Posts tagged #marvel

Josh's Thoughts on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A few weeks ago, ABC debuted the new Avengers spin-off TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which focuses on a new set of characters, minus agent Phil Coulson, and takes place in the Marvel cinematic universe. The show has been hyped up for a couple years now, but does it live up to the hype?

The Look…
Before the show premiered, I thought about what the show would look like. I mean, we all knew it was going to be about a bunch of guys and gals running around in suits and skin-tight leather, but would it offer the same cinematic quality? Based solely on the premiere, I would say, no. The look of that first show kind of took me out of it with how “TV-like” it looked. One shouldn’t expect Avengers-quality lighting and direction, but the pilot looked like an under-budget, Syfy, made-for-TV movie to me. It all struck me as odd, since the guy who wrote and directed The Avengers wrote and directed S.H.I.E.L.D. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed last week’s episode (the second episode) more. The look was the same, but the direction was much better in my opinion.

The Avengers?
When asked about the idea of having main actors from the movie franchise appearing on the show, creator and director, Joss Whedon, said that he wanted the show to stand on its own, and be judged by the quality of its characters - not because everybody, and I’m paraphrasing here, “wanted to see Iron Man this week.” I can understand that. And I’ll admit that I like the characters in S.H.I.E.L.D. (even though they follow the typical Joss Whedon characterizations which have followed him around his entire career and through every show he creates), but the lack of at least one Avengers actor in the pilot kind of brought it down a notch for me. I don’t think that’s because of the new cast being uninteresting or unable to stand on their own; it’s because I found it hard to connect the dots between the pilot and the movies. It just didn’t “feel” the same. Having one of the Avengers introduce me to these new folks would have made the transition a bit easier and seamless for me.

“But the Avengers have a presence in the show, idiot! They talk about them all the time!”
Sure, there are tee-tiny clips of the Avengers in the opening of the episode, but none of them are featured. And it seems that the show, even in its second episode, knows that it’s hard to connect the two worlds by the way it constantly beats references to them over your head all the time. (“See how I just talked about Thor’s hammer? Yeah, this is an Avengers show! You like how I briefly mentioned Black Widow? See? Avengers show!”) The way that we are constantly reminded by the characters that the show is related to the events post-Avengers seems really forced, when all we would really need is for Cap to show up and say, “Hey, ‘err body!” I understand this is easier said than done, given the schedules of those actors and the money it would take to get them there, but a visual connection is always more powerful than an auditory one.

“What about Coulson then, you moron?!”
Coulson is a beloved character in the film franchise, there’s no doubt about that. I like Coulson, but in all honesty, he’s just a stereotypical “FBI-type” in a suit who supposedly died in The Avengers. For most people, THE guys in THE suits would probably make for a more lasting impression. Let’s not forget about that, by the way. Personally, I find the plot point of the mystery behind his return interesting - I just wonder if it confuses people. Maybe not, but whenever he showed up in the pilot, I just remember thinking, “Are people going to get this?” The way they hint at it on the show is kind of cryptic, so I was worried it might be confusing for some.

Nick Fury!
My concerns with the above mentioned aspect of the show was partly alleviated when, at the very tail end of the second episode, **SPOILERS** Nick Fury shows up. I still would have preferred it to be one of the Avengers themselves, but Nick Fury will do for now – though I wish he had been in the first episode to help people who have the same concerns and are a lot less patient.

And THAT’S my main concern with the show. Right now, I’m enjoying it. I’ll probably enjoy it for however long it runs, but what about other people? I don’t want it to get cancelled, but if I’m having these concerns, a dedicated fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, I can only imagine what all the other less-patient people are saying about it. If these concerns grow, viewers will be lost, the ratings will go down and S.H.I.E.L.D will soon get canned. My advice to anyone who’s having the same issues about the series and is considering giving up on it: Give it some time. We’re only two episodes in at this point (3, in a few days) and hopefully these concerns will fade soon.


The Avengers Impressions

Tomorrow (Sept 25th), The Avengers arrives on Blu-ray to the delight of  millions of people. In light of this...and in light of the fact that we never did one...I thought now would be a great time to offer my informal review/impressions of the wildly successful superhero ensemble movie directed by TV's Joss Whedon.

Warning: Past this point there be spoilers.

Of all the films I saw this summer, all of them were enjoyable, quality entertainment. And given that they were so different from each other in terms of story, tone, and style, it's not really possible to compare them. But, I can say that out of all of them, I enjoyed The Avengers the most. Here's why.

The Fun
I've always been a fan of movies and TV shows that have a sense of fun about them. Perhaps it's because I cut my media watching teeth (that's a weird image, if you think about it) on properties like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future. While each of those had their heavy moments, they also had a general air of fun about them. Old Jedi masters hitting droids with sticks, archeologists cracking wise while cracking whip, and time-traveling teenage guys kissing their teenage moms without vomiting. I've noticed that this sense of fun often comes at the expense of some realism. Just think about it. Were these characters really in these situations, their more realistic responses would probably be less fun to watch (indeed, if someone really traveled through time and kissed his mom, would he not at least get sick to his stomach if not full on ralph right there).

This summer we had two major superhero movies (sorry Spiderman, you're too soon of a reboot in my eyes). Both I found to be excellent and enjoyable, but only one I found to have that sense of fun. The other, while a fine film, is not a motion picture I would describe as "fun." ("It was such a fun moment when Bane was beating the mess out of Batman in the sewer. And the part when the military wouldn't let Blake save those kids...awesome!" Yeah, that doesn't sound right.) And note that in describing it people often talk about its sense of realism.

There is a time for everything. I'm glad TDKR is the film that it is. The 'realistic' take on Batman has made for a great trilogy of films. But I'm also very glad that Marvel continues to imbue its films with a sense of fun.

Much of the credit for the fun in The Avengers in particular is due to writer/director Joss Whedon. While he has been known to avoid fun like the plague at times (the 6th season of Buffy, the last two seasons of Angel, etc.), by in large he's a guy who knows how, and is inclined, to include levity into what he produces. Fortunately, he was true to form with this film. From dialogue (his responsibility as a writer), to pacing and delivery (his responsibility as a director), The Avengers is a movie that will make you smile.

Of course, a lot of credit must also go to the actors (and the CG artists for The Hulk). The script gives each one of our leads a chance to shine in the fun department, but it is up to the actors and actresses to realize that potential. And they deliver in spades. From deadpan moments ("He's adopted"), to subtle ones (Steve slipping Fury a ten), to more direct ones ("Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?"), to slapstick (The Hulk), it all works wonderfully.

After the film premiered and from its opening weekend made insane amounts of money, The Avengers related images started popping on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. One of my favorites was of the four principle actors (Downey Jr., Evans, Hemsworth, and Ruffalo) pointing intimidatingly at the camera. The fan-added caption was, "Your move, Batman." You know, why am I describing it to you? This is the stinking Internet. Here's the picture.

It made me smile that a fun movie was doing so well, and that there were others out there who felt the same. (I'm assuming people liked that photo for that reason. But I guess it could be that they were fueled by Batman or DC hate.)

The Story
Sometime ago there was a 'meme' going around where you take film and succinctly and without passion describe its plot. I think it was popular because even great films sound incredibly boring and/or stupid when described that way. ("A farm boy joins forces with an old man, a smuggler, and his large dog in order to destroy a large weapon." Or take the sequel: "A farm boy turned war hero unwittingly kisses his sister, who later kisses a smuggler. The boy then has a fight with his dad." Or take the third installment: "Gold bikini." Ok, that last one still sounds fun to a lot of folks).

Let's do that with The Avengers:
A group of people (a strong man, a rich guy with a robot suit, a long-haired alien, an angry man, a bow hunter, and a spy) working for the government must stop arguing and come together to stop the long-haired alien's adopted brother from using a stolen block to destroy a city and maybe conquer Earth with a borrowed army of ugly monster aliens.

Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it? Boy, that was fun.

But I think the 'meme' also points out something very interesting about the films/shows/novels that we enjoy. While the general story certainly matters, the magic is usually found in the details—characters, dialogue, nuances in plot, pacing, visual and audio design (except in novels of course). The Avengers typifies this very well. It's the interactions between characters, the memorable bits of dialogue, the iconic design of our heroes, the stirring music of Alan Silvestri, the individual journeys of the characters, etc. that make all the difference.

A little bit on that last point. Most of the main characters have their own mini-growth arcs. Steve Rogers is assimilating into the 21st century. Tony Stark has to conquer his ego and learn how to work well with others. Bruce Banner has to demonstrate to himself that he really can control the Hulk. Black Widow has to let go of the guilt of her past. Hawkeye has to stop being controlled by Loki (ok, that one is more of a major plot point). Nick Fury has to finally and fully put his faith where his heart knows he should (i.e., The Avengers) regardless of personal consequences. And that man over there has to beat his Galaga addiction. It's those things that take what is otherwise a fairly straightforward story into something more engaging.

The Style
I think in many of my reviews, I'll have a section like this where I give my take on some of the nuts and bolts features of any film.

-  Story: Already talked about it.
-  Dialogue: On the whole, very good I felt. All the characters were given their proper 'voice,' and the words flow naturally most of the time.
-  Acting: Everyone nailed it.
-  Editing and Pacing: Everything was good here, I thought. It wasn't rushed, nor did it drag anywhere for me. The action scenes were kinetic, but not spastic. The 'tender' moments were given the screen time they needed.
-  Music: I'm a huge Alan Silvestri fan. I think he's one of the best composers working today. Though this wasn't my favorite score of his (the BTTF scores still hold that spot), I thought it was good. There weren't any cues that jumped out at me during the initial viewing (the way, say, The Asteroid Field did in ESB), but the main theme is very nice. It's simple, especially in comparison to the great movies themes of the past, but it is effective. You just can't beat a good french horn lead.
-  3D: This was a post-production 3D conversion, rather than being shot in 3D (like TRON: Legacy). Conversions are a mixed bag. One might even call them a box of chocolates. You know....cause you never...know.....what you're gonna get. Ahem, anyway, converting a 2D movie to a 3D movie is a little bit of science and a whole lot of art. It takes talented people to do such work. I've been fortunate, in that I've seen four 2D to 3D converted films (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Phantom Menace, and The Avengers), and they've all been done well. I saw The Avengers in IMAX 3D, so I had a very good look at it. There were a few places where I could tell it was a conversion (at the time I only suspected it, as I did not then know whether it was shot in 3D or converted). But on the whole, it was very well done. My wife is afraid of heights, and the fight on the carrier with Iron Man, Cap, and some goons made her very uncomfortable. So...mission accomplished I guess.

What I Didn't Like
This is The Inner Dorkdom, where we like things. But that doesn't mean we think everything we like is perfect. There were a few things about the film I either didn't like, or thought could have been done in a way that would have been more least for me.

I start with the villains. Loki already had a film wherein he was introduced and explored. As a result, although there are a few gaps, we as an audience already understand his motivations pretty well. (Although I was a bit surprised by the menacing off-kilter demeanor he shows here, as it was a change from the more cool and calculating vibe he gave in Thor.) So I'm not talking so much about him as I am the other villains. The vulturri, or the hibachi, or the cardigans, or whatever they were called. We know little about them, other than they want the Tesseract, and are willing to make a deal with Loki to get it. (Incidentally, here's a bit of 'fridge logic' I had: Ok, so Loki comes through a wormhole to Earth to get the Tesseract. The impression I got was that the wormhole was created by the Tesseract. So, why couldn't the krelshie come through and get it themselves? Why did they need Loki to do it? Maybe I just missed it.) We figure these aliens are bad news, as they support Loki's desire to conquer Earth. But beyond that, they are a total stinkin' mystery. The teaser at the end of the film suggests they'll get their exposition in the next Avengers film. But I wonder if a bit more of that in this film would have made it that much more satisfying.

Second, the "let's bicker in the woods" scene. Don't get me wrong, I found the scene enjoyable, and it setup the idea that these heroes won't just come together and be like all BFFs and stuff. But the logic of it seemed a bit strained to me. Why would Stark go after Thor? According to him he, unlike everyone else, did his homework. You'd think that would include at least some info on Thor. So why would he fight him, especially if that meant leaving Loki unguarded? On my second viewing I noticed Stark's justification: it doesn't matter if Thor is good, if he takes Loki there's no clue where the Tesseract is. No offense to anyone, but this seems a bit weak to me. Why would Stark think Thor would just take Loki and leave the people of Earth in the lurch? In his earlier time on Earth, the Norse god demonstrated a strong concern for Earthlings, so for him to take Loki and leave wouldn't make sense. But on a positive note, I can't help but wonder if this scene was also setting up certain ways these three can work together, ways that aren't paid off in this film but might in future installments (Thor can charge up Tony's suit, Thor's hammer + Cap's shield = impressive shockblast).

Third, the "let's all bicker on the boat" scene. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for the scene. And by in large I thought it was pretty good. Steve would be annoyed by Tony's showboating attitude. Tony would be annoyed by Steve's boy scout attitude. Bruce would be on edge about the whole 'you made a cage for me' thing. Nick would be flustered at these guys attributing to him bad motives and/or the worse judgment in the history of mankind, apparently. But there were a couple of moments where it felt a little forced to me. The standout one for me was when Thor, who'd been pretty level headed up until this point, chimed in with something to the effect of, "You humans are so puny." Whaa? Where'd that come from?

Fourth, the politics of the whole "we were making weapons with the Tesseract" subplot. I thought the buildup, i.e., the hinting that S.H.I.E.L.D. was up to something fishy, could have been executed better. In particular, it felt a bit forced and stumbling. For example, why would Banner have thought Loki's "a warm light" comment was meant for Stark? I'll grant that Banner could have surmised that Loki had learned some things about S.H.I.E.L.D. activity, like them trying to use the Tesseract to make clean energy, from Hawkeye and Selvig. Banner might even have speculated that they told him that Stark, who wasn't working with them, was involved in clean energy research. But why would Banner think that Loki was trying to tell Stark something? That is, unless it was to get him to turn on S.H.I.E.L.D., in which case he'd clearly be baiting him (which appears to be exactly what he was doing) and they'd be wise not to bite. Then, aside from the buildup, there's the unanimity of their opposition to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s research, and the way they express it. Steve lived before the atom bomb, so I don't see it as a foregone conclusion that he'd be on the anti-nuke train that's popular in some circles in 2012. Tony having a problem with it is totally believable and expected, but the way he objected didn't add up. He said sarcastically that the whole 'have weapons of mass destruction as a form of deterrent' thing has worked out so well in the past. Granted it hasn't been absolutely flawless...but, yeah Mr. Stark, it actually has worked well in the past. The Cold War ended without a single nuclear strike. I would think that a guy whose business used to be weapons would know that. Again, I'm not saying he'd be in favor of what S.H.I.E.L.D. had done. It just seems to me he'd have a better objection. And finally, after the ambush on the carrier, when Steve is trying to 'rally the troops,' he comments that Nick Fury has the same blood on his hands that Loki does. Now, I'm no expert on Captain Steve Rogers. But it seems to me that a man from the 1940's wouldn't look at things that way. Nick Fury had not killed those 80 people in two days, Loki had. Certainly Fury's actions were a link in the chain of events they found themselves in, but he didn't kill those people. Back in Steve's day personal individual responsibility was something people emphasized. And they weren't post-modern in their thinking either. So although I can definitely see Steve acknowledging that Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s actions contributed to the choices Loki had made, I can't see him blaming Loki's atrocities on anyone else but Loki.

And lastly, there's the matter of Bruce's inconsistent, in my view, ability to control The Hulk. From the first time we see him, the focus is on not making him angry (we wouldn't like him if he were angry). Folks seem to be preoccupied with walking that fine line with him. And he doesn't shy away from reminding us how dangerous and unpredictable "the other guy" can be. Then the attack on the carrier goes down, and sure enough, Dr. Banner loses it and the Hulk nearly kills Black Widow. Then, as the battle in New York starts up, suddenly all that is different. Bruce tells them that his secret is that he's always angry, and then, at will, transforms into the Hulk and takes orders from Cap just like the rest of them. In the words of the great philosopher Goofy, "som'th'n wrong here." It looks to me like there's a missing step in there. Perhaps the answer would have been found in a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor.

But these things weren't enough to in any way ruin the movie for me. As I say, it was my favorite film of the summer, and I look forward to more movies set in the Marvel universe.

Feel free to comment!

 - Nic


Posted on September 24, 2012 .

!!! I'll Take A Bottle Of Jack And Some Nails, I Got To Go Build AHouse (Unofficial Punisher) !!!

Thomas Jane is the Man !!!

Marvel is the king right now. No question that they are dominating the movie world and there seems to be no end in sight. This is good, we need someone making good superhero/comic book films because apparently "No One Else Will". They have done well thru other studios with the X-Men and Spider-Man and have dropped the bomb with their Marvel Universe Movies through Disney. Then there is the other side of the coin, the 2nd and 3rd tier characters that have homes at different studios. I thought the first Daredevil movie was good, I liked the first Ghost Rider, and my favorite of the bunch was the first Punisher movie. For some reason, I don't know if it's Marvel not caring (maybe on purpose because of the rights) or the studio, that has the rights, is putting crap out to keep those rights for themselves, but the second films in those franchises have been a letdown. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance could have been great and there are flashes of that greatness in the film, but ultimately it crashes and burns on the crappy choices made by too hip directors. The second Punisher film subtitled "War Zone" had the exact same problem. It had everything in place to be a great movie (great action, great cast, set in New York), but fell short because of poor choices that didn't fit the characters. If this is Marvel's strategy for getting their character back in house it appears to be working. The Punisher has already reverted back to Marvel and their parent company Disney, while Ghost Rider is seemingly headed in the same direction. Yes, this is good news because then these properties can be used in the multitude of universe building stories that Marvel intends to continue rolling out in "Phases". Can you imagine Captain America having to fight the Punisher or better yet team up with (albeit reluctantly on Cap's part) Frank in order to stop some terrorist plot? Of course, the Punisher would fly in the face of all of Cap's morals and there would be very heated discussions (see: fight) and that would be awesome, but it could also be a very long time away.

Well if Thomas Jane has anything to do with it, we may have that happen sooner rather than latter. He was a great Frank Castle (descent Punisher, better Castle) and he is an incredible actor (check out "The Mist" when you have the chance). He is also a fan and a big one at that. Jane has release a "Fan-Made" short film with him once again staring as Frank Castle (the Punisher) and can I say, "WOW"!!! Marvel, give this man another shot and, for crying out loud, bring this boy into the family already. He can easily hold his own against Evans and Downey Jr. so that's not a problem. From the short film he made, there's no problem with the ultra violence of the Punisher character on Jane's part. This thing screams love letter to Frank Castle and Thomas Jane is serious about this, he ain't playing. He has always professed his love of the character as recently as last year's Comic-Con and now we know the extent to which that love goes. This short is fraking sweet with a capital FRAKING. I must warn you that it is a hard R for violence, situations, and language. If you are easily offended and/or queasy about gore, don't, I repeat, don't click the link and watch this film (I know that's like saying don't touch the giant flashing red button that says ultimate destruction, but seriously do yourself a favor, if you can't handle it, stay away). For everyone else, click away, right "here". I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Oh, did I mention it has the greatest man alive in it. Yes, Ron Perlman makes a cameo and as always makes everything that much better. You can't throw a rock without hitting Ron Perlman these days and I'm OK with that (also check the sweet appearance of everyone's favorite drink, YooHoo or Jack Daniels, which ever one you prefer). Let us know what you think in our comments or on our forums. Until next time, everyone needs to learn what the difference between justice and punishment or Thomas Jane will kick your butt. Sayonara, bad guys.

Todd "Dolph Lundgren" B.

Also, Brian Grazer needs to suck it up and let Thomas Jane play Roland in the Dark Tower. That needs to happen in a bad way.


!!! Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe (San Diego Comic-Con Part 2) !!!

So last night I told you all about the Marvel Studio's panel and various other things at "the con" (at least stuff I thought was cool). Tonight, I will try and finish what I started last night by giving you the lowdown on the really cool Warner Bros. panel that also took place last night. Both Warner Bros. (all two of them) brought their "A" game to show the very excited crowd the awesome things they have in store for the foreseeable future.

First up was the new film from director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth as if you didn't know) called "Pacific Rim". The film is about a future where nations must ban together to fight giant creatures called "Kaiju" in giant robots called "Jaegers" for the future of the planet. All is not going well and mankind must turn to unlikely heroes with outdated robot to turn the tide (yes, I know I sound like a studio PR machine). All I got to say is, "Giant robots fighting giant creatures directed by Del Toro, where do I sign up?" I love Godzilla movies, I love giant robot movies (Transformers and Iron Giant), how is this not one of the best ideas ever. Del Toro is one of us. He is a fan first and a director second. He only makes the movies that he wants to see. Luckily for us, he is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. The first Del Toro film I saw was "Mimic". That could have easily been an extremely cheesy premise and been an even bigger disaster on film, but he turned it into a fun and scary little movie that surpassed my expectations. Next up was "Blade II" and having liked the first Blade film I was a little worried that they had changed directors too quickly. Well again, I should not have worried, because Del Toro gave it his own unique style and made a kick butt vampire movie (that didn't sparkle). Then came "Hellyboy", an adaptation of the comic created by the incredible Mike Mignola (I have been a fan for awhile). Del Toro knocked it out of the park, and did so with the help of the creator himself. It's no small coup that he got Ron Perlman to play "Big Red" and that he stayed true to the comic in all the right ways. After that I started to seek out his work from before he came to Hollywood. Films such as "The Devil's Backbone" and "Cronos" (find that one on Criterion Collection Blu -Ray, I highly recommend) are two of my favorites. Find these movies and watch them, you will be glad that you did. He continued to impress me not only with his directing and designing but also with his knowledge of all things geeky. Pan's Labyrinth is a movie every genre fan should see. After "Hellboy II" he attached himself to every film that came his way and no one knew what was next. We found out that he would be co-writing and sole directing "The Hobbit" with Peter Jackson producing (cause Peter is just as busy as Del Toro). If there was anyone that could have taken over the world of Middle Earth from Peter Jackson it was Del Toro. Alas, it was not meant to be. Contract negotiations between studios for who had the rights to "The Hobbit" dragged on and Del Toro was forced to move on. Now, here we are and we have a new film (Pacific Rim) directed by Del Toro coming this next Summer and it's going to be awesome. From the reports of the footage that was shown (which you can read about in the link at the end of this article) this sucker is set to rock your socks off. And yes, if you were wondering, Ron Perlman is in this one too (so is the always great Idris Elba so there no reason not to see this movie). I really am disappointed that there will be a media blackout from now until Christmas, cause I am dying to see anything from this thing (the rumor is we'll get a trailer in front of "The Hobbit", but that's like forever away). I can't wait.

On a side note, after the resent Make-A-Wish foundation's very cool Hellboy thing, of which you can read "here" (Ron Perlman is the greatest man alive for doing this), Del Toro has decided it's time to get the ball rolling on "Hellboy 3". We all owe that special little kid our thanks for hopefully getting Del Toro to finish one of the coolest film series to come along this side of Marvel and the Batman movies. Here's to
making that happen guys, get on that. You can check out Del Toro's comments "here".

Next up was truly a surprise to everyone there. Gareth Edwards (director, writer, and dang near everything else for his movie "Monsters", see it you'll like it) came out and blew the roof off the place with footage from his take on the Toho classic "Godzilla". We had heard very little about what was going on with this movie but now we know. Apparently it's going to grab you by the brain and rip it out through your nostril. I can't wait to see footage of this. Gareth is staying true to the spirit of the original and he even showcased the classic "Roar" in the teaser footage. This is the kind of movie that can benefit from being more dark and less campy. That's what we're getting from this one if everything pans out. Again, giant monsters can't be beat. Check out what was shown in the link below.

On the flip side, I'm still conflicted about this "Superman: Man of Steel" thing. No Williams score, no "S" shield on the cape, and a darker tone more akin to what's going on with Batman (Batman = Dark Knight, Superman = Man of Tomorrow or "Boy Scout" how hard is that?). I may be wrong and this may be great, but I could also be right and DC and Warner Bros. have once again screwed the pooch. Let's all hope I'm wrong. I guess we'll find out when the trailer shows up in front of "The Dark Knight Rises". Until then, we'll wait and see. The footage is hard to get your head around without seeing it and all the talk about making this a clean break from the Donner version does not instill me with confidence. At least he does fly in the teaser, so there's that. I'll let you know what I think after I see "Rises". Read the description of the footage at the link below.

Finally from Warner Bros. we got more info on "The Hobbit". Peter Jackson showed up and updated everyone on the progress of the film. It seems that he wants to make it fit in with the LOTRs films so everyone who's crazy enough to watch them all back to back to back etc. can do so (lots of Mt. Dew needed for that kind of task). He also said that principle photography is complete, but they could film more stuff next year. He stated that he wants to not only capture the fun and humor of the original's more child oriented story but also the heavier elements that Tolkien added in the Appendices of LOTR. He also said that there would definitely be Extended Editions of "The Hobbit" and possibly a splitting of the second movie into two. I'm ok with that. The more Middle Earth the better. Can't wait to see the next production blog that was shown at the con, should be good as always. You can check out more "here" and at the link below.

One more bit of news I missed yesterday, in the Iron Man 3 panel (which Downey Jr. made a surprise appearance and did so thru the audience, he's so cool) footage was shown of RDJ and John Favreau playing off each other as Tony Stark and Happy Hogan (Favreau gets a bigger part because he's not actually directing the film, but it's also good to know that Shane West has him there to help guide the production as an executive producer). While that's cool stuff that touches on things from "The Avengers", the real highlight was the first footage of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin (yes it's official now, no more "truth avoiding"). This is great news because they would have sold themselves short if they had not paid off all the little hints throughout the first two films. Again, it seems that Marvel is listening in on the thoughts in my head and going with that for their story ideas. First we have "The Winter Soldier" storyline in Captain America, now we have the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, that's what I call service. Now all Marvel has to do is either get back all their characters from the other studios or make deals to have those characters appear in Marvel Universe movies (I figure I'll put it out there and see if I can go three for three, can't hurt right?).

I'll be back back soon with my thoughts and hopes for the last season of the greatest show that no one watches, "Fringe". You can check out a play by play of everything in this article about the Warner Bros. panel "here" and the Iron Man 3 panel "here". I'm still working on that Spider-man review (Comic-Con kinda pushed it to the side) and I hope to have it up soon. Hold on tight and "Stay Classy".

Todd "Ringwraith" B.

One more thing, Karl Urban is under a gag order from J.J. Abrams about his comments on the Star Trek 2 villain and the deny machine is in full operation. Kahn? Gary Mitchell? Clint Howard? You guy's guesses are as good as ours. Let us know what you think in the comments below or in the forums. Thanks to Ain't It Cool News for the story and picture.

[ and SuperHero Hype]

!!! The Nerd Apocalypse Is Here (San Diego Comic-Con News) !!!

It is finally here. The biggest geek, nerd, and dork convention in the world. So far it's been pretty good. Within the first three days, it's already beat E3 for big announcements and it doesn't appear that will change. Since there has been a lot going on both there and here (my life got a little crazy this week) I decided to put all the Comic-Con news in one post (at least the first three days). I've also got my review of Spider-man coming so keep checking back for that. Also my computer's decided to go on vacation this week, so I will try my best with what I got. Here. We. Go.

Like I said, Comic-Con is punching E3 in the bejewels and giving us more cool things to be excited about than the Punisher in a wise guy factory (come on admit it, you laughed). First up is the king of superhero movies, Marvel (DC doesn't count because Batman's just one hero and they screwed up Green Lantern). Marvel is kicking on all cylinders following the total domination inflicted by "The Avengers" (that's 1.5 billion dollars for everyone keeping count) and the "Amazing" (I so funny) numbers that "Spider-man" is putting up. But not content to rest, Marvel went full tilt at their Marvel Studios' panel and can I just say, "excelsior". This is some crazy stuff that their attempting. This is like over the top, i just bought the USS Flag off of eBay in it's original box for a ungodly amount of money crazy (I don't actually have to buy it off of eBay because I still have mine from when I was a kid, but you know that kind of crazy). Marvel announced that they will be making two more movies to go along with the already announced, Iron Man 3, Thor, and Captain America films that they intend to release between now and the second Avengers flick. So, Todd, what might these two movies be? Well, I'm glad you asked. It looks like we'll have "Guardians of the Galaxy" on August 1st, 2014 (art below). You heard that right, we will have a movie that has a gun-toting raccoon in it. If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. Raccoons with guns, good golly miss Molly (not to mention a full on butt kicking tree or Ent for all you LOTR fans). Marvel eased the audience into the whole otherworldly stuff by going from the "grounded in reality" vibe of Iron Man, to the "magic is just what we know as science" in Thor (you know plus gods and ice giants and Asgard), to the Tesseract and Super Soldier Serum of Captain America (not to mention the Gamma irradiated man who turns into a giant green monster), then, BAM, aliens and flying aircraft carriers and Scarlett Johansson's breasts (well we already knew about that last one) and of course "Thanos". Now it appears they trust you, the audience, to go wherever they want to take you (and you know you will). Congratulations, audience, you passed suspension of disbelief 101 and may now move on to the advanced course, "Gun Carrying, Explosive Expert Raccoons and You". This is gonna rock.

Second, they showed a logo and test footage for Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man" (again, see below). No firm date for when we'll see it but it's coming. Henry Pym on the big screen, who would have thought. Here's hoping we get some Janet Van Dyne to go along with my order of Pym. An Ant-Man movie from the maker of "Shawn of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" sounds like a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut (happy 75 years best doughnut in the world). Can't wait.

Marvel also gave us a very vague hint at what we can expect from the next Thor movie with a new title and logo. "Thor: The Dark World" will be headed to theaters on November 8, 2013. I have absolutely no idea what that title could mean and I'm sure there will be a lot of speculation over the next year and a half, but hey, I'm in.

Then, Marvel gave us a gigantic hint at what we will see in the next "Cap" film. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" tells you everything you need to know about what the "man out of time" will be doing next. If you don't want to be spoiled in anyway, that's fine. For everyone else, if you have never read Ed Brubaker's run on the Captain America comic book (that will soon come to an end, "tear"), do yourself a favor and pick it up. You'll not only find out the general storyline for the next Captain America film but get some of the best stories Marvel has put out about the premiere Super Soldier and his greatest "friends" and "foes". This is the right way to go and I applaud Marvel for taking us there. The Winter Soldier arrives in theaters on April 24, 2014.

Tony Stark's new Iron Man suit for Iron Man 3 was on display at "the con" surrounded by the suits from all the previous films and the Avengers. Less red, more gold, maybe Downey Jr. wants everyone to know that he made so much money off the Avengers that he had the suit gold plated (that's just rubbing it in).

Extra Marvel stuff included, Jessica Biel may be playing "Viper" (Madame Hydra, for you comic nerds) in the new Wolverine film, Josh Trank (the director of "Chronicle" of which you must watch if you haven't) has signed on to direct the Fantastic Four reboot (this is very good), David Slade is out as director of the Daredevil reboot (not good, you know for Fox, but maybe for Marvel), and a fairly candid interview from with Simon Kinberg who is one of the writers on the X-Men: First Class sequel which you can check out "here". He's surprisingly forthcoming for someone who, "can't breath a word" about the film. There's also a little short film on the Avengers home video release called "Item 47". It's good from what I've heard. Fun stuff.

The Marvel news is huge, but that's not all we got in San Diego. A new clip from "Dredd" (cause Judge Dredd is too long) debuted and it is certainly not for the timid. Consider it "Red Band" material and know that you have been warned before you trot off to watch it "here". From the reviews that have been popping up on the "world wide web" (yeah, old school, right?), this is going to kick some serious tail. So that means, you people need to get off your mama's couch and go see this movie, cause if it make 50 million we get a sequel, according to producers. Go, watch, be amazed.

For all you Mortal Kombat freaks out there (yes, you too, Josh), if you have never see the "Legacy" web series you can check it out now on Blu-ray (my personal preference) and you can still find it online for free. It was written and directed by Kevin Tancharoen, who directed a short Mortal Kombat film called "Rebirth" (also online) that was a more gritty realistic take on the franchise. NetherRealm and Warner Bros. were so impressed that they green lit the Legacy web series, and what a web series it is. With the likes of Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan (yes, Seven of Nine), and Tahmoh Penikett, this little gem is like an intimate fatality to the face. It takes place before the original tournament and serves as a prequel. So, it's with no small amount of joy that I found out that a second season of Legacy has been given the go ahead. Tancharoen announced it himself at San Diego via a video clip "here" that also gives us a look at which characters we can expect to see. But the best news of all is that the second season will be about the tournament itself, fraking cool. I'm a Kombat fan from way back (I remember playing the first one in the arcade, shut up, I know I'm old) and I've had every version of the game on every system. I can't play for crap, but I love the story and characters. And who doesn't like to see Sub-Zero rip a guy's head off his body with the spine still attached, dripping blood, ah, good times. The first series was very popular so we may be seeing the future of small budget cinema right here. Web series that bring people in for free, then move to big budget mega films with a ready made fan base sounds like a plan to me.

Speaking of web series, not all of you guys out there like "Halo". I tend to be one of those few people (Halo is an indie game after all) who does. Again, I'm very much about story as opposed to the playing of the game itself (love to play, but still suck at it). I was super excited when we were told that Peter Jackson was producing a live action version of the game. He decided to get an unknown director by the name of Neill Blomkamp. The studios all said, "no thanks" to Peter because he had an unproven director at the helm (even though Blomkamp and Weta had put together a kick butt demo reel of what a live action Halo would look like and it was "Boo Yow", and can still be found online "here"). Big mistake Hollywood, because Neill Blomkamp went on to make "District 9", great film, and his new film "Elysium" that's getting very good buzz from everyone who has seen footage. So, here we are a few years later and 343 studios is finally giving us the live action Halo we've been longing for. But guess what Hollywood, it'll be free on the Internet in a web series prequel to Halo 4. Put that in your pipe and flush it down the toilet (cause, the police just pulled up outside), Hollywood. You can watch the first trailer "here" and it starts out pretty good. We get to see a Warthog very briefly, and some cadet training. Then things get crazy, everyone is looking up in the sky in fear (of the Covenant, more that likely) then everyone is running away in fear (we see a shot of a puddle of water in the foreground and a bunch of blurry cadets running in the background, then invisible feet splash in the water, the Elites have arrived), everyone huddle into a room and the door starts to be broken down. We think it's the bad guys but when the doors blows inward, guess who standing there to rescue those scared little cadets. The Master Chief, boyee, come to stop your grinning and drop your linen. We just kicked it up a notch, Emeril. Maybe this will get the wheel turning and maybe we get a real big budget movie out of the deal. Looks promising so far.

Alright, now for some odds and ends. The Robocop remake showed off some viral images this week and went a good ways to make me more excited to see it. They showed off the "ED-209" and it looks like an advanced version of the original, not bad I say. We'll definitely keep an open mind on this one. Check out the picture below, and the synopsis for the film "here". We got our first look at "Q" in the new James Bond film "Skyfall", played by Ben Wishaw (see below). He looks like a young Desmond Llewelyn, perfect. The Trolls from "The Hobbit" are on display at the Weta booth and are full size, cool. To promote the Blu-Ray release of the "Indiana Jones" films they put up a Well of Souls complete with live snakes (why did it have to be snakes).

That what I got for now, I'll be back tomorrow with more news from Comic-Con including the Warner Bros. panel with news and previews of "Pacific Rim", "The Hobbit", and "Man of Steel". Also, a little "Hellboy 3" news that ties into my post the other day, very cool stuff. As always, you can check out all the cool stuff from the experts on Until then, "live long and prosper" dorks!!!

Todd "now preparing for the zombie apocalypse" B.


!!! You Look Marvelous (News And Rumors) !!!

"Remember, it is better to look good than to feel good, and you look Marvelous." -Fernando Lamas (Billy Crystal) !!!

"No Todd, It can't be; I just sent you back to the future!
"No, I know; you *did* send me back to the future. But I'm back - I'm back *from* the future."
"Great Scott!" (Faints)
"Doc! Doc! Doc! Oh, fantastic."

I have finally parked the Delorean in the garage and I'm back from the future of the great San Diego Comic-Con. Oh, the things I have seen. Some good, some great, some bad, and some down right ugly. I can't actually tell you all the crazy stuff I saw because if I did I would be destroying the Space/Time Continuum. And as we all know, that's as bad as crossing the streams. But I can tell you a few things that have popped up the past few days and get you in the mood to "Party like it's Comic-Con 1999"!!! Thank You, voice of Prince that lives in my head. I always really liked that album where you were just a symbol and all. "Thank you, and let's forget about the whole symbol thing. OK!" Gotcha, moving on.

Sorry, folks. The Parks Closed. The moose out front should'a told ya.

It has been a strange past weekend and first of this week. The Fourth was a blast (pun intended) and it was good to share it with good friends and family. After that things just started to snowball. Sometime, you know how life will come along and punch you in the gut and say, "Get Up, I ain't through with ya!!!" Well this is what happened to me. Life beat the ever loving crap out of me and expected me to get back up. Well, I'm up but I need to catch my breath a little before I can start swinging my Right Hand of Doom. It will happen and justice and punishment will be swift and severe. (cricket, cricket, cricket..........)
Anywho, I have been away to long, but I am back. Let's touch on a few things and then I'll relay some cool information to you that hopefully will make you want to come and join us during the next few days (Comic-Con and all).

