The X-Women

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Captain America (Chris Evans) actually met Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) years ago

As The Avengers nears it's North American debut, it has already opened in several other countries, I noticed one interesting fact. That Captain America has met Black Widow before now. Well the stars who are playing the respective heroes, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. The two starred in the 2004 teen comedy, The Perfect Score, about a bunch of high school seniors who plan to steal the SAT answers. That was eight years ago, and I'm sure the pair had to idea they would be saving the world as super-heroes in the comic book extravaganza, The Avengers. Just a cool little random fact.
As Black Widow and Captain America, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans
 have come a long way from their high school days.....

Case in point...The Perfect Score

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attack The Block (2011) is a B movie delight!

Finally caught this buzzed about little film from last year on cable last night. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Set in South London, this film has a bunch of teens who must thwart an alien invasion in their own neighborhood. Led by the enigmatic Moses (a terrific turn by John Boyega, who will remind you of a young Denzel Washington), this band of reckless youths are a harmless lot. Sure they rob some people and commit a little vandalism, but nothing extreme. Until one night they cross paths with a young woman named Sam (played by Jodie Whittaker) who is a nurse and happens to live in the same apartment complex as the boys, unbeknownst to them. Well they mug her one night just as a blazing object falls from the sky and smashes a car. They investigate and it's a little alien creature who attacks Moses. The gang gives chase and ends up killing the creature, but this is only the beginning as much bigger aliens start falling from the sky. And guess what, they target Moses and his friends, looking for a little payback. Well these boys don't back down without a fight as they grab their weapons of choice, which range from a baseball bat to a cool stash of powerful fireworks to a freakin awesome samurai sword. Things get bloody and action packed as the movie goes along with Moses becoming one bad ass hero. Also plenty of humor, especially coming from the character called Pest. Filmed on a very low budget, what the film lacks in visual flair, more than makes up for in interesting characters and inventive action scenes. Not too many people know about this film, including myself until watching it last night. I was highly entertained for 85 minutes. From the producers of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim and co-starring Nick Frost, you have to check out this cool movie. Oh and one more thing, the whole cast speaks in a very thick British accent, but I understood them perfectly.
Moses and Sam about to mess up some aliens...

Our heroes...

Hey it's Nick Ron, a drug dealer who has the most fortified place in
the whole movie!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seminal Moments in comic book movies: Hit Girl goes ballistic in KICK-ASS

 Say what again! I dare ya!

OK, while this very cool comic book movie is all about a high school student named Dave Lizewski who becomes a super hero called Kick-Ass, the real star of the movie is the lethal and young Hit Girl (played by Chloe Grace Moretz). Trained by her dad, Big Daddy (the always weird but fun Nicolas Cage), she dispenses brutal justice on all bad guys with gut wrenching efficiency. This girl is no joke. She is like a mini Punisher! Check out this scene where she takes on the bad guys on their own turf, rocking to the tune of Joan Jett's Bad Reputation!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) is a near masterpiece

Having not read the book or seen the original Swedish film version, I went into this with no previous knowledge and could sit back and just watch this amazing film. Didn't have any preconceived notions of what to expect and having to compare against the original version. Well I was immediately drawn into this film from the very beginning with what has to be one of the best title credit sequences ever. Whoever did this work should have won an Oscar. Just amazing  imagery that grabs hold of your senses and doesn't let go. 

Daniel Craig showing that there is more to him than just being James Bond...

The story has disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (a solid Daniel Craig in a very good non-Bond role) being summoned by the wealthy Henrik Vanger (the still game Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance of Vanger's niece, who went missing over 40 years ago. Blomkvist recruits computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (an impressive performance by Rooney Mara) to help him to research. They meet resistance from the other family members, who doesn't want the past dredge up or their secrets to come out. Which are of the shocking kind, including incest and rape. 

 Lisbeth is not your typical leading lady type character...and thank god for that!

Be warned this film is not easy to watch as there are several scenes that will have you gasping and recoiling a bit. Take for instance Lisbeth and her dealing with the executor of her recently passed guardian's will. Things get nasty and very violent between the two and Lisbeth does not shy away as she takes matters personally. The scene reaches a brutal climax that had me thinking...whoa! The direction is superb by David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club). As is the stunning cinematography, to make this one of the best looking films I have ever seen. 

Veteran actor Christopher Plummer lends a hand to Daniel Craig...

A superb supporting cast that includes Stellan Skarsgard, Joely Richardson, Robin Wright, Steven Berkoff, and Geraldine James. But the standout is Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. Now since I haven't seen the original version and Naomi Rapace's performance but I can honestly say Mara is truly amazing as Lisbeth. She's smart, physical, sexual, intriguing, and definitely has a unique persona. Lisbeth and Mikael don't meet until about an hour in the film but when they do, there is an immediate attraction. And they make quite the pair.

Lisbeth meeting Mikael for the first time...

