thehefner: (Green Lantern: Facepalm and Rage)
Why did the Green Lantern movie suck so much? The answer, according to one source, may be exactly as I feared:

One thing I feel needs mentioning: this is not Martin Campbell’s cut of the film, but the studio’s. I live in New Orleans where it was shot, I read the shooting script, all of which was painstakingly filmed with intense research, and all of that was left on the cutting room floor — a sort of combination of what happened to Daredevil and Watchmen, respectively — character development sacrificed for CG, scenes made irrelevant by removing their setup. The movie in the theater starts with an explanation of mythos that is made redundant by the more natural, scripted questions from Hal when he gets the ring. Ten minutes of childhood Hal, Carol, and Hector that sets up Hal’s first ring construct is reduced to an awkwardly placed flashback in the middle of another scene. The training with the ring is almost completely excised except for one minor scene. Most appallingly, the ending completely deletes the fact that Kilowog, Sinestro, and Toma-Re arrive at the end and help Hal defeat Parallax. Not to mention Parallax was supposed to be a 3rd act reveal after we spend the film worried about Hammond going evil, not the main villain for the entire film. I sincerely hope we get a director’s cut or at least all the deleted scenes on the video release.

Very interesting. Even if we do get a director's cut, I wonder how much of this bittersweetly-hilarious list will still hold true.

I don't know to what extent the source is to be believed, but it certainly jives with the finished product we saw on the screen. It sounds like Daredevil all over again, where a studio hacks apart of decent enough film and turns it into a franchise-kneecapping disaster unloved by audiences and critics alike. The Daredevil: Director's Cut is a far more watchable and enjoyable film, just shy of the first Spider-Man film in terms of quality, but the was already done. Put it another way, I still haven't watched the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven, which was also hacked apart by the studio, because I just don't care enough. Who'll care enough about the director's cut of GL when it's so universally panned and has actively pissed off fandom?

I fear that the character of Hal Jordan--already one of the most controversial and LOATHED characters in fandom--will never recover from this. The only thing keeping him going will be the stubbornness of Geoff Johns and DC who refuse to believe that anyone couldn't dislike the character. It hurts a vital part of me deep inside to admit that even I no longer like Hal Jordan. Not as he is. Maybe not even as he ever actually was, but rather just the version I always WANTED him to be back when he was replaced by Kyle "Poochie Parker" Rayner. This is a very distressing thing to consider as a fan.

Looks like my only hope left for a quality GL adaptation rests entirely where I least expected it:

Much as I dislike CGI shows, I have to remind myself that Bruce Timm is producing. Maybe it won't suck. Maybe maybe maybe.
thehefner: (Default)
Every so often, I remember that there actually was a cartoon where a Rooster Frank Sinatra and a Rooster Bing Crosby made a fully-clothed Porky Pig orgasm eggs.

Goddamn but they don't make 'em like that anymore.


Nov. 30th, 2010 04:54 pm
thehefner: (Scott and Barda are US SO SCHMOOPY)
Scene: on the bed at 3am, as Henchgirl--dressed in sexy lingerie--attempts to wrest her boyfriend's attention from the Nicktoons channel


ME: Mm?

HENCHGIRL: A-hemmmmm.

ME: Y'know... there's something I've been wondering for years now.

HENCHGIRL: Mmmmyyesss?

ME: How the hell does Catdog poo?

HENCHGIRL: (pause, violent lurch)

ME: Does poo? Do poo? Is it singular poo or plural poo?

HENCHGIRL: Not... not the sort of question you should be asking your nauseous girlfriend. I literally almost threw up in your lap right now.

ME: I think it's "do."

HENCHGIRL: ... How you managed to get me pregnant, I'll never know.

thehefner: (Twin Peaks: O HAHAHA)
I can count the number of anime films/shows that I like on one hand, and I haven't seen much more than that, but this video is still brilliant and dead-on:

I noticed that one anime that isn't included (and there were 93 different ones used for that video!) is the opening for Paranoia Agent, a show which [ profile] box_in_the_box turned me onto. It's one I should have watched anyway, since it was done by the tragically-late director of Perfect Blue, one of those very few anime works I love.

