Higher, Further, Faster: Captain Marvel

Sunday, March 10th, 2019 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)

I just came back from watching Captain Marvel with my 14-year old son. He was super excited to see it. He hasn’t yet maxed out on superhero movies like his dad. That being said, I was also pretty hyped to see it, in part because Captain Marvel was one of the comics I first started collecting when I was eleven and twelve years old. Back then, I was reading the Mar-Vell version, but I also picked up some Claremont/Cockrum Ms. Marvel because of Captain Marvel and because Carol Danvers was a regular in the Uncanny X-Men at the time.

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Goth Chick News: Before the Turkey There Was Days of the Dead

Thursday, November 29th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Days of the Dead 2018-small

For the last six years, Goth Chick News has concluded the haunt season with a final show which rolls through Chicago each November. Days of the Dead (DotD for you cool kids) has always been an interesting experience and the 2018 show which occurred last weekend was no exception.

In past years DotD has resulted in memorable encounters with the likes of Vampire Santa, Carrie Henn who played “Newt” in the movie Aliens, and my spiritual hubby, Brad Miska aka “Mr. Disgusting” owner of the premier horror website Bloody Disgusting. It has also been the source of quite a lot of under-the-breath commentary from Black Gate photog Chris Z such as his whispered “What the f***?” when Sleepy Hollow actress and former Tim Burton muse finally showed up to her press call (click here for why) and his speculation on the cause of Tara Reid’s extreme tardiness which likely wasn’t the “late lunch” her handler offered.

The 2018 event was a little thin on “celebrity” front with the biggest names being Clive Barker, who was quite a score since getting someone out of LA to Chicago in November is no small accomplishment, and the rapper Coolio who I guess was there for his appearance in the 2004 movie Dracula 3000 and not his web foodie show Cooking With Coolio. Nonetheless, there was still a lot of fun stuff to share.

So let’s dive in shall we?

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The Doctor Is In: Marvel’s New Doctor Strange Movie

Sunday, November 6th, 2016 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

doctor-strangeOK. I may have let on that I like Dr Strange when I wrote two blog posts about his early development in Marvel Comics:

Dr. Strange, Part I: Establishing the Mythos: Master of the Mystic Arts in The Lee-Ditko Era
Dr. Strange, Part II: Becoming Sorcerer Supreme and Dying in the Englehart Era.

I just watched the movie (here’s a trailer) and have to say I really enjoyed it. I’m not going to do anything spoilery here.

Nor do I have strong feelings about the change in the Ancient One other than to say I don’t care what gender the character is, but a Himalayan mystic should have stayed Asian, despite all the stereotype problems built in the Ancient One figure anyway.

But I am doing some puzzling over what kind of Dr. Strange I just saw. Doctor Strange as a 53-year old intellectual property of Marvel Comics has stayed remarkably faithful to the origin tone, no matter what decade, or what cross-over event he’s been involved with.

Cyclops and Professor X had their turns at being evil. Magneto had his turn at being good. The Fantastic Four has rotated its lineup. Tony Stark was a carefree millionaire who got drunk and lost his company. Steve Rogers became Nomad for a time.

But other than a few failings built into the character early in the game, Strange has remained pretty consistent. But this movie didn’t hit the tone I expected.

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I Am Not a Serial Killer Film Drops (Someplaces) Tomorrow

Thursday, August 25th, 2016 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

i-am-not-a-serial-killer-poster-2I am not particularly active on Twitter lately, but today I had a bit of time and hopped on, only to see the following headline shared by Dan Wells:

Retro-horror mashup ‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’ has an unexpectedly warm and fuzzy side

The tweet included a link to an LA Times review of the film I Am Not a Serial Killer which, according to IMDB, is set to release tomorrow, on August 26. Another review, over at the A.V. Club, proclaims “Psychopaths are people too.”

Despite being fond of Wells’ horror novel of the same name, I had no idea this film was on the horizon, and am definitely pleased to see it getting initial praise. If you want to really get a taste for what to expect, I suggest the fantastic trailer for it. (If you want to see the movie, check the bottom of this article for links, which I’ll update if I find more online availability after it is released. Feel free to skip there, if you have seen enough and want to avoid spoilers.)

The movie is based on the novel of the same name, which has gone on to spark a number of sequels featuring the main character, teenage John Cleaver, who is also a diagnosed psychopath. John’s fear is that his psychopathic urges will get the better of him, and that he will lose control of himself. To prevent this, he studies serial killers intently and has developed a series of rules that are designed to maintain his veneer of normalcy. One of the rules shown in the trailer, for example, is that when he feels an urge to kill someone, he instead compliments them. (A tip that is also helpful when maneuvering social media.)

John works in his family’s mortuary, which gives him some release for his interest in death. But he gets more than he bargains for when a series of murders in his quiet down prove to be the work of an actual serial killer. John’s expertise in this area leads him to discover who the serial killer is, and it turns out the police are not equipped to deal with the menace. In attempting to deal with things the “right” way, John finds events slowly becoming worse. He is forced to step up, breaking his own rules, and slowly getting in touch with his own darkness in order to combat the killer that threatens his community.

And that’s when things start getting really bad.

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Goth Chick News: So There Really Was Something In The Woods…?

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Woods movie banner

In spite of the fact John O will not allow us to borrow the Black Gate dirigible for a road trip (air trip?) out to the San Diego ComicCon, we followed all the many developments of last week from afar, with maniacal interest. After all, this is where we see what we have to look forward to on the entertainment front as we slog through another Midwest winter.

From world-class cosplay to the many celebrity appearances it was difficult to decide where to look first – unless of course you’re obsessed with a good horror movie, in which case the place to look was the many trailers which made their debut during the week.

We had glimpses of Justice League, Kong: Skull Island, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and a television-series version of The Exorcist starring Gina Davis, which actually looks pretty interesting if you don’t mind priests fighting demons with guns instead of holy water.

But an unexpected treat came in the form of the screening of an upcoming found-footage horror film called The Woods.

From what we are told, during the screening the posters for The Woods in the theater lobby were swapped out for ones simply titled Blair Witch, and audiences were informed that they were about to watch a direct sequel to the 1999 horror blockbuster that started the craze: The Blair Witch Project.

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Hear John Goodman Give a Speech Straight Out of Lovecraft in Kong: Skull Island

Sunday, July 24th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Among the many fascinating trailers shown for the first time at Comic-Con this weekend (including those for Justice League and Wonder Woman, which we showcased here, and the first official trailer for Dr. Strange) was a special Comic-Con trailer for Kong: Skull Island. Produced by the Legendary team behind the latest film version of Godzilla (see Ryan Harvey’s rave review here), the film is also a set-up for the upcoming Godzilla Vs. Kong megapicture.

All very cool. But this most interesting part of the trailer for me (next to the peek at actress Brie Larson, who’s just been cast as Captain Marvel) was John Goodman’s brief speech, which is straight out of H.P. Lovecraft.

This planet doesn’t belong to us… ancient species owned this Earth long before mankind. I’ve spent 30 years trying to prove the truth. Monsters exist.

You tell ’em, Goodman! The world needs to know this stuff. Also, you should let everyone in on the giant insects of Monster Island.

Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell, Tom Wilkinson, Terry Notary, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly. It is scheduled for release on March 10, 2017.

See the Comic-Con Teaser Trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman

Sunday, July 24th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

I quite enjoyed Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman. One of the things I liked best about it was the care it took in setting up follow-up features in the DC Universe. Yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. unveiled some of the fruits of that careful planning, with the first teaser trailer for Justice League, and a full-length trailer for Wonder Woman.

