Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Question for Jim Carrey...

So apparently Jim Carrey's latest movie role has troubled him. He has had a change of heart with respect to the level of violence portrayed in it.

As he says in his tweets on the subject, he just "cannot support" it;
I haven't seen the first one, and don't really care to see the 2nd, but in response, I do have to ask this question;

You surely didn't act in this movie for free, did you Mr. Carrey? If the level of violence in this film is something you "cannot support", tell me, is this film something you're going to let support you?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shredder... Is a White Guy?

So a few days ago we got the news that William Fichtner has been cast as The Shredder in the new Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie... and I'm confused.

Now, I've seen Fichtner in a bunch of different roles - most notably the angry, shotgun-wielding banker from the opening heist scene in The Dark Knight. I like him, he's a good actor. But his being cast as The Shredder raises some big questions for me.

If Shredder is not Japanese (or asian at all), what does that imply?

 Is he no longer Oroku Saki? Is this Shredder a white guy who went to Japan and recruited a clan of ninjas? Did he know Hamato Yoshi back in Japan? Has he even been to Japan? What will his motivations be? Will 'honor' be important in Shredder's mind? Is there a foot clan at all, or are Shredders' minions just mercenaries or something?

Will we see Shredder's face at all?

I mean, I really don't anticipate them using make-up to make Fichtner look asian, that would be weird - among other things. If Fichtner's casting is to be taken at face value (and we'll wait to see), then - whether for good or for bad - it seems like we're in for some pretty radical changes to the Turtles stories we know and love.

In Man of Steel, I found the traditionally white role of Perry White to be played wonderfully by Lawrence Fishbourne. In that case though, his ethnic background is not an integral part of the character or his character's history. I think the same applies to Samuel L. Jackson's casting as Nick Fury.

No, this is something else entirely.

So what is the motivation behind this casting? Are the producers just "trying something new"? Are they attempting to make a Shredder more "relevant to the times"? Are they softening him a little for the kids?

Or maybe they're afraid of a villainous Japanese Shredder offending a large cinema-going asian audience? I donno, if that's the case, you still have Hamato Yoshi (later Splinter, or in some iterations Splinter's old caretaker/master) to be a positive, heroic Japanese character. 

Or maybe I should just wash my hands of the whole thing and say "Well, Michael Bay's an idiot."

I just don't know

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Dad Said It...

"Oh yeah, that young Spock. Is he ever good... what's his name... Quintio Ferrignio or something."

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Man of Steel" Brings the Fight!

I saw Man of Steel on Friday! I'll simply offer my 5 word review - I really, REALLY liked it!

At first I was put off by many critics' frosty reception to the film - but having now seen it for myself, I don't know what I was worried about!

It appears Superman saw fit to bypass the professional critics as well. If the opening box office is any indication, average people like me are believing in the Man of Steel too.

Am I un-biased? No. Are you? I doubt it. We filter things differently. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for superheroes. I filter movies differently than many critics do, that's for sure. In that sense, they really didn't see the same film I did.

Anyway, I could attempt a point-by-point rebuttal to many of the criticisms pointed towards the film, but that really seems silly. You know what you like and what you don't like. Trying to talk someone into liking a film they didn't like to begin with? Where's the enjoyment in that? Trying to talk someone out of liking a film that they clearly do like? What's the point?

To the Man of Steel devotees and detractors on forums and messageboards - whether you loved it, hated it, or otherwise; the film is 2hrs & 23mins out of your life, please keep it in perspective.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DC vs Marvel at the Movies - Who Wins?

The movie Man of Steel is almost upon us, and I'm eagerly waiting with tickets in hand. I've been carefully navigating the comic book movie sites online, and while trying to avoid colliding with spoilers, I witness a lot of arguments about whether it's DC or Marvel that "wins" when it comes to the movies. Sometimes I have to roll my eyes...

Everything in pop culture is cyclical. A movie about Superman or Spider-man "wins" for the moment, and then, sooner or later, people get excited about something else. Then, Superman and Spider-man eventually come back.

If you're laughing at DC for not getting many movies out for their characters, just take a step back and remember that there was a time when Marvel basically had nothing going on movie-wise, apart from some dreadful direct-to-video releases.

The Christopher Reeve Superman, and later the Micheal Keaton Batman were the kings of superhero cinema for quite some time. Who's the "winner"? The argument seems a little silly. These images from Marvel's old "What The--?!" parody series provide some context for the whole debate;

Whether it's Marvel's fun and fantasy, or DC's complexity and emotional engagement that push the right buttons for you, does it have to turn into a flame war? Marvel (Disney) or DC (Warner Bros.) could change their approach to their respective movie franchises anyway. If you know what you like, (or even if you like both) can't we just leave it at that?

Few of us have any financial interest in Marvel or DC, so we don't "win" in that way... But if the competition brings us even better movies about the characters we grew up reading, then we all win!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back to Vulcan!

A while ago I recounted my trip to Vulcan, Alberta where I got to experience Leonard Nimoy's visit to the community and take in the sights of the day. Well I visited the Star Trek themed town again this weekend for their annual Spock Days! It was my first time for the town's summer celebration and I snapped a few pics to share with ya... (click images to enlarge)

Upon first arriving, I could see the town's parade sailing down main street - headed by a "USS Vulcan" float that was actually kind of awesome. 

Yeah, someone should have told Captain Kirk about getting his Tribbles neutered!

Also of great note in the parade - the guests of honor for Spock Days 2013 - Star Trek Voyager's "The Doctor", Robert Picardo, and "Neelix", Ethan Phillips!

 Later there were some photo ops with both actors, held at the new "Trekcetera Museum" - which unfortunately did not open to the public as scheduled because it "wasn't quite perfect yet". Bah, just open it!


Later there was a garage sale at this church, and on the outside of the building I saw a bewildering sign. "Star Trek service"?

 Ok, I have to say something about this. What the heck, people! Besides just being lame, don't you know that this kind of junk diminishes both Star Trek, and more importantly, the things of the spirit? Ugh... Anyway...

A beautiful print depicting the Vulcan Enterprise monument.

I was pretty amazed by this sight! You never see a spread of comics like this in a grocery store any more! But there it was, right in the Market Street grocery. Comic fans visiting Vulcan, go get your titles here! Wow.

It's been a hard day's trekkin'. (Your captions welcome!)

 Anyway, I hope you go visit Vulcan, Alberta some time. Oh, and don't forget to stop in at the bakery, mmmm!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mr. Bean Schools Us All On Free Speech.

Anyone who considers free speech to be an important issue owes it to themselves to watch Rowan Atkinson's speech at the Reform Section 5 Parliamentary reception.

Brilliant words. The way to combat speech you find offense is with more speech, not less.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thoughts on the Upcoming "Man of Steel"

Back some time ago, I added a Man of Steel version of Superman to my Springfield Punx blog and on that post I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to this film and that this could be the right movie at the right time. 

We'll see how it actually turns out, but having seen more interviews and trailers for this movie, (while trying to avoid spoilers) my anticipation has certainly increased.

I said in that post that I thought people are ready for a symbol of hope - and since then we've all seen the trailer where Superman is explaining to Lois that it's not an "S" on his chest, it's his world's symbol for hope. That's exactly the kind of stuff I was *hoping* to see!

We need some hope right now. For the past several years, the real world has been especially disheartening for a lot of people. Some of us are even afraid to go outside. The paycheck can't pull the weight it once could. Politicians reassure us about things they know are not true, and they go back on what they said they would do - or they expose how wrongheaded their plans were in the first place.

Preachers become more decadent as their teaching becomes shallower. Ratings-driven, polarized name-calling has replaced the desire to hash out the truth in rigorous debate. We've given up the whole idea of truth.

We sit back impatiently waiting for the other guy to do what we should be doing. We let ourselves down. We buy into the fashion of the day without asking "why?" We don't stand on anything, or for anything.

I want this movie to show me what really is so great about Superman, why he's an important symbol for today.

Superman puts no stock in focus groups or fashion. He doesn't take polls. He doesn't care about a bleeding heart politician's approval rating, or a defense contractor's stock numbers. He knows that truth and justice are not "to each his own" and arbitrary - but real things. He acts with certainty and with conviction. He knows that right is right and wrong is wrong, not because he gets to decide it, not because majority opinion or a UN panel decides it, but because it's something higher. He knows the pain of loss, but keeps moving anyway. He's unchanging, unflinching, compassionate resolve. He can't be bought and he can't be bent. He's not just strong, he's solid. He's a Man of Steel.