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Tag Archive: Mike Moh


Quentin Tarentino‘s next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has so many reasons to give it your attention, where do we begin?  As heavily advertised, the “retired director” is back as writer and director on his ninth film, and every one of his films gains critical and popular acclaim–from Reservoir Dogs to The Hateful Eight, they’re all notable for Tarentino’s unique brash and violent style.  Emphasize that style element because he tends to hit the right mark when searching out throwback vibes for his fans, whether via Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson in the 1970s in Jackie Brown or reaching back through time with 1950s nostalgia with John Travolta and Uma Thurman in a retro diner in Pulp Fiction.  So where will Tarentino turn for a film set in 1969?  Something violent in an era of unique style.  So the “Manson family” murders, of course.

The biggest risk for Tarentino (beyond being seen as exploiting a murder still in the national consciousness 50 years later) is casting some major actors, and some not-so-major actors, as actors from the past.  The easier question to answer may be “Who isn’t in this movie?”  In the leading role is Leonardo DiCaprio as a fictional character based on Burt Reynolds.  Brad Pitt co-stars as a character based on Reynolds’ long-time stuntman, Hal Needham.  Margot Robbie plays actress and Manson family victim Sharon Tate, who was married to Roman Polanski and pregnant at the time of her murder.  Dakota Fanning plays Squeaky Fromme, Bruce Dern plays the rancher that allowed the Mansons to reside on his land where they are believed to have planned the murders, and Lena Dunham plays another Manson family member.  Al Pacino plays a Hollywood agent, and from the Tarentino acting troupe, look for bit appearances by regulars Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen.  As a sad footnote, this will be the last film appearance of Luke Perry, who portrays real-life TV Western star Wayne Maunder, who died just this past November.

But the real challenge is casting Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, Connie Stevens, and Mama Cass Elliot in the film–highly-recognizable icons.  Those roles go to Homeland and Life’s Damian Lewis as McQueen, Empire and Inhumans’ Mike Moh as Lee, Dreama Walker (Gran Torino) as Stevens, and Rachel Redleaf as Cass.  We only get a brief look at Redleaf and longer view of Moh as Lee (with a decent vocal impersonation) in the first trailer for the film–Lee had been working on a film with Sharon Tate.  Tarentino also invited in a league of children of well-known actors for his film, like Andie MacDowell’s daughter Margaret Qualley (IO), Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis (Hawaii Five-O), Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s daughter Maya Hawke (Stranger Things), Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith (Supergirl), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Star Trek 2009) grandson of Western actor Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, and one more relative, Tarentino’s wife, Daniella Pick (Pick Up, Exit).  

Along with real-world characters, Tarentino pulled in some familiar actors from the late 1960s and 1970s, including Nicholas Hammond, known for role as Peter Parker in TV’s The Amazing Spider-Man, a regular face from the 1970s and 1980s: Martin Kove (The Karate Kid), and Brenda Vaccaro (Airport ’77, Capricorn One).  And even frequent TV guest star Spencer Garrett is a ringer for any number of Disney film stars from the 1960s (and he’s the son of actress Kathleen Nolan (Magnum, p.i., The Incredible Hulk)).  There are many more familiar actors in this one, including James Marsden (X-Men), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Lorenza Izzo (The House With a Clock in Its Walls), Sydney Sweeney (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer favorite Danny Strong.  (With so many extras listed as Playboy Bunnies, it’s probably fair to expect a cameo from someone playing Hugh Hefner, too).

In case you missed it, here is the first trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:

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The Eternals.  The Defenders.  The Champions.  Alpha Flight.  The Invaders.  The Marauders.  Power Pack.  The Sinister Six.  The Elementals.  X-Force.  Squadron Supreme.  Guardians of the Galaxy.  Cloak and Dagger.  Power Man and Iron Fist.  Marvel has had plenty of team-ups over the years besides The Avengers and The X-Men.  But unless you read every issue of every Marvel monthly you may have missed some of the more obscure groups of superheroes.  Which may explain how audiences have been in favor of familiar characters as they hit the big or small screen in movies for The Avengers or The X-Men, or even Daredevil.  But Marvel has had a tougher time maneuvering the TV waters for its superheroes than DC Entertainment.  One of the reasons for DC’s success may very well be the fact that its Justice League of America has for so long been the flagship title for the publisher and it incorporated so many supporting superheroes into its stories over the decades that even the general public can name several.  So more of general audiences have heard of and accepted Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Flash, The Atom, and Supergirl when they emerged in our living rooms over the past five years.  As for Marvel, unlike Marvel’s Luke Cage–Netflix’s excellent and loyal update to the classic comic book series–Marvel’s Iron Fist hasn’t garnered similar acclaim.  Why?  Because of the story?  The production values?  The character?  The marketing?  Marvel’s Luke Cage demonstrates an obscure superhero can succeed if it brings to audiences a compelling story, talented actors, and high production quality.  Which brings us to the next new TV series from Marvel, Marvel’s Inhumans.

Marvel’s Inhumans is coming later this summer to ABC, from showrunner Scott Buck, the same creator that brought Marvel’s Iron Fist to Netflix.  Most people haven’t heard of the Inhumans, and even long-time Marvel readers may not be familiar with the characters in the Royal Family of the Inhumans, including Medusa, Maximus, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, Triton, and Auran.  So it makes sense that audiences witnessing the team for the first time don’t have enough to be excited about–yet.  As for its general appearance Marvel’s Inhumans arguably looks like Marvel’s Iron Fist, but it also looks like Marvel’s Legion, a somewhat overlooked yet well-received X-Men series hidden in the 500-channel cable line-up on the FX Network earlier this year.  So how will Marvel’s Inhumans fare?

   

The greatest challenge is one of story and character development.  Black Bolt is now the King of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who were superhumans descended from humans experimented on by the Kree in Marvel lore.  Played in the new series by actor Anson Mount, Black Bolt doesn’t speak, or else he might bring forth a powerful shockwave that could level a city.  So a difficulty of the first trailer released for the series is conveying that fact, while showing plenty of scenes with the actor who will be the male lead of the series.  In the first show trailer we get a bunch of silent expressions by Mount just as his irritated (irritating?) brother Maximus (played by Iwan Rheon) does most of the talking.  How long can an eight-episode series run with the lead keeping his mouth shut?  It’s also difficult to immediately have any empathy toward royalty of any variety, especially those looking so formal and shown with a certain level of arrogance.  Another current series, BBC’s Class, has had trouble gaining traction with viewers, and it also follows a lead male who is an alien royal who is troubled and arrogant.

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If you thought audiences may be souring on the onslaught of television series based on superheroes and comic books, you’d be wrong.  Hollywood is fully engaged in the realm of continuing to adapt comic books to the small screen.  Along with all the current series moving into next seasons this year, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Gotham, iZombie, Riverdale, Supergirl, and Wynonna Earp, you’ll have at least three more new series featuring superheroes to check out this Fall.  Check out previews for all three below after the break.

Black Lightning is the latest character from DC Comics coming to the CW.  Cress Williams plays the title character who is Jefferson Pierce by day.  On paper Black Lightning sounds a bit like The Incredibles, with a retired hero returning to the superhero business.  The superhero debuted in the comic book Black Lightning Issue #1 40 years ago.  Tony Isabella and Dennis O’Neil wrote the original stories, with artwork by Trevor Von Eedon.  Black Lightning also stars China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, and Christine Adams.

The Gifted hails from a pretty powerful TV combo: Bryan Singer, known for everything from House, M.D., to The X-Men movie series, is co-producing the show with series creator Matt Nix, showrunner on the successful series Burn Notice.  The series stars Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker (Angel) as parents who take their family on the run after they discover their children’s mutant abilities.  The series producers have said it will not intersect with the X-Men movies, but you’ll see familiar characters like Blink, Polaris, Thunderbird, and Eclipse.  The show co-stars Burn Notice’s Coby Bell, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung, Emma Dumont, Blair Redford, Natalie Alyn Lind, and Percy Hynes White.  The show will air on Fox.

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