Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin: Davy Crockett - Series 1

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at my DVDs.  Today, we get to one of the things that began my lifelong love of most things Disney, it's Disney's dramatization of the American folk hero, Davy Crockett.  This is dated in my notes at September 15, 2012.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I keep forgetting I live a lot closer to Edmonton now.  Before, when I'd plan a day in the city, I'd leave at 8AM, and roll into town at around 10.  Now, I leave at 8AM, and get into the city shortly before 9.  This left me with a whole hour to kill before pretty much anything opened up in West Edmonton Mall.  I like being at the mall so early.  It's so empty and so quiet.  However, there's nothing to do.  So I asked myself the question many a mallrat had been asking for the past few months.  "Hey, I wonder if Target's open yet?"

The entrance to Target in West Edmonton Mall

Yes.  Yes it is.  The much ballyhooed Target is upon us.  Finally, we can see what inspired Dragonette to cover the Mr. Rogers theme.

And...it's a department store.

I don't know what was so special about it.  It's just a department store.  I will admit, when I first heard that Target was coming to Canada, a small part of me was excited, if only because I remembered all those old articles in ToyFare magazine that highlighted certain collectable action figures as being available only at Target.  So, yay, those exclusives are finally coming to Canada and I won't have to pay too much money for them on eBay.  I did spy some Target exclusive Justice League figures, but nothing really that made me want to shell out money.

So that's Target.  A department store.

After that, most of the mall was open, so I was off to Chapters.  I had resolved to finally pick up a book I had my eye on for about a year now.  As you know, I'm a fan of Kevin Smith, so I figured it was finally time to pick up his memoirs, Tough Shit:  Life Advice from a Fat Slob Who Did Good.

Smith had a few books published before, but he regarded Tough Shit as being his first real book.  I mean, his first few books were just compilations of magazine articles and blogs he'd written.  But Tough Shit was where he actually sat down and wrote a book.  And boy, did he have a lot to write about.

The past five years have been tumultuous for Smith.  Starting with Zack and Miri Make a Porno failing at the box office, followed by his feuding with Bruce Willis while making Cop Out, going back to his indie beginnings to make Red State, and then finally saying, "Fuck it all," and walking away from film-making.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I think it could be good, and watching him melt down a little bit on Twitter and in his podcasts, I'm finally ready to see him peel back his own layers and get to the root of what was going on.

A quick trip over to HMV, where I was a little let down.  Being a fan of both Star Trek and Michael Giacchino, I was hoping to pick up the soundtrack for Star Trek Into Darkness.  Not finding it on the shelves, I remember from some Star Trek websites that the actual physical album release isn't until Tuesday.  So instead, I was going to get the Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack, having fallen in love with it now that I've seen the movie on Blu-Ray a few times.  But, they were sold out.  So I figured I had to leave HMV empty handed this time.

Then I finally went to see Star Trek Into Darkness.  More on that later.

After I had my fill of the mall, I had to stop by Best Buy on my way out of town.  For the past couple of bill paying days, Quicken has been flashing all kind of error messages about how they're about to stop supporting the 2010 version of the program, and I'd better upgrade to 2013 if I want to keep using their software to keep track of my shrinking bank account.  So I figured I should pick that up.  I mean, hey, if my bank account is about to shrink to oblivion, I may as well track that shit in real time, right?

But in the middle of all that, I finally saw my most anticipated film of the summer, the latest Star Trek film, Into Darkness.  I'm going to get pretty spoilery as I talk about the film, so turn away now.  Well, that shouldn't be a problem for most of you.  From what I gather online, I'm the only of you guys who didn't see it on opening weekend last week.  No, instead of going to see it, I went home to spend time with my folks.  Because I care about family more than some stupid movie.

Are you done rolling your eyes?  Good.  Click away now if you're in the minority that hasn't seen it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

From the Girl Who Waited to the Impossible Girl

A couple of days ago, I was cleaning out my PVR when I came across The Name of the Doctor, which is the finale to Series 7 of Doctor Who.  Rather than lump it in with everything else I was blogging about, I figured the finale of Doctor Who deserved its own blog entry.  So, here we are, as we reflect on the series that was.

I have to agree with one blogger I recently read that the series may have been diminished somewhat by the fact that they split it up, and in doing so, deprived us of one of it's great surprises.  We had the first half back in the fall, where we said good-bye to Amy and Rory, and then we had the second half that just finished up, introducing us to the new companion, Clara Oswald.  As this blogger pointed out, the fact that we knew the first half was going to be Amy and Rory's send-off kind of diminished things.  Would it have not been better if we didn't know it was there end, and they kept it a surprise?  Maybe, but now, who knows?

