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What happens on the fourth day?

What happens on the fourth day?


  • Preview Roundup – April 18, 2015

    Previews

     

    For our first Preview Roundup in ages, we have a wealth of nerdy films to review, though it’s more quality than quantity.  The previews are presented in order of their movies’ release dates.

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  • You May Have Missed This: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

    Back in 1997, much of the world was introduced to the name Nicholas Flamel through the J. K. Rowling novel Harry Potter and the Philospher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone. Hermione discovered that he was a famous wizard who studied alchemy and through the philospher’s stone, achieved immortality.

     

    A decade later, that name came cropping up again. If you know your history, it’s not a new name. When Michael Scott published The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst in 2007, some people believed he ripped off ideas from J. K. Rowling. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Nicholas Flamel, and his wife Perenelle, are in fact actual human beings.

     

    The covers of the complete series

    The covers of the complete series

     

    Scott’s book series takes this man of legend, as well as dozens of other myths as historical figures, and molds them into an ingenius, cohesive story. At the center of each characters plot lies immortality. The basic premise is that all these mythical creatures and figures have lived for centuries among us, mere mortal humans.

    Immortality is given to the various characters via different means. For some, they are gods and their genetics are essentially a given right. In addition to it, their children–the Second Generation have the immortal genes. For Nicholas and Perenelle, without the Codex, both of them will die within a month, as their immortality and prolonged youth and longevity depends on a recipe for a special elixir found only within its pages. This elixir changes monthly and cannot be memorised. 

    Dr. John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli, other historical figures in the series, were born human but given immortality by the gods. A large portion of this series is based around Dee stealing the Codex and the Flamel’s facing mortality as they try to get it back.

    Needless to say, immortality is an interesting element to add in any story, and can be a power obtained through multiple means.

    If you haven’t yet read this series, definitely check it out. It’s well worth your time and a pretty quick read.

     

    A blurry photo of "Flamel" author, Michael Scott, and myself.

    A blurry photo of “Flamel” author, Michael Scott, and myself.

    Mallory Douge is not only the Young Adult Lit expert for Fourth-day, but is involved in the Young Adult Cancer Community. Follow her advocacy effortson Twitter here: @YAKidneyCancer


  • Re-Watch: Captain America: The First Avenger

    Captain-America-The-First-Avenger-Marvel-Movie-PosterI never understood why more people didn’t like Captain America: The First Avenger.  Of all the Phase One movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it had one of the poorest receptions, both financially and critically.  It was my favorite, however, more so than Iron Man, Thor, and certainly better than The Incredible Hulk.  But, then, I think Man of Steel is the best Superman movie yet, so I’m used to being in the minority opinion.

     

    Still, even upon re-watching it, I don’t see much to not like about Cap’s first film.  Chris Evans does a fine job reinventing himself after his time as the Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four movies.  The movie does the best job it can navigating a complex origin story.  Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, is easily the strongest and most well-developed female character in the MCU (yes, even more so than Black Widow).  And, it has Hugo Weaving playing Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull.  Of all the Marvel villains who showed up for one movie and were killed off at the end, he’s the one I would have kept around for more (and possibly Ivan Vanko).

     

    There are some legitimate criticisms of the movie, I suppose.  There are some scattered plotholes, the action sequences could have been longer (and better-executed), and any audience outside of the United States is going to shake their heads at a film about a hero wearing the American flag as a uniform.  But, that last one is hardly fair.  I mean, it’s not like he’s Superman and all he needs to do is stopping saying things like “truth, justice, and the American way” and suddenly he’s a global entity.  Captain America’s whole origin story, at least, is meant to be wrapped up in the effort to make him an American symbol.  The movie does try to make him more multicultural, with the involvement of British agents like Peggy Carter, and coalition soldiers being part of his “Howling Commandoes”.  And even Cap himself is given a chance to show how fed up he is with all the jingoism and being used as a stage prop when there are real world issues to handle; perhaps trying to preemptively combat the perception that this movie is an excuse to give America the spotlight, like it did in movies such as Independence Day and even Rocky IV.  But, perhaps the character just needed a couple of more movies to grow beyond that perception.

     

    Stephen Monteith sometimes wonders what the Avengers franchise would have become if Captain America had been made first instead of Iron Man.  You can read his original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • Re-Watch: Thor

    Thor-1 (image credit - blog.moviepostershop.com)The Honest Trailer (jokingly) calls it Thor’s Obligatory Movie, something Marvel needed to make so they could fill their Avengers roster before the big team up in 2012.  I like to think of Thor, however, as Marvel’s chance to introduce new, fantastical elements into their movie universe, like gods and magic.  It was a chance they blew, unfortunately, when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tells Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) that magic and science are “one and the same”.  Sure, it makes a nice line for the trailer, but…you know what?  I’ll save that for another article.

     

    Thor was a good film; not a great one, but not bad, either.  Chris Hemsworth is remarkably charming and even funny as the title character.  The rest of the cast is equally entertaining, especially the Asgardians.  Sir Anthony Hopkins, who plays Odin, is without peer in his talents.  And, of course, the breakout star of the movie is Tom Hiddleston as Loki.  Quite frankly, Loki was the most interesting part of the movie.  It feels like it hardly needs to be said, but his character has more depth, more range, quite simply more dimensions than anyone else, including Thor himself.

     

    The plot is supposed to be about a brash warrior god-prince who is banished to live as a human on Earth.  But, upon re-watch, it seems Honest Trailers was right when they said Thor’s arc was completed over the course of a “long weekend”.  He’s disgraced, banished, redeemed, and restored in the space of three days.  While Loki’s subplot is covered in the same amount of movie time, it’s much more believable and engagingly portrayed.  It’s not that surprising, really, considering director Kenneth Branagh’s background in Shakespearean film and theater.  It’s no wonder his character has become such a sensation, and such a fixture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

     

    As much as Stephen Monteith likes Loki, he blames him for Thor not getting more development in his own movie.  You can read Stephen’s original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • Re-Watch: Iron Man 2

    Iron Man 2 (image credit - movieposter.com)Iron Man 2 is generally considered to be the weakest of the Iron Man films, sacrificing quality storytelling and character development for the sake of setting up the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s feared that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will suffer similar criticisms once it reaches theaters next year.

     

    I never thought IM2 was that bad, though; and I’ve never been sure what else people wanted from it.  Tony Stark’s downward spiral, fueled by his impending death, was pretty well-portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr.  Some have criticized the film for devoting time to Black Widow and Nick Fury in an effort to set up the larger movie universe, but they still served as supporting characters, feeding Tony’s storyline as much as their own.  I hope the same will be said of all the superhero “cameos” in BvS next March.

     

    As for the villains, yes, they were underutilized, but no more so than most other Marvel villains.  Mickey Rourke was appropriately menacing and diabolical as Ivan Vanko.  And, as annoying as I personally found Sam Rockwell’s performance as Justin Hammer, it fit perfectly into the plot and even the tone of the movie.  I like IM2 at least as much as the first film, and certainly more than I like IM3.

     

    Stephen Monteith knows it’s no coincidence that the most interesting Marvel villain is the only one allowed to live past the end of his movie.  You can read his original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • Hulk vs. Hulk (vs. Hulk)

    Until the advent of Iron Man, the most recognizable character to which Marvel Studios still had the rights was the Hulk.  He had a popular TV series in the late 70s, followed by three excellent TV movies, and his signature lines “Hulk smash!” and “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” have become cultural icons.  When Marvel started their great experiment, his character was considered just as important as, if not more so than, their current poster boy.  Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk was released within a month and a half of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, and it starred an actor, Edward Norton, who was arguably just as big as Robert Downey, Jr. at the time.

     

    Bana, Norton, Ruffalo.

    Bana, Norton, Ruffalo.

     

    There was just one problem:  the Hulk had just been made into a movie a few years earlier, directed by Ang Lee and starring the relatively unknown Eric Bana.  Reboots were virtually unheard of in those days.  Yes, Batman Begins and Superman Returns had both come out at that point, but they were reboots of franchises that had completely petered out after four movies apiece.  Hulk was just one film, after which Marvel decided they absolutely needed a new Hulk; and, as we know, it wasn’t the last time they made that decision.

     

    I never thought Ang Lee’s film was that bad, to be honest.  The visuals were kind of trippy, and Nick Nolte’s character was definitely distracting, but the core characters, i.e. Bruce Banner and Betty and General Ross, were all done very well.  I enjoyed each of their portrayals in Hulk more than I did in The Incredible Hulk.  And I feel that TIH‘s decision of tying Banner’s transformations to his heart rate rather than his anger is as much a mistake as having him be able to control it in The Avengers by “always (being) angry”.  Both moves take away something important from the character.  It’s one area in which I feel Eric Bana’s Hulk is superior to both Edward Norton’s and Mark Ruffalo’s.

     

    That doesn’t mean I think his Hulk is the best, of course.  Ruffalo’s has the benefit of almost a whole decade’s worth of advancement in CGI technology, and as such is clearly the best-looking Hulk.  And the plot of Norton’s Hulk was far more straightforward and action-oriented.  But, I’ve never been a fan of “dumbing down” superhero movies and making them all about action. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, anyone?)  And, after all, Ruffalo’s Hulk hasn’t had his own solo movie, with any of supporting characters making an appearance or getting so much as a mention in The Avengers.  What do you think the odds are of Liv Tyler and William Hurt returning in the solo movie?  Overall, I’d have to call it a tie between the three movie incarnations.

     

    You wouldn’t like Stephen Monteith when he’s angry; he’s kind of a jerk.  You would like his original fiction, though, which you can read at Lulu.com.


  • Re-Watch: Iron Man

    Iron ManWhen it comes to Marvel’s ” Phase One”, there is no more important figure than Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.  Setting aside Robert Downey, Jr.’s star power and charisma, the whole enterprise hinged on the success or failure of the first movie in what has become the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

     

    After rewatching Iron Man for “Marvel Month”, though, it seems the wildly successful (and yes, enjoyable) film set the pattern for some of the “issues” fans have with the film series.  The villain was a one-off, with not much to do and ultimately very little impact on the larger franchise.  There was a “death scare” with the hero which inexplicably (but expectedly) resolved itself.  The female characters were not very strong at all.  And it even had a central cast member get replaced after one movie.  All the problems present in other Marvel movies were present in this one.

     

    But, all the same strengths are present, too.  As I said, the movie benefits from its stars, including RDJ and Terrence Howard as best friends Tony Stark and James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Jeff Bridges as the menacing Obadiah Stane, and even Clark Gregg in his understated debut as Agent Phil Coulson.  It has the charm of an independent film, which it essentially is, despite the blockbuster-level action sequences and special effects.  And, of course, Samuel L. Jackson’s after credits entrance has become iconic.  It is the quintessential Marvel movie.

     

    Stephen Monteith is a confirmed DC fanboy, but he can appreciate any well-made comic book movie.  You can buy his original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • Gearing Up For Avengers: Age Of Ultron

    One month from today, one of the most anticipated films of the year will hit theaters. We want you to be prepared and make sure you remember everything that might be brought up.

     

    Besides, you'll be stuck inside with allergies and all those "April showers" anyway.

    Besides, you’ll be stuck inside with allergies and all those “April showers” anyway.

     

    With this schedule you just watch one movie a night and you can see every Marvel film from the last 15 years by May 1st. If that just sounds like too much for you, then at least make sure you catch the ones in the current MCU with direct plot lines tied to Avengers:  Age of Ultron (starred for your convenience).  If for some reason you have an incredible amount of time, go ahead and add Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter to the list.  And certainly the new Netflix series Daredevil.

     

    April 1 – Iron Man (2008) *

    April 2 – Hulk (2003)

    April 3 – The Incredible Hulk (2008) *

    April 4 – Iron Man 2 (2010) *

    April 5 – Daredevil (2003) and Elektra (2005)

    April 6 – X-Men (2000)

    April 7 – Thor (2011) *

    April 8 – Ghost Rider (2007) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

    April 9 – X2: X-Men United (2003)

    April 10 – Captain America (2011) *

    April 11 – Blade Trilogy (1998, 2002, 2004)

    April 12 – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

    April 13 – The Avengers (2012) *

    April 14 – The Punisher (2004) and Punisher: War Zone (2008)

    April 15 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

    April 16 – Iron Man 3 (2013) *

    April 17 – Spider-Man (2002)

    April 18 – X-Men: First Class (2011)

    April 19 – Thor: The Dark World (2013) *

    April 20 – Spider-Man 2 (2004)

    April 21 – The Wolverine (2013)

    April 22 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) *

    April 23 – Spider-Man 3 (2007)

    April 24 – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

    April 25 – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) *

    April 26 – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

    April 27 – Fantastic Four (2005)

    April 28 – Big Hero 6 (2014) *

    April 29 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

    April 30 – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

     

    Knowing that Spider-Man is now part of the main MCU, you can expect at the very least a name drop or Easter egg in Age of Ultron. And as much as you might protest, the Fantastic Four film…erm, the Fant4stic film is coming soon and you might want to brush up on the previous two, to at least compare.

     

    So, get watching! Only 30 days to get it done.


  • Deadpool’s Movie, According to Fourth-day Deadpool

    Deadpool-Movie-Logo-First-Look-From-Fox (image credit - screenrant.com)

     

    It’s been a while since we’ve done a true According to Fourth-day post on this website.  Most have been editorials or entries in our new Rumor feature.  But now, we present a list of four things we want to see in Fox’s new Deadpool movie, due out February 12, 2016.

     

    And it’s going to be a Valentine’s Day massacre!

     

    Uhhhh–excuse me, who are you?

     

    Oh, I have so many names.  Wade Wilson, Merc with a Mouth, “Please Don’t Shoot Me in the Kneecaps”, but my favorite thing to be called is “2010’s Sexiest Man Alive”.

     

    …Deadpool?  How did you get here?

     

    Oh, no one can do anything Deadpool-related without me showing up.  It’s my superpower.

     

    I thought your superpower was making Wolverine’s healing factor look like a kiddie bandage.

     

    Nah, that’s Lobo’s shtick.  My power is leaning so hard on the fourth wall that it topples over and crushes whoever set it up.

     

    Um, does that include me?

     

    Oh, don’t worry.  You’ll be alive at least long enough to finish writing this article about me.  Whether or not you live past that point depends on how well you capture my panache, my je ne sais quoi, as they say in the rainy plains of Spain.

     

    I’m pretty sure both those expressions are French.

     

    I’m pretty sure both my swords, Stabby and Slashy, would be happy to discuss vocabulary with you once we get to the editing phase.  Shall we see who makes the final cut?

     

    Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here are four things we want to see in next year’s Deadpool:

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  • Deadpool Has Arrived

    Ryan Reynolds, slated to portray the merc with a mouth in 2016, teased fans with his official Deadpool mask last month. Today, in true character, he gives us the full costume, and it couldn’t be any more perfect.

     

    I bet he's posing for a giant chimichanga.

    I bet he’s posing for a giant chimichanga.

     

    Click here for the original tweet: https://twitter.com/VancityReynolds/status/581493719825821696

     

    UPDATE: An official logo and film synopsis has been posted on the newly launched official Deadpool website for Fox Movie Studios.

    http://www.foxmovies.com/mobile/movies/deadpool

    The official Logo

    The official Logo

     

    A brief synopsis

    A brief synopsis

     

    Are you pleased with the direction the film is going in for the anti-hero?



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