Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Archive for February, 2013

CHRIS COOPER IN AS NORMAN OSBOURNE IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN SEQUEL *MANIACAL LAUGH…MANIACAL LAUGH*

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We know Jamie Foxx is Electro, we know that Shailene Woodley is Mary-Jane Watson, we have heard that Paul Giamatti might be Rhino. Now we know that Chris Cooper will be playing Norman Osbourne, which is just fantastic news because if there’s anyone who can pull off upper-class menace it’s Chris Cooper. The man exudes “evil white guy” and I’m interested to see his version of the character. Willem Dafoe is a favorite of mine but I couldn’t really get behind his Norman. Too greasy and rodent-like. You get the feeling that the guy never really “snapped” to turn into the Goblin and instead wondered if he just slithered forth from the womb mentally unhinged. The guy could order a cheeseburger and you would wonder if he was plotting your demise.

This report comes on the heels of news about an updated suit that looks basically like the Raimi version with bigger eyes that I didn’t post a report about because I was more interested in a plate of Bagel Bites I was consuming. This news however actually made me raise an eyebrow and while I think that Amazing Spider-Man was a bit of a mixed bag, I think it was a good film for the most part and I hope part two is a further step in the right direction.

I’m still not sold on Jamie Foxx but Cooper guarantees my butt in a seat whenever the film hits theaters, that’s for damn sure.

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CURSES, SPOILED AGAIN – NEW YORK POST REVEALS BATMAN INC # 8 TWIST, INSPIRES RANT

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Earlier today the New York post apparently gave away a major plot point for Batman Incorporated # 8, continuing an ongoing trend of periodicals spoiling comic books for people who have access to the internet or social media. I don’t get my books until the end of the month most of the time, let alone the day they come out, so I have to work pretty hard to avoid spoilers sometimes. Most sites, like this one, won’t reveal the spoiler in the headline or even in the first few sentences. We’ll give you time to duck for cover, as it were. Some folks on Twitter aren’t so considerate and links proclaiming the spoiler popped up in my feed this morning and immediately raised my ire.

What this has drudged up in me is an inner turmoil that I find hard to put into any sort of perspective. On one hand I know that major news sources like the New York Post reporting on stories in the comic community is good for the industry. It means that there is a cultural awareness that reaches outside the usual circles of Tumblr fanatics and comic-shop fanboys. It gives the feeling that the medium is as much a part of the national zeitgeist as other nerd-chic entities like Game of Thrones or Dexter. There is a water-cooler element to it that I can appreciate.

However, the manner in which these stories break is starting to wear on my last nerve. I worked in a shop at the time Captain America # 25  hit the stands. I was driving into work when an obnoxious tool on the radio spoiled the news of Cap’s death while I was pulling up to the store. There was a line of people outside waiting to get a copy. It was utter madness. I still regret not being able to be surprised by the ending of that particular issue. I try to go in clean and with no expectations when I can, wherever possible.

With major storylines in the comic book medium, it is beginning to look as if that is a total impossibility. I’m not going to reveal the spoiler here because I figure if you want that sort of thing you can look elsewhere. Hell, you’ve probably already read it for yourself anyway.


IRON MAN III’S MANDARIN GETS THE POSTER TREATMENT

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This is the best look at the Mandarin we’ve gotten thus far and I really like where they are going with this. He looks like Osama Bin Laden by way of Walter White and there is something very imposing about his relaxed pose in the poster above. Pairing this with what we’ve heard from Kingsley’s voice-over work in he first trailer,

COMIC BOOK REVIEW – JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (2013) # 1

PictureJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
Geoff Johns (w) • David Finch (a)
The march toward TRINITY WAR begins with part one of “WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS”! Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest super heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Plus: Find out why Martian Manhunter is the most dangerous of them all. Period. 40 pages • $3.99

I gave up on Johns’ nu52 version of the Justice League after the first arc. I think it did a lot of things right but unfortunately I just needed to cull something off my list and aside from the Avengers and X-Men I’m not much of a team book sort of person anymore and my interest in team books on the DC side of the equation has always been spotty. I’ll fade in an out with the Titans, the League, Birds of Prey, the Suicide Squad, and others based on lineups or writers.

