Showing posts with label Djimon Hounsou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Djimon Hounsou. Show all posts

Monday, March 20, 2023

Review: SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods" is Fun for the Entire Shazamily

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 of 2023 (No. 1903) by Leroy Douresseaux

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
Running time:  130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and language
DIRECTOR:  David F. Sandberg
WRITERS:  Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan (based on the DC Comics characters)
PRODUCER:  Peter Safran
EDITOR:  Michel Aller 
COMPOSER:  Christophe Beck


Starring:  Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Glazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, D.J Cotrona, Grace Caroline Currey, Meagan Good, Rachel Zegler, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, and Djimon Hounsou with Gal Gadot

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a 2023 superhero and fantasy film from director David F. Sandberg.  The film is based on the DC Comics character now called “Shazam.”  Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a direct sequel to the 2019 film, Shazam! and is also the 12th installment in “DC Extended Universe” (DCEU).  Fury of the Gods continues the story of the teenage foster kid who becomes a superhero by uttering one magic word, “SHAZAM!”

Shazam! Fury of the Gods opens in Philadelphia two years after the events depicted in the first film.  Billy Batson (Asher Angel) can still transform into an adult hero, the champion who bears the name “Shazam” (Zachary Levi).  Billy will turn 18-year-old in a few months, which he believes means that he will loose his foster parents, Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor Vásquez (Cooper Andrews).

Billy shared the power he got from “The Wizard” (Djimon Hounsou) with his five foster siblings.  He calls them the “Shazamily.”  His foster brother, Freddie Freeman (Jack Dylan Glazer), is an adult superhero who calls himself “Captain Everything” (Adam Brody).  His older foster sister, Mary Bromfield (Grace Caroline Currey) is trying to be an adult while also being a superhero.  The other foster kid/adult hero pairs are Eugene Choi (Ian Chen and Ross Butler), Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand and D.J. Cotrona), Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman and Meagan Good).  Billy/Shazam is desperate to keep his “Shazamily” together, but they are having a rough time being superheroes.  After doing a less than stellar job saving civilians from a collapsing bridge, Shazam and company discover that the local media refers to them as the “Philly Fiascoes.”

Bigger troubles are ahead, however.  “The Daughters of Atlas” have imprisoned The Wizard, and they want to regain the powers he stole from the gods, including their father, the Titan Atlas, and gave to his new champions – Billy and his Shazamily.  Can they survive the attack of the daughters:  Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and the reluctant Anthea (Rachel Zegler), and save the world from destruction and from the fury of the gods?

In the first Shazam! film, the drama was driven by Billy Batson's internal conflict.  It was built around the tension between the foster family Bill could have and did not want and the biological family he wanted but could no longer have (if he ever really had it to begin with).  In Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Billy/Shazam fears losing the foster family that he eventually embraced, and with such a theme, he must inevitably learn that one should not hold onto things too tightly – even loved ones.  The Daughters of Atlas must learn the same, concerning the things to which they cling too tightly.  Billy/Shazam's dilemmas don't resonate this time around the way they did in the original film, and, at times, Billy and Shazam's obsession with holding onto the family seems forced.  But at least this film has the requisite drama.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods, like Shazam!, is a very entertaining film that is part energetic superhero movie, part charming comedy, and part heartwarming family film.  The superhero action is not as intense as that found in most superhero films, although Fury of the Gods' action is more intense than in the original.  Some of the villains' murderous intentions seem really murderous.

Except for the increase in intensity, everything about Fury of the Gods is a little down from the first film.  It is not as poignant, not quite as funny, and it seems too long, although it is a littler shorter than the original film.  Still, fans of Shazam! will likely enjoy Shazam! Fury of the Gods.  It even has a nice cameo appearance by another DC Comics superhero, and that cameo makes me wish that we could get more Shazam! Films.  It would be fun to see Billy Batson and Shazam team up with other DC  heroes and pitted against DC villains.  It is likely, however, that Shazam! Fury of the Gods is the final half of a truly unique pair of superhero movies.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Monday, March 20, 2023

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has one extra scene in the middle of the credits and one at the end of the credits.

The DC Comics character, Shazam, was the first comic book character to have the name “Captain Marvel.”  A boy named Billy Batson became Captain Marvel by uttering the word, “Shazam!”  Captain Marvel was created by comic book artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker.  He first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated:  February 1940) which was published by Fawcett Comics.  A legal dispute caused Fawcett to stop publishing Captain Marvel comic books in 1953.  DC Comics revived the character in 1972, but by then, Marvel Comics owned the trademark to the name “Captain Marvel.”  Thus, the original Captain Marvel is now called Shazam.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, October 21, 2022

Review: Uneven, Bombastic "BLACK ADAM" is Strictly for Fans

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 63 of 2022 (No. 1875) by Leroy Douresseaux

Black Adam (2022)
Running time:  124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, intense action and some language.
DIRECTOR:  Jaume Collet-Serra
WRITERS:  Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani (based on characters created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck)
PRODUCERS:  Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Beau Flynn
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Lawrence Sher (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  John Lee and Michael L. Sale
COMPOSER:  Lorne Balfe


Starring:  Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari, Bodhi Sabongui, Mohammed Amer, Jalon Christian, Henry Winkler, and Djimon Hounsou with Viola Davis and Henry Cavill

Black Adam is a 2022 superhero and action-fantasy film from director Jaume Collet-Serra.  The film is based on characters created by writers Bill Parker and Otto Binder and artist C.C. Beck originally for defunct publisher, Fawcett Comics, and now owned by DC Comics.  Black Adam the movie focuses on a legendary hero who returns to life after nearly 5000 years, bringing his unique form of justice to his besieged homeland.

Black Adam opens in 2600 BC.  In the city of Kahndaq, there is a legend that the tyrannical king, Anh-Kot (Marwan Kenzari), intended to create an object of dark magic, the Crown of Sabbac, which is known to give the wearer great power.  He enslaves his own people and forces them to dig in the mountains for “Eternium,” the magical crystal Anh-Kot will use to make the crown.  A legendary hero, Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson), arises and kills Anh-Kot before the hero himself is buried somewhere in the ruins of the Anh-Kot's castle – so the legends say.

Present day Kahndaq is oppressed by members of the international crime syndicate known as “Intergang.”  They are searching for university professor and resistance fighter, Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi).  She is trying to locate the Crown of Sabbac, with the help of her brother, Karim (Mohammed Amer), and some of his colleagues.  Ambushed after finding the crown, Adrianna revives Teth-Adam, and although he kills her assailants, the risen hero proves to be something much less than a hero.

Meanwhile, from the United States, the superhero Hawkman/Carter Hall (Aldis Hodge) leads a group of heroes, the Justice SocietyDoctor Fate/Kent Nelson (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone/Maxine Hunkel (Quintessa Swindell), and newcomer Atom Smasher/Albert “Al” Rothstein (Noah Centineo), into Kahndaq to take Teth-Adam into custody.  While Adrianna and her son, Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), watch, Teth-Adam battles the Justice Society throughout the city.  However, Teth-Adam will be forced to confront the truth about himself and about his past if he and the Justice Society are going to stop a great evil from ruling Kahndaq again.

In case you are wondering, Teth-Adam does not become “Black Adam” until the end of the film.  He is neither hero nor villain.  Black Adam, in the case of this film, is not so much an anti-hero as he is simply Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  The movie only exists because Johnson willed it into existence.  Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films' original plan was apparently to make Black Adam a supporting character/villain in the movie Shazam that was released in 2019.  Johnson wanted more for the character than to be a mere lackey, and truthfully, had he appeared in Shazam as Black Adam, Johnson, as an international movie star with a huge personality, would have dominated the film in ways that probably would have been bad for it.

In the case of Black Adam the movie, it is Johnson's will that holds this film together, otherwise, it would fall apart.  The screenplay is a disaster with a plot that is a patchwork of clumsy sub-plots.  The film's pace is uneven, being a mixture of tedious action sequences and unnecessary fighting.  The characters are either barely likable or are ridiculous.  The kid character, Amon Tomaz, is actually quite nice, but his mother, Adrianna, is really irritating.

Don't get me started on the Justice Society.  As Hawkman, actor Aldis Hodge is so intense that it makes a lot of his performance seem like overacting.  [Actor Michael B. Jordan also has a problem with being too intense.]  Pierce Brosnan is embarrassing as Doctor Fate, but Brosnan's problems could be a poorly written character and crappy dialogue.  The superhero Cyclone is … tragic.  So is Atom Smasher, but actor Noah Centineo delivers Smasher's bad dialogue in a way that sounds funny.

Twice while watching Black Adam, I wanted to walk out of the film, but I was seeing it with a friend.  Black Adam seems much longer than its 124-minute running time.  At one point, I thought the film was over, so I checked my phone and discovered that there was more than a half-hour left.  I can only recommend this films to die hard fans of superhero movies and to fans of Dwayne Johnson.  I could not recommend this film to anyone else.  I'm only giving this film a “C” grade because I am a fan of Johnson and an admirer of what he has built for himself; if not for him, I don't know how much lower I would go.  I am not sure that I could watch Black Adam again, even in bits and pieces when it becomes a cable TV staple.

4 of 10
★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, October 21, 2022

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Friday, April 15, 2022

Review: "THE KING'S MAN" is the Best "Kingsman" Yet

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 23 of 2022 (No. 1835) by Leroy Douresseaux

The King's Man (2021)
Running time: 131 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes)
MPA – R for sequences of strong/bloody violence, language, and some sexual material
DIRECTOR:  Matthew Vaughn
WRITERS:  Matthew Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek; from a story by Matthew Vaughn (based on on the comic book, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons)
PRODUCERS:  Adam Bohling, David Reid, and Matthew Vaughn
EDITOR:  Jason Ballantine and Rob Hall
COMPOSERS:  Dominic Lewis and Matthew Margeson

FANTASY/ACTION/SPY/WAR with some elements of comedy

Starring:  Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou, Rhys Ifans, Harris Dickinson, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Daniel Brühl, Charles Dance, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Stanley Tucci

The King's Man is a 2021 spy and action movie and war drama from director Matthew Vaughn.  It is the third film in the Kingsman film series, and it is a “prequel” to the previous two films, Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).  All three films are based on characters and elements from the 2012 comic book miniseries, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.  The King's Man focuses on an aristocrat and his spy network as they try to stop a plot to pit the British, German, and Russian empires against each other in a war that will wipe out millions of lives.

The King's Man introduces British aristocrat Orlando, Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes).  In 1914, Orlando has formed a private spy network consisting of domestic servants employed by the world's most powerful dignitaries.  His own servants, his butler, Shola (Djimon Hounsou), and his maid/nanny, Polly Watkins (Gemma Arterton), are his closest aides and confidants.  The primary objective of Orlando's network is to protect the United Kingdom and the British Empire from the conflagration of the approaching “Great War.”

Orlando's only son, Conrad (Harris Dickinson), is eager to fight, but Orlando forbids him from joining the British Army and uses his connections to keep him from entering service.  Besides, there are other things to keep father, son, and the spy network busy.  Orlando's friend, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Ron Cook), and his wife are assassinated.  Orlando learns that the assassin is part of “The Flock,” a group plotting to pit the German, Russian, and British empires against each other in the Great War.

Orlando and his network then engage in a series of adventures to foil the Flock's plans, that includes killing Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans), the priest and mystic who serves the Flock's mysterious leader, “The Shepherd.”  As his personal physician, Rasputin practically controls Tsar Nicholas (Tom Hollander) of Russia.  And if Nicholas does as Rasputin wants, Great Britain may be doomed.  Can Orlando and his network stop The Shepherd and save the British Empire?  And will Conrad remain with his father's network or will he force his way into military service in a war in which young men like him are dying by the thousands?

The King's Man is easily the best of the Kingsman series, thus far.  The villain, “The Shepherd,” is ridiculous, but his motivations will make more sense and is more likely to appeal to British audiences.  For me, The Shepherd is what keeps The King's Man from being a truly great film.

The film's remix of the history of the “Great War” (World War I) seems inappropriate, but the film's inclusion of WWI is what makes it stand out from other films based on comic books.  In fact, The King's Man is grounded in a darker take on that war than another comic book movie, Wonder Woman (2017), which is also largely set during the first World War.  In a way, The King's Man seems like a salute to the men who served and the ones who died in the muck and mud of Europe during “the war to end all wars.”

Ralph Fiennes brings a touch of class and some serious dramatic chops to this film.  It seems as if director Matthew Vaughn and his co-writer, Karl Gajdusek, take this film more seriously than Vaughn did with the previous two films, which were action-spy movies with a strong comic overtone.  The King's Man is a war drama, spy serial, and action-thriller, and Fiennes, as Orlando, the Duke of Oxford, sells this film's seriousness.

Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou are also quite good as Orlando's top lieutenants, Polly and Shola, respectively.  As Rasputin, Rhys Ifans offers a performance that is off-beat, over-the-top, and colorful.  Tom Hollander, with the help of the make-up and hairstyling crew of The King's Man, is credible in three roles, but makes his most potent turn as Britain's King George.  Harris Dickinson as Orlando's son, Conrad, gives the film's most hot-blooded and nuanced performance.

The best way I can describe The King's Man is as being like a serial adventure.  The film's plot is comprised of multiple missions and subplots, which keeps the film's narrative hopping.  The film moves fast, fast enough to keep audiences from focusing on the film's inconsistencies and flaws in logic, but also fast enough to make the story seem like a non-stop, breathtaking adventure.  Like Matthew Vaughn himself, I want to see a fourth film in the series, one that focuses on the characters that make it to the end of this film and on their first decade as the “Kingsman.”  I highly recommend The King's Man to audiences that have watched either of the first two films or both.  They were really a build up to the best of their lot, The King's Man.

7 of 10

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: "Shazam!" Makes a Joyful Noise

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 6 (of 2019) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Shazam! (2019)
Running time:  132 minutes (2 hours, 12 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material
DIRECTOR:  David F. Sandberg
WRITERS:  Henry Gayden; from a story by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke (based on the characters created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck)
PRODUCER:  Peter Safran
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Maxime Alexandre
EDITOR:  Michel Aller
COMPOSER:  Benjamin Wallfisch


Starring:  Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Glazer, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Meagan Good, Andi Osho, John Glover, and Djimon Hounsou

Shazam! is a 2019 superhero and fantasy film from director David F. Sandberg.  The film is based on the DC Comics character now called “Shazam.”  In the movie Shazam!, a 14-year-old foster kid becomes a superhero merely by uttering one magic word, SHAZAM!

Shazam! introduces a mysterious wizard named, Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), who lives in the cave where rests the “Rock of Eternity,” a place that is the home of all magic.  Shazam is looking for a worthy human, who will utter his name and become a champion who also bears the name, Shazam.  After finding so many humans who failed to live up to his standards, Shazam is running out of time.  Now, he hopes that Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a 14-year-old foster kid with a history of petty crime and of running away from foster homes, is his champion.

When Billy shouts SHAZAM!, he becomes an adult (Zachary Levi), a grown man wearing a red superhero costume and possessing incredible powers that Billy cannot imagine.  Now, with the help of his foster brother, Freddie Freeman (Jack Dylan Glazer), Billy will try to learn what powers he has and the extent of those powers.  Meanwhile, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who failed Shazam's test of worthiness when he was a child over four decades ago, now possesses the dark powers against which the wizard fought.  Sivana is determined to discover the identity of the new champion and then, to steal that champion's powers for himself.

First a note:  the DC Comics character, Shazam, was the first comic book character to have the name “Captain Marvel.”  A boy named Billy Batson became Captain Marvel by uttering the word, “Shazam!”  Captain Marvel was created by comic book artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker.  He first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated:  February 1940) which was published by Fawcett Comics.  A legal dispute caused Fawcett to stop publishing Captain Marvel comic books in 1953.  DC Comics revived the character in 1972, but by then, Marvel Comics owned the trademark to the name “Captain Marvel.”  Thus, the original Captain Marvel is now called Shazam.

Marvel Studios released a film starring Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.  Perhaps, it is a coincidence that in the same year Warner Bros. releases a movie starring Shazam.  And I have to be honest.  I like Marvel's Captain Marvel film, and I like Warner's Shazam just as much.

Shazam is a hugely enjoyable film that is part energetic superhero movie, part charming comedy, and part heartwarming family film.  The superhero action is not as intense as that found in most superhero films.  Much of the superhero action revolves around Zachary Levi's adult hero and Jack Dylan Glazer's Freddie Freeman executing a number of often humorous experiments to learn about Shazam's powers.  The charm comes from the attitude of the film.  Much of Shazam is about teenagers learning not only how to be good people, but also about learning how to be good to the people in their lives.  Shazam probably presents one of the most favorable views of foster parents and of the foster home in recent memory.  And I found that quite heartwarming.  Shazam is at heart an unabashed family film about the joys, comfort, and love of having a family.

One element that makes this film so surprisingly delightful are the performances.  Mark Strong as Dr. Sivana does what he can do so well – be really good at being a really bad guy.  In playing a kid who is suddenly in an adult body, Zachary Levi recalls Tom Hanks' performance in the 1988 film, Big.  Sixteen-year-old Asher Angel shows adult acting chops playing teenage Billy Batson.  Jack Dylan Glazer is uncannily good as Freddie Freeman, and he practically steals every scene in which he is featured.  If there is a children's version of the Oscars, then, Glazer...

Truthfully, every actor who appears in Shazam turns in a good performance or at least tries pretty hard to do so.  So I send a shout out to Faithe Herman in her winning turn as Darley Dudley.

The film is well-written and tightly-directed, both of which is required of comedy films.  I have to give a shout-out to the film editor, Michel Aller, because I think the editing contributed a lot to this film's engaging tone and practically perfect pace.

I think that this review cannot totally convey how surprised – delightfully surprised – I am at how much I like this movie.  I once thought that Shazam! would be a disaster, but I end up having such a good time watching it that I want to see it again.  I even want a sequel.  And I heartily recommend Shazam!, a superhero film for the entire family.

8 of 10

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Review: "CAPTAIN MARVEL" Earns Her Name and Her Own Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 4 (of 2019) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Captain Marvel (2019)
Running time:  124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language
DIRECTORS:  Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
WRITERS:  Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet; from a story by Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
PRODUCER:  Kevin Feige
EDITORS:  Debbie Berman and Elliot Graham
COMPOSER:  Pinar Toprak


Starring:  Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Rune Temte, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Akira Akbar, Algenis Perez Soto, and Stan Lee

Captain Marvel is a 2019 superhero film directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and produced by Marvel Studios.  The film is based on Marvel Comics characters that first appeared in the comic books Marvel Super-Heroes issues #12 and #13 (Marvel Comics).  Captain Marvel the movie focuses on a young woman with extraordinary powers who is plagued by memory problems even as she serves one side in a galactic war between two alien races.

Captain Marvel opens in 1995 on Hala, the capital planet of the Kree Empire.  The focus is on a young woman named “Vers” (Brie Larson), a member of “Starforce,” a Kree special ops unit.  Starforce leader, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), leads Vers and the rest of his unit on a rescue mission into the territory of the Skrulls, alien shape-shifters who are the Kree Empire's mortal enemies.

During the mission, Vers is captured, but upon escaping, she finds herself near the planet Earth.  She crash lands in Los Angeles where she finds herself immediately confronted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and also by a Skrull unit led by a commander named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).  Vers, however, has more than S.H.I.E.L.D. and Skrulls to worry her.  Vers is plagued by fragments of memories and by the visions of a woman named Carol Danvers.

Captain Marvel will face inevitable comparisons to 2017's Wonder Woman, the first major film featuring a female comic book superhero in the solo and lead role.  Like Wonder Woman the character, Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, is not a woman willing to allow a man to take the lead or have control over her.  Captain Marvel is an origin story of sorts, but it is not a coming-of-age story, nor does it offer the heroic arc.  Carol Danvers/Vers is a powerful woman striving to “be her best self,” because she is already an able and capable woman, even before she gained great power.

Oscar-winning actress, Brie Larson, captures the woman that is Carol Danvers/Vers with a level of self-confidence that I found off-putting.  Even after years of reading comic book featuring female superheroes, I am still getting used to women who are every bit as confident and self-possessed as the ultra-powerful male superheroes.  Carol Danvers does not need an Obi-Wan, an Alfred Pennyworth, or a Ben Parker.  In Captain Marvel, Larson is helping me get over my male-centric notions of the hero.

Samuel L. Jackson also gives a good performance as Nick Fury.  Since Captain Marvel's story is set a decade before the story in Marvel Studio's first film, Iron Man (2008), we get a younger Fury.  Jackson was digitally “de-aged” to play the younger Fury, but his sarcasm and edgy personality remains.  This film also gives Jackson a chance to show a softer, playful side (thanks to “Goose” the cat).  [Clark Gregg reprises his character, Phil Coulson, and is also de-aged.]  Jackson makes excellent use of his opportunities to be humorous, after all, he does not need to be the bad-ass, because (as I just said) Danvers does not need a sidekick or male helper, even if she does have one or two...

Ben Mendelsohn gives a nuanced turn in two roles, as Talos (a Skrull) and Keller (a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent).  There is something about Mendelsohn that reminds me of Martin Freeman (Black Panther; The Hobbit film series), and I'm always down to be reminded of Martin Freeman.  Also, here, Jude Law makes an art of being shifty and slippery as the Kree, Yon-Rogg.

