Archive for the ‘Comic strips/Super heroes’ Category

Superman: The Movie

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

tn_supermanSUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (not to be confused with Superman: The Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread) is an important movie. It was the first big comic book super hero picture, and an early entry in the world of post-STAR WARS blockbusters that shaped today’s generation of filmatists. By casting Marlon Brando as Joe L. Superman (plus  Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Glenn Ford as Pa Kent), director Richard (LETHAL WEAPON) Donner set the precedent, still in place today, that big respected actors in supporting roles can add credibility to a super hero picture. And by casting only-one-movie-under-his-belt Christopher Reeve as Kal L. “Clark Kent” Superman he showed that sometimes a fresh face is better than a familiar veteran to play an iconic character. That later worked for Wolverine (whose first movie was executive produced by Donner), Thor and two subsequent Supermen. (Other actors who were supposedly on the producers’ wish list: Al Pacino, James Caan, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman and [why not?] Muhammad Ali. Any one of those would’ve automatically been a completely different movie.)
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Batdance – celebrating 25 years of bustin

Monday, June 9th, 2014

tn_batdanceToday is June 9th, 2014 and I’m sure you know what that means: it’s the 25th anniversary of Prince’s “Batdance.” I don’t want to take away from your time celebrating with your families, and I’m sure the president will be making a speech and I don’t want to overlap too much with whatever he says, but I’d like to add a few thoughts real quick.

It’s the single that was released on this day in 1989, but I’m a movie reviewer, not an architecture dancer, so we’re gonna talk about the crazy ass music video. Do you remember it? A fuzzy TV signal flashes on a bat-symbol shaped screen. Now, you gotta understand, this was a time of feverish Batmania. America was enraptured by the upcoming Batman movie, which was advertised mainly with that symbol and no text other than “June 23.” Batman products of both official and illicit varieties were huge sellers. They would put a bat symbol on anything (and sometimes eyes on a bat symbol, if it was a bootleg t-shirt.) I remember they not only had Converse with bat symbols on them, they also had a phone that was shaped like Converse with bat symbols on them. So it is no surprise that Prince would own a TV screen shaped like a bat symbol. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a library of movies specifically composed for that aspect ratio. (read the rest of this shit…)

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

tn_xmen5Oh shit, so this is the magic rebootification formula now: the J.J. Abrams STAR TREK recipe. One or more original cast members cross paths with younger actors playing the same characters thanks to time travel. That way they can use the veteran cast of X-MEN 1-3 but also the whippersnappers of FIRST CLASS. I’m sure they’re already doing the math for how to apply this to Harry Potter, James Bond, DIE HARD, AMERICAN PIE, you name it. You fucking know Danny Glover will go back in time to recruit a young Riggs not played by Mel Gibson.

X-MEN PART 5 OR SO: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST takes place in a literally dark post-apocalyptic future where the surviving mutants and humans hide in the ruins, hunted by giant morphing robots called Sentinels. Sounds kinda like a TERMINATOR movie, but it’s actually the reverse. Instead of machines sending a robot back in time to kill the guy that’s gonna lead the human resistance, the mutants send a Wolverine back in time to not kill the guy whose death is not gonna stop the creation of the Sentinels.
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Captain America Meets The Winter Soldier

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

tn_captainamerica2Okay, bad news first: CAPTAIN AMERICA TOO is pretty much Marvel’s post-action movie. It has a good action movie type of plot: Captain America finds out his agency S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, has to go on the run, has to figure out who he can trust and operate without his usual resources to uncover and defeat a vast conspiracy. He has to fight two different legendary warriors, both with some “just how badass is he?” buildup, and one of them even played by the great UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. The Captain gets continually chased and attacked by a crew of headset and vest wearing soldiers led by Frank Grillo of WARRIOR and THE GREY. There are many, many fight and chase scenes involving different fighting styles, fun acrobatics, various forms of transportation (motorcycle, SUV, robotic wings, helicarrier), weapons, super strength, super parkour, colorful technologies, interesting locations, clever gimmicks, epic destruction, badass dialogue and good character and plot motivation. Everything you want in a great action movie except… (read the rest of this shit…)

M.A.N.T.I.S. (pilot movie)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014
He doesn't usually look this much like R. Kelly.

He doesn’t usually look this much like R. Kelly.

Remember M.A.N.T.I.S.? It was a 1994 Fox TV show that only lasted one season. It was about paralyzed-from-the-waist-down scientist Miles Hawkins (Carl Lumbly), who builds an exo-skeleton that allows him to not only walk again but to have super strength and also jump high. The first time he tries it out in public he happens to see a woman getting attacked, so he intervenes and kicks some ass, and that gives him the crimefighting bug.

Get it? I said bug, because he’s called MANTIS and I guess he sorta looks like one with the metal helmet with a giant bluetooth on each side like mandibles.

Seven months before the TV show though there was a pilot TV movie (fortunately included on the complete series DVD), which was pretty different and much more watchable. I can’t pretend it plays like a real movie – like the The Flash TV show of a few years earlier it is kinda sad to see a low budget TV crew in Vancouver try to compete with the incredible production design of Tim Burton’s BATMAN – but having recently watched those ROBOCOP TV shows I’m able to appreciate this for what it is: something that is way better than those ROBOCOP TV shows. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The Amazing Spider-man

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

tn_amazingspiderman

2011

2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, eh? More like THE YOU KNOW TO BE HONEST I KINDA LIKED THIS ONE SPIDER-MAN if you ask me.

Over the years I’ve gained a rep as an anti-Nerdite, due to some of my challenging of online conventional wisdom and use of insensitive terminology (some people get mad when I use “nerd” instead of “geek”). But the truth is I rarely miss a comic book movie, and I even like some that you all hate (SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN 3, MAN OF STEEL it seems, probly something else I’m forgetting). Not to mention the whole issue with STAR WARS prequels and CRYSTAL SKULLs. Face it, geeks – I like this shit more than the people who like it do!

That’s why it surprises me that I never got around to seeing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN until now. I mean I had intended to see it in the theater in 3D and everything. But everybody said it was bland and they confirmed that they really were re-doing the original story already so I lost the urgency and never got to it.
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Summer Movie Flashback: Superman Returns

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
2006

2006

tn_supermanreturnsHuh. SUPERMAN RETURNS. Interesting to watch this again now. Not only are there 7 years of 20/20 x-ray vision to look back on it with, but also a recent do-over that I like better. This was the first Superman movie made for a world that might be indifferent to the character of Superman, so they made that the subtext. Superman (Brandon Routh, DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT) has been gone for years studying space rubble or something, meanwhile the world has gotten used to not having him around to babysit them. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth, THE WARRIOR’S WAY) has moved on to the point of having a kid (Tristan Lake Leabu), a fiancee (James Marsden, AMBUSH IN WACO: IN THE LINE OF DUTY), and a Pulitzer Prize for her essay “Why the World Doesn’t Need a Superman” (early draft title: “That Fucking Asshole Superman Got Me Pregnant in Part 2 and Then Flew Off To Space For Some Reason”). (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Hulk

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

tn_hulk

2003

2003

I always loved Ang Lee’s HULK. It was a blockbuster nobody else would’ve made, the Hulk movie that takes time for the Hulk to sit in the desert staring at the moss on the rocks. The weird one. The one that’s split between crazy action and subdued character drama. The one with Nick Nolte in mugshot mode as the villain, commanding a pack of mutant dogs, later turning into an electrical storm.

Well, I still love all that, but I’m disappointed to find that I don’t enjoy the movie quite as much 10 years later. At least not the pre-Hulk chunk of the thing. And I think it comes down to the very idea of it.

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The Wolverine

Monday, July 29th, 2013

tn_thewolverineRemember Darren Aranofsky was gonna do this new Wolverine movie? He’d done THE WRESTLER and he was the original director on THE FIGHTER and then he named it THE WOLVERINE, but he had to drop out to deal with The Child Custody. From the roll he was on I bet he would’ve made a hell of a movie, but his replacement James Mangold (COPLAND, 3:10 TO YUMA) came up with something pretty interesting too. For his movie the title is representative of the whole approach: strip away the convoluted series-connecting business indicated in the title of the last one (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) and just focus everything on this character, this Wolverine. The Wolverine.
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Notes on a second viewing of MAN OF STEEL

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

tn_manofsteelb(spoilers, of course)

Last week I decided I wanted to see MAN OF STEEL a second time. (Don’t worry, I saw FURIOUS 6 twice too, so this is not a sign of disrespect toward its reign as Best Summer Movie 2013.) I already liked MAN OF STEEL but the second viewing raised my opinion of it. Going in already knowing what it was, all my minor quibbles faded away and I was able to focus on what I loved about it. It wasn’t one of those movies where looking at it again brings out all kinds of flaws you never noticed before. I mean, a few odd things came to mind:

* I wonder if they ever had a meeting specifically about the decision to have chest hair poking out of the neck of the supersuit. That looked a little odd but I can see how they were trying to remind us how manly he is. Not just super.
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