khaosworks: (Spidey)
Re: Thor

I liked it - it wasn't as epic as I was hoping in scope, but it handled the mythos well, there was sufficient humour to ground it, and the grandeur of Asgard and the cosmic avenues it opens up for the rest of the Marvel Movieverse lent that right bit of spice to whet our appetites for the movies to come.

I loved Jaimie Alexander as Sif, though, and wish she had more time. I found her much hotter than Natalie Portman's Jane, but then I'm biased because I've always preferred badass Sif to slightly wet Jane.

I was really happy with the handling of Loki. They could have gotten all comic booky bwah-ha-ha God Of Evil on us, but Branagh and Hiddleston actually gave us a really subtle Loki. You saw the quiet way he was manipulating people, all Iago-like, but ultimately his motivations were not as one-dimensional as mere mischief, conquest or jealousy. The twists in his plan showed how Loki's mind works on multiple levels and people keep underestimating or not being able to comprehend how labyrinthine his schemes are - and that's the way it should be! Kieron Gillen understands this, as seen in the latest issue of Journey into Mystery when Young Loki speaks to the shade of his dead self.

Ultimately, Thor defeats Loki not by outwitting him but the way Thor does best: sheer brute force. And you know that Loki's last move was calculated and he was already working that in as a variable for the rematch. It was reminiscent also of the love-hate Shakespearean struggles between the two and Odin of the Simonson era, where even Loki will take up arms to defend his family and home. Loki as a character and as an actor in this movie was great.

If I could wish for something, it'd be a companion live action Tales of Asgard TV series going along the lines of Game of Thrones...
khaosworks: (Kirk)
One more Star Trek movie spoilery thing just occurred to me, in addition to my last post on the matter.

Spoilers. )
khaosworks: (Kirk)
Here's the thing: JJ Abrams' Star Trek a good movie. It is even, I dare say, a great movie - moves along at a great pace, well directed, has amazing special effects, nail-biting suspense, nice dialogue and characterisation (well, as much as you can get in a summer blockbuster), and even attempts to drop in the right Easter Eggs to long-time fans.

So don't think I didn't enjoy it, because I did and very much so. Rest assured that this movie is worth watching, wish the franchise the best of luck and look forward to more movies.

But to really, really enjoy it, as a long-time Star Trek fanboy, you got to do one thing. You have to throw out any idea that this might be, as the writers and director has claimed, that this somehow is an alternate universe explainable by changes in time travel. Because you can't. If you can ignore it, it's brilliant. If you can't, then... not so much.

I'll just deal with my rantings below. This bit you can skip if you don't care.

This bit you can skip if you don't care. )
khaosworks: (Love)
Now I've got that title out of my system, let's proceed. There be spoilers.

So I watched 'He's Just Not That Into You' yesterday... )
khaosworks: (Jay)
Re: The Dark Knight

Good movie, worth watching, great popcorn stuff, but man, was it long. Nolan and Goyer's script was well paced and plotted, but there were a few missteps, which I shall elaborate somewhat on. While some people are hailing this as the ultimate super-hero movie ever made, I still say the crown is staying right on Superman II's head. But that's just me.

As a side note, someone give Christian Bale a lozenge. Please. Or get Kevin Conroy to ADR his Batman speech.

Spoiler review follows. )
khaosworks: (Smart Boom)
Watched the Get Smart movie last night. I actually found it quite entertaining – and I'm not a big Steve Carrell fan, myself. He was pretty good in The Daily Show, but I found The Office too close to reality to be really comfortable watching or laughing at it, and I hated Evan Almighty from the trailer alone. Now, I do like Anne Hathaway, but that aside, I wanted to watch Get Smart because I have fond memories of the series, which were recently refreshed by getting the complete series on DVD from Time-Life.

I've come to the conclusion that a number of the negative reviews about the film are down to movie critics just dying to use "Missed It By That Much" as a tagline. I've read complaints about how the television show was so much better, how Max should have been more like Don Adams played him, and I'm wondering whether these critics watched the same movie I did.

I approached the movie cautiously, I admit. Watching several episodes of Get Smart in a row shows up both the genius and the flaws of the television show: its reliance on catch-phrase humour, the repeated gags, the slapstick (all of which are present, in moderation, in the movie). Max is certainly capable in the show when he gets going, but he's also a repeated bungler that gets a lot of bystanders killed in the process, and occasionally his cluenessness about his own shortcomings comes off as callousness. The movie version is a lot less buffoonish and a lot cleverer and more competent. While some have derided the movie Max's self-awareness of his shortcomings, this lends Max a depth that you never got to see in the sitcom.

The truth of the matter is, the movie isn't the television series. The historical and cultural context is different, and even the expectations of modern comedy are different. A straight import of the television show to the big screen would have been a disaster, catering only to a small segment of those who remember the original and would probably be happier watching the DVDs anyway. As it was, the little sight gags, allusions to and repeats of the catch phrases, all already pander to those who can recognise them... and perhaps a bit too much, like the appearance of a beloved recurring character in the last few minutes of the movie that, while welcome, seems a little superfluous. Catch phrase humour doesn't really fly anymore, with a post-modern audience. And for Steve Carrell to ape Don Adams, or Anne Hathaway to channel Barbara Feldon would have invited even more comparison and criticism. They take the characters and make it their own, which is probably for the best.

I think of this way: this is Get Smart in sorta kinda the same way that Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica was when compared to the original Battlestar Galactica. It takes the general spirit of the series, keeps the names, some of the trappings, and changes everything else. It's a reboot, an homage more than a "movie version". As with Max, these rebooted characters certainly have more depth than they ever did in the show (which isn't saying much to be sure, as they were pretty two-dimensional in the original), with the possible exception of Terence Stamp's Siegfried, which was a wasted opportunity and too generic and flat a villain.

