Some scifi movies to consider in the months ahead.
Probably the biggest comic convention out there in geek world, the San Diego ComicCon (SDCC) has also become geek central for new movie/TV trailers. Check out the ones we dug this time round.
Are you tired of superhero movies?
Considering that 2016 had the most superhero movies to date (SIX!) – a valid concern would be creeping fatigue – would the sheer volume of such movies turn people against superhero movies in general?
When news was announced about the cast for Captain America : Civil War, folks starting referring to the sequel as Avengers 2.5. But based on the first trailer, it’s clearly a Cap movie – it’s just that Cap’s quest for justice for his friend Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) leads him to war with Iron Man and his team.
Which is a clever twist to how the original comic book story played it. It’s about Cap being loyal to his best friend in the face of virtually impossible odds. What a story this is going to be! And we get a first look at Black Panther too! 2016 is going to be an amazing superhero movie year.
Check it out now.
If nothing else, the Fantastic Four reboot has gotten us thinking about the worst superhero movies out there – of which there is an abundance, sadly.
Well, first up, of course, the obvious ones from DC’s World’s Finest, no less.
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987)
How did this franchise go from highly acclaimed (the first two instalments) to an absolute dud?
BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)
Tim Burton revived the Bat-franchise with two well-received dark movies before Joel Schumacher decided to have some campy fun with the character. George Clooney famously said that he almost single-handedly killed the Caped Crusader! A nadir for the superhero genre.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006)
Again, two hit movies in the franchise somehow led to a turkey. Bryan Singer abandoned this 2nd X-Men sequel to helm Superman Returns (more of that later) leaving Bret Ratner to pick up the pieces. What he assemble was a travesty that subsequent X-Men movies have barely acknowledged. Favourite line? “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009)
Now, Fox had a huge hit with The Last Stand (based on the goodwill generated by the first two X-movies) so they probably thought, let’s take the most popular X-Man and make an origin movie that is just as bad. Here’s how awful this was – they sowed up Deadpool’s mouth! Seriously WTF!
SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006)
Not content in being an indirect cause for X-Men: The Last Stand sucking so bad, Bryan Singer had to foist on us all this ill-judged sequel to Superman II. C’mon! It was obvious from the beginning that this was the wrong approach for Superman in 2006.
Yes I do realise that there are still many more out there but the ones highlighted above were serious tentpole movies that spent a fair amount of money but failed as creative endeavours (some of them actually made big bucks). Thus, I ignored the likes of Daredevil, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-Man 2 etc. Considering the only superhero characters at risk now are solely in the hands of 20th Century Fox (Daredevil and Punisher have thankfully reverted to Marvel and SONY is working with Marvel on Spider-Man), there is still scope for bad superhero films with the upcoming Deadpool, Gambit and upcoming X-movies. Fingers crossed, everyone!
The Merc with the Mouth gets his own movie! And it certainly looks like Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool – though am not sure if that’s much of a compliment. And judging from the red band trailer, it’s everything you expected a Deadpool movie to be. Not quite sure if that’s a good thing though.
Deadpool hits theatres on 12th February 2016.
The spy movie genre still remains popular amongst film goers even in this age of superhero dominance. To demonstrate that, here are three upcoming spy movies that fans should pay attention to.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Tom Cruise and company are back to save the world and this time, they face their most formidable challenge ever – a nation of enemy spies (!) and Cruise himself has to up the ante (performing some very dangerous stunts) to provide that box office spark! Opens on 31st July.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Now, the original TV series meant quite a bit to me when I was a kid in the 60s – though to be honest I can’t remember a thing about the show – so I suppose I have a certain stake in wanting this to be a success. That said, the trailer looks quite silly but am hoping that the charisma of Henry Cavill (as Napoleon Solo) will carry the movie through. Opens on 14th August.
The grandaddy of all spy movies is still going strong. The James Bond franchise has outlasted all pretenders and this time round the Daniel Craig-Bond finally encounters his arch-nemesis SPECTRE. Opens on 6th November.
… still there’s more …
There have been doubts about Warner Bros throwing in a Suicide Squad movie adaptation so quickly in the mix but they wanted to different themselves from Marvel Studios, then this is certainly one way to do it! A super-villain team-up? How more contrasting to The Avengers can you get? From the trailer, it is clear who will getting the most fan attention – Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and of course, Jared Leto’s Joker. Looks like an interesting ride, if nothing else.
No finer time to be a geek!
… still there’s more …
Tzang Merwyn Tong’s Faeryville is a dystopian teen movie, a stylish coming of age film about youth making sense of their idealistic dreams in our increasingly surreal world – a fictional manifestation of very real issues prevalent in the Post 9-11 world. The movie features an original score composed by Alex Oh.
Oh is one of Singapore’s most prolific and versatile film composers. His philosophy to scoring is telling the story of the film through music. In his career, he has scored many award-winning features, ranging from comedy, family-oriented, action films like Taxi!Taxi!, My Dog Dou Dou, Imperfect, It’s A Great Great World to darker films like Bait 3D, Rule Number One and The Maid . He was nominated for Best Original Music Score from Asian Television Awards in 2004 for the TV Series, The Frontline.
Oh’s music score complements the movie perfectly with its edgy synthesiser ambience and choral nuances providing a contrast between innocence and danger. Also included is the dynamic driving “Baptism of Fire” which feature Jessel Yam and Alan Chan on guitars, Meryvn Lim on bass and John Ho on drums.
Read below what Oh thought and felt about working on Faeryville.
As the film’s composer, you’re probably one of the first few people to have seen Faeryville, edited and cut. What are your thoughts when you watched the first cut of the film?
Faeryville turned out beautifully. It has lots of depth. I like the characters, the Nobodies, Laer, Chloe, Belle, Fraternity members. There are debates on whether society is becoming or has already become dystopian. I like how Tzang uses the film to address certain issues we are facing in our society. In that aspect, I think he is successful in bringing these to light, as many will find after watching the film that they can relate to it someway or another.
Do you have a philosophy bout your music scoring?
I try to find where the heart of the movie is. I will watch the film with the Director and talk about it. I want to understand the film from his/her perspective and hear what he has to say. Why he/she wants to make the film? What is it about? What is it the story that he’s telling? Once I have an understanding about the film, I will let the film speak to me. I do not want to come with any pre-conceived ideas.
Seriously folks, the real movie season begins for film buffs on the 23rd when Avengers: Age of Ultron opens!
And just like the first quarter of the year, it’s slim pickings. But here are a couple of movies to consider this month.
Based on brand recognition alone, the 7th movie in the Fast and Furious franchise – viz. Furious 7 (opening on the 2nd) – is bound to be a big hit.
So… February was largely disappointing for new movies. Kingsman: The Secret Service was alright but Jupiter Ascending was abysmal. Sigh. Pray March will be better.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Starring Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel.
Getting somewhat nervous about this one. Blomkamp did not do too well with Elysium and the idea of sentient robot is not exactly original, is it? Jackman is in it as well, as I generally do not like any movie he’s in. Ah well.
And January is almost over! Time to ponder the coming movies in February 2015.
Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland
Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
Another movie about suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Nothing frightens more than losing one’s memory permanently. Moore is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this one, so her performance is probably worth the price of admission. Get the hankies out though.
Lest anyone forget, 2015 is the year of Back to the Future 2! Which makes that movie a awesome lead in for this excellent mashup of the upcoming movies this year. From the kind folks at JoBlo Movie Trailers!
Here’s a New Year Resolution for ya. Power of Pop will be expanding our film coverage in 2015 to highlight the movies we think PoP visitors will be interested in. Good stuff, no fluff (cannot bluff!) or something like that…
Anyways, here’s a couple of films we are interested in for January 2015.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
(Written & directed by Ned Benson)
New Year’s Day
Ignore the gimmicky title – this has nothing to do with The Beatles. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is the collective title of three films subtitled Him, Her & Them respectively. As you can guess, Him and Her are told from the perspectives of the male (James McAvoy) and female (Jessica Chastain) characters accordingly. Them is the compromise, a combination of Him and Her into one movie – which probably makes much more sense from a commercial point of view but less so, from an artistic standpoint. Presumably, moviegoers who enjoyed Them will then want to watch Him and Her, which will be released in the latter part of 2015. Fascinating premise, nonetheless.
Our look at the geek movies of 2015 continues with the 2nd half of the year dominated by the return of the Star Wars movie franchise with Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. Nothing even comes remotely close between that and Avengers: Age of Ultron – which means serious moolah for Disney, doesn’t it? Not many trailers to feature here but will update as and when trailers are released. Check out Part One here.
Terminator: Genisys (1 July)
Cameron’s Terminator gets rebooted with a couple of twists & turns along the way. Most ridiculous thing is that Arnold is back as an aging robot! A non starter but might be good for (unintentional) laughs.
Here we go again, as 2014 wraps up, let’s take a look at the geek movies coming our way in the first half of 2015 and examine which are the ones we must watch and the ones we might need to avoid.
Alien Outpost (30 Jan)
Typical alien invasion flick with the look and feel of those recent Iraq/Afghanistan war movies. The aliens (heavies?) looked really silly in the trailer though. Not essential whatsoever.
Jupiter Ascending (6 Feb)
The Wachowskis are back with an original screenplay, their first since The Matrix trilogy. With Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis as the leads, this movie will appeal to the young adults set. For the rest of us, it’s hard to tell at this stage but The Wachowskis have still enough goodwill left for geeks to give this film a chance.
Yeah I know it’s only a teaser but this is seriously under-whelming. *Sigh*
May 1st, 2015. Nuff said!
Billed as the biggest superhero movie ever produced, Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past packs two generations of X-Men in a loose adaptation of Uncanny X-Men #141-142 (1980). Based on the two trailers already seen and the previous X-movies, it’s obvious that changes to the original stories is a given. The most one can hope for is that director Bryan Singer keeps faith with the core of the original stories, does not include too many lame characters (like X-Men: The Last Stand) and keeps the plot convolution to a bare minimum. Here’s the latest trailer for your viewing pleasure.
Opens 22nd May.
We are coming close to a steady release of anticipated geek flicks as the traditional summer blockbuster season eases itself over the horizon. Here are trailers for four of the movies geeks might want to check out in the coming weeks.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
To be honest, I was less than impressed when Marvel Studio first announced its intention to make a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The original concept art that accompanied the press release (above) certainly did not help the cause. The main concern was Rocket Raccoon (an intelligent, anthropomorphic raccoon, who is an expert marksman and master tactician!) and the feeling that if the film-makers got Rocket wrong in making him believable, then that would destroy the movie’s credibility.
Of course, so far Marvel Studios have not failed to deliver with each of its films and in bringing in James Gunn (Slither, Super) to helm the first movie adaptation of Marvel’s outer space characters, it revealed an intention to tap into the director’s distinctive quirky style. And this is clearly evident from the first full trailer which presents a comic tone that works very well. I especially like the way that everyone makes fun of Star-Lord’s name.
And… Rocket looks awesome. Take a look!
Guardians of the Galaxy opens on 1st August. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bastita, Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel.
HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 2 OFFICIAL TRAILER
Netflix is an on-demand video streaming web service – an online version of the video rental store, one might say. In 2011, the service announced that it was venturing into original programming as well and the first series – House of Cards – a political drama adapted from the UK series of the same name & starring Kevin Spacey, was a resounding success.
Well, here comes Season 2 and based on the official trailer, it looks like the series is upping the ante in delivering shady political shenanigans as the Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood is now a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the USA but obviously has to work hard (and smart) to keep all his dirty secrets under wraps.
Take a look – the entire series drops at Netflix on 14th February next year!
ENDER’S GAME (Directed by Gavin Hood)
I read Orson Scott Card’s scifi masterpiece when it was first published in 1985 and at the time, I was thinking that it was a superb cross of Starship Troopers and Lord of the Flies. It’s one of my favourite stories and you can imagine my emotional state as I was watching this film adaptation. Yes, I was crying like a baby. The adaptation is very faithful (I believe Card made that a condition of the option and license) and director Gavin Hood did a fairly reasonable job in getting the main plot points and themes of the book across. This achievement is aided by the strong cast with Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and the young Asa Butterfield giving solid performances.
GRAVITY (Directed by Alfonso Cuaron)
Space. The Final Frontier.
Okay, wrong film but watching Gravity is probably the closest experience that most of us will have of being in space. And that unique experience is crucial to a complete appreciation of Gravity as director Cuaron draws on the concepts of the more familiar earthbound tales of survival (e.g. a person caught in a shipwreck or lost in the wilderness), the only difference being the setting.