And like I said earlier, this is not a feel good movie. But a very interesting one. And it's never boring. In fact I think it's one of the best films I have ever seen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seminal moments in comic book movies: Wolverine pops his claws for the first time

It was perfect casting when Hugh Jackman landed the role of everyone's favorite mutant from Canada... Wolverine. From his opening scene in the first X-Men movie (2000) you know he was the guy. And when he popped his claws with the trademark SNIKT! sound, as an X-Men fan, I was in fanboy heaven. I can remember that scene and how the audience reacted. Everyone was cheering and clapping and saying "Oh yes! That's it! That's Wolverine!". Perfection!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Seminal moments in comic book movies: Batman drops his name on a bad guy

It took over 20 years to bring a proper Dark Knight to the big screen to erase memories of the campy 60's TV series. While the series was fun and had it moments, we wanted a more serious take on Batman. And director Tim Burton delivered the goods. Now when he cast Michael "Mr. Mom" Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, everyone was like..huh? But guess what Keaton did a pretty good job. Batman was a huge blockbuster hit during the summer of 1989 and while there are plenty of moments to choose from as the one to be called pivotal: the intro of Jack Nicholson as the disfigured Joker; Batman rolling down the streets of Gotham in the batmobile and others. But I will go with the very opening scene where two low life criminals are divvying up their recent score on a rooftop building when Batman makes his very cool appearance and then name checks himself.
I'M BATMAN! The bad guy had to have an accident in his pants right then and there.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seminal moments in comic book movies: Peter Parker tests out his new spider powers

Spider-Man is my favorite super-hero so I was ecstatic when they finally announced he was getting the big screen treatment ala Superman and Batman. One of the best moments is after getting by that radioactive spider, Peter Parker starts exhibiting some strange new powers. The first time he learns he can climb a wall is just awesome. And then he starts running all over the city. And of course he has to try his amazing web-line. Love this scene. Expect plenty more pivotal moments from this terrific series.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seminal moments in comic book movies: Superman takes flight in Metropolis

What with 2012 looming to be a very big year for comic book movies with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man, I thought of doing this new series dedicated to the most pivotal moments in comic book movies. Not a ranking of favorite movies, but just those moments in the movies where you know this is it, this is what you have dreamed of for years. First up is the excellent 1978 film, Superman, which is one of the most loved comic book movies of all time. For me the seminal moment is when Lois Lane is in trouble, hanging from the helicopter off the roof of the Daily Bugle and Clark sees it from below and makes a quick change into the Man of Steel and takes flight. The music swells as he soars upward and it's a fantastic moment. Christopher Reeve is perfect as Superman. And this movie rocks! Here's the scene:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Feel the Wrath of The Titans....I did and it was awesome!

 I know Clash of the Titans was not well liked by a lot of people back in 2010. But I liked it. The only fault I had with it was the hasty 3D conversion which was very shoddy looking. The film itself was enjoyable enough without the tricks of the 3D flash. Now comes the sequel, Wrath of the Titans, that is set 10 years later. And it amps up the action, monsters, spectacles, and the gods themselves for one heck of a ride.

 Perseus readies himself for an attack
Perseus (once again played by Sam Worthington, this time sporting a more appropriate hairdo) has settled down and living the quiet life. Raising his son Hellios after his wife Io has passed on. He refuses to let his son become a warrior and instead teaches him all about fishing and the simple things. One night Zeus (Liam Neeson) comes a calling to ask for Perseus's help in stopping Kronos (Zeus's father from escaping the Underworld). Perseus declines and that sets the stage for the plot of this film.
Ralph Fiennes returns as Hades...and yes he is still pissed off

Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) end up capturing Zeus to steal his power to feed Kronos so he can break free. Before he is freed several other demons and monsters escape and start attacking the mortals. First up Perseus battles a two headed beast called Chimera, which looks quite vicious. The battle between this beast and Perseus is quite exciting. Soon after Perseus realizes his son will never be safe if he doesn't try to stop Kronos from escaping. 

Andromeda has that look of..Do not mess with me today!!!

So he finds the son of Poseidon and Queen Andromeda (this time played by Rosamund Pike) to find the weapons maker of the Gods weapons to find a way into the Underworld. He is played with great hilarity by Bill Nighy. Along the way our heroes must deal with one-eyed cyclops and a vengeance obsessed Ares, who hates his half brother Perseus. Ares and Perseus have a knock down drag out fight that is awesome. 

Brothers in arms Hades and Zeus about to take on their dear old dad Kronos

Then Zeus and Hades get to join the fray as they battle their father and his demons. It's very cool seeing Zeus throw lightning bolts all over the place and walking around like he owns the place. Then the final battle between Perseus and Kronos is pretty cool too, even if it is similar to the finale of the first Titans, when Perseus rode his horse Pegasus as they swooped all around the Kraken.

Kronos spewing his crap all over the place
So I liked Wrath a little more than Clash simply because it was more straight forward, more action, and more interaction between the characters. The effects were really good and it has a booming music score. Wrath of the Titans rocks.

Lucy Lawless makes XENA one of the best fictional characters ever created

I am a huge Lucy Lawless fan and think that her Xena character is one of the best ever created. I remember when I first saw Xena back in the mid 90's as a character introduced on the Hercules TV series. She proved so popular that Lucy was granted her own series. Now what makes Xena such an amazing character is her history. She began as a villainess, an adversary for Hercules. A ruthless, despicable woman, who had an army at her command. And marched over the world, conquering towns and killing people by the scores. But all that changed once she met the young and innocent Gabrielle and the two embarked on a journey to battle for justice and save as many people as they could. Xena was in constant turmoil as several times over the course of the series run, she would run into her past in the survivors of her past massacres as she would try to continue to do good. That what makes her such an intriguing character. Who better to know how a villain thinks and acts than one who used to be a villain themselves. And of course she was badass. There was no better warrior than Xena. And she wasn't always serious. Every now and then she would show here lighter side and proved to be quite humorous. As she took on warlords, demons, monsters and even Ares, the war god himself. Xena ran from 1995-2001 with 134 episodes and I enjoyed every delicious moment. I own several of the DVDs as I partake in Xena marathons from time to time. Most recently last night, in honor of Lucy's birthday.
I would love to see Xena make a return in a new series or at least a movie. It would be awesome indeed!