Finally we get a good look and feel for this alternate reboot of the Fox owned FANTASTIC FOUR franchise. Many of us nerds had seen what Josh Trank was capable of with his 2012 kinda superhero film Chronicle. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a respectable achievement for an up and coming director. Now, after a couple teasers of his latest project, we have an idea of just how corny or cool the Fantastic Four will be.
Right off the bat I can say that the acting in the film looks to be of quality. I had no worries about Michael B. Jordan in his portrayal of Johnny Storm. He’s proven himself in Chronicle and much more so in Fruitvale Station (which you should watch). Miles Teller, on the other hand, has been doing a lot of Fratboy comedy roles. So to know that he was going to play one of the greatest scientific minds in the Marvel universe was asking a lot from me and the rest of geekdom to accept. But he looks like he might pull it off. And Kate Mara might be the most fleshed out Susan Richards we have seen yet. See what happens when superheroes and heroines have a Black Dad? Shouts to Reggie Cathey and the casting director that suggested him.
We can also see how the producers are going for the ‘Love the Monster’ bit with Ben Grimm as The Thing, just as the Avengers made us love The Hulk. For me, the jury will be out on that until the film comes out.
The whole story is a serious deviation from the comicbook origins of the Fantastic Four. It’s more along the lines of the Ultimates version from what I hear. If this would have been the first FF film that Fox had produced I would have been hating on it more than the Hate Monger. But being that I’m so tired of reboot after reboot of the same superheroes, I’m glad to see a fresh and new take on some really old characters.
I’m still not giving this film or the trailer a complete 100% pass. I’m definitely not sure about this Doc Doom blogger idea. He does look a little menacing, but not enough for me to say that they have made up for the atrocious representation of him in the first 2 Fox productions. Why did they have to bring in Doctor Doom so early anyway? There are plenty of villains to reboot the franchise with. And some had great concepts back in the day but could definitely use a makeover like the heroes have gotten. I guess the producers still haven’t really dived deep into the Fantastic Four mythology to gamble their investments on other more under-rated baddies. Well, check it out and tell me what you think. Is this enough to change your opinion of the film? Either way, I’ll be sitting in the theater in August when The Fantastic Four premieres.
Little by little we are starting to see how the new STAR WARS film titled THE FORCE AWAKENS will look and feel. I’m sure all the nerdheads are happy to see their old friends Han Solo and Chewbacca cutting it up again. I also have to say that I’m looking forward to Mark Hamell showing off all that acting experience he’s acquired since starring in the original episodes. I’m still not seeing this mysterious Sith as much of a threat, but obviously they are saving all that stuff for later. I’m also glad to see that John Boyega looks like he will be a major part of the story. Let’s just hope he won’t be sacrificing himself for his white girl companion Daisy Ridley. Don’t look at me like that, you know it could happen. Check out the epic goodness and lets cross our fingers and hope Abrams can bring the magic back to the franchise!
From around this time last year there have been several interesting films that have come to my attention dealing with robots relating to humans. Or more accurately female robots relating to humans. And not just female robots, but machines with artificial intelligence that are struggling with self awareness and the rights to exist. But the struggles also spill over to the humans that have built them. I was anxiously waiting to see several of these foreign or independent films. Gladly Netflix has included a few in their library.
I am always curious as to why a slew of films dealing with mostly the same story plots come out so close together. I know that producers are constantly trying to cash in on hit ideas. But I haven’t noticed a box office blockbuster dealing with androids of a womanly appearance. So I’m not sure where the interests in this type of science fiction initiated recently.
There is always the theory that ideas that float in the creative ether fall gently on artistic souls across the globe at the same time. I also have the thought that creatives may be able to sense a social change that is coming around the corner. Or maybe in this case writers and directors come across a piece of news about the advancement of artificial intelligence and it settles into their subconscious. Then something else in society causes those ideas to stir and suddenly several scripts with the same overall themes have emerged in the film or TV industry. Or it could just be the illumenati getting us ready for a sexy robot invasion that will enslave mankind. Bring it HAL-ISHA
Whatever the reason, here are a few films that have gotten me excited by their trailers alone. I have actually seen 3 of them on Netflix at the time of this post. I think they might be something you science fiction fans will be interested in as well.
