Tagged: ComicMix Six

Box Office Democracy: Bottom 6 Movies of 2017

6. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

If this was just about wasted potential, Valerian would easily be on the top of this list.  There are five worse movies this year but none of them have a fraction of the visual artistry displayed here by Luc Besson.  Valerian has some of the best design I’ve seen in a movie all year and two of the most inventive chase sequences maybe ever.  It also features a terrible script that meanders forever over trivial nothing and merrily skips past dense plot without a moment for inspection.  I loved watching the action but I never really understood why any of it was going on.  Toss on top some of the worst chemistry I’ve ever seen between an on-screen couple (and honestly maybe Dane DeHaan isn’t ready to be a leading man) and this is an unpleasant movie to watch at any volume above mute.

5. American Assassin

I sincerely thought that we were past making movies like American Assassin now that we’re on year 16 of the obviously never ending War on Terror.  I assumed we were past movies that seemingly exist solely to demonize and dehumanize brown people on the other side of the world.  This is a movie with no nuance or subtext or anything.  It’s predictable, dreary, and the worst kind of weighty.  It depicts a world in which people are nothing but weapons for the nation as one we should want to be in.  It also runs for 15 minutes past any events of consequence happening and expects us to sit and care about literally nothing happening.

4. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

If you’ve ever seen those posts where someone feeds a computer a bunch of data about one topic or another and then the computer spits back an attempt at making original things of the same set, you could understand how they probably wrote the script for xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.  It’s trying to be every successful action movie of the last ten years all at once.  It has a multi-cultural cast, numerous exotic locations that all happen to be filled with parties full of white people, and a bunch of supporting and cameo roles given to people intended to draw in audience in foreign markets.  There’s nothing holding the movie together so it’s easily the most boring movie I’ve ever seen that also features trying to use an airplane to hit falling satellites.  Movies are more than the sum of their parts and XXx: The Return of Xander Cage is a great lesson in that.

3. The Mummy

I long for the days when studios would just make movies with the idea that they could make an obscene amount of money from them.  Now it seems like they don’t want hundreds of millions of dollars unless they know it directly leads them to the next 100 million.  There were fine ideas in The Mummy about a woman who would not be cast aside and wanted to seize absolute power to punish her family.  That character doesn’t get to exist on screen because we need develop Tom Cruise to be the hero of the Dark Universe and we need time for Dr Jekyll and for the people who hunt monsters.  It is needless and exhausting.  The Mummy might not be an objectively terrible movie but it is so impossibly frustrating it needs to be recognized here.

2. Ghost in the Shell

Just to get it out of the way: this movie would make it on to this list just because it’s racist and tone deaf.  Deciding, in 2017, that it’s a good idea to make a movie based on an iconic Japanese manga/film/media empire and cast almost exclusively white people is astonishing.  It’s an irredeemable failure solely from looking at the poster.  Then it’s not even a good movie.  They threw out all the stories they presumably licensed the material for and instead gave us a milquetoast cyberpunk paint-by-number.  When the studio found out the Blade Runner sequel would be released in the same calendar year they should have shelved the project until we all forgot what could be done.

1. Transformers: The Last Knight

I suppose I should have some respect for Michael Bay as an auteur at this point.  He can’t possibly be hurting for money.  Nothing would stop him from getting lazy and putting out shorter films to try and goose his grosses by squeezing in another showing.  Bay is going to make these monstrous, incomprehensible, films and they’re going to be exactly as he wants them to be and as long as he pleases.  It would be charitable at this point to call these movies pointless.  There’s definitely a point: People who know things are idiots and people who shoot things are awesome.  They’re never going to stop with these; we should all just adjust our lives to accommodate them.

Marc Alan Fishman’s ComicMix Six: Marc’s Top Marvel Studios Movies!

