Friday, April 30, 2010

*EXCLUSIVE* Iron Man 2 Review

First of all, I'd like to welcome the thousands of my fellow Iron Man fans from as far afield as those in the United States, who won't see this movie for another week.

As regular readers will know, I greatly enjoyed the original Iron Man movie, presenting it with the much coveted "*****+" rating, which basically means "greater than the average 5-Star movie." The precision with which director Jon Favreau and lead actor Robert Downey Jr. treated my most favourite comic book hero of all was simply amazing and deserved to be rewarded. Now, the same team has returned exactly 2 years later with a sequel to enhance their celluloid vision of the Iron Man legend.

Tony Stark is back wearing the magnificent suit of red and gold armour that transforms him into Iron Man. His ego has grown exponentially since we last saw him and that's not without reason as he's "successfully privatised world peace" becoming a nuclear deterrent, a shield that can literally prevent entire countries from being belligerent. Despite the world enjoying the longest period of peace it's ever had, there are are still threats; The US government is unhappy that control of the most powerful weapon on the planet is owned and operated by an impulsive millionaire playboy with a god-complex and seek to take control of it. Justin Hammer, Stark's foremost business rival is doing his best to create a copy of Iron Man to sell on government contract and Ivan Vanko, a disgruntled son of a former Stark employee, desires a revenge that only Tony's death will sate. When you add all this onto Stark's latest health problem in that he's slowly being poisoned by palladium needed to power the Arc Reactor in his chest, you'd be quite right in thinking that the deck is stacked against our hero. But it's not so, Tony is not in this alone, he has his friends close by, Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan return to help him as does Stark's sinister friend from the end of the first Iron Man movie [the ending you saw if you stayed and watched until after the credits that is] Nick Fury, The director of SHIELD and of course, no Iron Man story would be complete without Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes.

Thankfully, Favreau packed as much story as he did characters in here so that everyone had an important role to play and no one just tacked on for the sake of it [well maybe just the obligatory appearance of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, playing himself this time for about 1.5 seconds in a blink-and-you-miss-him cameo]. Writer Justin Theroux drew from some of the best stories from the Iron Man comic, adapting elements from the saga known as "The Armor Wars" as well as a new take on the debilitating effects of wearing the armour that threatened to take Stark's life in the mid-'90's. The special effects wizardry has been increased by a factor of 10 to render Iron Man, War Machine, Whiplash and the drones glimpsed in the movie's trailers that come together to create one of the most impressive and explosive climactic battles ever witnessed. John Debney surpasses even Ramin Djwadi's superb score to the original by crafting some new themes to musically illustrate how much the franchise has improved.

Downey Jr. naturally is what makes this movie what it is and his continued representation of Stark is utterly flawless in execution, blending the perfect amount of humour, levity and desperation that the plot requires as he firmly maintains his place as the most perfectly cast super hero ever. Not a part of me misses Terence Howard after seeing Don Cheadle as Rhodey/War Machine, he fit like a glove into the role, and was most welcome. Gweneth Paltrow remains "satisfactory" as Pepper Potts and thankfully the romance is kept to a minimum [there's too much stuff goin' on in the movie for anyone to be concerned with that anyhow]. Favreau increased his own role as Happy Hogan mainly in a heroically humorous context and rightly so. Samuel L Jackson's performance as Nick Fury may not have action scenes but he's certainly got a lot more time to advertise the forthcoming Avengers movie. A new face [and what a face] is added in the super-sweet, most outstandingly delectable form of Scarlett Johannson, with the trademark auburn locks of SHIELD spymaster Natalia Romanoff, the Black Widow, who steals each and every moment she's on screen. It is however the sheer superiority of both Mickey Rourke as Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko sporting Russian prison tattoos over his scarred body, mumbling in Russian and just plain "looking evil" as well as Sam Rockwell's utterly brilliant performance as Justin Hammer, Stark's corporate nemesis that drives this movie above the original. Do watch out for Clarke Gregg reprising his role as SHIELD Agent Coulson, Leslie Bibb returning as Christine Everhart, Gary Shandling as Senator Stern and Whopper Award Nominee 2008 Kate Mara as a U.S. Marshal.

Sequels are always a worry, I always remind people of the fact that Aliens was far superior to Alien but Predator 2 was a crock of shit in comparison to Predator. While it's easy for a movie to follow the Highlander or Robocop path to successively shit sequels, there have been many triumphs in the past decade, and most 0f them are super hero movies - Spider-Man, Batman Begins, Blade and X-Men had pheonominal sequels in comparison to their originals, which is something it would have been very difficult for Iron Man 2 to achieve as it already had a pheonominal original. But it did, absolutly it did.

Final Verdict: Jon Favreau took all that was great about the original and actually enhanced it somehow. It's both contradictorally funnier as well as darker. Adding so many explosions, weapons fire, a redheaded Scarjo and the baddest black motherfucker in town, Sam Jackson to the threats represented by the actions of Rourke and Rockwell's characters was so genius, I'm left wondering did Fav actually make this movie just for me?

Colonel Creedon Rating: EXEMPTION GRANTED [No amount of stars can be used to rate the movie, it is above flawless]

*And by "exclusive," I may not mean that this is the first review of the film anywhere in the world.

Gerry Ryan is DEAD!!!

RTE's resident assclown / broadcaster for the past 20 years, Gerry Ryan has been found dead by Gardaí in his Leeson Street, Dublin apartment after he didn't show up for work to do his daily radio show.

Good riddance, I never liked him. The "Ryan line" should have been wrapped around his neck long ago.

Source: Vaughan / The Irish Examiner.

I've seen Iron Man 2!!!

Heh, just like 2 years ago: I'm out of energy to collect my thoughts on this now, my mind is racing from seeing the movie and I'm suffering from lack of sleep from being so excited. But was it worthy of the excitement, or did it fail miserably? You'll have to wait for my exclusive* review later.

