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A place to bitch about movies, comics, toys, or anything geek related.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
In order to better serve the public, we have decided to move The Fantom Zone to YOUTUBE. We now have our own channel! Click the logo to check it out. PS we will no longer be updating this blog, so youtube is where it's at.
An example of a Mondo poster. Would be better if this were realistically painted.
If you’ve followed any movie from one of the zillion movie sites around the internet, you’ve probably heard of Mondo posters, or have even seen one somewhere. I read aintitcoolnews.com often, and remember Mondo slowly seeping into their posts as something they flogged as cool, but eventually looked to all the world like a website helping a friend’s company out. Pretty soon word of mouth spread, in no small part by aintitcool and former aintitcool contributor Moriarty from his Hitfix Motion/Captured blog, and everyone touted the Mondo posters as the next cool awesome thing. Current multimedia powerhouse Marvel teamed up with Mondo to create posters for each character in the Avengers movie. And all of this hoopla has had many a movie fan scratching their heads wondering aloud “What is a Mondo poster and why am I constantly told how awesome they are by them being shoved down my throat in countless aintitcoolnews posts as though it’s a given that I will love them??”
Cool, I suppose, but everyone is just drawn in.
Mondo is apparently a company that hires artists to come up with their interpretation of a movie, then of course sells it. That’s cool, I suppose, but I’m not quite sure why everyone is dying over these posters. Some look neat, I’ll grant you, but they don’t look like movie posters to me.
Um . . . okay -- I wouldn't hang this on my wall as a Star Trek II poster. I guess someone thinks this is awesome.
I’m a child of the 80’s (yes, you can boo me. After the last three Transformers movies, I wouldn’t blame you). When I think of movie posters, I think of painted, airbrushed, detailed works with an eye towards realism. I think of the Star Wars posters from the original trilogy, the Indiana Jones posters, the Conan posters. Frequently, movie posters would be realistically painted, but with artistic flares in colour and mood lighting. I still debate whether the poster for Stallone's COBRA is painted or an actual picture of Stallone holding a gun. The background colour and laser fromt eh gun would suggest that it's painted, and yet the Stallone likeness is so well done it looks like a snapshot of him. The Mondo posters? Well, to me they look like comic book art. They look like something that would be right at home on the cover of a trade paper back omnibus put out by Dark Horse. Every time a site posts the latest “amazing” Mondo poster for a movie, I look at it and feel under whelmed. It’s all illustrations and clean line art. What’s epic about that? I don’t quite get it. The problem with having someone draw a picture based on a movie is that it just looks like a picture based on a movie. It doesn’t look official. It doesn’t look like a lobby card set up to sell the picture. And as art, I’ve seen comics with better art.
Mondo's: Great idea for a poster, but looks like a Dark Horse comic cover. It would look better painted in the old movie poster style.
The real thing -- there's just no comparison.
Is that the point then? Unless a Mondo poster really grabbed my attention with a realistic illustration that didn’t look like it should belong on the cover of "the official comic book adaptation" of the movie, then I don’t get it. I guess I don’t understand the widespread popularity of Mondo posters. The wall-to-wall coverage of them seemed to spring up from out of nowhere. And it looks like it is just the choice of webmasters to push them, not necessarily something that people are screaming for. Am I going to buy an obvious illustration of the Avengers movie and proudly display it as my Avengers poster? Or would I just get the real Avengers poster?
This is a neat nuclear hysteria fueled sci-fi film from the 50’s about a group of four astronauts who fly through a time barrier and end up on 26th century Earth. Of course, at this point Earth has almost recovered from a catastrophic nuclear war that has mutated humans into one-eyed cavemen who enslave “normal” humans and has driven still other humans underground. The astronauts stay with the underground humans after fighting the ugly Cyclopes (and a couple of terribly executed “giant spiders”) and are dismayed by the fact that, despite their advanced technology, the underground community of survivors are spineless cowards who are content with staying in their safe underground lair, not expanding into the outside world and innovating and advancing the human race, and interbreeding and dwindling their population every generation. Everyone in the underground community seems reasonable except for guy named Maurice who would do anything to stop the underground dwellers from expanding from their safe environment, even killing and blaming the astronauts.
This is a typical 50’s sci-fi movie that emphasizes the “manliness” of men (the astronauts are seen as brash, manly, and proactive while the men of the underground city are soft, cowardly and weak – of course, the women folk of this future society “love” the astronaut men), and the women are pretty and know their place. The women of this future have short skirts and are all hot, demure servants to the men – this is seen as perfectly normal. Hey, this movie was made in the 50’s – what do you want?
The final scene in which the astronauts rig a rocket launcher and raid the nest of the Cyclops men is pretty impressively violent. You will love when they blow up clearings and hiding places full of the Cyclops men and their troops, and the lead astronaut challenges the lead Cyclops (named Naga – and he has some pretty impressively ugly creature make-up) and has a convincing fight to the death for leadership of the Cyclopes.
Fun and enjoyable, World Without End is a window into how 50’s audiences viewed themselves in a relatively uncomplicated time when men were men and women were women and in a period where a catastrophic use of nuclear bombs was seen as inevitable.
Hausu (the English translation is House, and that’s what the logo of the film says complete with the “O” forming a mouth that eats a person – but I’ll get to that) is a Japanese movie made in the late 70’s. This is certainly a unique film, very psychedelically 70’s with a lot of quirky, artsy camera ticks like freezing half the frame, superimposing images over frames, cutting out the image of an actor and replacing the silhouette with fire – it’s quite the head trip at times.
A decapitated head bites Fantasy's arse in Hausu.
The film starts out introducing the teenage female characters of the movie in a very idealized, sickeningly sweet girly environment of giggling lasses jumping up and down declaring their undying friendship to each other in blindingly colourful, sometimes beautiful backdrops depicting their high school and the main girl’s veranda overlooking a forest that seems to be perpetually at dusk. There’s Gorgeous, the main girl who was going to have a trip with her father for the Summer holidays until the father brings home a girlfriend and declares that she will be Gorgeous’ new mother, eight years after Gorgeous’ biological mother has passed. Gorgeous hates this idea and writes to her long lost aunt that she wants to stay with her for the Summer and see the village her mother grew up in. The aunt agrees, and after Gorgeous’ friends plans have been ruined for the Summer, Gorgeous invites them along too. Like Gorgeous, her friends are all named after their character traits: there’s Fantasy who likes to daydream a lot and take pictures; Kung Fu the tough, sporty one; Prof, the smart one; Mac, the one who loves to eat; Sweet, who loves to clean; and Melody who loves music. They make their way to the old mansion in the middle of nowhere where they find Gorgeous’ Aunt. And, one by one the girls meet an untimely fate as they disappear. You see, Gorgeous’ Aunt has been dead for several years and, along with the haunted house, eats unmarried girls to revitalize her strength.
Gorgeous' Aunt has her eye on you.
As I said before, this is quite a unique, strange movie and is definitely worth a look. The visuals are amazing, and for all of its unique flavour I was reminded of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in its need to develop its own reality coloured by cartoonish, surreal visuals. I’m not sure if the goal was to depict the goings on of a teenage girl’s mind, but whatever it was it makes the movie very memorable. Gorgeous’ father’s girlfriend is so sickeningly serene, highlighted by a wind machine that blows her lovely hair and white scarf around, that you almost hate her as much as Gorgeous does. And all of the lighting really picks up the dreamlike state of this movie. I liked the uniqueness of the killings, although they’re underpinned by the film’s lack of seriousness. One girl is decapitated (sounds usual for a horror movie), but then another is attacked by mattresses, one is eaten by a piano (first the fingers, then arms, then the whole body – yeah, you have to see that one for yourself), one is mangled in the gears of a giant clock, one is attacked by her glasses, and one poor dude gets turned into his weight in bananas. All of the killings in the film are strange and different, and get more and more odd as the film progresses leading to a true pessimistic horror ending. And the music is amazing! Very 70’s and funky.
Dare you enter?
I really liked this movie. I love that it opens with such a saccharin sweet introduction that makes you question if this is a horror movie at all, then gets weirder and more surreal as it gets going. And I love that the girl who is set up as the main girl does not follow the usual horror heroine formula (she’s not exactly the “final girl” who escapes everything unscathed). Hausu is inventive, creative, vibrant and is a true gem in cult cinema.
John Mayer's new CD Born and Raised came out a couple weeks ago and my wife plays it excessively in her car. Most of the songs are about how he's making up for his douchy ways and how he's a new man, etc, etc. As nauseating as all of that self-congratulatory “look at me, I’m a new man” crap is, there is one song on the CD that's really cute and tells a simple story of a man who builds his own submarine, despite the disapproval of his family and friends who think he's crazy, and travels to Japan to prove them wrong. I really liked this song. And yes, I'm well aware of the fact that the bridge sounds like the chorus of the Jonas Bros.' Lovebug, but since the Jonas Bros. are no strangers to being accused of ripping off other peoples' tunes, I have no sympathy for them. This song is better anyway.
“In the Steven Spielberg movie "E.T.," why is the alien brown? No reason. In "Love Story," why do the two characters fall madly in love with one another? No reason. In Oliver Stone's "JFK," why is the president suddenly assassinated by some stranger? No reason. In the excellent "Chain Saw Massacre" by Tobe Hooper, why don't we ever see the characters go to the bathroom, or wash their hands, like people do in real life? Absolutely no reason! Worse, in "The Pianist," by Polanski, how come this guy has to hide and live like a bum when he plays the piano so well? Once again the answer is no reason. I could go on for hours with more examples. The list is endless. You probably never gave it a thought, but all great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason, and you know why? Because life itself is filled with no reason. Why can't we see the air all around us? No reason. Why are we always thinking? No reason. Why do some people love sausages and others hate sausages? No f***in' reason... Ladies, gentlemen, this film you're about to see today, is an homage to 'no reason,' the most powerful element of style.”
An unfortunate victim of "Robert".
With this speech from a police lieutenant, so begins the now legendarily wacky movie Rubber. Centering around a tire that inexplicably gains sentience and a telekinetic ability to blow things up (like rabbits and human heads), Rubber also features a number of head-scratching elements including an audience that watches the mayhem while commenting on it and is seemingly held captive by a maniacal cop that insists that the tire’s killing spree is all part of the show they’re watching. The movie is not without its humour, but isn’t overtly campy and loony. You’ll be more entertained by the strange unexpected paths the film embarks on as “Robert” the tire goes on a mad killing spree to eradicate every human he sees by blowing up their heads. The audience that watches the chaos in the movie is hilarious, depicting every annoying audience member you’ve encountered at the theatre, like the clueless young girls who make fun of everything, the kid who asks his father questions about every scene, the two nerds who have to comment on everything to show how smart they are. And the way “Robert” the tire is portrayed is interesting – when he first gains sentience, the film takes its time to show you how it learns about the world around it while it explores the desert terrain and encounters objects that it can roll over or blow up with its new found telekinetic powers. He almost looks like a child learning to walk for the first time, just through the movements of the tire itself.
The audience looks on.
The ending of the film is awesome and the only natural escalation of the concept. When I was finished watching Rubber, I liked it but it actually wasn’t what I was expecting. Sure, it’s loopy, but the movie left me with more of an impression of being an art film rather than the balls-to-the-wall grindhouse-style movie I was expecting. Still, it’s worth your time if you’re brave enough to watch something that’s a little out of the norm, and if you're not afraid of there being "no reason" to most of the proceedings.
