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Marvel

Like many, I’ve been binge-watching Luke Cage – the Netflix series is perfect for afternoons once the long run is done. In this episode of The Rundown, I ran to some of the locations used in the show.

Also, this has to be one of my favourite scenes ever. The energy of Jidenna – he’s so compelling to watch in performing this track that opens Episode 5. Pro-tip: Long Live the Chief is also pretty great to run to!

If you want to run the route too, here it is:

luke cage map

Much has been said about the new Zack Snyder film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s the dawn to a new era of superhero movies from the DC stable, so it’s no wonder there’s a lot to say. Not to mention the insane amount of money spent on the film ($250 million to make, $150 to market), and all the vested interest within it. We’ve all heard how much is riding on this to set up the DC Universe for Warner Bros, following Marvel’s roll-out at Disney. But I wonder, where to from here?
The film has already found success in the US and globally, with a hot take-home at the box office. In South Africa, it’s become the biggest opening for a Warner Bros film (but is still behind Fast & Furious 7 in terms of 3 day-opening weekend), which has been the case in the US and other countries too.
And, yes, it’s been established that numerous critics have intensely disliked it. Filmmaker Kevin Smith has just panned it too, for its misunderstanding of the characters and being too dark, a sentiment shared by many of my favourite critics. He also says there was no humour whatsoever in the film, but I actually found the reason Batman and Superman stopped their fighting to be very funny. I couldn’t stop laughing at how lame they both sounded in the dialogue that followed. This is quite sad, given it’s a moment that’s actually meant to be pretty profound and moving.
This M & M review, aside from my friend Alicia Malone’s priceless facial expressions and one word answer to it all, expresses the disappointment I, too, felt early when an interesting idea that’s set-up at the beginning of the film for the audience is not followed through, because it’s just stuffed with too much material that makes no sense as a whole.  This review from GQ is unforgiving, but not as unforgiving as this one from Film Freak Central. Batman v Superman is a film that seems to suck the joy out of believing in something bigger than ourselves, something more positive and stronger and better.
But it’s already been established that all the critical response to the film doesn’t really matter, because people still paid to see it, they want to see it and will see it, based on the characters alone. What I want to know is, what does this mean for other films? If there’s this perception that these blockbusters will do well no matter what the story-line or lack of character development, what will happen to the willingness to invest in films that do pay attention to this? And will audiences just go on to accept this? I’m not a comic book geek so I don’t know the story-lines or characters well enough (even more reason then to explain who these new people are when you bring them into the film’s world) but I do love a good superhero film – yet only if I believe in the heart behind the actions. See, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers.
Who are we rooting for when that support isn’t actually isn’t earned? When the films just take for granted the built-in fan base and ride it? Does it even matter to ask out loud and want for more? I imagine these questions will no doubt be answered in the coming years – and the films they will bring with them. In the meantime, thank goodness for Wonder Woman, hey?

taylor

Hello from NYC, where I experienced the joy of being tweeted at by Orange is the New Black’s “Crazy Eyes” Uzo Aduba last night, after I realized I saw her at the NYC Marathon start line. 

Onto today’s entertainment news worth knowing...

* The Country Music Awards took place on Wednesday night, and Taylor Swift looked so sweetly delighted, as she always does when receiving an award, to be honoured by a whole bunch of artists she used to open up for and now more than likely outsells all of them. But she lost out on the Entertainer of the Year statue, which went to long-time “King of Country” George Strait.

* The Blockbuster video chain is closing its remaining stores and shutting down its DVD-by-mail business. I guess it was bound to happy, but it’s still a bummer.

* Marvel is debuting a new superhero – a 16-year-old Muslim-American girl named Kamala Khan, in a move aimed to reflect the growing diversity of its readers. Khan will be the new Ms Marvel, who lives with her conservative Pakistani parents and brother in New Jersey. Expect to start reading about her adventures early next year.

* There’ll be more American Horror Story to come – the series has been renewed for a fourth season, with Glee’s Ryan Murphy, aka ‘master television producer,’ back as producer.

* If you haven’t read it yet, Laurie Anderson wrote about her relationship with Lou Reed for Rolling Stone. RIP Lou.

Pic: taylorswift.com

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As we head closer to Halloween, one of the outfits I end up seeing most on the streets of New York is that of Captain America, with his trademark shield and face mask fending off witches and zombies that appear oh-so coincidently around this time. The timing is, therefore, great that Marvel this week revealed online the poster and the trailer for the upcoming Captain America The Winter Soldier.

The official plotline of Captain America: The Winter Soldier we’re told is that Cap, aka Steve Rogers, teams up with Black Widow, to battle ‘a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.’

“Gear up, it’s time,” our hero, played once again by Chris Evans tells Anthony Mackie’s S.H.I.E.L.D agent Sam Wilson in this trailer. Well, it’s almost time. In April 2014 we’ll get to see Chris in his slick new costume – which I’m liking a LOT – alongside Scarlet Johansson’ Black Widow, Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, and Mr Suave Robert Redford as a S.H.I.E.L.D head honcho.
For now, I’ll have to make do with the mini-Captains running around the streets.