Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Another winner from the DC Universe animated films library. These guys may be slacking when it comes to making live action films like their counterpart Marvel does, but they are definitely at the head of the class when it comes making entertaining animated films based on their roster of iconic super heroes. For this one, Under The Red Hood, they adapted one of their more popular stories from the last few years. The story takes place 5 years after the brutal murder of Jason Todd (the second Robin) by the psychotic Joker, which begins this film. After that strong opening, things switch to Gotham when a new player calling himself The Red Hood, arrives looking to shake things up. He targets the crime lords who work for the sadistic crime boss, The Black Mask and manages to interfere with Mask's criminal operations. Enter Batman and Nightwing (Dick Grayson, the first Robin) who stop one of Mask's illegal shipments, which happen to contain the powerhouse android Amazo, who has battled the entire Justice League a few times. The dynamic duo leap into action and it's cool as hell seeing these guys together again just like the good old days. Nightwing spits out the wisecracks left and right and Batman is his usual grim and determined self, but manages a few nice one-liners himself. Black Mask gets wind of all this and hires a crew of armored powered goons to take out Hood and Batman which leads to a fantastic throw-down. After that skirmish, Batman and Hood face off and Batman learns that Hood is indeed Jason Todd back from the dead. Only one person could have pulled that off..Ra's al Ghul, which sends Batman to question him. Things reach a boiling point when Black Mask has had it with these two and breaks The Joker out of Arkham to kill Red Hood. Which sets up a knock down drag out fight between Batman, Red Hood, and The Joker. Under The Red Hood is one of the best comic book movies ever. And just because it's animated, it does not diminish the quality of the story and characters. I enjoyed this much as I did the live action The Dark Knight. A superlative voice cast which includes Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Jensen Ackles as Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, Jason Issacs as Ghul, and John Di Maggio as The Joker. Trust me, Under The Red Hood is truly a sensational film that will not disappoint comic book fans.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Finally watched Kick-Ass and I loved it. The film is based on the popular graphic novel by Mark Millar and while I read only a few issues of the series, I think the movie delivers on everything promised. Say unlike the Angelina Jolie misguided comic adaptation of Wanted, another Millar book. Kick-Ass takes the comic book movie and turns it on it's head. And it's a joy to behold and an awesome ride to take. The story centers on Dave Lizewski (a solid Aaron Johnson) who is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so. He proposes the question to his friends, why a regular person hasn't done the super-hero thing before. The response is that they would get their ass handed to them. Which Dave learns the hard way. He orders a suit from online complete with mask and fighting batons, takes the name Kick-Ass and promptly tries to fight crime. His initial foray nearly kills him but he becomes better at super-heroics as the movie goes along. Well, he gets a lot of help from a father and daughter team named Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (a sensational Chloe Moretz). This duo will remind you of Batman and Robin. Except for that they kill the bad guys, graphically. Hit Girl is just a whirlwind dynamo, proficient in martial arts and firearms. Did I mention she is only 11 years old. Anyway, these heroes stir up trouble for the local bad guy Frank D'Amico (played by Mark Strong), whose own son (Superbad's Christopher Mintz-Plasse) takes on the identity of another hero called Red Mist, who tries to form a friendship with Kick-Ass.
This is one of the most fun movies I have seen in a while. But don't let the costumes fool you, this ain't no kiddie movie. The violence is graphic and brutal. Big Daddy and Hit Girl don't play around. And while the movie centers on Dave's exploits and his repeated attempts at trying to woo fellow class-mate Katie, the movie gets it's biggest kick whenever Hit Girl is onscreen. The fight scenes are incredible and the stunt work amazing. There is also a lot of humor, but this is no spoof. Things get deadly serious when the bad guys strike back at our heroes. And then you realize, these guys don't have any powers and they could die at any moment. Kick-Ass is an awesome movie. Just let me say that after only one viewing, it ranks pretty high on my favorite comic book movies list. Probably in the top 5, definitely top 10.The cast is top notch and the music score is thrilling and rivals Batman, Superman and Spider-Man in that department. I look forward to a sequel. It's rare when you can say that about a movie nowadays.
Kick-Ass (2010, rated R) Stars Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Yancy Butler, Clark Duke.