Lesser known characters join the lineup of Marvel movie madness. Photo: Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige took to the stage at a special event at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday to talk about the next slate of blockbuster films the company is planning to release over the next few years. The full docket, with projected dates, is as follows:
· 5/1/15 – Avengers: Age of Ultron · 7/17/15 – Ant-Man · 5/6/16 – Captain America: Civil War · 11/4/16 – Doctor Strange · 5/5/17 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 · 7/28/17 – Thor: Ragnarok · 11/3/17 – Black Panther · 5/4/18 – Avengers: Infinity War Part I · 7/6/18 – Captain Marvel · 11/2/18 – Inhumans · 5/3/19 – Avengers: Infinity War Part II
While most of us are clear on who The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are, there are some lesser-known characters getting the full movie spotlight that you may not be aware of. Here’s how they fit into the larger Marvel cinematic universe.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Say what you want about this 1992 version of the infamous proto-vampire, there’s a lot to like here. Directed by auteur-extraordinaire Francis Ford Coppola, it also starred Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins. In this film, Dracula comes to England an old man, growing younger by the minute, and turning into a monster in the process. It’s a lush, operatic film with some serious eroticism to it. Coppola uses old-school film tricks like reversing the film, multiple exposures and varying shutter speed to create a visually stunning movie about the seriously overplayed vampire king that tries to re-create the original novel via its multiple points of view. While it’s frequently campy, this big budget film is worth a re-watch.
The Exorcist: William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel about demonic possession and exorcism was based on an actual 1949 case that the author heard about while attending Georgetown University in Washington, DC, leading him to set his book there. The 1973 movie, directed by William Friedkin and written by Blatty himself, is a faithful re-telling of the horrifying story about a young girl’s rapid transformation into a vomit-spitting, head-rotating demon from hell, scaring the crap out of everyone who went to see it in theaters. It stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Linda Blair, The Exorcist is an exercise in tight, creepy horror storytelling with solid practical special effects that still look convincing today.
Frankenstein: The original film based on the original novel by Mary Shelly, 1931’s Frankenstein, stars Boris Karloff in the tale of the proto-mad scientist who creates life in his lab from an assembled collection of body parts gathered from corpses. What makes this film still worth the watch is both the superb make-up effects and the inherent loneliness of Karloff’s portrayal of the monster. When it happens upon the young girl at the pond and exchanges the flower, you’ll be hard pressed not to empathize with the creature, even as he tosses the child into the pond.
Let the Right One In: If you like atmospheric genre films, you’ll love this 2008 film from Sweden, written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the author of the book its based on. The acting is subdued and the two young leads are absolutely mesmerizing as the human and vampire protagonists. Oskar is a 12-year-old pacifist of a boy who’s constantly bullied in school. Beautiful 12-year-old Eli moves in next to him at the same time a series of gory deaths and attacks start to happen around town. It’s a beautiful meditation on friendship, loneliness, and adolescence that also happens to be an incredibly scary movie. Be sure to have someone with you when you view it, so you can hold hands and scream together in fear.
The Legend of Hell House: This 1973 horror film was produced in the UK and directed by John Hough. Starring Roddy McDowell and Pamela Franklin, it’s based on the 1971 novel Hell House by Richard Matheson, the same guy who wrote I Am Legend; he also wrote the screenplay. A group of both physicists and parapsychologists spend a week in a English manor house that they’ve been told is haunted, and at which previous researchers were horribly murdered. It’s a haunted house movie done right, with plenty of over-the-top acting and sweaty ‘70s actors, and I mean that in a good way.
The Wicker Man: This 2006 re-do of the 1973 classic horror film stars Nicolas Cage as a sheriff investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a small island. He finds out there’s a bigger mystery to be solved, though, among the secretive neo-pagan islnd community. It sounds like a ton of fun, right, but ends up detouring into a crazy, barely comprehensible mess of a plot with enough misogynous activity from Nic Cage in a bear suit than you can handle. When you set out to remake a classic of the genre, you need to bring more to the table than director Neil LaBute (In The Company of Men) was able to.
Queen of the Damned: While Interview with a Vampire was a low point for both Tom Cruise and Anne Rice fans, the second movie to come from her novels is an utter travesty. Starring Aaliyah, the young R&B singer who was tragically killed in a plane crash in 2001, the film plays more as a goth-club flavored TV movie with Rice’s famous vampire Lestat taking up much of the overwrought screen time. The soundtrack is awful, the special effects questionable at best, and the dialogue super melodramatic and cheesy. Stay away from this one.
Dreamcatcher: Even the acting chops of Morgan Freeman and Demian Lewis combined with the directing talent of Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and a screenplay by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) can’t save this awful adaptation of one of Stephen King’s worst books, Dreamcatcher. The original novel is about a young man with mental retardation who becomes a group of boys’ unofficial mascot. When the men reunite for a hunting trip decades later, they discover an…alien invasion. Yeah, it’s that disjointed. USA Today called it “A moviegoer's nightmare,” writing that “the story is incoherent, inane and interminable.” Honestly, there’s no need to watch this one.
30 Days of Night: As someone who lives in Alaska and has visited Barrow, where this horror flick about zombies in the coldest, darkest place in the US, is supposed to be set, I found it to be utterly unrealistic. Sure, I can handle supernatural killers who lurk in the dark to eat human beings during the longest night of the year during the winter, but — seriously — Barrow isn’t a frontier town anymore with Western movie-style saloons and such. I could probably even forgive that horrifying oversight if this 2007 movie based on a fantastic graphic novel (written by Steve Niles, illustrated by Ben Templesmith, and published by IDW Publishing) itself wasn’t a long slog through a lot of half-hearted attempts and jump scares and tons of “shredding and gurgling,” as Entertainment Weekly calls it, saying, “30 Days of Night is relentless, but it's also relentlessly one-note.” Pass.
Pet Sematary: I really wanted to like this movie, since I enjoyed the heck out of the 1983 Stephen King novel of the same name. The 1989 movie was directed by Mary Lambert, whose resume includes 1992’s Pet Sematary II and 2005’s Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, so you know how she rolls. Add to that a screenplay by the master himself (have you seen Maximum Overdrive? It's awful) and a set of actors that no one knew, and you’ve got yourself a pretty horrible movie. King’s novels are so successful because they give readers a sense of the inner fear of their characters, something we can all relate to. Translating that to the screen is hard, as evidenced by the incredible hit or miss quality of the cinema adaptations of King’s work. This one? Don’t bother.
The latest video from OK Go is even more OK Go than ever. Photo: OK Go
Indie rock band OK Go has a reputation for doing wild and crazy one-shot videos for it’s new releases, and today’s reveal on NBC’s Today show is no exception.
Check out this insane short film where the band performs its second single “I Won’t Let You Down” from the new album Hungry Ghosts. They chair dance atop Honda UNI-CUBs, “omni-directional driving wheel systems” that are in the development stage. Think sitting-down Segways and you’ll have an idea.
Better yet, check out the video below, filmed in Chiba Prefecture, Japan this past August. And make sure you stay for the final, mind-blowing minute where the shot goes high.
Maybe they’ll take the bird all the way to the destination, for a change. Photo: Air New Zealand
Tired of the same old boring pitch that flight attendants have to give you in accordance with FAA regulations? Well, Air New Zealand decided to make its own briefing a lot more epic in the latest video for the official airline of Middle Earth stand-in country.
Watch as Elijah Wood and other cast members grace this light-hearted, good natured air safety briefing, complete with fake Gandalf explaining how to position yourself in the event of a crash landing.
Apple Pay, iOS 8.1, Yosemite, and more! Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Yes! Another week, another scintillating issue full of Cult of Mac’s best news stories and features, compiled in one place to read through easily on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got some delightful coverage of the new Apple Pay features in iOS 8, tips and tricks on the latest operating systems, iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite, and a couple of great apps you won’t want to miss. That and more in this week’s spectacularly useful Cult of Mac Magazine.
Oliver silently displays the state of your inbox using a simple light system. Photo: Brendan Dawes
Email has become somewhat of a necessary evil lately, with a attempts like Google’s recent Inbox to use software to corral the over-abundance of the technology into something that makes better sense for us humans.
Designer Brendan Dawes worked with email marketing provider Mailchimp to come up with these fascinating single-use gadgets that bring email into the real world. Nim, the gadget named for a famous chimp in linguistics, is a light switch that lets you turn your email off. And on again, assumedly.
“Email is an interface we’ve been using for years,” Dawes told Wired, “so why not leverage its power some more?”
Dawes has several other gadgets he’s designed in concept. Each one tries to make the digital real and interactive. Some are more successful than others, of course, but they’re all fascinating.
Update: The leaked Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer has been pulled from several sources, but once the toothpaste is out of the tube, even superheroes can’t put it back. Marvel Entertainment has responded with an appropriately cheeky tweet (see below) and released the official trailer in HD.
It’s hard not to contain our excitement for the upcoming Joss Whedon joint, Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially with this new leaked trailer. It’s not the high-quality one you’ll likely see when Marvel Studios puts the official trailer up on YouTube, but it definitely looks legit.
The trailer gives us our first glimpse of baddie Ultron, voiced by James Spader, and features some creepy use of the Pinnochio song, “I Got No Strings” — a reference to the fact that Ultron is no longer a puppet, perhaps?
Wondering how many solar eclipses there have been since the day you were born? How about when your next birthday on Mercury is? Perhaps you want to know how much Earth’s population has changed since your very special day.
You can answer these questions and more at BBC Earth with this interactive tool — you just plug in your birthdate, height, and gender, and you’ll get all sorts of interesting facts about our planet, as it relates to your lifespan.
“Find out how,” says the BBC site, “since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space.”