By the time a major or minor Hollywood studio releases the third entry in an unplanned trilogy or semi-planned series, it’s usually just a last-gasp money-grab. Exceptions exist, of course, but the rule of diminishing returns for sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots exists for a reason too.
Moviegoers might be surprised to know that the summer features three sequels or franchise starters based on comic-book properties. Men in Black is based on a long-defunct comic-book series that never sold in big numbers, but that mattered little when the big-screen adaptation hit movie theaters 15 years ago.
Comedians have a shelf life. A comedian develops a comic persona, audiences respond (favorably or they slip back into obscurity) and the comedian revisits that comic persona repeatedly for five, six, or even 10 years until audiences respond with contempt or indifference, leaving the comedian with only one of two alternatives: (1) reinvent him- or herself or (2) face a diminished future as a semi-forgotten celebrity selling cheaply made, overpriced products on late-night infomercials.
In the taut, gripping first scene of writer-director Zal Batmanglij and co-writer Brit Marling’s elliptical drama and Sundance Festival favorite, Sound of My Voice, a somber, twenty-something couple, Peter Aitken (Christopher Denham) and Lorna Michaelson (Nicole Vicius), drive to an outwardly ordinary house somewhere in the San Fernando Valley.
When news broke that geek god Joss Whedon was handed the keys to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some comic-book fans reacted with surprise, others with consternation, some with doubt, others with incredulity, and some, those with more foresight than the others, with cautious optimism…
Bullying has been long considered a fact of elementary and high-school life, an unfortunate rite-of-passage, an experience most of us try to forget, either because we were, in fact, bullied, because we ignored the bullying of others (thus making us complicit in their bullying), or at one point or another, bullied others ourselves through verbal taunting or else.
More than 200 years after they first transcribed and transliterated European folk tales, the Brothers Grimm continue to provide Hollywood studios with an overabundance of material. It helps, of course, that the Brothers Grimm oeuvre lapsed into the public domain long ago.
After the success of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, Hollywood studio executives have left no literary stone unturned, hoping to find the next great film franchise. Lionsgate hoped as much when it acquired the film rights to Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel, The Hunger Games three years ago.
Moments into Being Flynn, Paul Weitz’s adaptation of Nicholas Flynn’s 2004 memoir, Robert De Niro’s character, a mentally unstable, alcoholic and failed novelist, slips into voice-over narration mode, declaring himself the third greatest American writer and slipping into a racist, homophobic rant.