Film | by Shane “Boll Buster” Hnetka
The 18th movie in Marvel’s cinematic universe is out Friday and early reviews are great: as of Feb. 12, it sat at 97 per cent “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes and 87/100 on Metacritic. Strangely, notorious contrarian Armond White hasn’t yet reviewed the movie. White’s a troll who declared Justice League one of the year’s best films and “the epic we deserve”. Everyone else loves Black Panther so he’s probably going to trash it. He does know how to poke a nerd.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet recently accused director Guillermo del Toro of ripping off Amelie’s tap-dancing scene in The Shape of Water (Del Toro rejects this accusation). I can’t say if Jeunet has a fair point; regardless, it’s not the only plagiarism charge flying around right now.
One of the worst filmmakers of all time — Uwe Boll — has also been pointing fingers.
Boll directed video game adaptations such as Alone In The Dark and Postal (for which he won a Best Director Golden Raspberry award). These days, he mostly just hangs out in Vancouver writing movie reviews on his blog, where he trashed Paul Thomas Anderson’s multi-Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread — and, hilariously, accused the infinitely more talented Anderson of ripping him off.
Boll claims Phantom Thread’s poster copies the one-sheet for Boll’s 2005 vampire action stinker Bloodrayne, saying it’s clearly payback for the bad review. Leaving aside for a moment the question of how Anderson travelled back in time to pre-emptively design a revenge-poster for Phantom Thread — a movie Boll had not yet seen — I kind of doubt Anderson reads Boll’s blog. The really funny thing is, the posters are similar. I’m guessing this is because Hollywood marketing dingbats demand tepid, cookie-cutter movie posters so they all end up looking the same. Regardless, Boll’s complaints are pretty funny.
Black Action Heroes
Not surprisingly given racism, there haven’t been many mega-budget adventure movies with predominantly African American casts. With Black Panther opening this week I thought I’d take a look at trailblazing actor Paul Robeson.
Robeson was a renowned singer when he started making movies in the 1930s. He was the first black actor to get top billing over his white co-stars in such films as The Emperor Jones (1933), Dark Sands and King Solomon’s Mines (both 1937). This adaptation of H. Rider Haggard’s colonial-era adventure novel saw Robeson play Umbopa, a worker and deposed king who helps British hero Allan Quartermain (Cedric Hardwicke) and company defeat bad guys so he can regain his throne.
Sadly, remakes reduced the role and brought Quartermain — an inspiration for Indiana Jones — to the forefront.
Robeson eventually became disgusted at the sorry choice of roles available to blacks and he quit acting in 1942. He focused on singing and civil rights politics for the rest of career, enduring a Joe McCarthy blacklisting and restrictions on his freedom along the way. He died in 1976.
Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.