Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quantum of Solace



Yowza. Grant, you rule.

I realize that I haven't commented yet on the title to the next Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. That's partly because I'm behind on my posting in general, but mostly because what can I say? It's a Fleming title and Hooray for that.

I also like that the movie is a direct sequel to Casino Royale in a way that most Bond movie's aren't to each other. According to one of the big shots at this press conference, Quantum of Solace picks up about an hour after Casino Royale. We're assured that it's not "just a revenge movie" though and I believe them.

After Casino Royale came out I fantasized about how cool it would be if they just went back and remade the rest of Fleming's novels in the order he wrote them. How cool would it be to have a new, serious Live and Let Die follow Casino Royale without Sheriff J.W. Pepper and Rosie Carver, but with a Strangways and Quarrel who would later appear played by the same actors in a Dr. No remake? Imagine Bill Duke or Michael Clarke Duncan as Mr. Big. Or Chow Yun-Fat as Doctor No. I get chills.

The Live and Let Die novel was also a direct sequel to Casino Royale and it was also "not just a revenge tale." But it certainly had that element to it since Bond's enthusiasm for the case shot up dramatically once he learned that Mr. Big was associated with the same guys Vesper had worked for. I'm confident that Quantum of Solace will be able to maintain that same balance between Bond's lust for revenge and an interesting spy story.

Incidently, if you're curious about what exactly the phrase "quantum of solace" means or has to do with the story, the excellent Double O Section blog has the answer.

The Awesome List: Monsters, Chun-Li, Pirate's Cove, Neozoic, Strangeways, Torchwood comics, and more

Kraken!Museums are Cool

When I go to WizardWorld Chicago, I usually stick pretty close to the convention center out in the 'burbs. This year though, I may have to venture into the city.

I've been to the Field Museum before and the dinosaurs are reason enough, not to mention that it was the site of much mauling in the movie version of The Relic, but the Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids exhibit will be there all summer long, so it'll be an especially good time to go. And in addition to the girly creatures in the title? Krakens.

(Thanks to SFScope -- who also reviewed the exhibit when it was in New York -- for the heads up.)

Kristin!And starring Kristin Kreuk as Chun-Li

I don't know how I missed this before.

I stopped caring about Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang a long, long time ago. But casting her as Chun-Li in a new Street Fighter movie? That's the way to get me to go see a new Street Fighter movie.

The Pirate's Cove

Rob Ossian, self-proclaimed Pirate King of The Pirate's Cove, doesn't look as much like a pirate as he seems to think he does, but he runs a mean, extremely useful website full of pirate biographies, music, books, movies, weapons galleries, timelines, historical documents, and nautical info. He's even got a sailing simulator! Very, very cool site.

Neozoic #4Thank God for Red 5

Seriously. Atomic Robo and Neozoic are drugs for an illness I didn't even know I had: Lackofawesometosis.

Coming April 30: Neozoic #4

Written by Paul Ens; Art by J. Korim; Colors by Jessie Lam

The walls of Monanti city are smashed, and the lives of millions are trampled beneath the feet of relentless dinosaurs. The Predator Defense League tries to stem the tide. The King finds his family kidnapped. But is Lilli to blame?

When both father and mentor turn their backs on her, the emotional show-down turns deadly.

32 pages, $2.95

StrangewaysStrangeways

Strangeways was one of the casualties of Speakeasy's demise and one of the few titles that didn't immediately find a new home elsewhere. That's not a comment on it's quality though, because I read the first issue and it promised to be one of the best titles Speakeasy produced. It's high-concept (werewolves in the Wild West) is actually outdone by it's execution, at least in the first issue. It's probably the coolest, scariest werewolf story I've ever read.

Rather than shop the mini-series around elsewhere though, creator Matt Maxwell decided to hold onto it until it was done and release it as a complete graphic novel. And guess what's all done and ready to read?

You can check out the first chapter in the link above and find out more about the book here.

Torchwood comicsTorchwood comics

I gave up on Torchwood not too far into the series. It was bleaker than both Doctor Who from whence it came and The X-Files whom it seemed to try so hard to be. All that darkness needs some humor to offset it and I just wasn't finding it.

That said, it's still pretty cool that Torchwood: The Official Magazine is doing a series of exclusive comic strips based on the show.

Speaking of The X-Files

JJ Abrams' shot at the concept will co-star Denethor from The Lord of the Rings.

Free Giant Monster!

Thanks no doubt to Cloverfield, Boom! released the collected edition of Steve Niles' Giant Monster mini-series this month.

What's better, you can read it for free. You'll still want to buy it because it's cool, but now you can check it out for yourself first.

North WorldGross Pointe Blank with talking bears

I have this love/hate thing going on with webcomics. There are some really awesome ones, but I don't have time to keep up with them. Take North World, for example, which is a fantasy epic set in a world pretty much like our own except for the demons, giant eagles, and other mythical creatures in need of killing. I need to read a book like that.

Fortunately, the good webcomics eventually find their way into print and that's the case with North Wood, the first volume of which will come out in March from Oni.

The Terragoth Chronicles

The story description sounds generic and flowery, but from what I can see of the art, The Terragoth Chronicles should at least be pretty to look at. Unfortunately, most of the art is tiny and I couldn't find any story pages on the site so I can't judge how well it'll be executed, but yeah... pretty.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

YouTube du Jour: The Real Kirk

Just in case you're getting comfortable with someone else playing Kirk, let me remind you...

Artist of the Day: Art Grafunkel

I'm proud to call Art a pal.

From his blog: 30 Days of Night.



And a personal piece he did for the moderators of Steve Niles' message board:



I may have shared that last one before, but it's worth looking at again. Can you pick me out in the crowd? Huh? Can you?

The Awesome List: Cool comics

Marvel and DC for April

Marvel and DC have both released information about their April comics. Here's the stuff I found interesting:

Amazing Spider-Man #555



I'm not a Spider-Man fan and I can take or leave Wolverine, but dang those guys they're fighting look cool.

Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Clash



Looks like a continuation of the current "Incredible Herc" storyline currently in The Incredible Hulk comic, but even if it wasn't I'd be into it. Looks like a glorious smash party.

Mighty Avengers #12



I really don't care much about the Secret Invasion of Skrulls, but I do care about "WHERE THE HELL HAS NICK FURY BEEN??"

Secret Invasion #1



That said, I'll give this a flip through and see if it's interesting.

Detective Comics #843



You can't tell it from the cover, but this issue features Zatanna and that's always a draw. Especially Paul Dini-written Zatanna.

Tangent: Superman's Reign #2



I've never been a Green Lantern fan, but I love the design of the Tangent version. I'm not afraid to admit that it's the big ass lantern-on-a-stick. I'm tempted to give this issue a try even though it's part of a storyline/event that I care absolutely nothing about.

New Guardians of the Galaxy

I've really enjoyed Marvel's Annihilation: Conquest mini-series, so I'm glad they're going to keep going with the same characters when it's done. I mean, any comic with a talking space-raccoon is a good comic.

But you know how you could make that comic better? Call it Guardians of the Galaxy and put an alien with a giant fin on his head in it. We're halfway there; I just need to know where the petition I need to sign is to include Yondu.



(I realize that not even Rocket Raccoon is a done deal for the series, but a man has to dream.)

Zenescope? Yes, Zenescope.

I haven't been a big fan of Zenescope's comics so far, but they've got some upcoming projects that sound really cool. One is Dan Wickline's ongoing Sinbad series.



The other is Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson's The Living Corpse. It's not as natural a draw for me as Dan or Sinbad comics in general, but the preview makes it look like fun.



Other comics I'm looking forward to

I forgot to mention it here at the time, but my Blog@ post last week was the Top 10 independent adventure comics I'm looking forward to this year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vacancy (2007)



At last, a good horror movie. After the last couple, I was starting to despair.

Vacancy got on my To Watch list for two reasons. Kate Beckinsale was one. The other was that I heard some good things. But you never know if you should trust other people's tastes, so I didn't want to get too excited. Fortunately, my friends were right on.

I don't know if I'm gonna buy Vacancy, because frankly it's kind of hard to watch. It opens with Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson as a married couple on a road trip, but they're picking on each other. Once they get lost and start having car trouble though, the snide comments and dirty looks soon escalate to outright name calling and the presentation of middle fingers. These guys hate each other and the actors are so convincing at it that it's uncomfortable to be around them.

When their car finally dies on them and they get stuck overnight in a little motel in the middle of nowhere, things get really nasty. After being frightened half to death by some unseen pranksters who won't stop knocking loudly on the doors, Luke starts looking for something to help him unwind and get to sleep. He finds a stash of unmarked video tapes and pops one in the VCR. He and Kate are horrified enough that it's apparently a real, live snuff film, but even more disturbing is that it was apparently filmed in the very room they're staying in.

By this time, I'm just about ready to turn the movie off because the tension's so high. I'm already on edge from Kate and Luke's bickering, then the knocking starts and its scary as hell because a) Kate and Luke did nothing to instigate it and b) you can just imagine it happening to you, but then you get the snuff films and they're so raw and convincing that you're freaking screaming at the TV set for Luke and Kate to get out NOW! but they don't and oh crap now they're dead.

Seriously, I don't remember the last time I was that freaked out by a movie. I honestly had to remind myself that it was just a film and, fortunately, it was about that time that director Nimród Antal let up on the tension so I could breathe. And then he kept doing that for the rest of the movie. Tension. Release. Tension. Release. Oh crap they're dead. Oh good they're not. Oh crap yes they are.

Actually, I may buy it anyway just so I can show people what real, scary horror is supposed to look like.

Five out of five dings on the counter bell.

Monday, January 28, 2008

YouTube du Jour: Modern Trailer for Classic Kong

I love this kind of stuff.

Why I Love Ed Brubaker: Reason No. 436

From Civil War: Frontline #11 by Paul Jenkins:




From Young Avengers Presents: Patriot by Ed Brubaker:




A-freaking-men.

Thank you, Ed.

More later...

Just a quick note to say that I've been swamped lately, but that regular posting should resume in the next couple of days. Sorry about that.

I'll try to stick up at least a new YouTube later tonight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rise: Blood Hunter (2007)



I can't trust Lucy Liu anymore. I gave her a pass on Ecks vs. Sever because that also starred Antonio Banderas who's another of my favorites, so I figured that sometimes good people can make bad movies and I decided to forget about it and move on. But now...

I'm sorry, Lucy. I love you, but I don't trust your judgment in films. If it's any consolation, I feel the same way about Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.

This isn't really a review because I didn't even finish Rise: Blood Hunter. Lucy's good in it, but the movie started to lose me about the time that she's kidnapped and raped by a couple of vampires (James D'Arcy and Carla Gugino). I forced myself to sit through it (it's not especially graphic, even in the unrated version, but it's not pleasant or even necessary either), but I gave up once Lucy picks up a hitchiker and kills him for his blood.

What I saw along the way was a lot of T&A and even more blood. I don't mind nudity, but this wasn't even attractive nudity. It was skanky nudity and that gets old fast. I don't mind movie gore either, but an excess of it is usually an indication that the movie-makers are trying to distract us from the lack of something else, and that's definitely the case here.

As far as I could tell after about half-an-hour, the plot's a pretty simple revenge deal with Michael Chiklis thrown in as a good-hearted cop who's investigating a series of bloody deaths. I think I might have gotten to like Chiklis had I kept with it, but I was so disappointed in Lucy's murdering the innocent hitchiker that I didn't care. And it's not like she just suddenly went blood-crazy and attacked him because she wasn't in control. She stopped and picked him up, questioned him to make sure he didn't have any dependents, then drove him into an empty park and sliced his throat open with a cross-shaped weapon specially designed for the job.

So, I gave it thirty minutes and all I could see was a movie about a bunch of unlikable people killing each other. Who cares?

One out of five dead hookers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

YouTube du Jour: Godzilla

I feel like I kinda ripped you guys off on the posting today, so let me assuage my guilt with some more Godzilla footage.

The Reaping (2007)



I mentioned when I talked about The Orphanage that I usually find that stylish films are trying to hide a crap plot. That's happened to me a lot, but I was really thinking about The Reaping when I wrote it.

It's not completely fair to call The Reaping's plot "crap." It's actually really interesting up to a certain point. It's a mystery story -- why is this small town in Louisiana experiencing plagues like the ones in Exodus? -- and as long as Hilary Swank is trying to figure it all out, it's good. Like I also said in that Orphanage review, my favorite horror movies are actually mysteries, so The Reaping starts off on the right foot.

Spoilers below

Where it starts to come undone is the over-the-top solution to the mystery. Swank plays a former minister who's lost her faith and now spends her time debunking "miracles" all over the world. So when she's called in to explain what's going on with the plagues in Haven, Louisiana, we're not quite sure if this is going to be a supernatural story or one with a mundane explanation. That's actually one of the cool elements of the mystery, but it works against the revelation. The movie tries so hard to stay grounded during the first couple of acts -- and succeeds, even amongst rivers of blood and skydiving frogs -- that when it goes all Omen and Rosemary's Baby at the end, it's jarring.

Even so, the movie manages to follow its own internal logic throughout, so I never felt betrayed by the revelation. Everything makes sense and flows out of what we've learned before, it's just that it's too much. It's too supernatural.

I think The Reaping might would've worked better as a novel. It really is a fascinating story, but seeing the last act played out onscreen with a bunch of special effects turns it into a different kind of movie. If I'd had to create the last act in my head, I think I would've been into it more.

And it's really too bad, 'cause I looooove Hilary Swank and she's all serious and kick-ass in this movie. Really, really too bad.

Two out of five flesh-eating locusts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win. Arrr!



Like most people, I usually associate Paul Henreid with Victor Laszlo in Casablanca. What I learned on his birthday a couple of weeks ago (January 10th, if you care) when TCM ran a Paul Henreid marathon was that he also did some pirate movies. I watched one and a half of them.

The Pirates of Tripoli was unwatchable, so I gave up part way through it and watched the rest in fast forward. Henreid is supposed to be a swashbuckling rogue, but he's as stiff and straightlaced as you'd expect the guy who played Victor Laszlo to be. What came off as stylish and inspiring in Casablanca is really sort of pathetic for a pirate captain. That, plus a lot of unnecessary voiceover narration explaining what you're already seeing on the screen, bored the crap out of me.

The Last of the Buccaneers was better. Henreid plays Jean Lafitte in the story of what happened to the pirate captain between his success in the War of 1812 and his being driven out of Galveston. Since Lafitte apparently didn't think of himself as a pirate, but more as a gentleman privateer, Henreid's stiffness is more appropriate and he recaptures some of the inspirational quality you saw in Casablanca. You can understand why Lafitte's men follow him.

There are a lot of plot holes and historical inaccuracies, but whatever. The sets are great and the supporting cast is very good. Jack Oakie and John Dehner are especially as entertaining as Lafitte's right- and left-hand men.

Pirates of Tripoli gets one out of five Yo Hos.

Last of the Buccaneers gets three out of five Spanish galleons.

Art of the Day: A Girl and Her Robot



I don't know who took these pictures for the Korean edition of Vogue Girl, but they're Aweome.

The Awesome List: New Wonder Woman artist, Dick Tracy song, Killer movie, and Image Comics for April

New Wonder Woman artist

The Dodsons are leaving Wonder Woman and that's sad news. The good news is that the series looks to be in good hands with Aaron Lopresti.



"The Powerful Fully-Transistorized Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist Radio"

Coolest song ever? You decide!

Killer movie

An awesome director and one of my favorite actors adapting one of my favorite graphic novels? How did I not know that David Fincher and Brad Pitt are planning to work together on a movie based on Matz's The Killer?

Comics about merpeople, pirates, and Bigfoot

Image Comics has released its solicitations for April and there's some good-looking stuff there.

Aqua Leung is finally coming.



I've loved the Death Dealer series, so I'm ready for more Frazetta-inspired comics. Especially one about a "legendary sea raider... battling his way through an ocean of horror."



The best comic about Bigfoot and a chupacabra hunting monsters finally gets an ongoing series.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Artist of the Day: Don Heck

I'm always impressed when artists can draw convincing fishnets, but not even having to use outlines on the legs is unbelievable. Very cool.

Found via Gorilla Daze.

Heath Ledger 1979-2008 RIP

I'm having a hard time getting my head around this. Heath Ledger is dead.

Cloverfield (2008)



So I saw Cloverfield.

I'm not sure what I have to add to the other reviews I've seen of it. It's a giant monster movie and that makes it review-proof to a certain extent. We love the giant monster movies.

But this ain't no Godzilla. Or, maybe it is, but it's early Godzilla back when those movies had more of a point than just putting two giant monsters together and watching them fight. Don't get me wrong, watching giant monsters kill each other is an honorable past time, but it's even better when there's sort of a point and I always liked that there was a point Japan was making by creating Godzilla.

There's a point to Cloverfield too. A lot of reviewers have noticed the 9/11 similarity, but I think it goes beyond watching some buildings fall and smoke roll through the streets of Manhattan. There's also the focus on normal people who don't know what's going on and never truly understand the threat. The world experienced 9/11 together and everyone has their own memories and associations with that day, but none of us who weren't in New York City really got a taste for what that must have been like. We saw the images as they happened, but we processed them differently than we would have had we been there. By putting us in the first person, Cloverfield makes us process these images like we might have had we been in New York that day.

I've read criticism about the hokeyness of having the Statue of Liberty's head roll down the street, but really I can't think of a better metaphor for what it was like to watch the Towers fall. The Statue is such an icon and the first time I saw that head roll through on the trailer, I was stunned. It's a powerful scene and I wish it hadn't have been overexposed by the trailer, though I understand why it was.

It's also important to the 9/11 metaphor that the monster wasn't created by a scientific accident. That worked for the point Godzilla was trying to make about nuclear power, but for a commentary on terrorism, it's vital that the threat be mysterious. SPOILER WARNING. Even if you catch the clue to the creature's origin in the movie's last scene (I didn't, but it was described to me), you understand that the creature isn't something we made on accident. It's an invader. We don't know why it came, we just know that it came to hurt us. END SPOILER.

So, yeah. It's pretty cool on that level and I liked it. You never would have gotten me to watch a movie that depicted a straightforward version the 9/11 experience (I avoided both United 93 and World Trade Center, for instance), but use a giant monster as a metaphor and I'm there.

It's executed pretty well too. I liked the characters and it was especially nice to see Lizzy Capland from The Class and TJ Miller from Carpoolers, two of my favorite actors from two of my favorite sitcoms from the last couple of years. The other actors are also fine and Odette Yustman is heart-breakingly beautiful, especially in light of the early scenes showing her and her best friend Rob (played by Michael Stahl-David) on the day they first realized they were in love with each other. I totally bought that Rob would cross Manhattan to rescue her. I would have done it too.

Though the plot is simple (get across town to rescue Odette and then get out of Manhattan without being eaten), it does what it needs to, which is provide an interesting frame for all the imagery. And it's interrupted at all the right points for some good old monster-fighting action, so it's never boring.

I don't know that I'd want to sit down and watch it again right away though. I'd like to see that last scene again and catch what I missed before, but having satisfied my curiosity about that, I'm not sure there's much more to get from the movie. I'd recommend it to anyone to see once, and I'd even go with you if I didn't have anything else to do, but as much as I like the deeper theme, it ironically ruins the rewatchability of the movie for me. I guess it went too far in the direction of Having a Point and I would have liked it more and been more excited to see it again if Godzilla would've shown up to fight the Cloverfield creature. But that's just the way I roll.

Three out of five face-eating parasites.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Artist of the Day: Victor Santos (again)

Because what we really need to cap off the day is a picture of a monkey doing a Michael Bay leap while firing two handguns.



Thanks, Victor Santos!

The Awesome List: If I was a girl, Doctor Who's politics, Captain Jack's Kids, Indy's house, Science Monster, and Smallville Black Canary

Mary Marvel bustier-shaped purse



At least I think it's a purse. Anyway, if I was a girl, I'd already have one.

Doctor Who: Revolutionary or Government Tool?

The new io9 blog charts the answer.

Jack's Kids

As if we needed more evidence that Johnny Depp is the coolest man on the planet, in gratitude for the Great Ormand Street Hospital's probably saving his daughter's life, he dressed up like Jack Sparrow and entertained sick kids for four hours. That's in addition to a million pound donation, by the way.

Wanna visit Indy's house?

Tell him I said "hi."

Need free monster comics, movies, and radio shows?

Science Monster has you covered
. It's a great place to spend some time browsing around. Seriously. I'd link directly to the video of Mr. Spock singing about Bilbo Baggins, but you'll be better rewarded finding it yourself.

Smallville's Black Canary photos

I was going to comment on the photos of the Smallville version of Black Canary that have been released, but Kevin Church has already said what I was going to say much better than I was going to say it.

Well, that and that my interest in watching the episode is now 98% dead.

Martin Luther King, Jr.



I don't want to let the day pass without stopping to remember and think about Martin Luther King, Jr. He may not have searched for lost treasure, discovered ancient civilizations, or killed aliens in outer space, but he was one of the bravest men this country's ever known.

And he did fight monsters.

I was less than a year old when he died, but I miss him.

The Orphanage (2007)



I've finally figured out that I'm not as much of a horror fan as I thought I was. I like the fantasy/scifi elements of monster movies and my absolute favorite horror movies are actually mysteries. The Orphanage falls into that category.

It's the story of a woman who grew up in an orphanage before she was adopted. Now, a parent herself, she moves back into the orphange with her husband and son, planning to reopen it and give other children the same positive experience she did. Unfortunately, her son begins hearing voices and talking about creepy imaginary friends and before too long he disappears.

Now Mom has to figure out where he is by putting together supernatural clues in order to find out a) what happened at the orphanage after she left and b) what those events have to do with her boy. It's a clever mystery, creepily presented (with underwater caves, secret passageways, mysterious old women with shovels, spooky ghost children, and a scarecrow mask), that makes sense and satisfies when it's done. There's a lot of style to the film, but it supports a well-crafted plot, which is nice because usually I find that stylish films are trying to hide a crap plot.

With Guillermo del Toro attached as producer, I'm not surprised that it's good. It's just nice to not be disappointed.

Five out of five creepy scarecrow boys.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

...and the power you possess.

Former Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka is upset about the most recent Playboy's featuring Tiffany Fallon in a painted-on Wonder Woman costume. According to Rucka, "You've no idea the damage you've done. No idea at all."

And he may be right. But not according to Steven Grant who writes, "We're talking about Wonder Woman, right? Bazoongas out to here, skintight costume, high heels, bare legs and emphasized crotch, slave bracelets on her wrists Wonder Woman. Right? The Wonder Woman whose creator intended her to warm girls up to the joys of freedom via bondage and submission, right? If you think Wonder Woman is a role model, bodypainted nudes are about the least of your problems... "

My take on it is falls somewhere between the two. I think Wonder Woman is a role model for girls. That doesn't mean I think little girls should go out and start dressing like her; it's Wonder Woman's attitude and confidence that I wish more girls -- heck, more people -- would try to mimic. It's that same confidence that allows her to wear that costume without giving a crap about what anyone else thinks about it.

But in response to Rucka's post title, I guess I kind of don't get it. Someone explain to me how a Playboy Playmate's imitating Wonder Woman hurts Wonder Woman's image or impact as a role model. Yes, it's sexist. Yes, it's completely focused on Wonder Woman's attractiveness.

But to Grant's point, Wonder Woman has always been attractive. That's an undeniable aspect of her character. And as far as her being the perfect role model for girls goes, it's a flaw. Sure, it's a lot easier for Wonder Woman to be as confident as she is. Just look at her. I don't see how the Playboy pictorial changes that. It overemphasizes one aspect of her character to the neglect of the rest, but it doesn't ruin her effectiveness as a role model any more than her unchanging attractiveness already does.

The Awesome List: Cloverfield manga, cool statues, JJ Abrams' X-Files, Jericho, and more

Last night wasn't just about the bad movies. I also saw The Orphanage and Cloverfield, so I'll get reviews of them up as soon as I can. But first, I want to make sure I'm as caught up on news as I can be, so...

Speaking of Cloverfield

Following the clues in the online marketing campaign, fans have uncovered an online manga that may or may not tell the origin of the monster. Unfortunately, it's untranslated from Japanese right now.

Lost Season Four cast photo



(Thanks, Grant!)

Some very cool stuff coming out from Dark Horse in April

Like this:






The Amazon Bubble

Siskoid has a great observation about why Gail Simone's Wonder Woman is so good and what it has to do with Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction's take on Iron Fist.

And speaking of Wonder Woman, I have comments about the new issue of Playboy with Tiffany Fallon as Wonder Woman, but they got to be too long for this post, so I'll do them up as a separate deal.

Fringe

Sounds like JJ Abrams' take on The X-Files. I'm in.

Jericho tease

This article on the new, partial season of Jericho is mostly a repeat of what we already know: it's a seven-episode season and they've filmed two endings to air depending on whether or not there'll be a Season Three. But there's also a new bit of tease about what Seasons Two (and Three, should there be one) will focus on.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)



Man, I don't even know where to start. I was expecting it to be bad and I wasn't disappointed. I hoped to be entertained by it's badness and I got that too. But the entertaining parts were separated by too many long, boring battle sequences, so even as an enjoyably flawed movie it's flawed.

