The genre of Cyberpunk is not a new one. The genre pulls from the Punk subculture and early Hacker culture, while usually exploring the not-so-distant dystopian future of humanity. In film, it started with Blade Runner. The pencil and paper RPG Shadowrun has found success for years. Numerous films, tv shows, video games and nearly every other medium has dipped its toes into the Cyberpunk genre. While the genre seemed to hit its peak in the 90s, there’s been a solid resurgence in the interest of the genre. What cyberpunk-y goodness lies out there for fans to consume? Jack-in, Chummer.
Not all (super) heroes wear spandex, capes, or cowls. Some (super) heroes don’t even wear pants or even underwear, preferring to go au natural from the waist down and a too-short, tight-fitting sweater up top.
Their powers don’t involve flight, super-strength, or invisibility, just the seemingly endless appetite for honey and waxing philosophical just when their human counterparts need them the most (i.e., during a mid-life personal and professional crisis).
That might sound like a curious mash-up of A.A. Milne’s beloved, self-aware, ambulatory teddy bear and Steven Spielberg’s much-maligned Peter-Pan-as-an-adult misfire, Hook, but Christopher Robin, directed by Marc Forster (World War Z, Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) from a screenplay credited to Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder, easily one-ups Hook, delivering a poignant, moving paean to the carefree joys of childhood, the positives and negatives of nostalgia, the importance of family over work, and the value of people over profits (no, the irony isn’t lost on this writer, given mega-studio Disney’s involvement).
There are spoilers…
There’s “derivative” with a small “d” and then there’s “derivative” with a capital “D.”
The Darkest Minds, the latest – and late by a half-decade – big-screen adaptation of a dystopian YA novel, falls into the second category. Look hard, look long, and you won’t find a single character, plot element, or theme you haven’t seen before. Most of it shamelessly cribbed by screenwriter Chad Hodge, adapting the first book in Alexandra Bracken’s series, and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, making her live-action debut after directing Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, from five or six decades of X-Men stories (minus spandex, capes, and cowls), including the feature-film series credited with kick-starting the dormant superhero genre (shout out too, of course, to Blade).
Even a young, spirited cast, led by Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), can’t lift The Darkest Minds from a story so lacking in originality, imagination, or invention that will leave the targeted teen demo bored, indifferent, or near comatose.
Frank Herbert’s Dune has been one of the most influential science fiction novels of the past century. It has inspired, created, and been homaged in more forms than one can count. Dune is a story that finds its way into most all sects of nerd-dom This can include spawning the most iconic worms in the world, to feeding meme culture, to inspiring films and video games. Even today, games like Enter the Gungeon make spice a usable in-game item, and shows like Futurama utilize sand worms to travel across desert planets. Truly, spice has become life. In its own, special way, of course. (more…)
It took more than two decades and a big-screen adaptation/semi-sequel/standalone feature for Nicolas Cage, the world’s biggest Superman fan (he named his firstborn Kal-El), he finally got the chance to slip into the Big Blue Boy Scout’s tights, albeit in cartoon form. Cage’s Superman only plays a minor, tangential role in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, but it’s the clearest example of co-directors Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail’s mega-meta-take on a superhero genre (DC Edition) in need of the occasional takedown or skewering. Nothing’s sacred to Horvath and Michail, not Superman, not Batman, not Wonder Woman (DC’s Holy Trinity), and definitely not the (Pre) Teen Titans who lend their name to Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and provide moviegoers, young and old alike, with an almost infinite supply of verbal jokes, physical gags, and everything in between (including periodic, self-aware musical numbers).
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Hyperbole isn’t hyperbole if it’s true and calling Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth entry in the seemingly never-ending spy-action films starring the ageless Tom Cruise, one of the best, if not the best, action film of the last decade isn’t hyperbole (because it’s true). Comparing Mission: Impossible – Fallout to The Dark Knight, rightly considered one of the best action films of the new millennium, isn’t out of bounds either. It’s not inaccurate to call Mission: Impossible – Fallout the equivalent of The Dark Knight in the Mission: Impossible series. It just took six films and two decades to accomplish what Christopher Nolan did in two films spread across three years. That’s not a knock on Mission: Impossible, Tom Cruise, the fittest 56-year-old in human history, or his manic, otherwise questionable willingness to risk life and limb to deliver CGI-free (mostly) physical stunts without equal in modern moviemaking, but simply a recognition that the Mission: Impossible series, for all of their commercial and critical success, have leaned too hard on Cruise’s charisma and risk-taking personality.
DC Comics have shaped so much of nerd culture during their tenure as superhero kings. Their comic books have shaped dreams, inspired heroes, and sparked imaginations. Their animated series have left fans in wonder, have created iconic characters, and connected superheroes to viewers outside of their normal audiences. DC has created some of the most memorable heroes to ever exist: Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman.
This year at the San Diego Comic Con, DC revealed several new productions about their superheroes. Fans marveled at all the upcoming projects. The company showed trailers for two films, Aquaman and Shazam, one live action series, Titans, and the continuation of their animated series, Young Justice: Outsiders.
At 63, two-time Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington doesn’t need a franchise, superhero-related or otherwise, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to participate in an ongoing series, if mostly for box-office viability (just ask Tom Cruise and an A-list career sustained in large part due to the continuing success of the Mission: Impossible series). Not surprisingly, the Washington we meet in The Equalizer 2 is older, slower, even heavier, but that doesn’t stop his character, Robert McCall, an ex-CIA black ops operative, from easily dispatching men several decades younger without breaking as much as a sweat or suffering superficial paper cuts. Believable? Maybe, maybe not, but with Washington contributing the focus, commitment, and dedication typical of an Oscar-worthy or Oscar-caliber effort, believability almost doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is The Equalizer 2 suffers from a been-there, seen-it-all-before quality that ultimately delivers minimal, marginal entertainment value (one or two or three scenes excepted).
Four years ago the world was shocked by the sudden death of comedic legend Robin Williams. Famous for his TV role of Mork (from Happy Days and Mork & Mindy) and for his stand up comedy that was frenetic yet always incisive. However, it was his appearances on film that garnered him the most notice.
His roles in Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, the original Jumanji, Patch Adams, Night at the Museum and many others made him an American treasure. He won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting, six Golden Globes, four Grammys, two Kids’ Choice Awards, and many others.
A new biography about him has premiered on HBO, titled Come Inside My Mind. The biography explores the legacy of the comedy icon and tries to make sense of his suicide.
Even though he is gone, we still have William’s many appearances in films that have nerd connections. Here are just a few:
The story of Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, while saving Maid Marion from the clutches of Prince John has been around since the 15th century. It has been retold in film many times.
On November 22nd of this year another film reboots the story for a new generation.
Robin Hood (2018) stars Taron Egerton as a war hardened Robin, who along with Moorish commander Little John (Jamie Foxx), returns home from the Crusades to discover his homeland rife with corruption and evil. Jamie Dornan plays Will Scarlet, Eve Hewson as Maid Marion, Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck, Paul Anderson as Guy of Gisborne, and Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham round out the strong cast.
With the release of the first official trailer this film looks to ignore substance for the sake of style. Hollywood seems intent on continuing the trend of making flashy looking action films over historically accurate dramas (the recent King Arthur film comes to mind).
To help wash away the bad taste the trailer leaves here is a list of some of the Robin Hood films of the past worth watching: