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Entries in superheroes (166)

Friday
May232014

Good Reads: Superheroine Edition

With various X-Men smearing their mutant DNA all of your movie screens this weekend, it's become painfully obvious that movie studios are still terrifed of superheroes with vaginas. Storm continues to be the single most-wasted ineptly-transferred great character from the comics but Kitty Pryde has an even sadder story. "X-Men Days of Future Past," one of the most famous and influential comic arcs of all time, originally granted the phasing young mutant (played by Ellen Page in the movies) the starring role. We all knew they would find a way to sideline her.

I lurve Hugh Jackman but one of my biggest disappointments about the X-Men movies continues to be the way the team aspects are muted in order to make it all about the charismatic clawed one. The Avengers figured out a way to balance multiple headliners but the X-Men movies haven't been that inspired. So here are two excellent reads from Slate if you care about the ladies and gender inequities within this genre.

"Why is Wolverine Doing All The Things I Did?"
Kitty Pryde herself (via Stephen Burt) writes a letter to the filmmakers about her suddenly sidelined heroics. Why is that exactly?

"David Goyer’s Comments About She-Hulk Make People Very, Very Angry"
The title is too utilitarian to get excited about but there a lot of great points raised in this article about origin stories and comic book sexism. This article was in response to screenwriter David S. Goyer's (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) comments about the character of She-Hulk on a podcast we linked to yesterday. One of the two podcast hosts Craig Mazin, who used the word "slut" in the discussion, has since published an apology/clarification of what he meant. But the conversation basically treated her as a Bride of Frankenstein sex fantasy creation for Hulk -- missing the point that she was created as a female empowerment fantasy and is Bruce Banner's cousin. (Not the kissin' kind.) I suppose it's no accident that Goyer is involved with Batman v Superhero: Dawn of Justice which already controversially cast a 110 lbs underwear model as the most famous amazon superheroine of all time (that'd be Wonder Woman). 

The takeaway is that we're never going to get female superheroes done right until...

Elizabeth Olsen as The Scarlet Witch in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015)

a) more actressexual directors get involved. Joss Whedon is a great start and our best hope at the moment - look how he rescued the Black Widow from her Iron Man 2 decorative-nothingness. Can we hope that he'll also exceed expectations with The Scarlet Witch?

b) the people in charge of shepherding this genre to the screen are more evolved than Frank T.J. Mackey and don't immediately think "great tits!" first when confronted with the idea of a superheroine. There's nothing wrong with great boobs -- We fully support them and thank Scarlet Johansson for hers at least weekly --  but boobs do not a heroine make. 

You wouldn't think those two things would be such tall hurdles to clear... 

Thursday
May222014

Mm Mm Oh Oh... I'm All Linked Up 

Towleroad Harvey Milk stamp unveiling live at 3PM today!
John August's screenwriting podcast talks to the professionals about writing superheroes, masculinity and rebooting past franchises. Featuring: Conan the Barbarian, Captain America and Batman among others
The AV Club suggests that the only appropriate director for the Elvis biopic is... David Lynch?

It’s an almost biblical rags-to-riches tale infused with elements of horror, farce, and even science fiction, and while many have tried to bring it to the screen, there’s yet to be a definitive biopic.

Verité looks back at naughty precode gem Jewel Robbery (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis
Gawker more 'celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves' feat. Julia, McConaughey, and Emma Stone 
Madonnarama V magazine features Katy Perry and Madonna in conversation for their summer spectacular
In Contention I forgot to mention The Search in my Cannes collection last night, so here's Guy Lodge on that reported misfire from the team behind The Artist
Extra Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt promise that their reunion will be "experimental and raw"... though that means so many different things to different people. I think she basically means low-budget and human-oriented
Empire for a limited time you can listen to the original score of the original Godzilla (1954) by Akira Ifukube

Two Essentials
Are you a struggling actor? Bitter Gertrude's "Why You Didn't Get Cast" is a must read about the casting and the audition process and building a career in a competitive field. I used to work in Human Resources and I would tell my friends these same things many times about non-showbiz job hunts.

Remember that absurd moment when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on that couch on Oprah? Amy Nicholson in a great long read over at LA Weekly  called "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star," posits that it didn't happen. Not in the way we remember it at all. A provocative read even if you don't believe that Cruise was our 'last real movie star' (which I do not, while conceding that movie stars that large are rare beasts.)

Tuesday
May202014

Visual Index ~ X-Men's Best Shots

A long time ago in an X-Mansion 30 miles away*... the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series began. It was July 2010 when, on a 10th anniversary rewatch of the mutant team franchise kickoff I came up with the series. Only two people joined me for that first episode and one of those images is lost to the whims of jpg storage on the internet but the series grew quite a lot from there. With X-Men Days of Future Past nearly upon us (well, it already took me. It took me, with the stink of filthy mutant dna on its breath, and I liked it. I liked it!) it's time to honor Bryan Singer's influential superhero team movie again.

This was a rerun Hit Me episode of sorts so participation is low but you'd all best be back for the next few episodes! Promise me you'll gaze upon the movies and make judgments - blue pinky, adamantium claws swear it.

