NOTE: There will be no "Box Office Preview" this week. The only genre movie opening is Kick-Ass, and I've seen it. :)
A terrific movie--Kick-Ass succeeds on every level. It's funny, violent, and incredibly entertaining. It is a very hard R movie and, yes, Hit-Girl cusses a lot. But when taken in context with just an ounce of free-thinking, it's perfectly fitting.
WARNING: (VERY, VERY MINOR) SPOILERS BELOW!!!
Hot damn, what a great movie! In case you couldn't figure it out from the trailer, Kick-Ass is the story of Dave, a typical nerdy teenager who decides to try his hand at crime-fighting and becomes the superhero, Kick-Ass. Eventually, Kick-Ass finds himself aligned with fellow "heroes" Red Mist, Big Daddy, and Hit-Girl, in their quest to take down drug kingpin Frank D'Amico.
The cast is terrific: Aaron Johnson brings a real honesty to the title character (and you'd never know he's British), Christopher Mintz-Plasse actually brings a lot more to his character than just another "McLovin" rehash, Chloe Moretz is absolutely fantastic as Hit-Girl, and the always reliable Clark Duke once again fulfills his "best friend" role dutifully. The only weak link may be Nicholas Cage and I'm still not sure about that--I've been debating it in my head all night. His role is somewhat small, actually, but instead of the great actor we've seen in films like Leaving Las Vegas or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, we get the campy Cage from crap like Gone in 60 Seconds and The Wicker Man. But at the same time, it seems to fit his character pretty well so I suppose I can't complain.
The script (by director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) was written simultaneously while the comic book was being written by "Wanted" writer Mark Millar, so even though I haven't read the comic, it feels as though the adaptation must be close. Incidentally, this is the third film that Vaughn has directed and it's much more Layer Cake than Stardust. In fact, if you take the violence of Layer Cake and multiply it by 1000, I still don't think you'd come close to Kick-Ass. It's beautiful violence though, the kind of wonderfully choreographed slow-motion melee that we've come to expect from films like this.
All right, let's talk about Hit-Girl. Her character alone is responsible for having the film banned in several countries and has led to several protests (even before the film was released, the Australian Family Association attacked the film after an uncensored clip was released in January where Hit-Girl utters the line, "OK, you cunts, let's see what you can do now.") Is it shocking to see an 11-year-old girl talk that way? Yes, absolutely. Is it funny? Are you kidding? It's incredibly funny. Does the film glorify Hit-Girl's behavior? In a way, yes, but there's a complicated context that needs to be considered here. Should a young girl behave that way? No, of course not, but if it weren't for what happened to her parents, Hit-Girl wouldn't be the person she is now. In a way, every foul thing that Hit-Girl does just adds to the evil of the Frank D'Amico character. In the end, HE'S the one responsible for robbing this poor girl of her childhood and forcing her to take on this ruthless persona. And here's the part that really bugs me: all of these governments and advocacy groups are crying foul over Hit-Girl's language but say practically nothing about her violence. So it's okay for an 11-year-old girl to savagely murder an entire room full of men but there's a problem if she says "fuck"? That makes no sense.
This really is a great movie and, as your resident uber-geek, I say it's way up there on the list of the top geek movies ever made. It's the quote that every lazy critic is going to use in his review this weekend, but it's true: Kick-Ass really does kick ass. Hard.
Spider-Man 4, Riddick 3, He-Man, Scorsese, Copley, Whedon/Avengers, Geographica, Gears of War 3, SyFy, Jack Kirby, X-COM, Han Soap-lo
Tons of news coming in this week. Let's get right to it:
The New Peter Parker Is...Anybody's Guess
First, HitFix reported that a source told them that Percy Jackson star Logan Lerman was "almost 100% locked" to star as the newly teenaged web-slinger in Spider-Man 4 (expect that title to change...soon). Then Sony vehemently denied that rumor, stating that Lerman wasn't even on the shortlist. So who IS on the shortlist? According to IESB, Zathura and The Vampire's Assistant star Josh Hutcherson is the only known person on the list. So who will it be? Who cares? This whole thing sounds like a train wreck to me.
Riddick 3 Now Has a Title & A Plot
I still can't believe they're actually making another Riddick movie. I truly thought this thing was dead after The Chronicles of Riddick. But the film is in pre-production so it's a lock. Coming Attractions got a look at the script and let loose a few details: the film is titled The Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking (I expect that to change before it hits theaters) and the plot involves Riddick being dumped on an alien world and coming to the realization that he must return to his violent roots in order to escape. Expect a return to the series' low-budget roots. I own the Riddick trilogy on DVD but to this day I've never gotten past Pitch Black. I've tried to watch it at least 5 times now and I fall asleep every time. I even tried once in the middle of the day while drinking a Mountain Dew and I still fell asleep. I suppose I could cheat and just watch Chronicles or the little "in-between" anime movie but...I can't.
