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Everything that isn’t related to comics.

Marvel Returns to San Francisco for More “Ant-Man and The Wasp” Filming

On the heels of Thor crushing the box office this weekend, Marvel has returned to San Francisco to shoot more scenes for next year’s Ant-Man and The Wasp.

The film crew, operating under the moniker PYM Particles Productions shooting a movie called “Cherry Blue,” spent Monday down at Pier 39. Thanks to additional signage posted around North Beach we know more filming is planned for this coming Wednesday near the Transamerica Building.

 

This is at least the second time this year the company has been to the city to shoot scenes for the second film involving  Marvel’s smallest (and sometimes largest) superhero. In September, PYM Particles Productions spent a week flipping cars near Nob Hill.

Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released in theaters on July 6, 2018. Most of the first film’s cast will return including Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas. Both Michelle Pfieffer and Laurence Fishburne have signed on for the sequel.

Hasbro Cinematic Universe could arrive as early as 2020

In April of 2016 news broke that Hasbro was going to make an effort to leverage several properties into a shared cinematic universe. The properties included G.I. Joe, Visionaries, M.A.S.K., Micronauts, and ROM.

Hasbro Shared Univrse

Art from IDW’s Hasbro Shared Universe which features Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., Rom, and others

The toy company brought together a who’s who of storytellers to form a writers room and start figuring out how all of the pieces could interlock. From Variety:

The writers assigned to the room are Lindsey Beer (“Wizard of Oz”), Michael Chabon(“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”), Cheo Coker (“Ray Donovan”), Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Joe Robert Cole (“Black Panther”), Nicole Perlman (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Jeff Pinkner (“The Dark Tower”), Nicole Riegel (“Soldier Girls”), Geneva Robertson (“Tomb Raider”) and Brian K Vaughan (“Lost”).

After that initial announcement, there wasn’t much follow-up on the status of any sort of shared universe.

We do know Akiva Goldsman, who oversaw the writers room as well as the last three Transformers films, has left Hasbro to work with Paramount.

Curious about whether or not we’ll ever see this universe I started to do some digging. The best (and limited) information I could find was in a Hollywood Reporter profile of Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. Buried at the very end of the June 2017 interview Goldner says:

There are vault brands like Micronauts, MASK, ROM and Visionaries. We had a writers room last summer to develop a suite of stories. My expectation is that by 2020, we should see some major entertainment coming from the development that we’ve undertaken.

That’s it. No follow-up for further explanation. Whether or not Hasbro still plans to combine that suite of stories into a shared universe is still a big question mark. The concept has worked well for IDW who holds the comic licenses for all of those toy brands.

The 10-year-old in me would simply be happy with a G.I. Jor reboot that mirrors the original Marvel comic book series.

How To Live Your Authentic 80s Self This Fall

Scanning through our virtual stack of press releases from the last few weeks we noticed a rad trend: the 80s are back. This Fall the 80s will be all over your streaming services, on your grocery shelves, and in your ears. Here’s a quick guide to how you can live your authentic 80s self this fall.

Eating the 80s

Familiar brands are once again lining grocery shelves in an effort to tap into the 80s nostalgia.

Jolt Cola

Jolt Cola

This is the big one. Arguably the world’s first energy soft drink, Jolt Cola debuted in 1985 and quickly became the fuel for computer programmers staying up late at night mucking about in C++ and kids riding BMX bikes down to corner markets. Jolt has tried to use rebranding to make a comeback several times over the last two decades. Each time Jolt makes it to shelves, possibly creates a little bit of buzz, and fades back into our neon memories. This time, Jolt is going back to basics and giving us the original can 80’s kids might have been throwing back while staying up late playing Legend of Zelda. Jolt Cola will only be available at Dollar Generals. Here’s a store locator. Geek.com has more info on the Jolt release.

Monster Cereals

Did you know General Mills stopped selling Monster Cereals year round back in 2010? It’s true! Now they only dust off Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Franken Berry during the Halloween season. This year, they’re making an extra push with the monsters by having other cereal mascots dress-up. Everyone from Trix Rabbit to Sonny from Cocoa Puffs will get in on the Halloween action. Even the Pillsbury Doughboy will sport a Franken Berry costume. Unfortunately for fans of the Yummy Mummy, he’s staying in his fruity sarcophagus this Halloween.

Watching the 80s

Stranger Things

Obvs. Can’t really make a post about the 80s resurgence without name dropping thee premier Netflix show for tapping directly into the 80s suburban nostalgia vein. Stranger Things season 2 hits Netflix on October 28, but the show’s impact can be seen everywhere. We’re all living in the Upside Down.

GLOW

GLOW is loosely based on the origin story of the 80s women’s wrestling program The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The Netflix show was a surprise critical hit on Netflix and if you haven’t watched it yet, perfect, add it to your list of 80s nostalgia. Season 2 is coming at some point next year.

The Americans

There was a time when we were worried about the Russians undermining our Democracy and we lived in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. Thankfully, those times are long behind us so we can sit and watch The Americans on Tuesday nights and enjoy this thriller about a family of Russian spies living in the US suburbs without worries of history repeating. *sobs*

The Americans is literally pitch perfect 80s television. The use of music that would have been popular at the time adds a poignant punch to the narrative. Notably, Yaz’s “Only You” in season 3, episode 4, Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” season 4, episode 2, and Queen’s “Under Pressure” in season 4, episode 5. The show ends in early-2018, so this fall is a good time to binge for the first time or rewatch a second time.

All of the Cartoons

Hollywood is committed to bringing all of the 80s cartoons to the big screen as live-action adaptations or as new cartoons via streaming services like Netflix. On the cartoon front, we’ve already had a successful reboot of Voltron which returns with season 4 in October. However, what many kids of the 80s are waiting on is the full season of Disney’s DuckTales reboot. Disney XD already released the first two episodes of the series which cleared the high bar set by the original How? (Spoiler Alert) The end of the second episode teased we could finally learn the answer to one of the oldest questions in the Magic Kingdom: What the hell happened to the mother (Donald’s sister) of Huey, Dewey, and Louie? DuckTales lands on September 23.

Of course, we’ve already suffered through live-action adaptations of Transformers and G.I. Joe. Hasbro and Paramount have more in the pipeline with more obscure 80s properties like MASK (which happens to have one of the most rockin’ cartoon intros ever), Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (they fight with holograms, because the 80s), and Micronauts (technically, toys who never made it to animation but had a healthy life in the comics).

Stephen King

The master of horror wrote the books that fueled the films which became the video store rentals for 80s teen slumber parties. Two decades later, King is still relevant to the cultural zeitgeist with many of his stories receiving miniseries and film treatment for the first time while others, like the blockbuster It, scandalizing clowns for an entirely new generation. Poor clowns. The cherry-on-top for King is all of his work, which sort of exists in a shared universe, will be the fodder for the new Hulu series Castle Rock. We’re still learning about the J.J. Abrams-produced show, but what we know so far is it include characters featured throughout King’s literary works including The Shining‘s Danny Torrance, Salem’s Lot‘s Father Callahan, and Misery‘s Annie Wilkes.

All of the Remakes, Unnecessary Sequels, and Fanniversaries

Remakes and sequels have been picking up speed as Hollywood gets hungrier to tap nostalgic Gen Xers with disposable income. The reboots of Robocop, Ghostbusters, and Total Recall were just the start. This year we already saw It successfully hit the screens, but in the coming months, we’ll see a sequel to Blade Runner, a remake of Flatliners, and, of course, the ninth Star Wars feature film. Looking a bit further out we can’t overlook the 80s nostalgia fest that is the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.

As for fanniveraries, there’ a surprisingly healthy market for beloved and nearly forgotten films of the 80s to end up back in theaters. The theater chain Alamo Drafthouse deserve a significant amount of credit for helping launch this trend. Most recently the Alamo supported a nationwide tour for actors from the classic 80s film Monster Squad (which gave us the classic line “Wolfman’s got nards!”).

Listening to the 80s

Classic acts from the 80s are still filling coliseums. This year saw tours by bands like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and U2. IHeartRadio has even created an IHeartThe80s tour based around their 80s streaming station. However, unending tours by retro acts aren’t really unique to a single decade. Hell, The Who and Roger Waters can still fill stadiums.

What’s truly interesting is the rise of music that sounds like what kids of the 80s thought music would sound like in the future.  We’re talking about Synthwave. Synthwave began entering our consciousness through indie film gems like Drive and It Follows. The Synthwave trend is also spilling over into nightclubs with Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco all hosting popular Synthwave nights that are increasingly reaching capacity. That popularity in the clubs has created a decent touring path for Synthwave artists to follow with acts like Perturbator and Carpenter Brut selling out venues.

Plus, we’ve seen an increased interest in the horror soundtracks of the 8os that influenced the Synthwave movement. Filmmaker and composer John Carpenter has not only had classic soundtracks like The Thing and Christine (yet another Stephen King property) reissued this year, but he continues to pump out albums that are essentially scores for never filmed movies.

 

 

What is Zendaya reading in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer?

Since it was announced Zendaya was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming there’s been a big question mark around her character. Early rumors that she’d been cast as Mary Jane Watson were quashed by the star in a November interview with ET Online. She verified her character is named “Michelle.” Last night we saw the first trailer for the film which gave us our first glimpse at Zendaya in her role.

The moment doesn’t give us many answers other than showing us “Michelle” is an avid book reader. As a fan of seeing books on film and figuring out what characters are reading I took some time last night to squint at the blurry screen capture.

Here are the top three books in the pile with wikipedia synopsis:

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Adolescent

The novel chronicles the life of 19-year-old intellectual, Arkady Dolgoruky, illegitimate child of the controversial and womanizing landowner Versilov. A focus of the novel is the recurring conflict between father and son, particularly in ideology, which represents the battles between the conventional “old” way of thinking in the 1840s and the new nihilistic point of view of the youth of 1860s Russia. Whereas the young of Arkady’s time embraced a very negative opinion of Russian culture in contrast to Western or European culture.

Another main theme is Arkady’s development and utilization of his “idea” in his life, mainly a form of rebellion against society (and his father) through the rejection of attending a university, and the making of money and living independently, onto the eventual aim of becoming excessively wealthy and powerful.

Henry James’s The Wings of the Dove

This novel tells the story of Milly Theale, an American heiress stricken with a serious disease, and her effect on the people around her. Some of these people befriend Milly with honorable motives, while others are more self-interested.

Kōbō Abe’s Woman in the Dunes

In 1955, Jumpei Niki, a schoolteacher from Tokyo, visits a fishing village to collect insects. After missing the last bus, he is led, by the villagers, in an act of apparent hospitality, to a house in the dunes that can be reached only by ladder. The next morning the ladder is gone and he finds he is expected to keep the house clear of sand with the woman living there, with whom he is also to produce children. He eventually gives up trying to escape when he comes to realize returning to his old life would give him no more liberty. After seven years, he is proclaimed officially dead.

As for the fourth book, there are many books that have “Democracy” and I haven’t been able to find a matching book spine image.

BalboaCon presents a weekend of superhero cartoons and films

strangeThe late-1970s must have been an interesting time for comic book fans eager to see live-action adaptations of their heroes. Three heroes made the leap from page to pilot to, at the least, one season: Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Hulk. One hero that wasn’t so lucky was Marvel’s Dr. Strange. In 1978, CBS produced a pilot for the Sorcerer Supreme that, unfortunately, didn’t get picked up for a full season. Outside of comic book super fans the two-hour pilot has remained mostly forgotten and unseen.

That same year DC smashed through the comic book pages and elevated their flagship hero, Superman, from funny books to the level of a cinematic star. Christopher Reeve defined the role of the Man of Steel in Richard Donner’s Superman. Christopher Reeve would go on to play the hero in three more films.

