21 Jump Street – Review Nov20

21 Jump Street – Review...

5/5 – Watch this movie! When I first heard that 21 Jump Street, that beloved series from my youth, was being remade into a movie starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, I was more than leery about it. I was positive it would like the new GI Joe and Transformers movies and would take a giant dump on a TV show I loved as a kid. I skipped it in the theaters and didn’t give it a second thought when it came out on DVD. But then, slowly, I kept hearing from friends whose opinions I trust that this movie is hilarious. Setting aside my trepidation, I rented 21 Jump Street. My friends were right, this movie is hilarious. I’m guessing there are a lot of guys who graduated in the late 90s  who get to look back on this unfortunate look in their yearbook photo. 21 Jump Street is a great comedy. If you want to laugh, and laugh hard, for an hour and 49 minutes, rent this movie. It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are a few meta jokes about current 80s revival and about the previous incarnation of Jump Street. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller also use title cards to a very funny effect. The title cards might be my favorite thing about this movie. Awesome unicorn! It’s crazy how much Dave Franco looks and sounds like his older brother James. Is he a clone? Has anyone seen his birth certificate? I’m guessing clone. Project DAVE: The first human clone. SPOILERS after the title card…you’ve been warned… How awesome was it that Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise reprised their roles as Officers Tom Hanson and Doug Penhall? I was excited when Holly Robinson showed up early...

Looper – Review Nov19

Looper – Review...

5/5 – Go see this movie now! I want to see Looper again; it’s that good. If you haven’t seen Looper yet, do yourself a favor and see it before it leaves the theater. It is my new favorite movie of 2012. I’m going to spoil major story points in this review, so don’t read any further until after you’ve seen Looper. Seriously, don’t go any further if you haven’t seen the movie. Part of what I loved about Looper was the fluidity of who was the hero in the story. Here, I’m considering it necessary to be selfless in order to be considered a hero. If a character acts in his own self-interest, he’s an antihero as best. Young Joe does a heroic act early in the film when he hides Seth after Seth fails to close his loop. Young Joe is putting his life in danger here. But he quickly sells Seth when his own savings are threatened by his boss as the price for his silence. Seth comes to a gruesome end, largely to Joe’s fault. When Old Joe returns to the past, he quickly appears to be more heroic than Young Joe. His heroic quest is to come back in time and kill the Rainmaker as a child. The Rainmaker, besides being the criminal kingpin of the future, was behind the killing of Old Joe’s wife and countless others, and sent Old Joe back to the past to be killed by his younger self. Remember the old “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it?” question? That’s Old Joe’s quest in a nutshell. How could you be opposed to that? He is clearly the hero at this point in the movie....

Argo – Review Nov15

Argo – Review

5/5 – Go see this movie! Ben Affleck is now three for three when it comes to directing. Not only that, but Argo is the best of those three movies as well. I really liked Gone Baby Gone and loved The Town, but I think Affleck has set a new bar for himself with Argo. Affleck is helped by a really stellar cast. Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber and Tate Donovan join Affleck in this movie about a fake movie. Kyle Chandler even makes a very brief couple of appearances. Don’t blink. You might miss him. Argo is based on the real life story of a CIA mission from 1980. When the American embassy in Iran was raided by revolutionaries in 1979, 6 embassy workers managed to escape to the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, is the CIA agent tasked with getting them out of Iran before they’re discovered and killed. The tension is high throughout the entirety of the movie. Seriously, the tension is high right until before the credits roll. That works great at making Argo a very suspenseful movie. I was on the look out for it, but could not find one instance of Affleck Face at any point in the movie. I was shocked. A Ben Affleck movie without Affleck Face? He came close once, but never gave us full Affleck Face. The tension was broken instead by my new favorite phrase, “Argo fuck yourself!” “Argo fuck yourself!” I will be shocked if Argo doesn’t get nominated for Best Movie, Affleck for Best Director and screenwriter Chris Terrio for Best Screenplay at the next Academy Awards. I’m starting a 1-5 rating system with this review. A 1 means avoid the movie and a...

Andrea Romano Interview at NYCC 2012 Nov13

Andrea Romano Interview at NYCC 2012...

I was able to sit down with both Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano at New York Comic Con this year to talk about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2 and Batman: The Animated Series. You can read my Bruce Timm interview here. Andrea Romano has been casting Batman for the past 20 years. “Somebody told me that I’ve cast Batman 13 or 14 times over the various different projects,” said Romano. She is one of the people responsible for the incredibly good casting of  Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman for Batman: The Animated Series. When Kevin Conroy came in for this audition int he early 90s, Andrea had already listened to 500 auditions for the role of Batman, and had auditioned 150 people in person herself. After Kevin’s audition,  Bruce Timm and Andrea looked at each other and said “We have found Batman.” In the two decades since Kevin Conroy began being the voice of Batman, people have come up to Andrea and told her that “For my entire life, I’ve heard Kevin Conroy as Batman.” Andrea knows the feeling. According to Andrea, “When I prep a script, regardless of what incarnation of Batman it is, when I’m preparing for recording, I hear Kevin’s voice. Even though it may be somebody else I’ve cast to play Batman, I hear Kevin’s voice. That sets the bar.” Andrea described the casting of Batman as “incredibly hard.” But the benefit, according to her, is that “it’s a character you don’t have to pitch. You don’t have to go, “There’s a guy named Bruce Wayne, and he’s got this problem because his parents were murdered.” Everyone knows who he is.” She also pointed out that these actors may never get the chance to...

Bruce Timm Interview at NYCC 2012 Nov09

Bruce Timm Interview at NYCC 2012...

At New York Comic Con, I was able to sit down with Producer Bruce Timm and Casting Director Andrea Romano to discuss Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and 2, and the enduring legacy of Batman: The Animated Series. Bruce Timm and his team meet every week with people from Warner Home Video, DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation in order to discuss everything that’s in production and what they might want to put into production. The idea of doing an adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight returns was first brought up when DC began producing animated movies. There was some objection to it at the time, and they did other projects. The idea didn’t come up again until a couple of years ago, in between Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight’s release and the start of production on The Dark Knight Rises. There was concern that Christopher wanted to use The Dark Knight Returns for The Dark Knight Rises, so they had to again, not move forward with an animated Dark Knight Returns movie. Later on, once The Dark Knight Rises was in production, DC said it was different enough from The Dark Knight Returns to do an adaptation. “I jumped on it,” said Bruce Timm. According to Bruce, it’s tricky finding the right project to pitch. “Sometimes we’ll have a favorite Batman comic that we loved as a kid or a teenager, and we’ll throw the idea out, but not all of those make good movies.” He went on to explain that with the realities of the marketplace is that even with the tight budget they work with, the movies still cost X millions of dollars. “The Home Video people want a sure thing. That means you’re going to get a lot of...

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Review Nov08

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 Review...

Around the time that the first Tim Burton Batman movie was released, I had a case of full-on Batmania. I had enough Batman t-shirts to last over a week. I had multiple Batman buttons pinned to my jackets. I even had a giant Batman movie poster from the NYC subway hanging in my bedroom. It was around this time that I was given a copy of The Dark Knight Returns. It immediately became one of my favorite comics. It’s one of those comics that I read almost every year. When it was announced that Dark Knight Returns would be adapted into an animated movie, I couldn’t help but feel hesitant about it. I’m not a fan of the Death of Superman animated film and I worried that they would use the wrong art style or water down the story on DKR. The box art scared me; this wasn’t the Batman from The Dark Knight Returns on the box art. I shouldn’t have worried. The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is a very faithful adaption of the first half of The Dark Knight Returns. The art style is very reminiscent of Frank Miller’s art from the comic, but updated to not look dated, less rough, and more streamlined. It’s a very subtle shift in style and it works well. The story has barely been changed. It’s not a shot-for-shot, line-for-line remake of the comic, but while watching it, I couldn’t pick out any scene that was missed. Batman’s inner monologue is gone, but that may be for the better. I don’t know if I’d have enjoyed the movie if every scene was narrated by The God Damn Batman. Yessssss! The story in Part 1 deals with Batman coming out of retirement to deal with the Mutant Gang,...

NYCC 2012: Scott C’s The Great Showdowns Nov04

NYCC 2012: Scott C’s The Great Showdowns...

One of my favorite things about going to comic book conventions is the chance to pick up books before they are released to the general public. It might sound silly, but there’s something cool about being able to get something that’s not yet been released to stores. Even though I was on a tight budget at this year’s New York Comic Con, #1 on my list of things I had to buy was an advance copy of Scott C’s Great Showdowns book, which was just released by Titan Books at the end of October.              I first came across Scott C’s (the “C” stands for “Campbell”) work online earlier this year, and I immediately fell for his fantastic artwork. His style could veer into “too cute” territory, but the topics of his paintings (such as Daft Punk Camping, or the Beatles without their shoes) are usually just bizarre enough to prevent this from happening. He’s been posting his Great Showdown paintings online (almost) daily for a while now, and I was super psyched that there would finally be a book collecting these awesome pieces. For those unfamiliar with his work, the paintings feature “moments of conflict” from classic (and, admittedly, not so classic) movies. They are not only restricted to fight scenes, or good vs. evil battles – the best part about these paintings is that they can pretty much be anything – from Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore vs. a vase on a pottery wheel (Ghost), to a boat vs. an iceberg (Titanic), to (my favorite) Bruce Willis vs. many smiling shards of glass (Die Hard). I haven’t mentioned it, but all the subjects are smiling at one another, and just seem so happy to be included in the paintings.               As...