Tuesday, March 11, 2014
John Carter, David Hasselhoff's Nick Fury, most recently After Earth, and I even liked Temple of Doom, I thought, hey, how bad could it be?
Reading up a few months back on subgenres of science fiction, I came across the term 'clockpunk' and specifically Hudson Hawk as an example. Clockpunk is posited as steampunk but with its origins more in the Renaissance rather than the Victorian era, along the lines of "Da Vinci's Demons," which I love. So I decided it was time to see the flick. Sadly, this aspect is barely background in the movie.
Bruce Willis plays a just released from prison cat burglar supreme known as the Hudson Hawk who is swept back into business by baddies seeking components of Da Vinci's accidental alchemy device. In this crazy cartoon reality, Willis is David Addison on speed, and unless you're in on the joke from the start, it's hard to catch up. I really want to see if "Moonlighting" holds up after all these years now.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
Deathstroke the Terminator. Since before "Arrow" even started, in the earliest publicity shots that featured only his mask, the ones that made fanboys and fangirls want to watch the show even more than the fact it was a show about Green Arrow, Deathstroke has been here. Introduced several episodes in, and expertly played by Manu Bennett of Starz' "Spartacus," he has been hero, friend, and now villain to Oliver Queen, but who is he really?
In the comics, Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator, was created in 1980 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the second issue of the breakout comics series The New Teen Titans. Granted superhuman strength, agility, endurance, and an enhanced healing factor by government military experiments, Slade Wilson became DC's resident mercenary. He would go on to become that revamped team's most dangerous and persistent foe.
In his frequent battles and schemes against the Titans, he became quite popular with fans. Fan favorite status gained him his own series where he went from villain to anti-hero. Marvel Comics even parodied him with much success as Deadpool. He has been included in many of DC's big events as one of the continuity's major villains.
The biggest turning point for the character may have been during Brad Meltzer's Identity Crisis maxi-series when Deathstroke took down the Justice League singlehandedly. In just a few pages, he did what serious JLA foes like Amazo or Darkseid or the Secret Society had been unable to do for decades. It was also in this comic that the vendetta level feud with Green Arrow began. GA didn't defeat Deathstroke, but he hurt him, and a dangerous grudge began, one that bleeds into "Arrow."
In the present, Oliver has mentioned more than once that no one made it off the island alive except him and Sara. So, surprise surprise when Slade not only turns up alive, controlling Brother Blood and other baddies stalking Starling City, but suddenly in Oliver's own home, supposedly making a donation to his mother's mayoral campaign. And that was our cliffhanger last time. We open seconds later in "The Promise."
While Oliver deals with Slade's family visit in the present, he is captured by Ivo on the island, and given truth serum. But like most of their plan of attack, it's all diversion, and it's beautiful watching it come together. Best parts? Oliver in his hood and Slade in his mask.
Meanwhile Team Arrow plans an assault on the Queen home to save the family from Slade. Roy shows up, trying outhandshake Slade with his Mirakuru strength, and then Sara. They subtly and threateningly surround him, until Slade says good night. Diggle is outside however waiting to take him out sniper style. Slade knows already and Diggle us disarmed. Slade leaves, swearing to fulfill his promise.
"The Promise" was a fantastic episode, one of the best as friends had been telling me before I'd had a chance to see it. They were right. There are some nagging questions though. Why did Ivo need an eye? What's Slade been doing for five years? Can Moira be more of a bitch? And is that Harley Quinn in the preview for the next episode?? Yeah baby, next: Suicide Squad!
Thursday, March 06, 2014
The science fiction flick was better known as a father/son vehicle for Will Smith (it was based on a story by him) and Jaden Smith more than anything else. With no credits at the start of the film, many folks didn't even know it was an M. Night movie. It works well for the Smiths, being a two-man acting tour de force, but honestly it wouldn't have been as good without M. Night's touch, at least in my opinion.
One thousand years in the future, a father and son crashland on a mutated, abandoned, and evolved Earth. The father is a genetically altered war hero with no fear who's been crippled and can't move. The son, the only other survivor, has find the beacon to call for help, with the remote guidance of his dad. They have a distant relationship, complicated by a lost sibling and a failure to be a ranger like dad.
In my opinion, it's another strong film from M. Night, visually stunning, good story, and well worth watching. Check it out.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
While there's question as to whether Russia and the Ukraine will be participating this year, as with any year in which war looms among the competing nations, there have been several finalists announced (including Ukraine).
Here are some of them:
Israel - "Same Heart" by Mei Finegold
Romania - "Miracle" by Paula Seling and Ovi
Lithuania - "Attention" by Vilija Matačiūnaitė
Some strong competitors here, looks like it's going to be a good contest this year...
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
As I said, it's very funny, but it could have been funnier. This tale of a sociopath (McCarthy) who steals family man Jason Bateman's identity spotlights her outrageous behavior, but unfortunately there is a very real undercurrent that is sooo not funny. The realities of identity theft are all here, and how such criminal acts can destroy the victim's life. As much as one might want to laugh, there is always that underneath.
Where the flick falls apart is that the idea of Bateman confronting McCarthy and dragging her home on a roadtrip to right his life is just not enough apparently. It should have been, and would be, but the filmmakers somehow felt that drug dealers, bounty hunters, and lethal situations were needed in what basically amounts to a madcap comic romp. For me, it ruins it.
Melissa McCarthy is a delight, and saves the movie from being dragged down by bad creative decisions. It could have been better and funnier, had it been much simpler.