Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Cape: Kozmo

Here we are with episode three of “The Cape,” and perhaps it’s time for a bit of credit where credit is due. The series was conceived by writer/producer Tom Wheeler and realized by action director Simon West among others. Either way, this is Tom’s baby, and quite an adventure. He’s built a continuity from the ground up, and inspired by the heroes of the pulps rather than anything contemporary, so far so good.

This episode in particular is notable, to me at least. It caught the attention of my mom-in-law, who liked it. She’s about as far from the comic book genre community target audience of this show as you can get, so extra points to Tom Wheeler and crew for nailing that elusive mainstream audience. Unlike “Heroes” before it, “The Cape” just might have a longer shelf life, especially if it continues like this.

I couldn’t wait for this episode because of the title. I remembered from the pilot that Kozmo was the name of the man who used the ‘magic’ cape before Vince Faraday. Come on, we all knew he’d come lurking back into the picture, for the first time, sooner or later.

It starts well, Gregor the Great, escapes from a Russian prison, establishing himself as a little bit Houdini, a little bit evil Mister Miracle, and we just know where he’s headed. Next comes the animated credit sequence, some of which seems to have been lifted from the online graphic novel, but it’s not, rather a montage of the actual The Cape comic book used in the show. When a bridge confrontation follows, right out of the beginning of Alec Baldwin’s The Shadow, I am once again hooked.

I am surprised when Gregor shows up and calls Max Malini Kozmo. It seems that Kozmo is a legacy, much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, and an identity that is passed down for decades. Max, after seeing what Gregor was capable of with the cape, decided to cut the legacy short. There is much made in this episode that the cape may really be magic, and that there may be more to this world than we thought.

Other highlights this time around include Orwell finally meeting the Carnival of Crime, which is interesting, especially seeing The Cape’s two worlds come together. There’s also the much un-subtle and too obvious reveal of who Orwell really is. I wish it had been done better.

Also on the side of not-done-well is the set-up for the duel of the cape between The Cape and Gregor. It is sudden and clichéd. I thought we were finally going to get to see the Carnival perform, and was looking forward to it too actually, and it becomes awkwardly a fight scene. There was definitely some clunky writing here, and I was disappointed. There’s still enough here to bring me back, hopefully this was just a fluke.

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French Fry Diary 208: "Dirty" Potato Chips

Charlie Callas 1927-2011

Comedian Charlie Callas passed away Thursday. I remember him most for his role as Sinestro in the infamous TV special “Legends of the Superheroes,” and with Green Lantern film so hot right now, Sinestro also appearing in it, and the aforementioned special finally on legal DVD, it might be what many folks remember him for.

But that’s not all Callas was famous for. His motormouth delivery, impersonations and sound effects made him a favorite on talk shows and variety shows of the 1960s and 1970s. As well as being one of the funniest roasters on the Dean Martin Roasts, Callas was notoriously banned from “The Tonight Show” for shoving Johnny Carson.

With a colorful career, as well as the first actor to portray the renegade Green Lantern, Charlie Callas will be missed.

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Gordon Ramsay’s French Fries

RIP Wizard Magazine

This week Wizard Magazine called it quits. In this, the internet age, it certainly is a case of internet killed the magazine star. In a world where you can get all the latest comics news in just a few seconds, and also seconds after it happens – magazine that specialize in such are as much dinosaurs as the newspapers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ringing the death knell for the newspapers yet, but the comics audience is predominantly a computer savy audience. A monthly magazine ain’t gonna do it any more.

That said, Wizard had its time. There was a time when folks fought to get the first copies on the shelves. Everybody wanted to see the new interview, the new preview, the new poll, the latest who’d win, the photos from the latest film or even the letters column with the latest feud. Like I said, it had its time, but sadly those days are gone, lost to the much faster satisfaction of the immediate Twitter/Facebook world. Rest in peace, Wizard, you’ll be missed.

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French Fry Diary 207: Red Robin Burger 2010

French Fry Diary 206: Red Robin Puts It in Print

The Green Hornet

I have been waiting for this movie for a long time. And by long time, we’re literally talking almost two decades, as that’s how long this property has been floating around Hollywood. At different times George Clooney, Jet Li and Kevin Smith have all been involved in its production in one capacity or another. I’m just happy it finally got made. And despite my trepidation at this Seth Rogan action comedy version, I still couldn’t wait to see it, and the four days I had to wait since its release until I saw it were far harder to wait than the twenty years before it. Thankfully, the wait was worth it, this was a terrific surprise and a great flick.

For those not in the know, you might want to check out my article “Re-Introducing the Green Hornet” over at the All Things Fun! Blogs. If nothing else, it should hip you to the love I have for the character and the mythology. Yeah, this flick was pretty important to me.

My fears about this being an action comedy were somewhat relieved when I read an interview with co-writer and title star Seth Rogan. Despite his obvious slob comedy background, the guy has a pure and hardcore love for the Hornet, and while it does descend to the usual Rogan jokey depths, the quality and integrity of the mythos is upheld in my opinion.

The plot, slightly altered from the original has Britt Reid an irresponsible rich boy partier whose father is slain for writing an anti-crime editorial. Britt is forced to straighten out as he inherits his father’s multi-million dollar newspaper. Accompanied by his father’s mechanic, Kato, played by Taiwan pop sensation Jay Chou, he decides that he wants to do something with his life – that being a covert superhero believed to be a villain.

Now Rogan and director Michael Gondry are no fools, they have seen the 1960s “Green Hornet” TV series and they know that the Black Beauty, the badass car, is the real star here. There is much care put into the concept mixing contemporary and retro that make the Black Beauty just as cool now as it was in 1966. I don’t know about you, but I always liked the Black Beauty better than the Batmobile, and still do.

The Green Hornet and Kato have a very unique relationship in the world of superheroes, they are partners rather than hero and sidekick, and this is explored well here, as it would be in the beginning of such a partnership dynamic. Even when it deteriorates into foolish and comedic combat, it rings true.

Seth Rogan toned up for the role and looks good, and when things get serious, he is right on top of it. I love the tie and the vest, both nods to the TV series. Jay Chou, much like Bruce Lee before him, steals the show. He’s the reason to see this, and he’ll be big after this. Christoph Waltz, Oscar winning Nazi from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, is an intriguing take on the super-villain. Meek, middle-aged, sand oft spoken but still a dangerous sociopath, he is subtlety incarnate here. Another prize performance. Cameron Diaz and Edward James Olmos are lost here in my opinion. Hopefully there will be a sequel to make better use of their talents.

It’s not a perfect movie, and I do have some fanboy nitpicks that did bother me. I wish we had seen the Hornet Sting, and I wish we had heard more of the theme song “Flight of the Bumblebee.” I mean we heard more of it in Kill Bill in homage to the Green Hornet than we did in the actual Green Hornet film. And of course the whole final chase/fight at the climax of the flick could have been avoided had the Black Beauty had wireless. I mean, really, it’s got rocket launchers, machine guns, even a record turntable, but no wireless?

My big problem was of course the identity of the main villain. It hurt me deep. Really, having him be the big bad is the same as having Commissioner Gordon revealed as the main villain in the Batman films. It just doesn’t work. Again, I should say it does work. I don’t like it but it works.

All in all, this was a great flick, and has done better than I think folks thought it would have. The Green Hornet is the best flick I’ve seen so far this year, and heartily recommended. See it.

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