Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Avengers Trailer Looks Like They Need To Fix It In Post.

It’s funny, as the release date for The Avengers slowly draws nearer, I’m starting to realize more and more the fact that there’s very little chance of it being shitty.

I have a great deal of love for Marvel comics, so just getting a chance to see the characters of that universe being brought to life in 200 million dollar budgeted films is enough to make me happy.

It doesn’t matter so much if the acting is great, or the plot deeply layered, as long I get to see the spirit and energy of the characters brought to life, there’s very little chance I’ll walk away from an Avengers movie wanting my money back.

Then again, I would’ve said the same about Transformers, that is, until Michael Bay dumped ass all over my childhood and raped my wallet…

TWICE.

"I swear I will not kill anyone... But I WILL shit on all of your childhood heroes."

That being said, while it’s a bit difficult to determine exactly what the plot of the movie is based on the trailer, (as should be the case, given that it’s only the first theatrical trailer) in many ways I applaud the marketing folks over at Marvel/Disney for cramming in screen time for virtually all of the heavy hitters that have been confirmed to be appearing in the film.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appears to be the central villain of the film, though based on the uncertain events at the conclusion of Captain America, in my mind it’s entirely possible that Red Skull could have a hand in things as well.

My bet is, he does.

Given the Hulk’s unstable nature, as well as the plot of the first Avengers comic, I’m guessing he’s going to end up being manipulated by Loki at some point; resulting in a heel/face turn at some point in the film.

I don't think I'm alone in saying I'd like to see a bit of THIS somewhere in there though.

Speaking of the Hulk, his reveal at the end of the trailer was well utilized, as he’s the one confirmed Avenger we really haven’t seen up to this point.

Despite no shortage of explosions and FX shots though, I can’t help but feel that this first trailer was cut from footage of a yet unfinished product.

At least I hope that’s the case.

There are numerous shots that feel very “static,” lacking in energy and purpose to a degree that they feel almost amateurish.

Seriously man, count how many shots there are of single characters, standing in boring and vacant locations.

"DURRR!!! I'M THE BLACK WIDOW AND I JUST FARTED A BUS EXPLOSION! DURRR!!!"

Chances are you’ll run out of fingers and toes on that one.

At the same time, many of the FX shots, particularly some of the exploding cars, look to me as if they are meant to be templates for CGI compositing.

It’s rare to see explosions in Hollywood films these days where the detonation source and materials seem plainly visible, and as such; I wouldn’t be surprised if the aforementioned exploding car shots are awaiting some sort of energy beam effects to cover all that up.

It’s funny, as I write this nitpicky article, I can’t help but be reminded of the early trailers for Iron Man.

I remember seeing the early TV spots for Iron Man, and being largely unimpressed.

I don’t know if you recall, but the pacing of these commercials was very weak, and some of the effects shots were not quite finished, resulting in advertisements that didn’t at all reflect the awesomeness of the final product.

Compare this early TV spot:

To the later released full trailer here:

Not only is the composition better, the special effects, particularly in the “tank shot” sequence, are rendered with more detail and smoother animation.

When you’re dealing with effects heavy films like this, it’s entirely possible that the computer effects crew will end up working on the project up until the release date.

While I could be wrong, I’m really hoping this is the case with The Avengers, as while it looks totally acceptable at this point, it doesn’t look at all exceptional.

What else can I say about this?:

Captain America’s costume looks a little bit too stretchy and “pajama-y” for me to give it a thumbs up.

Am I wrong in thinking it looks kind of like the live-action Kick-Ass costume?

Hank Pym should get a nod or a cameo, as I’d love to see The Vision or Ultron show up in a movie someday.

Kudos to the marketing department for excluding any and all shots of the Avengers working together or “assembling,” as that’s one of those oh-so-important fanboy moments that’s probably best left for the theaters.

Here’s hoping Agent Coulson gets an action beat somewhere in there, ’cause he’s been consistently fun over the years.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the always solid Jeremy Renner won’t suck as Hawkeye… ‘Cause let’s face it: he’s Hawkeye.

