Push (2009)

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You know those movies that are really good, and have so much potential, but don’t really hit it off with mainstream audiences so nothing ever becomes of them?

Push is one of those movies.

Push is set in a world where a group of people born with superhuman powers are being hunted by a government organisation looking to enhance their powers and weaponise them into super soldiers. There are nine known types of power: Watchers (see the future), Bleeders (emit high-pitched vibrations that rupture blood vessels), Sniffs (use psychometrics to track/hunt), Stitches (healers), Wipers (erase memories), Shifters (change appearance of objects), Shadows (can block visions of Sniffs/Watchers), Movers (move objects telekinetically), and Pushers (implant memories, thoughts and emotions into the minds of other people in order to manipulate them).

The film follows the story of Nick, a Mover, who is in hiding from the government agency, but is drawn back into the drama when Cassie, a Watcher, shows up at his door telling him he’s going to take down the agency with her help. In order to do so they need to free Kira, Nick’s ex-girlfriend and an extremely powerful Pusher captured by the agency.

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The conceptualization of the powers and how they are used, both outwardly, and against each other, is really interesting. It feels a lot like a really good X Men film, but one that doesn’t have larger world building just yet. Push is very contained; yes, it hints at the global effects of the powers, but it mostly focuses on the immediate dangers the characters are facing. However, the end of the film very much leaves it open to expansion. I would have loved to have seen a sequel or even a mini series that explores the world in which individuals possess psychic powers that are strong enough to make an army of thousands irrelevant. I would also have liked to explore the parts that are not militaristic, such as whether Stitches could cure things like cancer, or HIV, or whether Watchers could prevent huge losses of life by predicting natural disasters, or whether Movers could assist in rescue of civilians and clean up after war/natural disaster/human disasters.

Or whether, like most things involving power, it would reveal the worst in humanity.

The film didn’t do so well at the box office, or with critics, pretty average on all bases really. While some of the criticism is warranted, a lot of it is not. Its is not a film that you can casually watch while doing something else, you do have to watch and pay attention to understand what is happening. The use of Cassie as a Watcher (being able to see the future) does mean that the film is a little jumpy in terms of plot and progression, but as long as you are paying attention you’ll be able to keep up.

If you like X Men, or films like Inception and The Matrix, I would definitely tell you to give this one a go, it might surprise you.

Pushing Daisies

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I really love describing Pushing Daisies to other people who have never heard of it. “Its a beautiful, colourful, sappy romantic show…” “Oh how lovely!” “…about violent murder and death.” “Whaaaaaaat.”

Created by Bryan Fuller, Pushing Daisies follows the story of Ned the Piemaker (played by the excessively perfect Lee Pace) who has the unique and disturbing power of bringing people back to life with just one touch. The drawback is that if he touches them again, they die again, for good this time.  And if the person is alive for more than one minute, someone else dies. Ned and his powers are enlisted by Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), a private investigator, as he can now talk to murder victims, get them to tell him who killed them, so he can then solve the case and get the reward. In the first episode, Ned and Emerson come across Chuck, Ned’s childhood sweetheart who has died. Ned brings her back to life, and then, obviously, can never touch her again.

Sounds pretty morbid, so you wouldn’t expect it to look like this:

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It only ran for two seasons, which is devastating, because honestly I miss this show like a person. Despite the less than comedic premise, Pushing Daisies is both hilarious and heartwarming. Ned the Piemaker, due to his unique gifts, is exceptionally socially awkward, but endearingly charming. In addition to his relationship with Chuck, he also has a hilarious relationship with his employee, Olive (played by Kristin Chenoweth), who is not-so-secretly in love with him. What Olive lacks in height, she makes up for with enthusiasm, and her antics involving her crush on Ned form a lot of the comedic sub plots in the series.

If you were a fan of things like Better Off Ted, Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, or campy shows that are basically the TV equivalent of a warm hug, give Pushing Daisies a chance.

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Be warned though, if you marathon this show, please prepare yourself for the disappointment of coming back to the real world after the cartoonish-ly cheery colour and heart-seizing romance of the world of Pushing Daisies.

Side Note: Bryan Fuller is also the creative developer, writer and executive producer of the American Gods TV series and the Star Trek: Discovery TV series coming out in 2017, both of which I am really looking forward to seeing. In addition to Pushing Daisies, he was also head honcho for the Hannibal TV series which I really loved.

Power Rangers – 2017

What a time to be alive.

