Friday, April 23, 2010

A Movie Better Than the Book? Kick Ass!

There are two types of people in the world; those who buy comic books, and those who don't. It's common for people who don't read comics to look down on comics and assume that they're all silly "funny pages" for kids. The thing is the comic book industry has a pretty diverse offering, with something for everybody. It's like the movie industry in a lot of ways. There are big companies, and small independent companies. There are summer blockbusters and surprise hits. Certain creators and artists are more famous than others and have a fan following.

For example, John Romita Jr. is a very well known artist, like his father. I think his art is always fantastic. These days, having his name on a book is pretty much guaranteed success. If you're the type of person who really only buys comics for the art, then the Kick Ass book is worth you're time. However, if you're into good writing, you might want to give this book a pass. Mark Millar is the writer and, if we're sticking to the movie analogy, I think he fancies himself a Quentin Tarantino. They do share a fondness for violence and cuss words but Tarantino is much better at creating characters you care about and root for. You can't tell me you weren't psyched for Kiddo to finally kill Bill, or for the girl in Inglourious Basterds to finally get her revenge. No, I think Millar is more like Michael Bay. Both are big on "witty" one-liners and huge explosions (splash pages) to distract us from the fact that we really don't care what happens to these people. That's how I felt about the characters in the Kick Ass book, particularly the main character.
I don't want to talk about the book, I want to talk about the movie. To be honest, I didn't hate the book, but there were a few moments and details that ruined it for me. It seems like the creators of the movie read my mind because those moments and details were the things that were changed for the movie, and it made it a much more enjoyable experience for me. My wife really liked this movie as well, which was surprising as she pretty much only came with me cause I promised to see Sex and the City 2 with her. When asked what her favorite part of the movie was, she said Hit Girl (played by Chloe Moretz). I think this is interesting because most of the negative reviews I've read about this movie could not get past the fact that there's an 11 year old girl cussing and killing people by the bus load. Something about the disintegrating moral fabric of America or some stuff. Little kids doing bad stuff in movies is nothing new. Have these critics seen Kids, or The Good Son or Pet Cemetery?

Fucking kids!
I also liked the Hit Girl character, which, again, I find interesting because I hated Chloe Moretz's character in (500) Days of Summer. Seriously, she almost ruined that movie for me. She was this know-it-all little tough girl who acted far too mature for her age to be believable. The same could be said for Hit Girl, but once you learn the tragic back story of her and her Daddy, you will believe that this girl was raised to be a remorseless, foul mouthed little killing machine. Nicholas Cage plays Big Daddy in a role that restores a lot of my faith in the unpredictable actor. I subscribe to the theory that the quality of Nick Cage's movies is inversely proportional to the length of his hair. The longer his hair, the crappier the movie. Well, his hair was mighty short in this movie. You could really see why this man turned the mass murder of mobsters into a game for his daughter. There is a flashback that consists of beautifully rendered 3D art by John Romita Jr. himself that tells Big Daddy's backstory. It was a great scene which really made you root for this pair of avengers (a back story and character development which was not part of the book at all).
My favorite character in this movie was McLovin' as Red Mist. It's hard to take him seriously, but he did manage to portray himself as a threat. He showed surprising range as the villain of this story. In fact, there were a lot of good performances in this movie. Aaron Johnson was solid as the lead. I liked his Dave Lizewski a lot, whereas I hated to book's Dave. He decides to try to be a superhero because he couldn't figure out why no one has before. He sucks at it, but he does manage to grow throughout the story and does the right think at the end.
Purists might say that I obviously didn't get what Millar was going for if I didn't like the book. Well I think I get what he was going for, I just don't think he got there. The same purists would say that the "improvements" added to the movie ruined the story and turned it into a happier Hollywood version that ignored the "realistic" vision Millar was going for. Well I think a lot of people confuse dark and depressing with realistic. Yes, the real world can be dark and depressing. Unfortunately, for some people, that's all it is. But I don't think that it's a prerequisite for a realistic story. The world can be happy and fun as well, and I think this movie has a good mix of both.
My favorite part of the movie was the (one sided) fight scene between Big Daddy and a bunch of goons in the warehouse. That scene was just awesome. A large part of that is because of the music playing; A haunting score which also showed up in 28 Days Later. This scene just pumped me up. In fact, all the action scenes were well done and a lot of fun. My favorite line was at the end when Red Mist says "Under control? You're grabbing a fucking bazooka, you dumbass."
So I thought this movie was a lot of fun. It's not perfect, and it's definitely not for everybody. There were some changes from the book that I thought were dumb, like the weapon Kick Ass wields at the end of the film. But as far as an adaptation goes I thought it was very well done. I thought it stayed true to the story enough but changed some details just enough to make it more accessible to viewers. It's too bad it didn't do well in the box office, but I didn't really expect it to. I think it will do pretty well on DVD, but who knows.
Anyway, I give the movie an A-

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clash of the Titans

When I first heard they were remaking Clash of the Titans I was enthusiastic. I love Greek Mythology and I remember thinking the special effects of the 1981 version were so bad, it's gonna be awesome with modern CGI. Then I started seeing previews and stuff looked cool, but doubts started creeping in. But look at that cast! There's no way Liam Neeson or Ralph Fiennes would be in a bad movie (I had apparently cast The Phantom Menace and Maid in Manhattan out of my memory). A part of me was wary of this film, but I remained enthusiastic.
I need to listen to my gut more.
First of all, I guess the acting was OK. I'm not really a good judge of that. Unless someone is glaringly awful, I take the performances at face value. So in that respect, the movie seemed fine. I thought Fiennes' Hades was a little campy, but he was trying to go for something different than Voldemort.
(The god of death is so emo!)
Liam Neeson was fine as Zeus. Danny Huston was wasted as Poseidon. Sam Worthington is the same character as he was in Terminator: Salvation and Avatar. That doesn't mean he's a bad actor, it worked for the role. Fight monster, ruminate on what it means to be a man, fight another monster, rally troops, fight again. Apparently his character and Io (played by Gemma Arterton) fell in love during the journey. I must have missed when this happened. It probably happened when I went to take a piss. She just looked high during the whole movie. Maybe he slipped her something...

(She like, totally loves Perseus)
The plot. To be perfectly honest, I'm still not sure what it was. Perseus was on a journey to save... a town... for some reason. The Gods are pissed, Hades plays Zeus for a fool, and only Perseus can stop him. Honestly, I'm found myself pretty bored by it all. Medusa was neat, but the Kraken scene was kind of silly. It's just one long chase scene in and out of tentacles. It actually ended with a "Hades will be back, but we'll be there to stop him" conversation which I had to roll my eyes at, which sucked because I had a pretty bad headache at this point...
...because of the stupid useless fucking 3D! I am going to avoid bitching about 3D in general. Because my left eye refuses to be a team player I can't see 3D. That's fine, I've learned to live with it and I rarely crash my car.

(I feel your pain, brother.)
Avatar showed that with the right technology and planning 3D can make a good movie fucking awesome. But Avatar was filmed with that in mind. They had specific cameras designed for 3D. with Clash of the Titans, the 3D seemed like an afterthought. It did not add anything to the movie, in fact, it was just distracting. I watched most of the film with my glasses off and most of the time the 3D was only in the background. I was pretty pointless. This is a prime example of how gimmicky 3D has become.
If you're huge into Greek Mythology, then go ahead and see this in the theater. For the rest of you, you might as well wait for DVD. Or wait for it to show on T.V. You're not really missing much.
My final grade for Clash of the Titans is D.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marvel versus Capcom 3?!

If you told me I could only play one video game for the rest of my life my response would be "Dude, why you being such a dick?" After you explained yourself and made it clear I had no choice I would say Marvel Versus Capcom 2. Or, that would have been my answer for the last 10 years. It looks like my new choice might be Marvel Versus Capcom 3.

I'm not saying MVC2 is the best game ever, nor is it the best fighting game ever, but it is my favorite. Other fighting games can boast three dimensions, fatalities, and bouncing boobies. MVC2 is just super fast 2-D action that offers over 50 characters from Marvel comics and Capcom games.

(Yes, Wolverine is in there twice. He's that awesome.)

We used to play this game all the time in college. Seriously, as much as possible. The game is not without its flaws, namely the awful repetitive music. But you just mute that, crank the WinAmp (yep, that), and you can play for hours. But the great thing about this game is I keep going back to it. When it became DLC for PS3 I yoinked that shit right up. It's just that much of a classic. I am a huge fan of this game.

(OK, not that big of a fan)

Well needless to say I am psyched about MVC3. There are going to be a lot more characters, but hopefully they keep the frantic speed and tag team controls. Here is the teaser trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dancing with... some people

Reality television. Like two trashy girls outside a Sbarro's in the food court fighting about and even trashier guy it's loud, obnoxious, pointless, and will keep going on as long as people are watching. And we keep watching, don't we?
Yes, I said we, unfortunately. I am currently typing this while my wife is watching Dancing With the Stars. I could just type this in another room, but I'm not. I keep watching. I am part of the problem.

You know the concept of this show, the title leaves little to the imagination. The thing is, are these people stars? I guess there are various degrees of stardom. I guess a couple of these people are B list, but most are C or D list. I think it's pretty sad when the most famous person on the show is Pamela Anderson. I guess I would call her B list, even though she's on the Hepatitis C list. Then there was Shannen Doherty, but I bet there's a whole generation who doesn't know who she is. If the world were fair, Buzz Aldrin would be the most famous cause he, you know, actually accomplished something. But alas, the second man on the moon was the second voted off... try not to put any of that into perspective, it's depressing.

Then you have a soap star, a pussycat doll, an ESPN reporter, a figure skater, the reno 911 woman, a football player and two reality "stars". The Bachelor (not the first one, the latest one) and a woman who's famous for being a negligent mom and bitch to her husband. Can they even do that? Well Gosellin is the most talked about contestant, and she can't dance worth shit. Seriously, my dog scratching her ass on the carpet has better rhythm . But she'll stay on because people talk about her. She'll bitch and cry every week, but she'll stay. My vote is for Erin Andrews.

Oh good, during commercials we're flipping to a Paris Hilton show. Fucking awesome. At least DWTS requires these people to work and show some skill. In fact, there is one reality show that I do like to watch. At risk of calling question to my heterosexuality, I have to admit it's Project Runway. It's interesting to see the contestants create new outfits each week. It's a skill that is completely foreign to me, so I find it fascinating. Also, models.

(Yeah, this show is soooooo gay!)

So this isn't the first time I've bitched about reality t.v. and it won't be the last. I guess I should learn to live with it. I guess we are only watching till 9 then watching more Breaking Bad so yay me! Just remember people, especially you young ones. Don't try to act like the people do on these shows. All these people are acting, despite what the genre is supposed to be about. It's all filler and fake drama. Make sure you're drama is real please. And don't fight in my mall please.