"Who? Me?"

For once I’m actually hoping Joss Whedon decides to “George Lucas” his movie with distracting lights and colors in every shot.

Seriously man, this is the fuckin’ Avengers movie.

It’s only gonna’ premiere once, and you’ve been hyping it for like 4-5 years now.

Go balls out, or don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time.

No Avengers film, or any film for that matter, should have boring-ass shots of The Black Widow standing ever so casually in front of pitiful exploding buses, or for that matter; Nick Fury firing rocket launchers while standing in front of my dad’s garage.

BOH-RRRRRIIIIING.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say on this one, hopefully it turns out fun for everyone, ’cause at this point if any one film this coming year could hope make good on that promise, it’d have to be The Avengers.

If it does in fact start to suck when I’m in the theater though, I know exactly the phrase that’s going to come to mind:

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Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IT BEGINS.

Alrighty folks, as Barney stated in the clip above, as of this moment; IT BEGINS.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the past several days I’ve been very lazy in writing posts for this blog.

I still enjoy writing, but the fact of the matter is, I’ve been in a rut for a long time now, both in regards to this blog and life in general.

That being said, I’m not the sort to give up easily.

After all, I’m one of those guys took it up the ass long enough to eventually beat Demon’s Souls and is likely going to end up doing the same with Dark Souls.

I really don’t know what to expect from this, but I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you, the reader; to let me know what you’d like to see me do in future posts.

As much as I know there’s a demand for it, I’m not gonna’ post photos of my dick or anything like that, but if you’d like to say, see me draw something, or write an article on a particular topic; I’d be more than willing to accomodate your requests.

Anyway, here’s hoping I get a lot of responses, or at the very least, a few good ones.

Seriously folks, don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time….

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Of The Worst Commercials I’ve Ever Seen

In this cynical age of ironic humor, there’s never been a better environment for the appreciation of things that are “good-bad.”

Due to the incredible surplus of “good-bad” or otherwise culturally outdated material that’s floating around out there, “trolling” shitty movies ala Beavis and Butt-head and Mystery Science Theater 3000 has become commonplace among peoples of all ages.

This is not a bad thing, though it does beg the question; when does something cross the line from being “good-bad,” to just plain BAD?

While I honestly have no idea where that line may lie, I do know crap when I see it.

In case you hadn’t guessed from the title of this post, as well as from viewing the actual video itself; this ad for the LOCAL exterminator service StopBuggingMeNow.com, is pretty much the definition of crap.

There, now nobody can say I haven’t done my part to plug a (very likely crappy) local business.

Neither goofy enough, nor cheap enough to be funny in any way, this commercial commits the ultimate commercial sin of being just plain dull.

The hideous combination of poor acting, shitty costumes, an even poorer concept, and an embarrassingly lethargic pace makes this commercial one of the worst I can recall in recent memory.

Don’t get me wrong, from a purely technical standpoint we’ve all seen worse than this.

It’s just that when a commercial has no entertainment value whatsoever, no humor, no message, no point; it forces the viewer to come to terms with the fact that they’ve just had 30 seconds of their motherfuckin’ time pulled out from under them.

Many commercials are annoying.

Many are also entertaining.

But it takes a special breed of crappiness for a commercial to be just plain bad.

Fuck you StopBuggingMeNow commercial.  Get off my motherfucking TV.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Killer Elite: A Movie About Mustaches And Hitting.

I’ve never seen Sam Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite.

I have a great appreciation for the director’s work, in particular The Wild Bunch and The Getaway; but for whatever reason I just never got around to watching it.

Despite this, The Killer Elite was a film that had a surprising amount of presence in my youth, entirely in the form of my dad telling me about it all the fuckin’ time.

He made it sound pretty cool, always making sure to point out how graphic the violence was for the era; a trademark of Peckinpah’s style.

