Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Dark Knight Rises

 Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly rant about whatever's in my DVD player this weekend.  We finally get to one of the most anticipated superhero films of 2012, the final in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises.  This is dated in my notes at December 9, 2012. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Quick Trip

As I've lamented in the past, the summer is a busy time for radio folk, as you tend to be live on location from some manner of festival every weekend.  This past Sunday was my first day to myself in a few weeks, so I headed off to the city with little rhyme or reason.

Well, I did have a reason.  I wanted to see Kick-Ass 2!

When Kick-Ass came out in 2010, it was a pleasant little surprise, that tried to answer the question of what superheroes would be like in the real world.  I really enjoyed it, except for the end, when it switched from mocking the cliches of superhero films to embracing them.  And it happened to be a big enough hit since we got a sequel.

It's 2 years after the first film.  Thanks to the heroics of Kick-Ass and Hit Girl, costumed crimefighters are starting to become the norm, and it's not long before Dave Lizewski is feeling the urge and once again suits up to become Kick-Ass.  Not wanting to patrol alone, he soon becomes part of a fledgling superhero team called Justice Forever, led by the militant Colonel Stars and Stripes.  Kick-Ass tries to get Hit Girl to join him, but she's in forced retirement, having promised her adopted father that she'd give up her crimefighting ways.  But she soon discovers that high school can be just as savage a battleground as the city streets, and she's using her combat training to take on the mean girls and try to take control of her changing body.

But all is not well for our heroes.  Red Mist, the son of the crimelord that Kick-Ass and Hit Girl took down in the first film, has sworn revenge!  Reborn as the Motherfucker, he sets out to become the world's first supervillain.  With some hired muscle to form his evil army, our new breed of superheroes and an army of supervillains are soon on their way for an epic showdown.

Well, what can I really say about Kick-Ass 2?  If you liked the first one....  There's a very similar humour running throughout the film, although in this second one, the humour does get a little...cruder.  And in that mold, it's also bloodier, and there's a disgusting and hilarious scene involving projectile vomiting and diarrhea that I just can't erase from my mind.

With Nicholas Cage having been killed off in the first film, this time out, we get another once-great actor who has gained a reputation for being rather eccentric...Jim Carrey.  Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, and he's pretty good.  He's actually not in it that much, and almost unrecognizable in the make-up they put on him to beef him up.

But the heart and soul of this film is Hit Girl, and her struggle to give up her superhero ways and become a normal teenage girl.  It is almost a coming-of-age film for her, as she tries to figure out her identity and where she belongs.

So, yeah.  I had a good time with it.  I give it 3 out of 4 Nibs.

The complete review is on the website.  

Aside from that, didn't do much else in the city.  Ooo, I heard that The Muppet Movie was just released on Blu-Ray, so I wanted to grab that for my library.   I love The Muppet Movie.  There's some real movie magic on display in that film.  It's one of those movies that's just impossible to hate while you're watching it.

Plus, the song "Movin' Right Along" has been one of my road trip standards since I was 7.

I'd like to sit down and watch it, but it's back to the busy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - From the Earth to the Moon

 Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the things in my DVD library.  Today, we tackle the epic HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  This is originally dated in my notes at December 2, 2012. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Brave

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I get to blogging about one of the movies I own.  Today, we get to Pixar's animated epic of the summer of 2012, Brave.  This entry is dated in my original notes at December 1, 2012.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blackberry Subway Jam

So, a few months ago, I finally discovered the official website for the National Film Board of Canada.  It's pretty cool, as they've been posting hundreds of their legendary animated short films and documentaries for all the world to see.

And a few days ago, I was thrilled when they posted one of their animated shorts that I have very vivid memories of from when I was a kid, Blackberry Subway Jam.

Blackberry Subway Jam is based on the Robert Munsch story, Johnathon Cleaned Up -- Then He Heard a Sound.  It follows the adventures of Johnathon.  When his mother leaves him home alone one day, he discovers that the city has declared his home a subway station.  Sick and tired of all the subway passengers coming through his house, and his mother blaming him for the mess, Johnathon gets his first taste of municipal politics as he goes on a quest to get the city to move the subway station.

Why tell you about it when I can show it to you?

Perhaps my memories are so vivid because of when I first saw it.  I saw it on TV when I was a kid.  CBC was showing the Jim Henson classic The Dark Crystal.  The movie ran a few minutes short, so they showed Blackberry Subway Jam at the end to fill time.  And that was just the pick-me up I needed!

