09/2021. It makes sense, especially with the news that Solo's Jon Kasdan was reportedly doing a big rewrite after Spielberg regular David Koepp had his shot at the script.


    It's a bummer, but as long as they get it right and wash away the taste of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull they can take as much time as they need. 



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    Mary Poppins Returns moves up a week from December 25th to December 19th, The Rock's Jungle Cruise movie will release October 11th, 2019, Maleficent 2 will hit theaters May 29th, 2020 and an Untitled Marvel movie moves from July 30th, 2021 to February 12th, 2021.


    It's a good bet that the Untitled Marvel movie will be a Black Panther sequel since it's moving from a coveted summer slot to February, which was very, very good to the first Black Panther film, but that's just a guess. 


    So that's the big update. Still can't wait for Spielberg and Harrison Ford's final outing with Dr. Jones. Call me an optimist if you want, but I have a good feeling that they'll knock it out of the park.



  • At the Screwvies: Episode 112

    1 month ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: Hello everyone. I hope all y'all are enjoying your summers. Its been fun with my World Cups and all that. It distracts from the fact that for some reason Ant-Man and the Wasp hasn't released here yet but it has in the US. What the hell, Marvel? We had a good thing going with this whole "getting the movies early" thing and you betray us like that? Damn.


    LARRY: Gee......can't imagine what that's like....heh heh


    STICKMAN: Hey, Larry. FUUCCK OFFFF. 


    MADHERO: Laugh it up, Larry. Laugh it up, you American swine. Hope you had a good 4th of July btw.


    LARRY: Aight fuck off both of you lol


    MADHERO: Wow rude. Might as well talk some news to ease the pain.


    LARRY: Y'ALL WERE RUDE FIRST


    NEWS

    SONY DEVELOPING SPIDER-MAN SPIN-OFF “MORBIUS” WITH JARED LETO AS LEAD. ALSO DEVELOPING A SILK FILM

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    Y'all ready for more non-MCU Spider-Man Sony extended bullshit? We got a whole bunch for you today. Biggest story being the announcement of a Morbius the Vampire solo-film, presumably set within the same universe as this year's crappy looking Venom...which is being directed by Daniel Espinosa who brought you Safe House (Crap) and Life (Pretty good). More interesting/troubling is the casting of Morbius himself, none other than Jared 'Damaged' Leto.  We also got word of ANOTHER Spider-Sony-Spin-Off, featuring Silk, a character who has similar powers to Peter Parker, but not quite the same self-control, and a bit more of a darker background. Considering her character exists as a connective tissue to the story of Peter, it's going to be weird to see how they make a film for her without including him? But then this is Sony, and Sony gonna Sony.


    And FINALLY...we've got some more news for the actually really promising looking Enter the Spider-Verse animated movie. The good news? Spider-Man Noir is going to enter the scene, which is awesome. The ....slightly confusing news? He's going to be played by Nicolas god-damn Cage. Not who I'd of picked, but there you go. With all this going on, in addition to filming on the recently named Spider-Man: Far From Home? We're suddenly drowning in Spider-People. Where's the bug spray when you need it.


    MADHERO: Ok, so what ca-raaaaaaazy method thing is Jared Leto going to do playing a vampire?


    STICKMAN: He's going to drain people's blood for real.


    LARRY:He's gonna starve himself to get white and skinny, and then actually hang out with bats and shit. Look out for the Vox. article y'all


    MADHERO: And only wanna work at night or something because it adds to the "realness." So I can understand Venom getting a spin-off, but who the fuck is asking for a Morbius movie? He's not even in Top 20 Spider-Man villains.


    STICKMAN: When you take into consideration who's off the table because of the MCU....Vulture, Scorpion, Shocker, Mysterio....and then take into account what they're already planning with Venom and shit. It's not surprising we ended up with Morbius.


    LARRY: Yeah...you start scraping the bottom of the barrel. On a side note, WHERE IS MY KRAVEN SPINOFF?! I WANNA BE CATERED TO TO


    MADHERO: You wonder what it will take for Sony to go "fuck it, here's Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider."


    STICKMAN: Please no.


    MADHERO: I guess maybe that's the plan with Silk, having a Spider-Man esque character but not Spider-Man. She's a neat character, but her story is linked with Peter's and like Venom, I don’t know how you dance around it.


    STICKMAN: Sony will try their best and fail miserably though I'd imagine.


    LARRY: Just a reminder that Venom still looks like shit. No reason to have any faith in any of this.


    MADHERO: They must be feeling really confident about Venom to go full steam ahead with this, even with Silver and Black put on ice. Its just.....ugh. I thought we were passed this.


    STICKMAN: They were feeling confident about Amazing Spider-Man 2, so I don't think their confident means anything. But heeeey...how about Enter the Spider-Verse, right?


    MADHERO: That's weird casting but I'm into it. I doubt he's in it much. Also who'd have thought Cage would both play Superman and Spider-Man in 2018?


    LARRY: Not familiar with this Spidey, but I’m definitely interested.


    MADHERO: Also should probably mention, RIP Steve Ditko, co-creator of the webhead, who passed away at the age of 90. Wouldn't have Spider-Man without him. May he rest in peace.


    STICKMAN: Yeah, that was a sad thing to hear. Influential don't even begin to describe him.


    LARRY: A comic book legend, condolences to his friends and family.


    LEGENDARY ANNOUNCES LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION OF POPULAR ANIME FRANCHISE GUNDAM

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    Another day,  another anime for Hollywood to  adapt/ruin. This time, its the turn of mecha anime series Gundam to go through the Hollywood grind, with production company Legendary announcing that Anime Expo that they're working on an live-action adaptation of the property, with Cale Bayter (producer of Pacific Rim) overseeing the project alongside the Sunrise creative team, the rights holder of the franchise. The movie, based on the press release, will follow the original Universal Century storyline, in which Earth finally achieves space colonization,  but ends up in civil war for autonomy and independence....THROUGH MECHAS! Cue messages about colonialism, anti-war and so forth.


    Gundam in and of itself needs no introduction, being one of the biggest Japanese franchises of all time, making billions with its dozens of tv series, movies and of course merch. Lots and lots of merch. With it having gone on for so long, I've personally always found a tad impenetrable, with literally dozens of shows and continuity that's been going on since the late 70s.  So a major Hollywood movie to provide as a starting point seems good, but that said. Hollywood's anime adaptation track record is.... not great. Expect to hear more soon once we get to the director/producer/casting stage.


    STICKMAN: Giant robots back at it again.


    LARRY: Well, you can thank the international box office for that. China makes big bucks.


    MADHERO: Gundam is super huge in Asia. Not sure how big in China, but as one of the biggest mech series of all times, it'll likely find its audience worldwide.


    LARRY: Big mechs. Something we can all bond over.


    STICKMAN: When are we going to get Gundam & Pacific Rim Vs Godzilla & Mothra All Out Monster Robot Attack Battle Royale


    LARRY: 20-Never


    MADHERO: Its a bit weird to talk about it, because I've never been able to get into Gundam because of the age old "where the fuck do I start." I know Wing is popular in the US because it aired on Toonami at the time, and one of the newer ones outside the continuity is supposed to be pretty good.


    LARRY: Yeah I've seen mostly Wing.


    STICKMAN: I'm always a huge fan of giant robots with big swords and guns and shit, but like you say...where does one even start with any Gundam series.


    MADHERO: I need to know the one with the big windmill bot and the one with Big Zam so I can go "oh hey, Big Zam"


    STICKMAN: Nice reference DUDE.


    LARRY: #BigZam2018


    MADHERO: More details to come soon. Then we can talk about how they're blowing it.


    JIM CARREY TO PLAY DR EGGMAN/ROBOTNIK IN LIVE ACTION/CG ANIMATED FILM OF SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

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    Sometimes, this 24 hour news cycle blesses us with news that could only exist within the very moment in time it is revealed, and god dammit, this is one of those times. Jim Carrey is currently negotiating to play Eggmanm, yes really, in the new 2019 film adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog from Paramount and Deadpool director Tim Miller. No, this is not a joke. He would joining the likes of James Marsden and Tika Sumpter, with newcomer Jeff Fowler set to direct. Still not a joke, stay with me.


    The very image of Carrey sporting the bald head, goggles, and spruced up mustache is enough to make any Jim Carrey fan absolutely squeal in delight. For all we know, this could be a return to form for Carrey, known for his over-the-top, wildly physical performances. Or this could be one of the most absurd, ridiculously cringe-y takes on Robotnik in the franchise's history. I don't know. But either way, I'm happy to see Carrey getting another role, as he is one of my all-time favorite comedians. Though he has some controversial opinions, and is probably a bit more than insane in the membrane, he still holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to seeing what comes of this, should it solidify.


    STICKMAN: WHAT THE FUCK


    LARRY: ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN CHOOOO CGOOOOOOOO! GOTTA GO FAST


    MADHERO: I made a Twitter post with the news that literally was just Fucking WHAT! and it got over 400 RT's. It was wild.


    STICKMAN: I like how you're on board with this but will burn Detective Pikachu to the ground.This Sonic movie is sounding like the biggest traincrash in cinema history. I'm here for it.


    MADHERO: Jim Carrey was certainly not who I had in mind for the role, but I'm kinda there for it just to see it. Everything I hear from this movie doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.


    LARRY: Because Jim Carrey is kinda perfect for Eggman, tbh. Put him in the makeup and suit and he could kill it. He's lanky and physical, does voices, is over the top, THAT'S EGGMAN.


    STICKMAN: Eggman is the least lanky person I ever saw. He's literally a ball.


    LARRY: Have you seen that guy's legs?


    MADHERO: Maybe he's thinking of Sonic 06 Eggman. It would be his first role in a mainstream film in a while. His last was....shit, Dumb and Dumber 2?


    STICKMAN: Sonic 06 Eggman is a cursed nipple monster.


    LARRY: Yeah, that's the closest he's come to being actually recreate-able for a live-action film. Just put him in a fatsuit and it’ll be fine.


    MADHERO: Wake me up when we get a Blonic movie.


    LARRY: The point is, Eggman has never been this character we put on some fucking pedestal so I don't see how this couldn't work. Or, if it doesn't work, it's gonna be amazingly awful and we'll all get a good kick out of it.


    STICKMAN: If you put Eggman on  a pedestal he'd roll off and crack open on the floor.


    MGM WORKING ON A REMAKE OF CHILD’S PLAY WHILST ORIGINAL FRANCHISE IS CONTINUING ON TV

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    There's so many long-running slasher franchises around, it's often hard to remember them all. One of the more successful, whilst still mostly cult-based series' is Child's Play, better known by its later titular character, Chucky. Child's Play was a pretty big hit back in the late 80's/early 90s, ending its cinema run in 2004 with Bride of Chucky, before later seeing a revival in two direct to DVD sequels in 2013 and 2017.  Last we heard, the franchise was going to continue via TV with the original creators and Brad Dourff back as Chucky. So that makes it odd to hear that a SECOND Child's Play project is in the works, and it's a reboot.


    MGM have fast-tracked a contemporary remake of the original movie with newcomer Lars Klevberg at the helm, and the producers of last year's smash-hit...IT (Sorry) keeping things in check. Presumably this would follow the trend of most horror reboots and be a more gritty and serious take on the gloriously campy original, which could work, or not... It feels a bit like the Evil Dead remake paired with Ash vs Evil Dead, but at least the latter only came to be AFTER the movie. A strange situation, but who knows, maybe we'll get something fun out of both.


    LARRY: Fuck Chucky. That little satanic booger gave me nightmares as a kid.


    STICKMAN: WOAH LARRY. CHILL OUT DUDE.


    LARRY: He can go to hell.


    STICKMAN: Hi I'm Chucky, wanna play?


    LARRY: NO YOU CERTAINLY MAY NOT! INTO THE FIREPLACE YOU GO


    MADHERO: One of the Mexico players's nickname is Chucky because he scared his teammates as a kid. And one of those teammates: Larry Fried.


    LARRY: Damn straight. On a serious note, yeah I think Annabelle has the sorta "creepy doll" horror market right now. Not sure we need yet another.


    STICKMAN: I'm a big fan of the original Child's Play but have never seen any of the sequels, not sure people are chomping at the bit for more killer doll movies. Annabelle's boring tho, just turns her head and shit.


    MADHERO: Chucky ain't really scary as an adult, but I can see as a kid why he'd be terrifying. I feel like this new take would go an Annabelle take, which seems...... not my jam


    STICKMAN: Annabelle and Chucky should do a crossover movie.


    LARRY: Annabelle is the new Wife of Chucky! Bam, hella marketing deal, wow.


    STICKMAN: BRIDE OF CHUCKY EXISTS ALREADY, YOU FOOL.


    MADHERO: We're doing the work for them. Let's see how this pans out and whether this new take will be anything worthwhile.


    DISNEY CLOSES DOWN DIRECT-TO-DVD STUDIO DISNEYTOON STUDIOS, CANCELLING A NEW PLANES MOVIE IN THE PROCESS

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    If you're a child of the 90's, there's a good chance you've come across a Direct to DVD Disney sequel in your life. From Lion King 2, Aladdin: Return of Jafar, Bambi 2, and so many different sequels of varying but mostly bad quality. All of those films were made  by DisneyToon Studios,  which has now been shut down effective immediately, leading to the firing of 75 employees and the cancellation of a new Planes and Tinkerbell movie.


    Starting out as MovieToons, where they made not only those sequels, but other smaller films like the Ducktales movie, the Winnie the Pooh sequels, and probably most famous for 90s kids everywhere:  A Goofy Movie. A lot of these films were made under the leader of Michael Eisner, but when Bob Iger took over and John Lasseter became head of animation, he restructured the company to focus on spin-offs like Tinkerbell and Planes. With the rise of streaming, their existence became redundant (this was already planned for a while and not just caused by Lasseter's exit). Its sad for the people that lost their job, and I wish them success in finding something new.


    STICKMAN: I do wonder if there wasn't a need for studios like this to make easy, cheap(ish) content for their new streaming service. Surely that's the new direct to DVD home.


    LARRY: Absolutely.


    MADHERO: I imagine there's other studios for that. Disney ain't exactly strapped for content with or without a Fox deal.


    STICKMAN: I can't say I was exactly a big fan of their output. Even 90s Kids favourite, The Goofy Movie, which is some real cringe I gotta say.


    LARRY: I love some DisneyToon films, the Goofy films especially, but...yeah their legacy will always be marred by a fuck ton of shitty cash grabbing sequels sadly.


    MADHERO: A Goofy Movie is really fun, but super cheesy. Their output was not the best, a lot of it was terrible, but they did the best with what they had to work. Like, there's some surprisingly decent sequels in the mix. Lion King 2 is better than it has any right to be.


    LARRY: For every Lion King 2, there's about three Hunchback 2's. So.


    STICKMAN: Shame to hear about the people losing their jobs. At least the studio got a good run at it. We'll never see Planes in space now.


    LARRY: No yeah, seeing people lose jobs always sucks. This is sad news. I just felt like it was inevitable at some point.


    MADHERO: It sucks for the people that lost their jobs. Hopefully they'll find something soon. Its a weird legacy to have, but I've watched plenty of the films they made, and especially as a kid, they entertained, so thanks for that.


    STICKMAN: Thanks for the Goofy internet memes.


    LARRY: Long Live The Goofy Movie. And An Extremely Goofy Movie, that film is awesome.


    GRETA GERWIG’S (LADY BIRD) IS A NEW ADAPTATION OF LITTLE WOMEN. CAST INCLUDE SAORISE RONAN, EMMA STONE, MERYL STREEP AND MORE.

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    Nothing like some solid post-Civil War period dramas to get your engines revving. One that has been often adapted is "Little Women," a novel by Louisa May Alcott about the story of the March sisters and their relationships over the course of several years. It has been many feature films, a musical, a BBC mini-series, and even an anime. But now, Greta Gerwig will helm a new feature film adaptation after her debut with Lady Bird, and it has recently scored some major talent, including "Lady Bird" stars Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet, as well as Meryl Streep, Florence Pugh, and Emma Stone.


    Their roles are unknown, and they are still negotiating, but if they were to come on board, it would be an excellent cast already, and they are still looking for more. And....yeah, this is a solid story with strong female characters, and Gerwig has proven she has a strong directorial voice with Lady Bird. I think this could be a great project for her, as it is another coming-of-age story, though a lot more period, which provides a fun challenge. Here's hoping this turns out good, or shall I say....ahem, "ASTONISHING." That's a reference to the musical. None of you get it. Sigh.


    MADHERO: Guilty as charged, I didn't get it, but I'm in for whatever Gerwig does next after Lady Bird.


    STICKMAN: I don't even know what this film's about. Is it a sequel to The Borrowers.


    LARRY: No, silly.


    MADHERO: Do I need to watch the anime to understand it?


    LARRY: Noooooooo


    MADHERO: In all seriousness, that's a really amazing cast of actors, with 4 Oscar nominees and Pugh is also a really big talent. I can't say I'm familiar with the material, but Gerwig really impressed me with Lady Bird, so I'm really curious what she does next. Does sound a little more "traditional" though.


    STICKMAN: I have yet to see Lady Bird but I shall see it at some point. This film doesn't exactly scream out at me interest-wise, but hey ho. Good cast, good director.


    LARRY: Yeah the story is a little...ahem, plain. It's strictly a family drama and little else, but it's an actor's piece usually. So, at the very least, we'll see some damn good performances probably.


    MADHERO: Confirmed to be sweeping the 2019 Oscars.


    STICKMAN: Meryl Streep in a movie that's less about telling a story and more about her getting an Oscar nomination? I can't believe it.


    LARRY: Probably.


    MADHERO: So yeah, new Gerwig project with major talent. Exciting stuff. I'll just watch the anime and skip to the part where the robots pop up.


    STICKMAN: This one's for you, Greta. I know you're a fan of Screwvies.


    ------------------------

    MADHERO: Alright, that's it for the news, and now its time once again for a review! We've been doing a lot of those recently. While the song in the trailer may say that it takes two to make a thing go right, Larry has to do it on his own, as he's the only one here to have seen the 20th MCU film: Ant-Man and the Wasp. What with it not being out here yet and stuff.


    STICKMAN: Time for me to go bury my head in the sand and scream for a while.


    LARRY: Geez you're so passionate about this lol


    STICKMAN: I LIKED ANT-MAaAAAAAAN


    MADHERO: Ant-Man is a lovely man and I want to see him on his anty adventures, but you did, Larry. Once again, Ant-Man opens after a Avengers film to provide a bit of a breather, and hey, its the first time a female character is in the title. So Larry. Does it get the job done?


    REVIEW

    ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

    DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Ant-Man)

    STARRING: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Michelle Pfeifer,  Hannah John-Karmen, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne

    SYNOPSIS: Scott Lang (Rudd) tries to balance his home life as a father with his responsibilities as Ant-Man. When Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Hank Pym (Douglas) present him with a new mission to bring to light secrets from their past, Lang teams up with Van Dyne as the new Wasp.

    LARRY: I'd say so, yeah. I really enjoyed the first Ant-Man, I found it to be incredibly funny with excellent performances from Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. It brings the same, laugh-a-minute comedic stylings from director Peyton Reed while also supplying kickass, creative action sequences. The performances all across the board are excellent, it feels closer to an ensemble piece this time around and its great.

    The film also has a lot of heart concerning Janet Van Dyne's character, as well Scott Lang's daughter Cassie, which helped balance out the humor. What really holds it back is the story, which, while entertaining, is just a tad too jumbled. It has one too many characters and sideplots to truly feel cohesive, and so it lacks smoothness there. Otherwise, I had a blast with it; I'd definitely consider it one of the funniest Marvel films to date.


    MADHERO: Marvel seems to have really found their knack when it comes to comedy. Obviously we know that's there, but what always really stood in the first Ant-Man were those small scale battles, like on a toy train track or a briefcase. Are those types of fights still there?


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    LARRY: Absolutely!! There are plenty of fun moments where Pym's tech is used to resized household objects, and I got a real kick out of them. I don't wanna spoil them, but needless to say they're lots of fun. They reeeeeeally ran with it here.


    MADHERO: That's great to hear. There's a lot of fun shrinking and growing in the trailers, so I'm in for that. The Wasp is now in the title, and does she do enough to earn the equal billing? Its a good thing to finally have a female character in the title.


    LARRY: Yeah, Evangeline Lily is a great actress and she carries a lot of the film's emotional moments, along with Michael Douglas. They have a great chemistry with each other as father and daughter. Same goes for her and Rudd, though I value them more as fun partners than the romance they keep trying to push.


    MADHERO: How about some of the newer additions. I don't know how much Ghost is in it, but her suit design is really cool. Same goes with Walton Goggins. And of course, Janet van Dyne herself: Michelle Pfeifer and Laurence Fishburne defecting from the DCEU. How are they all?


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    LARRY: Again, I said this film is largely an ensemble piece, as everyone really gets to shine. Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost is a solid villain with a backstory that helps make her feel more connected to the MCU than most other throwaway Marvel baddies. Pfeiffer and Fishburne are as excellent as you'd expect, managing to find the depth and nuances in otherwise small roles. Goggins is great, but I found his character to be ultimately expendable; they don't do much with him and it doesn't add much to the film. Wish they cut all that out. OH AND SHOUT OUT TO RANDALL PARK He's hysterical in this as a police chief watching over Scott Lang on house arrest.


    MADHERO: Good to know that everyone in the essemble brings their A-game. How connected do you think everything feels? We know this takes place before Infinity War, so we're good on that part, but do we need to do any more MCU homework?


    LARRY: Not really, you arguably don't even have to have seen the first Ant-Man to follow it, though it would probably help if you did. It connects with Civil War a little, but the movie explains it fairly well. Ya may wanna stay during the credits, though, heehee.


    MADHERO: Awesome. I think that's enough questioning. Anything you want to say in your wrap-up?


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    LARRY: This is definitely a comedy first, so go in expecting lots of laughs and less major epic mind-blowing superhero explosions and such. Peyton Reed has proved he has a strong comedic voice with this sequel and I look forward to seeing if they continue having him tackle the Ant-Man character. It's tons of fun.


    --------------

    STICKMAN: I have a question. Does at any point, Ant-Man go small, climb inside  Thanos' ass and then turn into Giant-Man, thus defeating Thanos.


    LARRY: Sadly, no.


    MADHERO: Ah dang. I was hoping for that. Guess I'll just look at some of the other movies to see if they do have a small man climb into Thanos' ass.


    STICKMAN: Let's hope, what else is out.


    MOVIES

    THE FIRST PURGE

    DIRECTOR: Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands)

    STARRING: Y’La Noel, Marisa Tomei, Melonie Diaz, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade

    SYNOPSIS: To push the crime rate below 1% for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of the oppressors meets the rage of the marginalized, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation

    MADHERO: Hoho, guess we're startin' SPICY!


    LARRY: Guys, The Purge just works. It just works.


    STICKMAN: Maaaaan The Purge, what  a waste of space. Every time you hope maybe this time they make it work, but they always fuck it up. If John Carpenter had made this film it'd be great.


    MADHERO: I find it interesting how the films have gotten angrier and definitely a lot more left-wing. Don't see many movies teasing using an MAGA hat.


    STICKMAN: It's all so shallow though. There's no actual commentary, it's just saying the things and pretending that's strong thematics.


    LARRY: This film is apparently explicitly political.


    MADHERO: You mean these movies aren't particuarely subtle?


    STICKMAN: mean more they always market themselves as political films but all they do is say BLACK PEOPLE ARE OPPRESSED and then blow a door up or whatever.


    LARRY: Eh, the other films have apparently not really been that politically relevant, unlike this one which deals with race and class and poverty.


    STICKMAN: Larry I've seen the films. They all deal with race, class and poverty.


    MADHERO: I've seen Anarchy and Election Year. They are SUPER Political. I thought it was ok. From the reviews it sounds like its once again split.


    STICKMAN: Election Year was also SUPER shit.


    LARRY: Well clearly neither Anarchy and Election Year gave much of a shit about the actually oppressed people.


    STICKMAN: Larry you ain't seen the films stop telling us what they are.


    MADHERO: Maybe we should hold a purge but have it be about dumb hot takes and just have them all out there instead of murder.


    HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION

    DIRECTOR: Genndy Tartakovsky (Hotel Transylvania, Hotel Transylvaia 2)

    STARRING: Adam Sandlet, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Asher Blinkoff, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Kathryn Hahn

    SYNOPSIS: Dracula, (Sandler) and his family (Gomez, Samberg) and friends (James, Buscemi etc.) take a vacation on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship. There, Dracula becomes attracted to the ship's mysterious captain Ericka (Hahn), who is secretly the great-granddaughter of his archenemy Abraham Van Helsing.

    MADHERO: Now that he's finally finished Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky is back on his Adam Sandley/vampire bullshit.


    STICKMAN: Hotel Transylvania is the cinematic equivalent to me eating a Mars bar and going into a horrific sugarrush.


    MADHERO: The Hotel Transylvania movies are.....fine. They're fine. Super bouncy which is something Tartakovsky is a big fan of when it comes to comedy. I found them both to be average and a tad too hyperactive, but then again I'm old and tired.


    LARRY: I genuinely don't get it. The first HT was fine. Average. Mediocre, really. WHY DID THEY MAKE TWO MORE.


    MADHERO: Because they make money?


    LARRY: God why must they make money... Whatever, passity pass pass on this one.


    STICKMAN: Adam Sandler is very much the modern Dracula.


    MADHERO: A lot of "ehh, its fine" movies make lots of money. Look at Minions.


    STICKMAN: But I hear it's got political subtext though. Inequality for monsters.


    LARRY: CANT WAIT FOR SANDLER TO DICTATE INEQUALITY TO MY FACE


    MADHERO: The status quo of heteronormality and the nuclear family. But with MONSTERS! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO


    STICKMAN: SMASH THAT CEILING, SANDLER.


    SKYSCRAPER

    DIRECTOR: Rawsom Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers, Central Intelligence)

    STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Ha, Pablo Schreiber, Bryon Mann

    SYNOPSIS: former FBI agent Will Sawyer (Johnson) lives in the tallest and "safest" skyscraper in Hong Kong as head of security with his family (Campbell, The building comes under attack by terrorists, forcing Sawyer to take action.

    STICKMAN: Oh no, Adam Sandler smashed the ceiling of this skyscraper and caused a disaster.


    MADHERO: Die Hard but......with an amputee and in China?


    LARRY: I just wanna watch the scene where The Rock uses his leg to go down the elevator shaft or whatever. I'd pay ticket price for that alone.


    MADHERO: I just wanna see him miss the jump and fall to his demise.


    STICKMAN: I want to see the same shot of him in a helicopter wearing a white t-shirt again. From all his other films.


    LARRY: BUT THIS TIME HES AN AMPUTEE


    STICKMAN: Insert searing commentary on giving disabled actors disabled roles here.


    MADHERO: When we'll discuss Dwayne Johnson's careeer, a lot of these types of films will pop up. The very average films he elevates with his charm but are pretty much films you watch on Netflix or on a plane.


    STICKMAN: I saw the whole film in a trailer I saw in IMAX 3D, I think I'm set for Skycraper, thanks guys.


    LARRY: Jumanji 2 was good tho...but I did watch it on a plane.


    MADHERO: SEE! EXACTLY MY POINT PROVEN


    SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

    DIRECTOR: Boots Riley (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yuen, Armie Hammer, David Cross, Patton Oswalt

    SYNOPSIS: In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green (Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.

    LARRY: OH HERE WE GO


    MADHERO: Well this looks.....wacky.


    STICKMAN: Wait a sec, I feel a freestyle rap coming on. In character of course.


    MADHERO: Is this character oddly homophobic?


    STICKMAN: WELL, FUNNY YOU MENTION THAT


    MADHERO: So yeah, weird lead actor controversy aside, this movie looks pretty dope and wild.


    LARRY: I'm super excited. Cast looks amazing, editing looks nuts, I'm here for it.


    STICKMAN: My interest has been a bit tempered by current eventtssss but yeah it looks fun. It's not out here though so never mind.


    MADHERO: One hell of a cast, and a real sense of style and place. Reviews at Sundance say that it goes to some pretty crazy levels, and I guess that's what happens when you let a creative mind like Boots Riley go nuts on his first feature.


    LARRY: Apparently this is based on an album, fun fact.


    STICKMAN: Is it an rap album, Larry. A character based one.


    LARRY: Oh shut up lol


    STICKMAN: Sorry to bother you, Larry!


    EIGHTH GRADE

    DIRECTOR: Bo Burnham (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Daniel Zolghadri

    SYNOPSIS: A teenager (Fisher) tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth-grade year before leaving to start high school.

    STICKMAN: A24 back at it again.


    LARRY: The indie champ is blessing us with two big hitters this month. Bless.


    MADHERO: O good, the horror of facing my awkward teenage years on screeeeeeen. I'm not prepared.


    STICKMAN: Is this scarier than Hereditary in that regard.


    LARRY: Probably.


    MADHERO: Watching the trailer already made me nervous. It kinda makes me glad that social media wasn't as much a thing when I was in that grade, cause howee.


    STICKMAN: Is Bo Burnham a real name or is it like a joke one.


    LARRY: It's real, Stix. Bo is short for Robert.


    MADHERO: I've heard this movie  be called the anti-John Hughes movie, so I guess this ain't gonna romanitcize high school a lot.


    STICKMAN: A24 are in the business of making good films, or at least conceptually interesting ones, so I wouldn't expect to go into this to be bored.


    LARRY: Not even a little. This film is probably a slow burn, grounded comedy but I'm down for that. I think Bo Burnham is a really smart, talented comedian and I'm excited to see how his voice translates to film.


    STICKMAN: I just hope Black Philip turns up in this, wearing a little goat school uniform, eating an apple.


    MADHERO: If the trailer already made me feel awkward, I don't think I can take 90-100 minutes of that. Anyway, that's it for all the movies this week, but at least we got MOVIE OF THE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK


    ----------------------

    MADHERO: As always, we discuss DVD/VOD and cinematic releases here. With this current heatwave, it might be nice to escape a bit and go to a nice refreshing cinema, which I think we all did, so great plan, everyone!


    STICKMAN: It's my only escape from the constant nightmare of football.


    LARRY: And the constant nightmare that is my life.


    MADHERO: Oh.....this got dark way too quick. Uhmmmm.... LARRY WHAT'S YOUR MOVIE OF THE WEEK?


    STICKMAN: SOMETHINGSHITIBETHAHAHAHAHA


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    LARRY: My MOTW is one of the many excellent documentaries to grace indie theaters as of late, with this one having been released wider about a week or so ago, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Focusing on the life and times of ordained minister and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” host Fred Rogers, the film discusses the impact he had on not only children’s television, but also on his audience and those around him.

    Beaming with a warm positivity and kind demeanor, he was truly a one-of-a-kind figure. Many are calling this film a sort of shining light in the darkness that is the Trump era, but I personally disagree; this isn’t because it’s bad, rather because this film is much better seen as a humble documentary that will stand the test of time for its heartfelt story. Its really just a plain ol’ celebration. That being said, if you’re looking to feel a HELL of a lot better for any reason, this is surely going to inspire you in more ways than one.


    MADHERO: Mr. Rogers feels like a very American thing, but one that America could really use right now. It's been doing very well for a documentary and I've heard nothing but good things.


    STICKMAN: If it's making people feel happy and inspired, great. I just feel like this is such an American thing and I have no idea what it's about, and it seems mostly based in nostalgia for the guy.


    LARRY: Ehhhhh it is nostalgic in a lot of ways but it doesn’t alienate those who are unfamiliar. You get a good amount of background.


    STICKMAN: I feel like there's a connection that has to have already been made in order to connect with the film on the same level.


    LARRY: I disagree to some extent, but alright.


    MADHERO: I guess that's my biggest question: whether someone who doesn't have an past with Mr. Rogers would feel the same way, but I guess its ultimately about a guy who was decent to his very core and helped people with that.


    LARRY: If it does ever come by you, I wouldn’t think twice honestly. It’s just very feel-good, but it doesn’t patronize.


    STICKMAN : Everyone I've seen who saw the film had a longstanding relationship with the dude, and I doubt it'll come out here, so I guess we'll never know.


    MADHERO: Aight, you grump, what's your Movie of the Week?


    STICKMAN: Well my film's fucking miserable so we're gonna throw Mr Rogers out the window now. A few years ago, a film called Sicario came out. A very dark and nihilistic thriller/drama about cartels, crime and the lengths we should go to stop bad people. A lot of people loved it, we did here at Screwvies, but nobody expected  a sequel. Nonetheless, we got one. Here it is. Sciario 2: Day of the Soldado, or whatever it is depending on where you live. Although it lacks the dark beauty and punch of the original film, as well as Emily Blunt, Sicario 2 is still a...fun(?) ride that should entertain, if not slightly disappoint fans of the previous.



    Needless to say, this is not a happy movie, even more so than the first. This is full on hands dirty nasty, indefensible shit. After an opening 10 minutes that in my opinion go a bit too far in terms of violence, the rest of the film provides a good thriller with an interesting, if somewhat unlikeable cast. It doesn't hold a candle to Sicario, but the sequel is still a good time...if by good time you mean feeling like you've been slapped in the face with someone's dismembered hand for two hours.


    MADHERO: Fun time for the whole family it sounds like.


    STICKMAN: I mean, there sure is... a family in one sequence.


    LARRY: Wow what a ricochet for my choice. Nice work, Stix.


    MADHERO: Is there anything as good in the movie as the dinner table scene or the one at the border. I've been tempted, but I feel like the parts missing are too essential.


    STICKMAN: There's nothing quite as potently memorable in this film, no. There's some shocking sequences, but the most shocking feels almost...overboard?


    LARRY: Impressive that it manages to break though desensitization.


    STICKMAN: I think it sometimes tries too hard to do that.


    MADHERO: I haven't heard much from the overall plot, but some of it sounds a tad..... stupid.


    STICKMAN: It's hard to discuss without spoilers, but it's kinda...open to interpretation depending on where you stand at the end.


    LARRY: Benicio fucking banging the gun seems fairly stupid.


    STICKMAN: I mean that bit's awesome yo. Benicio Del Toro is great in this , in general. He doesn't have the same mystique though. OH WELL.


    MADHERO: I guess so that he can shoot faster. It looks cool in the trailer at least. I feel like this is going to be a Netflix movie for me. I have too many reservations to go see it in theaters. But man, who'd have thought Sicario would be a franchise.


    STICKMAN: It was a fun experience in the cinemas....but what about you, Mad...did you see anything...INNN...teresting?


    MADHERO: Alright, time to bounce back to family friendly fun, but DEFINITELY NOT A KIDS MOVIE! As we already discussed in the previous episode, I've waited FOURTEEN YEARS for an Incredibles sequel. That original is easily one of my favorite Pixar movies and maybe even one of my favorite superhero movies. I was super excited for the sequel, but also of course a bit cautious. Could it live up to my high expectations? We know that long awaited Pixar sequels can disappoint (hi, Finding Dory).



    Luckily, Incredibles 2 does not disappoint at all. I don't think it transcends the original, in that it doesn't have quite as many iconic moments as the first one, but its still an incredibly fun superhero romp. Its also really funny, with Jack Jack really bringing the most of the laughs.  So yeah, glad to see my expectations were met and I await an Incredibles 3 should they decide to get around that.


    STICKMAN: What about that Bao though.


    MADHERO: Bao was so fucking cute and heartwarming.


    LARRY: Y’all heard my thoughts last episode, seems to concur with Mad. Not better than the original but a worthy successor.


    STICKMAN: I'm curious about the level of sentimentality in this film, I haven't heard much about tears being jerked or nothing, which is odd for a Pixar movie in this day and age.


    MADHERO: Yep, said movie is very good. Not original good, but definitely worthwhile. I don't think there's much tearjerkery involved.


    LARRY: Yeah it’s not Inside Out level or anything. The third act is pretty straightforward, too much action to cry about.


    STICKMAN: Nice, that's a fun change of pace. I'm always down for action over crying.


    MADHERO: Its definitely interesting to see these characters now compared to 2004. Shows just how far we've come with CG animation.


    LARRY: Ugh the animation is so much better. Watching it a second time makes it even clearer.


    STICKMAN: I hear it makes the original film kinda hard to watch now.


    MADHERO: I haven't tried that yet, but I can imagine. We'll see when I rewatch it... again, because its The Incredibles


    STICKMAN: I have only seen it once and I guess I should rewatch it soon and see if I want to watch a sequel.


    LARRY: Yeah it would help I suppose.


    -----------

    MADHERO: I think that about wraps everything up for today. Join us next week when we all get a movie at the same time. I dunno, I haven't checked the overall schedule for Mission Impossible. So no idea when we all get to see Tom Cruise jump out of a plane.


    STICKMAN; Tom Cruise is a crazy person and will strike again if we're not careful. Also UK GETS MISSION IMPOSSIBLE TWO DAYS EARLIER THAN THE US. MWAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA.


    MADHERO: Couches everywhere be warned.  Also avoid your mom cause Mamma Mia 2 is happening as well. Don't wanna get involved in that mess. Aight bye


    LARRY: Tom Cruise jumping out of things might as well be America’s new kink. Adios muchachos.

  • Best & Worst Movies of June 2018

    1 month ago

    tomtom4468

    The Summer blockbuster season is still in full swing and it has really picked up in a massive way! For the first time in quite a while, this has been a legitimately extraordinary month for film. A bunch of really good to great stuff has come out that has impressed the hell out of me and very few films disappointed (not to say there weren’t bad movies). So let’s talk about the best and worst movies of June!


    Before I begin, a couple of disclaimers…

    1. This is based on movies that I SAW in June. Some of these movies may have officially come out in previous months and have only just come to my area. Other movies might have come out in June, but have not yet come to my area, so I haven’t seen them.

    2. This is purely based on MY OPINION. Some movies in The Best category might be movies you hate. Some movies in The Worst category might be movies you love. That is completely fine! Film is subjective and you are absolutely allowed to disagree with me. All I ask is that you don’t be a dick about it. Respect my opinion and I will respect yours.

    Now let’s begin!



    The Best:

    Hereditary- This is quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen in years (certainly the best of this year)! The performances are all phenomenal, Ari Aster’s direction is exquisite, the visuals are incredible and the sound design is insanely good. Of course, this film is also extremely terrifying. It crafts incredibly tense sequences and genuinely unsettling scenarios where you honestly forget to breath all without using a single jump scare, which I didn’t think was possible in the modern day. The characters are extremely deep and compelling and the plot itself is brilliantly written, complex and actively defies horror conventions. It also does an amazing job of filtering itself into the subgenre of a family drama with horror elements in it. Once you realize that this film is far more about a familial conflict than anything else, it becomes even more brilliant on an extremely subtle level. It never overloads with exposition in any way, opting instead to simply keep the mystery going as long as possible without being pretentious, it has powerful themes of grief, mental illness and familial dysfunction and the ending is extraordinary! This is an incredibly stunning, intense, refreshing, mind blowing horror film that I absolutely adored! If you can see past the slow burn pacing for a unique payoff, then go see this immediately!


    Incredibles 2- The Incredibles is one of my favorite animated films. I’ve been waiting for this sequel since I was seven years old and it did not disappoint! THIS FILM IS… wait for it… INCREDIBLE! It’s every bit as good as it’s predecessor and I was blown away! The animation is extraordinary, the voice acting is great, Brad Bird’s direction is phenomenal and Michael Giacchino’s score is fantastic. Just like the first, this continues to provide a brilliant exploration of everyday life through a superhero lens, expertly bringing them down to our level. The Incredibles themselves continue to all be extremely compelling characters with fantastic arcs all around and demonstrating the qualities of what is essentially a sitcom family with superpowers. Jack Jack is easily the highlight of the film with the development of his powers and excellent comedic moments (look for a racoon), there are a bunch of new characters that are all fun and interesting and the villain is very menacing and layered and very compelling. I especially love how deeply linked this film is to the first. It honestly feels like one movie in every single respect. Seriously, watch them back to back, everything lines up. It brings Super legalization to the forefront in a very believable way and doesn’t just act as a wave of nostalgia. This is very much its own thing and never feels like it presents any unnecessary callbacks. The plot itself is brilliantly written, subversive and mind bending and it’s absolutely hilarious. This is a massively evolutionary, satisfying, immensely entertaining sequel that is everything I could have ever hoped for and one of the best movies of the year! The Incredibles is back and just as good as ever!


    Won’t You Be My Neighbor?- This is quite possibly the best documentary of the decade! It’s an extraordinary look at Mr Rogers and his show and everything about it is brilliant. The documentary filmmaking on display is incredible with not a single frame wasted and the interviews are extremely well done and personal. It brilliantly explores Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, it’s history and everything that made it work so perfectly. It paints an extraordinarily detailed and compelling picture of Fred Rogers as a human being. It also takes the time to explore the cynicism and disbelief around the kindness of Mr Rogers as well as his impact on children’s television and individuals. It’s all done with a refreshing lack of sensationalism and massive amount of heart and acts as a plea for positivity and kindness in our bleak modern day world. It’s a delightful, wondrous, emotional, poignant, magnificent doc and one of the best films of the year! If it’s playing in your area, go see it immediately! This is a film every person in the world needs to be exposed to!



    The Worst:

    Action Point- I did an entire episode of Clark Film about how I refused to review this movie. That should tell you pretty much everything you need to know.


    Best F(r)iends Volume 2- There’s honestly not much to say about this movie that I haven’t already said about the first just two months ago. It’s every bit as hilariously bad as you would expect. The performances are awful (especially Wiseau and Sestero), the direction is shit, the visuals are shit, there’s tons of audio issues, the music sucks, the dialogue is shit, the characters are still nothing, the plot becomes flat out nonsensical, there’s so many weird and confusing sequences that feel kinda pretentious and, as you would expect, it is absolutely laughable. This is yet another magnificent trainwreck and the absolute definition of so bad it’s good. When this eventually makes its way to VOD or Blu-Ray, watch it immediately! It’s… something.


    SuperFly- No. Just… no. The plot itself is meandering and overstuffed, the characters are nothing, the pacing is atrocious and there are a ton of laughably stupid moments. Don’t bother with this one, it’s dogshit and nobody cares!




    And now we’ve come to the end! If you want to listen to my dumb voice talking about these and other movies, listen to my podcast, Clark Film, at http://clarkfilm.libsyn.com/ and on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music and all your other podcatcher apps. Raw video versions can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/c/thomasclarkpodcasts.

    I’ll be back here with another installment of Best & Worst next month!

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 111

    1 month ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: GOOOOOOOOLAZO! Oh I'm sorry, I'm just pre-occupied with the World Cup and not all too much with movies. It happens. Anyway, since Hollywood and America is general don't give a shit, they might as well get their dinosaur movie now: one that's been out here for weeks now. Don't see that very often.


    LARRY: What cup? Do you put like worldly drinks in there?


    STICKMAN: I am taking the ball and going home


    MADHERO: Oh no, the ball is gone. Guess the World Cup is cancelled. Might as well get into some movie news for distraction.


    STICKMAN: That's more liiiike it. HEERE WE GOOOO


    NEWS

    STAR WARS SPIN-OFFS REPORTEDLY ON HOLD AFTER DISAPPOINTING BOX OFFICE OF SOLO

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    Well this is an interesting turn of events. Even with the tumultuous production, I don't think anyone expected Solo: A Star Wars Story to outright bomb. After all, its Star Wars, and Star Wars is too big to fail. Welp, like Icarus, it flew too close to the sun and its wax wings melted. As it stands, Solo made 344 million in 4 weeks on a 250 million budget (a budget that ballooned thanks to extensive reshoots after the director shakeup). That may seem like a profit, but with added marketing costs, its pretty safe to say to call Solo a dud. What caused that is still up for debate, be it poor marketing, too much competition, or fatigue. Whatever it is, Disney seems to have gotten the memo, as Collider reports that all planned Star Wars spin-offs are on hold.


    Disney themselves hasn't confirmed it, but they hadn't officially confirmed the films were in production either. The spin-offs included a Obi-Wan movie made by Stephen Daldry, and a Boba Fett movie with James Mangold and Simon Kinberg. This does not include the new trilogies at work by Rian Johnson and David Benihoff & DB Weiss. This is in all likelihood for the best. The A Star Wars Story branding  always seemed like a good way to show the other parts of the universe, and not go back to characters that we already know. Rogue One, some characters aside, was much more separate and told its story with a different tone. As much as I'd like to see Ewan McGregor get his fair due as Obi Wan, I'd rather see something different, and not get a SW movie every year. Star Wars is not Marvel, and hopefully that's something Disney learns with this debacle.


    STICKMAN: Star Wars is DEAD. Goodbye, so long.


    LARRY: Okay but this hasn't been confirmed. So like, it's good news but we don't knowyet.


    STICKMAN: THEY'RE DEAD, LARRY. Disney ain't gonna come out and announce they fucked up yo.


    MADHERO: Guess we'll have to wait for that Last Jedi remake to fix everything


    LARRY: I'm ALL for these one-offs getting canned. Just gotta wait and see.


    MADHERO: I trust Collider on this. They tend to be a reliable source. Besides, Disney never confirmed these movies were in development officially, but they defnitely were


    STICKMAN: I wanted Caravan of Courage 2. i'm honestly more interested in seeing Solo Star Han Solo Wars Story Solo A Han now it's this big mess, it doesn't sound like a bad film really.


    LARRY: It's not bad, not at all. It's…. fine.


    MADHERO: I think its ultimately for the best. Star Wars just isn't a franchise where releasing yearly like Marvel works, or maybe only once a year on December. I like Solo, but its not something you need to go out and see


    LARRY: this only fulfills my core belief that the most important part of SW, no matter how you slice it, is the core trilogy and the main story being told.


    STICKMAN: I still feel it's utterly crazy how poor it's done. I think we all knew it wouldn't do as well as previous ones...but sorta fail. Damn. Disney losing money on Star Wars is not something I expected this soon after they started.


    LARRY: I'm not hankering for an Alden Han action figure, so properly supply the low demands...


    MADHERO: I didn't think it would break the billion, but I'm shocked it genuinely bombed.


    STICKMAN: That said, if it causes the necessary course correction? Glad to hear it. I could not deal with annual Star Wars marketing hype and eventual discourse. Let's keep it 2-3 years apart, chaps.


    MADHERO: Rogue One made a billion, so there's something in here that made it not work. My main guess is that it didn't feel different enough. We'll see what happens to Obi and Boba, but they go through some retooling.


    LARRY: If anything, this just means more NEW stories in a galaxy far, far away. New, original shit. And I'm all here for THAT.


    STICKMAN: I want a gritty R rated seedy bounty hunter film. Something completely detached. That, or Caravan of Courage 2. Good luck remaking Last Jedi, you fucking stupid losers.


    MADHERO: Maybe someday. For now the only confirmed movie is Episode IX on December 2019. We'll just have to wait for that. Moving on


    PETE DOCTER AND JENNIFER LEE TAKE OVER FROM JOHN LASSETER AS HEAD OF PIXAR AND DISNEY ANIMATION RESPECTIVELY

    1046810-jennifer-lee-pete-docter-take-la

    Although it seems like a long time away just how game-changing the momentum of the #MeToo movement was, it actually isn't that long ago since John Lasseter, co-founder of Pixar and face of modern Disney animation was outed by a lot of staff as a bit of a massive creep. Being overly touchy feely and obscene with practically all of his female co-workers, he was asked to take a "six month sabbatical" to reflect on his actions and allow Disney as a company to mull over his future with the studios.


    As it stands, The future lies in the hands of others, because he's not getting his job back. Disney've decided to give the two separate roles to long-term, proven members of the company. Pixar's new lead will be Pete Docter , the director of some of Pixars most well known films such as Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out. Meanwhile Disney Animation's new head will be Jennifer Lee, who co-directed and wrote their biggest most recent hit, Frozen,  in addition to writing the story for Zootopia and Wreck it Ralph. These both seem like good choices for the future of the two biggest animation studios in the business, so hopefully they can maintain, or improve upon the quality of what Disney and Pixar are outputting. Given Pixar's most recent release, The Incredibles 2 easily took the mantle of Best Opening for an Animated Movie in the US this weekend, it doesn't seem like Pixar at least, have much to worry about.


    MADHERO: It was always going to be interesting what they'd do next, cause Lasseter returning seemed like it would create a ton of backlash, but they nailed it on both accounts.


    LARRY: Yeah, these are two solid picks. I personally like Docter's work a LOT more than Lee, but both are confident filmmakers and know how to tell stories that resonate with people.


    STICKMAN: I think most people prefer Pixar to Disney animation in general honestly. Unless it's Cars.


    MADHERO: Docter has been a part of Pixar since the very beginning. It only makes sense that he was one of the guys in line for the role. Lee hasn't been around as long, but has shown her skill


    LARRY: Well when you make FROZEN, you got cred.


    STICKMAN: I kinda thought Unkrich might be the guy, since he worked with Lasseter a lot and then did Coco, BUT...this is good too. Now how about canceling that Toy Story 4, eh? EHHH?


    MADHERO: Also, while we're at it: dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmn, Incredibles 2 made some moolah


    LARRY: It deserves it honestly. It's a worthy sequel by a talented filmmaker.


    MADHERO: The highest grossing opening for a non PG-13 movie is nothing to sniff at.


    STICKMAN: I hear Bao is the real star tho. Clearly.


    WONDER WOMAN SEQUEL NAMED WONDER WOMAN ’84. CHRIS PINE RETURNS AS STEVE TREVOR

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    So, as we've all known for a little while now, Diana and co. are coming BACK for another adventure in a sequel to the smash hit Wonder Woman film. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are set to return, and Kristin Wiig will be playing Cheetah, but besides for that, we haven't heard much about this follow-up. Well, recently we've learned some new details, some cool, some JUICY.


    First off, it's official title, "Wonder Woman 1984," confirms that it will be taking place during the 80s, and it is currently in production. However, what shocked many fans was an official set photo revealing that Chris Pine will be returning as Steve Trevor....but nobody really knows how exactly. Did they resurrect him? Is the photo just a flashback? Is it a young relative of Trevor? Needless to say, speculation is high. And as if that weren't enough, another set photo has revealed that WW's famous invisible jet may jussssst be making an appearance as well, though this has yet to be confirmed. We'll probably find out soon enough though, as we will be getting a teaser this coming Comic-Con.


    MADHERO: Chris Pine with a fanny pack is my new aesthetic.


    LARRY: Okay butttttttt it does kinda undermine his death scene.


    STICKMAN: Gimme that Invisible Jet boys.


    MADHERO: The Inivisible Jet is only something that can be done if you're confident, and I guess that's the case what with Wonder Woman doing so damn well.


    STICKMAN: It sure does, Larry. It suuuuure does. It's like they're bringing him back because he was liked and not because it does anything good for the stoooory.


    LARRY: I'm kinda hoping its a flashback...


    STICKMAN: He's got a dang fanny pack dude.


    MADHERO: Lets be clear: we still don't really know what the story is here. Its probably Steve Trevor.....OR IS IT?! Could it be a red herring? We can only speculate


    LARRY: I reeeeeeally hope it's a red herring. Like a dream sequence or something. I just love that scene from the first WW and this desecrates it.


    STICKMAN: I hope this is a more confident sequel now we've laid the groundwork. The first film has some great moments but was on a whole kinda eh, I feel. That final boss fight was grade A shit, for instance.


    MADHERO: My guess is that he's a bigger part of the story. Maybe something with the space time continuum because that tends to happen in superhero stuff. Out of all DCEU movies, I worry least about Wonder Woman


    LARRY: Yeah let's hope Jenkins can just go all out and not have to stick to trope.


    WARNER BROS AND MGM RELEASES FIRST TEASER TRAILER FOR CREED II

    Its been three years now since Creed came out, and I feel we almost forgot how much of an achievement it really was. It seemed like such a dumb idea to contiue the Rocky series, which had a perfect ending with 2006's Rocky Balboa, and to have it be about Apollo Creed's son, but somehow it all came together, thanks to a great performance from Michael B. Jordan  and Sylvester Stallone (who really should've won the Oscar) as well as Ryan Coogler, who brought a realism and humanity to the series that felt lost. That said, depsite all that, the sequel has been met with trepedation, with the biggest reason being Coogler not returning, with Stallone initially directing  before backing down and giving it to relative unknown Steven Caple Jr, and co-writing Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage).


    Despite that, the premise had always remained the same: Adonis fighting the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed his father in Rocky IV. Despite that premise, we actually don't get to see Dolph Lundgren in this teaser. Much of it is on Creed, focusing on his need for revenge and Rocky and his girlfriend Bianca trying to back him down from it. We get some training montage moments, including a reference to Muhammed Ali's pool photo, as well as plenty of teases of Ivan Drago's Large Adult Son Viktor, who as it turns out, is an absolute unit that might not be easy to take down. Besides that, there isn't enough there to judge based on this trailer, which is very much in teaser mode. I hope its good, but I continue to have my doubts about whether this will succeed.


    STICKMAN: Glad Assassin's Creed got a sequel.


    MADHERO: They definitely changed a lot with this sequel. Guess the reception got to them loud and clear.


    STICKMAN: Gotta rollll...WITH THE PUNCHES. WAKKA WAKKKAAA.


    LARRY: That underwater boxing shot tho. Shot of the YEAR


    MADHERO: Guess now we know where Michael B. Jordan got his profile pic from. Also I feel so bad for the girl who's retainer broke after seeing him in Black Panther. Her teeth are gonna break from this movie.


    STICKMAN: I ain't seen Rocky  1 2 3 4 or Creed. So I'm...here I guess. Hellooo.


    MADHERO: You only need to see 1 and 4 to get Creed, but you don't need to. Helps with the legacy part, but  it feels surprisingly separate. Its also a great movie.


    LARRY: Creed I was awesome. Let's hope Creed II is even better! SON OF DRAGO


    MADHERO: I've seen the actor in question and holy fuck. I'm in awe of the size of that lad.


    LARRY: It's nuts, I'm so ready for that long take.


    STICKMAN: I'd take that long....drago? Let's move on.


    DISNEY RELEASES FIRST TEASER TRAILER FOR THEIR NEW LIVE ACTION REMAKE OF DUMBO



    When most people hear Tim Burton, the last thing they probably would associate him with is Dumbo, the classic Disney animated film about a big-eared circus elephant. Well, turns out Disney isn't most people, as a while back Burton signed on to direct a live-action remake of that very film, and we have recently gotten our first look at the latest Disney live-action reboot via a teaser trailer.


    And...yeah, it has a bunch of things you'd expect from Dumbo by Burton. An eery yet childlike cover of a well-known song (this one being Baby Mine, a lullaby that originated from the original film), a CGI elephant with some big ol' peepers, not to mention Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito in the same film! Honestly, it looks fine, sorta channeling the more neutral element of Burton's direction. It's kinda as if they just got rid of the weird, dark, cooky crap and kept the whimsy. I'm just hoping Pink Elephants on Parade is as much of an acid trip as it was in the original, cuz sometimes ya just gotta scare the kiddies. Anyway, this is happening, suck it up Sticky.


    STICKMAN: AAAGGHH. I CAN'T SUCK UP ANY MORE DISNEY LIVE ACTION REMAKE BULLSHIT.


    MADHERO: Is it weird that this looks restrained for a Tim Burton movie despite having Danny Devito with a large hat?


    LARRY: I mean, Nobody's gonna go see a dark Dumbo. You HAVE to restrain Burton.


    STICKMAN: Tim Burton should be locked up and given a haircut.


    LARRY: I certainly agree with one of those things.


    MADHERO: Definitely feels more like Big Fish Tim Burton than Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton. The movie already looks a lot different than the movie, which was only an hour long. For one thing, no racist crows so that's a good start


    LARRY: Yeah...though I love the song they sing. DANNY DEVITO SHOULD SING IT.


    STICKMAN: I think it looks god awful but what else is new. People'l still go to see this in droves and make Disney another billion they can spend absorbing the entire entertainment industry instead of MAKING TRON 3.


    MADHERO: Michael Keaton with longer hair looks weird these days


    LARRY: And like...combed and slick? It's odd.


    STICKMAN: Tim Burton's hair merged with Michael Keaton's, forming a superhair.


    MADHERO: What like in Dragonball Z?


    STICKMAN: Sure Mad, like in Dragonball Z. I'm gonna address the...ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...Dumbo looks ugly as fuck, y'all.


    LARRY: Why exactly did they make him CGI? Take an actual elephant and give him big ears.


    STICKMAN: Ain't gonna use a real elephant, sun. That's animal cruelty mister.


    LARRY: Make it hybrid. Plenty of films have done hybrid shit like this successfully.


    MADHERO: What like in Fullmetal Alchemist? I'm not sure why I keep referencing anime. We should probably move on


    STICKMAN: That dog deserved better.


    ROBERT ZEMECKIS TO MAKE A NEW ADAPTATION OF ROALD DAHL’S THE WITCHES. ALFONSO CUARON AND GUILLERMO DEL TORO INVOLVED

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    Another day, another Roald Dahl movie remake, huh? Robert Zemeckis, director of oh so many films, including a little known franchise called Back to the Future, who's latest film 'Welcome to Marwen' got its first, fucking weird as hell look via a trailer this week, is in final negotiations to remake The Witches. A dark fantasy book released in 1983, with a creepy-ass, not all that great film released in the early 90s, The Witches is a story about a recently orphaned boy and his grandma, who just so happens to be a former witch-hunter, staying in a hotel, where the boy gets on the wrong side of a witch meeting, and ends up turned into a mouse. 


    What happens next is a mixture of silly and also kinda tragic. The original story is very dark, whilst the film is a bit more campy, infamously scary witch make-up aside. A dark childrens film with a lot of potential for uncanny valley SFX seems pretty suited to Zemeckis, who previously directed the gross looking  Polar Express, Christmas Carol, and then produced the disaster of Mars Needs Moms, which got his animation studio shut down.With the promise of a narrative more in keeping with the book this time, it seems like this film will rustle some jimmies when it releases...at some point in the future.


    LARRY: God I love this. Can't wait for more Zemeckis Uncanny-Valley CGI.


    STICKMAN: Stuart Little prequel got dark yo.


    MADHERO: The most interesting thing about this project is the involvement of Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro. That seems like it could make for an interesting vision along with Zemeckis


    LARRY: I mean, it's totally called for. The Witches are like....mouse-like demons.


    STICKMAN: Guillermo del Toro could take a shit on the floor  and I'd still pay to see the visual mastery of it.


    MADHERO: The 90's movie's make up was W I L D


    LARRY: It really was a marvel. Let's hope that tradition continues


    STICKMAN: Can't believe they really turned a boy into a mouse, that was dedication to practical effects that you just don't see these days.


    MADHERO: Don't see that make up magic these days. No wonder Rick Baker retired. Its been a while since Zemeckis has done anything for kids. I guess the last thing was his motion capture stuff and that died an ultimately deserving death


    STICKMAN: It's been a while since Zemeckis did anything for anyone, FRANKLY. STEP YOUR GAME UP BOY. DON'T GIVE ME THAT WIRE SHIT. Steve Carell as an army man? Shiieeet.


    LARRY: I mean...Zemeckis has another animated mo-cap movie coming out soon.


    STICKMAN: Never forget Mars needs Moms.


    LARRY: *shivers*


    -----------------

    MADHERO: Alright, that's it for the news. Now its time to talk some DINOSAAAAAAAURS! Yes, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to the mindblowingly successfull 2015 film is here to blow up the island once and for all. Now the movie has been out for a while in Urop, which gave me plenty of time to.....not see it. But hey, Stickman did at least, and with the US release now here, Larry did as well.


    STICKMAN: It feels so long ago now it might as well be on DVD.


    LARRY: Might as well have just come out on DVD here.


    MADHERO: Ooooooooooh boy, some drama. The reception has been mixed so far,  and we'll see how it goes here. Since you saw it earlier, how about you start, Stickman? What did you make of this Dino Crisis?


    REVIEW

    JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

    DIRECTOR: Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls)

    STARRING: Chris Pratt, Bryca Dallas Howard, Ted Levin, Toby Jones, Justice Smith, B.D. Wong, Jeff Goldblum

    SYNOPSIS: When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire (Pratt, Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

    STICKMAN: WELLLLLLL, for me, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a mixed bag, but an entertaining one. I feel largely the same as I did with the previous film, but I feel the sequel had some more visually striking moments. Narrative wise it's kinda about to the same quality as the first World film, it's less a well-thought out story and more an excuse to string our band of forgettable human characters through a series of exciting dinosaur set-pieces. This time, as the slogans all said, THE PARK IS GONE, so much as with Jurassic Park 2, it's a post-collapse attempt to rescue some of the dinosaurs, this time because the island is exploding for some reason. 


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    That's all entertaining enough, if not insanely loud in IMAX to the point where my headache lasted all day, but the film lives or dies by its second half.  A silly, but fun horror'esque sequence which feels a bit more like Resident Evil  in parts than anything Jurassic Park we've seen before. The acting all around is...fine, nothing amazing, the real star of the show is the special effects, and what they do with them. The dinosaurs are a pleasing mixture of practical and CGI, with it getting harder and harder to tell the difference these days. There's some really badass action/horror sequences featuring some dinos we know, and  one we meet for the first time in this film, who was awesome. The ending leaves it open for a hopefully more interesting sequel, but this is perfectly enjoyable popcorn entertainment, nothing amazing, but nothing awful either. And that opening sequence was fun tooooooo.


    LARRY: Well we can agree that the opening was fun. Felt closer to Jurassic Park than anything in the first film.


    STICKMAN: Yeah boooi, them lightening flashes tho.


    MADHERO: Well there's something you agree on. How else do you feel about the film, Larry?


    LARRY: Yeah, not a fan here folks. I'm not a fan of the first Jurassic World; in fact, I wasn't sure how you could be much dumber than what it presented, but leave it to Colin Trevorrow to always one-up himself, giving us one of the sloppiest, most ridiculous stories I've seen in a modern blockbuster, full of holes you could lead a T-Rex through.


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    Several things don't make sense, certain ideas just come and go like nothing, and it leaves on an ending that is perhaps the most shockingly absurd in the entire franchise. As Sticky said, the acting is fine, but the characters themselves are just as hokey, some even more cardboard than before. The film is tonally all over the map, even Giacchino's score sounds largely uninspired. If it wasn't for J.A. Bayona's solid direction, this film would be an utter trashfire. The cinematography has plenty of fun, striking shots that have that thriller, suspenseful energy of the original film's climax. But even with that said, he can't help what is an utterly shit script and a story that reminds me why blockbusters can be so downright stupid.


    MADHERO: O daaaaaaaaaaamn, we've got ourselves some disagreements here. IMO Jurassic World probably is the best JP sequel and it was fun entertainment, but nothing more.


    STICKMAN: I don't really see the issue with dumb blockbuster entertainment. Is it as good as Jurassic Park? Fuck no, but this is our fourth sequel, and none of them have been, so I don't see why this is one is suddenly so egregious to people.


    LARRY: I wish I could go into the ridiculousness, but that would be too spoiler-y. I'd much rather sit through either Lost World or 3 than either Jurassic World or Fallen Kingdom.


    STICKMAN: It's dumb as a box of rocks but it's well crafted stupidity, if you come for dinosaur carnage and not an Oscar winner, you'll have a good time.


    LARRY: But the action isn't even that gooooooooood. Besides for the opening sequence, and one really solid kill, most of the action is really generic and just people flying around everywhere.


    MADHERO: How about the more Resident Evil style 2nd half of the film? I hear that mostly features a big mansion and a new dino in the Indoraptor. How's that thing?


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    LARRY: Oh you mean Indominous Rex but way more boring?


    STICKMAN: Psschh. The Indoraptor was awesome, I gotta say. Like, again, it's stupid that it exists, but it does, and they made great use of it.


    LARRY: It's literally just a do-over. How can you genuinely excuse this movie for literally RECYCLING its predecessor?


    STICKMAN: They are completely different. Like...it's a different size, it's a different style, and it's in a different location. Calling it the same is as good as saying Jurassic Park is the same as this film because it GOT DEM DINOS IN IT.


    MADHERO: Are any of the other dino's used well? I hear a lot of fun is had with a Pachycephalosaurus


    LARRY: Oh, the one with the big head? Made for okay comic relief for like two scenes. One of the film's many fun concepts that aren't really used to their full potential.


    STICKMAN: He was a good boy yes. I don't know why you're surprised this film is stupid. I went in knowing that and got a dumb film with some awesome set-pieces, a couple surprisingly emotional moments, and a tantalising premise for the third movie. Do I like everything about it? No. Do I think it's great? Not really, but I had fun. That's kinda...what I went for? I'm not trying to defend this movie as a masterpeice but I don't really understand why you hated it so much.


    LARRY: Well given a different director, I was hoping it would be less stupid. Something we can both agree on is Bayona is a far better director than Trevorrow.


    STICKMAN: He's better in his element of horror for sure. I think Terevoerorwow directed the larger scale action better.


    MADHERO: I don't think there's ever been this much of a debate in a review before. Obviously you two aren't going to agree, but are you interested in where its going next, because obviously there's a new one coming.  I think we had enough arguing for the day. Any more final thoughts for the wrap up?


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    STICKMAN: I think on a whole, it's about the same quality as Jurassic World but with a less interesting concept (e.g. The park being open and shit), it's dumb...it's got some stupid moments and leaps of logic, but it delivers dinosaur action, a degree of heart, and a welcome heap of horror. Not great, but fun. Just like the previous one.(edited)


    LARRY: Well, I didn't like the last one, so I don't like this one. But for me, the plot is even worse here, and I found it pitiful how it literally recycles elements from the first film. The worst part is that there are some reeeeeeeally interesting ideas here that get shoved away for dumb dino action when that was never the sole element of what made Jurassic Park great. Sorry for expecting a film based on Jurassic Park to have a good story with good characters and genuine stakes. Also the ending still has my jaw on the floor.


    ---------

    MADHERO: Oof, well with all said and done, how about we move on from all the island-exploding Dino Crisis shenanigans. Now its time to talk some more movies......all 2 of them. Yeah not a big week this time around


    LARRY: Womp womp


    STICKMAN: WHAT'S THAT MEAN. PEOPLE KEEP SAYING IT GOD DAMNIT.


    MADHERO: Uhoh, things about to get political in here. Lets quickly move on to something as to avoid that.


    MOVIES

    SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

    DIRECTOR: Stefano Sollima (Gomorrah, Suburra)

    STARRING: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Catherine Keener

    SYNOPSIS: The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver (Brolin) re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro (del Toro).

    MADHERO: Fuck, that avoiding politics business didn't work


    LARRY: Ouch that edge


    STICKMAN: Benicio del Toro  fingerfucks a gun and has a good time.


    MADHERO: I'm still baffled that this movie exists, let alone coming out next week


    STICKMAN: It's kinda weird, I loved Sicario but the sequel I'm all over the place on so far. Like you say, was anyone expecting or wanting a sequel in the first place?


    LARRY: I haven't even seen the first.


    MADHERO: I thought Sicario was great, but not necessarily something that warranted a sequel. Focusing on Del Toro's character is an interesting angle, but with Villeneuve, Blunt and Deakins gone,  you miss some key ingredients


    STICKMAN: And the reviews are kinda a mixed  bag with a mildly positive slant so far. Not as good as the first, but I mean...the fact it isn't completely awful is amazing.


    MADHERO: I think the glue holding this together are both del Toro and Brolin, as well as writer Taylor Sheridan. He's been doing great things so far.


    LARRY: I do love me some Sheridan.


    STICKMAN: I want to like this, but I'm on the fence, the fact that I'm mulling between this or Han Solo says a lot about my mixed feelings.


    UNCLE DREW

    DIRECTOR: Charles Stone III (Lila & Eve, Step Sisters)

    STARRING: Kyrie Iriving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll

    SYNOPSIS: Dax (Howery) convinces former basketball playground legend Uncle Drew (Irving) to join a street ball tournament after losing his basketball team to his rival Mookie (Kroll)

    LARRY: Gee, I have a hankering for some Pepsi right now...


    MADHERO: Larry, you gotta help here, because I'm lost


    STICKMAN: What the fuck this shit, boy. Explain yourself, America.


