The Marvel Cinematic Universe movie power rankings

Doctor Strange, the most-recent film in Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 story arc, recently hit theaters and concluded the movie house’s 2016 cinema offerings. I enjoyed magic’s introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the trippy visuals, and all-around solid performances, but the story felt a bit rushed in places (particularly in regards to the not-so-good doctor’s origin and mystic training) and the humor fell on its face. In short, Doctor Strange is a movie that tried to dabble in the dark recesses of the MCU, but suffered from Disney’s family friendly movie constraints.

Now that the Doctor Strange #content is out of the way, I’ve decided that it’s time to update my Marvel Cinematic Universe Power Rankings. I’ve watched every Marvel Studios joint (the films, not the television properties), and placed each flick into one of three categories: Main Eventers, Mid-Carders, and Jobbers. No complex mathematical formulas, no deep thoughts. This was all based off feels.

Here’s how things turned out. Continue Reading →

The official rules for remaking movies

The 2016 Ghostbusters remake did many things of note, including highlighting gender diversity, enraging the “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” squad, and showcasing why Kate McKinnon is an absolute wonder. Remove those factors, however, and the film is a highly forgettable affair that, like The Force Awakens, adheres too closely to what came before it.

Ghostbusters, as well as Kong: Skull Island, The Rocketeers, and the long-rumored Beetlejuice 2, showcase Hollywood’s incredible willingness to return to the cinematic well again and again to sip from its potentially money-giving waters. Sometimes remakes are worthwhile projects, such as Ocean’s Eleven and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Others are quite bland and/or horrid; think Arthur and Robocop. This isn’t a new occurrence; Grandma Wilson saw good/bad versions of The Fly and Out of the Past before she exited the world.

That said, it certainly feels like contemporary Hollywood double dips now more than ever before. I, admittedly, don’t have definitive numbers, but Den of Geek has attempted to chronicle every upcoming remake. The situation is daunting, frightening, and frustrating. Hollywood needs a rule set to determine when it should ponder dipping into its vaults to resurrect a brand. Fortunately, I have one that I freely offer to any director, screenwriter, producer, or executive! Pass it along.

DO NOT REMAKE A MOVIE IF:

  1. It is widely considered the progenitor, or a definitive work, in its genre. So, no Citizen Kane or Die Hard.
  2. It has already been remade. That means Cape Fear and The Thing are off the table.
  3. It’s one of an acclaimed filmmaker’s first five theatrical releases. Therefore, Jaws and Taxi Driver cannot be touched.
  4. It pushed visual effects forward. Think The Matrix or Star Wars.
  5. It stars at least two of the following: Shane Black, Bill Duke, John McTiernan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Carl Weathers. Yes, I love Predator. And Commando.
  6. It has David Patrick Kelly playing a weaselly little character who either delivers, or receives, a classic line.
  7. It is Beverly Hills Cop or The Goonies. Show some respect.

Okay, I admit that a few of those rules are made in jest. That’s because I’m not adamantly against movie remakes; they simply should be judiciously made. Flicks that flopped (The Rocketeer) and or didn’t live up to their potential (Drop Dead Fred) are perfect remake fodder. Everything else? Leave it alone, Hollywood. You have other things to do, such as spam sequels, soft reboots, and cinematic universes.

Image courtesy of Amblin Entertainment, Cappa Films, Tribeca Productions, and Universal Pictures.

Is DreamWorks Animation burying the biracial Tip in its Home ads?

It’s not very often that a mainstream animated film features a biracial, female lead, but DreamWorks Animation’s Home does just that.
The move is a first for the studio, and one that I truly hope proves successful at the box office, because society needs this type of representation. As an ’80s kid, I didn’t see many brown faces in sci-fi and fantasy movies besides those belonging to warmongering Klingons. But that’s a conversation for another day.

Home centers on the relationship between Tip,  a curly-topped bi-racial teenager, and Oh,  a friendly alien invader. Let me reiterate: One of Home’s leads is a biracial female. I emphasize the racial aspect not just because its rare to see. There’s another angle to this, one that kills the importance of having such a character appear on the silver screen.

Occasional television spots are the only reason I know that Home has a biracial lead character. Every bus ad, taxi ad, and billboard that I’ve spotted while walking New York City’s streets have either highlighted Oh, or Oh paired with…Tip’s pet cat. I’ve yet to see a brown face and curls on any non-television marketing materials.

This saddens and infuriates me.

I recognize that these types of movies often push the manic alien/robot/magical/cutesy creature for merchandising purposes, but giving Tip less banner and billboard love than her cat screams “we have no faith that this will fly in certain markets.”  I have no hard evidence to support this; it’s speculation based on what I know about business and a portion of the American populace. The recent Annie remake apparently suffered similar marketing ills.

If DreamWorks Animation is tossing Tip into the background to court people who may be uncomfortable with the very idea of the character’s existence, it’s making a huge mistake. A company shouldn’t spend millions to bring a character to life only to partially bury it, especially when the character has the potential to touch millions of people of all shades.

DreamWorks Animation knows Tip’s importance. Play to the right audience.

Image courtesy of Dreamworks Animation

‘This Is The End’ is a mix of funnies and head-scratchers

This Is The End, Seth Rogan’s apocalyptic comedy, had the potential to carry a Superbad level of sincerity between its estranged lead homies, but instead dwelled in a sea of dick jokes, rape jokes, and ad-libbed bits.

I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing (comedy’s always thrived on pushing the envelope to sometimes extreme distances), but I’d hoped for a truly genuine moment like those found in a Judd Apatow flick. Didn’t happen. That said, seeing a coked-out Michael Cera being awkward in an entirely new way was highly entertaining.

I’m no political correctness flag-waver; in fact, I often find that the PC movement sanitizes issues/society to the point where people are vilified for simply making an observation about race/gender/sexuality. But several curious things came to mind after discussing the movie with my date.

I’m entering spoilers-zone, so tread if you dare. Continue Reading →