Archive for May, 2008

Film: Tuesday’s Special: Tomato Catchup.

May 20, 2008

My apologies for movie updates going the way of every other update on this blog, and becoming scarce as of late.  Exceedingly busy work schedules will do that to a brother.

First order of business, CM Life has my review of Prince Caspian (forgivably credited to both myself and Foxy Frank Wisswell.  I’d apologize for bringing it to your attention this late, but the lukewarm box office, with its first weekend only sloppily beating out “Iron Man” in its third weekend, would tell me that there’s a good chance this review is in on time to be of use.

The remaining items on my agenda are a few upcoming movies that may be of interest to you, if you’re anything like me (and God help you if you are).

Cinematical had a scoop a few days ago, that “Zodiac” screenwriter just turned a “Spider-Man” script in to Sony, that, if the studio chooses to shoot, would be made into two movies, likely shot at the same time.  If this plan is taken, “Spider-Man 4” and “5” may get a “Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions” style release, six months or so apart, to garner the summer and winter audiences, or two consecutive summer releases.

Depending on when production is started, that would bring about the interesting situation of having the Marvel character of Spider-Man, whose film rights are owned by Sony, going head-to-head with Marvel-owned movies “Iron Man 2” or “The First Avenger: Captain America,” scheduled for the first weekend of May 2010 and 2011, respectively.  That same weekend has been the release date for every Spider-Man movie thus far, and Sony would probably be stubborn to give up the date, although it may result in lukewarm returns for both Sony and Marvel’s efforts.

In other superheroics, a script by “Batman Begins” scribe David Goyer called “Supermax” has been making waves in the Hollywood community, including a partial synopsis and glowing recommendation from El Mayimbe at Latino Review.  The story would have the Robin Hood-esque Green Arrow basically in the role of Clint Eastwood in “Escape From Alcatraz.”  According to Goyer, the character of Oliver Queen is only the Green Arrow for about the first ten minutes of the film, before he is framed for murder, stripped of his costume, bow and quivers, and goatee, and thrown in a super-cutting edge maximum-security prison designed specifically to house supervillains.  The prison’s population will include many villains Green Arrow helped to incarcerate.  Included will the the Checkmate organization, smalltime villains such as The Calculator, Split, Blockbuster, and reportedly cool cameos from Lex Luthor, The Joker, and The Riddler.  Whether or not such characters would be kept in continuity with current movies (portrayed as or similarly to Kevin Spacey’s Luthor and Heath Ledger’s Joker) is unknown, but this could be a seriously cool movie to take the comic-movie subgenre and turn it on its head.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that Sony has acquired the rights to and fasttracked into production a film based on R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS books.  “I Am Legend” producer Neal Moritz is attached, and little else is known, except for an expected PG rating on the film based on the “WoOooOoO! ScaAaAry!” book series.

My feelings on this reflect those of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise:

Make it so: Whoever has taken administration duties seems to be slacking in getting comments approved for public viewing, but if you comment, I promise I will see it.  If you would like more active feedback, I recommend emailing me at canze1bj@cmich.edu

–Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: Brought to you today by the Letter “W”

May 9, 2008

“W” as in “Wachowski,” “George W.,” and “Widget,” just because it is an awesome word.

“Speed Racer” sees its wide-release today, so you had better believe there is a review on CM-Life.com.

Sorry for those who were waiting with bated breath for a “What Happens in Vegas” review, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Onto our second “W,” earlier in the week, I will continue coverage of Oliver Stone’s Bush Jr. biopic, “W.”  EW.com released a photo of star Josh Brolin made up as George W. Bush, and so as I did for the released Watchmen character shots, I will present a actor-character photo comparison for your consumption.

The Actor:

The President:

The Result:

Truly bizarre.  If a judgment could be made from this one photo, I would guess Stone and Brolin are going for a dark, dramatic, potentially slanderous angle on our Commander in Chief.  It will be interesting to watch this develop.

As always, direct all comments, compliments, rants, raves, and death threats to the comment box below, or canze1bj@cmich.edu.

Stay in school,

Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: Superhero overload

May 5, 2008

UPDATE:  Iron Man had a killer weekend, racking up $104 million domestically, pushing it well over the $200 million mark worldwide.  By no small coincidence, the day these numbers were announced, Marvel announced that “Iron Man 2” (my predicted subtitle is either “Enter the Mandarin” or “Demon in a Bottle;” expect both the ten-ringed supervillain and Tony’s alcoholism to play a part) will be released on April 30, 2010.

Also announced were “Thor” on June 4, 2010, “The First Avenger: Captain America” (I am really not in love with that title) on May 6, 2011.  All three of these heroes, along with Hulk, whose movie drops on June 13, will feature in “The Avengers” in June 2011.

