Good Grief

So they finally went ahead and did it.

Sooooooo many mixed emotions about this. The whole concept of doing PEANUTS in 3D sounds abhorrent on it’s face, but look of this is… not bad. If nothing else, there’s obviously been a lot of work/thought put into the style here that’s coming from the right place: They’ve used the “dropped keyframes” animation trick from WRECK-IT RALPH and LEGO MOVIE to preserve the instant-shift from static to motion of traditional animation, and the programming physics behind the faux-linework for the details and faces (which makes them look like “embossed” 2D-paintings rather than fully-3D figures) would probably make my head spin. Blue Sky is a consistently under-appreciated studio.

So it looks right and sounds right, but what I want to know about is TONE: A 3D PEANUTS is terrifying because 3D animation’s current “default” is dizzying, movement-centered showcases for 3D projection – all chases and pratfalls and elaborate visual gags – all of which are anathema to these characters and their world. Part of the reason Charlie Brown etc. look the way they do is because they were designed, deliberately, to occupy space and grouse to one another… and that’s about it.

…except it just occured to me that a Snoopy “Red Baron” sequence would be the most-logical place for this to jump-out into a bigger-scale “wheeee!” showcase moment apart from the rest of the film, and now I want to see what that looks like. Huh.


…I got nothing.

Oh well, appearances aren’t everything – a lot of people hated the Tokusatsu-esque Goblin armor in the original, and I liked that just fine, so who really knows?

I’m just glad that Harry Osborn was such an important presence in the first “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN”, so that his transformation in this one will be informed by the weight of that well-established relationship with Peter and the other characters. I mean, can you imagine how awkward it’d be if there hadn’t even been any indication that this person existed before now and they had to stuff the origin and the narrative of Peter and Harry’s friendship – the only thing that makes him compelling as an eventual nemesis – and Harry becoming a Goblin into one movie that’s already built around at least two other villains and the continuing plot threads of Peter’s missing parents, his relationship with Gwen, whatever is going on with Norman Osborn and that guy with the hat???

That would be nutty…

Here’s The GoPro Fan-Film That’ll Make You Love SUPERMAN Again:

Things you’re probably sick of on The Internet: FX-demo reels playing out in Southern California, “_____ With a GoPro,” bitter thirtysomething nerd movie-critics telling you how some fan-film nails this or that licensed property better than it’s most recent movie did. Well, tough – watch this SUPERMAN short anyway, and be amazed:

Perfect. Basically perfect. I can’t even bring myself to hate the dubstep (I assume unapproved “With John Williams Theme” versions will be all over the place in a few hours, for good or ill.)

Incredibly, it’s looks like they accomplished 90% of this using a remote-controlled quadcopter and lot of clever editing. Impressive as all hell. If I’m Zack Snyder, I’m quietly tossing these guys a bunch of money not to raise a fuss when I borrow a bunch of these shots for “MAN OF STEEL 2.”

2016: Batman VS. Superman VS. Captain America

Check out the big-ass BALLS on Marvel Studios, eh?

It’s been a story for about a year now that Disney was adamant about NOT moving a May 6 2016 date they’d set up for “Untitled Marvel Studios Feature” even though the delayed “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN” slid into the same date. Most assumed that this was a publicity thing – namely that the date had been put aside for one of the new post-“AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON” franchise characters and that the announcment of who the film was actually about would provide “cover” for the secondary news that they were backing down in the face of a stronger competitor for the date: “Hey kids, look! DOCTOR STRANGE MOVIE!!! Oh and by the way we’re moving him out of Batman and Superman’s way…”

But it turns out exactly none of that is correct: THR Reports that Disney/Marvel will drop “CAPTAIN AMERICA 3” as their early-May release for 2016… and they have no intention of moving – they want to open against “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN.”

The substory here is that Disney/Marvel is NUTS about “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.” The early reviews are beyond ecstatic – it’s being called the best Marvel movie, period, with comparisons being drawn to “THE DARK KNIGHT” and other bigger-deal sequels. They signed the writer/director team to helm the third one while the movie was still in post-production. Chris Evans has been signed for six more films, and Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) for nine. They believe they’ve got one of the biggest hits of the Summer, and maybe the movie that puts Captain America somewhere near Iron Man/Spider-Man/Batman levels of individual market-value.

The other substory? A gamble that the still not officially titled “MAN OF STEEL” sequel may want to move it’s date again before 2016 hits. The film has moved slowly into shooting, but they still don’t have a finished script and production is supposedly still very much in flux.

If you were betting money, obviously, the smart bet would be that one of the studios will blink and that “CAPTAIN AMERICA 3” will move; but I’m not 100% sure. This is, unquestionably, peacock-posturing on Marvel and Kevin Feige’s part: “We aren’t afraid of Batman OR Superman!” …but what interests me is that they’ve got a lot less to actually lose. Opening in second place is what people would expect of them in this scenario, so if they do it’s not much of a “defeat.” “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN,” on the other hand, needs to make a shitload of money to justify what they’re pouring into it, and having another same-genre movie out at the same time would unavoidably eat into their boxoffice. It might actually be smarter for Warner Bros. to jump ahead a week or more and garauntee a big open (and limit Marvel’s repeat-business) but they’d have to suffer every single website and industry trade running with “Captain America Singlehandedly Defeats The World’s Finest!” as a headline.

Plenty of time for this to change, but you just don’t see public “Come at me, bro!” moves like this as much anymore.


I lost count, but when I was still counting we were on our seventh or eighth “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2” trailer, so you can be forgiven for feeling like you’ve now seen pretty-much every minute of the actual film. I mean, geez… I know Sony Pictures is in a bad spot right now and if this thing underperforms (the original was already the lowest-grossing of the “SPIDER-MAN” movies) it’s armageddon for a whole bunch of people at that studio, but still…


Anyway, here’s one more minute of the film, which appears to be an early-ish encounter between Spidey and Hoodie Smurf. I gotta say… Electro’s look still isn’t doing it for me (and we’ve already seen that his “final look” doesn’t get much better, so the “it’s early in the story” thing doesn’t work) and whoever is mixing the sound really needs to bring Garfield’s vocals forward, but I like almost everything else about this – well shot, good sense of scope, and I dig the music right up until that fucking dubstep beat comes in at the very end (is this a piece of music or part of the score?)


Aw yeah!

Let’s just get it out of the way: Frank Miller, in 2014, is a walking punchline – a guy who hasn’t turned in unironically good work in decades and has aged into a profoundly unpleasant human presence on the pop-culture radar. BUT! The “SIN CITY” books were good, and remain probably the perfect manifestation of his undeniably unique creative voice: all of his hangups, fetishes and fixations, cobbled together at the peak of his actual talent and laquered by enough style to keep the more problematic stuff boiling under the surface in proper check.

“SIN CITY” is Miller’s perfect creation, and – in case you’ve managed to forget – Robert Rodriguez’s “SIN CITY” movie was fucking awesome. So yeah, finally getting a look at the sequel? Welcome back, old friend: