Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Comic Book Day 2010

Tomorrow - May 1, 2010 - is Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE (Check with your local shop for their participation and rules.) to anyone who comes into their stores.

Here's a list of the comics being given away this year, and here's how to find your local comic book shop!

Don't forget to check with your local library that may be celebrating Free Comic Book Day as well, and especially drop by my favorite comic shop, All Things Fun! if you're in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area - they're not only having a sale, but snacks, games, events, Batman and Imperial Stormtroopers! Check it out here.

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Astro Boy

Astro Boy ~ I guess I should have known better with this 2009 updating of the 1960s black and white cartoon beloved from my youth. And it’s a long way past the evolution of the animation too. The story seems wrong. The origin of Astro Boy is fairly intact, but it has the feel and the stench of both A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Wall-E when neither is really appropriate. It even has stronger ties to Pinocchio. Astro Boy is Astro Boy, let it be what it is, ya know?

The voice of Nicholas Cage as Dr. Tenma screams first and foremost as wrong. Wrong not just because it’s obvious that it’s him and his voice is inappropriate for the part, but because he displays little emotion in a role fraught with tragedy. It’s like he is reading words, not filling an image with his live personality. His ‘performance’ is a travesty.

The film also suffers from what most superhero movies of the past four decades do – the mandatory origin. Why can’t we just accept that this character exists, and then tell a good story? Did Indiana Jones have an origin? Did Jack Ryan? And even though I looove the recent film, did the crew of the Starship Enterprise? The movie is always half over, sometimes more, by the time we see our hero in his final hero form. It annoys me.

And speaking of hero form – why does Astro Boy have to be so politically correct and wear a shirt? Sorry, folks, but product recognition, in this case, character recognition, dictates that the product is recognizable to its fans. Astro Boy is topless. Deal with it. What’s next? A leisure suit for Tarzan? A mask and cape for Jason Bourne? Again, let Astro Boy be Astro Boy.

I waited for the DVD, even though I was very excited when I first heard they were making this. The first preview I saw had Nicholas Cage’s toneless deadpan voice, the shirted Astro Boy and a tender moment with a teenage girl, and it just turned me off. Now don’t get me wrong. This movie is not bad, it’s really quite good, great for the kids, and recommended so - but what it isn’t is a satisfying version of Astro Boy. Rent the DVDs of the original series – even higher recommendation.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Doctor Who: The Time of Angels

One of the most frightening new monsters of the second incarnation of “Doctor Who” has been the Weeping Angels who appeared in the Steven Moffet-penned episode “Blink.” These demonic angel statues don’t move as long as you don’t stop looking at them – but if you blink, you’re dead. With Moffet now in charge of the series, the fourth episode of the fifth season features their return.

But Moffet couldn’t just let eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and his companion Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan, just deal with the Angels, could he? He also threw Professor River Song into the mix just to shake things up. This woman, portrayed by former “ER” star Alex Kingston, has met the Doctor before, but not yet in his lifetime, and knows a lot about him, intimate stuff – leading some fans to speculate she might be his future wife.

Officially she’s from the Doctor’s future and his current incarnation is from her past, to quote the Doctor, ”Time travel, we keep meeting in the wrong order.” This episode intimates that there may be quite a bit more to River Song than we may have suspected. May I throw a monkey wrench into the guessing game? What if she’s the Rani? Discuss.

The crux of “The Time of Angels” is that a starliner has crashed and there’s a Weeping Angel inside – River Song, along with the Doctor’s help is after it. This is where Moffet puts the screws to us with the horrifying fact that even images, like video footage, of the Angels can move if you blink. It’s one of the scarier moments with Amy in the middle.

Guided by a madman’s book our heroes explore a labyrinth of the dead, decorated by statues, which is where the starliner crashed. If that’s not creepy enough, it seems they are all Angels. This episode is to “Blink” what Aliens was to Alien, and this is not a horror you can nuke from orbit, or from behind your couch either. And it’s to be continued.

What will happen? Tune in next week, same Who channel, same Who time. Season five just keeps getting better and better.

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Three More from Eurovision 2010

FYR Macedonia: "Jas Ja Imam Silata" by Gjoko Taneski featuring Bili and Pejcin.

Latvia: "What For?" by Aisha.

