Donomark

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Everything posted by Donomark

  1. Dracula 3000 is a terribad classic
  2. Cruella: Like most of the Disney remakes, I've no real loyalty to the original 101 Dalmatians, barely recalling the last time I watched the original. I do remember the Glenn close movie being a big deal - the first of the live-action remakes I figure. But I love Emma Stone, and she looked righteous all throughout this movie. Here's what I settled on: it would've been better had she not actually been Cruella DeVille. If she were Cruella's daughter or another character entirely, it would've been great. As it stands, the movie flails at salvaging the morality of a character who had zero to being with. Why exactly are we redeeming Cruella DeVille, a character who never demanded a second look? Between Horace and Jasper being her childhood friends who lament that she's "grown mean" - and not two rando drunks she hired off Craigslist, to the movie balking at the notion that she would ever kill puppies and turn them into coats, it felt like the film was making an argument nobody else was having. That's why it works much better if Emma Thompson's character was the original Cruella, and Emma Stone was someone else. If it's about someone else, the movie's awesome (save for the near-constant insert music and constant zoom-in shots that fill every frame). Because it's meant to be Cruella Deville, what are we exactly meant to get excited about if her raison d'etre is taken off of the table? This "prequel" doesn't excite us over anything beyond name recognition, and it's not like she was such a legendary character to begin with. It really is a weird case of liking it if I don't think that it's Cruella, otherwise I didn't like it. Batman: The Long Halloween: DC's animated films have been really spotty in the past few years. Between the DCAM universe which started out bad but got better as it went on, with Judas Contract and Death of Superman being their best IMO, and the other various Batman adaptations - with The Killing Joke being universally recognized as the utter nadir to Hush being a half-hearted translation that sought to make a better story by changing the ending, resulting in the film being a decent Batman adventure but ultimately "meh" at the same time - the reliable quality of the old guard that brought about the DCAU as "recent" as Justice League Unlimited hasn't been a thing in a long while. Right now I think the best of DC animation is Young Justice. Long Halloween is a long-demanded adaptation that frustrated me more and more as it went on. First off, the art design an animation are almost criminally bland. Tim Sale has such a distinctive and striking style, you want that replicated in animation, even if it's difficult. But like with Brian Bolland in the Killing Joke, they didn't even try. Gone are everyone's monkey-like overbites and Batman's long and spindly ears, because everyone has the exact same look on their face in nearly every fucking scene. Beyond looks, this film has only one mood: "ominous". With quick cuts and *very slow* takes between dialogue, the somber atmosphere worked for me at first. But it never stretches beyond trying to be spooky. The characters have zero life to them, all ending up as depressingly broad stereotypes, and I'm including Batman and Gordon in that description. Long Halloween has always been implicitly early in Batman's career, but the movie lays that on thick and ends up being confusing. It's a mix of early days and Earth-One Batman where he's straight up not a detective and *has to learn how to be*. That would be fine...but Batman's not a fucking mook. You can't tell me he's captured all of Gotham's super criminals by just punching their lights out, he had to have used his honed intelligence to figure things out that the police couldn't. So he can't just now be bitching about becoming a detective. He can stress about becoming a *better* detective, but as it is there's nothing to him. Jensen Ackles does okay, but half the time I couldn't get it out of my head that it was Jensen Ackles. Maybe it was the Texas twang. But going back to the broad characterization, who is The Roman? Just a mobster. They don't characterize the grip they've got on Gotham, and how that grip is being lost by the supervillains. Falcone is just a bigger godfather rip-off than he was in the comics, to the point that dialogue included in his scenes are "sleeping with the fishes" and "offer they couldn't refuse". I'm sorry, are we taking this seriously here or not? And it's the same with everyone. Gordon's not as dogged and sympathetic as in the original, he's just a bland, grumpy cop. We get scenes of him and his family, but nothing surprising happens, they're just there. Alfred's a complete dickhead, bothering Batman about making public appearances and dinner plans when Batman's at his most occupied, taking on gunfire. None of that shit is important, and Alfred - or the writers - don't seem to know it's not. Catwoman is just silly and one dimensional, whereas in the original she was a wild card who Loeb and Sale had the reader doubt if she was a suspect or not. Here she's just Batman's puck-like girlfriend who almost has no point being in the movie. Harvey Dent does get the best treatment in this, with Josh Duhamel doing a very good job voicing him. But there are also scenes of him acting weird too early on that are uncalled for and unsubtle. Gilda acts like a weepy zombie, which I remember only being a thing halfway thru the book as things got escalated. This movie only covers 4/12 chapters, so it doesn't feel like much is happening. There are inserted action scenes that anti-interesting like Joker and Falcone's bodyguard, or Batman and some guys in Chinatown. And car chases aren't really fun to watch in animation, especially when they're rendered in 3-D and look way slower like they have been for the past 20 years. I didn't go into this excited exactly, last time I re-read Long Halloween it didn't hold up terrifically and I like Dark Victory a lot better, but this thing completely bled out all the style and cool that book had. I want to re-read it again just to remind myself that people know how to depict tension and suspense in a story. This movie's totally swallowed up in its own pride of being "The Long Halloween" that it can't get out of its own way and actually be good.
