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Friday, May 1, 2015

End of Week roundup, May 1st

--Everyone's talking about the Avengers movie (including our friend Rohan, who just can't take it anymore). But we keep getting distracted by thoughts of another superheroic fancy. You see, an infographic keeps making the rounds of which movie studios own the rights to which Marvel super heroes. Since establishing itself as a studio in its own right Marvel has reacquired the rights to many of its own properties.

But we're kind of charmed that Namor, the Sub-Mariner remains stubbornly at Universal.

--Marvel's ruler of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis is one of the company's oldest heroes, making his first appearance in 1939. His intense pride, mutant heritage, and status as defender of Atlantis often put him at odds with human civilization, though just as often he's joined the side of good, notably joining the Invaders in their battle against Axis powers during WWII. He's usually identified as an uneasy ally of the Fantastic Four, though character rights mean he's unlikely to appear in any of those movies.


--His weird holdout status at Universal seems hilariously in keeping with his inherently ornery nature - he has been Universal's sole Marvel holding even when those heroes were scattered across Hollywood, and we love that Universal continue to maintain a stranglehold on their one point of entry in the Marvelverse. We keep hoping that they'll pull the trigger on a Namor movie, and our mind wanders to a classic Universal-horror style movie featuring the Sub-Mariner. Let it be a moody swamp Gothic in the style of Creature of the Black Lagoon, and then let our cranky hero unleash watery carnage against the world in the second half.

--Meanwhile, back in reality, we're listening to the Beach Boys' SMiLE Sessions, in anticipation of a screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival tonight. Love and Mercy is a two-tiered biopic of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, played in the 60s by Paul Dano and in the 80s by John Cusack, and though we're not a soft touch for biopics the subject matter and angle taken on it intrigues.

--Our offerings at the festival have taken us all over the map, happily. Andrei Konchalovsky returned to his native Russia for The Postman's White Nights, a quietly humorous and moving story of a rural mailman seemingly fading into obsolescence (a far cry in mood and tone from Konchalovsky's Hollywood work, including Runaway Train and...wow, Tango & Cash). Controversial Berlin awardee Black Coal, Thin Ice was a modest but solid Chinese neo-noir, in which a retired policeman contends with a murder case that won't stay closed. A somber look at a grey, occasionally neon-lit China, yet with a coda that registers as the biggest belly laugh of the fest (even the killer cracks up).

Which seems plenty for the roundup today - more notes from the 'Fest next week!

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