I finally just got done watching Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the Warner Premier straight-to-DVD animated movie. Like all Warner Premier animated films based on DC comics characters and stories, this one was top-notch. Revolving around an alternate universe where all of the superheroes we know are bad (like Superman, who is renamed Ultraman, and Batman who is renamed Owlman) and all the villains we know are good (like Joker who is renamed Jester, and Lex Luther who is ... well, Lex Luther). Good Lex travels to the Earth of Superman and the Justice League in order to recruit them to fight the evil versions of themselves from good Lex’s home planet, where the evil Justice League (known as the Crime Syndicate) rules the planet by fear and random acts of violence. The only thing holding the evil Crime Syndicate at bay is the threat of a nuclear response, but Owlman comes up with a world-destroying bomb that would equalize the playing field and have the Syndicate taking the planet without the threat of nuclear reprisal – till Owlman hits upon an idea that would destroy all reality…
The Justice League, from left: Martian Manhunter, the President's daughter Rose Wilson, Superman, good Lex Luthor, Flash, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Wonder Woman.
The movie is chock-full of action, but paced in the usual DC animation style where it doesn’t seem rushed and forced. The same thing can be said for the movie’s running time, which is around 80 minutes, but doesn’t feel like they forcefully crammed info, including solo fights, team fights, a romance between Martian Manhunter and the President’s daughter, Batman’s eventual involvement after sitting out the first act, Owlman’s romance with Superwoman (the evil Wonder Woman), Owlman’s double cross, Batman’s idea of forming a larger Justice League and Wonder Woman’s discovery of the invisible plane. It is all presented breezily and never feels crammed, too busy or hard to follow. One complaint I would have is that the Justice League doesn’t seem all that phased by meeting their evil selves, or alternate versions of their friends (like when Superman meets the overly muscular and super powerful version of Jimmy Olsen). Still, this is a pretty good piece of entertainment, with well drawn characters and a great storyline that ends with a terrific Owlman vs. Batman confrontation where Batman makes a very astute observation of his evil self that reveals a lot about his own self (it’s a great line, I won’t spoil it here). Oh yeah, did I mention that Batman is in a Power Loader suit at one point fighting alternate universe versions of Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Uncle Marvel? Yeah, this movie rocks.
The Crime Syndicate, from left: Johnny Quick, Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman.
If you were to place this in the continuity of the Justice League cartoon series, it looks like it should be placed just before the first season of Justice League Unlimited as the Justice League satellite space station is being built in the movie and the Justice League decides to recruit new members by the end of the film. Still, it’s a loose fitting as Green Lantern in this movie is Hal Jordan, while the show featured the character of John Stewart in the show. Still it’s a pretty cool movie and a great addition to the DC comics animated library.
Who doesn't love the original Super Mario Bros. theme music? The above is a medley of Super Mario throught the ages (up to Super Mario 64) through orchestra. The music holds up surprisingly well, a testament to Japanese composer Koji Kondo's original compositions for the video games Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 64.
I was thinking the other day how the superhero movie landscape has changed with the success of the Marvel-produced superhero movies. One non-Marvel hero I really love from my childhood is Superman (a DC comics character), but I've been dismayed by talk from Warner Bros., and even fandom, that Superman is an antiquated character with an outdated do-gooder, boyscout personality that wouldn't appeal to today's audience. People who make this argument labour under the assumption that society is so bad that we cannot accept characters in our fiction that do good deeds and help people simply because People who make this point believe that characters like Superman are not believable, because if you had powers, would you help people or would it be more believable that you would go on a power trip of death and destruction simply because you can? People who think that Superman is too much of a do-gooder might also think that cops, firefighters and doctors help people simply to get paid, rather than sincerly wanting to save lives, and people like Gandhi and Mother Teresa are merely anomalies. Batman is believable because he's prepetually tortured by tradgedy and beats up villains, and Superman is not believable because he doesn't have angst and uses his powers to help rather than hinder -- and who the hell would do that if they had super powers? Right?
I've always been troubled by the assumption that Superman could not work on screen anymore (even though he has in the past -- to legendary success) because nobody believes in moral superheroes anymore. And then Captain America: The First Avenger came out last year and, frankly, showed how to do a moral character right.
Steve Rogers (a.k.a. Captain America) was depicted in Captain America: The First Avenger as an honest, true hero who didn't want to kill but would still fight for his country because he "hates bullies". He's shown defending the troops in combat during WWII when a heckler disparages the war effort in a movie theatre during rousing images of troops fighting Nazis in a news reel. Rogers is a skinny, short guy and has no chance against this heckler, gets beat up by him eventually, but still stood his ground. Later, a grenade is tossed at Rogers and a bunch of army recruits, and while the grenade is not live (unbeknownst to anyone), every troop scatters to save themselves while Steve Rogers throws himself on the grenade, sacrificing himself to save his comrades. Through out Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers is portrayed as an honest hero with morals and ethics who would lay down his life for truth, justice and the American way -- and at no time at all was there an eye-rolling moment of cheesiness, corniness or jingoism. There was not one uncomfortable moment which felt out-dated or out of touch with today's view of heroism. Captain America: The First Avenger proved that there is room for morally altruistic heroes at the box office. It doesn't have to be protrayed in a corny way. People lay down their lives to save others every day, from the Red Cross sergeon in a war torn country to the cop on the street.
Superman: The Man of Steel is currently in production (as of this writing) for a 2013 release. So far, the Marvel-produced films have displayed heart and an uncanny ability to portray their characters with personality, charm and heroism in a way that isn't forced. I really hope Warner Bros. is taking notes and that Superman isn't needlessly "edgey" and panderingly "cool" in a manufactured way in Superman: The Man of Steel. I really hope the character is good natured, moral and fights for truth, justice and the American way. Captain America: The First Avenger proved that a superhero doesn't have to be dark and brooding to be a success at the box-office. Hopefully, Superman can follow suit next year.
So, they made another Men in Black movie. It's actually a little surprising to me, considering that it had been 10 years since MIB II and if memory serves, it wasn't really all that well received. At least by me. I didn't care for #2...it seemed the story really wasn't that great and it wasn't as much fun as the first one. Actually, I can remember nothing about #2, other than J went to find K who was working at the post office with a bunch of aliens...I don't remember the main villain or anything. Needless to say, didn't even see it in the theatre which is dry, considering Men in Black 1 was one of my first DVD's. So, I went to see this one and you know what?
It actually was pretty good! I don't think it was as good as the first one for sure, that movie is just so much fun, it's ridiculous. However, this one is pretty good, nevertheless. There's a ton of aliens again and there's a lot of humour as well, I think the humour fell sort of flat in MIB 2, but it really works on this one. I find that Smith and Jones are pretty good foils for one another and the fact that Tommy Lee Jones plays everything dead straight no matter how ridiculous the situation is just awesome. His eulogy for Zedd is great!
I was a little nervous about him going back in time because you would lost the whole Smith/Jones dynamic and it's true, I don't think Brolin and Smith are as good together as Smith and Jones, but then again, Jones' face is impossible to duplicate. I will say this for Brolin though, his impression of Tommy Lee Jones is scary and I mean SCARY good. When he was talking, if you closed your eyes, you would think it was Tommy Lee Jones speaking. It's that insane.
The storyline is okay, the main villain is actually really memorable (the wildman Kieran from Dinner for Schmucks) and it has a nice nostalgia to it as most of the film takes place in 1969. That means the MIB run into Andy Warhol, there's more racism, the cars are different, the technology is different, it's just a different time and place and I guess it was one way to breathe life back into the franchise. To be honest, I think this might be the end of the Men in Black films, at least in this incarnation and if so, then they wrapped everything up really well.
If you skipped this one because you weren't that impressed with #2, that's perfectly understandable. Men in Black II was a huge misstep, but they're back with a vengeance in this one and they really went out and tried to make this movie fun again. There's a lot of aliens, there's gadgets and there's laughs. That's all you really need in these types of movies. So, catch in on DVD if you can, it's one of those movies that doesn't try and be anything other than a fun movie and really, what more can you ask?
I can't believe I am writing about a Sex and the City movie. I look up at the top and there's the Sex and the City poster. How low I have gone. Pretty soon, I will be writing about every rom-com movie that has come out in the past 3 years. Anyhow, Total Film put this on their most hated list. I was not surprised, because I mean, a guy made this list, so he's going to have absolutely no qualms about putting this movie on the list. However, his reasons were both obvious and a little...weird. They're below:
"Well, the fellas would have hated it regardless, but even female fans turned on a show that had lost its bite for xenophobic cheap shots and self-parody."
So...let me start out with my take on the movie: I have no take on the movie. I did not see the movie. I know it's not geared to people like me and I luckily do not have a girlfriend and thus was not dragged to see this film. You see, there are benefits for being single, sometimes. So, can't say I hate the movie, didn't see it. However, even if I were dragged to this movie, I still would probably not have hated it just because it's a chick flick. Listen, this movie is directed at women. That's obvious. The television show was geared towards women. Once again, didn't need an advertisement for that, it was pretty clear. For me to hate this movie, I would also have to hate every movie aimed at black folks (Tyler Perry, Spike Lee) or gay people or people who are fans of a television series I haven't watched or people who are fans of a book I haven't read. Every movie has a demographic. Even though I'm not a kid anymore, for instance, I don't hate kid movies. I understand there is an audience for certain movies and I'm not that particular audience. That's fine. Not every film is made for me. Talk about egocentric and self-centred. It's a wonder this guy can leave his house every day, his head is so damned big.
The rest of the comment though...is weird to me. First, he mentions that female fans turned on the show. Is he talking about the movie? Because there was a television show that ended before this movie. This guy knows this right? He's talking about the movie, not the Sex in the City show? Oh, he doesn't? He doesn't even know what he's talking about? Well, after over twenty reviews of his list, I have to agree. He doesn't. That comment makes it sound like he's talking about the last season of the television show that was on HBO. not the movie. Holy confused.
Then he mentions that there are "xenophobic" cheap shots. Now, I am an educated man (as I hope you've realized from reading these posts), but I do not know what xenophobia is. I had to look it up. So, thanks again Mr. Total Film for jumping into the dictionary. You say films are muffled and there are xenophobic comments. Who are you trying to impress? The Rock? 'Cause, he ain't impressed! Neither am I! Xenophobic...okay, xenophobia is "an unreasonable Fear or hated of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange" (thanks Wikipedia). So, to me, this is a really PC way of saying there's racism in the movie and that is not cool. At all. I haven't seen the film so I can't judge if this is just their interpretation of the film or if that stuff is actually in there, but if it is, then yeah, I would find that justifiable grounds for hating the film. There's no place for that sort of stuff in the world, I don't care if it's for laughs or what. I did a little research and it appears the critics say that it is...but then, the critics see a boom mike shadow in a shot and go on endlessly about the amateurish production values, so they're not what I would call reliable witnesses.
Then there's the self-parody part and for that, I have no comment. I have no frame of reference and I doubt the yahoo who added this to the list does either, so it's not worth my time.
So, there you have Sex and the City 2. Not having seen the movie, I can't say that I disliked it or not, I don't know if fans of the show did, I'm sure more disliked than liked it based on what I'm hearing, but it probably still has it's supporters who like anything to do with the original show, regardless of content. For me, hating it just because you're male makes no sense, just because it's not targeting you doesn't mean you have to hate something, it's the racism stuff that would rate as a yes in the hate category for me.
Worth the hatred? If the racism comments are true, than yes, but guys hating it just because it exists is not grounds for hatred.
So, this one made the list. I can't say I'm surprised, Spidey 3 has gotten a lot of bad press. Total Film stated that this movie is hated by the fans. Actually, they said that three-peats try to do too much (debatable to say the least) and that "Marvel went ahead anyway." Uh-uh. Listen, you work for Total Film, okay? Get your facts straight. Sony is doing the Spider-Man pictures. SONY. Not Marvel, Marvel would not do a crappy Spider-Man flick, which is what #4 is looking like, okay? You work for Total Film. This is your job. This is your brand. If you're going to make a lame list like this, at least sound like you know what you're talking about (even though clearly, you don't), okay?
So, the contention is the fans hate this film. Okay, fair enough. However, who are the fans? Are we talking about fans as in the first time I saw Spider-Man was the first Raimi film? Are we talking about Spider-Man fans as in collected the comics, saw the television series (live-action and the 1960's/1990's cartoon), bought the toys and when Spider-Man first hit theatres in 2002, took the day off school/work and went to see it? What are we talking here, what is your definition of the word fan? Because if it's someone who only cared about Spider-Man since the first live-action film, then who cares? What do they have to say about it? What is their basis of knowledge, the other two films? There's so much about Spider-Man, I would find it extremely hard to give credence to the opinions of a bunch of johnny-come-lately's.
That being said, I do agree that the movie did try to do too much. Look, putting in Venom and Sandman was a mistake, having one or the other would have been fine. You could have the 2nd Green Goblin (or the Green Skateboarder or whatever the hell he was supposed to be), but really, putting both villains in the movie does justice to neither. Also, Sandman killing Uncle Ben was terrible. Spider-Man does not need a personal vendetta to go after Sandman, the fact that the man is walking around, robbing armoured cars and the like is sufficient enough. We don't need this extra drama that really doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense.
That being said, I think this movie is a mixed bag. The black costume is great (didn't the fans like that?), I like how Peter Parker is wrestling with good and evil, Sandman himself was great and this was the first film in the series where I didn't want to punch Mary Jane Watson out. So, it wasn't as terrible as everyone says and for the record, I used to get the Spider-Man comics whenever I could as a kid, so it's not like I'm one of these first day fans like the people talking trash about Spider-Man on the 'Net. To me, it's still a lot better than what this fourth film is looking like and I think when it's all said and done, Spider-Man 3 will have it's own fans, though I will admit it's not as good as the first two films, it's not bad enough to be hated.
Okay, hold-up, time out here people. ... ... ... When did Alien 4 suddenly become the most hated? I went to the bathroom, Alien 3 was the most hated one in the franchise, everyone agreed, it was a terrible movie (actually it wasn't, it was pretty good), but I come out, I think the world is the same and all of a sudden, Alien 4 is making the most hated lists. Well, what the hell happened?
Well I can tell you what happened. What happened is the director of Alien 3, David Fincher became Mr. Big Shot. That's right, David Fincher made Alien 3. Everyone's favourite movie director, the guy who has been nominated for at least 2 Oscars now, as well as making Seven and Fight Club which all the fanboys and film geeks love and quote and all that stuff, he made Alien 3, which everyone said was kakka doody not too long ago. What's that? You looove all Fincher movies, so Alien 3 isn't that bad? Well, I can point to a piece of my anatomy and tell you what I'd like you to do with it. Because you know what? You guys didn't Max Reed that up. You didn't go back and take a second look at it and appreciate it for what it was. You just happen to like it because David Fincher is now in everyone's top 10 directors list. You know, that sort of stuff sickens me. Like, don't have an opinion of your own! Heavens no! You just go along with the crowd, little boy! Here's a lollipop! Geez.
Anyhow, I actually went back and re-read the Total Film article (while holding my nose and keeping back the vomit). Here is why Alien 4 made the list, because I have no logical explanation at all why Alien 4 would make the list. Here it is and I quote:
"An unnecessary addition to the story, muzzled by the law of diminishing returns and the misjudged tone of black comedy. The less said about the Newborn, the better."
Now, let me start off by saying if I'm making a list of the 50 most hated films of all time, I think I owe each of those movies more than 2 lines. Talk about a weak explanation to hate a film. Let's get into it a little bit:
Unnecessary addition? Why? Because they wanted to make more alien films? Because they didn't want Ridley dying to wrap up the series? Because they thought up a new way of bringing the franchise back to life? (P.S., one of the writers of this movie was Joss Wedon, whose picture all these jackasses put up beside Fincher's, Tarantino's and Stephen Soderbergh's before going to sleep at night, so don't even think the loss who created the list still has the same opinion that this movie was unnecessary, he's probably telling everyone how much he looooves Alien 4...asswipe).
Muzzled by the law of diminishing returns. Muzzled? Muzzled? First of all, who are you trying to impress, you pimply-faced dropout? Muzzled? Really. You hit the thesaurus button in Word for that one, didn't you. You high-fived all your loser colleagues when you did that one. Muzzled? Give me a break. Essentially, what this guy is saying is that the longer the series goes, the more diminished the box office returns get (which I've already proven is wrong) and the the less reason to go on. So, you know according to this guy, there would be only 3 Godzilla films and that's it. Three Mission: Impossibles. No more Pirates, no more Transformers...Basically, any franchise is toast after 3. It's a good thing this moron isn't running things.
Okay, the Newborn. WHAT? The Newborn is awesome! It's a cross between and alien and a human! What's wrong with that! You see the carnage it caused on the ship? That entire part with the Newborn was awesome! What was wrong with that? Honestly, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT? Why do you hate this movie? I mean, what is the explanation? Just because it was the 4th film in the series and you think it was going for black comedy (a misread if there ever was, Alien 4 is the sickest, most gruesome and fantasy-ish installment in the series...but it's not going for comedy-value, even dark comedy, you half-wit), and you didn't like the Newborn. That's...it. I don't get it. Then to top it off, you post a review from some poster on Jo Blo. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Half the guys who post on there haven't had a single thought in their head for entire generations. You have got to be kidding me. I'm sorry, but this is just a complete farce.
Rating: Worth the hate? When I understand why his movie is hated or even if it's hated, I'll get back to you...on second thought, I'll get back to you now...No.
In reaction to the news a few days ago that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was being pulled by Paramount from the 2012 Summer schedule, one month before its release and amidst the usual marketing frenzy of trailers and celebrity interviews that accompanies such blockbusters, I thought I'd post a memory of what G.I. Joe used to be -- from a time when G.I. Joe was unabashedly patriotic and unashamedly marketed just to kids, disregarding any thought of being too cheezy or over the top. And guess what? The franchise was wildly successful for ten years doing this. Oh well, times have changed. The above clip is the openning of G.I. Joe: The Movie, a tie-in film to the cartoon of the 80's which was meant for thatrical release but was suddenly punted to straight-to-video status after the box office failure of Transformers: The Movie (1986). G.I. Joe: The Movie has its faults (mostly having to do with the introduction of the new villains from something called "Cobra-La" -- sheesh), but every scene having to do with the G.I. Joe team itself in the film is stellar, including this wonderful introduction which seemed to feature every action figure produced up to that point (now that's how you market a toyline!).
So, for those of you who don't know, the star of this film is Sacha Baron Cohen, he of Ali G, Borat and Bruno fame. In this one, it's a little different than his other works: it actually has a linear plot and it's less of a documentary style and more of a conventional movie. However, you don't have to fear as it still has his touches all over it, it's satirical and ironic, it has crude humour and a lot of commentary about a wide variety of topics, mostly to do with the United States. If you're a big fan of some of his other works, then you'll probably forgive the parts in the film that aren't that funny, if you have never watched any of his other films, in my opinion Bruno and especially Borat are slightly better. I'll get into it a little more.
So, there is a lot that works and a lot that is funny in The Dictator. My favourite scene was actually the scene in the United Nations involving the fake Dictator and what he does to the Jewish delegation (I won't give it away here). Let's just say that I was laughing my ass off. The movie starts off hilariously and really keeps the momentum going while he is in the fake nation of Wadiya which Baron Cohen's character is the dictator of. I actually think those scenes are funnier than his scenes when he's coming to America. I just like this idea of having this completely amoral person walking around, doing whatever he wants, he's completely clueless but because he's in charge, no one can really stop him.
Then he goes to America. He meets the requisite American girl who is absolutely appalled with what he does. The momentum keeps up for a while in America, but then things start to falter. Partly because of the relationship -- it's not bad or anything, but it's not really good, either. I'm not interested in seeing Baron Cohen's character reform or find love or anything like that. Like I said, it's not really bad or anything, but it just doesn't interest me, I'm more interested in him offending everyone. He does this somewhat, but it gets a little muddled, because there's actually a storyline -- he's got a mission he's got to do, there's a deadline and it's sort of geared to that. That being said, there was some stuff I just think fell flat...the masturbation scene, the birthing scene (though it recovered a bit at the end) and the decapitated head all produced crickets in the theatre. It wasn't like the Borat scene where he and the other guy were wrestling naked in the hotel where you just watched it build to it went to ludicrous heights...these scenes were just "okay, this isn't really funny or going anywhere, let's move on".
However, there's more to like in this film than dislike. The other actors in the movie don't really get in Baron Cohen's way, he is the star and the movie is all him. The jokes hit more than they miss and there's a lot to like about the movie. For me personally, like I said, I enjoy seeing him do ridiculous and outrageous things in Borat or Bruno a little more just because of the style it's done -- having it like a mockumentary, a lot of people would take this stuff for real, he didn't really use actors in that film and the reactions just strike me as funnier. In this one, it's a movie, I know it's a movie, it doesn't mean it's not a funny movie but I think having more overtly a movie lessens his impact a little bit and makes the jokes that don't work a little more negative to the overall film.
That being said go check it out, you'll probably find it absolutely hilarious and if you're clever, you'll like it for what it is.
So, the NBC show Community ended its third season this past Thursday with a mini marathon of three new episodes. After having been jerked around this season (it was placed on “hiatus “ after the Fall, then brought back for the Summer after much speculation that it was cancelled), NBC has announced that Community is indeed coming back for a fourth season, but in Friday, the notorious “death slot”. NBC also fired show runner and creator Dan Harmon (all of the writers are off too – not fired, but some have left for other jobs, one quit over Harmon being fired). The head writers are not going to be David Guarascio and Moses Port, writers for Happy Endings – a show I really effing despise -- and creators of the frankly shitty Aliens in America (a concept done way better at the same time in this country with Little Mosque on the Prairie).
Ah, Community. For those who don’t know, I really love this show. I’ve see every episode since day one and own the first two seasons on DVD (I intend to get season 3 when it comes out). I love the characters (my favourite being Abed) but I also love all of the cleverly handled tributes and spoofs on all things pop culture. Dan Harmon himself is in his late 30s and he seems to have been influenced by the same pop culture references that I love. That said, mainstream acceptance and longevity seems to have been sacrificed for “gimmick” or “theme” episodes, of which this show has thrived on for episode after episode in seasons 2 and 3. While I love the Youtube episode (made of clips in the spirit of random Youtube fan clips), the all claymation Christmas episode, the Dungeons and Dragons episode in which the characters do a quest involving all of the D&D rules, the alternate reality episode and even this Thursday’s all 8-bit video game episode (in which most of the episode was entirely done in 8-bit videogame style), most people will not understand what the hell is going on. As well, even I admit to being tired of all of these strange theme episodes. The characters don’t seem to have a chance to grow and breath. Annie and Jeff’s characters (Alison Brie and Joel McHale respectively) looked like they were heading into a relationship with each other heading into season 2, but then their relationship was addressed sporadically, taking a back seat to all of the pop culture tribute shenanigans. Hell, the most they ever showed of this storyline was the alternate reality episode, and that part of the episode didn’t matter to the rest of the continuity. Also, Brita is impregnated by Chang (Yvette Nicole Brown and Ken Jeong respectively) in a Halloween episode none of the characters remembered because they were infected by a government-made drug that made them all zombies. Then, there are characters acting out of character. I loved the character of Abed (Danny Pudi) in season one. He was portrayed in that episode as a quite boy who appeared quirky and strange to everyone, but was really intelligent and in full command of himself, but just had trouble communicating to people. I loved that he loved watching movies and TV shows and had a full encyclopedic knowledge of all of it, but was still a cool, intelligent dude who had a calm outlook on life that elevated himself above the others around him who thought he was odd. I remember the episode where his simple notion that he should do a favour for a friend no matter what caused him to outwit a bunch of lab students being a favourite of mine, and I love one epidoe (I think it was the first Halloween episode?) where Jeff accuses Abed of not being connected to reality, and Abed giving a speech part way through the episode where he admits that he does know what’s real and what’s fake at all times, but chooses to view reality through the lens of pop culture. Oh, and I love the episode where in Jeff breaks down and lives life like Abed, spending his days watching TV shows and movies with Abed in his dorm room, until Abed realizes that isn’t eh life for Jeff and creates a plan for Jeff to stand on his own two feet – because Abed was fully aware of his surroundings enough to know what Jeff was doing to himself was wrong. Then what happened? Apply the Abed of those episodes to the Abed of season 3. Abed is nothing but a wack job now. He plays in the “imaginatorium”, he thinks he’s Batman, he has mental breakdowns of yelling fits when his favourite show is cancelled – WTF? I don’t know but, isn’t this out of character for him? Then Chang gets crazier and crazier, taking over the school and kidnapping the Dean. And speaking of the Dean, he becomes more and more of a crazy homosexual stereotype with every episode. Sure, the costume changes are entertaining for about a second when you see them, but that’s all the character is good for now. And all character arcs, from Annie, Abed and Troy (Donald Glover) sharing an apartment together, to Shirley having her baby are back-burnered while everyone does the Pulp Fiction episode, or the 40’s gangster film episode (you know, the episode with the chicken fingers). I can see why Community’s numbers aren’t where they should be.
