Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dictator - Movie Review.

Chasing Ghosts - Movie review.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Total Film's 50 Most Hated Films of All Time #29 - Spider-Man 3

So, this one made the list.  I can't say I'm surprised, Spidey 3 has gotten a lot of bad press.  Total Film stated that this movie is hated by the fans. Actually, they said that three-peats try to do too much (debatable to say the least) and that "Marvel went ahead anyway."  Uh-uh.  Listen, you work for Total Film, okay?  Get your facts straight.  Sony is doing the Spider-Man pictures.  SONY.  Not Marvel, Marvel would not do a crappy Spider-Man flick, which is what #4 is looking like, okay?  You work for Total Film.  This is your job.  This is your brand.  If you're going to make a lame list like this, at least sound like you know what you're talking about (even though clearly, you don't), okay?

So, the contention is the fans hate this film.  Okay, fair enough.  However, who are the fans?  Are we talking about fans as in the first time I saw Spider-Man was the first Raimi film?  Are we talking about Spider-Man fans as in collected the comics, saw the television series (live-action and the 1960's/1990's cartoon), bought the toys and when Spider-Man first hit theatres in 2002, took the day off school/work and went to see it?  What are we talking here, what is your definition of the word fan?  Because if it's someone who only cared about Spider-Man since the first live-action film, then who cares?  What do they have to say about it?  What is their basis of knowledge, the other two films?  There's so much about Spider-Man, I would find it extremely hard to give credence to the opinions of a bunch of johnny-come-lately's.

That being said, I do agree that the movie did try to do too much.  Look, putting in Venom and Sandman was a mistake, having one or the other would have been fine.  You could have the 2nd Green Goblin (or the Green Skateboarder or whatever the hell he was supposed to be), but really, putting both villains in the movie does justice to neither.  Also, Sandman killing Uncle Ben was terrible.  Spider-Man does not need a personal vendetta to go after Sandman, the fact that the man is walking around, robbing armoured cars and the like is sufficient enough.  We don't need this extra drama that really doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. 

That being said, I think this movie is a mixed bag.  The black costume is great (didn't the fans like that?), I like how Peter Parker is wrestling with good and evil, Sandman himself was great and this was the first film in the series where I didn't want to punch Mary Jane Watson out.  So, it wasn't as terrible as everyone says and for the record, I used to get the Spider-Man comics whenever I could as a kid, so it's not like I'm one of these first day fans like the people talking trash about Spider-Man on the 'Net.  To me, it's still a lot better than what this fourth film is looking like and I think when it's all said and done, Spider-Man 3 will have it's own fans, though I will admit it's not as good as the first two films, it's not bad enough to be hated. 

Worth the hate?  Nope.

- Stephenstein

Monday, May 28, 2012

Total Films 50 Most Hated Films of All Time # 30 - Alien Resurrection

Okay, hold-up, time out here people.
When did Alien 4 suddenly become the most hated?  I went to the bathroom, Alien 3 was the most hated one in the franchise, everyone agreed, it was a terrible movie (actually it wasn't, it was pretty good), but I come out,  I think the world is the same and all of a sudden, Alien 4 is making the most hated lists.  Well, what the hell happened?

Well I can tell you what happened.  What happened is the director of Alien 3, David Fincher became Mr. Big Shot.  That's right, David Fincher made Alien 3.  Everyone's favourite movie director, the guy who has been nominated for at least 2 Oscars now, as well as making Seven and Fight Club which all the fanboys and film geeks love and quote and all that stuff, he made Alien 3, which everyone said was kakka doody not too long ago.  What's that?  You looove all Fincher movies, so Alien 3 isn't that bad?  Well, I can point to a piece of my anatomy and tell you what I'd like you to do with it.  Because you know what?  You guys didn't Max Reed that up.  You didn't go back and take a second look at it and appreciate it for what it was.  You just happen to like it because David Fincher is now in everyone's top 10 directors list.  You know, that sort of stuff sickens me.  Like, don't have an opinion of your own!  Heavens no!  You just go along with the crowd, little boy!  Here's a lollipop!  Geez.

Anyhow, I actually went back and re-read the Total Film article (while holding my nose and keeping back the vomit).  Here is why Alien 4 made the list, because I have no logical explanation at all why Alien 4 would make the list.  Here it is and I quote:

"An unnecessary addition to the story, muzzled by the law of diminishing returns and the misjudged tone of black comedy.  The less said about the Newborn, the better."

Now, let me start off by saying if I'm making a list of the 50 most hated films of all time, I think I owe each of those movies more than 2 lines.  Talk about a weak explanation to hate a film.  Let's get into it a little bit:

Unnecessary addition?  Why?  Because they wanted to make more alien films?  Because they didn't want Ridley dying to wrap up the series?  Because they thought up a new way of bringing the franchise back to life? (P.S., one of the writers of this movie was Joss Wedon, whose picture all these jackasses put up beside Fincher's, Tarantino's and Stephen Soderbergh's before going to sleep at night, so don't even think the loss who created the list still has the same opinion that this movie was unnecessary, he's probably telling everyone how much he looooves Alien 4...asswipe).  

Muzzled by the law of diminishing returns.  Muzzled?  Muzzled?  First of all, who are you trying to impress, you pimply-faced dropout?  Muzzled?  Really.  You hit the thesaurus button in Word for that one, didn't you.  You high-fived all your loser colleagues when you did that one.  Muzzled?  Give me a break.  Essentially, what this guy is saying is that the longer the series goes, the more diminished the box office returns get (which I've already proven is wrong) and the the less reason to go on.  So, you know according to this guy, there would be only 3 Godzilla films and that's it. Three Mission: Impossibles.  No more Pirates, no more Transformers...Basically, any franchise is toast after 3.  It's a good thing this moron isn't running things. 

Okay, the Newborn.  WHAT?  The Newborn is awesome!  It's a cross between and alien and a human! What's wrong with that!  You see the carnage it caused on the ship?  That entire part with the Newborn was awesome!  What was wrong with that?  Honestly, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT?  Why do you hate this movie?  I mean, what is the explanation?  Just because it was the 4th film in the series and you think it was going for black comedy (a misread if there ever was, Alien 4 is the sickest, most gruesome and fantasy-ish installment in the series...but it's not going for comedy-value, even dark comedy, you half-wit), and you didn't like the Newborn.  That'  I don't get it.  Then to top it off, you post a review from some poster on Jo Blo.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Half the guys who post on there haven't had a single thought in their head for entire generations.  You have got to be kidding me.  I'm sorry, but this is just a complete farce. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  When I understand why his movie is hated or even if it's hated, I'll get back to you...on second thought, I'll get back to you now...No.

- Stephenstein

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Song of the Week -- G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) theme

In reaction to the news a few days ago that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was being pulled by Paramount from the 2012 Summer schedule, one month before its release and amidst the usual marketing frenzy of trailers and celebrity interviews that accompanies such blockbusters, I thought I'd post a memory of what G.I. Joe used to be -- from a time when G.I. Joe was unabashedly patriotic and unashamedly marketed just to kids, disregarding any thought of being too cheezy or over the top. And guess what? The franchise was wildly successful for ten years doing this. Oh well, times have changed. The above clip is the openning of G.I. Joe: The Movie, a tie-in film to the cartoon of the 80's which was meant for thatrical release but was suddenly punted to straight-to-video status after the box office failure of Transformers: The Movie (1986). G.I. Joe: The Movie has its faults (mostly having to do with the introduction of the new villains from something called "Cobra-La" -- sheesh), but every scene having to do with the G.I. Joe team itself in the film is stellar, including this wonderful introduction which seemed to feature every action figure produced up to that point (now that's how you market a toyline!).


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Dictator!

So, for those of you who don't know, the star of this film is Sacha Baron Cohen, he of Ali G, Borat and Bruno fame.  In this one, it's a little different than his other works: it actually has a linear plot and it's less of a documentary style and more of a conventional movie.  However, you don't have to fear as it still has his touches all over it, it's satirical and ironic, it has crude humour and a lot of commentary about a wide variety of topics, mostly to do with the United States.  If you're a big fan of some of his other works, then you'll probably forgive the parts in the film that aren't that funny, if you have never watched any of his other films, in my opinion Bruno and especially Borat are slightly better.  I'll get into it a little more. 

So, there is a lot that works and a lot that is funny in The Dictator.  My favourite scene was actually the scene in the United Nations involving the fake Dictator and what he does to the Jewish delegation (I won't give it away here).  Let's just say that I was laughing my ass off.  The movie starts off hilariously and really keeps the momentum going while he is in the fake nation of Wadiya which Baron Cohen's character is the dictator of.  I actually think those scenes are funnier than his scenes when he's coming to America.  I just like this idea of having this completely amoral person walking around, doing whatever he wants, he's completely clueless but because he's in charge, no one can really stop him. 

Then he goes to America.  He meets the requisite American girl who is absolutely appalled with what he does.  The momentum keeps up for a while in America, but then things start to falter.  Partly because of the relationship -- it's not bad or anything, but it's not really good, either.  I'm not interested in seeing Baron Cohen's character reform or find love or anything like that.  Like I said, it's not really bad or anything, but it just doesn't interest me, I'm more interested in him offending everyone.  He does this somewhat, but it gets a little muddled, because there's actually a storyline -- he's got a mission he's got to do, there's a deadline and it's sort of geared to that.  That being said, there was some stuff I just think fell flat...the masturbation scene, the birthing scene (though it recovered a bit at the end) and the decapitated head all produced crickets in the theatre.  It wasn't like the Borat scene where he and the other guy were wrestling naked in the hotel where you just watched it build to it went to ludicrous heights...these scenes were just "okay, this isn't really funny or going anywhere, let's move on". 

However, there's more to like in this film than dislike.  The other actors in the movie don't really get in Baron Cohen's way, he is the star and the movie is all him.  The jokes hit more than they miss and there's a lot to like about the movie.  For me personally, like I said, I enjoy seeing him do ridiculous and outrageous things in Borat or Bruno a little more just because of the style it's done -- having it like a mockumentary, a lot of people would take this stuff for real, he didn't really use actors in that film and the reactions just strike me as funnier.  In this one, it's a movie, I know it's a movie, it doesn't mean it's not a funny movie but I think having more overtly a movie lessens his impact a little bit and makes the jokes that don't work a little more negative to the overall film.  

That being said go check it out, you'll probably find it absolutely hilarious and if you're clever, you'll like it for what it is.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5. 

- Stephenstein

Saturday, May 19, 2012

WTF is happening to Community?? Dan Harmon fired, Community’s new Friday death slot, and new directions.

So, the NBC show Community ended its third season this past Thursday with a mini marathon of three new episodes. After having been jerked around this season (it was placed on “hiatus “ after the Fall, then brought back for the Summer after much speculation that it was cancelled), NBC has announced that Community is indeed coming back for a fourth season, but in Friday, the notorious “death slot”. NBC also fired show runner and creator Dan Harmon (all of the writers are off too – not fired, but some have left for other jobs, one quit over Harmon being fired). The head writers are not going to be David Guarascio and Moses Port, writers for Happy Endings – a show I really effing despise -- and creators of the frankly shitty Aliens in America (a concept done way better at the same time in this country with Little Mosque on the Prairie).

Ah, Community. For those who don’t know, I really love this show. I’ve see every episode since day one and own the first two seasons on DVD (I intend to get season 3 when it comes out). I love the characters (my favourite being Abed) but I also love all of the cleverly handled tributes and spoofs on all things pop culture. Dan Harmon himself is in his late 30s and he seems to have been influenced by the same pop culture references that I love. That said, mainstream acceptance and longevity seems to have been sacrificed for “gimmick” or “theme” episodes, of which this show has thrived on for episode after episode in seasons 2 and 3. While I love the Youtube episode (made of clips in the spirit of random Youtube fan clips), the all claymation Christmas episode, the Dungeons and Dragons episode in which the characters do a quest involving all of the D&D rules, the alternate reality episode and even this Thursday’s all 8-bit video game episode (in which most of the episode was entirely done in 8-bit videogame style), most people will not understand what the hell is going on. As well, even I admit to being tired of all of these strange theme episodes. The characters don’t seem to have a chance to grow and breath. Annie and Jeff’s characters (Alison Brie and Joel McHale respectively) looked like they were heading into a relationship with each other heading into season 2, but then their relationship was addressed sporadically, taking a back seat to all of the pop culture tribute shenanigans. Hell, the most they ever showed of this storyline was the alternate reality episode, and that part of the episode didn’t matter to the rest of the continuity. Also, Brita is impregnated by Chang (Yvette Nicole Brown and Ken Jeong respectively) in a Halloween episode none of the characters remembered because they were infected by a government-made drug that made them all zombies. Then, there are characters acting out of character. I loved the character of Abed (Danny Pudi) in season one. He was portrayed in that episode as a quite boy who appeared quirky and strange to everyone, but was really intelligent and in full command of himself, but just had trouble communicating to people. I loved that he loved watching movies and TV shows and had a full encyclopedic knowledge of all of it, but was still a cool, intelligent dude who had a calm outlook on life that elevated himself above the others around him who thought he was odd. I remember the episode where his simple notion that he should do a favour for a friend no matter what caused him to outwit a bunch of lab students being a favourite of mine, and I love one epidoe (I think it was the first Halloween episode?) where Jeff accuses Abed of not being connected to reality, and Abed giving a speech part way through the episode where he admits that he does know what’s real and what’s fake at all times, but chooses to view reality through the lens of pop culture. Oh, and I love the episode where in Jeff breaks down and lives life like Abed, spending his days watching TV shows and movies with Abed in his dorm room, until Abed realizes that isn’t eh life for Jeff and creates a plan for Jeff to stand on his own two feet – because Abed was fully aware of his surroundings enough to know what Jeff was doing to himself was wrong. Then what happened? Apply the Abed of those episodes to the Abed of season 3. Abed is nothing but a wack job now. He plays in the “imaginatorium”, he thinks he’s Batman, he has mental breakdowns of yelling fits when his favourite show is cancelled – WTF? I don’t know but, isn’t this out of character for him? Then Chang gets crazier and crazier, taking over the school and kidnapping the Dean. And speaking of the Dean, he becomes more and more of a crazy homosexual stereotype with every episode. Sure, the costume changes are entertaining for about a second when you see them, but that’s all the character is good for now. And all character arcs, from Annie, Abed and Troy (Donald Glover) sharing an apartment together, to Shirley having her baby are back-burnered while everyone does the Pulp Fiction episode, or the 40’s gangster film episode (you know, the episode with the chicken fingers). I can see why Community’s numbers aren’t where they should be.

