It’s been nearly 17 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie ushered in a new era of superhero movies, and in that time, we’ve seen studios crank through actors with alarming frequency. We’ve seen three Spider-Man, a handful of Batmen, three Punishers across the big and small screens, and dozens of big-budget Marvel and DC movies break records at the box office. In the midst of all this chaos has been Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the one actor-character combination that seemed immune to bad reviews and flagging box office numbers. And with Jackman set to take one final turn as Wolverine in Logan, the actor is taking a little time to stop and reflect on his impact in Hollywood.
I’m a hipster. Not even going to bother denying it. Despite never owning a record player before in my life, I was almost immediately swept up in the current vinyl craze and began my own collection of movie soundtracks to very carefully mount on my apartment walls. And then when a friend of mine introduced me to the complexity of the German-influenced tabletop games, I drank that Kool-aid too, attending a weekly board game night in New York City and exposing myself to the breadth of the industry. Until now, the only reason I haven’t gotten broke is because I treated it as an either-or scenario. Money spent on movie paraphernalia was money I couldn’t spend on a fun new board game, and vice-versa.
It’s funny how things work out. When Marvel was putting together the cast for Guardians of the Galaxy, they probably never dreamed that it would be former professional wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista who would emerge as the film’s most likable character. And yet, with his deadpan line deliveries and awesome physicality, Bautista stood out among his live-action costars — I mean, nobody was going to beat Groot — as the funniest and most sympathetic of all the Guardians. Just like that, Bautista was a bonafide movie star and one of the biggest strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There are a lot of ghost pirates in these Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The newest film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, centers on a whole new crew of spectral baddies (led by Javier Bardem) on the hunt for Johnny Depp’s most famous creation, Captain Jack Sparrow. Will he prevail? Well, dull, yes he will. He’s the one whose face is in the actual Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Few superhero movies captured the imagination of audiences last year quite like Deadpool. While Marvel releases were praised for their sleek storytelling and progressive characters, Deadpool went the other route, earning hundreds of millions of dollars on the strength of its raunchy sex scenes and immature sight gags. It was choppy, it was unpolished, and, occasionally, it was noticeably cheap around the edges. In other words, it was everything that Marvel movies are not.
Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of The Wire, but with Avengers: Infinity War serving up the most complicated collection of movie crossovers we’ve ever seen, I’m sorely tempted to get myself a bulletin board and a bunch of string. You know, connect the various characters and the roles they’ll be playing in the next movie, circle some of them with a red magic marker and draw question marks over the characters we’re not sure about. Honestly, these days, it seems like the most straight-forward way of keeping track of this mess.
Cyberattacks — or, as newly elected President Trump would say, “the Cyber” — are an increasingly common part of the world we live in. With most private information and secure data now available online, one tech-savvy computer user can do more damage to an institution than hundreds of lawyers or corporate spies. And while we might think of cyberattacks as being reserved for the Big Evil Corporations of the world, it turns out that not even film festivals are immune from being targeted.
With James Cameron caught in an endless loop of Avatar rumors and delays, it’s become fashionable for some fans to treat the director like a Hollywood has-been. I don’t get it. Even if you think the original Avatar is a hollow mess of special effects, it’s still a fun entry in Cameron’s ‘Soldiers vs. Monsters’ filmography. Are we so awash in incredible action directors that we can afford to dismiss Cameron’s eye for spectacle and clean action scenes? I think not.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an international smash hit, it wasn’t devoid of criticism. Some people felt that the film veered a little close to the storyline of the original Star Wars film; others felt that the family friendly action didn’t quite line up with the darker tone they expected from movies like The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith. So to those fans, I offer you the above deleted scene (via i09) where Chewbacca rips out the arm of Unkar Plutt. It may be another throwback to the original movies, but at least it’s one with a little bit of bite.
Raise your hand if you get bored and try out different accents. This is a habit I picked up as a kid that continues to this day. After watching the first season of Justified, for example, the rural Kentucky accent wormed its way so deeply into my brain that I had a hard time turning it off. As a result, one of my favorite videos of 2016 was this Wired piece where a dialogue coach weighed in on 32 different performances. It really highlights the amount of detail that goes into every single sentence an actor delivers.
After years of watching a certain segment of fans argue over which Enterprise captain was the best, I think it might be time for Star Trek fans to admit that they’re no longer the leader in casting fan arguments. Now all the cool kids want to argue over which Batman actor played the role best. While the obvious answer for most millennials would be Christian Bale, I tend to gravitate towards the early performances of Michael Keaton, a Batman who was a bit more believable as an intellectual than subsequent versions of the character. To each their own, I suppose.
There’s nothing quite as much fun as a perfectly conceived and executed supercut. Whether it’s a compilation of movie scenes where Nic Cage loses his mind or a movie dialogue version of one of Lionel Richie’s classic songs, a good supercut is the perfect piece of digital ephemera for movie lovers everywhere. And while most supercuts are fan-made labors of love, at least one studio has noticed the attention given to them and planned its marketing accordingly. So it was that the John Wick ‘Symphony of Violence’ supercut was given unto us, and it was very, very good.
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