Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Bad Movie Month regrets asking the question Did You Hear About The Morgans?

Welcome back to Bad Movie Month,folks, with the latest installment in our series of "Badly Done,Brits!" that targets Hugh Grant in a non Bridget Jones outing.

Hugh Grant can be a delightful charmer, whether he's playing sensitive Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility or sleazy Daniel Cleaver in the BJD films. However, even his calm charisma can not save a truly dull movie and a good example of that is 2009's Did You Hear About The Morgans? 

He plays New York lawyer Paul Morgan, whose marriage to top real estate broker Meryl(Sarah Jessica Parker) is at a crossroads due to his infidelity.  We first learn of this from the opening credits, where a series of answering machine messages play over the basic black & white title cards, not a great way to engage the audience there.

Paul and Meryl,along with their harried personal assistants(one of which is played by Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss, such a waste of her time and talent here) arrange a dinner meeting to work out a reconciliation which goes nowhere. Frankly, I find it hard to imagine Hugh Grant and SJP agree to share a lunch table together, let alone a married couple!

After dinner, the two of them walk over to a building where Meryl is supposed to meet a client of hers and the Morgans witness him fall to his death with a knife in his back. They get a glimpse of the hit man who tries to shoot them-why would a hit man with a loaded gun stab his target in the back? Why would he let the guy go out on the balcony in the first place? The worst Law & Order episode is better written than this.

This leads to Paul and Meryl being sent out to a small town in Wyoming to protect them after the hit man makes an attempt on Meryl's life.

Considering that she had to climb down into a balcony to escape a killer, Meryl gives lame reasons for not wanting to leave New York  such as finding good bagels-"I don't even like the ones in Connecticut!" She's not thrilled with being sent off with Paul either but by this point, I was rooting for the hit man to find them.

It becomes clear early on that Grant is meant to be the straight man to SJP's hysterics , leading to supposed comedy bits that are painful to watch. Upon arriving in Wyoming, they met up with the about to retire U.S. Marshall and his deputy wife(Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen, who actually seem compatible together) assigned to protect them which sets off a number of small town/big city jokes that wilt and die before our eyes and ears:

You do start to feel sorry for the sheriff and his wife as they have to host this pair of whiny entitled jerks who spend most of their time either going over their sitcom standard marital woes or making snide remarks/complaints about being in the country.

While Grant's low key gripes are annoying, SJP really stands out with her constant freak-outs about not being in New York and being repeatedly stunned that everything is not like New York, from the lack of vegan food to discovering that Omaha is considered a big city-yes,Dorothy, you're not in the Big Apple anymore!:

Eventually, Paul and Meryl patch up their marriage and learn to appreciate country ways while foiling the bad guy. None of that makes this movie worth watching as listening to the Morgans' inane conversations and seeing their pitiful attempts at humor just wear you out.

One of the worst bits involves Paul dealing with a bear, which is set up from the get-go at the rural airport with all of the creaky finesse of a game of Mousetrap that you found in the back of a closet with some of the pieces missing. I was seriously rooting for the bear to take them both out for the count. Come to think of it, if the bear and the hit man had teamed up to get rid of the Morgans, that alone would make this a better film.

Another awful element of this movie is the soundtrack that is made up of generic "we wish this was a Nora Ephron film" tunes. This pointless songs either try to fill up pointless montage sequences or pointlessly are thrown into scenes to liven things up like gravy for an overcooked pot roast. Trust me, this music can not add any flavor to the mediocrity on screen:

Why anyone made this movie is beyond me and next week, I get to wrap Bad Movie month up with Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, starring iconic Brit  Michael Caine in one of his numerous disaster performances in a disaster themed film.

He's not alone here as Sally Field, Peter Boyle and a good number of future Love Boat guest stars climb aboard this sorry sequel for a soggy cinematic time-don't forget your life boats!:

Monday, August 13, 2018

Why is the idea of a Best Popular Film so unpopular?

Last week, the Academy Awards announced a trio of changes to their annual ceremony, one of which caused quite the uproar among those inside and outside of the movie industry.

