Sunday, August 9, 2015


With all the negative reviews and months old rumors that the production and final product is a disaster, I chose not to see FANTASTIC FOUR. But then I read an interview with the director of the movie, Josh Trank. In that interview he mentioned something that hit home with me, I'm paraphrasing, but he said go into a movie with your own judgment.

If the movie sucks, then at least YOU think the movie sucks. “If your experience of movie watching only comes through pre-determined universal consensus, you'll never have a personal relationship with movies. Ever.” I try and live by that philosophy when it comes to watching movies. I also think that's great advice for someone that wants to be a filmmaker.

After reading the interview I was curious again, but my viewing experience was going to be a Redbox rental at best. Then two of my friends went to see it and based on their opinion and our similar taste in film, I decided to watch FANTASTIC FOUR for myself. What I saw in this latest film adaptation, is a textbook example of when a movie studio/corporation puts out a movie just for the sole purpose of retaining the rights of a franchise.

FANTASTIC FOUR is not the worst film I've ever seen. But when there has been a solid comic book movie formula since say IRON MAN or MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS, how do you mess it up? How could you possibly go back to the dark ages? How was this film released? The only explanation that I can come up with is that 20th Century Fox got greedy. I'm calling this an inside job to either retain franchise rights or destroy the genre all together. It's probably neither of those things and just a classic example of corporate meddling.

I love the synopsis released by Fox. “FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.”

They got the re-imagining part down at least. The team learning to harness their new powers must have been left on the cutting room floor? Or maybe that was during the 'One Year Later' title card? As for their former friend turned enemy, it's more like former colleague.

As far as criticisms go I've got nothing to say that probably hasn't been said already. And I hate to dogpile, especially this late in the game. Because it does seem it's kinda the popular thing to right now to bash the movie and drink the 'haterade'. But, I do think the 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes isn't too far from the truth.

Because FANTASTIC FOUR is worse than say, GREEN LANTERN or BATMAN AND ROBIN. There was successful world building in GREEN LANTERN. Now, if it was true to the source material is besides the point in this example. FANTASTIC FOUR has little to no world building at all. And yes, BATMAN AND ROBIN is still terrible. But at least that movie has a consistent tone. Whereas FANTASTIC FOUR is basically tone deft throughout.

The film that Josh Trank had in mind is somewhere within the 100 minute run time of FANTASTIC FOUR. And from what little there is to piece together, I want to believe that Josh was trying to make a comic book movie inspired by the early works of Joe Dante and David Cronenberg?

At least Josh Trank tried. And that's the worth while experience I got out of seeing this film. I recognize his influences and I'm interested to see him try again.

I cannot recommend FANTASTIC FOUR. So, I'm sure many of you now are wondering what should be the future of this franchise. Well, I think Marvel should re launch the comic book immediately. Remind fans on how cool Marvel's first superhero family can be!

As for another movie, I think the damage is already done. And Disney should acquire the cinematic rights back post haste. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still going strong in 2020, then Doctor Doom should be the next big bad for The Avengers. And have The Fantastic Four make their triumphant comeback as supporting characters only.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


So far my favorite film of 2015 is MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. But after watching IT FOLLOWS a second time, I feel there is a close tie for the top spot.

Watching IT FOLLOWS is even better the second time. I picked up on a lot of deep stuff this time around. It's still fun trying to figure out the horror film logic of how “it” follows you and how to stop/kill it. This alone can spark interesting conversations with people who have seen the film. But as I found out during my second viewing, the film really isn't about the STD curse, or whatever you wanna call “it”.

No, the film is about the fear of growing old. This isn't some big secret, the clues are all right there. I just think I picked up on it the way that I did was because at this current phase of my life I hate the idea of growing old. Or worse yet, I have a fear of it.

For nineteen-year old Jay, fall should be about school, boys, and hanging out with her friends. But after having a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she seems plagued by an unknown supernatural force. Here are the rules. In order to break the curse / prevent it from following you, you have to sleep with someone. But if they die, then you're haunted again. To stay alive it's simple math, but basically you're screwed.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, that sounds stupid and doesn't seem scary at all. Well, you're right. It is kinda stupid. But the film works, like gangbusters it works. A large part of that is due to how the film is photographed. The film is beautiful to look at, in an 80's horror movie sort of way. But the terror of IT FOLLOWS is the musical score. Trust me. You'll be watching this movie with hands over your ears. My first impression of IT FOLLOWS after seeing it was that the film felt like a Wes Craven movie directed by John Carpenter.

So like I mentioned earlier, the first time I watched IT FOLLOWS, I became so wrapped up in the STD metaphor that the fear of getting older angle never hit me. What a great testament to the film! A genre film no less. Not to give too much away but here are some of my favorite scenes. The moment before Jay's date/boyfriend ties her up so that “it” can get her, she is talking about how when we are young all kids ever talk or dream about is being a “grown-up” doing grown up things. But of course when we get older, all we talk about is how easy life was when you are younger.

And the ending, I love the ending! Of course I'm not going to give it away, I just think it signifies love. That love conquers all.

IT FOLLOWS will probably be the most personal film I will see this year. I related to the themes of running away from adulthood. And I find myself (and a lot of people in this day and age) drowning out my fear of getting older by regressing toward the comfort of nostalgia and my childhood.

I will always love nostalgia, it's just who I am. But this film woke me up. Living too much in the past can be poison. This also has led me to start doing more writing and less watching. Which is awesome.

I cannot recommend this movie strong enough! I predict it'll be streaming on Netflix before the year is up. But don't wait that long, rent this movie tonight! Especially if you love horror movies.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Sometimes having a bias opinion over a movie can be a bitch. It's tough especially when Edgar Wright is one of my favorite filmmakers. Man, it sucks that we'll never see what could have been!

When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'm in for the long haul. Or at least till AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS PART II? That's how far I'm invested in at this point. What Marvel Studios has planned after that is unclear to me, interest wise? If we're talking reboot, then I'll pass. Sony making a deal to share Spider-Man couldn't have happened at a better time. The best Spidey films since SPIDER-MAN 2 should be the future, not an immediate Iron Man reboot.

ANT-MAN the newest Marvel Studios “character” film since CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, does feel like the future of the MCU. I know that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was the latest film in terms of new characters, but that film is a whole other animal. There is a reason people are comparing ANT-MAN to the first Iron Man movie.

I know I am not alone on this, but certainly feel like I belong in the minority. I'd love to see a future Avengers movie without Cap, Tony, and Thor! Yes, give me Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Ant-Man! Oh, and of course Spider-Man! There's your box office draw for the alternate Avengers team. I'd die to see this line up of Avengers 2.0, not because I'm a Avengers fan, but because I am a comic book geek.

So far the future is going to be Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and The Inhumans. Let's hope it stays this way! But I'm afraid that once Robert Downey Jr. leaves for good, then it's reboot time. Because you have that “fast-food” audience mentality that there always has to be an Iron Man around. And unfortunately these types of moviegoers pay the bills better than True Believers like myself.

Reformed cat burglar Scott Lang can't seen to catch a break. Baskin Robbins won't even hire him. All Scott wants to do is see his daughter. But his ex wife won't let that happen until he gets a real job and a apartment. Desperate, Scott agrees to pull one more burglary. The job ends up becoming a set up. A set up to help Scott.

Enter Hank Pym, a scientist that used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D that created a suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength. Hank left the agency after an incident with his wife. He took his research with him, leaving his company and S.H.I.E.L.D with no super suit.

Years later Darren Cross, a “mentor” of Hank Pym, is on a breakthrough to discovering the ability to shrink. Cross wants to weaponize the new found technology. So Hank entrusts the aid of Scott to done the super suit and pull off a corporate espionage heist to save the world.

So is ANT-MAN any good? Yes. The film works well as a Saturday matinée. And the rumors are true, it's probably the best character driven Marvel Studios movie since IRON MAN. Off the top of my head I'd rank it 8th or 9th in the cinematic universe.

The jury is still out on whether or not I wanna see a sequel? An Ant-Man and Wasp team-up may be fun! But much like The Hulk, it may be best if Ant-Man just shows up in the Avengers films.