Which is not to say it's without its flaws. The pacing kind of sags in the middle, the traitor's motivations are never made clear, and while Alan Arkin as the Chief has the best line in the entire movie, you never really feel the same connection between him and Max as was present between Ed Platt and Don Adams. The action sequences are perfunctory, and in the end, it's a good popcorn movie. It's not deep and it's not meant to be. It may be formulaic, but then consider the source material. If you want travesties, look at what Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson did with I Spy. Get Smart actually has affection for its sire and hews much closer to the feel of the original show, and that alone brings it up in my estimation.

The people who have criticised the movie for not being the television show are right: but in this case, it might actually be a good thing. Get Smart the movie divests itself of a lot of the outmoded comedy baggage and it has a degree of heart, which is more than you can say for most remakes these days. It won't win any awards, but it's worth a watch.
khaosworks: (LOLHulk)
Got back from The Incredible Hulk. Not quite as incredible as I'd hoped, but still pretty darn good and entertaining (and the end fight is a lot better than the one in Iron Man, but then excessive property damage makes me happy).

Everyone knows that this isn't a sequel to the Ang Lee train wreck, but the key thing to keep in mind is that this is actually a reboot of the television series. The opening montage, the lab set-up that Banner has that transforms him into the Green Goliath... it's all right out of the television show. Lou Ferrigno is doing the Hulk roars, for pete's sake.

Norton does a better Banner than Bana, because despite the good muscle tone, he's more geeky sounding and looking. Liv Tyler brings the pretty, but she's more or less emotionally flat as Betty; then again, Tyler has never particularly impressed me with her acting chops. William Hurt is workman-like with Thunderbolt Ross. In fact, generally the characterisation is pretty blah. You're just waiting for Banner to hulk out, really. It says something when the most emotionally interesting character is the CGI'd one. But then again, that's who you paid to see.

Also, lots of nice, non-intrusive call-backs to the television show as well as the comic book. People in the know will notice familiar names, see the set-ups for future villains, and enjoy the background details that make this a part of a unified Marvel Studios universe and Chapter 2 in the overall Avengers saga. And to remind people: no need to stay behind for the credits if you don't wanna: there's nothing after them this time.

And please, guys. Don't fuck up Iron Man 2.
khaosworks: (Kung Fu Panda)
Just came back from Kung Fu Panda. Loved it — in fact, it's probably the first of the Dreamworks CGI-animated movies that I've actually really enjoyed. But then I'm a sucker for the unabashed, whole hog, cannonballing into a swimming pool type of joy and pleasure that Americans seem to take in over-the-top representations of Chinese kung fu movie tropes. It's funny, it's kid friendly, and it moves along at a quick clip.

I can tell you exactly where the movie got me. The moment where I sat back and decided to enjoy the ride. It's in the first couple of minutes of the movie, when Jack Black (as the titular Kung Fu Panda, Po), in response to a emphatic, "How can we ever repay you?" replies:

"There is no charge for Awesomeness."

(Which isn't true: the ticket cost us $9 a pop. But the movie is awesome.)
khaosworks: (Jay)
Reel 13 is a short film showcase by WNET New York. The winner of June 7, 2008 is a short film (originally made in 2005) titled "Super Power Blues" written and directed by Greg Pak, who also happens to be the current writer on The Incredible HulkHercules.
khaosworks: (Iron Man)
Watched Iron Man last night. Possibly the most enjoyable super-hero movie Marvel has ever put out, and right up there in my top three super-hero movies, period, next to Superman II and Spider-Man 2. It does pretty much what I've always said about adapting comic books and icons to the screen — you don't have to be word-perfect faithful (and, in fact, you probably don't want to be... case in point, Daredevil), you just have to be able to get the character enough to show us what he's all about.

And Favreau did good. He hewed as close to the origin as he could and still make it up to date, and kept the action and big explosions going along at a good enough clip so that the two hours just flew by. Of course, the biggest credit has to go to Robert Downey, Jr., who played Stark with the right combination of arrogance, self-righteousness and vulnerability that is the essence of the comic book character. What helps of course is the good humour that permeates the script, allowing the audience much more empathy with Stark than, say, we had with Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, which wins points on awesome but loses to Iron Man in terms of heart (no pun intended, given Tony's condition). But then, that's always been one of the dividing lines between DC and Marvel.

Marvel Studios acquitted itself very nicely with this first foray. Here's hoping The Incredible Hulk will similarly measure up. Now, I want the toys.
khaosworks: (D'oh!)

"How do I know you're not CONTROL?"
"If I were CONTROL, you'd already be dead."
"And if you were CONTROL, you'd already be dead."
"Neither of us is dead, so I'm obviously not from CONTROL."
"That actually makes sense."

Would you believe it actually looks that it might be pretty good?
khaosworks: (Jay)
First look at some of the character costumes for the Watchmen movie. Not sure that I really like the Batman look, myself...
khaosworks: (WGA)
Pictures from the current Watchmen movie in production. Gotta say, they managed to get the backgrounds right...
khaosworks: (Television)
In case people haven't noticed this, the best damn superhero comic book story of the last five years — hell, the last decade, maybe — is being adapted into an animated movie. The sad, sad part is that because of the time constraints, a lot of the best bits had to be cut out. I can only hope that the ultimate product doesn't completely screw up Darwyn's story.

This is the teaser trailer, made up of excerpts from the comic book and snippets of animation.
khaosworks: (Salute)
... Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Spirit."

What? The Spirit isn't about whores. )

Bonus parody )

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