The funny part is, my dad’s taste in movies has proven to be more than a little hit and miss over the years, so in all honesty; I really don’t know if The Killer Elite was actually a good movie, or just one that he remembered being good.

Below is an example of a film my dad remembered being quite a bit better than it actually was:

Anyway, as you might have guessed, given the ongoing trend of Hollywood, and the very recent trend in Jason Statham’s career; The Killer Elite is getting the remake treatment, though for whatever reason the “The” in the title has been axed.

Oh well, at least they didn’t “streamline” the title down to an acronym or some shit.

Don’t even try to tell me Mtn Dew, The Hut, and Syfy were good ideas.

Pictured: FAIL on wheels.

Fuckin’ rebranding bullshit…

*ANYWAY* from what I can tell from the trailer, the movie involves a 70’s porno-stached Clive Owen wanting to kidnap/kill/have kinky bondage sex with Jason Statham, and in-between it all Robert De Niro gets dragged into things and mayhem ensues.

While the remake will no doubt have difficulty measuring up to the original, but in terms of straight-up mindless fun factor; I’d like to think it looks pretty solid.

Think about it:

You have Jason Statham hitting people.

You have Clive Owen and his dirty mustache hitting people.

And to top it all off, you have an aging Robert De Niro going all Liam Neeson/Mel Gibson on people.

The only thing that could make it better is if everybody in the cast had dirty porno staches.

I wouldn’t count on that happening, but one can hope…

I’ve always said that any film that features Liam Neeson punching someone is worth my time, (Gangs of New York being the sole exception) and while Bobbie D isn’t at all an analogue for the lanky Irishman; truth be told I think the novelty actually carries more weight given the awesomeness of the man that is Bobbie D.

If Bobbie D can do half of the above, I will be satisfied with Killer Elite.

Truth be told, if the movie ends up being little more than a handful of people shooting at and punching each other, I honestly wouldn’t mind.

Action movies tend to get cluttered these days with melodrama and extraneous ancillary characters, which is part of why I think old fashioned manhunt/man vs. man movies will always hold a certain degree of appeal.

A big dumb action movie need not have an epic “save the world” plot.

Sometimes all you need is a handful of people with beef, and a story that lets them do horrible things to each for 2 hours.

Anyway, this one is probably going to suck hard, and barely make a splash at the box-office; but truth be told, I might go see it.

Hell, it’s not every day you get to see Bobbie D beat the shit out of someone with his bare hands.

Most of the time he prefers to use a Mag Lite:

Note: Heat is an awesome movie that features Mag Lite on Man violence.

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fire of Conscience: A Fiery Letdown…

Fire of Conscience was supposed to be the Chinese version of Michael Mann’s Heat.

It was supposed be a rollicking cop drama with hardcore shootouts and pyrotechnics in the busy streets of downtown Hong Kong.

It was supposed to be a movie I was willing to wait 3 months to see.

It opened with one of the most unique sequences seen in commercial film, (but not the medium itself, see here) which effectively drew me in and got me psyched for what was to come.

The plot was derivative of many Hong Kong cop dramas, I.E. bad cop and good cop slam into each other, discover brotherhood/parallels between one another, merry mishaps ensue.

That didn’t bother me though, I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was that Fire of Conscience would take my expectations for it and shit all over them.

My first impression came in the form of a trailer I stumbled across:

When I saw this trailer, I saw a movie that promised action, bullshit Chinese melodrama, and at least one instance of a man exploding.

In truth, Fire of Conscience does in fact contain all of these things, however the balance, the amount of screen time and care devoted to each of these elements; is all out of whack.

Well, except for the exploding man thing. I don’t think any movie should be expected to have any more than one of those, no matter how hardcore it is.

PWNED.

The action in Fire of Conscience is not really “action” per se.

In more dramatic films, “action” usually boils down to something more like straight up “violence” or “tension.”

In the case of Fire of Conscience, I came into it expecting ACTION. After all, the trailer proclaimed the film to be an “action powerhouse.”

