Category Archives: Movies

7 Must-See Movie Dates of 2016

If you have recovered from your Christmas-induced food coma, by now you’re probably thinking about what adventures 2016 will bring. In true Futurist fashion, I present you the biggest movies of 2016. (So it is written, so it shall be)


The Marvel Cinematic Universe – including movies yet to come.

These all happen to be gleaned from the Superhero genre – mainly because the biggest movies these days are in that field, or the sci-fi genre. Superhero movies is, much like Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s and 70s, a money making genre that appears to generate the most hype and have a growing fan base. This can be both good and bad.

Just look at some internet comments from fans of these movies, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Someone expressing their love or hate for one of these movies on the net risks initiating World War 3. With that being said, I will enjoy reading the comments stemming from this post…

Enough of the rambling, let’s head to the movies that you should ensure you book well in advance of their respective release dates!

Deadpool

4th February 2016

A long time coming, many have not heard of the wise-cracking, sword wielding, fourth wall breaking Deadpool. Deadpool is a mutant with a healing ability not unlike Wolverine with a severely scarred body. Which is why he’s always wearing the suit. He also has a dark sense of humour – he literally cannot shut up. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this guy.

Deadpool is special because in the comics, he consistently talks to the “readers” (what is known as breaking the 4th wall). He is the only one aware he is in a comic book. The same is true with the movie version. In fact in the Deadpool trailer, Ryan Reynolds’ character says “cue the music” at the point where the beat drops from the trailer – as he knows he is in a trailer. Also he makes references to the failed Green Lantern movie which he acted the main character: “Don’t make my costume green… or animated”.

He is definitely an anti-hero with a difference. Definitely not a movie for kids incidentally.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

25th March 2016

DC and Warner Brothers are finally working towards their answer to Marvel Studio’s movie dominance. The rivals, Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is approaching their 13th movie – they have built up 12 interconnected movies so far. DC entered with Man of Steel, and have gone for pitting Batman against Superman already. Too soon? But wait, there’s more.

Wonder Woman and Aquaman are also scheduled to make an apperance. The main villain looks to be an interesting take on Lex Luthor acted by Mike Zuckerb… I mean, Jesse Eisenberg. Oh, not enough bad guys for you? Then let’s throw in Doomsday too. Not to worry, I would like DC and Warner Brothers to do well. I’m not a blind Marvel fan. But I am pointing out that DC are taking a big risk introducing so many characters in their second movie. It would be the equivalent of Marvel releasing Iron Man, and then The Avengers – with no build up of Captain America, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Widow, or Hawkeye.

It is a risk by DC, but one that may pay off given the popularity of their characters. It will be the first time in cinematic history that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman share the same movie. So far, the trailers look visually stunning. Let’s all hope it delivers!

Captain America: Civil War

29th April 2016

I have a whole blog post dedicated to why one should watch this movie in the post Captain America: Civil War… Why Should You Care?, sooo… I’m not going to waste time here. That’s right. Add to my post view count. Go ahead.

Ok fine, here’s a tidbit. In general, this movie has been dubbed as “Avengers 2.5”, given most of the Avengers show up in this movie. After continuing escalation of disasters involving superhumans leads to a government sanction to register people with powers, the heroes are split right down the middle, forcing them to fight against each other. The opposing sides are led by Captain America and Iron Man.

X-Men: Apocalypse

27th May 2016

The Fox produced X-Men movies have had some ups and downs, but the recent two movies, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past have reinvigorated the franchise and have X-Men fans enthused about this latest instalment.

It features the immortal mutant Apocalypse – the first mutant to exist as the main antagonist. His powers, including total control over his molecules so he can alter his size, are so vast that through the ages he has been worshipped. Of course what I’m trying to say, is that his powers are so vague, I don’t really know them all. He usually recruits 4 mutants (ok, forces 4 mutants) and gives them power. They become… wait for it… the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Get it?

