To this day, my brother and I still reference this.
January 11, 2012 • 12:12 PM 4
To this day, my brother and I still reference this.
December 20, 2011 • 8:54 PM 2
It’s funny, when it comes to movies, I’m actually not that hard to impress.
While I consider myself well-versed in the world of film, at the end of the day all it really takes to peak my interest, is:
A): A decent cast.
B): A decent concept.
and C): The promise of people punching one another at some point in the movie.
In some cases that last one, if represented well enough, is the only excuse I need to see a movie, regardless of how dumb or crappy it is.
And when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, as utterly incalculable as the build-up has, and will continue to be for the next 6 months or so, at the end of the day I will see it because it, unlike any other movie in film history; will deliver the long anticipated spectacle of Batman and Bane duking it out on the big screen.
Christopher Nolan’s track record when it comes to cinematography and fight choreography suggests that the ensuing bout will be clumsy and edited through a meat grinder, but even so, I’ve been waiting to see this fight brought to life on the silver screen since I was 6 years old; and crappy or not, I will not be denied.
That being said, Batman and Bane grudge match aside, what did I think of the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises?
Well, to answer your question, I felt it was quite good by most standards, but much too enigmatic and fractured in it’s presentation to pack the same visceral punch that the later trailers for The Dark Knight did.
Here’s a refresher in case you need it:
I’d prefer not to compare the 2, as it’s obvious the people cutting the trailers for these movies came at it from very different tonal and thematic standpoints; but I feel it needs to be said that, to me, The Dark Knight really did have some of the best trailers of all time.
Everything, from the shot selection, to the music cues, to the overall pacing of the trailers for The Dark Knight was absolutely spot on.
What’s more, thanks to the dialogue-heavy nature of the trailers, as well as his untimely death, an absurd amount of buzz was generated for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, (*Sigh* “Why So Serious?”) not to mention the overall plot of the film was made crystal clear.
Though it sounds silly in this cynical age of ours, in many ways I feel the catchphrases and buzzwords of The Dark Knight actually served to make it’s advertising campaign both effective and memorable on the whole.
The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of neat shots in it, promising quite a few interesting set piece moments, however, perhaps due to the lack of dialogue, many of these shots are difficult to interpret from a purely visual standpoint.
Early on we see the reflection of a man with a cane approaching a shiny dinner platter while Alfred drones on about the Wayne dynasty:
Later, we see a bearded Bruce Wayne wandering around what appears to be the prison equivalent to Discovery Zone:
There’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
There’s A SHIT TON of rappeling.
Seriously, if you take into account the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people viewing this trailer haven’t been blogging about every step of the script writing process, or staring at leaked production photos for the past several months, (oddly enough, not me!) then this trailer basically offers no hint as to her role being that of Selina Kyle.
Oh wait excuse me, she’s wearing a mask at a masquerade ball that, if you look really hard, has cat ears:
Sarcasm deployed, mystery solved.
Much like Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face, unless you’ve been following the production or are familiar with the Batman universe, chances are you’d never know Anne Hathaway was supposed to be Catwoman in this trailer.
Indeed, I’m curious to know what this trailer meant to people who aren’t familiar with Batman outside of the movies.
In many ways, when I watch this trailer, I feel my perception is skewed by the fact that I already have an attachment to and understanding of many of the characters based on their comic book equivalent.
When I think “Bane,” I already have an image in mind of what I expect from him.
When I hear Tom Hardy speaking through his mask I say to myself:
When I see scenes from the trailer like the prison break, I think to myself:
To the average Batman virgin however, I’d imagine imagery such as this would be provocative, but purely in a “oh, so that’s gonna’ happen at some point” kind of way.
Hell, I’m willing to bet the average Bat Virgin doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what Bane even is.
What I think I’m trying to say, is that the style of editing and presentation of this trailer is enticing, as anything with a budget and pretty pictures can manage to be, but at the same time I feel frustrated by the numerous vagaries it throws in my lap.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of the J.J. Abrams-style marketing.
It’s not that I prefer my trailers to spell their plots and structure out to me, I simply value coherence and context over sound cues and pretty pictures.
Much like all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises appears to be an audio-visual powerhouse, though in some ways it appears a little less so at this point.
The set pieces looks suitably big, but the color palette appears more gray-ish and natural than The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and curiously enough, despite it being an almost comical trademark of his, there’s not a single (gorgeous) overhead shot of a cityscape.
That last part troubles me, as I’m a big fan of Nolan’s wide open establishing shots, particularly in outdoor scenes, and though it may just be the editor’s doing; there are none to be found in this trailer.
Perhaps the strangest thing though, at least to me, is the fact that they re-used the mood building drone AKA The Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight in this trailer.
I always thought of that particular piece of music as “belonging” to The Joker, which made it somewhat puzzling to hear played over a trailer for a film that, almost certainly; won’t feature him.
Despite everything I’ve said about this trailer, both good and bad, at the end of the day it’s a very good piece of advertising for a sequel that, unfortunately, benefitted from some of the best advertising and pre-release buzz in recent memory.
Not only that, it’s only the first trailer, for a huge movie that isn’t dropping until late in the summer.
As good as the advertising for The Dark Knight was from the get go, the 2nd trailers for it, Iron Man, and Inception were all MONUMENTALLY better than the first, which leads me to believe the same will likely be the case with The Dark Knight Rises.
In addition to this, one also has to consider the fact that virtually all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters up to this point, while heavily advertised, also did well to avoid showing a great deal of the major story beats and action set pieces.
I don’t know about you, but up until it’s release I really thought the “truck flip” from The Dark Knight trailer was going to be the climax of the movie.
Instead, the entire skyscraper based finale of the movie ended up playing that role, while never once being hinted at in the trailers.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that though I may seem overly critical, in truth I’m just a fanboy hoping for the best.
In the meantime though, as weird as it seems, I think I actually liked the almost universally panned teaser for The Dark Knight Rises somewhat better than the trailer.
True, most of the footage was borrowed from Batman Begins.
True, Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue was hard to understand.
True, virtually nothing Commissioner Gordon had to say was even worth hearing in the first place.
BUT, at the very end of the teaser, there is a single, barely 2 second shot that made it all worth it:
Batman in the rain, taking a deep breath, while Bane slowly approaches from the foreground.
The whole thing was crap up until then, but that last shot instantly sold me.
The trailer, while bigger and much more coherent, didn’t have this shot or even a suitable equivalent.
True, it featured a few shots of Batman and Bane throwing down in the snow, however I felt the subtlety and dramatic implication of the teaser shot did more to appease the fanboy in me than the entirety of the full trailer.
That’s just me though.
December 8, 2011 • 10:27 PM 0
Brownie points to those of you that know what a “Poppie” is.
December 7, 2011 • 2:14 AM 0
If you’ve seen this before, I sincerely apologize.
Don’t do like me and leave on loop for 10 minutes.
Trust me, as awesome as it is, it starts to get old around the 8 minute mark…
November 29, 2011 • 7:41 PM 3
*SPOILER ALERT!* If you prefer not to have the appearance of The Lizard from The Amazing-Spider-Man spoiled for you, stop reading NOW! *SPOILER ALERT!*
As goofy as the photos above may be, sadly, they aren’t responsible for my rapidly darkening mood in regards to the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie.
It’s funny actually, despite being a reboot of a major Marvel franchise, amid all the buzz surrounding The Avengers, Man of Steel, and The Dark Knight Rises, the production of The Amazing Spider-Man has been somewhat of an enigma as of late.
Unlike fuckin’ Turn Off the Dark…
*Shiver* Spider-Man villains putting on a fashion show… The stuff of nightmares I tells yah’.
Truth be told, aside from the infamous “Mirrors Edge trailer,” and a quick article I did a few months back regarding the new costume design, The Amazing Spider-Man has been almost entirely off my radar.
Sure, I grit my teeth a little over the prospect of rebooting a barely 10 year old film series, however outside of that, I really could care less.
That being said, the one thing that could’ve got me excited about this movie, has just been ruined by a leaked image of a goddamn Pez dispenser.
Allow me to explain.
In my youth, animals were one of my greatest passions, in particular lizards and other reptiles.
At one point the Komodo Dragon was my favorite animal, prompting me to do a number of school projects based around them.
I used to flip through my (vast) collection of Zoobooks just about every fucking day, in particular the reptile and special edition dinosaur issues.
Godzilla was, and still is, one of my biggest heroes.
And when it came to comic book characters, in particular Spider-Man villains, you can sure as hell bet The Lizard was my favorite.
In truth, he was kind of a lame character, particularly in regards to his power set, but even so, I’ve always liked him regardless.
That being said, seeing Dylan Baker cast as Dr. Curt Connors (The Lizard, dumbass) in Spider-Man 2 and 3 was cute in the sense that it paid homage to the greater Marvel universe, (something that has since become widespread) however I’m not gonna’ lie, it sucked some serious balls being teased with the prospect of a Lizard story arc over 2 movies only to end up with the lame-ass, cluttered finale of Spider-Man 3.
Imagine my surprise when it was announced that The Lizard was going to be a/the(?) villain in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Being a Lizard fan, my initial reaction was that of:
Despite boasting some decent acting credentials, I still think it’s funny that Welshman Rhys Ifans AKA the Welsh guy from Little Nicky and the Welsh kicker from The Replacements, is going to be playing Curt Connors.
By the way, did I mention he was Welsh?
Seriously though, I really don’t have much of a frame of reference as to whether he’d make a good Lizard, but oddly enough, it’s not him that has me less than thrilled about The Amazing Spider-Man.
Which brings us back to the aforementioned Pez dispenser:
While it may not be an official rendering of the character’s design for the upcoming film, or even a reflection of what the character’s final appearance, given the possibility that his transformation in the film may in fact be done progressively instead of all at once; the fact of the matter is:
This looks like fuckin’ garbage.
Seriously man, aside from the green skin, the features of the character don’t even look reptilian to me.
Last time I checked, reptiles, lizards in particular, are noted for their rigid facial structure and beady eyes.
This fuckin’ lizard has his eyes on the front of his face, and doesn’t even have so much as a goddamn snout.
I know they were probably trying to humanize him for dramatic purposes, or more likely, made him more human shaped to make animating his lip movements somewhat easier, but even so; this ain’t the fuckin’ Lizard.
Jesus fuck man, even if you were to put all of my “science-y” gripes aside, at the end of the day this design looks just plain fuckin’ boring.
And we all know how well that little venture worked out, right?
To whoever designed this Austrian dispenser of confectionery FAIL, congratulations, you have succeeded in making a superhuman lizard-man look boring.
My guess is they recruited the guy that did the Time Ninja cover to do the concept art for The Lizard:
November 25, 2011 • 9:33 PM 2
Today marked only the second occasion in which I decided to set forth into the wild and brave the insanity that is Black Friday.
Oddly enough, both times my intention in doing so was not to capitalize on the various sales events, but rather to simply take in the spectacle of watching others step over each other in hopes of acquiring a precious Tickle Me Elmo-like gift, or in the case of this year, an incredibly cheap 40″ TV.
It’s funny, whenever I think of Black Friday and other Christmas/holiday related shopping insanity, there’s one image that comes to my mind.
Said image was from one of my brother’s old Mad magazines, and to date, it serves as the definitive vision of Christmas carnage in my mind:
It might be kind of hard to tell, as the image is kind of small, but basically “The Last Parking Space At The Mall” is a brilliantly rendered Norman Rockwell-esque painting depicting a man shooting another man in a snowy parking lot while his wife attempts to pull him back into the car.
Mad Magazine is usually good for a snicker or 2, but this painting was easily one of the most brilliant fuckin’ comedic images I can recall from my youth.
Sadly though, I didn’t see holiday mayhem of any kind this time around.
I did however get to laugh at the people standing in line surrounding the Best Buy.
Seriously man, I spent close to 3 hours in the general area, and I never once saw that line shrink an inch.
Needless to say, I never even got to set foot in Best Buy this morning.
Oh well, thanks to holiday “tent culture,” virtually all of the really good deals in there are literally impossible to acquire without spending the night outside the building.
Which brings me to the deals that I actually did get a chance to capitalize on.
I initially set out to “do” Black Friday with a friend of mine around midnight.
Said friend ultimately ended up walking away with 2 boxes of half price golf balls, while I bought absolutely nothing.
Fortunately, there were some other sales going on in the U-district at a reasonable hour that I ended up checking out after catching a few much needed hours of sleep.
First, I went to Zanadu comics, where a 50% off everything sale was going on from 8AM to 12PM.
In case you couldn’t tell from the image above, I ended up getting a softcover copy of the absolutely massive X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia, as well as the first volume of Ed Brubaker’s The Immortal Iron Fist.
Truth be told, I’m not exactly salivating over the prospect of reading either of these books, however Utopia will serve to complete my Dark Avengers trade collection, and Iron Fist is a book that, given my status as a rabid kung fu movie fan, should’ve been in my collection years ago.
I’m a little wary of Utopia, as X-Men books haven’t been kind to me in the past, I don’t know, 15 goddamn years; but I’m hoping the Dark Avengers stuff will help to round things out a little.
As for Iron Fist, I’ve read nothing but good about it, and I’ve been putting off reading it for a really long time; so I’m pretty sure it’s gonna’ be awesome.
Anyway, 2 good to great books for 50% off = Definitely worth it in my book.
