Sunday, August 24, 2008

I have just made a startling discovery...

The First Doctor is pretty cool.

So is the Tenth.

Now I'm kinda curious about the ones in between.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Simpsons Movie

I have a confession to make.

I have never watched a single episode of The Simpsons.

(this is where you gasp and recoil in shock)

Yet due to the extent to which the series has permeated American pop culture (and particularly the Internet nerd/geek subculture), I still know pretty much all there is to know about the show. I know who everyone is. I know the relationships between the characters. I know that Smithers can't get enough of Mister Burns and why Sideshow Bob is public enemy number one. Yet I've never actually sat through a whole episode of the show itself.

So The Simpsons Movie was an odd experience for me in that going in I knew everything on paper but not in practice.

I liked it, honestly, but I get the feeling that I would have liked it more if I'd been tuning in every week for the last twenty years. I've heard it criticized as being like just another episode of the show only extra long, but I wouldn't know. It was sad watching Bart's growing rift with his dad and Homer coming to grips with how much of a jerk he was, but I think I would have gotten more out of it if I'd invested more into the franchise before now.

Still, the movie worked on a more basic level as far as jokes and gags went. ("Of course I'm going mad with power! Have you ever tried going mad without power? It's boring, nobody listens to you.") I had a smile on my face from beginning to end, and that's what matters.

It was also nice to see a successful 2D animated feature film afloat in the sea of lucrative yet mediocre CGI films about wisecracking talking animals that keep getting thrown at us. I like CGI, but not as much as I like traditional animation. They're really separate art forms that should judged by separate standards, so it saddens me that there's this feeling of competition between them.

Anyway, I recommend the movie to pretty much everyone, Simpsons fans and otherwise. Give it a watch if you have the chance - it's worth it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Queen

I saw The Queen last night, and it was fantastic.

Helen Mirren disappears into the role of HRM and totally deserved her Oscar. Michael Sheen was slightly less smashing as Tony Blair, but then the movie wasn't titled The Prime Minister, and it was still a good performance.

It was something else to see the events of Princess Diana's death from this perspective, since when she died I was only 13 and only knew that she was this pretty lady who helped a lot of people. I had no idea of her relationship with the royal family or the press, only that her death deeply affected many people, including my parents.

I also come away hating Prince Phillip even more than I did before, never mind that it was a fictional depiction and probably exaggerated.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's a Rumic World

This one goes out to all the Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, and Inu-Yasha fans out there:

Apparently this is a preview for an art exhibit titled "It's a Rumic World" that opened today celebrating the anime and manga of Rumiko Takahashi. I'm not as much of a fan as I used to be, but I still hold a soft spot in my heart for Ranma, Akane, Ryōga, and the rest, and it's a joy to see Ranma back in animation - and with his/her original voices to boot, not to mention crossing over with the other Takahashi all-stars.

Mama mia, my thumbs...

Mario Kart DS is a funny thing. Ultimately shallow and meaningless, yet brutally addictive. Once you start, it is almost impossible to stop, no matter how bored and tired you become.

Just one more lap... one more race... one more tournament... I promise, I'm almost done...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More Batman Movie Thoughts (SPOILERS)

There's already talk that Christopher Nolan is considering one more movie in his Batman franchise, and that's got me thinking. We all know that Batman (or at least Batman movies) are defined by his villains. But the first two movies have pretty much used up the Bat's two biggest foes - Ra's al-Ghul and the Joker - and it's safe to say that neither of them are coming back for another. So who else looms large enough in the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery to carry a whole feature-length film?

My first thought was Bane, the villain from the early-'90s comic storyline Knightfall who appears mysteriously in Gotham, wears Batman down by staging a massive jailbreak at Arkham Asylum, confronts Batman, and breaks his back just to prove he can. I think that could make a decent movie, but I'd rather they not just adapt a storyline straight from the comics - The Dark Knight may draw heavily from Alan Moore's The Killing Joke and Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum, but it's still its own story. On top of that, Bane just never appealed to me as a character. He's an important part of Batman's world and rightly so, but he's just not one of the "classic" rogues, and I just like them better.

