a scar no one else can see analysis

Max Landis is a writer’s writer. While his subject matter is thoroughly accessible, he isn’t the type of guy you hire for your standard studio fare. The screenwriter behind films like Chronicle, American Ultra, and Bright is obsessed with structure, with word play, with the subversion of tropes and clichés. He’s exactly the type of writer that other writers study, marvel at – scratching their heads at how deftly he manages to turn genre on its ear or how he crafts entire acts of films that play radically different upon second viewings. And he’s also a writer’s writer in the Hemingway sense, insomuch as you’re probably as accustomed to hearing his name in reference to his afterhours shenanigans as you are hearing about his work. As a critic, I’ve tried to avoid writing sentences like that last one as, more often than not, a subject’s personal life has little bearing on their work – but bear with me, because in Landis’s case, who he is publicly is as important to his work, and A Scar No One Else Can See, his 150-page “living document” on the work of pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, as anything else.

Landis has been candid about his own personal demons, and even more candid about his use of drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. And those demons are on display in almost every single piece of produced fiction he’s written. If there’s one prevailing theme that links nearly all of his work together, it is that of truly broken individuals finding respite, and ultimately deliverance, in the arms of another person. Evocative of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, Landis’s work is often about people who want to be loved, are far too damaged to find love orthodoxly, and then find it in the most unexpected, unconventional ways. And it is through that love that the protagonist can begin to become whole. Whether the character is a warped MK Ultra experiment, an undiagnosed sociopath, a pathological liar lying about an illness for money and sympathy, or a broken-hearted lesbian who dabbles in bi-sexuality after a break-up, the theme remains – it is always when the characters find someone who accepts them for who they are, unconditionally, warts and all, that they can find some sense of normalcy and begin to be healed. It is as if Landis is constantly arguing with Jean-Paul Sartre, whose thesis of No Exit is that “Hell is other people,” with Max yelling from across the table “No JP, Hell is the absence of other people! Other people are our salvation, not our punishment!”

Yes. You just read a Sartre reference in a piece on Max Landis’s take on Carly Rae Jepsen. If that threw you for a loop, strap the fuck in buttercup, because you’re in for a bumpy fucking ride.

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an american werewolf in london remake

An American Werewolf in London is a horror classic that hit a chord with audiences that couldn’t be struck twice. It spawned the abysmally received An American Werewolf in Paris nearly 16 years later, and it seemed like the franchise was dead in the ground.

But in the age of remakes and cinematic universes, it was inevitable that we’d get a remake. Possibly an An American Werewolf in London remake by the son of the first director, no less. But rather than a case of classic Hollywood nepotism, it seems like John Landis, the director of the original film, has strongly advised his son Max Landis against tackling the remake.

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Bright Comic-Con Panel: Everything You Need to Know

Training Day meets Lord of the Rings is how Will Smith describes Bright, his next collaboration with director David Ayer. Ayer, who wrote Training Day, is making a movie that resembles his early work far more than his DCEU film, Suicide Squad. His new movie is a genre mash-up, a cop film featuring orcs, fairies, elves, and a powerful magic wand.

Below, check out our reaction to a clip from Bright, some quotes from Ayer about the film, and more.

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Bright trailer

David Ayer is no stranger to depicting cops on film. He’s made some good, gritty and dirty crime thrillers with End of Watch and Street Kings. Cops and Los Angeles fit comfortably in the filmmaker’s wheelhouse. It’s a world and genre he knows well. Ayer has now made another cop movie, Bright, which stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton. They’re playing partners, but they’re a little different from the partners from Ayer’s previous movies: one of these is an orc. A hard-edged David Ayer movie with Will Smith, orcs, and fairies sounds like a blast, and it looks like one, too.

Below, watch the Bright trailer.

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bright trailer

Netflix’s original content line-up is unmatched. The streaming service has been killing it with their original television releases for a few years now, and we are just beginning to see them dip their toes in the original feature film realm.

One of the first big films is Suicide Squad director David Ayer‘s crime sci-fi fantasy film Bright, written by Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis and starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramírez, Ike Barinholtz and Brad William Henke. Netflix surprised people watching the Academy Awards last night with a first look at the new film. Watch it again, after the jump.

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Max Landis Power Rangers Script

In just a couple months, Power Rangers gets an all-new adaptation, marking the first time the property has hit movie theaters without bringing one of the TV series iterations to the big screen. This is essentially a big screen reboot of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers taking a whole new approach to the story of five teens tasked with protecting the world from evil.

The most recent trailer for Power Rangers finally showed the heroes all suited up for action, not to mention calling upon their Zords to take on a massive version of Goldar. Now a new poster features an even better look at the Zords driven by our heroes, as well as the Power Rangers themselves.

But perhaps even more interesting is that a Power Rangers script written by Chronicle scribe Max Landis (whose influence still feels present on what we’ll see next month) has made its way online. Find out where you can read the Max Landis Power Rangers script and see the new poster after the jump. Read More »

american werewolf in london remake

A key component of being a movie fan in the year 2016 is learning to shrug off remakes of your favorite movies and learn to live with the fact that bonafide classics are always going to get dusted off by studios hoping to capitalize on a familiar title. Remakes are going to happen. History has shown most of ’em to stink. Their presence has never erased the original from existence. The scales balance.

And yet, there’s something undeniably irritating about someone remaking An American Werewolf in London, one of the greatest horror movies of all time and the crown jewel of writer/director John Landis‘ career. It’s a near-perfect movie that just-so-happens to have a famous title. This was inevitable. The big twist here is that Max Landis, John Landis’ son, has jumped on board the remake as a writer and director.

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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Trailer

Douglas Adams‘ comedic detective novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency has already been given a TV series adaptation across the pond on BBC Four. But now BBC America is bringing us an American adaptation with just the right amount of British influence, this time created and written by Chronicle and American Ultra writer Max Landis.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency stars Elijah Wood as a directionless former rocker named Todd who finds himself caught up in a mystery involving the titular time-traveling detective (played by Samuel Barnett). While Todd wants nothing to do with Dirk Gently, the energetic private eye believes that the universe will make him an integral part of what happens next, whether he likes it or not.

Somehow we missed the first Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency trailer when it arrived a couple months ago, but we’ve included it below along with a new featurette that has plenty of Max Landis hyping the show, as well as the first scene from the series featuring Todd meeting Dirk Gently for the first time. Watch all of those videos below. Read More »

Space Mountain movies

In January 2012, Variety reported that screenwriter Max Landis had sold a pitch to Walt Disney Pictures for an “untitled space adventure” pitch with the potential to be a film franchise that could “benefit all of the company’s divisions.” A few months later it was reported that screenwriter Max Borenstein was hired by the mouse house to write his own “space-set sci-fi adventure” called Paladin for Tron: Legacy producer Justin Springer.

But as it turns out, the two projects were actually Space Mountain feature films that Disney was developing in secret. Find out what Max Landis’ Space Mountain movie would have been and learn why both projects didn’t happen.
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Pokemon Movie

Pokemon Go continues to be all the rage in video gaming right now. The recently launched mobile version of the Nintendo video game franchise has become so popular in such a short amount of time that Comic-Con moved a panel for Pokemon Go from a smaller venue to the massive Hall H. And it sounds like sometime down the road Pokemon will be back at Comic-Con with a movie to show off with the movie rights officially being snagged by Legendary Pictures.

In addition, details on just what kind of story we can expect from the game have surfaced, and the movie will apparently go in a direction that likely no fan was expecting to hear. Find out more about the Pokemon movie after the jump. Read More »