Category Archives: joss whedon

Quickies 2-19-2013

Steel Against the Sky ~ A classic Warner Bros. two-reeler from 1941, this has stock characters and a predictable end, but all in all is great fun. Two brothers, Lloyd Nolan and Craig Stevens, high rise construction workers, compete for the same girl, sexy dame Alexis Smith. Thrills abound in the climax high above a bridge construction in a raging ice storm. Classic forties Hollywood melodrama at its best – snappy banter, comedy, romance, and adventure. And watch out for the young Jackie Gleason. Worth watching.

Spaceship Yamato ~ This 2010 live action version of the animated TV series “Star Blazers” is everything you would expect it to be. I liken it to seeing my comic book heroes, the Avengers, on the big screen. It’s something I never thought I would see in a million years, and yet here it is. Fabulous special effects bring the animation to life. So worth seeing, even if you just look at it with no subtitles on YouTube. Absolutely must see for any “Star Blazers” fans.

21 Jump Street ~ I really only watched the first season of this show when it was originally on, so I’m not a fan by any real stretch, but I do hate the idea of remaking old TV series into comedy movies, especially when the source material was not a comedy. I can forgive “Bewitched,” but this one doesn’t quite fit. About the only thing I liked about this was the Johnny Depp reveal at the end. The rest of this mess is really like Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum just got stoned and improv-ed what they thought “21 Jump Street” might be about. Hill is so not funny here, and I equally don’t get what all the fuss over Tatum is. Avoid this like a salad bar without a sneeze guard.

The Cabin in the Woods ~ Joss Whedon strikes again. There’s really not much I can say about this one, other than it is always more than you expect, and always goes one better. Unpredictability at its best, a modern horror classic. If I told you anything else, I’d spoil it. You’re on your own.

Double or Nothing ~ This great one-reeler from 1936 stars Phil Harris as a stunt double in Hollywood who while under gas dreams he goes to ‘Doubles Heaven,’ home to lookalikes of the stars. An amusing musical romp, and lots of fun for fans of classic Hollywood, starring many doubles of the day.

Advertisements

The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers ~ I think I need to inform folks where I’m coming from on this one. One could say I’ve been waiting for this movie for over forty years easily. I learned to read on comic books, thanks to my cool big sister. First there was Batman, obviously influenced by the 1960s TV show, then I started reading my brother’s Flash and Justice League. I was solidly a DC Comics guy as you can see, and then I discovered the Avengers. It would be quite some time before I became a regular Marvel reader but I knew instantly this was a different kind of comic. Avengers became one of my favorite comics, even today. So much so did I love the Avengers that for almost a decade I regularly reviewed the title online. Yeah, I’m a hardcore Avenger-phile. This movie is a little kid’s dream come true.

In another sense, you could say I’ve been waiting for this movie realistically, and hopefully, since the end credits of Iron Man. Can I express my elation the first time I saw those few seconds when Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury wanted to talk to Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man about the ‘Avengers Initiative’? No, I can’t. I am as speechless now as I was in 2008.

Who would have thought Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios could have pulled this off? Not only have they created a cinematic continuity, a movie universe as tight and intriguing as their comics universe, they also changed the way we watch movies. Does anyone (at least anyone who knows) not stay until the final credits any more. This is something that John Hughes used to do for a gag. It’s something the James Bond films used to do to reveal the title of the next installment. Marvel has made it a genre-wide trick of the trade. You stay until the screen has no more light, period.

Speaking of James Bond, the other achievement Marvel has taken on is the building of a successful movie franchise – the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which The Avengers is the seventh, or the sixth, depending on whether you count Ang Lee’s Hulk or not. I think all of this would have been impossible without Iron Man, and especially Robert Downey Jr. Downey is the secret weapon, the gateway drug, if you will. Without Downey, I doubt that this film would be as mainstream as it is. It’s not just comic book folks who are seeing this movie, it’s everybody. Comics aren’t just for nerds anymore, or at least comic book movies aren’t. This weekend’s box office, threatening to become the biggest opening ever, is proof of that.