On the other hand, NBC has done a piss poor job of promoting this show. They’ve run more ads for the obnoxious Whitney than they have for Community. For eff sakes, Joel McHale and Donald Glover are two of the most talented stand up comedians in the business, comedy legend Chevy Chase is a regular cast member on the show, movie star Ken Jeong (no matter whether or not you like him, he's popular among the young crowd and is a regular on the show), and for eff sakes Jim Rash who plays series regular Dean Pelton won an effing Oscar this past year and I saw nothing in the ads saying “starring Oscar winner Jim Rash”!! How the hell many TV shows this season boasted an Academy Award winner. And forget ads mentioning Jim Rash, I just didn’t see ads for Community. Could they not just mention the show just a little bit? I mean, Joel McHale promoted the show on his other series The Soup, and he was doing that on the E! network!!! NBC couldn’t parlay an all star comedy cast into a powerhouse marketing campaign!!??
So, what do I think of all of the changes to Community for the upcoming season? First of all, if this is a move toward telling stories that focus more on the characters, than I applaud that. And that’s about where my enthusiasm for these changes to Community ends. First, the Friday slot is usually a signal that a show is close to being cancelled. Much is being made of the fact that Community will now lead into Grimm, one of NBC’s only hits of the past year. But Community’s move to Friday with a measly 13 episodes looks to all the world like NBC just wants to order up a few extra episodes, in order to have an attractive syndication package in which to make really money on the show (the new episodes will push the total for the series to 80 episodes). As for the new show runners, hooo boy. As I said, I really hate Happy Endings, a show these two are really involved with (my Wife loves that show, btw). Everyone on that show is trying to act witty and funny with quick, zippy lines, but I don’t know if it’s just the bad delivery of the cast – everything is terribly unfunny. The jokes don’t seem genuine, just stuff that’s read aloud by the cast – none of the dialogue seems natural. Sure, characters in TV shows don’t talk the same way real people do, but you’re not supposed to notice that – and I do with Happy Endings. And let’s not talk too much about Aliens in America, a show that was supposed to explore Muslims living in America and coping with American customs in a “humorous” way – it was really short lived. And these jokers are taking over Community. If the new show runners will be moving away from the pop culture stuff to focus on characters, I guess that’s fine but they should know this – Community’s backbone has become that savvy deconstruction of all things pop culture that the show’s studio Sony, and the show’s network NBC seem so squeamish about. I don’t want this show to turn into Big Bang Theory. As much as that show is hugely, insanely popular (which I do want for Community), Big Bang got that way by skirting the line between pop culture (and so called “geek culture”) awareness and mainstream pandering. Big Bang did this by mainly positioning the jokes to laugh at geeks rather than with them. And sometimes, it kind of crosses a line and rings false (the last episode of Big Bang I saw featured a line where Sheldon disparaged the Green Lantern movie and I swear the audience moaned when he said it, knowing that it was noticeably out of character for Sheldon who would have probably thought the movie was awesome). Community does not laugh at geeks, but with them, in increasingly clever ways. I really hope they continue that.
Anyway, that’s my long winded rant on Community. I wish everyone involved in season 4 the best of luck. I’ll be watching.
Last year, I ranked Sucker Punch as the best movie I'd seen in 2011.
So, you know right off the bat, I'm not a supporter of this film being in the "most hated films of all time" category, nor do I think it should be there. First of all, the movie's a year old, so even if I did not think this movie was great, I would question why a movie that's barely a year old deserves to be on the list of worst movies of all time. I do think that the quality of movies in general has lessened over the years, but I think it's hard to screw the pooch that badly, that fast. Especially considering the director of the film is Zack Snyder, who could do not wrong before this film came out.
If there is angst against this movie and I'm not going to argue that, I read the reviews, I know what's going on out there, then all I have to say is I greatly underestimated the sheer ignorance of the group of sad human beings who call themselves movie critics and I also greatly underestimated the sheer stupidity, arrogance and ignorance of that group of sad human beings who spend their time posting on movie websites sheerly to put their utterly worthless vote behind movies that other people tell them are good instead of formulating an opinion that is uniquely their own. People didn't like Sucker Punch because they couldn't understand it, they thought it was like a video game and they thought the women's clothes sexualized these young girls.
