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Angry Zen Master

Enlightenment Through Focused Rage
Goodbye Raggedy Man.

Goodbye Raggedy Man

Goodbye Raggedy Man.

Goodbye Raggedy Man.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special has come and gone.  We’ve bid farewell to Amy’s Raggedy Man and have welcomed the 12th Doctor, his 14th regeneration.

It’s not just the holidays that have prevented me from writing about “The Time of the Doctor.”  I’ve been trying to mull through my thoughts on Matt Smith’s tenure as the Man Who Forgets.  I absolutely adored him as the Doctor and there was something truly magical on screen when he was paired up with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill.  The three of them made it so easy to fall in love with 11 and the Ponds.  And yet, as I looked back over his four years as our madman with a box, I felt wanting.

The Atlantic’s Ted Kissell wrote an excellent analysis of Matt Smith’s tenure putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the writers and ultimately concluding that Matt Smith deserved better.  I think Kissell’s piece is spot on.  In the hands of a lesser actor, Steven Moffat’s version of the Doctor would not have been so lovable.  I mean, how amazing is it that Matt Smith was able to turn a disembodied Cyberman head into one of my favorite companions in the space of a single episode?

doctorWhoHandles

The adventures of the Doctor and Handles. Handles is my new favorite companion!

Jenna Coleman has already fallen victim to the writing.  Clara should be one of the Doctor’s most challenging companions.  She’s super intelligent, quick witted, self assured, a fast talking version of Donna Noble.  Donna was always willing to call the Doctor on his shit forcing him to reexamine himself.  On paper, Clara seems to be cut from a similar cloth.  But thus far in practice, she’s more like an accessory.  If you can replace a companion with a severed Cyberman head, you’ve got a problem.  Handles had more of an impact on the Christmas Special than Clara which makes me very uneasy about her future with 12.

THE FIRST QUESTION

Though the show is called Doctor Who, it’s never really been about the Doctor.  The companions, the alien creatures, the civilizations, the show has always been about exploring high concepts and challenging ideas with the Doctor as our haphazard guide.  The early episodes hardly stand the test of time from a production point of view.  But the themes that they explored still hold up.  I think that’s why Doctor Who has such staying power and what made the Russell T Davies revival so successful.

Steven Moffat’s version of the show is different.  He’s more interested in the Doctor than anyone or anything else, so much so that the entirety of season 7 was about the Doctor’s freaking name!  Certainly, that’s a question that’s been on fans minds for ages.  But because there was so much emphasis on the Doctor, Clara was more like an afterthought than a true companion.

The show is now entirely about the Doctor with seemingly no room for anyone else.

NEW KIDNEYS

A new Doctor’s in the TARDIS with new kidneys and new eyes.  Oh, the eyes!

doctorWho12EYES

If I look hard enough, I can see the color of everyone’s kidneys!!!

I am so conflicted.  The Christmas Special wrapped up a lot of loose threads from Matt Smith’s entire run tying them up into a somewhat wibbly wobbly bow.  In a sense, it was a culmination of Moffat’s study of the Doctor, sort of like his final dissertation on the character.

Now that we’ve new kidneys, does this signal a new direction?  Or will Moffat continue with his exploration of the Doctor with an entire season dedicated to the color of his kidneys?  If Clara was replaced by a lamp, would we know the difference?

I will miss Matt Smith and the way he swung his long arms around the TARDIS like a frantic Muppet.  I will miss his quiet moments like him staring at the cold husk of Handles as its lights blinked for the last time.  I will have fond memories of his time as the Doctor.

Farewell Raggedy Man.  You were absolutely brilliant.  And you deserved better.

I know... oh fuck it.

I Saw 47 Ronin So You Don’t Have To

I know... oh fuck it.

I know… oh fuck it.

My brother and I have an awful habit of watching absolutely horrid movies in the theater when we get together.  And so it was last night that we found ourselves in a mostly empty auditorium with Real 3D glasses strapped to our faces in anticipation of, sigh, 47 Ronin.

For the record, I am not entirely opposed to Keanu Reeves.  I absolutely loved Man of Tai Chi which he directed and starred in.  And I wouldn’t mind him as Spike Spiegel in the live action Cowboy Beebop. But I can’t figure out why he’s in this stupid thing.

This thing is pretty rad.

This thing is pretty rad.

I also can’t figure out why the studio sunk so much money into this thing.  47 Ronin cost $200 million.  Why? Where did the fucking money go? Certainly not to Keanu’s salary.  As far as Hollywood stars go, he’s the least likely to demand a stupid large pay day.  Certainly not the writers.  I don’t think they actually know a thing about the actual legend. They certainly didn’t spend money on historians or researchers or anything historical at all.  I suppose the creature design was pretty cool.  There were four creature scenes that a bunch of CG houses probably spent a lot of work on.  The virtual locations and set extensions were pretty impressive.  And the costumes were absolutely exquisit.  Buuuuuuuut that still doesn’t account for such a high price tag for such a dull ass movie.

47 Booooooooooring

The chief sin of this movie is not its vast list of historical inaccuracies.  Its fatal flaw is that it’s a total bore.  The few action scene are spaced entirely too far apart so that you almost forget you’re watching a movie about swords.  Everyone speaks ever line of dialog like it’s the. Most. Important. Thing. They. Have. Ever. Said. In. Their. Entire. Lives.  Which robs the dialog of the entire film of any import or weight.

There’s a lot of extraneous stuff in here.  The romance between Keanu and Lord Asano’s daughter lacks any real chemistry which makes it entirely difficult to connect with.  Many of the fantasy elements take away from the main plot.  Sadly, those are also the most interesting bits of the film which makes me think that maybe they needed to go even further with the fantasy stuff.

The saddest victim of waste in this movie is Rick Genest.  You may remember him from the trailers as the tattooed man with guns.

This scene isn't in the movie I watched.

This scene isn’t in the movie I watched.

There are entire posters of him in much of the 47 Ronin publicity campaign.  He’s in like one scene which doesn’t include any of the action shots from the trailer.  What the fuck?  There’s so much wasted film in this thing, you might as well extend his scenes.  I don’t know why his stuff was left on the cutting room floor, but it’s a damn shame.  Might have made those scenes in the Dutch port somewhat interesting.

Also, there needed to be more of Lord Kira’s giant warrior.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

The Great White Token

I complain a lot when minority characters are used as tokens.  If there is a single Asian character in a majority white cast, their Asianess is their justification for inclusion in the film.  Either they’re a martial artists or some tech wizard or some former Yakuza.  It kind of surprised me to see this, but in this instance, Keanus is the token.  His whiteness is the entire reason he’s there.

I really love Tengu man's design.

Tengu man is tired of your shit.

You see, the ronin can’t defeat Kira on their own.  Kira has the witch, Mizuki played by Rinko Kikuchi, who can poison men and defeat entire armies.  The 47 need someone on their side who can fight the demons.  Which is where Keanu comes in.  Since he’s half white and an outcast, everyone calls him a demon or a half breed.  As it turns out, he actually is a sort of demon.  He was taken in by the tengu of the forest when his mother abandoned him because he was a horrid half breed.  They taught him their demon ways so now he can do things no normal human can.

The really sad part, though, is that if you cut his scenes out of this thing, you’d still have a pretty solid movie.  Even though the movie makes every effort to convince you that the 47 need Keanu’s tengu powers to defeat Kira, his character is completely extraneous.  The 47 would have succeeded on their own without Keanu’s help.  Sure, it would have been a little more difficult to fight off the dragon lady, but I think they would have eventually done it.

More Creatures! More Dragons! More ANYTHING INTERESTING!

I don’t believe I’m saying this because it offended me so that they’re using the title of the actual legend, but I kind of wish they pushed the fantasy angle way more than they did.  By making it so subtle, Keanu’s character never felt fully integrated into the narrative of the damn thing.  More demon fights would have also helped to keep my interest.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

As long and as boring as it is, we surprisingly don’t get a lot of character development from anyone.  We see very little growth from our heroes which makes it difficult to get emotionally attached to any of them.  The romance angle feels forced and you can only get so far with a revenge story.  Lots of things going on but none of it very focused.