I tell you, The Dark Crystal was a movie that scared the shit out of me when I was a kid.  It was just so weird and dark and freaky.  But I couldn't escape from it.  Because it had the family-friendly name of the Muppet guy on the front cover, it was shown at every birthday party I went to and a fair share of elementary school lunch hours.  Ever since college, I've been saying that, now that I'm a grown up, I'm going to sit down and watch it and finally fully comprehend it, but I haven't gotten around to it.

But when I do, I'll be sure to watch Blackberry Subway Jam at the end to replicate that viewing experience. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Muppets Most Wanted Trailer

I was kind of surprised when I got all caught up in the hype for The Muppets when it came out back in 2011.  I mean, I had fond memories of The Muppet Show and all the other Muppet movies when I was a kid, but I wasn't an outright geek for the property.  But still, the childhood nostalgia swept me away, and when I went to see it, I was pleasantly surprised at what a good, fun movie it was.

And it was a hit, so  a sequel was inevitable.

The title was originally announced as being The Muppets...Again! but that was changed somewhere along the ways to Muppets Most Wanted.  The popular speculation was that it was changed because it was too easy to make that title condescending and negative.  For example, "The Muppets?  Again?  Blech."  So we get a new title.

Pretty much all the same behind-the-scenes crew is coming back, except for co-writer and star Jason Segel.  He was instrumental in getting this franchise going again, and in interviews, he says that now that it's back, he feels his work is done.  Nicholas Stoller, who co-wrote the first film with Segel, is back to write it, and James Bobbin, the veteran Flight of the Concords director, is back directing.

But with Segel gone, that means we need some new token humans.  This time out, we get Ricky Gervais, who's a ruthless European crime lord, and Ty Burrell (the dad on Modern Family) as the Interpol agent hot on his trail.  Fun trivia fact:  Burrell's role was originally offered to Christoph Waltz, he of the Tarantino films Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.  Oh, and Tina Fey shows up, as well.

The plot, according to Wikipedia, follows the Muppets, who, after the successful comeback in the first film, are off on a European tour.  But the ruthless jewel smuggler Constantine -- who's Kermit's evil doppleganger and the boss of Gervais's character -- wants to take advantage of this for his own nefarious plans.  So mistaken identity hijinks abound.

Let's look at the trailer, shall we?

Is it just me, or does this just kind of...feel straight-to-video?  It's not popping, it's not grabbing me, it's not tugging those ol' nostalgia heartstrings the way the hype for the first movie did.  It doesn't help that Disney got their direct-to-movie voiceover guy to do the voice over for this trailer.  It's just...I don't know, it's not working for me. 

Muppets Most Wanted hits theatres on the first day of Spring...March 21, 2014.

Oh, I need a thumbnail for when I share this on the social networks.  They  haven't released a poster yet, so here's a new promotional still of the whole gang.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Meet #12

Well, it's been almost a week now, and I haven't taken a moment to blog about some of the biggest news in the world of geeks.

Back on Sunday, like a lot of folks, I sat in front of the TV awaiting the news.  In a live TV special broadcast around the world, the BBC was going to announce who will be replacing Matt Smith as the Doctor on Doctor Who.

(For those just joining us, Matt Smith, who currently plays the Doctor, announced a few months back that this year's Doctor Who Christmas special would be his last.)

After a half-hour as renowned British celebrities (whom I'd never heard of) weighed in with their thoughts and opinions, the man of the hour came out amid lasers and clouds of smoke, and we were introduced to the 12th Doctor....

Peter Capaldi!

Peter Capaldi

And everyone outside the UK, including myself, promptly went, "Who the hell is that?"

Well, he does have some Doctor Who experience.  In that one 10th Doctor episode where they go to Pompeii, he played the Roman merchant Caecilius.  But to folks in the UK, he was best known as one of the stars of the comedy The Thick of It, where he played Malcolm Tucker, a very profane communications director for the British Prime Minister.

In fact, because his character swore so much, some are jokingly suggesting that the 12th Doctor's catchphrase will be some variation of the F-word.

Oh, and he was also in World War Z this summer, where he played a rather prophetic role.  I think Wil Wheaton's tweet summed it up the best.

So what do I think of Capaldi's casting as the next Doctor?  Umm...I really have no opinion.  I'm not familiar enough with his body of work to make a judgement.  And let's be honest, the 12th Doctor is a character we haven't met yet.  So I've got to wait for those first few episodes with him before I judge.  I like that he's an older guy, though.  The first few Doctors were older guys, so it's kind of like going back to their roots. 

