Less a trailer or a teaser, more a mission statement. People still remember the atrocious Fantastic Four movies from 2005/7, when 20th Century Fox believed the director of Barbershop was the right man to hire. Josh Trank is the new man in charge of Fantastic Four's big-screen hopes, and he directed one of the best superhero movies of recent times with Chronicle (a rare found footage film that actually worked). Fox are still involved, but they're desperately trying to make their Marvel-originating properties work better now—having also 'soft rebooted' the X-Men franchise by making prequels, where one cleverly rewrote the sins of X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine: X-Men Origins.
The new season of GAME OF THRONES is only a few months away, so time for HBO to crank up the hype-machine. Embedded above is the season 5 trailer, where the juiciest news (for those who aren't book-spoiled) is that diminutive fugitive Tyrion will be growing a beard. Oh, and helping fan-favourite Daenerys in her quest to seize the Iron Throne. Cool!
GAME OF THRONES returns 12 April on HBO in the U.S, with a next-day return in the UK on Sky Atlantic.
There's a lot of superhero/comic-book television shows around right now, so I thought I'd dip into four of the most popular ones, which are all approximately halfway through their seasons...
AGENT CARTER – 'The Blitzkreig Button'
We're halfway through this new comic-book drama, so how is Marvel's new show faring? After a good start, I'm beginning to feel less and less interested in anything going on. Some of that is an unfortunate byproduct of Agent Carter being a prequel—so it has no imperative ties to anything happening in the 21st-century set Marvel movies—and it's partly because I find its 1940s era a little drab and monotonous. I do like Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter; particularly the fact she's a "superhero" in the sense her alter-ego's a telephonist treated like a second-class citizen, but she's actually saving the world in secret. It's an amusing social spin on a hoary trope. Although it gets overplayed by the show, which hammers the 'battle of the sexes' angle all the time. James D'Arcy is also very good as her associate Jarvis. But am I eagerly anticipating the next episode? No. Would I care if Agent Carter was axed? No. It needs a shot of adrenaline, pronto. ★★☆☆
I know. Output's still much lower than it's ever been. Blame me. Um, who else CAN you blame? Owing to a batch of autumn/winter TV shows that either weren't good, or interesting to review weekly, I found myself scaling back the blogging at DMD. And that became oddly enjoyable, because it enabled more time for real-world pursuits. The daily itch to blog gradually became a weekly itch, and then I began to rethink my whole approach to DMD—in terms of providing a good TV/film blog for readers to visit, which balances the changing needs and desires of myself as its sole author.
I really liked the relationship between Seth MacFarlane's acerbic sheep farmer and Charlize Theron's gunslinging outlaw, which develops plausibly from friendship to romance. In particular, Theron's a joy to watch as a sexy tomboy who starts to fall for MacFarlane's cynical, cowardly character.
There were also some sight gags and comic ideas that worked (like how nobody in the Old West would smile in photographs because it's insane), but A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST couldn't overcome some substantial flaws: the story's too simplistic for an epic TWO-HOUR+ runtime, Liam Neeson was completely wasted as the black-hat villain, and MacFarlane's direction was pedestrian at best.
There were moments that worked and made me giggle (mainly when the script felt like a live-action FAMILY GUY skit), but after the success of TED this has probably set MacFarlane's big-screen career back a few pegs. It's a FUNNY OR DIE viral that got out of hand.
There are two key problems with SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller waited too long to produce a sequel to their 2005 hit, which means the appetite for more tales from the titular city has long since evaporated; and the collection of stories featured in A DAME TO KILL FOR are all substandard compared to anything from before.
But that's not to say SIN CITY 2's a complete washout. If you're a fan of the first film, it guarantees more of the same. Some feel the lack of noticeable evolution with the technology's a problem, but I don't agree. This universe has a particular look (a largely monochrome appearance with dashes of vibrant colour, and a tendency to snap into stark silhouettes to ape the graphic novel source material), and to alter that too much would be wrong. There are sequences that are moderately more ambitious than anything seen in SIN CITY, but for the most part A DAME TO KILL FOR could have been made in 2005. Is that a flaw? For me, no—but clearly opinions will vary.
Despite adhering to an overused setup (two lovers cope with an unwanted pregnancy), Channel 4 comedy CATASTROPHE overcame its hoariness because, frankly, it was funny and well-performed by writer-stars Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. They played, um, Sharon and Rob—middle-aged, transatlantic lovers who become expectant parents following a crazy week of passionate sex after meeting in a London bar.
It's the first trailer for Netflix's new sitcom THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, created by Tina Fey (30 Rock). It concerns the eponymous woman (Ellie Kemper) who's rescued from a doomsday cult, after spending 15-years in an underground bunker. Adjusting to the modern world, Kimmy gets a job as a nanny for an Upper East Side socialite (Jane Krakowski), and laughs ensue.