The X-Women

Saturday, April 30, 2011

FAST FIVE starts the summer movie season off with a bang

The deliriously over-the-top Fast Five kick starts the 2011 summer movie season and is just the right movie to pump some serious adrenaline into a struggling movie season. Picking up right where Fast and Furious left off, street racing legend Dominic Torreto (once again played by Vin Diesel) is in custody and on his way to federal prison. His escape is engineered by ex-cop now fugitive Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Dom's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). After a sensational bus flipping scene that springs Dom from incarceration, the trio flee to Rio to plan their next move.
Which involves Dom's former crew member Vince (Matt Schulze) who has a plan to steal some sports cars off a moving train, which sets up another unbelievable high octane sequence. Things don't go smoothly as three DEA agents on board are killed in the crossfire and Dom and friends become Fugitives Most Wanted. They also have to deal with the crime boss of Rio who wants a chip that was in one of the cars. That chip contains information worth over $100 million.
The FBI send their top dog, a no holds barred agent named Hobbes (played with unrestrained gusto by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson). His performance is all fire and brimstone and he always gets his man. He gives the film much of it's super charged kick. So while evading Hobbes, Dom and Brian call in all their friends for one final job to take down Reyes, the kingpin of Rio. Which means welcome returns from former Fast And Furious stars such as Tyrese, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot. It's cool seeing the entire franchise gang in one film as lots of memories surface and old friends get re-acquainted. There is a surprising amount of depth in this sequel as lots of tension and secrets come out. But don't worry, it doesn't skimp on the action either. There is a cool rooftop chase above the streets of Rio involving the leads and there is one helluva throw down between Diesel and The Rock. The blows they trade are unbelievable and it is one of the best fight scenes ever captured on film.
There is a spectacular ambush sequence that will remind you of Clear and Present Danger as Hobbes and his team are under fire by Reyes men. If that scene doesn't get your adrenaline going then nothing will. Newcomer to the series is Elsa Pataky as a local cop who assists Hobbes in the pursuit of Torreto and O'Conner but starts to think more is going that what appears.
One of the trademarks of this series is a street race scene and this film has a beaut as Dom, Brian, Roman and Han race police chargers a quarter mile to see who is the best once and for all. It's a nice homage to the entire series in that one scene and I won't spoil it by telling you who wins it.
The climax is a ridiculous scene that has Dom and Brian pulling a vault down the streets of Rio with two police chargers being pursued by the entire police force. Is it over the top? Yes. Is it fun and exciting? Hell yes! And by going old school with actual driving and stunt work instead of CGI, things are better appreciated. Fast Five is one hell of a ride that will not disappoint fans.  Also look for the always cool 1970 black Charger to make an appearance. I just can't believe this is number five in this wildly popular series. I can remember like yesterday when the original Fast and Furious came out 10 years ago like it was yesterday. And while this one wraps everything up nice and neat, they do leave the door open for a possible sixth one. I'm game for it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SUPERMAN/BATMAN:APOCALYPSE (2010) rocks with a little help from WONDER WOMAN

Kara and Kal-El talking about their recent fight

While rival company Marvel has been churning out live-action movies of their biggest guns, DC has been getting by on only Batman and Superman. Until this year, when Green Lantern hits the screen this summer. But on the animation front, DC dominates like no other. Going back to the TV series of Batman, Superman, and the wildly popular Justice League, DC can do no wrong. Recently they have begun adapting the comic book series Superman/Batman for animated full length movies. The first was Public Enemies, which had our heroes hunted down by villains and other heroes at the order of President Lex Luthor. That was a very good start to this series, and Apocalypse continues that winning way, even surpassing Public Enemies.
Omigosh..I definitely took a wrong turn

The story has Kara, Superman's cousin arriving on Earth. Her initial encounter is with Batman, because the ship she crashes in is loaded with fragments of kryponite, so Supes has to stay in the background while Bats does his thing. Being an alien, Kara doesn't speak any English, so she mistakes Batman as a bad guy and flees. While she is frightened, her powers kicks in and wreaks havoc on the city by mistake. Supes finally shows and speaks Krypton and tells her they're cousins. A brief history lesson later and things calm down. But Batman doesn't trust Kara fully and that's where the tension comes in.
I'd appreciate it you boys quit checking me out..I'm married

Later on while out in the city of Metropolis, Clark (Superman's alter ego) and Kara are ambushed by Amazons led by Wonder Woman,who says Kara needs to be trained in the Amazonian way. Superman disagrees, Batman does not. The scene shifts to Paradise Island and Kara's training is going great until baddie Darkseid sends his Doomsday troops to take Kara back to Apokolis to be his queen. They succeed in taking Kara away only after Superman gets to cut loose and wipe out the Doomsday troops.
Yessir..I'm the Big Bad

So to get to Apokolis, our three heroes need help and that comes in the form of Big Barda, who used to be one of Darksied's fiercest warriors. She has a device that will transport our heroes to Apokolis to engage in a rescue mission. Once there, it's on. Superman goes head to head with Darkseid then has to fight a possessed Kara. Batman, a little out of his league has to deal with giant hell hounds. And Wonder Woman and Barda team up to take on Barda's former cronies...The Furies. Their battle is actually my favorite scene in this entire film as you get to see Wonder Woman kick some major ass.
This is how we do it on Paradise Island

Superman eventually convinces Kara that she is being controlled and she breaks free while Batman scares Darkseid with a ruse that he will blow up half the planet if he doesn't release his hold on Kara. Our heroes go home and when things are peaceful in Smallville, Darkseid returns to take out some revenge on Superman. Actually it's Kara who steps in and battles Darkseid pretty good. And Supes comes in to finish him off.

