Sunday, June 17, 2007

To Me, My Bored!

Hiya kiddies
I just returned from the best action movie I've seen this year. Sorry, Spider-Fans, 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' is the new belle of the ball for Mr. Mike. I loved it. It was a marked improvement over the first Fantastic Four movie, some definite thrill moments. I choose to spoil nothing because I want everybody to go see it. As soon as I can drag my affianced away from her repeat viewings of Pirate-y Mr. Depp I shall see if she's up to watching handsome Mr. Gruffudth (oh, I know that's wrong and I'm sorry, I can barely get the Ioan part right. ) However you spell it, the man is awesome. The bald guy from The Shield is also tremendous. And Jessica Alba's growing on me, too, although the bluer eyes, blonder hair, and tanner face aren't helping in the beauty department.
Just as aside, ladies, having forced myself to sit through reality programming yesterday for the pilot of 'The Matchmaker' (I think that's what it was called) I saw a 22 year old lady with a tan so bad she looked 35 or more. And it's so false you wonder what she's hiding- but more to the point heavy make-up is not really attractive to me. Not that you're wondering what I'm attracted to, or that it matters what with me being engaged and all, I guess I mean I prefer a natural look that won't cause as much skin cancer. Go natural, fish belly pale as that might be. End of rant.
Finally Chris Evans. They give him more to do, it's a Johnny heavy story, poor Johnny's troubles like the first was a poor Ben story. And he carries it well. Nice work, guy. No complaints from the four. Not one.
Doom is even starting to feel closer to what I expect. Not the actor's fault. Still not seeing mad sorceror king, still seeing slimey electric jerk. But closer. Untouchable. Uber-powerful. No street-corner, hit-im-with-a-fire-hydrant-and-call-it-a-day pissant walloping this time around. The stakes are higher, the action is bigger, the cars fly more dammit! And I swear what I'm trying to get across is I LIKED THIS ONE A LOT. If Spidey 2 is my favorite comic movie (and it is) then FF2 is shaping up to be my second favorite. Like my friend Kirk pointed out, it's doing what Marvel has always done best: crossover promotion, with the FF as a launching pad for the Surfer.
And I really liked the Surfer here. Quiet, impossible menace. Nobility. Pathos. Romance. This is a Surfer I bet Stan Lee was proud of (and as I understand it, this character was always his personal favorite creation). When his big moment comes up against Galactus... let's just say my heart was leaping like I wish CG-Superman-Brandon had been able to make me feel.
I loved it. 3.5 stars. Possibly four if repeat viewings do it for me, too.
I only wonder where they'll go from here, assuming they get another sequel . They shot their wad here: Galactus is pretty much the worst of the lot in FF villains. After you save the Earth from ulimate destruction (and cosmic Doom) how to you follow that up? Mole Man? Paste-Pot Pete? Even the Puppet Master's gonna feel like a let down.
My money's on a Skrull invasion. Or better yet, a full-fledged Kree-Skrull War with Earth in the middle!
But I always say that.
And maybe the Avengers movie needs to keep that for itself. The Avengers movie needs all the help it can get, I'm sure. Tough to have like 7 heroes and give everyone something interesting to do, let alone pay seven good guys and whatever bad guys to be in the movie, and clear the rights issues that inevitably tie things like this up.
Anyway, see FF2. See it twice, give yerself a treat, why not? Then see it the third time, just for me. Pretty please? If they rake in enough loot, I still think they'll make a She-Hulk movie.
A guy can dream, can't he?
Plus, cheese and crackers, am I excited about Harry Potter 5! The trailer's looking SO nifty. Will it outdo my favorite (#3)? Possibly. Wait and see, witches and wizards.
And while you're waiting truck on down to Happy Harbor ( and buy a copy of the Tales from the Harbor 2 anthology.
I done writed some'a that funnybook myself, I reckon, and all 24 pages of Star Warsy goodness be right there for y'all. Oh, plus hundreds and hundreds of pages of other stuff, some of which make my story look merely marvelous, true belie- oh, wait, I'm not affiliated with Stan Lee. Or George Lucas, either, more's the pity.
Now back to reading my latest Hugo winner from the seventies, Vonda McIntyre's Dreamsnake. Halfway through it now and it ain't my thing AT ALL, not much of my style of SF, but it won multiple awards so it' s gotta be good. Post-apocalyptic lady snake doctor dramance is all very well, brilliantly written in fact.
It just says something about the kind of taste I have.
Silver Surfer rules!

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Oh, 2007, the summer of threes is upon thee.
I know I said I'd comment on Spidey this Sunday back when this Sunday was, like three Sunday's ago. So sue me. And send She-Hulk with the summons. Seriously, why will nobody get on that?
My lovely live-in girlfriend and fiance did not care for Spidey and Shrek to the same extent I did, but then I didn't love Pirates as much as she. So we're even. Also, she's a better person than I am generally, so maybe we're not even.
I liked them all, I did. Buuuut... Shrek 3? Not better than Shrek 2. Spidey 3? Not better than Spidey 2.
Worse? I guess that would follow, wouldn't it? Not MUCH worse... or is that damning with faint praise? Shrek is fun. Funny, light-hearted. Loved Merlin. Enjoyed the new princesses. Felt bad for Arthur, loathed Charming, y'know a solid 3 stars of 4. Just a wonderful premise and Will Stieg would probably be as surprised as anyone that you could squeeze THREE movies out of his tiny, tiny, itsy-bitsy book. Does Shrek 4 seem like a good idea? I assure you it does not. Slightly weaker than Shrek 2 is a VERY good sign that you should now pat yourselves on the back and try something new.
But, good gravy, they're talking about THREE MORE movies! How the heck is THAT gonna work? Shrek turned the fairy tale on its head in good-natured satirical grouchiness. The OGRE is the HERO, and his beautiful true love... ALSO an ogre. Shrek 2 continued to make the good guys loathsome and traditional bad guys into our underdogs. Confusingly, Shrek 3 has bad guys as the bad guys and good guys as the good guys. At some point, they must have forgotten what they were rebelling against.
Now what, pray tell, is Shrek 4 going to be about? The meanderings of ogre babies and dragon-donkey fusion babies (drunkeys, I likes to call 'em)? How about Shrek 5? Lord Farquad's Revenge? Or will Arthur take over as the hero? In which case is this even a Shrek movie anymore?
No sir.
Now Spidey 3 on the other hand, I loved. I did. It's no Spidey 2, but so few things are. This movie suffered only from trying to satisfy director, fans, and producers with a villain EACH. Somehow, in a comic like say, Infinite Crisis, you can have 30 heroes and 30 villains and yet still move me with the heart of the story in the midst of chaos.
But in a comic movie, somehow, this has yet to happen.
I know Venom fans who think Venom sucked, but I was not a big enough fan to feel this way. Venom is a one-note villain who was handled (for my money) even BETTER than he deserved. Sandman fans... WHAT Sandman fans? Seriously, this guy is a one-noter in the comics also, but on screen I enjoyed him immensely.
And Harry? What can I say. In the comics he went mad as well, Goblin-ed up and fought Peter half-heartedly, but in the end he got counselling, married, and had a kid who grew up to be a good guy, too (in some universes I could mention). But here? The poor guy dropped further and arced higher than I'd seen in the funny books and I was GLAD to see him as a hero and DEEPLY saddened at his death. Kudos. (How come Spidey didn't try to rush him to a hospital though? At the end, you know. He and MJ just think: oh he's been mortally wounded redeeming himself, and it's sunrise so he's DEFINITELY beyond help so we won't even try. (Poetic license and all, I'm just bein' a dink.)
Adding the Staceys was a head scratcher since they lived to the end. In some ways I see the value of their cameos instead of "Random New Threat to MJ girl" and "Random Cop Guy".
But finally a line of Stan Lee's makes the cut! Thanks, guys. And thanks to Bruce Campbell, Simmons, and both Raimiseses. Nice work all. Amazing trilogy, Just superb. Well done.
BUT WAIT! They wanna make more?
And why wouldn't they? They're rolling in the cash-a-roo. If I was them I'd make those movies until I was rich enough to buy countries and get a full-time staff of butt-kissers. And buy a flying car.
But I guess the difference between us is that I'd make a She-Hulk movie next. And a Captain Marvel movie (the DC Captain Marvel, not the Marvel Captain Marvel.) Concrete? Dreadstar? Sandman? Fables? Young Avengers? Ant-Man? The list goes on.
I'm saying give Spidey a rest for a decade or two. He done good. Don't drive these concepts on beyond adequate. The audience won't take it forever. Just look at Star Trek... oh, who am I kidding? I'll watch Star Trek 12 or Spidey 8: Arachno-Disco until my eyes fall out and my lady leaves me and I sit in an alley wearing a tinfoil hat telling my opinions to a stray cat.
But I don't have to like it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Gonna Buy DC's 52 in the trades

Hi kids
Me again. Bet you forgot I had a blog or more likely never heard of me or my stupid blog. But I bet you heard of DC comics' best thing ever, 52, right? No? See, Waid, Johns, Morrison, and Rucka got together with Giffen and Jurgens and probably a dozen other artists I can't remember and wrote a weekly comic book all this year. WEEKLY! And it took me over a year from concept to completion to get a 24 page Star Wars comic in to Jay at Happy Harbour comics. *Ahem* Color me embarrassed. Also color me delighted with this freakin' comic! I want to get 52 to make a baby with me right here on this e-page. Right now, 52, oh yeah!
Uh, since my live-in fiance will surely read this, here's a brief acknowledgement. I love you, Trisha.
And you're trapped now, baby! BWA-HA-HA!
Back to 52.
Don't like comics? Can't help you there.
Like comics but never read DC comics? Read 52. It's a great world overview for a newbie, since it takes place kind of in real time for a year where Superman, Wonder Woman and the Batman are unavailable and the world has to get saved by the B-list superheroes.
And I have come to love these superheroes. Plucky Animal Man, lost among the stars and desperate to see his wife and kids again. The android Red Tornado, on a junk heap in Australia. The Question, dying of cancer. Lex Luthor killing hundreds in his bid to hand superpowers to every person. Bad-ass biker Lobo gets religion. And Booster Gold, the superhero who stole his powers and abandoned his future for lucre and attention in our past, only to lose everything and everyone he cared about. John Irons fears for his niece's soul when she joins Luthor. And Ralph 'The Elongated Man' Dibny searches earth and heaven and worlds beyond worlds to be reuinted with his wife Sue (horribly killed in the recent Identity Crisis story).
I didn't buy it. I chose to wait for the trades because I was sure I'd buy them anyway and my generous co-worker and pal Carlos loaned them to me each month.
Today I read the last issue and was very very happy indeed. This was a minor masterpiece. I honored 52 and the folks who made it by purchasing a Booster Gold action figure to proudly add to the ranks of my household gods. I mean action figures.
Carlos tells me the Romans left little prayers and tributes of food for their household gods. I do this, too, but only if I'm eating while I'm looking at them.
So, yeah that's a good comic. Probably won't appeal to eveybody, but it does me. It's dark now and then but wouldn't likely be angsty enough for my friend Kirk, or sunny enough for my movie buddy Darryl, and Trisha would probably find it too comic-booky.
I'm trapped with her, too.
You know what's splendid? Not the Superfriends cartoon, sorry Carlos. Well, challenge of the Superfriends was better than that stuff with Zan and Jaina and god-help-me Gleek the Supermonkey.
No, what's splendid is Doctor Who. Just enjoyed 'Gridlocked' from season 3. That's a show that I'm not getting tired of, or depressed by.
No offense, but Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off is bleak with a capital BLEAK. Like Lost and Battlestar Galactica season 3 and most stuff I'm seeing lately. Bleak! Bleak the supermonkey. I'm desperate to see more hopeful, light, or funny and less torture, betrayal, and genocide.
Although I love Raines, of course. And I'm told House is good..., but why'd Fox cancel Andy Barker? And are they gonna put it on a DVD with the just-as-quickly-cancelled Andy Richter controls the universe? The Fox Carried It For Two Weeks Special Edition!
Anyrood, I'm off to watch must see t.v. My Name is Earl is very worthwhile, and if I wasn't an old, old man I'd stay up for Scrubs, too. I gotta wait for the DVD.

Now, don't be sad. Uncle Mikey promises to return and tell you all how he liked the Spider-Man movie this Sunday.
Because he WILL like it. Despite the reviews.
Mark Millar blows goats.
(I think I'm going to make that my sign off every time. Later! Mark Millar blows goats. Thanks Warren Ellis!)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

What's not to like?

Last post I promised to write about stuff I ENJOY rather than seem like a ranting, complaint-filled ass all the time.
But it turns out two of the things I like are complaining and procrastinating.
Ergo, expect more of the same in the future.
But tis the season of love, and I can feel it biting at my nose in the chill winter air.
I love science fiction more than any man should.
My top ten films of all time as chosen in 2006 in ascending order are:
10- Spider-Man II. It's the simply the best, and I got to kiss my date afterwards.
9- The Incredibles. See FF that should have been.
8- Enemy Mine. This is beautiful SF at its most impressive.
7- The Princess Bride. It's hard to love a movie more than this one...
6- The Fellowship of the Ring. Unless you waited your whole life to see it
5- The Fifth Element. That's right. Suck it, Mr. Shadow.
4- The Dark Crystal. That's right. Suck it, pure good and pure evil.
3- The Empire Stirkes Back. It has 'The" in the title as well. Coincidence?
2- A New Hope. I mean Star Wars IV. The first one.
1- Return of the Jedi. That's right. Suck it, Ewok haters.

There's probably nothing I love more than a happy ending. And I believe everything "Jedi" had to say, even the teddy bears beating the evil empire.
I should mention I also loved Jar Jar Binks.
I know he's a retarded man-frog. But I'm man enough to admit that when I was younger so was I. I think most of us were and I think that's what most of us were afraid to admit. Don't be ashamed of your past, people. Gangly orange fuck-up is as gangly orange fuck-up does.

My favorite television last year was sparse. But let's face facts Doctor Who was the best . My favorite episode was 'School Reunion' which featured my favorite ex-Buffy Brit Mr. Anthony Head (who MUST return as the Master. Admit it must be so!) and also my favorite new Christmas friend K-9: robot dog from the year 5000, don'cha know.

My favorite movie was probably X-Men 3. I'm a nerd, what can I say.

My favorite new comic book discovery was The Legion of Super-Heroes. Mark Waid is the creme de la crop, folks. But seriously, HOW have I been reading comics for over 6 years and not found the one with dozens of young, alien super main characters from the future with over 50 years worth of back issues? I guess it was just my prejudice against DC comics. When I opened my Marvel Zombie eyes a little bit and rubbed the Moon Knight dust out of them I noticed Green FRAKKIN Lantern, too!
My fav is Kyle Rayner, the sarcastic artist with the cute green girlfriend. (She's tragically just died but I can hope and pray it doesn't last.)
My favorite DC comic is '52'. It's a great introduction to a new world.
My favorite Marvel comic was 'The Thing', but is now 'She-Hulk' by the same author. God bless you and your word-processor, Mr. Slott.
Yes, I can't get enough of the green chicks. Sue me. And send Jennifer Walters with the summons.
My favorite indy comic is BONE, although it's probably by some company I could name if I wanted to get up and look at the darn thing. Anyway, it's very fun so far.

My fifty favorite songs include:
The Saga Begins- WEIRD AL
She Is Beautiful- ANDREW W.K.
Storybook Love- MARK KNOPFLER
Schadenfreude- AVENUE Q musical
Defying Gravity- WICKED musical
Don't Stop Me Now- QUEEN
You Will Go To the Moon- MOXY FRUVOUS
Scatterlings of Africa- JOHNNY CLEGG
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (live)- IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS
Your Body is a Wonderland- JOHN MAYER
I Drove All Night- CYNDI LAUPER
Give up the Grudge- GOB
Synthesizer- ELECTRIC SIX
Shining Light- ASH
I Couldn't Believe- DR. HOOK
The Majesty of Rock- SPINAL TAP
Happiness Hotel- THE MUPPETS
The Mayor of Simpleton- XTC
Little Light of Love- ERIC SERRA
Walk Through the Fire- JOSS WHEDON
What Would Brian Boitano Do?- DVDA
Girl U Want- DEVO
I Think I Need a New Heart- MAGNETIC FIELDS
Dance the Night Away- VAN HALEN
Can't Help Falling in Love- LICK THE TINS
Satisfied- ODDS
Breathless- THE CORRS
Sunshine Lady- DION
Don't Stop Believin'- JOURNEY
Dancing in Heaven- Q-FEEL
Accidentally in Love- COUNTING CROWS

And my top ten favorite songs today are:
10-Fett's Vette- MC CHRIS
9-Martian Hop- THE RAN-DELLS
8-Overkill- COLIN HAY
7-Your Wildest Dreams- MOODY BLUES
5-This Time Tomorrow- THE KINKS
2-Bleed to Love Her- FLEETWOOD MAC
1-Lovers in a Dangerous Time- BARENAKED LADIES

Let's face it, kids, that's enough favorite things to put raindrops on kittens and whiskers on roses! But let's not forget that there are better things than THINGS. I can't name better things than years of friendships, getting the lead in a musical, getting a story published, and getting a fiance who likes to do what we did in the privacy of our bedroom last night from 9:30 to 10:00.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

It's Critic-ing Time!!!

