Monday, April 19, 2010

Kick Ass ROCKED!

I'm not a comic book guy.  I never have been.  While I would say a large percentage of my friends are or were comic book readers, with me it never took.  So I didn't know what to expect when I purchased my ticket to see Kick Ass at the theater.  What I got was a really fun ride.  A smart alternative to the classic reluctant super hero story that is perfectly calibrated for today's "modern teen slacker." It is a down-to-the-set    thumbing of the Spiderman movies, complete with row houses and some outright quotes as well.  And it works pretty darn well.

KICK ASS - The main character of Dave Lizewsky / Kick Ass is played by Aaron Johnson.  Dave is a normal guy with no particular aspirations  He's a comic book geek. His life is mundane, and, of course, he is misunderstood by most everyone but his friends who are equally mediocre. Of course there is a girl... Then he decides that he wants to be a super hero. The main plot is all Spiderman/Superman for today's kid next door.  It's where the plot turns that it gets interesting.

HIT GIRL KICKS ASS! (I had to say it somewhere.  At least not in the title!)  This diminutive tornado is played by 13 year-old Chloe Moretz of the cancelled TV show Dirty Sexy Money. The juxtaposition of the innocent and profane in this character is soooo wrong!  But it works soooooo well!  She is the runaway star of the show and...well, no spoilers, but she'll be banking on this character for years!

BIG DADDY - This can be read as the Redemption of Cage, as in Nicolas Cage who plays the super hero and father of Hit Girl.  He pulled it off perfectly...just enough spin on this character, giving him the edge and irony necessary to make the role dynamic. He redeems himself here for some past transgressions in the cinematic cesspool. And he was finally successful in landing that evasive super hero role. :-) Great job Nick! Now keep your nose clean!

RED MIST - Played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad fame (McLovin).  He plays the wealthy son of a successful crime boss who wants to be accepted by his dad who thinks him a waste of potential. This was the weakest character in the cast.  I just think the execution was slightly off.  I think it was a combination of skewed expressions and poor execution of comic timing (even post edit) that left me felling a tad wishy-washy with the Red-Mist character.  Don't get me wrong.  It was still fun!  Just wasn't all it could have been.

FRANK D'AMICO - Aaaaaah yeah!  Mark Strong is THE BEST DAMNED VILLAIN out there these days.  If anyone caught him in the overall unfortunate, recent re-do of Sherlock Holmes, you'll know of whom I speak.  Strong does bad so well!  He seethes like no one else.  Although this is not his darkest showing, he is great as the big city crime lord with everyone in his pocket.

Be warned that there is some serious body count in this flick.  And not just body count, but bloody, exploding, "did you see that?" body count.  All of it is pulled off in a "" kind of way.  I know.  It is not Shakespeare.  Not high art here.  It won't win an Academy Award and further glamorizes slacker culture.  But if you don't think to yourself, or say out loud at least five times during this movie the following expression:
"Wow! That was pretty cool!"
Well, then you can go see the new Jennifer Aniston chick flick at the theater next door.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Been a While!

It's been a while.
I'm back.
If anyone is out there, stay tuned!

Regular updates are on the way!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Micheal Jackson is Dead.

Just learned 10 minutes ago that Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles.

Jackson was a true force...nay he was history. Despite the recent controversies of the past decade, he helped define pop music and was one of music's greatest contributors.

Here is the link:

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How HD-DVD Can Still Compete (maybe)

It's a shame. It seems that Toshiba and friends have already begun to throw in the towel in the war with the Sony camp on Hi-Def media. Warner Brothers' announcement that they would produce media exclusively on Blu-Ray from now on prompted HD-DVD to cancel their schmoozy cocktail party this Sunday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That doesn't seem like a very good strategy. I mean, unless I'm completely missing something, it is ultimately the consumer that makes the market, not the producer. The producer of content attempts to direct the market. Usually the consumer will go with depth of content. Many times the consumer says, "nope, I want THIS," after which the producer capitulates. The producer, however, will often attempt to trick the consumer into thinking that he has no power. This seems to be what is occurring with the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war. The studios join forces with manufacturers to make it seem that the consumer MUST choose one because that is simply how it is. Marketing truly is an awesome art.

Realizing this, all Toshiba had to do early on was subsidize the production of HD-DVD players to the extent that the price point dropped to $149.99 with an ultimate target and subsequent drops to $99. That would have flooded the market early on with players, and consumers would have followed suit with rentals and purchases. The Wal-Mart effect... Low prices, high purchase rates, large constituency, broad market/user base, high distribution.

Now, however, dropping prices after the huge media coverage of the defection of Warner Bros. (OK, not really defection, but that does sound so much more dramatic) to Blu-Ray would make it seem like all of the $99 players were on clearance because they were no longer useful. Some of us can still remember finding beta VCRs at "bargain basement" prices back in the day.

But it still might be worth the gamble for Toshiba. This really is the endgame. Warner Brothers has some pretty good titles that HD-DVD will never see. They've gotta provide true incentive for consumers to choose HD-DVD. They've gotta do something fast.

Those HD-DVD players would make for pretty high-tech paper weights.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journeyman: Worth the Watch!

I often wonder, after declaring to myself that a particular program is good, whether I am simply being swept up in the emotional aftermath of the experience. The fact that there is emotional aftermath is proof enough that the story IS good and worthy of further scrutiny and discussion. There is something to be said for the guilty pleasure of mindless yet entertaining television. Entourage is not deep, nor riveting. But it is a truly great watch after the pressures and requirements of daily life. Journeyman, however is good, Emmy-worthy viewing with complex plot lines, relationships and, the true test, emotional provocation.

Before I reluctantly viewed the first episode of Journeyman, I figured I'd likely seen the whole thing before. Wasn't it circa 1989 that Sam took us on a ride through time by possessing different subjects to fix their time-sensitive dilemmas? OK, same base scenario, but where the acting was mediocre at best and the plots were true bubble gum, Journeyman's writers are based in realism in framing the whole time travel thing (no talking to calculators for instant answers...OK, I did watch a few episodes of Quantum Leap). And the writers are very good indeed. So much that after viewing this season, one might even begin to believe that time travel is remotely possible. (Yes I was forced to pick up a book on quantum physics and did the required reading on tachyons. A report is due on my desk in one week people!)

Kevin McKidd does a stellar job as Dan Vassar, our reluctant hero. This is the type of role we are used to seeing him play after watching the HBO series Rome. McKidd plays a news reporter with a San Francisco paper who was just starting to enjoy normal family life when suddenly he begins to "travel." The situations are rife with conflict, the acting is outstanding and the dialogue, though not necessarily award winning, is at least supportive of the action and most importantly the emotion. And then there is the music. An unexpected treat is that whenever McKidd "travels" we get to play Name That Tune as the soundtrack indicates the year of "travel". He usually meets up with his side kick and ex-fiancee Livia Beale (the truly riveting Moon Bloodgood). Bloodgood is always worth watching. Ahem.

I meant for this to be a short post to simply recommend the Journeyman as good TV. I don't watch much TV, but when I do, it's HBO (OK, Entourage...yes and The Wire) maybe some Heroes, but definitely Journeyman. And I usually feel like blogging afterwards.

That's a good sign.