Not only is this opening unlike every anime opening, it's unlike any opening to any show I've ever seen anywhere:

The first time I saw that, my first reaction was puzzlement. Then by the time we saw the mushroom cloud, my jaw just dropped. And it happened every time I saw the credits at the start of each episode. Jaw dropped wide open, I was awestruck, disturbed, enthralled, and I didn't know why. I still don't.

Something about all these characters, most of whom are tortured in their own ways, standing amid the wreckage of Armageddon and laughing. It's like one of those dreams that just skirt the edges of nightmare, y'know?
thehefner: (Joker: Ow Ow Ow Ow)
Or maybe you skimmed past the entry, but today, it's worth repeating.

I've always sympathized with Daffy in those cartoons,* particularly in Canadian Fringes (even when you guys like me, which is most of the time, you're still so darn quiet!), but never so drainingly as here in Hamilton. Just one more show tomorrow evening, then I collect my pittance, choke back five Red Bulls, and high-tail it to Kalamazoo.

Up next is Kansas City, MO. Oh thank god: boisterous, loudmouthed, midwest American audiences, how we miss you!

*I was telling Henchgirl how I always used to hate Bugs in those because Daffy worked and sweated and tried, while Bugs was just effortlessly awesome. She replied, "On behalf of Bugs Bunnies everywhere, I'm so sorry."
thehefner: (I'm a pirate! YARR!)
Did anyone ever watch the short-lived SILVER SURFER animated series on Fox Kids in the late 90's? I'm not sure anybody did.

I certainly didn't, and I probably wouldn't have liked it if I had. I was a DC kid, and while I could appreciate even the subpar X-MEN (JEEEEEEEAAAAAAANNNN!!!) and SPIDER-MAN (ugh, so lame, except for a couple awesome Dr. Octopus moments), I couldn't get wrap my head around Marvel's cosmic stuff, certainly not the heady philosophy of classic SURFER.

Credit (some of) Jim Starlin's THANOS, Straczynski's SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM (woobie), and Marvel's whole ANNIHILATION events and books for setting me straight. There's something so wonderfully epic about Marvel's cosmos, something utterly awe-inspiring in ways that even DC's can't reach (even though I prefer DC's, mainly due to GL, naturally). Also, I gained a healthy appreciation for all things Jack Kirby.

As such, I think I'm finally ready to appreciate this:

Geez, it's like a near-perfect intro to all things Marvel cosmic. Galactus! Skrulls! Kree! And eventually, Drax and Thanos! And KIRBY CRACKLES EVERYWHERE!!! It's like a living Kirby comic, right down to the heavy inks on close-up figures!

I've only seen the pilot so far, and it wasn't brilliant, but it was damn intriguing. There's serious potential here for something more moving and deep than the Fox Kids lineup was ready for. I eventually hope to get Henchgirl into Marvel Cosmic stuff, so I'm thinking this might be a great place to start for her. Me, I just wanna see what they do with Thanos. Thaaaaaaanos.
thehefner: (Harrumph)
"If a 3-D movie isn't as good in 2-D, how good, objectively, is it?"-- Roger Ebert, via Twitter.

One thing I hated about AVATAR was how obviously it was filmed for 3D to show off the technology at the expense of any actual story of worth. I feel like audiences were blown away by the effects, which might have been enough to wow me too if I hadn't already seen the NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 3D re-release, CORALINE, UP, and BEOWULF (an okay film that was awesome in 3D, but nobody saw that).

As it was, many of the "wow" effects in AVATAR left me not just cold, and kind of a little angry too. Everyone else is marveling at the immersive effects, while to me, it feels no different than watching JAWS 3D or FRIDAY THE 13TH 3D: "Oh look, I have a YO-YO!!!" "Hey, wanna see my new PADDLE BAAAAAALLLLL?!" And those films hold up only slightly worse than BEOWULF did (and AVATAR will) in 2D, because the gimmick was such a major part of those films.

Compare that with UP. Did anyone else see Pixar's UP in both 2D and 3D? I did, and let me tell you, they're just two ways of looking at the same brilliant, beautiful film. Because Pixar has always understood the vast importance of story and character and everything else that makes truly great films underneath all the (stunning) effects and design.

The amazing thing about the 3D in UP was how totally intertwined it felt in the world. Aside from one moment, I can't recall any specific instances of the 3D effect being used in UP, because it was weaved so organically into the storytelling itself. It supported the film--much in the same way a great soundtrack does--rather than dominated it.

I'm still not sure if 3D is a game-changer that will truly be the way to keep movie theaters going or a fad gimmick (y'know, just like the all the other times they've tried 3D in movies). But all filmmakers interested in producing something other than empty spectacle should pay close attention to Pixar's example. Because I cannot wait to see this in 3D when it hits:

Toy Story 3 Trailer 2 in HD

Trailer Park Movies | MySpace Video

BTW, that's Michael Keaton voicing Ken. This makes me insanely happy. Where the hell has he been?

I feel like one of the only people to have been underwhelmed by TOY STORY 2. Time was, people were calling that the best Pixar movie ever. It was all right, but it wasn't up to par with the original. As for best ever, I'm still giving that vote to RATATOUILLE, followed by UP, followed by a clusterfuck three-way tie of WALL*E, FINDING NEMO, and THE INCREDIBLES.
thehefner: (Venture Bros: Theatre People)
Coming at this a week late, but whatever...

Everything about the much-publicized musical episode of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD--starring Neil Patrick Harris!!!--should have resulted in an utterly delightful episode tailor-made for the showtune-loving-superhero-fan in me.

Henchgirl and I were giddy at the prospect, squealing with glee when Black Manta pirouetted in the first couple minutes. But then it was all downhill from there. The story, and everything involving Black Canary* was bad enough, but what really did it were the songs.Oh god, I hated the songs. Hated them. They were like every lame showtune that comes on the Broadway radio channel, the kind Henchgirl and I listen to for about a minute before going, "Wow, this sucks," and changing the station.

Then again, we have particular tastes when it comes to showtunes. Henchgirl summed up our dislike of the episode by saying, "Well, we live in a post-WICKED world." Which is to say, neither of us have actually seen WICKED, but every time we hear one of the songs on Broadway radio (and I make it a point to listen to them all the way through), we're just shocked by how much we hate them.

Blasphemy, I know. I tried to give it a shot, I really did! Henchgirl always wanted to change the station, but I said, "No, we need to listen to this all the way through to give it a fair shot!" And maybe, maybe it all works better in context, so perhaps I need to actually see WICKED on stage to judge it properly. Still, you should have seen my face as we listened to "For Good" and "Defying Gravity." I'm told that my contorted look of disgust was pretty epic. Henchgirl says, "It looked like you were melting. It was amazing."

So maybe TB&TB's musical episode was actually "good" in the sense that it successfully tapped into the kind of popular musical like your WICKEDs, your RENTs, your LES MISERABLES/MISS SAIGONs, and--of course--your Webbers (pretty much all Andrew Lloyd Webber, save for JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR). You know, the musicals I hate.

But me, I was hoping for a different kind of musical style to ape. I'm not asking for Kander & Ebb or Sondheim,** but good lord, with NPH in tow, I was at least hoping for a Bat-flavored DR. HORRIBLE. And this is ME talking! The Joss Anti-Fan! I disliked BUFFY, yet the BUFFY musical episode was enough to hook me into the series! Why couldn't we have that kind of quality for BATMAN, even if it's just the "kid-friendly" version?

Really, the only song that I found even decently enjoyable is this one. And even then, it's mainly for the cameos.

But hey, it could have been worse. At least it wasn't the aborted Tim Burton BATMAN musical by Jim Steinman. I don't know if even the delightfulness of NPH could have pulled off songs like this:

Not that I wouldn't pay good money to hear Mark Hamill try. For a minute.

*The prospect of a Black Canary voiced by Grey DeLisle--and looking like Veronica Lake drawn by Darwyn Cooke--should have been far, far more wonderful than what we actually got: a lame "I love Batman" motivation, a series of dry "Will he ever love me?"songs, and a fickle inexplicable turnaround to loving Ollie (like she should have done all along).

**I just showed Henchgirl SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (after already showing her INTO THE WOODS and the Hearn/Lansbury SWEENEY TODD, which is the *only* SWEENEY TODD in our estimation) and spent 2/5ths of the film sobbing. God, it's getting worse. I just need to hear three specific notes to make me burst into tears.

I don't know what the hell it is about this damn musical that affects me so. Henchgirl says it's because it's about the struggle of being an artist. Makes sense, but I don't see why that should be any reason I ought to get misty every time I hear Bernadette Peters sing.
thehefner: (Batman: Rogues)
Speaking as...

1.) a comic geek, with a healthy fondness for Silver Age crackiness

2.) a lover of a certain brand of classic cartoons

and 3.) a fan of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE back in the day

There are no words to describe the giddy delight aglow within me after watching this:

Yes, that's Paul Rubens as Bat-Mite doing a Dick-Sprang-flavored homage of THE GREAT PIGGY-BANK ROBBERY from an episode of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD written by the modern master of Batman, the incomparable Paul Dini.

Let all that sink in your brain for a sec, lest your eyeballs to explode from an overdose of awesome.

You can watch the entire episode here, which I wholeheartedly recommend you do, but in case you need further persuading (really? You do? After all that?!), here's another magnificent highlight:

So much to love: Dini!Harley with Timm!Joker, alongside a Hank Venture's "The Bat" and a Kevin-Smith-based snotty Batman fan voicing concerns that even I foolishly shared once upon a time.

Between the almost-sacred status the 90's BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES has achieved in our eyes and the piece of crap that was the recent THE BATMAN cartoon, I too was hesitant about seeing a kid-friendly Batman cartoon. Well, not so much hesitant and apathetic. It clearly wasn't meant for *me*, so whatever.

Then [ profile] leiacat started getting me to check out a couple episodes, as she was watching it but needed help with getting the references. And that's when I started to realize, holy shit, there are TONS of references. This show is downright riddled with classic DC geekery and goodness from every single era, almost more so than even B:TAS ever had! And when it's good, dear lord but it's fun, and frankly, we NEED more fun in DC Comics these days!

While the show's quality is on and off, with some less-stellar episodes out there that really do reflect the kiddie nature of the show, it's the episodes like the Green Lantern Corps team-up with Guy Gardner, G'Nort, and Sinestro, written by J.M. DeMatteis (!!!) and now this Bat-Mite episode...

Man, all we need now is to have Paul Rubens' Bat-Mite team up with Gilbert Gottfried's Mr. Mxyzptlk and have them adapt WORLD'S FUNNEST. But alas, I don't know if the world would ever be able to handle such a thing. It'd be like challenging Cthulhu to a staring contest, but in a good way.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Via [ profile] mirthical, who saw this and for some reason thought of me.

I'm just saying, if that's supposed to be Dr. Manhattan, it should glow in the dark and/or feel like a D battery when you put your tongue on it.

By the way, WATCHMEN's theatrical length will be 156 minutes long. The subsequent Director's Cut will be 190 minutes, which in Snyder's words will be "considerably more violent... and sexier." Whatever that means.

And then, in the Fall, they'll release another cut down the line, splicing in this*, which will be hitting DVDs at the end of March:

So that the full, final version of WATCHMEN the movie will ultimately be 205 minutes. And that's not even counting the UNDER THE HOOD "documentary," included with the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER DVD.

It ain't a 12-part HBO mini-series, but that's still pretty goddamned impressive.

Hell with the worry and the apprehension and the snobbery. March 6th needs to fucking get here fucking NOW.

*Among other things, including cut scenes like more Dr. Manhattan on Mars, dialogue scenes at the newsstand, and the death of a certain character that involves a statue. At first, it's hard to imagine those last two not being in the final cut, but then you remember just how much fucking stuff there is in WATCHMEN.
thehefner: (Batman: I Am The Night)
Y'know what? I think BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM is (still) the best Batman movie of all time.

