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Ridiculously Serious: Part 1

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I once wrote an article on Hollywood and the push towards super serious ultra-real or ultra-dark films. In that article I posited that the reason the last Hollywood produced Godzilla film failed to be a good film was that it tried to be both too ridiculous and too serious. You can serve one of these masters in any given film, depending entirely on the universe you have built, the characters in it and the story you are telling. And every now and then these very factors can allow you to serve both masters.

Now I have come to this new found train of thought through my own time spent listening to many other cinephiles discuss films. Being someone who loves all manner of film, from dramas, to romance, to action, to sci-fi, thrillers, comedies and even the odd musical…  I am bewildered that I once held the belief you could not have a film that was both ridiculous and self-serious.

I say this because in retrospect, I have seen my fair share of ridiculous and self-serious films that I actually enjoyed. Good examples of this I believe are the films that are most notably ridiculed by critics and self-proclaimed lovers of “good films”. I guess that sounds like a defensive start and that is because it is. Films like John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, the James Bond franchise, Resident Evil, Underworld, Fast and Furious or even Transformers… these are films set in universes that are quite unreal. They are not comic book universes and yet are as ridiculous in their plots, settings, characters and conflicts as their comic book film counterparts. And yet they are also not purely dramas, thrillers, action or even purely sci-fi films. They tend to be an amalgamation of these different genres and thus they tend to carry with them the tropes featured therein.

Characters in these films take their conflicts as seriously as characters in a film like Hotel Rwanda. Yet characters in these films often also find themselves performing feats you might only expect to see in comic book based films. This is where I began to understand my enjoyment of these sorts of films and where I also began to understand why it is hard for traditionalists and lovers of more traditional films and film making techniques to appreciate such films.

When a person like me walks into a John Wick film, I am going in fully aware that this is a film set in a pretty ridiculous universe where characters perform incredible stunts and have incredible skills, where the body counts are high and the legal ramifications are low. It isn’t unlike the unrealistic nature of a romantic comedy for instance. But I go in because that is what I am fully intending to enjoy. These films more and more are being helmed by directors who refuse to stagnate in technique. Directors who are true artists despite the feelings of traditionalists and critics. They are people who dare to color outside the lines as it were, be it a Paul Greengrass administering a shaky cam and close up handheld filming technique in order to give the audience a sense of the brutality in a fight between Jason Bourne and any one of his foes or a Michael Bay hero establishment shot. Be it a Zack Snyder film featuring color correction techniques that lend to giving the audience a sense of the mood throughout a film.

This is not unlike Hans Zimmer administering a deafening score for Interstellar while having a far more adventurous one in a Pirates of the Caribbean film. The point is that the artists who dare to make these sort of films tend to understand how while traditional film making techniques are not terrible (see Saving Private Ryan), they can also lend to a very bland and simply unmoving picture (see Bridge of Spies). 2 films directed by Steven Spielberg, one an incredible thing to behold, the other, a picture that just doesn’t connect. Now yes, the story being told can also make a difference but the point remains, traditional film making techniques aren’t what decide if a film is great or not. We have seen many traditionally made films that just fall completely flat in the past and we will no doubt, see more.

More on this in Part 2.

To be continued…

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Michael B. Jordan Will Produce And Star In New Hitman Franchise ‘The Silver Bear’

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Black Panther and Creed II star Michael B. Jordan will play the deadly assassin Columbus in The Silver Bear. The film is based on the book series of the same name by author Derek Haas.

The story is set to follow Jordan’s Colombus as he becomes the most respected hitman in the criminal underworld.

Speaking with Deadline about The Silver Bear, Lionsgate’s chairman Joe Drake said, “[The Silver Bear is] the kind of story that needs to be experienced on the big screen and Michael is the perfect movie star to inhabit the skin of this dynamic character and take us into the cinematic world of Columbus.”

Jordan will produce the film through Outlier Society and Nickel City Pictures’ Vishal Rungta, Mark Fasano, and Ankur Rungta. Haas, who wrote all four of the novels in the series the film is based on, will executive produce the film alongside Michael Garnett and Tobias Weymar.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home Wraps Production

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The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming has officially wrapped.

Tom Holland has been in the role since Captain America: Civil War. Every since than he has become one of the greatest web slingers of all time. Tom Holland posted a couple of photos from the last day of filming to his Instagram account.

Today, Holland posted that production has officially wrapped.

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THATS A WRAP #farfromhome

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Halfway through our last day 😭 #farfromhome

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Spider-Man: Far From Home also stars Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jacob Batalon.  Gyllenhaal will appear as the new villain in the form of Mysterio. Though Marvel Studios doesn’t want to formally announce it just yet, it’s been a poorly kept secret up to this point that Jake Gyllenhaal will be playing the fan-favorite master of illusion.

Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters July 5, 2019.

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Redman Opens Up About Not Being In How High 2

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Fans have been waiting for a sequel to How High for over 17 years. Many were shocked and disgruntled when the news broke that the original stars Method Man and Redman would not be featured in the movie.

In a recent interview with the Grass Routes podcast, Redman explained that film was developed without him and Meth.

“Well, first of all, shout out to Lil Yachty and Young DC Fly (sic) […] I’m always with the youth […] they’re just seizing the opportunity,” Red said in a phone interview. “[…] Long story short is that me and Meth was not aware that they were doing this transaction with the movie. I’m not mad at Yachty or DC Fly—like I said, it has nothing to do with them. And I’m not even upset because God always places things in the right position anyway; I’m just following the path.

“But my thing is when you have a brand, like Red and Meth, that kind of helped built and created this entity of How High and shooting a movie on marijuana and being in college […] those were all of our ideas. And when the deal came about, we wasn’t involved in it.”

The 46-year-old actor also spoke how the studio licensed the rights to another production company.

“What happened is that a branch that’s under Universal decided [they were] gonna shoot this movie. And they did not need permission from us because we didn’t own the rights to How High,” Red said. “[…] As far as me and Meth know, we were waiting on a new script to read for How High 2. Out of the blue, we get calls from everywhere, like, ‘Yo, Lil Yachty is starring in the movie,’ or ‘MTV picked up How High 2.’ And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. We got writers that’s writing the movie. We got people up at Universal that’s giving us the green light. What’s going on?’

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