Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fantastic Four Trailer

Well, this past week, we finally got our first look at one of the most talked-about superhero reboots coming in 2015, and that's Fantastic Four.

Fantastic 4 Teaser Poster

Sadly, it's been talked about for all the wrong reasons.  First up, people were talking about the lack of promotion.  Usually, with superhero films, we start getting teases a full year before release.  The preview the costume, they showcase the sets, do everything to show you how faithful they're being to the comics.  But for this...nothing.  Just blurry spy photos until this teaser came out.

Then there was the report that Dr. Doom, one of the most iconic supervillains in comics, had been reduced to an angry, anti-social blogger with the online handle "Doom."  In fact, some fear the comics are being ignored altogether as Kate Mara, who's playing Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, revealed in an interview that she was told not to read the comics to research her character as they are "doing something never done in the comics."

And let's not get into the criticism of the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.  What's so wrong with the Human Torch being a black guy?

Director Josh Trank, fresh off his debut film Chronicle, has said that in his Fantastic Four, he's going for a David Cronenberg body horror kind of feel, citing The Fly and Scanners as his biggest influences on the film.  I dunno...much like Superman and the resulting Man of Steel, Fantastic Four is a property I never envisioned going dark and gritty.  Also, much like the recent Spider-Man reboot, they've decided to draw their primary inspiration from the Ultimate Universe, meaning now the FF get their powers from a teleportation accident, and not being bombarded with cosmic rays, so that makes references to The Fly rather apt.

Rounding out the cast, we've got Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing, Toby Kebbell as Victor Domashev/Doom, and Tim Blake Nelson as Harvey Elder, who'll hopefully become the Mole Man in the sequel.

So...here's our first glimpse.

Is it just me, or are they really trying to make it look like Interstellar?  The fact that they are taking more of a hard sci-fi stance than the usual superhero fare looks interesting, but it doesn't really look or feel like Fantastic Four.  The most FF looking this is the bit at the end with our heroes looking at a mysterious shimmering shaft of light.  Given all the negative stuff I'd been reading about this film, the trailer definitely comes across as...not as expected.

Fantastic Four hits theatres on August 7. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Frozen

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the movies I own and then blog about it.  Today's film needs no introduction, as it's still pretty prominent in pop culture today:  Frozen.  This was originally in my notes at March 30, 2014. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Gravity

Here we are once again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly watching of a movie I own, and blogging about it, because I really need a hobby.  Today, we get to one of the critical darlings of 2013, Gravity.  This pops up in my notes at March 9, 2014.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Latest Marvel Trailer: Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Well, I'm just hangin' out at home, burning off some leftover vacation days, so I may as well get to some blogging I've been putting off.  We got our latest batch of Marvel movies, so I've wanted to ramble about them a bit.   First up, we've got our first trailer for Ant-Man.

Teaser Poster for Ant-Man

Ant-Man has had a long and storied development that has been well-documented elsewhere, so I'll try to give you the Coles Notes.  Way, way back in 2006, when Marvel announced that they'd be going into business for themselves and starting their own movie studio, they said their first three films would be Iron Man directed by Jon Favreau, The Incredible Hulk directed by Louis Leterrier, and Ant-Man directed by Edgar Wright.  When Nick Fury's post-credits scene in Iron Man got everyone hot and bothered at the prospect of an Avengers movie, Ant-Man got put on the back, back burner so Marvel could launch their "Phase I."  But Wright remained attached to the project, and kept doing development work as he bid his time doing Scott Pilgrim and The World's End.

When Marvel announced their "Phase II," Marvel revealed that Ant-Man would finally happen as their first film after Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Wright finally got down to the nitty gritty.  Paul Rudd was cast to play the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang.  Michael Douglas came on board to play the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym.  Evangeline Lily signed on to play Pym's daughter Hope!  Corey Stall was going to be the villainous Darren Cross, who takes up the mantle of Yellowjacket.  It was finally going to happen!

And then, this past summer, mere months before filming, disaster struck.  After hanging in there since 2006, Edgar Wright left the project.  Creative differences was the official reason given.  The rumor and speculation was that Ant-Man was always intended to be kind of a standalone thing, but when the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off, Marvel started pressuring Wright to add more Marvel Cinematic Universe elements.  And finally, the director and studio reached an impasse.  Wanting to maintain the schedule they'd set up, Marvel quickly began the search for a new director.  Frequent Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay was approached, but negotiations fell apart after a weekend.  McKay did do enough work, though, that he's getting a co-writer credited on the screenplay.  Finally, a new director was found in Peyton Reed, who brought us the cheerleader epic Bring It On, and the Jim Carrey vehicle Yes Man.

