I didn’t just watch that film (you know the one) this month. I made good use of my Easter holiday to check out some famous, and not so famous, films.
The Silence of the Lambs
Had I seen it before? No.
How did I watch it? Netflix
Famous for being the only horror film to ever win Best Picture, The Silence of the Lambs is an iconic film for so many reasons, chiefly the spine-tingling performance of Anthony Hopkins as the immortal Hannibal Lecter. And no, I will not say he is the lead actor, he is a supporting actor. A well deserved Oscar in the wrong category. The lead character is Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling, an phenomenal film hero who stands up to the most disturbed minds on the planet and still survives. The film is a masterpiece of pacing, writing,acting and directing and nearly thirty years on it still has such a strong impact and effect. The film is primarily a psychological battle of wits between Lecter and Starling, with the two trying to one-up each other at every turn, resulting in riveting viewing. Even though I know a lot of the twists and turns the film still gripped me, which is a credit to the talents of Jonathan Demme. His use of close ups and shot composition have gone down in film history and he masterfully directs the extended sequences of Lecter and Starling talking to each other to create some of the most intense dialogue scenes of all time. This film deserves every award it ever got and more. It’s truly spectacular.
Eleven years ago a film by an untested studio, directed by an indie director with a star who was no longer seen as bankable and based on an obscure comic book character from a company that went bankrupt a decade before was released. From this singular film came the biggest, most ambitious and risky endeavour ever put to film- make Marvel comics cool to the mainstream. Obviously Blade, the X-Men and Spider-Man were all successful but Iron Man kickstarted a decade of interconnected films, bringing obscure comics into the mainstream and changed Hollywood forever. All this leading to the Endgame. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is my generation’s Star Wars, and the hype and anticipation for Endgame has been unprecedented, eclipsing even that of Return of the King and Deathly Hallows Part 2. In my lifetime, only The Force Awakens had this much riding on it. Was it worth the wait? Was Infinity War too high of a bar?
In short.. Endgame surpasses expectations. It is the perfect ending for this journey that started with Iron Man. It’s three hours long but is perfectly paced, never dull and an experience that has to be seen on as big of a screen as possible. Watching this film with a group of Marvel obsessed friends, at midnight, surrounded by a full cinema, in 3D is an experience I will never forget. It is my favourite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I will have to watch it a couple more times to see if it reaches the heights of my Holy Trinity of Comic Book films (Batman Returns, Spider-Man 2 and Logan if you’re interested).
Action scenes! Part of the parcel that comes with comic book films. Thanks to the rise of computers and new filming techniques we have seen some truly spectacular comic book battles, and to honour Avengers: Endgame let’s take a look at some of the finest brawls presented on the silver screen. To qualify for this list, two or more combatants must be physically battling each other and have somewhat equal strength. Excluded are chase scenes (with warm regards to The Dark Knight’s highway pursuit), one sided demolishing (Wonder Woman kind of thrashes the German Army with no effort in the iconic No Man’s Land scene, despite it being a magnificent sequence) and action scenes that have no actual battles between opponents (take Nightcrawler’s White House sequence or Quicksilver’s standout scene in Days of Future Past). With that aside, let’s look at how the comic book world’s finest slug it out-
10. Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and Johann Kraus vs Nuada and the Golden Army- Hellboy II: The Golden Army
With Endgame just around the corner, one key Marvel character has yet to be introduced- Carol Danvers. A very long and complicated comic book history including an alien who dies of cancer , a period in a coma when Rogue of the X-Men steals her powers, multiple identities and a long stint with the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Carol Danvers FINALLY became Captain Marvel only recently in the comics, leaving her former moniker of Ms Marvel to be inherited by Kamala Khan. Carol Danvers is one of Marvel’s most high profile and important female characters and no matter what the comics are trying to do to her (Civil War II? Really?) the fact remains that a film with this awesome character is long overdue. The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does an excellent job streamlining the insane and convoluted backstory of the character into an accessible film and the result is a really fun time at the cinema that leaves you wanting more. And with Captain Marvel set to appear back on our screens in just over a month’s time, it’s great that her solo film has given audiences a taste of what Thanos will be feeling.
