Marvel releases the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer!

With November just a few weeks away, we now have the full trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With the full trailer, it looks like we’re focusing more on the clash between Namor’s people and the Wakandans. We also get a glimpse of Riri Williams Ironheart in the process, along with a better look at the new Black Panther.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theatres November 11.

Moon, Review by Case Wright, Happy Horrorthon! *Some Spoilers*

Happy Horrorthon! My midterms are done; so, I have this brief window to be analytical that doesn’t involve Petroleum, Carbon, A piston, or some sort of torque. This film is the kind of horror film that I like that dares to be political. Duncan explores the hidden cost and ineffectiveness of best intentions. You have an intractable problem, but is the solution actually helping and are the people advocating it trustworthy? Moon presents the problem: Global Warming. The solution that is marketed and sold to the world is fusion by strip mining the Moon and sending the fuel back to earth. There are scenes where we see scars on the moon from the strip mining. Are we creating a new problem? Is the solution a net wash? Is the solution financing an evil regime? Why is environmentalism immune to cynicism? The exploitation of an unlimited labor? Have corporations done anything ever to warrant even our limited trust? These are the questions that Duncan forces us to confront with horror.

I know that this sounds ham-fisted, but the political statements are brilliantly subtle. This is not a right-wing political film either; on the contrary, it’s about presenting the moral imperative of considering unintended consequences as we push to solve real problems.

My eyes rolled so hard at the opening though when a corporate ad from Lunar, the mining company, pushed their “Green Energy” solution that I almost turned it off because the last thing I needed post-midterms was someone scolding me for 97 minutes. However, the opening was visually stunning; so, I hung with the film. Also, it starred Sam Rockwell and he’s awesome. This was the directorial debut of Duncan Jones who is immediately identified as David Bowie’s son, but you don’t need to confirm that with Wiki because he looks just like his Dad.

We are in a future where fossil fuels are thing of the past and fusion via strip mining the moon is providing the world with a New Eden; at least, that’s what the totally trustworthy corporation is telling us in it’s slick ad.

(Now, if you want to really end ALL fossil fuels, the solution is to perfect Tesla Coils and wirelessly transmit electricity this would obviate the need for batteries and would power the world constantly. Horrorthon is not just for great commentary; it’s for learning! )

The film is a one-man/two man show….huh…just wait. Sam Bell is a moon worker on a three year contact, maintaining the moon harvesters as they strip mine this essential rock that keeps our axis stable. In this future, the job of astronaut is less Neil Armstrong and more horrible non-union factory job. Sam is dirty, breaking down, beginning to hallucinate, and bored to tears. The live-link to planet earth has not functioned since his arrival and he’s surrounded by nearly completed hobbies like whittling towns from his memories. We are forced to see the horror of a human being in profound loneliness and hopelessness for our needs.

The next plot point has Sam checkinng on a malfunctioning harvester; however, he has a vision of his daughter and he crashes. We see him pass out as he’s being buried alive. Sam wakes to his only companion- a robot with Kevin Spacey’s voice. Important note is that this film was from 2009. Sam’s suspicious that there might be something outside of the ship and the robot appears to be able to talk live with the evil corporate leaders from earth. Sam is determined to investigate outside the ship. After a brief sabotage, Sam is able to investigate the moon harvester. He discovers a busted up copy of himself.

He’s confronted with Lunar’s answer to the high cost of unions, labor complaints, and pay: you don’t negotiate with employees, you grow them. If things go really wrong like two clones meet, you send in goons to kill them, and wake up new disposable people. What’s is so painful is that the corporation gave the clone’s a 3 year lifespan; so, we watch Sam Bell Prime disintegrate slowly in scene after scene, including one where he spits out a molar… yeeeeech. While we see the human toll, we also see the moon missing huge chunks of itself as result of the mining. So, we are committing this horrible evil, but is this clean energy just creating a new and unintended problem? We are so desperate to not think things through that we greenlight an idea to destroy our own moon and credulously accept corporate talking points.

This film was thoughtful and painful. Duncan Jones forces us to think take some time and… THINK. What are we doing? Maybe doing something just to do something isn’t the answer? We are confronted what we don’t want to consider: how did this sausage end up in this package? I’m not seeing any pollution; therefore, it’s not happening. Our society is less owl and more ostrich every day.

Happy Horrorthon!

Film Review: Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. (dir by Adamma Ebo)

In Honk for Jesus Save Your Soul, Sterling K. Brown plays Lee-Curtis Childs, a once-popular and powerful preacher who is looking to make a comeback after his career and his church were both hit by a scandal.

Regina Hall plays Trinitie Childs, Lee-Curtis’s wife and the “first lady” of Wander The Great Paths Church.  She is just as determined as Lee-Curtis to make a comeback.

Together, they solve crimes!

Actually, they don’t.  They really don’t do much of anything, beyond trying and usually failing to talk people into returning to their church.  In archival footage, we see Lee-Curtis preaching the prosperity gospel and claiming that his faith in God is the reason why he not only has expensive clothes and a big house but that it is also the reason why he deserves them.  We see footage of Lee-Curtis in the past, condemning homosexuality from the pulpit but, in the present, Lee-Curtis seems to hit on almost every man that he meets.  Lee-Curtis is quick to smile and to speak of how he’s made his mistakes but he’s been forgiven by God.  At the same  time, he also always seems to be just one minute away from having a complete meltdown.

Trinitie spends her time trying to keep that meltdown from occurring.  She is someone who knows how to play the loving wife.  A meeting her mother establishes that being a loving wife is what Trinitie was raised to do.  It’s only in private that Trinitie reveals how difficult it is to be married to Lee-Curtis.  She wants the respect that comes from being married to a powerful man, enough so that she’ll even humiliate herself by standing on a street corner while holding a sign that requests for drivers to honk if they love Jesus.  When others attack her over her husband’s infidelities, she smiles and argues with them until she eventually reaches a point where she can smile no longer.

Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown both give excellent performances, with Hall doing an especially good job of capturing Trinitie’s conflicting emotions over being the wife of Lee-Curtis Childs.  As played by Hall, Trinitie is someone who knows that she deserves better but who has also become addicted to the lifestyle that comes from being the first lady of a megachurch.  As such, she’ll do anything to help Lee-Curtis regain his former popularity.  While Lee-Curtis practices vapid sermons and wallows in self-pity, Trinitie is the one who is left to talk to the people that Lee-Curtis victimized.  Brown has the magnetism necessary to be credible as a man who could convince others that he was without sin.  Hall has the determination necessary to be credible as the power behind the pulpit.

Unfortunately, as good as both Hall and Brown are, the rest of the film is a complete mess.  It starts out as a mockumentary but then it includes scenes that are clearly not meant to have been filmed by the documentary film crew.  Unfortunately, there’s rarely any indication whether we’re watching a mockumentary scene or a “behind the scenes” scene and it’s left to the audience to sort out which is which.  Ultimately, the film’s main flaw is one that is shared by many films that have attempted to satirize the excesses of organized religion.  Honk for Jesus Save Your Soul doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.  At this point, is anyone shocked to discover that some pastors are corrupt?  Is anyone shocked to discover that religious people can also be hypocrites?  None of the criticism is quite as groundbreaking or shocking as the film seems to think that it is.  The movie feels like the equivalent of the atheist who thinks that he’s the first person to make the “But if God created everything, who created God?” argument.  When it comes to making an argument one way or another about organized religion, Honk for Jesus is as shallow and predictable as the God’s Not Dead franchise.  This wouldn’t matter, of course, if the film’s satire had any bite or was, at the very least, consistently humorous.  Unfortunately, this is pretty much a one joke movie.  It is, admittedly, funny the first time that Hall switches from yelling to smiling when she realizes that she’s on camera.  But, at one hour and 40 minutes, a satire needs more than one good joke.

The film is partially redeemed by Hall and Brown but ultimately, there’s little here that hasn’t been done better before.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Stephen King Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to Mr. Stephen King!

In others words, it’s time for….

4 Shots from 4 Stephen King Films

Creepshow (1982, dir by George Romero, written by Stephen King, DP: Michael Gornick)

Maximum Overdrive (1986, dir by Stephen King, written by Stephen King, DP: Armando Nannuzzi)

Sleepwalkers (1992, dir by Mick Garris, written by Stephen King, DP: Rodney Charters)

The Stand (1994, dir by Mick Garris, written by Stephen King, DP: Edward J. Pei)

Music Video of the Day: Tovarish Gorbachev by Midnight Moscow (1987, directed by ????)

