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August 31, 2008

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Film: epilogue?

August 8, 2008

So, there hasn’t been a whole lot of activity on this blog recently.  I haven’t seen any new movies since “The Dark Knight,” although I have watched “Seven Samurai” and “Serenity” a good three times each.

I’ve got three days of work left for the wine company, as I am simultaneously stepping up to the plate as Lifeline Editor for CM Life for the fall.  Lovely Lalita Chemello was going to take the job, but unforeseen circumstances brought the position to my lap.

I’ve kind of been scrambling to put together a game plan as an editor, as I’ve been executing this theoretical–and at many times nonexistent–plan.  I need a heroic man of action, or a totally badass reporter to come in and save the day.

Either way, where’s Robert Redford when you need him?

With the new year, it’s sounding like CM Life will be adopting new blogs as well.  Yes, blogs, with an “s”.

Instead of this current cumbersome system where everything is posted on one page, we will likely have dedicated blogs for sports, news, entertainment, and other, even more specialized categories.  Nothing is completely solidified yet, but there’s some cool stuff coming down the pipeline.

Either way, I want to thank everybody who has supported and read this blog throughout its months of life.

All, like, ten of you.

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One last order of business before we board up the windows here at cmlife.wordpress.com, I want to talk about Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards.”

A World War II “group on a mission” adventure movie, Tarantino has been writing the script for the better part of ten years.

When he decided to go ahead and make Kill Bill, it was “Inglorious Bastards” that got set on the backburner so Q could develop that script.

When he decided to make the superlative “Death Proof” as part of his and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse,” it was again “Bastards” that got set aside, with promises to fans that it would be coming.

Apparently, it has become a far bigger story than what he initially planned.

A few months ago, there was news that the script was finished, and the lucky few who got to read it were overwhelmingly positive.  Although really, one has to really make a steaming turd to get anything less than glowing recommendations from Aintitcool’s Harry Knowles.

Although the story has changed in the decade it’s been in development, the gist of it seems to be about an Army lieutenant who puts together a group of eight Jewish-American soldiers to take out a group of evil Nazis, while a young Jewish woman seeks revenge against the same Nazis for the death of her parents.

The whole bloody affair is finally coming together, with a cast starting to emerge, and Tarantino, the Weinstein Company, and Universal announcing a projected date of October 13 to start filming.

Over the past few years, the cast has been rumored to include everybody from Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone to Tarantino standbys Michael Madsen and Tim Roth.

Well, Variety has cast developments as of yesterday. Brad Pitt is contractually locked, cocked, and ready to rock (doc) as Lt. Aldo Raine, a Tennessee hillbilly who puts together and leads the eight soldiers.

The only other officially announced castmember at this point is “Hostel” director Eli Roth as Donnie Donowitz, a soldier on the “Bastards” squad who has an affinity for using a baseball bat.

Other rumored castmembers include “Hot Fuzz” star Simon Pegg, David Krumholtz of TV’s “Numb3rs,” and B.J. Novak, probably better known as Ryan on “The Office.”

Tarantino is planning to have “Inglorious Bastards” completed for screeing at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2009, which means we are all probably be going to get our faces rocked off by this (pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegood) in the late summer or fall of next year, if all goes according to plan.

And who’s to say it will?  I mean, it’s taken ten years to get the bloody thing in front of a camera.

See you when I know what the heck is going on.  The new blog’s (or blogs’) address(es) will be posted here when i know anything.

–Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude LIFELINE EDITOR

Film: The Joker, Dr. Horrible, McG, and other villains

July 19, 2008

I almost feel silly putting the “Film” tag on these posts.  As though anything else gets posted here during the summer.

The itinerary for this entry:

-The best musical ever released on the web, courtesy of Joss Whedon

-“Dark Knight” mop-up

-“Watchmen” and “Terminator: Salvation” trailer reports

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I am leading off with this, because it is only pertinent TODAY.  All three acts of Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” “Serenity”) and company’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog” have been posted online.

“Dr. Horrible” is a three-act musical, chronicling the struggles of Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother”), a supervillain with “A Ph.D in Horribleness,” who hopes to be invited to join the Evil League of Evil and take over the world.  He also wants to win over the girl of his dreams, Penny (Felicia Day, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).  Standing in his way on both fronts is Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, “Firefly”), a musclebound superhero who cares only about himself and punching things.

All three 15-minute parts have been released online, and are available for free until MIDNIGHT tonight.  After that, it will be downloadable for a fee, leading up to an eventual DVD release.

I love this thing.  I don’t know if it should be called a show, or a short film, or what, but the dialogue is characteristically fantastic for a Whedon production, the acting is top-notch, and the songs are hilarious, catchy, and wonderful.

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And now, Batman.

“The Dark Knight” came out this weekend, and I hope you all see it.  My review is not up yet, but the abridged version is that I have not been this floored by a theatergoing experience since “No Country for Old Men.”  For those of you keeping score, that won the Oscar for Best Film last year.

