PODCAST: What Should WB Do With The Batman Film Franchise?

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Hey everyone,

Paul here,

With Tim off at a star studded gala, Ryan came in for the clutch rescue on co-hosting duties and CRUSHED IT! In this episode where we discuss where The Batman films should go from here after the Justice League debacle. We talk about directors, castings, storylines, all the different places we think an awesome Batman series of films could go. To help things along, Ryan and I do mock interviews with The President of Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara! (I really hit it off with Kevin, but Ryan kind of blew it) It’s a fun Episode so give it a listen! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14029859

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What I Want to See: The Fifty Shades Franchise

I kind of doubt that there is much overlap, between World’s Best Media’s audience, and The Fifty Shades audience, but hear me out, ok?

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The final Fifty Shades movie is upon us, and it seems like we may largely be done with this franchise altogether.  I personally don’t care whether or not it gets rebooted, or continued, but if it does, I have an opinion as to what I want to see from it.

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Now, let me be honest, I didn’t read any of the books.  I read a randomly selected page that my wife thought might entice me to read the entire book, and she was very wrong.  I did however go and see the first film with for Valentine’s Day, however many years ago that came out (was it two?  It feels like it was 5, but it’s been a crazy couple of years).  You may be surprised to hear this, but I didn’t think the film was as bad as seemingly everyone else did.  Don’t get me wrong, it was really bad, but there was a shining light.

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Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed the film, did as good of a job as possible with the combination of source material, and restrictions she was given.  For whatever reason, the studio dictated that she stick fairly rigidly to the dialogue from the novel, and the dialogue in the novel was apparently a complete dumpster fire.  “I’m Fifty Shades of fucked up!” is one of my top 5 least favorite movie lines of all time.

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According to my wife, there is very little description in regards to the visuals of the world, apparently E.L. James didn’t spend much time on setting or anything while typing away on her Blackberry. This allowed Taylor-Johnson to create a pretty interesting visual style.  One of the things that the film lets her play with is visual metaphors, and it enhanced the story immensely.  During the initial meeting with Christian Grey, the main character Anastasia Steele (God! I hate the names of so many fictional characters) is attracted and sexually aroused by him. While the dialogue and acting don’t do a great job of selling that point, there is a moment, immediately after the encounter, where Anastasia walks out of the building into the rain.  Now, this could easily be missed, but water signifies climax throughout the movie.  Later when they’re in the ‘red room,’ as Anastasia succumbs to Christian’s BDSM lifestyle, the camera pans up to a painting of water splashing hard against the rocks.

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I think this film, is similar to the problems that I have with the Star Wars prequels.  They stick to rigidly to dialogue that is not only awful, but also hurts the acting performances.  Had the studio not insisted on staying with the dialogue, then I think that Taylor-Johnson would have made the movie much more watchable.

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Now, that’s all in the past, and on this first go ’round, we got very little in the way of what I would have preferred (probably because I’m not the main audience for it.)  If there is a reboot, or further exploration of the concept, what I’d like to see is something different.  If you watch the movie Shame from 2011, you see an NC-17 film about a sex addict, which is gritty, and realistic, and harsh, but more importantly, it is sexual while not really being sexy.  It showcased Fassbender’s performance, as well as exposing many to a type of sexual behavior that they weren’t previously aware of.  That is what I’d like to see with any future Fifty Shades reboots, or reimaginings or whatever they come up with.  In this series you have a story that many actual BDSM practitioners have called abusive, because the author didn’t know what she was writing about, and very few people in the creative process knew enough to correct it.  Take these characters, adapt the story to conform into a more realistic BDSM relationship, scrap side plots, and dive into the psyche of the two characters, examine the roles within the relationship, show us why it works for these characters, water crashing against the rocks.  We’ve never seen that in mainstream film, and yes it would likely get an NC-17 rating, but if the subject matter, and acting, and pathos are all strong enough, with the “Fifty Shades” name on it, it could be really interesting.

What I Want to See: Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther is coming out next week, and I really wanted to write a What I Want to See in honor of it, but the truth is, that Black Panther as a character was the MVP of the one Marvel movie he’s been in, has had one of the coolest trailers in the MCU, looks like he’s could be the MVP of Infinity War.  As a movie, Black Panther boasts one of the more exciting casts, and crews of any MCU film to date.  Ryan Coogler coming off of Creed to the MCU is an inspired choice. So I didn’t want to do a What I Want to See about Black Panther.  I have faith in this, and What I Want to See, is what they’ve got, I think it’s going to be amazing.

I first saw Chadwick Boseman in 42, as Jackie Robinson, and he was great in that film.  Then a year later, he was James Brown, and I haven’t seen that, but again he looked awesome in it.  Then we got to see him as Black Panther in Civil War, and he stole the show.  This last year, he played Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

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He’s played 3 men who have been hugely important in the conversation of race over the last 70 years, and one of the most important fictional characters in the same area.  I really only know about these 4 roles, and I already consider Boseman to be a legend.