    LARRY: Okay so this is based on a Pepsi advert. And everyone's careers are so desperate that they expanded it


    MADHERO: Like all great films are.


    STICKMAN: You put guys in old man makeup and try to do a comedy based off a fizzy drink commercial and I'm not gonna rush out to see this...if it indeed even comes out here. Because I mean, why would they do that.


    MADHERO: We wouldn't have Pepsiman without Pepsi, and Space Jam existed because of an Nike ad as well. I guess its something about commercials that get turned into feautre length basketball movies


    STICKMAN: Why we get this shit but we never got a Creature Comforts movie, dawg. Aardman where you at.


    LARRY: That's a quality concept.


    MADHERO: Because stop motion takes far more time than making a young basketball player look old. Get this b-ball shit outta here. The REAL shit is on right now.


    STICKMAN: Is it the Tennis. I hear Andy Murray's knee injury could take him out of the running.


    MADHERO: At least its nice to see Lil Rel Howery in more stuff.


    LARRY: That's true.


    ---------------

    MADHERO: Anyway, that's about it from the movies out this week. Not much to work with, but luckily there's MOVIE OF THE WEEK!


    LARRY: Yeeeeaaahhhhh


    STICKMAN: But Mad, with all that football on, who has time for things that aren't football inbetween or on days without a match where you might go see, oh I don't know, Ant-Man and the Wasp maybe.


    MADHERO: Yeah.....where's the time. Still, there's actually plenty of good movies out there to go see right now even with the football, should you want to avoid. So Sticky, what did you watch to avoid anything besides Iceland?


    LARRY: Something shit I bet. Oh, sorry, that was a reference to Iceland.


    MADHERO: wow rude


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    STICKMAN: WELLLLL, I watched a film I technically wasn't able to see, but did so legally anyway. Thus well and truly defeating 'THE MAN' once and for all. We've talked about The Breadwinner a few times on the show, and it finally came out in the UK about a month ago, but was literally screened in like, 2 cinemas, meaning I couldn't see it. But I HAVE SEEN IT NOW, and it was....real damn good.

    It's refreshing to see a movie like this be both so dark and full frontal in its subject matter, but also completely accessible and charming for multiple age groups. The narrative following a young girl living in a Taliban controlled region of Afghanistan, where women, and girls are treated like dirt and basically have no rights. Her father gets imprisoned and she ends up having to disguise herself as a boy in order to keep her family alive. There's dark moments, hardships and violence , but it's all presented through the eyes of a child, and with a beautiful animation style that alternates between simplistic but expressive 2D animation, and paper cut-out style fantasy sequences. It feels authentic and believable, and it's genuinely one of the best animated films I've seen for a while.


    MADHERO: This movie is on my Netflix watchlist since it released on that here but I've yet to find the time to watch it.


    STICKMAN: You should find the tiiiime, it's real goooooood.


    LARRY: I watched this and thoroughly enjoyed it for many of the same reasons. If Coco hadn't been nominated, this would've deserved the Oscar honestly.


    STICKMAN: It's kinda a shame Coco was so good, because this would've made a very worthy winner.


    MADHERO: I don't doubt it. Cartoon Saloon has been doing excellent work throughout and they definitely deserve more credit.


    LARRY: Yes. Tells a captivating story with some of the most gorgeous animated sequences I've seen. So much color, so much imagination.


    STICKMAN: Cartoon Saloon deserve way more love, honestly. This is their best film too. It's a real beaut.


    LARRY: Mmmhm. Couldn't recommend it enough.


    MADHERO: What about you, Larry? What did you see? Something in the theater with your friends like a normal person does?


    LARRY: My film is Incredibles 2, which I was lucky enough to see as part of a double feature, alongside its predecessor, in glorious 2D IMAX on my 21st birthday last week. And....yeah, ya can't ask for much of a better present than that. Lo and behold, after 14 years of waiting, Incredibles 2 is more than a worthy successor to the original; while it doesn't reach the brilliant levels of 1, it has just as much comedy and heart, with even better animation and action. It improves in so many ways and ultimately brings the Incredibles to a new generation of fans while satisfying the older generation with plenty of fan-favorites and references to the original.

    I think this film does a great job in genuinely balancing storylines. We have something for everybody here, whether it's the female empowerment of Elastigirl, the bumbling parental struggles of Mr. Incredibles, or the silliness and slapstick of Jack-Jack. It covers many bases but never feels rushed or over-balanced. The story ultimately has some new things to say about the media and perception and family, though its third act does sorta drop everything for some typical action. Again, not as great as 1 but still a fun romp. Overall, I had a blast with it, so much so that I'm probably gonna see it again very soon.


    MADHERO: Oh hey, seeing the movie pretty much everyone in America went to see


    STICKMAN: What about the Bao tho.


    LARRY: Bao is easily one of Pixar's weirdest and most emotional shorts. Loved it.


    STICKMAN: That's the good shit.


    MADHERO: Its funny how very little time has passed in-time and yet its been 14 YEARS!!! Is that in any way noticable in the animation? Incredibles 1 is when Pixar first went full human


    LARRY: Well, people tend to forget the very end of Incredibles 1 is three months after the main events of the film. So SOME time has passed. Just not...14 years.


    STICKMAN: I've seen The Incredibles once...when it came out. All I remember is NO CAPES.


    LARRY: The animation is wholly and completely better. More defined, more dynamic and vibrant. Seeing the end of 1 in better animation just kinda made my heart soar.


    MADHERO: I remember really wanting the actual Incredibles 2 when I was a kid. The Gamecube game about taking down the Underminer, which I guess is non-canon now. It wasn't a particuarely good game, so ehhhhh.  I'm seeing this as soon as I can with the fam.


    STICKMAN: Speaking of seeing something...what did you watch, Mad? Something you haven't watched yet and will be writing about tomorrow instead, I bet?


    MADHERO: So yeah, there's been a World Cup going on, and because of that I really haven't had much time to watch movies, even with the Netherlands not even qualifying for it and therefore having no emotional anchor to really watch it. Some may know that out of the 3 of us, I'm probably the most forgiving of the original Pacific Rim's faults, of which there are plenty. I just found it an extremely enjoyable film, one that probably wouldn't be as good without a gifted filmmaker like Guillermo del Toro. Case in point: Pacific Rim Uprising, a film which I enjoyed, but one where you can tell something is missing.

    Watching giant robots beat the shit out of giant monsters is always fun to watch, and if Uprising does something better than its precursor, its setting most of its action scenes during the day when you can actually see things, which is always nice. Its brisk at less than 2 hours, there's a fun "turn your brain off" aspect to it, and I do think John Boyega is a more interesting protagonist than Charlie Hunnam was. But honestly, it does sort of feel like the heart is ripped out of it. The original Rim wore that on its sleeve, and this meanwhile feels much more made-by-committee and generic. If you're not in that picky of a mood and wanna watch some robots fight each other, you can do far worse, but I'd personally stick to the original


    STICKMAN: Pacific Rim was poopy.


    MADHERO: I'll stick with it till the end of time, but it aint no masterpiece.


    LARRY: I surprisingly enjoyed this. Though I'm still not over Charlie Day fucking a Kaiju brain. One of the weirdest movie moments of 2018.


    STICKMAN: Oh no, not that again.


    LARRY: MAD CAN ATTEST, IM NOT MAKING IT UP


    MADHERO: I feel you kinda overblew that. Its weird for sure, and it leads to an....interesting performance. I just wanted robots fight monsters and I got that.


    LARRY: Mad, c'mon. They play the song "I Wanna Know What Love Is" And he literally looks like he's getting off.


    STICKMAN: DOES HE FUCK THE BRAIN OR NOT. DAMNIT I NEED TO KNOW.


    MADHERO: He does not stick his peepee in a brain, no.


    STICKMAN: THANK FUCK. That's been two weeks of suffering, hearing about that.


    LARRY: Anyway yeah Boyega is great in Uprising, and not enough people are giving him solid credit for this. It proves he can genuinely lead a film. I just thought he was genuinely funny.


    MADHERO: Well he carried a lot of Force Awakens. I liked him, but I wish he was given more personality than "I'm sad and angry at my dead dad"


    STICKMAN: "Pacific Rim Uprising is brain fuckingly good" - At the Screwvies, 2018.


    -------------

    MADHERO: I think that about wraps up everything. Afte collosal dino's, we're now going small, almost like a..... flea, or a gnat.


    STICKMAN: Nah that's not till August I think.


    LARRY: ..ouch.


    MADHERO: Well, we're talking about it anyway. And hey, there's always POLITICS via The Purge. Whatever floats your boat. TIme to get back to the fooootball


    STICKMAN: Purge probably isn’t out soon here either. O WELL, GUESS I’LL DIE. SO LONG!


    LARRY: Adios muchachos

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 110

    2 months ago

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    MADHERO: Hey, everyone. Welcome to NOT E3. Y'know, cause it ain't E3, but like E3, we do have trailers. Boy o boy do we have trailers. So many trailers that we can't cover them all. Its literally madness.


    STICKMAN: It's MoviE3. It's time to experience entire movies within the space of two minutes.


    LARRY: Literally. So....many....trailers.


    MADHERO: So yeah, I hope you like trailers. As well as long awaited animated movie sequels. Got those in spades as well.


    LARRY: Ooh damn, that's true. But that doesn't roll off the tongue.


    NEWS


    DREAMWORKS RELEASES TRAILER FOR END OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON TRILOGY: THE HIDDEN WORLD


    So it feels like its been a while since we've seen Hiccup and Toothless, hasn't it? Not that weird when you consider the sequel came out in 2014. Since then, most of the dragon exploits had been relegated to Netflix, but now here we are, with a teaser trailer for what is billed as "the epic conclusion," and it looks.... well gorgeous for one thing. There's really something about this franchise that makes Dreamworks bring their A-game.


    Most of the trailer consist of the introduction of the Light Fury, a white female version of Toothless who seems to be from a hidden world where all dragons are from, and Toothless' goofy flirting that once again confirms that he's a sweet boy. Said sweet boy is also hunted by F. Murray Abraham though, and Hiccup, now chief of the village, seems to have some tough decisions ahead of him. Also Toothless goes full Thor at the end, so that's neat. Considering the trailer begins with "When I was a boy, there were dragons" there's the suggestion things might be a bit of a bummer. I feel like HTTYD is probably Dreamworks' strongest franchise, so I'm very curious how they stick the franchise and actually give it a proper conclusion.


    STICKMAN: Continued adventures of franchise I don't care much for.


    LARRY: Continued adventures of franchise I used to like but now don't care much for. Its sequel is trash.


    MADHERO: I feel so weird being the one here that genuinely likes these movies considering the high regard they have on the internet. And I can't disagree more on that opinion on the sequel.


    STICKMAN: Most people love this shit, you've been stuck with the two losers who don't. The sequel is better than the original but it's not really a big contest in terms of overall quality for me. STILL...this one looks more of the same.


    LARRY: Ohhhhhh it so is NOT better. In my opinion anyway.


    STICKMAN: I gave HTTYD the ol' college try and neither film impressed me. Happy others are excited thoooough, all about that Toothless.


    MADHERO: This is truly a curse. Can't deny this is looking really pretty though, right?


    STICKMAN: It looks very pretty yeah.


    LARRY: Yes, the animation is stellar. But who the hell asked for Toothless to get a fuck buddy?


    STICKMAN: I wish it were me. That mating ritual bit was pretty amazing.


    MADHERO: Director Dean DeBlois has already said on a Reddit AMA that one of the big themes of the film is letting go, so my guess its going to be a bit of a bummer.


    STICKMAN: Letting go of the last Dreamworks Animation franchise worth even once iota of a damn.


    LARRY: Until Shrek 5 anyway.


    STICKMAN: HAHAAHHAA. Good one Larry. Maybe one day Toothless will stop  hunting the white dragon and settle for a handsome lizard boy.


    LARRY: Hopefully this one turns out better than 2. If it's better, I'll watch it.


    MADHERO: I'm looking forward to seeing my sweet dragon adventures, even if these 2 mooks don't see it.


    WARNER BROS RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR LEGO MOVIE SEQUEL, THE SECOND PART

     

    Ever since the first LEGO Movie, we’ve all been curious to see how they plan to follow it up given its massive success. Well, to be honest, it looks like they’re doing a fine job thus far. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is set five years after the Duplo aliens took siege of Legoland (aka the end of the first film), with the world becoming a Mad Max style apocalypse which seems to bum everyone out except Emmett.


    And now, after Emmett’s friends are kidnapped by a mysterious alien, seemingly from Lego's Friends line, indicating the sister is oncer again more involved, it is up to him and his plant to save them. With a zany plot like this and a very similar tone and style compared to its predecessor, things are looking good for this sequel. It looks to have plenty of laughs, and Chris Pratt as Emmett seems to have not lost ANY of its luster as a fun protagonist to follow. Let’s hope Lord and Miller, alongside co-writers Dan Lin and Roy Lee AND directors Mike Mitchell and Trisha Gum, can pull this one off!


    MADHERO: I always appreciate the use of Beastie Boys' Intergalactic


    STICKMAN: Loving the idea that this, a story that's a sorta embellished retelling of a boy's imagination, has a gender politics callback to the previous movie that occurred years before this one. Other than that kinda cringey line...film looks to be a fun continuation of the original movie.


    MADHERO: The Friends line-up being a thing here does sorta suggest we're going to be seeing more of that here, especially with some of the comments made. I do think Lord and Miller said that they wanted to do more with Wyldstyle/Lucy that they ultimately ended up doing, so I guess this is part of that, even if it involves kidnapping


    LARRY: Yeah it doesn't look like a change in directors really made much of an impact. Watching Duplo fuck up Bricksburg is gonna be a weird sequence.


    MADHERO: As a Brooklyn 99 fan, I'm really happy that they added Stephanie Beatriz to the cast. She's great on that show. My main hope is to see some FUCKING BIONICLE!


    STICKMAN: I would literally scream if Bionicle turned up.


    LARRY: Brush off all that "sorry we forgot about you" dust.


    MADHERO: The people demand it, Lord and Miller. Do the right thing.


    STICKMAN: DO IT. OR BOYCOTTTTT.


    BLUMHOUSE RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR HALLOWEEN, A DIRECT SEQUEL TO THE 1978 ORIGINAL

    Hey, it's your boi The Stickman,  in 'Horror movies that caused a lot of buzz at Cinemacon but are now finally getting a first look online' Corner.  Halloween...the direct sequel to Halloween...but not the remake of Halloween, no, the original Halloween. There was once a point in time where a new Halloween movie release was about as exciting as having toast for breakfast, it’s now  been almost 10 years since the last installment, as it, along with most of the titans of the slasher genre have tried and failed to adapt to modern temperaments. That said, it's fair to say people are rather excited for this entry, a retcon of all Halloween's that followed from the 1978 classic that sees Laurie Strode and Michael Myers face each other again, for presumably the final time.


     In what's a reasonably substantial first trailer, we see Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode, now a hardened, combat ready woman eager to finally get her revenge on the man/monster who turned her life upside down forever. After an asylum bus crash, an escaped Myers returning to the scene of his original crime, it seems she'll get her chance. It's hard not to be wary of a Halloween movie, and a slasher movie in general, after so many years of mediocrity and lazy filmmaking, but the winds seem to be moving in the right direction for this one, and hopefully it proves to be a crowd pleaser this...HALLOWEEN. Halloween, the sequel to Halloween...out Halloween.


    MADHERO: I liked the part where they made fun of the sequels and talked about Myers being Strode's brother as something made up.


    LARRY: It's very fashionable nowadays to be self-aware, it seems.


    STICKMAN: It's always a good idea to shit on slasher movie sequels.


    MADHERO: He got his ass beat by Busta Rhymes in one of them. They deserve all the beating and being removed from canon. It really looks like its going back to basics, and there's some really fun imagery there what with the mental ward and all.


    STICKMAN: That was surprisingly cool imagery for a Halloween movie. I think this kinda looks like an Aliens equivalent to Alien, where the unprepared victim becomes the attacker of sorts in the follow-up and I am HEEEERE for this.


    MADHERO: Jamie Lee Curtis definitely gives off a Sarah Connor in T2 kinda vibe, and that's a very interesting way to go, especially when compared to H20, which made her suffer from PTSD.


    LARRY: As someone who isn't really into Halloween all that much, this kinda makes me intrigued to watch them all.


    STICKMAN: I wouldn't. Halloween 1 is the classic, Halloween 3 is the cult favourite, the rest are kinda...garbo.


    LARRY: But won't this one feel great if it's any good given how trash its been?


    MADHERO: Just watch the original. That's an absolute classic and the only one important here. And yes, also Halloween 3


    STICKMAN: Halloween 3 is the real Halloween movie, where's THAT sequel.


    MADHERO: The Silver Shamrock must live. Also John Carpenter may not be directing, but he's doing the music so get ready for some synthy tunes


    STICKMAN: I am ready for some John Carptenter beats.


    LARRY: They better not fucking modernize him. If I hear a fucking trap beat over the fucking Halloween theme...


    STICKMAN: You can't modernise John Carpenter, he's like 900 years old. Also sweet dreams, anyone who's closets don't shut properly.


    BUMBLEBEE TRAILER SHOWS OFF A VERY DIFFERENT TRANSFORMERS MOVIE

    WHAT'S THIS? A TRANSFORMERS MOVIE THAT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE ASS?! Ok maybe that's harsh, but damn, this was a weird surprise to see. The Transformers spin-off Bumblebee always seemed like a bit of a dumb idea, and to be fair it still is, but there's something to be said about the lack of Bayhem and throwing in a spice of Iron Giant that just makes this feel more hopeful about this spin-off that may or may not launch a cinematic universe, what with Last Knight not doing great.


    The trailer doesn't really go into much detail, with Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie getting a Volkswagen Beetle, who as it turns out, is the Transformer with the inability to talk that we we all know and love(?), 20 years before he would go and pee on John Turturro.  The rest of the trailer shows some action, but much clearer, and also a tease for Starscream, who doesn't look like a metal Dorito this time and looks like his original form and color scheme. So yeah, I'm pleased by what I'm seeing. I really do hope Travis Knight and co manage to stick the landing and remind me why I liked this franchise in the first place. It'd be nice not to second guess being a Transformers fan.


    STICKMAN: Bumblebee is a cutie. Protect him.


    LARRY: I’m honestly here for this film.


    STICKMAN: I'm not here for this film, but I'm here for Bumbleboi. By making him cute they're setting us up to cry when he gets thrown through the ringer.


    LARRY: This looks far more in line with what a Transformers spinoff would look like if the original films weren’t ass.


    MADHERO: I think the important factor here is that this is the first Transformers movie without Michael Bay, and one that doesn't cost like 300 million or so. This is a much more smaller scale and intimate story, with some bot action for good measure.


    STICKMAN: There's rumours that after this they are aiming to change up the Transformers movies in general, without Bay. That'd be nice.


    LARRY: That’d be lovely. Let Knight take over for all I care.


    STICKMAN: No no, Travis Knight needs to come back to LAIKA. WHERE HE BELONGS.


    MADHERO: With Last Knight being a disappointment at the box office and plans for TF 6 canceled, I really do hope this'll be a good new direction for them. Also, OG Starscream is making me more hype than it should.


    STICKMAN: As someone without any connection to the original stuff, and not being a fan of the movies at all...I don't have a huge amount of interest in this, but Bumblebee is my favourite and he's the best thing about this already sooooo.


    LARRY: Also, to all of the people trying to add a sexual tension between Steinfeld and Bunblebee........please stop.


    MADHERO: I haven't seen any of that, but I'm sure that exists and I'm scared to look.


    SPIDER-VERSE TRAILER SHOWS OFF UNIQUE VISUALS AS WELL AS DEBUTING VERSIONS OF PETER PARKER AND SPIDER-GWEN

    My favorite trailer we are discussing today is for Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse, a film that…honestly just has everything in its favor. While I still wish we got just a bit more plot squeezed out, we got to see plenty of new glorious characters: Miles’ father, a police officer and a total “dad”, Myles’ mentor, what appears to be an old and worn out Peter Parker (though some have theorized otherwise…),  played by Jake Johnson. Oh, and the amazing reveal of SPIDER-GWENNNNNNN (Hailee Steinfeld). Amazing to see her in cinematic form.


     We also get more of that luscious, vivid animation; this is honestly my favorite part. It feels like a damn comic book, from the colors, to the movement, to the pure energy bursting through it. Not to mention actual comic book descriptions appearing on screen. It really doesn’t look like any animated film out there. Needless to say, this film is gonna be a doozy when it hits us in December.


    STICKMAN: THIS FILM IS SO DAMN PRETTY.


    LARRY: ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN. CHOOOOO CHOOOOO


    MADHERO: It sure is a good time to be a fan of Lord and Miller or Hailee Steinfeld. That or animation in general. Weird to think that this has a lot of the same animators as The Emoji Movie.


    STICKMAN: With stuff like The LEGO Movie and this being around, it's really nice to see mainstream animation becoming more visually diverse, I hope the trend continues.


    LARRY: Yeah this just looks like boatloads of fun, nuff said. It’s a movie that speaks for itself.


    MADHERO: Well its nice to see that they're tackling Spider-Verse, which both serves as a good way to introduce Miles Morales and the other Spider-Men out there. That's a story not unadaptable, but definitely a lot harder in live-action.


    STICKMAN: I'm still not sure just how they're tackling it honestly. There's no mention of these different spidies being from different dimensions, but there's 3 of them...and Spider-Gwen just casually turning up kinda suggests there is dimensional play at wooork, right?


    MADHERO: Its really cool to see Spider-Gwen in there. Read her comics if you haven't and want a alternate take on the Marvel universe. It's really good.


    LARRY: Ugh it’s so COOL to see her realized on screen. I’m gonna nerd out SO HARD.


    STICKMAN: I like that we've got an older Peter Parker too, there's a lot lot to be excited about. Miles' dad is a lot funnier in the film than he is in the comics.


    MADHERO: Its also cool to have Morales as the lead. It may not be Black Panther level, but its up there. That and along with the amazing animation makes it all seem very exciting. Hopefully it pays off.


    LARRY: My boi SHAMEIK MOORE finally getting some more work.


    STICKMAN: God if this film blows I'm going to be SO DISAPPOINTED.


    MADHERO: DON'T DISAPPOINT US, SONY! USE VENOM FOR THAT INSTEAD


    STICKMAN: I'm happy for Venom to die so I get a good Miles movie. I'm MORE than happy.


    AMAZON RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR HORROR “REIMAGINING” SUSPIRIA, DIRECTED BY LUCA GUADANIGNO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)

    Although the follow-up film from 'Call me by your Name' director Luca Guadagnino was always going to be a hot topic,  after news of all the Amazon Studios luncheon discourse from the remake of 70s horror classic Suspiria broke out, it's fair to say a lot of people were looking forward to seeing the film for themselves. WELL, the first teaser is out, and whilst it doesn't deliver on the grisly sequences that caused canapes and mini-sandwiches to be dropped to the ground a couple months back, it did instead deliver a rather promising and effectively eerie experience for sure.

