Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures
Directed by Angela Robinson
You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too! The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career! What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne. Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s. With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson? Let’s find out!!
Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true. They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film. Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye. Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun. Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful. Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book. Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life? What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country? Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?
American Ultra and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Did someone finally remake Natural Born Killers? No? That sacred cow hasn’t been milked yet? Eh… give it time. Until then, we’ve got the next big film from Max Landis. No, he didn’t direct it. He wrote the movie and it’s his big follow up after Chronical, and we all know how well things turned out for the OTHER guy who made that movie! All joking aside, Chronical was one of the best examples of not only the found footage genre but the super hero genre as well. The story was complex and heartfelt while still being an exciting and unique take on portraying super powers in film. Can Max Landis pull off another hit with this film about a stoner sleeper agent, or will he be doomed to the same fate as Josh Trank whose sophomore slump is easily the biggest disaster of the year? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) who’s some dipshit loser in West Virginia with a lousy job, a drug problem, and a condition where he has panic attacks whenever he tries to leave town. The only good thing the sad sack has going for him is his sad sack girlfriend Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) who’s only slightly more functional than he is in that she doesn’t nearly burn the house down due to her own absent mindedness. Mike is certainly trying to do better by her, but this is a guy with no ambition and little imagination. Aside from his doodles about an astronaut ape, he barely gives off any signs of conscious thought other than guilt for being lucky enough to find Phoebe and the fact that she loves him just as much as he loves her. Of course, things aren’t as simple as they seem. Being a man child movie, our hero has to have some super ability that they didn’t really earn, and in this case it turns out that he’s actually a decommissioned CIA sleeper agent with skills to rival James Bond… despite being MAYBE twenty five (at least as far as the movie is trying to sell the premise as). Of course, being an unstoppable badass who ain’t doing shit to no one, some pencil pushing mother fucker (Adrian Yates played by Topher Grace) decides that Mike needs to be eliminated and sends out a bunch of goons to 86 the bastard. The original leader of the program that turned Jesse Eisenberg into teenage Terminator (Victoria Lassetter played by Connie Britton) gets wind of this and is doing what she can to keep him alive while he starts to remember the skills he had in the past. Can he survive these attempts on his life and get his girlfriend through this ordeal safely, or will the weight of these revelations be too much for him to handle?
“Can we not do this today? It’s been kind of weird around her lately…”
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this show. It’s supposed to be a mash up of many kinds of horror elements into one series, and each season is its own self-contained story. With a 12 episode season to explain what is going on, I think it has real potential to go in depth with what is going bump in the night, which is a pretty unique angle in horror. Not often do we spend a lot of time with the person or entity terrorizing the heroes. Sure, we have characters like Hannibal Lecture, Norman Bates, and even Freddy Kruger to an extent, but going into how the monster was made is something that a television show can deliver that an hour and a half movie can’t. With that in mind, let’s get this started.