Disney’s “Coco” Is Magical and Culturally Fulfilling

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During the Thanksgiving holiday, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios are bringing a new and much-anticipated animated film to the big screen: “Coco.” This film has the same amazing animation quality as every other legendary Pixar animated film of the past few years. Moreover, it includes a unique, authentic portrayal of Mexican culture. It all adds up to a magical and culturally fulfilling experience for the entire family.

“Coco” is a fun comedy adventure for the whole family

From the outset, “Coco” delivers a storyline that’s anchored in family values and tradition. Young Miguel, a 12-year-old boy with a passion for guitars and music, is fascinated by the thought of becoming a professional musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). However, his family has a long-standing ban on music, and Miguel must explore his passion for music in private.

That, of course, leads Miguel to search out the history of his family to see why music is considered to be a “curse.” Why are people trying to stop him from becoming a musician? There are scenes where he is trying to examine old family photographs and where he is trying to figure out what older members of his family – such as his great-grandfather – would think about his love for music.

That already sounds like a very charming premise for a movie, right? You can imagine grandmothers and grandfathers – not just moms and dads – bringing their kids to the local multiplex. This is safe family fare that isn’t trying to be “edgy.” It’s a fun comedy adventure for the whole family.

“Coco” offers a culturally fulfilling view of Mexican traditions

When Disney first started working on “Coco,” there were some immediate concerns that the animated film would be, well, too white. And even when Disney first worked on the name of the film, it ran into problems with the Hispanic-American community. Disney wanted to call the film “The Day of the Dead,” but Hispanics worried that Disney was trying to expropriate Mexican culture and trademark it all under the name of a huge American media & entertainment conglomerate. So, “The Day of the Dead” turned into “Coco.”

There’s a lot about this film that makes it so culturally fulfilling. First and foremost, Disney and Pixar were careful to cast only Latinos in the lead roles. Thus, there is a person of color in the lead role (Anthony Gonzales, as the young Miguel), and the other lead characters include Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt. So nobody can accuse of Disney/Pixar of not getting the very best Latino talent!

On top of all that, Disney pulled in a set of cultural consultants from Mexico to make sure that the view of Mexican culture was authentic. Thus far, it has all paid off. There has been advance positive acclaim for the film’s authentic portrayal of Mexican culture and traditions. In other words, the film doesn’t present a dumbed-down Taco Bell version of what Mexican culture is all about!

“Coco” has a musical soundtrack that will win over music fans

Music plays a huge part in “Coco.” It is central to every single plotline, and it is the character of Miguel – playing his guitar and trying to become the next Ernesto de la Cruz musical legend – who is the real star of this film.

And, the film includes so many great nuggets of wisdom that involve music. Here’s just one example – Ernesto de la Cruz is talking about how to handle adversity in life and says, “When life gets me down, I play my guitar.”

And, to convey the message of how music can capture a certain mood and a certain style, Ernesto de la Cruz likes to mention “a song that’s playing just for you.” It is music, indeed, that gives young Miguel the impetus to set off on his personal adventure.

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“Coco” features an animated dog called Dante and he’s wonderful

While “Coco” is only set to hit the big screen in late November in time for Thanksgiving, fans have already had a chance to view a short two-minute film called “Dante’s Lunch – a Short Tail,” which dropped on March 29. The video has been a hit on YouTube, and was designed to showcase the character of Dante, Miguel’s small dog. This dog is wonderful, bouncing around and playfully trying to find a bone – but that bone happens to belong to a skeleton!

“Coco” has some imaginative and evocative dream-like sequences

There are some parts of “Coco” when you may audibly gasp while watching – that’s how impressive the animation work is. There are some sequences, such as when Miguel and Dante are crossing a bridge to the Land of the Dead, that may leave you scratching your head of just exactly how they pulled it off. The artwork is wonderful, and fans have already given the movie major props for the gorgeous art style.

It’s easy to see the hand of Pixar Animation Studios at work here. They are still the very best in the business, and the care and detail that went into every scene is truly impressive. The scenes in the Land of the Dead are amazing, and everything is done so well that you might not even realize that those are just skeletons!

“Coco” has universal and timeless themes

There are some themes within the film that are truly timeless, such as the need to “reach for your dream to make it come true.” Nobody is going to make a dream reality except you, and that’s a lesson that “Coco” offers again and again.

The themes of love, family and the importance of tradition all play a role as well. Much of the action centers on the Day of the Dead, an important Mexican holiday, and one that has special meaning for Miguel’s family.

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Ultimately, “Coco” looks like it is going to be another winner in Disney and Pixar’s animation portfolio. This animated film includes a stellar Latino cast, gorgeous artwork that is culturally sensitive to Latinos, and enduring themes that can be enjoyed and explored by the whole family. Truly, “Coco” is a magical and culturally fulfilling experience.

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Why “Mother!” Has Baffled Audiences

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The most baffling and controversial movie of this fall is almost certain to be Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” There is nothing simple or easy to explain about this movie – it is a psychological thriller, but it is also an extended biblical allegory, a horror film and a drama about a marital relationship. By the end of the movie, you are aware that Aronofsky has made you deeply uncomfortable, but you are not quite sure why. No wonder audiences have been baffled.

“Mother!” is impossible to place into a specific genre

With a cast that includes Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, you would immediately assume that this all-star movie cast is part of a conventional Hollywood movie production. But, as RogerEbert.com has pointed out, this film is the “most audacious and flat-out bizarre” movie that any major Hollywood studio has made in quite some time. It has already been compared to films in the Kubrick oeuvre, as well as films from Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby”) and horror movies from De Palma. It is a masterpiece, to be sure, but one that people are still trying to give a traditional Hollywood label.

We’ve already seen this type of film from Aronofsky before – films like “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” and, most recently, “Black Swan,” have combined the literal with the metaphorical in a way that makes movie audiences squirm. Events start off with the literal, and quickly proceed to become stranger and stranger, until it is clear that we are watching something very different. The action happening inside someone’s head can be more dramatic than what’s happening around them.

As a result, movie critics have attempted to call this a horror movie, a thriller, a religious allegory and a psychological drama. The New York Times, in a bit of bizarre movie analysis, even suggested that this film was really a new type of comedy worthy of Blake Edwards.

