Saturday, August 31, 2019

Lost in Translation and Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Sharknado

The Comic Book streak ends!  No worries- I've got a new one to start.

I've mined the joys of Japanese Posters for terrible American Movies in the past.  It's time to do it all over again with some new ones!

To start off strong, the Film that kept Syfy going- Sharknado!
Holy crap!

"I don't know what a Sharknado is, but this Movie looks bad-ass," says a Japanese Man seeing this Poster.

Of course, the reality of it is that the Movie is...

A) Silly
B) Not that good
C) Doesn't have the Budget to ever look this good.

Here's the original...
I didn't need to do much here.  As usual, I amped up the colors a bit and some contrast.  It's pretty great without me, but *slightly* better now.

Friday, August 30, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Swamp Thing- Series Finale

At last, the final Episode is here.  This is going to hurt...
Still reeling from recent revelations, Swamp Thing/Alec struggles to figure out what he should do next.

Should he stay or should he go now?
Dr. Woodrue takes some pretty drastic steps to heal his wife.  Will it backfire on him (and everyone)?
People come back to get revenge on Swamp Thing for the killing they *think* he did last Episode.

When you call in Jake Busey, you've called in the big guns!
Is Swamp Thing too far gone?  Will he regain his humanity or become the monster people think he is?

Also like four more Sub-Plots have to get wrapped up.  This works better at 13 Episodes, no?  The End.
A good ending, even if it is very bittersweet.  First off, let's give credit to the Creators for making this feel like a real ending.  They got 3 Episodes chopped and still managed to make this work.  Other Shows have had to deal with this kind of problem and did worse with it.  For one, Golden Years just kind of stops cold- they only lost one Episode.  All of the stuff that worked well in the Show- the Acting, the Production Values, the Setting and the Ambiance- is all here.  They also manage to balance out all of the dangling Sub-Plots too.  I obviously won't SPOIL how they do it, but so much is ended in a proper fashion.  I was happy to see one last bit of action with Swamp Thing.  Weird trend- I get to see a third jaw destroyed in 3 Films/Shows (Brightburn, Hellboy and this).  Why do people hate jaws so much?!?  It's a shame to see the Show end, no matter how good it was.  Here's hoping that we get more of this somehow.  For instance, they set-up The Floronic Man and now we won't get to see him sell Pot made out of himself in Gotham...
A good Show that earned a second Season based on quality.  Why it also got less Episodes than Titans AND Doom Patrol is also anyone's guess.

Make the Movie already!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Crazy Youth: The Time That Joaquin Phoenix Was on 'Superboy!'

Yeah, I'm sure that I'm not the only one to make this connection.

With the release of the final Joker Trailer, people like me want to talk about Joaquin Phoenix's FIRST DC Appearance.  That actually came on a TV Episode back in 1989.  It was...
In 'Little Hercules,' Joaquin (as Leaf) plays a boy genius in High School.  He has the hots for a girl that's too old for him (since he was promoted several Grades higher due to his IQ).
In the Cold Open, he's tossed into a Dumpster by bullies (who call him Wonder Boy), but reemerges as....
Before you can laugh at the silliness, he straight up MURDERS one of the bullies with his Heat Vision!!!

Strangely, he just knocks the 2nd one down with Super Breath and lets the third one go.
Oh and that was all a Dream Sequence.  Psych!

The actual Plot involves Joaquin/Billy accidentally activating some Nuclear Warheads when he hacks a Computer to make a love message for the girl.

After Superboy Phoenix here, what's the point in going on though?  You've gotten what you need.
Goofy, self-serious fun.  The Plot here- involving a super-smart kid nearly nuking the West Coast- is taken 100% seriously.  They try to have some sort of tension as Superboy has to cut through a steel door in time.  He could have just punched his way through the side of the wall, of course, but, you know, tension.  Likewise, Joaquin tries to save the day using his super brain.  This would be a great time to have his redemption be that he could save the day.  Yeah, Superboy gets through the door in time.  Hey, it is his Show!  I like how they kind of gloss over how much the kid nearly did, albeit by accident.  One guy literally tells him that he's 'not mad.'  Oh, can I be?!?  I know- he's just saying that to be nice, but...still...jeez!  In addition, we don't see what punishment he gets.  Wait- is this a Prequel to Swordfish?!?  He also seems to get the girl, which is nice and all.  That's your lesson, kids- do a big, grand gesture that nearly kills millions!  The Episode is silly in all of the right ways, dated in all of the right ways and pretty fun.  Nothing is as funny as the Dream Sequence though.  That said, I'm glad it was just a dream, as I know what the real version looks like!
The Episode is nice and cheesy, but definitely peaks way too early.  Seeing how intense Joaquin is at age 15 is definitely worth it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Quick Reviews: Hellboy (2019)

Let's keep the unintended Superhero Theme going with another one from this year.  This Reboot made people mad at it sheer existence, but is that warranted?  Let's see...
This is Hellboy.

The Film assumes that you know all of this, thanks to the other Films.  To be fair, both of those Films grossed less than Shazam *combined*, so maybe that was a bad call.
Things are the same, but also a bit different.

We've jumped right to 'everybody treats Hellboy like a Monster' and his 'Dad' is less friendly this time.
Hellboy still fights Monsters, but the Plot throws WAY more at him this time.

It's almost like combining parts of five different Hellboy Comics into one Film is too much.
The main villain is an evil Witch who wants to conquer the World.  Guess who she wants as her King?

Sad Fact: nearly all of the Resident Evil Films out-grossed the Hellboy ones- by alot!
Will Hellboy succumb to temptation and become the evil King of the World?
Or will he fight evil with both barrels and save the day?

To find out, watch the Film.  It's now on Digital and DVD/Blu-Ray, so there's still hope of making a profit!
A rare thing- a Movie with too much Plot.  As noted, the Film is based on more than 4 different Hellboy tales.  Granted- they pick and choose parts from some.  The Wild Hunt, for instance, is used for a small part.  Even so, the Movie is two hours long and could have used some trimming.  For instance, the main Henchman has a backstory with Hellboy, which requires a Flashback to show.  Yes, said Flashback does tangentially-relate to another Character, but is it still necessary?  On top of that, I liked the Baba Yaga stuff...but it's also pretty unnecessary.  Is there no such thing as Deleted Scenes for Neil Marshall?  The Movie has a weird start-stop feel that makes it not go smoothly.  That said, the Movie looks nice and I'm glad to see CGI used as an enhancement to Practical Effects.  What a concept!  The Movie has a pretty good sense of humor and definitely leans into the R-Rating.  That said, they have TWO Scenes of Hellboy arriving to a building full of dead people.  In other words, an excuse to show more dead bodies, but NOT an Action Scene.  That's a bit excessive, no?  Without going into SPOILERS, the fact that the story connects to King Arthur so much is...odd.  Some may love it, but some may hate it.  Hellboy is a case of too much content, too many cooks (lots of strife on-set between Producers and the Director) and a bit too much excess.  I think it will seem better as time goes on, but it was definitely not *quite* good enough to jump-start a new Series.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have guests coming for Dinner...
With a good Editor, there's a genuinely-good Movie to be had.  As it is, it is too much of everything.

Monday, August 26, 2019

My Crazy Youth: WildCATs- a '90s Cartoon Gem!

Is it not clear that I love Comic Books and Cartoons yet?
When the two of them coincide, it is always great.

Or sometimes it's just okay and I can laugh at the silly clichés.

This is WildC.A.T.S, a 1994 Cartoon Show based on the semi-remembered Comic Book.  Back in the day, I had a few issues.  Mind you, I bought LOTS of Comic Books as part of the 'Speculator Boom' back then.

Sadly, my Brigade #1 did not turn out to be worth $42,000 and I'm here talking about a silly Cartoon Show.
This is the titular Team.  They are either directly Kherubim (a good Alien Race), an Android made from a Kherubim (Spartan in blue), descended from Kherubim (like Warblade in the middle and Voodoo on the right) or just, well, Grifter.

As my Roommate says, Grifter has the power of 'guns.'
This is Helspont.  He's an evil Daemonite who wants to rule the World.

The Plots all revolve around him either fixing his ship, finding the Show's MacGuffin (the Orb) or something in-between.
If you know the Comics, there are many changes.  Some are small and understandable- like ignoring Voodoo's past as an Exotic Dancer.   Others are bigger and more notably-wrong for the source material.

For instance, Grifter and Zealot (below) are a will-they-won't-they couple here.

Hmm...smooth guy in trenchcoat trying to seduce strong, warrior woman.  That feels...familiar.
The Show has a pretty basic structure...

Episode features Plot about something Helspont needs.
Someone from Character's Past is involved (like Maul's Dad being the Archaeologist used).
Character Plot wrapped up in Episode.

A few tweak that *slightly* by having Helspont get what he needs to keep the Plot going, while others have him all 'I'll get you next time, WildCATs!'

On the plus side, they end with an actual finale and no Cliffhanger.
13 Episodes of pure, silly joy.  Is it a good Show?  No.  Is it a fun Show?  Yes.  The Plots are all pretty standard and the 'It is Character X's Sub Plot this Episode' thing is pretty predictable.  With the 24 minute runtime and padded fight Scenes, they are often rushed to hilarious degrees.  In Episode 2, for instance, Spartan meets a woman from his past and reveals his secret.  She tells him that she can fix his body and he initially disagrees, claiming that he's needed.  The next Scene, he's all on-board...and then rejects the offer again 2 minutes later.  That is especially funny when he calls out Warblade's commitment to the Team later- hypocrite.  They only really break this formula for the final 2 Episodes.  Those do feel suitably-epic, even if the Show is as silly as ever.  I'll be honest- I thought they were going to have an open Ending as the Finale played out.  It was good to be wrong in this case.  The action is decent, but they definitely don't have enough characters.  We get the same few henchmen in nearly every Episode.  I feel like a similar Show mixed it up a bit more- if only I could think of the name.  The Writing is also nothing special overall.  It's not terrible- just not great or all that inspired.  That's the Show in a simple summary- not great or all that inspired.  If you look at the Characters, you can see the obvious influences.  Hell, one of them is practically just Deadpool!  If you remember the Show, you can watch it for free on Tubi.  If you didn't see it, watch it to see what entertained weirdos like me back in the day.  If only there was a more famous Show like this to watch instead...
I enjoyed reliving my youth- faults and all.  It's gaudy, silly and dumb.  In other words, it's the '90s.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Batman- Hush (2019)

This one comes with a bit of SPOILERS all around, so be warned.

Still not sure?

Last chance.


So in the animated version of Hush, we meet Bruce's old, never-before-seen friend Tommy.  He's a Doctor.
He helps Bruce heal from a head injury and the pair meet again later at an Opera attacked by Harley Quinn...
At this point, he is killed off-camera and his death pinned on The Joker.

Now here's the tricky thing...

So in the Comic, this is all part of Tommy/Hush's plan to get revenge on Bruce.  Faking his death (via Clayface) serves to clear his name as a suspect.

In the Film, they remove that twist and change who Hush is.

As such, Tommy is, well, just a dead guy, who's body is stolen (in lieu of Jason Todd's in the Comic) and is later propped up by Hush to mess with Batman.
Basically, they created a Poor Bastard of Cinema by changing the Story so drastically.  Critics and Viewers are fairly-split on the result.

The lesson here: don't be a good person that helps the sick.  Be a Banker or something, you hippie!

Next time, random people and no notable SPOILERS.  Back to the usual fare.  See you then...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Quick Reviews: Brightburn (2019)

The rise of Slipknot Superman!  This is Brightburn, the Film that dared to ask 'What if Superman was evil?'

Who else thought of that, besides countless Comics over the last 50 years?!?  How's the Film though?
A childless couple- which is shown in a super-subtle way by the Film- adopts a strange boy from the Stars.

I hope he learns the lesson of not saving you in a Tornado for some reason!
12 years later (since nothing of note happened, I guess), the child (Brandon Bayer, since, of course) is going through some changes.
For starters, his ship is calling out to him in a creepy voice and leading him to it.
The next day, he discovers his super-strength and invulnerability.

You know what would have been neat?  If the Film didn't just cut here and we saw how he explained the Mower being 25 feet away and with a broken blade.  Right?
As he experiences angst and learns the truth, Brandon may become too far gone...and dangerous.
Will he go too far or is there any saving him?  Hell, is there any saving US from HIM?

