Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who, Iron Man and links

Movies: Went and watched the Iron Man 2 movie the other day and it was a fun time. The movie isn't as good in my opinion as the first but I still liked it. In fact, I liked it enough to take the time to ad the awesome Sam Rockwell to the poster. It's a crime he was left off it.

My main complaint, and one which applies to nearly every Marvel super-hero movie made in the last decade, is that the story once again was all about someone creating a mess and being hailed a hero for cleaning up after themselves. For some reason Hollywood seems almost incapable of making a comic book film that doesn't involve a threat from within and/or a relative of the antagonist.

The other problem I have is with armored fighters in particular who remove their protective head gear during battle. I'm sure this is done for the purpose of the story and sometimes due to contractual obligations for the actor to get so many minutes of screen time (Yes, I'm looking at you, Toby McGuire). But it still bugs me and has for some time. But then I guess if they didn't show the audience their faces from time to time then the film would be nothing but voice-over work with CGI and actors nodding their helmets as they pretended to speak like a super-ninja from Power Rangers.

I agree the Mandarin needs to make an appearance as the villain in the next film. I don't see that character as a racist sterotype as much as some do. It is probably a knee-jerk PC reaction to the name and the fact that the character has an origin during the Red-baiting days of Stan Lee being at the helm of the Marvel books. I think the company has redeemed the Mandarin as a viable character not only from the animated movie of a year or so ago but also in the classic Fin Fang Foom storyline from the comic book. No longer a Commie, just a megalomaniac who wants to use the trappings of the past to secure power in the present day.

I don't see the Ten Rings mentioned in the film being the magical or technological rings from the comic book series. That would be hard to accomplish and not look silly. More than likely the rings will turn out to be a family symbol of some kind or the crest of a branch of a guild. A film from years ago that featured a Thugee cult as the villains had the members being awarded a ring to place on the hilt of their murder-dagger every time they passed a stage in their training. Eventually the rings would complete the hilt and when held up to the light, the shadow cast by the rings on the handle would show a profile of the leader of the cult. Maybe the Ten Rings would turn out to be be something like that.

DVD: Re-watched Real Genius. Such a great and funny 80s movie. Liked Val Kilmer (how the mighty have fallen!) irked by the kid. Still inappropriately attracted to the weird girl.

Re-watched Night Shift. In my opinion Henry Winkler did his best job ever in front of the camera for this comedy though a pre-Cheers Shelly Long and then new-comer Michael Keaton stole the film. Fav quotes: "That Barney Rubble. What an actor!" and not to forget "Hello, this is Chuck to remind Bill to SHUT UP!"



Comic Books: Slight yet geeky Iron Man movie spoiler! The stunt of "crossing the streams"? Iron Man first did that way back in Avengers Annual #6 (1976).


Television: The up-coming television series Terra Nova is getting a lot of internet press lately. Many are comparing it to The Land of the Lost because of the time-travel element in which a family is thrown back to the dinosaur age. From what I'm reading it sounds more like Jurassic Park but without all the messy licensing and contractual issues. I'm looking forwards to watching it. Even if it is terrible some SF is better than no SF. I'm tired of the long periods in which the best science fiction on TV is contained in car commercials.

Doctor Who: Been watching episodes of the Jon Pertwee interpretation of the Doctor recently. His version is full of humor and honest horror. Not a lot of running but a heck of a lot of shouting and yelling.



The new Doctor played by Matt Smith is fresh, the fans are negative goofs and so far the show is keen to watch. Vampires of Venice was notable for one trait of the Doctor that a lot of people miss because they always accept him as some sort of super-hero. The Doc, as much as he meddles, would stand by and watch (albeit with sadness) if the entirety of humanity were killed and eaten by aliens if that were the natural order of things. He gets involved usually only when the characters are evil, monstrous and get a thrill when applying their rapacious ways.

Lost: Enjoying this show. Can't wait for the climax. Dread the inevitable very special Lost Christmas Reunion Special in 2020.

