Review: Luke Cage (Season 1)

Rule #1 of being a bulletproof superhero: get your hands on a bulletproof outfit

It’s past the middle of October, which means by now we’ve all binged our way through the first season of Marvel Studios’ Luke Cage on Netflix since it landed earlier in this month.

I think most people who have blitzed through these first 13 episodes will agree that showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker has crafted an entertaining show, albeit one that’s not without some fairly major flaws, either.

Still, by telling a superhero story directly linked to the African American experience, Choker and his team have created something different to every other comic book adaptation out there, pushing the genre in a new direction and putting out the most important work that Marvel Studios has produced since last year’s Jessica Jones.

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Review: Luke Cage (Season 1)

Noticeboard: October 2016

There’s two big reasons to celebrate here at The Pop Culture Studio this October.

The first – as you’ll no doubt have figured out from the above clip – is Halloween. Despite me being a self-avowed chicken when it comes to horror movies, you can expect at least a few posts between now and 31 October focussed on things that go bump in the night.

The other is The Studio’s birthday. That’s right, this month marks two years of posting about movies, TV, comics and more.

As always, a very big thank you to everyone who has supported The Studio over the last 12 months, and here’s to another great year!

Noticeboard: October 2016

Pop Culture By The Numbers: Ghostbusters

All the team were pretty happy with this infographic, except for Egon…

Which Ghostbusters movie has the most visual effects shots? At what ungodly hour did Ray Parker Jr compose the hit theme song? And just how many gallons of shaving foam does it take to simulate a downpour of marshmallow goo?

Find out in this month’s Halloween-themed Pop Culture By The Numbers infographic!

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Soapbox: What’s in a name? 10 big screen adaptations that changed the original title

How exactly does one “die hard”, anyway?

Whenever a novel, comic book, video game or even theme park ride is made into a movie, invariably, changes are made in an effort to make it work better for cinema-going audiences.

Whilst most critics and fans tend to focus on the alterations made to plot, characters and themes when a pre-existing work is reimagined for the movies, it’s worth noting that the original titles of these stories also tend to fall by the wayside during this process too.

Titles might not seem important in the grand scheme of things, but they really are.

Not only do they pique our initial interest in a story and help form our decision whether or not to check it out, but they can also provide additional commentary around the work and its themes, creating a complete storytelling package.

Sometimes, titles are changed for the better – either because the original handle would be a hard sell, or was even just plain awful – but other times, the results are less successful.

Here, I’ve rounded up 10 examples of big screen adaptations that ditched the title of their source material, giving my verdict on which of these rechristenings work (and which most definitely don’t)!

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Soapbox: What’s in a name? 10 big screen adaptations that changed the original title

Anatomy Lesson: “La Mer”

For a guy named “Smiley”, he sure does frown a lot…

I love James Bond. Seriously, the 007 franchise is an absolute favourite of mine.

Heck, I’m a sucker for spy movies in general – from the Bourne series through to Mission: Impossible flicks all the way down to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Yet even as I’m drawn to these films for their escapist thrills, there are times when I hanker for something a bit more “real”.

I’m talking about espionage yarns less about shooting up the bad guys and bedding gorgeous women, and more about the less glamorous legwork and moral quandaries that plague the secret agent trade as it exists in our world.

Fortunately, there are more than few films out there that cater to those with similar hankerings to get their fill.

One of the very best is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the classic John le Carré novel – released in cinemas five years ago this month – the closing montage of which serves as the basis for this latest Anatomy Lesson feature.

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Anatomy Lesson: “La Mer”

Noticeboard: September 2016

There’s nightmare cinema patrons, then there’s these guys…

As you’ve no doubt heard several times already by now, The Pop Culture Studio’s IT systems fell afoul of some pretty serious gremlins this August.

This meant that most of last month was spent trying to get the mischievous little bastards under control, the downside of which being that there were virtually no new posts for weeks in a row.

Fortunately, The Studio’s gremlin problem is now completely under control, and – as you’ll have noticed – new posts are already streaming in and should continue to do so for the rest of September (and beyond).

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that, at long last, The Studio is back – and better than ever!

Noticeboard: September 2016

Soapbox: Suicide Squad – How not every movie is for you and why critics aren’t the bad guys

This is pretty much what defensive fans looked like when the reviews rolled in…

We recently crossed the halfway mark for September, which means that for many people, Suicide Squad is well and truly old news.

However, thanks to the IT issues that brought The Pop Culture Studio shuddering to halt for most of last month, I still haven’t had my say on that movie and the furore that surrounded it – and believe me, I have PLENTY to share.

Continue reading “Soapbox: Suicide Squad – How not every movie is for you and why critics aren’t the bad guys”

Soapbox: Suicide Squad – How not every movie is for you and why critics aren’t the bad guys