Aronofsky himself has offered several different interpretations of “Mother!”

Making matters even more confusing, director Darren Aronofsky has almost flat-out attempted to stir the pot by tossing out several different interpretations of the movie. Aronofsky recently told the New York Times that the film was really about climate change, and that the character of Jennifer Lawrence (known only as Mother) represented the figure of Mother Earth.

But at other times, Aronofsky has doubled down on the idea that the film is really an extended biblical allegory and a clever retelling of the Bible. From this perspective, some critics have said that the figure of Javier Bardem can be characterized as a God-like figure that combines light and dark, and that the film is about creation and destruction, and the forces at work on Earth.

But still other critics have come up with a different twist on the religious allegory theme – they have suggested that the film is really about Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence as the first man and wife (i.e. Adam and Eve). And there are obviously hints within the movie to suggest as much – at one point, the house where the two are now living is referred to as “paradise” and when a mess appears in the house, it is referred to by Lawrence’s character as an “apocalypse.”

Some reviewers, such as the New Republic, have given up entirely, simply calling the film “a mess of biblical proportions.” It’s messy, it’s complicated, and even the biblical allusions are not precise. Maybe Aronofsky wanted us to be baffled at the outset.

“Mother!” purposefully uses camera angles to confuse audiences

Before the premiere of the film on September 15, director Darren Aronofsky sat down with the New York Times and discussed an important scene in the film, describing how he filmed “Mother!” using only three different camera angles, including an over-the-shoulder point of view (POV) shot and plenty of extreme close-up shots of the actors.

As Aronofsky explains, this was all done on purpose. The idea was to create confusion within viewers – without more conventional shots (such as establishing shots or tracking shots) – it’s harder to tell what’s going on. Moreover, Aronofsky wants the viewer to experience the movie in the same way as Jennifer Lawrence does. For that reason, the over-the-shoulder POV shots show us what she is seeing, but no more than that.

Almost every critical review of the film gives a huge shout-out to the lighting and cinematography. They seem to tell a story – but not always the one that we expect as viewers. The New York Times, given its cultural pretentiousness, even went so far as to describe the movie in terms of famous painters and paintings – from this perspective, the figure of Bardem is described as being like a figure from an El Greco painting while the figure of Jennifer Lawrence is described as being an “Italian Madonna” from the Renaissance era. So wait, is Jennifer Lawrence now a Madonna figure?

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“Mother!” is an insanely polarizing movie

It’s hard not to conclude that Aronofsky purposefully made this film to be as divisive and polarizing as possible. You will either love this movie, calling it a revelation (oops, there’s more of that biblical allegory), or you will hate it, calling it a confusing mess.

One reason that the movie is so polarizing is because it hits on some hot-button issues – especially religion – that it knows will stir people up. Another reason why it is so polarizing is because you realize that Aronofsky is toying with you on so many levels – the character of Ed Harris is only known as “Man,” the character of Michelle Pfeiffer is only known as “Woman,” and the character of Jennifer Lawrence is only known as “Mother.” Heck, even the first word of spoken dialogue in this film is simply “baby.” This is a big, important movie and Aronofsky wants you to know that.

People who love this move will simply adore the acting work of Bardem, Lawrence, Harris and Pfeiffer. They are all extraordinary in their roles. And, if you have any background whatsoever in biblical studies, you will love trying to piece together all the clues. Is Bardem really God? Is he a symbol of the Holy Church and written scripture? Is he Christ? Is he Adam? It’s hard to wrap your head around what all this means. It’s baffling, to be sure.

There are plenty of questions raised in this movie, and none that are resolved fully. It’s impossible to talk about this film without getting into spoiler territory, and for that reason, many reviews have been frustratingly vague, only hinting that the movie is so many things at once that it’s hard to break down into a meaningful, linear narrative. One thing is certain: “Mother!” has baffled audiences, and it’s well on its way to being one of the most talked-about films of the autumn.

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Why “Star Trek: Discovery” Has the Potential to Be the Best “Star Trek” Yet

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Admittedly, we’ve only seen the first two episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS, but what we have seen has been extremely tantalizing. After more than 12 months of worry and anxiety from Star Trek fans that maybe “Discovery” wouldn’t live up to the lofty standards of the “Star Trek” franchise, it looks like this new Star Trek has the potential to be the best one yet.

“Star Trek: Discovery” will offer us richer, more complex characters and plotlines

If you think about all the earlier iterations of “Star Trek,” they were essentially morality plays set in outer space. There were good guys – everyone from the Federation and everyone aboard the Enterprise. And then there were the bad guys – the Klingons and the various aliens populating the Star Trek universe.

It was easy to know who to root for, and who to root against. And you knew how every episode was going to end. It’s not that these shows were formulaic – but they did follow a very well known dramatic arc that followed the conventional format of TV shows. You had to set up a problem, introduce some conflict, and then resolve a problem, all within a very short period of time.

But look at how the first 2 episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” has completely turned that logic on its head. Start with the Klingons – they are still a martial, war-like species, but their motivations appear to be much more complex, making us question whether we might have gotten the Klingons all wrong.

In fact, the first episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” tries to show the Klingon perspective on why things are as they are. We see them being led almost by a religious fanatic, and how their enmity against the Federation is almost a holy war of sorts that is based on acts taken against them. We’re told that the Federation may be powerful, but that it is torn by conflict and even hypocrisy.

And then are the Vulcans – we usually think of them as being entirely rational and, ultimately, the “good guys.” But here again, things are not as they seem. We learn about the “Vulcan hello” – which is not exactly what you might expect. It turns out that, in the first encounter between the Vulcans and Klingons, the Vulcans’ first impulse was to fire on the Klingons and attack them. That’s hardly rational.

And then take the examples of the characters and heroes themselves. First Officer Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) has been described as a “disturbingly flawed hero,” and for good reason. What other version of Star Trek has resulted in the First Officer being locked up in the starship brig and facing an imprisonment term for a breach of Federation policy? What other version of Star Trek has seen a character who seems to be wrestling so many internal demons as she decides upon the right course of action.

“Star Trek: Discovery” will be more cinematic than any of the previous TV versions

If you think about the Star Trek franchise, it has done a remarkable job of integrating both the film and TV versions. The times when the film has seemed to veer off-script is when fans have voiced their displeasure. Each new film that is released, then, has to follow a certain dramatic arc and conform to certain “rules of the road” in order to stay true and authentic to the original Star Trek vision.

What gives the new “Star Trek: Discovery” a lot more wiggle room is the fact that it’s set a full 10 years before the original Star Trek. Thus, it’s possible to imagine a new Star Trek universe, and to create plausible back stories for the original versions of Star Trek. The first, initial peaks at this world didn’t go over well with fans – the teaser-trailer showed a starship that many described as industrial-looking and not at all within the spirit of Star Trek.

But this “Star Trek: Discovery” seems to be winning over both fans and skeptics with its amazing cinematic sweep. This is a Star Trek that looks as good as it sounds. We almost feel like we’re watching a movie, and not just a TV series. The battle scenes with the Klingons are fantastic, and exactly what you would expect from a feature-length Hollywood film. And the initial battle with the Klingon guarding the ancient space beacon is almost gladiatorial in its filming. This is just really good TV – TV so good that it almost seems like cinema.

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“Star Trek: Discovery’ will be more high-tech and futuristic than other Star Trek shows

It’s hard to think of a TV show that has done more to support the spirit of scientific curiosity and innovation than Star Trek. This is a franchise that has given us the fantastic medical device known as the tricorder, the teleportation room for beaming down to distant planets, the notion of “warp speed” to connote travel at unbelievable speeds faster than the speed of light, and the “phaser” as the weapon of choice in hand-to-hand combat. It also taught us what a spaceship was supposed to look like. That’s hard to top, right?

Well. it looks like “Star Trek: Discovery” might just be able to fill those big shoes. Fans are already raving about the holographic telepresence system seen in the first two episodes. Even something as simple as the spacesuits worn by the crew of the Discovery seem to be futuristic and sci-fi. If the first Star Trek TV series showed us a a world that already was high-tech and futuristic, then it looks like it is the job of this Star Trek to fill in all the blanks and lead us on a wondrous innovation journey from Discovery to Enterprise.

Put it all together – the more complex and nuanced characters, the more intricate plotlines, the cinematic sweep of the show, and the emphasis on creating the best sci-fi TV series yet – and it looks like “Star Trek: Discovery” has the potential to become the best Star Trek yet. If you had any doubts at all about this latest iteration of the Star Trek franchise, you can now rest easy – this show is going to be bold, daring and spectacular. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.

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Tennis Fans Will Love “Battle of the Sexes”

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If you’re a tennis fan, then the upcoming “Battle of the Sexes” movie starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone is going to be a pure delight. You’ll enjoy re-living one of the most famous moments in all of sports – the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs that took place back in 1973. There are so many reasons why tennis fans will love this new movie.

“Battle of the Sexes” captures the pure spectacle of 1970’s era tennis

It seems hard to believe, but the “Battle of the Sexes” event took place nearly 45 years ago in the Houston Astrodome. At the time, it was one of the most-hyped events ever, featuring the former Wimbledon star Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell) and the then No. 1 women’s player in the world, Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone).

Nobody gave Billie Jean King much of a chance, especially after Bobby Riggs had dismantled women’s tennis champion Margaret Court in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-1, just a few months earlier. But Billie Jean King proved her doubters wrong, and forever changed the trajectory of professional tennis with her convincing 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 straight sets sweep.

While many people may have forgotten the final score of the match, nobody who witnessed the event could ever forget the pure spectacle of it. To start with, it featured 30,000 cheering fans at the Houston Astrodome, then a record for professional tennis. And that number was dwarfed by the people tuning in on national TV. More than 90 million people watched worldwide, making it easily the most-watched sporting event of all time. Even the recent Mayweather-McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas couldn’t top this.

The “Battle of the Sexes” movie captures this pomp and circumstance with 70’s era music, and all the little style and aesthetic flourishes that brings back that golden era of tennis. Remember – that was an era before cable TV, before the multi-million-dollar prizes paid out at the Grand Slam tennis events, and before the era of rampant product endorsements. At the time, a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 was worth staking your fame and legacy on – and that’s exactly what Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs did back in 1973.

“Battle of the Sexes” shows the off-court trials and tribulations of both stars

At the same time that the championship match was happening on the court, there were plenty of off-the-court trials and tribulations for both Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. It’s hard to say which one faced greater personal demons.

On the one hand, you had Bobby Riggs, essentially a washed-up former star still struggling to stay relevant. He was a charmer, a huckster and a big-time gambler, and that caused havoc with his family life. When he won his Wimbledon men’s championship back in 1939, he allegedly made $100,000 by betting aggressively on his victory. But what goes up must come down, and in many ways, Riggs was headed for a crash landing due to his gambling.

He was, perhaps, the consummate showman. That’s something the film makes very clear – from the way he paraded around his anti-female chauvinism and bigotry, to the way he paraded around the tennis court like a clown.

On the other hand, you had Billie Jean King, who was fighting for equal pay and equal treatment. Concerned by the huge disparity in paychecks for men and women tennis stars, Billie Jean King joined the movement to start a separate women’s tennis tour. The final tipping point, as the film makes clear, was the wide gap in prize pools for the men and women tennis champions: men were making $12,000 per championship, while the women were making just a fraction of that ($1,500).

But Billie Jean King was struggling for more than just equal pay and equal rights – she was also struggling with her own sexuality. That’s another angle to the film that tennis fans will love, since they might not know the full extent of Billie Jean’s King LGBT issues. She was married, but fell in love with her hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett (played by Andrea Riseborough). So there’s another major plotline there.

“Battle of the Sexes” shows the origins of the modern tennis era

At one time, tennis was a gentleman’s sport, played only by men of the aristocracy. And until the 1970’s, it was largely seen as a privileged sport for men. But the events of that era exploded open that notion, democratizing the game of tennis for everyone. Today, it’s hard to believe that situation ever existed – go down to any local park, and there’s likely a tennis court. Go into any sporting goods store, and you’ll see life-size cutouts of tennis stars like Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. They are multi-millionaires with huge endorsement deals and global celebrity profiles.