This weekend at the Balboa Theatre, 1978 will be front and center as the Balboa screens both Dr. Strange and Superman. Those two films are only a small part of comic book film programming taking place this weekend as part of Balboa Con. The historic Outer Richmond theater will be showing no less than 12 comic book-based films including the first three Superman films, DarkmanHellboyTank Girl, and more. According to the event’s Facebook page:

 

We are very excited to present the first ever Balboa Con! This is going to be a whole weekend dedicated to comic book art, movies, and cartoons! There will be four days of comic book movie programming along with Q&As, special guests, and lots and lots of affordable and amazing art in the lobby.

Dr. Strange will screen on Friday alongside the 1992 cult classic Dr. Mordrid. Dr. Mordrid is essentially Dr. Strange without a mustache because the film was produced by New Moon’s Charles Band who held an expired option for the Marvel character. He made the film with slight changes to the title character.

In addition to comic book-based film the Balboa will screen thematic cartoons and present a number of artists. The full screening schedule is below and artists will be appearing throughout the weekend.

balboacon

Tugg This Movie and Support the Cartoon Art Museum: Comix Beyond the Comic Book Pages (June 9)

Comix PosterThe Cartoon Art Museum is hoping to host a screening of Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages on June 9 at Landmark Embarcadero Theatre. The documentary explores the history and culture of comics through the voices of creators, publishers, store owners, collectors, and fans. The screening is a dual opportunity to celebrate comics while supporting the important work of the Cartoon Art Museum. However, the event will only happen if enough people RSVP using the Tugg screening platform before May 30.

If you’re unfamiliar with Tugg it’s a clever tool that allows cinema fans to bring obscure films to a theater with very little risk. I used the system a couple of times as an events producer in Madison, Wisconsin. Most notably, to bring the crowdsourced Iron Sky to the city when I couldn’t get any theaters to commit. It sold out. How it works is a theater determines the minimum number of butts that need to fill seats to justify showing the film. If that many people RSVP in advance the screening moves forward. If you can’t generate the minimum number of attendees the screening doesn’t happen. Guests are only charged if the screening happens.

The Cartoon Art Museum shuttered it’s doors last September due to the high cost of hosting a unique museum in San Francisco. Currently, the Cartoon Art Museum is questing for a new home. In addition to seeing the film, attendees can donate to the museum when they reserve a place through Tugg. As of this morning, it looks like I’m one of two people RSVP’d. That’s a shame! Let’s all watch a film together and support the Cartoon Art Museum.

Exhibition: CJM announces Stanley Kubrick Exhibition programming

shiningmuseum The Contemporary Jewish Museum has announced programming for the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition. The exhibition celebrating the life and work of one of cinema’s finest auteurs opens on June 30 (June 29 for members) and will kick-off four months of lectures and gallery talks related to Kubrick. Opening night features a discussion about the personal and professional life of Kubrick featuring Jan Harlan, Tim Heptner, Katharina Kubrick, and Hans-Peter Reichmann.

Throughout the following four months Kubrick fans will have opportunities to attend discussions related to his films, the filmmaker through the lens of Judaism, a spotlight on his immense collection of lenses and cameras, Kubrick as futurist, and much more. A complete list is available here.

We previously wrote about how the exhibition was presented in South Korea and we’re looking forward to seeing CJM’s presentation.

Exhibition: Stanley Kubrick at the Contemporary Jewish Museum starting June 30

Image courtesy of Seoul Museum of Art

Image courtesy of
Seoul Museum of Art

Touring art exhibitions aren’t uncommon but they’re typically focused on artists one would expect to see on a museum wall or floor: photographers, painters, sculptors, etc. It’s rare to have an exhibition focused on the life and career of an auteur filmmaker. This summer the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street in San Francisco, will host an exhibition focused on the works of the late Stanley Kubrick.  This unique experience will take visitors deep into the works of Kubrick by showcasing his meticulous research and production documents, screenplays, correspondence, production stills, props, costumes, cameras and lenses.

The immersive experience highlights Kubrick’s entire cinema including popular films like Lolita, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange. It examines the many cinematic breakthroughs that can be credited to Kubrick and his team of filmmakers. Perhaps of most interest to Kubrick fans is the opportunity to see materials related to Kubrick’s unfinished projects Napoleon and Aryan Papers.