(Fun trivia fact:  Reed was once attached to do Fantastic Four, but 20th Century Fox [who own the movie rights to FF] balked at his idea to set it in the 1960s and base it on the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby run.)

New director in hand, last-minute re-writes done to satisfy the new creative direction, leading many to wonder what the final product is now going to look like.  And we got our first glimpse when they finally released the new trailer a couple weeks ago.

This trailer was...not what I was expecting.  Despite being a founding member of the Avengers and having a 50+ year history in comics, Ant-Man has always been seen as this goofy, B-list character (except for that one time when Hank Pym punched his wife and the name became synonymous with spousal abuse).  And with a comedy talent like Edgar Wright as director, the hope was that Ant-Man was going to be the next Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that embraced the goofiness and turned into a very funny, yet very solid action adventure.  But instead of the next Guardians of the Galaxy, this comes across more like "Generic Superhero Film #762."

I'm still holding out hope, though.  Being a sucker for superhero films, you know I'll be there when it opens on July 17.

Oh, and we also got the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

I know some people are fretting over how dark it looks (especially with the creepy version of "I've Got No Strings" playing in the background), but I'm still loving it.  We're getting some more Hulk vs. Hulkbuster action.  Lots of wisecracks, too, about the Hulk's red eyes in that battle, leading many to speculate that he's being mind-controlled by Scarlett Witch in that scene. 

I'm still excited.  May 1!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Thor: The Dark World

Thursday means Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies I own and blog about it, because I really don't get out much.  Return with me now to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as I watch Thor: The Dark World.  This comes from my notes of March 8, 2014.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Netflix Nonsense - The Big Lebowski

So what did I peruse on Netflix this past weekend?  Sometimes, Netflix can be a great place to find the classics that you've missed out on.  The Big Lebowski is high on the list of cult classics I knew I had to see someday, so when I saw it had recently been added to Netflix, it shot straight to the front of the queue.  And, with a quiet Saturday night at home, I knew it was time to check this classic off my cinematic bucket list.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Tangled

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin!  I took a couple weeks off there for Christmas and New Years, but I'm back, and I still have a ton of DVDs and Blu-Rays to watch and blog about!  Let's start off this year with Disney's 2010 gritty reboot of princess tales, Tangled.  This is originally in my notes at March 2, 2014.
Tangled Movie Poster

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Vacation's End

It seemed like it was going to be an OK day.  Yeah, we had some snow and bitter cold, but the online road reports said the highways were OK.  But it didn't warn me about those city streets.  Nothing more frightening than being in bumper-to-bumper traffic and your turn's coming up, so you start hitting the breaks and turning the steering wheel, but you don't slow down or turn.  But I made it through the city in one piece.

What was so important that I had to brave such city streets?  Well, the first weekend in January is the traditional end of the whole Christmas vacation season, so I was hot to spend some gift cards.  Movie geek that I am, one of my gift cards was for Cineplex, so I figured it was finally time to see The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies.

The Hobbit was pretty good.  I have the same general complaint that I have with the entire Hobbit trilogy, and that is, when they expanded a single novel into a trilogy, you can really feel the padding.  At 2.5 hours, The Battle of the Five Armies is the shortest of the trilogy, but I was still checking my watch a few times wondering when they'd get one with it.  I remember coming out of the theatre after the second film and thinking, "But what's left?  Bard the Bowman kills Smaug, we have the Battle of the Five Armies, and that's it!"  And that's pretty much what happens in the film.  I'm a little miffed that Bard killing Smaug kind of becomes a James Bond-style pre-credits sequence, when it would have made a much better end to the second film, but whatever. 

As I'm sure I've blogged before, I love The Hobbit and have read it several times, but have never been able to plow through the incredibly-dense The Lord of the Rings.  So when I saw some of the large scale battles in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, I was always thinking, "Oh, I hope we get to see the Battle of the Five Armies done like this someday."  And we did.  And it was magnificent. 

I give it a solid 3 out of 4.  As always, the complete review is over on the main site.