To date, Marvel Studios has 16 released films in their shared universe. And while I have an affinity for all of them (truly, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch) it’s fair now to see the cream rise to the top. Having just finished Spider-Man: Homecoming this past weekend – yes I’m a suburban dad who no longer prioritizes movies as a need-to-see-on-release-day – I think I’m within bounds to pluck out my top five… until I mentioned this idea to EIC Mike Gold who denoted “We have a logo” for picking six. Natch. So, without any further preamble, here are (ranked from bottom to top) my most favoritest Marvel(ous) movies.

Definition time: I’m specifying movies only within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This excludes the X-Men movies, the Fantastic Four movies, the Blade trilogy (which was awesome, honestly) any previous Spider-Man flicks, and sadly Deadpool who would have been #3 on my ranking.

  1. The Avengers

It’s funny enough to me that this film – the quintessential tent pole of the MCU – arrives in this bonus spot on my list. When the dust settled for me on The Avengers I remain in love with the concept, less the execution. Because Joss Whedon is so adept at creating great team dynamics there’s rarely any downtime in the flick, which is its saving grace. Ultimately, the plot is barely logical, with Loki aligning with Thanos because reasons and it’s all an excuse for a huge CGI fist fight. That the film never abandons the damage New York takes because of the epic Midtown massacre again harkens why The Avengers made my list in the first place. Amidst the cacophony, humanity still remains at the heart of the film. Even if Agent Coulson’s death was retconned almost immediately.

  1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

All of Cap’s movies are infinitely watchable to me. Somehow the cock-sure asshat that was one of the only saving graces of the terrible Fantastic Four films (you know which ones) truly adopted and adapted his talents to fully realize Marvel’s big blue boy scout. And in his performance, Chris Evans balances the fish-out-of-water aspects of the character perfectly with a soldier’s grit and heroism in the modern age. While The First Avenger did all the expository heavy lifting to sell us on Steve Rogers the man, The Winter Soldier proved that “superhero” films could be far more than large set pieces and quips. The Directing Russos took their love of 70s political / conspiracy fiction and married it to the modern day in a way that felt bombastic but real. I still remain in awe watching Rogers chase down his former best friend amidst the chaos of the biggest Holy Watcher! moment of the MCU – the reveal of Hydra’s long-simmering subterfuge. Pair that with the late-in-the-movie tête-à-tête with Nick Fury over proactive protection over reactive super heroics and you get a heavy flick that leaves you wondering why it took this long to see something this good.

  1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

The only thing I could honestly nitpick about the flick was the avidity for late-night fight scenes, is a boon to the first Spider-Man film to truly nail the character as I’d always imagined him to be. Our believably-baby-faced Peter Parker steals the show (fitting given it’s his film) in what amounts to an homage to 80s teen rom-coms with a running thread of super-heroics. And, amongst literally all the movies I’ll be listing today, none had me more on the edge of my seat than the car ride discussion between Peter and his date’s daddy. That a superhero movie had me captivated without thwipping a single web is a testament to its depth and brevity. Oh, and somehow, the movie made a mort like Vulture into a believable badass. Case. Closed.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Take everything that was said above, copy, and paste it. But magnify it by two or three. Civil War took big swings at the politics of being a super hero, weaved in a deeply personal conflict, and then set it all against a global backdrop. The movie owned the space Avengers: Age of Ultron should have, all while taking those initial beats of young Steve Rogers and bringing them home to roost. That they could tell all of this, drop our jaws with the airport sequence and make both sides of the equation nuanced in their actions and opinions only drove the point home harder how Marvel could make mature fiction against the flashy colors and CGI bombast.