Sweden: "This Is My Life" by Anna Bergendahl.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Losers

The Losers ~ Yes, another comic book made into a film, but unlike most of them - shocker, I've never read this one, so I can't make all those nitpicky little comments about what didn't translate to the screen.

The Losers is a present day Vertigo comic loosely based on an old DC war comic from back in the day, some of the names even remain the same, although it should be mentioned, in the war comic, Pooch was a dog. The concept here is a group of special ops get framed and try to get even with the evil CIA boss who did the nasty to them. yeah, it does sound a bit "A-Team," but it's much better, and much much better than the trailer for the new big screen A-Team that ran before this movie.

The trailer is actually one of the major things wrong with The Losers. As with many films these days, they either give away the whole movie or show the best parts of the film. In this case, if you've seen the preview for The Losers, you have heard all the good lines.

I also think that not having read the comics I was able to be surprised by some of the more interesting plot twists an average comics fan would've have known going in. Zoe Saldana is stunning and quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays his second comic book character on the screen with pizazz, his first being Watchmen's Comedian. And Chris Evans does his second as well after the Human Torch and will soon be playing Captain America. Sounds like he's making a career of comics to film.

The Losers is a fun flick, over the top performance and violence. Don't take it too seriously, like a Roger Moore Bond flick, and you'll enjoy it.

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Eurovision 2010 - Belgium

Belgium's entry into this year's Eurovision Song Contest - "Me and My Guitar" by Tom Dice.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


2012 ~ A close friend of mine said the other day that she would watch John Cusack read the phone book. I have to wonder if she’s seen this gem…

The real star here is the special effects. It seems like co-writer/director Roland Emmerich just didn’t get to destroy the world enough in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow (and that’s not even mentioning how he destroyed Godzilla, grrr…) and had CGI effects leftover. That said, this wannabe Irwin Allen has created stunning disaster imagery that is almost worth the price of admission (or rental), if only a story went along with it.

The film’s structure revolves around the solely Western idea that the world will end when the Mayan calendar ends in the year 2012. To me this always seemed absurd. The calendar ended because the guy carving it got tired and just ended it on the last cycle. Remember no keyboards or pencils then, just chisels – it was hard labor. Anyway, the world’s going to end, cue special effects and let your butt get numb.

John Cusack is writer Jackson Curtis (who just happens to have written a book about Mayan ‘prophecy’) who struggles in the midst of the disaster to save his estranged family. The hilarity, and unbelievability factor, ensues from there. I have to wonder however if John had some gambling debts or alimony payments we don’t know about he had to cover with this flick. It certainly couldn’t have been the script that lured him in. Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, is actually quite a hoot as an ersatz Art Bell type radio show host.

The chase scenes will certainly make your heart race, and if only this would have been in IMAX... See it for the effects, and only if you don’t have to pay for it.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PromTrash Mean Girls

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who's the trashiest Prom Queen of all?!??

That's right, Folks, time again to pick America's trashiest Prom Queen!

The Dumpsta' Players celebrate their 14th Annual stag, drag, come-as-you-were/are/is "PROMTRASH MEAN GIRLS" @ Bob and Barbara's!

Join the Dumpstas as Bette Midler takes on Donna Summer in a Mean Girls supreme showdown! Enjoy the snarly antics of the top bitches - The Heathers! Contestants are encouraged to pay homage to all the nasty queens through the decades - from Dynasty to Perez Hilton!

INFO 215-545-4511

$1.99 cover

It's revenge of the dreadful prom, so join in the ffffun! We invite all to put on a prom dress, don a tux and compete with the gender bending drag kings, queens, straight up females and males, faghags, pretty princesses and assorted other freaks!

Come enjoy the sensational crowning in - "PROMTRASH MEAN GIRLS"!!!!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doctor Who: Victory of the Daleks

Here we are, episode three of the new season of “Doctor Who.” I must say that I still don’t understand all the hating on the new theme. For some folks that seems to be the only thing wrong with the new series. I quite like it. I don’t hear the screams of ‘techno’ that some people complain about either. I hear the same old strings and synthesizer beats as always. And while I myself am still not thrilled by the TARDIS made from the D and W in the logo, I love the opening sequence. The lightning and spinning TARDIS add a level of precarious danger that I quite like.