Next I went to Pink Gorilla to check out their highly variable collection of used/retro videogames.
While I haven’t found anything too special there in a few years now, I was surprised to find a perfectly good copy of Super Castlevania IV.
Outside of that though, I didn’t find anything else exciting, or failing that; worth the asking price.
Despite this, I was surprised to be given a randomized coupon at the register, with the one I drew being a buy1 get 1 free!
Upon scanning the wall, I decided to pick up Donkey Kong Country 3, a game that, while inferior to the sequel (which I already own) is somewhat rare, and often prohibitively overpriced.
Lucky me, I got it for free.
Oh yeah, and I got a free poster too.
Anyway, while I’d like to say I made it through the day without spending a decent amount of money, I’m proud to say that I at least managed to save more than I spent this Black Friday.
How did you do?
November 14, 2011 • 10:19 PM 0
A funny thing happened the other night.
I was helping out on a shoot for Hapstance Films while I was in Portland, and throughout most of the evening I found myself watching X-Men 2 with a little boy that was also involved in the production.
All night long he excitedly ran up to me to show me his robot collection, as well as to exhibit his best Spider-Man and Wolverine impressions.
Me being me, I took a moment to show him how to properly do the web shooting pose with his fingers.
While I certainly didn’t mean to, I’m pretty sure I inadvertently fucked up his understanding of the Marvel universe.
From what I could tell, everything he knew of the X-Men and Marvel’s other characters was taken from the movies.
I’d imagine this is quite typical among the youth of today, as the comic industry has been dragging it’s shattered bones along from quarter to quarter, while Marvel Entertainment *cough!* DISNEY *cough!* has been whore-ing their products through Hollywood for over decade now.
Forgive me, I love comic book movies as much as the next man, I just can’t help but feel a little tired of saying to myself ”It was good, but the comics were better,” every single goddamn time a new one comes out.
Back to the topic at hand.
Perhaps out of boredom, or simply because he kept asking me, quite excitedly, to tell him about every character that appeared in the X-Men films, during the movie I started feeding him factoids about the X-Men ripped straight from the comics.
I told him that “Fire Guy” was named Pyro.
I told him that “Girl Wolverine” was called Lady Deathstrike.
I told him that Wolverine’s real name was James Howlett or Logan, depending on who you ask.
I told him that Cyclops was a lot cooler than he thought, not just because he was badass, but because he wore glasses like me.
At some point though, I stopped playing Yoda/Comic Book Guy and asked the kid if he liked any villains, in the Marvel universe or otherwise.
I was curious because I happened to notice earlier in the evening that whenever he played with robots, the “good” one would always win the fight.
To my surprise, the kid responded by saying:
“No, I don’t like the bad guys.”
So I asked:
To which he responded quite plainly:
“Because they’re bad!”
I know it shouldn’t have, but this surprised me.
As I type this article, I hold in my hand a recently purchased collected edition of the early 90′s miniseries Venom: Lethal Protector.
While Lethal Protector is kind a bad example, given that I was much older than the kid in question upon it’s original publication, this does not change the fact that, even in my extreme youth, I always had an appreciation for some of the “bad guys.”
Soundwave was one of my favorite Transformers.
Gigan was one of my favorite Godzilla characters.
It might have been a sign of the times, but in my mind, villains and anti-heroes were very much “in” back in the late-80′s and early-90′s.
While I’m some would disagree, I’ve always thought of the villains as traditionally the more flamboyant and “cooler” characters when compared to their heroic counterparts.
Something about the villain’s ability to bend the rules, especially in regards to superhero stories, just seems to lend them a flexibility of character that makes them feel more three dimensional.
I don’t know if it’s a generational difference or what, but I found it interesting that this kid had his good guys and bad guys so cleanly divided.
I mean think about that, if you were able to look upon things in such black and white terms, things like war movies and professional wrestling would be infinitely more entertaining!
Being able to point at something and know, in your heart, that it’s “bad,” that it’s the enemy; is a luxury of fiction (or in this case, childhood) that I think a lot of people wish would cross over into reality.
When a threat is universal and tangible, it becomes far easier to deal with than the shades of gray bullshit of real life.
Anyway, I don’t really know where I’m going with this, as I’ve got some pretty bad writer’s block and a headache to boot, but I really this interesting.
Sorry for rambling.
November 10, 2011 • 10:36 PM 2
Well, the inevitable finally happened.
As readers of this blog might recall, I dabbled in Magic the Gathering at one point in my life.
Said point took place well after the Ninja Turtles started to suck, and just before Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z would cause Japanese language class attendances and White guy/Azn girlfriend biracial relationships to spike 10 fold.