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s way of raising two gigantic middle fingers at DC while simultaneously mooning them. For a bit of perspective: Batman v. Superman earned (essentially) the same amount of money as the first GotG movie, but came out two years later. So, a movie where a loose Indiana Jones / Han Solo rip-off pilots Firefly alongside a talking raccoon and animated tree earned the same amount of money. But that’s truly beside the point. Guardians 2 took everything amazing from its first iteration – the comedy, the space-action, the brilliant visuals, and an astoundingly wide scope of the universe at large – and somehow improved upon it. Kurt Russel’s Ego is a massive villain whose plot (for once) feels earned. All the performances were beyond exemplary… but nothing truly hit this father harder than a blue dude with a red Mohawk literally defining fatherhood amidst an intergalactic chase and war sequence.

  1. Iron Man

Iron Man was a no-brainer for the top of my list. While other actors across the MCU have grown into their roles… none of them hold a candle to Robert Downey Jr. – who doesn’t so much as perform Tony Stark as he simply exists as a surrogate so close to the source material he bleeds ink. While other Marvel films have woven more intricate plots, delivered better (a few, if we’re being picky) villains, or provided us with better battles… none compare to the total package quite so well as the original kick-off to Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, our introduction to what the general pop-culture lexicon would consider a “B” lister, Jon Favreau drags right to the top of the A list in the cold open. Tony Stark – as massively, untouchably talented and wealthy as he is – becomes our surrogate POV character for nearly every Marvel film he’s subsequently been in. And while his personal politics and actions have led him to morally gray areas ever since… it’s all the work done here in his origin that allows us to believe every action that has occurred. All that and the movie made this millennial truly believe a man could fly. In a suit. Of space-age material, designed by a genius living with an electromagnetic reactor in his chest that powers it.

ComicMix Six: Box Office Democracy’s Worst Movies of 2016

Last time, I covered the best movies of 2016— and now it’s time for the flip side. Brace yourself.

#6: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – In my top list I praised Captain America: Civil War for being a kind of triumphant pinnacle of fan service in comic book movies. Batman v Superman might well be the dark mirror of that idea: fan service run completely amok.  Characters are crammed in this movie every which way along with vague concepts, half-formed ideas, and every frame of iconic superhero artwork Zack Snyder has ever seen.  Batman v Superman is depressing both in tone and failed potential.  The Superman that Snyder puts on the screen is the worst interpretation of the character I’ve ever seen, impulsive and violent without a trace of warmth.  Only the moderately badass Wonder Woman sequences save this movie from higher placement on this list, and they desperately need to right this ship before they consider putting a Justice League movie on the screen.

#5: Allegiant Allegiant is barely a movie at all.  It’s supposed to be setting up for some grand finale, but it has so few plot points to actually dole out that we end up just endlessly spinning.  There’s probably a way to do a movie like this in a better way, perhaps by diving deeply in to the characters or by some distracting world building, but even writing that I realize I’m talking about a filler episode of an hour-long TV show and not a feature film.  Allegiant was a shallow cash grab by a cynical studio and they seem to have torpedoed the entire franchise with their greed.  A more optimistic version of me hoped that this would be the end of splitting books in to multiple movies, but that doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards now that one Harry Potter reference book is poised to be turned in to five movies.

#4: Independence Day: Resurgence – I’m eagerly awaiting the other shoe on Independence Day: Resurgence to finally drop and to learn that the en tire movie was some sort of experiment in programming a computer to write a summer blockbuster.  I would much rather that be the solution rather than a human being (or several teams of human beings as credited) sat down and wrote a movie that so transparently tried to tick every box on some sort of magical checklist.  Sequel to a beloved film of the primary moviegoing populace’s childhood?  Check.  Jettisons the most expensive actor but brings up the character enough to try and get that secondhand rub?  Check.  Crucial character is Chinese to appeal to the essential audience there but don’t give her a big enough part to scare off the more xenophobic among the domestic audience?  Check.  Bigger badder explosions, damn the reduced emotional impact?  Check.  While it’s certainly possible a group of people made a movie this bad I would certainly prefer to find out it was a rogue AI trying to bring down humanity or something.

