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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in superheroes (169)

Tuesday
Jun032014

Ant-Man Shrinks, and Other Lukewarm Stories

I don't always get around to stories when they hit. Join me in the catch-up comments...

Fan made poster (if I knew who made it I would credit them, but so many blogs are bad about giving creditAnt-Man Shrinks
By now you've heard and digested or, more likely given this crowd (you didn't even comment on that juicy misogynistic She-Hulk debacle!), ignored the drama surrounding Disney/Marvel's Ant-Man movie. The long and short of it: Edgar Wright, of Shaun of the Dead / Scott Pilgrim fame who is unarguably adept and inventive about action-comedy (a unique skill given how unfunny action 'comedies' usually are), abruptly left over creative differences. Now from the roster of potential replacements (none of them even ⅕ as interesting as Wright), one has already fallen away. Leaving us sad for Paul Rudd (probably locked into the role for a decade) and Joss Whedon's Avengers: The Age of Ultron (doesn't Joss need Ant-Man to have his story work since Ant-Man created Ultron?) 

The probable answer as to why is that Disney/Marvel, now that they've won all the moneys in the world and are surely empowered by the knowledge that audiences are lemming-like about these things and will turn out in droves for even dud superhero movies  (Thor: The Dark World, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Iron Man 2), can afford to dump directors with artistic vision and focus on generic bosses who will just keep the assembly line running with less "ideas" / back-talking. Capitalism eventually ruins everything. Marvel sadly didn't learn the inspiring lesson they could have from hiring Joss Whedon. He made The Avengers the success it was, basically rescuing The Black Widow entirely, understanding how tiresome Iron Man had become and how to limit the dose, finding a way to make Thor and Hulk work in a team format even when they've never worked on their own. You need an artist to accomplish these kinds of juggling miracles and feats of resuscitation, not hired hands. 

The silver lining? This Ant-Man debacle did inspire the parody Michael Haneke twitter account to chime in...

 

 

 

Who Stopped Roger Rabbit 2?
It's a story that never quite dies. It is... undead. The Dissolve performs the oft performed reanimation of that story corpse wondering why the sequel never happened and if it might happen now since the original people all still want it to. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) is the Movie of the Week over there which is why they're asking.

In a Hollywood culture that prizes franchises and recognizable characters above all else it is a still a SHOCK in all caps that this sequel never came to be. In many ways this movie is the movie that proved to Hollywood that people would go nuts for a mix of new envelope pushing visual effects mixed with old school nostalgia. Which you could argue led to Toy Story which you could argue led to everything. I am ultra fond of that movie (I'd have easily nominated it for Best Picture that year) but I also have a not-so secret amount of affection for the fact that it never produced a sequel.

Why would I not want a sequel to something I love that much? Well, sequels are in so many ways our collective junk food and in an era where movies produce not only sequels but reboots and straight-to-dvd spinoffs and other forms of money-grubbing self-cannibalizing, Roger Rabbit feels comparatively monumental in its mystic standalone purity.

Finally...

Big Hero 6 Teaser
I meant to share this last week and completely forgot. I don't have much to say about it other than that it is adorable despite doing nothing other than ripping off The Incredibles (2004) for its "too fat for this suit" slapstick teaser but people have very short memories about these things so everyone can LOL anew

 

Wednesday
May282014

Links: Daredevil Casting, Cage Laughing, Maleficent Building, X-Men Griping

Today's Picture To Gawk At
This one goes out to my podcast pals via Theater Mania because we know you've always wanted to see a photo of Julianne Moore with Sophie Okonedo!

Juli with the cast of the 2 millionth revival of "Raisin in the Sun"

Linkages
New York Times Maya Angelou, the famous author and poet, sometime actress, and one time director (Down in the Delta, 1998) has died
Pajiba Charlie Cox, who killed my beloved Pfeiffer in Stardust will be the new Daredevil for 2015's Netflix series. I haven't seen him in act in like seven years (no really)... so I have no idea what to say about this. Kept a low profile he has as a once rising star. Thoughts?
Playbill Best Picture winner The Sting (1973) will become a musical on Broadway. (That's mandatory now for famous movies)
AV Club HBO going further back with its gay content and planning a 1960s based gay telefilm Open City about gays and the mafia... not to be confused with the modern term "the gay mafia"
i09 talks to production designer turned director Robert Stromberg about his world-building on movies and Maleficent 


YouTube every time Nicolas Cage laughs in a movie. This is so funny and disturbing 
Variety Gross! Clueless's Stacey Dash (Dionne) is a Republican and has just joined Fox News
Variety Golden Trailer Awards getting more popular each year 

Would Be Emmy Precursors
Finally, The Broadcast Television Critics Nominations were announced today. I don't belong to this kid brother organization of the BFCA (which I do belong to) that is still very new... but I can't say that I'm pleased with them for the Mad Men shutouts in their drama nominations or that they're so conversative in their taste when it comes to some of Emmy's issues. (The Big Bang Theory, really? and no RuPaul's Drag Race in Reality Competition despite the media always complaining about how dumb the Emmys are to not see its subversive brilliance?) But if you're curious you can take a look. Things That Are Awesome:  Lauren Weedman for Guest Actress for Looking on HBO. Lots of nominations for Masters of Sex and Orange is the New Black; Things That Are Stupid: Mad Men shut out; Things That Are Interesting: Joe Morton who plays Kerry Washington's father and Bellamy Young, who plays the perpetually defeated unloved First Lady are the only members of Scandal to get acting nominations. The lack of interest in Girls on HBO (only nominated for Andrew Rannels in Guest Performer). Two acting nods for Shameless as a Comedy (it's new campaign tactic) even though it's more of a Drama than it used to be.

art by Jason MetcalfX-Men. Emphasis on the Men. 
Dim the House Lights has an excellent piece expanding on my frustrations with X-Men Days of Future Past and the X-franchise's unwillingness to care about its female characters. This article goes one step further and argues that their agency has been completely erased. Compellingly argued, too.

Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men in my readings about the X-Men movies I chanced upon this great funny podcast that attempts to explain the X-Men's very convoluted history, right from the beginning in the 1960s. If you care about comic books, the X-Men, or want to just marvel at how professional some podcasts sound (seriously, what equipment do people use that their voices are always so shiny, clear and untarnished by sound debris?) [all the episodes on iTunes]

Sunday
May252014

X-Men Movie: Shades of Future Franchise Past

[Editor's Navel-Gazing Note: I remind all readers upfront and as apology for this extraordinarily longwinded review that the X-Men are part of Nathaniel's actual soul, having clung to them like actual friends and role models for his entire childhood and adolescence. Other comics were mere 'entertainment'. The X-Men were the loves of his young life. -  Nathaniel]

Daniel Cudmore as Colossus and Fan Bingbing as Blink

The most visually intoxicating character in the latest "When Mutants Collide!" movie is Blink (Fan Bingbing). She has very little dialogue, if any, but linguistic skill is not a mutation ("Hey now...," protests Cypher, who the movies will surely continue to shun). Blink's highly effective signature move involves tossed off pink teleportation portals which she, her teammates, and their enemies jump, run, stumble, fly or are thrown through. Think of it as Nightcrawler's disorientingly rapid teleportation, if it involved all characters in a scene and could be used malevolently against some of them.

In the very exciting opening battle sequence of X-Men Days of Future Past we see this power used frequently and awesomely as she helps her teammates (Warpath, Collosus, Storm, Iceman, Sunspot and more) to surprise, fight back, and evade (for a short time at least) their attackers, an army of mutant-killing robots known as The Sentinels.  But these Sentinels learn quickly, and are very good at their job: killing mutants. The tides turn and a mutant massacre begins... or does it? 

Click to read more ...

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? 

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