Whatever man, you know it’s true.
Anyway, as mentioned in previous articles, the bulk of my Magic card pile (I can’t call something I don’t care about a “collection”…) is made of old crap inherited from my older brother and his friends.
Like me, my brother dabbled in Magic cards, though unlike me, he saw fit to dump his inventory the moment he lost interest.
Me being me, I held onto the shit, not because I wanted it, but mostly because I was too lazy to find a proper way to dispose of it.
That being said, one of my friends recently began prodding at me to bust out my old cards and throw down with him.
Given that I honestly haven’t had much to do outside of look for a job and write this goddamn blog, I decided to accommodate him.
Thus began my weekly habit of sitting down to extraordinarily casual games of Magic with my buddy.
By “extraordinarily casual” I mean I play with my outdated, ghetto-ass cards, and basically served up to my buddy as a thoroughly outclassed sparring partner for his future tournament matches.
If ever there was a jobber of the Magic the Gathering universe, it’d have to be me.
While I lose probably 80% of the time, one thing that I’ve gotten out of the experience, besides y’know, fun, is the fact that playing with weak-ass cards has taught me a lot about polishing diamonds out of shit-bricks.
That is to say, I’ve learned to look for, and find value in cards that aren’t inherently valuable.
With this fact tucked away in my mind, last week I bit my lip and decided to tag along with my buddy, and join a Draft tournament.
In case you don’t know already, a Draft in Magic is essentially what it sounds like.
Basically, you buy some booster packs, you take 1 card of your choosing from each pack, and then swap the remainder of the contents of said pack with the person to your left.
From there, everyone takes 1 card from the pile given to them, and then continues to pass the remainder on.
The process continues until every card has been exhausted.
Given the random nature of booster packs, you can probably see now why I (grudgingly) decided to join in on a Draft.
Truth be told, it wasn’t an easy decision for me, as the Magic community isn’t exactly what I’d call “my crowd,” nor is the game really my favorite thing in the world; but sometimes you’ve gotta’ do stupid shit to have fun with your friends… Even if sometimes I just wanna’ scream at the top of my lungs:
That being said, from what I can tell I actually drafted some pretty good stuff, (it’s an Innistrad draft) including my very first Mythic Rare, and at the end of the day I decided to put together a green and red deck.
I don’t know any of the fancy terminology used to describe strategic stances or functions in Magic, but by my reckoning the deck I made turned out pretty badass!
I don’t know if “badass” is the right word, but for what it’s worth, as you may have gathered from the title of this post, I actually managed to defeat my friend in my first match!
I beat him pretty solid both times I won, however I well and truly fucked up during the second round, resulting in one of the face palm-ier moments in my Magic career.
The point is though, I’m a winner today, and it feels good to know that.
By the way, here’s my deck in case you’re curious about what’s in it:
Mountain x 8
Forest x 9
Ashmouth Hound x 2
Kessig Wolf x 1
Feral Ridgewolf x 1
Hanweir Watchkeep x 1
Stromkirk Noble x 1
Darkthicket Wolf x 1
Orchard Spirit x 1
Villagers of Estwald x 1
Grizzled Outcasts x 1
Woodland Sleuth x 1
Ambush Viper x 1
Essence of the Wild x 1
Curse of the Pierced Heart x 1
Traitorous Blood x 1
Brimstone Volley x 1
Furor of the Bitten x 1
Prey Upon x 1
Ranger’s Guile x 1
Moonmist x 1
Spidery Grasp x 1
Spider Spawning x 1
Blazing Torch x 1
I apologize if the massive block of bold text above went entirely over you’re head.
Please understand, winning is not something I experience with much frequency, so just try and play along for tonight.
Oh fine, here’s some Batman for your troubles:
November 8, 2011 • 7:58 PM 1
A friend of mine sent me an Urban Dictionary link the other day to the phrase “he had a tremendous singing voice,” which, me being me; I instantly recognized as a Joker quote from the Tim Burton Batman film.
My friend and I… We have a special kind of affinity for Batman, such that random quote-fragments such as this rarely go unnoticed, if ever.
That being said, seeing that quote on Urban Dictionary put the idea in my head that maybe I should start plugging some of my random isms and in-jokes into their database.
Being as I used the phrase just 2 days ago, I figured I should start things off by throwing “Bionic Mexican” up over there.
Here’s the official link.
And if you’re genuinely too lazy to click the link, (it happens) here’s the definition:
A Mexican fighter capable of absorbing an inordinate amount of punishment, much like The Terminator.