Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

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By @anarchyroll

For as much money as the X Men movie franchise has netted over the last two decades, one would think they would have a better reputation and wouldn’t be in need of saving. But that is exactly where the franchise found itself heading into Logan this past spring.

Logan recently had its home release, coming out on Blu Ray, digital download, etc. I saw it in the theater and absolutely loved it from the opening blood bath, to the bloodier climax, to the era ending book end as the credits rolled.

The movie got lots of press and lots of positive reviews that were both well-earned in my opinion. One thing that I didn’t see get much coverage was the fact that the movie was not a take on the Old Man Logan graphic novel but was rather a classic “What If” or alternate version/universe comic book. My personal favorite series of alternate universe comic books were the Marvel vs DC crossover comics from the mid 90s.

Logan was a critical and commercial smash hit. Something the X Men franchise desperately needed. One has to wonder if the movie’s success will bring about more alternate universe comic book movies going forward. What other franchise(s) could benefit from abandoning their current story arc/ timeline and making a stand a lone film with the same characters but in a completely different story arc?

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Doing this would immediately eliminate the need to constantly remake origin story movies as has been seen ad nauseum in the Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and X Men movie franchises. That alone makes this concept worth moving forward on. It would certainly draw in more fans that are often scarred away from seeing comic book movies over the dread of having to sit through yet another origin story.

Alternate universe films would spice things up and could resurrect dead franchises. The Fantastic Four immediately comes to mind. Why not just abandon another reboot and just make a film where they are in space dealing with Galactus? A dormant franchise like Blade could benefit from this as well. Whether Wesley Snipes returns or the role is recast, forget retelling the birth of Blade, just drop the audience into Blade doing work. Put the origin story in the trailer or as a mini film on YouTube and let the movie be balls to the wall from open to close.

More comic book movies can be made using alternate universes, just like is done with comic books. How many timeline versions of Batman, Captain America, The Avengers, and Green Lantern are currently in circulation? Alternate universes would allow stand alone Iron Man, Cyborg, Hulk, Green Lantern, X Men, etc movies to be made while Avengers and Justice League movies are being made. Why does only one actor/actress have to play Tony Stark or Diana Prince?

Would this over saturate the market? I ask you, how many comic book movies actually come out each year? Compared to horror movies, rom coms, and CGI animated kids movies?

Fox has essentially started moving forward on this concept over the past three years. Days of Futures Past and Old Man Logan are two of the better alternate universe comic book series’ in history. Marvel is balancing standalone franchises with each individual member of The Avengers between each super film. Tying the individual films into the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe story arc is both an entertaining and financially successful archetype.

With the financial backing of Disney, and such a vast amount of profit earned, Marvel can financially and creatively afford to take the risk of releasing alternate universe movies concurrently. DC might have to wait a few years to reestablish their credibility with the movie going public. Though the wild success of Wonder Woman might allow them to start earlier if they want.

Something tells me this is inevitable with the way the entertainment/ media industry is evolving. Netflix and The CW having their own comic book worlds of secondary characters is likely just a long-term test for the A listers to have; high budget super hero, slow burn narrative, action adventure, television shows in the spirit of Game of Thrones.

The tipping/saturation point for comic book movies and tv shows has not come close to being reached. The numbers don’t lie. People wont go see any comic book movie if it is poorly made and receives more reviews. However, one need only look at the highest grossing movies for each year over the past decade to see that there is a vast, loyal, paying audience for comic book movies. Having comic book characters played by different actors and actresses in alternate universes, made and released concurrently is the next logical step for the genre.

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by @anarchyroll
9/2/2014

552 episodes spread out over 25 years is an achievement almost beyond description in the entertainment world/business. The Simpsons can claim to be the greatest cartoon and greatest sitcom of all time. I grew up in an era and media market where the show had syndicated reruns airing two to three times a day, five days a week. I can quote more episodes, word for word, than any human being should.

The show’s universally agreed upon “prime” is between 1993 and 1998. Those are the years when every episode of every season was a home run let alone a hit. Starting in 1999 the show, in my opinion became more hit than miss. The rise of South Park and Family Guy, along with stagnation saw the consistency steadily decline during the first half of the 00s.

The Simpsons Movie came out in 2007 and was an adult, comedy, cartoon tour de force. It was everytIhing a fan of the franchise could have wanted or hoped for from a movie that at the time was 20 years in the making. I was told that the seasons that aired after the movie were akin to the show’s prime years from those I knew who never stopped watching the show during its lean years.

The Every Simpsons Ever marathon on FXX was an opportunity to rediscover classics of the golden years and discover new classics of recent years. 552 episodes airing 24 hours a day for 12 consecutive days, what a concept. The marathon was used to promote the upstart FXX network itself, the FXNow streaming content app, the new season of The Simpsons, and The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episodes that both debut at the end of the month.

I partook in some binge watching during the marathon. The highlights for me where;

  • Getting to see my two favorite episodes of all time
    • Tree House of Horror V (Season 6, Episode 6)
    • You Only Move Twice (Season 8, Episode 2)
  • Discovering the show’s second golden age

The seasons that have come after the movie, especially season’s 19 and 20, contained a quantity of quality episodes that stand up to the show’s prime in the mid 1990s. After losing its way from 1999-2005, the show truly found its mojo again. Some of the things the show changed after the movie came out are;

  • Improving the animation
  • Embellishing the opening and closing credits
  • Recalibrating the levels of pop culture vs political parody/satire
  • Spotlighting and increasing the relevance of all secondary characters

I am still surprised as I type, just how great the show became again. If you were a fan of the show for any stretch of time, the recent seasons are worth going out of your way to see. Considering FXX will be airing the show five days a week, with a four-hour block on Sundays, it won’t be the toughest task in the world to do.

The Simpsons is at it’s best when it hits the full range of emotions in a given episode. The show in its prime years of the 90s knew what buttons to press with which characters to make their audience laugh, cry, get happy, and/or upset. They truly found that stride again in the five seasons since the movie came out in 2007. Truly a second golden age as there were not just a couple, but rather a couple of dozen episodes that stand up to the best of the best from the mid 90s.

My only complaint is that the marathon aired during the last week of summer rather than in the middle of winter. I’m sure myself and the millions of others who partook in the marathon of marathons would have preferred seeing snow and ice outside as opposed to sunny skies and mid 70s.

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by @anarchyroll
8/11/2014

Holy Howard the Duck was Guardians of Galaxy a good comic book movie!

The first time I heard of Guardians of the Galaxy was when the trailer debuted online earlier this year.

 

 

This film is yet another example that Marvel Studios does way more right than wrong and that all Marvel intellectual properties should be developed for the silver screen by Marvel and NOT third-party like Sony (Spiderman) or 2oth Century Fox (X-Men).

I saw the movie with a friend who owns all but two issues of Guardians ever printed. He informed me that the film was as true to the source material as any comic book movie that has come before it. That is another reason why Marvel Studios needs to make all Marvel movies. It is important that comic book movies be very close to their source material, more so than novels. Why?

My friend @TheFantom says it all the time and it’s truer each time I hear it; comic books are colorized, fully fleshed out, movie storyboards.

That doesn’t mean each comic book movie needs to be a shot for shot live action version of a comic. Hollywood needs to be able to do its thing and take creative license with the source material. But maybe let’s have one comic book movie that is a live action storyboard and see how it does in the theaters. It can’t do any worse than Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern disaster.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the opposite of disappointing. It was everything I want out of a summer blockbuster movie in general, and out of a comic book movie specifically. It had awesome action, great comedy, and intense drama all in the right places of a film that was neither too short or too long.

The opening scene of the movie is intense human drama, the very next scene is a comedic, musical, action scene. That sentence basically sums up Guardians of the Galaxy. The film does a good job at touching upon the full range of human emotions. I think that many women who don’t like comic book movies or big budget action movies would like this film for that very reason; the full range of emotions get their buttons pressed.

So whether you’re a casual movie fan or the human version of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, Guardians of the Galaxy will find a way to suck you into the screen and entertain you, regardless of whether you paid the extra fee for 3D. And these days, at these prices, that is all I ask of a movie.

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by @anarchyroll
2/11/2014

I have been thinking about a culture and entertainment blog. I don’t have a logo for it yet, though I do have a name. In the past, not having a logo led to me not writing/blogging which was a mistake. I am trying to not repeat the same mistakes over and over. So, since I have seen two movies in a movie theater two weeks in a row for the first time in around two years, and enjoyed both of them, I feel a blog about them is warranted. Let’s go!

American Hustle (click images to view trailers) has gotten a great deal of praise and Oscar buzz. I found many similarities between this movie and The Monuments Men. Both are based on true stories. Both have all star casts. Both are classic Hollywood cinema pieces. The Monuments Men however has been getting shit on by critics where as American Hustle is all roses.

I enjoyed both movies equally. I was more emotionally moved by The Monuments Men, probably more entertained by American Hustle. As someone who has formally studied film, I just don’t see why one is considered an Oscar front runner and the other is a one or two star POS. Both films are formulaic. Both stand on the shoulders of genre pieces that have come before them and do nothing to reinvent the wheel. Both are almost exclusively dialog based. Both have happy endings. Both are well acted, well produced, and have quality musical scores.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and personal opinion is not to be confused with law of the land. When it comes to pop culture, even very smart, educated, sophisticated people become immature, ignorant, thick headed bitches. This principle is clearly at play here. I enjoyed both  movies. Are either the best film made in 2013-2014? Maybe, depends what your fancy is. I have an equal bias between Bill Murray and Bradley Cooper, they’re both on my hero wall. Perhaps the acting in American Hustle is more intense in one on one scenes, but the ensemble piece paradigm is executed very well in Monuments Men.

I personally enjoyed a WWII movie that was low on nausea induced action scenes. I also enjoyed a movie about New York in the 70s that didn’t involve physical mountains of cocaine and heroin being ingested by the main characters. I enjoyed the historical significance of both of the real people/situations each movie is based on. Both are fresh but familiar, a unique spin on classic American movie formulas. Both are worth a watch, neither is worthy of being confused for the messiah of film and neither tries to be that despite what the lovers and haters of each might have you believe.

Neither depends on the theatre experience so enjoy them on a night in when they get to Netflix. I give them both three stars and recommend the critics of each chill the fuck out. They’re movies, not economic inequality, war, or famine. If you have the luxury of being able to go through the processes of watching a movie, be happy, and enjoy either or both of these quality flicks.