Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Pop Culture Rant on What I Hate

This ... this I love.
It's strange that the genres I fell in love with are turning against me. If you allow me to digress for a paragraph or two ... or three, ah who knows. I tend to ramble. 

There is a strange three-way schism in pop culture. We are drowning in Apocalypses, Monsters, and Superheroes. Normally, these three things are at the top of my list, but in a day and age where what seems like more than 90% of pop culture has to be remakes, re-imaginings, and sequels, I just want to yell, "ENOUGH ALREADY!" 

I've noticed a steady downhill trend in my movie going, nerdy-excitement experience since about 2009. Media has turned to shit. I know this because I can go back and see why I was excited for these films. They were fairly novel concepts! 

Action was represented with Liam Neeson being terrifying on the phone and a bunch of Americans shooting Hitler in the face in Taken and Inglourius BasterdsSci-Fi did have the action packed Star Trek prequel, but it also had District 9, which knocked my socks off, as well as Pandorum, which carried flavors from the 90s Event HorizonTerry Gilliam knocked fantasy on its face with The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Superhero movies had Zack Snyder's love letter to Alan Moore's comic of the same name, WatchmenRomance kicked guys in the balls with (500) Days of Summer and nursed them back to health with I Love You, Man.

I loved all these movies, and partially cause I didn't see exactly where they were going. This year, I barely left my house to bother, and when I did, I was frustrated. I wrote long reviews denouncing Prometheus and Dark Knight Rises' quality. I did, admittedly enjoy Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers a lot. 

The only novel concepts this year were Chronicle and Cabin in the Woods. I admittedly need to see Cloud Atlas and I look forward to Lincoln

I'm just damned frustrated and you people all need to know it. I mean aren't you guys tired of tired tropes that media and pop culture is beating our creativity, integrity, and sense of quality to death with?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Iron Man 3 & the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Well, big news on the Marvel Cinematic Universe! A trailer. Whoo.

But thankfully the revealed clips indicate that Tony Stark's trilogy will hopefully culminate in an emotionally satisfying and cathartic installment. That is what I'm hoping. The trailer for Iron Man 2 just looks shiny, and that movie was a big steaming pile of poo--shiny poo, but poo nonetheless.

So what do we see?

Well, Tony admits to not being able to sleep, referencing the events in New York during The Avengers, leading to the impression of a more emotionally vulnerable Tony Stark. Through the trailer we see Stark systematically stripped of his home and his Iron Man suits. It seems similar to the concepts behind The Dark Knight Rises, taking everything away and having the character come back ... or die. Either or.

If not for the scheduling of Avengers 2 (and the seemingly never-ending series that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is becoming, but I'll get to that), I'd be half expecting them to kill him off, especially after Downey's comment that he would like to "leave it all on the field."

Also worth comment is Stark's new suit, which reverses the red and gold motif, and takes inspiration from the Extremis storyline. We also see if moving on its own, which is a frightful concept. Stephen King would have a field day with a possessed, autonomous, evil Iron Man suit.

Also, excitingly, the villain, Mandarin, is being played by Ben Kingsley, and Guy Pearce will be geneticist Aldrich Killian, one of the creators of the Extremis technology. Marvel can, at the very least, never be faulted for their casting.

So, overall, I'm certainly far more excited for this film than I have been for most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other than Avengers, everything since the Incredible Hulk has been sub-par for a variety of reasons.

The unfortunate part, is I can't imagine what kind of resolution the character will meet in this film that won't leave him open to further exploitation in future films. Granted, being a long-time fan of Whedon, I'm not worried about Avengers 2 in terms of quality. I just like it when a series knows when and where to call it quits and actually end. 

But can I blame them? No. When you've got your hands on one of the most successful cash cows of cinema history I certainly wouldn't let it go either. 

Oh, and the film will be released May 3, 2013.