The very first trailer for the Power Rangers 2017 reboot film is out, and I am still screaming into my 5th cup of coffee for the day.

The film is a reboot of the original rangers, and is a retelling of the story of how Jason, Kim, Billy, Trini and Zack gain their powers, and learn how to use them in order to save the world. The power rangers were really important to me as a kid. One of the first movies I ever saw at the cinema was Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (big shout out to my Mum here, thanks Mum), and Tommy Oliver was pretty much my first TV boyfriend. It was very much a formative influence. And I love this trailer. I’m sure lots of people, fans and not fans, will have a bunch of negative things to say about it (they always do with reboots) but I love it. Also look at this!

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And so, on that note, I will leave you with this warning: If Tommy Oliver shows up at any point in the film (maybe in an after credits scene?) I will be talking about nothing else for the following 6 months.

“Power Rangers – BACK TO ACTION!” (I’m sorry I’m just really excited ok).

Comic Con – Part 1

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It the most wonderful time of the year! San Diego Comic Con! The weekend where all of your nerd dreams come true, and your cinema viewing schedule for the next 5-10 years is sorted. There are cosplays, special effects demos, cool famous people hanging out with other cool famous people, and if you’re one of the lucky ducks attending the event, there is a meet and greet with your fav at best, and a swag of merch at worst.

Yay, Comic Con!

This post will be the first of two about Comic Con. In this one I’m going to list all of the things I’m hoping to see/have announced this year, and the second post will be after Comic Con (next weekend – July 21st to 24th), a recap of events, and what I loved/hated.

Ready? Ok!

Warner Bros. panel –

I can tell you right now the Warner Bros. panel alone is going to add 10+ years to my life span. The main focus of the 2 hour panel is going to be Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad. This means that it is highly likely we will be getting the first official trailer for Wonder Woman. I am so keen. SO KEEN. I am going to annoy everyone around me with how keen I am. I am just so excited that this film is finally happening, and what little I’ve seen of sneak peaks and set pics so far, I am confident that its going to live up to expectations. Exceed them, even. Diana’s cameo in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was incredible, and dispelled any doubts I had about her film adaptation or the casting of Gal Gadot. The fact that we are getting an entire movie, just of her, is a dream come true, as I’m sure the film will make little girls all over the world dreams come true. Her solo outing is long overdue.

In addition to this, there are rumours that the cast of the Justice League will make a surprise visit at the panel, which means its also likely that we may get a sneak peak at that too, since the film is currently in the middle of production.

Marvel Studios panel –

Not going to lie, I don’t really have high expectations for Marvel’s panel this year. I would love some more news about Thor 3 Ragnarok, but as it has just commenced production on the Gold Coast (sadly many hours away from me, no opportunity for scoping out the set) I doubt there will be any visits from the cast, or any footage. Ultimately I would love the entire panel to be about Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (fingers crossed for a trailer!) but I think the main focus will be on Doctor Strange, and the new Spider Man solo film, and honestly I don’t know which one bores me more. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised and will be able to give you guys a “I Love Marvel Again” post.

Power Rangers panel –

I don’t think I’ve made a post about how excited I am about the fact that Power Rangers is getting a film reboot in 2017, which is remiss of me, because I’m really excited. I promise to make a post about it once we know a bit more, because as of yet there hasn’t been much news except for a casting announcement and a group promo pic. Hopefully that will change after Comic Con because they do have a panel, and we are sure to get some kind of sneak peak.

American Gods panel –

You may have heard that they are making Neil Gaiman’s book, fan favourite American Gods into a TV series. Word on the street is there will be a preview of what to expect in the upcoming season, and several members of the main cast will be in attendance. Heck yes!

Star Trek panel –

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the series premiering, so its sure to be quite the party. This panel is not for the reboot film being released later this month, but for the older series’ as well as the upcoming TV series, hitting screens in 2017, produced by one of my favourite people of all time, Bryan Fuller.
What are you guys most looking forward to? Are any of you attending? Stay tuned for Part 2 after Comic Con!

Ant-Man

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So I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I rewatched Ant-Man this week, and decided it was about time I made a post about it. I only actually saw Ant-Man for the first time about a month ago, around the time it appeared on Netflix. For those of you who know me in real life, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t see a Marvel movie on opening night (wait until you hear about how much I haven’t watched the new X-Men movies, possibly in an upcoming post). I didn’t see Ant-Man until recently, because I have been vehemently against the idea since it was first announced that they were making it.