On the other hand, NBC has done a piss poor job of promoting this show. They’ve run more ads for the obnoxious Whitney than they have for Community. For eff sakes, Joel McHale and Donald Glover are two of the most talented stand up comedians in the business, comedy legend Chevy Chase is a regular cast member on the show, movie star Ken Jeong (no matter whether or not you like him, he's popular among the young crowd and is a regular on the show), and for eff sakes Jim Rash who plays series regular Dean Pelton won an effing Oscar this past year and I saw nothing in the ads saying “starring Oscar winner Jim Rash”!! How the hell many TV shows this season boasted an Academy Award winner. And forget ads mentioning Jim Rash, I just didn’t see ads for Community. Could they not just mention the show just a little bit? I mean, Joel McHale promoted the show on his other series The Soup, and he was doing that on the E! network!!! NBC couldn’t parlay an all star comedy cast into a powerhouse marketing campaign!!??

So, what do I think of all of the changes to Community for the upcoming season? First of all, if this is a move toward telling stories that focus more on the characters, than I applaud that. And that’s about where my enthusiasm for these changes to Community ends. First, the Friday slot is usually a signal that a show is close to being cancelled. Much is being made of the fact that Community will now lead into Grimm, one of NBC’s only hits of the past year. But Community’s move to Friday with a measly 13 episodes looks to all the world like NBC just wants to order up a few extra episodes, in order to have an attractive syndication package in which to make really money on the show (the new episodes will push the total for the series to 80 episodes). As for the new show runners, hooo boy. As I said, I really hate Happy Endings, a show these two are really involved with (my Wife loves that show, btw). Everyone on that show is trying to act witty and funny with quick, zippy lines, but I don’t know if it’s just the bad delivery of the cast – everything is terribly unfunny. The jokes don’t seem genuine, just stuff that’s read aloud by the cast – none of the dialogue seems natural. Sure, characters in TV shows don’t talk the same way real people do, but you’re not supposed to notice that – and I do with Happy Endings. And let’s not talk too much about Aliens in America, a show that was supposed to explore Muslims living in America and coping with American customs in a “humorous” way – it was really short lived. And these jokers are taking over Community. If the new show runners will be moving away from the pop culture stuff to focus on characters, I guess that’s fine but they should know this – Community’s backbone has become that savvy deconstruction of all things pop culture that the show’s studio Sony, and the show’s network NBC seem so squeamish about. I don’t want this show to turn into Big Bang Theory. As much as that show is hugely, insanely popular (which I do want for Community), Big Bang got that way by skirting the line between pop culture (and so called “geek culture”) awareness and mainstream pandering. Big Bang did this by mainly positioning the jokes to laugh at geeks rather than with them. And sometimes, it kind of crosses a line and rings false (the last episode of Big Bang I saw featured a line where Sheldon disparaged the Green Lantern movie and I swear the audience moaned when he said it, knowing that it was noticeably out of character for Sheldon who would have probably thought the movie was awesome). Community does not laugh at geeks, but with them, in increasingly clever ways. I really hope they continue that.

Anyway, that’s my long winded rant on Community. I wish everyone involved in season 4 the best of luck. I’ll be watching.


Total Film's Most Hated Films of all Time # 31 - Sucker Punch

Last year, I ranked Sucker Punch as the best movie I'd seen in 2011. 

So, you know right off the bat, I'm not a supporter of this film being in the "most hated films of all time" category, nor do I think it should be there.  First of all, the movie's a year old, so even if I did not think this movie was great, I would question why a movie that's barely a year old deserves to be on the list of worst movies of all time.  I do think that the quality of movies in general has lessened over the years, but I think it's hard to screw the pooch that badly, that fast.  Especially considering the director of the film is Zack Snyder, who could do not wrong before this film came out. 

If there is angst against this movie and I'm not going to argue that, I read the reviews, I know what's going on out there, then all I have to say is I greatly underestimated the sheer ignorance of the group of sad human beings who call themselves movie critics and I also greatly underestimated the sheer stupidity, arrogance and ignorance of that group of sad human beings who spend their time posting on movie websites sheerly to put their utterly worthless vote behind movies that other people tell them are good instead of formulating an opinion that is uniquely their own.  People didn't like Sucker Punch because they couldn't understand it, they thought it was like a video game and they thought the women's clothes sexualized these young girls. 

Here's my counter-arguments:

1) You didn't understand the movie.  Well, I saw it the first time and I got it.  Babydoll is equating her experiences in the insane asylum to being in a bordello.  It's not that far a stretch as they both have the same principles: in this case, women being tied down to an authoritative masculine figure.  When she fights back by her dancing, she imagines it much like one of the fantasy scenarios in the movie, fighting zombie Nazi's, stealing fire from a dragon, defusing a bomb made by's not that hard to figure out.  Go buy the Director's Cut of the movie, read Wikipedia and do some research before you dismiss the movie for being "stupid" because you couldn't understand it, because trust me my friend, the only stupid one we're talking about here, is you. 

2) It's like a video game.  What isn't these days?  The line between video games and movies have become so blurred.  Take for example Mortal Kombat.  Do you know the latest one, if you type in "Mortal Kombat 9 Story Mode" on Youtube, you know what comes up?  A link that says "MORTAL KOMBAT MOVIE" and showing all the cutscenes bunched together into one two-hour MOVIE.  So, you know what?  You saying it's just like a video game as a negative point shows how ignorant you are of the direction that media is moving in.  Video games are now movies and vice-versa.  You don't like that, fine, I didn't say you had to, but hating on this movie for that point is absolutely absurd. 

