Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s adaptation of the 1973 action comic book is Marvel Studios in its wisest. Their inability to grab top tier superheroes from their stable has enabled them to lend a spotlight to some of the more obscure and less featured superheroes from their universe. Thankfully the focus slides over to “Shang-Chi” one of their most dynamic and down to Earth superheroes who has proven a mainstay since his inception in the seventies and is brought to life in a truly exciting cinematic debut.
Harry Potter came seemingly out of nowhere over twenty years ago. It was a fantasy series that quickly blasted off in to a cultural phenomenon and began to re-think the whole fantasy genre for a new generation. Say what you want about the “Harry Potter” series. I was never a fan. But the book series and its cultural influence is powerful, as is its long, long (read: long) series of movies that started twenty years ago.
What’s old is new again, and now with Warner seemingly acknowledging the Tim Burton Batman 1989 movies as their own universe in “Elseworlds” on TV, DC dives head first in to expanding the original movie universes of their respective character properties. After “Batman ’89,” DC Comics follows up with “Superman ’78.” It’s an expansion and exploration of the beloved movie universe from Richard Donner’s Superman, and it wholeheartedly embraces everything about the movies we loved right down to the silly dialogue.
In a really crappy summer and a pretty hectic year in Hollywood, one of the bigger releases in 2021 was “In the Heights.” It’s a movie I’d been looking forward to for a long time, since Lin Manuel Miranda is one of my personal heroes. It’s finally brought to film by director Jon M. Chu after being in literal development hell since 2008. Jon M. Chu is no stranger to films involving dancing and urban settings, thankfully, and we’re given an absolutely dazzling, emotional, and energetic musical.
“The Show” is a movie that only Alan Moore is capable of. Moore is a very well known and infamous figure in the comic book world. Known for penning legendary graphic novels like “Watchmen,” he’s also notorious for being incredibly polarizing and opinionated about the comic book medium as a whole, as well as openly hating (and denouncing) anything and everything involving superheroes. “The Show” is a movie that combines a lot of ideas and themes that Moore mixes in to a confusing, but oddly entertaining genre entry.
Phil Tippet’s animated love child has been a highly anticipated and much talked about project for years. Tippet is a man whose career is absolutely historic. He’s a two-time Oscar winner, and Ray Harryhausen disciple who’s been the special effects wizard behind films like Star Wars, Robocop, Jurassic Park, and Starship Troopers, respectively. And that’s just a fraction of his massive iconic career. So it is fascinating to see something so unique, bizarre, and yet absolutely engrossing as “Mad God” come from the man.
Many times whenever a movie is adapted from a graphic novel, the movie should have a good jumping in point where you can easily follow along. The problem with “Yakuza Princess” is that it feels like you almost have to read the original graphic novel to understand almost anything going on here. “Yakuza Princess” isn’t a bad movie per se. It’s a beautifully filmed adaptation with excellent visuals by Vicente Amorim, it’s just that you will probably have a tough time following along with the mythology and motivations behind the characters if you never read the original material.