Oh shit, its another Michael Moore film!
Once again Moore points a spotlight on the topic du jour - this go round, it's about the all mighty dollar in his upcoming release, Capitalism: A Love Story.
In the trailer, we get to ask "show me the money!" to Congress and the big wigs on Wall Street as Moore tries to make sense of the recession and the bail outs, asking those parties responsible to 'fess up and pay up.
It would seem Moore has turned his particular type of documentary-styled filmmaking into a successful formula; add one part American tragedy to one part government bureaucracy. Add a dash of public outrage and a pinch of easy-to-find victims. Stir in some humor, skewed opinion and public flogging of parties responsible to the mix. Shake well and spread thick on the conscious of the concerned and you get yet a "controversial" Moore film.
As much as I think Moore makes a killing by pandering to the lowest common denominator - public fear and skepticism in the system and American culture, let me be fair in saying he does bring the sentiment and voices of John Q Public to the podium. If nothing else, he tries to help some of his fellow Americans by champion the causes they desperately need answers to.
Capitalism appears to be haphazard walk into the bowels of the recession and the greed that created it. I sincerely hope Moore casts an objective light on the subject to spark a real debate amongst the people he intends to snare and enrage.
Capitalism: A Love Story (not rated) in limited release September 23, 2009.
On Friday, August 21, over 400 Atlantans made their way to AMC Theaters to view 15 minutes of the James Cameron's upcoming epic, Avatar. As part of "Avatar Day," viewers were given an exclusive look at scenes from the film in IMAX 3D.
Long lines in the hundreds formed at both AMC Southlake Pavilion and AMC Barrett Commons as eager fans waited to see the screening of the Avatar preview. Attendees reserved their seats by registering online at www.avatarmovie.com.
Cameron introduced the preview welcoming the curious crowds to a sneak peek of the out of this world film. In the preview, we're introduced to Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a crippled war veteran given a second chance by being downloaded into the body of a Nav'l, a native humanoid species on the hostile planet Pandora. Once linked to his avatar, Sully embarks on a journey of adventure and self discovery.
Across the blogosphere, the preview received mixed reviews. Around the web, people have begun calling the film Dances with wolves in space. After the screening, twitterers couldn't wait to share their opinions of the preview.
Rubber_Rabbit: After meeting James Cameron at E3 and watching the #Avatar teaser I'm adding it to the must watch list. #movies http://ow.ly/l5Xv
Geekanerd: A: I agree with Degan. The #Avatar trailer looks wretched. Advanced Haterism begins now.
Aminojaku: Watched the #Avatar teaser trailer last night on iTunes. Holy crap. OMFG my head exploded does not even begin to describe it.
johnnycocaine: is afraid #avatar is going to basically be Return of the Ewoks.
kclynL: just went to see the screening of #AVATAR... now i'm getting excited for december...wooohooo!!! beyond our imagination movie...
Kneon: Is it just me, or does #Avatar look like a video game? For all the hype I thought the CGI looked fakey.
osulop: #Avatar CGI looked way more convincing in the preview on the big screen in 3D. Only thing I'm not too taken with is the shakycam.
andyroyal: saw the James Cameron #Avatar teaser on Friday, all I can say is O M G!!! I cannot wait for this film to come out or the game from @ubisoft
Cameron's Avatar is a 3D spectacle but looks and feels at times like a bad acid trip. The blue skinned Nav'l mannerisms do remind you of images of Pre-Colonial Native Americans and even in the 15 minute preivew, you get the since that Cameron is trying to ram a message about humanity down your throat. Cameron proved he's a genius at sci-fi story telling, but can he pull off a story about blue people on another planet? I'm hopeful but not sure if he'll sell this flick to the masses firmly planted here on planet Earth.
Avatar (not yet rated) stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana. Film opens nationwide December 18, 2009
While it remains to be seen if Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be one of the all time best animated series, Its interesting that the show creator and director Craig Kyle thinks so. In a post on GeekTyrant, Kyle shared his excitement and explains why he feels this will be one of the greatest series to date.
Its going to be the best show ever made. I am so excited about Avengers I cant even tell you. It is the comic book put on screen. It is the classic team set in modern day. Theyre not fighting communists or anything. It is going to be big. Its Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp. Its the team. Its what you know and love put right on the screen. We are well on our way. Its definitely in heavy production right now as for a premier I do not know? It may be tied to the future film, it may not, I just dont know With Hulk Vs. we really got controls taken off as far as violence goes with Wolverine and the Hulk. But I got to tell you, working on Avengers, thats a cool show. As a comic book fan, Im so excited about it. I think the reason that animated series get the edge now [over direct-to-DVD features] is because when theyre good, you get a lot of more of them. Hulk vs. Wolverine was what, 33 minutes? So with shows like Armored Adventures, Wolverine and the X-Men and the upcoming Avengers, if theyre good you get like thirteen hours of them.
While no specific date has been given for the 2011 premiere of the animated series, people around the net are enthusiastic about its release.
The Avengers have manifested four times in the past in both series and film formats. They make their first appearance on the small screen in 1966 on the Captain America cartoon series. Later, the Avengers get their own series on Fox Kids in 1999 with Avengers United They Stand which received poor marks from the Avenger fan base. Marvel Animation created a winning combination with the release of their direct to DVD Ultimate Avengers animated features in 2006. They followed up the popular movies with a new imagining of the popular franchise with Next Avengers in 2008, a film featuring the children of some of the most popular Avenger heroes.
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be penned by Chris Yost (Next Avengers, Wolverine and The X-Men) and produced by Ciro Nieli (Teen Titans, Transformers Animated), animation will be done by Film Roman, the production company for King of the Hill, The Simpsons and The Oblongs.
Has this ever happened to you - you get to the theater early, grab a large $10 soda, engage in witty convo with your movie buddy, survive 15 minutes of coming attractions. Then just as the movie gets well underway, your bladder starts screaming for release. As you walk down the dark corridor out of the auditorium, you hear roaring laughter or screams or my favorite, "oh Hell naw!" You get back later with your friend telling you, "you missed the good part."
Well worry no more, now you can know exactly when to step away to "pay the water bill" with a quick visit to runpee.com before heading to the movies.
Runpee.com flushes all colorful commentary and gives its readers the facts - what times and what scenes should movie goers head to out to take a bathroom break. What I like most is the interface. There's no reviews to wade through, no fussy graphics - just a easy-to-use panel showing how many four minute breaks and at what times are essentially worth skipping. If you wanna know what happened while you were out. hit the "unscramble" button and scene spoilers are decrypted.
The "pee times" are submitted solely from the site's registered users and thus subject to some scrutiny. That said, new movies and previously submitted updates are consistently added. Registration is free and movie updates are not moderated so they appear on the site immediately.
Recently, the Runpee's creator/developer, polyGeek announced the release of a mobile version. Runpee is available for download for Apple iPhones for $.99.
Instead of reaming the annals of the new movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, I thought it may be better to give potential movie goers a G.I. Joe primer and let them be their own critics for a change. As all Joe fans know, "Knowing is half the battle," so here's all you need to know about G.I. Joe and the movie's relation to the long running comic and various animated series.
G.I. Joe and Cobra organizations FYI
First off, G.I. Joe isn't America's elite covert strike force anymore. Instead they're some NATO empowered military group that doesn't have a clue of what's going on in the world around them. Believe it or not, this is not that far of a stretch. In Devil's Due Publishing's (DDP) G.I. Joe: Cobra Reborn, Cobra rises and makes surgical strikes around the U.S. and at that point in time, there is no Joe team to combat them. The Joes, a group of active and inactive military specialists are recruited and get organized in the follow up book G.I. Joe: G.I. Joe Reborn.
Reborn successfully depicts the world of Joe in a more realistic and believable setting. In the series, Cobra's maniacal attempts to take over the world are stripped away and replaced with a leaner, more plausible right-wing group set on destroying America and the democracy Cobra believes ruined this country. This is very similar to the movie except for the America part. Cobra is once again an international terrorist group hell bent on ruling the world, but acts more like a shadow organization causing calamity and manipulating governments to bend to their will.
Meet the Joes
I scoured a couple stacks of Joe comics and cartoons to figure out where the hell these characters were derived. At the top there's the General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), who helms the team. Hawk's home base was split between the Pentagon and the U.S.S. Flag and had very little to do with team operation and focused more as a liaison between the government and the team. Quaid's Hawk is very much a hands-on leader which incidentally manifests more in this manner in the DDP comic series.
Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is an enigma to me in the movie. He was introduced in the Joe series in the early 90's and is a heavy ordinance trooper, that equates to being a big dude with a big gun. In the film, he's the field team leader FROM ENGLAND who seem to get there a little too late in most instances. In the animated series, G.I. Joe Sigma Six, he's still just a trooper with big guns so where how HD ends up taking point on missions is confusing.
Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) character really gets under my skin. In the film, Scarlett is a type-A know it all who doesn't even know she has a feminine side let alone know what to do with it. Nichol's portrayal of the team's favorite red head is oblivious to human interaction and faults her strict upbringing for her cold fish demeanor. In the cartoon series and the books, Scarlett is a counter intelligence, martial arts prodigy whose weapon of choice is the crossbow. Scarlett gets her name from her red hair and being an ATLANTA NATIVE (Scarlett O'Hara, get it) which is completely loss in this movie. Scarlett is Duke's on again off again girl until later comic series when Scarlett and Snake Eyes make a go of it, unsuccessfully. In the film, she takes a reluctant shine to Ripcord (Wayans).
