Category Archives: john carter

The Following

I was wary of this one. Usually when Fox gives a lot of hype to a new TV series, it’s either a big hit, or a big disaster. Excuse me while I wash the taste of “Touch” and “Alcatraz” out of my mouth. But then again, there was also “24.” Fox has been pushing “The Following” very hard, but because I like Kevin Bacon (well, bacon in general), and I’m just sheeple like that, I gave it a shot.

Bacon is former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, reactivated because a violent serial killer he put away has escaped prison. The charismatic James Purefoy is the killer Joe Carroll. Purefoy is a favorite of mine. You might know him from HBO’s “Rome,” and you should also know him from the excellent John Carter and the even lesser known Solomon Kane. The dude is awesome.

The catch here in “The Following” is that all the time Carroll has been in prison, he’s been online building a very particular social network. They’re not just followers, mind you, they’re also copycats and wannabes. Yeah, a serial killer social network, hanging on his every word.

Now the star power is not all in front of the camera, there’s some behind it as well. The pilot is written by creator and showrunner Kevin Williamson. You probably know his work, new spins in the worlds of horror and drama like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, “Dawson’s Creek” and “The Vampire Diaries.” However, like Fox, he’s had his share of dogs as well. Anyone remember “Hidden Palms”?

Also in the cast, but too far in the background for my tastes, are Shawn Ashmore and Billy Brown, both terrific actors. I also like relative newcomer Li Jun Li. It’s a great cast, but vastly overshadowed and overwhelmed by Bacon and Purefoy, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

What is wrong however is a little thing and a big thing. The little thing is Williamson needs to brush up on his knowledge of pacemakers. The big thing is this premise is more miniseries than series. Viewers will only be able to take so much of this, before they start asking, “Is it time for the good guys to win yet?” The monotony can only be saved by new twists, and I wonder if Kevin Williamson has enough of them.

For another opinion on “The Following,” check out Amanda Reynolds‘ terrific review at Biff Bam Pop! here.

RIP Joe Kubert

Legendary comics creator Joe Kubert passed away this weekend at the age of 85. He was there back at the beginning of the Golden Age of comics, and was still producing work today. His legacy is carried on by perhaps the first and best school for comics creators which he founded and named after himself, and his two sons Adam and Andy, two of today’s hottest comics artists themselves. We have truly lost one of the geniuses, one of the legends, one of the greatest contributors to the comics industry. Joe Kubert will be missed by anyone whose experienced his work, and that probably includes the entire comics field.

I first was introduced to Mr. Kubert at the Berlin Farmer’s Market. There was a store there that sold comic books with the covers torn off, three for a quarter. The store is still there but it’s much more expensive. I was a superhero guy, but at that price I could explore titles I wouldn’t normally have picked up. In that way, I picked up comics featuring Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, illustrated by Joe Kubert. It was also through one of those Tarzan comics that I was turned onto John Carter of Mars and the rest of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy universes.

Joe Kubert was my introduction into so many other worlds. His artistic vision and technique was unique in comics. Much like Jack Kirby, he was an original. There was no one who drew like him, but everyone wanted to and tried to draw like him. Still to this day, if Tarzan, Sgt. Rock, Viking Prince, Enemy Ace, Tor, Ragman, even Hawkman and Hawkgirl, are not by Kubert – my mind will automatically say that’s not the real thing. Those characters, and many many more, are the trademark, the realm, and the legacy of Joe Kubert.

We have lost perhaps one of the greatest in comics. We are all in mourning.

Battleship The Movie

Battleship ~ There been a lot of bad press and even worse word of mouth on this flick, and let’s be honest here, this is a movie based on a board game. And not a game that lends itself well to a plot, mind you, this is not Clue we’re talking about here. All that said, and bear in mind, this is by no means a brilliant movie (it’s no Doctor Zhivago) but it is pretty good flick for one made based on a board game.

The acting is pretty bad by most here, I would say below soap opera level, no offense meant to soap opera actors, but it doesn’t bode well for folks like Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgard. The special effects of the completely indecipherable alien ships are the draw here, as it should be for a summer blockbuster. They are kinda like rejects from the Transformers movies, only not, but they are impressive. Also impressive is how they actually tie aspects of the film to the specifics of the game “Battleship,” that, I thought was clever. Spoilers, if there are such a thing here, but it was really sweet that the old guys who fought in World War II and their antique battleship are the guys who save the world, especially nice in lieu of Memorial Day this past weekend.

As far as the rest of the cast goes, Rihanna steals the movie, she is a delight. Taylor Kitsch, who I have loved as both Gambit and John Carter, is almost a cipher here. He’s terrible in this role, paper not even cardboard. Liam Neeson… well, if you have seen the preview, you have seen almost all of his scenes. Talk about calling it in, taking the cash and running. I did however also like John Tui and Tadanobu Asano, the latter of which is being called the Johnny Depp of Japan – they were both quite good.

The rest of the movie? It gets not only monotonous and predictable but it actually manages to make those big impressive alien ships get boring after a while. And the jumping from ship to ship to ship when they get sunk got a bit ridiculous after a while. We all knew we would beat the aliens, but it got so I wanted to yell “Get on with it already!” more than a few times.

All in all, it was an enjoyable two hours of mindless popcorn movie fluff. It wasn’t bad enough to want my money back, but as I said, this wasn’t a great film either. I don’t think it deserves the bad word of mouth it has been getting either. Come on folks, it’s not like this was Moulin Rouge! or The Dark Knight.

John Carter Is Awesome

John Carter ~ In the year of The Avengers , there are only a few movies that I have been anticipating with the same tension and excitement as that of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There is Battleship, which is more a curiosity than anything else, as in how can a flick based on a kids game have such an awesome trailer? There’s also The Dark Knight Rises, which falls more into the morbid curiosity category. Regular readers know how much I absolutely hated The Dark Knight, so I am curious to see how much of a train wreck this one will be. And then there’s John Carter. In some ways, I have been more excited about this one than The Avengers.

First things first, all you critics and naysayers and underage idiots who think it rips off Star Wars can all just go to hell. John Carter is awesome. The books, by Edgar Rice Burroughs about John Carter of Mars are now over a hundred years old. A century, idiots, so if anything, George Lucas was mining Burroughs, not the other way around. And that goes for everything else under a hundred years old the uneducated are saying John Carter rips off. This is the original, literally the great granddaddy of pulp adventure science fiction. Everything from Flash Gordon to Superman to Adam Strange to Avatar owes a huge debt to this property.

And the other thing, yeah, that thing, I don’t want to hear any crap about box office. Yes, it was an expensive movie, and yes, it did not do well at the box office. The box office folks are talking about is domestic, John Carter did quite well overseas, where also apparently folks knew who the character was, despite the “of Mars” being removed from the title, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The fact is not that the movie did do well financially, it just did not do the numbers it was expected to do, that’s all. Let’s look at the facts – John Carter has made more money than The Artist and Hugo combined. Does that sound like a bomb to you?

There were other problems. The project got orphaned at Disney/Pixar, as nearly everyone involved in marketing was no longer with the company when it came out. So Disney only gave it the minimum promotion a motion picture of its size, budget and content should have gotten. Disney had written the film off before it even came out, and in recent weeks has even admitted it. Feeling saturated by the PR blitz of The Avengers and Brave? Well, enjoy, that’s John Carter‘s marketing money at work.

And then there’s the title. Disney had a real bomb last year called Mars Needs Moms, and decided that the word “Mars” was bad publicity, and so removed it. These are also the geniuses who wouldn’t call it A Princess of Mars (the book on which this movie is mostly based) because it would confuse the little girls (and probably the parents as well) in the audience. Not only is that just plain stupid reasoning, it’s also ripping the heart out of the character. John Carter is John Carter of Mars, period. It’s like calling a movie about Superman just “Man.” And also if they had kept the “Mars” in the title, at least some of the folks who weren’t aware of the character wouldn’t have at least known it was scifi of some sort.

