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Joe Cornish will Write and Direct Mark Millar’s Starlight

Mark Millar‘s Starlight might finally be coming to the big screen. Joe Cornish will write and direct the film for 20th Century Studios.

Simon Kinberg and Audrey Chon are producing through Kinberg’s Genre Films banner, and Nira Park has joined as producer.

Starlight is a Flash Gordon riff about an older space hero who returns to Earth after saving the universe. No one believes him and he settles, gets married, and has kids. But, he’s called back for one fantastic adventure.

Starlight was originally published in 2014 by Image Comics and was a six-issue limited series. Written by Millar, it featured art by Goran Parlov.


Movie Review: The Kid Who Would Be King

Director Joe Cornish‘s movie about modern British kids who take up the literal mantle of King Arthur and his knights is a perfect melding of his style with kid-friendly fare. It also includes some oblique and unexpected social commentary in what is otherwise your basic misfit kids on an adventure movie that could’ve come straight out of the 80’s.

This is otherwise nothing like Cornish’s cult favorite Attack the Block (which was the last –and only– time we saw him direct), except for its perfect sense of place. Both films capture their thoroughly British settings but also manage to translate them to a universal understanding. This is much the same way The Goonies, E.T. or Stranger Things captured their settings of the Pacific Northwest, suburban California, exurban Indiana, respectively, and draws you in. The script is also fun, which should be no surprise to those who know Cornish from his comedy roots or as one of the co-writers of Ant-Man. 

Our main story follows young Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), the son of a single mom and a frequent target of school bullies Lance and Kaye along with his best friend Bedders. One night after school they chase him into a construction site where Alex finds a swords sticking out of a pillar of concrete and rebar. He pulls it out, fights off his bullies, and escapes.

The next morning a strange new kid at school calling himself Merlin… no… Marvin, tells Alex he is the heir to Excalibur and must protect England from a growing threat. When Arthur and his knights defeated Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), they only sealed her away until a time when the hearts of mankind would grow cold, the people would be divided against each other, and cynicism would reign. Alex only has a few days before a solar eclipse which will unleash her and her armies, and he must gather his new knights to defeat her.

Alex in inspired by all of this. As the child of a single mom, all he had to remember his father by was a book of Arthurian legend, which told him Arthur turned his enemies into allies and united all the land. So, of course, he turns his bullies into his friends, and they take off cross-country to get to the island where Arthur was supposedly born (and where Alex’s father supposedly lives).

The film is a lot of fun, with kids fighting evil monsters and swashbuckling swordplay. There’s also this underlying story of Alex’s search for his own identity and trying to grow up not knowing his father. Without revealing too many spoilers, let’s just say that not everything is as it seems, both in the Arthur legend and Alex’s putative background. At a particularly disheartening moment when he wants to give up, Merlin appears (this time as his older, wizened self played expertly by Patrick Stewart) to tell him that we each write our own stories. And sometime we need to take our old legends and tell them anew with a new, better take on them. That serves as a beautiful explanation of exactly what this film is.

First, the not-so-subtle references to the divisions and cynicism of the adult world giving rise to Morgana’s return are pretty oblique, but it would be fairly easy to read “BREXIT” into the film, even if it isn’t shown in the film’s depictions of newspapers and tv news, which mostly focus on broader issues like “CRIME!” and “HATE!” But really? We’re talking about Brexit here, and we’re talking about anti-immigrant sentiment.

Which is another reason the casting of the film is so great. Alex is a white kid (specifically worth noting Louis Ashbourne Serkis is the son of Andy Serkis and Lorraine Ashbourne), and his main bully Lance (a stand-in for Lancelot) is blond and blue-eyed. But Bedders is of Indian/Pakistani origin and Kaye is black (and a girl!). It’s refreshing to see this story being re-written with a specific call for unity but also being representative of a more cosmopolitan, egalitarian Britain and where their ethnic and gender identities never come up once. They are simply people to one another.

The film bogs down a little bit in the middle in their travels across country, but ends incredibly strong with a final showdown between the forces of evil and Alex leading his entire school against them. This is the movie my 10 year old self would’ve loved and which I hope kids today will pick up on as a new modern classic.

3.75 out of 5 stars

Michael Douglas to be Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man

Michael_DouglasVariety has the news that acclaimed actor Michael Douglas will be stepping into the Marvel cinematic universe and play Hank Pym in the upcoming Ant-Man. Douglas is fresh off a Golden Globe win for Behind the Candelabra and is another award winning actor signing up to take on a classic Marvel character. The movies have a habit of attracting award winners.

Edgar Wright is helming the pic from a script he wrote with Joe Cornish.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said to Variety:

With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves. We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.

This answers a major question of which Ant-Man fans can expect. Numerous people have donned the persona and recently it was announced that Paul Rudd would be the main character, but no one knew if he would be Hank Pym or Scott Lang. Pym was the original character as well as the creator of Ultron who will be featured in the next Avengers film.

Archaia’s Rust Vol. 2 and Spera Vol. 2 Debut Today as Digital Firsts on comiXology

Archaia Entertainment continues its commitment to digital releases with two new comics debuting today on comiXology, Rust Vol.2 andSpera Vol. 2.

Rust Vol. 2: Secrets of the Cell is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Rust Vol. 1: Visitor in the Field, the debut graphic novel by Royden Lepp. In this volume, the dysfunctional Taylor family continues to rebuild their farm lives after the devastating loss of a recent war, and the appearance of the mysterious jet pack-wearing boy, Jet Jones.  Jet’s behavior continues to raise youngest brother Oswald’s suspicion, particularly when the appearance of another robot invader puts them all in danger! Like its predecessor, Rust Vol. 2 is presented in nostalgic sepia tone to help set the industrial atmosphere of the title. This volume is especially highly anticipated because of the recent announcement that director Joe Cornish (Attack of the Block) has been attached to the Rust film in development at 20th Century Fox. Simon Kinberg (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, X-Men: First Class) is producing and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) is scripting.

Spera Vol. 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed first volume of Spera, which is based off the original webcomic experiment created by Josh Tierney that brings illustrators together from around the globe to showcase their talents as some of the premier fantasy artists in the industry.  In this volume, exiled princesses Pira and Lono travel to the bustling city of Kotequog to avoid the clutches of Pira’s mother, the Evil Queen. Obtaining jobs as adventurers, the two best friends set out on a series of quests that land them in perhaps more excitement than they’d bargained for. Told in four chapters and a series of stand-alone shorts, each drawn by a different rising talent in comics, Spera Vol. 2 brings the same gorgeous artistry as its debut installment, featuring the works of Giannis Milonogiannis (Old City Blues), Kyla Vanderklugt (Flight), Timothy Weaver (Chivalrous), and Afu Chan (Spera Vol. 1).

The first chapters of Rust Vol. 2: Secrets of the Cell and Spera Vol. 2 debut digitally on comiXology today, available across iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and the Web, with subsequent chapters releasing every month. The print editions will debut late Fall.