Hey, there internets! I just saw the movie Frank. I offer you a tease in the form of the trailer and my review as a mini-podcast. Enjoy!
So we have Drama, Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi, Horror, Musical, Family (or kids and family), Animation (Hollywood), Anime (Japanese) or at least that’s how media stores would have us categorize movies. However, there are other classifications that cross these categories: Epic, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology and so on. Then there are the cases that blur the lines between categories: Horror-Comedy, Dramedy, Sci-Fi-Horror, etc.
I bring this up to have a quick look at what’s happened in the last decade. Comic-Book movies. Some say that this is just another money-grabbing ploy aimed squarely at the 14-25 fanboy (or girl) demographic. Cynics would say that these movies are just as empty-headed as other blockbusters to come before them (Hello, ID4). And to some degree, they’d be right.
Let’s have a look at the past. Comic books were a form of illustrated literature aimed squarely at kids. They were an offshoot of the pulp-novels that came before. But as certain characters took hold, we began to see that the readers grew up, but did not want to abandon those characters. The sad part for these people is that the comics did not grow up with them. So, instead, these characters and certain defining stories live on through nostalgia. This has been held so dearly, that television shows and movie serials were created from the comic source material. Again, these were aimed squarely at kids in the theater matinees.
And people still did not want to let go of their favorite characters. However, the powers-that-be relegated them to “funny books” and thus came the era of campy shows like the 1960’s Batman and even some others like The Green Hornet (no, Bruce Lee cannot save that one). I remember liking these types of shows as a kid. But my excuse is that I was a kid. I have the 1960’s Batman movie on DVD. And, while I do satisfy my nostalgia watching it, it’s hard to understand why that portrayal of the heroes had such popularity among some adults. Apparently, celebrities of the era were clamouring to be on Batman. Even Sinatra, as I understand it. But this could not last and it eventually faded from its high popularity to be reduced to after-school re-runs.
So superheroes were relegated to bland action shows and even more bland cartoons. (Except Johnny Quest. See earlier blog posts and podcasts for much love for that show from the ’60s.) Then things began to take a turn in the late seventies with Superman. But even that was campy. Follow that up with the Tim Burton Batman movies. More successful, but still campy (I’m going to purposefully ignore the nipple-suits here). Marvel had made some bad choices here and some pretty terrible film and TV projects came out of it (I’m aiming at you, Reb Brown Captain America). Then, after another decade, something amazing happened: Blade opened in 1998. And it didn’t suck. Then there was Blade II and Blade III. We won’t go there.
But it seems that the seed had been planted. In 2000, we got the exciting adaptation of X-Men. In 2002, we got the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man. Some spectacular visuals and some decent characters helped a fairly vanilla story. In 2005, we got Batman Begins and Sin City. One a serious take on the hero and his legend, the other a faithful and direct adaptation of the source comic material. Good, these were good starts. Perceptions are beginning to change. Then, in 2008, we got Iron Man. Ka-Pow! Marvel and Paramount knocked that out of the park. It had to be a risky venture using John Favreau, then known for Elf and Zathura; and Robert Downey Jr, then known (to me, anyway) as a lush and a bit of a walking joke. But it worked. They wisely also decided on a tone that was action-oriented but including comedic moments without venturing into camp. However, that movie had something else: Character Development and a plan that would become the foundation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And that’s the key here. You had Christopher Nolan’s spectacular, but serious take on the Batman legend, and you had the beginnings of the MCU. Marvel did well also taking a more serious tone with their stories, but giving us characters that could change and we could care for. So now the comics are now evolving into our modern mythos. A new perspective on the archetypes from ancient mythology and drama as told for a modern age. Instead of The Man in the Iron Mask, we have the Man in the Iron Suit. Instead of Zeus, the horny thunderer, we have Thor the handsome thunder god. Steve Rogers has become our every-hero and moral compass. This is our modern Shakespeare.
And so long as these characters are treated with care and the stories don’t insult us, we should be in for even more of a thrill ride that will last through our generation and live on for future generations. Gone (hopefully) are the silly school-yard conversations of who could beat up whom. While they have given way to Big Bang-esque conversations, they seem more guided by their love of the source material versus wild speculation, the downfall of so many stories.
So I’ll sign off with this: As long as there is a plan for the MCU, I’ll keep going to see these movies and I’ll probably continue to love them for years to come.