A word of warning, for those who are going to see it this weekend: Stay until after the end credits for a special scene involving one of the Marvel movies of the future! It has actually nothing to do with Iron Man but it expands on what is happening with the Marvel Superheoes / Avengers movies to appear later. If you miss it, you may anger a god :)

*My not be exclusive

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iron Man 2 Preview Day

I'm far too excited about seeing Iron Man 2 tonight to post about anything now.

So go away and leave me play with my new action figures...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"His triumphs are human and so are his weaknesses." - What I've learned from Iron Man

In my sheer excitement about seeing the first movie based on my favourite super-hero of all I reneged on a promise I made at the bottom of this post on April 30th 2008 saying I would "recount for you my earliest memories of Iron Man and a brief history of the comic book run itself and what I've learned from reading it.

As Iron Man 2 is mere hours away and the clock is ticking down to the Thursday night preview screening it's time to fulfill that promise albeit belatedly.

Iron Man first appeared in one of Marvel Comics earlier US titles: Tales Of Suspense. This book after #39 or so featured Iron Man and Captain America for the majority, lending half the book to Iron Man and half to Captain America, both characters later got their own separate titles during Marvel's expansion in the late '60s. The adventures of Iron Man continued from the last Tales of Suspense #99 to the first Marvel "One-Shot", a comic intentionally published for only one issue: Iron Man & Namor, The Sub-Mariner #1 (Namor was also migrating from a similar situation in Tales to Astonish to his own book). A month later "The Invincible Iron Man #1" was published in July 1969 and ran until the Marvel Universe "Onslaught" shake-up in Aug 1997 which ended Volume 1 of the Iron Man saga at #332 [as well as a few other characters books]. The "Heroes Reborn" storyline brought them all back of course beginning Volume 2 at #1 again for newer readers.

Unfortunately in it's infinite wisdom, Marvel miscalculated that this Heroes Reborn and Marvel Knights nonsense lost more longtime readers than it gained new ones, so some months later they brought Iron Man (and all the characters they fucked up) back the way he was to begin Vol.3 at #1 again. Still things weren't as perfect as they had been however and so Marvel did some hiring and firing and in 2004 Iron Man Vol.4 #1 was printed to rave reviews and the best acceptance of Shellhead (as Iron Man was commonly nicknamed, usually by the Marvel wisearse, Spider-Man) since before the end of Vol.1. Marvel abandoned Iron Man Vol.4. in Jan 2009 and the concurrent Iron Man title "The Invincible Iron Man" which began in May 2008 became the defacto Iron Man title winning an Eisner Award last year.

And that's as concise as I can get the history of the comic books run. [I'm sure glad I don't collect Spider-Man or X-Men].

My earliest memories of "The Golden Avenger" (another moniker born of his association with the Marvel Super-Hero team: The Avengers) is probably in the early to mid '80s when Marvel began publishing UK-style comic books (British-sized comic books in general were several inches bigger than their US counterparts printed on glossy paper with more vibrant colours). Marvel UK began reprinting "The Secret Wars" for the UK audience, a tale which played host to many Super-Heroes who were abducted from Earth by a god-like being, The Beyonder and were forced to battle against a similarly abducted group of Super-Villains. Fair enough, the concept was ridiculous, but it at least served as a platform for me to discover this 'Iron Man'. By this time, the character wore, what is referred to as his 'Classic' red & gold armour and is the style which is most familiar to comic book readers as Iron Man was depicted in similar variations of this armour for 20 years until the late '80s.

The Transformers UK comic book reprinted many Iron Man stories as a back-up strip over the course of it's 8 year run as in many cases there wasn't a high distribution of comic books from the US in western Europe. It was from reading these strips that I gained a high appreciation for Iron Man and even looked forward to, with great anticipation for a number of years, the month of October when the Marvel Super Heroes Annual was published which frequently featured his adventures, themselves reprints of the US annuals.

Thankfully in closing years of the '80s and into the early '90s I was able to collect the US editions of Iron Man when specialist shops catering for comic book readers began to be established in Ireland. While I did dabble in a few titles at that time, my true allegiance was with Iron Man, and it was the only book (apart from to a lesser extent: G.I.Joe and Star Trek) that I actively sought books from many years beforehand. Some of the Iron Man books I collected at this time were from as far back as 1969, years before I was born! While corny and cheesy by modern standards to read now, they nevertheless provided strong lessons in humanity and to a certain extent an instructive undertone on how best to avoid or combat communism, the red menace.

One of the most daring storylines was "Demon In A Bottle" one particular period where Tony Stark got a bit too fond of the hard stuff and went on a massive bender- FOR TWO YEARS. It was in retrospect an incredible risk for Marvel to run with a story that effectively put the real Iron Man out of commission while James Rhodes took up the mantle for such an extended period of time. Nevertheless it was one of the more successful/controversial Marvel 'epics' ever. In another epic saga- "The Armor Wars", Stark discovered than many of the armoured villains wrecking havoc all over the world were wearing armour that incorporated designs that were stolen from him, and so he set out to reclaim and if necessary to destroy the lot.

Some simple lessons I've learned over the years from Iron Man comics include:

The Incredible Hulk is one tough bastard.

If drinking turns you into an obnoxious asshole, who stands to loose everything you've spent your whole life creating; then stop drinking.

Always tell your friends before faking your own death- they'll be upset with you and may not be your friends for much longer if you keep them in the dark about things like that..

Comic book computers and technology is the same as movie computers and technology, it's not real and isn't possible.. yet.

Always hire a more expensive lawyer than the other guy has- you get what you pay for. Ain't that right Bruce?

When you design something that can be used as a mass-murderous weapon, memorise and then destroy the blueprints so your designs can't be stolen and used against you every 4 or 5 years of your life.

