Skip to content

The Captain America: Civil War teaser has arrived, rife with Avenger-on-Avenger violence

November 25, 2015

Listen, the Marvel movies are a lot of fun — no argument here on that. But the last big tentpole, this past summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, was a bit underwhelming, heavy on bloat and lacking a concise raison d’être. It had problems. It was fun in many ways — James Spader’s voice! Vision! —  but it didn’t have the “gotta see it again” imperative of its predecessor, and felt more like a cinematic holding pattern as we all wait on the Infinity Gauntlet shenanigans a few years down the line. Read more…

Big Poppa Pump(kin) or Ego the Living Gourd? You decide!

October 31, 2015

Above you see my pumpkin carving effort for the year. I was struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration while watching old pro wrestling clips on YouTube, including some from the infamous “Big Poppa Pump,” Scott Steiner. Read more…

The long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer stuns? Disappoints?

October 19, 2015

So the Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster was a bit of a Photoshop disappointment, the same boring crap every tentpole movie gets these days. Remember when posters were genuine works of art? Remember when studios trusted audiences to know what actors’ faces look like? Also, remember when Luke Skywalker was supposed to be in this thing? (And, incidentally, is that Mogo the Green Lantern in the upper right-hand corner portraying the Starkiller base, the bigger, badder, unimaginative Death Star 3.0?) Read more…

Let Frank Gorshin impersonating Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas as Batman and Robin make your day!

August 13, 2015

Not much about the camp 1960s Batman TV show can be regarded as definitive — when Liberace guest stars and is one of the more mundane parts of the ensemble, that’s saying something. But Frank Gorshin’s portrayal of the Riddler is still everyone’s mental image of that character, whether in a book or on a screen. (Jim Carrey’s take, the most recent screen iteration, was pretty much Gorshin’s version thirty years later.) The manic movements and cackling laugh he brought to the table belonged in that outlandish setting, with the written sound effects and relentless alliteration. The Riddler fit right in. More precisely, Gorshin’s Riddler did. And transcended. Read more…

Half in the Bag: Fantastic Four

August 9, 2015


Baleful Bore? – Fantastic Four

August 6, 2015


Few superhero films have ever had as much venom spat their way pre-release as the newest cinematic incarnation of the Fantastic Four. The reasons are many. After two movies in the past decade that were middling at best, Twentieth Century Fox has opted to reboot the franchise so that they can keep their grubby paws on the license, leaving the ever-growing MCU bereft of its most venerable team — not to mention key cosmic character cogs. Director Josh Trank (Chronicle) may or may not have been a complete dick during the filming, requiring studio intervention and extensive re-shoots to salvage whatever could be saved. The Ultimate-esque cast is unspeakably young, and the brother/sister tandem of Sue and Johnny Storm is now biracial, which ignited innumerable Stormfront vs. SJW contretemps in internet comment sections. It became increasingly obvious in the run-up that they had totally befouled Doctor Doom again.

And, last but not least, Fantastic Four is advertised as a “contemporary re-imagining” of the team. Which sounds utterly insufferable. I think we can all agree on one thing: if that phrase was a person, we’d all be lining up to punch it in the face, like it was the hysterical chick in Airplane!.

Now it’s in theaters. And the verdict is? Read more…

Does the Deadpool trailer portend an absolution of Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern sins?

August 5, 2015

I can’t say that I’ve ever been much of a fan of Deadpool, a character fallen from the poisonous Rob Liefeld X-tree. And I can’t say that I’ve ever been much of a fan of Ryan Reynolds, whose mystifying appeal has baffled since his Van Wilder days. It’s not often that an actor can be part of not one but two botched superhero comic book movies, but his turns in the widely panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern managed to do just that. (We’re all offering up prayers that Affleck doesn’t follow in these footsteps.) So the upcoming Deadpool film is a potential collision course of suck. Read more…

Roddy Piper, RIP

July 31, 2015

A flight of coconuts to the head sing thee to thy rest, Mr. Piper. Accompanied by bagpipes, of course.

Half in the Bag: Pixels

July 27, 2015

I’ve only seen one Adam Sandler movie in a theater, and Punch-Drunk Love was more a movie that Adam Sandler happened to be in. I’d have to be heavily sedated to be dragged to any of his cinematic offerings. So I won’t be seeing Pixels. But thankfully we have the fine gentlemen at Half in the Bag, who watch this crap so we don’t have to. Enjoy. Or not.

Happy 75th, Bugs

July 27, 2015

Bugs Bunny is 75 years young today, having made his animated debut three quarters of a century ago in the Merrie Melodies short, “Wild Hare.” For the generations of us who grew up watching Bugs and the rest of the Looney Tunes stable, those of us whose pop culture vocabularies were filled out by the Mel Blanc-voiced creations, this is a big day. So have yourself a plate of Hasenpfeffer in honor of the most famous leporine crossdresser of them all.

Christopher Reeve and a 1980s camcorder will make you believe a kid can fly!

July 25, 2015

I liked Man of Steel, Superman’s most recent film iteration. I look forward, with some trepidation, to him (finally) sharing a screen with Batman next year. But no one ever wore the cape and boots like Christopher Reeve, and it’s likely that no one ever will. And really, could you picture Henry Cavill in the above commercial? With his chainmailish, muted costume, and after snapping (justifiably, granted) Zod’s neck? Read more…

Will the more (Moore?) outlandish James Bond return in Spectre?

July 22, 2015

Though I wasn’t nuts about its final act, I quite enjoyed James Bond’s last outing, Skyfall. It had good action and a quality villain, and hints of the enjoyable lunacy from the Roger Moore days, something Daniel Craig said he was willing to embrace. Read more…

Sunday Stupid: Tom Hanks raps! And dances! Kind of! And Dan Aykroyd does too!

July 19, 2015

Tom Hanks has evolved into a modern version of revered screen stars of yore, well-liked both for his work onscreen and his amiable, even keel off of it: a latter-day Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, etc. Does anyone out there hate the guy? Anybody? And why would they? Unless, of course, they’re still steamed about wasting their money on Joe Versus the Volcano tickets. But really, who’s still grinding that ax? (Okay, I still am — I wanted to go see The Hunt for Red October, but my stupid friends insisted on Joe. Yeah, I ran with some real dummies back in the day.)

It’s been so long since Philadelphia diverted Hanks to a serious, Oscar-bait career trajectory, we forget that most of his early movies were zany comedies that tried to outdo one another in their silliness. And there may be no sillier moment in Hanks’s 1980s oeuvre than a little side project that went along with one of those comedies. The “City of Crime” music video ladies and gentlemen. Well, this exists. Read more…

A good thing in a small package? – Ant-Man

July 16, 2015

Ant-Man poster

One keeps wondering what the bridge too far will be for Marvel’s movie slate. While there have been some narrative clunkers put out by this relatively newfangled Hollywood titan (Age of Ultron was a rather wan successor to 2012’s transcendent Avengers), none have been that classic momentum killing disaster: the box office bomb. You kind of thought that Guardians of the Galaxy with its talking raccoons and ambulatory trees might have fit that bill, but lo and behold it was one of the biggest cinematic hits the House of Ideas has ever had. Suddenly Chris Pratt is an A-List star because of it, which is mind-boggling. Yeah, the chubby loser from Parks and Recreation.

Maybe Marvel really does have the Midas Touch when it comes to ticket receipts. Maybe they do have that coveted, mythical license to print money.

Well, we’ve come to another effort that might not tickle the audience’s fancy as others have, a potential tripwire on the road to riches. Ant-Man, ladies and gentleman. A founding Avenger, but the tiniest of the bunch. Who shrinks to the size of an ant. Who can talk to ants. Sort of like an insect Aquaman. This could be trouble.

Verdict? Ant-Man isn’t great. It’s okay. “Capable” would be a word that I’d use to describe it, with flashes of brilliance when the titular hero is shrunk down and doing his thing. But the family “drama” that undergirds the movie (the term is in quotes because what we get is barely deserving of that appellation) is the plainest of plain vanillas, and the plot is utterly predictable. But you know what, it’s a Marvel movie, it has its moments, and most members of the audience won’t feel cheated out of their hard-earned cash.

Click on through for some more detailed thoughts, including some spoilers, as well as a final rating. Read more…

Will the final Fantastic Four trailer make you bury your face in your hands?

July 14, 2015

I think everyone by now is just waiting to see how Fox has managed to botch comicdom’s First Family this time around, and whether Josh Trank’s rumored set difficulties show up in the finished product. At least we’ll always have Roger Corman’s iteration of the Fantastic Four, which was excusably bad due to its budget and keep-the-rights intent, and thus not as excruciating as its successors.

One thing this newest venture “has going for it” — you have to put that in sarcastic quotes — is what will likely be its utter botch of Doctor Doom. This trailer gives us our best look to date, and he looks awful. You get the feeling that he’s being held back not to make his eventual onscreen reveal cooler, but to delay the backlash until the opening weekend. It takes a special kind of suck to ruin one of the great villains this fictional medium has ever produced, and if that’s what winds up happening — kudos! Another triumph!