EVA (2011) – I had seen this one after I watched the others, even though it debuted first. It’s a subtle science fiction coming out of Spain. Yes, that means subtitles. Even though it was released in 2011, I had just seen the trailer a few weeks ago and was happy to find it suddenly streaming on Netflix. The story was about a gifted Robotics programmer that goes back to his roots when he is invited to work on a new android. The model is of a boy and he needs a human child to map the androids brain. Seeing his former lover and now sister-in-law also sparks old feelings. And then there is his niece – Eva. She is a lively, smart and intuitive child and may just be the one he needs for success. I found the film to be a well acted and compelling story though it wasn’t filled with a lot of science-y special effects. But the ones that were there did tease my imagination. Some may think it fell a little flat as it went on, but I enjoyed the prospects of robotic self awareness the film tried to propose. Stay tuned for a more in depth review. EVA stars Daniel Brühl (who will be Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War), Marta Etura and Claudia Vega as Eva.
THE MACHINE (2013) – I had the pleasure of watching this film last year. I also had the pleasure of featuring it for one of my awesome #SaturdayNightSciFi live tweets that I have been hosting on twitter. Just follow the hashtag to get up-to-date info on the next features.
What I loved about this film is that, even though it was obviously a lower budgeted production than many hollywood projects, they deftly used every bit of money they had to give a provocative story about an innocent A.I. But the film also delivered on the action scale nicely. Caity Lotz plays a very smart and enthusiastic scientist (ironically named Ava) that has developed a unique artificial intelligence that has caught the attention of lead scientist Vincent, played by Toby Stephens. You might be familiar with Caity from her role as the first Black Canary on the CW show ARROW. But in this science fiction thriller, Ms. Lotz also plays The Machine – a robot designed for research and possibly combat. This was a cool story, though it was more of a standard plot with the android going from a child like state to demanding rights that any sentient life-form might want. Some of the side plots added more weight to the film than just sexy fighting robot drama. Eva was more original but The Machine had more action.
AUTOMATA (2014) – Antonio Banderas can do no wrong, mostly. I liked his role in this Sci-Fi which I caught earlier this year. But the film was also the least of my favorite of the three that I have seen. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I just appreciated the previously mentioned stories a little better. Banderas plays an insurance investigator that searches for fraud concerning robotic mishaps over his company’s robot products. But in his recent investigations he starts to find evidence of self awareness among some of the robots he has come across. But this should be impossible due to the safeguards built into each android brain restricting them from true consciousness. It didn’t really bother me that Banderas’ character was a total rip from Deckard in Blade Runner. Neither did some of the non-CG traditional effects that they used to portray the androids. What stopped me from reaching 100% satisfaction was the few moments where the story slowed down. And there were a few twists and turns in the other films that this one didn’t really have. But the execution of the film was still enjoyable if only to see Antonio talking to plastic crash dummies that moved.
EX MACHINA (2015) – I did not see Ex Machina at the time of this post, but I plan to. This film seems the most intriguing of all the selections. The trailer sets an unsteady tone to the story with a dose of malevolence running underneath the plot. I also wonder how the apparent agendas of the characters, including the very sexy android, will play out in the story. “Did you give her sensuality as a distraction?” Hmmmm. This might turn out to be my favorite of the ‘female androids that question their purpose in the universe‘ films, or maybe it will fall somewhere in between.
So are male androids just not a popular choice of android films? Cause the only one I can think of was a film that was recently mentioned on my podcast by MDawg, one of the Five Nerdy Venoms. ANDROID is the 82′ cult film with Klaus Kinski. “In Space No One Can Hear Your Android Kicking Your Butt!!”
I know many producers think that the geek audience is over run by horny dudes in basements, but in reality there are a cross section of everyone represented in the fandom. So why the cool kick-ass or femme fatale robots of late? I have no answer other than typical stereotyping of Sci-fi fans. At least the films have some depth to them for the most part. Personally I love the female robotic form, but fare is fare.
