Archive for June, 2008

Film: HULK SMASH PUNY MR. ORANGE

June 15, 2008

I’m sure some of you have seen “Incredible Hulk” over the weekend, as early reports suggest that its weekend box office will be somewhere in the $57 million range–comparable to how films like “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan” and “Sex and the City” performed in their recent first weekends, according to Box Office Mojo.  Not a smash by any means, but not bad, either.

My review is not yet up at CM-Life.com, as our editor, Dan Monson, has been holding back reviews for bigger movies for prospective inclusion in the print edition of CM Life, which during the summer is only published on Wednesdays.  That publishing schedule makes delivering timely movie reviews and including them in the print edition rather difficult.

However, I will issue a spoiler warning that I gave it three stars out of five, as a fantastically thrilling barnburner of a summer action flick that is short on plot, character development, or really well thought-out dialogue.

That was the take by Film Reviewer Brad Canze.  On the other hand, when Comic Book Geek Brad Canze watched this movie, he peed his pants.  For the time being until I can give you the link to the CM Life review, Comic Book Geek Brad is going to give his views.

“Incredible Hulk” is AWESOME.  Defining the “Big Dumb Superhero Fight” genre for the film medium, it is a 90 minute chase movie leading up to one of the most fabulous mano y mano (although these manos are muy largo) ever captured on film.  If you were thrilled and excited by the climax of last summer’s “Transformers,” the final fight in “Incredible” just might make you poop.  But unlike “Transformers” and “Iron Man,” there’s not just one big fight in this movie.  Ed Norton Hulks out and destroys something approximately every eight-and-a-half seconds, and it’s always satisfying.

The best part of the film is how steeped in the mythology of the Hulk and Marvel Comics it is *the following paragraphs may include some small spoilers*.  Basically every iteration of the Hulk is referenced at some point in the movie.  While flipping through Brazilian TV channels, Banner stops on an old television show starring Bill Bixby, who played Banner in the old “Incredible Hulk” TV show, and later encounters a college security guard played by Lou Ferrigno, who donned green body makeup and a fright wig to play the Hulk in the same show.  References are also made to Captain America, the Super Soldier Serum that created him, and the Serum’s inventor, Dr. Reinstein.

Also making appearances are Sam Sterns, who in the comics is The Leader, a super-villain with all the gamma power of the Hulk, presenting itself as brain mass rather than muscle, and Doctor Samson, Super-Powered Psychologist (Played valiantly by Ty Burrell, best known as Steve The Dickhead from Zak Snyder’s 2005 “Dawn of the Dead”).

Making repeat appearances from Marvel’s other summer movie are SHIELD (Essentially the CIA, Homeland Security, INTERPOL, and Ian Fleming’s version of MI6, all rolled into one), and a certain billionaire industrialist with a thing for a good scotch and metal underpants.  When Bob Downey shows up at the end of the movie, the absolute best scene of the entire film ensues.  This small scene, probably around a minute long, includes the best lines of the entire movie (My personal favorite, from Ross to Stark: “You always wear the nicest suits.”) which makes me think somebody else wrote them besides screenwriters Norton and Zak Penn.

My only gripe is that there were no references to Bruce’s cousin Jen.

I love that Marvel is having all their studio-owned films share a universe, just like the comics.  I love that all the cool science-fictiony weaponry that Ross uses against the Hulk is branded from Stark Industries.  I love that SHIELD shows up in both.  I love this burgeoning Avengers plotline with Bendis-esque “Putting the team together” scenes at the end of each movie, and I can’t wait to see the one at the end of “Thor” when that comes out.  I would love to Nick Fury, General Ross, or Iron Man (or all three!) show up at the doorstep of Asgard, asking for a word with the God of Thunder.

The best thing about the way Marvel has been doing these movies, is they always promise something bigger, and it leaves audiences wanting more.  Now.

I want to see “Iron Man 2” with War Machine and Armor Wars and Stark’s alcoholism taking center stage.

I want to see Hulk, possibly with the help of Doc Samson, take on The Leader, and possibly a reinvigorated Abomination.

I want to see Thor battling Frost Giants in Asgard, only to be expelled to Earth to earn the right to be among gods, encountering super-powered Ed Nortons and Robert Downeys.

I want to see Captain America battling the Red Skull during WW2, only to be frozen in ice and unthawed by the rest of the Avengers.  And if the hombres at Latino Review are on the right track, the Sentinel of Liberty just may also be the King of the World.

I can’t wait for any of this.  I can’t wait for the Avengers.  I can’t wait for “Ant Man” directed by Edgar Wright of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” fame.  As though I was not already a big enough geek, Marvel has hooked me with a winning formula to successfully and faithfully adapt not just their characters, but their UNIVERSE, onto the big screen.

Now, would it kill them to make a NEXTWAVE movie?

–Brad Canze, the CM-Life Movie Dude

Film: The ups and downs of cafe blogging

June 9, 2008

I’m feeling rather sloth-like, with how sporadic updates are getting.

At the very least, I’m getting more updates in than the other reporters that blogged here throughout the schoolyear. Meaning, like, any at all.

I am in a popular downtown coffee shop in Midland right now, which only illustrates how much more I like the Mount Pleasant coffee shops. In Mount Pleasant, the rules of coffee shop behavior are engraved. No matter group size, you claim your seats, order your drinks and whatnot, sit down, and have your conversations and go about your business at a reasonable volume, as to allow all others in the shop to do the same.

Here in the Midland cafe, large herds of kids (and I use that term as a regretful generalization, as many are my age or older) loudly joke and yell, trying to impress their group of friends and assert themselves as useful to this shallow microcosm of humanity in which they have entrenched themselves. The yelling, laughing, shouting, and group conversing on superfluous meaninglessness disturbs any other patrons in the shop that are trying to work, have a quiet conversation, or just enjoy a beverage. It’s the Borg Collective as irritating post-adolescents.

Anyways, this is less related to the topic of movies, and more related to my lament that my headphone volume won’t go up loud enough to drown out these inconsiderate twits. On to business!

It is my understanding that as far as the box office returns go, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” did very well, in the first weekend alone taking in roughly $16 million for each word in its title (roughly $150 mil total, for those keeping count). However the fact remains, that I did not like it very much. Link goes to my review, as per usual. Take it for what you will, but if you’re interested in the film, chances are you’ve already seen it.

Michael Travis-Schuler, proprietor of the Hall Of Heroes, the best comic shop in Mount Pleasant, called me an idiot for disliking this new attempt at an “Indy” flick. If you agree with him or with myself, feel free to express so in the comments.

Next order of business is “The Strangers,” which Foxy Frank and I both reviewed. Although he seemed far more positive about the movie than I did, we both ended up giving it a 3 out of 5.

I suppose there is no accounting for taste, OR a five-point rating scale.

On a downer of a tangent, Frank Wisswell has moved back downstate, due equally to his desires to enter the working adult world, and the fact that his apartment lease ran up.  Regretfully, this dizzyingly talented writer and fantastic friend’s journey with CM Life has come to a close, barring any reviews he sends in from home, which I don’t know if he’s planning on or not.  All I know is I won’t be watching movies with him to review anymore, and this makes me pout like a child.

Finally, CM Life Staff Reporter Maria Spicketts, more often than not a political reporter, throws her hat into the movie ring with her review of Sex and the City.

In the prospect of fairness, I will do her a turn and throw my hat into the political ring, for but a brief moment.

Hat-throwing over.

As always, comments, concerns, suggestions and death threats can be directed into the comments, or directly at my face via canze1bj@cmich.edu.

Right on.

Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude