Resin Heroes

2017 Summer movie preview



Out first this summer is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 2. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie but am in the minority since the launch of these trash-talking, comedic space-faring heroes lead by Star Lord (Chris Pratt) quickly became a surprise mega-hit at the box office a few winters ago. This time, “Chris Pratt of the 1980s” Kurt Russell joins the cast as “Ego,” who in the comics anyway is quite literally a “living planet.” And what’s not to love about that?

May 19 sees the release of Alien: Covenant, the third Ridley Scott Alien film, and a direct sequel to Prometheus (2012). Prometheus got a bad rap by the critics but made more than $400 million at the box office hence Alien Covenant. What’s interesting here is that from the looks of things Scott has taken Alien: Covenant back to something a little more in the vein of Alien with the crew of a ship fighting the insect-like baddies and away from the more esoteric Prometheus, which I happened to like a great deal. Luckily, I also happen to like Alien a great deal too and couldn’t be more excited for this movie if I tried.

DC Entertainment tries to get their movie act together with the release of Wonder Woman on June 2, the fourth release of the modern DC movie universe. Originally appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and stealing the show, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) launches the Amazonian to the big-screen in her own movie set during WWI. My only concern for Wonder Woman is that she fought the monster Doomsday in Batman vs Superman and almost single-handedly took him down in an ultimate bad !#$ way. So whatever she faces in Wonder Woman has got to be as big or that movie might be disappointing.

The creators of The Mummy on June 9 are attempting to create their own franchise and so-called “shared universe” of movies with the Universal Monsters. Starring Tom Cruise not as the mummy but someone trying to stop her from destroying the world, early looks at The Mummy seem to indicate something like Mission Impossible crossed with Suicide Squad. The Mummy is the first movie of this interconnected film universe that will also include the likes of The Invisible Man, Wolf Man, Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon in future films if this one’s a hit.

Spider-Man movies have had a really weird path to the big-screen the last few years. There were two Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man flicks a few years ago that failed to score billions at the office so that version was shelved. More recently Columbia Pictures, who owns the film rights to the character, had a new Spider-Man, this time played by Tom Holland, crossover in the Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War last year while still retaining the rights to make their own Spider-Man stand-alone films. Now comes that first film Spider-Man: Homecoming out July 7 this time with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) crossing over to this film.

A third Planet of the Apes film War for the Planet of the Apes is out July 14. The Apes film series is one of my favorites with the first chronicling why the apes got their smarts and the second what was happening with them just after the fall of man. This third film seems to be the story about the final apes vs man battle, with the winner taking claim to the planet. If you’ve seen the 1960s/1970s apes movies I’m sure you know how that works out.

Closing out the summer is the first movie based on the The Dark Tower Stephen King book series on July 28. Starring Idris Elba as the heroic gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the evil sorcerer, the The Dark Tower movie series is being billed as a sequel or continuation of the books rather than a big-screen version of them. It’s hard to describe The Dark Tower without giving too much away, but there are alternate dimensions, monsters and magical powers and, best for Hollywood, if this first is successful a series of seven other books that can all be turned into films.




Direct Beam Comms #67



TV

Iron Fist Series premiere episode 1 Grade: B+

There aren’t a lot of good comic book series on TV. To be sure, there are lots of them but only a few of them are worth watching. Legion on FX is very good and Daredevil on Netflix is pretty good too. But for the most part the Arrows and Agents of SHIELDs and Preachers of the world are time wasters at best and just plain bad at worst. Into this mass of comic book TV series comes the latest Marvel series to stream on Netflix Iron Fist.

So far Iron Fist has gotten pretty tepid reviews. I’d go as far to say that it’s the worst reviewed series of the four Marvel/Netflix series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. So when I watched the first episode of Iron Fist I was a little concerned — was it going to be the “turd in the punchbowl” of Marvel TV series that everyone else is claiming?

Actually no — Iron Fist isn’t great, but it’s not a bad series either. In fact I’d say that it’s no better nor no worse than either Jessica Jones or Luke Cage.

Finn Jones plays Danny Rand, the son of a wealthy family who’s plane crashed decades ago in the Himalayas that left everyone thinking all the Rands were dead. Except Danny survived the crash, was rescued and now has returned to New York City to reclaim his spot in his father’s company. Only now Danny is different. Much like with the other Netflix Marvel shows that are action/martial arts oriented, Danny has returned as a kung-fu master who’s able to easily scale the outside of buildings, leap over moving cars and take out corporate security goons without breaking a sweat.

It seems like the first season of Iron Fist will focus on Danny reclaiming his rightful place as majority owner of his father’s company while at the same time trying to uncover a conspiracy of those now in control who want him dead.

I actually enjoyed Iron Fist a great deal and found it to be a lot of fun. It’s not as dark as Daredevil is, which is a good thing, yet still fits in the same corner of the Marvel universe the Netflix series all do nicely. The only reason I can think that other reviewers aren’t liking Iron Fist is that they’re coming to the show with some expectations of how it should be based on the other series like how the creators of Jessica Jones or Luke Cage handled those shows. Except Iron Fist is its own thing and I think should be treated as such. It’s not a Jessica Jones or Luke Cage and I think that’s a good thing — if it were Iron Fist would be redundant and not nearly as interesting as it is.

Trial & Error Series premiere episode 1 Grade: D+

The new comedy Trial & Error debuted on NBC last week. It was a show I was looking forward to the last few months and was something NBC had been pushing hard since last winter too. But after having watched the first two episodes I hate to say that Trail & Error was most definitely not worth the wait.

This series seems to be partially based on the 2004 documentary The Staircase that followed a man accused of murdering his wife and is followed by a film crew in the lead up to trial. In Trial & Error, John Lithgow plays Larry Henderson, a man also accused of murdering his wife who’s also being followed by a documentary crew. Junior attorney Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agosto) is assigned to the case and quickly becomes lead attorney when Henderson’s funds dry up leaving Segal in charge. Helping Segal is investigator Dwayne Reed (Steven Boyer) and assistant Anne Flatch (Sherri Shepherd) who turn out to be incompetent and are more detrimental to the case than beneficial. Reed accidentally destroys some evidence and Flatch suffers from a variety of maladies from face-blindness to fainting whenever she sees a beautiful piece of art.

If it were just Reed and Flatch who were the goofballs of Trial & Error it might have made for an interesting series. It’s like with The Office that had two strong, goofy characters with Michael and Dwight with a lot of other “normal” characters orbiting around them. With Trial & Error it’s like every character is extremely eccentric and it pushes the balance of things totally out of whack.

There’s Henderson who can’t quite take the murder trial seriously and is more interested in rollercising and skate keys, the prosecuting attorney Carol Anne Keane (Jayme Mays) who wants to get the death penalty for Henderson and have sex with Segal no matter what and even a DNA expert (Andrew Daly) who masturbates whenever he’s stressed. The list of crazy characters goes on and on and is way too much.

Also, can we agree at this point sitcoms that are shot documentary style are passe? When the BBC version of The Office did this 16 years ago it was new, unique and fresh. But these days it seems old and stogy, even if it actually makes sense in Trial & Error with Henderson’s trial being the focus of a The Staircase like documentary.

Usually there’s something with 20 minute sitcoms that I can latch onto and stick with a season or two. Either there’s some tiny spark in the writing that interests me or a different kind of character than what’s come before. But with Trial & Error there were several times during the episodes that I very nearly shut it off since I was bored with the show. But I did stick with it until the end and, upon reflection, I think I would have been better off if I would have turned the episode off and watched something else instead.

Movies

Wonder Woman origin trailer

“It is our sacred duty to defend the world.”

Toys

ARTFX+ Spider-Man 2099

Kotobukiya’s ARTFX+ Spider-Man 2099 statue is gorgeous. It stands 5 inches tall, will retail for around $65 and will be available in September. I love everything about it from the colors to the physique of Spider-Man. My only issue is the Kotobukiya statues aren’t really statues, they’re like this cross between action-figure and statue. They’re not made out of resin so they don’t feel solid, but that makes them affordable.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1931: William Shatner, James T. Kirk of Star Trek is born
  • 1948: John de Lancie, Q of Star Trek is born
  • 1995: The TV series Sliders premiers
  • 1999: The TV series Farscape premiers
  • 2004: Dawn of the Dead opens in theaters
  • 2009: The last episode of the TV series Battlestar Galactica airs
  • 2012: The Hunger Games opens in theaters



Alex Ross Spider-Man movie concept art






Paolo Rivera Spider-Man painting






Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #328 cover