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Tag Archives: Movies

We need a good Wolverine movie

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Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine nine times, if you include Logan. The most passable films have included the X-Men, with each stand-alone film being uniquely disappointing for different reasons. This is Hugh Jackman’s last chance with the character, and if it doesn’t work out the actor will have spent a significant portion of his career on a series of films that can, at best, be considered OK. The stakes are as high for him as they are for us. Everyone involved, including the audience, deserves a good Wolverine film before Jackman bows out of the franchise. They weren’t all bad, right? The first X-Men film came out in 2000, which makes it 16 years old. If it were a person, it would be driving. This was before the era of mainstream superhero films and cinematic universes, which...

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Fox is spinning up a new games group

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A new division at Fox, called FoxNext, is being spun up to oversee video gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and theme park installations. The new business unit will have access to Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Networks Group franchises. A press release issued this week says the goal is to “drive the company’s next-generation storytelling experiences.” Salil Mehta, a veteran of both NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company, will be the business unit’s president. The unit was created in part due to the success of The Simpsons: Tapped Out on mobile and Alien: Isolation for PC and modern consoles. One stated focus will be VR, and Fox said they hope to combine the efforts of multiple gaming groups to commercialize that space. One such project that would fall under the group is...

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January is for movies that suck, but it doesn’t have to be

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In an ideal cultural environment, any film would be able to find the audience it deserves and the audience that wants to find it. In reality, any number of factors — chiefly the whims of studios and the effectiveness of movie marketing — can undermine a film’s impact commercially, critically and among spectators and the culture-at-large. Around year-end time, many will talk about movies they saw in the preceding 12 months that they felt were forgotten or underserved, that didn’t receive the attention they should have. And there’s no more fertile ground for movies like that than the frigid month of January. The truth is, often January films have qualities that many different audiences appreciate, and if they were properly marketed, they could succeed. The idea that all that matters is...

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Studio Ghibli’s best movies transcend simple cinema

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Studio Ghibli has been a leading animation studio for the past 32 years, and in that time, it’s produced 20 beloved films. Since the dawn of the studio in 1985, Ghibli has built a community of diehard fans. While it’s not as successful as studios like Pixar, it has caught the eye of cinephiles everywhere. Many of its films have been nominated for Academy Awards. In 2003, Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated Spirited Away won the award for Best Animated Feature, beating out strong contenders like Lilo & Stitch and Ice Age. Miyazaki is probably the most recognizable name to come out of the studio, and for good reason. He directed nine of the films produced at Ghibli — and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was technically released a year before the studio was founded — and has become the...

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Ridley Scott’s comments about superhero movies feel antiquated in 2017

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Director Ridley Scott has some strange explanations for his dislike of superhero films. When asked by Digital Spy if he would ever direct one, he responded he couldn’t “believe in the thin, gossamer tight-rope of the non-reality of the situation of the superhero.” Scott then more or less instantly contradicts himself by saying he’s played in that sort of world before. "I've done that kind of movie — Blade Runner really is a comic strip when you think about it, it's a dark story told in an unreal world,” he stated. “You could almost put Batman or Superman in that world, that atmosphere, except I'd have a fucking good story, as opposed to no story!" So Scott’s problem has nothing to do with superheroes as an idea or the modern superhero movie as a kind of loose genre, but films with bad...

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Has any movie needed to be good as badly as Wonder Woman?

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As much as I don’t want to put pressure on the DC extended universe in regards to its next film, I’m going to. There’s so much riding on Wonder Woman, not only as a movie that consumers will most likely pay a lot to see, but as a symbol, a product and a nerd property. Wonder Woman is one of pop culture’s most recognizable characters and what she stands for is even larger than her. The last mainstream blockbuster that was accompanied by this much pressure was The Force Awakens, which luckily worked out for Disney and the Star Wars franchise. Wonder Woman doesn’t get to just be good. It has to be great. It needs to fix Warner Bros’ and the DCEU’s reputation Warner Bros.’ DC films, starting with Man of Steel, have all been successful in a monetary sense. And they’ve all had massive...

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Don’t worry, digital doppelgangers won’t replace real actors any time soon

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Rogue One’s most unexpected casting decision was perhaps the ILM special effects technology that allowed actor Peter Cushing to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin more than twenty years after his death. So far, the response to the gimmick has been mixed. Some viewers felt that it ruined the entire movie, while others didn’t notice it at all. Both sides, however, have acknowledged that the CGI used to recreate Grand Moff Tarkin is eerily authentic. Disney digitally recreated Cushing’s face for the movie, and while the effect is jarring when in motion (something is ever so slightly off), a screenshot is nearly indistinguishable from the real Peter Cushing. There now seems to be a collective understanding that CGI performances will soon climb out of the uncanny valley. It won’t be long...

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In Rogue One, organized religion is the rebellious underdog

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Unlike most other science fiction stories, Star Wars pulsates with a multi-faceted, inspiring depiction of religion: the Church of the Jedi Order. (Given the well-developed structure of the fictional Jedi Order, it’s not surprising that “Jediism” actually has morphed into a real-life religion.) Star Wars has traditionally painted the heroes and villains in stark black and white, but Rogue One adds some more grey shading to the Rebel cause. And as a religious person myself, I was blown away by this unexpectedly positive, big-screen iteration of religious faith. Because in this story, the rebels are fighting for the Church, and religious spirituality is on the side of the good. If organized religion has a bit of a bad rap, it's earned it: From the Crusades to evangelism to...

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Santa is just as real as Superman — and that’s the best thing about them

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During World War II, my grandfather was in Europe, and one day walked by a superior officer (whom he didn’t think was all that bright) who was reading a Superman comic. A moment later, his superior sneered and tossed the comic to him, saying, "I’m not reading that stupid thing again. It’s a story where Superman meets Santa Claus." "You can’t have Superman meet Santa Claus. Santa Claus isn’t real!" My grandfather was confused by this. His superior officer then practically shouted in annoyance, "You can’t have Superman meet Santa Claus. Santa Claus isn’t real!" That story and statement fascinate me to this day. What are the boundaries we make for our fictional characters? Why is it ok for some of us (myself included sometimes) that Superman can defy physics and meet figures from Norse...

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Rogue One fans are making their own tributes to a key missing moment

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has aspects that don’t feel like they belong in a Star Wars film, but fans have taken it into their own hands to add a key element that was sorely missed. [Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for Rogue One.] Those who have already ventured out to their local theater to see Rogue One may have noticed that the movie was missing something: an opening crawl. The long crawl of text, offset by John Williams’ iconic score, has become a crucial part of the Star Wars viewing experience. The decision to not include the crawl in the film was a way to keep Rogue One separate from the main series, according to Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy. Despite Lucasfilm’s best intentions, some fans were upset with the studio’s decision. One (possibly hyperbolic) fan on...

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