Now, there are still five months of movies left this year, so I would not dare to start yelling “OSCAR!”  However, come the Academy Awards next year, this film, director, writers, and Heath Ledger will very likely be on the Academy’s minds.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, “Dark Knight” is currently number 3 on IMDB’s top 250 films of all time, an aggregated 82/100 critic score on  Metacritic (and a user score of 9.5/10), and an aggregated 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.  As far as the Big Three Internet Rankings go, this is pretty par for the course, with IMDB being unrealistically positive, Metacritic being nominally pessimistic, and Rotten Tomatoes falling between the two.

“Dark Knight” has already broken records, showing in more theaters than any other movie ever Also, it is being reported that is has beaten out “Star Wars Episode III” for the best midnight box-office opening ever.

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Viewers of “The Dark Knight” may have noticed that there were actually TRAILERS for other movies before the movie played!

Breaking news for fanboys: There will be other movies released after “The Dark Knight.”

The one that was the most exciting, at least for me and anybody else who has ever read the comic, was the trailer for “Watchmen.” This is a fantastic trailer, that does not tell you anything about the story, but manages to set up the mood almost perfectly, and shows viewers what they can expect.

Anybody who has read the book was probably either jumping up and down in joy or scoffing with their arms crossed during the trailer.  Everything that is shown (except for that bit with Silk Spectre jumping down in front of a fire) was basically taken directly from panels in the comic.  This is a very deliberate adaptation, and personally, I think the cinematography and color design are perfect for a movie based on this book.  I can’t wait.

Not so successful was the trailer for “Terminator: Salvation.” Despite having an A+ leading man, with Christian Bale playing John Connor fighting robots in the future, director McG has not given audiences any reason to care about this movie.  This trailer inspired groans with the audiences I saw it with, rather than excitement.  The studio has a long way to go if they don’t want this thing to bomb.

If you ask me, and why wouldn’t you, “Salvation” is just a turd waiting to hit the water.

Brad Canze, the CM Life Movie Dude

Film: Hancock, Wanted, and the Granddaddy of Science Fiction

July 4, 2008

So first off, my review of “Hancock” got posted this week, for your consumption and consideration. As people have pointed out to me, the movie’s characters are pretty steeped in mythology. While that may add some level of depth or interest for some people, this movie is still lousy, despite the fact that somebody on the film crew took a 100-level religion class.

You could argue that Robocop was a Christ-like figure, but that doesn’t mean “Robocop 3” won’t make you puke when you watch it.

If you want a GOOD story about immortals worshiped as gods throughout time by different cultures, and now viewed as superheroes, read the Eternals. Jack Kirby told the basic story of “Hancock” better as a comic book 30 years ago. For you literature nerds, Neil Gaiman did a particularly good revamp of the story last year, from which even more plot points in “Hancock” are echoed.

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For even more comic-book nerdiness, stay tuned after the regularly scheduled program, where I will be reviewing last week’s sleeper hit “Wanted.” The review never got posted to CM-Life.com, so I will post a jump to it at the end of this entry.
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In exciting film news, an original print of Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic “Metropolis” was found in a museum in Argentina.

The original film was 210 minutes long, and only showed in Lang’s native Germany for a short period of time, before being drastically cut for wider release.

There have been several “restorations” of the film, where lost footage was edited back in, and the film was remastered. Most notoriously, “Scarface” composer Giorgio Moroder released a restored version in 1984, which was the most complete visual version of the film, although the orchestral score was replaced with a synth-pop soundtrack written by Moroder and performed by those such as Queen and Adam Ant. It’s rather bizarre.

Before this week, the longest-known print of “Metropolis” in existence was 118 minutes. Adding such a huge amount of footage will likely make the film bloated and boring, but from a critical and historical viewpoint, could alter the plot, characters, or even entire themes in the film. Film historians collectively pooped when they heard the news.

None of this would matter a lick if “Metropolis” were not a hugely influential film. Basically any science fiction movie after it can be traced back to it, at least visually if not thematically. “Metropolis” is the archetypal film vision of the future. Everything from “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner,” to “The Island,” and “Batman Begins” can have parallels drawn to Lang’s film. Any fans of the videogame masterpiece “Bioshock” owe “Metropolis” a viewing, because from the city design, to the logo featuring the cityscape, the game’s city of Rapture is effectively Metropolis underwater.

So, I’m sure eventually we’ll get a fully-restored DVD with all the new footage. Remember, this is an original print from 1927 that has not been restored, or even taken out of storage in decades, so as sure as there’s legions of film geeks who want to see this, it will probably take several years to restore.

Any concerns, comments, questions and requests can be directed to canze1bj@cmich.edu, and the “Wanted” review can be viewed by the link below.

(more…)

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

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

Capes, X-ray Vision and Masks…On the Catwalk Baby on the Catwalk

April 29, 2008

Superhero inspired garb is splashing the pages of Vogue and Nylon, a tribute to an exhibition starting May 7 through September 1 at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The somewhat uber geek chic trend has inspired everything from capes and cuffs to t-shirts.

I don’t truly think people will start running around campus in latex body suits or creating alter-egos (that we know of) but there is an easy way to incorporate some of this new trend into your wardrobe. Start by looking for some major Wonderwoman cuffs (most likely one, you don’t want to over do it), or sport some sexy shiny black leggings ala Catwoman (not the Halle Berry version).

Check out some of the fashion pics inspired by super powers. 

-Rebecca