Suicide Squad

5th August 2016

This movie has the potential of being the sneak success of the year. The main synopsis is that a government agency, Argus, assembles a group of villains to complete missions for their country. There have been animated movies of this group as well as an adaptation on the TV series Arrow. There is usually some implanted chip in each of the villains ready to be detonated by the head of Argus, Amanda Waller should they step out of line.

Why should this be so successful? The same reason The Dirty Dozen was successful. Assembling a group of misfits have been done successfully in Marvel’s The Avengers. But it will be especially interesting watching a group of villains, who care nothing about saving the world ordinarily, trying to work together. We have yet another iteration of The Joker making an appearance, and fan-favourite Harley Quinn making her movie debut. Will Smith stars as the expert marksman Deadshot.

Gambit

7th October 2016

I’ll be honest, besides the fact that Channing Tatum will be playing Gambit, and… he’s an X-Men character…

I’ve got nothing.

They did try to show us Gambit in X-Men: Wolverine Origins, but evidently it wasn’t too impressive. Perhaps the fact that not much is known about this movie so far will help it in the long run. The guy was my favourite X-Men character. Hence, it’s in this list.

Moving on.

Dr Strange

4th November 2016

My top two movies for 2016 are Captain America: Civil War, and this one – Dr Strange.

Not many know about this character, besides comic book fans. The next entry is Marvel Studios’ introduction to a character whose powers lies in the mystical. His full title is Dr Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. He is to be portrayed by a very talented actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness). Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has touched on the technological, the political, and the cosmic, they are now expanding on the mystical/magical side… or is it?

Dr Stephen Strange was actually mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier if you paid enough attention. His background is as a world renowned surgeon who, after an accident, lost the use of his hands. He tried everything scientific to bring them back. He ended up meeting a character called The Ancient One who showed him how to harness inter-dimensional power.

Chiwetel Ejiofor will be acting as Baron Mordo, another sorcerer who trains under The Ancient One, but his jealousy of Dr Strange being Sorcerer Supreme instead of himself leads him to the dark side of… wait, that’s a Star Wars reference… leads him to evil. Yeah. Evil.

This movie will be a game changer for Marvel, and one of the most visually stunning movies they have produced, so don’t miss it!

Honourable mentions:
There are of course other highly expected movies over the course of 2016 to watch out for…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Michael Bay reloaded)
Finding Dory
Now You See Me 2
Independence Day: Resurgence
Star Trek Beyond

Make sure you book your tickets early – these movies are likely to be sold out early. Also, a number of these are sequels or part of a franchise. Catch up, or go with someone who knows!

No, I’m busy.

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Top 6 James Bond Gun Barrel Openings

Back to the topic of movies and media. The movie which is front and centre at the moment is the latest James Bond flick, Spectre. Say what you want about the movie, the biggest takeaway is the return of the iconic “gun barrel” James Bond opening.

You know the one I’m talking about. Bond casually walking across with a gun of some unknown assassin pointed at him. For some reason this person doesn’t shoot Bond before Bond turns to shoot. The blood then somehow seeps through a cross section of the barrel of the gun…

I am of course nit-picking and teasing here. I am actually a big fan of this opening. So much so that I went and watched each version of this throughout all the Bond movies. You wouldn’t believe the differences between them all! From design, to the music, to the walking style of each Bond actor.

So, I have here a ranking of the top 6 Bond gun barrel openings to help you procrastinate on things that matter for another 5 minutes. I think the order will surprise you!

Criteria:

  • I’ll be allowing just one entry per Bond actor, to give an insight into the varying styles.
  • Also, I will be sensitive to the time period of the Bond.
  • Marks are awarded for originality/style (whilst paying sufficient homage to the originals), the musical score, and how classy and practical the walk and turn of Bond was.
  • Note this is not a ranking of the best Bonds.

One last important note. These are all my opinion. Feel free to complain in the comments, I’ll be happy for explain why your opinion is incorrect here.

I kid of course.

But seriously, this list is definitive.

Without further ado, let us begin.

6. Roger Moore


For Your Eyes Only

It’s a shame the gun barrel version in Roger Moore’s era ended up last, given the music was so darn awesome and upbeat. It invigorated John Barry’s original arrangement with the disco-esque style which was dominant in the 70’s to create something quite rhythmical.

What really let this down, was the walk and turn of Roger Moore. He might be a smooth talker, but he almost lazily turns towards the shooter… he’d have been shot already! Perhaps using two hands to grip the gun wasn’t the best idea for speed. The visuals and style were pretty much the same as what came before.

Originality/style: 2
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 8

5. Sean Connery


Thunderball

How do you score the original? The one which set the bar for the rest? The opening has become an icon of any Bond movie, as well as the musical soundtrack. Well, given it was the original, and to give it room for improvement I gave the style a 4 out of 5.

The score itself I’ve given an average score. As good as it is, some other versions improve on it just a little. Doesn’t take anything away from this original masterpiece. As for the walk and turn, if you notice, Sean Connery has a little trouble keeping himself still after swivelling around. It is however better than the first version of Connery’s walk, which ended in him jumping into a shooting position. (Look it up, it’s quite funny, but a classic).

Originality/style: 4
Musical Score: 3
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 9

3= Daniel Craig


Casino Royale

Daniel Craig was really saved by Casino Royale. The gun barrel “after thoughts” of Quantum of Solace and Skyfall left much to be desired. Awkward walk, strangely fast sequence or weird Photoshop graphics of the gun barrel were problems that plagued those two. The Spectre one is actually very good and very classic. But Casino Royale tops all the Bonds with originality whilst paying homage to the original.

It gave a reason for Bond to be turning like that, which Daniel Craig did in style. It smoothly transitioned into the song title sequence. It had the most realistic blood pouring down the screen. So the originality and style makes up for the lack of walk on, or use of the original theme. This shares joint 3rd with the next one I will mention…

Originality/style: 5
Musical Score: 2
Walk and turn: 3
Total Score: 10

3= Timothy Dalton


License to Kill

A lot of people aren’t fans of Timothy Dalton’s portrayal as Bond. Personally I do like him. He’s a little more emotional than the other Bonds, and a lot of people might not like that. Fair enough. But the swagger on him when he walks on is brilliant. His turn is quick, not overcooked or slow (like a certain Roger Moore).

The music itself was great. The movie it introduces is quite the epic in that Bond loses his license to kill for the first time. He’s also on a personal vendetta for Felix, his CIA counterpart. The music in this opening sequence reflects that in how different, but epic it is, whilst keeping the original elements recognisable.

Originality/style: 2
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 4
Total Score: 10

2. Pierce Brosnan


Goldeneye

Now in terms of improvements on the styling and soundtrack as a whole, the Pierce Brosnan gun barrel intros had it mastered. It was even hard to pick which one to put on display. All of the musical scores had some difference to them, a couple of them fairly bombastic in their use of rhythm and speed differences. The common theme? They left me feeling excited.

The style of the gun barrel itself is updated and looking glossy. The only let down (which is likely to be controversial) is the walk and turn. The walk was ok, fairly normal, the turn was the other extreme of Roger Moore’s slow “I don’t mind being shot at because they’ll miss anyway” turn for the shot. Pierce turned very suddenly, very quickly – it’s great practically speaking, but there was no swagger, no grace. Not like our surprise number one…

Originality/style: 4
Musical Score: 5
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 11

1. George Lazenby


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Given George Lazenby is probably my least favourite Bond, I did not see this coming. A Bond movie that came in between Sean Connery’s run, the musical score made use of a synthesizer (also used in the movie) to add a nice spy thriller edge. There are other differences in the musical score I could go on about and bore 67% of the readers. (I did the math).

The walk is stylish and cool, not quite on a Timothy Dalton level, but almost there. His turn however was athletic, swiftly swivelling to one knee. Just watch it and try doing it as smoothly as he does whilst keeping your balance. The style of the whole thing was largely the same except for what almost looks like him moonwalking forwards. Probably an accident of the times, but it looks great!

Originality/style: 3
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 5
Total Score: 12

And there you have it. Just know, you will never get these few minutes back again. Of course, the situation is worse for me writing this…

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Captain America: Civil War… why should you care?

