Spoiler alert: Contrary to Stanley Kubrick-obsessed conspiracy theorists, a lunar module (call-sign “Eagle”) carrying two Earth-born astronauts landed on the moon fifty years ago next July. The two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, took “one small step for [a] man and one giant leap for mankind.” They became instant heroes and icons in the process. They were both alone and not alone. The United States, then the wealthiest country in the world, devoted roughly 5% of the federal budget to the Cold War-era space program. We landed on the moon because we could, because we wanted to be first, but mostly to beat the Soviets (and, of course, communism), and Armstrong, the epitome of America’s founding myth (rugged individualism, pioneer spirit, self-made men and woman) would seem like a perfect or near perfect subject for a big-budget, Hollywood biopic. Or at least, that’s what director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) and writer Josh Singer thought when they decided to work together and bring Neil Armstrong to life in First Man. They were, at best, half-right. (more…)
For centuries, writers have been transfixed by monster stories. The most common monsters are from the 20th Century films: Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, King Kong. But the ancient greeks had Medusa and the Minotaur. The Nords marvelled at Fenrir and Jormungand. The Chinese spun tales of Zhulong and Juiwei Hu. Humans have always been fascinated by the terrible creatures lying around each corner and, perhaps more fascinatingly, the aspects of their humanity.
Even more of a marvel is the evolution of monsters and love stories. Often, monsters would steal young women and were seen as cruel antagonists. They even were commonly metaphors for female impurity. However, over time, the idea of monsters being romantic leads grew and has become a new trope in literature and cinema. One of the earliest, most popular examples of this is the iconic, classic tale of Beauty and The Beast.
While Beauty and The Beast is a leader in this romantic subgenre, other films such as Twilight, Warm Bodies, and The Shape of Water have also been modern staples of the “finding beauty in ugliness” love stories. Though only these few are mentioned, there are countless more tales expounding upon the topic. However, one might wonder, how does such an odd sub-genre come about?
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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Ever since the smash hit that was IT floated above expectations, every company with Stephen King properties has been itching to jump on the money train. King’s work has always been often adapted, commonly tossed about Hollywood, but the current surge’s quality and impact is impressive, overall. There are at least 28 or more Stephen King tales being considered, be it trapped development hell all the way up to upcoming productions. Today, we look over what the king of horror and prolific work might have in store for us, in theaters and on the small screen. (more…)
Cult movies creep up on us all the time. Sometimes a movie has bad publicity or word-of-mouth just doesn’t cut it, and the people don’t go see it. When that happens, the movies tend to bomb at the box office, but get noticed on the video rental/VOD market. There are a lot of really good and really bad movies that fit these criteria, but to be considered a true cult classic the movie has to have a following and be fun to watch. Here are ten of the greatest cult films of the 20th-century people might have missed, but should definitely see.
Anyone who thinks – let alone imagines – that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange, the latest entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will revolutionize big-budget superhero-oriented blockbusters will be likely disappointed. Story wise, there’s nothing in Doctor Strange that can be described as revolutionary or even evolutionary, but that’s looking at Doctor Strange through one narrow lens, a lens that obviously ignores that film operates on a visual, cinematic level too and there, Doctor Strange succeeds beyond even the highest of expectations shared by comic-book fans and MCU fans (i.e., everyone else). Despite a sporadically intriguing, mid-level career as a genre filmmaker, Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil, Sinister, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) has delivered a superhero entry bursting with visual ingenuity, creativity, and imagination unparalleled in superhero-themed filmmaking, in or out of the MCU, expanding the MCU into a multiplicity, into a multiverse of possibilities that will repay a near infinity of repeat visits.