#3: The Angry Birds Movie – I was delighted by many animated movies.  Two made my top six list and if we did ten over here at ComicMix I likely might have had space for two more.  Children’s entertainment is at a fantastic place as most of the studios seem to have learned not to talk down to kids and to put effort in to their work in exchange for almost unheard of responses.  The Angry Birds Movie is a movie that shows that not all lessons are learned by all people.  Angry Birds is a barrage of ideas that presents no internal consistency or emotional stakes.  Everything is 10 seconds away from being a poop joke and in 2016 that simply isn’t good enough.  The fact that the movie ends with an endlessly long sequence reacting the mobile phone game everyone was sick of five years ago Is the final nail in the coffin.

#2: Sausage PartySausage Party would be a solidly above average sketch on Funny or Die if it ran for seven minutes.  They have an interesting premise, three mediocre jokes, and an hour and a half of garbage.  There are times when it’s offensive and that’s awful, but also there are interminable stretches when it’s just unbelievably boring.  I felt like Sausage Party was holding me hostage in the theater until they had a chance to spit out every terrible idea they had, culminating in the orgy sequence that felt more like a desperate attempt to seem edgy than to blow off any narrative or comedic steam.

#1: Norm of the North – I have never seen a movie in the theaters as bad as Norm of the North.  Honestly, that might be giving it too much credit as it certainly has to be in the conversation with cult classics of terrible cinema like The Room and Troll 2 when we discuss the worst movies ever made.  It’s an incomprehensible film that changes narrative focus randomly and without justification and seems to just be hoping we don’t notice.  There isn’t a single joke that hit with me.  The character design and animation are so bad that I have to believe that dozens of student films this year looked better.  I’m angry that someone paid for Norm of the North to get made while so many talented people must be struggling to get by in the animation industry.  It’s offensive that this exists in the same medium as Frozen or Zootopia or even ShrekNorm of the North is the worst of the animation industry, the film industry, and the worst piece of entertainment I’ve ever seen marketed to children.

Six Reasons Why Clickbait Works

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  1. numbersMost people online can count to nine by looking at their keyboard. However, in the so-called real world the number after “9” is not “0.”
  1. “Clickbait” sounds like “Chickbait” and you’ve already met Chris Hansen.
  1. You missed out on the glory days of our space program.
  1. Your attention span is so short you confuse usatoday.com with the newyorktimes.com.
  1. You can’t understand why there were five people in the Three Stooges.
  1. Welcome to the end of the list. Obviously, it works.

ComicMix Six: The Six Worst Movies of 2014

It’s easier to write bad reviews than good reviews, this is the secret of all criticism. Things that are good tend to be good in the same ways, in film it’s usually good acting, writing, directing, those kind of things. Things can fail in a seemingly unlimited number of ways. The movies that make up my bottom six movies of 2014 found some fantastic ways to fail.

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6. [[[Only Lovers Left Alive]]] – Only Lovers Left Alive would probably work in any number of other media. It would be a good novella. I’d probably enjoy it as a concept album from an edgy rock band. It would make an amazing series of oil paintings. It is not what I want as a film. It’s a big static nothing with terribly little in terms of character arc and substitutes all of that storytelling energy for some amazing idle shots. I’m not interested in moving pictures where nothing moves and where the stories don’t involve solid characters. I don’t care how beautiful it is.

ComicMix Six: Top Six Movies of 2014

With the 2014 cinematic year in the books it’s time to do the time-honored tradition of the film reviewer, making a list of the top movies of the year. It makes us feel important and it’s an easy ay to fill space during the dreadful early January period for movies. Here are my top six movies of 2014. I’ll be back in just a little bit with the six worst movies.

SDCC12: First Teaser Poster for Gareth Edward’s ‘Godzilla’ Is Here

6. [[[Godzilla]]] – I wasn’t big on Godzilla when it came out, I though that it cheated me out of many of the giant monster fight that they owed me when I paid $15 for a ticket. But when I was gathering my list of top movies of the year I remembered the movie quite fondly. It’s suspenseful and, honestly, has plenty of action. It doesn’t reach the frenetic peaks that Pacific Rim did but then again Pacific Rim did not make my top 10 list last year. With more Bryan Cranston, this might have been my favorite movie of the year.

