Category Archives: Movies

Jude Law in Negotiations to Join Captain Marvel

It is being reported that Jude Law is in negotiations to be the male lead opposite Brie Larson for Marvel’s Captain Marvel. He has not been officially been cast and is still in negotiations. Marvel has not commented on the rumor.

Law will play Doctor Walter Lawson aka Mar-Vell who is the mentor to Larson’s Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.

In the comics Danvers is an Air Force Pilot who is fused with alien DNA and gains powers like flight, superstrength, and energy projection.

Ben Mendelsohn is on board as the villain and the film is being directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck with a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman penned previous drafts.

It has been announced that the film will take place in the 90s before the Avengers assembled and Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his role as Nick Fury.

The film is set to come to theaters March 8, 2019.

Movie Review: Coco

Coco-Family-PosterPixar seems to have the magic capable of making children smile and adults weep. And with Coco, they add to that a masterful, universal story about family filled with music and visuals to delight the senses.

And while it is universal, it is also very specifically Mexican, while also never feeling false or like it appropriates their culture. Given our current political climate in the United States where Mexicans are denigrated as “bad hombres,” “drug dealers” and “rapists” (and that’s just by the president), this presents a true representation of a culture where family and remembering your legacy is key. It also ends a long and painful history where Disney has really failed in representing Latinos and Latinx culture.

Our story centers around Miguel, a young boy who is obsessed with music despite it being banned from his family for generations. His nonagenarian great-grandmother Coco was abandoned as a child by a musician father who went off to seek his fortune. Left without a patriarch, the family’s matriarchy learned to make shoes, a trade which is their family’s legacy and heritage.

On the Day of the Dead, they place all of the photos of their extended and departed family on the ofrenda to remember them, including a photo of Coco as a child with the face of her musician father torn out. Miguel comes to believe that this missing great-great-grandfather might in fact be one of Mexico’s greatest singers of all time, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), so he breaks into de la Cruz’s memorial at the graveyard to borrow his guitar to play in a talent competition.

Because of the weakening of the barriers between worlds on Dia de los Muertos, Miguel finds himself transported to the land of the dead where he must find a member of his family to give him a blessing to help him return. Hearing a con artist ne’er-do-well skeleton named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) mention that he knows how to get access to de la Cruz (who is still a hugely big deal in the afterlife apparently), they decide to team up. Hector’s price is he needs Miguel to put his picture on his ofrenda so he can cross over to see his family and loved ones. Having been forgotten, he is in danger of completely fading away, suffering a “second death” from which no one knows where you go.

This brings to the forefront the film’s theme on the importance of remembering your family and loved ones. Perhaps better than any other Pixar movie to date, this has well-developed themes that make it not only entertaining but meaningful.

Also unlike other Pixar movies, this is a musical. But unlike the traditional Disney princess model of musical, here the music is an organic part of the story and storytelling. They sing songs that are thematically relevant, but they always do so because there is a talent competition, a concert, or so on. In this way, it’s very similar to last year’s Sing Street. There’s also an easy comparison to Kubo and the Two Strings, although that film did less with its music as a storytelling device, but both films up the ante with delivering authentic stories about family and loss mixed with a realistic, loving tribute to another culture.

And the music is excellent. One of the recurring songs is de la Cruz’s biggest hits “Remember Me.” This takes on special significance when understanding that it is the remembrance of our family that continues to sustain them even after death. A final version of the song sung at the end with Miguel reunited with his family will not leave a dry eye in the theater.

And then there’s the visuals. Pixar is able to deliver a beautiful, stylized version of the land of the dead that is surreal, vibrant, and beautiful. The use of color, especially of orange marigold petals, brings life to the film in unexpected ways. The “sugar skull” look of so many different faces gives each character a different look and feel.

The most spectacular are some of the creatures that act as “spirit guides” in the land of the dead. Based on dragons, monkeys, dogs, and other creatures they are day-glo, beautiful, and magical. Miguel’s great-great grandmother’s spirit guide is a giant winged cat-dragon who may be the most impressive visual feat of the film.

The music and the visuals brings up one of the more interesting details many will not notice, but when Miguel plays his guitar, his fingers are playing actual chords and his strums and finger picking is correct for the music he’s playing. This is yet another example of a film taking the time to make sure all its details are right and authentic.

