Movies

Ronin!

When I grow up, I want to be like Frank Miller. Not only did he reinvent the Batman with The Dark Knight Returns and take chiaroscuro to lascivious lows with Sin City, but now he also gets to consult and direct movies based on his comic works. Frank Miller is quickly becoming Hollywood’s new well. Up next? Ronin!

Oh god, I’m gonna have a nerdgasm! If this does come to pass, I hope that Frank Miller has a hand in the production. He clearly has a vision for how his works translate to the big screen. Sin City turned out wonderfully brutal and if the previews are any indication, 300 is going to fucking kick some major ass! Ronin is wonderfully epic and just begging for the right treatment.

Good on ya, Frank! I can’t wait to see more.

Eva Mendez, She-Hulk

More with the Nick Cage. Reportedly, he’s interested in producing a She-Hulk movie with his Ghost Rider co-star, Eva Mendez, in the title role.

I really hope that they don’t just do an origin story if this thing comes to pass. These comic book franchise films are starting to follow the same formula. The first one is an origin. Then, if it does well, the second one is an actual movie. Then they fuck up the third one. I say just throw She-Hulk into the mix right off and tell her origin in a sentence or two. “Well, I was normal one day, got a blood transfusion, and bam. I’m all sexy and green!” We don’t need long drawn out scenes of She-Hulk discovering her powers. It’s her interactions with the other heroes that bring out her personality. Sure, she can crush your head like a grape with her biceps, but she’s also extremely intelligent and quite fun. I’d definitely like to see a movie with her as super hero lawyer rather than just bad ass strong chick.

Ghost Rider Rides Again

Although initially cold to the idea, Nicholas Cage says that if the fan reaction is good, he’s willing to ride the Hell Cycle once more for a sequel or two of Ghost Rider:

It depends upon the reaction from the movie-going audiences. If they are enthusiastic about it and if there is a good script. I would say of all the characters I’ve played, my interests coincide with where this particular character could go. I am interested in the metaphysical nature of Ghost Rider and his world. I am a man with an open mind. I really don’t know anything, but I’m very interested in the spiritual and the material. And this is the one superhero who walks between both worlds. I think it’s pretty exciting, because he’s new, and there is a lot of room for adventure with this guy.

Playing Johnny Blaz has got to be a dream come true for a guy who takes his stage name from a b-list Marvel character. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t want to do sequel after sequel.

I’ve seen the Hell Cycle in person at San Diego and it’s an impressive piece of machinery. I know they’re going to be using a CG verion in a lot of the shots, but it’s a damn gorgeous bike. I think this’ll be a rental for me. The only reason that I could see shelling out major dough to see it in the theater is that one scene in the trailers where Ghost Rider is falling out a window in his bike and whips his chain around to catch a ledge. Fucking awesome! So I guess I’m kinda waiting for fan reaction too on whether or not I see it in the theater.

Only the Strong

For the return of the Jam Scale reviews, I thought I’d dig up this moldy oldy. Before he was the chairman of America’s Kitchen Stadium, Jimmy Lee in Double Dragon, or Mani in Le Pacte des Loups, Mark Dacascos was Louis Stevens in Only the Strong. Released to rather poor reviews in 1993, Only the Strong served as many Americans’, me included, introduction to the Brazilian martial art capoeira. The clip is from the opening scene and I remember starring wide-eyed as the capoeiristas ginga and flipped in the roda. The music, the movement, everything about it captivated me.

The film serves more as a vehicle to introduce capoeira than anything else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but upon watching it once again now that I’ll all growd up, there’s a lot to be desired. Were it not for the capoeira, this movie is hardly worth a mention even though it scores amazingly well on the Jam Scale.

This movie has been done time and time again as Dangerous Minds, Dead Poets Society, Take the Lead. A maverick teacher takes a group of disruptive and degenerate students and using unorthodox methods, teaches them to expect more from life. Only the Strong is the same thing. Louis uses capoeira to teach loser high school kids to trust one another and strive for excellence. There are quite a lot of unintentional funny moments throughout and you’ll find yourself laughing at things that are meant to be sentimental. This is a very young Dacascos and his lack of experience shows.

The only derivation from the formula comes in the form of a villain by the name of Silverio played by Paco Christian Prieto. Silverio runs the crime syndicate of the neighborhood and his younger cousin, Orlando, is one of Louis’s students. Silverio has some of the best lines in the whole movie and for the next few weeks, Audrey will be subjected to most of them. Eventually, Silverio and Louis face off the win the hearts of the kids and the neighborhood.

As rough around the edges as the movie is, it’s extremely diverse. I suppose if I were hyper sensitive to ethnicity, I could make a case that this movie reinforces stereotypes. Orlando works for his cousin by stripping cars. The Black kid works for his brother selling drugs. Yeah, okay, so they’re stereotypes. But the performances are genuine so it doesn’t feel forced. It gets a solid 5 on the Jam Scale, the highest rating it can possible get!

You’ve seen this movie before and possibly done much better, but it’s very entertaining. The capoeira is wonderful and you leave with a smile on your face which is what these movies are supposed to do. It’s one of my favorites and I think if you like the same kinda shit that I do, you’ll enjoy it.

As a side note, ever since seeing this thing, I’ve wanted to do capoeira. I’ve bought books and videos to try to learn some, but it’s just not the same. Books and videos are good supplements to formal instruction, but they sure don’t replace it. So I’ve been trying to find a place in the DC Metro area that offers capoeira classes. If anyone out there knows of a place that takes beginners, please PLEASE let me know. I live in Rockville, but I’m not averse to traveling somewhat to get to classes.

Toy Story 3

The only possible good that can come out of a Toy Story 3 is that Michael Arndt, the screen-writer who penned Little Miss Sunshine, is writing the script. Little Miss Sunshine was a true joy and it breaks me up every time I see it.

However, what’s the point. I lurv Pixar, but at this point, I’m not interested in Woody or Buzz any more. I didn’t really like Toy Story 2 all that much and the news of a third one doesn’t excite me all that much. Well, I suppose if they run into some urban vinyl toys or some foreign toys that transform together into a giant robot, well yeah, I’d see that. So I don’t know. If it’s just the further adventures of Woody and Buzz, count this one a rental at best.

Metal Gear Movie

Rumored for a while now, it looks like Sony is ready to move forward with the live-action Metal Gear Solid movie. Maybe this will be the video game movie that doesn’t suck! I would really love to see giant mechs on the screen because there just aren’t enough of them in movies these days. However, there’s a real danger that this film becomes some CG studio’s high-priced demo reel. You know it’s going to be full of some truly awesome effects, but there’s got to be a good story to hold my interest.

And the only person who can play Solid Snake is the man who played the character that Snake is based off in the first place. Kurt “Snake Plissken” Russel!

Flynn in Iron Man!

Greetings programs! Okay, so he’s not really Flynn, but Jeff Bridges is joining the cast of Iron Man. No specifics on his role, just that he’s a close business associate of Tony Stark. My guess is Bridges will play Harold “Happy” Hogan. From the press release:

We are thrilled to have Jeff Bridges on board Iron Man in this pivotal role. His depth of talent and unique persona make him a perfect addition to this project, truly rounding out the ensemble. His character is central to the entire storyline of the film and we could not have asked for a better choice than Jeff to bring this role to life.

Man, who isn’t in this thing!

I’m a big Jeff Bridges fan. He made Stick It watchable. And who’s badder than Flynn! My money is on Bridges playing Happy unless they create another character specifically for the movie. Either way, now I’m getting a little excited about Shell Head’s debut on the big screen.

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