Catwoman's rights are tied up from the horrible Halle Berry movie and she's not really a villain anyway, so that leaves Two-Face, who survived The Dark Knight and has a personal grudge against the Batman that would give him a reason to set the events of a third film in motion. Plus Aaron Eckhart has said he'd love to return to the role, which is another plus. But Harvey Dent was a supporting character in TDK, Could he handle a whole movie on his own?

What I would like to see is this: Two-Face leading a collection of madmen in a headlong rush against Batman. It would be a great opportunity to mine the Arkham crowd for villains who couldn't hold a film on their own but who would make great supporting characters. Obiously a lot of the more fantastic characters (Mister Freeze, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat) would be right out, but it would still give the more human rogues a chance to shine, and it would follow up on the idea in the first two movies that crime in Gotham is getting increasingly stranger due to Batman's influence.

What I'm thinking is this.

Two-Face: Harvey Dent's role in the sequel is a mockery of his role as Gotham's "white knight" in the previous one. His desire for justice has been subverted into a desire for control: If he can't take down the mob, he'll run them, and now that Falcone and Maroni are gone he's in a prime position to grab the reins himself, using both mobsters and his more flamboyant allies to run the city's crime while striking back at Batman.

The Riddler: Eddie Nigma is Dent's idea man and second in command. He's the only one of Two-Face's circle that isn't seriously mentally ill. His riddles aren't a compulsion - they're a performance. It's his way of showing how much smarter he is than anyone he goes up against. The Riddler is a smug little bastard you love to hate. He never gets his own hands dirty. My choice for the actor? Johnny Depp.

The Scarecrow: Cillian Murphy returns one more time, but this time the character will play up the scarecrow theme more than in the first two movies. Instead of the black business suit, he's now wearing something like a ragged Western preacher-man's outfit like in the '90s cartoon. Scarecrow is Two-Face's enforcer, intimidating their enemies not with brute force but with fear gas. To make him scarier, this time around we don't see Jonathan Crane out of the costume at all: He's completely vanished into the Scarecrow persona.

The Mad Hatter: Jervis Tetch is insane to the point of having little to no self-control. I'm not sure if his mind-control gimmick could work in the more serious world of the Nolan movies, but he could still be an expert of some sort - electronics, chemicals, whathaveyou. Aside from Two-Face, the Hatter comes closest to being sympathetic, since he's so far removed from reality that he doesn't understand that what he's doing is wrong, but he's still frightening because of just how nuts he is. As for the actor, I'm thinking Robin Williams, or maybe Martin Short if he could pull off a dramatic role.

That's what I'm thinking, and now that I've thought it up there's no chance of ever seeing it on screen.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Filby at the Movies

I just saw The Dark Knight.

Without giving out any spoilers, I will say:

  • The movie was FUCKING AMAZING
  • Heath Ledger is the most amazing Joker ever (except for Mark Hamill).
  • When I saw what happened to Harvey Dent, I literally jumped.
  • The nachos grande from the concession stand were great.
  • The Scarecrow wasn't as scary this time around.
  • Did I mention the movie was FUCKING AMAZING

(Gawd, I love the unordered list HTML tag...)

In the end, it was even better than Batman Begins. Blows everything else out of the water. GO SEE IT NOW

Going off on a tangent, I saw a lot of posters for animated movies at the theater, and it got me thinking about super-heroes. I'm not very fond of CGI animation, but you know what would look great in the medium? A Shazam! movie in CGI.

I'm thinking....

  • Patrick Warburton as Captain Marvel.
  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Black Adam. (Can you smell what Black Adam is cooking?!! I think it's couscous...)
  • Wallace Shawn (or maybe Armin Shimmerman) as Doctor Sivana.
  • Sir Ian McKellan as the Old Wizard (though I'm not sure if I'd want to typecast him like that).
  • The actress who played Darla Dimple in Cats Don't Dance as Mary Marvel.
  • Charles Durning as Uncle Dudley.

I'm drawing a blank on Cap Junior and Talky Tawny, but something might come to me eventually.