The new JLA got me because of the lineup more than the writer. Johns’ name doesn’t mean guaranteed gold anymore than any other writer so it came down to an interesting grouping of characters. Green Arrow and Catwoman sold me on this book. That’s what it really comes down to. I’m not a huge Hawkman or Martian Manhunter fan, though they can be an interesting element in a good book and I know nothing about this new GL and only have a passing familiarity with Vibe or Katana. I’m essentially going into this as blind as I can. I figure that helps give me a clean slate when I say that I still don’t have much of a feeling about the book following the first issue.
Why am I still not sold? Because very little actually happens in the first issue. It’s a framed narrative with Steve Trevor, apparently this League’s handler, talking with Amanda Waller, who I still can’t get over being so damn thin, about what shape the League should take and why. Waller wants a response to the high and mighty Trinity-led League, who she thinks have lost perspective while lording over us in the satellite. Trevor wants…I’m still not entirely sure. Mostly he just doesn’t want it to be totally in Waller’s hands.
We are introduced to the characters who will be in this new League and it ends on a major cliffhanger. The last page kickstarts the real story and by proxy makes the rest of the issue seem like preamble. I really wish they could have condensed the setup somehow because it doesn’t feel like I got $3.99 worth of story. I think this is a problem with most modern comics, not just JLA, but many comics get around the price point issue and really deliver some bang for my buck. (Quick aside; best value of story for your money? Probably Jason Aaron’s THOR)
Could this eventually be a good series? I think the elements are there. Now that the setup is out of the way I’m sure it’ll grow with the next issue, but if you’re looking to be blown away by a debut issue, this isn’t the one to look at.

Rating: 2 & 3/4 Stars of 5 


COMIC BOOK REVIEW – GI JOE (2013) # 1

PictureG.I. JOE #1
Fred Van Lente (w) • Steve Kurth (a) • Juan Doe, Kurth (c)
YO JOE! The truth is out: the world knows the G.I. JOE team is real. Now Duke leads his squad directly into the public eye, confronting COBRA on American soil!  32 pages • $3.99

I tried getting into the last iteration of G.I. Joe by IDW when it rolled out. I liked some of what was going on and disliked other elements. Eventually I dropped all the books because none of them seemed to hold my interest. It wasn’t that any of those books was poorly written or badly drawn, I think they were competent books, but they just didn’t have anything to draw me in and keep me on board in the long run. It is more a side-effect of serialized fiction in general than any statement on that particular initiative to revive the G.I. Joe brand.

Now in 2013 IDW is giving it another go, this time with Fred Van Lente, a writer I very much enjoy, taking the reins. Van Lente is tasked with the difficult task of giving a fresh look at the franchise while keeping things familiar enough that longtime fans won’t revolt. Looking at the first issue of this new series, it would appear that he has a good idea of what to do. I personally would have loved to have seen his take on screen instead of the hodge-podge that made up Rise of Cobra.

Van Lente drops us into the middle of a continuity that will eventually be fleshed out. Here we meet a Shipwreck who doesn’t like his codename or the outfit he’s been stuck in, a G.I. Joe operation that is meant to be a public relations maneuver, complete with statistically engineered racial/gender demographics, facing off against an enemy that is established within the confines of the story but still somewhat a mystery to the reader.