Marvel is "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". They seem to be riding this wave all the way to the bank. I not talking just "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-man". I'm talking about the absolute blitz that they have set in motion that, more than likely, will secure their dominance in the superhero world. We have news that the unnamed Marvel Movie Project. (See: Guardians of the Galaxy) will open in theaters on August 1, 2014. This at least confirms that we are getting another new Marvel movie that doesn't have Iron, Captain, or Norse God of Chippendale dancers in the title. Wait, I think that last one my have been about Mike and his magic wand. I can't be sure. If any of you women out there know what that's all about, can you please give us a "Whooooooo". I knew that you could. Now, moving on, Iron Man 3 will have a large presence at this years Comic-con and we will let you know if anything big breaks (like the flap Stark had installed in the suit that allows him to visit the little boys room, that thing breaks all the time). The new Wolverine movie entitled, huh?....."The Wolverine" (well, go figure) has started to cast for the roles that will be featured in the The Ol' Canucklehead vs. the ninjas retelling of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's original mini series. This is being billed as a stand alone story, which is fine but maybe they can expand the brand in the future. It also looks like "The Amazing Spider-man" is cleaning up at the box office. Maybe not to the extent that "The Avengers" did, but I would say it ain't to shabby. This means we will get sequels and as far as I'm concerned that's fine. I have see the movie and in a couple of days I'll post my review. The short version is that it's really good (dare I say better than the first Sam Rami Spidey movie and on par with the second Rami Spideypaloosa for my favorite web head movie yet). I'll give you the full spoiler filled review as soon as I get it typed up. Oh, and DC, the warning shots are over. Just having one great movie franchise based on your characters (which will be ending with a definite clank according to Chris Nolan who said this week that "he's done" and "no more", so take that fanboys..... Sorry, I added that last part) ain't gonna cut it. You are dangerously close to letting Marvel sink your Battleship (arcane reference to outdated board game, check, realizing that is probably the reason your movie based on said board game tanked at the box office, priceless). Come on DC, pull it together. The Time is now!!! As alway, check the links below for more information from our favorite sources.

A few odds and ends from this past week for you to peruse. Comic-Con will be huge, from Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, to The Hobbit and Pacific Rim, I can't wait to see what will go on. Meanwhile, the crazy back and forth continues from the New Star Trek movie camp with Karl Urban (Dredd) saying today that Benedict Cumberbatch plays a great Gary Mitchell. Wait, What????? Gary Mitchell is the crazy guy that got the God like powers in the first episode of the original series titled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". This statement by Urban could be a ruse to lead us astray or it could be true. This is J.J. Abrams we're talking about. This news appears to have already been refuted when Roberto Orsi posted a list of characters from Star Trek lore that would not be appearing in the film. Interestingly, Gary Mitchell's name is on the list while Khan's is not. Come on guys, just quit playing and give us some real info. "It's like playing cards with my brother's kids!"

In Ghostbusters news, a new writer has been hired to make Bill Murray funny again (because apparently there is too much effort involved for Bill to actually try to improvise funny, ya know like he use to). Etan Cohen has been given the rewriting duties (See: make Murray happy role). He was one of three writers on Tropic Thunder (very funny) and the sole credited writer for Men In Black III. I guess we'll wait and see (for another 35 years).

Alright, that's it for me right now. I will be back tomorrow with some cool posters of upcoming films, some thoughts on the cool exclusive stuff you can get at Comic-Con, Preview Night, and much more. My Amazing Spidey review will arrive soon. Stay Tuned. Oh, and posters (yea).

Todd "Yep, Marvelous" B.


One more thing, check out what the Make-A-Wish Foundation did for this little boy (here). Ron Perlman gets my vote for most awesome man alive. That is truly a wonderful thing and goes a ways (no matter how small) to restoring some of my faith in some of humanity. Nice Job, Guys!!! This just makes all the bad go away. Thank You, Ron, Thank You.

[Comics Alliance]

!!! Put The Bunny Back In The Box And Other Sayings Of Nicholas Cage,Only Known Living Vampire (Blu-Ray Reviews) !!!

Did Kate Beckinsale Have A Nose Job Or Have My Standards Lowered (Yep, She Had A Nose Job)???

I Love Motion Pictures (no huge secret on this site)! I love to watch them, I love to talk about them, and I love to read about them. Even the history of cinema fascinates me and I can't seem to get enough. I am amazed by the process that goes into the making of a film. From lighting to special effects, from cinematography to craft services, ever step of a film's journey draws me into that world. There is a large section of the population who cares which star is dating who and how long it will be before Lindsey Lohan gets arrested again (apparently not long), but for me that stuff is nothing compared to the hard work and dedication it takes to actually bring a film to movie screens. Actors will always be needed and some I want to see succeed (Downey Jr.), but, unbeknownst to some of them, they are only a small part of the glorious machine that makes fantasy a reality (and sometimes reality an over exaggeration of itself). Movies are an escape, movies are dreams made real, and we can leave our everyday lives behind to spend a little time in those places. Not every movie is good, but there is good in almost every movie (maybe not Ishtar). Someone on every production in Hollywood gives everything they have to a film because they know that they are blessed to be working in the industry. That being said, there are decisions made on films that make me say, "What?" This brings me to this weeks Blu-Ray reviews.

I hope to be able to bring you reviews of movies that have recently been released on Blu-Ray and give you an idea of whether it's worth a purchase or a pass. I will say up front, from a technical standpoint, I am wholly inadequate to give you an informed opinion. Like my father says, "I know just enough to be dangerous." Yes, I have an HD TV and a THX 7.1 surround home theater system, but the best I can do if you ask me how a movie sounds and looks on Blu-Ray is "good" or "bad". There are websites that do a much better job in reviewing the technical aspects of the discs and I will leave that up to them (check out the links at the end). So, for the purpose of these articles, I will try to tell you what I thought of the films themselves and maybe a little about the special features. Remember, that when it comes to movies, "good" and "bad" are relative terms. I always say, "like what you like, take nothing back." Oh, by the way, if you like Ishtar, more power to you (even though you're weird).

I got a chance to check out three movie on Blu-Ray this past week. I enjoyed all three to varying degrees, some more than others. Like I said earlier, some movies are great, some are good, some have good elements but poor choices, some are bad, and some are so bad, they're good (why yes, I am referring to you "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid"). No matter what you like, just make sure that you enjoy ever minute of it. Life's too short not to have fun.

Let's start with the eternal one himself, Nic Cage. The man has been in some bad films, there's no denying that. But Nicky is like that crazy uncle that comes over for Thanksgiving dinner, drinks too much, and proceeds to tell of the time he and two strippers were stranded on a desert island and they decided they needed to repopulate the species (the strippers weren't very bright), so he became the king of the tribe he fathered and they still live on the island today, oh, and they almost sacrificed him to the volcano gods (strangely, that sounds like the plot to a Nic Cage movie). So, I like the man. I can't help it, he makes me smile. I finally got to see "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence" and it definitely contains all sorts of Nic Cage crazy. I liked the first Ghost Rider (as opposed to all of you who didn't) and I felt that it was close to the comics and their tone. I had high hopes for the second one and while I will say that the visual aspect of "SoV" is good, several creative choices derail this version of the character. This is one of those reboots that's not a reboot (it makes no sense to me either). Nicky's back as old flame head but no one else from the original makes an appearance here. Mark Steven Johnson is gone as director and replaced by Neveldine and Taylor of the "Crank" franchise. The Crank films are flashy, stylized, and over the top (see where we're going here?) and the studio hoped they would bring the same thing to Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, for the viewer and comic lover, that is exactly what they did. This is what I'm talking about when I say bad decision making. You have to have the right directors for the right movies, because when you don't bad things happen. That craziness they brought to the Crank films is all wrong here. Johnny Blaze might be crazy but he's not a clown. Nic Cage does a fine job being Nic Cage, but I would rather see him be Ghost Rider. You would think that when Ghost Rider is on screen (and the effects are impressive to look at) it would be the highlight of the film. Here again, bad decisions rear their ugly head. There is a moment in the film where Ghost Rider grabs a bad guy by the back of the head and proceeds to perform the "Penance Stare" on him. The Marvel Database explains it like this, "When in close combat, the Ghost Rider locks eyes with his victim and makes him or her feel every pain that that individual has ever inflicted on anyone else innocent in their lifetime." Neveldine and/or Taylor fail to convey that to the audience and Ghost Rider just appears to be staring longingly into the baddie's eyes.