Besides Downey as Iron Man, and Jackson as super spy Nick Fury, Chris Evans returns as the title role from Captain America The First Avenger, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, along with Oscar winner Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye from that same film, and Scarlet Johansson returns in her role as the Black Widow from Iron Man 2. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down with The Incredible Hulk‘s Ed Norton, so the role of Doctor Bruce Banner is more than adequately filled by Mark Ruffalo. As much as I like and liked Norton in the role, I like Ruffalo even more. This is a good thing.

Also returning from the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks are Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig from Thor, Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Paul Bettany as Jarvis in the Iron Man films, and of course the big bad, Thor’s brother Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster from Thor is mentioned but unseen. Cobie Smoulders is the perfect Maria Hill and although uncredited and only doing one very funny and wonderful line of dialogue, Lou Ferrigno voices the completely CGI Hulk. It is a stellar cast, top notch all the way, and all of the primaries – the Avengers, Fury, Loki, and the rest shine like stars when on screen. All are skillfully performed.

If I had to find fault, if I absolutely had to find a flaw in the film (other than characters or storylines I would want to see) it would be the lack of character development. But even that’s not a flaw. The four majors have had at least one movie each to explore that before we got to this point. We get sweet spotlights on the two Avengers without movies, Hawkeye and the Black Widow, displaying their talents and personalities, and Nick Fury will have his own film upcoming for us to delve more into his character. So really, on that point I can’t complain. What is really great about this is all of them come to this film fully formed. Especially in the cases of Captain America and Thor, their movies were essentially origin stories, now, here in Avengers we get to see what they can really do. These are not flaws.

I will try not to give away plot points, or any of the Easter eggs found in the film, but I will give director and co-writer Joss Whedon and his co-writer Zak Penn all the props possible for creating what is, without a doubt, the best superhero movie ever made, period. Let’s see Whedon have a Wonder Woman script or a “Firefly” sequel turned down in Hollywood now. The man, to borrow the line from Titanic, is the king of the world today. Everything was perfect, from the characters to the dialogue, the special effects, the humor, right down to the two (count ’em, two) after-credits scenes, one of which will be having fanboys and girls squeeing with delight. Marvel’s The Avengers is awesome.

The little kid in me who was mesmerized by his first Avengers comic book more than forty years ago was spellbound in the theatre. From Project Pegasus to the Black Forest to the SHIELD Helicarrier to downtown Manhattan, the Avengers were truly Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the big screen. The first confrontations between the heroes, and the heroes and the villains, are well done and believable, not just slugfest for the fun of slugfest. When Captain America confronts Loki in Germany, I had a lump in my throat, I was like, “It’s the real Captain America.” The scene is that good.

The special effects are stunning. I love the way Thor’s hammer always returns to him, and his effects are perfect. Cap’s superhero costume, which I initially thought would look silly works wonderfully. If there’s anything cooler than the SHIELD Helicarrier, it’s the battle on board the SHIELD Helicarrier. Non-believers will see why Hawkeye is one of the coolest Avengers. The interaction between the characters is priceless, and in the final battle, their teamwork whether all together or in smaller teams is right out of the comics. It’s beautiful.

I will probably see Marvel’s The Avengers again a few more times in the theatre before it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD. Yeah, it’s that good. The 3D effects are good, but let’s keep in mind it still looks amazing in 2D, so you don’t have to sell blood to see it. Highly recommended. A definite must see for comics and non-comics fans alike. This is the movie of 2012.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 7-13-2011

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 Retailer) Evans, Allison (The Fangirl) Eckel and Glenn (The Curmudgeon) 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: Enunciate, little head Bane has so many problems, the Flashpoint comics of the week, including Emperor Aquaman, Deathstroke, Frankenstein, Booster Gold and Citizen Cold, Scott Kolins and the guns of the Rogues, the Fear Itself comics of the week, Ed’s Marvels, and a day without Deadpool is like a day without sunshine.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Lantern Corps action figures, the cloying Superman #713, Red Robin and the Black Bat, the War of the Green Lanterns – still ending, Red Wing white space, Mothra monster cop, Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, Ed’s indies, Glenn’s quick comic rundown, too many comics, Ed’s trades, and Allison’s fastest Batcave evah.