Michael Shannon is a pretty terrific actor. I first noticed him for real in his feature, Take Shelter – which you should see by the way. We all know him for good or for bad as General Zod in Man Of Steel. He actually starred in this thriller right after.
Now Shannon is playing a different kind of shady character. Because his character and the wife in the film are sending some pretty creepy vibes in this little trailer for THE HARVEST. They have an invilid son, and the kid has a new friend. But why does the mom have a problem with people getting close to her son?: And what’s down in the basement? Isn’t that always the question?
IFC Midnight always has some interesting horror films or Thrillers. They may not be the best of the cinema of the macabre, but they do seem original most of the time. I don’t know when I’ll catch this, but it will be out in theaters and available on VOD on April 10th (even thought it’s 2 years old).
It looks like while Katie Cassidy was doing her thing on TV’s hit superhero show ARROW, she took a break to do a sort of Sci-fi, sort of superheroine film – THE SCRIBBLER.
Cassidy plays Suki, a patient that has Dissociative Identity Disorder; what we usually know as Multiple Personalities. Unfortunately she is also being questioned for the murders of several people. Suki is a mess, but she has help. Her doctor played by Billy Campbell (Helix) started her on a special treatment involving an experimental machine that can erase the extra personalities she’s dealing with. And then there is the Scribbler, one of Suki’s personalities that doesn’t talk but writes backwards on everything. The question is does the Scribbler write gibberish or is she trying to tell Suki something?
This film is a low budget feature that I don’t think I would have found if Netflix didn’t suggest it. The tone of the film starts out a little weird and surreal. And Cassidy is a little shaky at first But then her character comes together as the film progresses and Suki interacts with other characters in the film. The script has some halfway decent moments in the dialog with Suki’s friend Hogan delivering some comedic mirth. Garret Dillahunt played the role well with just the right amount of crazy and charm.
The whole film is told in flashback as Suki relates the story to the detectives that are detaining her. She talks about the alleged murders which to her were suicides of other patients in her facility. Suki also devulges that the machine that Dr, Sinclare had given her to erase her extra personalities was being modified by the Scribbler. The detectives, one being a psychologist herself, find it hard to believe her story. Particularly when Suki talks about the machine having a crazy effects on her.
The film had a lot of ruff spots, but I give credit for the effort that director John Suits and writer Dan Schaffer made in producing a quirky film with good but lesser known talent. Schaffer also created the graphic novel of the same name. There was an interesting twist with a couple other patients in the facility. They weren’t enough to put the film over the top in the ratings, but I liked what the creators were trying to do. I also give some credit to the sex scene between Cassidy and Dillahunt. It was just as surreal and weird as the rest of the film and It had an original flare to it. So there’s that.
Geek Soul Brother gives THE SCRIBBLER 3 out of 5 Cosmic Afros.
Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan are the only people standing between Earth and classic video game characters that have come to life courtesy of some crazy aliens. PIXELS looks pretty cool with the visual concept of such game legends as PacMan and Donkey Kong being made of these squares of light. And though it looks fun for kids, I’m not too sure about the wanna be Ghostbuster personas that Sandler and crew are adopting for this film. It’s only a trailer, but the dialog seems pretty cheesy. Still, Dinklage in a mullet that would impress the Dukes of Hazzard is entertainment all its own. Look for the film this July in a theater near you.
I’m not sure if Sir Ben Kingsley would really trade places with Ryan Reynolds. I mean, he is Knighted and everything. But then again, they both have played not-so-well received comic characters. All we know is, in Science Fiction anything is possible and switching bodies and minds is almost standard protocol. Such is the case in this new trailer for SELF/LESS.
There are three good things going for this film. Ben Kingsley can crush a role. Two – I like Ryan Reynolds playing a serious character (not in green tights). He’s still got room to grow, but in my opinion he isn’t doing too bad. Three -Tarsem Singh is a director with a keen visual eye and not a bad storyteller.
We will have to see if all those elements come together to make a decent film. The plot has been done before in different ways, but it’s how you tell the story that’s the important thing. Especially for Sci-Fi. Look for SELF/LESS this summer in July.