Attention: Avengers 2.5 is being disguised as another movie – Captain America: Civil War! Do not be fooled because you don’t see the word “Avengers” in the title. Fact is, more Avengers will be in this movie than any other Avengers movie. (Ok, I’ve said “Avengers” far too many times in one paragraph already…)

So why should you watch it?

The first reason is simple enough. It is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I explained about that on a previous blog post, but essentially, the movie is the first episode of sorts in season (or phase) 3 of the MCU. It is a “season premiere” really, so one would expect it to start with a bang.

The second reason is where I enter the geek realm and give a bit of backstory. #SorryNotSorry

If you can’t be bothered to read it (too long; didn’t read) here you are:
TL;DR – the comic book story it is adapted from is outstanding and critically acclaimed.

Now you lazy souls can jump to the end.

Those of you who are obviously smarter and more cultured, continue on.

Background
Civil War in the comic books was a story arc that spanned all of the Marvel characters – Iron Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and any others you could think of. Reason being, for a while the government and the public had been growing tired of super-powered beings smashing through property, civilian casualties and more – with no accountability. They are all essentially vigilantes officially.

Eventually there was one incident that broke the camel’s back. In a reality show, a group of newbie superheroes faced off against some bad guys including a character called Nitro. An accident destroyed several buildings, including a school. Lots of children died. The superhero registration act then got pushed through the Senate meaning every hero had to be registered with the government – reveal your identity to them, train and work officially for SHIELD.

Of course for several people including Spider-Man and Daredevil, this caused a problem. Revealing their secret identity could result in their loved ones getting hurt. The heroes took sides, with Iron Man leading the registration act with a firm belief in accountability to prevent catastrophe, and Captain America fighting for the freedom of powered people to do the right thing without being governed by potentially corrupt government.

It was a unique story causing friendships and marriages to break down, Spidey revealing his identity causing problems for his family and Aunt May, switching sides, betrayal… Problem was, there was no real bad guy, you could see the points raised by both sides of the camp.

Aaand we’re back
I won’t go into the story more than that, the comics are definitely worth a read. But the MCU adaptation is obviously different from the comics in some ways because they have been following a different storyline. The teams however, have been revealed!

In the blue corner…

Captain America’s team consists of Ant Man (sitting on Hawkeye’s shoulder), Hawkeye, Sharon Carter (former SHIELD agent from the last Captain America movie), Falcon and The Winter Soldier (who was actually a bad guy in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

In the red corner…

Iron Man’s more technically oriented team is War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther (making his debut before his individual movie), and The Vision. Wow, three black people in this team…

Someone not yet mentioned, but definitely is cast in the movie, is Spider-Man. Which is the third reason why you should care about this movie. Finally, after an agreed reboot between Marvel and Sony, Spider-Man will get to interact with the other Avengers in the MCU.

Going on powers alone, it appears that Iron Man’s team have it firmly in the bag. But Cap’s team are all former military or assassins (besides Ant Man who is dangerous for a different reason). It should make for a visually interesting match up!

If you are already in the know, spread the word. The next Captain America movie is an Avengers movie in disguise!

So… any questions? Comment away.

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The Marvel, the Sony and the Fox

This post delves into the movie space, and I thought I’d start by explaining the following statement. Not all Marvel movies are Marvel’s movies.

Marvel Studios has been one of the most successful and emulated movie studios in recent years. But the general movie goer may not realise which movies are actually created by themselves, and which were created by other movie studios.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to explain in layman’s terms:

  • What the Marvel Cinematic Universe is.
  • Why it does not include Fantastic 4, or the X-Men.
  • Why the character Quicksilver appeared in X-Men and Avengers.

I’ve never been good at history, I’m terrible at remembering facts. But for some reason this bit of “useless” history stuck with me.

It all started when Marvel Comics weren’t doing well financially. So they started selling the licence to use their characters to movie studios. Sony took Spider-Man, and 20th Century Fox took a number of others including X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and all characters associated with them.