Plans are under way to create a second Best Picture category, with the working title being "Best Popular Film". Just the very notion that this major honor could be divided into separate parts unleashed a flurry of outrage, claiming that this was being done in order to give blockbusters movies an award they didn't deserve since financial success is more than enough reward for them.

Well, I find that objection to be incredibly pretentious,especially since such distinctions are nothing new to award shows. The Golden Globes not only has Best Drama and Best Comedy/Musical for film, they also divide the acting categories the same way. Also, the Tony awards have Best Drama, Best Musical and Best Revival of a play and/or musical! Why is that okay but not this?

Not to mention that if you look into the history of the Oscars, you'll see that originally there were two Best Picture categories(one was "Outstanding") and that the whole point of the awards was for the industry to get recognition as an art form by giving themselves awards.

Plus, there is the well established trope of "Oscar bait", a formula for figuring what type of movie was destined to be the big winner,making the entire Oscar race all too predictable and the root of the main reason for lower ratings for the show every year:

One of the biggest complaints,however, has been that a Best Popular Film category is being created for "superhero movies" and in particular, Black Panther(which it may not be up for, as there is no word on when this new category would be in place).

Well, so what? I want Black Panther to get Oscar nominations and awards and if the odds on that are increased by adding a new Best Picture category, so be it! I want this movie to be up for Best Actor, Best Actress and especially Best Supporting Actor for Michael B. Jordan, who was denied a nomination for Creed(which was also directed by Ryan Coogler, who should be up for Best Director here as well)!

This is not because it was a superhero movie that set box office records, it is due to the fact that even film critics can't deny that this was a next level film in so many ways. It has nuanced character development, prominently featured strong female characters and universal themes of oppression with debates about how to deal with it as a society. Good story telling is good story telling, regardless of genre,which too many people fail to respect:

Speaking of genre films, why do people assume that this would only benefit superhero movies? If Best Popular Film was up and ready by 2019, other nominees could include A Quiet Place(horror films mostly get overlooked and rarely win big awards at the Oscars), Crazy Rich Asians(comedies receive similar treatment) and Ready Player One(scfi/fantasy ditto) for example.

The last time that I recall a big new award being created was Best Animated Feature, which most people said was for Disney's benefit after Beauty and the Beast was included in the regular Best Picture section.

Turns out that the first Oscar handed out for Best Animated was not given to a Disney film. In 2001, Dreamworks' Shrek won that award. Other non-Disney films that won in this category include Spirited Away, Rango and Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

While made-by-Disney animated films have won a good share of the awards(plenty if you count the Pixar wins as well), other films have benefited from just being nominated and getting that world wide attention to their work. Films such as Persepolis,The Triplets of Belleville and Kubo and the Two Strings are much better known and appreciated due to this category. Offering a spotlight to movies that are easily dismissed by genre can do more than just give the major studios more bragging rights:

Whenever they do have Best Popular Film(or whatever title is ultimately decided on) ready for prime time, in the long run, this category may turn out to be a step in the right direction instead of the cinematic misstep that many are taking it for.

Best Picture has gone from ten films being nominated to five and now back to ten, just to provide balance for the age old "art vs. entertainment" argument and now that question may come close to being settled. The best films are both art and entertainment but why does it have to be one or the other when it comes to this award?

Hollywood needs to stop pretending that the Oscars are about art and nothing more. Throwing all types of films in one bag like this is not simply comparing apples to oranges, it's comparing apples to grapefruit with a bucket of buttery popcorn tossed in there. Giving both kinds of film a chance to compete on more equal terms is the right thing to do. Stop shaming popular movies and give them their moment to shine and say "This is ME!":

Friday, August 10, 2018

Bad Movie Month gets a sitter for Bridget Jones's Baby

Welcome to our second installment of Bad Movie Month as we continue to say "Badly Done, Brits" and once again, Colin Firth is front and center for his third appearance as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones's Baby.

To be fair, this film is a vast improvement from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason(it helps that the original director came back) and is mediocre at best.

Also, this third act wasn't based on one of the Helen Fielding novels that brought Bridget Jones to life. Fielding did write a third book but she killed off Mark Darcy(which outraged fans) and the movie makers decided to go with a wholly different concept.