Yesterday, when I heard that Mikhail Gorbachev had died, I went on YouTube and did a search to see if I could find any music videos featuring him.  I was expecting that maybe I would find something from U2, as Bono used to be quite the Gorbachev fan.

Instead, I found this from 1987:

Don’t ask me what to make of it because I couldn’t begin to tell you.  I can’t even be sure what the name of the band is.  Some sites say the band was named Midnight Moscow while others claim that their name was Midnight’s Moscow.  What I can tell you is that this band is from Italy, not Russia.  And the majority of the lyrics of the song are pure gibberish.  They’re not singing in Russian or Italian.  Outside of “Welcome to the USSR,” almost all of the words appear to be made up.

I can’t even really tell you if this song is meant to be anti or pro-Soviet.  I still enjoyed seeing that picture of Stalin get ripped in two.


4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Wes Craven Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

83 years ago today, Wes Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio.  Craven started his career as an academic, teaching high school English.  However, realizing that there was more money to be made in the film industry, Craven changed careers.  By his own admission, he started his career directing “hardcore, X-rated films” under a pseudonym and it has been rumored that he was a member of the crew of the first “porno chic” film, Deep Throat.  Eventually, Craven broke into the mainstream with some of the most influential and often controversial horror films ever made.  From being denounced for the original Last House On The Left to changing the face of horror with A Nightmare on Elm Street to becoming something of a revered statesman and a beloved pop cultural institution with the Scream franchise, Wes Craven had a truly fascinating career.

In honor his films and legacy, it’s time for….

4 Shots from 4 Wes Craven Films

The Hills Have Eyes (1977, dir by Wes Craven, DP: Eric Saarinen)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, dir. by Wes Craven, DP: Jacques Haitkin)

Deadly Friend (1986, dir by Wes Craven, DP: Philip H. Lathrop)

The People Under The Stairs (1991, dir by Wes Craven, DP: Sandi Sissel)

A24 releases the trailer for X’s Prequel, Pearl

Anyone who watched Ti West’s X since it’s release in March were given a glance at Pearl, it’s prequel. I saw the sneak peek teaser when X was featured in A24’s Screening Room, the company’s digital showcase. I thought it was just something tacked to the end of the film, like Albert Pyun’s announcement for Tales of the Ancient Empire at the end of The Sword and The Sorcerer. I thought they were kidding.

Sure enough, here we are.

Pearl takes place years before the events of X, where we get to find out how things progressed to where they ended up. Mia Goth (Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria) returns for this tale, and I’m a little curious to see what they come up with here.

Pearl is set to release this September.

6 Shots From 6 Films: Special Stanley Kubrick Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

On this date, 94 years ago, Stanley Kubrick was born in New York City.  The rest, as they say, is history.

In honor of one of the world’s greatest directors, here are….

6 Shots From 6 Stanley Kubrick Films

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick, DP: Gilbert Taylor)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir by Stanley Kubrick, DP: Geoffrey Unsworth)

Barry Lyndon (1975, dir by Stanley Kubrick, DP: John Alcott)

The Shining (1980, dir by Stanley Kubrick, DP: John Alcott)

Full Metal Jacket (1987, dir by Stanley Kubrick, DP: Douglas Milsome)

Eyes Wide Shut (1999. dir by Stanley Kubrick, DP: Larry Smith)

Comic-Con ’22 – The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Teaser

With the passing of Chadwick Boseman, Ryan Coogler’s follow up to Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has some big shoes to fill. From the looks of this teaser, it appears they’re approaching the sequel with tons of reverence and perhaps Shuri (Letitia Wright) is possibly taking up the mantle of the Black Panther. With a little bit of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley fused with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”, things are looking hopeful. It’s possible that with all of the focus on the water and beneath the ocean, the Submariner could even be involved.

With most of the main cast returning, save for Daniel Kaluuya who was tied up on Jordan Peele’s Nope, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is due for release this November.