Tag Archives: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Movie Review: Bloodshot

The very first feature-length film based on a Valiant property was released on digital this weekend after spending a short time in theaters; Sony PicturesBloodshot starring Vin Diesel as the title character. I was able to get to the cinema a few days ago to check out the film, and have been thinking about it on and off for a few days. I wanted the film to sit with me so that I could really mull my thoughts about the movie.

Before we get anywhere, there won’t be any plot specific spoilers in the below review assuming you’ve watched the trailers released.

The character originated in the 90’s, created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton, is a recently deceased man brought back by a shady weapons tech corporation for their own use by the use of billions of tiny robots in his bloodstream. it’s these little machines that give him an ability to heal from pretty much anything, enhanced physical attributes, the ability to “talk” to other machines and ghost-white skin with a never healing open wound on his chest.

Bloodshot takes the core concept of the character and throws in an equal blend of Vin Diesel, an A to B plot with a twist that’s revealed in the international trailers (or, you know, is in the comics), of well-paced action. And humor – most intentional, some not. But that’s as far as the movie uses its comic book inspiration. For the most part, this is a straight action movie that just happens to be based on a comic book. It’s a break from the MCU movies we’ve seen over the last few years and their somewhat formulaic (but no less enjoyable) superhero stories. Bloodshot is more Terminator and Pitch Black that it is Iron Man.

Bloodshot movie poster

It’s refreshing in its simplicity, and while I saw the twist coming long before my arse was in the chair, there’s a chance that those who aren’t readers will be taken by surprise. It’s a very well-orchestrated film.

It feels disingenuous to say that this movie is a pretty straight forward action film, but it really is. Despite the potential to really explore the themes of a man being manipulated by technology and corporations to do things he’s barely aware of, the film requires less of your grey matter than it could have. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that Bloodshot needs to stand on its own as a competent action movie, and it does just that. There’s no real Easter Eggs in the movie that’ll alienate moviegoers, and there’s absolutely nothing here other than Bloodshot. The film doesn’t try to introduce characters for the next movie in a potential Valiant Cinematic Universe. I get the sense that if that happens, then this was a good starting point. If it doesn’t, then we still get a solid action flick.

The only issue I had with the comic book adaptation part of the movie was honestly an aesthetic choice. Bloodshot’s two most defining aspects are his white skin and the bloody circle on his chest. Neither of which are present for any great length of time in the movie and certainly not long enough to make a lasting impression. Other than that, though, I’ve no real complaints about the movie. It took a comic book I enjoyed, honored the core concept of the character and touched on a couple of themes that could have been explored further. Which brings me to this; letting go of the past to embrace the future and the manipulation of humanity by technology and corporations are great backdrops to this film and fit the source material very well.

Bloodshot isn’t on par with Endgame, but then to compare the two is like comparing a tomato with Stonehenge. They’re just two totally different things. What Bloodshot does incredibly well is telling a story that translates very well as a comic book adaptation to the big screen (or to a streaming service near you now that the movie has been released digitally already). It never strays too far from an action movie formula, which isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie as a fan of the comics and the character when I saw it in theaters, and I’m enjoying it again now.

Bloodshot isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s damn fun. And that’s what matters.

A Venom Update from Brazil Comic-Con

At Brazil Comic-Con director Ruben Fleischer and Tom Hardy gave an update about Venom. The film is a new take on the classic Marvel Spider-Man character Eddie Brock aka Venom.

In addition a first official look at Hardy as Eddie Brock has been released and you can see below.

The movie’s in theaters October 5.

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) in Columbia Pictures’ VEMON.

Movie Review: Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Edgar Wright is one of my favorite writers and directors having yet to disappoint in a film and effortlessly blending action and humor. Baby Driver, his latest film, leans heavier on the action side of things, but also gives us his best work yet in a movie that blends action, humor, and music in a way that feels original and a nonstop ride.

Actor Ansel Elgort shines as Baby, the “Baby” in Baby Driver who is forced to be the wheelman for some bad folks. It’s a good thing Baby is a natural behind the wheel moving a car like some direct symphonies. The film opens with a sequence that sets the tone as to what we can expect and for just shy of two hours we’re treated to a music driven action film that feels like as much as a ride as it is a movie.

What surprised me at first is the use of music which feels not like a soundtrack but instead we’re part of the action surrounded by the thumping sound. It’s diagetic, as Baby experiences the music, so do we. It also emphasizes the role music plays driving our lives and helping us perform our actions. Even a scene in a laundry mat feels like it’s straight out of a music video.The music too provides clues as to Baby’s life. Wright brilliantly uses the music to teach us about Baby’s life allowing a backstory to be presented without wasting time with filmed scenes.

The music too provides clues as to Baby’s life. Wright brilliantly uses the music to teach us about Baby’s life allowing a backstory to be presented without wasting time with filmed scenes. It also provides clues as to where things are going. As Baby’s world unravels so does the music as it slows and becomes eratic. It’s impressive and one of the best usses of music in any film I’ve experienced.

Ansel is cool in a movie full of cool individuals. A relative newcomer, Elgort goes toe to toe with Jon Bernthal (underused), Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx. That’s impressive, beyond impressive. Eiza Gonzalez and Lily James are newcomers to me and deliver fantastic performances as well, one bad ass and the other Bonnie to Elgort’s Clyde. Everyone, no matter how big the role, nails it. Truly impressive is CJ Jones who plays Joseph, Baby’s caretaker who is now being taken care of. Jones is the rarity in films a deaf individual playing a deaf character and his inclusion shows how focused on the details Wright was when creating this film. While a lot of the characters and performances borderline on tropes/stereotypes, each is beyond enjoyable and most importantly fun.

Baby Driver is a mix of films, Goodfellas, Heat, Fast and the Furious, but still stands out as an original. This is my favorite film of the year by a long shot and one I could watch over and over. Baby Driver is a music driven, action packed, adrenaline fueled, instant classic.

Overall Rating: 10

The First Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

This is the FIRST trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming starring Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr. and more, in theaters July 7th.

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero in Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Directed by Jon Watts. Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Snyder and Lemire’s A.D.: After Death Gets Picked Up by Sony

After a multi-party bidding war, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire‘s A.D: After Death has been acquired by Sony. The three-part series is being published by Image Comics. Snyder and Lemire will serve as Executive Producers on the project.

Josh Bratman of Immersive Pictures will work alongside Eric Fineman at Columbia to produce the film. Bratman is also developing Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s comic series Descender into a feature film franchise.

A.D. is set in a future where a genetic cure for death has been found. One man, years after the discovery of the cure, starts to question everything, leading him on a mind-bending journey that will bring him face-to-face with his past and his own mortality.

A.D. is the first project Snyder and Lemire, longtime friends and both acclaimed and bestselling comic creators in their own right, have worked on together. This is the first project Lemire has illustrated that he has not also written. Book 1 was published November 2016, with Book 2 available December 21, 2016.

The deal for A.D.: After Death was brokered by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc., along with Lemire’s attorney Allison Binder of Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP and Snyder’s attorney Lillian Laserson of Laserson Law.

adbook01_coverart

Sony Pictures and Valiant Announce Five-Picture Deal

BLOODSHOT_001_COVER_LOZZIValiant Entertainment and Sony Pictures today announced a deal to bring two of Valiant’s award-winning comic book superhero franchises—Bloodshot and Harbinger—to the big screen over the course of five feature films that will culminate in the shared universe crossover film, Harbinger Wars.

Bloodshot, arriving in theaters in 2017, will kick off the five-picture plan leading to Harbinger Wars and will be directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski from a script by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer. Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe from Original Film and Dinesh Shamdasani from Valiant Entertainment will produce the film. Matthew Vaughn and Jason Kothari will serve as executive producers.

Harbinger will follow shortly thereafter from a script by Eric Heisserer. Sony and Valiant rHARBINGER_012_COVER_REEDERemain tight-lipped about potential directors. Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe from Original Film and Dinesh Shamdasani from Valiant Entertainment will produce.

Both films will be followed by sequels before the title characters confront each other head on in Harbinger Wars—a motion picture directly inspired by Valiant’s critically acclaimed 2013 comic book crossover of the same name. Andrea Giannetti will oversee the five-picture HARBINGER WARS initiative for Sony Pictures.

In March, Valiant announced that it partnered with Beijing-based entertainment company DMG for nine-figures of film financing capital for the production of theatrical films and television programs based on Valiant’s library of iconic superhero characters.

Lemire and Nguyen’s Descender Lands at Sony Pictures

Descender1Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it acquired the feature film rights to Descender, the forthcoming comic book series from author Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen. Josh Bratman will produce the film with Lemire and Nguyen attached to executive produce. The first issue of the eagerly awaited series will be published by Image Comics on March 4, 2015.

A sprawling, science-fiction space opera full of mystery and adventure, Descender is a rip-roaring, heart-felt cosmic odyssey about a little boy looking for home in a universe that hates and fears him. The incredibly lifelike artificial boy, TIM-21, may hold the secrets deep in his machine DNA to the origin of robots that have decimated entire planets. As a result, he is the most-wanted robot in the universe. Before long the entire galaxy is looking for TIM-21 and his rag-tag group of unlikely companions, as they make their way from one exotic planet to the next with new foes advancing on them at every turn.

Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed graphic novels Sweet Tooth, Essex County, The Underwater Welder and Trillum. His upcoming projects include the original graphic novel Roughneck from Simon and Schuster, as well as Black Hammer with Dean Ormston for Dark Horse Comics, Plutona with Emi Lenox and A.D. with Scott Snyder. In 2008 and in 2013, Lemire won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist. He received The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent and the American Library Association’s prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. Lemire has been nominated for 8 Eisner awards, 7 Harvey Awards and 8 Shuster Awards.  He has also written such titles as Green Arrow, Animal Man and Hawkeye for DC and Marvel Comics.

Nguyen is best known for his work on American Vampire along with numerous Batman titles including: Batman Eternal, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Detective Comics, and most recently, Batman: Li’l Gotham, which has spawned its own line of toys, of which Nguyen is the designer.

Sony Blames Distributors for The Interview Release Cancellation

interview_xlgIn an interview I heard on NPR, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton stood firm in saying Sony didn’t capitulate to the hackers who have terrorized the company for some time now. The hubbub was around the cancellation of the release of The Interview on Christmas day.

In his view, they saw the film as continuing the grand tradition of political satire, and saw nothing wrong with releasing it.

Lynton’s interview came a few hours after President Obama called the decision to not release the film a “mistake.”

Lynton danced around issues in the distribution system in place for movies. In the interview he stood firm by the fact that Sony had the intention of releasing the film. The movie company didn’t cancel their current plans until theaters decided to not screen the film. With few theaters willing to do so, Sony’s hands were tied, and the decision to delay the release was made.

We did not capitulate. We don’t own movie theaters, and we require movie theater owners to be there for us to distribute our film. We very much wanted to keep the picture in release. When the movie theaters decided that they could not put our movie in their theaters, we had no choice at that point but to not have the movie come out on the 25th of December. This was not our decision.

In the interview Lynton was pressed why the company wasn’t releasing the film digitally. Lynton said it was something they were considering, but were having issues finding partners willing to join them in the release.

While he was much more diplomatic than he needed to be, it was clear Lynton lays the blame at the theaters, and digital distributors fear that they will be the target of a cyber attack if they release the film. That’s exactly what I pointed out in my earlier coverage of the news.

Here’s his direct quote:

Yes, those are other avenues and we are actively exploring them …. to date, we don’t have any takers — neither on the video demand side nor on the e-commerce side. People have been generally fearful about the possibility of their systems being corrupted, and so there have been a lot of conversations about the robustness of various systems to be able to make sure they’re not hacked, if and when we put the movie out digitally.

I shouldn’t say if — when. We would very much like that to happen. But we do need partners to make that happen. We ourselves do not have a distribution platform to put the movie out.

It looks like we’ll eventually get to see the film, it’s just a question of when, no longer if.

In an email release, the company said:

It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.

That reiterates what Lynton said in the interview.

What stood out to me was the emphasis that the film wasn’t being released due to the fact it was pulled from theaters, and that digital distributors weren’t willing to bite. It emphasizes that we as consumers do in fact have our choices limited by gatekeepers such as movie theater chains, and digital avenues like iTunes or Amazon. BitTorrent, the filing sharing technology and company, stepped up to help with digital distribution through its BitTorrent Bundle.

The President said during a press conference:

We cannot have a society in which some dictators some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States. If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like.

Sony seems to agree. They said in their release:

Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

You can listen to the interview and get details directly from the company.