8 BEST SHOTS FROM X-MEN (2000)
Directed by Bryan Singer / Shot by Newton Thomas Sigel
Click on the images for the 9 corresponding articles

Shots that go "WUMPH!", and not shots that sneak in and tap on the shoulder...
-Antagony & Ecstacy 

Isn't it a beauty, narratively speaking?
-The Film Experience 

...an arresting impression.
-Best Shot in the Dark 

I had to go with this shot because of the relationship between Rogue and Wolverine in the movie...
-Missemmamm


You know, people like you...
-Intifada 

How much he doesn't give a fuck...
- The Film's The Thing 


So weirdass and INLAND EMPIRE-like...
-Against the Hype 

A fascinating "eureka!" moment and a humourous one at that...
-Film Actually 

 

Tragic, scary and playful...
- Coco Hits NY 

 

Hmmm. I thought there'd be more of Storm (kidding). But no, I did think there'd be more Mystique! What's your favorite shot in that movie... or have you forgotten the whole thing?

* Charles Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters is in exotic Westchester, right? So close!

Monday
May192014

Remembering X-Men (2000)

It's Mutant Week! With X-Men Days of Future Past, the 4th X-Men movie upon us nearly upon us -- Yes, fourth, shut up...Last Stand and both Wolverine solo movies do not exist...lalala ♪ I can't hear you -- we should celebrate Marvel's homo superior this week, even if we have to do so by way of 20th Century Fox.

Herewith a retrofitted piece celebrating my choice for "Best Shot" from the first movie. (If you'd like to play the Best Shot game, post your choice by tomorrow night and I'll link up in the index) 

In some ways the original X-Men (2000) is a tentative and mediocre movie: the budget limitations are obvious, Halle Berry is as lost as you remembered (though Storm is a strangely minor character), and the central evil plot is just dumb. But in other ways it's undervalued and not just because of the downward spiral that followed after the sequel.

X-Men makes smart choices about narrowing its focus for a first film (centering on Wolverine & Rogue) and the one character it totally reimagines -- that'd be Mystique -- is a major success.

What's more director Bryan Singer actually makes use of the widescreen in his mise-en-scène. Too few filmmakers do, just shoving everything into the center of the frame or shooting everything in relentless close-up. Even action sequences are shot with a preference for top of head and chin shaving close-ups these days but, much like musical numbers, action sequences are more memorable and coherent when they include whole bodies in the frame. And even though Singer's compositional tricks get a bit repetitive, like the recurring out of focus introduction of characters in the background, which you can see above, they're aesthetically pleasing.

X-Men was lensed by Newton Thomas Sigel, who has shot all of Singer's movies since The Usual Suspects (1995). This is my favorite shot in the film, Wolverine lost in the X-Mansion, bewildered by the new sites. He sees his reflection multiplied, across the team uniforms. Isn't it a beauty, narratively speaking? And Jackmanically speaking, too.

What are your fondest memories of the first film? 

Thursday
May082014

Links

Salon "Dear serial tweet-favoriter: you are a coward" lol. a must read for anyone with a Twitter account
The Uncool Cameron Crowe's agonizing search for a title for Almost Famous (2000)... in notepad form
Film School Rejects two members of the staff watched "the 50 best movies of all time" and here are their takeaways from that two year process
Antagony & Ecstasy on King Vidor's The Crowd (1928) at the great end of silent filmmaking
Kenneth in the (212) shares a pretty great X-Men related Graham Norton wherein Fassy & McAvoy see gay fan art of themselves


MNPP tries to rekindle his love for George Clooney with his three favorite Clooneys. Good choices
Variety asks where the kids movies are this summer in the absence of Pixar
The Wire "Zac Efron hits bottom by accepting life advice from Tom Cruise" haha. I'm linking that for the title alone 
i09 see what your favorite webcomics would look like animated 
Cinesnark terrific examination of why Captain America films are what Superman films have failed to be 

news bits
Empire the ever employed Liam Neeson joins A Monster Calls... the new feature from the director of The Impossible. I can't wait until it's retitled something dull like "Dark River"
Cinema Blend The Flintstones getting a new animated feature because no franchise is allowed to ever die
In Contention The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby will be released in three different versions. It's a neat experiment but it fills me with horror. Goodbye final cut and "definitive" versions. That's a thing of the past (Malick, Lucas, and Scott have been trying to force that on us for years with their "oh, i'm sorry did i say i was finished i wasn't finished" tinkering so I'm sure they're thrilled.)
Guardian Andrea Arnold to direct first US film, a road trip called American Honey. I hope she casts professional actors this time. 