Next we meet Breaker (Siad Taghmaoui), he's the Joe's FRENCH chief communications officer and intellectual heavyweight during the movie. You know how it is, he's the one who defuses the bombs, figures out ways to cypher cryptic messages and solve technical anomalies. Taghmaoui's character is necessary since you need brains on any team, but here's the problem I have - HE'S DEAD IN THE G.I. JOE SERIES! There's several other living Joes they could have drawn from for the role. For example, in G.I. Joe Sigma 6, they used technogeek High Tech to deliver the smarts for the team, he created the gauntlets, vehicles and artillery the team used to combat Cobra. Did they just pull his name from a hat, I think so.
The coolest and deadliest member of the Joe team is and will always be Snake Eyes (Ray Park). Dressed in his visored ninja bodysuit and wielding his katana sword, he is THE commando you want in your corner to get things done. In the series, Snake Eye's is disfigured and mute from a helicopter crash but in the film he's taken on a vow of silence as a promise to exact revenge on his nemesis Storm Shadow, who murdered is marital arts sensai. In the later versions of the comic book series, Snake Eyes removes his mask revealing a huge scar across his face.
The last members of the movies assault team are Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) who get recruited to help fulfill G.I. Joe's first mission against the soon-to-be-identified Cobra organization. Tatum's Duke lacks the focus you'd expect from the cartoon and comic's field leader, especially when confronted with his lost love/fiancee Ana, who turns out to be The Baroness, one of the bad guys. Ripcord is a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jumper in the comics but its pretty obvious Wayans is the designated comic relief for the movie. His lighthearted attempts to take the edge off the action and multiple but whoopings falls flat. Wayans' action scenes are ok even though he doesn't engage in much hand to hand combat. One plus on Ripcord's character in the film is a scene where he makes a HALO jump after destroying a warhead in the upper atmosphere.
The Bad Guys
James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) is head of MARS corporation, a technology company responsible for most of the worlds defensive weaponry. Little do his NATO customers know, he's also Destro, a known weapons dealer who sells the same arsenal to NATO's enemies to fund his shadow organization (soon to become Cobra). In the earlier books and the cartoon series, Destro is portrayed as a brilliant but scorned scientist who partners with Cobra making the world his laboratory. In later books (Cobra Reborn) we see Destro as McCullen who believes it's his destiny to stongarm the world into submission and deliver the much needed order only he can provide.
Ana (Sienna Miller) is the Baroness, a ruthless assassin and McCullen's right hand man. The Baroness is cold and calculating martial arts master who'll stop at nothing to complete her mission. The film's re-imagining of this character is probably the most disappointing. In the books and cartoon, she's a sports a thick German accent and a master of disguise and espionage. Her character role takes a true Hollywood twist towards the end that will make true Joe fans moan out loud.
Like the Joes, Cobra has its own resident ninja to take care of business - Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee). Unlike his good guy counterpart Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow craves the spotlight and tends to make bold statements, like using throwing stars (his calling card) when sent on a kill. Shadow's beef with Snake Eyes is in line with the comics and cartoon. They both attended the same martial arts school and as their skills developed Shadow's jealosy of Snake Eye's prowess drove him down a dark path of validation and revenge. Lee's portrayal of Storm Shadow is pretty good, he shows his mastery of his choice weaponry and delivers the same deadpan tone you'd expect from a ninja.
Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) is probably the most dramatic departure from his original Cobra character. In the animated version and earlier comic versions, Zartan was a master of disguise who had a particular skin abnormality which made him sensitive to light. When in contact with bright light/sunlight, his skin would turn dark blue and painful. In the later Reborn series, Zartan is reinvented as simply a master chameleon with a twisted murderous tendency. Vosloo's version of Zartan is clearly culled from the new comic's vision and strays very little from the what you see in the book.
The last member of the team is the mysterious Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a creepy deformed husk of a man hidden behind goggles and a breathing mask. Not much is know about the Doctor until his true identity is revealed and he dons the mantle of Cobra Commander. In the series and earlier comics, Cobra Commander has had multiple origins in several story arcs. The most memorable origin is from G.I. Joe - The Movie in which he's a brilliant scientist from the secret mutate land of Cobra-La. After a being disfigured from a forbidden lab accident he sets out to fulfill his destiny to take over the world. In the book Cobra Reborn, The Commander is merely a small businessman who's world is torn asunder from government bureaucracy and vows to fight the oppressive American government by taking power through his secret group, Cobra.
As a longtime fan of the animated series and comic books, I straddled the fence on this one, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. The CGI vehicles throughout the movie resemble plastic instead of metal at times so it feels like you're looking at retail grade toy models instead of cool, realistic metal arsenal. Overall its entertaining and a relatively good thrill ride, but gets corny and sadly laughable with some of the relationships and plot twists.
Check out this parody of the animated series classic PSAs. Its actually funnier than what Marlon Wayans does in the movie.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Rated PG-13, In theaters August 7, 2009, Directed by Stephen Sommers