ComicMix Six: Comic Book Characters Who Were in the Olympics

It’s time for the Winter Olympics! That special time every four years where the world tunes in to watch athletes from all over compete for medals. I myself am reminded that perhaps I should take up running or some form of exercise other than getting up to grab myself a new book to read. Until that fateful day however, I bring to you this list of six comic book characters that were involved in the Olympics in one form or another.

  1. Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike G...

    Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike Grell.

    First on the list is Jon Sable.  A now freelance mercenary who previously was an athlete in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. After having witnessed the terrorist outrages in the Munich games, he married a fellow athlete and moved to Rhodesia. Becoming a game warden and a tourist guide for safari tours. Unfortunately however, life did not go so simply and he returned to the USA to go freelance.
    Not the happiest of Olympic tales to start out on, I know. But it is interesting to say the very least. You can also catch up on the latest Jon Sable right here, with Jon Sable: Ashes of Eden.

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Six Most Important Comics Stories From San Diego Comic-Con

We’ve all had a chance to recover and step back a bit, and we can now look at what are the most important pure-comics stories out of San Diego Comic-Con. (No, not movies, or movies based on comics, or video games based on comics, those are all for other posts.) So what are the ComicMix Six Comic Stories from Comic-Con International?

1. Neil Gaiman returns to write “Before Sandman”.

Neil Gaiman is returning to his most famous comics creation, The Sandman, one more time, for a prequel miniseries to be released next year to be drawn by J.H. Williams (Promethea, Batwoman). “When I finished writing THE SANDMAN, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in THE SANDMAN #1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war. It was a story that we discussed telling for SANDMAN’s 20th anniversary… but the time got away from us. And now, with SANDMAN’s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told,” said Gaiman.

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ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

As we’ve reported, DC is restarting all their titles in August… which makes everybody wonder: how is the DC Universe going to change now?

Luckily, we actually received a copy of an internal memo addressed to Dan DiDio about some of the changes (that will help bridge that gap with newer readers looking for more reality and accessibility to the DCU) we’ll be seeing after September. Here are the highlights:

  1. Lois and Clark won’t be married anymore. In the new Superman mythos, Clark Kent ends up with Pete Ross. They live in “Boysville” in the low-rent district in Metropolis. Clark’s newer costume will actually double as his “rave-wear” when he and Pete go clubbing on the weekend.
  2. Lex Luthor will never have been President of the United States of America. He will also sport his red locks once again, as he’s not only the founder of Lexcorp Hair Treatment Centers of America… he’s also a member.
  3. Dick Grayson will be de-aged back to 16, where he’ll once again assume the mantle of Robin… for one day. Jim Gordon figures out that Bruce Wayne, the man seeking to make young Grayson his ward, is in fact Batman… because who the f’ else would traipse around Gotham’s seedy underbelly with a minor in a yellow cape? He quickly arrests Wayne for child endangerment. Grayson is sent to the Gotham orphanage where he’ll befriend a beleaguered Freddy Freeman.
  4. Hal Jordan will continue as Earth Sector 2814’s protector… but the Green Lantern power rings will be prone to weakness against yellow, wood, garlic, and especially plaid.
  5. Green Arrow will now use a sniper rifle, because, face it, a bow and arrow to hunt super villains? LAME. He’ll also sport a Justin Bieber haircut, and ditch the Van Dyke… cause kids these days like a clean cut youtuber to such follicle faux pas.
  6. As part of DC’s new digital strategy, Wonder Woman’s series will be released only on YouTube, as an all “topless” motion comic. It’s been described as “like the Gotham Girls animated shorts, but with a revenue stream.”
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