If you want to see a movie with samurai doing samurai things, there’s an entire Akira Kurosawa library of films to go through.  He did way more with way less.  Universal should feel embarrassed for dumping so much money into this thing.  Ran is waaaaay longer than 47 Ronin but hardly feels boring even with the camera locked down on that shot of Hidetora Ichimonji slowly walking out of a burning castle.  If you’re looking for a fantasy movie with lots of creatures and dragons, well shit, there’s a Hobbit waiting for you.  If you’re looking for both samurai action and demons, there’s nothing in the theaters for you.  47 Ronin fails to deliver on both the fantasy and reality fronts making for a totally boring experience at the theater.

timeOftheDoctorThumb

The Time of the Doctor Trailer

Oh man!  I have so many mixed emotions!!!  I can’t wait to see the Doctor Who Christmas Special but I kind of don’t want to because it’s Matt Smith’s last episode but I kind of HAVE to see it but GAH!!!!!!

Alright, so we’ve had “The Night of the Doctor” where number 8 regenerated into the War Doctor, “The Day of the Doctor” when the Doctor who ran and the Doctor who forgot helped remind with War Doctor who he was, and we end with “The Time of the Doctor” when all hell seems to be breaking loose.  There’s a lot of stuff going on in this trailer.  Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Daleks, the Silence, Trenzalor, and even mention of the Time War!  They’re throwing everything possible at the Doctor save a regenerated Master.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

And just to make sure you’re good an ready for a proper Doctor Who cryfest, BBC America will broadcast a Farewell to Matt Smith at 8 before the premier of The Time of the Doctor.

Ah, fuck. I seem to have got some dust in my eye or something.

Not crying. Nope. Not crying.

Randall_Macklin_(Earth-616)

A Blizzard Cometh

I kinda spaced out and forgot to do an episode review the Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. mid season finale.  I thought it was pretty entertaining and you could probably just start watching the show from that episode and not have to suffer through the earlier ones like I did.  And it finally introduced a conflict worthy of the audience’s attention.  Coulson gets kidnapped.  Sorry. Spoiled it. Whatever.  You’re not watching it anyway.

So to entice us nerds to keep watching this thing, ABC and Marvel have announced that episode 12 which airs January 14 will feature a classic Marvel villain from Iron Man’s rogue’s gallery, the Blizzard.  Who looks liked this when he debuted:

The Ice Man cometh!

The Ice Man cometh!

Oooookaaaaay.

Sadly, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Blizzard.  I admit, my knowledge of the Marvel Universe is far from encyclopedic.  There are a shit ton of villains and heroes that I’ve never heard of.  So maybe there are nerds out there who might be excited to see the Blizzard in action.  I’m not sure I really care though and I don’t know if it will be enough to grab the attention of Avengers fans who only know the movie universe.

However, this is what he looks like in Iron Man: Armored Adventures:

I'm a badass ice cube tray!

I’m a badass ice cube tray!

Okay, that’s fucking badass.  And if that’s the version we’re going to get to see on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., sign me way the hell up!  I’m sad that the announcement didn’t come along with a screen shot so I have a sneaking suspicion that the Blizzard might end up being some dude in a trench-coat or some equally cheap wardrobe decision.  But if we get a man in a mech suit on television, fuck yeah!

From: Coming Soon

Talk shit, get hit.

It’s Lady’s Night With the ExpendaBelles

Talk shit, get hit.

Talk shit, get hit.

Though it’s fun to see every action star you ever loved punch the shit out of each other and shoot things in The Expendables franchise, it’s kind of a sausage fest.  Millennium Films agrees and hopes to expand the appeal with an all-female version, tentatively titled ExpendaBelles.  There’s no director or a confirmed title or even an announced cast.  But during her promotional tour for her upcoming film Raze, stunt woman turned leading lady Zoe Bell confirmed that the project exists and that she’s had meetings.

