Posts filed under Movies

SPT2015: Catching Up on Marvel Awesomeness

I vividly remember right after the release of Batman Returns that I sat down with a small notebook and somehow figured out that if Batman was released in 1989, and Batman Returns was released in 1992, that it would roughly take them another three years to release another Batman film. I don't know where that logic came from, but 11-year-old me was convinced that it would be true and I started a countdown to 1995. Sure enough, 1995 rolled around and so did Batman Forever (for better or worse). The countdown was a little on the excruciating side, especially at that age when time seems to crawl at such a snail's pace and three years seemed like an eternity.

I can't imagine being my present-day 33-year-old self and going back in time to tell my younger self that there would come a time in 2015 that I'd watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on television, which immediately led into the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, then I'd be in Montreal and Vancouver (to work on two Marvel projects) and be watching Daredevil on Netflix, and a month later would be watching Ant-Man in theaters. There's more on this in the upcoming Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two Declassified (/end plug) but I can't think of any other time where there has been new content for a property consistently for six-plus months like there has for Marvel this year. And it seems like this is just the beginning as Star Wars will be following a similar model - and you can bet other intellectual properties will be hot on their heels.

The storytelling possibilities have been fantastic. One lengthy and connected story told over multiple years, through multiple mediums, with multiple focuses. How great is that? It's the comic book page having come to life and sent to the mainstream. I've been enjoying it completely. And yes, I do have a personal bias and was a little spoiled in seeing both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man at their respective premieres... one of the amazing perks of being the Kimmy Gibbler to the Marvel family. But I'm enjoying every minute of it. Even though Ant-Man is another origin story, it falls in the midst of an on-going story that it's able to weave in and out of seamlessly. Age of Ultron was similar, it didn't need to carry the burden of introducing all the main characters (though it did have to carry the burden of introducing a variety of other characters, which made it a super-dense flourless chocolate cake). 

Ant-Man was a completely different film. If Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a politically-charged action thriller, then Ant-Man is a comedy-charged heist film. Shades of Oceans Eleven, The Italian Job, even a little bit of Mission: Impossible are all in there. It's great how all of the live-action Marvel properties have a very different feel and tone and probably a good reason why they've all been so successful.

One thing is for certain, between a Marvel-fueled first half of the year and a Star Wars-fueled second half, both 11-year-old and 33-year-old Troy are loving every minute of it. And I don't even have to wait three years in between it all. 

#SPT2015 Coverage

This spring marks the start of what I'm imagining is going to be one of the best movie and pop culture years of my entire lifetime. Reminiscent of years like 1989 where us geeks were treated to a new Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, and Batman film there's an embarrassment of riches coming our way this year (and into 2020). On television, in comics, and especially on the big screens in theaters, there's so much this year that's on the horizon I'm excited about that I almost want to find a way to bottle it up and capture the memory of it.

Enter SPT's designated #SPT2015...

In that same summer of 1989, I vividly remember going to see Ghostbusters II at the Parker Cinema IV with my mom and one of my best friends. I'd like to remember so many of the experiences to come this year as well. So all throughout 2015, I'll be writing some first person perspectives on going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Binge-watching the new Daredevil Netflix series, and a whole lot more in an effort to put together my own little time capsule of this mammoth pop culture filled year. It'll all carry the hashtag #SPT2015 to be easily searchable here on the website or through the social medias for anyone that feels like they want to follow along.

Here are the events I'm most looking forward to covering under this new hashtag/banner on the site, hopefully you'll want to follow along and chime in?

APRIL

Daredevil Netflix Series (April 10)
Star Wars Celebration (April 16 - 19)

MAY

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)
Tomorrowland (May 22)

JUNE

Jurassic World (June 12)

JULY

Terminator: Genisys (July 1)
Ant-Man (July 17)
Mission Impossible 5 (July 31)

AUGUST

Fantastic Four (August 7)

SEPTEMBER

(Apparently a respite during my month of birth)

OCTOBER

Vacation (October 9)

NOVEMBER

The Peanuts Movie (November 6)
Spectre (November 6)
Creed (November 25)

DECEMBER

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18)

The New Ghostbusters Films: Just the Facts

All this editorializing is what keeps our hair up, right Joe?

