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Random Nerdery: The Outlaw Johnny Black, The Endless, Netflix’s Lost in Space

Michael Jai White takes blaxploitation to the Old West, a trippy new horror film, and Netflix remakes another classic series.
The Outlaw Johnny Black

Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.

Michael Jai White Returns as The Outlaw Johnny Black

Back in January, I wrote that Michael Jai White was teasing a sequel to Black Dynamite, his loving (and hilarious) homage to ’70s blaxploitation movies. Turns out, he was actually teasing a brand new movie, The Outlaw Johnny Black, a loving (and hilarious) homage to the Western blaxploitation genre.

The Outlaw Johnny Black is being made by, and stars, many of the same folks who made Black Dynamite, and that becomes readily apparent in the above teaser. Despite being filmed in just a day, the trailer totally picks up on the Black Dynamite vibe, albeit with six shooters and cowboy hats — and Martin Kove, aka the Cobra Kai sensei from The Karate Kid, as the big bad.

White recently gave an indepth interview in which he discusses his plans for the film, which is still seeking funding for production. To help pay for the film, and give fans something extra-special, the filmmakers have launched a million dollar Indiegogo campaign complete with rewards (for example, a $13,000 contribution will let you get shot in the movie by the Outlaw himself). All funds raised will be matched by Jai’s recently created Jaigantic Studios.

No release date has been announced, but rest assured, The Outlaw Johnny Black will arrive in stunning Cinemaphonic Quadrovision.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s The Endless

A film that recently popped up on my radar is The Endless, directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (whose previous film, Spring, received considerable acclaim). The Endless revolves around two brothers (played by Benson and Moorhead) who escaped a UFO death cult when they were kids, but are drawn back by a strange video.

The trailer certainly conjures up a creepy atmosphere, as the brothers revisit the camp and rediscover its eerie phenomena. Or, as the IMDB synopsis puts it, “Two brothers return to the cult they fled from years ago to discover that the group’s beliefs may be more sane than they once thought.”

ScreenAnarchy’s Shelagh Rowan-Legg reviewed the film last April, and had high praise for it: “Benson and Moorhead have crafted the kind of fantastical horror that creeps under your skin even as you are riveted to the screen, where stark, bright colours, and wonderful analog sounds of old video players mix with low growls of giant, unseen creatures; the former will break your heart, the latter will tear it to pieces.”

Netflix Gives Lost in Space Its Patented Reboot Treatment

Netflix has seen a lot of success with bringing back older shows. For example, my kids and I watched some episodes of their Voltron remake earlier tonight, and that really is a well-made and delightful series. Netflix now is going even further back, remaking Lost in Space, the Irwin Allen-produced TV series from the late ’60 about a family that’s, well, lost in space.

Lost in Space has been remade several times before, with the most (in)famous remake being the 1998 feature film which starred William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Gary Oldman, and Matt LeBlanc — and received very negative reviews and a Golden Raspberry nomination for worst sequel/remake (though I don’t think it’s that bad).

I don’t get a real sense for the series based on the trailer other than it looks impressive, which shouldn’t be a surprise given how much money Netflix is pouring into original content these days. I dig the robot design — many have commented on its similarities to the Geth in the Mass Effect games, and they’re not wrong — and it seems pretty clear that Netflix going for an epic feel. But neither the characters nor their plight jumps out at me. We’ll find out if and how everything comes together on April 13, 2018.

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