3) The girls were oversexualized (with their outfits being mentioned).  Don't watch Manga much, eh?  Guess not, because if you do, you would be appalled.  Just terribly scandalized.  Because EVERY YOUNG FEMALE CHARACTER IS SEXED-UP IN THOSE SHOWS.  Don't go on the web much?  Don't browse around, look at media websites.  I guess not, you're too busy joining that nunnery or something.  The fact is, the girl's costumes are representative not just of a culture (in this case manga and if you're turning your nose up to Manga now, just remember that Japanese Manga is more popular than anything North America has churned out in animation recently, you bigot), but also of their respective roles in the movie.  Nurse, Warrior, Armed Forces, it's all in there.  You just have think about it and maybe do a little reading, instead of having everything explained to you because you're too damned stupid to think for yourself.

So, that's my post on Sucker Punch.  The fact that this movie is included doesn't surprise me, but as you've guessed, it sure as hell has irritated me. 

Worth the hate: Up yours, Total Film and haters of this film.

- Stephenstein  

Thursday, May 17, 2012



I've been meaning to write this post for a while.  JoBlo decided to have a little debate on its website over whether Tim Burton's Batman or Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins is better.  For the record, my vote is with Tim Burton.  J-Man weighed in and he got a couple of replies.  One guy said who cares about Batman in comics and the other guy submitted his resume and expounded basically that unless you think Batman Begins is superior, you know nothing about Batman.  Here is my rebuttal and I'm not posting it on that website because I may get a nasty reply one or both of those individuals, which will probably cause me to track down both posters and wring their necks.  Make no mistake, it is preferable to get snotty with J-Man than with me...he'll insult you sure, but he is too mature and wise to go beyond that...while I will happily go looking into the kitchen drawer for available carving knives...

Anyhow, my anger management issues aside, for the purposes of the post, I will dismiss the person who said who cares about Batman in comics.  This post will be about Batman in the comics (in a way), so that opinion has no merit here.  Likewise, if you're reading this post and have the same opinion, stop reading and shut down the page.  You won't care about what I have to write and you'll be wasting your time and my breath.  For the second person, he reminds me of a guy I ran into once online.  He had the same attitude as this guy (for all I know, he is the same guy) and the only thing I would have to say is you are a sad, sad individual.  You cannot have a normal conversation or friendly debate without insulting someone.  By the fact you had to make it personal, you both showed the ignorance of your opinion and that you obviously don't even believe that opinion yourself, because if you did, you would find no need to get personal in the first place. 

Anyhow, jackass posters on JoBlo aside, I have an interesting idea about Dark Knight.  Not Batman Begins, but Dark Knight.  Now, I want you to think about the movie.  Got it?  Good.  Now remove any mention of Batman, No Batman.  Okay?  Good.  Now, replace him with Green Arrow.  You know, Green Arrow, millionaire Oliver Queen, he has the arrows and all that, he's a DC character.  Good?  Now, think about it.  Would it not be the same movie?  It would?  Okay.  Now, here's my problem.  If you have made a good Batman movie, you should not be able to replace Batman with anyone.  In The Dark Knight, there is nothing uniquely Batman.  No cave, no car, no detective work, nothing.  He is a masked vigilante who they call Batman.  He bares some resemblance to the comic book character.  There are none of the character traits that uniquely make him Batman.

Now, wait a minute.  Do not start rocketing hate emails to me.  "Eff u, Dark Knight is the best, u go to hell!" I did not say it wasn't a good movie.  Christopher Nolan has made nothing but good movies (with the exception of Insomnia and even then, I've seen worse).  The man is bad movie proof.  He is a damned good director.  There is no doubt.  However, there seems to be this ground-swell since Batman Begins and Dark Knight Rises is around the corner, that Christopher Nolan has made the definitive Batman movie.  I beg to differ.  If you said Marvel has made the definitive Avengers movie, well, I would be more inclined to agree.  But Nolan?  No.  His movies are set in Batman's world and there are ideas that seem to be pointing towards Batman, but these are not Batman films.  They are films that are a spin on Batman, a different take.  Sure, fine, I'll buy that.  It's not Batman though and if you try and shovel that crap on me, you'll get it back in two fistfuls.  

So the debates rage as Nolan's trilogy wraps up.  I for one would be interested to see how people remember Nolan's films twenty years later.  People still fondly remember the Tim Burton films (or film as Batman Returns seems to me to be a tad unloved), but will people remember these films just as well?  For my money, the answer will be no and once again it has nothing to do with the quality of the films, but the spirit of them.  Nolan's trilogy is technically sound and impressive-looking, but lacks the passion for the source material.  I detect no love in them, just the mechanics of good filmmaking.  For people to declare that these are the best Batman films of all time shows an equal amount of dispassion for Batman.  I'm not saying that you have to be a Batman fan to enjoy the film.  But for a kid who grew up buying Batman comics off the rack simply for the experience of another great Batman adventure, I think I deserve something better than I have received. 

- Stephenstein

Total Film's 50 Most Hated Films of All Time # 32 - Crash

Did anyone see the Academy Awards for the year 2004?  Just wondering.  Because if you had seen these awards, you would have seen the movie that won BEST PICTURE for 2004.


Yup, apparently Total Film has decided that the film that won BEST PICTURE in the year 2004 is one of the most hated movies of all time.  I cannot even begin to explain the rationale. 

On a personal front, I never watched Crash.  J-Man and Decepitsean both came back from viewing the movie with less than stellar reviews of the film and quite frankly, I was not surprised.  I saw the trailer and it did not grab me.  Now, when this happens, one of two outcomes take place: 

1) Someone sees it, tells me it was better than the trailer, at which point I catch it in some manner or form.
2) Someone sees it, tells me it's as bland or garbage as I thought it would be and I never watch it. 

You can file Crash in slot 2.  Nevertheless, I do not agree that this film should be on the 50 Most Hated Films of All Time list.  This viewpoint may shock you, but you should probably hear me out before you start protesting how utterly over-hyped the film is. 

Quite simply, Crash cannot be hated.  If it is overrated, then it must have been highly thought of to begin with.  Nowadays, more than ever in fact, the Academy Awards are a popularity contest.  That is not to say that I think all the films that win awards are garbage.  All I'm saying is that the film that gets the most campaigning from the studios wins.  So, it is enough to say that at the time that Crash won, it was the most popular choice amongst the movers and shakers in the film industry to win the Academy Award.  You can't win the BEST PICTURE award and then seven or eight years later proclaim that the movie is suddenly hated.  Like it or not, this film won Best Picture in a popularity contest in Hollywood.  That alone shows this movie is not hated and this inclusion on Total Film's list is a result of bias on the part of the person who produced the list, not an actual census. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  The little gold statue in Paul Haggis' room proves it's not hated. 