Captain Marvel is delightfully off-beat and odd.  Perhaps, some of the critics and fans (trolls) who claim that Marvel Studios' films are too alike will be satisfied with a film that is as different as its title character is (but probably not).  I cannot quite put to words why I like Captain Marvel so much, but I can say that I did not want it to end.  I wanted more, much more of Captain Marvel.

8 of 10

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Hozier Creates Song, Better Love," for "The Legend of Tarzan"

The Legend of Tarzan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Features New Original Song “Better Love” Created for Film by Acclaimed Singer Songwriter Hozier

The Soundtrack and the “Better Love” Single Available Now alongside Accompanying Video for the Song

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The WaterTower Music soundtrack for Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ “The Legend of Tarzan” will feature the original song “Better Love,” created especially for the film by Grammy-nominated, award-winning, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne), to be released as a single by Columbia Records along with the accompanying video. It is the first time the Irish-born Hozier has composed a song specifically for a major motion picture. The soundtrack also showcases the film’s compelling score, composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

    “It was vital that we felt the emotional pull of Africa for Tarzan”

The Legend of Tarzan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is now available on iTunes at: iTunes. “Better Love” is also available today for purchase at: iTunes; Apple Music; and Spotify; Amazon; and Google Play The video for the passionate song can be viewed at: or “The Legend of Tarzan” opens in theatres nationwide on July 1st, 2016.

While Hozier was in Los Angeles taking a well-earned break after promoting his charity single, “Cherry Wine”—as well as an extensive two-year sold-out world tour in support of his debut self-titled album Hozier—he was invited to attend a screening of “The Legend of Tarzan” with a view toward writing a song for the upcoming movie. “I was excited about the opportunity and the challenge of writing for this film project. After viewing an early edit, I was struck by the theme of endurance, and endurance of love through such a hostile environment. I wanted the song to be an intimate reassurance as spoken from one lover to another—one that might be issued in hardship or doubt.’'

After the screening, Hozier got to work, and what started on just a piano grew into a sound that brought him to Abbey Road studios in London to add orchestra into the track. The result is the captivating song “Better Love,” written and performed by Hozier, produced by Hozier and Rob Kirwan.

Gregson-Williams’ music highlights all the elements on screen of action and the beauty and danger of the jungle and the complexity of surviving in it. “It was vital that we felt the emotional pull of Africa for Tarzan,” the composer states. “Tarzan has a theme, both brave and emotional, and I also composed a love theme for Tarzan and Jane. It connects them across the jungle.”

About “The Legend of Tarzan”:
From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes the action adventure “The Legend of Tarzan,” starring Alexander Skarsgård as the legendary character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, and Djimon Hounsou, with Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.

It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie), at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the King of Belgium’s envoy, Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

David Yates directed “The Legend of Tarzan” from a screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, story by Brewer and Cozad based on the Tarzan stories created by Burroughs. Legendary producer Jerry Weintraub produced the film, together with David Barron, Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig. Susan Ekins, Nikolas Korda, Keith Goldberg, Steve Mnuchin, David Yates, Mike Richardson and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, in association with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a Jerry Weintraub Production, a Riche/Ludwig Production, a Beaglepug Production, a David Yates Film, “The Legend of Tarzan.”

Opening on July 1, 2016, the film will be distributed in 2D and 3D in theatres and IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. This film has been rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Review: "Furious 7" is Furious and Bittersweet

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 (of 2016) by Leroy Douresseaux

[A version of this review first appeared on Patreon.]

Furious 7 (2015)
Running time: 137 minutes (2 hour, 17 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
WRITER: Chris Morgan (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, and Michael Fottrell
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen F. Windon and Marc Spicer
EDITORS: Christian Wagner, Leigh Folsom Boyd, Dylan Highsmith, and Kirk Morri
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Brotherton, Tony Jaa, Ali Fazal, Ronda Rousey, Iggy Azalea, Sarah Sohn, Noel Gugliemi, T-Pain, Luke Evans, and Sung Kang

Furious 7 is a 2015 action movie from director James Wan and released by Universal Pictures.  It is the seventh installment in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise.  Furious 7 is set after the third film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but follows the events of Fast & Furious 6.  In Furious 7, a new enemy seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family.

Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), and their friends are trying to live a normal life, but that is a bit more complicated than they imagined.  Dom is troubled that his longtime girlfriend and ride-or-die chick, Letitia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), is having trouble regaining her memories.  Brian struggles with domestic life as a husband to Mia (Jordana Brewster), who is also Dom's sister, and as a father to their small son, Jack.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing overseas.  Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the older brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), swears revenge against Dom and his racers who defeated Owen (in Fast & Furious 6), leaving him in a coma.  Deckard infiltrates the DSS (Diplomatic Security Service) office in Los Angeles to get information on Dom and company.  In the process, Deckard severely injures Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who brought Dom and his race team into his hunt for Owen Shaw.

After Deckard launches a series of attacks on his friends and family, Dom reunites Brian, Letty, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), to find Deckard.  They get help from Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) a.k.a. “Mr Nobody,” the leader of a covert ops team.  However, Deckard finds an ally in Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), a mercenary and terrorist who leads a private military company.  Now, all parties are chasing Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), a computer hacktivist and her creation, God's Eye.

One cannot talk about Furious 7 without making note of the death of actor Paul Walker in November of 2013.  Walker and Vin Diesel were the face of The Fast and the Furious franchise.  Walker was only half-finished with the scenes he needed to film for Furious 7 when he died.  Stand-ins for Paul, including his brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker, and the judicious application of computer-generated imagery were used to finish the rest of Walker's scenes.

Other than for a few scenes and some dialogue/audio, I could not tell the difference between Paul and the Paul stand-ins.  Besides, Furious 7 is so full of over-the-top, eye-popping, and breath-taking action scenes and sequences that my focus was on taking it all in and not on detecting real-Paul vs. faux-Paul.  Yes, Paul's death hangs over Furious 7, but not in a morbid way.  This film is a celebration of the work for which Walker is best known and for which he will be best remembered.

I do find Furious 7 to be a little too long, but there is no point in talking about the art of filmmaking when it comes to Furious 7.  Yes, it is well acted, surprisingly so.  James Wan seems superfluous as director; any of the three directors who have helmed previous installments of this franchise could have directed this film.  The script is half well-written, in terms of drama, and half-ridiculous, as the screenplay for a movie like Furious 7 must be.

When talking about Furious 7, we must talk about the action.  I loved the Predator drone; the multi-million dollar sports car driven through three skyscrapers; the Caucasus Mountains sequence that begins with five vehicles dropped from an airplane; the Tony Jaa-Paul Walker fights; and the awesome Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham fisticuffs, to name a few.  This is not a great film, but it is fast and furious.  So why let Furious 7 be the last one?  Keep 'em coming.

6 of 10

Friday, October 30, 2015

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guy Ritchie's King Arthur Begins Production in the UK

Director Guy Ritchie’s New King Arthur Movie Now in Production

Charlie Hunnam Stars as Arthur, joined by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, with Jude Law and Eric Bana

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie brings his dynamic style to an original King Arthur epic, a sweeping fantasy action adventure starring Charlie Hunnam (FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”), for Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures. Principal photography has begun at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, UK.