Some prop highlights include the dresses worn by the Grady twins in The Shining, Private Joker’s “duality of man” helmet from Full Metal Jacket, the Star-Child from 2001, decor from the Korova Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange, and period costumes from Barry Lyndon.

The exhibition opens June 30 and runs through October 30, 2016. More information and photos are available at the exhibition’s website.

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.655.7800

Monday 11am–5pm
Tuesday 11am–5pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 11am–8pm
Friday 11am–5pm
Saturday 11am–5pm
Sunday 11am–5pm

 

The Alamo Awakens

alamoawakensEver since moving to the Bay Area in 2013 one of the most constant questions on my mind has been “when will the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema open?”

I’ve been following the renovation to the point of occasionally watching the construction cam (when it was available). I open every Victory newsletter hoping this will be the one to finally let me know when I can move into my future home take in my first Drafthouse experience. Suffice it to say, I’m really excited about the Alamo Drafthouse opening in San Francisco.

Something I haven’t been excited about until 9:30 a.m. this morning? Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It isn’t that I’m not looking forward to seeing new stories set in the Star Wars universe, but two things working against me is having been burned by the new trilogies and a natural reflex against unearned hype. I was a Star Wars Hype Monster before The Phantom Menace arrived in theaters, but by time Revenge of the Sith hit the screen I’d sufficiently adjusted my hype meter. Moving forward my devotion and willingness to spread gospel for a licensed property needed to be earned. J. J. Abrams didn’t impress me with his take on Star Trek, so he needs to win me over with SW:TFA before I’ll start singing praises for the next Star Wars.

That isn’t to say watching the first trailer didn’t make me feel giddy (which I acknowledge is a form of being excited). It made me giddy to the point where I moved from “I’ll go see it at some point opening week” to “I’ll likely go see it opening weekend.” Honestly, it was the shot with the crashed Star Destroyer and a sudden desire to want to see that image on a giant screen.

Back to 9:30 a.m. this morning. The meter moved from “I’ll likely go see it opening weekend” to “I will go see this movie opening night.” Why? Because, as long as I can get tickets, I’ll be able to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco. This morning the Victory newsletter revealed that although we don’t know the opening date for the new theater (I understand that information will be coming later this week) we do know it’ll be open in time for The Force Awakens. I’m all about the proper viewing experience and I trust the Drafthouse team to make this into one hell of a proper viewing experience.

Tickets for The Force Awakens  go on sale tomorrow. As of this writing the exact time is TBD.

star-wars-the-force-awakens-teaser-2-breakdown-359967

AMC Metreon 16 is screening “Snowpiercer”

johnhurtI have a love/hate relationship with the Weinsteins. For all of the great film work they bring to the universe they also do a great deal of damage on the independent circuit. For some reason, going all the way back to the days of Miramax, they love to buy up the rights to Asian films and either sit on them or hack the shit out of them (earning the name Miramaxe). I recall 2003 being a rather spectacular year for the Weinsteins when they sat on Shaolin Soccer, Hero, and Infernal Affairs. All three films are now considered classics, but Asian film fans were chomping at the bit waiting for the movies to be released stateside.

I’d forgotten about this tendency until the current debacle with remnants of humanity on a train dystopian film Snowpiercer. For nearly a year now I’ve been waiting for the Weinsteins to trust the U.S. audience by releasing Snowpiercer. Much of the reason for the delay is due to typical Weinsteinian fiddling. They wanted to hack the film and make it easily digestible for a US audience and director Bong Joon-ho wasn’t having any of it. Neither side would flinch and the film has languished – until now.

My God, America, can you believe the Weinsteins are going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you might want to see an uncut foreign film? It’s true! Mostly. A tiny handful of theaters around the country are screening Snowpiercer. In San Francisco, the pleasure goes to AMC Metreon 16.

Snowpiercer is based on Jean-Marc Rochette’s graphic novel of the same name. The English translation of the graphic novels were released earlier this year by Titan.

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