Explain to your girlfriend that you have to leave at 2AM to go and save the world, and explain the reason you don't come home at all some nights is because you're fighting crime; Otherwise she'll think your having an affair. (However if you don't tell her, and she seems to be okay with that, then you should be suspicious yourself of her because she could be a CIA agent who's investigating you).

"Power dressing" for a top board-meeting does not mean wearing a suit of Armour with gyro enhanced strength augmentation and bristling with advanced weaponry.

If you do seal yourself into a suit of impregnable armour and loose consciousness as the result of your life-threatening heart-condition; at least give a trusted friend the means of opening your armour so a doctor can administer treatment.

If you go back in time: don't trust any Russian or Chinese person you meet before the late '80s/early '90s, they're ALL evil communists without exception.

and finally, Dr. Victor Von Doom is a clever bastard.

I think the main reason that Iron Man appeals to me is that Tony Stark, like Bruce "Batman" Wayne or Frank "The Punisher" Castle, is that he has no super-powers. He's a normal man, with an advanced engineering background, a ruthless businessman, a millionaire playboy but is also a recovering alcoholic with a serious heart condition. His triumphs are human and so are his weaknesses. There's no radioactive spider or Kryptonite, just a flesh and blood man in control of the one of the planet's most powerful weapons, the armour of The Invincible Iron Man.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Centurion draws blood!

Neil Dog Soldiers Marshall has now delved into the sword and sandals genre in Centurion, the latest bloodthirsty movie from the man who also created The Descent and Doomsday.

"Remind me never to mix my drinks again, will you Liam?"

Marshall's fans will not be disappointed by the spectacle on display here from the traditionally gory British director. He has fused his own imaginative fantasy to the actual legend of the Roman Ninth Legion which vanished in Northern Britain around 117AD. He follows the tale of a Roman Centurion Quintus Dias portrayed by Michael Inglorious Basterds Fassbender, the only survivor of a Pict raid on his remote outpost who later joins the Ninth Legion to quell the Pict's resistance to Roman domination.

Right: Domnic West understudy of Brian Blessed*

In Marshall's vision, the Legion is ambushed in a deliciously bloody slaughter that teeters on the edge of comedy as we are not treated to a scaled battle but a montage of precisely cut death blows, dismemberment, skewerings and beheadings. Quintas and a handful of soldiers are all that remains when the dust has settled and upon discovering that the barbaric Pict's have captured the Ninth's popular General Virilus, portrayed by the excellent Dominic 300 West, Quintus leads the group on a daring rescue.

Fassbender is an interesting choice as the lead; a German raised in Killarney, Co. Kerry he is noted as Sgt. Pat Christenson in Band Of Brothers and a plethora of TV work until he played Stelios in 300 and Hunger in which he played Bobby Sands. An appearance in Tarintino's Inglorious Basterds last year sealed his direction on the tracks to fame and he's certainly a man to watch. His role here is not of a mindless soldier intent on a singular mission but an intelligent tactician capable of impressive physical battle-prowess when required. Marshall did shoehorn some semblance of a romance for him with Imogen 28 Weeks Later Poots, but ultimately his tale was left wanting, not a quality desired in a main character. Had Marshall chosen to flesh out his backstory more, he would have easily become one of the genre's more memorable characters as opposed to a by-the-numbers reluctant hero.

Left: What's the matter luv? Cat got your tongue?

' nemesis in the movie is the mute Pict tracker Etain played by Olga Kurylenko [yes the sweet piece of ass from Quantum Of Solace, Max Payne and Hitman] who is convincingly menacing in her animal hides and blue facepaint. She is said to be part wolf and can easily smell the Romans as they do their best to avoid her pursuit. Much like Fassbender's character, she too could have done with some more fleshing out. Her story, while simple would have looked great in a flashback and further allowed the audience to see things from her perspective but I guess the budget may have been too tight for that.

I'd go so far as saying that due to none of the characters been truly fleshed out to the degree Marshall did to his spelunking group in The Decent. They seem somewhat flat and don't draw us in to the degree whereby we can empathise with them or feel an emotional connection. There was also a fair potential lost to create the fun and humour that made Dog Soldiers what it was by not writing enough banter between the Romans cementing a sense of camaraderie and what little of it there was came too late to be effective. They all seemed like stock characters and the audience did not have ample opportunity to bond with most of them. That said, if I believed Marshall eschewed character development so he could have more action, then I say screw character development and bring on the blood.

Marshall made some very interesting choices in this movie:

1. His opening title sequence was captivatingly bizarre as the camera floated over the terrain of Scotland through 3D lettering with stonework textures. It called out to be filmed in 3D and would have been impressive in that format. Here it was just weird, yet attention grabbing. I prefer a good opening titles at the beginning of a movie rather than at the end as in many cases today.

2. As no one knows what the Pict language sounded like, Marshall chose a form of Gaelic instead of a form of Welsh which, while would still have been incorrect, it would have made more sense than Gaelic. But that's my opinion, I'm far from a linguistic historian.

3. For the majority - it may have well been all of it but obviously my eyes adjusted to it - of the film, Marshall applied an icy blue wash, not as blue as Avatar or Minoroty Report but brighter in such a way that seemed to suggest it was colder then it was, so if you find that distracting from a "natural hue" than I suggest you avoid this.

The annual Fire Prevention training did NOT go as planned...

The true tragedy here is that this movie could never be anything more than a cult classic. Why? Well as you can see from the graphic in the "latest movies I've seen" section on the right hand sidebar, I had to jam a landscape oriented Centurion poster into the traditional portrait frame because there is no portrait shaped movie poster. In fact, Pathé or Warner Bros. or whomever did the distribution, did sweet fuck all marketing for this - there's not even a website!!! I mean seriously; there are talentless cretins in places like Dundalk making 5 minute shorts with some class of website online to promote it but a global entertainment company can't even give a few MBs of webspace to some underpaid intern to throw up a portal for a trailer, show times, a cast list and some pictures of Fassbender and Kurylenko? Bottom line: if you treat a movie like shit, you'll get shit returns but if you glorify your movie with multiple trailers, posters, viral websites and maybe a bit of mobile phone content for the unwashed masses, your movie will do far better. I'm not saying the marketing budget of Avatar should have been summoned, but enough for more than a trailer and one fucking poster!!!

Final Verdict:
A new genre for Marshall doesn't disappoint if you're a fan of his creative delivery of gore. It surpasses his previous levels of action and delivers an impressive array of on-screen deaths which equal the ambition of his previous work but sadly left his characters wanting with a so-so script.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

*That's not true, it's just funny.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Star Wars Blu-ray on the way to kick Avatar's ass?

While there were previous reports that Lucas didn't care to much for the Blu-ray format, instead opting to gear to release the Star Wars saga in HD through digital distribution; he appeared to have changed his mind with the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 Blu-ray release. Most likely he did some research into why HD downloading wasn't as popular than optical disk purchasing and discovered that Internet connections were on average, inadequate for that level of downloading - some folk in this part of the world even have a monthly download cap of 25GB which is the size of the smallest BD movie!

While I'm quite sure that HD digital distribution will become the normal way for us to experience entertainment in the future, shoddy Internet speeds will ensure that there'll be plenty of life left in the good ol' optical disk yet. While DVDs will continue to be manufactured for some time yet, the money is in the Blu-ray releases as James Cameron broke yet another record by selling more than 1.5 million copies of Avatar on release day [more than The Dark Knight] and is estimated to climb to 4 million units in overall sales, which would make it the year's top-selling release.

Last week at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm Director of Fan Relations revealed anticipated information about the Star Wars films coming to Blu-ray. "We have been at work for a couple of years working on—I won't call it the Ultimate Set because we keep finding stuff—but, a very full set of all six movies on Blu-ray with lots of extra material. We're finding all kinds of scenes from dailies that have never been seen before. Beyond all of those things that you know about… there are some real treasures." Sansweet did not reveal when the greatest Blu-ray set of all time will be released, "but it won't be in the too distant future."

I hope Christmas.

Source: IGN

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Iron Man 2 Interactive Trailer

Iron Man 2 Released Friday April 30th [May 7th in US], Previews April 29th

Friday, April 23, 2010

Military Spaceplane coming to an orbit near you!

The United States Air Force's secretive X-37B robotic space plane blasted off from Florida yesterday ushering in a new era in space technology. The unmanned military Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1) lifted off atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a mission that is expected to take months testing new spacecraft technologies.

The X-37B is a reusable robotic space plane built by Boeing Phantom Works. Its mission is being carried out under the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office with participation by NASA. Key objectives of the space plane's first flight include demonstration and validation of guidance, navigation and control systems – including an autonomous re-entry and landing at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base with neighboring Edwards Air Force Base as a backup.

The X-37B is the first vehicle since NASA's space shuttles with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, Air Force officials said. Thursday's launch capped a long road to orbit for the spacecraft. NASA initially began the project in 1999 and later transferred it to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) in 2004 due to a lack of funding. The Air Force stepped in 2006 to take over the project.

UNETIDA's involvement with the project was not so publicised, leading to speculation that the global organisation would commandeer the project to deploy orbital weapons platforms. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon flew to mission control to personally oversee the launch. When questioned about UNETIDA's involvement with the craft; Creedon responded candidly "We had to be sure that the US continues launching stuff into space" he said "People will go up with the Ruskies from next year yes, but the US will have technical superiority in Orbit, not that there's competition of course. Our assistance was insignificant." Creedon was asked if the X-37B was bringing USAF or even UNETIDA laser satellites into space but he denied knowledge, "Oh no, this is a test flight, it has only equipment for monitoring itself and testing," he said.

This contradicts a press conference given by Gary Payton, Air Force deputy under secretary for space programs. "There's enough payload room, he added as example, to house a couple of small satellites in the range of a few hundred kilograms each," he said."Truthfully, I don't know how this could be called 'weaponization' of space," Payton said. "Fundamentally, it's an updated version of the space shuttle kind of activities in space," he added, a new vehicle that could potentially help the Air Force do its space missions better."

The Air Force has already ordered a second X-37B, presumably the Orbital Test Vehicle 2, which is slated to launch in 2011. But that mission, and any new flights of this first vehicle, hinge on the performance during orbital and landing maneuvers, Air Force officials have said.

Read more here

Source: Fox News /BBC News

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When you wish upon a star...

I don't see this as a failure; I see it as being too valuable where I am presently. Thank you in advance for your support.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Repo Men: Organ-asmic!

In 2025, a megacorporation called The Union has perfected the creation of artificial organs [artiforgs], which have replaced organ transplants. A potential customer can apply for an organ, which are sold on credit, usually with a large interest rate attached. If the customer is unable to maintain payments after three months, a repo man is sent to the customer to reclaim their property. This of course means that the repo man has to literally cut out the artiforgs from the live body, a process which is often magnificently bloody and would traditionally involve the death of the customer.

Jude Law [Remy] and Forrest Whittaker [Jake] portray the titular Repo Men. Remy is described as the best Repo in the business and is often partnered with his childhood friend and old Army buddy Jake. One repossession that goes wrong finds Remy with an artificial heart that he can't pay for, separated from his wife and on the run from the very people he worked for in this remarkable science fiction action thriller.

Law isn't one of my favourite actors, as I've mentioned before and while I don't think he's particularly impressive here either, he does somehow out-perform Oscar-winning Whittaker in a bizarre twist of talent. Alice [I am Legend] Braga on the other hand out-acts them both as Beth, a drug-addicted and destitute night-club singer with a plethora of artiforgs and internal enhancements. Liev Schreiber sadly displays far more the acting chops he did in Wolverine than Defiance.

I found that I didn't feel too much for the characters on screen as I would like to have and as there there is no clear-cut good and evil structure it's hard to know where to place your loyalties [if you desire to apply moral quandaries to your entertainment]. Director Miguel Sapochnik presents the company in an evil light while those on the run after defaulting on payments are portrayed considered victims. I'm not one to necessarily follow the opinions of a director, preferring to make up my mind about these things for myself and I found that reality was slightly skewed here. The company is all above-board and is well within it's legal right to seek compensation for it's products and repossess them if the contract is broken and the client no longer pays. I say kudos to the company for solving the matter themselves, not going through the legal system which would brand defaulters as criminals and brand their innocent family with the stigma and it additionally frees up time for police and legal professionals to pursue more serious crimes.

Sapochnik may be a director to watch in future. Sequences in this movie are blatant homages to Blade Runner with a little of Robocop, Oldboy and Minority Report. The action sequences are truly phenomenal but while sadly, the amount of automatic weapons fire isn't as much as I desire [the Repo Men are armed with multiple-charged Taser weapons - can't well be damaging the organs they've come to collect] there is some very inventive uses of bladed weapons, a hacksaw and even a hammer. Sapochnik has a true eye for blood, it's colours and textures, just the right amount of it expelling forcefully from the wounds he inflicts on his characters and reacting perfectly on the surfaces nearby. This was old-school cinematic violence unlike the slightly ridiculous comic-book violence found in modern movies like Kick-Ass or 300. If more directors employed this, then I'd have a better time in the cinema. It's also obvious that Sapochnik has a love of music which led to some interesting choices for songs to go with Marco Beltrami's brilliant score.

Final Verdict: Competently directed but badly acted. This is not a movie for everyone but if you like your sci-fi not too deep and can put up with excessive blood then this is for you. Even though it has Law and Whittaker, the real star here is the violence; it's honest, real, visceral - ridiculous in situation but sublime in execution [pardon the pun]. This isn't hard science fiction but an interesting take on the sci-fi/action/thriller pioneered by Logan's Run, continued with Total Recall and capstoned with Minority Report and it has an almost David Cronenberg ending.

Colonel Creedon rating: ****1/2

Footnote: This movie was set to open in the US on April 2nd but was moved up to March 19th. The final vote on Universal Healthcare reform in the Unites States took place on March 25th. Movies pushed back are common; Movies pulled forward, not as much. Just thought I might add that in here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zombie Elected Mayor

Well no, not really but a man called Carl Geary, 55, died a month ago from a heart attack as he campaigned to be selected for the small sleepy country town Tracy City, Tennessee.

Despite his sudden death he still polled over three times as many votes as his rival in the election in. His widow, Susan Geary, said his election "was not a surprise at all to me. The day he passed away, people were calling with condolences and saying, "We're still voting for him."

Geary was known for his straight talking and served on the local council. He polled 285 votes to his rival's 85. Local business owners said the vote to elect him - even as he was dead - was a protest against the current mayor, Barbara Brock.

Suspiciously Brock was elected Mayor of the town 16 months ago - after the previous mayor died of a heart attack.

UNPASID [the United Nations Paranormal and Supernatural Interdiction Directorate] released a statement that there were unconcerned with the possibility of Geary administrating Tracy City from the grave.

Source: Sith Master / Technorati / The Telegraph

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Steven Segal: Sexual Harass-man

I've covered Steven Segal's Cops-like reality TV show Steven Segal: Lawman in my in-depth look at this year's TV after the almost exclusive announcement of the show's creation. But when I was writing and editing those Pulitzer prize worthy articles, I never imagined that I'd be writing these words now...

On April 12, 2010, Kayden Nguyen filed numerous lawsuits against Steven Seagal, including sexual harassment, illegal trafficking of females for sex, failure to prevent sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and false representation about unemployment.

Marty Singer, Seagal’s attorney was quick to release a statement, calling the suit a “ridiculous and absurd claim by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired.” Singer, also mentions that Nguyen has appeared nude in photographs in the past and has also used illegal narcotics.

On April 14, the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Sheriff Newell Normand announced that there will be no investigation into Seagal unless criminal complaint was filed in Jefferson Parish by Nguyen but he has halted production on the show citing that the continued video recording of the series, would be a distraction for the department in light of the allegations.

Dan Silberman, an A&E channel spokesman said "We are aware of Sheriff Normand's decision to halt production on 'Steven Seagal Lawman' at this time and we have no further comment." Silberman confirmed that the show was in production when it was shut down by the sheriff and that there was no alternative plan to resume production at this time.

Sources: Sith Master / AP / Hitflix

Friday, April 16, 2010

Natural Disaster or Deliberate Smokescreen?

Smoke billows from the volcano in Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland following a volcanic eruption, the second in less than a month. The heat from it is so fierce it melted part of the glacier, sparking huge floods. Emergency officials in Iceland are evacuating hundreds of people as new flash floods endanger farms in the area. Weather experts also said the ash could take a number of days to disperse.

This morning the ash swept down towards Western Europe prompting to ground all air travel to and from The UK, Ireland and other airports in Europe. Flights across Northern America are also affected. Advisory charts from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre show the dust dispersion spreading widely across Europe by the early morning. The images, hosted by the British Met Office, show coverage as far south as Italy and heading west towards Russia by 07:00 BST.

There were also a number of theories voiced in the media as to how or why this has happened and why it has done so now. Among them: A Prelude to an Alien invasion and "a government" using the ash cloud as cover to conceal a massive naval operation possibly involving the transportation of materials to construct a sub-aqua installation.

A number of facts to support the latter were known as of Midday today. On Wednesday April 14th a B-2 Spirit with a UNETIDA transponder was seen departing from RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. 45 minutes after British National Air Traffic Services ordered all aircraft grounded on Thursday April 15th, "a fleet of articulated trucks" was observed delivering to The Royal Naval Base Clyde, Scotland with a small flotilla departing at 13:00. Furthermore at approximately the same time in Bergen, Norway, a flotilla of Naval vessels was observed departing from Haakonsvern Naval Station on a course bearing towards the Faeroe islands, it is believed, but unsubstantiated that Contraalmirante "Tridente" Carlos, UNETIDA's Naval Operations Commander was personally commanding the flotilla. When pressed for comment Captain “Harpoon” Dutton, Commander, UNETIDA Naval Tactical Support responded "No!"

