A pair of observations

#1: The Marvel Studios Formula for a successful superhero movie, as evidenced by Iron Man (smash hit) and The Incredible Hulk (give it time): Take one well-known but difficult-to-translate character; add one completely unexpected, incredibly risky but undeniably interesting fmaous creative personality who could be a disaster but also makes a perverse kind of sense in either the writing, directing or acting capacity; roll dice.

#2: It has been a running cigars-and-brandy joke among old-guard film snobs that Hollywood is now treating *snort!* “superhero movies” like it used to treat Shakespeare. Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.

With these observations in mind, take note that Variety has reported that Kenneth Brannagh is, apparently, being offered the director’s chair on “The Mighty Thor.”


Want to know a great irony of our age? If he were alive and working today, Sir Alec Guiness would be FIGHTING for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi…

Eagle Eye

Could someone please tell Shia LeBeouf that we like him? That people are aware of his name? That even if they didn’t/weren’t it doesn’t matter because Steven Spielberg has decided to turn him into the next big thing? I don’t think he knows – it’s the only explanation for why an otherwise fine young star keeps making such awful movies. Between this and “Transformers,” he’s now starred in two of the worst tech-related action thrillers of the millenium.

“Eagle Eye” is a relentlessly stupid movie with a smart brain, which just means it takes longer to let you down. See how quickly YOU figure out what the “big surprise” is about who the mysterious hacker/terrorist is, and after that see how quickly you figure out that the capabilities we eventually witness make the ENTIRE FUCKING SETUP of the film completely useless. It’s a two hour film as LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan bounce around the country following cryptic messages from the mystery baddies, but it’s apparently all too quickly that the whole first 110 minutes didn’t logically need to occur. At all.

Mega Man 9

The retro-gaming thing has been on such a high kick for awhile now, which makes the innevitable backlash all the more innevitable and depressing. Does nostalgia make us call things classics that aren’t? Sure, all the time.

But y’know what else? It’s spot-on just as often. As far as I’m concerned, this game (new, but designed as though it wasn’t) is all the necessary proof that old-line fans have been right all along that Mega Man just works BEST in 8-bits and scored by MIDI.

The game just kicks IMMESURABLE levels of ass. Buy it. It’s awesome. It’s downloadable on Wii now, PS3 by the weekend, 360 next week. Pick it up. This sort of thing needs to be encouraged, people – I wanna be shaking my head in disgust at obscene Splash Woman fan-fiction by no later than Sunday.

Lakeview Terrace

Not bad, but still basically a B-movie about an interracial couple dueling with a bigoted, possibly psychotic neighbor who happens to be a cop “goosed” by making the evil bigot a black guy. Well performed and subtle up to a point, but hard to distinguish from any other potboiler outside of the hooks. Of course, given that LaBute’s last movie was “The Wicker Man” maybe vanishing into the background is a good move for him.

Green Lantern

“In brightest day,
In darkest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.

Let all who worship evil’s might
Beware my power,
Green Lantern’s light!”
–Green Lantern Corps Oath.

Find an actor who can deliver those six lines without a wink, flippant-shrug or slightest hint of irony, a team of filmmakers who understands that the recitation of such needs/deserves (in context, I stress) to be framed as the relative-equivalent of “They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom,” “With great power comes great responsibility,” “May the Force be with you” and “The list is life” and a musical composer to score the moment with appropriate gravitas and you’ll have a good “Green Lantern” movie. Seriously. This is the “is the shark scary?” core of this particular franchise – if this works, and the movie around it is operating at about the same level, the movie works. Period.

Latino Review (hat-tip: Chud) has a modestly spoiler-free review of what’s apparently the screenplay for Warner’s all-but officially in-production Green Lantern movie:

What I like most about the prospect of a Green Lantern movie is that it’s just an ever-so-slightly skewed version of the traditional superhero yarn thanks to the ‘rules’ of the character. The “Green Lantern Corps” are an intergalactic police force, not vigilantes or hyper-idealistic do-gooders. It helps power through some of the usual genre hangups (silly costume? “I was issued this, it’s my uniform.”) and removes the need for too much story contrivance – anything you want GL to do or avoid doing can be chalked up to “orders and regulations.”

What details are provided are encouragingly fan-friendly: Hal Jordan as the main GL, Abin Sur, Oa and Kiliwog all accounted for, moderately-obscure heavy Hector Hammond as a principal baddie, apparent out-loud mentions of both Guy Gardner and Clark Kent (!!!) and a tease about “golden age” GL Alan Scott playing some kind of part? So far, so good. Apparently Carol Ferris is already in the story as Jordan’s girflfriend, which could potentially gives the hoped-for franchise the most interesting recurring female role in recent superhero movies – in the books, Carol undergoes a tragic transformation into the supervillianess Star Sapphire.

I am curious to see how Warners handles the innevitable “race issue” that’s going to come up down the road. Historically, there have been five (human) Green Lanterns, Jordan being the best known and generally favored among fans. However, third (?) GL John Stewart – the first black man to wear the uniform/ring – was drafted as the resident-Lantern on the four seasons of “Justice League” cartoons (to help balance-out what would’ve been an otherwise lily-white principal cast) which were probably watched by more people than read GL comics by a pretty big margin. It’s been said that, thanks to the character’s appearance on this series, the John Stewart Green Lantern is probably the best known “black superhero” right now. So one wonders what fans who came to the franchise from that starting-point will think of the movie GL being another white guy.

Righteous Kill

Yeah… don’t bother. Not bad as B-grade cop movies go, but nothing special; and it turns on a twist that A.) You’re going to see coming after about five minutes and B.) Only works thanks to a mechanical screenwriting cheat. No one seems to be having any fun, not even DeNiro and HE gets to pretend-fuck Carla Gugino. And who the hell casts Al Pacino in something this schlocky and then (apparently) tells him to dial it DOWN?


Does it make me a bad person if, when I woke up this morning and turned on the news to find NO reports of antimatter-charged symbiotic head-crabs, carbon-devouring land octopi or even time-displaced Pre-Cambrian Megafauna swarming out of a freshly-born gravity well on the Franco/Swiss border… I was just a little bit dissapointed?

Lipstick on a pig


Barack, Barack, Barack… y’know how you fell into this one? Someone on your within the last week showed you some data about how poorly you’re connecting with “rural voters,” so you decided to start peppering your delivery with redneck coloquialisms that you don’t generally use in conversation and are thus likely to mis-use. Don’t do that again. The only Democrat who could get away with the “Don’t be afraid, I’m a bit of a hillbilly too!” bit was Bill Clinton… because it was TRUE. You’re a black Liberal Democrat from the North… NOBODY who’d be inclined to feel linguistic-kinship with someone who uses the phrase “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” was EVER going to vote for you.

This guy…

I’m gonna take a stab in the dark that most of my readership probably isn’t fond of Sarah Palin. Can’t say I’m entirely enamored myself. I do, however, have kind of a feeling that her husband Todd is the next breakout “fun” character from the Election Show; which needs a new one, now that those lovable Clintons are off on their spinoff series (they’ll be playing two insanely-powerful political masterminds covertly destroying their own party’s candidate for long-term personal gain. I smell a smash.)

For a visual-refresher, here they are:

Y’know what I like about this guy? In every photo, he’s ALWAYS got an expression like she just signed them both up a year of weekly ballroom-dancing lessons without asking him first. I dunno, I just get the sense that this fella is gonna be a goldmine of press-conference-generating ‘oopsie’ quotes. (Oh please please please PLEASE let him have colorful drinkin’ buddies with big mouths!)

Incidentally, don’t bother with “Bangkok Dangerous,” it’s just not very good. They missed the whole point of why you use Nicholas Cage in generic ‘insert-actor-here’ roles: Because he’s a nutty, “ticky” actor who makes such roles bearable. It doesn’t WORK if you don’t let him be weird about it. Here you’ve got a movie with Nicholas Cage tutoring a Thai pickpocket in kung-fu and playing target-practice with watermelons and he’s not even allowed to do an “aww, REALLY!!??” What a waste…