Sunday, February 26, 2006

Godspeed, Mr. Furley...

To that great Regal Beagle in the sky.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

DVD Review: ULTIMATE AVENGERS

I was kind of hoping to be able to report that Marvel's inaugural offering of it's Direct-to-DVD line would be a rousing success. That it would burst open the floodgates of a much-maligned distribution route and give us animated adventures that have not leapt over Hollywood hurdles or were too "out there" for television animation. Of this new venture, that I was seriously pulling for, I can only say...

WEAK.

I'd go so far to call it castrated. It's a limp eunuch of a what was a great new direction for Marvel. The Ultimates is a wonderful book. It's Marvel getting back to what made Marvel better than DC. Giving their superhero characters real world dilemmas. The movie conveniently straddles both the classic iterations of The Avengers while bringing in lame and tame nuances of The Ultimates version.

The design is a cartoonized version of Bryan Hitch's supercool style. It's not bad. It's a bit better X-Men Evolution. The end credits feature stills from the original Ultimates comic and you realize what's missing in the translation is personality.

The action scenes are fairly good -- provided you don't need to have the slightest concern for a character or harbor enough nostalgic reserve that just to see a characters that bear the faintest resemblance to Thor and the Hulk slugging it out is enough for you then uh, yeah, enjoy. The movie stops dead, dead, deadski inbetween action scenes. The Ultimates comic was just as exciting when Hank Pym and the Wasp were getting their Ike and Tina on than when Hulk was kicking the piss out of Captain America. Stark's alcoholism, Thor being nuts, Pym and Wasps domestic squabbles, Hulk being the totality of Banners masculine ineffectivess...ALL GONE, DADDY, GONE.

I do not recall alien invasion being in the original comic at all. If it was...I was so drawn to the character drama that I have no recollection. If it wasn't adding it here is really cheap. And the aliens looks silly. Was no one aware on this project that Marvel has one of the best shape-shifting aliens around...the Skrulls? Why these lame ALIEN ripoffs?

Any notion by the completely unwarranted PG-13 rating that this movie skews older audiences is patently fucking wrong. It's is pure pre-pubescent fantasy. And not even the kind that I mind grooving with. I can totally regress to that mind-set if the material is so fun and infectious that you'd have to be a big, giant twat not to (see: Teen Titans, JLU, and Batman: The Animated Series). Ultimate Avengers isn't fun, it's labored and annoying.

To sum up in three words: avoid, avoid, avoid.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Taste of Look Around You

I found all these on their website. Which is here.

You have been sent out on an errand to buy some fruit for your family. Your fruit-basket has the capacity to hold 80 apples. At the fruit-mongers you fill your basket up to a third, but returning home, you are reprimanded by the tax collector of your citadel, and ordered to pay the 32.4% apple levy - in apples. You return home with your remaining apples and distribute them amongst your 12 family members. Are there enough apples to give each family member sufficient vitamin C to see them through the bitter winter ahead?


A magician pulls rabbits out of a top hat at the rate of 18 standard rabbits per hour. How long will it be before he has enough pelts to make a fur coat for his assistant, who has a mass volume of 144 gallons?


Also try the Water Quiz

Britcoms

My lastest package from Amazon.uk arrived the other day swollen with comedic goodness. After the family sacked out I filled a tumbler (real men don't use stemware) full of sangiovese and indulged.

First up:
















Man, you have to give Gervais and Merchant respect to not do "David Brent Goes Hollywood". It's totally different than The Office. For starters, Gervais's Andy Millman is a decent guy who just wants to be a respectable working actor. He's got a bit of an ego (nowhere near Brents) but is a very down-to-earth fella. The tone is drastically different as the mockumentary structure isn't a factor. This is a straight sitcom. It's funny, for sure...but not the dripping with dread and pathos comedy The Office was.


Next:















Lovers of funny, take heed, this show is MURDER. It's like Kids In The Hall with two guys who are unrelenting cyborgs of comedy. Matt Lucas and David Walliams are in the same orbit as Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. If you dug Spaced or Shaun of the Dead, get this shit into your dvd player post-haste.


Speaking of Shaun of the Dead:



This came highly recommended by CHUD's own Dan Whitehead. This is pound for pound the best of the recent haul. It's note-for-note skewering of those science films they used to show in grade school. It is bone dry. This is Death Star laserbeam precision satire. I imagine there's not a nerd on anyone of the Infinite Earths that would not be taken by this. Get it, it's cheap too.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Addicted



I tore through this in a record day and a half. And I want MORE. I like that the more outlandish designs and concepts seem to work the best. The tone of the TT show is the polar opposite of the comics, which was superhero sidekick 90210. It was great at the time and Perez's art is a panel-to-panel masterpiece. The show is just fun and light-hearted. Squarely aimed at kids. Which is refreshing.

There's a great half-hour (a guess) featurette with Marv Wolfman and George "God" Perez talkin' Titans with some interjections from the shows creative staff.

Another supplement is a "Voices of the Titans" thing. Basically, the vocal talent looks (and sounds) amazingly similar to their animated counterparts. Particularly hilarious is the little guy who does Beast Boy who isn't changing his voice...at all.

Beware: the theme song will cement itself inside your brain for all time. You could be getting a speeding ticket or a prostate exam and hear "T-E-E-N! T-I-T-A-N-S! TEEN TITANS! LET'S GO!" Maddening.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Trifle

A weird assortment of weekend viewing. I was editing a short and needed some noise to keep me from plunging my eyesocket onto the corner of the desk.

Creepshow 2: Picked the Anchor Bay “Divimax” edition up for cheap. I loved this when I was 12 and that’s entirely the age range this should service. It’s a nice entry-level scare. I guess the highest praise I can give it, is its faithful adherence to the EC Comics tropes. Very cool f/x by a young Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger. In fact, the little featurette on the two of them was way worth the $5 I dropped.

“Thanks for the ride, lady!”

The American Nightmare: This was packaged as a special feature on region 2 of The Hills Have Eyes. What lucky sons of bitches those Britainicans (and those of us that have thrown off the shackles of region coding) are. Basically, it puts the Golden Age (late 60’s – 70’s) of horror flicks in historical and societal context. Starting with Night of the Living Dead you go through the greats with one-on-ones with the directors as they discuss their films and what was going at the time. Tobe and Chain Saw, Cronenberg, Romero again with Dawn, Craven and Last House (a film I am too terrified to watch).

Oh and get this: Tom Savini was a combat photographer in Vietnam. His story about the camera giving him the emotional distance that he needed in the face of all that real life horror gave me chills. Whoa, whoa, whoa!

It’s available on region 1 on it’s own. Check it out.

North by Northwest: Man, Cary Grant was a kind of cool all to his own. I love all the not-so-subtle sex banter between him and Eva Marie Saint (who may be my favorite Hitchcock lady of all time). And the gay stuff with James Mason and Landau. I need a .gif of that pov shot of Mason punching Landau.

Happy Accidents: This is one of those flicks that I found so amicable that I can barely muster the energy to write about it. It’s a cute little romcom with Marissa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio. Awww…it’s so well-meaning and sweet that being dismissive of it makes one feel like a shit. Try renting it without reading the plot synopsis. I think watching it cold is the best bet. Attention, nerds…it’s got a little sci-fi angle to it. That Tomei is quite an actress, hot as hell too. D’Onofrio is the greatest fat guy actor of his generation. Watch him oversell an overly complicated line then pull it back with a look. Anthony Michael Hall cameos as Anthony Michael Hall.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Have the cast of CADDYSHACK at your next Bar Mitzvah!




FOR REAL.

What's funny is that's the real Chevy.