“Victory of the Daleks” is not only the first time Matt Smith encounters the Daleks, but it’s also the first non-Steven Moffet-scripted episode of the season. I was a bit afraid there might be a change in tone or character, but writer Michael Gatiss brings the Moffet Who quite admirably.

WWII Prime Minister Winston Churchill calls on the Doctor for help, a bit that both demonstrates that the PM knows The Doctor intimately (even about his regenerating) and that the TARDIS is still a bit wonky (he arrives a month late). It seems that the UK has a new secret weapon against the Axis – a Brit scientist has ‘invented’ something that looks very much like the Daleks.

This episode includes a terror only a Brit or a student of history could appreciate, and be terrified of – the Daleks turn the lights on all over London during the Blitzkrieg. That must have made some older adults hide behind their couches over in the UK. In the meantime The Doctor involuntarily creates a new model of multi-colored Daleks. More colorful, maybe, but more dangerous, we’ll see.

The new Daleks are just a small bit of what has made this new season something different. From the new inside of the TARDIS to the fine blue wood of the Police Box outside to these new Daleks, everything has been brighter and more colorful. It’s something, that like the ‘too-young’ Matt Smith, is mis-leading in flat 2-D photographs, but vibrant and exciting in action. I like it.

Trust me, you haven’t lived until you see Spitfires attacking a Dalek saucer in space (shades of Warren Ellis!), The Doctor use a cookie as a TARDIS self-destruct device or seen Daleks serve tea. This one is a hoot. And of course, next week can only be better, and scarier – as Steven Moffet’s Weeping Angels return. And River returns as well. This should be good.

Matt Smith gets stronger in the role with every moment. Karen Gillan has a role here, but she really doesn’t have much to work with personality-wise. Her listing may as well read ‘Doctor’s generic companion’ this time. And Ian McNiece, the newsreader from HBO’s “Rome,” is a brilliant Winston Churchill.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a review of the first episode "The Eleventh Hour," that aired for the first time in the States on BBC America last night, click here, and for the second episode, "The Beast Below," click here. This is a great time to be a Doctor Who fan.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue ~ This is quite possibly the best anime I have ever seen. Not only is it that good but it deftly illustrates the difference between Japanese and American animation. America makes cartoons of what isn’t possible, while Japan creates things like Perfect Blue - a straight thriller with almost zero fantasy elements.

This tale of pop idol Mima trying to make the jump from teeny bopper superstar to a grown up serious and sensual actress while being stalked by a deranged fan – is not the usual fare for anime. No swords, giant robots or magic schoolgirls – no martial arts or even tentacle sex – just solid drama, story and characters. This is don’t miss, but be warned, even though it’s animated – this is not for kids. Sex and violence abound. Perfect Blue is very Hitchcock with just a touch of Gaslight, recommended.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying ~ When Ricky Gervais is on, he’s really on. And I think it really helps that he co-wrote and co-directed this. Sadly it just doesn’t come together as well as it should.

The premise of a world where no one lies gets old rather quickly when it’s just two people alone, but blossoms in the voiceover narrative and with other actors in the mix. And that just about covers Gervais’ and Jennifer Garner’s first date. It’s a bizarre mix of Liar Liar and What Women Want that never lives up to its potential. And of course, unlike those two films, this one is somewhat funny.

There are lots of guest stars and intriguing cameos like Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louie CK, and of course Barry from “Eastenders.” The ads within the movie for Coke and Pepsi are hilarious, as is ‘The Sad Place for Hopeless Old people.’ Sorry, it’s funny because it’s true.

When lying is invented by Gervais’ character halfway through the movie, it’s not as funny as it should be – but rather heartwarming, and I’m not sure that’s what was intended. The humor only lasts for a few moments before turning into one of those “Saturday Night Live” skits that never ends. Much of this film feels that way sadly.