Despite all that that, despite all of this crap that has been piled on top of the movie – I loved it. I’ve seen it three times. John Carter is the best movie I’ve seen this year. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great movie, and there’s nothing original you haven’t already seen somewhere else (it has had a hundred years to be ripped off, mind you), but it is a fun movie, and I really enjoyed the two hours plus I spent in the theater each time. There hasn’t been an adventure like this is some time.

Based on the first novel A Princess of Mars, yet borrowing from later novels as well, John Carter stars newcomer Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) in the title role, genre actress Lynn Collins as the Princess, and Willem Dafoe brilliantly voice acting Carter’s Thark friend Tars Tarkas. Rounding out the cast are two veteran actors from one of my favorite HBO series “Rome,” Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as Dominic West and Bryan Cranston who rule the screen while they’re on it.

I loved this pulp adventure of a Civil War vet transported to the otherworldly Mars to fight for and against its various peoples. I read these books as a ten year old at the Camden County Library when it was part of the long gone Echelon Mall, thanks to my reading enabling big sister. They were great then, and great now, as I read the first book again before seeing the movie. A friend of mine called it adventure porn for ten year old boys. I don’t find that all that offensive, I think it’s right on target actually.

John Carter is a fun adventure flick – don’t believe anything the naysayers tell you, go see it, go see it now.

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This Week’s All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed (The Fearless) Evans, Allison (Dawn of the Jedi) Eckel and Glenn (Magic The Gathering) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Red Lanterns #6, Men of War #6, OMAC #6 and the impossible bra, Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #6, the rest of the DC number sixes, Ed’s Marvels including the Red Hulk, the Fearless, the Punisher, the X-titles and Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier #1, and no X-Club for you.

The discussion continues in segment two including: JMS’ The Twelve #9, more dinosaurs, Defenders #3, Invincible #88, Ed’s indies, Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #0, Angry Birds fight, the John Carter books, Lone Ranger #2, Magic The Gathering #1, saucery, Allison’s kids comics, Ed’s trades, Batman Gates of Gotham, Colossus and more Angry Birds.

Be sure to check out the brave and the bold new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 1-4-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed (iZombie) Evans, Allison (Silver Swan) Eckel and Glenn (Batman Surprise) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Batman surprise, Huntress #4, Glenn has more comics than anyone else, Allison’s DC books, Action Comics #5 and other Grant Morrison goodies, Ed’s Marvels, outdated New Jersey references, Defenders #2, and stretch streeetch wrap it.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Ed’s X-Men titles, Ultron War?, Rick Remender’s X-Force, Avengers Annual and Academy, Fatale #1, Flash Gordon German lesson, John Carter goodness, Atlas Unified #1, Irredeemable #33, Godzilla goodies, Allison’s kids comics, Life with Archie #16, Marvel action figures, and new manga.

Be sure to check out the outrageous new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 10-19-2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed (The Doctor) Evans, Allison (Amy) Eckel and Glenn (the tin dog) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Fear Itself #7 and its side titles, new Avengers teams, which Hawkeye?, awesome sauce, why Justice League is like heroin, Wonder Woman #2, Supergirl #2, and geekgasm – Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Ed’s Marvels, including the X-Men titles, John Constantine one of two ways, Dark Horse Presents #5, John Carter of Mars, Mass Effect, 30 Days of Night #1, Superior # 6, Doctor Who #10, Allison’s kids comics including Tiny Titans # 45, Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man #3, Ed’s trades, and The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. Mmmm… brains…

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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Coming Soon…

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, opens December 16th, 2011.

Disney’s John Carter opens March 9th, 2012.

The Muppets, with Amy Adams and Jason Segel and Chris Cooper (and the Muppets) opens Thanksgiving 2011.

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