"All-female" and "Guy-centric" Ghostbusters. Chances are if you've thrown a rock at the internet lately, you've seen either of those terms in every headline you've come across. But both of those distinctions were given to the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel/reboot/remake/restarts by editorialized comments beginning at their points of origin.

So let's do something, shall we? Let's take a cue from another of Dan Akyroyd's characters that I adore and stick to just the facts... No anonymous sources, no "speculation," no snarky comments. 

Here are the direct quotes from those involved without any editorializing:

October 8, 2014 c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig announces he is making a new film. Note, he says "will star hilarious women."

October 8, 2014 - c/o Entertainment Weekly - Feig elaborates on his Tweet directly to EW, in his own words.

"I had been contacted by Sony and Ivan a number of months ago when I was in Budapest shooting my new movie Spy. But I was like, I don’t know if I want to take that on because the first two are such classics and just because of how do you do it? Who do you bring in now that Harold’s gone? I know that Bill didn’t want to do it and I love Dan, but it was just like I don’t know how to do it.  Then I had lunch with [Sony Pictures co-chairman] Amy Pascal when I got back to town. She was just saying, gosh, nobody wants to do this. I said, yeah, it’s really hard to take that on, especially since it’s 25 years later. how do you come back into a world that’s had these ghosts and all this? It just felt too difficult. How do you do it and not screw it up? But then it was bugging me for the next few days because Ghostbusters is such a great thing and everybody knows it, and it’s such a great world. It’s a shame to just let this thing sit there. I want to see another one. My favorite thing to do is work with funny women. I was like, what if it was an all female cast? If they were all women?  Suddenly, my mind kind of exploded: that would be really fun. And then I thought, well, what if we just make it new? It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again? I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today?"
"We want to have fun with giving nods to what came before, but we don’t want to be bound by it because Katie and I already have talked at length and we have really fun ideas for things. But we want to tell the stories that we would like to tell, which means we want to tell the character arcs that we want to tell, which means we want to start with some of our characters in a different place or with different personalities and things they have to overcome and learn through the experience of this first movie. My number one thing is always about character and what is somebody learning from or transforming through whatever happens to them in the movie. So I think there will be definitely room to play with that. We want to do clever nods to it, but not cloying nods to it. We want to have the ability to really bring it into modern day."
"We have a very rough, rough outline that we’re working with, but definitely know the basic story, know what we want the basic characters to do, know what we want the world to do and what the rules of our world are, but nothing I want to discuss obviously. It’s cool. I think it’s a really strong origin story that feels real—as real as a ghost story is. It’s going to be really fun and real. We’ll make it scary and funny."
"Everything is up for grabs right now. I look at this the same way a superhero movie launches where it’s always fun to see, like, what are they going to do with the costumes this time? What are they going to do with the hardware this time? It’s not going to be, here is the exact same stuff. It’s also not going to go, screw you, if you like that stuff, it’s all completely different. We’re going to have fun with it, but again, bring it into our time period. I’m a big hardware nerd when it comes to sci-fi and all of that so I love all the gear and I love all that. We’re really going to have fun with playing with the science of it. I think fans will be very happy with what we do because it has fun with what came before but it’s new. It’s just a new, fun take on it."
"I just don’t understand why it’s ever an issue anymore. I’ve promoted both Bridesmaids and The Heat and myself and my cast are still hit constantly with the question, “will this answer the question of whether women can be funny?” I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation. Some people accused it of kind of being a gimmick and it’s like, it would be a gimmick if I wasn’t somebody whose brain doesn’t automatically go to like, I want to just do more stuff with women. I just find funny women so great. For me it’s just more of a no-brainer. I just go, what would make me excited to do it? I go: four female Ghostbusters to me is really fun. I want to see that dynamic. I want to see that energy and that type of comedy and them going up against these ghosts and going up against human detractors and rivals and that kind of thing. When people accuse it of being a gimmick I go, why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?"
"At the end of the day, all we want to make is a great movie and people are going to attach a lot of energy to either being nervous about this or being excited about it, and all Katie and I and the rest of the team, who we slowly assemble, can do is just make a great movie that’s super funny, that’s scary, that’s real, that has great characters that people identify with and want to see in these situations. It’s a world that they’ve experienced before in the old ones, but the hope is the minute they sit down they’ll go, “I love the old one, oh my god, I’m loving this new one.” Everything’s got to live on it’s own merits. It would be terrible if we just go, oh we’re just doing an update where we use the same dynamic and scripts. If we just flop four women into the exact same personalities and roles as original, then that’s lazy filmmaking on my behalf, and who wants to see that? I don’t want to do a shot by shot update of a movie that existed. It’s the difficult thing about remaking a great movie. So that’s why we’re not remaking a great movie. We’re doing our take on it."

January 15, 2015 - c/o Empire Magazine - Paul Feig talks directly to Empire. In his own words:

"It came out publically that we’re in talks with Melissa but there’s a lot to work out."
"There’s a lot of haters and I get it. The problem with the internet is that if 500 really angry men start bombarding me, I think, ‘Oh god, everybody hates this movie,’ but then you realise that it’s only 500 people. I don’t block anyone out or not read that stuff because I want to know what the most hardcore hater fan’s problem is."
"A lot of people ask why I didn’t create my own thing but Ghostbusters never ran out of steam, it’s such a great idea. It’s such a fun franchise so why not bring it to a new generation? The old movie is never going to not exist. It’s not my plan to erase every copy! Hopefully they can all live together."
"We’ve been working on laptops and passing flash drives back and forth. It’s very old school. We’re using paper, god forbid."

January 27, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Note, this is not an official announcement. It is not confirmation. It is a photo presented by Feig without anecdote. 

January 27, 2015 - c/o Sony-run Sony Pictures Twitter. - Release date announced.

 

January 28, 2015 - c/o Dan Aykroyd direct statement to The Hollywood Reporter - Aykroyd's official press response toward any of the above. No specifics given.

"The Aykroyd family is delighted by this inheritance of the ‘Ghostbusters’ torch by these most magnificent women in comedy. My great grandfather, Dr. Sam Aykroyd, the original Ghostbuster, was a man who empowered women in his day, and this is a beautiful development in the legacy of our family business."

January 29, 2015 - c/o Ernie Hudson Twitter/Hollywood Reporter

"Four fiercely funny, foxy, females busting ghosts ... phenomenal!"

Hudson also retweeted a PR post referring to third-party rumors:

February 11, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig contacted me directly through my Ghostbusters HQ Twitter to clarify (and I'm comfortable posting this publicly now as it's been confirmed/printed in the Boston Globe).

February 17, 2015 - c/o Howard Stern Show - Dan Aykroyd appears as guest. In his own words transcribed from radio interview.

"I'm very, very happy. I've got three daughters. I'm all for female empowerment. The thing needed to be stripped down. (Stumbles) As I've said take the Ecto car. Well the Ecto car now has a chassis and wheels, it needs new engine, it needs a new body. I wrote a version of it which we may end up shooting one time. It'll be different than the all-female. But I did write a Ghostbusters 3 and it exists as a script."
"Paul Feig's script is funny."

February 24, 2015 - c/o Variety - Tom Rothman is hired as new Sony Chairman of Motion Pictures, replacing Amy Pascal. He does not specifically talk Ghostbusters but comments on franchises being his priority. In Rothman's own words:

"Every studio needs franchises. That was the case when we took over at Fox and that took time to build it up and it will take time here. It’s very important but it’s equally important to have a diverse slate of films that perform profitably."