What I want to see, is Boseman get to play the big two.  The two big names we think of when we think of race in the last 70 years, I want to see him play Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  I think that he has the acting chops, and I would love to see what he can bring to these two characters, and while it may sound ridiculous, I’d be interested in seeing him do both in the same film.

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I think that it wouldn’t get taken seriously enough, but with two characters like that, two characters who we often think of as Yin and Yang, it would be really interesting to see what one actor can bring to both roles, to juxtapose them through one actor giving two performances.  I think the only man (at least right now) who could do that role, would be Chadwick Boseman.  I think he could give enough nuance to distinguish the two roles, and with make up they could make him look like two different people, and what we’d get would be something bizarre, but potentially really incredible.

We’re in a time where we’re seeing some very creative methods of telling historical stories.  Hamilton casts against historical race in order to show the spirit of America, we’ve seen time travel tell the story of JFK’s assassination and what his legacy may have been in 11.22.63.  We’re ready for something like this, and if you got someone with a really interesting direction style and Chadwick Boseman playing the leading roles, it could be amazing.  That’s what I want to see.

MUST WATCH: Black Lightning

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Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce AKA Black Lightning

Black Lightening Series Premiere Review

Written by Paul Wright

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Black Lightning is the latest superhero drama from The CW, which has made DC superhero shows it’s bread and butter. Based on the DC Comic of the same name, Black Lightning follows Jefferson Pierce (played by Cress Williams), a former Olympic medalist and retired consumed superhero with electricity powers and who gave up the life of superhero/vigilante Black Lightning, to focus on his family. Today, Jefferson’s main focus is raising his 2 daughters with his estranged wife and helping his community in a different way as an award winning high school principal. His oldest daughter Anissa is a medical student who inherited here father’s desire to help her community by protesting against the violent local gang The 100. Meanwhile his youngest daughter Jennifer, a senior at Jefferson’s high school, is going through her rebellious teenage years. Which of course drives her father nuts.

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What makes this series stand out is that it tackles issues of race, violence, and the antagonistic relationship between the police and the communities they protect, head on. Before the opening title is even shown, our hero, Jefferson Pierce is driving home with his two daughters and is pulled over and harassed by the police solely because he’s black. The police don’t even offer an apology or explanation when they realize they have the wrong man. It’s ugly and feels all too real. Like thousands of other police stops around the country that are a razors edge away from becoming a tragedy. It’s an opening that grabs you and gets your attention without any superheroics.

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Black Lightning is a surprisingly intense series for a superhero show on The CW. Maybe it just feels that way because much of what happens in the story is so similar to what we see on the news everyday. Considering that the main character is a meta-human with electricity powers the show feels more grounded than any other superhero show on The CW.

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Goddamn, that’s a sexy man…

MILD SPOILERS
There’s a great scene where Jefferson has to come to the rescue of his daughter Jennifer, when she gets in some trouble with members of the very dangerous 100 gang at a local club. Despite being out of the game for awhile, Jefferson can still kick ass and take names. After he absolutely fucks up the bad guys in the club, which is pretty damn cool, the cops show up as Jefferson is leaving and immediately pull their tasers on him (I should note that Jefferson is in formal wear throughout this scene). After yelling some racially charged orders at him, the cops tase Jefferson, at which point he’s had enough. When the taser has no effect on him, he electrocutes the 2 cops (without killing them) and blows up their police car. It’s a very cathartic moment. Cress Williams, who plays Jefferson, conveys very well that this is probably something that has happened to the character before and this time he’s not going to take any shit.

END SPOILERS

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There’s a lot to like in this series. There’s even a little bit of a “Dark Knight Returns” vibe. An aging hero comes out of retirement to find his city worse off than ever and he’s forced to confront a particularly vicious gang. There are definitely some parallels there. Also, any big DC Comics fans could guess where some of the stories may go for certain characters.

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Black Lightning in the comics as a member of the Justice League. Umm.. he’s the black guy. Man, the JL needs some diversity!

Overall, Black Lightning was surprisingly good and a welcome addition to The CW’s DC Superhero line up. It’s not completely clear if this show takes place in the “Arrow-verse”, but we are told that other superheroes exist in other cities in this world. Unlike those other DC Superhero shows, Black Lightning seems to have something of a bit more substance to say, which is always welcome in the genre. The characters are likable, especially Cress Williams in the lead roll, the story is appropriately timely, and there are some excellent action sequences. Black Lightning is definitely a show to check out. Highly recommended.

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Another picture of Black Lightning from the DC Comics

Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights on The CW at 9PM!