A word of caution: don’t go see this movie in 3D. It doesn’t need it. And wearing sunglasses in the theater will only dampen the beauty of the color palatte, as well as making it harder to wipe away tears that will flow from all but the most stone-hearted among us.

This is not a perfect film. The plot twist at the end is a tad predictable, but for a medium whose entire raison d’être is repeat viewings ad nauseum on home video, it doesn’t need to be. Will it hold up over repeat viewings? Absolutely.

With so many families now spending time during the holidays going to see movies together, there is simply no better choice out there than Coco. Make a date to take your familia as soon as possible.

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where the Data Ranks 2017’s Comic Book Films. Justice League Debuts While Thor Crosses $700 Million

2017 feels like it’s shaping up to be a wild ride for comic adaptions. We look at who the real winners and losers are for this year’s comic films and dive into the numbers… not opinions.

Justice League failed to top $100 million domestically in its opening three day weekend earning an estimated $93.8 million. The film won the weekend but fell short of expectations which saw it earning between $100 and $110 million. The film earned $13 million on Thursday previews which was $2 million more than Wonder Woman. That film earned $103.2 million. It’s the lowest opening for any of the DC Extended Universe films so far.

But, things weren’t all bad as the film also brought in $185.5 million from 65 foreign markets to bring its worldwide total to $278.8 million. The film had the second largest opening ever for a Warner Bros. film in China and it has yet to open in Japan. That happens on November 23. With a reported budget of $300 million, the film will need to earn about $600 million to break even.

Reviews of the film were mixed with a B+ CinemaScore. The audience was 58% male and 69% over the age of 25. We predict the film will earn between $200 and $250 million domestically with $500-$600 at foreign markets to be around $750 million total, a number that’s nothing to sneeze at.

This coming week sees the release of Coco which will likely bump Justice Leaguefrom the top of the box office and add to a narrative of its failure.

Thor: Ragnarok came in third for the weekend and brought in an additional $21.8 million domestically to bring that total to $247.4 million. It also added an estimated $24.1 million internationally to bring that total to $490.7 million and the worldwide total over $700 million. Worldwide the film has earned $738.1 million so far. The movie pass Logan and currently is at #19 in the all time comic earnings. It has also shot pass Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man, and the original Thor. It will likely surpass Suicide Squad, X-Men Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man, and maybe Guardians of the Galaxy this week.

My Friend Dahmer expanded in theaters and increased its earnings 2x. The film how stands at $485,675. Blade of the Immortal didn’t do all that much domestically with its total only standing at $110,615, a $12,000 increase from the previous week.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has slowed down and right now is fighting to pass the $400 million mark. It stands at $393.3 million

Lets compare how the big two comic companies compare for earnings. Things have shifted a lot due to the debut of Justice League. On average DC films earn $291 million domestically while Marvel earns $309.6 million. Internationally, Marvel rules with $483.8 million and DC lags behind with $387 million. This will change a lot over the next few weeks and traditionally DC films out earn Marvel films domestically.

Already, the year is an interesting one with five clear successes and a whole lot of mixed otherwise. Thor: RagnarokWonder Woman, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 have done well this year. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The LEGO Batman Movie and Smurfs: The Lost Village, and Atomic Blonde are in that debatable area, and ValerianWilson, Ghost in the Shell, and Blade of the Immortal are generally disappointments. We’ll wait and see about My Friend Dahmer and Justice LeagueMarvel’s Inhumans… got no clue and tough to debate since it’s a television show primarily with a limited film engagement.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers. With a new film opening the averages have dipped.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.162 billion
Total International Gross: $3.444 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.606 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.667 million
Total “Profit”: $3.928 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $135.1 million
Average International Gross: $246 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $350.4 million
Average Budget: $128.2 million
Average Profit: $222.1 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Justice League Falls Short with $278.8 Million Opening

Justice League failed to top $100 million domestically in its opening three day weekend earning an estimated $93.8 million. The film won the weekend but fell short of expectations which saw it earning between $100 and $110 million. The film earned $13 million on Thursday previews which was $2 million more than Wonder Woman. That film earned $103.2 million. It’s the lowest opening for any of the DC Extended Universe films so far.

