Codell Rodriguez is the night editor for The Southern Illinoisan, and he writes a movie column for Scene618.

Actress Gal Gadot discovers Wonder Woman's power in costume

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Gal Gadot in a scene from "Wonder Woman," in theaters on June 2.


Listen folks, I've failed again by not seeing a movie, but I gave up on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series several movies ago and I'm not subjecting myself to "Baywatch." Not when it's my own time and money being spent.

That being said, there are several items in the cinematic world that have been occupying my mind as of late.

Wonder Woman is — good?

That's the early word I'm hearing after the mixed reception to "Man of Steel" and the mostly negative reviews of "Batman V Superman" and "Suicide Squad." Looking at the trailers for "Wonder Woman," I had to admit that it seemed to be trying something I thought would've been a good option for Superman — draw some inspiration from the mix of humor and action of Marvel's Captain America. Though, from the previews, I'm a bit worried it's going to go a bit overboard in the inspiration department. In fact, with it being a shield-wielding hero who fights in a major world war, just before the big team-up movie, "Wonder Woman" seemed to not hold back at all in making a Cap movie.

But hey, maybe "Wonder Woman" is the shot in the arm DC needs. I hope so. If it isn't, hopefully future filmmakers will do what probably should've been done in the beginning. Stop trying to make Christopher Nolan's Justice League and make something more in line with an already exemplary shared DC universe: the animated series. Amazon Prime members can stream "Batman: The Animated Series" for free and "Justice League" and "Justice League: Unlimited" are available on Netflix. Easily some of the best representations of the classic characters.

In addition to the animated series, I've been spending way too much time with the recent fighting game, "Injustice 2." The story mode in the first game (made by the same folks behind the "Mortal Kombat" series) was shockingly engrossing and the second did not disappoint either. It has one of the most likable and sympathetic portrayals of Batman outside of the animated series (with the same voice actor, Kevin Conroy).

Spending time with an old favorite

While picking up the Blu-ray of "Get Out" at Best Buy, I saw that my second favorite movie of 2016, "The Witch," was just $9.99. But what really blew my mind was happening across one of my absolute favorite science fiction films of all time, "Logan's Run," for less than $10. I tossed it on the pile and watched it again that night.

For those who have never seen the 1976 film, it takes place in a domed utopian society where everyone lives lavishly and comfortably, but hold the belief that once someone turns 30, they must be renewed. They believe people are reborn and live again. What's really happening is people are just getting straight up incinerated.

The plot follows Logan 5 (Michael York). Logan is a sandman, one who hunts down the runners who don't wish to face renewal. However, when he's sent undercover as a runner to find and destroy a rumored runner paradise, he must decide if he will follow orders or become the thing he's spent his life eliminating. All of this while unraveling the beliefs that have kept society stable.

This was a favorite of my mom's and she introduced me to the edited version as a kid, probably playing on basic cable. It can be cheesy by today's standards, but I still think it holds up really well. I heard years ago, there was talk of a remake, but with the age limit at 18 or 21, instead of 30. It never came to light, so hopefully an unsung hero took that script and shredded it and then tossed the confetti in a bucket of acid.

You're ripping off what?

I recently watched the trailer for the upcoming Scarlet Johansson-led black comedy, "Rough Night," about some old college friends who get together for a bachelorette party and accidentally kill a stripper and try and cover it up. Wait a minute. Isn't that the 1998 black comedy "Very Bad Things" starring Jon Favreau, Daniel Stern and Christian Slater? I mean, the exact same movie. It's about a bachelor party that goes awry when they accidentally kill the stripper and they then try and cover it up. I mean the "Rough Night" trailer even has them attacking a cop to keep from getting caught — just like in "Very Bad Things."

My next question is, if you're going to rip off a movie, why choose a reprehensible pile of garbage like that? I mean, it's one of the most vile, steaming lumps of raw sewage I've ever had the displeasure of trying to endure. I'm trying to say I hated it, you see.

If the trailers hold true and it is a mystifying repackaging of a terrible film, I highly doubt this new movie will be quite as disgusting as the one it's shamelessly copying. But that's like a defense attorney saying, "Sure, my client set a blimp on fire, but it wasn't like it was the Hindenburg or anything."

Have we really got to the point where we've run out of classic movies to rip off and now rather than something original, we're stealing from the bottom of the barrel? At least it's not "Logan Run" where the entire cast is entirely made up of teenagers, I guess.

CODELL RODRIGUEZ is the night editor at The Southern Illinoisan. He spends way too much of his off time watching movies or enjoying internet video streaming services. Contact him at


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