Archive for the Movies Category

My Top Five Choices For Green Lantern

Posted in Celebrities, Comic Books, Movies, Science Fiction, Superheroes with tags , , on September 30, 2008 by Jeff Carter

According to this First Showing report, the long in development Green Lantern film took another step closer to seeing the light of day this week. The film will of course be an origin story, centering on white-bread test pilot Hal Jordan rather than soul brother architect John Stewart. (The Stewart version of Green Lantern will be featured in the upcoming Justice League film and will be played by Common).

Provided Hollywood doesn’t screw this one up with merchandising demands, script alterations, and hideous casting decisions, Green Lantern has the potential to be another Iron Man in terms of box office success. It should also be a spectacular special effects bonanza, with the variety of fun energy shapes (giant fists, axes, hammers, etc.) that Green Lanterns can produce with their power rings. The key to the movie’s success is finding a strong leading actor to portray the fearless Hal Jordan. Here’s a look at what I think are the top five choices:

5.) Mark Wahlberg: I’ll be the first to admit that I used to despise this guy. I looked at him and all I saw was a former underwear model/rapper/obnoxious wigger who wanted to add acting to his resume.  Things changed with his role as Dirk Diggler in P.T. Anderson’s porn saga Boogie Nights, however. He showed some terrific range in that flick, balancing humor and drama deftly, and since that breakthrough role he’s made nice career for himself with strong performances in films like We Own The Night and The Departed. Wahlberg has yet to star in a huge superhero blockbuster (the upcoming Max Payne doesn’t really count), and GL may be the perfect vehicle for him.

4.) Gerard Butler: After 300 this guy has been rumored to be up for every superhero role from Captain America to Aquaman, but so far he’s shied away from any cape-and-cowl offers, choosing to mix it up on an island with Jodie Foster and Little Miss Sunshine for some mysterious reason. Perhaps the imposing Scotsman is just waiting for the right pair of tights to don, and Green Lantern may be the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

3.) Thomas Jane: I know, I know, he’s already played The Punisher, but so what? Jane was the only decent thing about that festering dungpile, and he’s one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood (Don’t believe me? Check him out in The Mist. Awesome stuff). He has one of those faces that’s suitable for just about any superhero and you could sure as hell do a lot worse.

2.) Aaron Eckhart: I never thought much of this guy, and as a matter of fact, I was always confusing him for Thomas Jane for some reason. He always seemed like a pretty vanilla actor, but then a little role in a movie called The Dark Knight came along and changed everything. People like to talk about how mind-blowing Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was, but Eckhart absolutely owned Harvey Dent and showed range above and beyond what anybody could have expected out of him. I don’t think audiences would have any problem buying Eckhart as the brash, cocky, fearless test pilot.

1.) Nathan Fillion: Yep, that’s right, good ol’ Captain Mal himself. I’m sure I just made a ton of Browncoats happy (not to mention padding my stats with Fillion image searches, heh heh). Anyway, Fillion may not have the star power of the other actors on this list, but I believe if given the right opportunity, Fillion can become a huge leading star in Hollywood. As Firefly has already proven, Fillion has the talent, the looks, and the charisma to be a hero and a leader in a sci-fi setting. He certainly deserves a better fate than his post-Firefly career has dealt him, as he has languished in guest roles on LOST, and the abysmial Desperate Housewives…*shudder*. Fillion really needs the break and that is why he’s my number one choice for the role of Hal Jordan. The only thing that may stand in his way is another masked man role…fans are currently clamoring for him to take on the mantle of The Lone Ranger alongside Johnny Depp as Tonto in the upcoming Disney film.

Summer Movie Box Office Recap

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies with tags , , on September 4, 2008 by Jeff Carter

Well folks, the Labor Day weekend has come and gone, offcially marking the end of the summer movie season. It was a very lucrative summer, with two movies grossing over $300 million, and one giant behemoth of a flick shattering all kinds of records to become the second highest-grossing movie of all time. Here’s my thoughts on the summer blockbusters, divided into monetary categories:

$400 million +

Only one movie cracked the $400 million barrier this year, blowing right by it to achieve a mind-blowing (for this theater-going era) $510 million and counting. I’m talking of course, about Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a funny and heartwarming masterpiece about a canine who—what? It was actually The Dark Knight? You mean that movie where Martin Lawrence travels back in time to Medieval England? I thought that came out years ago…

$300 million +: Iron Man, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Iron Man was the commercial and critical darling of the summer until Batman showed up and absolutely annihilated ol’ shellhead. Still it was a massive hit for a third-tier comic book character that the “masses” were mostly unfamiliar with. Simply stamping the name “Indiana Jones” on a movie is good enough for a guaranteed $250 million, so there really isn’t much more I can say about how it performed. Considering that it was by far the worst entry in the beloved series, I think it’s actually quite surprising it took in over three bills.