To find out, watch the Film.
A strong start, uneven middle and predictable ending.  The Movie's core premise- what if Superman was actually sent here to conquer has merit.  Granted, you'd just be making him General Zod, but whatever.  The idea that this 12 year old can't be a killer is a decent-enough hook.  That said, he's clearly a Sociopath and he doesn't exactly hide it well.  Should they really have been surprised to see the gross images under his bed?  Hell, when it seems like he's graduated to killing Animals (another common escalation for Serial Killers), only one of them seems to believe it.  The thing that makes this harder to buy is the seemingly-condensed timeline of the Film.  The kid goes 12 years of being 'normal' and he becomes pretty damn murderous and evil within a week!  If he went crazy over, for instance, two months, that might be easier to buy.  That's part of the Film's problem- brevity.  The Film hits 90 minutes plus with the end Credits.  The actual Film is about 85 minutes and way too much is crammed into it.  To misuse a Rick & Morty quote, 'There's no time for Arcs.'  Here's another thing- the kid is way too cinematic to be believed.  He's a rage-filled kid, but then he's messing with the lights, drawing his symbol all over the windows, breaking lights and takes 5 minutes to stalk the woman.  Um...what?  They also leave so many things either under-explained (like how he knows his powers so well) or unexplained (what is the limit to his powers?).  At the heart of the tale, you have a severely-unbalanced Slasher Film.  Basically, what if Jason could actually fly around at super-speed (as opposed to lazy Writing)?  The Film feels like a fresh twist, but eventually devolves into familiar territory.  So much more could and should be done with a premise like this.  One last note- no matter how much you build him up, a 12 year old is still, well, a 12 year old and can only look so menacing...
A dark, grim tale that shocks first.  Once you realize that it only has one trick to play, it gets a bit too obvious.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

'80s Trash?: Jake Speed (1986)

Romancing the Pebble?  Today's Film is Jake Speed, a 1986 Film that may feel familiar.  The Plot involves a young woman teaming up with a macho (but brusque) man to save her Sister in a foreign land.  It's like Deja Vu all over again!  This is a tad familiar- yes.  The twist in this- it may also have inspired a different Film entirely.  Oh and the Lead is a seemingly-fictional Character who is also real.  So it's Romancing the Baron Munchausen?  There's no magic or sci-fi involved though.  He is a Character in a bunch of Books...but also real.  It's silly, but go with it.  It would be like if Dirk Pitt or Nathan Drake were real people that did the things in their Books/Games...and just also had Adaptations made of them.  This is the kind of Film that has a Character ask 'If you're so good, why aren't you in Movies?'  In Stone, the Woman is the Writer, while in this one it is the guy (kind of).  That's...different?  To note, this one came out after that Film AND the Sequel, so I guess they were trying to fill a void.  The people behind this- its Director and Star/Producer/Co-Writer were attached to a number of notable Films like Valley Girl and Night of the Creeps.  Is this a lost Cult Classic or something that should stay in the bargain bin?  Let's find out...
In Paris, two creeps kidnap two young women for the Slave Trade.

Yes, this did clearly inspire Taken.  I mean...what are the odds?  Plus, it is Luc Besson, so...
The Family tries to figure out how to rescue her, but nothing is working.  Grandpa suggest that Jake Speed do it, but nobody believes that he's real.
Desperate, our Heroine is convinced to contact him.  They meet a sleazy Bar and things don't go right on the first try.
She ends up traveling to Africa with him and his companion/co-writer to find her.  It's not South America, so you can't sue!
More conflict- both between them and the bad guys there.

Oh and Jack Speed blows a hole in a brick wall with a shotgun...somehow.
The mission doesn't seem to be going well, leading to the 'Conflict Before the Third Act' trope.  Thanks, Syd Field!
She leaves them, hoping to find her sister on her own.  She runs into some 'nice men,' who are, of course, the bad guys.

The group gets captured after learning that the villain- John Hurt- is selling young woman to cliché evil Arabs.
They manage to break out and track him to an Airport.  Hurt's escape attempt does not go as planned.
Our Heroine and her Sister get back stateside and she finds the new Book about their adventure.  He leaves a note for her, thus keeping his promise.

I guess this is Sequel Bait, but...doesn't matter now, right?  The End.
A fun, but forgettable Film.  The core premise- Jake Speed is a serialized Adventure Novel Character who does everything in the Books- is silly.  The Plot of the Film- John Hurt kidnaps young women as part of his Arms Deals with Cliché Arabs- is silly.  The Film is kind of a mess.  The tone changes wildly from Scene to Scene.  Is it supposed to be serious as they face near death situations?  Is it supposed to be funny as they quip with each other?  Is it supposed to be dramatic as they get into gun fights?  Yes, apparently, to all 3.  Pick a Genre, Film!  The Film's Plot doesn't really have many surprises.  I feel like it should, but it doesn't.  It's a perfectly-serviceable Film.  To be fair, you may get more into the banter and Characters than I did.  It's fun.  That said, I don't know if I'll remember much of it in, say, a Month.  One thing I will remember- the fact that these guys are *probably* not actually Arab...
Next time, I go back to the '70s for a forgotten take on a Classic.  Considering all of the good versions out there, can it match up?  Stay tuned...