Just released yesderday, apparently, the first teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron
I didn’t think Spader had it in him. But that’s genuinely creepy. I think Marvel, Disney, and Paramount just made themselves a shit-ton of money.
We bitch a lot on this site, so I thought it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way. Here are some movies and TV shows that are making me happy right now.
There are a handful of movies that I have not yet seen, but from trailers and clips, look very exciting.
Check out Automata:
Dystopian with intriguing robotic designs and a mysterious feel, eh? It’s my understanding that the robots are not CG, but life-size marionettes. Makes the effect more chilling and realistic. The movie has not played anywhere close to where I live, but I’ll probably be buying this one outright.
Big Hero 6
This looks like a really fun movie. Inspired by a Marvel comic. It’s labeled Disney instead of Pixar. I hope it’s good. It definitely appeals to the kid in me.
What can I say? This is just the teaser, but it has a great sense of wonder about it. It’s a Brad Bird film, so hopefully it’ll be good
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Ever look at something so beautiful that you weep? That’s me after looking at the trailer. It’s utterly beautiful. And it’s Ghibli! It’s currently (as of this post) in a limited US theater release.
I guess you can call it current. It’s on iTunes and Amazon Prime for rental. It got a goofiness that appeals to me in some way. I’m also intrigued by performances by actors where the entire head or face is obscured in some way. Very few actors can pull that off. Hugo Weaving comes to mind.
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace
What a great title! It’s an anime set in a high school. Wow! that’s new! But seriously, this is a comedy about a high-school literature club comprised of four girls and a boy. A very goofy boy. A boy who is a bit too absorbed in anime and manga and acts out fantasies of obtaining fantastic powers. And one day, it happens. He and the other girls suddenly get fantastic powers. Yet, under his guidance, no one is having a freak-out. They are secretly training to master their abilities and maintain their ordinary lives. It’s a cute show that is currently available in simulcast on Crunchyroll.
Akame ga Kill!
A bloody good time! Assassins wielding extra-normal weapons called Imperial Arms which they are using to try to overthrow a corrupt kingdom. Very fun show with a wide range of emotion. It’s a simulcast that’s available on Crunchyroll.
I finally got to catch up on a few films that I missed.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
This trailer is NSFW, but is the better representation of the film.
Wonderful, artistic character piece with a lot of star cameos that are just as fun as the characters that they play. I won’t spoil it by naming them. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you have to see this and I’m sure you know what you’re in for. It was much more charming that I thought it would be.
X-Men Days of Future Past
Picking up (mostly) where the stinger scene in The Wolverine left us, We finally get to see the Sentinels. It’s also a return to the greatness of the Bryan Singer X-Men era. Good performances overall and a smarter script than I expected. There’s a few moments where you need to tie down your disbelief, but it’s worth the ride.
Going to sign off for now. I hope you have seen or will see some of these. They’re quite good.
OK, Hollywood. I know you have a silly Dracula movie coming out. I know it’s supposed to be young and hip. I know it’s a probable reboot to the entire classic monster franchise of movies.
But you have bludgeoned me nearly to death with your blitzkrieg of an add campaign. It’s like listening to an incessant three-year-old clamouring for attention. And now that it has bombarded my senses for the umteenth time, I will never watch this movie. Ever. Even on streaming. Even drunk. Even if it is a gift. Even if it’s selected as a Bad Movie Review. There might have been a 0.02% chance of my seeing it originally, but even that’s gone now.
Fuck you very much, Hollywood. I hope your movie tanks harder than Movie 43!
Just saw Guardians of the Galaxy. Loved it! It will be going on the shelf. Got the soundtrack too. It really is an Awesome Mix!
Also saw Expendables 3. Those fuckers are really getting old. It was a fun time though.
Also saw Godzilla. Stupid, stupid, stupid! And not in the way you’d like.
Jeezus God Almighty!
It’s been awhile internet. Once again work has kicked my life in the balls. And life has kicked my life in the balls. But this past weekend has been a holiday and I have somewhat enjoyed it.
Where I live, it’s illegal to shoot fireworks. I don’t know the history. I speculate that some dumb-ass set off a firecracker and hurt some uptight mother’s kid; so we all have to pay. At my age, while I’m happy that America still exists, fireworks are no fucking fun if you can’t shoot them off yourself. So I stayed in and watched movies.
I guess we all need that sometimes.
Oh, and a 12″ disco ball in your office at work.