But, things weren’t all bad as the film also brought in $185.5 million from 65 foreign markets to bring its worldwide total to $278.8 million. The film had the second largest opening ever for a Warner Bros. film in China and it has yet to open in Japan. That happens on November 23. With a reported budget of $300 million, the film will need to earn about $600 million to break even.

Reviews of the film were mixed with a B+ CinemaScore. The audience was 58% male and 69% over the age of 25. We predict the film will earn between $200 and $250 million domestically with $500-$600 at foreign markets to be around $750 million total, a number that’s nothing to sneeze at.

This coming week sees the release of Coco which will likely bump Justice League from the top of the box office and add to a narrative of its failure.

In second place was another new film doing some counter programming. Wonder earned an estimated $27.1 million. That beats expectations and the film earned an A+ CinemaScore.

In third place was Thor: Ragnarok which brought in an additional $21.8 million domestically to bring that total to $247.4 million. It also added an estimated $24.1 million internationally to bring that total to $490.7 million and the worldwide total over $700 million. Worldwide the film has earned $738.1 million so far.

Daddy’s Home 2 dropped from second to fourth with $14.8 million to bring its total domestically to $50.6 million.

Rounding out the top five was Murder on the Orient Express which earned an estimated $13.8 million to bring its domestic total to $51.7 million in its second week.

When it comes to other comic adaptation at the theater….

Kingsman: The Golden Circle came in at #19 improving from #24. It earned an estimated $175,000 to bring its domestic total to $99.7 million. Worldwide the film has earned $393.3 million which is about $21 million short of the original.

My Friend Dahmer saw success moving from #32 last week to #20 this week and earning an estimated $165,000 while it has expanded to 75 theaters. The film has brought in an estimated $485,675.

We’re back in an hour to further dive into this year’s comic adaptations.

Movie Review: Justice League

Justice League posterIt’s hard to think of a time recently when a film has had so many expectations riding on it. 

And Justice League will undoubtedly fulfill many of those for a lot of fans of the source material. If you’ve been a fan of what Zack Snyder has done with the DC universe so far, you will continue to enjoy this. If you enjoyed Joss Whedon‘s work on The Avengers but have been “meh” so far on Man of Steel or Batman v. Superman, then you may enjoy yourself here, as the best explanation of Justice League is “Joss Whedon meets Zack Snyder.”

Unfortunately, that also means the film also embodies many of their respective weaknesses, too.

It’s no wonder this feels like a mishmash. Zack Snyder finished principle photography on the film and then had to step away from the project due to family issues. He entrusted finishing the film, including some reshoots and a script polish, to Whedon. Both of their fingerprints are evident in this film. Snyder’s stylized action is key and brings a bombasticity to the fights Whedon has never been capable of. Whedon brings some humor and teases out character elements in little asides that are key to enjoyment of the movie. In a lot of ways, this is a marriage that makes sense. In others. . . well, let’s say it’s easy to tell which parts of the film who was responsible for. It’s sort of like listening to The Beatles’ White Album — Lennon and McCartney were credited for all of their songs together, but it was very clear who took the lead on which track as the two partners styles started to diverge more wildly.

THE SETUP

Superman is dead. (Spoiler alert!) Sensing a moment of weakness and hopelessness, intergalactic conqueror Steppenwolf has returned to Earth to try to conquer it. Yes returned, because apparently he tried this schtick before and was repelled by the combined armies of Amazons, Atlanteans, and men. So he’s going back after them and artifacts he left behind that he needs to conquer the planet.

Batman (Ben Affleck), wracked with guilt over the death of Superman, is trying to put together a team to fight what he sees as this oncoming storm even before he’s aware of Steppenwolf’s presence. When Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) informs him the threat is already here, they redouble their efforts to find new teammates.

This includes Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher). While Bats and Diana get top billing, make no mistake that the other teammates are not sidekicks. Indeed, each gets their due and gets their own fun moments and character arcs.

Yes, Aquaman is really f*#king cool. You would’ve told me 20 years ago I’d be saying my favorite part of a Justice League movie might be Aquaman, I’d have laughed in your face. You’ll believe a man can swim. . . and kick all sorts of ass. Momoa’s comedic skills are put on full display here as well, delivering some of the best lines in the movie.