Didn't do much else in the city besides see the movie.  I wanted to spend some Christmas cash on a new Otter Box for my iPhone.  For those not in the know, an Otter Box is a protective case to keep the phone from getting damaged.  Otter Box has the reputation as being the most durable in the world.  A co-worker actually ran over his iPhone with his car.  The Otter Box was destroyed, but it did its job and the phone was fine. 

I must have dropped my iPhone one too many times as my Otter Box was starting to get pretty beat up and most of the little trap doors that cover the headphone jack and such had snapped off.  The hope is to save my pennies and when my cellphone contract is up this fall, I'll upgrade my 4S to a shiny new 6.  Or, since Apple seems to announce the new iPhones in the fall, maybe by the time my money is saved up and my contract is done, they'll have unleashed the 6B or whatever on the world. 

And, of course, one of my gift cards was for Best Buy, so it was time for new Blu-Rays.  I picked up the latest movie version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Yeah, the movie sucked, but I love TMNT.   As many other critics pointed out, about the only thing they got right in the film was the Turtles themselves.  Well, at least their personalities.  Still not crazy about their hulking new design.

And that was it.  Headed straight home after that.  After slip-sliding around one too many street corners in the city, I was thoroughly and completely done.  Bring on the new year!

Friday, January 02, 2015

CanCon Movie Time!

So if you're ever looking to waste some time, one of the most interesting places to do it is at the National Film Board of Canada website.  If you've never visited their website, or downloaded their award-winning app, the National Film Board has spent the past few years digitizing literally thousands of their films and making them available streaming online for free.  It's great if you ever have fond memories of some of their cartoons, or feel nostalgic for Grade 3 movie day.

When I'm feeling nostalgic, I start looking up some of their Vignettes.  Remember these?  They seemed to dominate TV throughout the 1980s.  These short films, between 1-5 minutes in length, always highlighted a unique aspect of Canadian history or culture, and ran on TV in between the programs.  They were very much the forefathers of the beloved Heritage Minutes.  Of course, the most famous and most beloved one is the Log Driver's Waltz.  But in my last bout of nostalgia, I looked up the one detailing the history of the Bluenose.

The way it's all in black and white, with a doom and gloom narrator, it almost seems like a 1940s newsreel.  And I always found the end so sad, seeing the wreckage of the once-mighty ship, just sitting and rotting off the coast of some island.

Now it's really interesting to compare this to the Heritage Minute about the Bluenose, which takes half the time to construct a tale of high seas adventure.

It's an interesting contrast.  How do you want to remember the ship...as a wreck rotting on a reef, or as the legendary racing and fishing schooner?

Many many years ago, I blogged that most museums and interpretive centres seem to have a little theatre that shows a short film about the history of whatever it is the museum or interpretive centre is dedicated to.  "Why don't they sell that film on DVD in the gift shop?" I mused in my blog.

The last real vacation I took was about five years ago.  I went to an old college friend's wedding in Calgary, and took a few days to head out to Banff National Park.  One of the sights I saw was the Cave and Basin Hot Spring.  Once a bustling swimming pool and health spa, it is now an interpretive centre and historical site, detailing how the discovery of the hot spring, and the formation of a government department to look after and administer it, led to the creation of Canada's national park system.  Being an interpretive centre, they have a little theatre that shows a little film about the history of Banff.  And, of course, the film wasn't available on DVD in the gift shop.

So imagine my surprise when I searched for "Banff" on the National Film Board's website, and discovered that the Cave and Basin film was an official National Film Board production, and available for multiple repeat viewings on their website.  And if I really still want to buy it on DVD, I can do so from the National Film Board's online store.

So here's the little film you'll see if you ever find yourself at the Cave and Basin in Banff:  Steam, Schemes, and National Dreams: The Story of Banff National Park.

And now we conclude our broadcast day.  Customary to do so with the playing of the national anthem.  In their "recently added" section, the National Film Board had a music video for the national anthem that looked quite familiar.  And then it dawned on me.  When I was kid and just got cable, one of the channels was the PBS station out of Detroit.  To acknowledge their Canadian viewers, when PBS concluded their broadcast day, they would run this film for O Canada!  I thought it was something those PBS producers whipped up, but no, it's an official National Film Board production.

And as the National Film Board website points out, the recording of O Canada was the one made for the 1976 Olympics.  So every time Canada one a medal, this was the recording of O Canada that played.