Last year was so-so if you went to the theater to watch Sci-fi and Fantasy. We had some charms like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and surprises like CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, EDGE OF TOMORROW and JOHN WICK (Yes, It was Awesome). But is wasn’t all that awesome at the box office. But we did have some interesting trailers that sparked our imagination. Here are my choices for the TOP TEN trailers of last year in our favorite genre. And remember, I’m not talking about how good or bad the films were, just the quality of the trailers.
10. Godzilla – Throwing homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, this trailer gave everybody hope that the monster had gain back some glory from the 1998 film.
9. Kingsman: The Secret Service – Who was ready for an action pack James Bond Jr. trailer? It was fun and informative, but didn’t spoil the film too much. At the time of this posting I still haven’t had a chance to see it, but I heard it’s very worth the trip.
8. Interstellar – I didn’t get into the first trailer of this Chris Nolan original. But the ones that came after were pretty compelling. This one was my favorite. Truthfully, any trailer would be great with a Hans Zimmer score. Brushing my teeth with Hans Zimmer music behind it would be a cinematic masterpiece.
7. The Purge: Anarchy – I know you all think I’m crazy for including this instead of something else And you are probably right. But when I watched the first PURGE film I was left wanting to know more about this insane world. This trailer answered my questions and didn’t give all the story away. I think it’s the American Anthem used in a creepy way that gives the trailer some power.
6. X-Men: Days Of Futures Past – As far as trailers go, this was a pretty good one. The music and visuals drew us into it. And I think everybody was waiting to see if one of the most memorable X-Men stories would translate well to film. Seeing the old characters and the new got the ball rolling and charged up the fans. But I personally don’t think it was as good as the following choices I made.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Though some thought the first Captain America film was one of the best Marvel films, most thought it was at the bottom of the Phase One collection. But this trailer for the sequel showed us that something changed. And each consecutive trailer gave us a little more to love.
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – We only got a teaser, but that was more than enough!! This is a film that generations have been wait for. Of course we got to see some ships that brought back memories, and some very new faces.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy – I’ve never seen a Science Fiction trailer with a balance of action, thrill and comedy like this since maybe Buckaroo Banzai. Everyone was worried that Marvel might have flipped their lids by making a film about their little known alien group. But they showed us that they still knew what they were doing. I loved the nod to Bryan Singer’s Usual Suspects.
2. Avengers: Age Of Ultron – Within a couple months (at the time of this post) we will get to see the real thing. When I heard they were doing Ultron, one of the Avengers most dangerous villains, I was ecstatic. But seeing Ultron coming out and talking about there are “No Strings On Me”? Bravo trailer making company. The Pinocchio track was genius and a reminder that Disney owns everything.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road – Putting my feelings aside for the previous selection, this is by far the best trailer of last year. Just the most heart pounding visual feast that any geek could want. It was featured at the San Diego Comic-Con first, but was released a short time later. These 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the film look so good that I’m nervous about the rest living up to them.
Honorable Mention The Signal – The juxtaposition of the wholesome boy and girl visuals with the recognizable voice-over of Lawrence Fishburne asking if somebody was human immediately caught my interest. It’s an artsy Sci-fi trailer, but was one of the most intriguing of 2014.
“GHOSTS ARE REAL, THIS MUCH I KNOW” Nice way to start off a trailer. But then again it’s Guillermo del Toro so I expect nothing less. His newest creepy adventure is coming this October – CRIMSON PEAK. Also, we finally get a chance to see Tom Hiddleston out of his role as the our favorite mischievous Norse god, Loki. Here’s a logline from the site:
When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place ﬁlled with secrets that will haunt her forever.
Here’s the trailer:
This looks like it’s going to be classic Guillermo which I love. If you haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone then you are missing out on what Del Toro really does well – creating dark fantasy. Does it look interesting? We will see.
That’s right! Every hero needs a Black Dad. That is, if you are Barry Allen on CW’s THE FLASH and your surrogate father is Det. Joe West. If you are one of the geeks that haven’t caught the new hit series then here is a quick summery to get what I’m talking about.