From Predators to He-Man
Heat Vision reports that Alex Litvak and Michael Finch, the screenwriting pair that dusted off Robert Rodriguez's old draft of the upcoming Predators movie, are the latest writers to take a stab at the new He-Man movie. As you probably know, this project has been passed around at least a half dozen hands for the latter half of the last decade. Litvak and Finch apparently impressed the studio and Mattel with their pitch, though, so now it's up to them to live up to that promise with their script. I, for one, really hope they change the title from Masters of the Universe to He-Man. Or, at least, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This could be an awesome movie, if done right.
Martin Scorsese Is Making a 3D Sci-Fi Children's Movie?
I know...WTF? Still, Scorsese is a brilliant filmmaker and he's actually gotten even better in recent years (IMHO). So now comes news, via Variety, that Scorsese's next film with be an adaptation of Brian Zelnick's book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", and it will be filmed in 3D. The story has something to do with a young boy who lives in a Paris train station and gets involved in a mystery surrounding his father and a robot. Sounds pretty cool, plus the script is by one of my favorite screenwriters, John Logan (The Aviator, Star Trek: Nemesis). I agree with those who say this 3D gimmick is getting overplayed, especially when it comes to shitty post-production 3D, but I really think that in the hands of truly visionary directors like Martin Scorsese, we could see some amazing things to come.
Sharlto Copley Goes Alien Again
According to Heat Vision, District 9 star Sharlto Copley is signed to star in the film version of an upcoming teen science-fiction novel, "I Am Number Four". The plot sounds horrible--it has 9 alien refugees from a destroyed planet coming to Earth and disguising themselves as human teenagers. Here's the thing, though...this movie is to be produced by Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, and directed by D.J. Caruso. Those are some impressive credentials, and Caruso showed some serious talent with Eagle Eye. We'll see how this one pans out...for now, I'm cautiously curious.
Joss Whedon Will Direct The Avengers
It's official...well, almost. Deadline New York reports that Whedon is final negotiations to direct Marvel's Avengers movie. Yep, I still hate Joss Whedon but, as I said a few weeks ago when this rumor first broke, I'm actually okay with this move. I've even decided that I don't care if Whedon does a quick rewrite on the script. The always reliable Zak Penn is the officially credited screenwriter at this point so the most Whedon could do is polish up Penn's work. As mush as I loathe his writing, Whedon's done some decent work as a collaborator (Toy Story, Speed, Waterworld) so this should pan out pretty well. Beaks from Ain't It Cool News points out another conundrum that Whedon will have to deal with as The Avengers director: egos. I hadn't thought much about it but it's true; every star and every agent in Hollywood is always vying for the biggest piece of the pie. It would be very easy for Robert Downey, Jr. to end up with the biggest role in The Avengers because he has the most star power and, thus far, his Iron Man film has performed best at the box office (and early indications are that Iron Man 2 will shatter box office records). However, The Avengers should really focus more on Captain America and Nick Fury. We'll see how it goes--hopefully Marvel can muscle these egos into some restrictive contracts.
Tolkien and Lewis Come To The Big Screen...Again
I've never heard of this, but apparently there's an ongoing book series called "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica" by James A. Owen that features a young J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as adventurers, in which their future epics ("Lord of the Rings", "Narnia") are inspired by said adventures. That sounds kinda gay to me but it could be cool. Anyway, The Hollywood Reporter says that Eagle Eye screenwriter Travis Adam Wright is currently at work adapting the first two books, "Here, There Be Dragons" and "The Search for the Red Dragons" for the silver screen. I just don't know.
New Gears of War 3 Trailer
IGN has the new Gears of War 3 trailer that premiered on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" earlier this week. The trailer is entitled "Ashes to Ashes" and...it kicks ass. Seriously. I love everything about this thing:
"Lost" is back on its game, people. This is a must-see episode. Great stuff.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!
"Lost" just blew my fucking mind. Again. Even though it looked like just another "poor Hurley" episode, this week's "Lost" even managed to top last week's spectacular episode. Hurley starts off the episode by asking Libby at her grave why she never comes to speak to him like the other dead people. Not long after that, Ilana blows herself up with dynamite from the Black Rock and, at the behest of Michael, Hurley blows up the entire ship so no more dynamite can be used. In the side-verse, successful entrepreneur Hurley meets up with side-verse Libby who somehow remembers him from the island. Desmond shows up to prod Hurley into pursuing Libby and, in a weird parallel of their date on the island, Hurley suddenly has memories of the island, too, after Libby kisses him. Meanwhile, back in the Lost-verse, Sayid delivers Desmond to the Locke-ness monster who promptly throws him down a well. Back in the side-verse, Desmond runs his car over Locke in the school parking lot and drives away.