That being said, what do I think of the hype surrounding the announcement of the 12th Doctor?  I was watching that whole special thinking, "When did Doctor Who get so big?"  When we made the transition from #10 to #11, we didn't have any hype like this.  I think it was one week before David Tennant's final episode that they announced Matt Smith as the next Doctor.  And it wasn't some huge TV special.  It was a picture and a news release.

Patton Oswalt wrote an editorial a few years ago, saying that being a geek is dead.  He elaborated by saying that being a geek used to mean going to comic book stores and conventions to get information on your favourite franchise.  But now, just a quick Google search, and you can become an expert in an afternoon.  I forget if it was in that editorial or in one of the comments that someone said Doctor Who was the last one that was still a bit of a "geek property."  But I think with this special, those days are dead.  Doctor Who is starting to become another overhyped sci-fi franchise.

Maybe that's why I'm starting to feel a little let down by the franchise.  It's got hype to live up to now, and it's not quite doing it.  But still, I'll be watching this Christmas when #11 turns into #12, and we'll see where we go from here.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Amazing Spider-Man

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly series blogging about one of the many DVDs, Blu-Rays, and, on some occasions, old VHS tapes that I own.  Today, we get to last year's reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man.  This is dated in my notes at November 18, 2012.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Trailer

Well, Phase II of the Marvel Movie Universe seems to be cruising along at a good pace.  It all kicked off with the pretty good Iron Man 3 back in May, and it continues with Thor: The Dark World coming this November.

Thor: The Dark World movie poster

As we saw with Iron Man 3, the effects of The Avengers is still reverberating throughout the Marvel Movie Universe, and that's quite evident in the trailer, as we see Loki in Asgard prison for his crimes, and gotta love Jane Foster slapping him across the face with, "That's for New York!"  And we have been told that Jane's absence during The Avengers will be explained.

We're going to be spending a lot more time off-Earth this time out, as a mysterious new force threatens to plunge the universe into darkness, and Thor needs to pursue it across the Nine Realms in order to stop it.  Of course, Jane gets to come along for the ride, and they're forced to team up with Loki along the way.

Pretty much all of the original cast is back...Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, Natalie Portman is back as Jane, Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.  What's piqued my interest is the villain, the Dark Elf Malekith the Accursed, is being played by the Ninth Doctor himself, Christopher Eccleston!

Behind the cameras, Kenneth Branagh is not back as director.  Replacing him is Alan Taylor, a veteran TV director who's done episodes of The Sopranos, Mad Men, and, what no doubt landed him this gig, Game of Thrones.

Anyway, here's the trailer!

Looks pretty good to me.  It looks like this one's going to be bigger on superheroics and spectacle, which I felt the first Thor was kind of lacking...got too caught up in powerless Thor stuck on Earth.  And I love that bit at the end with the giant rock monster.  Put me down as cautiously optimistic.

Thor: The Dark World hits theatres on November 8.

Ooo, but before I got, in case you haven't seen this yet, here's some Thor: The Dark World concept art they released a few weeks ago at the San Diego Comic Con.  I think it would make a pretty good movie poster in and of itself.  Ya know, a classic, 1980s-style, hand-painted poster.

Thor: The Dark World concept art

Saturday, August 03, 2013

One Day Spread Out To Two

The staycation continues, and it will soon be drawing to a close.  Back on Thursday, the true reason for this staycation finally came to pass:  I had a dentist appointment.  Some day, I'll have enough money that I'll be able to take a real vacation instead of just going, "Hey, I've got a doctor's appointment coming up.  How about I take the whole week off to sit around and the house and fret about it?" 

So, I was glad then, that everything went fine at the dentist.  No cavities, Mom!  The dentist, however, did give me his usual sales pitch that I should have my wisdom teeth removed.  I'm reluctant to get them out because, as my dentist informed me, my wisdom teeth are buried pretty deep and close to the nerve, so to get them out will constitute major oral surgery.  Since they're not causing me any pain, and even the dentist says that having them removed would be purely a preventative measure, I figure I'll just live with them.