The show starts off with Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin) loses seeing his mother get murdered by some streaking object. His father Henry Allen is blamed and is carted off to jail. Incidentally, Henry is played by John Wesley Shipp, who played The Flash in the 90s series. Henry’s good friend Joe West (played by Jesse L. Martin) takes Barry into his home while he investigates the murder. Cut to Barry all grown up and working in the police department where Joe is a detective.
I hope I didn’t spoil too much for you.
BARRY AND JOE ARE A GREAT EXAMPLE
Now the show is great for comic and non-comic nerds alike because it has cool effects, great villains and most of all – interesting relationships. And one of the best relationships is the one between Barry and Joe. In the absence of his real dad, Joe has become a surrogate father to Barry. Jesse Martin plays the character with much emotional range and brings to life the role of Joe as a truly caring father figure and mentor to Barry. Joe loves Barry like a son and Barry loves him back.
Now for all you geeks out there, you might not have the speed force, or a Black dad detective to come to your rescue. But I bet you can find a mentor that can give you some support and a moral compass to help you tread through the rough waters of life.
WHERE CAN A GEEK FIND A MENTOR
Every geek needs a mentor geek that accepts them and understands them, but also can teach them about life and help them grow. So where and how are you supposed to find such a mentor? And yes, they don’t have to be Black, or a father figure for that matter. Your mentor or mentors can have any background, be any race, gender or religion and still be a positive force. They don’t even have to fully understand all the passions you have geekdom. The important thing is that a mentor understands you and gives you insight and encouragement. Joe is far from a scientist, but supports Barry’s love of science all the same.
If you don’t already realize it, you probably have a mentor by just going to school or university. A particular teacher or professor probably has started to fill that role for you. To make them even more of a mentor, stay a little longer after class. Let them know your plans for your future (if you have any) or tell them why you are interested in a certain subject. They will either take interest in what you have to say, or give you some advice. Don’t stalk your mentors though. Give them some breathing room and don’t infringe on their time. It only takes a few minutes and some encouraging words to set you on your nerdy way to success. Don’t over use those moments.
You can also find mentors at your job. Internships are one of the very best ways to find a mentor. Also in a club, meet-up or organization that you have joined. Just remember, you can talk about your aspirations, but stay sensitive to the feeling that you might be using up their time or patience. Finding a mentor is about relationship building. Barry and Joe had over ten years to build their father and son like bond.
YOU CAN FIND A MENTOR ALMOST ANYWHERE
And if you can’t find a mentor that you can directly talk to in person over lunch, try encouraging book authors, blogs, podcasts, documentaries, Youtube or other sources where people you admire are giving great advice on life and how to do what they do.
I have several mentors that don’t even know that I exist. They are writers and directors and others that have gained a level of success or an outlook on life that I can connect to. I just read, listen or watch videos about how they got there. Their stories are encouraging and keep me going.
And what about family? Barry and Joe are family. But sometimes a geek finds it hard to connect with others in their family. Sure your family loves you, but they might not understand why you dress up in medieval clothes and go out to pretend battle your friends in the park. They also might not know the meaning of you tapping on the computer keyboard all day, trying to learn to code instead of going out partying or something. But every now and then you come across a family member that is into some ‘different’ things just like you, or they used to be. I had an uncle that built model speedboats and I loved it. And he liked all the nerdy things that I got into as a kid. They might not be into computers, but if you talk to them you will find that they played with electronic sets when they were younger. Or they may have been artists that penciled superheroes but stopped when they got older. They may not be a geek on the service, but those old passions are probably still there. They may love what you are doing when everybody else in the clan just thinks that comic collection is kind of childish. I mean, how can they not realize the value of a McFarlane Spiderman #1? Anyway, talk to your relative and see if there is a mentoring geek among them.
VILLAINS MENTOR TOO
One last word: make sure the person you choose as a mentor looks at life about the same way that you do. What I mean is, if you are a fairly honest person, make sure your mentor is not a get-over artist. They might seem like they have a lot to offer in lessons and experience, but you don’t want someone teaching you how not to be yourself. A perfect example again is THE FLASH where Barry also looks up to Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavenagh) who’s experiment gave Barry his powers. Let’s just say that Wells has a schemey side that may not be all that great for Barry. That’s all the spoiler you need.