Speaking of comic relief, The Flash has always been the Justice League’s jokey conscience. In this version, we get a much younger, greener version of the character who is only barely discovering his powers. This is a double edged sword, as it gives the character room to grow and a great story arc, as well as giving Batman a chance to play superhero mentor. Ezra Miller does a great job and tries to steal every scene he’s in, which can sometimes be a little overbearing, but is overall really fun.

Unfortunately, we also get a wildly uneven powerset and skillset. At one moment Flash is literally tripping over himself, and not ten minutes later must perform a demanding run to deliver a static electricity bolt at a precise moment. Characters can be layered and be able to grow and have varying degrees of competence, but we can’t expect someone to be so bad at something one minute and five minutes later perfect at it (without even the use of a sports training montage!) That’s not showing growth and nuance, it’s just sloppy storytelling and characterization.

Speaking of, this brings us to Cyborg. It’s a good thing most audiences aren’t familiar with the character, or else they may have expectations about his powers. Apparently, Cyborg’s main superpower is exposition. He also has the ability to pull a Deus Ex Superhero at any given time. Need your jet to take you from Gotham to Russia in under 2 hours? Cyborg can “hack” your plane and make it happen!  Need to prevent Steppenwolf from assembling his doomsday terraforming machine to conquer earth? Cyborg can “hack” it!!

To be fair, [Minor Spoiler] Cyborg’s origin in the film is tied in to one of the artifacts Steppenwolf is using, but it’s still incredibly convenient. You know what else is incredibly convenient? The Kryptonian spaceship containing all sorts of technology (for the THIRD. MOVIE. IN A ROW.) whose main purpose, again, is to move the plot forward. Equally convenient? Another alien would-be conqueror who wants to terraform the earth.

It’s almost hard for Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash to shine under the weight of all of this– but they do. It’s just unfortunate that they have to.

WHEDON v. SNYDER: DAWN OF “JUST US” LEAVE

Getting back to the description of the film as “Joss Whedon meets Zack Snyder”– Note that in this description of the film, nowhere is a mention of Patty Jenkins. And that’s with good reason. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman still stands head and shoulders above all other DC movies, including this, as Princess Diana herself does among her teammates. Nowhere here do we match the spirit and fun of Wonder Woman, but we get occasional glimpses of it.

And Wonder Woman is the best part of Justice League. Her mere introduction on screen elicited cheers and applause from the audience, and her opening intro is masterful and fun. No small amount of credit should be given to Whedon, whose trademark handling of “strong female characters” is basically a cliche at this point, but it’s still missing some of what Jenkins brought.

Indeed, the film’s best analogue is Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. That film nearly collapsed under its own weight of trying to move Marvel’s franchises forward, but forgot to really ever be or say anything in and of itself. Justice League sometimes feels that way– an obligatory team up sequel because that’s the next step in the movie franchise plan.

Another apt comparison might be to Superman II, which famously had Richard Donner fired from it and the rest of the film was completed by Richard Lester. The seams are clearly visible on that Frankenmovie where Donner ends and where Lester begins. So too is it clear how much of Whedon’s sardonic essence was brought into this film both in its script and reshoots which he oversaw.  While Snyder stepped away due to family issues (and I’m not going to give him any hard time about that) and entrusted Whedon to finish his movie, the end result is more Donner-Lester than Lennon-McCartney.

But perhaps this is best seen in the film’s most glaring flaw: Steppenwolf is a boring villain. The only thing remarkable about him is he’s big and powerful and he wants to conquer the earth, so we need an equally awesome team to work together to defeat him. In this, he’s a lot like Ultron. . . and, come to think of it, Zod. Unfortunately you don’t have as interesting an actor portraying Steppenwolf as Terrance Stamp, Michael Shannon, or James Spader. He’s not bad, he’s just lackluster. He can join Malekith from Thor: The Dark World as the least interesting superhero movie villains of recent memory.

And yet, both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Superman II are incredibly good, enjoyable films. You might invoke an aphorism about how great power brings great responsibility, and so maybe we should expect even better than this, but that’s a completely different guy– and he has his own track record of mediocre movies he’s trying to fix (and largely succeeding).

