“Chronicle” and 5 other movies that weren’t based on comics (but seem like they are)


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Filmmaker Josh Trank’s impressive debut film “Chronicle” hits theaters this weekend, and while its story of three teenagers who gain superhuman powers might seem like comic book fare, you won’t find its inspiration on the shelves of your local comics shop (not directly, at least).

Featuring a story penned by Trank and co-writer Max Landis, “Chronicle” isn’t the only recent movie you’d be excused for thinking is one of the many comic book adaptations to make the leap from page to screen lately. Here are five more films that are notable for featuring original stories that only seem to be ripped from the pages of a comic book.

“Hancock” (2008)

This 2008 film by “Battleship” director Peter Berg was celebrated for its dark, gritty take on the superhero genre, with Will Smith playing the role of a lone super-powered being in a world full of mortals. The very definition of an anti-hero, Smith’s character has fallen on hard times when we first meet him in the film, but we get to watch him grow into something more closely resembling the archetypal hero as the story progresses. While the film has its share of critics, the fact remains that it’s one of the more unique takes on the superhero genre to hit the screen in recent years — mainly because it seems to borrow inspiration from some of the comic book genre’s darker tales rather than the more family-friendly heroic fare.

“My Super Ex-Girlfriend” (2006)

This 2006 film starred Uma Thurman as a female superhero nicknamed “G-Girl,” who goes a little crazy after her latest boyfriend (played by Luke Wilson) breaks up with her. More a parody of superhero movies than a legitimate take on the genre, the film did explore something every comics fan has wondered from time to time: what happens when you fall out of love with someone who can lift a tractor trailer with one hand?

“Unbreakable” (2006)

Director M. Night Shyamalan’s criminally under-appreciated 2000 film was years ahead of the “dark superhero movie” trend, and told the story of a man named David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) who discovers that he is, well… unbreakable. A modern-day superhero who doesn’t quite know what to do with his power, he sets out to do good, but finds that doing so is more difficult than the comics make it seem. Assisted by his comics-loving son and shop owner Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), David begins the path toward superhero status — but as anyone who knows comics will tell you, every hero has an arch enemy.

“Push” (2009)

This ambitious 2009 film by director Paul McGuigan fell short of expectations, but did an admirable job of setting up a universe full of super-powered humans with various abilities. From movers (people who can telekinetically control objects) and bleeders (people who emit powerful sonic blasts) to stichers (people who can heal and unheal at will) and shifters (shape-changers), the world of “Push” was complicated and layered with a long list of power-wielders eager to test their mettle. Unfortunately, the film fell apart under the weight of its own universe (among other factors), but not before it received a cool comic book prequel by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman from DC Comics.

“Jumper” (2008)

“Star Wars” actor Hayden Christensen’s return to the big screen had him playing a young man gifted with a genetic ability to teleport anywhere in the world at any moment. Not only does he find out there are others like him, but he also discovers that there are people who have sworn to kill all “jumpers.” Unlike the other films in this list, “Jumper” was adapted from a print project, but not a comic book. The inspiration for the film came from a loose adaptation of Steven Gould’s award-winning Jumper novel, which received significantly more acclaim than the film based on it.

What are some of your favorite comic book movies that weren’t based on comics? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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