In many ways, the so-called “Battle of the Sexes” was the precursor to all that. And that’s why tennis fans will love this movie so much. You can mark down 1973 as the year everything changed. In many ways, it was the perfect storm – the end of the peak civil rights era, the sexual revolution and the transformation of niche sports into major professional leagues with huge TV audiences. With TV deals came bigger prize pools, and with bigger prize pools the best stars became celebrities. They no longer had to take up Bobby Riggs on a humiliating offer to make $10,000 – they could make several times that just on their talent alone.

If there is any complaint whatsoever about “Battle of the Sexes,” it’s that it perhaps treats Bobby Riggs too lightly. The film humanizes him too much, attempting to equate his struggles with the struggles of Billie Jean King. But he was a chauvinist, a gambler and a huckster. In contrast, Billie Jean King was a true tennis icon deserving of all the acclaim she receives today.

If you’re a fan of tennis, “Battle of the Sexes” has to be one of the most anticipated films of the fall season. Steve Carell and Emma Stone are fantastic as the two tennis champions, and the supporting cast – led by Bill Pullman and Elizabeth Shue – are fantastic as well. Tennis fans, no doubt, will love “Battle of the Sexes.”

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Why “It” Is Masterfully Terrifying

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The movie adaptation of Stephen King’s famous horror novel “It” is just about as terrifying as it gets for a Hollywood film. Just when you thought you had gotten over your fear of clowns and put to rest your old childhood traumas, “It” digs them back up and makes you confront your deepest fears. There are several reasons why “It” is so terrifying for both children and adults.

“It” turns the icons of childhood into elements of horror

First and most importantly, the film’s director Andrés Muschietti – following the lead of Stephen King – works to subvert the traditional view of childhood as a time of innocence and purity. Childhood, in short, is no longer a time when we can innocently make paper boats and float them in the water, or laugh along with clowns at birthday parties. Take, for example, the scene of little 6-year-old Georgie, a sweet child walking out in the rain who stumbles upon the predator clown in the most innocent of ways – his paper boat floats into the sewer system where the monster is lurking.

In “It,” the monster is Pennywise the Clown, and that’s what is so terrifying. We can no longer trust anyone or anything – the simple red balloon floating in the air could be a toy, or it could be what lures you to your grisly death. Remember, King’s novel of the same name was published nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the clown-as-monster trope has entered the cultural mainstream, and nobody is shocked anymore when we hear stories of a child predator lurking in the woods, dressed as a clown.

“It” gives us images that are reminiscent of hallucinatory nightmares

The primary attribute of Pennywise the Clown (played by Bill Skarsgard) is that it can shape-shift and assume whatever form is most frightening to its victim. Thus, we see some graphic and hallucinatory images that seem ripped from our nightmares – human-like forms with spider limbs, deformed heads, and just about anything that will scare the wits out of you.

The one scene that everyone is talking about, of course, involves the long fun-house scene at 29 Neibolt Street. This is a haunted house of horrors beyond your wildest imagination. While some of the images and accompanying frights (and especially the creepy music!) may now be “horror film classics,” they are terrifying nonetheless.

“It” is really a story of innocent children vs. evil adults

What makes the film so terrifying from start to finish is how it creates a milieu in which children are good and adults are evil. Parents and adults, when they do appear in the film, do so only sparingly. And they are typically cruel, manipulative and downright immoral (such as the lecherous father who seems intent on corrupting his own daughter). The story that we learn in the film is that the parents know about the horror that has haunted the town for decades, but have done nothing about it. They have covered it up, and have not confronted it.

In contrast, it is the “Loser’s Club” led by Bill Denbrough (played by Jaeden Lieberher) who must take on the horror. They must travel through the town’s sewer system to find the evil lurking beneath. And it is they who must do so without the help of their parents. As Stephen King famously pointed out in the novel: “Adults are the real monsters.” The trailer for the film makes that point loud and clear – the most terrifying aspect of childhood is realizing that parents cannot protect you from the outside world.

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“It” equates childhood traumas with monsters

In many ways, “It” is a coming-of-age story, as it tells the story of the various kids in the town of Derry, Maine. The focal point, of course, is the “Losers’ Club” – a group of kids dealing with their own unique form of trauma. In many ways, they are stereotypes – the lonesome loser who hides in the library, the promiscuous girl who’s dealing with potential sexual abuse, the nerdy hypochondriac, and the shy new kid. And then, of course, there are all the psychotic bullies who make our lives difficult as children. All of these are childhood traumas that we largely outgrow.

The genius of Andrés Muschietti’s movie adaptation is that he equates confronting these childhood traumas with confronting the town monster. As the popular saying goes, you must learn to confront your own personal demons. And those demons can be harder to confront than a real, physical being because they live in your heads. In short, “It” messes with your mind. And that is what makes the evil clown figure so powerful – it is able to adapt its shape to match your inner demons. There is no escape because the scariest monsters are those that we cannot see.

“It” is part of the Stephen King horror milieu

All of the action in “It” takes place in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. This town has been a mainstay location in other Stephen King works – such as “Insomnia,” “Dreamcatcher,” “Fair Extension,” “Bag of Bones” and even some of the “Dark Tower” works. Thus, we as the viewer subconsciously recognize this location, making the geography of terror ever more real.

In short, the movie does not have to work as hard to convince us that a demonic and evil force resides in this town – we know it, as if from memory. “It” dredges up all the collective fears and terrors that we have from other Stephen King works and places them in our subconscious mind, rendering us more vulnerable to the terrors of Pennywise the Clown.

“It” makes us realize what a master of horror Stephen King is

Even if you’re not a huge Stephen King fan, it’s hard not to be impressed by his vast legacy of horror. The same novels that he wrote 30 years ago, when many of us were no older than the kids in this movie, are now turning into nightmarish films right before our eyes. Consider that “Dark Tower” also hit movie screens this summer, uniting the various strands of the Stephen King horror multi-verse.