The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.

Starring with Hunnam is Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) as Guinevere; Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” “In America”) as Resistance leader Bedivere; Aidan Gillen (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) as Goosefat Bill; Oscar nominee Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”) as Vortigern; and Eric Bana (“Star Trek”) as Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon.

Guy Ritchie (upcoming “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”) will direct from a screenplay by Joby Harold (“Awake”). Ritchie will also produce the film, alongside “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” producers Lionel Wigram and Steve Clark-Hall, Akiva Goldsman (“I Am Legend,” Oscar-winning screenwriter for “A Beautiful Mind”), Joby Harold, and Tory Tunnell (“Awake,” “Holy Rollers”). David Dobkin (“The Judge”) and Bruce Berman (“American Sniper”) will executive produce. Max Keene (first AD, the “Sherlock Holmes” movies) will serve as co-producer and James Herbert (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” the “Sherlock Holmes” movies) as associate producer.

The creative team joining Ritchie behind the scenes includes two-time Oscar-nominated director of photography John Mathieson (“Gladiator,” “The Phantom of the Opera”), Oscar-nominated production designer Gemma Jackson (“Finding Neverland”), editor James Herbert, costume designer Annie Symons (Masterpiece Theater’s “Great Expectations”), makeup and hair designer Christine Blundell (“Mr. Turner,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films), and Oscar-nominated VFX Supervisor Nick Davis (“The Dark Knight”).

The film will shoot primarily at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, and on location in Wales and Scotland.

Slated for release on July 22, 2016, it will be distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: Imaginative "Guardians of the Galaxy" is Charming and Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 12 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Running time:  121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
DIRECTOR:  James Gunn
WRITERS:  James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (based on the comic book created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning)
PRODUCER:  Kevin Feige
EDITORS:  Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne, and Craig Wood
COMPOSER:  Tyler Bates
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Peter Serafinowicz, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Haddock, Sean Gunn, Wyatt Oleff, Gregg Henry, Christopher Fairbank, Stan Lee, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel with Josh Brolin

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 science fiction action film and adventure comedy from director James Gunn and is produced by Marvel Studios.  The film is based on the comic book, Guardians of the Galaxy (2008), which was created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.  The film focuses on a human and a ragtag band of aliens who take on a warlord bent on galactic destruction.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens in 1988 where a young boy named Peter waits in a hospital where his mother is dying.  Shortly after she passes, the boy is abducted by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates.  26 years later, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is Star-Lord, and he is also a wanted man.  He arrives on the planet Morag, where he steals a mysterious orb that he is supposed to give to the leader of the Ravagers, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker).

However, the orb holds incredible power, and a fanatical alien named Ronan (Lee Pace) wants to use the orb's power to destroy the planet Xandar.  Ronan sends an assassin to get the orb from Quill.  On the run, Quill unites a ragtag band of oddballs:  the assassin, Gamora (Zoe Saldana); the genetically-engineered raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper); the tree-like humanoid, Groot (voice of Vin Diesel); and the revenge-seeking Drax (Dave Bautista).  They may be the only ones who can save the galaxy and maybe even the universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the surprise hits of the year, if not the surprise hit of the year.  It was the highest grossing film at the North American box office during the calendar year of 2014.  Some people joked that if Marvel Studios could make a hit of Guardians of the Galaxy, it could make a hit of anything.  That may be true.

Guardians of the Galaxy's production values rival and even exceed (in some cases) most recent science and space fantasy films, including the Star Wars prequels.  The artists behind this film's production design and art direction build an entire new galaxy filled with amazing worlds and places from the ground up, with eye-popping and dazzling results.  The costumes are as creative as what is worn in the kind of costume dramas that usually earn Oscar nods for their costume design.  The make-up, both effects and hair-styling, is probably the best ever seen in a film based on a comic book.

Visually, Guardians of the Galaxy is a most unusual and imaginative film, but it is also familiar.  It is thoroughly infused with the spirit of Star Wars (1977).  Like the original Star Wars film, Guardians of the Galaxy is a lavish sci-fi movie spectacle with elements of Western and pirate adventure films.  It is fun to watch, and by the end of it, I was eager for a sequel.

Maybe co-writer and director James Gunn has created Star Wars for a new generation.  He has a fine cast of actors; a cool universe populated with awesome beings, places, and things.  Gunn also has what seems like an imagination full of ideas that want to get out and sparkle on the big screen.  Gunn can do really good things with this film as the start of a new franchise.  In the meantime, we can enjoy this first film.  Like Men in Black and Independence Day, Guardians of the Galaxy is a sci-fi blast that thrills every viewer who can enjoy the wonder of a great space adventure.

7 of 10

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2015 Academy Awards, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling” (Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White) and “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, and Paul Corbould)

2015 BAFTA Awards:  2 nominations:  “Best Make Up/Hair” (Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White) and “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner, and Nicolas Aithadi)

2015 Black Reel Awards:  2 nominations: “Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture” (Zoe Saldana) and “Outstanding Voice Performance” (Vin Diesel for playing "Groot")

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Disney Channel Star, Olivia Holt, Joins "Same Kind of Different As Me"


Olivia Holt, star of  Disney Channel’s “I Didn’t Do It,” has joined the cast of Paramount Pictures’ “SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME,” based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent, author of the bestselling book Heaven Is for Real.

Holt will play Regan, the daughter of Ron and Debbie Hall, played by Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger, respectively.

“SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME” is directed by Michael Carney from a screenplay he co-wrote with Alexander Foard and Ron Hall. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are producing through Disruption Entertainment, alongside Darren Moorman, Stephen Johnson and Hall. The executive producers are Chris Bancroft, Hans Graffunder, Carney and Foard.

Holt currently stars as ‘Lindy’ in the Disney Channel original series “I Didn’t Do It,” which is about to start production for season 2. She is best known for playing ‘Kim’ in the Disney XD hit martial arts series “Kickin’ It.” Earlier this year, Holt sang the theme song “Carry On” in the DisneyNatures film “BEARS” and in September, signed a record deal with Hollywood Records.

“SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME” is the story of an international art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) who must befriend a dangerous homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife (Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. Jon Voight plays Hall's father, with whom he reconciles thanks to the revelations of his new life.

The film is shooting in Jackson, Mississippi.

Holt is repped by Principato-Young Entertainment, Paradigm, & Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Production Begins on Paramount Pictures' "Same Kind of Different as Me"



Paramount Pictures today announced that Academy Award®-nominees Greg Kinnear and Djimon Hounsou and Academy Award®-winners Renee Zellweger and Jon Voight will star in “SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME,” based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent, author of the bestselling book Heaven Is for Real.

Michael Carney will make his directorial debut from a screenplay he co-wrote with Alexander Foard and Ron Hall. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter will produce through Disruption Entertainment, alongside Darren Moorman, Stephen Johnson and Ron Hall. The executive producers are Chris Bancroft, Hans Graffunder, Michael Carney and Foard.

Principal photography began October 27th in Jackson, Mississippi.

“SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME” is the story of an international art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) who must befriend a dangerous homeless man (Hounsou) in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife (Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. Voight plays Hall's father, with whom he reconciles thanks to the revelations of his new life.

