New ‘Skyfall’ International Trailer

This was shown during the Olympics, and–if the trailer is any indicator–seems a bit more kinetic than the other Daniel Craig Bond films (Stuff blows up good! Real good!).

A plus for me is that there appears to be a black Bond girl.  Other than Halle Berry I recall two others:  Thumper (Trina Parks, while not exactly a Bond girl, was black) from “Diamonds Are Forever” (which was the first, and only, Bond film that I am aware of that had homosexual characters in supporting roles;  Charles Gray doesn’t count because he’s just being British), Rosie (Gloria Hendry) from “Live And Let Die,” and Halle Berry, in “Die Another Day,” quite possibly the worst James Bond film ever, with honors split between an awful theme song by Madonna and a story that was way too sci-fi for a Bond adventure.

To make matters worse, it was directed by Lee Tamahori, who has shown that he’s capable of much, much better (“Once Were Warriors,” and more recently “The Devil’s Double”).

Just When I Thought Stretch Armstrong Was The Dumbest Idea I Heard In Awhile…

When I was a kid, I loved to watch “He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe.”

I marveled at his adventures.  The way, time and again, He-Man used his wits (and sometimes the assistance of Cringer, who turned to the mighty Battle Cat–seemingly against his will) to beat back the forces of Skeletor in such a way that the only things hurt were the execution of Skeletor’s evil plans.

This is despite the fact that I found it silly, because I saw that what MoU (much better than HMATMOTU) was essentially “The A-Team,” in that no matter how much He-Man swung that sword around, whomever was on the business end never suffered a nick, never mind a slash.

And considering that the show was aimed at children, I understood (not so much for the A-Team though.  I actually wanted someone to take a bullet every once in a while, if only to reassure me that the universe that they lived in was at least adjacent to my own).

I didn’t even bat an eye that someone would actually want to call themselves ‘He-Man’ because, to my young mind, it all made sense.

Now, I couldn’t take such a character seriously, and I suspect that I am not the only one.

So, how is it that I can watch G.I. Joe (the movie, cartoon, and occasionally comic), you may ask?  Don’t they have characters called ‘Snake-Eyes,’ and ‘Duke?’  Sure, but they’re just names.  He doesn’t, literally, have snake eyes (though if he were on MoU there would be more that’s serpentine about the character than his name).

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And You Thought Being Batman Was Expensive…

image courtesy of Hot Toys

As expensive as Batman’s kit is–and it’s very expensiveit doesn’t hold a candle to what it would cost to outfit yourself as Marvel’s Iron Man.  For instance, just the Arc reactor alone would cost, according to those enterprising folk at Moneysupermarket.com, a cool $36 million.

And while that’s probably reasonable when you consider that it’s an inexhaustible energy source, your costs only begin there.

• Back and shoulder mounted ailerons: $2 million

• Wrist mounted anti-tank missle launchers (x2) – $3 million

• Shoulder mounted anti-personnel guns – $400,00 (a bargain)

Luckily Tony Stark, worth $9.4 billion according to Forbes, has more than enough resources to make such an investment.  Bruce Wayne, by way of comparison, is worth $7 billion, though I suspect that is before events conclude in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Every Wonder How Much It Would Cost To Be Batman?

image courtesy of MoneySupermarket.com

When you were young, at some time you probably imagined yourself to be a superhero.  Maybe one day you’d be Spider-Man, Captain America or maybe the next Superman.

Or Wonder Woman, or Storm.

Though perhaps Batman was one of your favorites. When you were young, all you needed was maybe a towel to serve as a cape; and if you were feeling especially creative, perhaps an addition of a leftover Halloween mask to make things complete.

Though unfortunately, we all have to grow up sometimes, and the price of our playthings tend to increase as well.

For instance, if you were to purchase a real Batsuit–composed of Kevlar and Nomex instead of rubber–Moneysupermarket.com estimates that it would cost a bit over a million dollars.

And that’s not including his vehicles because it’s estimated that the Tumbler would set you back $18 million; the Batpod, $1, 50o,000 and the Bat, a cool $6o million dollars.

And that’s not even including therapy for all the stress you’d be under trying to keep your identity secret.

Which is probably why the best place to see superheroes are either in comic books, or the movies.

‘Stretch Armstrong: The Movie,’ A Really Dumb Idea?

I recently read that Breck Eisner is going to make a movie based on Stretch Armstrong, a stretchable (i.e., the name), pliable, and extremely bendable toy from Hasbro (the same company that created the Transformers and G.I. Joe).

I remember playing with one when I was a kid.  I also remember being very interested in what gel-like substance was hidden under that plastic skin (corn syrup), though I don’t recall every cutting one open.

That ‘Stretch Armstrong: The Movie’ is a blatantly stupid idea goes without saying, as the trailer for the toy illustrates.

I mean, it’s not even an obvious money-grab because I am pretty sure that if you were to ask ten random people who Stretch Armstrong was you’d probably get a few porn-related references, but nothing about the Hasbro action figure.

This is a character tailor-made for either a Saturday morning cartoon (which I am not even sure that are made anymore) or a comedy, like “The Mask.”

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A ‘Beautiful’ Conundrum

A few days ago I posted that The Fixx had released their first studio album, “Beautiful Friction,” in almost a decade, and it definitely worth the wait.  It’s different than anything they produced before, and is interesting and thought-provoking in the way that The Fixx has always been.

I purchased my copy from eMusic, and it included 11 tracks;  I checked out Kirtland Records, The Fixx’s label, and the copy available there too had 11 tracks.

So imagine my surprise to learn that the album offered on iTunes has not 11, but 12. There’s an extra track called “Wasted,” and if you happen to be a completist (I intend to purchase the CD so that I can get the liner notes) like I am you might want to check it out.

I don’t know if it’s available anywhere other than iTunes or the CD, though you can get the track for $.99 via iTunes without buying the album again.

Another Cast Member Exiting ‘The Walking Dead?’

After Shane (Jon Bernthal) left AMC’s zombie serial “The Walking Dead,” I assumed that the desire for other members of the cast to leave was over.

It appears that I may have been wrong, because Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) may be the next to depart.  She doesn’t actually say that she is, but it’s relatively apparent that she doesn’t like what happened to Frank Darabont, and that she feels that her character has run its course.

Some may consider Lori a bit irritating–she’d definitely had her moments–but I think that overall her character was strong, supportive, and a welcome member of the cast.

Besides, if her character dies, it would add an element of randomness to the series that has been, for the most part, missing.  I mean, as much as I want to deny it, part of me knew that they were going to kill off Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), my favorite character, at some point.

Which reminds me:  Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that Callies may turn up on “L.A. Noir” (if it goes to series) sometime in the near future?

Brian’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review

“”The Dark Knight Rises” is an engaging film, but in the end it’s too grounded in the real to soar.”

The devastating events in Aurora, Colorado have cast a pall over the launch of Warner Bros. “The Dark Knight Rises,” though if box office receipts are any indicator, the film is weathering the adverse publicity well.

That being said, attentive readers will probably come by many reviews that compare it to Marvel Studios’ “The Avengers,” which isn’t valid because “The Avengers” is one of the best action movies of the year, while “The Dark Knight Rises,” while engaging in its own way, is not nearly as fun.

And that’s OK because just like there are comics for just about every taste, there should be movies that serve the same function.

Part of the reason for this is that, in seeking to make Batman’s Gotham City as realistic as possible, the filmmakers have almost surgically removed the fantastic from the equation, making the proceedings, while interesting, sometimes mundane and held together only by the strength of the cast.

Another is that Bane in the comics was more dangerous; less an anarchist that an almost primal force focused upon breaking the Batman physically, as well as mentally. A similar approach is attempted here, but Bane, as played by Tom Hardy (he of the very odd voice, who’s jaw should move more when he speaks, despite the mask on the lower half of his face) is more interested in destroying Gotham City than breaking Batman.

He disguises his violence in populist clothing–echoing the protests of the 99 Percent in his speeches, but it’s only a ruse designed to lull the citizens to complacency before he destroys them.

The movie makes a point of showing that his beliefs drive him, and enable him to do what normal men cannot, which is what makes him and his followers dangerous.  Unfortunately we see little of what animates his beliefs, though its expression in seemingly random destruction is often on display.

Who I found to be a pleasant surprise was Anne Hathoway, who played Serena Kyle (she was never actually called ‘Catwoman’).  I was prepared to dislike this interpretation of the character, especially since she was following in the footsteps–or should I say paw prints?–of Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, and Michelle Pfeiffer, women far more voluptuous than the (almost) waifish Halloway.

Her characterization works, though I cannot say the same for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, who seems to be hanging around just so there could be an ending that Bat fans would appreciate.

In summary, “The Dark Knight Rises” is worth seeing, though because it’s so grounded in reality, it never really takes off like it should, which is a shame.

‘Man of Steel’ Teaser

Here’s a teaser for Zach Snyder‘s “Man of Steel,” Warner’s reboot of the Superman franchise that is being overseen by Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight Rises”).

Too much of it looks like “The Perfect Storm” crossed with a jeans commercial, though the flying scene at the end, complete with breaking the sound barrier, is kinda neat.

Brian’s ‘Creature’ Review

I don’t know if it’s the beer, I purchased my first six pack of Yuengling Traditional Lager (not bad, though a little bland for my tastes.  It would make a great beer on a hot day, though) today, but  “Creature” isn’t nearly as bad as all the negative reviews would lead you to believe.  The cinematography is beautiful–it’s a very attractive film–filled with, for the most part, lots of attractive looking (relatively) young people.

Sure, the story isn’t its greatest strength, though considering it makes little in the way of sense, and doesn’t even follow the rules that it establishes, it’s not that bad.  Besides, if  I wanted “Remains Of The Day,” or “Downton Abbey,” that’s what I would be watching.

You never know exactly how the creature came into being, but even if it follows the outline of the legend that’s revealed in the film, is that really any more silly that a guy who gets his special abilities by the bite of a radioactive spider, or a guy from another planet that somehow manages to fly, has heat vision, and is virtually indestructible?

In other words, “Creature” is no worse than any other genre film when it comes to logic.

Though what does irritate me a bit is the lopsidedness of the nakedness, which there’s plenty of.  Literally five minutes into the movie viewers are treated to some full-frontal nudity of the female variety, yet the males in the film somehow manage to end up with their clothing on.

And while I have nothing against the mountaineers portrayed in the film (Sid Haig played their leader, though I have no idea what made that so other than his general creepiness) nudity is a state that I wouldn’t want to see any of them in.

What I didn’t expect was how beautifully the film was shot.  I am not familiar with the director of photography, Christopher Faloona, who not only has a great eye, but is much more accomplished that this film would make one think.