The Defenders are no more. Yesterday Netflix announced that The Punisher and Jessica Jones were cancelled, becoming the final casualties of the Marvel purge on Netflix. Whilst many may be quick to blame Disney’s upcoming streaming service for this as far as I know the Marvel/Netflix deal had nothing to do with Disney and it appears the shows were cancelled due to low viewing figures and lack of interest from even hardcore Marvel fans. So what happened? How did what promised to be the most exciting branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe become no more?
Do we really have to do this again Academy Awards? Every year you run into some kind of controversy you can’t escape from, and this year we have the Oscar host debacle. To cut it short, whilst I don’t know anything about Kevin Hart and don’t want to tackle the (really really messy) situation the Oscars have got themselves into, essentially we have no host for the Oscars. This role is usually a famous comedian who opens the show with a monologue and then introduces each segment whilst keeping morale up and prevent audience fatigue. This hasn’t worked though as the Oscars have been losing viewership each year. Could it be because no one has seen the films they nominate and nor do they care? Probably. But the host is still important, and more importantly they have to be funny. In fact, I’d rather have the one host present all the awards than have different presenters for each. Humour is subjective of course but a good comedic personality will have enough charisma to sustain a large audience. So with the announcement of the nominations happening today (so much effort to find out the LA times vs GMT) let’s take a look at who could actually tackle the job presenting and get me mildly interested this year (beyond Into the Spider-Verse’s Animated Film win hopefully in the bag and Black Panther’s possible nominations very little has me interested this year). Hypothetically speaking though, if I was in charge of running the Oscars (and I wasn’t doing the hosting job myself obviously) I would narrow it down to five choices I believe will do a good job-
Another year done and dusted- and what a year it’s been for nerdom. A new Doctor arrived, Thanos killed half the universe (SPOILER ALERT for the three people who don’t know), the Skeleton Detective got political and del Toro won his Oscar. 2019 promises to be huge, so without further ado it’s time to reveal what I am looking forward this year in terms of films, television shows and books. We are returning to Hawkins, visiting our favourite drunk reality jumping cynical genius once again, travelling to a galaxy far far away and the most underrated comic book hero of all time is getting a new coat of red. 2019 is going to be huge.
It’s no secret that Marvel rules the silver screen. With the interlocked Marvel Cinematic Universe dominating cinemas, it’s easy to forget the Marvel TV shows, especially when the films themselves do. Since 2015 Netflix has been producing shows based on Marvel comics, intended for an older audience. These shows are dark, gritty and suited to the more adult material that Netflix produces. Launching off the success of Daredevil, the Netflix shows have become a universe in their own right. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist came soon after, with The Defenders crossover and The Punisher quickly joining them. However I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that the shows are all the same- a gritty anti-hero lives in New York following “the Incident”. The first half has them slowly unravel a conspiracy with the main villain revealing themselves about halfway through and there’s a hallway fight somewhere because of course there is. There is angst, violence, flashbacks and subplots galore. I’m not saying the shows are bad (I haven’t even seen Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Punisher or The Defenders as I’m just not interested) but they are all in the same mould and to be honest, it’s getting a bit tiresome and I don’t find the heroes that interesting. Iron Fist has just been cancelled and I don’t see how the shows can survive without variety in the kind of heroes they focus on. Daredevil Season 3 comes out today, and whilst the show will continue to be outstanding, the Netflix shows as a whole need change and I have five characters who can help with that…
After 10 years, 18 films, 15 directors and countless heroes, Avengers: Infinity War is finally here. The amount of hype for this film is huge, as we have the culmination of the most ambitious film endeavour since the Lord of the Rings, if not even more ambitious. Does it live up to the hype? In short, with as little spoilers as possible, no.