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wizard World "The Walking Dead" Limited Edition Comics Debut in 2015

Skybound & Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) To Provide Robert Kirkman's 'The Walking Dead' Limited Edition Exclusive Variant Covers For 2015 Wizard World Comic Con Attendees

Return Of Popular Run Includes Drawings By Superstar Artists For All 24 Shows In Wizard World Comic Con Series Beginning In New Orleans, January 9-11; VIPs To Receive Additional B&W Sketch

Skybound’s The Walking Dead created by Robert Kirkman, the groundbreaking, Eisner Award winning comic book series, continues to captivate audiences worldwide. With anticipation high for the debut of Season 5 of the television series in a few weeks, Skybound, Kirkman's imprint at Image Comics, and Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) today announced the launch of an entirely new series of Limited Edition Exclusive Variant Covers of popular issues of The Walking Dead comic, to be provided free to all full-price attendees at every Wizard World Comic Con event in 2015.

Superstar artists who regularly appear at Wizard World events will draw the unique covers for each of the 24 shows scheduled to date, beginning with Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con, January 9-11 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The artists for each book will be announced as they are selected. A similar series in 2013 featuring exclusives of The Walking Dead #1 proved to be wildly popular with fans.

The exclusive The Walking Dead editions will be produced in extremely limited quantities and are available at registration to fans only while supplies last at each Wizard World convention. VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version of the comic. The full schedule of 2015 Wizard World shows is available at

“Skybound is pleased to work with Wizard World and many talented artists to bring this series to thousands of fans,” said Kirkman, “Wizard World attendees have been great supporters of The Walking Dead for years, so these books are particularly appropriate for this audience.”

“Wizard World fans have shown a strong desire for everything The Walking Dead, and we are proud that this partnership with Robert Kirkman and Skybound will allow us to give these books free to all of our paid attendees,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO and President. “We have seen the rise in popularity of The Walking Dead, from popular celebrity guests like Norman Reedus, Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker and many others, to cosplay of dozens of characters, to artwork and merchandise at our shows. We know that fans will appreciate the return of one of our most popular promotions ever.”

About Robert Kirkman
Robert Kirkman is the creator of many popular comic books, including the Eisner Award-winning The Walking Dead, long-running Invincible, all-ages Super Dinosaur, and the new exorcism comic, Outcast which was released in June 2014 and recently received a pilot pickup for CINEMAX with Fox International.

Since entering the comics scene with his self-published cult-hit Battle Pope in 2000, the Kentucky native has risen to fame as one of the most successful names in comics and entertainment. In 2008, Kirkman became a partner at Image Comics, and in 2010, he opened Skybound, his own imprint at Image, which publishes his titles as well as other original work.

That same year, Kirkman continued to expand his presence in the entertainment industry, becoming a creator, executive producer and writer on The Walking Dead television show. The show is in production on its fifth season and has become the highest-rated basic cable drama of all time. To date The Walking Dead is the #1 on television among the coveted 18-49 demo.

Kirkman is also slated to executive produce AMC’s upcoming The Walking Dead companion series.

Under the Skybound Entertainment umbrella Kirkman wrapped production on his first feature film, Air, starring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou.

About Skybound Entertainment
Since opening its doors in 2010, Skybound Entertainment has grown into a multiplatform entertainment company. Skybound CEO Robert Kirkman is creator of the award-winning The Walking Dead comic book series, the inspiration for the hit TV show of the same name where he serves as creator and executive producer. To date The Walking Dead is the #1 on television among the coveted 18-49 demo.

Skybound Entertainment and Kirkman just wrapped production on their first feature film, Air, starring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou. The film is slated to be released in the spring of 2015.

Skybound released Kirkman’s new exorcism comic, Outcast, in June 2014 which recently got the green light for a television pilot with CINEMAX and Fox International. Kirkman will serve ascreator and executive producer of the series.

Skybound Entertainment and digital entertainment company Maker Studios recently announced a deal for the studio to produce and air four digital series based off Skybound IPs.

Comic book titles published by Skybound include The Walking Dead, the superhero-comic Invincible, all-ages comic Super Dinosaur, the revenge drama Dead Body Road, and heist comic Thief of Thieves.

Skybound also creates a wide range of merchandise, including video games, apparel, board games, and action figures.

For more information, please visit Skybound online at and

About Wizard World
Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, television, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, video gaming, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A's, the Wizard World Film Festival, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Wizard World also produces socialcon featuring social media stars and will be launching ConTV, a digital media channel in partnership with leading independent content distributor Cinedigm™ (NASDAQ: CIDM).

Full event information can be found at

Wizard World Remaining 2014 Schedule:
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con

Wizard World 2015 schedule available at:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shooting Begins on 3D Tarzan Film Due in 2016

Tarzan Swings into Action as Filming Begins on the New 3D Action Adventure

Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, and Christoph Waltz are starring in the Jerry Weintraub production under the direction of David Yates

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Principal photography is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ new Tarzan 3D action adventure, starring Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s “True Blood”) as the legendary character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” blockbusters, including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 & 2,” is directing. Jerry Weintraub (“Behind the Candelabra,” the “Ocean’s” trilogy) is producing the film, together with David Barron (the “Harry Potter” films, upcoming “Cinderella”). Susan Ekins, Nikolas Korda, David Yates, Mike Richardson and Bruce Berman are serving as executive producers.

The feature also stars Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” the “Captain America” films), Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” “Gladiator”), Oscar nominee John Hurt (“The Elephant Man,” the “Harry Potter” films), and two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained”).

It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

The adventure is being shot at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, as well as on location around the UK.

Collaborating with Yates behind the scenes, the creative team includes director of photography Henry Braham (“The Golden Compass”), Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “The English Patient,” the “Harry Potter” films), editor Mark Day (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 & 2”), and Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth Myers (“Emma,” “Unknown”).

A Jerry Weintraub production, the Tarzan action adventure is slated for release on July 1, 2016, and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: "Eragon" Lacks Fire (Happy B'day, Robert Carlyle)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 258 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Eragon (2006)
Running time:  104 minutes (1 hour, 44 minutes)
MPAA – PG for fantasy violence, intense battle sequences, and some frightening images
DIRECTOR:  Stefan Fangmeier
WRITER:  Peter Buchman (based upon the novel by Christopher Paolini)
PRODUCERS:  John Davis, Adam Goodman, and Wyck Godfrey
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Hugh Johnson (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Roger Barton, Masahiro Hirakubo, and Chris Lebenzon
COMPOSER:  Patrick Doyle


Starring:  Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, Djimon Hounsou, Garrett Hedlund, Rachel Weisz (voice) and John Malkovich, Alun Armstrong, Chris Egan, Gary Lewis, Richard Rifkin, Steve Speirs, Joss Stone, and Caroline Chikezie

The subject of this movie review is Eragon, a 2006 action-fantasy film.  It is based on the 2002 novel, Eragon, by Christopher Paolini.  Eragon the film follows a farm boy whose discovery of a dragon’s egg leads him on a predestined journey to defend his homeland from an evil king.

When he was a teenager, Christopher Paolini wrote the novel Eragon, which went from being privately published by his parents to being a worldwide bestseller published by Alfred A. Knopf.  Now, a film adaptation arrives with hopes of capturing much of the audience that devoured The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Disney/Walden Media’s 2005 The Chronicles of Narnia movie adaptation.