March 9, 2015 - c/o Deadline - New production company formed called Ghost Corps. Note, direct quotes from article only. Also note, original article was mysteriously revised and corrected without any explanation late in the day March 9, 2015. Note, casting and/or movie release plan not discussed. Ghost Corps' mission statement, in Ivan Reitman's own words:

"We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment. This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies. My primary focus will be to build the Ghostbusters into the universe it always promised it might become. The original film is beloved, as is the cast, and we hope to create films we will continue to love."
"Sometimes things happen at the speed they are supposed to happen. The deals were so strong on that second movie that the franchise became frozen in place 25 years. Nothing got done, we all had the power to block whatever we didn’t like, but we finally got together and found a way.”

March 10, 2015 - c/o writer Drew Pearce's Twitter. Direct comments and responses from Pearce in his own words:

March 13, 2015 - c/o Variety - Paul Feig discusses the various films directly with Variety. In his words:

“The Internet is really funny – I love it, but I hate it at the same time. The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy and you’re like, This is great. Then comes the second wave and you’re like, Oh my God. Some of the most vile, misogynistic sh** I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“The biggest thing I’ve heard for the last four months is, ‘Thanks for ruining my childhood.’ It’s going to be on my tombstone when I die. It’s so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.”
ON GHOST CORPS ANNOUNCEMENT: “I’d heard some rumblings about it. All I know is my ladies are going to kick ass and I would not want to go into battle without them.”

Will continue to update with direct quotes and statements as they're made...

Update 1: 3/11/15 3:27pm - Corrected Tom Rothman title and Amy Pascal spelling. / Added Howard Stern quotes from Dan Aykroyd. / 6:40pm - Added Ernie Hudson response from 1/29/15

Update 2: 3/14/14 1:00pm - Added Paul Feig quotes to Variety at SXSW

Is Soft-Breathy Cover Song the New Dubstep?

"Guys, I'm feeling a little vulnerable. Sing me a song? But do it really slow and sad, k?"

"Guys, I'm feeling a little vulnerable. Sing me a song? But do it really slow and sad, k?"

With the new trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak hitting the airwaves today, I think it's safe to say that there's a new running trend with trailers coming out of Hollywood. Gone are the days of the "Inception Tone." No longer will we wait for "the drop" and the dubstep to kick in for the closing montage...

Alas, the new era of trailer edit trends is here and it is "Soft Breathy Vocalist Cover Song."

Avengers: Age of Ultron seems to have started the trend, with its deeply melancholy rendition of "I've Got No Strings" that was used to great effect raising the stakes and the emotion for our band of heroes. But now it seems to have set the precedent for trailers to follow...

Crimson Peak is using a slow-soft melancholy version of Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand," San Andreas is using a slow-soft melancholy version of "California Dreaming," the Netflix series Bloodline is using a slow-soft breathy version of "Nothing Else Matters" and earlier this week the Hitman: Agent 47 trailer hit with a somewhat slowed down cover of "Voodoo Child."

Admittedly, it's nice that we've started to get away from the flash of imagery set to the deep LFE hit "BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM" tones, but it's interesting to see how this has quickly become a repeated editorial device of late. Have there been other trailers recently that have used the same device that I've missed?

Can I also make a few suggestions for forthcoming trailers? How about this version of Dio's "Holy Diver" for the next Terminator trailer? Or what about a soft-breathy version of "Eye of the Tiger" for the upcoming Rocky spin-off film Creed? Or maybe this rendition of "Crazy in Love" for a Charlie's Angels reboot film?

UPDATE: Friend Adam Vadnais pointed out to me that a soft-ballad version of "Crazy in Love" was used in the 50 Shades of Grey trailer. So I guess I wasn't that far off?

Posted on February 13, 2015 and filed under Movies.