- Stephenstein

Monday, May 14, 2012

Iron Man: The Complete Series (1994-1996)

The bad guys consist of pretty much every Iron Man villain ever, lead by Mandarin (who is green in this series – seems like every time cartoon producers had to deal with a villain based on an Asian stereotype, they just turned them green. For another example, see Ming the Merciless from Defenders of the Earth). The villains include M.O.D.O.K. (done serious, as opposed to his Super Hero Squad version), Blizzard, Backlash (a.k.a. Whiplash. He had both names in the comics.), Whirlwind, Grey Gargoyle, Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, Ghost, Living Laser, Dreadknight, Fin Fan Foom (!) and some made-up villain named Hypnotia. Justin Hammer is all over this show too. I think I’m missing some villains in this list, but the list is effin’ crazy! They're all one big happy evil team in this show, like the Legion of Doom from Superfriends.

Later in the series, Marvel changed production companies and the show became more 90’s with Stark fighting one villain at a time, much like Batman. They also managed to include S.H.I.E.L.D., with Nick Fury (the real one, not the Sam Jackson version), and Dum Dum Dugan showing up, and another episode with Hulk and Leader. Of the 26 episodes, the ones from season 2 are by far the best (episode 14 onward). Mardarin and Fin Fan Foom teaming up in The Beast Within, an appearance by obscure but cool Marvel villain Madame Masque in Beauty Knows No Pain, some appearances by tech-terrorist group A.I.M., an adaptation of the classic Iron Man saga Armor Wars, and Iron Man vs. the Hulk in the episode Hulk Buster.

The show is simplistic at times, mostly in the first season which tries to ape old 80's cartoons and becomes repetitive really quickly), but I love the bright, colourful artwork and fast pacing. And really, if you're a fan of Iron Man and Marvel in general, it's crazy to think that there's a show out there that pertty much incorporated most of Iron Man's villains, had origin episodes for Mandarin and Iron Man, had most of Iron Man's allies (for eff sakes, Century is in this!!), incorporated Force Works, had Armor Wars, and even Fin Fan Foom!!! If you’re an Iron Man fan you MUST own this, if for no other reason than for the sheer awesomeness of its amazing cast of characters.

I don't know why Iron Man wasn't one of the more popular characters in the mainstream before the movies came out, but the current Iron Mania is well deserved and a long time coming.

I give the DVD 3.5/5.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Total Film's 50 Most Hated Movies of All Time #33 - The Spirit

For those who don't know, The Spirit was a comic book created and written by Will Eisner.  If the name sounds familiar, yes, it's that Will Eisner.  As in the guy whose name is on a bunch of comic book awards that are the comic book version of the Oscars.  So, let's just say, The Spirit is pretty pumped up, as is its creator.  Hell, on the 94th anniversary of Eisner's birth, Google changed it's iconic Google title on it's page into The Spirit icon (they do that on special occasions).  So, I don't know if you would say The Spirit is a popular comic (though they were re-printing Eisner's originals in the mid-2000's and Jeph Loeb did a one shot of Batman with The Spirit), but it's creator is legendary, so it stands to reason there is a base of fans out there who love The Spirit.  So, if this movie was a terrible representation of The Spirit, I can understand the hate. 

Hold on though, if you think this is the end of it, you're sorely mistaken.  I know a big fan of The Spirit comic: J-Man!  That's right, you're very own video blogger who is one of the creators of this very website, as well as its most frequent poster happens to be a big, big Spirit fan.  So, if you want the acid test, then you throw an actual fan of something into a movie and see how they react to the source material.  In this case, I know for a fact that J-Man is a big, big fan of this movie.  So, there you have it, a true fan of the original source material is equally enthused and excited about the film.  In my book, that's all that counts.  However, you could also say that the movie in general sucks.

That's where I come in.  I don't know a hell of a lot about The Spirit, I never collected the comic and never got the re-prints or anything (though I wouldn't mind checking it out) but I know good movies and crap movies and this is NOT a crap movie, it's a good one.  I know everyone is horny for "gritty movies" these days.  They think that they can't enjoy a movie unless it's aimed specifically at them and their problems in life.  Of course it's that sort of egocentric, self-centered thinking that pisses me off in the first place and shows a serious stunting of the imagination.  I think one of the great things about humankind is that we are more than what we are now, because we can actually dream of something better and as someone once said (it may have been me, I don't know), you cannot attain unless you dream of it first.  However, with people's attitudes towards movies (and life in general), dreaming has taken a back step to accepting how things are and moaning about your lot in life instead of actually dreaming of a better set of circumstances and then actually working to achieve that dream.  

The point is, The Spirit is a fantasy and Frank Miller (who knows a thing or two about comic book writing and adapting comics to the big-screen...see Sin City, which everyone loved) did it as a tribute to its creator. It is unabashed about its fantastical elements and you know up front, this is a movie about imagination, not grounded in reality.  To hate a movie specifically on these grounds shows a lack of understanding of genre in film, a lack of imagination and a deficiency in tolerance for other people's views and how they think.  Not every film can be The Dark Knight and not every film should strive to be so, either.  There's enough room in the world for everyone, even the idiots.

Rating: Worth the hate?  Nope.

- Stephenstein

Friday, May 11, 2012

Axel Braun's latest porn parody: The Dark Knight XXX

Not that I've ever seen one in full, but the trailers I've seen for these porn parodies of everything from sitcoms to comic book properties have been respectful (at least in design) to the source material. With that said, it would be obvoius to throw in Catwoman and Poison Ivy into a Batman porn (see below). There's supposed to be a teaser next week-ish, but for now here are some pics of some of the characters of The Dark Knight XXX:

Giovanni Francesco as Batman (that's a frickin' awesome Bat-suit by the way):

Aiden Ashley as Catwoman (looks more like the 2000's Catwoman of the comics, but more slutty):

Dani Jensen as Poison Ivy (a la Batman and Robin):

Brendon Miller as The Joker (spitting on Heath's grave I guess):

Derrick Pierce as Bane (with Axel Braun directing him):

Looks as icon-bending as Braun's other work.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Random Song of the Week -- Kat Stevens -- Don't Be Shy

Used in the opening credits of the movie Harold and Maude, Don't Be Shy is a beautiful piece of music indicative of Kat Stevens' gentle, thoughtful style. It has a terrific calming effect, as does most of Kat Stevens' work.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dark Knight Rises 6 minute prologue (most complete one I've seen)

After all of this Avengers hype, it's time to give Batman some love too. Below is a link to the 6 minute prologue of The Dark Knight Rises. I've seen other truncated ones on youtube and such. The below is the most complete version I've seen.

Looks alright. The sound seems a little unfinished. And, I'm sorry, but Bane is still a little difficult to understand at times. Call me stupid if you want. At the 4:36 mark Bane asks one of his henchmen "Yashekumarickinsvichenslumah?". Seriously.

Anyhoo, The Dark Knight Rises on July 18.