$200 million +: Hancock, Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda

The $200 million mark is nothing to sneeze at in terms of a summer movie gross these days, especially when you factor in the downturn the industry has taken and the competition from Blu-Ray DVD and High Def home theaters. Just like the “Indiana Jones” brand is worth an instant box-office paypay, slapping the “Pixar” name in front of any title is also worth an easy $150 million at the least. No Pixar film has ever made less than $160 million, and even with the semi-hard sell concept of a lonely Robot on a devastated Earth, Wall-E still racked in a ton of cash. I was really surprised to see Dreamwork’s Kung Fu Panda hit this mark, however, but a fantastic marketing campaign that emphasized the colorful animal characters and Jack Black’s antics, really sold this movie to the kiddies (it was also a very good movie to boot).

Hancock is currently the fourth highest-grossing picture of the year, and it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. I never bothered to see it because I, unlike the legions of gullible, ignorant mouth-breathers out there who flock to any Will Smith summer movie, actually saw this piece of crap for what it really was, a skillfully engineered and pre-packaged crapfest. You could almost see and hear the excutives planning this turd in some boardroom somewhere:

Head Exec: “Ok people, what can we make this summer, what’s been popular?”

Clueless Underling #1: “Superheroes!”

Clueless Underling #2: “Will Smith”

Clueless Underling #3: “Will Smith on the Fourth of July! He owns that date!”

Head Exec: “Okay, a Will Smith superhero flick on the Fourth of July. Get somebody to write a script. Now, what’s for lunch?”

*sigh*

$100 million +: Sex and the City, Mamma Mia!, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Wanted, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Step Brothers

$100 million used to be the gold standard for a successful summer movie, but nowadays that rarely even recoups the marketing budgets for these huge action/sci-fi/superhero pictures. Comedies, dramas, and musicals however, are still considered huge smash hits if they are able to reach this goal, and that’s what a good percentage of the films in this range are.

Get Smart proved Steve Carell could carry a summer blockbuster on his shoulders, and washed the bad taste of Evan Almighty out of our mouths. Mamma Mia! and Sex and the City were surprisingly massive counter-programming hits, proving that lots of women and gay guys go to the cinema in the summer. I don’t understand how a giant piece of runny, corn-riddled shit like Zohan even cracked $25 million, and I never got around to seeing Step Brothers, but heard good things.

On the action front, Narnia, Hulk, and The Mummy all were huge under-performers, especially Prince Caspian, which was predicted to do even better than its predecessor and generate Lord of the Rings numbers. Sadly, audiences didn’t flock to see more shitty CGI beavers and a lead character who looked like a Jonas Brother. The Incredible Hulk wasn’t able to shake off the rancid odor of Ang Lee’s ponderous 2002 Hulk film, or the bad press it was getting right before release when Ed Norton complained that the director cut out too much of the film’s dialogue and story elements. Wanted came out of nowhere to do great numbers with some terrific action sequences and the allure of Angelina Jolie, and as for the Mummy, it looks like the absence of uber-hottie Rachel Weisz kept audiences away there. Learn your lesson, Mummy people! Rachel=box office gold!

$50-$100 million: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, What Happens in Vegas, The Happening, The Strangers

Well, here’s where the disappointments come in. When you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing, special effects, etc. on what is perceived as a summer “blockbuster”, it’s devastating when audiences just don’t give a rat’s ass or the movie just gets lost in the crowded summer lineup. That’s what I’d like to believe happened to Hellboy 2, a great, imaginative, and gorgeous-looking movie that should be in the $200+ million category. It’s sickening to think this Guerillmo Del Toro sequel was out-grossed by the likes of Hancock, Sex and the City, and freakin’ Zohan! It’s yet another shining example of the brain-dead movie-going public who continue to slurp up the sugary, pre-packaged pap the studios churn out.

Tropic Thunder was also a disappointment. It had a massive budget of over $100 million (huge for a comedy), yet it failed to beat out more moderately budgeted comedies like Step Brothers or Christ, yet again, the Zohan. Simply incredible.

The Happening was a giant turd, and many people are calling it the nail in Manny Shyamalan’s coffin. We’ll see. I have nothing to add about the other flicks.

$0-$49million (A.K.A., The Shit List): Speed Racer, Meet Dave, The Love Guru, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Babylon A.D., The House Bunny, Space Chimps, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Disaster Movie, Death Race

Yikes, as wise old Ben Kenobi once said, “A wretched hive of scum and villainy”. Just looking at this list sends a tingling creeper up my spine. Awful, awful stuff here.

It seems like after the Wachowski brothers delivered those two reviled Matrix sequels, they just can’t buy a hit. Their attempt to make the old Speed Racer cartoon into a  surreal, manic, strobing, colorful, seizure-inducing movie did not play well with audiences at all. It was a massive failure that many on the Internet say is destined to become a “cult classic” like Tron in the future.

George Lucas thought he could package up three episodes of his forthcoming CG Clone Wars animated series, toss it up on the screen, and it would make at least $100 million based on the Star Wars brand, but casual audiences ignored it and fans threw it right back in his bearded face. Similarly, FOX thought there were still people out there who cared about the X-Files, and they were probably right, but stamping the “X-Files” name on a utterly boring snooze-fest backfired right in their faces as well.

Everything else mentioned up there just really isn’t even worth discussing. Ciao!!

*All Box Office info was gathered from Box Office Mojo.

Top Ten Reasons The G.I. Joe Movie Will Suck

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2008 by Jeff Carter

Ed. Note: The following article contains spoilers for the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. If you don’t want to know anything about the flick, stop reading!

In 2007, director Michael Bay broke the collective hearts of millions of Transformers fans with the release of his abysmal movie adaptation of the hugely popular 80’s toy line. The flick was a spectacle of excess, with lots of explosions and dramatic slow motion pans over the robot carnage, but it was obvious that Bay had no respect for the lore and legacy of the Transformers property.

I wasn’t too broken up about it, because I was never that into the Transformers as a kid. After Star Wars had run it’s course in ’83, I became a die-hard G.I. Joe collector. I was absolutely obsessed with the “Real American Heroes” action figure line and accompanying comic book series, so when it was announced that  G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was finally going into production, I held my breath and hoped against hope that the same transgressions perpetrated upon the Transformers franchise by Bay and his cronies would not be visited upon my beloved G.I. Joe. Tragically, all of my hopes and dreams of a decent G.I. Joe film were annihilated as soon as the details started leaking on the Internet. This movie is going suck on an epic scale, and here’s the top ten reasons why:

10.) Roadblock isn’t called Roadblock: Anyone who has ever read a single G.I. Joe comic book or even watched an episode of that ridiculous animated series, knows that Roadblock is one of the most prominent (and popular) members of the G.I. Joe team. He’s one of only a handful of African-American joes, and as the team’s heavy machine-gunner (he could hand-fire a .50 caliber machine gun!), he was a vital component of just about every mission. He was also a great character, demonstrating fierce loyalty to his fellow Joes, as well as a knack for gourmet cooking! With that knowledge readily available, you have to wonder why the Rhodes scholars behind this production saw fit to essentially cast this character with a suitable actor (the uber-cool Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who played Mr. Eko on LOST), outfit him with a heavy machine gun, then inexplicably turn around and call him “Heavy Duty”, a lame add-on character who arrived on the scene at the tail-end of the G.I. Joe toy line.

9.) Destro won’t be wearing his steel mask: At least, not until the very end of the movie, according to spoiler reports. Which means that the primary villain of the film will be the invisble douchebag from season one of Heroes (he also played Dr. Who, apparently), running around in a three-piece suit. I bet we won’t even get to see the sweet pimp medallion… *sigh*

8.) It’s got a Wayans brother in the cast: First of all, there were over 300 Joe characters to choose from, and the writers stuck Ripcord in this film. Ripcord? The guy was in maybe one or two episodes of the animated series and about ten issues of the comic series. There were plenty of hugely popular Joes that could have filled this spot on the team. How about Flint? Gung Ho? Spirit? Hell, even Shipwreck would have been a far better choice. But Ripcord? Come on now!

A quick search on IMDb reveals the casting directors (yes, that’s right, they needed two clueless asshats for this job) for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra are named Ronna Kress and Nancy Bishop. These two geniuses were paid six-figure salaries to look at this extremely white paratrooper character and think, “Hey, how about that Wayans guy? He was hilarious in Little Man!” These two should be bound, gagged, tied to chairs and be forced to watch the later years of In Living Color (you know, the ones with Chris Rock…*shudder*).

7.) Storm Shadow looks like a member of Panic At The Disco: When Larry Hama introduced the concept of ninjas into the G.I. Joe mythology in 1984, it took the saga of the Real American Heroes to new heights of awesomeness. Suddenly, there was a mysterious and fascinating backstory that tied several characters together and introduced one of the most badass dudes to ever wield a bow & arrow, the Cobra ninja  Storm Shadow. Ol’ Stormie rocked the classic ninja outfit, except his was stark white, which made it unique and completely kickass. Now, sadly, Snake-Eyes’ sword brother and ultimate nemesis looks like he belongs in a super-gay Asian emo band with this incredibly lame white leather suit. His battle togs aren’t that much better, either. Nice Keds, asshole.