Once upon a time in the land of Alagaësia, Dragon Riders brought peace and prosperity, and the Dragons gave their Riders magical powers.  They were unbeaten until one of their own, a Rider named Galbatorix (John Malkovich), rebelled against the other Riders and destroyed them so that he could have all the power for himself.  Now, King Galbatorix rules Alagaësia, and no one can stop him.

There is, however, another dragon egg, and it is in the possession of Arya (Sienna Guillory).  Using a spell and a prayer, her magic sends the egg where a young farm boy named Eragon (Ed Speleers) finds it.  Unsure of what this shiny stone is, Eragon watches as the egg hatches and out pops a dragon he names Saphira (voice of Rachel Weisz).  With the help of a mentor named Brom (Jeremy Irons), Eragon begins the journey to become one with Saphira as she grows more mature and passes more magical power onto him.  Eragon will need it to defeat a Shade (sorcerer) named Durza (Robert Carlyle), a minion of Galbatorix’s.  Eragon joins with the rebel group, the Varden and their leader, Ajihad (Djimon Hounsou), for a coming battle against Galbatorix’s forces.  Will Eragon and Saphira have bonded together enough to match the dark magic of Durza when it counts most?

On a recent talk show appearance near the time the film, Eragon, was released, the host asked Christopher Paolini point black if the young author liked the film adaptation of his best-selling and acclaimed children’s book.  Paolini dodged the question twice saying that he was thrilled to see his characters and hear dialogue he wrote on screen.  It only takes a few minutes into this movie to understand the young author’s misgivings.

Eragon has a mediocre script, no one, from the director to the cast, rises above it.  The movie only comes to life when Eragon and Saphira together or Saphira alone are on screen.  Director Stefan Fangmeier spent over 20 years working in companies that provided visual effects and computer effects for films, so his affinity with this film seems completely directed at the biggest computer effect in Eragon, the dragon Saphira.  The rest of the time, Eragon is just as awkward and clumsy as a run of the mill Sci-Fi Channel fantasy flick.

Eragon has the same quality acting as that of a middling TV movie, but with movie star names.  Jeremy Irons, who has spent a small part of the decade and a half since winning an Oscar, slumming as a serious-thespian-for-hire in various popcorn movies (Die Hard with a Vengeance) and costume drama/action movies (Kingdom of Heaven).  There is no doubt that Christopher Paolini created the character Irons plays, Brom, to be Eragon’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, but for all the effort Irons gives, Brom is more Yogi Bear than Obi-Wan.

Ed Speleers looks the part of Eragon – a boy determined to take on a task bigger and older than he is, but getting the look right is as far as Speleers goes.  His performance ranges for flat to just flat-out overacting.  Rachel Weisz’s voice performance as Saphira is weak and isn’t befitting of an actress of her skill.  Besides, she sounds more like Minnie Driver than herself.

By using two of Hollywood’s most honored visual effects houses, WETA Digital (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong) and Industrial Light and Magic (the Star Wars franchise and Jurassic Park), the producers of this film hoped to reach their stated goal of creating a photo-real dragon in Saphira.  She’s not quite that.  The CGI and computer rendering created a fantastical creature in Saphira, a computer generated beast with marvelous simulated skin texture.  The dragon looks as if she had really been there on location with the live actors during principal photography.

It’s clear that the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George Lucas played a big part in the creation of Paolini’s original novel, yet the film comes across as a weak-kneed knock off Tolkien with a few tattered borrowings from Lucas.  If not for the CGI dragon and the climatic battle scene (created by WETA), Eragon would be one of the saddest fantasy movies in recent memory.  Only the stunningly beautiful locales where it was filmed (Hungary and Slovakia), some lavish costumes, and a sweet blend of action, fantasy and CGI make Eragon worth watching… at home.

5 of 10

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Update:  Monday, April 14, 2014

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: "Biker Boyz" a Disappointment

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 15 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Biker Boyz (2003)
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hours, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language
DIRECTOR: Reggie Rock Blythewood
WRITERS: Craig Fernandez and Reggie Rock Blythewood (based upon a magazine article by Michael Gougis)
PRODUCERS: Stephanie Allain, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Erwin Stoff
EDITORS: Caroline Ross and Terilyn A. Shropshire
COMPOSER: Camara Kambon

ACTION/DRAMA with elements of crime

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Orlando Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Lisa Bonet, Larenz Tate, Kid Rock, Rick Gonzalez, Meagan Good, Salli Richardson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Dante Basco, Dion Basco, Tyson Beckford, Kadeem Hardison, and (uncredited) Eriq La Salle

The subject of this movie review is Biker Boyz, a 2003 drama and action movie. The film focuses on underground motor cycle drag racers and was released by DreamWorks Studios.

Biker Boyz probably exists because of the surprising and enormous success of The Fast and the Furious. Heck, the television program, “Fastlane,” probably exists because of Furious, as well as the fact that a popular movie video and film director proposed it.

First, I’ll mention what’s good about the movie. Director Reggie Rock Blythewood uses a lot of really interesting, unique, and visually jarring camera angles and shots. To watch the opening credits is an invigorating experience; it was so cool that I expected even greater things later in the film. Blythewood uses still photography and quick-cut editing to raise the level of excitement and tension in the film, and on many occasions it works…for awhile.

Laurence Fishburne is Smoke, the "King of Cali," a legendary motorcycle racer in California. The Kid (Derek Luke), a former member in training of Smoke’s gang, The Black Knights, wants Smoke’s mythical crown, his racing helmet. Smoke would have to surrender it if he ever lost a face, and he hasn’t in over 25 races. However, bike racing, among the mostly African American bike clubs is hierarchical, a governing board has to vote to let Kid play; he has to earn the right to tackle Smoke. Kid forms a club of his own, The Biker Boyz, and sets about throwing his weight around to get his way. But does the older Smoke, whom Kid views as an enemy, have something to teach the brash, young biker?

Just this last line tells you that what could have been a good racing movie turns into a mush fest. That’s just the tip of the bad. The story of the young up-and-comer challenging a revered leader is familiar, and, when done correctly, can make for an entertaining story. However, as good as Blythewood is with camera work and quick cuts, his sense of storytelling is abominable. Things develop so slowly that the film actually seems to grow longer as it progresses. The problems stem from the relationships between the characters. Every time the film stops to give two characters a chance to connect with each other, the film literally grinds to a halt; you can almost hear the film’s gears crunching and dragging. It becomes deliriously dull, and I mean that it gets so dull that it made me delirious. I was going to walk out, but to be fair, I wanted to see the entire film so that I could properly review it for you, dear reader. Never say that I don’t care for you.

Late in the film, Kid and his mother, Anita (Vanessa Bell Calloway), meet to make up, and the movie stops cold. I was ready for her to just make her apologies and get the heck out of Kid’s apartment so that he could go race. Ms. Calloway’s character had potential, but like all the others, she’s wasted by Blythewood’s inability to tell a story through his characters. As long as he can do tricks with his camera, he’s fine, but the moment people stop to relate to one another, Blythewood is struck dumb.

Biker Boyz has lots of supporting characters, and the actors playing them (Kid Rock, Orlando Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Lisa Bonet, Tyson Beckford) might interest moviegoers. But they would be shocked how listless and dull their favorites are in this surprisingly poor film.

2 of 10

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: "The Island" Floats on Ewan McGregor (Happy B'day, Michael Bay)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 120 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Island (2005)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality, and language
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
WRITERS: Caspian Tredwell-Owen and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci; from a story by Caspian Tredwell-Owen
PRODUCERS: Walter F. Parkes, Ian Bryce, and Michael Bay
EDITOR: Paul Rubell


Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ethan Phillips, Brian Stepanek, Noa Tishby, and Mark Christopher Lawrence

The Island is a 2005 science fiction film and action movie from director Michael Bay. The movie follows the struggles of a young man to fit into the highly regimented world in which he lives. Then, he learns a shocking secret about that world and about himself that sends him on a race to freedom.

In the mid-21st century, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) are among the hundreds of residents living in a self-contained facility because, they are told, the world outside is contaminated due to an ecological disaster that took the lives of everyone on the planet, leaving the residents (for the most part) the only remaining humans. The facility’s environment is carefully controlled, and everything about Lincoln and Jordan’s day-to-day lives, like that of all the facilities residents, is monitored, seemingly for their own good, by a security staff and a team of doctors and scientists. The only way out for the residents—and the hope they all share—is to be chosen to go to The Island, reportedly the last uncontaminated spot in the world.

Lincoln is restless because of the unexplained nightmares that have recently plagued him, and he increasingly questions the restrictions placed on his life, even sharing his concerns with the head of the facility, Merrick (Sean Bean). For instance, Lincoln wonders why can the residents go to the Island, and the facility’s security and administration can’t. He is, however, unprepared for the truth when his growing curiosity leads to the terrible discovery that everything about his existence is a lie, that The Island is a cruel hoax…and that he, Jordan and everyone they know are actually more valuable dead than alive. With time running out, Lincoln and Jordan make a daring escape to the outside world they’ve never known. However, Merrick cannot afford the truth of his activities to get out. He hires a team of mercenaries, led by Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou), to hunt down Lincoln and Jordan – return them or kill them. With the forces of the institute relentlessly pursuing them, Lincoln and Jordan have one overriding concern, to live.

The Island is the latest film from director Michael Bay, who gave us Bad Boys II in 2003, but is best known for such films as The Rock and Armageddon. The Island is divided into two halves making it almost like two films. The first is a futuristic, dystopian tale set in a complex that protects people from the allegedly dead world outside, which is poisonous to humans. The second film (or half) is an action movie, with the usual Bay histrionics; imagine the car and helicopter chases in the Bad Boys franchise, in particular the over-the-top freeway car chase in Bad Boys II. Better yet: if you remember the film, Logan’s Run, or the novel upon which it’s based; then, you may recognize The Island as a kind of action movie/video game remake or re-imagining of Logan’s Run.

The film hardly touches the scientific and philosophical issues it raises (cloning; what does it mean to be human; and freedom) merely as window dressing for a big-budget Hollywood shoot out with the requisite hysterical car chase/car wrecks/automobile destruction scenes. Perhaps, the writers and director don’t have to really dig too deeply; just the idea of cloning and using clones as spare body parts for “regular” humans is creepy and nausea inducing as it is. But wouldn’t it have been nice for the film to make an effort to emphasize ideas over cinema of sensations and thrills? The design of the futuristic Los Angeles cityscape looks as if no one really bothered to put much thought into how L.A. will look in 50 years. Steven Spielberg put way much more effort in imagining the future for Minority Report, and that movie is set in a time much closer to our own than the one in The Island.

Scarlett Johansson is almost dead on arrival – too much like a machine, cold and aloof as if she mistakenly believes that she’s playing a cyborg killer in one of The Terminator movies. Ewan McGregor, on the other hand, is a movie star; he is a good actor, but he’s a great movie actor. The screen loves him, and he always seems to create the perfect film character – except in the Star Wars prequel, where he was just another film element for George Lucas to manipulate; he wasn’t allowed the freedom to build a movie character. Here, he does have the freedom to gradually build Lincoln into the kind of rebellious hero who questions the status quo of the world around him, the kind of hero through which we vicariously live as he fights his way to a satisfactory resolution. Hooray for Ewan; he makes this film. He saves it from Michael Bay’s intentions gone wrong.

6 of 10


Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: "In America" is Powerful and Heartfelt (Happy B'day, Jim Sheridan)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 77 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

In America (2003)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality and brief language
DIRECTOR: Jim Sheridan
WRITERS: Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, and Kirsten Sheridan
PRODUCERS: Arthur Lappin and Jim Sheridan
EDITOR: Naomi Geraghty
COMPOSERS: Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger, Djimon Hounsou, Merrina Millsapp, Juan Hernandez, and Ciaran Cronin

In America is a 2003 semiautobiographical drama from director Jim Sheridan. This Irish/British film tells the story of an immigrant Irish family’s struggle to survive in New York City, with the story told through the eyes of the older daughter. Although gritty and dark, In American is actually an enchanting story about the bonds of family.

An out of work Irish actor takes his family to America for a fresh start. Johnny (Paddy Considine) and his wife Sarah (Samantha Morton, who received an “Best Actress” Oscar® nomination for this role) leave Ireland with their two daughters, Christy (Sarah Bolger) and Ariel (Emma Bolger), in toe and head for New York City via Canada. While Johnny pursues his acting career and Sarah works at an ice cream parlor, the children take in their new world with eyes that may be innocent, but are also world weary. When things seem most down for them, the family gets help from one of Sarah’s co-workers and Mateo (Djimon Hounsou, received an “Best Actor, Supporting Role” Oscar® nomination) an artist dying of AIDS, who brings magic and hope to the family.

Jim Sheridan and his daughters, Naomi and Kirsten, received “Best Screenplay, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen” Oscar® nominations for writing In America, one of the best films of 2003. While the financial plight and wellness of the parents are riveting (although I found Considine and Ms. Morton’s performances a bit flat at times), the film is the daughters’ story. Christy narrates while Ariel steals one scene after another, and, in doing this, the Bolger girls (especially little Emma) give two of the best performances by young artists in the last year or so.

Although In America is a gritty tale, in a lot of ways it is told as if it came from a children’s book (albeit a dark, downbeat children’s book). Through Christy’s eyes we see the real world, but we see it through a character determined to survive and make the best of things. In Emma, the supernatural, the fantastic, and magic are possible; their presence in the real world isn’t an intrusion. It’s the just the way things are; they belong. I heartily recommend this beautiful and heartfelt drama. In America is a little more magical than it is honest, but to see Jim Sheridan weave loveliness from all this despair and sorrow is itself magic.

9 of 10

2004 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Djimon Hounsou, “Best Actress in a Leading Role” (Samantha Morton), and “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, and Kirsten Sheridan)

2004 Golden Globes: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Bono, Gavin Friday, and Maurice Seezer for the song "Time Enough for Tears") and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, and Kirsten Sheridan)

2004 Black Reel Awards: 1 win: “Black Reel Film: Best Supporting Actor” (Djimon Hounsou)

2004 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Djimon Hounsou)