Here, we start with Bridget attending Daniel Cleaver's funeral(Hugh Grant wisely chose not to be involved with this one) and running into Mark, who she has been separated from long enough for him to marry someone else. While she still has a few regrets over that, Bridget prefers to deal with turning 43 by going to a music festival with one of her younger co-workers.

There's plenty of jokes aimed at the younger generation here such as referring to the festival as "Sodom and Gomorrah with tofu" but the worst bit is an extended Ed Sheeran cameo that seems to never end.

It was fine enough when Bridget and her friend don't recognize him for a photo op and then see him in concert where Bridget is still clueless about who he is(and does a bit of crowd surfing, which seems rather dated) but it's not over yet as Bridget's buddy runs into him yet again and the whole thing ends with Sheeran and the work gal pal crashing a giant rolling ball into some porta-potties.

Anyway, the point of the music festival sequence is for Bridget to meet Jack(Patrick Dempsey) via falling into the mud and accidentally entering his yurt late at night. After their one night stand, Bridget hooks up with a soon-to-be-divorced Mark Darcy while attending a christening and you guessed it, she's pregnant and unsure of who the father is.

There's a long bit of sitcom contrivance as Bridget has the chance to inform each man that she's uncertain of whom made her expecting a child but she can't bring herself to do so. Of course, that big reveal moment is done in a public place(an Italian restaurant that plays a ridiculous part in getting Bridget to the hospital later on) and awkward for so many reasons:

This leads Mark and Jack to compete for Bridget's affections and audition for the fatherhood role,which at least does not end in a public slap fight.

I have to take a moment to talk about Dempsey,aka "McDreamy" of Grey's Anatomy fame at this point in his career. The character is a rich American with a matchmaking website and rather hippy-dippy in nature. With all of his supplying Bridget with healthy drinks and home decor to stimulate the baby's senses, Jack comes across as a watered down Alan Alda, which is bland on top of bland!

He does act a bit smarmy at times, even stooping to tell Mark that Bridget did not use one of her expired vegan condoms with him(a gag that makes me gag) and playing on the mistaken notion of a natural childbirth instructor that Jack and Mark are a gay couple adopting Bridget's baby. Even when trying to be bad, Dempsey is such a dull dud at it:

Firth does seem to have a little more energy as Mark Darcy here than in the last film but at times you can tell that he feels this set of worn out comedy tropes are beneath him.

Who can blame him, with the constant references to how old Bridget is(I hate the term "geriatric pregnancy" even if it's a current medical phrase) and jokes about the dissident rock band that Mark is defending in court which he even grumbles about how awful their music is and can understand why they're being repressed by their government.

As in Edge of Reason, Bridget's parents and friends are squeezed into barely-there subplots, with Bridget's mum running for council and winding using her daughter's unexpected pregnancy to her political advantage for one. Her trio of original friends are avoided mostly at first because they have families and kids(Bridget prefers to be seen as a "SILF" as in "Singleton, I'd Like to...) but Shazzer does get a little more screen time,perhaps due to the fact that the actress playing her happens to be the director-just saying!

 Anyway, more misunderstanding occur until it's time for the baby to arrive and that entire race to the hospital bit is embarrassing even on a sitcom level. Mark finds Bridget locked out of her house(in a huge pity inducing sequence that involves being caught in the rain and leaving her phone at a closed ATM) and her water breaks before they have that reconciliation kiss.

They then recruit a pizza delivery van(from that restaurant visit earlier) to drive them, only to get stuck in traffic ,thanks to protest march lead by Mark's rebel rock band and then Mark carries Bridget to the hospital,struggling mightily even as Jack catches up with them to help. It's so painful to watch that not even Emma Thompson showing up to crack wise as the baby doctor can ease this cinematic suffering:

While Bridget Jones's Baby is more watchable than Edge of Reason, it's not that much better and hopeful this will be last of Bridget and company that we see on screen.

Oddly enough, Helen Fielding is credited as one of the writers on the script for this and she wrote a tie-in book for the movie,which is not based on the book she wrote in the first place! Oh, well, we still have the first Bridget Jones to enjoy and swoon over Colin Firth with.

While Hugh Grant was smart enough to stay out of this middling mess, he has plenty of bad movies on his resume and next week, we'll be looking at one he didn't avoid,Did You Hear About the Morgans? Failing marriage comedy meets Witness Protection jokes and fish out of water skits, this movie just sounds like a smorgasbord of stupid indeed:

Monday, August 06, 2018

Some Crazy Rich reading recommendations

Late summer is often seen as a slow period for pop culture, with lackluster movies, TV reruns and the same old books served up on our entertainment menu. However, every now and then, we do get a delightful surprise and one such delayed pleasure is about to come our way.

The worldwide film premiere of Crazy Rich Asians, the first of a literary trilogy by author Kevin Kwan, is set for this week, an event that so many people have been waiting for.

It's not only due to the popularity of the novel(which is a fun read that I'm rereading at the moment) but also for having an all Asian cast in a mainstream Hollywood movie, something we haven't seen before. The closest we came to that was The Joy Luck Club(also a book adaptation) and that was back in 1993!

So far, the CRA film looks like a sleeper hit in the making and I have no doubt that copies of the book are in high demand. So, if you can't get a hold of a copy(or have already read it and the sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems as well), here are a few other books that share a similar style and/or tone with CRA that you might like to try:

THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD: Jade Chang's debut novel follows a family trying to literally outrun their financial troubles. Charles Wang is deep in debt and about to lose his cosmetics empire(with the stock market crash of 2008 making his money problems worse) when he stumbles upon the notion of reclaiming long lost property in China.

Packing up his second wife Barbara, he goes on a cross country trip to gather up his kids,who have yet to realize that the family nest egg is gone, in order for all of them to start anew in China. Needless to say, that idea doesn't go over too well with anyone.

The book is an engaging roller coaster ride, with humor and pathos taking their turns to enhance the twists and turns that the characters deal with. There is talk of The Wangs vs. The World  becoming a Hulu series but don't wait until then to ride this story telling train:

FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES:  While Min Jin Lee did wonderfully well with her amazing novel Pachinko, this earlier book of hers also deserves as much praise and readership.

Fresh out of Princeton, Casey Han has acquired some rather upper class tastes, such as golf and designer clothes, yet is financially unable to support such a luxury appetite.

With the help of an old friend, Casey gets an entry level position at a Wall Street firm, which brings her further into the lavish lifestyle that she longs to be a part of. The choices that she makes with friends and family along the way causes a number of ripple effects, touching even her mother, a woman just discovering what she truly wants in life.

The book has a blend of Victorian era social satire(think Trollope and Thackeray) with Edith Wharton's New York that is topped off with Lee's brilliantly unique flair for immersive character details. Even if you haven't read Pachinko(which you should), FFFM is a must read indeed:

THE WINDFALL: Diksha Basu's debut novel is mainly set in India, as Mr and Mrs. Jha are preparing to move from their working class neighborhood to the rich part of town, thanks to the sale of Mr. Jha's website which made them instantly wealthy.

As they try to adjust to their new circumstances,as well as keep up with the Chopras next door, their son Rupak is studying for a business degree in New York. While he's happy about his family's good fortune, Rupak is worried about telling them that his grades are bad and he has an American girlfriend.

This story is a lively look at manners and the social ideals that people feel they need to live up to(or down, as the case may be), with a nice bit of drama thrown in for balance. The Windfall was one of my favorite books from last year and I hope new readers will enjoy it as much as I did there:

My fingers are crossed for Crazy Rich Asians to rule the box office next weekend(and a little longer after that!) as it will increase the chances of the other two books in the trilogy to be made into feature films as well.

 Just having a wonderful book become a great movie that will undoubtedly create a wider audience(along with reaching one that has been vastly ignored for way too long a time) is reward enough yet it would be a nice bonus to make the artistic dreams of so many others come true:

Friday, August 03, 2018

Bad Movie Month is taken to The Edge of Reason with Bridget Jones

Welcome ,friends, to another installment of Bad Movie Month here at LRG where we endure the dreaded dog days of August by looking over some particularly dreadful films.

Our theme this year is "Badly Done, Brits!" featuring a quartet of English actors who have a very impressive body of work(not to mention a couple of impressive bodies themselves) yet also have an equal amount of regrettable film choices as well.

I hate to start things off with Colin Firth, truly one of my favorites. From his iconic Mr. Darcy in the BBC's Pride & Prejudice to his Oscar winning performance in The King's Speech and truly kick ass with style work in Kingsmen, Firth has proven to be a legend in his own time.

Unfortunately, our dear Mr. Firth has had the misfortune to make a few cinematic blunders as well. While his role as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones' Diary was an instant classic, his reprisal in the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason had all of the flair and flavor of a frostbitten TV dinner.

To be fair, leading lady Renee Zellweger and co-star Hugh Grant(who is getting the Bad Movie Month treatment, I assure you) are not much better as they do more than just walk through their roles again. It's more like they zombie march through them.

 Most of the plot has to do with Bridget not believing that she and Mark can maintain a steady relationship, causing several pointless fights between them based on sitcom level insecurities such as her showing up at a big lawyer's dinner with bad hair and hastily applied make-up, then losing out on a quiz contest due to her overconfidence in Madonna trivia, followed by Bridget being torn between leaving pathetic pleading messages on the phone and talking to Mark in person as he's outside her front door:

While the follow-up book by Helen Fielding(one of the four screenwriters credited here) had a loose theme based upon Jane Austen's Persuasion,similar to the P&P feel of the original BJD novel, this movie chucks that completely out the window.

Instead, we get a retread of the greatest hits from the first film which are done rather poorly, from Daniel Cleaver hitting on Bridget with sleazy requests for naughty school girl tales and professing an admiration for her "granny panties", Mark and Bridget walking home sadly after a huge fight(with mournful pop song playing on the soundtrack), plus Cleaver and Darcy exchanging fisticuffs out in public

That scene is especially sad as not only does it lack the element of surprise that the fight in the first movie did but the bulk of it takes place in a large water fountain no less. Sure, Firth is well known for his P&P wet shirt moment, however, this whole sorry slapfight is soggy for the wrong reason:

In re-watching this film(which I painfully admit to owning on DVD), the complete lack of energy for this project is incredibly clear to see.

 Unlike the lively humor and engaging character development from the original BJD, this second movie appears to have drained the life out of everybody and it's only the second one! I can understand being bored by playing a role for three,four or six times but if part two has the whole cast mentally checking out before the camera starts to roll, that's a bad sign.

Firth aside, the whole movie seems determined to just get every plot point over and done with. Most of the focus is on Bridget being incredibly clownish(I counted eight major pratfalls, three of which were on a ski slope) and the supporting characters such as her parents and trio of friends reduced to pointless cameos.

 Sure, her best gal pal Shazzer goes with Bridget to Thailand(I swear there's one scene in which everyone competes to show how loudly they can say "Thailand?!") but that's merely done so that Bridget is completely innocent when caught with drugs at the airport, thanks to her good friend picking a mysterious new boy toy who sets them up.

The entire "unjustly imprisoned in Thailand" section is cringe inducing to say the least as Bridget leads her fellow prisoners in a Madonna singalong, realizes how petty her boyfriend troubles are due to hearing about the other women's emotional horror stories and tries to pretend her issues with Mark were just as bad and when released, Bridget's parting gifts to her cellmates are self-help relationship books and fancy underwear!

That sequence of events was bad then and even worse nowadays. Almost makes Bridget slipping and sliding down a ski course( ending right into a drug store where she engages in a bad translation bit about buying a pregnancy test) look far more dignified:

The movie was a true disappointment on many levels and why I bought this DVD, I don't know(other than an excuse to gaze upon Colin Firth). The original Bridget Jones's Diary still holds up well and it would be nice to forget that this sequel even existed,alas they did make a third one,which makes part two hard to ignore.

So, I must mock Colin Firth again next week as I watch Bridget Jones's Baby for the first time. If this is my first viewing, how will I know it's bad, you may ask.

 At this point in my movie watching life, my bad movie detection skills are quite strong and just seeing the trailers for this flick(which replaces Hugh Grant with Patrick Dempsey) causes my cinematic defensive senses to begin a-tingling:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Ending my High Summer Readathon with Jane Austen goodness and a bittersweet surprise

Officially, the High Summer Readathon at Seasons of Reading ends tomorrow but it is permitted to wrap things up when you're ready,which is what my post today is all about.

I did read four out of the six books that were on my TBR for this readathon,not a bad accomplishment there. Granted, two of them were rereads yet since both of those were Jane Austen related, I find that connection to be noteworthy indeed.

After reliving Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, it was delightful to take a similar trip into modern times with Val McDermid's retelling. The adjustments to be made to fit Catherine "Cat" Morland into the present day were well tailored such as having her visit the Edinburgh Book Festival instead of Bath, a more lively location these days for young people.

What was extra fun was having Cat and her dubious friend Bella(who makes for a pitch perfect mean girl type) be into vampire/paranormal fiction. Twilight is name checked but the series that our heroine is taken with is called The Hebridean Harpies by Morag Fraser, with titles such as Vampires on Vatersay and Banshees of Berneray.

Sadly, it's not a real set of books(unlike the Gothic tales that Austen had her Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe read) yet you can tell McDermid enjoyed creating her own mock versions of such popular YA lore:

While McDermid stays pretty close to the source material for this story, she does add a few extra tweaks of her own there. In particular, having Cat and Eleanor "Ellie" Tilney decide at one point to write and illustrate their own books for children.

Giving Ellie the desire to break free from her controlling father and pursue an art career is a nice modern touch, allowing her to more nuanced than Austen intended(to be fair, the original NA was an early work and since it was published posthumously, there was no chance for a solid rewrite of the character). It's a bit subtle but a good piece of character development nonetheless.

The best parts of the book come from Henry, Ellie and Cat hanging out and getting to known each other better at the abbey, despite the intimidating presence of General Tilney(whose reason for ultimately throwing Cat out of the house unexpectedly is different than the original and just as completely reprehensible). I have found that e-mail and text messaging work rather well when it comes to adapting Austen for modern times and that fits right into place here.

All in all, this double decker reread of mine was entertaining and I may do that for other Austen books in the future. As for this take on Northanger Abbey, it's a good intro for someone who hasn't read Jane Austen yet as well as amusing for Janeites to have proof that classic tales are like a little black dress: suitable for all seasons and perfect for updating your literary wardrobe:

 Now, I did intend to read one of the other books on my High Summer TBR pile but alas, my attention was lured away to one of my recent library loans and I really don't regret that at all.

Terri-Lynne DeFino's The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers(and Their Muses) is the true definition of an enchanting read. While the main action of the story is set in 1999, where legendary author Alfonse Carducci arrives at the title location to live out his last days, a good chunk of the book is set in the 1950s.

That portion is a work in progress, as the ailing Alfonse regains his desire to write again due to Cecibel Bringer, a young woman working as an orderly whose scarred face matches the emotional scars on her soul. At first, Alfonse keeps his work a secret but then one of his contemporaries, the still feisty Olivia Peppernell , is asked for her opinion on his story and winds up adding a few chapters of her own.

The spark of literary inspiration jumps to two more of their fellow residents(one of which is an editor suffering from early memory loss) and Cecibel is given the chance to read along as they write along. You're not only following the lives of Alfonse and friends, you're also following the forbidden romance of Aldo and Cecilia, who are trapped by their social roles in the fifties to be together and yet always apart.

Both stories come to a moving and thoughtful conclusion, giving the reader a double blessing and a few surprises for each set of fictional folk. It may be bittersweet at times but DeFino balances the changing tones of both stories with a sure hand and infinite grace. If you haven't read this book yet, I strongly urge to do so as soon as you can. A good story that showcases the joys and sorrows that real love possesses is a pearl that needs to be treasured, even if it's just the once:

My thanks to Michelle Miller from Seasons of Reading for setting up another wonderful opportunity to catch up and find great books to read. I hope everyone else who took part in High Summer had as much of a good time as I did and look forward to seeing all of you again for Fright Fall later this year.