The All Things Fun! Kids Vidcast returns next week!

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!

Bookmark and Share

Astonishing

Marvel Comics’ follow-up to the highly acclaimed Spider-Woman Motion Comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev is actually a bit of a surprise. Rather than another work created specifically for the format, they have gone old school (or as old school as one can go in the new realm of this technology) and chosen a story already presented in comic book form – “Gifted” the controversial first storyline from Josh Whedon and John Cassady’s Astonishing X-Men.

One might think this is a backward step in motion comic production until one actually sees it. This is moving forward into new territory. With the help of Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios, who also directed “Gifted” along with original artist John Cassaday, Marvel is bringing a whole new dimension to the artform.

Originally motion comics of the twenty-first century were nothing more than moving some elements across a static background to imitate movement, similar (sadly) to the infamous “Marvel Super Heroes” cartoons from 1966. Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., a few months back was the first to be designed specifically for the motion comic format and utilized a style that brought the story and action to life.

Now, Neal Adams, who pioneered the realistic artstyle in comics of the late 1960s and early 1970s, takes things even farther into the future with Astonishing X-Men. These characters breathe. They speak as if animated, blink, move, etc. This is the next wave. It has to be seen to be believed. Marvel is riding the wave of the motion comic to the next frontier. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Bookmark and Share

Dollhouse – Epitaph One

Here’s a sneak peek at the unaired episode “Epitaph One” guest-starring Felicia Day from Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse.” It will be available on the Season One DVD that drops on July 28th.

.

Dollhouse Saved

After a couple tense weeks, the news is out that Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” has been renewed for a second season on Fox.

Now there are folks who live and die by the word of Whedon, while a fan, I’m not one of them. I will be the first to say that “Dollhouse” is not one of his best productions. It’s no “Firefly,” (another Fox show by Whedon that was killed by the Friday night scifi death slot) and it certainly isn’t “Buffy,” but it did have its moments. Unfortunately those moments were few and far between. And I’m not just talking about Eliza Dushku.

We’ve seen twelve episodes so far, excluding the unaired pilot and the episode featuring Dr. Horrible star Felicia Day, and not many of them could keep my attention. I liked the one that riffed on “The Most Dangerous Game” and the ones that concerned Alpha, but that’s about it.

And I think the problem is that all the episodes should have been about Alpha and the workings of the Dollhouse specifically. I found the episodes about the actives’ missions to be boring standard TV fare but I was spellbound by the Alpha subplot, and the episodes that focused on that. Give us the good stuff, Joss, not the fluff we can get anywhere. Congrats and here’s to better second season.

.

Dollhouse

Joss Whedon’s new television series, “Dollhouse,” starring Eliza Dushku, premieres February 13th on Fox.

Dr. Horrible on DVD

Now finally on DVD, you can watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog anytime on your TV. For those of you living under a rock for the last year or so, Dr. Horrible is quite possibly the best entertainment to come out in and around 2008. While not exactly a movie or a TV show, it’s a new form of entertainment that is – up until the DVD release – was dependent on the internet.

Available in iTunes, this metahuman drama/musical/online vlog tells the tale of Billy aka Dr. Horrible, a wannabe mad scientist/super-villain out to join the Evil League of Evil, and get the attention of Penny, a girl at the Laundromat he crushing badly on.

Former Dougie Howser and current star of “How I Met Your Mother,” Neil Patrick Harris brilliantly fills the title role, with Felicia Day as Penny, and Nathan Fillion of “Firefly” as Horrible’s arch-nemesis superhero Captain Hammer. Speaking of “Firefly,” the whole shebang is the brainchild of Joss Whedon. If you liked his work with that short-lived series or his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” you’ll love this. I think this is the best thing Whedon has ever done, and that’s saying a lot.

See it here, with, as they say, ‘limited commercial interruption.’ See it, buy the DVD, live the blog – you’ll love it.