Brigadier General “Ballista” Jackson, UNETIDA Missile Defence Commander [Northern] allayed the alien invasion fears "..yes its true that most of Europe and parts of Russia would indeed have little or no air interception capability presently. We have full satellite operations to direct our Eradicator missiles and also access to NATO's Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System."

However most of the people upset by the events of today, were far more concerned with not being able to fly somewhere as opposed to being wiped off the face of the planet by aliens "Why don't they just build bigger planes?" one inbred yokel said to RTE News when they discovered that ash was preventing aircraft from travelling. A similar "genius" was interviewed by the BBC last evening, saying: "It's so stupid there's no ash on the ground. Why can't they just fly the planes just above the ground?"

Sources: Sky News / BBC News / Fox News / CNN / Yahoo News / RTE News
Conspiracy sources: Vaughan / Jim H

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Do aliens like wool?

Reports have emerged in the press within the past week of "Unexplained sheep attacks 'caused by aliens in UFOs'," so claimed by local farmers describing a series of bizarre incidents involving their sheep in Shropshire. They have linked the unexplained incidents, where sheep's brains and eyes were removed, to mysterious orange lights in the sky.

Farmers near Shrewsbury claim to have witnessed sheep being “lasered” by unidentified light from UFOs. They have found sheep with “neat holes” while their brains and other internal organs were removed. Other animals have lost eyes or had their flesh “carefully stripped away”, usually on the left side.

Phil Hoyle, 53, who has spent almost a decade investigating how the livestock have died, said the UFOs were found to have roamed a 50-mile "corridor" between Shrewsbury and Powys. Hoyle and 15 members of the Animal Pathology Field Unit, claimed they witnessed UFOs at work last month while working during the night at a Welsh hill farm near Radnor Forest. “The technology involved in these attacks is frightening,” he told The Sun.

Someone within the British Ministry Of Defence who declined to be identified, leaked a partially redacted report filed by Colonel "Whopper" Creedon of UNETIDA. Among the sections that could be read were "for OPSEC reasons we must obviously keep this from public knowledge", "caution must be exercised while practicing with these weapons" and "it's not inconceivable that modern weather-balloons could be mounted with surgically-precise high-density lasers".

Source: Sith Master / The Telegraph / The Sun / Additional various sources

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Unworthy Worthington Hams Up Hamlin's Hero

This review is for the 2D version. Post processing 3D onto a 2D movie is a crime and I do not support it in it's current level of technology.

Must... act... out of... this... situation....

Due to the problem with Hollywood running out of ideas; many producers have turned their heads to remaking movies which are classics in their own right. The most recent being a remake of the 1981 Ray Harryhausen produced movie Clash Of The Titans which stared a young curly-haired Harry L.A. Law Hamlin as the Greek mythological hero Perseus. Perseus’ adventure was truly epic and in many ways has inspired so many fantasy genre movies, comics and video games throughout the years. Think of the last RPG you played, you were a heroic warrior [or something along those lines] who embarked on an epic quest with companions to rid the land of evil by slaying demons, solving puzzles, avoiding traps getting into impossible situations and of course getting out of them again just like Perseus in Clash Of The Titans.

So why didn’t this happen in this movie?

Sam Worthington nailed it as a Terminator and a blue alien last year but alas, Perseus required more screen time and a somewhat more “human” approach for him and as it turns out Sam can’t act for shit when push came to shove. Now Hamlin’s Perseus obviously didn’t have a Greek accent, we’re not striving for that level of authenticity of course but Worthington 's pretty strong Aussie lit was more comical and distracting than say Connery’s Russian submarine captain Ramius back in The Hunt For Red October. We forgave Connery because; a) his voice is cool; b) he’s in the top 10 greatest actors of all time – Worthington is neither and his Perseus comes off as a spoiled whining twerp and not the Greek hero of legend. It's completely idiotic that he's a skinhead here too - these legends had hair - maybe not as much as the gods [I got the impression that Alexander Siddig (Hermes) and Danny Huston (Poseidon) were hiding in shame] but that’s not all that was wrong here.

Hey, I thought I wasn't supposed to look at you?

The original Clash obviously took liberties with the Perseus legend. OK so killing Medusa to present her head as a gift for his Uncle/King or whatever is not as exciting as killing her to use her head as an ultimate weapon to defeat the Kraken - see it even sounds better when written here. For the remake it appears director Louis Leterrier took too many liberties not only with the original legend but with the original movie as well – the problem lies in what he used and what he didn’t use. It’s not difficult to describe some of the ways they obviously changed this for the attention span of the modern audience, some of whom use cell phones while watching movies now - why? It feels far to rushed, the changes that the writers made all seemed to just speed everything along and we're supposed to think it's explained away by virtue of the fact that "the gods made it happen" or somesuch like Pegasus [a black Pegasus I might add] conveniently appearing at the right moment without explanation etc.

Right: Hi, my name is Gemma. I'll be your bit-of-fluff for the movie. It's not like we can only have a hot babe in the opening and ending scenes in this day and age now is it?

This time around Perseus is not aided by Bubo [Athena’s R2D2-like golden clockwork owl], Burgess Meredith’s [Ammon] sage mentoring is now replaced by a limited quick training scene with Mads Mikkelsen [Draco], and most unforgivably he doesn't embark on a quest to win Andromeda's hand in marriage either. While I nomally would approve of the inclusion of Gemma Arterton on screen for any reason; her inclusion here as the demigod Io is the single most ridiculous addition and you don’t know how unfathomably wrong it is until the final scene. Look this is a spoiler: but what the fuck is Perseus' motivation for saving Andromeda atall if he has no intention of banging her? Seriously? WTF? The ending is not so much "get ready for the sequel" but it's so "get ready for the trilogy" that I almost vomited in my mouth.

Left: Good job Boorman let me keep my shiny armour from Excalibur or they might have dressed me in a bedsheet like Olivier [or in any true depction of Zeus Liam!]

Does this movie have anything going for it then? Well. on the good side, the movie is not without action, it's certainly not boring and delivers much in the way of all you'd expect from a modern heavlly-laden CGI cinematic triumph with a few hundred million dollars budget. Leterrier, [one of very few individuals I have pardoned for being parisian] director of the superb Transporter 2 and the sublime The Incredible Hulk has a true eye for directing a balls-out action movie. It's obvious that this was an extraordinary labour of love for him and I'll support his sequels considering the "future" of Perseus after his Medusa/Kraken quest in mythology seems somewhat bland and so has been overlooked in modern representation. It may even allow Leterrier to put the character back on the "Andromeda track", but I won't hold my breath.

Final Verdict: A true summer-opening blockbuster with excellent special effects combined with a splendid score by Ramin Djawadi. But it's not enough to forgive a classic tale being raped to this extent. If that is what had happened in the legendary tales it’ may never have been passed down through history and our modern fantasy lore and RPGs would be as dull as a December evening. My true fear is that following the eventual nuclear holocaust in years to come, when all the scholars are dead and books are burned, someone will find the 3D Blu-Ray version of this new Clash of the Titans and think that this is the way things are supposed to be. I shudder to think.

Please rescue me! I won't marry you or give you treasure but please rescue me?

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Conan finds his home!

So Coco's moving to TBS! That's great news. Eh, what the fuck is TBS?

[After research] Oh it's yet something else from that Ted Turner fella. A cable channel, Yo-K!

From Variety:

In a surprise announcement, TBS revealed this morning that the former "Tonight Show" host would join the cabler in the 11 p.m. time slot this November. "Lopez Tonight," which currently airs there, will shift to midnight. Like "Lopez," the as-yet untitled O'Brien show will air four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays.

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable," O'Brien said. "My plan is working perfectly.” News was timed to the kick off of O'Brien's "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television" tour, which starts Monday night in Eugene, Ore.

O'Brien had been widely expected to seal a deal with Fox -- and execs at the broadcast network remained optimistic last week that a deal could eventually be hammered out. But Fox was running into serious financial roadblocks in clearing a late night yakker.

Considering that O'Brien exited NBC after that network downgraded his timeslot, O'Brien likely didn't want to have to wait years to secure full in-pattern clearances on Fox across the country.
TBS, on the other hand, allows O'Brien to be seen virtually nationwide, in-pattern, immediately.
According to TBS, talks began in earnest just last week -- and after "Lopez Tonight" star George Lopez personally gave O'Brien a call. “I can’t think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in,” Lopez said. “It’s the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.”

Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin called O'Brien "the comedic voice for a generation."

Read the whole thing here on Variety.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Go on laugh! - It's Star Wars!

A forthcoming untitled animated Star Wars project will explore the universe from a new perspective, blending wry comedy and irreverent fun.

Star Wars Robot Chicken

Lucasfilm Animation is currently developing an all-new animated Star Wars series, focusing its efforts on the comedic aspects of the "galaxy far, far away." Featuring creative involvement from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich [creators of Robot Chicken], as well as writing from The Daily Show's Brendan Hay, the series will look at the saga's characters with a playful and irreverent tone. The series will be produced by Emmy and Gemini Award-winner Jennifer Hill, and directed by Emmy-nominated Todd Grimes.

"There are so many stories taking place in the Star Wars universe, and they don't all have to focus on the fate of the galaxy," said Grimes. "We're looking at Star Wars from a new perspective; this will be a glimpse at how the rest of the galaxy is affected by the events of the saga. There's a lot of humor to be mined from that."

"The Star Wars universe is so dense and rich; it's crazy to think that there aren't normal, mundane everyday problems in a world so well-defined," said Green. "And it's even crazier to think of what those problems might be, since it's all set in a galaxy far, far away. What do these characters do when they're not overthrowing Empires?"

Said Senreich, the show will be "character driven" and may include crossover appearances from movie characters. "We're on the same page as the fans, because we are fans. We're going to pull back the curtain of some of those behind-the-scenes shenanigans. It's going to appeal to all ages, the way Star Wars should -- but there'll be plenty buried under the surface, as well. As Obi-Wan might say, 'it all depends on your point of view'."

Seth Green and Matt Senreich accepting their awards for Star Wars Robot Chicken Episode II

Now for those of you who might be fretting a bit about this; Green, had a few calming words for fans following the announcement. "Let us assure you this isn't going to suck as much as you think it is," he said jokingly. "We can't guarantee its excellence, but we're swinging by the fences." This new animated show will not be a sketch comedy show like Robot Chicken. Green added "We're not talking about Jar-Jar electrocuting his tongue. It's not that kind of humor. If George would have wanted to make that version of Star Wars, he would have hired other people to do it."

This project marks the second Star Wars series created by Lucasfilm Animation. The first was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which premiered in 2008 on the Cartoon Network and currently in it's second season. No start date or network for the comedy series have been announced.

Source: / Variety

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dead man in sunglasses pushed about in wheelchair!

Is it me or does this remind you of something?

From Reuters:

Two women were arrested at a British airport on suspicion of trying to smuggle a dead relative onto a flight bound for Germany, police said on Tuesday. The 91-year-old deceased man was pushed in a wheelchair through Liverpool's John Lennon airport wearing sunglasses before check-in staff became suspicious and he was prevented from boarding the plane.

He was believed to have been driven about 35 miles to the airport by taxi from Oldham, Greater Manchester, police added. The women were arrested on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death and were released on bail.

"At 11 a.m. on Saturday 3 April 2010, police at Liverpool John Lennon airport were alerted to the death of a 91-year-old man in the terminal building," police said in a statement. "Two women aged 41 and 66 were arrested on suspicion of failing to give notification of death."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"The contemporary world has not seen a tragedy of such proportions"

- Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, April 10th 2010

This morning a Polish Air Force Tu-154 carrying President Lech Kaczysnki and senior members of the Polish government crashed in Smolensk, Russia, killing all 97 aboard. Ironically they were on their way to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre which was a mass murder of thousands of Polish POWs including military officers, intellectuals and public servants.

Accompanying President Kaczsnki were his wife Maria, Ryszard Kaczorowski - former president of the anti-Communist government-in-exile in London, Aleksander Szczyglo - head of the National Security Office, Jerzy Szmajdzinski - deputy parliament speaker, Gen. Franciszek Gagor - head of the army chief of staff, Slawomir Skrzypek - head of the National Bank of Poland, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, Andrzej Przewoznik - minister for WWII memorials, Janusz Kurtyka - head of the National Remembrance Institute, Janusz Kochanowski - civil rights commissioner and Army chaplain Bishop Tadeusz Ploski along with the presidents aides and various lawmakers.

As of several hours after the crash took place, many details about the cause of the crash are still unknown. It is reported by news agencies that the Tu-154 struck trees just 1.5 kilometres from the airport and smashed into pieces across the floor of the wooded area. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the pilot had already attempted to land three times, each without success.

Within hours after the crash the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, announced the establishment of a special commission for the investigation of the plane crash. The commission will be supervised by the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin. Authorities have not yet reached a conclusion as to why the aircraft crashed. I am however suspicious of one presidential aide Zofia Kruszyńska-Gust, who apparently "felt sick" just before the trip and did not board the plane...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mini Movie Reviews

Sadly, time is against me at the moment so I can't devote the usual 4 hours a time to write my customary movie reviews for the last few movies I've seen

Cop Out [Rock out with your Glock out!]

30 Rock's Tracy Morgan’s silver-screen vehicle is just what you’d expect a Kevin Smith directed Tracy Morgan movie would be. So if you dislike either Morgan or Smith you’d probably do well to give this a miss.

Thankfully I think they’re more than worthy of my time and the combination of Morgan’s manic acting [well I say “acting” but I’m pretty sure that’s how he is in reality] with Willis' subdued [almost “phoned-in”] performance under Smith’s more “conforming” [no Jay/Silent-Bob] direction to the buddy-cop movie proved to be a success in my book.

You’ve seen “funny black dude teams up with hard-ass white guy” all throughout the ‘80’s and ‘90’s and even as recently as Showtime and Bad Company to some extent but Willis' straight-playing against the wild antics of Morgan brings it own unique flair that’s most endearing on screen.

Worth it especially for the interaction between our two lads and Sean William Scott -classic! Oh and they even got Harold Beverley Hills Cop Faltermeyer to score.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

From Paris With Love [Two agents. One city. No merci!]

I can imagine the producers getting together and discussing this:

Producer with money: "Whet have we got uh?"

Luc Besson: "Eh.. a young green by le book CIA ageant teams up with le oldear less by-the-buch how you say?... seen-it-all ageant and totally wrecks Paris?"

Producer with money: "Bon! We'll have a acteur from Irlandais, perhaps from Cork to play le younger ageant, is this Kill-ee-an Murphi availaballe?"

Luc Besson: "Non, what about Jean-athann Rhees My-ears from Le Tudors?"

Producer with money: "Excellant! Now we'll have Sam Jackson play le oldear ageant?"

Luc Besson: "Désolé! Unavailaball as well I'm afraid, but we can have Jean Travolta?"

Producer with money: "Magnifique!"

And that's all it takes for this kind of miscasting to happen. Neither Meyers or Travolta felt right here. Luc Besson's writing is hit and miss and this is a miss and he's dragged Taken's director Pierre Morel with him, and he's someone I was expecting something somewhat better from.
I'll actually just shit out 2.5 Stars for the somewhat impressive action scenes and for the fact that french producers are still willing to wreck paris and paint a somewhat dim view of parisians to make money. Zoot Alors!

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2

Green Zone [hide and seek with WMDs]

The people that went into this movie thinking they were getting a Bourne-style military action-drama from the star and director of the Bourne saga, Damon and Greengrass respectively, must have been as disappointed as the military teams depicted on screen who went hunting for the WMDs in Iraq. This wasn't that kind of movie and rightly so; it was depressing duty for the teams and were it not for turning up some pretty amazing alien artifacts buried since biblical times, it'd have been a totally wasted exercise for my team as well, but I digress.

Anyway I'd not have been impressed if they had somehow shoehorned Bourne-style action into the whole movie [the last 15 minutes was more then enough] even if they did create an interesting "conspiracy" straight out of some liberal nut-job's wet-dream. Look the forces of freedom and democracy went in and liberated a country strangled by tyranny - YAY U.S.A.!!! deal with it now and just forget this WMD nonsense, it's really not important anymore.

This should have been called Grain Zone because of the unnecessary amount of film grain on the picture, it was even more distracting than J.J. Abram's lens-flares on Star Trek but Greengrass delivered a competent if not sometimes slow conspiracy-action-thriller with Matt Damon playing his Chief Miller with dare I say: military precision.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Kick-Ass [I can't fly. But I can kick your ass.]

When I was about 10 I made an Iron Man costume from old clothes and crepe paper. I even drew on a Tony Stark moustache with a marker above my lip [I was thorough about these things].

This movie is made for everyone who did shit like that at 10 or perhaps never grew out of it and could still be dressing up as a "hero" over 20 years later.

Oh, and this movie has guns, lots and lots and lots of guns and a shitload of people die.

Best movie of the year so far!

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****