As for the rest of my summer, I do have Bad Movie Month to contend with(that's going to be a bit bookish since the first two films are Bridget Jones sequels) and plenty of other books to explore. I may also indulge in more Jane Austen as it's going to be awhile until that new adaptation of Sanditon airs on PBS! Reading Austen is like having the perfect ice cream creation, cool and refreshing and especially so in the dog days of summer left to us:

Monday, July 23, 2018

Checking out the SD Comic Con highlights at the Movie Trailer Park

Summer isn't just the time for checking out the big movie blockbusters, it's also the season for seeing what lies ahead on the pop culture landscape. The best place for that star search are the Comic Cons, with the major one in San Diego finishing up over the past weekend.

For those of us unable to head out there, watching for the trailers online is fine sport indeed and a big piece of bait was the first trailer for Aquaman, set to hit theaters by Christmas time. Jason Momoa gets to flex his considerable muscles as Arthur Curry in a solo film after donning the swim suit in Justice League(which I have not seen yet!).

From what is shown here, this is your basic origin story with Arthur being the misunderstood son of human lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry(Temuera Morrison) and Queen Atlanna(Nicole Kidman) who is called upon by underwater warrior princess Mera(Amber Heard) to fight his half brother Orm(Patrick Wilson) for the throne of Atlantis to prevent a war with the surface world.

The film does look like it could be fun and Momoa is certainly a charmer. I'm pretty hesitant to climb onboard the bandwagon here, as we've been fooled by awesome appearing trailers before(yes, that means you, Suicide Squad!). Points to the writer who slipped in that "Aquaman, you go talk to some fish" joke early on but for the most part, I'm keeping my enthusiasm for this DC comic book flick at bay:

One movie that I'm not hiding my joy for is Glass, the long awaited follow-up to Unbreakable. M. Knight Shyamalan was able to bridge the cinematic gap between these films with the movie Split(I need to see that one,too!) and all three major characters are set to do battle here.

Unbreakable was an underappreciated film that has grown to cult status and one of my favorite of M. Knight's works,so I am so happy to see this unique take on comic book lore be continued. Another delightful surprise is having Sarah Paulson in the cast as Dr. Ellie Staple(is it just me or do I get a Harley Quinn vibe off of her?).

Glass is scheduled for January of 2019 and hopefully will be one of the big hits of the after holiday season. Seeing Samuel L. Jackson in true archvillian form is a fine start to a new year,if you ask me:

While there were plenty of movies talked about at SDCC, a good amount of TV trailers were highly promoted as well and two of them made major news that I just had to share.

Along with a trailer for the next season of Supergirl(set to air on Sunday nights starting in October), it was announced at SDCC that transgender activist/actress Nicole Maines would be joining the cast as Nia Nal, aka Dreamer. Based upon the DC superheroine with precognitive abilities known as Dream Girl, this  new version of the character will be working at CatCo and learning to deal with her powers.

This is a first for representation in the live action comic book arena and I'm so proud to be a fan of this show. Hey, DC-if your big screen adaptations were as progressive as your small screen ones, you would be more than heroes,you'd be legends:

Speaking of legends, the trailer for the upcoming web series from DC Universe Titans become infamous already. This live action take on the Teen Titans has a young Raven(Teagan Croft) seeking out former Batman partner Dick Grayson(Brenton Thwaites) for help with her growing demonic powers.

Along the way, they recruit space alien princess Starfire(Anna Diop) and shapeshifter Beast Boy(Ryan Potter) to battle the forces of evil, with guest appearances by Donna Troy,aka Wonder Girl and another Boy Wonder,Jason Todd. The trailer depicts quite the bloodthirsty Robin, who stomps on the necks of henchmen and says things like "F**k Batman!" Yep, this is not your old school Teen Titans, that's for sure!

As a fan of the 1980s John Romita/George Perez take on Titans, I'm not opposed to a mature content adaptation but the tone is feeling wrong here. Maybe the trailer is not the best depiction of the show but it's causing folks to be turned off by the initial vibe that this series is giving off. Plus, it would've been cool to have Cyborg as well(guess they prefer to have him in more Justice League movies and I believe a Cyborg solo movie is in the works).

While I find the cartoon series Teen Titans Go to be too goofy, at least that show looks like way more fun than this web series is going to be:

Well, it does seem as if there is much to look forward to on the cinematic and televised horizons as time goes on,which ought to be a welcome relief from our current day woes. However, as our friends facing Stranger Things strive to remind us, the past is not as safe as some of us would like to think: