Category Archives: hugh jackman

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians ~ This is a fun animated adventure that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. It’s sort of like there’s a Justice League of mythical beings who protect the children of Earth – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy. When the Boogeyman, Pitch Black, rears up to change the status quo for the more evil and nightmarish, these Guardians are called together, but must take in a new member, the reluctant Jack Frost.

There is great voice work here as well as interesting takes and personalities on the different Guardians. Hugh Jackman, being chief among the voicers, is extremely good. Jude Law as the villain, and Alec Baldwin’s Russian Santa Claus are also good. Very entertaining, I wish I’d caught it in theaters so I could have seen it on the big screen.

Guardians strikes me at many levels being similar to the Rankin/Bass holiday specials of my youth. Here are tales of Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. for a new generation, and just as believable as they were back then. You’ll leave this movie feeling refreshed and filled with hope, and not just a little childlike wonder. This is how a Superman movie should leave you. Maybe we can hijack those writers for the next chapter in that franchise.

Rise of the Guardians was a breath of fresh air and good entertainment for the whole family, recommended.

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The Wolverine

The new animated movie poster for The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman, to be released June 2013. Awesome.

The Demo, Not the Movie

Now I’ve been seeing previews for Real Steel the movie since January, I think it’s on DVD and Blu-Ray by now, after only lasting a few weeks in theaters. It’s one of those previews that pretty much tells you the whole story of the movie in a two-minute trailer. Hugh Jackman is a former boxer in a world where boxing has moved on. It’s now done with robots. His estranged son wants to have a boxing robot, so Hugh gets one from a junkyard but teaches it his old moves. Robot wins championship, father wins son’s respect. You can see it a mile away.

I’m probably not going to see the movie, as I said, the trailer already gave everything away. But when I saw the demo was available on the PlayStation Store, I downloaded it, as it just might be fun. In the trial version, there are few options available to those who refuse to purchase the full game. Bummer. Much like Marvel vs. Capcom 2, a second player is needed. So I grabbed Ray and made him play with me.

Maybe I still don’t understand this stuff, but in this case Ray doesn’t either, ’cause once we had two controllers connected the game worked, but only for one player, so who knows what was what. The suckiest part of the whole thing is that even once we started playing, we still had our butts handed to us. Ray had heard this was a terrible game to begin with because of the controller placement, whatever that means. I’m deleting this game for sure.

Happy Feet Two is another game demo based on a movie, and in this case, the game is much more fun than the movie. I disliked the movie a lot. I did like the original Happy Feet film, and I dig the demo quite a bit as well. You’re a penguin who likes to dance, and you groove across a icy terrain picking up musical notes like Mario going after coins and also pick up dance partners along the way. The effects, the music, and the gameplay are easy, fun, and a blast. One hundred percent better than the movie it’s named after.

X-Men First Class

After the fiasco that was the third X-Men film, appropriately called The Last Stand, I really wanted nothing to do with seeing another X-film. Even my seeing the Wolverine movie was at great protest even though I quite enjoyed parts of it. However, the teasers and previews for X-Men First Class were just too enticing, what with the concept of a period piece matched with a reboot of the series, as well as an exploration of the relationship between the young Xavier and Magneto. I was in, for better or for worse.  

The beginning is a bit disturbing, replaying the opening of the first X-Men flick with young Erik Lehnsherr being pulled from his parents at a Nazi concentration camp and his magnetic power beginning to manifest against a metal gate between them. Things become much worse after that, as Kevin Bacon playing the sinister Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club, shows a bit of his background as a Nazi scientist who tortures the boy to gain his secrets.

In parallel, we see the pampered young Charles Xavier gain a new sister and mutant confidant in Raven Darkholme, later to be known as Mystique. It goes on like that, with Charles finding success (except it seems picking up women in bars) and Erik hunting down Nazi war criminals, until their paths cross in the real plot of the movie.

