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Entries in superheroes (171)

Friday
Dec052014

Oscar's FX Finalists: From Bucky to Bilbo

MURPH !!!!!!!

The Visual effects Oscar finalists have been announced after that branches bake-off ritual wherein they screen visual effects reels from various films. Ten films remains standing but only five can become Oscar nominees so it's superheroes vs. mutated monsters vs aliens vs. hobbits vs giant fucking robits vs. maimed fairies for that coveted honor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Godzilla
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Maleficent
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Other than Maleficent the female led fx hits all missed the cut from Lucy to Mockingjay Part 1 through longshots like Divergent. Critically panned mainstream movies like Into the Storm and Amazing Spider-Man 2 also didn't make it. Perhaps more surprisingly Oscar-hopefuls like Noah, Birdman and Into the Woods were also discarded. (Maybe the visual effects branch also didn't understand what was happening to the Witch in her final scene?) But the missing film we'll shed a tear for is TFE's endorsed visual effects contender Under the Skin. But then this branch never listens to us. Our suspicion is they don't view their own specialty as an art -- because they continually avoid emotionally expressive stylized vfx work - but view it as a technical craft with the two and only goals being first large-scale spectacle and second, computer generated versimilitude. 

May the best effects become Oscar nominees on January 15th and by best we mean the Apes, the good Captain, Interstellar and Godzilla. Certainly three of those are likely to make it but my beloved Winter Soldier is a longshot with those infuratingly ubiquitous hobbits and transformers being renewed for so many seasons over the years. 

What do you think the five nominees will be and who do you think deserves the win? It's a tough call with so many great looking films around. 

Friday
Nov072014

Review: Big Hero 6

Tim here. Something feels unmissably “off” about Big Hero 6, the 54th film in the Walt Disney Animation feature canon. It’s a film that wants to offer a little something for everybody, and succeeds, but this comes at the cost of feeling erratic and imbalanced, and curiously adrift. By now, we’re used to superhero origin stories that use up all the oxygen on setting up the heroes’ powers and briefly sketching in their personalities, but even by that standard, as Big Hero 6 started to move into what was unmistakably its endgame, I found myself sinking into outright dismay that this inconsequential scrap against a nondescript bad guy with wicked plans barely large than a city block was actually where the movie was headed, after its strong opening.

But that’s all part of the scheme: the filmmakers (including directors Don Hall, of the 2011 Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams, of 2008’s Bolt) know that some people want emotional tenderness, and some want big action scenes, and so they deliver both. But not in a way that’s completely satisfying to either group. It’s the same problem of every CGI animated American movie of the last decade and a half writ large and done with shockingly little attempt to disguise the joints between it narrative modules.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov062014

Tim's Toons: A history of animated Marvels

Tim here. Tomorrow sees the release of Big Hero 6, the 54th feature made by the Walt Disney Animation Studio canon, and the first time that studio has collaborated with its corporate cousins at Marvel Entertainment. The result is certainly the most prestigious animated project ever based on a Marvel comics title, but far, far from the first. In fact, Marvel superheroes have been showing up in cartoons for almost a half of a century now. I give you a tour of some of them.

The Marvel Super-Heroes (1966)
The very first Marvel TV series, airing 65 episodes in syndication. The first time I ever heard of it was about an hour ago, so I can’t begin to say if it has an kind of rabid fanbase or lingering influence on Marvel writers and artists, but it stands out in my eyes for having extraordinarily cheap animation even by ‘60s syndicated TV standards, basically just waggling still drawings underneath the camera. Seriously, watch that video.

Lasting cultural impact: None, but from now on, if I ever meet Mark Ruffalo, I’m going to chant “watch them change their very shape before your nose!” at him till he punches me in the face.

Classics and new shows alike below the jump!

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Thursday
Oct302014

Calendar-Man v. Film Culture: The Bubble-Bursting Wars

With every studio hopping on the "universe building" trend that Marvel perfected for cinema -- too bad Pixar's early "all original concept / few sequels" success didn't translate to cross-studio trends -- cinema will be becoming a lot more like television. It already has, of course, with those annual editions of popular franchises playing like big budget TV miniseries with all their episodes smashed together for one bingewatch a year (think Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter). With the Star Wars universe now planning annual showings and Bond & Star Trek till and that planned resurrection of the entire original iconic movie monsters, one has to wonder if Original Content will finally be put down by the 2020s. Or will the bubble burst and audiences will grow tired of continuing stories with overly familiar characters and often padded multi-part stories with no resolutions. You know, the kind they can get at home on television for free?!

This comic panel has been slightly altered to better illustrate my argument.

All entertainment trends are cyclical. This is a fact, however much people valiantly argue year after year that whatever's hot right then will live on forever. But when exactly will the bubble burst?

I was initially very excited about the growing genre of superhero movies -- like many boys I spent countless hours in childhood and adolescence dreaming of seeing my favorite characters on the page in live action environments (X-Men, The Avengers, The Teen Titans, Cloak & Dagger, Green Lantern and Daredevil figured chief amongst my fantasies in this regard). But even though I wanted this, I'm already kinda bored of seeing it actualized especially since so much of it plays more like a nightmare (see the first film versions of Green Lantern and Daredevil - or better yet, DON'T, if you've managed to escape them).