Total Film's 50 Most Hated Movies of All Time # 34 - Van Helsing

Back in 2004, Van Helsing was probably 1 of the top 3 movies I was jacked for.  Why?  Well, why do think my blogger name is Stephenstein?  Growing up, I read all the books I could on the famous Universal Monsters.  Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolfman, I inhaled it all.  When the classic Universal Monster sets came out, I bought the set that included the busts.  I was jacked for a movie that would have all three of the "top" Universal Monsters in them and I was especially excited to see them done the right way.

So, I watched Van Helsing in the theatre and the first half an hour or so was great, no complaints, the movie was delivering on all counts.  Then it got...stupid.  Why did Dracula want to be a father? (I mean, every time he turns a human into a vampire, is he not in essence their father?)  Why was The Wolfman basically a thug character?  Who the hell thought up that only a werewolf can defeat a vampire?  What the hell was going on here?

So, did not dig the movie, nevertheless.  I think it was a valiant attempt, but in the end it was not handled the right way.  That being said, I still bought the 3-disc version of the movie.  Why?  Because I still admire the Universal Monsters, I still like them in the movie, even if Richard Roxburgh hammed it up as Dracula and even if the Frankenstein Monster sounded to me like  a bad Broadway actor trying to sound Shakespearean or something.  The fact is, they were still the Universal Monsters, their design was neat and in the end, it was a passable, if not very flawed film. 

Therefore, if I can find myself not hating this film, even if they screwed up royally and I at least have some background with the Universal Monsters and their history, then I find it hard to believe that Total Film has any right to criticize this movie.  Unless they grew up with the Universal Monsters and loved what they were and just loved that whole film series, which I highly doubt, then their disdain for this movie, while being plausible in pointing out the problems with the plot of the film, has no basis to cross into outright hate.  To me, it was nice for Stephen Sommers to try, but at the end of the day, he lacks the skill to pull it off.  Here's hoping that the "reboot" actually works and we get a decent film that actually pays homage to the Universal Monsters properly instead of the half-baked attempt we got in 2004.

Rating: Worth the hate?  If I don't hate it, I don't see why you do.

- Stephenstein

Possible Marvel Avengers recruits for future movies?

I apologize for all of the Marvel-related posts I've been doing on this blog lately. I'm just really excited for the Marvel Avengers movie. I guess that's what a really good movie is supposed to do.

So now that we've seen The Avengers, what new recruits from the comics would you like to see? The below is pure speculation on my part, but it's a limited wish-list of characters I'd like to see in the Marvel film universe (trust me, I really had to narrow this down to cut the length of this article -- I didn't even get into Gilgamesh, Sersi, Herculese, Tigra, Firebird, etc.).

Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man, Yellow Jacket, Giant Man, Goliath)

Hank Pym, with the illustrated heads of, from left to right: Ant-Man, Giant Man, Goliath and Yellow Jacket. 

A natural choice for the Avengers since he was a founding member in the comics and has been involved with a lot of key storylines (not the least of which is as the creator of Ultron, one of the Avengers’ chief adversaries), Hank Pym would also be a tough sell to the public. He’s never enjoyed mainstream success before, so many audiences would be introduced to Mr. Pym for the fist time. And his power flies in the face of any sort of “realism” the previous Marvel-produced films have tried to establish: size shifting. Hank Pym is probably best known as Ant-Man, and it’s of this incarnation that there is rumored to be a movie in the works with Edgar Wright at the helm (currently scheduled for a 2014 release). When Disney bought Marvel, John Lassetter was said to be very interested in adapting Ant-Man to film, for whatever reason. Just skip the whole wife-beating thing.
Janet van Dyne (The Wasp)

Another founding member, but I don’t see her starring in her own movie. Maybe introduced in someone else’s film. The Wasp is romantically involved with Hank Pym and uses his size-reduction process for her power, plus wings to fly around and stun people with a “wasp sting” ray. Yeah, I’ll be shocked if The Wasp makes it to the big screen anytime soon, but one would think she would be introduced in a possible Ant-Man movie.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
I’d imagine Quicksilver and his sister Scarlet Witch are still owned by Fox, as they are supposed to be the son and daughter respectively of Magneto, the X-Men’s chief enemy. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are “mutants”, born with extraordinary abilities. Quicksilver can run really fast, while Scarlet Witch has the interesting ability of changing “probabilities” her way with her “hex” powers. Both have been longtime Avengers members, and it would be nice to see them as part of the team at some point in the movies. And if Marvel had the screen rights to X-Men, it would be easy to introduce them to audiences as the son and daughter of Magneto, a character mainstream audiences already know. But Marvel doesn’t have the screen rights to X-Men, so don’t hold your breath on these two turning up in the movie version of the Avengers team anytime soon.

Black Panther
I think Black Panther movie rights are currently owned by Fox, but if Marvel gets their hands on it: get a solid African American actor, get a stunning designer for the suit (it’s all black, so no “cheesey” colour issues or excuses), make Wakanda (the African nation where Black Panther rules) a bastion of technological growth in Africa that nations around the world covet, and you can have a potentially awesome movie. For a terrific take on Black Panther, seek out the DVD of the 6 episode adult animated series made for BET in the United States. Young T’Challa becomes ruler of Wakanda after his father dies at the hand of Klaw. Meanwhile the U.S. searches for excuses to invade Wakanda due to its natural resources and technology and Klaw assembles a team of super villains (Juggernaut, Batroc the Leaper, Black Knight and Radioactive Man) to raid Wakanda, opening the door for the U.S. to occupy the nation with the guise of “protection” against the invading hordes. Can T’Challa don the ceremonial garb of the Black Panther and do it justice while fending jealousy and doubt within his own kingdom and hostilities toward his kingdom from outside forces? I wasn’t sure if Black Panther could star in his own exciting movie until I saw this series. Black Panther was an Avenger, so if Marvel is looking for more fodder for box office success and a possible recruit for their Avengers movie line-up, Black Panther would be a great contender.


Follow along here: Hank Pym created Ultron, a robot meant for good. But Ultron gained sentience and became a genocidal maniac and main Avengers villain. Ultron then made Vision, an advanced Android that would lead Ultron’s creator Hank Pym into a trap. Vision (named after Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp, describes him as a “vision” while trying to escape) is convinced by the Avengers to go against Ultron, and after learning that Ultron created Vision by mimicking Wonder Man’s brain waves (at this point, Wonder Man was dead), Vision joins the Avengers. He was with the Avengers for a long time, and when I think of The Avengers team, I think of Vision being in the roster. If Marvel can make Vision work in the movie version of the super-team, I’d like to see that happen.

Simon Williams (Wonder Man)
Various costumes of Wonder Man over the years. Pick one (I think I know which one you're going to pick -- the non-descript jacket version, second from the left, right? Bah!).