Between the Second World War and now (now being 1962) Sebastian Shaw has changed his Nazi name and formed (or joined, it’s not clear, but he is its leader) the Hellfire Club, and they plan to manipulate the US and Russia into a nuclear war that will destroy the human race and make everyone mutants – the next step in evolution. CIA agent (yeah, I know, it’s a bizarre departure from her role in the comics) Moira MacTaggert suspects this and recruits Xavier to help the government.

Soon, with Cerebro’s help, a preliminary X-Men team is formed – including Magneto, the Beast, Banshee, Darwin, Angel Salvatore, Havok and Mystique – and they go to war with the Hellfire Club. Look for a wonderful one-line cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine during the recruitment sequence. The final battle between the teams has moments like the end of The Return of the King where you think it’s never going to end, but it never sinks to the lows of X-Men: The Last Stand.

There are terrific performances here. Kevin Bacon, a name I never would have considered when thinking of Sebastian Shaw, is perfectly evil and never goes over the top as he did in other such roles like in The River Wild or The Hollow Man. January Jones is also the perfect Emma Frost, and is nowhere near as wooden as she usually is in “Mad Men.” She looks the part, but frankly I was worried because I hate her work on the show so much. It is notable that she’s the only thing I dislike about “Mad Men.”

I liked this a lot, so much more than I ever would have suspected. If you told me I’d like an X-Men film, much less one about the X-Men vs. the Hellfire Club in the shadows of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I probably would have laughed at you. And I would have been wrong. Fans of the comics, fans of the movies, and you other folks too – you should check this out. First Class is the X-Men movie we have all been waiting for.

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Wolverine (and Gambit)

I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine last night and I’m still not sure if I liked it or not. I saw it with two women, neither of whom had a deep comics background, and they both really liked it – so I’m thinking I might be rating the flick a bit harshly. Or maybe, as a heterosexual guy I just don’t find Hugh Jackman all that attractive.

I hate to be sexist here, but really, and the women out there know this is true – but we all know that any box office this movie gets has as much to do with Hugh Jackman with his shirt off as it does with comic book fanboys. I’d honestly judge the audience as half and half. As we waited in line to get into the theatre, two elderly women were leaving The Soloist and I overheard their debate about Wolverine… they were turned off by the superhero and action aspects but agreed to see it because of Hugh Jackman. Case closed.

As far as the story goes, it’s close to the comics but not quite. It’s sort of like if the movie version of “Gone with the Wind” had the South win the Civil War and Rhett and Scarlet live happily ever after. It’s still good, but that’s not how it happened, ya know? The effects are good, and the action is terrific. Things I had serious problems with are where Wolverine’s claws come out of his hands (on top, not from the knuckles) and the bizarre interpretation of Emma Frost. Soooo wrong. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (a role he’s been wanting to play for a looong time) is fun, as is Will I. Am as John Wraith and Kevin Durand as The Blob. On the other hand, Liev Schreiber’s Sabre Tooth is just over the top, way too much.
Speaking of sex appeal, Jackman’s spotlight is stolen whenever fan-favorite Gambit, played by Taylor Kitsch, is on the screen. The character had been scheduled to appear in both of the last two X-Men films but kept getting pushed out. That’s a good thing too. It gave him a better spotlight here. And I think Hugh Jackman should be watching his back. It was his sex appeal that got the ladies in the theater, but it was Taylor Kitsch they were all talking about on their way out.

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Free Comic Book Day 2009

As always, the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. Comic book retailers, bookstores and libraries across the world celebrate the hobby and literacy by making dozens of new or reprinted comics available for free on this day every year since 2002.

What titles are available? Almost every comics publisher puts out something for FCBD. DC Comics has the opening chapter in this summer’s crossover event “Blackest Night” and Marvel Comics has a brand new Avengers comic up for grabs. For a list of everything, click here.

And for those folks in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, please stop by All Things Fun! in West Berlin, NJ and the Haddon Township Library in Haddon Township, NJ. Don’t know where to find your local comics shop? Call 1-800-COMIC-Book or click here. Free comics for everyone and even special events, check it out!

And here’s a bonus – Hugh Jackman hyping Free Comic Book Day, plus a look at X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in theatres nationwide tomorrow. Enjoy.

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