Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 Comic-Con Rundown

(Sorry about the delay getting this out. It's been a busy couple of weeks with family moving, my dog stuff, and getting a new job, I've been everywhere but anywhere close to my computer. Here it is, though.)

It is time once again for Comic-Con, when people of varying stripes of geekery flock to San Diego to rub Batman memoribilia all over their bodies while whispering Scott Snyder's name quietly to themselves.

As usual, I'm going to talk about movies. I am much more into comics and comic book news this year than I was last year, but to an extent, comics are a MASSIVE medium to cover, and the news is too vast and fast to give any real thought about in a post that will already be jam packed with movie thoughts. And since they've made their big announcements before Comic-Con--black Captain America and female Thor--I don't have much to say about their new events. I don't have the money for all the stuff I want to buy as it is, and DC and Marvel's incessant insistence that I should buy THIS event comic that will TOTALLY CHANGE THE STATUS QUO, NO FOR REAL THIS TIME GUYS, HONEST is a bit tiresome.

MOVIES -- GENERAL

First let's start with the general movies.

Tusk

I am a huge fan of horror. I've been reading it and watching it basically my entire life. Lately, however, I've been suffering from ennui with the horror genre--movies, at least. I've been looking extra careful to find unique, interesting movies that play with horror. Even if a movie isn't perfect, if the movie does something
interesting and tries something, I'll give it a shot.
Photo by Michael Scott Murphy

So often the things that other people like about horror are not the things that I like about it, or the things I want to see. There's a focus on jump scares that pisses me off, but on the other end, any movie that has some halfway decent gore effects often gets praised by horror fans for being something special, but gore doesn't really make a movie for me. If I don't care about the characters, I don't give a shit how gruesome the death is, I won't care. And don't get me started on how bleak and samey-samey everything looks.

That's the mindset I was in when Kevin Smith's new horror movie Tusk caught my eye. The concept is simple: a dude gets captured by a mad scientist and undergoes involuntary surgical modifications to turn him into a walrus. The set up sounds similar to The Human Centipede, but the trailer makes it look like they put time into giving the film humor and heart and characters rather than just shock for shock's sake. The concept sounds very B-movie stupid, but the trailer honestly makes it look like they pulled the horror part off very well, without sacrificing the wit of the movie. Cool.

Horns

Speaking of unique horror movies, I talked about this film back in 2012 when it was first announced. I discovered Joe Hill that year and read the two novels out at the time. He has very quickly become one of my favorite current writers, and now that I've finished his book of short stories, now I'm moving onto his horror comic series Locke and Key.

I absolutely loved Horns. The concept was unique, and it was executed--again, as I mentioned above--with wit and heart that made the story enjoyable to read, even when things got tense and horrific. When they announced that Daniel Radcliffe would be in it, I was stoked because I knew from what I'd seen in The Woman in Black that he would do a great job. And based on the trailer, it seems like I was right.

The exciting thing about the film is it looks like they've captured the dark humor of the book, while keeping the action and tension up where it needs to be. If they have, the horror parts will work even better because of the lighter stuff from earlier. This is one I can't wait for and now it finally FINALLY has a release date of October 31st.


Sin City 2, AKA, A Dame to Kill For & Sin City 3

I decided to smoosh these two together because they basically announced a Sin City 3 if the second one does well.

I absolutely loved the first Sin City. It was an astounding work of art, mixing green screen and CG effects in a way that gave the film a unique, appropriately comic-booky style that mimicked the art of the books they were based on. The fact that it also featured some of my favorite action hero stars--Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, etc.--was just gravy. And in that regard it looks like the second movie will be just what I wanted it to be.

However.

I also am not a fan of Frank Miller really. Everyone is allowed their politics. Hell, unlike some other people, I won't complain that Miller's politics have seeped into his works--art is, by its very nature, political...it just is, guys--but that doesn't mean I have to like his politics or want to support them. Particularly, Frank Miller is an asshole, curmudgeonly and rude, racist and sexist, xenophobic and jingoistic. There were definitely problematic aspects to the first Sin City, but I'm worried that, like his comics, this film will suffer from his slow loss of common sense and reason.

And as for Sin City 3...well...I guess we'll see how the second one plays out.

Warcraft & Halo: Nightfall

I know basically nothing about World of Warcraft. I downloaded a trial version once, played for about an hour, maybe, and then turned it off. I don't write about video games often because I'm just really not that much of a gamer.

The thing that I'm watching for with Warcraft is if they try to make a Lord of the Rings knockoff in tone, or if they try to go with something a little more colorful and fun, like Thor.

At this moment, I don't have many more thoughts than that. Since it's being co-written and directed by the dude that did Moon and Source Code, I'm a little more intrigued, as that guy does interesting things with story, but...meh. I'll know more when an actual trailer comes out, rather than just saying, "Hey...here's the logo, but in motion."

Uncharted


Dude. DUDE. I fucking love me some Uncharted. That is, hands down, my favorite video game series. I don't even really know why. I recognize that it's really just an Indiana Jones clone...and yet...IT'S SO GODDAMNED FUN! And I don't just mean the gameplay. Nathan Drake is a fun, charismatic main character. He's flawed, but he's got a good heart. Also, it's nice that by "flawed" I don't mean, "he's an asshole 90% of the time." And Elena is great, like Lois Lane to his Superman. She doesn't take his shit, but she gets off on the same adventure and mystery that he does.

GOD DO I LOVE THIS GAME.

And after tons and tons of rumors and turmoil and people getting a little too freaky about Nathan Fillion playing Nathan Drake (which, yes, would be great casting, but Jesus, people), Uncharted finally has a release date: June 10th, 2016. I am nervous but eagerly looking forward to casting news.

Mad Max: Fury Road

I like Tom Hardy. I like Charlize Theron. I like Nicholas Hoult.

I do not know really anything about Mad Max. I've never seen the original movies with Mel Gibson. I mean, I guess I want to? It was just never something I was even aware of growing up.

So the posters released at Comic-Con look...interesting.

Matt Wallace seems more qualified to talk about this movie than me:



Air

This movie looks kinda cool. From what I can tell, it's a post-apocalyptic movie (of course it is), in which the world is short on air? And I'm going to guess the main characters struggle to find and retain their supply. In a way, this reminds me of Gravity, in that it's probably going to be a characters struggles to survive while grappling with things going wrong. Only here, it'll be with a lack of air and struggling to breath.

As someone with asthma, this movie both excites me and freaks me right the fuck out.

Interstellar

I didn't dislike Matthew McConaughey in the past, but Dallas Buyers Club really put him front and center as someone who could be a real contender in movies. I have to admit, after years of him playing a simple but honest country-boy, playing a genius rocket scientist type seems like they took the idea from Trans4mers and made it serious.

But, yes, this looks pretty cool, and also pretty tragic. Nolan hasn't been a perfect film maker, but certainly an interesting and entertaining one. I look forward to this.

Home


If there was one movie that I was very excited to see news about, it was Home. Do you realize there has yet to be a black main character in an animated film like this? Wylie from Coraline is that last even signifcant black character I can think of. Jesus Christ, you guys!

I wanted this to be good. Black kids need representation. It's tragic how underrepresented basically all PoC are. But this movie...yeesh. I saw the trailer. It looks like it has a tone similar to that Escape from Planet Earth animated movie...which looked pretty terrible. This, unfortunately, does too. I hope I'm wrong.

The Boxtrolls

I love Laika Studios. They have made two of my favorite kids movies in the past several years: Coraline, based on the Neil Gaiman kids book, and Paranorman, which may be my favorite kids movie since The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was just amazing. I actually don't have much to say about this movie beyond that I am stoked for it. Seriously. It looks great.

The Last of Us


Video game movies, man. They've been terrible forever. I don't know how its possible to take a thing that already has a look, a feel, an aesthetic, and a story, and then totally fuck it up, but it's been done over and over again.