Apocalypse is a terrific movie, loaded with epic battles and a great storyline. All the characters are presented in all their comic book glory and you feel for them as much as you would human characters in a flesh and blood movie. Like I said Wonder Woman stands out in this one, as she shows why she is the best super-heroine ever. Talking back to Superman, taking on the Furies, and running things on Paradise Island, she is awesome.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Denzel Washington is a beast in TRAINING DAY (2001)

Over his long spanning career, Denzel Washington has always played the noble, upstanding character. A good guy that always does the right thing. Respected and loved. His roles in Courage Under Fire, Glory, The Pelican Grief, Philadelphia, The Siege, etc all show Denzel doing his normal thing. All that changed when he took the role of rogue LA police detective Alonzo Harris, who recruits a rookie police officer named Jake Hoyt (played by Ethan Hawke) and gives him a crash course in police work. Things start off simple enough when the two pull over some college kids, who just bought some drugs from a dealer. But when Jake is forced by Alonzo to smoke some of those drugs, things take a turn for the worse. Hoyt realizes he is in over his head as Alonzo repeatedly crosses over the line with his questionable tactics. Like strong-arming informants to killing former police officers and stealing stashes of money. Things come to a head when Jake makes a stand against Alonzo. Training Day is a raw, unflinching movie about police corruption. It should be a standard dirty cop movie but Denzel and Ethan elevate it to a higher level with their strong performances. You will be caught off-guard by Denzel's performance, as you have never seen him this dark before. He won an Oscar for Best Actor that year. Hawke is equally good too as the naive young cop suddenly thrust into this dangerous world. There are also strong supporting performances from Scott Glenn, Raymond J. Barry, Tom Berenger, Eva Mendes, and Cliff Curtis.
Training Day is one of the best of the police corruption movies.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GAME OF THRONES makes a thrilling debut

Game of Thrones is the newest series on HBO and the first episode aired Sunday night and I enjoyed it from start to finish. Based on a series of books that debut in the late 90's, Thrones is about seven noble families who fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. The primary families are the Starks (led by the always solid Sean Bean), the Lannisters (led by Charles Dance and Lena Headey), and the Baratheon (led by Mark Addy). These families are always hatching plans to deceive and overthrow each other amidst brutal fight scenes and sexual escapades. The opening sequence is very brutal and bloody as some ancient evil has been re-awakened and attacks some wayward soldiers. There are several scenes of political machinations going on and then several scenes of naked maidens running around free as can be. Bean and Headey stand out among the cast as they are veterans of medieval type surroundings. Bean, from The Fellowship of the Ring and Headey from 300. The first episode bodes well for this series which I will be watching every Sunday night from now on. Be warned though, it's not for the little ones with scenes of death and violence and even some incest between a brother and a sister.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

HARLEY QUINN is a little crazy but 100% awesome

The paramour of The Joker, Harley Quinn is without a doubt one of the best female characters ever created for the DC universe. She first appeared on the Batman animated series back in 1992 and was an instant hit. The following year she would make her comic book debut in The Batman Adventures.
The 1994 graphic novel Mad Love recounts the character's origin. Told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series and written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book describes Harley as an Arkham Asylum psychologist who falls for the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-off sidekick/lover. The story received wide praise and won the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. The New Batman Adventures series adapted Mad Love as the episode of the same name in 1999, making it the second "animated style" comic book adapted for the series (the other was Holiday Knights).

She becomes fascinated with the Joker while interning at Arkham, and volunteers to analyze him. She falls hopelessly in love nearly instantly with the Joker during their sessions, and she helps him escape from the asylum more than once. When the Joker is returned to Arkham after a battle with Batman, the sight of her badly injured patient drives Harley to don the costume and become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick and on/off girlfriend. She later becomes fast friends with Poison Ivy, who injects her with antitoxins to give her the same immunity to poisons she has.
Her popularity is still high after almost 20 years later. On IGN's 2009 Top 100 Comic Book Villians of All Time, Harley ranked #45. How 'bout that?

To keep the fun going my friend Harley Cyn will be stopping by here to shed her personal feelings about this terrific character.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Harley Quinn Quote for the Day

"And here you thought I was just another bubble-headed blonde bimbo! Well, the joke's on you - I'm not even a real blonde!"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Comic Book Cover of the Day - Superman vs Wonder Woman

Superman vs Wonder Woman...EPIC!
Not really a cover but still very nice from Jim Lee

Friday, April 1, 2011

HARLEY QUINN is April's Comic Book Character of the month

To kick off April Fools Day is Harley Quinn, DC's resident girl jester. She will be my comic book character of the month and I will post pics, reviews, etc of this awesomely great character that can leave you in stitches or in a body bag. Your choice. The sometime paramour of The Joker, Harley is a wonderful addition to the DCU, first appearing on the Batman animated TV series. Maybe I can get my new friend Harley Cyn to stop by and talk a little bit about this terrific character. Anyway, do come by this month as Hero Worship will be all fun and games.