The book gives us G.I. Joe through the lens of military action and the way the media handles units like these. In the wake of Zero Dark Thirty and the celebrity status of Seal Team 6, this is a logical progression for a franchise like G.I. Joe. The concept of G.I. Joe is the very essence of heightened reality but the world they live in, within the context of this new series, is a very acute reflection of our own. Our divisions over military reaction to terrorist threats, along with the idea of our military utilizing the media to fight a war are pushed to the forefront here and give the crux of what will make the book work so well. This Joe unit has an embedded journalist, code-name Hashtag, and is introduced to the reader by General Joe Coulton at a media press conference. If there is any doubt to what the central theme of the book is, let’s just say that this new series seems heavily focused on the idea of media in warfare and public opinion as a weapon.

I don’t want you to think this is the sort of heady, Oscar-bait military story that Zero Dark Thirty was, although they oddly feature similar themes. G.I. Joe is still an action comic, meant to entertain the reader and inspire a bit of nostalgia for a long-established brand. In that department, the issue excels as well. Seeing Roadblock toss out a “Yo, Joe” with his finger on the trigger hit all the right notes. This is still the sort of G.I. Joe that long-time fans can enjoy.

All in all, if you’re a fan you won’t be disappointed, and if you’re looking for a good place to jump on, this is a very new-reader-friendly issue. How much mileage you’ll get out of it is something that will vary from person to person, but there’s plenty to enjoy between the covers here.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars of 5


KEVIN SMITH JUST CAN’T MAKE UP HIS DAMN MIND, CLERKS III MIGHT BE A NOVEL NOW…

I have spoken a bit on my annoying film-student phase. Kevin Smith played a big ol’ part of that. Clerks was a centerpiece of that part of my life. That, along with Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi put the damn-fool idea in my head that anyone could make an independent film and make a name for themselves. Smith’s attachment to the nerd demographic made him a personal hero of mine. He was essentially doing everything I wanted to do. He was writing and directing films and scripting comics for DC and Marvel.

But somewhere around the release of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Smith receded into himself and at the same time inflated his persona to the point where I can’t listen to him without getting slightly annoyed. His less-than-stellar creative output since then has only hastened his fall from grace in my perspective. I only say this so you can understand why when he talks about Clerks III, where five years ago I might have been excited, the current version of myself simply sighs and shakes his head.

Deadline spoke with Smith and he spoke a bit about what form a third Clerks might take.

Now, he said, he would prefer to write a book based on the two central Clerks characters, releasing it chapter by chapter. “I get to go inside the characters’ heads, tell Year One origin stories where the first chapter is Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarten, all the stuff I can’t do in a movie,” Smith said. “That’s what I want to do, because I’m a stoner. I want to investigate the inner life of every character, and I can’t do that in 90 minutes with a film.”

As someone who has moved his focus from writing screenplays into writing novels, I understand the allure of changing things up and moving into a different medium but at the same time Smith has also said he might do the third installment as a web-series or a live stage play. I really just don’t know what to make of all this because Smith has devolved into an entity that is hard to nail down. I don’t know if he ever actually will make the film because he seems so wrapped up and comfortable in is SMODcast empire that it would have to be something he is truly passionate about to get him working on it.

I would like to see Smith make his final film something personal, coming full circle with hisClerks franchise but I feel like the association to those characters has been so muddied by the other installments that whatever part three looks like, it will bear little resemblance to Smith’s debut. At this point I will just wait for some concrete news on what the damn thing will look like before I start to make any assumptions.


Josh Brolin Hits SIN CITY

Can you believe Sin City came out back in 2005? That’s seven years ago. More than half a decade. Considering how short the attention span of the modern American moviegoer is nowadays it is absolutely astounding that they’re bothering to do a sequel at all, but the first pictures from the set are starting to trickle out with our first glimpse of Josh Brolin as Dwight.

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Dwight was previously played by Clive Owen back in 2005, but Rodriguez and company are adaptingA Dame To Kill For here which takes place chronologically before the events of the first film. Having read the comments thread of a few sites reporting this news, more than a few people are confused about this and nobody is at all surprised.

I’m sure Brolin will do a great job here, as he plays intense pretty damn well. The film is scheduled to be released in October this year.

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