It's pretty clear now that the two universes are connected--but how and why are still big questions. I'm loving the side-verse Desmond now, as he's becoming this all-knowing Jacob sort of figure, meddling with everyone's lives and apparently causing them to remember the island. Why did he run over Locke, though? I have a theory and we'll see how it pans out, but I'm guessing that whatever "loophole" the Man in Black used to change himself into Locke's doppelganger, it involves taking possession or switching forms with the Locke in the side-verse. Therefore, Desmond's attack is an attempt to hurt and/or kill the Locke-ness monster in the Lost-verse. I could be wrong--there are several holes in that theory--but I'm sticking with that for now.
I have one minor gripe with the episode and it's another example of the characters not acting like they have any common sense. When Hurley tells the group that Jacob is standing among them and he has told Hurley they must speak with Locke, Richard challenges Hurley to prove it by telling him to ask Jacob what the island is. Richard says something to the effect of, "A while back, Jacob told me what the island is. If he's really here, ask him to tell you what it is." Hurley's lying, of course, so he simply tells Richard that he doesn't have to prove anything to him. Here's the thing, though--didn't anybody think to then say, "So, uh...Richard, now that that's settled, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ISLAND ANYWAY?" Holy Christ--these people's entire lives have been continually ruined by this fucking island for years now and they have a golden opportunity to find out what it is and THEY DON'T ASK?! That's crazy!
Speaking of "what the fuck is the island", I found it interesting that Michael tells Hurley that the whispers in the forest are the voices of the spirits who are trapped on the island and aren't ready to move on. What does that mean? Is the island some kind of limbo between life and death? This is getting all kinds of interesting...
New Release Tuesday Preview: "Splinter Cell: Conviction", "Nightmare on Elm Street" Blu-ray, "GTA: Episodes From Liberty City" & More
Man, what a crappy week for home entertainment. Oh well, there were a few titles worth mentioning so here we go:
DVD / BLU-RAY
Another great episode of a show that just keeps getting better and better. Must see for fans of science-fiction, Stargate, or televised drama in general.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!
In "Divided", Dr. Rush takes the opportunity of having Young and Scott out in a shuttle to team up with Wray and execute a coup d'état with the rest of the civilians onboard Destiny. The military quickly retakes the ship, though, and we learn that Rush was only trying to keep Young from finding out about an alien tracking device surgically implanted in his chest.
Superb writing and acting all around, which is pretty much the norm on SGU. I particularly enjoyed the music-filled teaser with Chloe's dream--great stuff. The tension throughout the episode was absolutely palpable.
The consequences of the actions taken on this episode should be long-reaching. I can't imagine the tension is going to get any better (especially for Greer) as the season wears on.
One of the best family movies ever made and the second best 3D movie ever made (besides Avatar). Go. See. It. Now. I demand it.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!
This is how you make a 3D movie, people! Holy cow, what a great movie--but first, the obligatory summary: How to Train Your Dragon is based on the best-selling book and tells the story of Hiccup, a young Viking who rejects the idea of killing dragons and befriends a dragon named Toothless.
Everything about this movie is great: the story tugs at all the right heartstrings and puts the thrills right where they need to be. The artwork is beautiful; even though the dragons are more "cartoony" than traditionally shown, they and the world they inhabit are wonderfully detailed. The voice acting is superb, too. I went into this one actually not knowing who was in the cast; I was able to peg Jay Baruchel as Hiccup but I was surprised when the end credits started rolling and I realized that the cast also included Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant.
But mostly, we've got to talk about the 3D. Remember when I urged you not to see Clash of the Titans in 3D? Well, now I'm urging TO see this movie in 3D. This is REAL-D: the kind of 3D you don't mind paying $12 a ticket for, the kind of 3D you rush to the theater to see because you know the experience will never be the same again on home video. It's the same immersive 3D you saw in Avatar--where you were sucked into the movie's world and felt like you could climb into the screen and join in. The dragon-flying sequences are particularly exhilarating in 3D, and the ending is to die for.
And, no, it doesn't matter if you don't have kids. Don't give me that shit. This is a good movie, period. It doesn't matter if your 5-year-old nephew has been running around all month in How to Train Your Dragon underoos, you'll still enjoy this movie.
Final thought: Great, great, great, great movie. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so--it currently has a 98% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which is practically unheard of).
I've had a couple of people ask me recently which shows I actually watch since I obviously don't preview or recap every genre show on TV. So let me break it down for you:
Genre Shows That I DO Watch
I loved "Battlestar Galactica" (up until the last half of the final season & the atrocious series finale) so I'm continuing to watch "Caprica" week after week. The show is really hit-or-miss with me, though, and I'm constantly telling myself to stop watching.
I love, love, love this show--it's one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I ended up missing a few episodes earlier this season and, since it's not available on-demand, I still haven't caught up. I'm gonna try and remedy that this summer with reruns and DVDs.
"The Vampire Diaries"
Technically, my Twilight-crazed wife watches this show but I happen to be in the room most of the time. I don't really care for it but since I've actually seen more episodes than I've missed, I suppose it belongs on this list.
I almost gave up on "Heroes" after season 3. I think we can all agree that the show has gone downhill since the end of season 1; however, I kinda liked season 4. Things were toned back a bit and some of the charm was back. I'm interested to see what will happen in season 5 after Claire's big reveal.
"Legend of the Seeker"
I started to watch this show and ended up quitting on it because I thought it was just cheesy. Lo and behold, my wife decided she loved it so she took the time to Netflix the remaining episodes. We're still behind on most of season 2 and she's seen more of them than I have but I'd call myself a fan. It's still cheesy but it's the kind of cheese that I like. (Plus, Jolene Blalock is in the cast now!)
What can I say that hasn't already been said? The cream of the crop, the best of the best--if it weren't for this show, then half of the other shows on this list wouldn't exist.
This is one of my absolute favorite shows. I was never that impressed by the commercials but I happened to be home from work on the day of the season 2 premiere and SyFy was running an all-day marathon of season 1. I got completely caught up and was hooked. If you aren't watching "Sanctuary", trust me, you don't know what you're missing. (Oddly enough, the only episode SyFy didn't show during the marathon was the series premiere so that's the ONLY episode I haven't seen).
"Stargate" was one franchise that I never got into, mainly because of my weird obsessive-compulsive need to watch episodes in order. Occasionally, I would catch an "SG-1" rerun in syndication and I always liked it but I refused to start watching week-after-week until I was able to catch up from the beginning. Then, before I knew it, there were 10 seasons of "SG-1", two direct-to-DVD movies, five seasons of "Atlantis", and "Universe" was in pre-production! I quickly realized that "Universe" would have no firm ties to existing mythology so I took that as a starting point, and I'm glad I did. This is one of the most underrated shows on TV right now--yes, it owes a lot of credit to "Battlestar Galactica" but it's far from being the same show. (Oh, and for the record, I'm halfway through season 3 of "SG-1" now).
When I was a kid, the original "V" scared the shit out of me. The only thing I remember about it was the bloody "V" on the wall and something about lizard people. That was enough for me to give the remake a try. It's only been on for a few episodes and it's really not bad. It's not phenomenal either but I'm continuing to stick with it.
I really can't stand this show anymore but I'm convinced it's going to be cancelled and I'm still watching because I want to see what's going on before it ends. The pilot episode was phenomenal but it was filmed with an entirely different writing staff and show-runner. So starting with episode 2, the show had an entirely different tone and direction. Ugh...could've been a great show. Oh well.
Genre Shows That I DON'T Watch
I'm actually a big fan of the old "Doctor Who", thanks to my buddy Joel. I've seen quite a few episodes from all 7 original doctors, I have bootlegs of the FOX "Doctor Who" TV movie on both VHS and DVD, and I've read several of the 8th Doctor novels. I just never took the time to get into the new show. I've seen about half of the first season with Christopher Eccleston but, again, due to my obsessive need to watch things in order, I never watched any of the David Tennant episodes. Catching up is on my to-do list (all of the seasons are available for instant viewing on Netflix) but in the meantime, I think I'll go ahead and watch the new series with Matt Smith. Seems like it should be a good jumping-on point.
This one just never looked that great to me until recently but I feel like it's too late to jump in now. I may play catch-up at some point.
"The Ghost Whisperer"
The only reason I would even consider watching this show would be to see J-Love's massive boobs jiggle around but I have the internet for that. And now that Jamie Kennedy is in the cast, you won't see me going anywhere near this nightmare.
This show just looked stupid to me but I've heard some good things about it. The whole Friday the 13th episode they tried to do a few seasons ago sounded like a cool idea but unfortunately it never came to fruition. Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'm gonna continue to pass on this one.
As I've said before, I was always more into Marvel, not DC, but Superman is one character that I do know a little about. Still, when this show premiered, it just looked like a massive raping of the Superman mythos and I couldn't be privy to that. Ten seasons later and I gather that it actually turned out pretty well. I'll never know--that's way too much to catch up on.
"Doctor Who" is about all the cheesy British CGI I can handle but I've heard good things about this one. SyFy is developing an American version so maybe I'll watch if it translates well.
Another iconic character having his mythos raped week after week--just doesn't appeal to me.
I watched the series premiere of this show and didn't like it at all. I know people who swear by it now so maybe I gave up too early.
I don't have HBO or Showtime so it's hard to keep up with their shows. With that said, "True Blood" is a show that I desperately want to see so I'm planning to get caught up very soon.
That's all of the current shows that I could think of. Did I miss any?