The Invention of Lying has the same trouble that most of Ricky Gervais’ films have – that schizophrenia of trying to be a drama with comedic overtones when it should just be a comedy. Too much philosophy and not enough jokes. Worth watching, but it could have been much better.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Silent Hunchback at the Ritz

The Hunchback of Notre Dame ~ I love silent film, but apparently I am one of the few. I was kinda surprised at the turnout for this 1923 masterpiece compared to other films presented by Silver Screen Classics at Showcase at the Ritz. I even overheard one woman at the box office upset that this wasn’t the Charles Laughton. She asked for her money back when she heard it was silent. She objected to having to read, she said. Surprisingly she saw a subtitled movie instead – go figure.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the 1939 version of Hunchback with Laughton, it’s terrific, and Maureen O’Hara was amazing. But the 1923 Lon Chaney version is classic, the best in my opinion, and not the original, it should be noted either. Victor Hugo’s novel has been filmed multiple times throughout film history. Not seeing this version just because it’s silent, to me, is like refusing to see The Wizard of Oz because Judy Garland is not Fairuza Balk. Oh well, it’s your loss, folks.

Michelle McDonald, a manager at Showcase at the Ritz, has gotten much better at the introductions of the movies here, but film historian Lou DiCrescenzo is still much missed. I hope he returns soon. His knowledge and love and respect of the artform is unparalleled. After some fun and waiting on a new projectionist, the movie finally started.

Sadly, this was not a great print, but strictly speaking, there really aren’t that many great prints of this one. In fact, a complete version doesn’t exist, that we know of, we’re still missing ten to fifteen minutes from what I understand.

Amazing sets and the always amazing make-up and portrayal of Lon Chaney highlight this film. There is a ponderous cast of characters, and that and the long setting up of the story are not strictly the film’s fault, but Victor Hugo’s. Tastes from the time it was written to the time of this past century had changed. Disney actually did a fairly excellent job of Cliff-noting it (and also unfortunately politically correcting it as well) many decades later in 1996.

Esmeralda as played by Patsy Ruth Parker is wonderful, and Nigel DeBrulier as Don Claudio and Ernest Torrence as Clopin are terrific villains – who were notably combined into one for the aforementioned Disney adaptation. And Chaney, hell, Lon Chaney is always amazing. This is the role that cemented his legendary status as both a performer and a make-up master. He is the king. Quasimodo’s whipping scene, pivotal in the film, is particularly intense. Chaney is genius at portraying both monstrous and pitiful at once. Though brief, Esmeralda and Quasimodo’s scenes are far more entrancing than Parker with any of the other male leads.

While Parker and Chaney stand out in this film, silents were the realm of pantomime and over the top acting. Here the poet Gringoire as played by Raymond Hatton – famous later in life for The Three Mesquiteers – is the champion. Even though he has his share of dramatic moments as well, his humorous takes steal his scenes, especially one with Norman Kerry’s Phoebus.

The film exhibits quite a political side. The caption cards especially are quick to lay the blame for tortures like the whipping and other atrocities that were done to the lower classes solidly at King Louis XI’s feet. Sometimes the class war looms largely here than any individual’s story. But of course – that’s what Victor Hugo is all about.

When the climatic siege of Notre Dame begins we see some of Chaney’s best scenes as he throws stone blocks and pours molten lead on his attackers from above. Even as a kid I was enthralled by that scene. Great stuff, always worth seeing.

This film is a mix of many genres, several scenes go by without Chaney on screen where the film could have simply been a period piece with no horror overtones. Sometimes you forget what you’re watching, during the Esmeralda and Phoebus scenes specifically. To me this is the sign of a well-rounded story and presentation.

No matter how you see it, 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a film masterpiece, and must see. Highly recommended. See it, and see it on the big screen if at all possible.

A note on Silver Screen Classics, with the theatre recently being purchased by Rave, it’s now calling their Monday afternoon features the Rave Cinema Classics. Same films, same website, different name. Keep ‘em coming, folks!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Doctor Who: The Beast Below

Okay, the preliminaries are over, we have a fascinating new Doctor, we have a spunky new companion, it’s time to get this ball rolling. "The Beast Below," also a Steven Moffet script (that’s a good thing) has the Doctor and Amy dropping in on 29th century UK, a floating metal island in space, where the populations of Earth have fled in entire artificial nations to escape solar flares. If nothing else, the visuals are extraordinary.

The Doctor and Amy’s relationship seems at first to be going down the Rose road, as he happily shows her the wonders of time and space, along with the rules, and she jumps right in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. While Matt Smith seems to be quickly evolving past the two former Doctors and into his own, Karen Gillan still feels like a happy mix of Rose and Martha with a healthy dose of Donna as well. I would have liked a new companion, but the 'imaginary friend' twist does help. Above all else though, I like these two, a lot.