What’s interesting about “It” the movie is that it transforms the fictional milieu of the book (the idyllic 1950s) into the 1980s. This was a time that many of us thought was the best of times, a time for childhood delights. But King is going to terrify us even now as adults, dredging up all those painful memories and traumas from a generation ago, and in a way so authentic that it is just downright terrifying.

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What To Expect From “American Horror Story: Cult”

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The clues have been coming fast and furious for the upcoming 7th season of the horror anthology TV series “American Horror Story,” which premiered on Tuesday, September 5, on FX.

While there will be a number of returning characters from past seasons – including Ally Mayfair-Richards (played by Sarah Paulson), Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) and Dr. Rudy Vincent (played by Cheyenne Jackson), there will also be a number of interesting new twists and turns, as well as new talent (Billie Lourd, Alison Pill, Lena Dunham). Here’s what to expect from “American Horror Story: Cult.”

#1: “American Horror Story: Cult” will be based on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election

While FX has not released the exact plot lines and narratives of Season 7, we’ve received a number of tantalizing clues from the trailer as well as from the show’s director and co-creator, Ryan Murphy.

Here’s what we know: the action in Episode 1 will start on election night 2016 and all of the action will take place in Michigan. From the trailer, we see two very different reactions to the results of the election: Ally appears to be horrified while Kai appears to be exultant. (In fact, Kai lets out a roar of approval and then proceeds to mimic having sex with the television in front of him!)

As Murphy has pointed out, the fallout from the 2016 presidential election is a “horror show” with a “horrifying aftermath.” While he has said that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will appear on screen during the show, Season 7 is clearly intended to be an “allegory” of what could happen – or what might already be happening – in much of America. As such, one person close to “American Horror Story” has said that Season 7 will be the “first full season of narrative television conceived, developed and written in response to the November election.”

#2: “American Horror Story: Cult” will focus on cults, not the occult

There’s another important point to keep in mind about the upcoming season of FX’s “American Horror Story” – it will not feature supernatural elements, as in past seasons. Instead, the focus will be on cults, and what happens when people feel very afraid and vulnerable.

From what we know, Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) is going to be a cult leader. The real reason why he’s so excited about a Trump win is because it frees him to run a cult where he can recruit very vulnerable people. In fact, there’s a line in the trailer that’s actually a bit alarming, “If you get people scared enough, it will set the world on fire.”

And we get another clue from the names of the episodes that have been released. If you look at Episode 7, it will be called “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins, Scum Bag.” That episode will feature Andy Warhol, the cult around the Factory in New York City, and the events that led to Valerie Solanas shooting Warhol for not including her in his cult of personality. Director Ryan Murphy has already cast Lena Dunham for the role of Valerie Solanas, and has said that the episode will focus on “female rage” and what feelings people have when they are not accepted into cults.

#3: Get ready for Twisty the Clown and other regulars in “American Horror Story”

We’ve been getting a lot of clues from the team at FX that evil clowns – including Twisty the Clown from Season 4 (“American Horror Story: Freak Show”) – will make their way back into Season 7. And Director Ryan Murphy has also suggested that a number of other characters from previous seasons – including Bloody Face, Rubber Man and Piggy Man – will also appear in Season 7.

In fact, it’s all a bit creepy. Who’s not afraid of evil clowns? And judging from the trailer, these evil clowns and other characters start to become part of different phobias taking over the town in Michigan. In the trailer, we hear someone say, “It has just been getting so much worse” since the election, and it’s unclear what exactly this references – but it could be that the clowns are somehow connected to the cult of personality that Kai is trying to create.

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#4: The link between “American Horror Story” and the 1976 film “Network”

What’s really fascinating about Season 7 is how it seems to be much more of a statement on American society than previous episodes. You can interpret “American Horror Story” to be a metaphor for the broader swath of American society that has fallen under the misguided ideas of President Donald Trump – the people marching in Charlottesville, for example.

And that’s a point that Ryan Murphy makes – he says that much of the action in Season 7 was actually inspired by the 1976 film “Network,” which was a media satire. That film, says Murphy, helps to explain much of what we are seeing today.

#5: Plenty of evil plot twists involving children and bad neighbors from hell

One of the questions that we hear in the trailer for Season 7 is, “What fills your heart with dread?” The answer is both confusing and chilling: “Children.” And then the next scene is of an evil nanny or babysitter doing bad things to children. Yikes!

But again, it’s unclear for now how the phobias, the clowns, and the cults are related. We do have some clues from the episode titles, though. For example, Episode 2 is called “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” and Episode 3 is called “Neighbors From Hell.”

**

There’s a good chance that, if “American Horror Story: Cult” is a rousing success this fall, it will lead to an entirely new type of genre on TV: the political horror film. Who needs the supernatural and occult to scare you when you have the politicians in Washington, DC?

And this is something that Season 7 intends to use with great effect – there’s even a rumored plot line involving Kai running for a city council spot and then dreaming even bigger – a shot at the U.S. Senate. At which point, you’re probably thinking about Kid Rock and his recently announced U.S. Senate bid from the state of – you guessed it – Michigan (where “American Horror Story” takes place). These are scary times.

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Does the All-Star Cast of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” Deliver?

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The first thing you need to know about the summer blockbuster “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is that it boasts an all-star cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek and Gary Oldman. And this is an all-star cast that really delivers for several big reasons.

#1: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” brings back the buddy action comedy

Remember back in the 1980s and 1990s when all the big Hollywood studios were cranking out buddy action comedies? The whole premise of those films was the “odd couple” or the “mismatched couple” that was forced to solve a problem together despite their seemingly irreconcilable differences. Everything else that happened – the car chases, the explosions and the stunts – was secondary to the banter and chemistry between the two stars.

Those types of films seem to have disappeared from the cinema in recent years (unless you count films like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Central Intelligence”), and that’s why “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” seems so fresh. This is the classic, all-time “odd couple” – you have the straight-laced Ryan Reynolds who plays a “triple A security executive” (i.e. a bodyguard) and then you have the foul-mouthed assassin Darius Kincaid played by Samuel L. Jackson.

It’s the constant banter and wit between those two members of the all-star cast that should get all the attention. For example, one of the ongoing jokes of the movie is how Darius Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds’ character (Michael Bryce) 28 times. And there’s a big in-joke involving Samuel L. Jackson’s role in “Pulp Fiction.”