First let’s set the scene: it’s the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, and I am pumped. Marvel reveals their Phase Two line-up (Phase One being Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, culminating in The Avengers). They reveal Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy (ask anyone who was around me that day, when they revealed GOTG I may have wept tears of ecstatic joy). But amongst the amazingness, they also reveal Ant-Man. Ant-Man?! ANT-MAN?!

Even before 2012, there had been rumours of a Captain Marvel film, as her reboot comic book Captain Marvel #1, written by the amazing Kelly Sue DeConnick, was met with enthusiastic love from fans and critics alike. Many fans, myself included, were looking for a female lead figurehead as it seemed more and more unlikely that a Black Widow solo film would ever be attempted, despite many placating press releases (for more bitterness, please see my previous post about Marvel and Black Widow here). Captain Marvel, formerly Ms Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, had resurfaced with a new suit and seemed in prime condition for a film adaptation where she would be punching bad guys with the other heavy-hitting Avengers like Hulk and Thor.

So imagine my disappointment when they announce a stand alone film for Ant-Man.

While his tech is pretty cool (he and Tony Stark and Reed Richards are the arrogant-but-nerdy scientist triumvirate of the Marvel universe), and his role in the Marvel universe is as one of the original members of the Avengers, the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, is not a favourite of mine. In the comics he once hit his wife Janet, aka The Wasp, and ever since I discovered that, I have never really warmed to him at all. The only reason I tolerated him in comics and animated tv shows is because whenever he was there, The Wasp wasn’t far away, and I love Janet.

So when it was announced that Janet would not be in the film, a film that was being made in the middle of the “we want more female characters in our superhero movies” discourse, I was livid. You’re making an Ant-Man film without Janet? Not only that but you are having her die in a tragic accident before the events of the film? Janet, aka The Wasp, who literally named The Avengers in the comics? An original Avenger, killed off for man-pain? The more I heard about it the more upset I was. Until they announced that the main character of the film was actually going to be Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man in the comics) with Hank Pym acting as mentor. This made me a little happier. But still…

So I resisted for as long as I could. Fast forward a bit, and we get to Captain America: Civil War. Scott Lang, played by the ever charming Paul Rudd, turns up and steals the show, and suddenly I’m thinking about watching Ant-Man. In a film that was, at times, pretty underwhelming, he entertained me endlessly. So then Ant-Man turned up on Netflix, and here we are.

Ant-Man is hilarious. Its really, really funny. I had a smile on my face for most of the film, and was resolute in my conclusion that Paul Rudd was the perfect choice for the role. And Lang’s heist friends, Luis, Dave and Kurt, provided extra comic relief in an already comedic film. There was also a great cameo from Falcon, aka Sam Wilson, Cap’s other BFF. I still had some problems with the film – I was loving Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Pym until she called Lang a princess while teaching him to punch. Why do writers continue to have their ‘strong female characters’ use gendered insults? “You fight like a girl” “Don’t be a little bitch about it” “Grow some balls” blah blah blah. Two steps forward, one step back.

The film did give me some hope for the future of the Ant-Man films. The film briefly explains what happened to Janet – she sacrificed herself to save the world and shrunk herself into a sub-atomic realm, never to return. HOWEVER, Scott also shrinks into the sub-atomic realm, and manages to come back, so if he can, surely, Janet can too? Or is it too late?? Should I let this go already?? The after credits scene is Hope Pym being given a Wasp suit, so maybe we will actually have a Wasp in the MCU before I die of bitterness. Maybe.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film. It’s endearingly charming and witty dialogue soothed my hate enough for me to write this post. What did you guys think of Ant-Man?

Batman vs Superman – the beginning of a beautiful friendship

(The friendship is Me + DC cinematic universe)

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Please note this is a spoiler free zone, my friends. You are safe here.

As you may be aware, the much anticipated Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (hereafter referred to as BvS) opened in cinemas this week. And as you may also be aware, critics’ initial reviews were mixed, leaning towards negative. And as you may also, also be aware, I was super (heh) excited for this film, and thus, these reviews concerned me. Many of the complaints were along the lines of “I didn’t ‘get’ this film” and “this is nowhere near as good as Marvel”.

After seeing the film for myself, however, I have come to a lovely conclusion.

Critics don’t know shit.