All in all, though, I felt that series 7 was a bit weaker as a whole.  Maybe it's because they had too much going on, maybe it's because behind-the-scenes they've been distracted with all the 50th anniversary stuff happening later this year.  All I know is this series seemed to be lacking in stand up and cheer moments like the Pandorica speech in Series 5, or the emotion of Series 6, where it felt like the final half of that series had me bawling my eyes out at the end of each episode.

Don't get me wrong, though, there was still fun to be had.  Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is just a silly enough premise to be enjoyable.  And near the end, things got pretty good, as I found The Crimson Horror to be a fairly enjoyable mystery, and legendary fantasy author Neil Gaiman gave us another good installment with Nightmare in Silver.  I think the main problem, though, was that there were too many standalone adventures, and we didn't have enough time building our overreaching mystery.

Series 5 gave us the cracks in the universe, Series 6 had the prophecy of the Silence, and Series 7's main mytharc was going to be the mystery surrounding our Impossible Girl, Clara Oswald.  For those just joining us, here's the mystery.  We first met her in the first episode of Series 7, where she promptly died.  We met her again in the Christmas special, where she died again.  So, that was the mystery that piqued the Doctor's interest.  How can the same person exist in two separate time periods, with no memory of her other existence, and wind up dying both times?  So the Doctor sought out another incarnation of Clara, this one in our present day, and extended the invitation for her to become his new sidekick, and in the process, study her.  And it seemed like every time the Doctor took her to some kind of specialist, they all said the same thing.  "Don't know what to tell you, dude.  She's perfectly normal."   I really don't think they did enough to build the mystery.  It could have been more than having the Doctor be told "She's normal" at every crossroads. 

But all was explained in our finale, The Name of the Doctor.  The Doctor's enemy the Great Intelligence has taken several of the Doctor's friends hostage, and demands the Doctor meets him on the planet Trenzalor.  Of course, this is bad news, because as we learned last series, Trenzalor is the location of the Doctor's tomb, and as the Doctor tells us, when a time traveler visits his own grave, the temporal paradox could destroy everything.  But, the friends must be saved, so off to Trenzalor they go.

At Trenzalor, the Great Intelligence forces them into Doctor's tomb, and we see a shimmering pillar of light.  As is explained, this tear in the fabric of time and space is the Doctor's remains...it's the physical manifestation of his timeline.  The Great Intelligence seeks to gain his vengeance upon the Doctor by entering his timeline, and rewriting the Doctor's history.  The Great Intelligence does this, and the Doctor doubles over in pain as his personal history begins to get rewritten.  We see stars go out because the Doctor wasn't there to save those planets.  The Great Intelligence travels throughout all of the Doctor's life, turning all the Doctor's victories into defeats.

So it's up to Clara to save the day.  She knows what she has to do.  She has to enter the Doctor's timeline and undo the damage done by the Great Intelligence.  That's exactly what she does, and in doing so, creates multiple versions of herself across the Doctor's lifetime.  That's how we saw in the first episode, that's how we saw her at Christmastime....all time travel duplicates of herself to save the Doctor.

This undoes the damage and fixes the timeline.  Everything is back to normal...but Clara is now hopelessly lost in the Doctor's timeline.  Risking a universe-ending temporal paradox, the Doctor enters his own timeline to pull out Clara.  Of course, he's successful, and they have a tearful reunion.

I've got to admit, the creators do know how to tug at your heartstrings when they want to, as their reunion and the Doctor's rescue of Clara is one of the few moments that had my lower lip quivering as much as the last half of series 6.

But...before they can leave the Doctor's timeline and go back to adventuring across time and space, we have to have our WTF cliffhanger for the 50th anniversary special.

Popular speculation right now is that this John Hurt Doctor is the TRUE Ninth Doctor...the one who banished the Time Lords to their Time Lock and ended the Time War.  But I learned a long time ago that, when it comes to this series, it's best not to speculate, as there's so much wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on that we should just sit back and wait for things to unfold. 

November's a long ways away, so to tide us over, one last look at the Girl Who Waited, Amy Pond, as played by the incredibly cute Karen Gillam.

And one last glimpse of the Impossible Girl, Clara Oswald, played by the ridiculously adorable Jenna-Lousie Coleman.

This being the Internet, I think I'm supposed to look at those two pictures and say, "Now kiss."  I'm sure that slashfic exists somewhere. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Royal Tennenbaums

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly gaze upon my movie library, where I watch a film and ask, "Why did I buy this one again?"  Today, we get to indie darling Wes Anderson's opus The Royal Tenenbaums.  This entry is originally dated September 9, 2012.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another PVR Cleanout

I love my PVR to bits.  So much good stuff on there that I can watch whenever I want!  It's going to be such a shame when the introductory rate from my cable company runs out and I'll have to start paying full price, because by then, I won't be able to afford it, and I'll have to give it up.  But until then, let's enjoy.  Rather than one of the countless Star Trek reruns I fill it with, let's start with a Transformers rerun!

A scene from the Transfromers episode Webworld.  Galvatron is restrained to a therapist's couch, while a therapist tries to get Galvatron to open up.

Transformers:  Webworld - When I saw this one coming up late one night on TeleToon Retro, I knew I had to record it to see if this episode was as weird as I remembered.  This comes from Season 3, so it's after The Transformers: The Movie.  After a recent skirmish with the Autobots where Galvatron fired upon his own troops for getting in the way, the Decepticons are starting to fret that maybe their leader is just a little too psychotic to be in charge.  Cyclonus, second-in-command, is loyal to a fault and refuses to overthrow Galvatron.  Instead, the Qunitesons suggest that Cyclonus take Galvatron to the planet Tokulon, as its residents might be able to help Galvatron.  So the Decepticons dupe Galvatron into leading a raid on Tokulon.  It turns out Tokulon, the entire planet, is a psychiatric hospital, and upon setting foot on the planet, Galvatron is instantly committed to the hospital against his will.  What follows is a scathing satire of the therapy trends of the 1980s...well, as scathing as a Saturday morning cartoon can get.  Galvatron is made to talk about his feelings, where he just kind of chants "murder everyone" over and over.  Galvatron is made to express his feelings through arts and crafts, where he builds a gun and proceeds to murder everyone.  And finally, Galvatron is made to act out his feelings through role playing, where Galvatron takes the role of Galvatron and proceeds to murder everyone.  Fearing that Galvatron is too far gone for therapy, the Tokulans figure they need to lobotomize Galvatron.  It turns out the whole planet of Tokulon is alive, and they lobotomize by plugging Galvatron directly into their planet's mind.  But, Galvatron is so psychotic, he instantly makes the whole planet psychotic, and the Tokulans have to sever the link before the planet destroys itself.  In the ruckus, Cyclonus sees the error of his ways and busts out Galvatron.  With what he learned from the mind link, Galvatron leads a raid to the heart of the planet, and murders the planet Tokulon.  From there, the Decepticons declare war on the Tokulans and proceed to lay waste to the whole planet.  Once everything on the planet is ashes, Cyclonus reminds Galvatron that the Autobots are the true enemies, and Galvatron and the Decepticons take off to hunt down the Autobots.  And they lived murderously every after. 

Yup.  Still as weird as I remembered.  I wonder what it was like in the Transformers writers room where someone stood up and said, "Hey, I've got an idea!  Let's put Galvatron in therapy!"  Was it meant to be some slam at parents groups who didn't like the violence in the show?  I guess what makes it weird is the fact that Galvatron, the enemy we've all grown to hate, is suddenly made a kind of damsel-in-distress, and Cyclonus becomes the hero.  Just weird. 

Bele (black on the right; white on the left) and Lokai (white on the right; black on the left) from Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

Star Trek:  Let That Be Your Last Battlefield - Another famous episode of Star Trek.  Despite all the critics declaring it to be a rather mediocre episode, it's fondly remembered for special guest star Frank Gorshin, still best remembered as the Riddler on the 1960s Batman, and it's very, very blunt message. 

While on a mission of mercy to planet stricken by a plague, the Enterprise recovers a stolen shuttlecraft.  It's lone occupant appears human, but with a peculiar skin colouration.  He's split right down the middle, with his left side being black and his right side being white.  The man awakens and identifies himself as Lokai, from the planet Charon.  Lokai claims to be a wrongly accused individual, who fled tyranny and oppression on Charon.  The Enterprise is soon joined by Bele, claiming to be a lawman from Charon and chasing down Lokai to bring him to justice.  Bele, played by Gorshin, is oppositely coloured...his left side is white and his right side is black.  Bele tries to hijack the Enterprise, but after a tense standoff between Bele and Captain Kirk, Bele relents and allows the Enterprise to finish its mission.  In the meantime, Lokai and Bele are treated as guests on the Enterprise, and in their interactions with the crew, we learn that the source of Lokai and Bele's conflict is just good ol' fashioned racism...they can't stand each other because of their oppositely coloured skin.  Once the Enterprise has cured the planet of its plague, Lokai once again hijacks the Enterprise, but this time, he's successful.  The Enterprise discovers Charon is nothing but a burnt out shell of a planet...the racism that consumed the people erupted into a world war that killed everyone.  Lokai and Bele are the last two remaining Charons.  Kirk implores that they let go of their hatred and being new lives, but they'll have none of it.  They chase each other throughout the Enterprise's corridors until they wind up in the transporter room and beam down to Charon.  As the Enterprise departs, the message is summed up thusly:

Uhura>>  Do you think their hatred for each other is all they ever had?

Kirk>>  No, Liutenant, but it's all they have left.

I know Star Trek always prided itself on tackling real world issues in a satirical sci-fi light, but sometimes, they get just a little too blunt and heavy handed with their message.  And this is a prime example of that.  Slow, talky, and making sure everyone gets the point.  But it's (literal) black and white premise and famous guest star have made it a staple of the original series. 

I was also going to talk about the season finale of Doctor Who, but I think I'll save that for a separate blog entry. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Jaws

And here we are, once again, with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly watch of something in my DVD collection.  Today, we get to one of those classics that I'm stunned I'd never seen before...Jaws.  This entry is dated in my notes at September 8, 2012.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Superman Unbound Review

Well, for the past few weeks, I've been watching every Star Trek movie as part of my own personal preperation for Into Darkness coming out this Friday.  Given it takes me about 5 months for things to move from my notes to this blog, look for my epic 11-part series on every Star Trek movie in Fishing in the Discount Bin some time this fall.   But, now that that's done, I can start working my way through all the other new DVDs I've acquired over the past few weeks, such as Warner Bros. latest straight-to-DVD DC Comics movie...

Superman Unbound DVD Cover

Superman Unbound

Directed by James Tucker

Starring the voices of Matt Bomer, Stana Katic, John Noble, Molly Quinn, Diedrich Bader, Frances Conroy, Alexander Gould, and Stephen Root.


Backstory:  While I generally enjoy these DC films, I am starting to grow weary of them being about nothing but Batman and Superman.  But still, Superman seems to be a little bit tricky for most, and these films seem to be the best way to explore other facets of the Superman mythology, other than just the Batman vs. Lex Luthor or General Zod that we only seem to get at the movies.  So this latest one is based on the storyline Brainiac from a few years ago, which gave us a gritty reboot for Superman's  nemesis Braniac, and re-introduced many beloved aspects of the Superman universe, such as the bottled city of Kandor.  And it's nice when the spotlight is shone on other members of Superman's rogues gallery.  So let's see how this one fares.

Plot:  A mysterious probe falls out of space and lands in Arizona.  Superman goes to investigate and does battle with this alien android.  When he takes the wreckage back to the Fortress of Solitude for analysis, Supergirl is quickly able to identify it as one of the robot drones of Brainiac...a ruthless alien cyborg who travels the universe, collecting information on whole planets, capturing their cities to be archived, and then destroying the planet and moving on.  Supergirl knows all this because she was there when Brainiac came to Krypton and took their capital city of Kandor.  Hearing all this information, Superman heads into deep space to take the battle to Brainiac before he reaches Earth.  It's a journey that will put Superman back in touch with his heritage, Supergirl face-to-face with her demons, and the fate of Metropolis in the balance. 

What I Liked:  Lots of great outer-space action.  A great subplot for Supergirl, as she is truly traumatized at having witness Kandor's destruction and the threat of Brainiac's return.  Great voice acting all around.  Matt Bomer makes a great Superman.  Stana Katic is perhaps the sassiest Lois Lane we've seen so far in these films, and it's a great laugh seeing her give Brainiac the finger.  And it's nice to see that the big screen superhero movie trend of the post-credit sequence has made its way to these animated films.

What I Didn't Like:  Just can't shake the feeling that I've seen this all before.  For example, it seems like Clark Kent and Lois Lane's domestic squabbles are always the subplot in these Superman films, and it's just starting to get so repetitive.

Final Verdict:  Just a solid Superman adventure

3 Nibs

 Bonus Materials:  On this Blu-Ray, we get a running commentary with the director and several DC bigwigs, a featurette on the history of Brainiac, a featurette on the history of Kandor, 4 bonus episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, a digital comic excerpt from the original Brainiac storyline, and a preview of the next straight-to-DVD film, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

I'm kind of looking forward to the next one.  As I said, I'm growing tired of the Superman/Batman dynamic, but Flashpoint, despite having Justice League up front, is very much a Flash story, so it's nice to see the Flash taking centre stage.

And hey, DC, since you've come to adding digital comics as a bonus feature, how about making it an actual digital comic, that you download to your digital comic app?  And not just projecting the pages of the comic on your TV?  Just a thought. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prairie Sentinels

The Grain Elevator in Westlock

So I've recently become fascinated with grain elevators, mainly because Westlock has one, and I'm walking past it every day.  We've all heard the tales by now, about how these once dotted the landscape across western Canada, but now, they're almost gone.  Every small town from about 1850 on had one.  Farmers would bring their grain in there, where it would be loaded up onto rail cars and shipped off to market.

They started going away in the 1990s or so, as it started becoming cheaper and easier to truck the grain off to market.  The railways started pulling up their short lines to all these rural towns, and the grain elevators started getting demolished soon after.  Which is why Westlock's is so fascinating.  It's still operational.  It's still viable.  As you can tell by all the silos next to it, it's so thriving it's been added to several times over the years.

The other side of the Westlock Grain Elevator

I wonder how technologically advanced it is.  How automated and computerized are grain elevators these days?  I mean, the last instance I know of of a new grain elevator is when I drove by one when I was kid in the 1980s.  And since they started going away in the 1990s, I imagine that grain elevator technology really didn't advance much past the 1980s.

Don't get me wrong, I know how they work.  I've spoken with the interpreters who man the grain elevator at the Ukranian Cultural Heritage Centre, I've seen the demonstration of the grain elevators interior at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.   Hell, working in a grain elevator was one of my Dad's first jobs off the farm and he'll gladly tell you stories.

Grain elevator in Barrhead.  The railway is gone, but the elevator still stands.

So, yeah.  Not much more to say, nothing really profound.  Just as so many begin to feel nostalgic for these old prairie skyscrapers, I just feel lucky that I have one in my own backyard. 

And in case you've never been to one of the many places where they explain how a grain elevator works, here's a neat old documentary about grain elevators I found on the National Film Board of Canada website.  Just play the sound of a 16mm projector in the background, and it's just like movie day in school!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Big Hero 6

Like a lot of geeks, I feel that animation and superheroes are a medium and a genre made for each other.  Who needs to worry about fancy special effects?  Just draw it.  No more nerd rage over who the perfect actor is.  Just draw the perfect guy.  It's just so easy.

So, of course, when Disney bought Marvel back in 2009, people came up with wish lists a mile long as to what Marvel heroes would best be given the Disney animated treatment.  And, earlier this week, Disney made the announcement as to which Marvel hero is coming to the big screen in animation first.  And that is...

Big Hero 6.

Big Hero 6 follows the adventures of Japan's first group of state-sanctioned superheroes.  It's the Alpha Flight of Japan.  However, the film will mainly focus on one member of the group, Hiro Hamada, a robotics prodigy, and his prize creation Baymax, a humanoid robot who can transform into a giant dragon.  And the film will follow the adventures of Hiro as he goes out to recruit the heroes and save the day.

Disney is already saying it's "inspired by" the original comic, so that means there's going to be lots of deviations from the source material.  The man behind it is Disney animator Don Hall, who co-directed Disney's last attempt at traditional 2D animation, Winnie the Pooh.  No word yet on who's doing voices or any of that, but Disney's already hard at work on it.

Earlier this week, they released concept of art of "San Fransokyo," the San Fransisco/Tokyo mash-up that serves as our film's setting.

A rendering of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the archways designed to look like Asian gateways.

And they also released this test footage of a San Fransokyo flyover.

I'm interested in this.  As I said, I love superheroes in animation, and the fact that Disney is finally being turned loose on the Marvel library is intriguing.  But still, it's very early.  Who knows what can happen?

Big Hero 6 is scheduled to come out November 2014. 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - A Couple of Star Trek Episodes

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the many DVDs I own.  Something different this week, as we take a look at a couple of individual Star Trek episodes that I've accumulated over the years.   This entry was originally written on September 8, 2012.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3 Movie Poster

So, where do we go after The Avengers?  That film was just so big, so grand, so over the top, that the question of where Marvel goes with their Phase II was one that I was really wondering.  Could they go bigger?  Do they save "big" for The Avengers now, with each individual hero's film now smaller?  Really, where do we go from here?

Well, Marvel is kicking off Phase II with the guy who started their run at the box office in the first place, Tony Stark, back on screen with Iron Man 3.  There were a few creative changes behind the scenes.  Jon Favreau, director of the first two films, steps down as the director this time, although he does reprise his role of Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's chauffeur and bodyguard (and now head of Stark Industries security).  ("You know what people would do when I told them I was Iron Man's bodyguard?  They'd laugh in my face!"  A great line in the film, explaining why he chose his new vocation.)  Taking over in the director's chair is Shane Black, the legendary Hollywood screenwriter who pretty much invented the cop-buddy genre when he wrote Lethal Weapon back in the 80s, and kind of launched Robert Downey Jr's comeback with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang back in 2005.  With promises that Iron Man's arch-enemy the Mandarin would finally be rearing his head, the game was set for Phase II to begin.

It's a few months after the events of The Avengers, and Tony Stark is still rather stressed out from the experience.  He's having nightmares about the battles, has become prone to panic attacks, and not even he can answer the #1 question people ask him, "So how did you get back through that wormhole?"  As such, he's become obsessed with the idea of protection and spends his nights in his workshop producing bigger, better armors.  His friend and sidekick James Rhodes, recently re-branded as the Iron Patriot ("War Machine sounded too aggressive.  Iron Patriot tested better in focus groups.") is on the hunt for the terrorist known as the Mandarin, who has launched a series of attacks on American soil.  And Pepper Potts is being wooed, both personally and professionally, by her old employer Aldrich Killian to come back and work for him.  When one of the Mandarin's attacks puts Happy Hogan in the hospital, Tony takes on the mission to track down the Mandarin.  This leads Tony Stark on a mission to confront demons from this past, battle his personal demons, and finally bring the Mandarin to justice.

As always, Robert Downey Jr thoroughly owns the role of Tony Stark.  He's so full of charm and swagger and pithy one liners that you just can't help but love the guy.  In the mid-section of the film, he actually even picks up a kid sidekick, and their banter with one another is priceless.  It's nice to see Gwyneth Patlrow even gets to get in on some of the ass-kicking as Pepper Pots this time around, as she does get a little more to do than just be the damsel-in-distress.  Don Cheadle is great too as War Machine/Iron Patriot.  Seriously, give him his own movie at this point.  And the Mandarin...oh my God.  There is a great plot twist concerning the origins of the Mandarin, and the way it's revealed in the film is just so damn funny...I don't want to give it away, but trust me, it's fantastic.  

I also want to give props to Brian Tyler's score.  One of my main complaints about the dearth of superhero films over the past 15 years is there's been a true lack of iconic superhero themes that I'd put alongside John Williams' Superman theme and Danny Elfman's Batman theme.  And while Tyler's Iron Man 3 doesn't reach that iconic status, you can at least pick it out of the soundtrack. 

However, I did find that the film slowed down a bit in the middle.  It kind of dragged on for a bit while , and Tony Stark's swagger is about all that kept it going.  What can I say?  I wanted to see more men in suits blowing stuff up.  And also, sometimes, I did find it tough to follow what was going on.  I mean, I saw it in 3D, right?  And we all know now that when you put on those 3D glasses, everything goes dimmer.  So why on Earth then, when they make films in 3D, do they keep putting all the action scenes at night?  Made it very tough to know what was going on.  

(I also found it tough to follow what was going because, at the very crowded theatre where I saw it, the 8-year old girl I sat next to grew restless and kept checking her cellphone, wandered down the aisle to check on her father and brother who were sitting 5 rows down, and all other kinds of restless kid stuff.)

All in all, I find it was a very good and very entertaining film, if only it lacked more "men-in-suit" action.

3 Nibs

Oh, and I've got to hand it to Jon Favreau and what he started.  The truth is, when Nick Fury popped up at the end of Iron Man's credits, Marvel wasn't planning their "Phase I" yet.  Favreau just thought it'd be a cute post-credits scene.  But the post-credit scene has now become such an ingrained part of the superhero film genre.  Back in 2008 with the first film, it was just me and the other half-a-dozen people who usually sit around until the end of the end credits.  And now, the entire dang audience stayed riveted to their seats to the post-credits scene this time around. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Fantasia 2000

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly peek at one of the many, many DVDs in my collection.  Today, we finish off what we started last week.  We cap off Disney's Fantasia franchise with Fantasia 2000.  This entry is originally dated September 2, 2012.