Justice League features Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, and looks like a lot of fun. Clearly following in the successful footsteps of Marvel’s Avengers, the film gathers an ensemble cast (including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J. K. Simmons, Amber Heard and Willem Dafoe) and sets up an epic battle between Earth’s mightiest heroes and an extra-planetary menace.

Principal photography began on April 11, 2016, so this is obviously very early footage. Not a lot is known about the plot, but we do know that Batman assembles the team to take on the interdimensional threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons, as hinted in the closing scenes (and this deleted scene) from Batman vs. Superman. Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder and scheduled for release November 17, 2017.

Be sure to check out the first full-length trailer for Wonder Woman, also released this weekend at Comic-Con. Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, and staring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, and Robin Wright, is the fourth installment in what’s now being called the DC Extended Universe. The producers have whole-heartedly embraced Wonder Woman’s epic backstory, including her origin as Princess Diana of Themyscira, warrior princess of the Amazons of Greek mythology. Gadot surprised me in Batman vs. Superman, pretty much stealing all the scenes she was in, and she brings a marvelous gravity to the role. The film is scheduled to be released on June 2, 2017.

Star Trek After All: The New Trailer for Star Trek Beyond

Saturday, May 21st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

I’ve enjoyed the first two films in the Star Trek reboot, despite the fact that they’ve veered pretty far from the kind of thoughtful storytelling that made the show great. But as flashy summer blockbusters without a lot of depth go, they’re better than most — and the writers certainly captured the humor of the show, at least.

But when I saw the first trailer for the third film, Star Trek Beyond, I thought new director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) had pretty much abandoned all pretense of making a Star Trek film in favor of a two-fisted action-comedy in space. Co-screenwriter Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), who also plays Scotty, has clearly put his comedy stamp on this one. Was there anything of Star Trek left?

The second trailer, released today, is a dramatic shift in tone from the first one, and seems to confirm that yes, this is a Star Trek film after all. Have a look and see what you think. Star Trek Beyond is being produced by Skydance and Bad Robot Productions, and will arrive in theaters on July 22, 2016.

Check Out the Teaser Trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

I’m very excited by Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange movie, even more than I usually am by big-budget comic adaptations. And the brand new teaser trailer — featuring our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the sinister Baron Mordo — isn’t helping me stay calm at all.

I view Doctor Strange at the last major untapped Marvel property. The 1960s comic, by Stan Lee and the brilliant Steve Ditko, the team that created Spider-Man, created in Doctor Strange a truly unique comic character, a sorcerer-hero who learned to navigate the strange paths between our reality and the next, and in the process discovered an endless chain of bizarrely-connected — and frequently very dangerous — parallel dimensions. I had real fears the movie would gloss over that aspect of his origin story, or ignore it entirely, but this trailer has put those to rest. It’s going to be epic.

Doctor Strange is scheduled for release November 4. It also stars Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen, and is directed by Scott Derrickson (The Messengers, Sinister). See our previous coverage here and here. Derek Kunsken took a detailed look at Lee and Ditko’s original comic here and here.

The Stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax Mark a Milestone

Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Posted by Nick Ozment

mst3kHuluWhen you watch a film synched up to RiffTrax, do you still picture the silhouettes of wisecracking ‘bots Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot in the little Satellite-of-Love screening room of your mind?

And if not a smidgen of that question made sense to you, this post probably is one you can skip (unless you’re a completist, and have thus far read every Black Gate post to date. In which case, we should probably know who you are. Has anyone read every single BG blog all the way back to day one?).

This report goes out to fellow Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) fans out there in the blogosphere. On July 9 of this year, on special assignment from BG’s Midwestern outpost in Minnesota, I attended a live screening of the RiffTrax presentation of Sharknado 2: The Next One. Two fan-buddies who share my adoration of Michael J. Nelson and his crew accompanied me on this outing (readers here will be familiar with one of those friends: none other than sometime BG scribe Gabe Dybing). In a bona fide movie theater we would share with other diehard fans an experience usually relegated to our laptops and living room televisions.

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