In the Name of the King is a movie out of its time. Forget modern fantasy. This should've been made twenty-five years ago after the heyday of the Conan movies when stuff like The Sword and the Sorcerer, Deathstalker, and The Beastmaster were popular. That's the kind of quality we're talking about.

Well, maybe not that good.

Jason Statham plays a farmer named Farmer who's village is invaded by rubber-masked orc-ripoffs. When the king (played by a very sleepy Burt Reynolds) shows up after the fact with his army of about twenty guys, Farmer decides to head off on his lonesome to fight the Rubber Men rather than join the military. His brother-in-law and a friend (Ron Perlman) also decide to help him so the trio take off on a quest to find the evil sorcerer (Ray Liotta, who's apparently invented medieval hair gel and shared it with Burt and some of the other guys) who's trying to take over the world with the Rubber Men's help.

Couple'a subplots: Matthew Lillard is Burt Reynold's slimy nephew who's working with Ray Liotta under the assumption that he'll get to rule when Burt's dead. Burt's "magus" (played by Gimli) is trying to defeat Ray via sorcery, but he isn't getting very far, partly because Ray's seduced Gimli's daughter Leelee Sobieski into unwittingly helping him. Sort of. The Gimli/Leelee plot is pretty muddy and really doesn't do anything for the overall story, but now I'm analyzing on a level that the movie doesn't deserve.

Better to just remember the stupid, funny stuff like Ray Liotta's Nazgul ripoffs that he uses to channel through during battle so's he can participate while staying safe in his magic tower. What's sad though is that these tall, dark, halfway fierce-looking creatures all talk with Ray Liotta's high-pitched, not at all fierce-sounding voice. Sad, but freaking hilarious.

Another funny bit was when Farmer's family arrives at his in-laws' house. Grandma sees Farmer's kid and makes a joke about putting him in the oven. It's a stupid enough attempt at a light-hearted family moment, but the kid's reply, "I hate the oven!" is even better.

Matthew Lillard is almost good in his badness. He seems to be the only actor who realizes that hamming it up is the way to go in an Uwe Boll movie. The only other actors who are watchable are Statham (who wisely focuses on looking cool and butt-kicking) and Leelee (who takes a meaningless character and makes you like her).

Everyone else fails to create real characters out of their ridiculous dialogue ("Wisdom... is our hammer.") and cliché relationships. There's zero chemistry between Farmer and his wife (Claire Forlani) and even Ron Perlman, whom I usually love, looks silly trying to be both sage and comedy relief at the same time. There's one scene where Farmer's brother-in-law, who's been captured by the Rubber Men, is supposed to be chatting with a fellow prisoner in order to reassure her, but ends up sounding like he's hitting on her.

What else? I don't usually notice editing a lot, but it was so bad in this movie that I couldn't help it. Stuff like seeing two guys falling into a ravine with a river at the bottom; then, don't show the splash or anything, just cut to the two of them swimming. There were several moments like that.

It really only deserves one out of five Rubbermaid shields, but if you've got a sense of humor for this kind of thing: three out of five.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Artist of the Day: Pierre Alary



Pierre Alary's blog. Where you can buy his stuff.

The Awesome List: Ben Franklin Day, Mummy comics, Wonder Woman coasters and logos, and Fat Zatanna

New still from Indy 4



Nice!

Happy Ben Franklin Day!

One of my favorite real-life adventurers and mad scientists has always been Benjamin Franklin. Today would have been his 302nd birthday.

Mummy comics



IDW's apparently going to do a comics series based on Stephen Sommers' Mummy movies. I really like those movies except for Sommers' cheapness when it comes to special effects, so a comics version without those concerns sounds perfect.

"The nations coffee tables are under attack!"

Fear not, Wonder Woman has come to the rescue! Too frickin' cool. Unfortunately, they seem to be a UK only item.

But here's something we can all enjoy.

Comics lettering legend Todd Klein has frequently educated and entertained his blog readers with posts analyzing the logos of some of the most famous superhero comics. Now he turns his attention to Wonder Woman. Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four. Part Five.

Concerning Fat Zatanna

When I saw an overweight, alternate-universe Zatanna in the pages of DC's Countdown to Final Crisis, I let it go without comment. I thought it was different, but whatever. I didn't understand it from either an internal or external perspective, but I decided not to think too hard about it.

What I was forgetting though was something this blogger remembered: "Seirolac nrub." So now I'm really perplexed because Fat Zatanna makes absolutely no sense at all.

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