No, I have not yet [been offered] but we should print that they should. I’ve been in and I’ve met. Yes, I’ve had meetings with people but they haven’t got a director attached yet so that’s the next thing. I would obviously love to be involved in it.

It seems like it’s all in its very early stages.  Rumored to possibly star alongside Bell should she get the call are Milla Jovovich, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Meryl Streep.  I’m kind of surprised that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t on that list seeing as how she’s pretty good with a bow so I’m gonna put her name into the rumor put just for the fuck of it.  I’d also like to see Maggie Q join that lineup to kick some ass.  She’s been killer in Nikita.  Michelle Yeoh is absolutely mandatory.  And I don’t think you can have a legitimate all lady action movie without a zombie killer so Danai Gurira is a total must!  Michonne!

I sincerely hope this project gets off the ground because it’s the new damn millennium and we’ve kind of seen the all-male action squad movie over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.  Making the team all female already makes it ten times more interesting than action team movies we’ve seen in the past.

The only other action film that I can think of that had a predominantly female cast was The Descent which was more horror than action.  That movie completely blew me away.  I expected it to be a typical horror flick with a bunch of ladies running around getting their clothes torn off.  There was absolutely zero objectification, just a terrifying film with situations that pushed these women to their limits of sanity.  I think it would make a great template to guide the producers of the ExpendaBelles.

Women don’t need to be sexualized to be in an action movie.  They can just kick ass and take names.  And that’s what I’m hoping we’ll see from this project.

From: Crave

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we’d ever ever eeeeeeeeeever see a Neil Gaiman Sandman movie.  Maybe, maaaaaaaaaaybe, an HBO series but never a movie.  I always thought it was one of those comics that was entirely too big for the silver screen.  Then again, I never ever thought Watchmen would ever be made into a film or a series of prequel comics or a video game.  And we saw how well that shit turned out.

I can’t help but greet the news that Joseph Godon-Levitt is going to direct and star in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman with a degree of skepticism.  Mostly, I just don’t trust Warner Bros with anything anymore.  The good news is that Neil Gaiman hasn’t let anyone do anything with a Sandman movie until now and the fact that he’s signed off and will be participating in the production gives me hope.

If they are indeed starting with Preludes and Nocturnes, I don’t see how you can make that story anything but a hard R.  It’s a terrifying thriller, through and through.  If they end up pulling punches and making it any less graphic, I don’t think the comic nerds will be satisfied.  Then again, this has to appeal to the widest audience possible.  I’d be extremely surprised if they aim for anything but a PG-13 rating.

I can almost guarantee that I’ll be seeing this in the theater.  No matter how bad the trailers might end up being or how wonky the interpretation is, it’s fucking Sandman!  I think it’s a comic nerd’s genetic imperative to watch anything that deals with Sandman as soon as it comes out.

So do you guys think this will work?  Or do we have the makings of another Watchmen on our hands?

From: Super Hero Hype

 

So many Venom!

Venom and the Sinister Six Get Their Own Movies!

So many Venom!

So many Venom!

While no one really wants to see Sam Raimi’s Topher Grace version of Venom return to theaters any time soon, of all the Marvel villains, Venom deserves the spotlight.  So the news that Sony is teaming up with Marvel to bring us a Venom movie is kind of exciting.  They will also be collaborating on a Sinister Six film.

The Sinister Six film has me a little curious.  While I could see Venom being a sort of anti hero like in his solo comic series, there’s nothing heroic about the Six.  They are evil through and through.  Will the film show them killing people just because?  Robbing and stealing?  Will they be recast as heroes gone rogue?  While Venom is clearly a fan favorite, the Six seem like an odd choice.  But hell, Guardians of the Galaxy are even less known that the Sinister Six and they’re getting a big push so what do I know.

But the real big news here is that Sony and Marvel are working together.  If the collaboration proves successful, and really, how can you lose with a Venom movie, I totally foresee an Avengers vs. X-Men film in future.  I mean, holy fucking shit, that would absolutely destroy the box office!

From: Super Hero Hype

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