A STORY ABOUT SUPERHERO MOVIES

My son is 9. He is a frequent companion of mine to press screenings, especially when superhero movies are concerned. His first movie in the theater was The Avengers in 2012. He liked Batman v. Superman ok, but mostly just the final battle. Fast forward to 2017: He liked Guardians 2, but not as much as the first one. He was not a fan of Spider-Man: Homecoming — let’s be clear, that was a teeanagery John Hughes movie with superheroes in it, so give him a few years. He was not a huge fan of Wonder Woman —ugh. Girls. (His father is hugely disappointed in him for this)

He gave Thor: Ragnarok a “13 out of 10” and begged to go see it again as soon as possible.

He gave Justice League a 9 out of 10. Because if you can just enjoy this movie for its jokes, its iconography, its action, and its broad characters, you can have a great time with it. Truth? It made my inner 9 year old pretty happy, too– the same 9 year old who taped Superman II off of tv and watched it over and over not at all aware of the film’s flaws. It was simply “Kneel before Zod!” time, and everything else was just fine.

There are also moments of sheer brilliance in this movie, some of which we can’t get into without spoilers. DC fans will be happy, though, as other characters are referenced or implied.

And there are some sweet moments. In a flashback that opens the movie, little kids interview Superman for a podcast they’re doing. A sign of the type of hopelessness Steppenwolf and his parademons feed off of are a white skinhead hassling a Muslim shopkeeper and kicking over his fruit stands. Wonder Woman signs autographs for some little girls and I triple dog dare you not to tear up a little at how much it matters to them.

And then there are the after credits scenes. Yes, two of them. So make sure you stay. The one at the very end of the credits made me want a direct sequel as soon as meta-humanly possible.

It’s unfortunate these moments only checker the film rather than deeply permeating it like a piece of finely marbled kobe beef. Instead it adds extra sizzle to the steak, but doesn’t leave the whole thing as tender and juicy as it might otherwise be. But when you’re dining at Snyder & Whedon steakhouse, this is the meal that we expect. And at the end of the day, it’s still a pretty good steak.

3.5 out of 5

Multiple Man Courtesy of James Franco, Simon Kinberg, and Allan Heinberg

Deadline is reporting that James Franco is looking to play Jamie Maddrox, Multiple Man in a movie from Fox. The script is being written by Allan Heinberg, and Simon Kinberg and Genre Films are producing it along with Franco and Ramona Films.

Multiple Man is a part of Marvel Comics‘ X-Men universe and is a character who has the ability to create copies of himself with the first appearing when the doctor slapped him to breathe when he was born.

The character has ranged in numerous types of stories from superhero adventures to detective noir and thus the movie could cover a wide range of genres.

This is the latest spin-off for the “X” Universe for Fox which has included Deadpool and its sequel, The New Mutants, the upcoming Gambit, and a new X-film X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Justice League by Lee Bermejo Print on Sale Today from Mondo

Today, Mondo will have remaining copies of Lee Bermejo‘s stunning poster for Justice League in celebration of the DC titans’ first appearance on the silver screen. Lee’s poster first premiered at MondoCon earlier this month and features a beautifully illustrated scene of these iconic heroes pressing forward into an epic battle. Lee is a total juggernaut of an artist and we couldn’t be more stoked of how this poster turned out. Justice League is in theaters now.

This poster will be on sale at a random time today (11/17) via mondotees.com.

Untitled Deadpool Sequel Gets a Trailer and Synopsis

The first Deadpool 2 teaser trailer dropped yesterday and along with that, the revelation the film might not be called “Deadpool 2.” Also, a synopsis dropped! It’s exactly what you’d expect:

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Trailer

The first true Elseworlds tale from DC comes to animated life as a steampunk Batman hunts Jack the Ripper through the shadows of turn-of-the-century Gotham City in Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the all-new, feature-length animated film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting January 23, 2018, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD February 6, 2018.

Inspired by the landmark one-shot Elseworlds tale by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, Batman: Gotham By Gaslight will be available in several popular formats as only the second Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP) release of a DC Universe Movie. The film will also be available as a Blu-ray Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), and Digital ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD). The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition; and the DVD features the movie in standard definition. The Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the film.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight takes place at the turn of the century as America’s continued industrial revolution is to be showcased at a World’s Fair hosted by Gotham City. But while the world prepares to witness the glittery glory of Gotham’s technological advances, there is a killer loose in the city’s darkest shadows. Preying on the city’s women, this killer is as precise as he is cruel. As Police Commissioner James Gordon tries to calm the fears of Gotham’s citizens regarding the butcher called Jack the Ripper, the masked vigilante Batman enacts his own detective work – with the help of confident, capable Selina Kyle – to stop the Ripper’s murderous spree. Witness a world in flames as the notorious serial killer’s controlled savagery meets the calculated stealth of the Dark Knight.

Acclaimed for his performance in Batman: Under The Red Hood, Bruce Greenwood (American Crime Story, Star Trek, iRobot) reprises his role as the voice of the Dark Knight in Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, Limitless) makes her DC Universe Movies debut as the voice of Selina Kyle. The voice cast also features Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls, Justice League Unlimited) as James Gordon, Anthony Head (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Merlin) as Alfred Pennyworth, Yuri Lowenthal (Batman Unlimited, Young Justice) as Harvey Dent, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time) as Chief Bullock, William Salyers (Batman vs. Two-Face) as Hugo Strange, and Grey Griffin (DC Super Hero Girls) as Sister Leslie. The cast also includes notable voice actors Tara Strong, Bob Joles, David Forseth, Chris Cox, Lincoln Melcher and Kari Wuhrer.

Producer Sam Liu (Batman and Harley Quinn, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract) also directs Batman: Gotham By Gaslight from a script by Jim Krieg (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). Alan Burnett is co-producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Killing Joke). Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are executive producers.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight Enhanced Content

Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
“Caped Fear: The First Elseworld” (Featurette) – Batman in the distant past of Gotham, at the crossroads of where the Gothic 19th century meets the modern age. Jack the Ripper, clashing with Gotham and its ruling elite. The documentary traces the influence of the comic book story, and why Gotham by Gaslight stands the test of time.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Audio Commentary – Join Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Director Sam Liu and Writer Jim Krieg as they provide details about the scenes of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and why this is a special project for each of them. Listen in for all things Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, and immerse once more into this dark and Gothic world.
A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay: A behind-the-scenes look at the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies, featuring thoughts from the talented filmmakers.
From the DC Vault – “Showdown” episode from Batman: The Animated Series; “Trials of the Demon!” episode from Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

DVD

A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay: A behind-the-scenes look at the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies, featuring thoughts from the talented filmmakers and voice cast.

Antony Johnston and Sam Hart Talk Atomic Blonde and The Coldest City

Out this week on blu-ray is Atomic Blonde, the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel by writer Antony Johnston and artist Sam Hart. The graphic novel was originally published by Oni Press under the title of The Coldest City.

We got a chance to talk to Antony and Sam about the movie, comic series, what it’s like to see your creation on the big screen, and if we’ll see a sequel.

Graphic Policy: How does it feel to see a comic you created on the big screen?

Antony Johnston: It feels amazing. It’s very exciting and surreal at the same time. Mainly exciting to see something I came up with at my desk 10 years ago out of my head and Sam brought to life at his drawing table, is up on the silver screen and millions of people have watched it. It’s extraordinary.

Sam Hart: Yup, same here.

GP: What were your involvement with the creation of the actual film? Were you hands on at all?

AJ: I was a Co-Producer of the movie so I had a little involvement. Most of the actual business of selling the rights was handled by Oni Press who shopped it around. Charlize’s (Theron) production company was interested. The production company was looking for something like this book at the time for herself to star in. Talks began. When things actually got moving, and it was apparent the movie was really going to happen, then I was sent the screenplay and then I was consulted on casting and when we were shooting I visited the set. I gave my notes on the screenplay and saw a rough cut of the movie.

I wasn’t there day to day but I gave notes and my thoughts and feedback on the movie as it was going. That was gracious of them because they didn’t have to have me involved in that way but they wanted me involved. I was grateful to be involved.

It was a great experience to see if all from the inside and the care of putting the movie together.

GP: Sam were you involved at all? The visuals of the film are amazing.

SH: They’re amazing. I wasn’t involved at all. But I was very happy with what they did.