    Bolstered by what's already a very exciting and creepy score by Radiohead singer and first time film composer Thom Yorke, we didn't see a lot of disturbing scenes at all really, but instead the hint of the horrible deeds to come just out of frame.


    Although notably lacking the psychedelic colours of the original film, it seems to be following a similar direction in terms of location and narrative, albeit perhaps with a more intense and graphic modern horror mentality. Ignoring the music and visuals, Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson are the stars of this teaser, them...and a rather unpleasant looking metal implement draped neatly on a table covered in blood. I guess we'll find out where all that raspberry jam came from later this year, but with the  highly toted extreme violence and now a very promising teaser that's gotten the film a lot of attention? Suspiria has a lot to live up to.


    MADHERO: This is one spoopy trailer. Well, more unsettling really.


    LARRY: Lots of teasing and good shots. Saving the spoopiness for the film.


    STICKMAN: It's pretty great that we've got two great looking horror trailers this week, and they couldn't be more different if they tried. Arthouse disturbing horror versus popcorn entertainment. I'm down for both, and this looks great so far.


    LARRY: Plus you got Hereditary out right now. Good time for horror.


    MADHERO: I do notice that Jessica Harper is listed in the credits, and she's the original lead in Suspiria. Could this be....A SEQUEL?!


    STICKMAN: OH MY GAWWWWD It's probably just a cameo to be fair. Maybe we find out where all the colours went.


    LARRY: Oh lordddddd


    MADHERO: Sucked out like in Paper Mario Color Splash. Its an interesting stylistic choice when compared to the original, which is super colorful and adds to its psychadelic nature. This one seems more muted, but from what we've heard, will probably still be batshit insane.


    STICKMAN: I'm so down for it. If people walk out the cinema, it's gonna be amazing. I do wonder if we're going to get to see any of the grisly details prior to release, or if they're saving the nightmares for the big screen.


    MADHERO - Last Sunday at 1:09 AM

    Shout-out to the Twitter account as well which has been having fun.


    LARRY: Also a really nice logo. Can’t wait for when they begin competing for Oscars.


    STICKMAN: And that SCORE. My crazy dancing boy Thom Yorke giving us that creepy synth goodness. The members of Radiohead will soon be composing all movies.


    ---------------

    MADHERO: Its gonna be a goodun for sure. Alright., we had plenty of trailers, but we also have plenty of FILMS COMING OUT!


    LARRY: BUT THE TRAILERS ARE MORE FUN


    MADHERO: Sorry. Yep, so much so that Larry has only gone and seen one of them already. Genderswapped remakes are really hot right now, what with Ghostbusters totally not causing any controversy, and that Overboard remake.....existing I guess. We now move on to Ocean's 8, although here its more of a sequel from what I've heard. I dunno, didn't see it, but Larry sure did.


    LARRY: Well, it is technically a sequel I suppose.


    MADHERO: Alright, enough set up. How does this destroy the Hollywood patriarchy? Also is it any good?


    REVIEW

    OCEANS 8

    DIRECTOR: Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Free State of Jones)

    STARRING: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, James Corden

    SYNOPSIS: Debbie Ocean (Bullock) attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City's star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first step is to assemble the perfect crew (Blanchett, Kaling etc.)

    LARRY: So I didn’t initially plan on seeing Ocean’s 8, but my friend got access to an early screening of the film this past Wednesday, and it was free, which me likey. So, I decided to give what looked like an unnecessary cash grab a chance, and I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying myself.


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    It’s no masterpiece by any stretch—it doesn’t even touch Ocean’s 11, though it probably falls in the middle between Ocean’s 12 or 13 in terms of quality. However, it’s cast is very strong, each being their own distinct personality while having a fun chemistry with one another, and the script has many genuinely funny moments, which unfortunately is somewhat rare for these gender-bent reboots. It’s heist isn’t particularly that clever or inventive, but it still delivers the suspense that any heist movie should strive for. Its problems lie in the storytelling, with a third act this is ultimately pointless and poorly structured. Plus, it doesn’t seem to have much to say other than....female empowerment yay. But, for a film with little to offer thematically or sub-textually, it, at the very least, is a fun time at the movies for those looking for some laughs and good times. I certainly didn’t regret not paying for it.


    STICKMAN: Does it do anything different to draw in someone like me, who didn't like the Oceans films priorrrr?


    LARRY: Oh, definitely not I’m afraid. This is an Ocean’s film, through and through.


    MADHERO: The cast looks like its having a lot of fun. Are there any that in particular stand out and ones you could've done without? The previous Oceans movies had Clooney, Pitt and Damon and the rest besides Cockney Don Cheadle were pretty disposable


    LARRY: I mean, yeah some are clearly funnier than others. Sandra Bullock is thriving in this role, and Blanchett provides some of the best lines. Anne Hathaway basically plays a parody of herself and is excellent, and probably the biggest surprise was Sarah Paulson being pretty great. The most disposable is probably Mindy Kaling, cuz she gets the least amount to do and the most clunkers in regards to jokes.


    MADHERO: Well that's unfortunate, considering how fun Kaling is on stuff like The Office. How much is there in terms of connections to the other Oceans movies? Some cameos maybe?


    LARRY: Yes, a few distinct cameos and Clooney’s character being dead (not a spoiler, it’s literally in the trailers). These appearances have little weight on the story, they might as well be slightly elevated Stan Lee cameos. One of them is actually arguably a MASSIVE plot contrivance


    MADHERO: O dang. RIP. So yeah, sounds like its a fun if rather disposable film. Nothing wrong with that, and a good two hours, but you won't be thinking about it much after. That a fair assumption for your wrap up?


    LARRY: Yeah, it’s disposable for someone like me. But I’m sure some people will really enjoy it. It’s also worth noting that Gary Ross is a solid director all things considered and it’s cool to see him getting big films like this, even if they ultimately aren’t his strongest work.


    STICKMAN: I'll give it a hard pass.


    CateBlanchettSandraBullockStarsSetOceanW

    LARRY: Yeah, I didn’t expect otherwise lol. I would’ve passed too, but free movies and fun friend timessssss. Also, Cate Blanchett forever has my heart now. With this, Blue Jasmine, and Carol, she may be my new favorite actress.


    STICKMAN: She's pretty neato beans.


    MADHERO: She's pretty Incredible. Speaking of which.....


    STICKMAN: Niiice


    LARRY: Wowwwwwww


    MOVIES

    THE INCREDIBLES 2

    DIRECTOR: Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille)

    STARRING: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk

    SYNOPSIS: Bob Parr AKA Mr. Incredible (Nelson) is left to care fort he family (Vowell, Milner) while Helen AKA Elastigirl (Hunter) is out saving the world in a campaign to bring “supers” back.

    MADHERO: FOURTEEN YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS


    STICKMAN: I'm in the minority where I wasn't like...super into The Incredibles? I liked it, but I didn't loooove it. I've only seen it the one time and that's when it first came out.


    LARRY: Well it’s time to revisit it!! I’m seeing a double feature of both films, which about to be the highlight of my Summer.


    MADHERO: It sure has taken their sweet time getting there. I've been wanting a sequel to this film since I was 10, and I'm 24 now. That's fucking wild. Anyway, this looks like fun.


    STICKMAN: Sounds like it's gonna deliver the goods, too.


    LARRY: Reviews are hella positive. I JUST WANNA SEE IT ALREADY


    MADHERO: Yeah, I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from the trailers, but the impressions from critics that watched it have been extremely positive


    STICKMAN: The trailers seem to be hiding a lot of the film, which is a good thing if what's being hidden is great.


    LARRY: Can’t wait to relish in shady Bob Odenkirk.


    STICKMAN: I've yet to see anyone call it a tearjerker, which is a miracle given Pixar made this film.


    MADHERO: Yep. Apparently Jack-Jack and Edna steal the show, so I'm very curious why what they do. And Odenkirk in your movie is never a bad thing.


    LARRY: Ednaaaaaa.Brad Bird’s greatest accomplishment.


    MADHERO: 14 years I've waited, so I'm definitely seeing this asap. If this makes me want a Incredibles 3 and I'll only get it when I'm 38, I'm going to be pissssssed.


    TAG

    DIRECTOR: Jeff Tomsic (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fish, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb

    SYNOPSIS: A group of ex-classmates (Helms, Renner etc.) meet up and organize a game of tag that finds them traveling across the country.

    STICKMAN: Here's where Hawkeye was. "Sorry I couldn't fight Thanos you guys, I was playing Tag"


    LARRY: Yeah he had to get his arms CGI’d.


    STICKMAN: That's a fun tidbit for this otherwise soso looking film.


    MADHERO: Just hanging out with the coach from Spider-Man Homecoming, so there's your MCU connection


    LARRY: If Tag became canon with the MCU, I’d have zero problems with that.


    MADHERO: For a comedy, this does actually have a pretty interesting cast. I guess Buress, Johnson and Helms are people you expect in a comedy like this, but less so with Renner and Jon Hamm, and people don't give enough credit to how funny Jon Hamm is.


    LARRY: Don’t forget my boi Jake Johnson!!


    MADHERO: I'm not the biggest fan of that guy, but that may be cause I can't stand New Girl.


    LARRY: Go watch Safety Not Guaranteed and get back to me.


    MADHERO: O yeah he was in that. That was good. But yeah, fun comedy about a weird real life story and will likely be about the real tag being the friends we met along the way.


    LARRY: I’m excited for this one!! Cast looks great, humor looks funny, and even some fun physical comedy. Ticket sold for me.


    STICKMAN: I'll be here, not watching.


    HEREDITARY


    DIRECTOR: Ari Aster (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd

    SYONPSIS: When the matriarch of the Graham family dies, her daughter, Annie (Collette), suspects a presence was left behind. With the household under threat by a supernatural force, Annie must explore the darkness to escape their inherited fate.

    STICKMAN: OOOooOooh.


    MADHERO: Prepare for the spoops delivered straight by A24.


    LARRY: Gotta love that divisive D+. Some people just can’t handle the spoops.


    STICKMAN: The best horror films make people angry. Strong reviews but a mixed audience reception, someone called this film emotional terrorism, and I'm here for this.


    LARRY: I completely agree. Just fascinating to note that.


    MADHERO: The Alamo Drafthouse apparently had some people wear heart monitors during the screening and some shot up to 165 Bpm which is pretty wild.


    STICKMAN: I can't wait to have a £10 heart attack.


    LARRY: I’m genuinely scared to go see this one. I don’t do well with horror.


    STICKMAN: I'll hold your hand babe.


    MADHERO: The film goes quite batshit at the end, so my guess that when it all gets a little too in tents.


    STICKMAN: Another solid 2018 horror film. BRING IT ON I SAY.


    HOTEL ARTEMIS

    DIRECTOR: Drew Pearce (directorial debut)

    STARRING: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Bryan Tyree Henry, Dave Bautista, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day

    SYNOPSIS: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, 'Hotel Artemis' follows the Nurse (Foster), who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.

    LARRY: Poor everyone in this film... Doesn’t seem to be doing too hot.


    STICKMAN: This feels like such an under the radar release for something seemingly so high profile, given the cast.


    MADHERO: You know this is one of those films that got made when John Wick got really popular . Definitely has that vibe, even if it apparently doesn't have nearly as much action as expected.


    LARRY: I’d go for Bautista alone.


    MADHERO: Its a genuinely great cast. Jodie Foster, who seems to be having a lot of fun, Sterling K. Brown, Charlie Day, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum. I feel like this is going to get a cult following very soon


    STICKMAN: Jodie Foster alone y'knooow, but oh welll.


    LARRY: Hopefully Charlie Day doesn’t fuck a Kaiju brain in this film...


    STICKMAN: Wait what.


    MADHERO: I think that's from Uprising. Also gross.


    LARRY: I wish it wasn’t a thing. But it certainly is.


    STICKMAN: I'm so confused.


    MADHERO: I could've gone my life without knowing that. Anyway, this might be for people who want something smaller, but probably don't expect much in the way of action that the trailers might tell you.


    STICKMAN: Why he fuck the braaain though.


    MADHERO: See Uprising and find out.


    SUPERFLY

    DIRECTOR: Director X (Across the Line, Center Stage: On Pointe)

    STARRING: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis

    SYNOPSIS: Youngblood Priest (Jackson), a cocaine dealer, decides to make one more deal before getting out of the business and turning his life around.

    MADHERO: From Acclaimed director....Director X


    STICKMAN: My...favourite?


    MADHERO: This is one of those cases where this is beyond our scene, cause he's directed stuff like the Hotline Bling video  and plenty more music videos. It just really caught me off guard and thought it was funny


    LARRY: Its funny. Ya won’t catch me near it tho.


    MADHERO: Of all the movies to remake, Superfly seems like such a weird one since its such a part of its era and genre. That film basically  started the blaxploitation genre.


    LARRY: Yeah. Not sure if we need more blaxploitation....


    MADHERO: Well maybe it was a Black Dynamite style homage. This just kinda feels like a really standard gangster film.


    STICKMAN: By DIRECTOR X.


    LARRY: Yeah the name of the director is more interesting than the film.


    MADHERO: This is one of those reboots that we really could've done without.


    STICKMAN: I wasn't aware of it prior to this episode, and I'll forget about it soon after.


    LARRY: Weird how something managed to topple Ocean’s 8 for most unnecessary reboot. What a world.


    ----------

    MADHERO: Right, that about does it  for the films out this week, but luckily there's MOVIE OF THE WEEK!


    STICKMAN: Niiice


    MADHERO: Its a bit of a weird week, what with a pretty big movie that;s out right now  here in Europe but not quite yet in the US, but we figured something out, and I think we have quite a eclectic list.


    STICKMAN: But I saw the big blockbuster movie of the week though.


    LARRY: Proud to always deliver those subversive indie hitters.


    MADHERO: Subversive indie hitter, you say? Well then, Larry. What's your Movie of the Week?


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    LARRY: I’m sure some of our readers in the states have seen the occasional ad or trailer for this film online since its premiere at Sundance, and if you would’ve skipped it based on that and that alone, I wouldn’t have blamed you. But do NOT let its marketing fool you; American Animals is not your average heist film. Not even close. What the marketing has been deceptively (and I say that as a compliment) hiding is this film’s clever blending of both documentary and narrative techniques to create its own strange specimen of a genre.

    I don’t want to spoil how, it’s best you go in blind, but hot damn did it throw me for a loop. What follows is an interestingly crafted story that had me engaged from minute one; with a strong directorial voice from Bart Layton, a great cast led by Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan, and some ingenious editing, It masterfully plays with audience perception in ways that few films ever have and probably ever will. Even though it ultimately doesn’t do as much with its world as I would’ve liked to see, it nevertheless is a minutely flawed but still thoroughly enjoyable, darkly funny experience that I couldn’t recommend enough. One of my favorite films of the year thus far.


    STICKMAN: This looks like it could be a fun heist capperrrr.


    LARRY: Oh, it’s so much more than that my friend.


    MADHERO: I honestly had only vaguely heard of this and haven't seen any trailers for it. Cool poster though. Do creepy looking flamingos come into play?


    LARRY: I mean, I didn’t think it looked creepy per se. But there is indeed a flamingo. It is a cool poster, with an aesthetic heavily featured in the film.


    STICKMAN: It makes me want to play Hotline Miami  for some reason.


    LARRY: Whenever you guys get it, you gotta go see it.


    MADHERO: A good heist film is always fun to watch. I guess this one is a little less expensive than the one in Oceans 8


    STICKMAN: I wanna see an animal heist movie that isn't The Nut Job.


    LARRY: Okay but I wanna stress. This is NOT just a heist film. Don’t go in expecting anything like Ocean’s. I swear, the blinder you go in, the more it’ll surprise you in the best ways.


    MADHERO: Alright, Sticky. What's your Movie of the Week?


    STICKMAN: This week's E3, so what better time to look at a movie based on a video game that didn't do very well critically or financially! Hurrah! The third installment in the movie versions of the popular series, and a reboot more on par with the gritty game reboot....reboot...TOMB RAIDER...is a film that isn't perfect by any means, it's got a long wrong with it, and when compared to the game itself, lacks the same ambition, scope or action...but...as its own film? It's pretty good honestly.

    The opening scenes prior to her actual adventure are probably the best parts, since they do their own thing and show the character with a lot of heart and personality. Once things get to the island, it's a little less engaging, but it's still fun, with enough discourse-inducing deviations from the source material to make it a fresh experience even to those who've played the game itself.  Again, this ain't a great movie, but it's easily the best video game  movie to date that isn't Resident Evil Vendetta, which is the Citizen Kane of video game movies.


    MADHERO: This one is definitely the most appropriate for this time of year.


    STICKMAN: Lara Croft was even at E3. You're WELCOME GUYS.


    LARRY: I still have yet to see this, though I’ve been meaning to.


    STICKMAN:It's fun, I'm not going to pretend it's an amazing movie, but as a fan of the franchise I enjoyed it. It's biggest flaws are how it isn't like the game, so if you haven't played the gaaaame...


    MADHERO: Its been interesting to see this come and slightly go. Wasn't a huge hit but definitely successful.


    STICKMAN: It was a mild success but it didn't quite hit the cultural zeitgeist, as tossers would say.


    MADHERO: It wasn't no "Jolie posters everywhere " type of success. Does make me wonder what the plan is. Still, it can comfortably hold the crown for best Hollywood video game  game movie for now.


    LARRY: Personally I’m only interested in still seeing this for Vikander, cuz I hear she is quite good in it. And I’m happy she got this opportunity.


    STICKMAN: She's a great Lara yeah. I think the first 20 minutes are the highlight and then it loses its way a bit, STILL...worth a watch maybe. I don't know if it'll get a sequel given it was a tepid box office success, but who knooooows. Anyway, what'd you watch Mad, some weird Netflix release?


    MADHERO: My Movie of the Week....is not for the faint of heart  Seriously, while the trailer may not seem that scary, it not does prepare for the absolute mayhem that unfolds. Bone Tomahawk follows sherrif Kurt Russell as he and a posse go into the wilderness of the Wild West after a couple of people are kidnapped by a clan of troglodytes, who as it turns out, are cannibals, so that's fun. The film itself takes a while to get going, with you mostly alongside these characters and what the harsh environment is doing to their mental state.

    But once it gets going, oh lord does it get going. Any gorehound will probably have their moments of OH MY FUCKING GOD. There's one sequence there that's so bad that I had to pause and make sure I wasn't feeling ill, and I'm generally pretty good when it comes to that stuff. Its fucking insane, and much credit to S. Craig Zahler, who assembled quite a good cast and immediately becomes a different voice in Hollywood. He seems to have cemented that with Brawl in Cell Block 99 as well. So as mentioned, not for the faint of heart, but you're in for a great ride if you're prepared.


    STICKMAN: I like movie horror gore, but I don't like Westerns. What a sticky situation.


    LARRY: I’m interested now that I hear it’s bonkers.


    MADHERO: A Western can often be boring. This one is definitely not, but you need to take the time before it gets to the crazy shit


    STICKMAN: So it's like Dust till Dawn, which I didn't realise was THAT movie until it happened. And then I was like...oh.


    MADHERO: Sorta. You get hints here and there, but there's definitely the moment where the brakes go off and its full speed ahead.


    STICKMAN: Cannibals always have that effect, I find.


    LARRY: I’m down for some good ol’ fashioned gore.


    MADHERO: Oh this ain't good ol fashioned. This goes really, really hard. You are not prepared for the "wishbone scene"


    LARRY: Honestly I wish more films went as far as you say this does. Studio films are afraid of their audiences getting petrified. But man, gore tends to enhance a film if it’s done properly.


    STICKMAN: We should aaaaalll watch Dredd.


    MADHERO: Its on Netflix here, but it should be on digital for relatively cheap. Check it out for sure if you want something different. Don't have a weak stomach though


    STICKMAN: My stomach is strong and hearty, except when eating oranges.


    ------------

    MADHERO: Alright, that's it for this episode. Next up we're going to talk about DINOSAURS!  That's always fun.


    STICKMAN: I love Dinosaurs. Maybe too much.


    LARRY: DINOSSSSSSbutalsolazyandhackneyedstorytellingBUT DINOSSSSSS


    MADHERO: Its for a Jurassic World sequel though, so y'know, prepare for takes.


    STICKMAN: I've seen it already so y'all gotta check yourself.


    MADHERO: Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Find out what Stickman thinks about his lizard bros......NEXT TIME!


    STICKMAN: GOODBYE.


    LARRY: Peace out, home skillets.

  • Alex Wolff Discusses Going Through Hell To Make Hereditary!

    2 months ago

    ericvespe

    As you probably know by now, I adore Hereditary. I love, love, love, love that movie. I love how fucked up it is, I love writer/director Ari Aster's attention to detail, both visual and character-wise, I love the pacing, tone and acceleration into madness and I love how it has absolutely wrecked both audiences I've seen it with now.


    None of that would be possible without a kickass cast and while everybody shines this movie really boils down to Toni Collette and Alex Wolff for me. They get put through hell here and both absolutely shine in their roles.


    So you can imagine I was super psyched to get to talk with Alex Wolff about the making of this movie. The dude started off a Nickelodeon kid actor and has graduated to this incredibly complex, unquestionably fucked up role of a lifetime.


    I think we did a pretty good job of avoiding spoilers, so you should be free and clear on that front. Wolff was a very fun and funny interview, as you'll see by our very first interaction. He also proved to be a real-deal cinephile and actually knew his shit, which is refreshing when you're talking to someone so young.


    Enjoy the chat!



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    Alex Wolff: Hey, Eric.


    Eric Vespe: Hey, man. How're you doing?


    Alex Wolff: I'm good, I'm good. I'm in the middle of a junket and I'm looking at some pretty delicious breakfast, but I'm not going to be eating on the phone with you, so I'm just staring at it and it really, really looks good. Just know that's how much I care about you that I'm not just stuffing bacon into my mouth because it looks so good and if I have one bite that'll be it... Okay, I am going to eat it. I'm sorry. I care about you, but it looks too goddamn good.


    Eric Vespe: That's okay. I ask some pretty long-winded questions so there's plenty of chewing time to be had.


    Alex Wolff: Okay, great!


    Eric Vespe: So, your character is put through some crazy stuff in this movie...


    Alex Wolff: Yeah, no shit!


    Eric Vespe: Everybody goes through hell in this movie, but your character in particular is put through the ringer. I'd like to start by asking how you emotionally prepare for a role like this. I assume it's not as easy as just turning it on in front of the camera and turning it off when they yell cut. There's got to be some ramp up and cool down to go to the places that you go in this movie.


    Alex Wolff: Oh yeah. I think it's safe to say that I was deeply, deeply, deeply affected by every single moment that this character goes through. I kind of stayed in that space for the whole movie, so I left the movie with a little PTSD. It was a serious feat and a serious trauma. I feel super lucky that I got to do it, but it was definitely an upsetting thing to go through. Me and the director, Ari, had this sort of pact. We were like “Alright, let's both get into a kamikaze plane and crash into the ground. We'll both jump into the fire together and we'll both get burned and then we'll help lift each other up afterwards.” We had this very close, familial relationship throughout the movie.


    Eric Vespe: There's a scene in the movie I want to talk about. I was already onboard with this film, but there's a moment that happens about halfway through the movie where I went from just digging the movie to being fully invested and it's a moment that rests almost solely on a close up on you reacting to something horrific. How much pressure did that put on you? You have to do so much and there's no place for you to hide.


    Alex Wolff: Thank you so much, man.


    Eric Vespe: I think this moment really sets the movie on track for the craziness that follows and you sell it. Did you know all the time that Ari was going to milk your reaction as much as he did?


    Alex Wolff: I knew when I saw the movie. I didn't know. There were a lot of other things we did, but he chose to stay on that shot for so long. I'm glad because I gave it everything I had.


    It's one of those things that's hard to talk about. I just want people to see it for themselves. It was really upsetting to shoot. It's funny, we did that angle and I remember crying and sweating and Ari was hugging me. I thought I was done and I went back to the trailer, thinking it was over, and they were like “Actually, we're going to do one more. We're going to do a different shot.” I was like “Jesus Christ” So I had to get back into it. He used that, too. It's all in one close up, but he does use this one shot that's a little further back that is pretty upsetting, too.


    I just feel lucky that I have a director who trusted me enough as an actor that he'd hold it on my face. I really think Ari is a genius. He knows what he's doing.


    Eric Vespe: I got to talk to him a little bit...


    Alex Wolff: He's not a genius at interviews! But he's a genius at directing. (laughs)


    Eric Vespe: He said something really interesting about the influences he had for the movie, which were more '50s and '60s melodramas instead of horror. Did he give you any homework when you got the part? Any particular films he wanted you to watch?


    Alex Wolff: I'm a pretty big cinephile, so I take pride in the fact that there weren't many movies that he suggested that I hadn't seen, but there were some. I'd never seen In the Bedroom and I'd never seen The Ice Storm. He's also obsessed with Wong Kar-Wai and stuff, but those two movies he told me to watch them.


    Actually, no. I'd seen The Ice Storm before. I don't know what I'm talking about, but I watched it two or three times while making the movie and I watched In the Bedroom a few times. I'd just be keeping these movies on repeat. He's seen every single goddamn movie on planet Earth. I consider myself a pretty big cinephile and I've seen so many movies, but man, this motherfucker gave me a run for my money.



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    Eric Vespe: As a cinephile working with a fellow cinephile I would assume that helps strengthen the trust between you two and would give you some cinematic shorthand.


    Alex Wolff: Absolutely. A hundred percent. That was part of our initial connection and knowing we were on the same page with this movie.


    Eric Vespe: Did he bring any of that into the direction? Like “This is how this moment should be played, just like this moment in Hitchcock's Psycho.” That kind of thing.


    Alex Wolff: I remember one time he compared a moment to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. He would sometimes bring references in, but he really wanted me to craft my own performance and he really wanted to craft his own movie. As much as we were inspired by other movies we never wanted to imitate other movies. We wanted to create our own thing. But it's really Ari, man. Ari's got a specific vision. He's a genius.


    Oh, and Chinatown. Chinatown was one we talked about All. The. Time.


    Eric Vespe: I like all the films you mentioned. There's such dark tones to The Ice Storm and Chinatown.


    Alex Wolff: Yeah, we never really talked about horror movies.


    Eric Vespe: Can you talk a little about the script? Was everything on the page? Did you know what you were in for from day one?


    Alex Wolff: I thought it was a great script, but I didn't quite know how uniquely it was going to be shot. I read the script a bunch of times. I read it about a year before I went in for it. I read it and I was like “This script is unbelievable.” I was terrified. It left a bad feeling in my stomach. At the end of reading it the first time my mom walked into my bedroom and I screamed out loud. It scared the shit out of me!


    I thought it was a unique, interesting script. Then I went in to audition for it and I had to break down and cry and all this stuff and the way he worked with actors... I was like “Okay, this is an amazing script, a delicate, intricate, specific script, with a director who cares about actors and knows how to work with actors.” Then I got on set and was like “Okay, this is a genius script where people talk how people actually talk. I have a director who is making sure the performances are grounded AND this camera shit he's doing is some of the craziest shit I've ever seen.” It felt like a triple punch. He knew exactly what he was doing in every sense of the word.


    Eric Vespe: Nice, so there was no first time feature filmmaker fear on your part, then?


    Alex Wolff: Well, I had a little bit of fear. This was a pretty big movie, a pretty crazy stunt to pull off for a first time director, so I was testing him and making sure. That scene where I'm under the bleachers is the moment I hold dearest to my heart and I was like “Hey, man. What do I do?” He was like “I think you should just have a panic attack.” That's awesome. It's a good way of saying it. “Just have a panic attack.”


    Eric Vespe: Thanks so much for your time. Hopefully you were able to sneak some bites of breakfast while we were talking!


    Alex Wolff: Thank you so much, Eric. I'll talk to you soon.



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    Hereditary opens this Friday. Go see it! Bring an extra set of underwear. You'll need it...

  • Hereditary Director Ari Aster Wants To Use Your Horror Expectations Against You!

    2 months ago

    ericvespe

    Hereditary is by far the most effective horror movie in recent memory. The downright creepy atmosphere gets under your skin, the tone lodges itself into your brain and sticks with you for days after seeing it and it will just generally kinda fuck you up for a while after seeing it.


    Who could be behind this extraordinarily macabre vision? A dark, brooding figure that lurks in the shadows, perhaps. Or maybe the kind of guy with sallow skin that you imagine has a basement full of amateur taxidermy.


    The reality is Ari Aster seems to be a normal dude. He looks like your next door neighbor or the enthusiast geeky cousin you had who will talk your ear off about classic cinema, whether you want them to or not.


    In person Aster is a shy, humble guy who seems a little surprised that people actually liked his movie. I saw him “Aw, shucks” his way through the Sundance Q&A after the premiere of this film back in January and that's how he came across when I got the chance to talk to him over the phone.


    He's also a major cinephile, so when the topic of influences comes up he has some very surprising answers. You'd think stuff like The Omen or Rosemary's Baby would be his keystone inspirations for this project, but you'd be mistaken.


    We keep the chat fairly spoiler-free, so don't worry about us ruining the experience. You do want to go into the film knowing as few of the surprises as possible, though. Aster talks about using your expectations against you in this movie and he ain't lyin'. There's some good “What the fuck!?!” moments to be had in this one.


    Enjoy the chat!



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    Eric Vespe: We haven't had a chance to meet yet, but I was in that very first Sundance screening of Hereditary where you scared the shit out of everybody for the first time. So, thanks for that.


    Ari Aster: Oh, wow. No, thank you!


    Eric Vespe: The amazing thing about a film festival that you don't get in today's movie-release world is that you can walk into a film completely blind. I can't tell you how much I loved being a part of that audience as we discovered your movie. Did you watch it that night or are you the kind of filmmaker that can't watch their stuff with a crowd?


    Ari Aster: That screening and the second screening I sat through. The first one there was a speaker down in the back of the theater, so I was actually having an extended panic attack through that screening. (laughs)


    But yeah, that was a great night. When you're in post on a movie like this you get so lost in the minutiae of just making the film and you forget what you made or what you're even trying to make or what steps you're going for on the audience. Especially since a horror film is all about audience engagement. But I'd honestly forgotten I'd even made a horror movie. At the end of the day you're just trying to make a movie that works, you know?


    Eric Vespe: Yeah, I remember at the Q&A you seemed surprised that the audience kept asking you about how you made the movie so damn creepy.


    Ari Aster: I was! I was! That night the prevailing feeling was one of release. “They didn't hate it! Great!” The next night we had a screening at the MARC theater, which was even bigger and all the speakers were working beautifully and I was past the fear of people hating it. It was really beautiful. The audience was going with the film, they were feeling it, it was effecting them.


    It was also a bit surprising to see how well people were receiving it because ultimately the goal was to make a very alienating, upsetting movie. So it's been a nice surprise to see people are embracing this, like, kind of evil thing.


    Eric Vespe: You do something with tone that I think so many people who make scary movies don't do. A lot of people want to make fun horror movies, not a lot seem to want to make an upsetting horror movie. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the key to your success here is you take an old school Rosemary's Baby style approach to this where you focus on character drama first and foremost.


    Ari Aster: Thank you, yeah. I did want to go the way of the long, deliberate runway. I wanted to make a film that was grounded in a place of character and let everything grow out of that. When I was pitching the film I was never pitching it as a horror film. I do hope it delivers as a horror film, but the way I was pitching it was always as a family tragedy that warps into a nightmare.


    I wanted it to feel like a nightmare in the way that life can sometimes feel like a nightmare when real disaster strikes. In that way, I feel like the film is as much of a melodrama as much as it is a horror film. I like horror movies, but I love melodramas! In the melodramatic tradition, the movie sympathetically attaches itself to these people and what they're going through. It tries to honor the feelings by going all the way into them. I wanted to make a film that collapses under the weight of what these people are going through. I wanted the fabric of the film to tear open because it's so full of toxic, unresolvable feelings.


    Eric Vespe: It's funny that you mention melodrama because there was a film that your movie reminded me of a little bit, but I didn't think it was at all intentional and it was just me connecting dots that weren't there. It's a great Technicolor melodrama called Bigger Than Life with James Mason...


    Ari Aster: I love Bigger Than Life! Nicholas Ray.


    Eric Vespe: That movie is not at all genre, but it has a disturbing tone to it, too, as we see a family breaking down before our eyes.



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    Ari Aster: I can't say I was thinking about Bigger Than Life for this one, but I love Bigger Than Life and the films of Nicholas Ray are kind of in my bones at this point just because I grew up loving them so much.


    I think, if anything, this film owes something of a debt to Douglas Sirk, especially Imitation of Life, which has a lot in common with Mildred Pierce in that it's a movie about your child turning on you, but this film also plays a lot with the idea of your parent turning on you.


    But Sirk has always bothered me. What he does with color, his sets are so artificial and garish... he was really brilliant. When I think of the end of Imitation of Life, where there's this funeral parade in the streets where everybody is dressed in these really bright pastel colors... there's something so perverse about that. There this incongruity to the images and what he's doing. He's doing two things at once that really have no business with each other.


    I first saw those films when I was a kid and I couldn't make sense of them. They confused me. They really got to me. Now I have a stronger visual vocabulary and I can see what he's doing, but the perversity of those films still really ticks at me.



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    Eric Vespe: Those films really push their actors. James Mason in Bigger Than Life really goes for it as his character's fragile mental state cracks and shatters. He goes into some really dark places. That's the connection I made to your movie. You put poor Toni Collette and Alex Wolff through the ringer in this movie. How did your cast respond to you pushing them so far?


    Ari Aster: They were all very game, so I was lucky to have actors who were willing to go all the way and dive into this. It's a very intense movie and I was asking them to go to very dark places. To everyone's credit in the film nobody was holding anything back.


    The film is dealing a lot with catharsis. There are all these things being built up and built up and built up and then finally there's this upsetting release.


    Eric Vespe: That's a great way to put it. At that Sundance screening I remember looking at the people around me in that last 20 minutes and everybody was transfixed on the screen, not blinking. They were so into it. That kind of audience involvement gets me excited to watch the movie again with a new crowd.


    Ari Aster: That's one reason that I really love genre, especially the horror genre, because there are these expectations and tropes. Once you introduce one trope it lulls people into their seats. Most of the people who are in that theater are people who watch horror movies. If you're somebody who really likes horror movies you're aware of all the sub-categories and you're aware of what this device means. So, if this device appears that suggests we're going in this direction.


    There's a complacency that comes with watching a horror film. At the same time people are walking in and there's this mutual dare. The filmmaker is daring you to come in and the audience is daring the filmmaker to try to scare them. There's something very fun about establishing tropes that people recognize. I think the first third of the movie does do that. It's sort of nodding towards certain films and certain traditions and I'm hoping what it does then is it upends them in a brutal way. If you do that right it kind of shocks you out of your complacency.


    I'm always so excited when I'm watching a film and I think I know where it's going and then I suddenly realize that I'm not in control of this experience. I'm really hoping that, if anything, the movie does that.



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    Eric Vespe: I can't speak for everybody, but that's certainly the effect that it had on me. You're right, when you're not sure what's coming next you feel strangely vulnerable.


    Ari Aster: Thank you. It's the Psycho thing, right? We're with Janet Leigh, she's stolen the money and I'm sure people are a little bit weary because they know the movie's called “Psycho” if they're seeing it for the first time in 1960, but we're with her. She's stolen the money, but she's decided to bring it back. She's learned her lesson. Okay. We're with her, we like her and then she's stabbed to death in the shower. Now what?


    I'm hoping that Hereditary does something similar to that where there's a kind of shared trauma among the audience that then joins you to the experience of the characters in the film. If you have that complacency that I'm talking about where you sink into a movie and you know this trope and you know this device and you watch it at a distance, where the audience is kind of elevated above the material and they're looking down at it and they're judging it from a more clinical place. But if you a delivered a blow that is tied to the blow that the characters in the film suffer that, I hope, brings you back down to the plane of the movie and hopefully you're in it now. Hopefully now you're at the film's mercy.



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  • Upgrade Director Leigh Whannell Discusses His Geeky Influences And Why "Gimmick" Shouldn't Be A Dirty Word

    2 months ago

    ericvespe

    There's a lot of good genre on the way. Next week sees one of the best horror films of the year, Hereditary, hitting theater screens and this weekend we have a straight up fun sci-fi action/body horror movie called Upgrade. The movie's about a guy who is paralyzed and used as a guinea pig by an eccentric Elon Musk type that claims his new AI can help paraplegics walk again. Naturally there's unseen consequences to this decision, including a kind of Gollum/Smeagol relationship that forms between the lead and the computer voice in his head.


    The movie was written and directed by Leigh Whannell, one of the masterminds behind the original Saw and Insidious. Upgrade is crazy, playing like a real-deal movie version of the best '90s direct to VHS movie you never saw. It's fun, but not stupid if you catch my drift.


    There's a clear sense of Whannell channeling some of his cinematic fetishes into this story, so when I had the chance to talk to him about it that's what we focus on. We discuss the evolution of his movie tastes and how that mirrored my own. In short, it's a chat that movie geeks can relate to. If that sounds like you, then enjoy yourself!


    We do talk about Upgrade, too, don't worry. We don't spoil anything either. Double bonus!


    Hope you folks enjoy the chat!



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    Eric Vespe: Everybody who is a big movie fan has that core group of movies or a particular genre that they loved growing up. What were yours?


    Leigh Whannell: I guess it went in stages. It depends at which age you'd ask me. When I was 5 or 6 I was your pretty typical Star Wars kid, loving Star Wars, watching a VHS copy of that until it was completely worn out. Raiders of the Lost Ark... But actually my favorite film of that era was Jaws. Even more than Star Wars! I guess that maybe signposts an early love of horror, but I just loved Jaws so much. I was obsessed with movies.


    As I got a bit older and was in my early teens I was basically loving video store staples. I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. It was very suburban and I wasn't deviating from the standard Die Hard/RoboCop/Lethal Weapon path. My parents weren't forcing me to watch Last Year at Marienbad, that's for sure. (laughs)


    Through my teen years I loved genre films... horror films, sci-fi, stuff like Aliens. Then when I got into film school, that's when your palate gets expanded. All of a sudden you're watching foreign films you don't have access to in the suburbs of Melbourne. My local video store wasn't stocking Wim Wenders films! It's almost like A Clockwork Orange. They sit you in a chair and forcibly make you watch all this stuff from all over the world, from different time periods. I'd say that was the final evolution with me, in terms of my taste in films.


    It's amazing, though, that as an adult, the films that I go back to are the ones I loved as a teenager. It's almost like comfort food for my soul. To sit down and watch Big Trouble In Little China, for me, is such comfort food.


    Eric Vespe: I know what you mean. There are certain films that are “Any Time Movies.” No matter what mood you're in... if you're down, they'll bring you up, if you're happy they'll just magnify that. Big Trouble is definitely one of those. Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski, Little Shop of Horrors are big ones for me.


    Leigh Whannell: Yep, yep. There's just a few that no matter will just put you there. E.T. is one for me. I can keep going back to E.T.


    Eric Vespe: I think anybody who's a big movie fan will recognize that trajectory. I remember I took a film appreciation class at UT and while I dabbled in older cinema that's where I really became obsessed with it. The professor showed us Sunset Boulevard and it blew my mind. It got me to commit to exploring older films.


    Leigh Whannell: Yeah, I think you're right. You have these watershed moments. I guess it's similar with music. Your music tastes evolve as you get older and you end up having these seminal moments when you're exposed to something that changes the trajectory of your musical tastes. And that happens with movies.


    I was not deviating from the standard Die Hard path. All the suburban kids around me where I grew up, they loved Die Hard, too. They loved The Crow and Lethal Weapon and all this standard Hollywood action stuff, but I remember... I think it was my last year of high school, I ended up renting Reservoir Dogs on VHS and that was definitely a watershed moment. It was a huge moment. It stood out and marked itself as more special, somehow, than those other movies, those standard Hollywood action movies of the '80s and '90s.


    I remember being excited about that film in a way that I hadn't been about other films. You're right. You can always look back and map out these points... they're kind of like the Monolith in 2001. They come to visit the monkeys every hundred years and shove us into the future.


    Reservoir Dogs was definitely a black Monolith in the desert for me. It started me investigating movies in a different way. Instead of caring about who was in the movie, I wanted to know who was making the movie; who was behind the camera. That's not something I thought up prior to Reservoir Dogs.


    I remember in that moment in time, with Tarantino, suddenly being a filmmaker was cool. It wasn't about being the movie star. In fact, I'd say that Tarantino was a much bigger star than any of this cast members.


    These all add up to a picture when you stand back and look at them.


    Eric Vespe: Yep. That era was full of that phenomenon. You had Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith as well, who were more famous than most of the name actors in their movies.


    Leigh Whannell: Exactly.


    Eric Vespe: I have a similar story... The short version is a friend of the family was a big movie nerd, so she'd take me out to see movies every weekend. She liked all sorts of movies, I was definitely more interested in genre. Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein had just come out and I wanted to see that. She said she'd take me to that if I'd go see this John Travolta movie after. I saw Frankenstein and hated it. I was fuming because the movie I wanted to see sucked and now I had to go see this stupid art house movie with the guy from Look Who's Talking in it. That one was, of course, Pulp Fiction.


    Leigh Whannell: (laughs) That's such a good consolation prize!


    Eric Vespe: Within the first five minutes of that movie my world had changed. There was something so different about film. It legitimately blew the doors open for me.


    Leigh Whannell: People really propagate the mythology of the cinema of the '70s, that auteur era with Francis Coppola and William Friedkin and Steven Spielberg, but for people my age the '90s were really that moment. All of a sudden you cared about movies in a different way. Even the biggest redneck living in my suburban neighborhood had copies of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack! That's something that would not have happened prior to that film. It was such an explosion in the culture that it seeped out to the people who normally wouldn't care about stuff like that. Even my mum knows who Quentin Tarantino is, which is pretty amazing because I doubt she could name any other film directors. It was a huge time, an exciting time.



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    Eric Vespe: What I liked about Upgrade is that feels like a throwback film. The world is over the top, it has some ridiculous conceits in it, but you as a filmmaker takes it seriously, which I think is the magic formula of making a movie fun. I see a lot of movies that are super serious, I see a lot of movies that are super silly. I don't see a lot of people striving for that balance. Can you talk a little about hitting that tricky balance and maybe how some of the stuff you loved growing up fed into that?


    Leigh Whannell: Well, I'm definitely influenced by those films that I mentioned growing up. I always loved contained sci-fi and movies with a dark, film noir bent to them, especially if they incorporated sci-fi. If you look back at the first Terminator film, it's kind of a mixture between a horror film, a film noir, set in the alleyways of Los Angeles and a sci-fi movie, but it's got this punk energy to it.


    Sometimes they're very literal about those things. For instance, the first group of guys that the Terminator kills is a group of punks. The nightclub where Sarah Connor hides out is called Tech Noir. I've read plenty of stuff about that movie and James Cameron always coined the genre that way. He thought he was making a tech noir film.



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    One could look at as a marketing gimmick, but it's something he really bought into. You can't help what you love and I've always just loved that. I love movies that leave you with something, movies that aspire to change your perception of story. I guess I'm trying to dance around the word “gimmick.” It's such a dirty word, but I get really excited by “gimmick movies.”


    When I first saw Memento I loved it. The whole gimmick of that movie playing backwards was exciting to me. I loved Run, Lola, Run and the gimmick of seeing the same story play out three times. Of course it has to be a good movie. You can't let the gimmick itself sell the movie. You have to make a good film, but I don't see anything wrong with a gimmick.


    I love movies that try to push the genre they're working in and frame the narrative in an interesting way, whether it's playing it out backwards or repeating the same story three times. I've always kind of written to that. Even the first Saw movie was a non-linear film. I wanted to tell a thriller that was out of order, that felt like you were waking up from being unconscious and were remembering things.


    Upgrade was kind of that to me. Some may look at it and sneer and say “What did you think was interesting about this?” But to me the idea of a character in a movie that was purely a voice in a guy's head... I found that really interesting. I feel like you always end up writing the movie you want to see and I feel like if I was 20 years old I would want to see Upgrade. That's a movie that's framed in a way that would excite me. That's what I'm always striving for. I want to satisfy the 20 year old movie-going version of me.


    Eric Vespe: I think you do a good job with that here, for sure. Even people that I've seen that didn't love the movie all say “If I'd seen this when I was 15 it would have been my favorite movie ever!”


    Leigh Whannell: (Laughs) I've seen a lot of reviews of this movie that are positive. I've lost count of the ones that say “It's silly. It's dumb fun, but it's great!” I'm like, “I thought when I made a film that good reviews the reviews would actually be good!”


    Eric Vespe: (laughs) They're positive backhanded reviews is what you're saying?


    Leigh Whannell: Yeah. My cheek is just red and stinging from the amount of backhanded compliments I've received on this one, but what're you going to do? Once the movie leaves your hands it's not yours anymore and you can't control the perception of it. You just let it go.


    Eric Vespe: Awesome, man. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Good luck with the release!


    Leigh Whannell: Thank you, mate. I appreciate it!



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    Upgrade is in theaters this weekend! Give it a shot if you like fun things!

  • How to Extend a Franchise?

    2 months ago

    Jon The Risemonger

    On one hand, I thoroughly enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon and I would even say How to Train Your Dragon 2 was not a bad sequel with some memorable visuals and a story that didn't feel like just a rehash of the first film. But it must just be in my nature to be cynical about sequels because this poster reveal has me worried about this film being a "just cause" sequel for HTTYD. That being said, I am interested to see what the first trailer looks like and hope that the story adds to the lore of the HTTYD world and ins't just another passable sequel. What are your thoughts? Excited about another dragon movie or are you ready to move on to new things already?how_to_train_your_dragon_the_hidden_worl


  • Movie Audio Tracks

    2 months ago

    OG_Jester

    Listentoamovie.com is a fantastic site that hosts thousands of mp3 tracks of various movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, while the site is still up, it hasn't been updated with new content for years. In reaction to this, I've recently begun uploading movie and TV mp3 tracks to my Google drive and have made it public so anyone can listen. I also take requests. Just message me here or on Google +. I know it's a niche audience, but for those like me, such a service is indispensable.

    Anyway, here's the link.


    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1456YpGpxDxJ-4wC4rxv2lC5UzQRBiCrG

  • Best & Worst Movies of May 2018

    2 months ago

    tomtom4468

    The Summer blockbuster season has begun…. And I’m honestly kinda underwhelmed. There’s some really good stuff for sure, but not as much as I would have hoped. One big disappointment in particular really underscores what I’m talking about (It’s not anywhere on this list, don’t look for it). Anyone else starting to feel like this is just a really unremarkable year for film? Whatever. That’s a topic for another day. Here’s the best & worst movies of May!


    Before I begin, a couple of disclaimers…

    1. This is based on movies that I SAW in May. Some of these movies may have officially come out in previous months and have only just come to my area. Other movies might have come out in May, but have not yet come to my area, so I haven’t seen them.

    2. This is purely based on MY OPINION. Some movies in The Best category might be movies you hate. Some movies in The Worst category might be movies you love. That is completely fine! Film is subjective and you are absolutely allowed to disagree with me. All I ask is that you don’t be a dick about it. Respect my opinion and I will respect yours.

    Now let’s begin!




    The Best:

    Tully- If I’m being honest, this isn’t the best movie in the world, but it’s still really damn impressive! The performances are great, especially Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis, and it’s extremely well directed and well made. The characters are extremely likeable and compelling, it’s really funny and explores some really harsh truths and realities of parenting in such an honest and down to earth way that I absolutely adored! It has flaws for sure, but overall it’s a delightful, profound and enlightening film. I really enjoyed it and I think it’s absolutely essential viewing!


    Deadpool 2- Deadpool was a masterpiece, it was one of my favorite films of 2016 and one of my favorite superhero movies ever. This sequel is every bit as good, if not better! I absolutely adored every second of it! Ryan Reynolds continues to be perfect as Deadpool who is still every bit as wacky, ridiculous and likeable of a presence as you expect. However, they also manage to give him a really incredible arc that makes him even more compelling and gives him so much more depth. Cable is incredibly badass as well, Josh Brolin gives a phenomenal performance and the character himself is so menacing and compelling. Zazie Beetz is perfect as Domino, who is also a badass, and I really adored the way they represented her luck based powers. The X-Force is used perfectly and all the supporting characters and performances are fantastic as well. David Leitch’s direction is fantastic, the visuals are amazing and the action sequences are brilliantly constructed and delightfully brutal. It’s absolutely hilarious with it’s witty, raunchy, meta humor and once again acts as a brilliant deconstruction of the superhero genre. At the same time, however, that humor is backed up by a genuinely masterful plot that is extremely well written and complex and subversive and there’s genuine emotional depth to it that I never expected a Deadpool movie of all things to hit. There’s even actual themes explored in this thing of family, grief and child abuse…. HOW DID THIS GET INTO A DEADPOOL MOVIE?! This film also contains maybe the best mid credits sequence of all time. This is such a fun, captivating, unique, riveting film and I FUCKING LOVED IT! It’s one of the best movies of the year so far and, if you like Deadpool at all, you need to see it immediately!


    Disobedience- This film is really good! The performances are excellent, especially Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, it’s very well directed and well made, the characters are extremely deep and compelling and the plot itself is extremely well written and riveting and thematically rich. If this film is playing in your area, I highly recommend checking it out as soon as possible. It’s borderline essential!




    The Worst:

    Life of the Party- Everytime Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone collaborate on anything, the result is garbage… this is no different. This film is fucking terrible! The performances are awful, the plot is cliche and predictable, the characters are entirely one dimensional, the pacing is atrocious, the filmmaking is unremarkable at best and it’s so painfully unfunny. This is the textbook definition of a lazy, cookie cutter, garbo comedy and I hated it so much! Don’t waste your time with this one, it’s fucking awful!


    Show Dogs- My thoughts on this failed abortion of a film that should never be seen by anyone ever, least of all children, can be summed up perfectly in just three words… FUCK RAJA GOSNELL! That is all.


    Daphne & Velma- They made a direct to VOD Scooby-Doo prequel featuring Daphne & Velma going to highschool together and solving a random mystery without the rest of the Scooby gang. The good news is, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The bad news is, IT’s EVEN WORSE! I FUCKING DESPISE THIS MOVIE! The performances are shit, the visuals are shit, it operates on an entirely misguided, flat dynamic, the characters are one dimensional, the plot itself is poorly written and all over the place an dumb and predictable, it’s full of half assed nostalgia mining, the humor is shit and the pacing is awful. This film is also unintentionally hilarious! The creative decisions that are made are so mind-bogglingly stupid that I actually laughed my ass off. One fight scene (yes, fight scene) in particular is one of the best/worst scenes in any movie so far this year! And then there's the ending which assumes they're gonna get a sequel (they won’t). I don't care how hardcore of a Scooby-Doo fan you are, don't watch this movie! It’s a horrific trainwreck that nobody should ever subject themselves to!




    And now we’ve come to the end! If you want to listen to my dumb voice talking about these and other movies, listen to my podcast, Clark Film, at http://clarkfilm.libsyn.com/ and on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music and all your other podcatcher apps. Raw video versions can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/c/thomasclarkpodcasts.


    I’ll be back here with another installment of Best & Worst next month!

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 109

    2 months ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: Hey everybody. Its time once again....to talk Star Wars. I know, the prospect of which is so terrifying that Larry has fled to Europe, so he won't be joining us. But it means he can't stop us from bringing up this gem: I’m feeling like a star. You can’t stop my shine. I’m lovin’ Cloud City. My head’s in the sky. I’m solo, I’m Han Solo I’m Han Solo I’m Han Solo, Solo


    STICKMAN: I vote with the absence of Larry that we make this the official Fury Road fan blog.


    MADHERO: Nah, we repping Solo now, even though I'm pretty he doesn't have a problem with that.


    STICKMAN: I do though. Does that mean I have to take an unexplained trip to Europe. never to be seen again?


    MADHERO: No. Anyway time for news, of which there was a lot.


    NEWS


    DANNY BOYLE TO DIRECT NEW JAMES BOND FILM STARRING DANIEL CRAIG. TO BE DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL AND MGM


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    Feels like we've been talking about this film for a while. The 'will he, won't he' of Daniel 'Slit my wrists before I do another Bond film' Craig, then the bidding war to be the new distributor that included all sorts. Them came the race to see who'd direct the film. Now....FINALLY, we've got the hardcore details.  Danny Boyle was an early frontrunner for the directing gig, but then it seemed to not be happening...but now it is, so take that I guess. Best known for Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire, this would be Danny Boyle's first franchise gig. It is not, however, his first gig with James Bond, or Daniel Craig. Famously the pair first worked together on a short film for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, where he picked up the actual real Queen, and they (their stunt doubles anyhow) jumped out of a helicopter together into  the stadium, to somewhat rapturous applause.


    The distributor has now shifted from the product placement heavy camp of Sony Pictures, to a surprising choice of Universal Studios, who are partly responsible for the modern Daniel Craig reinvention of Bond in the first place, thanks to their Bourne franchise changing the spy movie game for quite a long time. I'm a big Boyle fan, but I'm not sure how this will play out, excited to see though...and we WILL SEE...ON...OCTOBER 25th 2019. DUN DUN DUUUUUN.


    MADHERO: Well.... this is finally happening. I completely forgot that Boyle directed the Olympic Ceremony in 2012


    STICKMAN: He did  a pretty ace job, it's hard to forget that when you live in the UK that's for sure. It's all been downhill since 2012.


    MADHERO: You can say that again. He does make for an interesting choice. One with a lot of pedigree and distinct style, so it'll be interesting what he does on the scale of a Bond film.


    STICKMAN: I'm concerned he'll be too restrained to make a Danny Boyle film . I got that vibe from Steve Jobs, which was a great film, but it was pretty tame, directing wise. At the same time, James Bond ain't ready for Danny Boyle at his most Boyle'esque.


    MADHERO: I don't think the world is. He's got an another project with Richard Curtis coming up, so he's going to be busy. I do wonder if this film is actually going to pick up from plot points of Spectre, or if its for the most part wiping the slate clean.


    STICKMAN: I'd imagine his little relationship situation will be nipped in the bud quite quickly, and then we'll be back to our usual Bondy shenanigans.


    MADHERO: God, Spectre was a disappointment. I feel like its been ages when that film came out.


    STICKMAN: The prevailing feeling in the time since release is one of it being pretty pants, and kinda unintentionally creepy at times. Hopefully Danny Boy can give it the regeneration it needs...with Daniel Craig, who I'm hoping survives production on this film.


    MADHERO: He's getting a dump truck full of money, but its almost certainly his last outing as Bond. I'd be shocked if it wasn't.


    STICKMAN: Either way, colour me more interested than I had been now.


    JAMES MANGOLD TO WRITE AND DIRECT A BOBA FETT SPIN-OFF MOVIE

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    Hey, since we talked Star Wars in the intro, might as well talk MORE STAR WARS AMIRITE?! Its getting hard to keep whats in development and what isn't. So far we've got Episode IX in December 2019, the new trilogy from Rian Johnson, the new trilogy from David Benihoff and DB Weiss and potentially a Obi Wan movie by Stephen Daldry. One of the earlier proposed projects featured everyone's favorite bad jetpack flier Boba Fett. Josh Trank of Chronicle fame was attached to work on A Star Wars Story project, later revealed, but never officially announced to be a Boba Fett movie, but left the project after it became clear how big of a mess his Fantastic Four movie was. After that, things got quiet around the project.


    Until now, with Hollywood Reporter revealing that James Mangold  (Logan) will direct the movie and co-write with X-Men stalwart Simon Kinberg about the Mandalorian bounty hunter, showcasing his probably badass antics before he got eaten by a hole in the ground. Or maybe it'll reveal that he survived and we'll see his adventures there, as the Expanded Universe has loved to do for ages now.  My level of caring will likely depend on the take they're going for, because as been pointed out, Boba Fett is kind of a fuck up that just happens to be in really cool armor. Mangold is an exciting choice though, so it'll be interesting what he can bring to the Star Wars universe.


    STICKMAN: Oh boy more Star Wars spin-offs. Those always do well.


    MADHERO: Oh dang. Recent box office disappointment digs.


    STICKMAN: I must say, I'm one of the people who finds Boba Fett cool despite him just having a cool set of armour and being a bounty hunter. Like there's no real reason to think he's cool, he just looks cool.


    MADHERO: Its a cool looking get-up he's got, but going back to those original films, the coolest thing he probably did was talking smack to Vader, but his actions didn't make him seem all that impressive. Its interesting how badly this is something people want to happen. Maybe because it personally just leaves me kinda cold. Will say though that Mangold's involvement is interesting.


    STICKMAN: I hope it's an 18 rated movie about existentialism and mortality again. Either that or Mangold gets fired halfway through and Ron Howard finishes it up as a 12a action adventure sci-fi movie.


    MADHERO: It'd be something very different, which I feel is something Star Wars might need if recent box office returns have anything to say about, but hey, that's an discussion for another day, when they announce the Greedo spin-off


    STICKMAN: Can't waiiiiit.


    MYSTERIO TO BE THE NEW VILLAIN IN SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING SEQUEL. JAKE GYLLENHAAL IN TALKS TO PLAY THE CHARACTER

    Spiderman-Homecoming-2-Mysterio-Jake-Gyl


    WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS INFINITY WAR SPOILERS


    File this one under WOAAHH NELLY if true.  Peter may not be feeling so good after the somewhat notable events of Avengers: Infinity War, but that doesn't mean production isn't ramping up on the sequel to 2017's Spider-Man Homecoming, releasing in July of next year. Whilst we don't quite know what form the MCU will take post Avengers 4 yet, we do know who Spider-Man will be facing off against...it's Mysterio, and it just may well be played by Jake Gyllenhaal of all people.


    Although it's not a lock just yet, what is a lock is obviously, that Mysterio is in the film, and as of now, it seems like Jakey boy will be taking the role. Mysterio isn't your usual Spider-Man movie villain, being a former special effects whizz who, down on his luck, uses his powers of illusion and distraction to turn to a life of crime. He's also known for wearing a fish bowl on his head, and having a big whooshy cape. Also of note is the apparent recurrence of Michael Keaton as The Vulture, who was the villain of the previous film, which, along with the teased inclusion of Scorpion in that film, leaves the door open for a potential super villain team up...or...Sinster Six, if you will. Mainly, I just hope Peter feels better before this film, poor lad.


    MADHERO: O man, hopefully Peter is gonna feel better soon. Gonna be hard to fight a guy with a fishbowl helmet when you're a pile of dust


    STICKMAN: It's Aunt May's turn to don the mask.


    MADHERO: That would be interesting to watch. But yeah, really cool to hear that Mysterio is gonna be on the big screen finally. I remember in concept art that he was supposed to be in Spider-Man 4 played by Bruce Campbell, but more so as a cameo than a major villain.


    STICKMAN: Bruce Campbell would honestly be kinda perfect for a goofy take on that character. Mainly it's just interesting to see a somewhat different class of Spider-Villain on the big screen, and one that could come with some cool ass visuals.


    MADHERO: As it stands, it looks like we might be getting a more serious version with Gyllenhaal, who's a great actor and always want to see more of.  Also Gyllenhaal was in the running to be Spider-Man in the Maguire years, so it all comes full circle


    STICKMAN; I want it to be like the Mysterio from the Spider-Man 2 game, who has fun house Spider-Man minions and then turns the Statue of Liberty into himself with flying saucers or whatever.


    MADHERO: Yeah, probably not happening. Also cool to see Michael Keaton return. My guess he's probably going to be more of a goodie this time.


    STICKMAN: Unless a Sinister Six is formingggg.


    MADHERO: Sony loooooooooves that Sinister Six, so maybe.


    STICKMAN: Also, I said it before and I'll say it again. Mr Aziz needs his comeback. Spider-Man needs to deliver some GOD DAMN PIZZAS.


    MADHERO: Hard to deliver pizzas when you're dead.


    STICKMAN: Oh no. There's dust all over my pizza.


    HAPPYTIME MURDERS TRAILER ASKS THE QUESTION “WHAT IF PUPPETS WERE A BIT NAUGHTY”

    Well this has been a long time coming. For those not in the know, The Happytime Murders has been a dream project from Brian Henson (son of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson) for some time now, with the concept being thrown since at least 2008. For the longest time nothing happened because it was all decidedly niche: A Roger Rabbit style world where humans and puppets co-exist, with a noir style detective of a human and puppet solving the murders of a Sesame Street style group. Somehow, it got made, and it looks.... well.


    Considering the subject matter, I was definitely expecting things to be crude, and that's exactly what we got, with puppets asking to suck people's dick for drugs, doing said drugs, swearing a bunch, and jizzing out silly string for a minute long in this 2 and a half minute trailer. Yeah. I don't really have an issue with that, but the crudeness is all that's there and in the age of Sausage Party, as well as puppet shows like Avenue Q, the material doesn't feel as shocking or funny as it thinks it is. The funniest thing is its tagline "No Sesame, All Street" and they just got sued by Sesame Workshop for that. I hope the movie isn't just a 90 minute version of this trailer, otherwise we'll have a bad time.


    STICKMAN: Fuk. It wasn't a happy time, but I do feel like getting murdered. How do you fuck up such a fun idea for a fiiilllm. How do you spend so long developing it and then fuck it up so baaaad.


    MADHERO: My guess its more niche parts (its noir elements) got removed in favor of something more raunchy. It does suck when such a good interesting premise goes to waste


    STICKMAN: Did we need 50 hours of projectile puppet jizz. Did we need vaguely dated "Hahah that woman looks like a dude" jokes. DID WE NEED THIS.


    MADHERO: The school of "the longer it goes on, the funnier it is" fails once again.


    STICKMAN: It has to be funny to begin with for that to work. The funniest thing so far is that Sesame Street are bringing the fuzz down on them. Big Bird's got his big lawyers on the job.


    MADHERO: I guess my main problem it focuses so much on being crude that it doesn't really become funny. We've seen puppets be crude on Avenue Q and Meet the Feebles. Its not as new a premise as it thinks


    STICKMAN: It looks crude as fuck, completely wastes its original seedy detective noir premise, and looks cheap as all fuck in terms of production. And Melissa McCarthy WHY.


    MADHERO: She was honestly the least of my issues with it. She seems more of a straight man here.


    STICKMAN: The fact that she was the least infuriating part is a sign of just how crappy this film looks. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT.


    MADHERO: Lets hope the actual film is better, but yeah, hopes are definitely low right now.


    JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3 TO RELEASE ON MAY 2019. CASTS HALLE BERRY, ANGELICA HUSTON AND MORE IN NEW ROLES

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    In the currently active action genre movie rosters, you don't get more beloved than the John Wick films. The first one came out of nowhere and surprised a lot of people in 2014, and 2017's Chapter 2 only went from strength to strength, improving in pretty much all aspects, including, crucially, box office gross.  Naturally, a third entry is in the works, and whilst we've known this for a little while, we've gotten our first details, and they are mighty tantalizing indeed.


    Following, much as the second film did, almost directly on from the previous film, John Wick Chapter 3 (SPOILERS for those who haven't seen 2 yet) sees Keanu Reeves fighting to survive and.... escape from New York…. after he's expelled from the assassin network and becomes an open target for everyone else within it. Without the usual gadgets and safe zones, he'll have to rely on being John Wick to survive...which is pretty fortunate, given he's John Wick. The film's got a May 2019 release date, and the cast? Well it's sounding pretty awesome. Hallie Berry, Angelica Huston, Mark Dascascos, Jason Mantzoukas, Asia Kate Dillon and  other talented folk are joining existing returning cast members in this third installment as members of the order of assassins who'll presumably get in Wick's way.  More interesting for meeee personally? Two cast members from The Raid are also joining the film, meaning we're finally getting a Raid/Wick crossover...of sorts? Chapter 3 is already shaping up to be a treat. No more dead dogs, though. Please.


    MADHERO: ZOUKKKKKKKKKKS! As a fan of How Did This Get Made (and his stuff on TV) I'm so happy he gets to be in this movie. Also I guess the casting of Asia Kate Dillon makes this the first major Hollywood movie to cast an actor who identifies as gender neutral, so good on them. Rest of the casting is pretty stellar so far.


    STICKMAN: I didn't even realise that was a thing, but neato. Previous John Wick had a mute character who spoke with sign language too. It's a solid cast, a great action director, and if it delivers on the set-up of Chapter 2? HOOOOOO


    MADHERO: John Wick 1 was hard to top, and somehow 2 managed to do so. So yeah, no pressure for Chapter 3.


    STICKMAN: John Wick I feel had a tone issue, and John Wick 2 sorted that out nicely and also delivered even better action scenes. I'm very excited for this.


    MADHERO: I'll never look the same at a pencil again.


    STICKMAN: We were warned of his pencil abilities. And we did not listen. And with a weird TV show nobody asked for on the way? There's much Wick to be had.


    RIP MARGOT KIDDER

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    Sadly, we have to talk about another screen icon passing away, as it was revealed that Margot Kidder had passed away at the age  of 69 from unknown causes. When you think Margot Kidder, its hard not to think of Lois Lane, whom she played in all 4 Christopher Reeve movies. For many, she's the ideal interpetation of the character, one that hasn't still hasn't been topped. Besides that, she was also a minor scream queen with roles in Black Christmas and The Amityville Horror, which she famously called a piece of shit in an interview with the AV Club, and even popping up in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake.


    That part of her, besides her Lois Lane role, is the one largely remembered. She left Hollywood largely behind in 1996 after a famous  breakdown, preferring to live out in her home in Montana and fighting for her outspoken liberal political causes, though she would always be up for a job if asked. Its a shame to see her go at such a young age, but she'll always be remembered for her iconic role. May she rest in peace.


    STICKMAN: Didn't have the same connection to her as some people did, but it's hard to deny the prominence of some of her roles, and it's sad to hear her go at a reasonably young age.


    MADHERO: Yeah, 69 really is no age to go out on these days. I came to her performance a bit later than most people, but you can definitely see why she's seen as the definite Lois Lane. She brought an independence to that role that made her more than just Superman's girlfriend, whilst still selling the chemistry they had.


    STICKMAN: Yeah, I think we all know her as Lois Lane more than anything.


    MADHERO: There's a reason why she's often named in the same breath as Princess Leia. I do think she was an icon for a lot of women at the time who wanted to be more than just the girlfriend.


    STICKMAN: Which is a pretty great claim to fame, really. Also, being in a couple cult horror favourites ain't too shabby either.


    MADHERO: Even though she didn't get as much work later on in her career, it does partially seem to be her own decision, as well as fighting for causes she genuinely believed in to help her community. That does make it seem like she was a genuinely good person


    STICKMAN: Sounds that way. A real shame that she's passed. At least she'll have a longstanding legacy in both cinema and society in general.


    MADHERO: Indeed. As always, we wish her family nothing but the best in this difficult time. RIP


    -----------------

    MADHERO: Moving on, I hope you're ready to talk Kessel Runs and  pointless origin stories, because its Solo time, baby. Yes, the Star Wars prequel/spin-off is finally here, and being the fucking nerd that I am, I saw it.... not on opening night, but I sure did see it the day after.(edited)


    STICKMAN: You nerd. Nobody else  in the world saw it, so I guess it's up to you to review it. SO HOW WAS IT I GUESS, since we're obligated to taaaalk about Star Wars forever.


    MADHERO: O dang. Guess I do.


    REVIEW

    SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

    DIRECTOR: Ron Howard (Rush, Inferno)

    STARRING: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo

    SYNOPSIS: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo (Ehrenreich) meets his future copilot Chewbacca (Suotamo) and encounters Lando Calrissian (Glover) years before joining the Rebellion.

    MADHERO: So, its kinda hard to talk about this movie and not go into the drama that went on behind the scenes. The Han Solo origin story, which in and of itself is kind of a bad idea, was somewhat alleviated by the hiring of Phil Lord and Chris Miller as directors. Then they got fired really late into production, and the movie was handed over to Ron Howard, a very capable if not workmanlike that doesn't seem as exciting. The movie was basically redone, we didn't see footage or trailers until really late, and all of it had the smell of a complete disaster.


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    I'm starting with that because if you don't know that, the movie doesn't show that. Credit where credit is due, Solo works as a fun thrillride and doesn't feel like something with clashing visions a la Justice League. In fact, one of its big strengths is how it keeps the stakes relatively low, as its more about scoundrels and scrappers learning to survive under the thumb of the Empire rather than outright stopping them. And the movie does manage to be fun with a bunch of great heist style action sequences. Special shoutout to the acting as well. Stepping into Solo's shoes couldn't have been easy, but Ehrenreich mostly nails the swagger whilst giving the characters his own spin. Same goes for Glover, who I wish was in it more, but makes for an absolutely stellar Lando. Despite all of that, the movie can't also help but feel....safe. That's to be expected after the director switch, but this is not as daring or different tone wise from other films, and it can't help but all feel a tad pointless.


    STICKMAN: So, you liked it, but it still lacked a reason to be?


    MADHERO: I liked it, yeah. I had a good time watching it, but it was pretty much fluff. It can't help but be that since its a prequel to a character that was already pretty clear from the first film. Its also a film that tries to answer questions that I don't think anyone really asked? Still, if you want to see him do the Kessel Run. That's there. Meeting Chewbacca and whatnot, that's all there. But I mostly enjoyed it for the action than for getting those answers.


    STICKMAN: So, people have been saying this is 'nothing new' for the Star Wars franchise, does that mean it feels the same as the prior films, or does it have its own identity?


    MADHERO: It feels new in the sense that it explores the rougher parts of the universe, one that doesn't feature any Jedi or The Force and whatnot. For a lot of its run it feels like a heist film and a Western, but its largely the case of tone where it ends up feeling too similar. Rogue One for instance felt new because of its more bleaker tone. Here, it feels a bit like Force Awakens almost: a comfortable familiarity. I feel like people who bounced off Last Jedi might find this more enjoyable


    STICKMAN: Does that mean, me, who liked Force Awakens, enjoyed Rogue One even more, and then thought Last Jedi was poopy would like this one?


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    MADHERO: Maybe? You can always go and give it a shot and see where you end up. For me, who liked Last Jedi for its boldness, felt like this was a bit too samey, but maybe since people aren't blowing their loads over it, that can be benificial in terms of expectations. Few  moments aside, its not as HEY, REMEMBER THAT as I thoughtt it was going to be. No "C3PO and R2D2 randomly in Rogue One" moment here, which is a plus since that was one of my bigger worries.


    STICKMAN: I appreciated Last Jedi trying different things, I just wish they hadn't been mostly crap is all. The lack of obligatory cameo bullshit is a plus for sure. IMPORTANT QUESTION THOUGH What's the percentage of Porgs in this film.


    MADHERO: Sadly I have to report there are 0 porgs in sight. There's one alien though who appears in the cantina that is my new obsession. You'll know it when you see it and I can't wait for its spinoff.


    STICKMAN: I'm just glad there's no Porgs. And absolutely always...ALWAYS...the side background aliens who say and do nothing in Star Wars speak to me on a higher level than any main character could.


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    MADHERO: Alright, I think we can  wrap up. If you want more Star Wars..... that's exactly what you'll get, and there's fun to be had with the action set pieces, but this is probably the least necessary film in the series to date. The promise of A Star Wars Story sub-series was seeing different parts of the universe and having different tones and feel than the regular episodes, and it in my mind only half succeeds. Still, if you just want a fun film, you can do far worse, and its quite amazing how it all comes together considering the production.


    STICKMAN: Is it better than the prequel films at least?


    MADHERO: O yeah. I have to see Sith again to see if that ranks above or below it, but it definitely has less cringe than that film had. So yeah, better than the prequels.


    STICKMAN: Less cringe is always good for Star Wars. Maybe I should go see it myself, there's plenty of seats availabllleee.


    MADHERO: Anyway, I think there's other movies out this week as well. Not that many of them, because Star Wars, but hey, they at least tried.


    STICKMAN: Star Wars is dead forever, so what else is out.


    MOVIES

    ACTION POINT

    DIRECTOR: Tim Kirkby (The C-Word)

    STARRING: Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Aidan Whytock, Leon Clingman

    SYNOPSIS: A daredevil (Knoxville) designs and operates his own theme park with his friends.

    STICKMAN: Never mind, come back Star Waaaars.


    MADHERO: I don't know whether to be impressed or horrified that Johnny Knoxville still is doing crazy Jackass style stunts now that he's in his late 40s.


    STICKMAN: And is obsessed with old man makeup I guess.


    MADHERO: Yeah. This and Bad Grandpa, he really loves to be an old man. Apparently its semi-based on a actual theme park in the 70s in New Jersey which was infamous for its disregard for safety. So that's fun.


    STICKMAN: This is just a shitty slapstick 'comedy' film except instead of falling over, people are being smashed through doors and shit.


    MADHERO: Well there's a certain comedy in that. Jackass was usually a good time in watching idiots do stupid things to one another.


    STICKMAN: I'm not really a fan honestly. A lot of the 'pranks' were like, eating a pile of shit, or falling in a vat of acid or whatever.


    MADHERO: Some of the pranks were......eesh, but for the most part it was fun. I'm just kinda impressed that Knoxville is still doing it. Jackass 3D kinda showed them all being terrified doing the shit that used to come easy. Guess that's why its pretty much only him now.


    STICKMAN: This is like LOGAN but for Johnny Knoxville, the life he once found easy is now a grueling ordeal to get through.


    MADHERO: I'm all for Knoxville, or Ass. Moving on.


    ADRIFT

    DIRECTOR: Baltasar Kormakur (Everest, The Oath)

    STARRING: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomes, Elizabeth Hawthorne

    SYNOPSIS: two avid sailors (Woodley, Claflin) set out on a journey across the ocean in 1983, not anticipating they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

    MADHERO: Well.... this is different


    STICKMAN: It's like...two films in one. Sentimental romancey thing. And then a survival movie.


    MADHERO: That's how it definitely feels in the trailers. I imagine the survival aspect is the key storyline here and the romance part to sell the characters. Especially considering this is from the same director as Everest.


    STICKMAN: Which famously was a resounding success, still talked about to this day. Reminds me more of The Shallows in the second part of the trailer, same kinda...surviving in the ocean schtick.


    MADHERO: Well that film did really well box office wise at the time. My guess this will probably be fine, but its weird to put this in the beginning of summer. This feels like a September-October movie. Something that might bait for awards with Woodley's performance and whatnot


    STICKMAN: Maybe it ain't so hot, and they thought they could hide it under Star Wars. Oops.


    MADHERO: Possibly. Its probably a film I ain't seeing unless reviews are really good.


    STICKMAN: Doesn't draw me in I must say. OH WELL.


    HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES

    DIRECTOR: John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus, Rabbit Hole)

    STARRING: Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas

    SYNOPSIS: An alien (Fanning) touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants (Sharp) of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.

    MADHERO: Finally. I always wanted to get these tips. Thanks movie.


    STICKMAN: I mean. Just hope those girls are like...latex clad alien people I guess.


    MADHERO: What? You mean they aren't? Damn. So anyway this looks a tad nutty, doesn't it? Latex clad aliens. Nicole Kidman as some sort of queen goth. Not your average film, this one.


    STICKMAN: This is A24 and Film 4 collaborating for maximum niche insanity.


    MADHERO: Reviews seem to suggest it might be a tad too niche. But whoever the target audience is, I imagine they're going to dig the absolute shit out of it. Probably punks and goths. Those are still a thing, right?


    STICKMAN: Stuff like this where it's just completely nuts can go either way, seems like this one's a bit of a dud. Better to try something interesting and fail, then do a decent but forgettable sci-fi action franchise prequel spin-off and accomplish nothing.


    -------------

    MADHERO: Oh dang. I can't top that. Might as well move on to MOTW!


    STICKMAN: I GUESS.


    MADHERO: As always, this is the part of the show where we talk home releases or films we saw in the cinema. Now I could just finish this up quickly and do Solo, but don't worry, we've done our homework and got some other things.


    STICKMAN: Ur yes, yes...homework.  Uhh.


    MADHERO: I already established the whole nerd thing, remember? Anyway, what do you have for MOTW?


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    STICKMAN: Sooooo, I've picked a film we talked about back in our Oscar coverage, as the surefire winner of the Best Animated Feature...that then won, AMAZING. Coco was a film that had a lot of potential from the moment it was announced, but seemed to be losing steam in the road to release. Obviously...it came out, was adored, made all the money and won all the awards. Now it's out on DVD, and well...yeah...it's pretty damn good, as it turns out.

    I mean, in a lot of ways it's standard Pixar fare...beautiful animation, fun humour and action scenes, lot of heart, very similar emotional pacing and ultimate conclusion...BUT...the characters, premise and world make up for the lack of originality in that department, with a creative and unique feeling film that opens a window on a culture that maybe isn't as often explored in movies that aren't The Book of Life. Despite my reservations about its familiar beats, it's still funny, it's still moving...it's still really good. It's almost frustrating that it's this good, because you really want Pixar to do something a bit different...but when they make things like this so damn well? It's hard to fault them.


    MADHERO: O hey, Coco. I remember really liking that fim.


    STICKMAN: I hope you remember it.


    MADHERO: 5th favorite movie of last year. Its getting harder and harder to rank Pixar movies in a Top 10 because their work is so stellar, but I feel like this would definitely be a part of it. I really loved the world that they created and the use of Mexican culture was really lovely to look at.


    STICKMAN: This is one of their better releases, particularity in recent years. I'm not really one to say Pixar have lost their way, but they have had a genuine dud film not that long ago, and Cars 3 was their other release last year, so it's nice to see they are still the same studio that changed the game with Toy Story all the way back in 1995. Animation is wonderful.


    MADHERO: The colors especially were amazing. You really feel the respect that they have for the culture. You could've easily imagined a movie that would've fallen into stereotype, but they managed to tell a really universal story in such a specific environment.


    STICKMAN: It's a great exploration of that culture that makes you want to explore it more beyond this film, which is pretty amazing, really. ANYWAY, what shit you watch. Some shit maybe?


    MADHERO: Well sure, I watched some shit. Shit I liked, though. While I liked the original Deadpool back when I saw it in theaters, and you have to admire the fact the movie even got made considering, rewatching it on my own did leave me feel somewhat cold on it, so I definitely had some initiial worries about the sequel, quality marketing campaign aside, which continued to be stellar.

    Thankfully, seeing it in a crowded theater, a lot of the fears proved unfounded, and I had a really good time with Deadpool 2. Its not without problems mind you, since it suffers from some major tonal shifts that don't really work well with the rest of the film's wacky antics. But when it hits, it really hits, and there's some moments that really got to me that I won't spoil. Be it Reynolds as Mr. Pool himself, who continues to be one of the best castings in Hollywood history, Zazie Beetz's Domino, who's sure to be a star after this, and of course the MVP Peter. God bless him.


    STICKMAN: I saw this film too, and had fun with it, but it's got some major issues and it doesn't fix the problems I had with the first, either. Narratively it's a right shambles.


    MADHERO: I feel this film could've maybe taken a book from Thor Ragnarok or even Ant-Man. The more dramatic stuff feels sooooooooo out of place. More so than the first film even


    STICKMAN: I was saying when I saw it...it's everything the first film was, dialed up to 11. And in some cases, that works gangbusters, but in others it's a real problem. It's hard to discuss the issues with the tone and narrative without spoilers, but it's not a film I feel is gonna hold up on repeat viewings, much like the original Deadpool kinda didn't.


    MADHERO: There's a literal up to 11 joke in the movie. Its filled to the brim with meta humor, some of which only I got and that made me feel awkward.


    STICKMAN: It goes a bit niche at times yeah. I will say, the opening credits are fucking amazing.


    MADHERO: That Celine Dion song did not go to waste.


    STICKMAN: I feel we have a very real possibility that Deadpool will be dancing on stage at the Oscars in a year's time. What about you Larry, what did you wa-Oh...


    -----------

    MADHERO: Yeah.... this is where it ends. Awkward. We should be all complete next episode with a big batch of movies to discuss, from long awaited sequels, reboots starring WOMEN! And spoopy horror that apparently hurts your very soul itself.


    STICKMAN: I'm so ready for some genuinely distressing horror. And maybe Dinosaurs too? WHAT  A WEEK.


    MADHERO: I know, can't wait for Tag. Anyways, till then. Later!


    STICKMAN: GOODBYE!

  • The History of Star Wars Fandom and How That Relates To Solo: A Star Wars Story

    2 months ago

    ericvespe

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    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Star Wars fandom was united. It was generally accepted that A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and most of Return of the Jedi were good, the Ewok spin-off movies and the Holiday Special were bad and all was right in the world


    Sure, Ewoks were always divisive, but a lot of the Return of the Jedi hate that has become commonly accepted didn't seem to pop up until around the time the Special Editions were released. As someone who was there I don't remember anybody talking shit about the movie on the whole. Ewoks, absolutely, but most people loved how the Vader/Luke/Emperor storyline played out, thought the Jabba sequence was rad as hell and the Redwoods speeder chase the most thrilling thing since the original trench run.



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    Then the Special Editions happened and that was a huge event. The movies were all #1 again at the box office, but all the early days CGI soured the experience a little and then became giant points of contention when George Lucas refused to let people own the actual versions they fell in love with to begin with.


    But we all still mostly agreed on Star Wars. At least on all the important things anyway. Some of us spun off to the Extended Universe books, some of us stuck with the movies as our canon, but we all basked in the same loving glow of this series we all adored.


    Then the dark days began. For me it was sitting in the Regal Metropolitan's biggest house after waiting in line for 2 weeks for The Phantom Menace. The opening crawl went by and the audience was going absolutely batshit. It was the first official, real-deal Star Wars anything in 16 years and it was finally here. Then the Neimoidians spoke. I'll always remember the line-reading. “Yes, of course. As you know our blockade is perfectly legal.” The emphasis was on all the wrong syllables and it sounded like a white guy playing a 1940s-era Asian stereotype.



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    There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and the whole temperature of the room changed like an invisible wet blanket smothered the audience's enthusiasm at the same time. That movie has high highs (Darth Maul, a cool lightsaber fight, the remarkably thrilling podrace sequence) and low lows (pretty much every line of dialogue stiltedly spoken, a convoluted, boring plot about trade embargoes and resource hording, and front to back bad acting from good actors), which left me in a daze when I exited the theater.


    Episode 1 couldn't be bad. It's Star Wars and no official Star Wars Saga movie had been bad before, so it must be me. I rewatched it a half dozen times that summer and every successive screening made me angrier and angrier at the stuff that didn't work.


    You may love the prequels, you may hate them or you may feel indifferent about them, but it's undeniable that they deeply fractured Star Wars fandom. I thought I had moved on from that franchise until The Clone Wars was able to retroactively improve the nonsense of the prequels. Suddenly Anakin was a multi-dimensional character and I actually bought him as a good guy worth saving. Suddenly the Clones had personality and were rich characters. Suddenly the Jedi weren't just boring dudes sitting in a circle debating about mundane bullshit. I still may not love the prequels, but The Clone Wars and, later, Rebels, helped me come to terms with them.


    Then the Disney era came and for a brief time fandom was reunited again. Maybe not as permanently or purely as they were in the good ol' days, but that level of excitement between when Episode 7 was announced and it premiering was the closest I've felt to pure unity since the lead up to Episode 1.


    Again, there were always minor squabbles and some cynicism, but on the whole the question of what this new Star Wars was going to be enraptured most of us. The guessing game and slow glimpses behind the scenes and wait for that first trailer... it all felt fun again.



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    There's a reason The Force Awakens broke box office records and had huge legs. It was a fantastically fun movie with one foot planted firmly in nostalgia with the legacy characters and a rehash of A New Hope's basic structure and one foot taking a giant step forward, introducing us to a whole new cast of lead characters that somehow felt perfectly Star Warsian.


    Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Kylo Ren... they all felt like part of this universe without being direct repeats of what came before, thanks in large part to the smart decision to mix and match Star Wars character tropes. There isn't a Han Solo type. Finn and Poe have elements of the charming scoundrel, but Poe also has Luke's almost naive optimism. Rey has Luke's pure-hearted earnestness as well as a dash of Han's roughness and Leia's get-shit-done attitude, for example.


    But even this very crowd-pleasing movie couldn't completely heal the fractured fanbase. The cracks started showing up again, this time with a heavily misogynistic flavor that puts a bad taste in my mouth. The same people who believed a young man intuitively strong with the Force but without any training whatsoever could use the Force to essentially dunk a basketball from outside the stadium said that it was unrealistic that a girl who had fought for her life since she was a child could swing a lightsaber.


    That's not to say everybody who dislikes the new characters or how they're executed are misogynists or racists. I want to be clear about that because saying something that definitive undercuts the discussion at large and automatically paints anybody who disagrees with me in the most negative light possible. I would never assume that's where you're starting from if you dislike the new Disney-era saga films. However it is fair to say that if you are racist and/or misogynist odds are you hate these new movies.



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    Star Wars has always been progressive. The very first film is an allegory for Vietnam, which means the evil Empire is the American Military Industry, folks. They may dress like Nazis, but the Empire is a stand in for America and the evil Emperor was Nixon. Don't take my word for it, Lucas says it here.


    But a lot of fans were happy to keep all that as subtext and weren't comfortable when that progressiveness was put on full display in the new era.


    Yes, some prequel haters were dismissive of prequel apologists and that conversation was hardly ever cordial and very often heated, but there's a meanness to the fanbase now. Maybe, like the MAGA hat wearing bullies that have sprung up in the last two years, the mean Star Wars fan was always there and just afraid to go full bore until now, but it's happening.


    That all came to a head with The Last Jedi's release. One more time, in case you missed it, I'm not saying that if you disliked any aspect of Episode 8 you are automatically lumped in with the worst of the worst. It's totally fair to not want to see Star Wars evolve past the icons that you love and that's what that film was about. Remember them, use that memory to inspire the next generation, but it's not their time anymore. We see that on the light side with grumpy old man Luke's storyline and you see that on the dark side with Kylo Ren finally evolving past just trying to imitate Vader.


    That brings us to Solo. The reason I spent so so so much time outlining the history of Star Wars fandom is because I believe where you fit into the current Star Wars fandom will determine how you react to Solo.



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    I think those that loved the direction The Last Jedi and, to a degree, The Force Awakens were going in will feel like Solo is a step backwards. Their interest will be muted because it's not a story about pushing the overall lore forward. It's a nostalgia bath that wants you to relax in the warm waters of characters and iconography most of us grew up with.


    There's no real attempt at gaining any deeper understanding of the characters you already know and love. They're so focused on just making them look and feel right that any deeper reason for this movie to exist within the established lore is thrown out the window.


    For me that was frustrating. We'd get little glimpses going in that direction. In particular there's a conversation between Han and Lando where they're getting to know each other and talk a bit about their parents. The way Lando talks about his awesome mother piqued my interest. It was the first time I felt like they were exploring something about that character I didn't already know, but it's dropped as soon as it is brought up.


    And that's fine. It's not what I want out of Star Wars at this point, but I'm sure it's what a lot of people do want. They just want a fun story told in an exciting way with the characters they loved. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not all that interesting to me.


    But I'm the guy that never really got into the Extended Universe books either. I liked what I read just fine, but they just never felt like real Star Wars to me. They did for a whole lot of people, but I wasn't one of them, despite trying as hard as I could to be one.


    Solo is made for those people. It really does feel like a movie adaptation of an EU book that never was and for some that will be music to their ears.


    Whether you will think Solo is good, bad or mediocre will entirely depend on what you want out of Star Wars. My guess is that history will show it as an entertaining, but inconsequential addition to the overall lore, but only time will tell.


    On a technical level it's a solid movie. There are a couple really thrilling action sequences, one involving a train heist and one being a rather creative envisioning of the Kessel Run. These sequences are unquestionably well-executed. Towards the end they finally go for the character complexity I was hoping for with a band of pirates and smugglers, but at that point it felt like too little too late to me.


    The idea of doing a Han Solo on his pirate adventures story is pretty fun, but much like Rogue One I felt like they missed the target on integrating a famous cinematic genre into Star Wars. If they made Heat, but in Star Wars or even The French Connection, but in Star Wars, that would have been amazing, but we don't get nearly enough of the smuggler life or spend enough time in the gritty criminal underbelly of this universe. That stuff felt like a side note, kind of like how the Men On A Mission aspect of Rogue One was backgrounded pretty much until the final third and we never got to see those people actually work as a team until the big mission... when they're all separated anyway.



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    Everything you've heard about Donald Glover's Lando is spot-on. He's got the charisma and chops to make me buy that he's Lando. Alden Ehrenreich is trying his damndest to pull off young Harrison Ford's swagger and he succeeds on some levels, but the fact that Glover seems to do it so effortlessly really shows how much Alden's struggling to find that pencil line thin balance between capturing a character's essence and just giving us an imitation.


    It made me wish this wasn't a story about Han Solo, to be honest. If Ehrenreich was playing a character in the Han Solo mold then I think he would have been freer to try different things and make it his own.


    I have some issues with where things leave off at the end, particularly when it comes to Solo himself. I kinda feel like it undercuts who he is at the beginning of A New Hope, but I'm not too much of a stickler about that because there is still a question about stuff that could happen between the end of Solo and the beginning of A New Hope.


    The score is pretty damn good, as to be expected. Some great themes return at the right moments and really help give those big scenes the Star Wars feel. John Powell does a fine job at keeping the non-John Williams cues feeling like Star Wars and not a pale imitation, which is a tall order.



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    Ron Howard is a guy who knows how to put a film together. He has decades of experience telling him what angles work best for what scene, how to manipulate the edit and to keep the pace going, but there's not much of a director's voice on display. He does a solid job, no doubt, but I didn't feel like there was anything special going on, which is kind of my issue with the entire movie to be honest. Maybe if he had been able to build this one from the ground up instead of pinch-hitting when things went bad between Lucasfilm and Chris Miller and Phil Lord things could have been different, but that's not what we got here.


    At the press screening there was a bit of a technical difficulty. Right in the middle of the movie, just as the main heist was about to begin, the screen went dark, but the audio kept playing. This went on for about 60 seconds and then the projectionist stopped it and rewound the film. The problem was they rewound it almost a full reel, maybe 15 minutes.


    As I rewatched those 15 minutes I found I was bored, which doesn't bode well for my next actual re-watch. If that had happened during The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi or literally any original trilogy movie I wouldn't have felt that way, but I did here and that might be the most blisteringly critical thing I could say about the movie.


    It doesn't make you a bad person or a bad fan if all you want is to cuddle up to an old friend and bask in nostalgia for 2 hours and 15 minutes. If that's what you want then you'll get your money's worth here. If you want something a little deeper then you might find this journey into the Star Wars universe a little hollow.