  3. LOL take that Star Treks 5&6: Definitely planning on sending in my thoughts to EOF podcast, but I enjoyed both of these films for very different reasons. Star Trek 5 has a bad reputation, and I'm not necessarily inclined to argue. It's silly, it's goofy, it's campy. But I really love how comfortable all of the characters come off in it. Spock popping into screen with rocket boots he borrowed from Futurama I found to be very funny. I didn't care about the lousy effects on it. Sybok I found to be a compelling performance, given by a guy whose Shakespearean flare added to this guy's crazed ambition. From the very beginning I was interested in him. I don't love the half-brother revelation, I'm never a fan of surprising the audience with that *so* late into the canon because it rarely delivers on the interest. And he didn't have to be related to Spock. But...Shatner's foul-mouthed rant to Spock after Sybok takes control of the Enterprise made me laugh so much. It's the most William Shatner was playing himself and not Captain Kirk. It was ridiculous, down to him saying to Spock "You made that up" when he knows good and goddamn well Vulcans don't lie. Because the weirdness of everything was so OTT, I was enjoying it on an ironic level. (I will say the scene with Bones and his father was a shot to the heart, and one that hit extremely close to home. Throughout these movies DeForest Kelley seemed to be the one cast member who gave the most increasingly humane performances.) Star Trek 6 OTOH I was surprised how *actually* good it was, both in writing and direction. With a perfectly appreciable plot, the writing on the characters becomes stronger, leading to better performances. The general dilemma is gripping, and aside from the whole escape subplot with Iman, there didn't seem to be any wacky sci-fi bullshit crammed into the movie. By the very end with the action-studded climax I found myself cheering out loud, which is a first when watching Trek I think. I'll admit that the Spock Mind-Meld scene threw me for a loop. I really, really liked it in the moment, (watching the unedited version, apparently there's a cut that flashes to the various characters) finding it to be efficiently directed and the acting to be on point. The discourse surrounding that scene all comes to a resounding "Wait that that torture and mind rape". Yeah, I guess it is, isn't it? It watched to me like Spock was knowingly crossing a line, and the other crew members appeared horrified, so I wish there were more ramifications after that, or Spock having done that contributed to them all being put out to pasture. Kim Cattrall's orgasmic-like screams could've been toned down, but I supposed that added to the horror. IDK, I'm of two minds. They probably shouldn't have done that, but it was so well shot and delivered that I'm only so bothered by the implications, since it is the final movie with the main cast.
  4. I've been watching Gravity Falls since March. Halfway through season 2 and the real plot is finally rearing it's head. So far it's been a very funny but ultimately breezy series of done-in-one episodes, save for the two with Bill. Episode 11 of Season 2 was mostly serious, and is my favorite so far because of it.
  5. Very much appreciate not only the shout-out but Ian's attention to trivia concerning Nicholas Hammond's later career as the first live-action Spider-Man!
  6. Sunstone volume #1: By *looks at notes* Stjepan Šejić. Ero-romancer story about two women who fall in love while starting a BDSM relationship. It's been discussed on this forum before, wither by Des or Dan, but this series has been around for a while. Šejić's artwork is top-notch, particularly in the panels where he leans way into maximizing the emotional strength of the scene. It's like a Final Fantasy cutscene where the animation is way better than the average scene graphics. I will say that well into the aftermath of this series, Šejić's art began to wain on me. He gives every woman the exact same mouth, particularly in their cheshire-like smiles, and it becomes derivative after a while. I'm thinking specifically with his Harley and Ivy artwork. But that didn't get to me while reading this, in part because Lisa's lip-biting, a trait I think all of his women share, was specifically commented on in the story. The writing is solid, with the interest really not on much eroticism at all. It's purely a by-product of these two women finding their way towards each other. Gotta imagine at the time this was groundbreaking stuff. Will endeavor to follow up with the subsequent volumes.
