Movie Reviews: Kick Ass

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Kick Ass directed by Matthew Vaughn

Much of why many films work can be credited to the vision of the director. In Kick Ass, a lesser capable director would have failed at adapting the story. Just think of this notion; when was the last Nicholas Cage movie that was actually good? What was the last movie you saw that the hero was a little girl who battled grown ups? How many super hero movies can you name were the main character isn’t there hero at all … only a sidekick?

Kick Ass does all this and more.

I watched the movie on DVD about two years after the release. Personally, I think many marketing departments do a poor job showing what the true essence of the movie is. Usually the trailers are hastily put together and try to appeal to … I don’t know who many of the trailers today appeal to. Many of them try to make the movie look like another hit and show all the good parts, or try to appeal to action junkies. Their job is to get people in seats. A few directors, like Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, and JJ Abrams make good trailers nowadays without giving too much away. In any case, I watched the movie with low expectations.

I was surprised in many good ways. Nicholas Cage wasn’t so annoying. I actually believed in his character’s mission and saw the void caused by his death. His daughter in the movie, Hit Girl, is in a world of her own. She carries the movie more than any other character. Dave aka Kick Ass, is actually pretty annoying with zero charisma, but we don’t care. He is merely the audience’s POV watching all of the action go down. And boy, does the action pick up to a climax that is so unreal I had to watch it twice. If there is a word for Unbelievable-Awesome, let me know, because that is what it was.

Matthew Vaughn gets the performances he needs out of everyone, including Mark Strong who plays the villain (before the commercials portraying the villainous British archetypes years later). He has a serious eye for talent.

I rate the movie a 9/10 and one of the few surprise movies I’ve seen where I didn’t want to watch the movie at all after seeing the preview.

Check out Matthew Vaughn’s other movies: Layer Cake (with Daniel Craig before he was bond and Tom Hardy before he was Bane/Mad Max), Stardust (surprise hit based on Neil Gaiman story … also has a solid cast), X-Men First Class (before Jennifer Lawrence blew up with Hunger Games and won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook), and Kingsman: Secret Service (with Taron Edgerton as one of the final 5 candidates for the new Han Solo movie). Matthew Vaughn is in a class of director I will watch anything they make for now on, no matter the genre. Only David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, and Peter Jackson fit this category.

Book Review: Watchmen

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Watchmen by Alan Moore

If you ask me what my favorite comic book is, I’ll answer with Watchmen. I didn’t read it when it came out, but like a total geek, I purchased all of the original comics on ebay after I read omnibus edition in 2008. For Christmas that year, I asked my girlfriend to buy me the absolute edition version of it (pictured above, except mine is still wrapped in plastic like a nerd).

The story was so imaginative and out of this world, that I read most of it in a couple days on a cruise. Stories within a story. The Comedian and unreliable narration and accusations. Dr.Manhattan and his blue _____. Night Owl and his physical issues. Ozy and his plot to save mankind. Rorschach and his morality. The past and present all coming together. And Nixen.

I don’t care what people say about literary fiction. Graphic novels when done well can tell a more complicated, enriching, and deeper tale than anything words can. By design, humans enjoy the visual medium. This is why as year go by, we gravitate to each new visual medium in droves. The Stage. TV. Motion Pictures. Comics. Sports. The Internet. Smartphones. 3D Movies and Oculus. We communicate faster and faster as our attention spans get shorter and shorter.

In a way, Watchmen is a story stuck in the 1980s, and in another way, tells a story reflective of the world today. Fear mongers will try to scare everyone and over react to tragic things around the world, which gets us to turn on each other when we should be uniting for a common purpose.

Watchmen is the greatest short comic series of all time.

CHECK OUT LADY SNOWBLOOD, AND UNIQUE REVENGE GRAPHIC NOVEL

TV Reviews: Daredevil (Pilot)

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When I heard Netflix was launching Daredevil as a TV series, I was seriously a bit Marvel’d out. Already getting slammed by Affleckdevil and Garnelectra, I wasn’t much interested in watching more of our favorite blind super hero.

But I was wrong.

I knew it from the opening two minute sequence showing the entire origin story right there. Boom. Get me right into the story. This is something many superhero reboot or origin stories need to learn from. We don’t need to spend the first act of every super hero movie finding out how they got their powers.  Just throw me in the damn story and trust the audience is smart enough to follow.

The protagonist is very likeable and believable (in comparison to say … The Rock wanting to play Jack Burton in a Big Trouble in Little China reboot), so the audience roots for him early on. The opening episode ends with the antagonists meeting to discuss the situation without Kingpin and leaves us wanting more, which was the point of the pilot.

Future episodes with Fisk, Stick, Father Lanton, Turk, Wesley, Jack Murdock, Melvin Potter, Claire Temple, Karen Page, Nobu, and Madame Gao would have to wait. I was hooked, and resisted the urge to stay up to 4 am to binge watch the whole thing.

I only wish other Marvel franchises took the same approach. Focus on character development and plot. Comic book series were printed over a long time and all of key details and suspense is lost when it is crammed in 2 hours in a PG setting.

Now, when will Netflix make Neil Gaiman’s Sandman?

Pilot Rating: 9/10