I haven't played The Last of Us, yet. I want to. I plan to. But no time/no money means that I rarely play video games. But its on my list. Because it looks awesome.

And here we have yet another awesome looking game being optioned for a movie, like Uncharted above. Only this has actual casting news? Apparently, the producers have spoken to Maisie Williams (Arya Stark in Game of Thrones) about playing Ellie. I haven't seen Game of Thrones, but I know she's a pretty popular character, so, hey. Cool.

Movie looks neat is what I'm saying.

The Hobbit: Really? Are You Still Doing This?

While the first Hobbit film was flawed but enjoyable, I hated HATED second one. There were some very good elements to the film. It actually started with a ton of promise. But the longer it ran, the lower I sank into my seat. About halfway through the movie, I leaned over to my wife and asked, "Is it weird that I think this is awful?" She looked at me with wide eyes and said, "You, too?"

The action sequences went on for too long, and were so video-gamey that I didn't give a shit what happened to them. The infamous barrel riding scene is infamous for a reason. Jesus.

Even the climax with Smaug was overly long and stupid. After a conversation involving running around and sliding around on gold like Bilbo is Disney's Tarzan, I also had to deal with the main characters running away from Smaug in a series of Scooby-Doo like shenanigans. And the way they try to stop Smaug? WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???

*pant pant pant*

Anyway, my point is: I really don't give a shit about this movie. I guess I'll go see it and give Peter Jackson some more of my money so I can finish out the trilogy. But fuck, man. I'm not looking forward to it anymore.

MOVIES -- MARVEL

Ant-Man


I like Paul Rudd. And it's weird and interesting that Michael Douglas is in this movie. It's also lame that Edgar Wright is no longer working on the film--not that the new director won't be good. Just different. And it's not like Edgar Wright doesn't have stuff already set up to do. But it does say interesting things about Marvel that they've been having so much trouble with directors.

Not much happened at SDCC except to say, "Hey, Guardians of the Galaxy is getting a sequel. Oh, and Ant Man is a thing that's still happening." Which...yay? Neither of those things were particularly surprising.

I don't know. Ant-Man sounds neat, and Marvel is certainly doing interesting things with their heroes.

But we all know this isn't what people wanted Marvel to talk about at SDCC.

Avengers 2


And while I'm sure more people wanted to hear them talk about this one...I wasn't really overwhelmed with the stuff I learned either. It was mostly the actors that play the Avengers coming out and saying, "Hey...thanks." Which is nice, but not really worth a whole panel.

The one thing we did get is a series of posters that put together create a big new picture. I am definitely excited for this movie.  But honestly...this isn't what I wanted to hear about.

Black Panther and Ms. Marvel

Were not announced. We STILL have no black or female led super hero movies.* Seriously, Marvel? What the fuck?

Doctor Strange

Wasn't talked about either. Because this SDCC kind of sucked.

MOVIES -- DC

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice


There is only one thing about this movie that I really care about. At all.

GODDAMNED WONDER WOMAN COSTUME Y'ALL FOR REALZ IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!

SDCC may have sucked, but this had me beaming basically all day. She's finally going to be on the big screen, you guys. And the costume doesn't suck! I want to go into more detail about my thoughts at another time, but I will say that I love the design and, besides the heals and boob-molded armor, I am thrilled.

And look at Gal Gadot. She looks like a bad ass.

Fuck yes, I'll see this now, DC.

Now announce a Wonder Woman solo movie. DO IT!

Shazam

Was not announced. Because honestly the Big Two were kind of phoning it in, this year.

_______________________


What did you think of SDCC this year? I was sort of disappointed. No really earth-shattering announcements.

The only thing I can think of with Marvel not announcing anything cool at SDCC is that they didn't want to take away from Guardians of the Galaxy, maybe? And we might have gotten distracted from those if they'd announced Ms. Marvel or Black Panther or something like that? But honestly? It's getting pretty ri-goddamned-diculous.

*I have thoughts about recent news regarding this subject soon.