This leads me to my second point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If I didn't make it clear, LET IT DIE. We're now in phase two of the entire shebang. We culminated the 6 part series with the 2012 film Avengers, and Nerds wept/jizzed/raged across the globe, and it knocked the box-office out of the park. That was the climax to phase one. Where, I beg you, will it end? Phase three? Four? Five? Marvel doesn't have a great running streak of letting their comics end, and I wonder if they will continue these films until the actors actually get too old to play them anymore ... and then maybe they'll just Ruffalo in new actors.

So what do we have to look forward to beyond Iron Man 3? Well, Thor: The Dark WorldCaptain America: The Winter Soldier,The Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers 2, and Ant-Man all before the end of 2015.

So lets break it down.


Thor: The Dark World
The Thunder God (Chris Hemsworth) returns next in line, and 'will have to save the nine realms from an enemy older than the universe ... which begs the question, "How was the Big Bang?" Actually, the actor cast is Christopher Eccleston, which really begs the question, is Thor battling a Time Lord? 

Anywho, he will get to team up with his girlfriend, Padme (Natalie Portman) again, but what nerds really want to see (believe me, my school is crawling with them), is where Tom Hiddleston will next take Loki's character. He's stated he'd like to take him to rock bottom, and see where to go from there.

The film will be directed by Alan Taylor, who has worked on the television series Deadwood and Game of Thrones. Writers Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely will take over for the film, and since most of them don't have wikipedia pages, I don't think there's much I can even say about them.

The film will be released November 8, 2013

Captain America: the Winter Soldier
Cap (Chris Evans) will continue to struggle with living in the Modern world, and they will bring back his friend Bucky, who will now be a brainwashed Russian soldier. The plotline is near direct from the comics, which is cool, I like Bucky (moreso in the comics, but after the Covenant I'm a little overly harsh on Sebastian Stan).

Originally Rogers adjustment was to included in the Avengers, but it was deemed to fit better in the Captain America sequel. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely return as screenwriters for the film, but Joe Johnston will be replaced as director by Joe and Anthony Russo, who are best known for ... their ... work in sitcoms...

... Strange choice. 

The film is scheduled for release April 4, 2014.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Oh.....kay. This is about where they start losing me. I mean, I know I'm not an in depth comic book nerd but I thought I was well rounded (mostly read Batman comics), but I've never even heard of these dudes. In the concept art we see Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora. I don't know them, but they look fucking weird. I mean ... Rocket Racoon? According to my quick glean from the interwebs there is a talking dog?

The only grace this film has is the soft spot James Gunn earned in my heart for Slither, who has been signed on to direct.

The film is scheduled for release August 1, 2014

The Avengers 2
Okay, so this I am excited for, but it's Joss Whedon, so if you couldn't have predicted that already, you really didn't pay attention to my Avengers review. He has signed on to return as writer/director, and I couldn't be happier about the choice.

He has promised a smaller Avengers, saying "Normally, a sequel is supposed to be bigger than the first film, but I actually think it should be smaller. In saying that though, people might ask 'Is the volume of the film going to decrease?' but that's not the case." He adds, "Of course, new characters will be added but presently we're still trying to figure out how they'll encounter our wonderful cast (referring to the actors from the first film). They all have tremendous respect for each other and how you work the new characters into that synergy is something I'm still trying to figure out. I think instead of how big of a scale the movie/story is, the most important thing is, how much devotion you can put forth. Films have an ability to be large in scale but also be personal. It's a godsend that makes the issue of adding characters irrelevant. The real question is how deep we can dig down into the story."

... I'll just leave it at that.

The film is scheduled for release May 1, 2015

And lastly, the last announced film is ... Ant-Man? Seriously, who cares? I mean, the guy grows giant. Cool. I'm not sure if the character still has fans out there. If you are an offended Ant-Man fan, sneak into my house and write your complaints in blood upon my wall. Or leave a comment cause you're probably a lazy wanker.

The film will be helmed by Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright, so at least their will a quality team at work in the development. I just don't know how much I will care.

