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Marvel Comics to Abandon Social Justice Storylines?

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The customers seem to have gotten through.

Tom Knighton writes: For a lot of comics fans, Marvel just isn’t what it used to be. While the comic line that gave us Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, and the X-Men has often been tinged with a bit of politics — for example, discrimination liberal-huhagainst mutants is common in the Marvel universe — recent comics from the company have been overwhelmingly political, and always politically left.

[Meanwhile, sales of comics are nosediving.]

[Read the full story here, at pjmedia]

Many fans have been less than appreciative. Luckily, it now seems those days are over:

Of late this kind of storytelling has become more pronounced, probably kicked off with the likes of The Authority, Ultimates and Civil War, with more recent stories in comics such a s Captain America, The Champions and Ms. Marvel wearing their politics firmly on their spandex sleeves.There has also been reaction from some fan communities and retailers to these kind of stories as having no place in superhero comics, despite all the many examples that have preceded it. Maybe it’s a little more obvious now? Maybe everyone is interpreting everything politically? Maybe fans wish for a time when they didn’t realise their superhero comics had political elements? Read the rest of this entry »

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Race-Obsessed Social Justice Warriors Target Director Tim Burton, Director Flips Bird

 reports: For fans of Ransom Riggs‘ 2011 bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, one of the things that made the news of its big-screen adaptation so intriguing was imagining which actors would make up the ensemble. The book features a large cast of characters, from the eponymous children to the many adults who throw them into peril.

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Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“Nowadays, people are talking about it more,” he says regarding film diversity. But “things either call for things, or they don’t. I remember back when I was a child watching The Brady Bunch and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”

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“I had to go back in my head and go, ‘how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies?’ And I may have been the first, I don’t know, or the most prominent in that particular way, but it happens the way it happens. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling, it’s just how it’s played out. Tim’s a really great guy.”

— Samuel L. Jackson

Of the film’s entire cast, Jackson appears to be the only nonwhite character, playing the villainous Barron, the leader of a group of creatures who aim to murder children with supernatural abilities. When I ask Jackson about the film’s lack of diversity, he says that while he “noticed it,” it didn’t deter him from taking on his part. Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] Hitchcock: The Fine Art of Fear

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Robert Nason writes: In Alfred Hitchcock’s films, the lack of information—or the possession of it—can have deadly consequences. The titles are revealing: “Suspicion” (1941), “Notorious” (1946), “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1934, 1956). In his concise, insightful book on the director, Michael Wood asserts that in Hitchcock’s films there are “only three options: to know too little, to know too much . . . and to know a whole lot that is entirely plausible and completely wrong.”

“Some claim that Hitch was a sadist who took ‘pleasure in seeing beautiful women in harm’s way.’ Mr. Wood argues that Hitchcock worked out his own fears on film: ‘Far from enjoying the torments of these women at risk, he identified with them.'”

Hitchcock was born on Aug. 13, 1899, the son of a greengrocer. Members of this economic class, Mr. Wood says, were suspicious of the posh people above them and the unruly ones below. Hitchcock’s hitchcock-bookfilms would abound with upper-class villains and fearful mobs. As a Catholic, Hitchcock was an outsider in Protestant England; he would later be an English outsider in America.

[Order Michael Wood’s book “Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much” from Amazon.com]

Shy, chubby and intelligent, the young Hitchcock had few friends. He preferred attending sensational London trials—and movies. Instead of fan magazines, Hitch—as he preferred to be called—avidly read technical film journals and landed a job designing movie title cards. As a fledging director of silents, he was influenced by the shadowy lighting and dynamic camera movements of German Expressionist cinema. He would combine their beauty and atmosphere of anxiety with a dash of black humor and a blonde in jeopardy. All the ingredients were in place for his third feature, “The Lodger” (1927), the film “in which he became Hitchcock,” as Mr. Wood puts it. The title character is suspected by everyone as a notorious-posterJack-the-Ripperish killer. Is he or isn’t he? “Innocence and guilt,” Mr. Wood notes, “leave many of the same traces.”

When Hitchcock came to Hollywood in 1939, he had already imparted alarming warnings to his British countrymen in a recent string of thrillers. He would send the same message to Americans: A menace threatened not only Great Britain and the United States but civilization as a whole. In many of Hitchcock’s great British films, from “The 39 Steps” (1935) to “The Lady Vanishes” (1938), we’re usually not told who the spies are working for, but there’s little doubt who the enemy is. Likewise, in his early Hollywood film “Foreign Correspondent” (1940), the “peace activist,” suavely played by Herbert Marshall, is actually a spy working for the unnamed foe.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

While some Hitchcock films deal with global threats, the truly frightening works dwell upon more intimate dangers. In the film that was the director’s personal favorite, “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), pshychoJoseph Cotton plays a dapper killer of wealthy women, proving that evil could lurk even in anytown America. In “Strangers on a Train” (1951) and “Rear Window” (1954), brutal murders occur, respectively, in an amusement park and a middle-class apartment building. Hitchcock became an American citizen in 1955, the same year that his hit television program “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” debuted. Mr. Wood suggests that the habitually fearful Hitchcock worried about “losing what he most cared about” at the pinnacle of his career, and this contributed to the richness of his confident yet melancholy films during the next few years.

