Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Ongoing Superman movie Rumours

It's getting to the point where there are rumours regarding Superman's future in the movies, every single day and each one of them is getting more and more ridiculous.

First it was that Christopher Nolan is 'mentoring' the new movie, whatever the heck that means. My initial reaction to that was that either WB hadn't learned anything from the Tim Burton multi-million dollar fiasco of the 1990s whereby they hired an acclaimed Batman director to handle Superman and it resulted in bizarre and creepy designs like this one:

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It's a bad idea to hire a man known for his great work on Batman, assuming that he'll do great things for Superman. Yes, the characters wear capes and can be described as 'super-heroes' but they are entirely different archetypes and it's unfair to assume that simply because Nolan or Burton did one right, that they'll automatically completely understand the other. Nothing in Nolan's back catalogue of films suggest that he's the man to helm a Superman type-film. Indeed, his most happy, heroic, crowd-pleasing film (or, the kind of tone a Superman film needs to have) was Batman Begins. That's hardly a good example.

Secondly, the whole idea of Nolan taking over the Superman franchise sounds an awful lot like a fanboy's idiotic wet dream. Marvel have had consistent executive producers (namely Avi Arad and Stan 'The Man' Lee) basically forever and this has always been something the DC films have significantly lacked, which would explain why there is tragically few of them in spite of the wealth of great characters who deserve to have movie franchises (the various Green Lanterns, The Flash, Wonder Woman and a number of others), at the very least as much as idiotic Z-list Marvel characters like Ghost Rider. The same goes for the idea of David Goyer writing the script.

Finally, there's this idiocy of Jonathan Nolan (a man who's never directed a film before) directing the picture. Does this not sound like something a fanboy dreamt up, in order to create an ideal scenario where a new Superman and a third Batman can be made without any delay? It all sounds completely made up. I'm half expecting someone to report that Christopher Reeve has returned from the grave and is producing the movie based on a script Jerry Siegel wrote on his deathbed while talking to Marlon Brando over the phone.

If any of this does prove to be true, I've prepared a sure-fire checklist for these filmmakers to follow:

- 5 easy steps to rebooting a classic comic-book cinema franchise:

1. Look at the original and go in an entirely different direction. Don't continue on or rely on 'the public perception'; pretend like no one has ever seen a film in this franchise and build the characters from the ground up with as much verisimilitude as possible.

2. Add more action.

I am surrounded! Oh noez!

As shallow as it sounds, it's what big budget franchises need to have and if done carefully, it's what they can have, if the proper, sustained use of CGI is used and it makes sense from a storytelling point-of-view. That being said, use stuntmen and wire-work wherever possible. A man simply rising into the air on wires (that can be digitally edited out with brain-melting ease)...

An actual human,in front of a grainy

...is always much cooler and more majestic than an obviously computer-generated character zipping into a blue-screen while his cgi-cape flaps because of fake wind that isn't there.

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3. Make small, subtle references to the comics and other favoured incarnations of the characters (the animated series, Lois & Clark, the previous movies), but whatever you do, don't make your whole movie a masturbatory homage to one of the earlier ones (Bryan Singer).

4. Cast a completely unknown actor in the lead role or better still, a character actor who doesn't look that much like the main character and will have the casual filmgoers scratching their heads and fanboys screaming at their computer screens. Choosing specific acting skills over traditional "looking like the character" traits, is not only a fundamentally good idea in adaptive filmmaking, but also leads to iconic performances (Daniel Craig as Bond, Michael Keaton as Batman, Heath Ledger as the Joker and most importantly Sean fucking Connery as James Bond), not to mention the controversy can also end up selling the movie because of the curiously interesting new visual look for the character (Craig as Bond and Ledger as the Joker). This is particularly important when casting Superman, because Christopher Reeve was the epitome of someone who 'looks like Superman' so it would be difficult to find someone who 'looked like Superman' without just finding a Reeve-lookalike (Brandon Routh, Tom Welling and even the two actors who played Superboy in the 1980s were all repeatedly praised because they "look like Christopher Reeve" over any other skill). Besides, when's the last time a director has taken a gamble on an actor who looks nothing like the franchise character and it hasn't worked out critically or commercially (even if 100% of the fanboys don't approve)?

5. Balance: Make the film because there is a specific story you wish to tell, while keeping in mind that (most) fans will want a definitive trilogy and not just a standalone epic.

Hint to Warner Bros: Make THIS into your movie.

Remember though, that people don't want to see a trailer for a sequel, they want to see a great film.

These simple guidelines should lead to a sure-fire hit. Provided The Suits at Warner Bros. ever actually bother their asses to thinking logically.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cancelled Lecture!

It takes me 45 minutes to get to college everyday. 45 minutes.

I had one lecture today. ONE!

For one hour. One hour.

It was canceled. I didn't know it had been canceled. IT WAS CANCELED AND I DIDN'T KNOW IT HAD BEEN CANCELED..

(!)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

The Delta Tour-de-Force

Last night, I watched Chuck Norris' fairly critically acclaimed (wow, really?) 1980s epic 'The Delta Force' about a team of American commandoes assigned to save a hijacked plane, in the wake of a similar real-world event.

Given that it was a film where Chuck Norris had a motorcycle that could fire a seemingly infinite amount of rockets...



...it was pretty fucking terrific in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Code of Silence: The Cream of the Chuck Norris' Crop?

Those of you who may have stopped by here once or twice will have realised by now that there is little in this world that I enjoy more than watching B-movies from the last thirty odd years and picking them apart for the amusement of myself and (hopefully) the internet. Chuck Norris has repeatedly been a party involved in the creation of these notoriously entertaining pieces of schlock rubbish, most notably (and most hilariously) in the 1983 "Modern-Day Western" epic that was Lone Wolf McQuade. Happening upon the film one night in Xtra Vision, my compatriots and I suspected that we were in for a winner. Little did we know, that we were actually in for a masterpiece. The film is a tour-de-force of unintentional, laugh-out-loud humour and "WTFilm-making" (a term I have just coined, right now at this very second). If I was to explain exactly why, it would ruin all the fun of the film, so all I can do is to direct you to your nearest video outlet, online store or...other source of obtaining films (can't imagine how else one would acquire films in this day and age...) and ensure you of 90 minutes of beery fun.

Ever since that fateful viewing, I have been obsessed with watching Chuck Norris' back-catalogue of 80s movies as well as a large chunk of Walker, Texas Ranger (preferably the later seasons where the theme tune is warbled by Chuck Norris himself and the fight scenes are exaggerated with sensational sound effects and over-the-top finishing moves.



How and ever, when watching the classic 80s cop movie "Code of Silence" last night, myself and my co-watcher (and regular FTF commenter) Diarmuid Ó Muirgheasa were taken aback by the genuine no-nonsense quality of the film. Sure there were roundhouse kicks and badass one-liners aplenty ("If I wanted an opinion, I'd a' beaten it outta' ya!"), but all-in-all, the film boasted a decent script for a cop thriller and said a lot about internal corruption and how the badge can temper one's better judgement.

Plus, it had possibly my favourite Chuck Norris fight scene of all time (which I won't spoil by posting a video).

Check it out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Saving for Trans-Atlantic Excursions

It's about time I spoke of this punishment I have decided to undergo.

Because of my planned trip to Canada in five months time, my cash-flow has been forced to come to a screeching halt, with some tragic financial sacrifices occurring as a result. Obviously, first and foremost is my well-publicised attempt to remain "On the Dry" throughout Semester Two, up until the Summer Ball where I will become royally and sensationally intoxicated beyond reason.

As well as this however, is my forced ban on the purchase of DVDs or DVD sets between now and the Summer. I toyed with this idea a little bit, before finally enforcing it upon myself, following a silly, misinformed impulse purchase of the films "Once" (which, to be fair, was totally worth €5) and "Star Trek" (which was absolutely not worth €12, even if I do love it with all of my heart. Should have waited and bought it on Blu-Ray).

Other restrictions include my not being allowed to buy more than one article of clothing per month, which has predictably become outrageously problematic, as I've already bought about four items this month, alone (including 2010's Shades, which are devilishly epic).

While I haven't enforced a strict rule against my purchase of coffee and various other snack-items, I am taking into account that a lot of my money loss is due to this bad habit, so I'm trying to just blot that out completely, as well; but I'm fairly confident that this is one spending habit that isn't going to go away no matter how hard I try.

On the bright side, I am going to continue spending €15 on comics, per month, which isn't going to cripple me, financially and may even help maintain my sanity. I have been forced to drop a few less than stellar titles from my pull-list, though (Superman: World of Krypton just hasn't been epic enough to keep me interested).

So all in all, it's going to be a tight semester.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Review: Godzilla - Final Wars

Keeping with last week's tradition, I'm going to do a movie review. This time, it's 'Godzilla - Final Wars', which is to date, the final Godzilla movie in the series that has lasted since 1954 and has rebooted and restarted more times than there are actors in Hollywood.

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Now, there are two ways to make a Godzilla movie.

The first, lesser known way, is to take the original concept; whereby Godzilla is a dark, disturbing metaphor for the ravages of nuclear war and the incalculable destruction and death it causes. The very first film in the series 'Gojira' (1954) is the best example of this and it was this approach that made it one of the best films ever made. It took thirty years before a true sequel to this approach was made, in 'The Return of Godzilla' where the Big G returns to ravage Japan just in time to escalate the Nuclear Arms Race.

The second, widely known method of Godzilla movie-making is to make it a grand-scale, turbo-charged epic that's all about Godzilla fighting other monsters and destroying the place while doing it. Following the original 1954 film, the sequel 'Godzilla Raids Again' in 1956 created this formula, which became well-worn for twenty years afterward. The substance was more or less lost and the films became entirely about the increasingly maniacal battles. But seriously...

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If that image doesn't evoke awesomegasms inside of you, there's no point in us being friends.

Needless to say, Godzilla: Final Wars embraces this approach and injects it with eight kinds of liquid awesome. The film is afraid of slowing down. Every time there is a scene involving humans and not monsters, it usually leads into a Matrix-style fight between armoured superheroes and black-leather wearing aliens. Plus it has one of the most hilariously stereotyped American soldiers (played by a former UFC fighter, naturally) and still manages to make him completely awesome (for some reason, he speaks English, while the rest of the characters all speak to him in Japanese).

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A failed M. Bison audition for the Street Fighter movie reboot.

It is arguably the most high-octane action film I've ever seen. There is constantly something completely insane happening. The plot ('plot' seems the wrong word for a film like this) involves aliens, mutants and what have you...but the bottom line is that Godzilla has to take down every monster on Earth. Asses are kicked, names are taken and the whole goddamn world is stomped to pieces.

If I was to had any serious criticism with this film (it's chock full of massive flaws, but it's impossible to care) it would be that Godzilla's screen time is just a teensy bit too little, in comparison with the human and the other monsters. There's nothing new here though, in comparison with the other films.

It's impossible to give this film a serious ranking as it's a complete head-trip spectacle rather than an actual narrative. But if giant radioactive beasts beating each other up is your thing (and by God, it should be your thing), I beg of you to watch this film.