UK3K is a rather old school steampunk world that the Doctor almost immediately points out must be a police state. Another thing I like is that Smith’s Doctor explains a bit more to his companion than previous ones, yet still, not enough. And as with any place the TARDIS lands, nothing is as it seems. Our heroes are quickly caught up in the mayhem of their new surroundings, keeping with "Doctor Who" specifications from waaay back.

By the way, did anyone else catch the reference from "The Idiot Lantern" episode? Gotta love Who continuity. As good as this episode was, and I won’t give any more of the details away, the next promises to be even better. I can’t wait.

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Eurovision 2010 - Germany

Lena Meyer-Landrut - Satellite
Uploaded by sh0ckzZ. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Germany always has catchy entries, and this year is no different. Here's Lena Meyer-Landrut with "Satellite", one of the stronger competitors in my opinion, dancey and campy enough to win in this year of ballad overflow.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Malcolm McLaren RIP

Music legend Malcolm McLaren passed away this morning in New York after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.

Before becoming the infamous manager of the iconic punk rock band the Sex Pistols, McLaren was in fashion and ran many alternative clothing shops in London, although he eventually would have his own clothing lines. He brought the Sex Pistols to the attention of the world and helped begin a new phase in music, even though later he was accused of mismanaging their money.

McLaren had a brief solo musical career of his own in the early 1980s introducing sampling to the industry with "Buffalo Gals" and the album "Duck Rock." He also later attempted an electronic version of the opera "Madame Butterfly." He remains a jack of all trades, as throughout his life he also created advertisements for British Airways, managed the New York Dolls and produced the film Fast Food Nation among many other projects. We've once again lost one of the good ones.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Kid Who’s Debut

Last night the fifth new season of “Doctor Who” began on the BBC. As anyone who knows about the mysterious time traveler will tell you, The Doctor is a unique character as he can regenerate when he dies. This trick allows new actors to take on the role when the previous has grown tired of it. It also allows for sometimes a virtually new kind of character to emerge. Thus is the case of Matt Smith, the youngest actor to portray The Doctor, causing many in doubt to call him ‘Kid Who.’

Season five’s opening episode “The Eleventh Hour” opens with a bang. The newly generated Doctor is trying to climb back into the runaway and about to crash TARDIS over London and nearly misses getting his goodies snagged by the top of Big Ben. An opening that promises excitement is always good, and it’s quickly followed up by the new series intro and theme. As opposed to other previous versions of the theme, this one grabbed me right away.

Any urge that one might have to say Matt Smith is a bit young is almost immediately diffused by the introduction of companion Amy Pond as a little girl. Ha, got you, the first new companion is a bit too young. She catches up though, and the young Karen Gillan (who had previously appeared as the soothsayer in the Pompeii episode early in season four) is in my opinion a spunky and refreshing mix of Rose, Martha and Donna. I like her.

There is quite a bit of charming mischievousness and understated menace of David Tennant in Matt Smith’s Doctor. The rest takes a bit of getting used to but I really do like him. The climax of “The Eleventh Hour” definitely cements Smith as The Doctor in my opinion however, very strong presentation. My favorite line of this new incarnation - ”I’m the Doctor, I’m worse than everybody’s aunt.”

Stephen Moffet, who takes over the series from departing Russell T. Davies, delivers a very tasty script featuring not only the best of a new regeneration, the establishment of a new order, new subplots and frightening new aliens. Still not sure about the new TARDIS having the old set from "American Bandstand," but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I really did love this. I’m not going to pass judgment and say it’s better than the old, but it is quite terrific.

Who da man? Matt Smith da man, and he’s also The Doctor.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Clash of the Titans 2010

Clash of the Titans ~ Okay, I was all ready. I had watched (and reviewed) the original Clash of the Titans earlier this week, dinner plans were made and tickets purchased ahead of time – I was psyched to be knocked out by state of the art 3-D effects and mythic storytelling. Man, did I have the wrong number. At least dinner was good.

The concepts of remake and source material seemed to have been thrown out right away as this new version bore only a vague resemblance to either the 1981 film and even less so to actual mythology. I always thought that the tale of Perseus and Andromeda was one of the great romances of Greek mythology, but apparently somebody forgot.

That said, it was quite a spectacle, had the filmmakers actually allowed us to see any of it. There is a lot of fast motion camerawork and superfast quick cutting so little of the special effects are actually seen. They did however make sure that every time Sam Worthington as Perseus struck a fighting pose or jumping in the air, we saw it in slow motion. For a special effects movie, they sure didn’t want us to see those effects.

The Kraken, which it should be noted is not a creature of Greek mythology at all, was one of the big reasons I wanted to see this film. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows I’m a sucker for giant monsters, and the Kraken as shown in the previews had great potential. However, the cold hard fact is that that monster really only appears in the film for a few minutes. Quite honestly, if you’ve seen the preview, you’ve seen pretty much all the Kraken you’re going to see. Shame, it could’ve made the difference in a bad film and a bad film with great special effects.

Sam Worthington is adequate as the reluctant (here at least) Perseus. Liam Neeson makes a better Zeus than Sir Laurence Olivier, but not much better. I do like the blinding shining armor though, even its gleam fades as the film goes on. Whether this is on purpose or not, it’s disappointing. This new version gives us a new villain in Ralph Fiennes’ Hades. I almost didn’t recognize him after so many turns as Voldermort, this different make-up again made him into another person almost. Shame his special effects (these we got to see) overshadowed his acting.

Polly Walker, notoriously Atia of the Julii in HBO’s "Rome," is wasted in what should be the rich role of Cassiopia. She gets barely a few moments screen time, and she could have not only been brilliant but saved the film. Similarly cast aside is Alexa Davalos as Andromeda. But someone behind the scenes decided to ignore one of mythology’s greatest stories and do something else. Instead we get Io as the romantic pairing to Perseus, whose background is rewritten drastically for the film. She is played by the beautiful and charismatic Gemma Arterton, one of the highlights of the film.

The cast was filled out by character actors playing the traditional sidekick template roles, seemingly from the old Sinbad films. There was the fat guy, the comic relief and the mysterious stranger – likable all, but again, like the special effects, we never got to see enough of them.

All in all, I thought it was much better than the original, but that’s not saying much considering how much I was disappointed by the 1981 film. It felt there was conscious effort throughout to be different from the original, just for the sake of being different – Pegasus is black not white, pretty Medusa not ugly, etc. And there’s also a fun cameo by Bubo the mechanical owl that did make me smile more than anything the blasted thing did in the original film.

The musical score by Ramon Djawadi is powerful and another highlight of the movie, so good I’m thinking of buying the soundtrack. I did wonder why this film was in 3-D however as there wasn’t much that needed 3-D, except to hike the already elevated ticket price. Worth seeing, but wait for DVD or OnDemand.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Quickies 4-2-2010

Gran Torino ~ As much the story of an Asian family under assault from gangs as it is about Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated performance as a stubborn racist widower. Eastwood was nominated but it’s the supporting cast that is really phenomenal. Highly recommended.

Captivity ~ This should have much better than it actually is. Someone’s watched far too many bad Saw sequels. More gross than suspenseful or scary. And if I wanted to hear Elisha Cuthbert scream this much I could just watch early “24” reruns with my finger on the rewind button.

The Hangover ~ Disturbing slob comedy that could have been so much better and so much funnier but it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. It’s part Dude, Where’s My Car? and part Very Bad Things (and not the good parts of either), and far far too heavy on the Zack Galifianakis. The Dan Band is fun for about two minutes toward the end. Pass on this one unless it’s free and you can’t reach the remote.

24 Hour Party People ~ A brilliant, funny and insightful docudrama that takes the viewer on a musical journey following the story of Factory Records in the 1970s. Steve Coogan is terrific. If you love the music, you’ll love the movie, and even if not, you’ll be entertained and informed. Worth seeing for the brief appearance of baby-faced young John Simm as New Order’s Bernard Sumner if nothing else. Recommended.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past ~ As if I needed more proof that Matthew McConaughey is a slimy womanizer, he plays yet another one in this throwaway flick. An unoriginal lift from the Dickens school of helpful ghosts, this movie just bored me. Even though there was at least comedic potential, this is just massive fail. Avoid.

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