I watched it about a year ago, the first time I'd seen it in five years at least, as research for the Harvey Dent novel (I have a scene where Harvey and Gilda break into the dilapidated ruins of the Gotham World's Fair). In truth, I was only half-watching, half-tinkering on my laptop, taking notes and chatting with the likes of [ profile] mirthical and [ profile] angrylemur. I thought it was still good, nothing brilliant but still solid.

But now, three months after THE DARK KNIGHT, I just happened to catch it on HBO. The second half, anyway. I specifically caught the scenes where young Bruce was being torn between avenging his parents or settling down with Andrea Beaumont, the love of his life. I got to the scene where Bruce stands before his parent's graves, talking to the headstone and breaking down, and for the first time, the power of that scene just hit me.

"I didn't count on being happy." Maybe I'm just tired and vulnerable at the moment, but Jesus.

And I realized that only BATMAN BEGINS got close to really examining Bruce as a human being in this way, tearing him open and truly showing his conflicted character on the verge of (or well into) madness. More than any other film, this is what really got into the heart of Bruce Wayne, far beyond mere angst and brooding.

Because in THE DARK KNIGHT, he's a completely flat character. I didn't think about it until recently, but now I wonder why more people aren't discussing just how flat and superficial Batman was as a character. That movie was all the Joker and Harvey's show (albeit with the latter getting dicked over and turned into a tool). His crisis of faith felt rushed and unconvincing, a sub-"I am Spider-Man... no more!" moment that had little meaning save for what Harvey did in response. After that one moment of tears, he barely seemed to regard Rachel's death in any form. He was more a walking metaphor than anything.

You know what I wish? I wish his Batman voice had something more than two modes: growly and snarly. I wish when Harvey shouted out, "You don't understand what I've lost!" Batman's voice would have shown actual pain and emotion when he said, "You're wrong."

Fuck, if we were to seriously borrow from SPIDER-MAN 2, I wish Batman ripped off his mask to show Harvey that yes, yes he gets it! He's been there! Fuck, he's there RIGHT NOW! Because if anything might have cut through the madness of Two-Face to find Harvey, that would have been a moment. I mean, why not, they were just gonna kill Harvey off anyway. Sure, Gordon would have known, but Gordon almost certainly knows anyway in the comics. Of course, there's his family too... but hell, ignore that, it's a great idea nonetheless. Heck, handled well, it could have led Harvey to get up the guts to commit suicide directly rather than indirectly. Would have been more powerful than "death by ledge," a death caused by Batman.

And I don't care if it was in self-defense or an accident. Batman caused the death of somebody. Directly or indirectly, he broke that one rule, just like the Joker wanted him to. I'm not saying they shouldn't have done that, but they *needed* to have addressed this. It would have cut right to the core of Batman, when he realizes the true cost of his soul. I mean, does Batman lose anything by taking the blame and becoming hunted? It's not like he was beloved in the first place. It's not like he's uncomfortable with this situation. This is a guy who'd prefer to beat the shit out of cops and throw them off a building rather than actually tell them, "Oh, you might not wanna shoot the clowns, they're really the hostages! Just, y'know, FYI!"

THE DARK KNIGHT may be a good film. Even a great film. Even one of the best superhero movies of all time. But while it's better than any of the Burton/Schumacher films, it still falls behind BATMAN BEGINS and especially BATMAN: THE MASK OF THE PHANTASM as the best Batman film.

Sorry to go on a rant there. I came not to bury TDK, but to praise B:MotP. Sure, the animation is a little rough by today's standards, or even 1993 standards, but they did the best they could with the limited budget (most of the cash it looks like they blew on the opening credits). But if you go by story and vocal performances alone, which I consider more important, it's the truer, more emotionally powerful film about the tragedy of Batman.

Also, it's probably the scariest (made all the more so by how funny he often is) Joker performance of Mark Hamill's illustrious career. As with several parts throughout the film, it's downright disturbing.

Of course, I speak as one whose entire outlook on Batman was pretty well formed by BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Those voices are the ones I still hear when I read the comics, the ones I keep in mind when I try to distinguish characters' dialogue in my Harvey Dent novel. To this day, I still consider the depictions in B: TAS to be the gold standard of Gotham's denizens (right down to the themes; god, what I'd give for recordings of the characters' leitmotifs!), the perfectly refined distillations of 50+ years of comics. So I'm certainly biased. And maybe when I finally rewatch B:MotP from the beginning, really watch it rather than be distracted, I'll reevaluate my opinion.