There’s really only a pair of true ACTION sequences in the film, and while both are fairly impressive on a visceral level, both suffer from irritating use of the “shaky cam” effect we seem to see everywhere these days.

It’s not that the cinematography ruins these scenes, it’s simply that it feels forced, as if the filmmakers are using it as a cheap trick to fool us into buying the tension, into buying the gritty and grim situation the players find themselves in.

Personally, I prefer action that is staged well over action that is manufactured using simple tricks and nonsense.

I will say this though, the pyrotechnics and stunt work in Fire of Conscience were top-notch and certainly deserve praise.

I liked how subtle wire-work was incorporated into many of the explosions in the film, effectively simulating the concussive effect produced by such an event.

Also, it wouldn’t be a Hong Kong movie without people falling off buildings and being thrown through glass.

It's a common new year's custom in Hong Kong to jump through windows as a celebratory gesture.

In fact, I found myself smirking as Richie Jen got put through a windshield during a curiously low-key beat of a fight scene.

It was almost as if the filmmakers were so completely unimpressed by the prospect of putting someone through glass at that point in the film that they didn’t even bother to properly frame the stunt with a camera.

The drama aspect of Fire of Conscience is sufficient to move the story forward, but like the film’s implementation of the “shaky cam” effect, much of it feels inorganic and forced.

In fact in the earlier stages of the film, much of the plot progression is achieved in the form of dropping new characters into our lap.

This results in a film that gives the viewer a feeling of being perpetually missing something in the narrative until it’s later stages.

I found this to be as much provocative as it was confusing.

The film does a pretty good job with giving it’s characters a significant amount of depth, however I feel it often reaches too far, giving us details on 5-6 fairly important characters, when doing the same for 1-2 major ones would’ve been more appropriate.

Fortunately, the film does manage to deliver in terms of fleshing out it’s 2 main characters, although I will say that Richie Jen’s character was criminally underused for the most part.

Despite this, the film embraces pop-star Leon Lai as it’s main character, and often manages to hit all the right notes when it comes time to explore his “detective with a troubled past” backstory, particularly during quieter and more contemplative scenes.

Lai’s acting however, consists of being vacant and gruff while never moving his face.  It’s not all that effective, and is downright creepy at times.

One thing that surprised me about Fire of Conscience, was the fact that it was directed by Dante Lam.

Lam’s career these days seems to be derived from his 1998 film, Beast Cops.

I name dropped this movie during my Epic Donnie Yen Post, and with good reason.  Beast Cops was a great movie that was filled with energy, drama, violence, and a host of colorful characters that we cared about.

In many ways, it is everything Fire of Conscience tries to be.

Dante Lam doesn’t have a perfect track record by any means, *cough!* Sniper and Twins Effect *cough!* however he usually has the chops to piece together entertaining movies with impressive set-pieces and high-points.

Fire of Conscience has no real high-point.

In fact, though it feels childish of me to say this, one of my biggest objections to the film lies in the fact that the scene from the trailer that I was anticipating most amounts to almost nothing.

Did you catch that brief moment when Leon Lai runs through the streets with a big-ass G3-SG1 in hand?

Hey, if it was a cool enough gun for Ice Man, it's cool enough for me.

That was supposed to be the climax of the film.

That was supposed to be the scene in which Dante Lam aped Michael Mann by staging a massive shootout in the streets of Hong Kong ala Heat.

That scene lasts maybe a minute, and only about 3 shots are fired, all semi-auto.

When that scene in the movie came and went, my heart sunk.

There was maybe 20 minutes left in the film, and I already knew there were no more surprises or set-pieces to look forward to.

In my mind I’d like to believe that that scene was cut-down as a result of filming costs in downtown Hong Kong, after all, I have yet to see another film that truly SHUTS DOWN A FUCKING CITY like Heat did, and Hong Kong budgets aren’t exactly up to standards with Hollywood’s.

Fire of Conscience was ruined by my own expectations for it.

It just goes to show you that, the movie on the screen is no match for the movie in your mind.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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