GP: The soundtrack of the film really stands out. A lot of creators have said they listen to music when creating comics. When you were originally making it, were you listening to music at the time?

AJ: Amazingly no. I listen to music all the time when I’m working. I’m usually working to classical or ambient. I’m not one of those people who make playlists for a book. I never have though I know some do. The soundtrack was as much a surprise and delight to me as everyone else. It’s a fantastic soundtrack. I loved it.

SH: Same here. It didn’t occur to me to create a playlist at the time I was working on the artwork. It was a brilliant idea for the film people.

GP: Though the comic came out 10 years ago it feels like we’re back in a Cold War sensibility. You told a story about the Cold War and 30 years later and the story is still relevant.

AJ: That just goes to show you things move in cycles doesn’t it? You’re right, when I was writing the story the Cold War was seen as retro and quite unfashionable and the question was whether anyone would be interested in this story of Cold War spies? The answer is yes, nine years later it’s on everyone’s lips. History itself moves in cycles and creators should make in something they’re pasionate about because trying to predict what’s going to be in fashion is a fool’s game.

SH: Yeah, a bit on life going in cycles. When I was drawing the book, my first daughter had just been born and my second daughter is to be born in a week or two. It’s a different cycle but similar feeling for my life.

GP: Congrats!

AJ: One comic child and one movie child.

GP: That’s actually an interesting thing. Atomic Blonde is part of that beginning of seeing multiple kick-ass women on the big screen, Wonder Woman being another example this year. As a father of two daughters, how do you reflect on that?

SH: It feels amazing and two really good examples to show my daughters in what they can do with their lives. It’s an amazing feeling and two good examples.

AJ: I think it’s always interesting where one of the things where it’d be nice to reach as a society is where not every female character on the screen has to be a role model. So we can have enough of them where it’s ok for them to be a bit broken and not very nice. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there, but wouldn’t it be nice?

GP: It’d be nice if I didn’t have to ask that question at all and it was an afterthought.

With the film, the ending is differnet than the graphic novel. What are your general thoughts?

AJ: It wasn’t run by me. I did read the screenplay and I gave feedback. I didn’t want to have people feeling like I was standing over the shoulder because that’s no way to make an adaptation. I make adaptations myself for YA books and other short stories so I’ve seen the process from the other side of the fence. It’s no fun if you feel that the original creator is watching over your shoulder. So I was deliberately hands off. I said to the film makers that we made the best graphic novel we can and now it’s your job to make the best movie you can.

The ending was part of that and you can see why they did it. They’re hoping to make this a franchise and without spoiling the original for anyone that hasn’t read it, the original doesn’t leave a lot of room for sequels and a franchise. It’s totally understandable. The way they handled it was really well fashioned.

SH: The way they did it, I thought it was really well made and it plays with people’s expectations with people who have read the graphic novel.

GP: Sam, how does it feel as an artist to see real live people as your creations?

SH: It’s pretty amazing. It’s also amazing to see what changes they did for example with Percival. They kept the character personality but visually very different. Totally respectful of the character. Both versions make sense. For Lorraine it was interesting to me because I based the visual on my grandmother so watching the movie I’m imagining it’s my grandmother on screen.

GP: With the film out, is it possible we’ll get a sequel since there’s a second book? And how about a third book in the series?

AJ: There is a second book, I have nothing to announce at the time as to whether that’ll be adapted. I am working on a third book and the third book will focus once again on Lorraine. But that’s all I can say at the moment. There will be a third book at some point. Who knows, but keep an eye out.

GP: Is there a moment for each of you that really stands out from the film?

AJ: Apart from when our names are on screen?

GP: That could be the answer.

AJ: It’s hard to pick out a moment because the whole thing, because it’s the first work of mine that made it through the process. The whole thing blows me away. I do have favorite moments but they’re little touches of acting. There’s a look Møller gives Lorraine at one point a raised eyebrow without a word expresses so much. Little touches like that for me make the movie. I’m so familiar the big stuff is spectacular but the little moments of acting craft that you only spot after watching three or four times are what makes it for me.

SH:The same. At the end when you see “The Coldest City” on the credits was nice. The last time I saw the movie I noticed at Percival’s death scene they let the cigarette fall to the floor which is a call back to the beginning.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and your time!

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