With strength comparable to Thor’s, Wonder Man is a good addition to the movie Avengers ranks. He’s been an Avenger in the comics for a long while and has a unique origin in that he started as a villain. Simon Williams, son of rich industrialist Sanford Williams who is owner of Williams Innovations, inherits his father’s munitions factory after his father's death. The company's profits fall due to competition from Stark Industries and Simon tries to embezzle funds from his company – he’s caught and incarcerated. Simon blamed Tony Stark for his incarceration and joins forces with Captain America villain Baron Heinrich Zemo and Thor villain Enchantress who pay Simon's bail and use Simon to infiltrate the Avengers. Zemo enfuses Simon Williams with ionic energy turning him into an ionic-powered being with superhuman powers of strength, imortality, increased agility and reflexes, invulnerability (including the lack of necessity to eat), and eventually the power of flight. Wonder Man joins the Avengers with instructions to betray them at a critical point, but decides to team up with the Avengers against Baron Zemo and his “Masters of Evil” group (including Zemo, Enchantress and Executioner (Thor villains), Melter (an Iron Man villain who, of course, melts things), Radioactive Man and Black Knight).

I can’t help but think the Masters of Evil (probably called something else) could be possible villains for an Avengers 3, a nice change of pace of having an Earth-based villain group after the large cosmic threats that the Avengers characters would have to fight in the forthcoming movies (like Thanos), with set ups in movies between Avengers 2 and 3 (if the franchise gets that far). Wonder Man could be set up in a possible Iron Man 4 and join in Avengers 3, betraying Zemo’s villainous super group at the film’s climax. Or not. Who knows?

Carol Susan Jane Danvers (Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird)

Ms. Marvel anyone? Since Fox apparently currently has the screen rights to the Skrulls and Kree alien races, and Ms. Marvel’s origin is that her powers are derived from being enfused with Kree/Skrull energy, her origin would have to be altered for the screen if she is used at all. Starting as a member of the United Staes Air Force, Carol Danvers was caught in an explosion of a Kree device when she stumbled on a Kree plot to take over a restricted military base. She is saved by Kree superhero Catain Marvel, but the blast injures Carol Danvers severely. Danvers makes a miraculous recovery and it is later revealed that eth device that exploded was an experiment weapon called a “Psyche-Magnetron” that melded Danvers’ genetic structure with Captain Marvel’s. Carol’s abilities include superhuman strength, supehuman stamina, flight, indestructibility, resistance to most toxins, and a limited precognitive "seventh sense. Binary and Warbird are other phases in Danvers’ superhero career that I won’t get into here, and I’m not even going to start on the X-Men character Rouge steeling her powers for a long while. Ms. Marvel is probably a stretch for the movie Avengers group, but was a popular member in the comics.

Samuel "Snap" Thomas Wilson (The Falcon)

Ah, Falcon. I love the iconography of his costume, and the fact that he’s a classic member of the Avengers, but this guy is a stretch for the movies. His power is that he can see through every bird’s eyes (giving him literally millions of eyes through out the world) and he can talk to birds. Oh, and he has a wing glider that allows him limited flight. Beyond that, he is mainstream comics’ first African American superhero (as opposed to Black Panther, who was a native of Africa and mainstream comics’ first black superhero). Old timers like myself will remember The Falcon being pushed in various media in the 70’s and 80’s, mainly toys (he was one of the Mego dolls of the 70’s), slushy cups, viewmaster reels, etc. where he was usually depicted as Captain America’s best friend (as he was in the comics). As with anyone, Falcon could work if done right, but I really don’t see Falcon turning up in any of Marvel’s movies, or even the Avengers. Shame.

Falcon, featured on a vintage 70's Mego doll advertisement (*ahem*, sorry, Mego Action Figure advertisement), along with The Lizard, Green Goblin and the Hulk. 

Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk)

Given that the Hulk has starred in two movies that have been categorized by Hollywood as “not successful”, if Hulk were to have another go at the big screen, I would think that he would have to be teamed up with someone else. And there would be no other more natural fit than She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner. After being shot by mobsters (long story), Walters needed a blood transfusion and Banner reluctantly agrees. At first, everything seems fine as Jennifer Walters makes a miraculous recovery, but then Walters finds that when angered she turns into the She-Hulk with similar powers as her cousin. Unlike her cousin though, Walters found that she can control her changes and decided to stay as She-Hulk all the time, preferring the freedom and assertiveness that came with it as opposed to how demure she used to be. She-Hulk was an Avenger for a long while, so she seems a natural fit for the Marvel film universe.

Spider-Man or Wolverine

1.) Spider-Man was never a regular Avenger in the comics (usually a “reserve member") and the same goes for Wolverine. The two characters were loners and it was uncharacteristic for them to join a super-team like the Avengers that fought cosmic threats. That all changed when the two characters were proving too popular to be restricted in what comics they could turn up in to sell books. Spidey and Wolvie were part of the “New Avengers” in 2005 (along with Thing, Luke Cage and Ms. Marvel) in order to push that new book to sales success. Now the lid was blown off of the taboo of putting Spidey and Wolverine on an Avengers team.

2.) Because of their popularity, it would be insane not to include one or both of these characters in an Avengers movie if you could (I mean, Hugh Jackman in an Avengers movie with the current cast?? Forget a 200 million dollar openning weekend, try 250 or 300 million!! I’m serious.)

3.) As of this writing, The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise (in an attempt to retain the Spider-Man movie licence by churning out a Spidey film every 2 to 4 years thus justifying their hold on the rights) has not been released yet. If it fails at the box office, that might make Sony want to ditch Spidey and sell it back to Marvel. If it succeeds (I think it will), Marvel will have to wait a while to grab it back as Sony will try to hold onto that property as long as they can. Same with Wolverine. There’s an X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 (or whatever it's going to be called) coming out soon and the Wolverine character came with the X-Men property that Fox bought the screen rights to off Marvel years ago. I don’t think the forthcoming Woverine 2 and second X-Men: First Class film will fail, and Fox will retain the rights to those properties. What every Marvel fan (and now movie fan) wants to know is why can’t Disney (who now owns Marvel) flex their mighty Disney dollars/lawyers and buy back these lucrative properties (and while they’re at it, Namor, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Black Panther and Fantastic Four too). If Disney can do that, their investment, no matter how hefty, will pay off. Trust me, IT WILL!!

So, what new recruits would you like to see to the Avengers movie roster in the future? Or would you like it to stay as is?


Justice League Doom - movie review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Avengers 2 – Avengers vs. Thanos?

Everyone in the Marvel universe vs. Thanos.

So, you’ve been caught up in the hype and went to see The Avengers this weekend, were confused by some points in the film since you might not have seen the last five movies leading up to The Avengers (or even knew there were five movies leading up to this film), and you were particularly confused by the appearance of a villain at the very end of the movie in the middle of the credits. Who is that guy going on about “challenging the humans is to court death”? What does that mean?

