Resin Heroes

Mondo Ghost in the Shell poster






Direct Beam Comms #107



Rumor Control

2017: Sci-Fi Report

Looking back at 2017 I realized this year was actually a wonderful time for sci-fi movies and TV series. In years past there’s been one or two sci-fi things of quality to celebrate, but this year there are many. It feels weird writing this, but in 2017 sci-fi was the king of generas and every TV network is looking for the next Stranger Things and movie studio Star Wars. Now, not every movie or TV series below was successful, but “success” doesn’t always equate to “good” so I’ve listed everything I liked or found interesting in 2017.

Movies:

  • Alien: Covenant: This one didn’t get great reviews or do that well at the box-office, but I mean c’mon — it’s a frickin’ Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott. What’s not to love!?
  • Blade Runner: 2047: A remake 35 years later of a beloved movie using the latest computer technologies for special effects that has the original star return? Sounds interesting to me.
  • Ghost in the Machine: I know a lot of people didn’t dig this one but I liked it.
  • Kong: Skull Island: This is a silly, fun movie about a group of army soldiers vs a giant ape. It’s not the greatest, but is still a lot of fun.
  • Life: I didn’t dig this one overall, but still dug its setting and characters.
  • Passengers: Another one I found “ok.” Still, “ok” in 2017 would have probably been on my yearly “best of” list ten years ago.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi: I loved this movie. It had problems, but what Star Wars movie in the last 20 years hasn’t? The Last Jedi is better than The Force Awakens, and I liked The Force Awakens.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes: The final(?) modern, Planet of the Apes movie which was the perfect ending to a six year trilogy of films.

TV:

  • Black Mirror: Creepy as [email protected]#$ and one of the best things on TV at the moment.
  • Doctor Who: Who would have guessed that a series which originated in 1963 would still be going strong in 2017, and beyond?
  • The Expanse: I love, love, love this show.
  • The Orville: See above.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: The latest Star Trek series isn’t getting a lot of love by the fans, but it marks the return of Star Trek to TV after an absence of 12 years which I think is a good thing.
  • Stranger Things: This series is the biggest reason to have Netflix.
  • Star Wars: Rebels: This series about what happened between movies Episode III and IV is as smartly written and acted as any of the great TV series out there. Even if it’s an animated show that aires on Disney.
  • Westworld: An HBO series about a theme park filled with murderous cowboys set in the future? Sure sounds like the perfect show to me!

TV

A Christmas Story Live! **/****

I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas movies. I don’t have anything against them, but personally I’ve never found any I liked. Except for one movie, that is; A Christmas Story (1983).

I think it was partly because when it was released A Christmas Story didn’t do well at the box office and therefor showed up a lot in the mid–1980s during movie Christmas marathons when, I’m assuming, the movie was cheap to air so it played all the time. My parents and grandparents might have been into It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas, but for me and my brother the only reason to sit through those yawn factories was that eventually A Christmas Story would air.

I remember watching A Christmas Story and thinking that I felt the same way that the kids of the movie felt in terms of school, parents and friends. And now when I watch the movie I identify more with Ralphie’s “Old Man” than Ralphie and yet the movie still works. I think it helps a great deal that the movie’s set in my home state of Indiana and, even though it was filmed in Ohio, A Christmas Story looks and feels right.

Several sequels to A Christmas Story would follow but none of them would tackle Christmas time like A Christmas Story so perfectly captured.

So to say that I was a little concerned that FOX would be airing a three hour long live “event” of A Christmas Story just before Christmas would not be an understatement. For a movie as beloved as A Christmas Story that’s traditionally aired back-to-back for 24 hours every Christmas Eve to Christmas to be remade as a something that looks like from all outwards appearances as a cheap ratings stunt turned my stomach a bit.

Still, I decided to give this A Christmas Story Live! a chance and watched it last Sunday.

And to be honest, it wasn’t bad. I didn’t end up watching the whole thing but about an hour’s worth at the start and then flipped back to it every once in a while. A Christmas Story Live! has a sort of polished feel to it that’s not present in the more realistic, run down and slightly threadbare original. I feel like if you’re a fan of musicals, then you might be interested in the three-hour long A Christmas Story Live!. If not, you should probably just skip it and stick with the original.

Movies

Sicario 2: Soldado trailer

Ocean’s 8 trailer

The Reading & Watch List

Cool Movie Posters of the Week




The best movie & TV posters of 2017



The best posters of 2017 were for the TV series Stranger Things.

Stranger Things

Not too many posters these days are illustrated. There was a time when all posters were, but that time ended with the advent of Photoshop where photos of the actors could be used in lieu of having an artist draw/paint them. But recently that’s changed a bit, especially with the company Mondo creating old-school illustrated posters. And to a certain extent Hollywood’s followed their lead and has produced a number of illustrated posters for big-budget movies. So it’s no surprise an outlet like Netflix would have one of their shows feature an illustrated poster too. What is surprising is how well the illustrated poster for Stranger Things turned out. Illustrator Kyle Lambert created this poster and the attention to detail on it is astounding. This poster manages to be both modern and have a classic 1980s movie poster touch at the same time.

I also like the non-illustrated posters for Stranger Things too. They all work together well as a set and evoke the theme of the series in just a few images.

Thor: Ragnarok

The posters for Thor: Ragnarok shouldn’t work, but they really do. The colors of them are hyper acidic and I get a sugar high just looking at them. I think what makes these posters work is that they still look like the standard Marvel movie posters, but because of the choice to use these colors make them unlike any Marvel movie poster that’s come before. I know I’ve always said I judge the best posters of the year based on whether or not I’d like to have them hanging on the walls of my office. But the posters for Thor: Ragnarok might be the exception to the rule. I adore these posters, but having to stare at them every day on the wall my be too much for my weak psyche to take.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Much like with the posters for Thor: Ragnarok, the posters for Star Wars: The Last Jedi don’t look like any other Star Wars poster I can think of yet still feel like posters for a Star Wars movie. To me the standard Star Wars poster has a bunch of characters on either black or white, and if the movie came out pre–2015 was probably illustrated by Drew Struzan. Except the posters for Star Wars: The Last Jedi look nothing like this. From the teaser poster to character to final, they have characters colored red on a while background. Which makes these posters totally different in the pantheon of Star Wars yet none-the-less still amazing.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’ve been in love with the playful designs of the Spider-Man: Homecoming posters since they started dropping earlier this year. These posters look like they’re capturing discrete moments in Peter Parker’s life balancing things as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man like hiding clothes in a backpack or getting ready to leap off a tall building along with being a regular New York teenager. I especially like one of the posters where Spider-Man is framed perfectly in the center of the image but the background is askew. The first time I saw it and noticed that, and realized the angle that Spider-Man’s really at and it literally made me a bit dizzy.

Star Trek: Discovery

I don’t know if it’s the colors, the blocky typography or the design of the USS Discovery on the poster, but I’ve been a big fan of the teaser poster for Star Trek: Discovery every since it debuted last summer.

Wonder Woman

I really wanted to include the teaser poster for Wonder Woman last year, but I like to include posters for movies in my best of review that premier in the same year as the review. So I sat on this poster for a long time. It’s so simple, with just a near-silhouette of Wonder Woman over an orange and blue sky with the words “Power Grace Wisdom Wonder” below. It’s practically the perfect poster for this movie.

Ghost in the Shell

The Ghost in the Shell movie might have been a disappointment at the box office, but this poster is anything but. It features star Scarlett Johansson becoming invisible via a suit utilizing futuristic technology over the garish neon-infested city the movie takes place in.

Legion

The poster for the FX series Legion, which features the mind of the main character of the series exploding into a nebulous pink/blue mass is the perfect summation for the awesome-weirdness that is this show.

Blade Runner: 2049

It’s interesting to see how the designers for the posters to Blade Runner: 2049 handled things since Ghost in the Shell deals with many of the same themes this film does. Here, they chose to focus on the main characters of the movie like Ghost in the Shell, but to present them in such a way that their photos are totally colored either an intense orange or blue with just the actor’s name and movie title below.

The Dark Tower

The minute I realized I was looking at a city upside down with the negative space of the sky actually forming another city outline from below with the characters of the movie standing in the sky as it were made this poster go from “oh well” to “oh WOW!” for me.




Direct Beam Comms #63



TV

Humans Season 2, Episode 1 Grade: B

Bishop: “I prefer the term ‘Artificial Person’ myself.”

The whole idea of synthetic people, robots, androids, call them what you will, gaining, or trying to gain sentience is really nothing new. Data, on Star Trek: The Next Generation spent seven seasons of TV trying to do just that and I think there’s an argument to be made that HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey gained sentience, and that’s what drove him nuts. But just because all this has been done many, many times before doesn’t mean that story creators shouldn’t be using those same types of characters or exploring those same kinds of stories today. Even if they’re treading over the same story ground that others have already gone over before their stories will be different since they’re creating them through the lens of the present.

I don’t know if it’s the world we’re currently living in or something else but stories about robots becoming self-aware is really popular these days, with movies like Ex Machina and Ghost in the Shell and TV series like Westworld and Humans all exploring this same idea and coming at it in very different ways.

Humans is a series that originates in the UK and aires here in the US on AMC, the second season of which debuted last week. The series takes place in a very-near future world where “synths” are everywhere, do all the jobs that most people really don’t want to do and have even started turning up in homes to act as housekeepers, cooks, nannies, etc. But one scientist invented a code that made some synths self-aware, and in the first season these synths start coming together to try and escape the officials who want to wipe their memories since the fear is that self-aware synths would be the first step in knocking mankind down a few pegs on the evolutionary ladder.

The second season of Humans continues the story of the synths on the run and introduces a few new characters, namely Dr Athena Morrow (Carrie Ann Moss) who seems to have come up with the next step in computer artificial intelligence except she needs more computing power, and sees these self-aware synths as the final step in her AI quest.

Humans reminds me the most of the movie Blade Runner, in so much as it has the synths on the run from people who are out to kill them. But not so much in the tone and feel of that movie to the TV show. In many ways Humans is a bright series that takes place in gleaming offices and warm homes. I’d say that in tone and structure Humans is more akin to a 1990s series than the more modern series of today — and I don’t mean that as an insult.

Movies

Ghost in the Shell trailer #2

“They created me, but they cannot control me.”

The Reading & Watch List

Rumor Control

So far this year I’ve got articles written, or mostly written, to ones that will start publishing in early April. I’ve got one on Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers almost complete and my annual summer movie preview in the works too. And another article after that which will either be about movies of 2007 or more probably a self-examination of my TV watching habits then we’ll be in the summer article season. I’ll tell you, it’s much better to be looking forward out a few months to things I’ll be writing when the weather’s started warming up than looking out a few months to things I’ll be writing about when it’s cold and cruddy outside.

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1932: Majel Barrett of Star Trek is born
  • 1969: Thomas Jane of The Mist and The Expanse is born.
  • 1982: Swamp Thing premiers in theaters
  • 1985: Brazil opens
  • 1993: Army of Darkness opens in theaters