But for now, there you go. BATMAN: THE MAS OF THE PHANTASM. Still the best Batman movie made so far. Give it a rent, or watch the whole thing broken up on YouTube.
thehefner: (Grindhouse: Reel Missing (PT))
Y'know, there's one thing keeping me from fully embracing WALL*E as a brilliant film. Well, not one thing per se, as my favorite joyless bastard Devin at makes a compelling argument how the film abandons greatness halfway through and settles for just being "good." (Don't read that until you've seen the film, lest it risk you enjoying WALL*E for what it was, not what it perhaps should have been.)

I don't know if I agree with him, but he makes some good points. He certainly echoes my early concerns when I was disappointed to learn that WALL*E would not be a silent (dialogueless) film after all.

But what's really bugging me about WALL*E was the ending.

thehefner: (Titus Andronicus: I made you eat!)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have put every SOUTH PARK episode on-line for free.

Twelve seasons and still going strong. This show should have fizzled out around season two, yet somehow, they actually got better and better. Whereas the five-times-more-popular FAMILY GUY quickly became a retread of itself, and THE SIMPSONS has but the rare excellent gem amid its current seasons of mediocrity, SOUTH PARK is still goddamn brilliant. I was starting to get concerned this season, though. The first two episodes had been kinda weak. But then this week's episode aired, and... oh sweet lord, we were dying over here.

So for those looking to catch up on SOUTH PARK, might I humbly suggest trying the following episodes...

Season 5: "Scott Tenorman Must Die"

Season 7: "Fat Butt and Pancake Head," AKA "Jennifer Lopez."

Season 8: "Good Times with Weapons," (if I were a monster, I'd suggest "Woodland Critter Christmas")

Season 10: "Make Love Not Warcraft."

There are so many others, but those just pop out at me as must-sees.

If you haven't seen this week's, "Major Boobage," a stellar homage of 1981's HEAVY METAL, oh dear lord do. It actually made me want to watch HEAVY METAL again, which is saying something. I think that film is one of the classic examples of "You had to be there."

Some of the best American satire being produced today. Even if it's not for all tastes (but then, what satire is?)
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Milkshake)
Yet more evidence that Pixar is superior to Disney (I mean, Disney alone).

When Disney did TARZAN, they got Phil Collins to do the music. Now, I actually like Phil Collins to an extent. I will apologize for him. Hell, I'll even see him in concert when I'm really young and have a great time. But at the end of the day... it's Phil Collins. Doing music for Disney's TARZAN.

Now Pixar is making WALL*E, and who have they majorly involved in production for as-yet-unspecified purposes?

Peter Gabriel.

Pixar drinks Disney's milkshake.
thehefner: (Green Lantern: I love Little Girls)
You know what today needs? More Ub Iwerks' dancing skeletons.

Now if I can just get clips of both of those edited into a music video of Oingo Boingo's "No One Lives Forever," all will be well with the world.
thehefner: (ES IMPOSSIBLE!)
*does anxious dance*




They're all out now, and I need to see them all, like, yesterday!!! God, it's been so long since there's been one single film I've been simply itchin' and dyin' to see, and now there are THREE! And everyone else has a head start! GAHH!

I hit up an animation festival at Rehoboth beach yesterday. Those are always mixed bags, but rarely uninteresting. But I mainly went because of the two brand-new Don Hertzfeldt shorts! Half of the fun was listening to the confusion and frustration of the beach patrons who've clearly never seen REJECTED.

The man is amazing. Even a genius, perhaps? His latest short, THE MEANING OF LIFE took four years to make, from which he did it all entirely by hand, no computers. It's a real step up in terms of ambition and scope for Don, because while there are distinct similarities to his "I am a BANANA!" style, he's also shooting for grander ideas rather than simple surreal humor.

I still don't quite have any idea what THE MEANING OF LIFE and EVERYTHING WILL BE OK were about, but I can't wait to see them again.

September 2012

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