Backstage blog handwringing and the superhero glut after the jump...

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Tuesday
Oct282014

The Three Phases of Link

Sight on Earth On Gone Girl's women...  "Psycho Bitch: Qu'est-ce que C'est?"
Awards Circuit Power Hour Actress Oscar categories with Nathaniel R (c'est moi) as guest 
In Contention looks at the Best Original Song race
Vulture Most Valuable Stars List methodology...
Vulture 100 Most Valuable Stars rankings with JLaw up top followed by the usuals RDJ, Leo, Bullock... but what's far far more interesting is the lower tiers like Jake Gyllenhaal at 57 'The Modest Movie Star' and Anna Kendrick at 98 'The Songbird' and some inexplicably high placements like Mila Kunis at 37 'The Ingenue in Intermission'


Yahoo funny piece on Britney Spears terror-laden smiles 
Wired  has a Disney cover and I'm only linking because shouldn't Wired of all places do a little something more creative with an interactive cover than Youtube links? I mean...
BFI is Paris the animation capital of the world for art-driven cartoons?
Esquire "films stupid people think are clever" shameless click bait!
IndieWire does some investigation as to exactly how Poland's Ida became such a big arthouse hit this year. 
Slate on the "Bottom Shaming" of How To Get Away With Murder. I think this piece is really smart. While it's true that depiction is not endorsement (see all the dumb misogyny arguments on every movie ever with a female lead who is mistreated) but I'd argue that depiction is endorsement when multiple characters with presumably varying points of view all sound off on said topic and all agree on said depiction. 

Marvel Made A Teensy Announcement Phase 3 Today
But I'm feeling cranky about superheroes so it doesn't get a whole post. Every godforsaken movie site on the planet will continue to cover it ad nauseum and will probably publish another 5 thinkpieces tomorrow alone on what we "might" see in each of the 8 movies. Repeat for the next five years. Good god film bloggers get a grip and start talking about actual movies that exist for a change! You're turning film culture into a fast food restaurant that only serves air. Zero calories but there's absolutely no nutritional value in publishing your 10,001st post on Dr. Strange's casting.

Anyway...


/Film
 has video of Marvel's annoyingly ubiquitous Phase Three commercial from earlier today in which they announced 8 new movies including The Black Panther with Chadwick Boseman and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in a very late attempt to stave off those "no diversity!" complaints. Those films arrive in 3 to 4 years respectively because we can't have people of color and women before that, you know? That's RISKY BUSINESS. Never mind that women and people of color have led box office hits since the 1920s and 1960s respectively. That's just too progressive for Marvel right now)
The Stake has a great suggestion for Captain Marvel casting but since we're 4 years away still the actress who will eventually be cast might not even be someone anyone has even heard of yet.  

Finally... a trailer but perhaps not the trailer is here for Suite Française is here. EOneUK, releasing the trailer on YouTube claims this will open in January. It's hitting the American Film Market this month too supposedly but it still isn't scheduled for a US release. The buzz for this one started strong last year and nosedived as less and less news was announced. It was starting to feel like a fictional film until this trailer, actually. My yes no maybe so entirely consists of Yes (production team, crazylust for Matthias, tearful farewell to Kristin Scott Thomas), No (WW II prestige fatigue) and Maybe So (is it any good?)

 

Thursday
Oct232014

Yes No Maybe So: Avengers Age of Ultron

And by Yes No Maybe So I mean Yes Yes and Also YAAASSSS.

Tony Stark modelling the signature look from Hulkbuster Summer Line 2015

Though the thought of 20 plus superhero movies in the next few years makes me psychologically ill (nothing is special if it's all the time - see also Streep playing every part for women over 60 and tv shows about lawyers/doctors/crimescenes) at least roughly half of the Marvel movies are actually good examples of this soon-to-be oversaturated genre, generally getting the balance right of big pop flair, comic relief and stylized gravitas. And by "half" I'm referring of course to both Captain Americas, Joss Whedon's take on The Avengers and every other Iron Man. I'm hoping the genre goes out* with a big bang, that bang being Avengers: Age of Ultron.

But before we begin a word about "premieres." why do movie studios even bother announcing "premieres" or anything anymore when they then immediately retract the specialness of every debut by shooting their wad early. On Tuesday night's Agents of SHIELD they made a big fuss about how the Avengers Age of Ultron trailer would premiere on next Tuesday's episode (theoretically to boost ratings/interest) and then within 24 hours Marvel had officially posted the trailer online thereby killing the excitement of watching it next week during Agents of SHIELD

Anyway, for this supersized Yes No Maybe So (our series wherein we break down movie trailers to those three categories) we're doing roughly every image, in the order it appears because we can't help it. Mmmm, can't get enough.

I'm going to show you something beautiful...

Click to read more ...