(Now before you jump the gun, I’m not referring to the recent Daredevil Netflix series, I’m talking about the forgettable Ben Affleck version in 2003).

It wasn’t long before Marvel thought they could do these movies themselves (and better). But they can only use the characters they haven’t licensed out to other studios. So newly named Marvel Studios released their first movie in 2008 – Iron Man.

Here’s a trick to recognise Marvel Studios movies – they always have their logo at the beginning animated with flipping comic book pages (not “flipping” as in the swear word, I mean… you get the idea) titled “Marvel Studios“. Not just “Marvel”, or “Marvel Knights” which just credits Marvel for creating the characters in the first place.

When Iron Man was released (to critical acclaim) it started a newly shared cinematic universe, dubbed the Marvel Cinematic Universe(or MCU). The long and short of it is that their movies will essentially be “episodes” in an overarching massive storyline. This began with the end credits scene of Iron Man, where Nick Fury indicates that Tony Stark was not the only superhero in the universe.

Just as it is with TV shows, they have “seasons” which they call “phases”. Phase 1 ended with Marvel’s The Avengers, and the next phase began with Iron Man 3 and ended with the recent release Ant Man. Phase 3 begins with Captain America: Civil War next year.

Confused yet? Let me help introduce more confusion.

There are now Marvel TV shows which are contained within the same MCU. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD was the first one, and it generally ties in with movies that are released. Often, before a big movie like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Avengers: Age of Ultron, the events of Agents of SHIELD would lead into or explain part of the plot of the movies.

Given this is the case, their characters, the storylines of all of their movies are connected. You’ll see Tony Stark (Iron Man) appearing at the end of The Incredible Hulk. You’ll see his father, Howard Stark in Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger and Ant Man. And so on. Sometimes the plot in one movie would explain the motives behind characters in another movie.

This can make things rather complicated… comic books have the same problem sometimes as they operate the same way. But what Marvel Studios try to do, is make the movies self-contained enough such that anyone could enjoy them without needing to be up to date. But if you watch the “seasons” in the order released, you will get so much more. Just like watching an episode of 24 is nothing like watching a whole season.

Breathe.

So, back to Sony and Fox. Part of the deal of the characters they licensed, is that they have to continue making movies over a time period. As a result, some bad movies have been produced just so they keep the rights to continue making Spider-Man or X-Men movies.

Recently, Sony gave up the ghost. They eventually made a deal with Marvel Studios to reboot Spider-Man again and this time, he’ll be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU). Different actor and all – Tom Holland.

Yeah, I have no idea who this dude is either.

This means that he’ll be connected to the current storyline, he can meet the Avengers (and in fact will do in the next Captain America movie), and potentially even more exciting – other Avengers or MCU characters can appear in his individual movies.

Other characters whose rights have reverted back to Marvel Studios are: Daredevil, Punisher and Blade. This is why we have the recent Netflix Marvel Daredevil series which is part of the MCU storyline (and so has nothing to do with the 2003 Daredevil movie). Also it has been reported that season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil will feature The Punisher as a villain.

As for the characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch? They were seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014, and then a different version in the MCU movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. The reason for this is that those characters are in a grey area in the comics – they were mutants (children of Magneto no less… though I hear things have changed as to their true parentage) and they were also Avengers at some point. So the licensing deal allows Marvel Studios to use those characters as long as they don’t mention mutants at all.

Now you realise of course that you probably have a lot of homework to catch up on, just to keep up to date with the MCU series, or phases. So here’s a quick run through of the Marvel Studios movies so far, as well as connected TV series.

  1. Iron Man
  2. The Incredible Hulk
  3. Iron Man 2
  4. Thor
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger
  6. Marvel’s The Avengers
  7. Iron Man 3
  8. Agents of SHIELD (Season 1)
  9. Thor: The Dark World
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy
  12. Agents of SHIELD (Season 2)
  13. Marvel’s Daredevil (Netflix)
  14. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  15. Ant Man

Marvel has a futurist mindset.

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