Here's my counter-arguments:
1) You didn't understand the movie. Well, I saw it the first time and I got it. Babydoll is equating her experiences in the insane asylum to being in a bordello. It's not that far a stretch as they both have the same principles: in this case, women being tied down to an authoritative masculine figure. When she fights back by her dancing, she imagines it much like one of the fantasy scenarios in the movie, fighting zombie Nazi's, stealing fire from a dragon, defusing a bomb made by robots...it's not that hard to figure out. Go buy the Director's Cut of the movie, read Wikipedia and do some research before you dismiss the movie for being "stupid" because you couldn't understand it, because trust me my friend, the only stupid one we're talking about here, is you.
2) It's like a video game. What isn't these days? The line between video games and movies have become so blurred. Take for example Mortal Kombat. Do you know the latest one, if you type in "Mortal Kombat 9 Story Mode" on Youtube, you know what comes up? A link that says "MORTAL KOMBAT MOVIE" and showing all the cutscenes bunched together into one two-hour MOVIE. So, you know what? You saying it's just like a video game as a negative point shows how ignorant you are of the direction that media is moving in. Video games are now movies and vice-versa. You don't like that, fine, I didn't say you had to, but hating on this movie for that point is absolutely absurd.
3) The girls were oversexualized (with their outfits being mentioned). Don't watch Manga much, eh? Guess not, because if you do, you would be appalled. Just terribly scandalized. Because EVERY YOUNG FEMALE CHARACTER IS SEXED-UP IN THOSE SHOWS. Don't go on the web much? Don't browse around, look at media websites. I guess not, you're too busy joining that nunnery or something. The fact is, the girl's costumes are representative not just of a culture (in this case manga and if you're turning your nose up to Manga now, just remember that Japanese Manga is more popular than anything North America has churned out in animation recently, you bigot), but also of their respective roles in the movie. Nurse, Warrior, Armed Forces, it's all in there. You just have think about it and maybe do a little reading, instead of having everything explained to you because you're too damned stupid to think for yourself.
So, that's my post on Sucker Punch. The fact that this movie is included doesn't surprise me, but as you've guessed, it sure as hell has irritated me.
Worth the hate: Up yours, Total Film and haters of this film.
I've been meaning to write this post for a while. JoBlo decided to have a little debate on its website over whether Tim Burton's Batman or Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins is better. For the record, my vote is with Tim Burton. J-Man weighed in and he got a couple of replies. One guy said who cares about Batman in comics and the other guy submitted his resume and expounded basically that unless you think Batman Begins is superior, you know nothing about Batman. Here is my rebuttal and I'm not posting it on that website because I may get a nasty reply one or both of those individuals, which will probably cause me to track down both posters and wring their necks. Make no mistake, it is preferable to get snotty with J-Man than with me...he'll insult you sure, but he is too mature and wise to go beyond that...while I will happily go looking into the kitchen drawer for available carving knives...
Anyhow, my anger management issues aside, for the purposes of the post, I will dismiss the person who said who cares about Batman in comics. This post will be about Batman in the comics (in a way), so that opinion has no merit here. Likewise, if you're reading this post and have the same opinion, stop reading and shut down the page. You won't care about what I have to write and you'll be wasting your time and my breath. For the second person, he reminds me of a guy I ran into once online. He had the same attitude as this guy (for all I know, he is the same guy) and the only thing I would have to say is you are a sad, sad individual. You cannot have a normal conversation or friendly debate without insulting someone. By the fact you had to make it personal, you both showed the ignorance of your opinion and that you obviously don't even believe that opinion yourself, because if you did, you would find no need to get personal in the first place.
Anyhow, jackass posters on JoBlo aside, I have an interesting idea about Dark Knight. Not Batman Begins, but Dark Knight. Now, I want you to think about the movie. Got it? Good. Now remove any mention of Batman, No Batman. Okay? Good. Now, replace him with Green Arrow. You know, Green Arrow, millionaire Oliver Queen, he has the arrows and all that, he's a DC character. Good? Now, think about it. Would it not be the same movie? It would? Okay. Now, here's my problem. If you have made a good Batman movie, you should not be able to replace Batman with anyone. In The Dark Knight, there is nothing uniquely Batman. No cave, no car, no detective work, nothing. He is a masked vigilante who they call Batman. He bares some resemblance to the comic book character. There are none of the character traits that uniquely make him Batman.
Now, wait a minute. Do not start rocketing hate emails to me. "Eff u, Dark Knight is the best, u go to hell!" I did not say it wasn't a good movie. Christopher Nolan has made nothing but good movies (with the exception of Insomnia and even then, I've seen worse). The man is bad movie proof. He is a damned good director. There is no doubt. However, there seems to be this ground-swell since Batman Begins and Dark Knight Rises is around the corner, that Christopher Nolan has made the definitive Batman movie. I beg to differ. If you said Marvel has made the definitive Avengers movie, well, I would be more inclined to agree. But Nolan? No. His movies are set in Batman's world and there are ideas that seem to be pointing towards Batman, but these are not Batman films. They are films that are a spin on Batman, a different take. Sure, fine, I'll buy that. It's not Batman though and if you try and shovel that crap on me, you'll get it back in two fistfuls.
So the debates rage as Nolan's trilogy wraps up. I for one would be interested to see how people remember Nolan's films twenty years later. People still fondly remember the Tim Burton films (or film as Batman Returns seems to me to be a tad unloved), but will people remember these films just as well? For my money, the answer will be no and once again it has nothing to do with the quality of the films, but the spirit of them. Nolan's trilogy is technically sound and impressive-looking, but lacks the passion for the source material. I detect no love in them, just the mechanics of good filmmaking. For people to declare that these are the best Batman films of all time shows an equal amount of dispassion for Batman. I'm not saying that you have to be a Batman fan to enjoy the film. But for a kid who grew up buying Batman comics off the rack simply for the experience of another great Batman adventure, I think I deserve something better than I have received.