Artists That Got Me Through 2016

We’re almost there, guys. 2016 is almost over, and hopefully we can all enjoy a small bit of relief over that fact before 2017 comes up and sucker-punches us with its own particular existential shitshow. But even with all the awfulness of the last twelve months, there were some bright spots. I got my first comic story selected for publication. I got engaged. And as always, there has been some tremendous art from incredible artists to guide me and inspire me and lay the groundwork for how to face the world. So, in lieu of a normal Favorites list, I decided to write up the artists that helped me get through the ugliness of 2016.

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Everybody Calm Down About the “Noah” Trailer

Alright, first off I’d like to apologize for my absence the last couple of weeks. There’s no particular reason for it, I just got all lethargic-like and wasn’t getting any writing done. The most positive part is that I spent my free time watching movies instead of doing this, which I think is a fair trade-off.

Secondly, and much more importantly: the Noah trailer dropped yesterday. Darren Aronofsky’s next movie (and one of my most anticipated of 2014) has seemed like a big risk from the get-go, and now we’ve finally gotten a glimpse of it and reaction has been… muted, to say the least. io9 called it “Ye Olde Day After Tomorrow.” Drew McWeeny said it looked like “noisy blockbuster fare.” Devin Faraci called it “a pixelpit of meaningless proportions.” And I am here right now to say CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

Let’s be honest here: does the trailer look amazing? Not particularly. But it also doesn’t look bad; more than anything it looks a little broad and anonymous (which admittedly is the worst artistic sin possible). But let’s also be realistic about this. Noah is a $130 million movie for Paramount. Do you really think they would try and sell it with the sort of weird WTF moments that you’d expect from an Aronofsky fantasy movie? Of course not! They want as many asses in the seats as possible, and by traditional Hollywood wisdom you can’t get a big crowd with something like The Fountain (which is the best-case comparison for Noah I’d suspect). At the end of the day, this is a trailer, and trailers can be cut to make a movie look like anything. And considering the number of times you’ve seen awesome trailers for shitty movies, I’d think it’s possible to believe that a great movie can have a lame trailer.

Having said that, is it possible that Paramount is going to cut the hell out of the movie to make it match what’s in the trailer? Absolutely, and that would be a shame (at least until Aronofsky’s director’s cut hits Blu-ray and it achieves Kingdom of Heaven levels of redemption). But it is just as likely that all of the six-armed angels and other crazy bullshit that Aronofsky has planned is just being hidden from the disapproving religious audiences that Paramount is hoping will turn out for opening day? I definitely think so, and for now I’m just going to stay excited for Noah until the credits roll and I can form a real opinion.

Resistance Is Futile? The Studio Assimilation of the Indie World

Some of the more interesting buzz in the film world this week has been about the casting of Jurassic World, the long-awaited last-ditch attempt to save the Jurassic Park franchise. To me (and a lot of people, it seems), one of the most intriguing aspects of the project has been the hiring of Colin Trevorrow, the director of the terrific Safety Not Guaranteed, to helm it. It’s the latest example of a studio turning to an up-and-coming young talent to handle a major franchise film, a list that has recently included the likes of Duncan Jones (Warcraft), Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), and Marc Webb (Amazing Spider-man). However, in discussing this with a friend* I began to think about the topic of indie filmmakers being assimilated into the studio franchise system, and the causes, dangers and benefits of the film industry turning Sundance into a minor league farm system. More after the jump:

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