This is put on Marvel’s schedule on top of “Punisher: War Journal” this December 5, and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” next May 1.

Me?  I’m still waiting for a NEXTWAVE movie.

So, the Wednesday before last, CM Life had a little something you might have read: An entire Lifeline section devoted to comic books.

I wrote two rather intensive articles, we had a column, picks for the best comics, movies, music, TV, et cetera, and a killer (though admittedly non-comics related) book review by Mr. Frank Wisswell.

Speaking of Frank, he and I did a joint review of Iron Man this weekend, as though you needed anybody to tell you that it rocked.

“Joint” review meaning we did it in conjunction with one another. Just say no.

So, to finally cap off CM Life’s beginning of summer comic book coverage, I am going to do as others did for me in the April 23 Lifeline section, and give recommendations of truly rockin’ reads. So here is Belligerent Brad’s Pulverizin’ Pull List:

“Watchmen:” I absolutely consider this the best comic book ever written. It’s a story starring superheroes, but it is absolutely not a superhero book. This is a book about society, humanity, paranoia, absolutism, and morality. Alan Moore’s scripts and David Gibbons’ artwork deftly creates a living, breathing world that seems very real, while still being a very different world than our own. If you only read one comic book ever before you die, read “Watchmen.”

“NEXTAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E.” Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s hilarious masterwork deconstructs the superhero psyche in a way never done before. Ellis started from what he considers the “core” of superhero comics (from the perspective of writers and artists) and made this book primarily about people in bright costumes posing in the street, kicking things, and then blowing them up, sacrificing things like characterizations and plot in the process. However, Ellis is intelligent enough to flesh out this absurdly skewed world, making it hilariously irreverent, inventively violent, and simple genius. Our team of heroes (who consist of a second-rate Avenger, a Lara Croft wannabe monster hunter, an alcoholic misanthropic robot, a kleptomaniac mutant whose power is to make things explode, and a homeless Brooklyn man with galactic-level power bestowed by aliens) faces off with an insane military man who drinks milkshakes made out of baby chickens, murderous airborne koalas, and clones of Stephen Hawking that shoot laserbeams out of their eyes. Like the book says itself, “If you like ANYTHING, you’ll LOVE Nextwave!”

“Ex Machina,” “Y: The Last Man,” “Pride of Baghdad,” “Doctor Strange: The Oath,” “Logan:” These five titles have two things in common: They are written by Brian K. Vaughan, and they are some of the best contemporary comics that money can buy. “Y” is a 60-issue long story about a 20-something slacker who ends up being the last human male left on the earth, and finds himself fighting against certain death and biological obsolescence. “Ex Machina” is the tale of Mitchell Hundred, a man elected mayor of New York City, who just happens to be a former superhero that used his power to speak with electronics to keep the second World Trade Center tower from getting hit during 9/11. “Pride of Baghdad” is the most culturally affecting talking animal tale ever written, following four lions that were freed from the Baghdad zoo during the initial US bombings of the city. “The Oath” is a story about Doctor Strange that manages to make the character interesting (a first in roughly 20 years), and tell a great romantic superhero tale at the same time without seeming trivial. “Logan” takes place during Wolverine’s past and present in Japan, examining both his involvement in WWII and with his first love, in a way that has never been done before. All of Vaughan’s books contain snappy writing and a taste for the catastrophic, and all carry themes and points comparable with a prose novel.

“Umbrella Academy:” When I heard that Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, would be writing a comic, I expected to open up the first issue and be bombarded with depressing emo mush. Instead, Way delivers giant professional wrestlers elbow dropping squid-aliens and 9 year-olds fighting a zombie-robot reincarnation of Gustav Eiffel. “Umbrella Academy” is a quirky, hilarious tale of turmoil within a group of people who know no other life than superheroics. Way’s first mainstream comic work, complimented by the cartoony pencils of Gabriel Ba, is indicative of both Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” and Mike “Hellboy” Mignola’s “Amazing Screw-on Head.” Fool your emo friend into reading comic books by giving them this 6-issue miniseries. Conversely, give your comic nerd friends this book, and fool them into liking something written by Gerard Way.

“Helen Killer:” The first issue of this miniseries came out a few weeks ago, and I am already sold on the entire thing. Truth be told, I was pretty much sold on the premise alone: Alexander Graham Bell invents a device called The Omnicle, which gives a college-aged Helen Keller her senses back along with superhuman reflexes and strength, and she uses these abilities to become a bodyguard for President McKinley. Add to that premise some great dialog and crisp, clear, dynamic black-and-white art, and you’ve got an indie book that earns the endorsement from Stan Lee it boasts on its front cover.

Comment below if you have any thoughts, or books that you want to talk about, or email me at canze1bj@cmich.edu to tell me if you like branching out to other things, or if I should just stick to movies strictly.

–Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude