As part of today’s The Last Jedi panel at Star Wars Celebration, Disney released the first trailer for Episode VIII. As with most initial views it is mostly teaser, but still, it’ll give fans shivers . . .
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, opens December 15th.
This review was originally published last October when the movie screened at the New York Film Festival. It opens today in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto; it will expand to additional cities over the coming weeks. For more information on the film’s expansion schedule, please see Dash Shaw’s tumblr.
Over the past several years, Dash Shaw has earned widespread acclaim through writing and illustrating of graphic novels such as 2014’s Doctors. This year he unveiled a new type of project: his first feature length film, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. Shaw’s animated movie premiered last month at the Toronto Film Festival before appearing this week at the New York Film Festival. My Entire High School is a thrilling, poignant movie, which demonstrates that Shaw’s skills stretches beyond the printed page.
Film by its nature is a collaborative process. When a movie is successful, it is the result of a variety of talented individuals blending their skills into a final product. At the same time, some filmmakers leave behind more prominent fingerprints than others. Most fans would be hard pressed to distinguish the characteristics of an Andrew Stanton directed Pixar film from a Peter Docter one. This is not a slight on the quality of their movies, which is quite high, but an observation about style. Meanwhile, other recent animated films such as Frankenweenie and Anomalisa are instantly recognizable as the products of Tim Burton and Charlie Kaufman’s idiosyncratic imaginations. Shaw’s My Entire High School fits into this second category. As with Frankenweenie or Anomalisa, My Entire High School is a visually striking, emotionally resonant experience. To watch it is to become fully immersed in the distinct vision of its creator.
Continue reading Review of My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
The annual Star Wars Celebration kicked off today with the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope. As part of the festivities, participants took time to pay tribute to the recently departed Carrie Fisher. They offered testimonials along with an affecting video honoring both Leia Organa and the actress who brought her to life.
The Star Wars Celebration continues in Orlando through the weekend. Next up tomorrow: The Last Jedi.
Today Marvel Studios unveiled the initial trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. This first footage is solidly focused on Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder who it appears is about to undergo another of his periodic humblings. The trailer wisely de-emphasizes Loki (headgear change noted with approval, though) in favor of new characters Valkyrie, The Grandmaster and especially Cate Blanchett’s Hela (who looks fantastic). The trailer also suggests that the film will arrive with Taika Waititi’s signature quirk intact.
Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson & Jeff Goldblum. The movie, directed by Taika Waititi, opens November 3rd.
Looking for a way to celebrate Free Comic Book Day without leaving home? You’re in luck. As reported at Deadline, Hulu has scheduled their original documentary Batman & Bill to premiere that weekend. The film examines the life of Batman co-creator Bill Finger, along with the campaign to have DC Comics officially acknowledge his essential contributions to the hero and his myths. At last year’s New York Comic Con Hulu screened a promising extended excerpt from the movie.
Batman & Bill, directed by Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce, will debut on the streaming service Saturday, May 6th.
In 2010 Drawn and Quarterly released Wilson, the first original graphic novel by the acclaimed writer/artist Daniel Clowes. Despite this distinction, Wilson possesses a serial vibe, often feeling more like a collection of episodic comic strips than a plot driven narrative. This impression is reinforced by Clowes’ decision to vary his art style throughout so that loose cartoons rest opposite pages of more naturalistic detail. What the book lacks in narrative or artistic unity, it gains in thematic cohesion. Wilson displays a biting, if loving, critique of its protagonist as he stumbles through the tribulations of life. The story and the visuals blend to create a very specific ambiance. This mix of comedy and drama was probably what appealed to director Craig Johnson whose previously film, The Skeleton Twins, was focused on a pair of suicidal twins. On paper, Johnson’s sensibility would appear to be a good match for Clowes’. Unfortunately the film Johnson and Clowes, who wrote the screenplay, have produced is an amusing one which fails to live up to its complete potential.
Continue reading Review of Wilson
This morning Warner Brothers released the first full trailer for this fall’s Justice League movie and it, well, looks like a Zack Snyder film.
But hey that split second snippet of Amber Heard’s Mera looked cool.
Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller & Ray Fisher. The film, directed by Zack Snyder, opens November 17th.
During this evening’s Kids’ Choice Awards (?!?) DC dropped the final trailer for this summer’s Wonder Woman solo movie. Highlights include an extended glimpse of Paradise Island and Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor deadpan reactions to Diane’s heroics.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film features Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Lucy Davis, Robin Wright and, it seems, a variety of takes on what an Amazonian accent sounds like.
Wonder Woman opens June 2nd.
It has often been observed how malleable a character Batman is. Over the past several decades he has found himself equally at home busting the heads of petty street criminals and out-witting cosmic menaces with (new) god-like powers. What unities such diverse plots is a common interest in the humanity of the hero. The tone of the narrative might emphasize oppressive bleakness or optimistic redemption, yet what all the best Bat-stories have in common is an interest in who the man is beneath the cowl. This is true of the movies as well; for example, Christopher Nolan’s masterful Bat-trilogy is as, arguably more, concerned with Bruce Wayne than it is with Batman. In many ways, The LEGO Batman Movie liberally skewers the melancholy tone of Nolan’s films, while sharing with them an interest in the hero’s personality. Amidst the bonanza of gags, Chris McKay’s new film has something to say about Batman’s character.
Continue reading Review of The LEGO Batman Movie
As superheroes continue to win massive profits at the box office and graphic novels strengthen their literary credentials, the amount of comic book adaptation increase in turn. This year’s crowded slate kicks off on Friday with The LEGO Batman Movie. While the majority of these projects remain dominated by capes and tights, there is some cursory interest in exploring other aspects of the medium. What follows is an overview of 2017’s offerings loosely ranked by level of interest.
Continue reading Film 2017 Preview