That dude is Thanos, a villain from the comic books. This scene at the end of The Avengers seems to lay a foundation for a sequel in which Thanos is the villain. So, just who is Thanos and what does he want? Thanos is an alien who, at a very young age, literally fell in love with death, or at least the entity known as death. In order to impress her, Thanos caused a disaster that wiped out the population of his planet. He travels the universe seeking ways to kill vast populations in order to woo death and finally serve by her side. He set about collecting Infinity Gems, some of the most powerful artifacts in the universe, and created a gauntlet that displayed each of these gems. Each gem grants the owner total mastery over one aspect of the universe: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power. He distorted a female space pirate, Nebula who claimed to be Thanos’ granddaughter, into a misshapen creature, neither dead nor living. In the comic book limited series The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos, desperate to win the affection of death, killed half of the life of the universe using his Gauntlet. The Fantasic Four and X-Men all died at once along with half the universe and the remaining heroes desperately fought against Thanos. In order to impress death further, Thanos allows the heroes a fighting chance, but then kills almost all of them. Thanos then defeats all of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe like Galactus and the Celestials, then expands his consciousness beyond his physical body to become the living embodiment of the universe. Of course, leaving his body leaves the Infinity Gauntlet vulnerable, and Nebula then dons the Gauntlet and restores the universe, bringing the dead back to life. The heroes then have another fight with Thanos and defeat him, taking back possession of the gauntlet.
The Infinity Gauntlet in the movie Thor.

Now, obviously this won’t make it to film exactly as is, but Marvel Studios have already shown the Infinity Gauntlet (albeit briefly) in the Thor movie. It was shown in Odin’s armory in the scene where the Frost Giants are killed by the Destroyer Armor. I’m not sure if this was just a throwaway gag for fans, or a genuine foreshadowing of events to come in the Marvel film universe. So, let’s just say that Thanos is being set up for a possible Avengers 2 movie, and that the Infinity Gauntlet figures into it to provide a threat big enough for the Avengers to stop. What would that look like?
The Infinity Gauntlet prop made for the movie Thor.

If going big is the way to go here, then this is my pure sepculation on what could happen in Avengers 2: Thanos comes to Earth searching for a bifrost (bridge to Asgard) and lays waste to a small town. The Avengers are assembled to attack Thanos, but fail to stop Thanos from entering Asgard. The Avengers follow Thanos to Asgard where Thanos storms Odin’s armory and steals theInfinity Gauntlet. Thanos then uses the Gauntlet to kill half the universe to woo death. Five out of ten people across the universe, selected in random order, drop dead in an instant (the writers can include characters like Black Widow and such in this mass killing, anyone that won’t be used in defeating Thanos). The remaining heroes track down Thanos who grants them a fighting chance to further impress death but easily kills them all, except for Captain America who is distorted into a misshapen creature by Thanos’ Gauntlet, a mockery of Cap’s former self as Thanos’ horrible standard to the survivor’s of Thanos’ holocaust. Down but not out, Cap convinces Thanos that he’s thinking too small with his new found power, and that Thanos should be the universe, a living god that controls everything. Thanos expands his consciousness to become the universe and leaves his body and the Gauntlet vulnerable for Cap to reverse Thanos’ damage to the universe. Back in his body, Thanos is defeated by the Avengers and the Gauntlet is shattered with the gems scattered throughout the cosmos by the Asgardians.

Who knows what direction Marvel will go with this? They also have three other movies, like Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and Captain America 2, in order to further set up Avengers 2. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what further hijinks they have in store for Thanos. Whatever happens though, they shouldn’t stop the wonderful character work that was present in the first Avengers movie.


They Live panel discussion -- Roddy Piper, Keith David, Megan Foster

A couple days ago, posted a wonderful panel discussion of Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster reminiscing about the now classic (but about to be remade) John Carpenter film They Live. They talk about Vince McMahon being upset at Roddy for leaving WWE to film the movie, the film being notoriously difficult to find immediately after its theatrical run and the infamous on-screen fight. Terrific stuff!


Sunday, May 6, 2012


Today, I have seen The Avengers for the 2nd time.  That's right, I have seen it twice in a span of three days.  If anyone out there wants to go again, give me a ring, because I could do it, right now.  Forget everything you've heard the past little while, forget the over-analyzers and the people who are calling this film Transformers 3.  Those people are fools and their opinions should not be taken into account.  This movie is the real deal folks, you read a lot of bitching on this post about movies and with very good reason, but this one is the one to go and see.  You won't be disappointed.  Where do I begin?

When the movie was announced, I was skeptical.  Of course I was.  We've heard about team-ups before concerning comic books and they never seem to work.  X-Men?  Yeah, the films are getting worse.  That's right, worse.  Any attempt at imagination or innovation has gone out the frickin' window, it's the same drum that keeps getting banged each and every time.  If you want to know what X-Men First Class is about, just watch X-Men 1 and 2.  Same themes, same storyline, same boring crap.  Fantastic Four?  It's heart was in the right place and they weren't as bad as everyone says they were, but I didn't leave the theatre inspired or anything (a cloudy Galactus will do that to you.)  Justice League?  The live-action film got it's plug pulled, because no one could figure out how to do it, (you put a bunch of heads together in a Hollywood studio and what to do you get?  Sawdust).  So Avengers, no matter how quality the films were preceding it, I was not convinced all the characters could get the screen time they needed or deserved to have the audience give a damn about them.  In today's world, it just isn't done anymore. 

Well, I was wrong and I'm not afraid to put it into print here.  Everyone gets their moment, you get team-ups within the film, everyone gets a crack at the main villain, it's all there ladies and gentlemen, the film that you would want made about The Avengers was done.  I can't believe it.  I can't believe I'm writing this sentence. I would have thought it would have been another "yeah, it was good, but you know, they could have done this, this and this."  Nope.  No complaints.  No gripes.  It's an event picture.  You remember what it was like, lining up for Return of the Jedi or something and the anticipation was off the charts and you couldn't wait to get to your seat, grab your popcorn and wait for the flick to get started?  Where they're showing the trailers and you're like, get on with it, already?  This is this movie.  This is a bonafide, no-kidding, no schtick summer blockbuster.  Everything you would want, the characterizations, the plot, the spectacle, the action, the humor, the moments, it's all in there. 

This movie makes me want to flood Marvel with emails. I want them to reclaim Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four.  It is a crying frigging shame that these properties are not getting the treatment they deserve.  Marvel would elevate all of these films, believe me.  How awesome would it be to have Avengers 2 with Spider-Man joining the team?  It could happen.  It should happen.  Marvel has proven that a movie on this epic a scale can not only be done, but be done right.  I think there should be some sort of campaign to have Marvel grab all of their properties back.  It has to be done.  If they can do a movie this big, this good, this spectacular, then any other Marvel movie that is being made by another studio is nothing but a waste of everyone's time.  

So, go see this movie.  Again...and again...and again.  Support it loud and proud.  This is one movie that is deserving of every dollar it makes.  I can't wait for Avengers 2. 

Rating: a big time 5 out of 5.

- Stephenstein