Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Actor, filmmaker and Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper has passed away. He was 74.

I used to have this thing for sixties movies when I was a kid. Don't ask me why, but I was into hippies and drugs and bikers waaay back then. As you can imagine, when local WPVI channel 6 showed Easy Rider on its Million Dollar Movie Friday nights at 11:30 PM - it was an event for me. I stayed up and marveled at the psychedelic exploits of Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and this shaggy headed rebel named Dennis Hopper. This was the first time I had run into the man. He was a one-liner, comic relief almost, in Rider, but little did I know then that the man co-wrote and directed the flick. And the flick was one of the new wave of youth-oriented films that changed the way Hollywood made movies.

Hopper once again slid into my tunnel vision with his frightening performance in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Nightmarish, charismatic and dangerous - he had a lasting effect. I became a fan, and slowly became aware of his long and storied career.

Dennis Hopper, reputedly one of the bad boys of Hollywood was also one of its new wave of geniuses to come out the late 1960s. His career before Easy Rider was primarily in television and almost stretched back to its beginnings. After lots of TV westerns and some dramas, he jumped to the big screen in 1968 and began a long string of brilliance, whether it was a small part, or larger role in front or behind the camera - Hopper was one of the greats. He seemed to vanish in the 1970s but reemerged quickly in the early 1980s, thanks to roles like Frank Booth in Blue Velvet.

After that it didn't matter what you saw Hopper in, whether it was as the bad guy in Speed or the television series "24," or in just silly stuff like Space Truckers or Super Mario Brothers - you knew you were going to get a hell of a performance. We have lost a true Hollywood legend in Dennis Hopper, and he will be missed.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

RIP Gary Coleman

Television icon, Gary Coleman, passed away this afternoon. He had tripped and hit his head, which at first seemed like nothing, progressed to unconsciousness, a brain hemorrhage, a coma, and then finally death. He was only 42.

Gary Coleman, an actor since an early age, was a television sensation as the precocious star of the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" in the late 1970s through to the 1980s.

Suffering from kidney problems throughout his life, and stunting his growth as well, he never let it affect his work, always portraying a happy child both on and off the screen. In the eighties he appeared in a variety of projects from made for TV movies to cartoons to lunchboxes. You could hardly go anywhere without hearing his catchphrase, "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

Sadly as the sitcom lost popularity and was eventually canceled, things turned sour. Along with his co-stars, Todd Bridges and the late Dana Plato, he seemed to be a poster child for child actors unable to make the transition to adulthood. Financial problems, lawsuits and erratic behavior marked his life after celebrity. However you remember Gary Coleman, as TV's Arnold Jackson, or as gossip page fodder, he will be missed.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Bill Webber Passes

Philadelphia radio and television legend Bill Webber passed away this weekend. He was scheduled for heart surgery but died before it could be done. He was 80.

Webber was a fixture on the Philadelphia media scene for over five decades, and never retired. He was a radio disc jockey, television pioneer, talk show host, kids show host, telethon emcee, announcer, nice guy, a giant of a man, and an industry legend. He served for years as an officer in the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1999. He worked in many, if not most of the media outlets in the Philadelphia area.

That would be enough, but on a personal level, I feel like I’ve lost a part of my childhood. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bill Webber doubled as Wee Willie Webber on local channel 17 on weekday afternoons as the host of their children’s programming. Bill Webber was the face that greeted me when I got home from school and filled in the commercial breaks during such life-shaping TV shows like "Speed Racer" and "Ultraman."

That might sound silly, but when I met the man in person years later - thinner, older and sporting a goatee – Mr. Webber was thrilled to hear that he was remembered so fondly and insisted that I, then a grown man, call him Wee Willie and even imitated Ultraman’s Spacium Ray gesture at me as he walked away. A nice man, and a very cool man. He will be missed by many.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cold Souls

Cold Souls ~ In a daring move, actor Paul Giamatti plays himself in this slipstream dark fantasy.

In an attempt to become ‘unburdened’ Paul goes to a ‘soul storage’ company that removes his soul from his body so he can live a happier carefree life. When Paul begins acting inhuman, or shall we say, soulless, he becomes involved in a soul transplant program – and then into a soul smuggling plot.