One hitch with the dentist, though.  My appointment went longer than I expected.  The dentist looked at my file and noticed that it had been a while since I'd had the "complete check-up," so that took longer.  Which meant then that I couldn't see The Wolverine.  I missed the early afternoon shows, and if I stuck around for the late afternoon shows, I wouldn't make my hair appointment back home in Westlock.  Since I'm on vacation with no real plans, I thought, "Well, then, I guess I'll just have to go see The Wolverine tomorrow!" 

But now it was time for lunch.  Rather than my usual fast food haunts, I thought I'd try something new.  A new burger chain from the States is starting to make inroads into Canada, and I'd heard good things about it.  It's called Fatburger.  And, low and behold, there was a Fatburger just down the road from my dentist's office!

I was a little taken aback by Fatburger.  I was expecting a fast food place, but it is more of a sit-down restaurant with waiters and such.  I asked the waitress what she'd recommend for a first-timer, and she suggested the Original Fatburger.  And I got that with bacon and cheese, and made it a combo.  I was not expecting the burger to be that thick.  It was a big burger.  But it was really good.  They had good fries, too.  Again, nice and thick, and not too salty.  I was generally impressed.  Definitely worth a second visit.

Then there were a few places where I went window shopping and browsing.  Popped in at the craft store, Michael's.  I'm not a very crafty fellow, but I am at the age where I figure I should stop taping my posters to the walls like a teenager, and instead framing them and hanging them up.  I've got a stockpile of posters that I'd like to hang, and since Michael's is one of the better places to get poster frames, I stop in from time to time to see if they're having a sale.  Lucky me, they were.  Poster sales were on special, 2-for-1.  And I had two back home that I'd been dying to hang!  So what's now hanging on my wall?

First up, we've got my souvinir poster for Star Wars Identities, when that was at the Telus World of Science back in the spring.

A poster for Star Wars Identities.  Scenes from the swamps of Deigobah form Yoda's face, with the exhibit's slogan, "What forces shape you?"

Yeah, at Star Wars Identities, I got the Yoda poster.  I originally wanted the Darth Vader poster, which must have been the most popular, because it was sold out the day I went.  That one had Darth Vader's face formed out of all the various Imperial starships we see in Star Wars.

And the second poster that's now framed and hanging on my walls is this souvinir poster from the London 2012 Olympics.  I'm fond of the Olympics, despite not being a sports fan, and when a friend of mine visited the UK last year, she sent me this poster.

Poster from the London 2012 Olympics.  A collage of the pictrograms that represent the Olympic spots, along with the London 2012 logo, and the games' slogan, "Be Inspired."

And then from there, I went over to Staples.  I'm in the market for a new printer.  If you're my friend on Facebook, then you've probably seen me lament for the past few months about my printer.  Don't get wrong, it's still a good printer and prints pretty good, but it's now more than 10 years old and they've stopped making the ink cartridges for it.  So I'm being forced to upgrade.  I've had my eye on one of these sharp little 3-in-1 units, that are a printer, scanner, and photocopier all in one.  They've got some pretty good ones for around $80, and I was very, very close to buying one, but I stopped myself.  With all these trips to the city and purchasing of DVDs and such, I figured I'd spent too much money on this staycation.  In fact, my plans for the next few days are to just stay in bed, softly weeping about how broke I am.  Lying in bed and crying is still free, right?

With enough time sufficiently wasted, I was ready to go home and get a haircut.  And then, the next day, one last trip to the city to see The Wolverine!

The Wolverine Poster

I rather enjoyed The Wolverine.  Curious about it, too.  Hugh Jackman has made it clear in interviews over the year that the Wolverine solo comics depicting Wolverine's time in Japan are his favourites, so this is the Wolverine story that Jackman has been dying to tell.  And for the most part, the film is pretty good.  It's a lot quieter than the other superhero films out there.  There's more character stuff going on, and with Wolverine's hand-to-hand combat skills, there's not much in the way of big, splashy superpowers on display.  Even the whole "mutant" angle is downplayed, with really, only one other mutant in the film. 

Sadly, though, it does fall victim to a few superhero film cliches, especially at the climax.  Other than that, pretty much liked it.

I've got the complete review on my website, so click on over and check it out.

It was not one of my better moviegoing experiences though.  Like Mr. Loud guy behind me.  The Marvel logo pops up, and he exclaims to his buddies, "Oh, wow!  I didn't know Wolverine was a Marvel character!"  And I guess being surprised by that fact gave him license to offer loud comments on the film for the rest of the running time.  And the two little old ladies in front of me, who didn't quite know what Wolverine's deal was and burst out in hysterical laughter every time Wolverine popped his claws.  "That's so ridiculous, Edith!  He's got knives in his hands!"

And that's how I spent my last couple of days.  I've got a whole long weekend now to bring things to an end, so as long as the sunshine holds out, I may crawl out of bed for some of it.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

Hey!  Being on staycation means I've got lots of free time!  And lucky for me, DC Comics and Warner Brothers released their latest DTV animated movie this week!  Let's take a look at...

Justice League:  The Flashpoint Paradox DVD cover

Justice League:  The Flashpoint Paradox

Directed by Jay Olivia

Starring the voices of Justin Chambers, C. Thomas Howell, Michael B. Jordan, Kevin McKidd, Sam Daly, Dana Delaney, Carey Elwes, Nathan Fillion, Vanessa Marshall, Ron Perlman, and Kevin Conroy.

Backstory:  As I've lamented for the last few movies that DC/WB has pumped out, I'm getting rather sick and tired of all the Superman and Batman stories.  Yeah, I know, they're the only ones that sell well, but give some more of the DC Universe a chance!  Give us another Wonder Woman film!  I've always had a fondness for Captain Marvel...where's his movie?  So when they announced The Flashpoint Paradox as the next film, I was thrilled.  It's based on DC's recent Flashpoint crossover, which led to their New 52 reboot.  And it is very much a Flash-centric story.  I've always had a soft spot for the Flash.  While most DC heroes are getting lost in dark, serious, realistic territory (see Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy), I've always found the Flash to have that much-lacking sense of fun.  Plus, perhaps the most quirky rouges gallery in the DCU.  So it looked like The Flashpoint Paradox would be the closest we're getting to a Flash movie so far.  Bring it on!

Plot:  Barry Allen wakes up at his desk one day, but the world around him has changed.  Superman doesn't exist, and Cyborg is now the champion of truth, justice, and the American way.  The mugger known as Joe Chill gunned down the young Bruce Wayne, driving his father, Thomas Wayne, to become a darker, gun-wielding version of Batman.  And Europe is currently gripped in a war that threatens to destroy the world, being fought between the Amazons, led by Wonder Woman, and the Atlanteans, led by Aquaman.  Worst of all, Allen realizes that he doesn't have his superpowers, his mother is still alive, and he never became the Flash.  Allen deduces that his arch-enemy, the Reverse-Flash, must have somehow gone back in time and changed history, creating this alternate timeline.   Can the Flash regain his powers, re-unite the Justice League, and set the timeline right?

What I Liked:  Yay, a Flash movie!  Nice to see him taking centre stage.  Justin Chambers, who's apparently one of the sexy doctors on Grey's Anatomy, does a good job of voicing him.  As does his fellow Grey's Anatomy doctor Kevin McKidd, voicing the alternate timeline Thomas Wayne Batman.  And the scale of this movie is huge, as we see the devastated Europe.  Great opening sequence with the Flash fighting his rogues, and a great ending sequence between the Flash and Batman.

What I Didn't Like:  Well, given the stakes in this film, the fun-loving Flash I was hoping for isn't in there.  And at some points, there's almost too much going on to fully process it.  I feel if they cut down on the war stories a little more and focused more on the Flash and his journey, it would have been a little tighter.  And it's bloody!  Ye gods, it's bloody. 

Final Verdict:  A worthy addition to the DC/WB series of films.

3 Nibs

Bonus Features:  Bonus stuff on the Blu-Ray, you get a running commentary with the writers and director, a featurette on the Flash's Rogues Gallery, a featurette on the Flash's use of time travel, four bonus episodes of various DCU cartoons, focusing on the Flash, a digital comic of Flashpoint #1, and a preview of the next film, Justice League: War.

And speaking of the next one, the next trinity of films has been announced:

Justice League:  War - Based on the Justice League storyline "Origin," which the New 52 rebooted origin of the Justice League.

Son of Batman - Based on the Batman storyline "Batman & Son," which introduces Damien Wayne, the long lost son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Guhl, who eventually becomes the fifth Robin.

Batman:  Assault on Arkham - Based on the best-selling line of Batman: Arkham video games. 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Star Wars

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the many, many films in my movie library.  Today, we get to the most difficult Fishing in the Discount Bin I've ever had to write...Star Wars.  Why is it so difficult?  There is literally nothing to say about Star Wars that hasn't already said.  But still, I try.  This entry is dated in my notes at November 3, 2012.