6.) It’s directed by Stephen Sommers (You know, The Mummy guy): He also directed Van Helsing, one of the biggest cinematic turds of all-time. After that travesty, this fucking guy shouldn’t be allowed to direct traffic on a one-way street, much less helm a G.I. Joe movie. Don’t get me wrong, the Mummy films certainly have their charms and are fun summer popcorn flicks, but the same style of filmmaking just won’t fly for G.I. Joe.  What the hell were the producers thinking here? Couldn’t they have found someone with a background in making military action films? Shit, was Michael Bay not available? That guy’s notorious for fetishizing soldiers, aircraft, and other military equipment in his flicks. Oh wait, that’s right, he was busy raping the childhoods of thousands of Transformers fans. My bad.

5.) Duke and Cobra Commander are teenagers:

Oh look honey, the two main characters and leaders of their respective organizations are played by that kid from Step Up 2 Tha Streets and that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun, isn’t that cute? [shoots self].

4.) It’s an origin story: Good Lord, just for once, could Hollywood have one iota of respect for an audience’s intelligence and drop them into a universe where everything is already established? Would it be that difficult to follow a story that involves a group of highly-trained elite military specialists fighting against an evil terrorist organization? Well, apparently Hollywood feels the world is made up of slack-jawed mouth-breathers who need to know the origins of every face that hits the screen, so valuable time that could be spent on a compelling and intense story is wasted on character introductions and tedious exposition. It’s becoming incredibly frustrating.

Think about it for a minute, some of the greatest movies of all time simply dropped audiences into the middle of a story without explaining a damn thing. Take the original Star Wars, for example. You got a very brief text crawl that set up a few things, but then you were immediately smack dab in the middle of an insane space battle where all hell is breaking loose and the two main characters for the first 30 minutes of the movie are freakin’ robots! It worked, however, because eventually the strength of the story and the characters erased any need for background information or “audience orientation”. In my opinion, the exact same scenario could work for G.I Joe. Just plop the audience down in the midst of an intense firefight between some Joes and Cobras, and let the characters and the story shine through.

3.) It’s set in the future: Ten years in the future, according to the uber-geniuses behind this project. Fantastic. This means we’ll get to see “futuristic” weapons, “futuristic” battle armor, and all the Cobra soldiers will more than likely be cyborgs. FAIL.

2.) No Stalker: This omission is probably the most criminal of them all, as Stalker was a crucial member of the team with ties to the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow story. See, Stalker was part of a LRRP (Long-range recon patrol) in Vietnam along with Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow (who went to train with the same ninja clan together after the war), and after the war he was one of the first members recruited for the team by the U.S. Government. If you go by the comics and not the animated series, Stalker was a total badass who was essentially third in command of the team behind Hawk and Duke. It stands to reason that if you are going to do an origin story of the G.I. Joe team, you’d probably want to feature the one guy who helped start it all, asshats.

1.) Everyone’s wearing black rubber suits…AGAIN. Please….please…For fuck’s sake…CAN WE STOP WITH THE FUCKING BLACK RUBBER SUITS ALREADY??? Jesus Christ, this movie could have a been a competent Hollywood costume director’s wet dream, with hundreds of unique and colorful military costume designs to choose from, but it all went up in flames when some douche-y studio exec or market analyst stuck their mitts in where they didn’t belong and said, “Hey, X-Men was a group of heroes and they wore black rubber suits! I seem to recall that franchise made a shit-ton of cash, so let’s scrap all of this camoflauge and practical military clothing and have them wear black rubber suits too!” Yeah, great. Wonderful. So instead of having a team comprised of unique individuals with costumes reflecting their identities, we once again have a bunch of guys who all look exactly the same, so they can look pretty for a group photo.  FUCK. YOU. This decision was beyond terrible, and it’s getting to be a ridiculous team/action movie cliche. I guess we have the costume director for the first Batman film (1989) to blame for this trend, as almost every single superhero flick to come out since then has featured the dreaded black leather/rubber jumpsuit: all the subsequent Batmans, Daredevil, the Blade films, The Matrix films, The X-Men films, the list goes on and on. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Triumph At The 2008 San Diego Comic-Con

Posted in Comic Books, Movies, Science Fiction, Superheroes, TV on August 3, 2008 by Jeff Carter

Hey, how’s it goin’? Welcome to Six Demon Bag, yet another shitty blog about movies, comics, TV shows, and all things geek culture. I can think of no better way to kick off this blog than with a video of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog terrorizing hundreds of nerds at this year’s San Diego Comic-con. I nearly pissed myself when he told that poor girl her superpower was “killing erections”. Classic!