Wednesday
May072014

Superlink

Rambling Film, riffing on our "best movie titles" post, does an alphabet of great movie titles
Inside Movies omg The Lovely Laura Linney is finally returning to screens in a promising vehicle. She's joining Bill Condon's upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie A Slight Trick of the Mind starring Sir Ian McKellen 
i09 Jaws with Godzilla trailer's audio. It's a pretty impressive mashup
Film Stage Adèle Exarchopoulus next film Insecure gets a poster 

Defamer in the race to make the movies more like tv series with big budgets (sie) Disney/Marvel is surely leading. In addition to dozens of new Marvel movies, they are planning multiple new Star Wars universe episodes - not just three.
Towleroad Andrew Garfield in drag. Stay tuned for a music video 
THR the Interstellar teaser poster debuted but honestly it's so boring I don't want to waste valuable visual space on the blog sharing it

Thinking About Bankability
Awards Daily thinks Maleficent will test Angelina Jolie's box office pull. Sasha's right in that people will perceive that it's to Angelina's credit if it's a smash but I think that's silly. As with most would be blockbusters I think people are overestimating the importance of the headliner. Everyone knows "Maleficent". You could put an unknown in it, save lots of money on production costs, and still have a box office winner. Maybe not as big (and certainly with less pre-release hype) but still... The only franchise that seems to believe you don't need a star is the Superman franchise (People don't really even like Superman Returns or Man of Steel but, fact, they both opened huge). Batman is a franchise that regularly uses stars. It's always wasting its money because Batman is huge no matter who is under the mask. For me the only test of box office clout is when the actor is selling something people are only seeing because it's them. So successes like Angelina's Salt or virtually every Leonardo DiCaprio film, or American Hustle last year are directly attributable to the actors in them. But most of these big budget big awareness movies? I don't think it's the case and I wonder sometimes why Hollywood does. 

Subtracting some zeroes now...

Movie City News David Poland weighs in on the frustrating argument over the dwindling returns for subtitled movies in the US marketplace. Glad he addressed that because I hated the IndieWire piece. 

Today's Must Read
Matt Zoller Seitz is always a great read but this week he says what I'm sure so many of us are feeling about the superhero movie genre in this beautifully titled piece "Things Crashing Into Other Things: Or, My Superhero Movie Problem"

Monday
Apr282014

I'm not aware of too many things, i link what I link, if you know what I mean

Hello Cinema has a really fascinating conversation about the reception of foreign films, Iranian and elsewhere, in North America referencing interesting movies like A Separation, Leila, Mother of George, Children of Heaven, City of God, and many more
Man, I Love Films on the beloved 40s noir horror Cat People (such a good flick, huh?) 
My New Plaid Pants falls in love with (nsfw) 1966's Georgy Girl with Lynn Redgrave & Alan Bates 
Guardian George Clooney, perpetual bachelor, is engaged! 

ABC Musicians Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell arrested for disorderly conduct. The New Bohemians were not brought in for questioning
Theater Mania Grease Live! will be the next TV musical event after The Sound of Music's success. No cast yet (and good luck strying ot out Stockard/Olivia/John) but it's aiming for 2015 
Serious Film my friend Michael liked Match, the Tribeca film starring Patrick Stewart I reviewed yesterday, a helluva lot more than me so it's worth sharing an opposing opinion
First Showing footage from Russell Crowe's directorial debut, The Water Diviner
Empire the WB triples down on director Zach Snyder giving in both the Man of Steel sequel and the Justice League movie  (but why? People have already turned on Man of Steel as a 'meh' which doesn't bode well for enthusiasm next time)
Cinema Blend ...is on rumor control: Matt Damon as Aquaman? 
Towleroad so that's what Teen Wolf's departed cast member Colton Haynes has been up to. (side note: Towleroad has been killing it with the post titles of late)
The Wire revisiting Mean Girls with the woman who wrote the non-fiction / non-comedy book it's adapted from 


Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" List
The full list has been revealed with these 27 people in the "arts" section: Marina Abramovic, Amy Adams, Diane Paulus, Matthew McConaughey, John Green, Beyoncé, Sheika al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Donna Tartt, Jordan Peele, Seth Meyers, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robin Wright, Binyavanga Wainaina, Miley Cyrus, Robert Redford, Jenji Kohan, Yao Chen, Arundhati Roy, Megan Ellison, Carrie Underwood,  Kerry Washington, and Keegan Michael Key. Weird eclectic lineup. (This last season renewed my love for Amy Adams but I've never thought of her as "influential" per se.) Interestingly enough -- at least for The Film Experience's purposes -- five of the slots are taken up by recent hotly-contested Oscar contests. Best Directors Steve McQueen & Alfonso Cuarón are both accounted for as are the leading "Original Song" nominees Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (from Frozen) and "Happy" Pharrell Williams.  All of the celebrities get tributary write-ups by other starry folk: Oscar whisperer Harvey Weinstein honors film legend Redford; James Franco writes about Abramovic (OF COURSE HE DOES); Naomi Watts talks up Robin Wright who had her best year; and Jessica Chastain has the good sense to worship Megan Ellison...

The Italian Renaissance flourished because patrons like the Medici family sponsored artists and valued their craft. Today the film industry has been blessed with a modern version of the Medicis — a single benefactor who has the utmost respect for cinema: Megan Ellison.
         -Jessica Chastain 

The magazine has multiple covers as most event issues do these days. Who would you have placed on the list that didn't make it?

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