Black Lightning: 8.8/10

Thanks for reading!
-Paul

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TRAILER: Altered Carbon

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Here’s a very cool trailer for a new series Netflix premiering this year starring Joel Kinnemam from “The Killing”and “Suicide Squad”. I almost thought this was a movie because the special effects and production value were so great. Netflix really seems to be going after it lately with it’s movies. As one of the people who ended up really liking Bright, it’s really cool to see Netflix taking risks and putting out really great looking films. So, I can’t wait to see this movie. My one criticism is that It looks a little too Blade Runner, but I guess it’s based on a beloved book and apparently it’s pretty faithful to the source material. Check it out:

What I Want to See: YA Dystopian Movies

 

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re aware of some of this recent trend in dystopian films, in which a kid is chosen to go against a huge government conspiracy.  Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, you know what I’m talking about.

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I was on board with Hunger Games, I read the books, and saw the movies.  I really liked the books, and thought the movies did a pretty good job translating them to the screen.  They’re not the deepest in movies or books in the world, but after Harry Potter finished up, they helped to fill the hole.

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Then I started reading the Divergent series, and the first couple of books were enjoyable, the third one was terrible, and then I saw the first movie, and realized that I just didn’t care about it.  I haven’t seen the second, and I think there was a third, but apparently the audience fizzled out like I did and so I guess they’re not even going to finish the series in cinematic releases, but instead a made-for-TV movie.

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Then there was the Maze Runner.  Now, I didn’t read the novel, I listened to the audiobook, and if I’m being honest, it wasn’t good.  I thought the story was good, but the dialogue wasn’t good, and I wasn’t sure if it was writing or delivery.  I tried to listen to the second one but gave up half way through.  When the movie came out, I didn’t bother to see it in theaters, just waited until it was on HBO.  I still haven’t seen the sequel which has been available on HBO for a while.

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Ultimately, these series all told the same basic story, big bad government uses kids for entertainment/soldiering/whatever, and one kid decides to defy them.  They’re too formulaic now, and really there isn’t much that’s unique or interesting about them.  They found something that worked, and milked it, and I think now we’re seeing it dry up.

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What I want to see, is good science fiction in this category.  Good stuff targeted to the PG-13 crowd, with new and interesting ideas.  I’m currently reading Ready Player One, which is coming out as a movie in a few months (directed by Steven Spielberg), and it might be what I’m waiting for.  So far, it appears as if the goal is different, and I just hope it isn’t too formulaic.  So far, it seems that corporations and not the government are the bad guys; while it seems to be a competition against a large force, they don’t seem to have a significant nearly insurmountable advantage, and as far as I can tell there are no big hidden secret conspiracies lurking to end the first section (all three of the other franchises are trilogies, and Ready Player One is a stand-alone).  Now, I’m not very far into the book, but I am really hoping this is the one to buck the trend.

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You look at something like The Matrix, and not only did it visually revolutionize film, but the ideas and concepts it portrayed were interesting and new.  You might be able to say Hunger Games (on a much smaller scale did that) but then we saw so many copycats.  What I want to see is another movie that makes us go “oh I never would have thought to do that,” and I want that on a story telling level, visually if possible, and basically in anyways filmmakers can come up with, but I don’t want to know the beats and structure of a film because I saw what it’s knocking off anymore.  This is a problem that is not unique to this genre, but does seem to have gone from height of popularity to almost completely waning in the public eye in record time, and so we need something new!

 

Cool STAR WARS Artwork

Hey, everybody

I saw this fantastic Star Wars artwork in an Entertainment Weekly special edition by an artist named Martin Ansin and thought they were incredibly cool.  There are different pieces of art for different Star Wars eras. I really wish I could buy prints of these online. Check them out:

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The Prequels
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The Original Trilogy
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The Expanded Universe/Legends (This is by far my favorite)

This doesn’t continue the theme of the other pieces, but it’s still cool

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Old Ben Kenobi not putting up with any shit.

Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s a link to his website:

http://www.martinansin.com

Thanks,

-Paul

 

 

 

PODCAST: The Best & Worst Of 2017! (Part One)

 

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Hey, everyone

It’s Paul

So this is it! We made it through 2017! Building World’s Best Media, writing articles and reviews, and recording podcasts have all been an absolute blast for myself and the incredibly talented people who contribute to World’s Best Media. We couldn’t have done any of it with the support of our listeners and readers. So thank you very much, it means the world to us.

Now with this being the end of the year and all, Tim and I decided it would be a good time to do a look back at the best and worst of 2017. We cover everything from the best and the worst movies, comics, TV shows, books, and more. It’s a 2-Part Episode and Part-One mostly focuses on TV. Or should I say content? A large portion of the shows we discuss in this episode come from streaming services. How we watch television has already drastically changed from 10 or even 5 years ago. With big companies like Disney and Warner Bros. starting their own streaming services in 2018 and 2019, things are going to change even more. It’ll be interesting to see where things go…

Also expect a Review of the Netflix show, Mindhunters, later this week. And  of course keep an eye out for part two of this episode.

Anyway, THANK YOU! Have a safe and Happy New Year and check out part one the episode below or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13683765

Thanks for listening!

-Paul

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