Warner Brothers repair their damage with a hell of a Comic-Con. I rank the trailers.

For a couple years now, Warner Brothers has been…how I should say…hard up. It’s not necessarily their fault. In fact, their failure is a marked result of their most admirable quality. They’re a studio willing to swing for the fences every time. They give real filmmakers the chance to do truly bold or daring things within the constraints of studio filmmaking. Sometimes that nets you Mad Max: Fury Road or Godzilla. Other times, it nets you Jupiter Ascending or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. 

But rather than go back on that promise, they keep taking chances with the hope that one year, it will pay off. If I may speak frankly, boy howdy does it look like it paid off this year.

Continue reading Warner Brothers repair their damage with a hell of a Comic-Con. I rank the trailers.

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Star Trek Beyond finally brings us back to Where No Man Has Gone Before

After three Star Trek films, we finally have a Star Trek film.

I believe that the Star Trek franchise is one of the most important that exists, because I believe in the power that media has to elevate. Roddenberry’s vision, and the vision that the best of those who have followed in his footsteps, is that humanity could one day overcome their divisions and prejudices and reach the stars. And slightly for Star Trek and hugely for Star Trek Into Darkness, its greatest sin the dark cynicism it held about future humanity.

In what could perhaps be charitably called a time of need, there’s something immensely admirable about the fact that Star Trek Beyond chose this moment to return the franchise to its optimistic heyday. To boldly go where no man had gone before, to explore strange new worlds, and, more importantly, to understand that the world is better in peace and in unity.

Also, the fact that it actually has the feel of an old-school pulpy The Original Series episode doesn’t hurt.

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Risen and the Necessary Evolution of Faith-Based Filmmaking

On its own, Risen isn’t anything to write home about. It’s an interesting enough idea for sure, refitting the duo cop film with the sheen of a classical biblical epic. It turns the two cops into Roman soldiers, Clavius, the bad cop, (Joseph Fiennes) and Lucius, the good cop (Tom Felton). Their mystery? Finding the missing corpse of Jesus Christ before his disciples claim that he’s the risen messiah and cause a whole lot of trouble for Rome.

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My Top 10: Blade Runner

Steam and fire rises from spires that would induce envy in the Tower of Babel. A world bathed in cold electric light drenched in rain. Humanity has had its meaning challenged and a whole system has risen to maintain the traditional world and meanings. It’s a time that feels all too familiar and yet so far flung.

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The Ghostbusters Awaken

I wrote pretty much everything I need to write about the long-gestating (and long-feared) Ghostbusters adaptation when I reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the end of last year. And I thought everything I need to think as I came to grips with that movie in the repeat viewings to follow.

Does it excel? No, there’s too many storytelling problems and cut corners to make it perfect. It’s also far too beholden to the stories that have come before it to truly strike out on its own, feeling as though it’s dancing on the eggshells of decades of expectations.

But there’s something fundamentally good at its core. Not only an abiding admiration for the mythos on screen, but a deep desire that they carry on beyond the first generation that loved them. To that end, this film has created some fantastic new characters that connect with a new generation and sensibility of film lovers and future nerds and is composed with such a sense of propulsive fun that it almost doesn’t matter that scotch tape holds it together.

Am I talking about Force Awakens or Ghostbusters? Both, but check the headline to find out where this is gonna go.

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WagTunes: Operation: Mindcrime is a scarily resonant piece of Reagan-era anger

Just so you know, I like a lot of things. While I’ve written and will continue to write about film and television, I also love music. And as with all thing  I love, I have a lot to say.  So, from time to time, when the muse strikes me, I’ll write here about the albums I love with WagTunes. 

As time moves forward, so ever does our nostalgia move along with it. America loves to live with one eye looking back, pop culture is guilty of this in particular. Perhaps it’s due to the nature of the creative, drawing from one’s own experiences is going to induce a certain amount of mythologizing of your own history, and we’re now in the era where the children of the 80s are the creatives with power.

I also think that we tend to look back at eras that feel remarkably similar to our own, out of a need to feel that we survived it and that we can turn their art and culture and history into a mythology that makes us feel better about our own. The 80s feel remarkably resonant to an era where the threat of apocalypse looms large and where the men of power feel insular and arrogant in a way that induces a begging for them to come crashing down. So we take a little neon and some synths and hope that reflects a world we’ll make it through.

This looms large to me right now thanks to the recent rediscovery of Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime.

Continue reading WagTunes: Operation: Mindcrime is a scarily resonant piece of Reagan-era anger

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