That’s when the quest begins for Paul to get his soul back. Hilarity ensues, as one would expect, or hope. I just wish it was good hilarity. Like many Giamatti films, this is slow, talky and at times, painful. It wants very badly to be Being John Malkovich but tries too hard.

Cold Souls could have easily been a Woody Allen (oddly enough the film is based on a dream he had) comedy or a Paul Verhoeven scifi thriller – and I really wish it had been.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Avengers #1 Reviewed at Avengers Forever

"Just Like Starting Over" - my comic book review of Avengers #1, by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr., is now online at Avengers Forever.

Thor, Iron Man, the new Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman – they are the newest incarnation of the Avengers. They have only just started to get used to being together when their greatest enemy, Kang the Conqueror, crashes the party… but nothing is as it seems - all this and more - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

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The Age of Reasonable Doubt

Fran Metzman is a terrific writer, a friend and a mentor, and she writes one of my favorite blogs, The Age of Reasonable Doubt about women's issues, including sexuality, age and relationships, at Wild River Review.

She just released this announcement regarding her blog: After writing The Age of Reasonable Doubt for the past five years, I am pleased to say the blog has received some very positive feedback and support. Now, in my fifth year with Wild River Review, I am moving forward with the blog in new ways. I have added graphics and photos and I have been keeping the blog current on my Facebook Fan Page and Twitter.

I am now accepting topic suggestions and your questions on relationships or issues to make the blog more interactive. If there is a subject or idea you would like explored, just post it as a comment directly on the blog, which can be found be on the bottom right-hand side of each column. I would love to hear from each and every one of you. Please pass this along to your friends!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Doctor Who: Amy’s Choice

This is a very intriguing episode. In “Amy’s Choice,” the Doctor and his friends are trapped in two parallel dreams – one of now in a doomed TARDIS, and one five years from now with a pregnant Amy married to Rory in ‘the village that time forgot.’ The challenge – figure out which dream is real before they die.

The nemesis that places the Doctor in this trap is the mysterious and self-proclaimed Dream Lord, played by Toby Jones. He’s one of my favorite character actors. I loved him as Truman Capote in Infamous and he recently was verified to play the villainous freak Arnim Zola in the upcoming Captain America feature film. Here he plays a foe the Doctor apparently knows as the only person in the universe who hates him as much as he does.

Toby Jones gets all the good lines in the form of insults against the Doctor, similar to the Valeyard. He calls upon all of his names like the oncoming storm, etc., but while I prefer my ‘Kid Who’ for the ‘Junior Doctor,’ I certainly do have a fondness for ‘him in the bowtie’ as well. And it’s not just Jones, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as well as Rory played by Arthur Darvill, all have excellent dialogue in this Simon Nye script.

Rory this time out kinda falls into Mickey territory a bit in this episode, but I still like him. He has presence, which puts him above Mickey’s comic relief in my book. He only has that whiny quality when confronted by the Doctor as a romantic rival. It’s refreshing as it sort of reminds me of how the Christopher Eccleston Doctor reacted when Captain Jack Harkness was hitting on Rose.

“Amy’s Choice” has terrific performances by all, a rough ending and then a soft ending, and of course more monsters worthy of making us all hide behind the couch. The same danger as usual but with a lighter touch than usual – I wouldn’t mind having Simon Nye return as a writer. His “Men Behaving Badly” vibe fits “Doctor Who” better than I thought it would.

We also get to see a bit more of the multi-level multi-color Soul Train set of the new TARDIS control room. Fun.

So until next time, “under the circumstances, I’d suggest... run!”

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Avengers Day

Marvel Comics has designated May 19th as Avengers Day. So, what better way to celebrate Avengers Day than to check out what's going on at Avengers Forever?

Avengers Forever is the website dedicated to all things Avengers and Avengers related.

On the website you will find:

Character Profiles - All the info and details you could ever want about every Avenger and Avengers-related character, literally Earth’s Mightiest Database.

Reviews of Current and Older Avengers Titles - The AF Staff reviews the comics as they are released and also looks back on issues of the past. One of the most comprehensive review sites on the ‘net.

Interviews - The AF Staff interviews the creative folks responsible for bringing us the Avengers today and the last four decades.

Fan Fiction - Earth’s Mightiest Fans continue the unofficial adventures of the Avengers in prose, in some of the best fan fiction on the ‘net.

Desktop Wallpaper and other free downloads like Avengers membership cards and computer icons and cursors.

Back Issue Database - Ever wonder what happened in Avengers #106? Find out here!

Articles Database - written by some of the Earth’s Mightiest Fans.

Even a Chatroom - talk live with Avengers fans from all over the world, as well as creators and other special guests.

...and most importantly, the Avengers Forever Forum. Not just a message board, but a unified community of lovers of the comic book artform and especially Marvel Comics’ Avengers. This worldwide community discusses the characters, stories and history of the team in a friendly and civil manner, all true fans and all united in their love for the Avengers. There are even polls, trivia, contests and much much more. What are you waiting for? Join the discussion today!

And don't forget to check in at your favorite comics shop today to celebrate Avengers Day!


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dio Is Dead

Dio is dead. Long live Dio.

One of the gods of heavy metal music, if not the god of the form, has left this mortal coil for the realm of sorcerers and warriors.

Earlier today, Ronnie James Dio passed away peacefully in his sleep from complications of stomach cancer. He was 67.

The musician, singer and songwriter performed in a multitude of bands, but most notably in Rainbow, as Ozzy Osbourne's replacement in Black Sabbath and with his namesake Dio. He popularized the 'devil horns' as a symbol for heavy metal.

We have lost a legend and he will not be forgotten. Rock on and rest in peace.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Quickies 5-14-2010

Starflight One ~ The synopsis for this 1983 gem reads, and I’m not joking, as follows: “By mistake the captain and passengers of the world’s first hypersonic airliner go past Australia, into space.” Also known as Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land, it’s a disaster movie on a low budget telemovie scale starring the semi-warm cast of Lee Majors, Lauren Hutton, Ray Milland, Kirk Cameron, Robert Englund and Hal Linden. Just as bad as it sounds and would be fun if you make a drinking game out of it. This serious version of Airplane II is abysmal and yet sometimes unintentionally funny.

It’s Alive ~ This TV movie from 1968 is pretty cool, and riding on a smooth drive-in horror flick vibe, until you actually see the monster. Wow. This thing, a recycled prop costume from a previous film just as bad as this one, makes the monsters from the old “Doctor Who” TV series look professional. Hell, it makes Barney look like he walked out of Jurassic Park. This one’s okay excluding the monster. With the monster, it’s just terrible. An example of how one ‘special’ effect can ruin an entire flick.

Kitten with a Whip ~ This 1960s exploitation flick is indicative of the genre and one of the best with name stars. Sociopathic prison runaway Ann Margaret chills at aspiring senator John Forsythe’s home Desperate Hours style while the family is on vacation. This couldn’t have been better if William Castle or Roger Corman had directed it.

Yes Man ~ Jim Carrey plays a negative man who through a positive thinking guru forces himself to say yes to everything. Yeah, it’s kinda like Liar Liar only less funny. It’s not as bad as it could be as Zooey Deschanel saves all the scenes she’s in. As much as Zooey is a delight, Jim is equally a hyperactive and sullen brat. Not as bad as it could be, might be worth seeing if nothing else is on, and as long as you don’t pay for it.

Planet 51 ~ Other than the interesting twist of humans and aliens switching roles, which you can see in any of the previews, there’s really no surprises here. It’s fun animation for kids featuring pantless sea monkeys with Alien dogs in a retro 1950s world, along with The Rock being tiredly ironic for ninety minutes. The shine will wear off for adults pretty quickly.

Pineapple Express ~ You know those great action thrillers where some innocent bystanders witness a murder and then spend the rest of the flick being chased by the bad guys? Yeah, now imagine everyone in said flick is a stoner and/or a doper. Yep, you got it, that’s what Pineapple Express is. It’s funny, but it’s probably a lot funnier if you’re high.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gun Crazy

Gun Crazy ~ This 1949 film noir, also known as Deadly Is the Female, was adapted by Dalton Trumbo from the Saturday Evening Post article by novelist MacKinley Kantor. It’s often been compared by film historians as the precursor to Arthur Penn’s classic Bonnie and Clyde - and indeed, the protagonists here are loosely based on the real life Bonnie and Clyde.