Fringe: This is the show I'm most excited about right now. Waiting a week for each new episode is painful. But if I had the power to cancel the show with extreme prejudice I would have done so after that storyteller/noir episode a few weeks back. That was nearly unwatchable. Happily the next episode redeemed it. I'm a sucker for alternate universe stories and the appearance of Walternate totally nailed.

Toys: 30 years ago I would have killed for an Iron Man toy. Fortunately nowadays I can avoid the moral implications of murder and jail time by a visit to the mall and about 6 bucks. Yesterday I picked up the classic comic series toy for my desk. It is cool. This Iron Man game I may get just because it is silly.

Immigrant 1/American Citizen 0: It bears repeating that they man who called in the failed Times Square car bomb planted by an American citizen of Muslim faith was an immigrant from Senegal who is also of the Muslim faith. The media however is continuing to demonize the naturalized citizen and has made little or no mention that the hero of this tale has the same basic religious philosophy as the bad guy. The more I read about Shahzad the more he comes off as an bitter loser and there are no shortage of people ready to take advantage and use someone like that. A second well-deserved tip of the hat to Samurai Frog.

Art: The news that Frank Frazetta died sure sheds some light on the fight going on between his son and the rest of the family. It will probably be some time before fans find out if the various members of his family was fighting to protect his legacy or being greedy poopy-heads. Conan vs. the Man-Ape is one of my favorite illustrations from one of my favorite Howard stories.

10 comments:

  1. Conan vs. the Man-Ape is one of my favorite illustrations from one of my favorite Howard stories.

    Me too. I think a huge part of the reason I love that story so much is because of Frazetta's painting, which was the cover of the edition I had as a kid.

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  2. "I'm sure this is done for the purpose of the story and sometimes due to contractual obligations for the actor to get so many minutes of screen time (Yes, I'm looking at you, Toby McGuire)."

    Remember "Judge Dredd"? The comic-book badass cop was kinda of anonymous and never took off his helmet.

    You can get away with that for a stunt-double type actor (think Ron Perlman in his pre-Hellboy days), but no way can you make a movie with a big star without showing his face. So off went the helmet.

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  3. "It bears repeating that they man who called in the failed Times Square car bomb planted by an American citizen of Muslim faith was an immigrant from Senegal who is also of the Muslim faith."

    Also, remember the Nigerian pantsbomber. His father who turned him in was also a Muslim from Nigeria.

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  4. The "Fringe" episode two weeks ago reminded me of "The Girl Who Was Death" episode of "The Prisoner." Same basic bedtime-story/fantasy structure. Maybe the "Fringe" ep would have been better if he'd pounded eight or ten wildly disparate drinks to induce vomiting.

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  5. OMG - Separated at birth moment again. I too watch 'Night Shift' two days ago - a movie me and my friends must have watched 50 times since the friends house we hung out at had lots of friend chicken, a pool and a sauna but NO cable or satellite TVs. His parents were such luddites. But they did have a BETA machine and ONE Beta Tape -

    "Night Shift' Still hold up after all these years - "Barney Rubble - what an actor!"

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  6. Oh, I'm sure they had more than one beta video cassette, you just never saw those.

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  7. "The other problem I have is with armored fighters in particular who remove their protective head gear during battle."

    Man, you can tell you've never had to wear a variety of 'protective' helmets, hats, hoods, masks or visors in your time!

    Apart from the sense of PHYSICAL constriction, the heat, the sheer airlessness, the inability of your skin to breathe, the unpleasant of trickling sweat, there's the sheer psychological indignation at having to wear the damned things at all!

    Saying all that, you're probably correct about the face as corporate logo getting its contractual amount of time on screen, (though there may also be a reassurance element to the audience they're getting their money's worth, a bit like when you're playing at 'monsters' with kids, and you periodically give a brief flash of your real face to reassure them it's still you PRETENDING, and you haven't somehow suddenly permanently changed into a REAL monster).

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  8. I was in the military. I wore helmets, masks and even sealed, full body suits on many occasions.

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  9. How I wish Meyrink had played Batman instead of Kilmer. Or anything really. Like the Sagal twins, she can do no wrong.

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