THE WORLD’S GREATEST COMIC MAGAZINE – my thoughts on John Byrne’s run on Marvel’s first family

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In 1981, fresh off a defining run on the X-Men with writer Chris Claremont, Canadian comic book creator John Byrne turned his attention on The Fantastic Four. Once Marvel Comics’ flagship title, The Fantastic Four had become a middling comic book in the 70s, its position usurped by the X-Men due to engaging, tight plotting, well-defined characters, and a strong sense of realism in both the writing and artwork, not to mention powerful, cinematic drama. The Uncanny X-Men was the premier comic book title of the time, and John Byrne was a major component in its rise to prominence. When creative differences with Claremont and editor-in-chief Jim Shooter soured Byrne on The X-Men, he asked for, and was given, full creative rein on The Fantastic Four, beginning with issue 232, with a cover date of July 1981.

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Movie Review: CHARLIE’S ANGELS – a female empowerment movie so brutally awful you’d think a man wrote it.

I’ll confess to being a boring moviewatcher.  I am not one of those types who can get into bad movies, nor can I ever describe a bad movie that is somehow so bad it becomes good.  I just don’t have that capacity.  Bad is bad.  I suppose I also have a grudge against bad movies.  It takes a lot of money and a lot of talented people to make a movie, and when I watch a movie that fails on the basics, I actually get angry.  And I’m not talking about microbudget productions where anything that rises above competent is a success, I’m specifically talking about multiplex features.  Why do these movies get made?  Who finances them, and why?  These are questions I wondered even before the stupendously terrible Charlie’s Angels had ended. Continue reading “Movie Review: CHARLIE’S ANGELS – a female empowerment movie so brutally awful you’d think a man wrote it.”

Movie Review: TERMINATOR: DARK FATE – Cameron and Co fumble a genuine chance to reboot the franchise, in this “same shit different day” sequel.

The biggest thing that surprised me about this movie was not James Cameron’s much-heralded return to the franchise that made him a household name, it was the fact that it’s already been four years since the poor Terminator: Genisys.  4 years?  I think I’m suffering my own time-travel headache.  And really, the fact that this is the big surprise should tell you what I thought of this latest entry in the 35-year-old sci-fi franchise.

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Movie Review – JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM – if you like watching other people play video games, this is the movie for you!

Might as well get it out of the way early: I’m not a huge fan of the John Wick franchise.  As much as I love how they’ve thrust Keanu Reeves back into the spotlight and made him relevant again, they don’t do much for me, which is kind of weird, because I like generally like action movies, and I’m also a fan of the actor.  It should be a good combo … but for me, it isn’t.

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Movie Review – THE LIGHTHOUSE. Coupled with The Witch, Robert Eggers has become a niche moviemaker. We need more like him.

I’m writing this review in the wake of a handful of “name” directors speaking up in the press about their dislike for the Marvel movies.  As much as I enjoy them, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and while I don’t get the strength of their dislike (Coppola said they were despicable – surely there are bigger things in the world that justify that pejorative), they make a good point: by being so globally successful, their appeal blinds younger viewers to the power of cinema, the art of it.  When all young people hear about is cinematic superheroes, the risk is that greater movies don’t gain traction in the minds of the next generation of moviegoers, who instead become conditioned to spectacle.  If that happens, it will be a shame, because it leaves moviemakers like Robert Eggers relegated to that of niche status.

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