First things first, do not go into seeing this movie expecting to see a Marvel film (i.e. a fun, witty, action film for the whole family). DC films (and DC as a creative universe) have always been dark and gritty, more concerned with the exploration of humanity and heroism than punching bad guys while quipping one liners that audiences then quote for months afterwards. That’s not to say that Marvel films are in anyway inferior, as Marvel also explores these themes to great effect.  The issue is, the Marvel cinematic universe are Hollywood films. DC films are comic book films.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews comment on the pacing/storytelling technique in BvS. They don’t like it, or find it jarring. This is because they are film critics and are not used to comic book story telling. This is not their fault. But it does make it frustrating, as a fan of DC, of comics in general, to see them comment on the film this way. Kind of like watching an American drive on an Australian road, then making a post on Facebook along the lines of “I don’t like this!! The Australian attempt at making roads is awful! Don’t ever drive in Australia!!”. BvS is like a comic book come to life, except with no difficult to follow panels, or speech bubbles. And its visually stunning, as expected from Zack Snyder.

From someone who is not a film critic, here is what you need to know about BvS:

  • It is an excellent beginning to DC’s cinematic universe (yes, I know Man of Steel was film numero uno, but it had its own issues, ones that I will cover in a post in the future). BvS sets the tone for the future, and does a terrific job of teasing future installments and characters.
    – on a side note, if you were disappointed/befuddled/snidely upset at the boss fight in Man of Steel, as many were, BvS addresses it. There are consequences.
  • Characterisation! My most sincerest apologies to Mr Ben Affleck for ever doubting he was up to the task of being Batman. Dare I say, best Batman yet? Only more viewings will tell. Superman also felt like fully formed multidimensional character in this film. And I though I was going to despise Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, but holy moly, gosh darn can that dude act.
  • WONDER WOMAN! WONDER WOMAN! WONDER WOMAN! In her first outing on the big screen EVER, and as the first female superhero to get her own standalone film (one that takes its character seriously, Catwoman and Electra don’t count), there was a lot riding on Gal Gadot’s WW in this film, and boy does she knock it out of the park. Its a smaller role than I was expecting, but they make the most of it.
  • The third act of the film will literally kick your ass.

Remember: Do not see this movie expecting a Marvel blockbuster. There are no white dudes named Chris here. What there is is a fantastic Batman Vs Superman film, a fantastic DC film, and a fantastic introduction to what is sure to be one hell of a cinematic universe.

Watch out Marvel, DC is catching up.

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Feel free to comment, but please keep it spoiler free!

EDIT: As my friend Brodie just pointed out to me, there is in fact a white dude named Chris in BvS. The final Chris of The Chrisis. But he’s only in it in a photograph, so it does count. Yet.

Happy Valentine’s day!

Much like most of my previous Valentine’s days, I am spending the day with a mud cake and some Victorian era period dramas (usually I go with an upbeat Austen film, but I’m feelin’ a dark Bronte this year). But I thought I would also make a super quick post for you guys, who we both love so much, as this be the day of lovin’. (Yuck, I can’t believe I just said that.) So here is a post about my two favourite sci-fi couples, in no particular order.

Mulder and Scully –

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These dorks are here for obvious reasons – one, because they are literally the most well known and most loved couple in sci-fi history, and two, because if I didn’t include them I am 5000% sure Racheal would never speak to me again. I haven’t seen all of The X Files yet, but from what I have seen, in addition to the internet and Racheal’s extensive knowledge, they are without a doubt the most adorkable nerds to ever make heart eyes at each other. Or rather, Mulder makes heart eyes, and Scully rolls her eyes.

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There is just something about their unspoken love for each other that hits you right in the guts. I’m a total sucker for slow build relationships so Mulder and Scully’s YEARS of tension, coupled with David and Gillian’s chemistry make for one of the most powerful relationships in tv history, let alone in sci-fi.

Han and Leia –

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I grew up with Han and Leia. We had episodes IV, V and VI on VHS, so they were the original power couple for me. Leia herself has always been a favourite character of mine, so seeing her fall in love with that scruffy looking nerf herder, formative influence doesn’t even begin to cover it. Their snippy comments, their exasperation with each other, their eye-rolling, and you can still see how much they absolutely adore each other. Nerds, the both of them.

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Other Star Wars couples that deserve an honourable mention: Anakin + Padme, R2D2 + C3PO, Luke + Wedge, Finn + Poe, Rey + world domination, Jar Jar Binks + death, Captain Phasma + me.

I hope you guys all have a great day, stay excellent! Xoxo