The flick opens with a young Russ Tamblyn, listed as Rusty Tamblyn in the credits, as Bart Tare, a gun-obsessed youth. After a spell in reform school and the army, he returns home as played by John Dell – and still gun-obsessed. Once home he meets a stunt shooting gal, Laurie Starr, seductively played by Peggy Cummins, at a carnival and they run away together and get married.

All in all, Rusty Tamblyn was much more believable as a bad guy than the rather naïve and innocent-looking John Dell. But little Rusty was just too young to pull it off. Peggy Cummins on the other hand is excellent as the manipulative brains when the twosome engage in a daring spree of cross-country robberies. She comes off almost like a tough Sandy Dennis, and perfectly portrays the alternate title role.

Director Joseph H. Lewis, who surprisingly later went on to direct TV westerns, is a master here in the use of shadow, symbolism and expressionism. His take is actually evocative of Fritz Lang and Val Lewton in my opinion. This is great film noir juiciness, recommended.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are ~ I still haven’t read the Maurice Sendak children’s book this wannabe blockbuster was based on, so I’m walking into watching this blind with a clean slate. That’s probably how movies should be viewed ideally anyhow. What amazes me most about this flick is how much the studio seemed to invest in its success. They thought this would be huge. There are stuffed animals, video games, skateboards, and even public service announcements on late night radio using dialogue and music from the film. I have to wonder what went wrong, because this was no blockbuster.

The story, as it begins, is of a lonely (and possibly emotionally disturbed) little kid from a broken home who has anger management issues. Somehow I kinda doubt this was in the book, but it’s not a good start for what, to my mind, appears to be a happy movie, at least in all the previews. The opening sequences in the ‘real’ world are actually quite upsetting, so I really had to wonder what screenwriter/director Spike Jonze was thinking. Having done some of the more innovative music videos in recent years, I decided to trust.

The boy, Max, runs away and travels to the land of the Wild Things, monsters who have their own anger management issues. Among them, James Gandolfini as Carol is the only real inspired voice casting. The Wild Things, in the dark at first seem wonderful special effects, but once in the daylight, they unfortunately become sad Sid and Marty Krofft creatures, and raggedy ones at that. Max spends time with the Wild Things, eventually becoming their king and realizing that their life on the island is an analogy of his troubled life at home, whereupon he heads back home, valuable lessons learned all around.

Having seen Where the Wild Things Are I no longer wonder why it didn’t work. First and foremost, this is not a kids film, despite the source material. This is an oppressively dark film with much understated if cartoonish violence. While it succeeds on some levels, it fails horribly for the kids. And I can imagine many young fans of the book left the theatres in tears.

This is an intriguing curiosity for the effects, and for adults who read the book as a child, but this isn’t for the kids. Worth watching for free, and that’s about it. I was unimpressed.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Frank Frazetta 1928-2010

Comic book legend Frank Frazetta passed away today.

If his life and contributions to art were simply about his work in the Golden, Silver and Modern Ages of comics, it would be a tremendous loss, but Frazetta's reach goes far beyond comics.

Possibly one of the greatest painters and artists of the pop culture age, he's done movie posters, book covers, album covers and comics.

If you grew up in the 1970s, you knew his images, whether it was on a Molly Hatchet album or a the cover of the newest fantasy novel or the latest film poster or in a Golden Age comics reprint.

Frazetta, who like Madonna or Cher, is known by a single name, and was and is an art legend. Today is a sad day for art.

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Lena Horne 1917-2010

Award-winning vocalist, actress, and performer of the stage and screen, both small and large, Lena Horne passed away yesterday just short of her 93rd birthday.

I first became aware of Miss Horne in the oddest of places - from the old "Sanford and Son" show as she was a celebrity whom the lead character played by Redd Foxx had the hots for. As Lena was a mainstay of the variety programs of the day I soon learned who she really was. While I knew her from variety television and even "Sesame Street," her career began decades earlier at the Cotton Club in the 1930s, where she was, and remained throughout her life, one of jazz's premiere vocalists, her signature song being "Stormy Weather."

From there she went on to Hollywood appearing in many films, most notably Cabin in the Sky, Panama Hattie and Stormy Weather. Unfortunately her life was made difficult in a less tolerant age because of her interracial marriage and her strong civil rights activism, so she turned to playing in Vegas for some time.

Miss Horne continued to record music throughout her career, moreso in the 1980s and 90s after her successful one-woman Broadway show "Lena Horne: The Lady and her Music." We have truly lost a legend, she will be missed.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Doctor Who: The Vampires of Venice

This week’s episode picks up right where the last ended. The Doctor is trying to set things right with companion Amy Pond and her-hours-away-from-her-vows fiancée. Although, is he trying to set things straight or is he just trying to get her off his back? Let’s face it, the Doctor’s been through this before, most recently with Martha, and he just wants to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. And in fetching fiancée Rory from his bachelor party, he makes his appearance in a very interesting manner. It has to be seen to be believed.

The Doctor sets them up on a date, in the perfect place – Venice, albeit sixteenth century Venice, but it’s still Venice. As always happens they get caught up in strange events that only the Doctor seems to attract – in this case, Senora Calvierri and her family of seeming vampires. At first I had to wonder if this was related to the Great Vampires, foes of the Time Lords who were encountered by the fourth Doctor in the episode "State of Decay." Of course, as has been the theme of this fifth season, nothing is as it seems.

Vampires are perfect fodder actually for writer Toby Whithouse, who not only brought back Sarah Jane and K-9 a few seasons back, but also created the paranormal BBC series "Being Human." However, old school fan that he is, his grasp of the newest season unfortunately feels a bit weak.

Matt Smith seems to be channeling David Tennant throughout the episode. It may be that this was written for Tennant or before Matt decided how he would play his Doctor. Amy is once again the companion of the week with little added to her character this time around. I think, so far, that only Steven Moffet can make her come alive.

Fiancee Rory on the other hand is intriguing. I love that he takes everything in stride, from the TARDIS being bigger on the inside to the whole time travel thing – he lets very little of the usual Doctor Who madness even phase him. What does bug him is the fact that everyone seems to think the Doctor is Amy’s fiancée and not him. Priceless. I actually like Rory a lot, especially when he calls out a monster by insulting its momma. Love it.

One thing is for sure, Moffet definitely wants us all hiding behind the sofa this season. We get a few more clues to the overarching plot for the whole season with the Pandorica, the Silence, and the crack in Amy’s bedroom. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this episode’s climax as I thought it was too similar to that of “The Idiot’s Lantern,” but still it was fun. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Doctor’s library card!

Until next time, remember – stop talking, brain thinking, hush.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 ~ I’ve been waiting for this for a while now, and it finally opened, a bit late for the previews to have become annoying, and of course even more annoyingly, a week after it opened in the UK and Australia. I really have to wonder why the movie companies insist on staggered releases across the world when the internet exists. Don’t they know the flick has already been spoiled for American audiences?

Iron Man 2 picks up almost immediately as the first film ends, but not in the way one might think. From there it becomes a rollercoaster ride of subplots as if it doesn’t know what its real storyline is.

Of seeming highest priority of possible plots is Mickey Roarke’s Ivan Vanko who wants revenge on Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark for supposedly stealing his father’s design. There’s Tony’s new heart poisoning him just as he’s drinking himself to death and risking his life. There’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts (still the dumbest comic book name ever) trying to run Stark’s company and of course her non-romance with him that doesn’t exist in the comics. And the government, in the face of the strangely cast Garry Shandling, wants the Iron Man ‘weapon.’ Those are just the big ones.

Any one of these could have been the main story, and served it well on its own, but for some reason the script couldn’t make up its mind. Underneath the surface of this Iron Man is bubbling an Avengers prequel, and for those aware of what Avengers is, it is a major undercurrent of this film, perhaps moreso than anything to actually do with Iron Man.

Rumors from overseas seem to be right on this front, that this is more an Avengers movie than an Iron Man movie. Easter eggs abound everywhere, from Captain America’s shield to Thor’s hammer, to the outright appearances out of nowhere of Samuel L. Jackson’s ultra-cool Nick Fury to Scarlet Johansson’s ultra-hot Black Widow (although it’s notable her superheroine name is never mentioned). It makes you wonder why Marvel would risk the Iron Man sequel for a movie that’s not even written yet.

And there are still yet more subplots. They tried to squeeze Tony Stark’s problem with alcoholism in there. Don Cheadle, a great actor, but a poor substitute for Terrence Howard, puts on the War Machine armor. Sam Rockwell does an impressive Robert Downey Jr. impersonation, that I’m not sure is in homage or mocking his Stark, as a decisively younger Justin Hammer.

The big guns of this script are largely disappointments. Downey is simply over the top, as if he doesn’t care anymore. Paltrow struggles as if she doesn’t know what to do with herself on screen. Mickey Roarke is damn good and owns the film when he is onscreen, he’s just not there nearly enough. His character, a merging of two Iron Man foes from the comics, Whiplash and the Crimson Dynamo, had enough depth to carry the whole film – but the script would not let it happen.

I did enjoy the film, but that was as a hardcore comics fan. I think it might be too jumpy and frenetic for mainstream audiences, who will also be giving all those Avengers references blank stares. And speaking of Avengers – stay through the end of the credits, or you will regret it. Iron Man 2 is fun and action-packed, but it’s nowhere as good as the original.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010


Kick-Ass ~ The name of this movie may be Kick-Ass, but as a viewer, I feel like I’ve been ass-kicked after seeing it.

Much like The Losers, this flick is based on a comic that I have never read. Neither of the creators, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., impress me much with their comics work (another reason I never read the comic), so I didn’t have high hopes for the movie. After seeing it, I think I’ll be avoiding the comic.

The story follows the concept of a ‘real world’ teenager who decides to become a superhero. No powers, no weird secret origin, just a mask, a wet suit and a couple sticks. He promptly hits the streets and gets his ass kicked, is stabbed, and is then run over by a car. From this point, all ‘real world’ aspects are out the window as the self-named Kick-Ass now has a bunch of metal braces in his bones and a serious lack of nerve endings. Scratch that no weird secret origin bit, I suppose.

Other super heroes manifest, or at least that’s how it appears. As the movie continues (and it does continue, and continue, and continue, for a solid almost intolerable two hours) a division arises between who we think the good guys and the bad guys are and who they really are. Black and white morality is not a hallmark of Kick-Ass.

Among the pseudo heroes is Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy and his eleven year-old daughter Hit-Girl, played actually quite well by thirteen year-old Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a veteran actress even at her young age, and Nicholas Cage, well, Nicholas Cage walks around and collects a paycheck. His only real watchable moment is his bad Adam West impression while in costume. The rest is just terrible. I’m not as much a Cage-hater as some folks I know, but he really ruined every scene he was in in Kick-Ass.

Having never read the comic, there were plot elements that seemed out of place. The Red Mist seemed like a character that should have been a surprise rather than someone whom we knew about all along. It just seems like common sense from a writing point of view. But what do I know? Mark Millar is the guy who cloned Thor, apparently he can do no wrong in some comics fans’ eyes.

Speaking of comics, director Matthew Vaughn has just been tapped to direct the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. How he got that gig after this one other than they are both comics movies is beyond me as I can’t see his style here lending itself at all to the X-Men franchise. After all, Astro Boy and A History of Violence are both comics movies – no thematic similarities there.

When the flick first came out, much was made of the violence and the swearing of the character Hit-Girl. This is very violent, and mercilessly so, with close-ups and slow-mos more traditional to horror gore rather than violent action flicks. I didn’t mind Hit-Girl’s swearing, or her killing almost everyone she sees – what bothered me was when at the end the older man, the big bad, gets the better of her toward the end of the movie. No matter how you slice it, it’s disturbing seeing a grown man beating a young girl.

The previews for Kick-Ass depict a comedy, and those comedic moments are still there, just you’ve already seen them in the previews. The voiceover narration by Kick-Ass is inspired when it appears but it doesn’t appear nearly enough to save this flick. This is just a bad movie, and made worse by Nicholas Cage’s phoned-in performance. He says he was paying homage to Adam West but it comes off more as mocking and bad acting. Give Kick-Ass a wide berth, and wait for it to come to free TV if you insist on seeing it.

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