Mr. Wood devotes more space to “Vertigo” (1958) than to any other Hitchcock film. In this masterpiece of misinformation and obsession, Jimmy Stewartplays a retired private investigator fascinated by a suicidal woman who is hardly who she seems to be. In “North by Northwest” (1959), Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a shallow Madison Avenue advertising man thought by enemy spies to be an American intelligence officer who in fact doesn’t exist. Read the rest of this entry »


Brian Lowry: Rupert Murdoch History: Fox Head Was the Original Disruptor

***EXCLUSIVE*** Portrait of Rupert Murdoch, international media executive, January 31, 1977 in New York City. (Photo by Arnold Newman/Getty Images) writes: “Disruptive technology” has become one of the favorite buzz phrases in today’s media environment, referring to innovations that have rapidly reshaped the industry. Yet long before many of those gadgets came into being, Rupert Murdoch was, in many ways, the great disruptor.

At first blush, it’s strange to think of Murdoch — who was 56 years old when the Fox network made its primetime debut in 1987 — as some sort of renegade. As the head of a major media conglomerate, he’s been a firmly entrenched part of the establishment.

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Through the series of deals on which he built Fox, however, as well as the expansion of the studio, Murdoch has seldom been bound by convention. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] First Look at the official New Star Wars Uprising RPG for iOS and Android

There is a brand new official Star Wars RPG in the works over at Kabaam studios. Today, alongside Disney and Lucasfilm, the developer announced Star Wars: Uprising, a new mobile title set to take place after the events of the last chronological film….(read more)

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German 1966 Re-Release Poster for ‘The Seven Year Itch’: Billy Wilder, USA, 1955

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German 1966 re-release poster for THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (Billy Wilder, USA, 1955)

Designer: uncredited

Poster source: Heritage Auctions

Marilyn Monroe would have been 89 today.


Vintage Movie Poster: ‘Il Sengo di Zorro’

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‘Star Wars’ Films Will Be Available for Download

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“Star Wars” is finally arriving on the world’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy: the Internet.

All six “Star Wars” movies will be available to download for the first time — legally, anyway — starting Friday, April 10, from major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

“Hard-core fans will likely want to know that the digital versions will be the same ones that the always-tweaking George Lucas released on Blu-ray, not the original theatrical versions.”

Disney and 20th Century Fox, which together control rights to the films, will make them available to purchase for digital devices individually and as a set. Previously, “Star Wars” has been available on DVD and Blu-ray, but not online.

Prices will be set by retailers. The movies will only be available to buy, not to rent via video-on-demand. Read the rest of this entry »


Scott Mendelson: ‘Kingsman‘ Is Best 007 Homage Since ‘Austin Powers

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Fox may have a new franchise on its hands with this witty and occasionally spectacular homage to 1970′s-era James Bond adventures.

 Scott Mendelson writes: 20th Century Fox will be releasing Kingsman: The Secret Service starting in the UK beginning January 29th before eventually debuting in America and elsewhere on or around the February 13th. The film, directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, comes from Marv Films and Fox. I don’t have an exact budget for this one, but if I had to guess, I’d say over/under $40 million. At a glance, the initial tracking for the picture puts its domestic debut at $30m over the Presidents Day Weekend, which would be a fine score for this geek-friendly R-rated action romp. Especially considering that Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal/Comcast Corp.) will be sucking up all the media attention heading into the Valentine’s Day Weekend, a $30m debut weekend would be a big win for this comparatively under-the-radar picture.

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If you had asked me a month ago, even after I saw the film, I would have worried that the picture was potentially going to fall victim to the Scott Pilgrim/Dredd disease, by which I mean a geek-friendly genre film plays great on the online movie blogger circuit but was mostly ignored by the general audiences.

“Consider this a warning. If you’re seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, stop watching the trailers right here and now. You’ll thank me later.”

Heck, you could argue that Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, which like this film is an adaption of a Mark Millar comic book, suffered from the same fate, to the point where the R-rated cult comic book adaptation had to defend a “mere” $19 million debut weekend. But Lions Gate Entertainment’s Kick-Ass eventually made it to $96m worldwide and played well in post-theatrical, to the point where Universal/Comcast Corp. ended up with Kick-Ass 2, which earned just $60m worldwide in 2013. But I digress.

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Point being, Colin Firth is a known entity without being an out-and-out box office star, and Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t been an automatic draw since, well, Lakeview Terrace and/or Jumper in 2008. Oh, he’s the king of the added-value element, and he darn-well should have won his Oscar for Django Unchained, but most of the cast (aside from Michael Caine and Mark Strong) are little-known kids. Read the rest of this entry »


The End of Free Speech in Hollywood


[PHOTO] Grace Kelly, 1955

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Grace Kelly wearing an Edith Head gown, photographed by Philippe Halsman, 1955 (via)

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