Despite all the car chases, explosions and violence in the movie, it’s the moments of humor between these two that has attracted the attention of moviegoers. In one scene, for example, Samuel L. Jackson is doing a sing-along with a group of Italian nuns in a cramped bus as Ryan Reynolds looks on incredulously. And there’s another hilarious scene where Ryan Reynolds sings a falsetto version of Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign.”

It’s clear that the Hollywood marketing behind this film is designed to get moviegoers in the mood to see this odd couple. There’s one movie poster where Ryan Reynolds is carrying Samuel L. Jackson around in his arms, clearly looking like that’s about the last thing in the world he’d like to be doing.

#2: Salma Hayek steals every scene she’s in “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

Speaking of the all-star cast, you can’t forget about Salma Hayek, right? She’s always sultry and sexy, but here she really out-does herself. She plays Sonia Kincaid, the incarcerated wife of Darius Kincaid. Some critics have called her a “potty-mouthed Latina” for her role in this film, and that’s pretty accurate: she’s one woman you wouldn’t want to mess with and she’s not afraid to drop a few expletives here and there.

But she’s clearly playing more than just a stereotype here. There’s a lot of humor in her role, such as her desire to do yoga while behind prison bars. Every yoga scene she’s in is really top-notch.

And then there’s a funny flashback scene where we learn how Darius and Sonia fell in love – he’s such a badass assassin, and it turns out that the thing that really turned him on to her was her unflinching ability to take on a room of bad guys. During the scene, music from Lionel Richie’s “Hello” plays, so you can get an immediate sense of what kind of twisted humor the show’s director, Patrick Hughes, has in mind.

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#3: Gary Oldman really delivers as an evil East European dictator

The whole premise of the movie is that there’s a dictator of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich, who is having everyone murdered who dares to testify against him in a human rights case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Netherlands. And so Gary Oldman, who plays the role of Dukhovich, has to pull off his very best “bad guy” routine to make the whole movie work. And boy does he deliver!

At first, you might not even recognize that it’s Gary Oldman. But he is able to convince everyone that he’s capable of getting to anyone in the world – even Darius Kincaid, who is being protected by the bodyguard Michael Bryce. Special props to Gary Oldman for pulling off his Slavic accent. Some critics have noted that it sounds a lot like his Russian accent in “Air Force One” – and if you’ve ever seen that movie, you’ll realize how much Gary Oldman really delivers on his role here.

#4: The real acting surprise of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is Élodie Yung

Once we meet the love interest of Samuel L. Jackson in the movie, Salma Hayek, then you know that, sooner or later, we’ll meet the love interest of Ryan Reynolds. In this case, it’s the remarkable French actress Élodie Yung (best known for her role in “Daredevil”), who plays the French-English Interpol agent Amelia Roussel. It turns out that Michael Bryce and Roussel had a romantic relationship in the past, but then things went wrong. Bryce even harbors the suspicion the Roussel might have been responsible for his fall from grace as one of the most sought-after bodyguards in the world.

#5: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is more than a live-action cartoon

Some critics have complained about all the bodies that seem to pile up, one after another in the movie. And yes, there are plenty of explosions, gunfights and violence that rapidly increase the body count within the film. However, here’s the thing – the characters of Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds keep this film from being just a live-action cartoon.

At one point in the movie, Darius Kincaid asks Michael Bryce to reconsider his sense of good and evil, his notion of right and wrong, and to consider what makes a “righteous” profession. In short, is it better to have a career killing evildoers (as Darius does, as an assassin), or is it better to have a career protecting the people who commit acts of evil (as Bryce often does, as a bodyguard-for-hire)? That question is not always an easy one to answer, which is why this film may have a few additional layers to unpeel before you can dismiss it as just another summer blockbuster.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” has been a welcome summer surprise – it’s an action comedy filled with an all-star cast that really delivers. Moviegoers will love the non-stop banter and chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, as well as appreciate the great acting roles of Salma Hayek, Gary Oldman and Élodie Yung.

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Why “A Ghost Story” Will Haunt You

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A Ghost Story” is a story about ghosts, but everything about this small art house film is designed to challenge your views about the supernatural. The film is haunting and intense, but is not designed to be “scary” in the conventional sense. But as you begin to consider the implications of what filmmaker David Lowery shows you on screen, you may begin challenging everything you thought you knew about the afterlife and the linear march of time. Here are all the reasons why “A Ghost Story” will haunt you.

#1: “A Ghost Story” uses unconventional storytelling techniques

If you think about most horror movies, they are designed to shock and frighten you, usually with scenes of gore or some other spectacle. “A Ghost Story,” by contrast, does not rely on any CGI special effects. Any special effects, such as they are, are quite minimal.

In fact, it’s arguable that the only real special effect in the movie is Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck wearing a white bed sheet – the kind you might wear for Halloween – over his head for much of the movie. He is largely mute, using only his movements and gestures to signify what he is feeling.

Director David Lowery purposely lingers on scenes for far longer than feels comfortable. For example, after the loss of her husband (known only as “C”), the wife (known only as “M), played by Rooney Mara, eats a pie in near-total silence for four whole minutes. Moreover, Lowery often shoots at a distance, and that helps to create a certain type of relationship between the viewer and the people on screen.

To top it off, he uses a square aspect ratio, giving us the sensation that we are viewing the action through some kind of keyhole. This is immediately disturbing – it’s almost as if we are voyeuristically involved in studying how a woman is dealing with the death of her husband. All of the action largely takes place in just a single house, forcing us to focus on what is happening right in front of us.

It’s really the case that there is no final spectacle, no final grisly moment when we come face-to-face with the occult. Instead, we are shown the passage of time, and the ghost staying anchored to his spot, seemingly immobilized by his own grief. With each new tenant in the house that C and M once occupied, the ghost remains fixed in place. In fact, that’s literally the case – the ghost almost seems to be anchored in place.

#2: “A Ghost Story” is a ghost story as well as a haunting love story

With most love stories – even tragic ones – the audience knows much about the characters. We know why they fell in love, we know a history of their romance, and we most certainly know their names. But this film is very different – it is a love story, as the ghost waits patiently for generations to pass so that he can be reunited with his former wife. He almost seems stuck in a purgatorial way station, waiting for events to play out.

But here’s the thing – we don’t know the names of the characters. In the credits, they are known only as C (for Casey Affleck) and M (for Rooney Mara). We don’t know much about their previous life – or even if they were married. They are generic couples, and that’s what makes the film so supremely haunting – this is a story about C and M, but it is also a story of us. C and M could be any couple caught up in tragedy.

David Lowery has said that he was moved to make this film on a very limited budget ($100,000) after an argument with his wife. They had argued about mortality, about the life of the soul, and how certain places and spots in time are preserved over time. Moving from a house, he seems to be saying, means leaving these shared moments. He also seems to be making the case that emotions such as love and loss live on long after the body is gone.

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#3: “A Ghost Story” is a supernatural story of space and time

You could make the case that the real heroes of this movie are not the characters, but rather, the house itself. It is the house where the ghost lingers on for decades. And, as we see with each new generation of tenant (such as a single mom with two kids), there is something to human life that is very short, fleeting and transient.

At one point in this movie, a bohemian intellectual rambles on about the doomed efforts of humanity to leave lasting evidence of its life on Earth. But, alas, that permanence is not to be found. Instead, the best we can hope for, the film seems to be saying, is that we’ll linger on in some odd half-state between the physical world and the spiritual world. It is not heaven, and it is not hell. It is not even purgatory. It is a lost moment, and that is all.

By the end of the film, certain scenes start to make sense. We realize that things that go “bump in the night” do so for a reason.  In one scene, for example, the ghost gets visibly upset when his former wife begins to get romantically involved with someone else.

There are so many different ways to interpret “A Ghost Story,” and nearly every moviegoer will leave the film with a different view of what just happened. The film, undoubtedly, will polarize audiences. There will be some who love it, because it is so unique, new and moving. And there will be others who hate it, viewing it as being too precious and too affecting, and not nearly “scary” enough.

But one thing is clear – it is impossible to watch the film and not be deeply affected. The film is disturbingly intense, with the ability to transform slow motion takes of grief and sadness into moments that will touch your soul. “A Ghost Story” will haunt you, and you will want to discuss why with your friends and family.

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Charlize Theron Kicks Ass in “Atomic Blonde”

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Charlize Theron is the super-sexy, super-talented female spy that movie audiences have always wanted. In every scene in which she appears in “Atomic Blonde,” she dominates the action – whether she’s fighting off groups of bad guys with a dazzling array of action moves or slinking around in some impossibly sexy outfits. In short, Charlize Theron kicks ass in “Atomic Blonde.”

Charlize Theron’s character is James Bond meets John Wick

Some have tried to compare Charlize Theron’s character, MI6 Agent Lorraine Broughton, to a female James Bond. Yes, she’s employed by Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Yes, she’s impossibly cosmopolitan and suave. Yes, she’s trying to outwit a rival group of spies and double agents. And, yes, there are scenes where she’s downing shots of her favorite vodka drink (not shaken, and not stirred, by the way).

But the real inspiration for Charlize Theron’s character is really John Wick. And that’s not just a coincidence – David Leitch, the co-director of the first “John Wick” film, is also the director of this film. As a result, we get a character very much like John Wick – this is one badass woman you don’t want to mess with. She doesn’t need a gun to kill you, she’s just as adept as using the stiletto heel of one of her glamorous pairs of shoes. She’s perfectly willing to improvise, using a common garden hose as an unlikely form of strangulation. She’s able to stab someone with a set of car keys or shoot them straight up with unerring ease.

Charlize Theron is stunning in perfectly choreographed fight scenes

And where Charlize Theron really shines is in her fight scenes. Make no mistake about it – she’s perfectly willing and able to take on all comers. She’s in peak fighting shape, and employs a unique form of “lethal creativity” (according to one film reviewer) in devising new ways to take out her opponents. That’s what makes the action in this film so irresistible – every action fight scene is almost balletic in motion, with bodies moving to a perfectly choreographed beat.

And despite the frenetic pace of the action, Theron is always in control. Whether she’s careening through the streets of Cold War-era Berlin, where much of the action takes place, or fighting off Soviet assassin spies, you know that Theron is going to jump, kick, shoot and maim her way to victory. She’s always ready to kick ass, even if she’s just arrived in a foreign city and is trapped in traffic. “Trust no one,” she’s told. But there’s no real need to tell Charlize Theron that – she’s not the trusting type.

And what makes it all so badass is that Theron always looks better after fighting off her assailants. Even blood spatter in her hair looks more like funky pink highlights than any sign that she’s just been in a bloody battle. And the non-stop action is all synced to the pounding pulse of a 1980s soundtrack, in which songs from the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order help to highlight the action. At times, the movie feels like just one badass music video: Who really cares about the plot line and narrative, as long as our Atomic Blonde is out there, shooting up the place and killing all the bad buys?

“Atomic Blonde” perfects the cartoon-style violence of a graphic novel

In fact, sometimes Charlize Theron kicks so much ass on the big screen that it almost seems like the violence we’d expect from a superhero cartoon. And that’s no mistake – the movie sometimes attains a comic book aesthetic as a result of all the action. The movie is actually based on a graphic novel – “The Coldest City” – and so it’s no coincidence that some of the fights are so ultra-violent and ultra-bloody.

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Charlize Theron is a stone-cold killer (literally) in “Atomic Blonde”

And what makes Theron so deadly is that she’s so cool, calm and collected throughout. She’s a stone-cold killer, feeling little or no remorse for all the bloody victims left in her wake. As if to emphasize that point, David Leitch films scenes with Charlize Theron, naked in an ice bath, as she sips an icy cocktail. She’s an icy blonde you don’t want to mess with. She may be dressed to the 9s in a slinky dress and impossibly high stiletto heels, but she’ll take out any baddies just as easily as if she were dressed in full military camo gear. She’s just that cold of a killer.