Ghost Rider: "Oh, I love you henchman (deep demonic voice)."

Henchman: "Oh, I love you too, Ghost Rider (high-pitched girly voice)."

That's exactly what it looks like. I want to see Ghost Rider taking villains out like the bad@$$ I know he is, not staring at them for fifteen minutes. This trend continues when Nic interrogates this dude for information latter in the film. He is doing the crazy, I can hardly contain what's inside me, bit and then rushes off to use the info he just got to locate this boy (who may or may not be Danny Ketch, the second Ghost Rider). Thus follows an extended sequence of Nicky riding his motorcycle and changing into Ghost Rider. Why? Why is this scene here? I already know he turns into the Ghost Rider (from the helpful cartoon that you had at the start of the film and the previous film), I don't need to spend twenty minutes seeing it happen again (see, bad decision making). Just get to the Rider kicking tail, that's what I want to see (and had already seen in the trailer). The visual effects are great and I love the look of the Rider here more than I did in the first movie, but come on, these movies are suppose to be fun not tedious. Don't get fancy, boys, it does the movie and us no favors. I would be perfectly happy if Fox would let the rights to Ghost Rider slip back to Marvel and maybe they can pull a Hulk makeover for the match head. The rest of the film is just kind of there, the only real standout is of course, the always fantastic Edris Elba. He is always extremely watchable and this is no exception. If you are a fan of Ghost Rider you may want to give this a rent, if you're not forget this movie exists and go on with your life. All Hail, the vampire king!!

Next up, "Underworld: Awakening" is the continuation of that particular franchise. I like these movies (guilty pleasure) and, of course, i'm in favor of any movie that shuns the "I'm in love with a sparkly vampire and a werewolf that runs around without a shirt on" crap. A war between vampires and werewolves is a fantasy that all horror lovers have had at one time or another (Universal even put the Wolf Man and Dracula in a movie together, in the 1940's). Are these movies high art? Of course not, they aren't directed by Scorsese after all. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy them for the craziness alone. Plus, Kate Beckinsale in skin tight black leather, need I say more? My only real question about the movie is a fairly obvious one. What world changing thing does Scott Speedman need to be doing that he can't show up on set for two days (that's all it would have taken) and collect a small "I don't want to be homeless" check? Does anyone know the answer to that one? Does anybody really care? It cost more to digitally insert his face on some other actor's body than they would have had to spend to film him outright (they also had to pay him for his likeness, so now we're just throwing money away). Why not just kill him off screen and move on? There I just had to get that out. Now I am better. Moving on. If you are a fan of the Underworld series or just like fun movies with hot women (Kate Beckinsale in skin tight leather, remember?), then this is right up your alley. Go have fun.

My last review is most certainly my favorite of the three. I had a good time with Underworld, but I was blown away by "Chronicle". Where did this movie come from? If you haven't seen it then I'm not going to spoil it here. The story is fairly straight forward. Kids find crazy artifact, kids get superpowers, kids do cool things, and kids deal with good and evil. Sounds like any comic book origin story you ever heard, right? Wrong, this is so much more. Box Office Mojo says that it was made for 12 million dollars. I'll repeat that, 12 million. I sit here in awe of the amazing things they accomplished in this film on such a small budget. This is one of those films that defies the conventional wisdom that the more money you spend on a film the better it will be. Sometimes it's about the filmmakers and the creative people behind a project that make a movie work. Great ideas and great execution trumps money any day of the week. It's still amazing the things that happen in this movie. You really need to see it. Josh Trank, the director, is already being talked about to reboot The Fantastic Four for Fox and is it any surprise that the writer is Max Landis, son of John. Turns out Max is pretty awesome as seen "here". From what I hear, there will be a sequel. I hope they don't screw it up by NOT BRINGING EVERYONE BACK (just a subtle hint, Hollywood executive types)!!! Oh, and Chronicle is a found footage movie (I almost forgot that fact because the film is so good, unlike most of those flicks). The gimmick here is so well done after a while you hardly notice it. That is a testament to great direction and great writing. I could not recommend this film more. If you don't own it you should.

The picture quality on all three films is great (even the found footage of Chronicle). The sound mixes are full and expansive. The extras are decent though not comprehensive. Still, two out of three ain't bad. If you want specs and in depth analysis check out the links at the bottom of the page. I'll be back later with more news and rumors so, "hang on back there!"

Todd "I got a panty on my head" B.

[High-Def Digest,, and DVDfile]

That's pretty convincing, wouldn't you say?

Nic Cage as Johnny Cage, for Josh!!

[Nic Cage as Everyone]

!!! How Much Scarlett Johansson Is Too Much? Well, That's A SillyQuestion (Avengers Rumor) !!!

James Cameron and Peter Jackson are recutting The Avengers to make it 18 hours long (just kidding... sort of) !!!

It looks as thought we may see a longer cut of the Avengers coming down the road. There has been a rumor circulating that Joss Whedon is planning on restoring his original 3+ hour long version of the film for the eventual Blu-Ray release. Director's cuts aren't that uncommon in the home video market and it seems as though every release has at least two versions of a film on the disk (I'm looking at you Blade Runner). I for one don't mind this trend. I love extra footage and sometime it can take a muddled mess of a movie (rhyme much) and make it an incredible film (Example: Kingdom of Heaven). Sometimes these different cuts represent the director's original intent or "Artistic Vision", sometimes they are done to satisfy a fan base, and sometimes the studios needs a reason to hit you up for more money (because we know that the studios are flat broke from all the Internet pirates out there).

Rarely does one of these director's/extended cuts actually make it into a theater after the film's initial run is over. But, this is apparently what's happening to the Avengers.

Take this with a heaping scoop of the white stuff (salt... what did you think I meant?).

Nothing is confirmed at this point, but the inside story is that Marvel and Disney, in an effort to push the Avengers past the Cameron bunch, will rerelease the movie in theaters later this summer as a director's cut. I saw the Avengers twice in theaters (no small feat considering that I have a newborn and a 5 year old), but I might have to pony up the cash to see it again if this rumor turns out to be true. I've already got my preorder in for the Blu-Ray so my sheep mentality is intact. Check out the original story at the link below. What say Ye? Doth thou mother knoweth thou intendth to seeth the filmth againth? My autocorrect just went nuts. Ha, Ha, take that Apple!

Todd "Excelsior" B.

[Superhero Authority]

Yep, never to much of that, no siree!

!!! You Got Your Marvel In My Box Set, You Got Your Box Set In My Marvel !!!

Please Marvel, Take My Money!!

My home theater is "Where It's At" (I'm still waiting on my two turntables and a microphone to be delievered). I love to be able to sit down in my home and get almost the same experience that I have at my local cinema sans the price of a bucket of popcorn and a drink (usually around $800.00 dollars last time I checked). I have more movies on home video than Kim Cardasian (see what I did there trek fans) has had boyfriends, which is a lot. If I like a movie I get it, no renting for me. And If I really like a movie or TV show I'll even buy it multiple times. That sounds silly I know, but there are some series that warrent those kind of crazy decisions. So my movie collection, certainly not complete by any stretch of the imagination (it never will be), is large and extensive (you can also read expensive too).

This brings me to today's news that Marvel and Disney, having already announced The Avengers for release on Blu-Ray and DVD this fall, gave us a teaser on Amazon's website of a huge box set containing not only The Avengers but also the other Marvel Universe movies that proceeded it. It will come in a special package which appears, from the teaser image, to be the briefcase that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) carries the Tesseract (why don't we call it what it is, "The Cosmic Cube") around in. This set will include:

• Marvel’s The Avengers (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
• Captain America: The First Avenger (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
• Thor (Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray)
• Iron Man 2 (Blu-ray)
• The Incredible Hulk (Blu-ray)
• Iron Man (Blu-ray)
• Bonus Disc – “The Phase One Archives” (Blu-ray)
• Collectible packaging with exclusive memorabilia from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

For me this will most likely mean that I get most of those movies again just to get the cool box and awesome swag. If you don't own any of the movies this is the perfect chance to rectify that problem. Get on the band wagon already, where have you people been (just kidding). So for now "Make Mine Marvel". Nuff Said.

Todd "Don't Call Me Stan" B.

[ via Amazon]

!!! Updated With Major Spoilers !!! I Would Like Some Mandarin With My Side Of Iron Man 3!!!

Ben Kingsley is the Mandarin after all!!

Oh and by the way, this contains mild Spoilers for both the Iron Man films and the Iron Man comic. So heads up to all of you who might want to quit reading now if you want to remain innocent as a little bitty baby.

Still there? Good, let's continue. When Iron Man 3 was announced by Marvel as being the next movie to follow The Avengers in the Marvel movieverse, it was assumed that Jon Favreau would continue to tell his story of Tony Stark's journey and finally pay off all the not so subtle hints he dropped in the first two films about the powers behind the scenes that were out to get Iron Man. Then Marvel dropped the bomb, no Farveau for Iron Man 3, at least as director (he will reprise his role as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's bodyguard and driver). Then Shane Black was brought in to add his unique vision to the story (I.E. he was good friends with Downey Jr. having worked on Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang together). The question still remained would the Mandarin show up in Iron Man 3 or any future Marvel movies for that matter?

The consensus then, from all sources close to the production, was that the film would revolve heavily around the ideas found in the Extermis storyline by Warren Ellis (Tony Stark and nanotechnology with the suit becoming an extension of his body). So where did that leave the Mandarin? Seemingly out in the cold if Shane Black and the powers at Marvel Studios are to be believed. The denials of that character's inclusion in the latest installment came fast and furious (no relation to that movie franchise) from all parties involved. Then came the casting of Sir Ben Kingsley as an unnamed villan and the joint production with China and the casting of Chinese actors for supporting roles and the rumors began again that the Mandarin would be in the movie.

While there is no official word from Marvel, Latino Review is reporting today that word from the currently filming set is that Mr. Kingsley is indeed playing the Mandarin, albeit in a more shadowy role, while Guy Pearce (who is confirmed to be portraying Aldritch Killian, the main baddy in the Extremis comic) will be the focus of the Douchebaggery against Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.

Once again we see the lengths to which a studio will go to keep the secrets of an upcoming movie umm... secret. "Let's just out and out lie to the audience and when they see it on screen it will be a suprise." Yeah, that's a great idea Hollywood, because I am going to take your word on everything even when you prove yourself wrong by, oh I don't know, "releasing the film in theaters so everyone can see the lie on a big gigantic screen". I'm just saying. You can read more at the links below. Enjoy.

Todd (I'm really the Mandarin) B.

[ via Latino Review]


SuperHeroHype has a report (with pictures) from the North Carolina set of Iron Man 3 that appears to show the Iron Patriot suit in front of the cameras. Iron Patriot is the Iron Man suit worn by Norman Osbourn in the comic series Dark Avengers and has a color scheme based of both the American Flag and Captain America's outfit. Since Norman Osbourn is included in the deal Sony signed with Marvel to produce Spider-man movies it will not be that character piloting this machine. It appears from the pictures that James Badge Dale, who plays Eric Savin in the film, will be in the suit. In the comic, Savin becomes the cyborg Coldblood. It is not yet known if Dale will wear multiple suits in the films or if the film makers have decided to make two characters into one. If you want to stay in the land of the unspoiled, do not click the links in this post. Otherwise go crazy and click away. Stay Tuned.


Dr. Comiclove Or How I Stopped Worrying And Enjoyed My Comics

I Love Comics (and a little about The Avengers)

I’m a visual person. I love movies because they are visual. I love TV because it is visual. And most importantly I love comics because they are visual. I have been a fan of comics since I first picked up Marvel’s G.I. Joe #1. With that one issue I was hooked. There was no going back. From that point on my collection could only get bigger with each new issue I bought and each new character I was introduced to. For the record, I have no preference as to which comic company that I pledge my loyalty to. I love DC Comics just as much as I love Marvel, Image, or any independent publisher (and we can debate the value of each until Barry Allen comes home, Oh wait… he is back, oh well). As long as the stories and art are good I will read them. Do I have my favorite characters, writers, and artists? Sure I do, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy something new and exciting. In a sense, in the comic book world, you can call me Switzerland.

I use to be very much a single issue to single issue person. When a new comic hit the stands I was there, in the comic shop every week, to pick it up. As you can imagine this can get very expensive. Between the regular ongoing series, the mini-series, the variant and incentive covers, and the spin-offs you could tally up a mound of debt just to fuel your habit. This lead me to back off the single issue train. I began to get the trade paperbacks and then I moved to the hard cover collections. It certainly reduces the cost associated with comic collection and it also alleviates any space concerns one might have. Am I saying that you shouldn’t support your local comic shop? Absolutely not!!! Comic shops are some of the best and most reliable places to buy any form of comics, hard covers, single issues, or trade paperbacks alike. They also provide fandom with a community in which people can talk about all things comic related or just find others who share the same tastes as you do. We all should support our local comic shops as much as possible.

For me the single issue collecting had to end. I had other obligations that took precedence over having every issue and cover of a particular series. Hard covers were the next best thing and could become collectible in their own right. I am also a fan of the oversized collection. To have the artwork in my favorite comics that much more visible and bold was a revelation to my eyes. I never new that comics could look this good. It was like going from VHS tapes to Blu-Ray. It made that big of a difference to me. I could see my favorite artists like never before and wanted as much as I could find. DC and Marvel were more than happy to provide the content (for a fee of course). While DC does a good job with their current output and high profile legacy work, some of the smaller stuff gets the shaft sometimes. Unfortunately, DC once again falls behind Marvel, as they have in the movie department, when it comes to collecting their comics in book form. Marvel’s omnibus editions are the top of the heap in terms of quality and quanity.

Recently I was able to get a few of these omnibuses (or omnibi) and I have been enjoying page after page of these massive editions that Marvel has the good graces to place in my hands. I am seeing comics that I read when they first saw print in an entirely new light. While not all of the art holds up with the improved quality of the paper, Marvel has gone above and beyond to make these editions not only represent the original content but also enhance the reading experience. Marvel doesn’t recolor the actual comics in the collection they just make sure that the art matches the higher quality of the materials used (Note: there is art in the collections that has been recolored but it is used as bonus material only). I could not be happier with these purchases and would highly recommend them to anyone who is a fan of Marvel and their comics. Live, Eat, Purchase, it’s the American way.

Moving on, I was able to catch The Avengers a second time. This is one heck of a movie and it keeps getting better each and every time I see it. The small details that you pick up here and there are astounding and make it that much more enjoyable with repeat viewings. As a professed geek, I am extremely happy that the world finally knows the value of the Marvel characters and these stories without the need to make huge changes to their original intent. Sometimes the first decisions by the creators are truly the best decisions. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go now! If you have seen it GO AGAIN! We owe it to the world to knock Titanic out of its position on the box office charts. I think that we are going to do an entire podcast on The Avengers alone so I won/t spoil anything here. So certainly stay tuned

Same Thor time, Same Thor channel.

Supreme Comic Geek (official designation)