This week I watched 'The Incredibles' on DVD for, I dunno, the 5th time, I guess. The Incredibles is my eighth favorite movie of all time, by the by. And if you read my first blog post you know what's coming.
Why the holy hell wasn't Marvel's 'Fantastic Four' one eighth as good?
Very possibly my favorite Marvel comic of all time and certainly one of the best comics anywhere, the Fantastic Four had been the vanguard of Marvel for 44 years and THAT was the best they could come up with?
Don't get me wrong. Unlike 'Superman Returns' I own the wretched thing on DVD and I'm itching to go see the sequel, but what were they thinking?
O.K., first they got bogged down in the origin story and screwed up Doctor Doom from word one. I guess they were trying to make him the movie Green Goblin: a crazy tycoon in armour. But what works one on one against Spidey looks silly battling the FF when it's FOUR against one in a very short street fight. Doom killing guys in parking garages hardly captures the scope of the comic book version. Doom is a KING, A SORCEROR, and a mad scientist rolled into one. This movie made him Electro in metal chaps.
When the FF battle Doom in the comics the reader watches them wade through armies of robots to even get to his castle. These FF hit him with fire hydrant blasts at the local bus stop. This Doom is not the driven untouchable maniac version that made him worthy to return to fight Marvel's First Family for 40 years.
This Doom was EASILY DEFEATED. And the victory feels hollow and small.
So the villain shouldn't have been a Goblin rip-off, and the FF shouldn't have felt like X-Men rip-offs. Cause they did.
Comic book FF are a close-knit but flawed family of wealthy and benevolent adventurers who save the world daily and travel the stars, time, and other dimensions.
Movie FF are a handful of disconnected, disaffected rebels and outcasts afraid of the changes in their bodies and afraid to leave their building. In short, they act more like the X-Men.
The X-Men have their schtick, and I don't begrudge them one damn bit. Movie X-Men and movie Spidey did right by their comic characters, fully capturing teenage angst and confusion.
The FF are something else altogether, and their movie didn't get it.
The FF are a moral, fundamentaly NORMAL family who happen to have superpowers. (Like the Incredibles). Their stories should encompass imaginative adventures, colorful space battles and putting the kids to bed at night.
In the comics origin I don't remember Reed or Sue ever taking one second to be scared of their abilities, wonder how they happened or try to CURE themselves. They INSTANTLY set out to save the world. Why? Because they were adults. They weren't mopey teenagers. Ben and Johnny? O.K., fine Ben was mopey, and Johnny was a crazy kid. But Reed and Sue were the parental characters and they didn't have to struggle in the same ways.
The FF comic was best under Stan Lee, John Byrne, Mark Waid, and J. M. Straczynski.
Why aren't comic book writers such as these or Peter David (my favorite) being tapped to write screenplays? Why is the FF screenplay from a guy who wrote '6 million dollar man'?
I won't take it back. Writing is the main problem here.
The effects are good, the actors have all been brilliant in other things. Reed good, Ben good, even Johnny and Sue were o.k. The material was lamer than it needed to be, and I blame the writer.
Having seen the trailer for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I had to restrain myself from giggling like a schoolgirl because VISUALLY it looks freakin' amazin'.
But I checked the internet and the writer is the same.
For God's sake, why? Give someone good a chance.
Stan created the FF as a middle-aged man writing what HE wanted to see in comics and blazed a trail to realism in the medium: heroes with feet of clay without secret identities. His cameo as Willy Lumpkin bringing bills instead of the comics' traditional fan mail was a hoot.
Unfortunately a lot of the picture felt like bills instead of fan mail.
Why do writers think the origin should be the whole movie? They wasted a lot of the first 'Spider-Man', and almost all of the 'FF' just bringing the audience up to speed. Now, by contrast, I have no idea HOW the Incredibles got their powers and it doesn't matter for a second.
I wish the rumor I heard from my buddy Kirk had been true: that the FF movie was going to start like the Beatles' 'Help!': with the FF already established as media sensations and well into some wacky adventure. Because it falls a little flat in the movie: Ben saves ONE firetruck which HE endangered and suddenly New York loves them? Far cry from saving the world from an alien Skrull invasion like the comics. THAT buys you some public acclaim.
Also, gimme a Skrull invasion. And I don't wanna see Doom again unless it's at the head of a robot army.
Stop thinking small and give the audience a little credit. And a clever line of dialogue here and there, something quotable. Be more faithful to the source material, not the other Marvel movies.
The FF should remind us of the family ideal, kind, helpful, close-knit, loving.
Yes, be angsty X-Men when you're teenagers, but when it's time to grow up gimme the comic book Fantastic Four any day.

Next, I stop complaining for a moment and tell you about stuff that makes me happy as a squid on Tuesday.