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Friday One Sheet: Celebrating Cronenberg and Alternative Poster Designs

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Friday One Sheet: Celebrating Cronenberg and Alternative Poster Designs

You may have noticed this week has been a big love-in on Canadian maestro, David Cronenberg, auteur of the horrors of the mind, and the flesh. His extensive (ahem!) body of work stretches back to the his short film work in the 1960s and his early 1970 feature film that shares the title of his current release, Crimes of the Future.

Below are many celebrations and variants of key art made by professional designers and fans to celebrate Mr. Cronenberg in all his forms, and while I do not have an alternate poster for every film (that would be too many) you will likely see your favourite entry of his canon in a new light. Let us be clear, that with only a few exceptions, the studio or original artwork to Mr. Cronenberg’s films usually is far behind the vision and creativity shown on screen, and many who truly admire his work have given us the nightmare fuel poster designs that we deserve.

Let us begin with Aleksander Walijewski’s modern Polish style take on The Fly, where a brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his teleportation experiments goes horribly wrong.

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Moving backwards to Michael Ironside and spectacular cranium explosions, Scanners, where we have Pete Knight’s line-art and grey matter take on the the dark thriller where “a scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.”

PeteKnight_Scanners-510.jpgAnd then there is the juicy and creepy Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar starring marriage breakdown and devil spawn drama, The Brood, with Mondo’s artist Sam Wolfe Connelly. “A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist’s therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.”

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This Japanese design, for his adaption of William S. Burrough’s Naked Lunch, was illustrated by legendary artist Hajime Sorayama. Focus on the sex and the bugs and the negative space and the touch-type. “After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.”

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And this fan art for the very controversial adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s Crash, from an unknown designer and illustrator using a key image from other key art, namely Patricia Arquette’s leg brace and fish-net stockings (and scars from pervious car accidents), as well as the many lane highways of Ontario, where the film is, which run between her legs. “After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.”

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And a French poster for psychological ‘Talking Cure’ drama, A Dangerous Method is not unlike the main key art, but it does the ‘overlap’ of the three central figures to put them into both a Venn style diagram or a mental link and it does so in photographic black & white. “A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.”

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Another Polish style poster from artist Marta Szmyd, on the deeply sublimated horrors of separated twins and gynecologists played by Jeremy Irons in a fabulous dual role in Dead Ringers. “Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.” Note the vaginal imagery in the poster below, it will be seen again further down.

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Cronenberg’s second collaboration with Jeremy Irons (third if you count the two performances in the above) was based on the play of the same name, and written by the author of the play David Henry Hwang. M. Butterfly is the film that most Cronenberg fans forget he made becuase it is the further afar from his usual themes, and is the director is, perhaps, at his most restrained.  “In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling.”  This beautiful poster, with Irons in mascara, makes wonderful use of both a costume-changing screen and patterend wallpaper, is from an unknown designer.

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Next we have this fabulously strange photo collage for Shivers, aka It Came From Within, from German designer, Silver Ferox. “The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.”

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And this comic book cover illustration by Brazilian illustrator Guilherme Fernandesfor, for the Christopher Walken starring adaptation of the Stephen King novel, The Dead Zone, where “A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.”

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There was never any good key art for the Virtual Reality quasi-sequel, eXistenZ, but Japan delivers this wonderful commercial release poster (designer unknown).  “A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.”

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And lastly, we have one of Cronenberg’s Signature works, worthy of two Alternate posters, the first is from Agustin R. Michel, here featuring the interlace lines, and a woman’s lips turned sideways to evoke vaginal space (with teeth). It also serves as the sleeve of a VHS tape, a medium critical to the era in which the film came out, an illicit media traded upon its magnetic tape.

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And the other Videodrome alternate key art from Adam Juresko, an illustrator/designer who frequently does event posters for Toronto’s Revue Cinema.  “A programmer at a TV station that specializes in adult entertainment searches for the producers of a dangerous and bizarre broadcast.”

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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