Charlize Theron exudes a type of savage sexiness

If you’re used to Charlize Theron film roles in which she deliberately disfigures herself (the role of Imperator Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road” comes to mind), then you’re in for a real treat in “Atomic Blonde.” This female spy-assassin-killer is as savage as she is sexy. It’s a rare combination on the big screen.

And perhaps one of the sexiest scenes in the movie is one in which Charlize Theron describes her impossibly hot tryst with a French intel officer (played by Sofia Boutella of “The Mummy”). Her handlers at MI6 literally can’t believe what they’re hearing – and they don’t want her to stop. It’s just that hot and sexy.

This is one “Atomic Blonde” you don’t want to double-cross

The true mark of any badass is that you don’t ever want to cross him (or her). And Charlize Theron is very clear in this film that she’s not someone you want to double-cross or triple-cross. It can be sometimes hard to follow all the plot developments, but one thing is clear – Charlize Theron is more assassin than spy, and she’ll always get the person she wants.

**

No doubt, the summer of 2017 has been very good to us. We first got Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman” as a female superhero who kicks ass. Now we have Charlize Theron as a female super-spy who kicks ass. If given our choice, we’d take Charlize Theron. There’s not a single one of her scenes in “Atomic Blonde” in which you can’t take your eyes off her. This film is so good it almost makes us long for the good old days of the Cold War, in which spies and super-spies played out an epic cat-and-mouse game in European capitals. Forget James Bond, though, we now have Charlize Theron as Agent Lorraine Broughton.

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What To Expect From “Justice League”

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The upcoming superhero film “Justice League” from DC Comics, set for a nationwide release in cinemas on November 17, has already started to generate buzz among moviegoers. If anything, all the excitement about “Wonder Woman” earlier this summer has only intensified anticipation about this film, which will include Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Here’s what we know about “Justice League” so far…

#1: “Justice League” is a direct sequel to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

With franchise Hollywood blockbusters, it’s never really clear until the last minute whether a film is a prequel or a sequel to previous films. And, even then, it’s never immediately obvious how long of a period of time has elapsed between the original and the sequel. But “Justice League” is different in this regard. We’re being told right from the outset that “Justice League” is a direct sequel to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

What that means for moviegoers is that the action in “Justice League” will take place just a few months after “Batman v Superman.” It’s not clear what has happened to Superman, and the thinking is that Superman has sacrificed his life for the greater good of humanity. That’s how the film starts – but not necessarily how it ends. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers for “Justice League,” it now appears that Superman (played by Henry Cavill) is going to return at the end of the film to help save the day. The return of the Man of Steel is going to be a major subplot of the film.

#2: “Justice League” is going to be a movie about friends and teamwork

After the latest trailer for the film dropped at San Diego Comic-Con earlier in the year, it now appears that this DC Comics superhero blockbuster is going to be a “Super Friends” movie, in which an all-star cast of superheroes led by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman save Planet Earth from evil intergalactic aliens. Other superheroes in the film will include Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa), Flash (played by Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (played by Ray Fisher).

Unlike previous superhero blockbuster films, which have pitted superheroes against each other (most notably, “Batman v Superman”), this film promises to be much more of a “Super Friends” movie. The superheroes rally together to save Earth from an existential crisis. This time, the enemies are Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

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#3: “Justice League” is going to be much more cheerful and optimistic than expected

If there’s one thing that DC Comics learned from “Batman v Superman,” it’s that movie audiences don’t want too much grim, dark, gritty action. And that’s why, judging from the advance trailers and marketing promotion, “Justice League” is going to be much more cheerful, upbeat and optimistic.

Here’s just one example: the trailer features a lot of the lighter lines of dialogue. And the character of Flash is being positioned as more of an endearing, comic figure than a full-fledged superhero. (In the trailer, he jokes about participating in his first battle and seems slightly nerdy.)

To see the more optimistic look for the film, just check out the movie posters – the marketing for the film is positioning all of the superheroes as friends rather than rivals. And the tagline – “You Can’t Save the World Alone” – is meant to emphasize the role of teamwork and coordination amongst all the superheroes.

#4: Wonder Woman is going to be the real star of “Justice League”

After the remarkable success of “Wonder Woman” earlier this summer, DC Comics obviously did a lot of re-thinking about “Justice League.” Take the new main trailer, for example. The first superhero we see is Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), who foils some kind of robbery taking place.

It looks like DC Comics is really going to be playing up the chance for fans to see their new favorite superhero in action yet again. And that’s not all – the trailer also hints that we’re going to see more of the Amazons from “Wonder Woman,” including Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope.

So, even though this film is being pitched as an ensemble cast movie, Gal Gadot might actually end up getting first billing, ahead of Ben Affleck (Batman) and Henry Cavill (Superman). Wonder Woman might end up stealing every scene she’s in, and so we hope that she plays more than just a supporting role here.

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#5: “Justice League” will introduce us to new characters in the DC Extended Universe

One new character that fans are buzzing about is Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa), who looks like he’ll be getting an enhanced role in this movie. In the trailer for “Justice League,” we see him in his underwater domain, and then again, as he destroys a villain and an entire apartment building in the process. And there’s more superheroes we’ll meet as well, such as Flash and Cyborg. (Oh – and don’t forget about the new villain, Steppenwolf, who is the general of an alien race, the New Gods, from the planet Apokolips.)

The reason why all this is important is because DC Comics has been working hard to build what it calls the DC Extended Universe. This film is actually the fifth installment of that DC Extended Universe. What it means for fans is that DC Comics is trying to unite all the various threads and worlds of its superheroes, so that they can all co-exist and all the narratives and plot lines make sense.

So look for more clues in this film about how the “Justice League” originates, and what its mission is going to be. One interesting side-note here is that the original director of the film, Zack Snyder, left the film in May 2017 due to a family crisis, and that means all the post-production was handled by Joss Whedon, who was brought in at the last-minute to finish up the film. Whedon was also responsible for filming some additional scenes needed to round out the action, so that might be a way to help tie up any loose ends.

Overall, “Justice League” looks like a fantastic new action-adventure movie featuring our favorite superheroes. It looks like DC Comics has really learned its lesson from “Batman v Superman,” and is doing everything possible to guarantee that “Justice League” is going to be a major success that’s well-received by fans.

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