Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #111


The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ***/****

After The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story debuted in 2016 and was a critical smash it wasn’t surprising that FX put another American Crime series on the fast-track. That show, which is still in the works two years later, was supposed to be about hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, but proved to be too complex so was shelved. Now, what was originally set to be the third series instead debuted last week as the second — The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

This time the true-crime angle is of spree-killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) who in the summer of 1997 murdered four men from Minnesota to Illinois to New Jersey before ending up in Miami Beach where he most famously shot and killed Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramírez) outside his home. The first episode of the series focused on Cunanan’s murder of Versace as well as flashing back in time to the early 1990s when we meet both the killer and Versace in their somewhat formative years.

I remember the summer of 1997 when the killings started it was news, but not top news. Then as things progressed it became headline news but after Versace was murdered networks the news outlets would break into their regular coverage to provide updates on the case, going so far as to broadcast live the raid of Cunanan’s final hideout on TV.

I really enjoyed the first American Crime series but think part of that was because the series was mostly focused on the trial of OJ Simpson and the media circus surrounding that and less about the actual murder. And while I can see a “media circus” element happening in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story there won’t be any trial component since Cunanan killed himself eight days after killing Versace.

Even though the series is titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story I suppose too much of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will deal with Cunanan’s other murders as well as that above mentioned “media circus” that surrounded him and those events. I can’t imagine there’s enough story to justify ten episodes of just Cunanan and Versace.

Corporate **/****

The new Comedy Central sitcom Corporate debuted last week. The series is funny enough if it borrows maybe a bit too much from what’s come before in other similar corporation themed series. Like the beginning of Corporate is pretty much a direct lift from the “TPS reports” part of Office Space — here it’s being sure to CC everyone in on e-mails, but the gist if the joke is the same. In many ways too Corporate feels like a version of the British TV series The IT Crowd with the zany, slightly nutty and dangerous bosses with a dash of Better Off Ted’s weird corporate culture and faux corporation TV commercials thrown in for good measure.

There’s nothing wrong from borrowing from past series but I do have to question why an office themed TV series would choose to ape one of the best known skits from one of the most beloved office related films of all time? That just seems dumb to me. I think Corporate can turn into an interesting TV series if it’s ever able to shed the weight of what’s come before and create something new.


Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Fall of the Pantheon

I had almost forgotten that I collected The Incredible Hulk comics in the early 1990s. I think I was collecting them since I was in awe of then Hulk artist Dale Keown at the time but even after he left the book I kept buying them because of the wonderful writing of Peter David with art by Gary Frank. Many of those David/Frank comics I loved so much are collected here with Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Fall of the Pantheon.

From Marvel:

Hulk goes to Hel and back! First, Hulk and the Pantheon face a painful — and all too human — loss. But Hela herself soon claims the Hulk in an Asgardian underworld epic! Then, it’s the end of an era as the Pantheon is torn apart from within! Agamemnon stands trial, one among them falls and the Hulk’s rage transforms him into a savage…Bruce Banner?! While Doc Samson strives to save Bruce’s mind, Betty battles for her life — and the stage is set for a new status quo. In hiding and struggling to remain calm, the Hulk takes on Man-Thing, the Abomination and the Punisher! Plus: Hulk shares a symbiotic showdown with Venom and joins Hank Pym and the Wasp in a true Tale to Astonish!


The Movie Chain: #3: Strange Days (1995)

Last week: The Abyss

The Movie Chain is a weekly, micro-movie review where each week’s film is related to the previous week’s movie in some way.

All through the 1990s there was an excitement building about the turn of the millennium where we’d be leaving the 20th century and heading to the 21st where surly things would be great. One of the movies of the time that capitalized on this fervor was Strange Days. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and co-written by James Cameron of last week’s The Abyss, Strange Days takes place on New Year’s Eve 1999 and is a little too ahead of its time with its technology. In the movie Ralph Fiennes plays Lenny Nero, a dealer of black market videos that depict everything from porn to robberies. But these aren’t just regular old VHS tapes, in the 1999 of Strange Days these recordings give the viewer an immersive experience where they actually feel like they’re making it with a porn star or robbing a convenience store. The twist here is that one of these recordings accidentally captures the LAPD murdering a man, and the two cops that committed the crime will stop at nothing to destroy the recording. And all this is taking place around the turn of 1999 to 2000 with all the celebrations and craziness and hedonism that was happening in the world of Strange Days.

The technology of Strange Days is pretty cool, the device the the person wears to view these recordings is called a SQUID and looks pretty much just like a technological version of its namesake that’s attached to the person’s head. 23 years later we’re just starting to get to the technological level of what’s in the 1999 world of Strange Days.

Now mostly a forgotten film, Strange Days is a typical 1990s action-thriller that tried to look forward to what the future was going to be like and got some stuff wrong and some stuff right. Movies like The Net, Hackers and Johnny Mnemonic were all released alongside Strange Days and all dealt with many of the same ideas. I haven’t seen Strange Days for a while now but remember it liking it when it first came out.

I wouldn’t call Strange Days a cult movie, but director Kathryn Bigelow is known as the director of the cult film Near Dark and would go onto direct The Hurt Locker which would win six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director as well.

Next week: “Who here has been in a helo crash before?”

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