The film is scheduled for release November 6, 2015

So! There you have it, my knowledge and expectations. Let's see how much changes and whether or not I'm forced to eat my words. Cause I totally know there will be one asshole out there who will remember everything I said today in late 2015 when Edgar Wright blows my mind (haha, not likely).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On the Evil Dead Remake

The biggest question this begs is "Why?" I don't understand why this film was made. I could say it's for the money, but at this point, I don't think Raimi or Campbell are particularly short on it, and the Evil Dead series wasn't exactly a cash-cow to begin with. It was a cult classic of a beloved loud-mouthed braggart, a boomstick, chainsaw, and his chin.

Just can't separate this man from this franchise.
Granted these elements weren't really in the first film at all, but it was what developed and what stayed with the fans, so much so that they created Evil Dead: The Musical.

Which was totally groovy live.
And I feel, based on the trailer, the musical is a much more rightful successor to the franchise than this .... thing.

Based on the trailer, certain elements are there. College kids, cabin in the woods, Deadites, Necronomicon, chainsaw, possessed hand, washed away bridge ... but none of the spirit. It just looks gory, and not in the enjoyable 80s low budget kind of way. I guess it's just a personal thing, but this trailer does little more than send my stomach into a series of gymnastic flipflops.

Here's my stance, I'm not thrilled by an Evil Dead remake in the slightest. My advice to you is conveniently already in the trailer though.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Disney's Star Wars Rant

The Kingdom Hearts guys just jizzed in their pants.
So right now the nerd kingdom is being polarized by the newest of juicy geekdom trivia. There are two very vocal groups, one who has their heads firmly embedded in their ass, and the other who is pissed that said space is already occupied because we are itching to ram a foot up that particular orifice. 

This momentous event that has Fanboys losing their freakin' minds is that Star Wars creator George Lucas, the guy who accidentally the whole Original Trilogy and, with God-like fanfare delivered the most anticipatory case of ED and anal leakage in all of cinema history. 

But fear not! For the minds behind the biggest franchise monopoly in Hollywood, Marvel's Cinematic Universe, Walt Disney Company, has come to sweep the beleaguered Lucasfilm from its erstwhile creator, who has locked it away in a tower with a avalanche of books, movies, video games, comics, and merchandise. So just what this franchise needs is more bloating, right?

Cause here is the thing, after spending $4.05 billion in cash and stock, we've been promised another home run from a dead horse. Hell, even Bioware, the guys who handed us the glory of RPG entertainment, Knights of the Old Republic, fell down on the job on The Old Republic. That one fell out of public eye in between blinks, and not a heart skipped a beat anywhere.

So, in 2015, we can expect the next cinema installment to the Star Wars Saga ... which I had rested comfortably knowing was dead and entombed under the weight of the infamous "Nooooooooo!" heard round the world, and it can go one of two ways, cause no matter how much I ramble on here in my widdle corner of the interwebs, something tells me my readers are not comprised of the Disney Development Team and that they are driven by a sensation of quality as opposed to this mythological substance always in short supply (especially to Disney execs) money. 

So I digress. It can go one of two ways. Tron: Legacy, which I thought rocked. It fell into the category with Star Trek '09. I recognized that it was not the original, and it was not trying to be. It took loved aspects and made them accessible to modern popcorn guzzling crowds. Cool.

The second option I call Iron Man 2 (lookup Ryan Wieber's review to see why). Now Marvel had a damn good thing going, and despite my love of Whedon and the Avengers, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk were the best films of the series. Then Disney came rolling in with its damn mouse, and the next thing we know, the left field house of cards got hit like the east coast by Sandy. (Too soon?)

Either way, I know for a simple and sad, possibly existential fact, that no one gives two flying shits about quality. It's about money, and brand recognition is the surest and easiest way to put fat asses in theater seats. (just wait till the torrenting/starving college kids actually grow up). So guess what, new Star Wars movies on the way.

All I know is that I miss the Disney that brought us Adventures in Babysitting, with the main line, "Don't fuck with the babysitter!