  7. Insufferable: By Mark Waid and Peter Krause I hadn't heard of this until tonight, reading about Irredeemable (which I bought the first trade for ten years ago but didn't continue with) and Incorruptible. The plot of this story is that there's this former Dynamic Duo father/son crime-fighting team who've since split up ever since the son angrily outed their identities and turned his crime-fighting career into a celebrity lifestyle. When mysterious forces invoke the death of their wife/mother, the two are forced to work together, despite constantly getting in each other's way. I think Waid said he meant to pitch this more as a comedy, and it's definitely comedic at times (the broadest gag being the father hero dragging his son via grappling hook as he drives off in their motorbike), but Peter Krause's artwork gives the mystery and flashbacks stronger dramatic heft. With the celebrity/social media angle, it plays as a more realistic satire of the Batman/Robin team, although luckily the similarities are only in the set up of the characters. Galahad - the son hero - isn't meant to be Nightwing or Jason Todd at all. Nocturnus, the father, is closer to Batman but is still his own character. But this was very enjoyable.
  8. I totally forgot about that too
  9. Batman Earth One Volume 3: by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank Pretty much as good as the previous volumes, if a bit faster reading. This feels more of a follow-up to volume two rather than a separate story. It continues the interest of the history of Gotham, its mythological evil, and Bruce's relation to the Arkhams. I don't tend to care about that stuff, but it's thematically central to this world, and it ends up speaking highly of Bruce's character. I always say that Geoff Johns openly shows disdain for Batman in his writing, clearly preferring the sunnier superheroes over him, but I do like how he characterizes Bruce in this Earth One series. He's not a different character but his determination signifies his youth. We get Catwoman in this but not much of a new villain on the on-set. The ending sequel-baits the big one, but this seems to also definitively end with a flashforward to what we'd want to see of this world with little elaboration, so I'm doubtful of a volume 4. Still, I liked all three volumes of this series, and although Alfred's a whiny dick with zero charm, I still dig this version of Batman.
  10. Gosh, figure that depends on a mood. Sunshine for me I think. I kinda like Die Another Day too. It's not good and I wouldn't defend it, but it's cheesy in a fun way. It was the first Bond movie I saw in theaters, and at the time I just assumed they were all spy pastiche cartoons because that was how the parodies worked. I don't like Halle Berry or the special effects tho.
  11. Didn't see a topic on this adaptation, so I figured I'd start it here. Just gonna post my thoughts on the season. After reading the first three trades (later the fourth), I began the television series. Right away there's s decent amount of shifting around sequences of events, but it's probably the tightest page-to-screen adaptation I've seen in a long time, possibly ever. Much of episode 1 was right out of issue one for starters. But the big draw is the murder sequence at the end, which might be the single most violent thing I've ever seen. Until the season finale. I almost stopped watching the show after that, because the violence implemented is so extreme and stark, I couldn't bring myself to return to a world that indulged in such OTT action that seemingly frivolously. But for the first time it's not done without the emotional and human reaction blunted for brevity. Most times, like in the Venture Bros or other animated comedies, extreme violence usually comes out of pocket to elicit laughter because the intensity of it is made to be random, to change up the tone. Here, Kirkman and crew have applied upper-Snyder levels of violence to characters it takes time investing the viewers in, slowing down the pace so when shit gets real, the stakes are immediately heightened. There's so much collateral damage and so many people dying, so much violence inflicted on Invincible, that you really do not take for granted anyone's safety. But it's not simply for that reason, for the sake of coming off impressive. The final episode drags its point across its runtime putting Mark's value of life against Omni-Man's, who treats the human race like ants. He goes from killing a pilot Mark saves to inflicting a 9/11-level catastrophe on a populated city, to literally using Mark's body to split a subway train and its passengers in half, all for the sake of demonstrating how useless it is to put forth the effort in preserving what he sees as uselessly fragile lives. All of this compounds on both Mark and the viewers' sense of betrayal and horror, bringing the audience to share his emotional state rather than leaving us in our seats and simply presenting the violence as matter-of-factly because superpowers. It's no big deal to him, and that attitude appalls both Mark and us. The sense of horror is also plussed by Steven Yuen's terrific performance as the main character. J.K. Simmons is getting much of the plaudits, but I think his voice and similar mustache is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. JK's a great actor, obviously. He earned that Oscar for Whiplash. But there's something about his performance as Omni-Man that leaves me wanting a bit. Not that he's not into it, he's definitely giving it his all in the last episode. But there's a quality in his voice that's stopping short of really giving into the emotion of the scenes, or at least sounds like there is. But not for Steven Yuen, who voices every tick of sadness, shock, humor, annoyance and anger with 100% commitment. Invincible the comic always had this reputation of being a ridiculously violent book. I've seen images of his bones sticking out of bloodied limbs in some pages. But the best thing about the show IMO is including the human element vulnerable to that level of violence. While everyone begins the show almost blandly, by the season's finish you're right there with them emotionally and want to see what happens next. I might finish the comic series before the next season comes out, but it's got my eyes the moment the premiere date's confirmed.
  12. Invincible vols.#1-#4 Read the first three trades in preparation for watching the show, which the internet could not stop talking about. Invincible was for years one of those titles that everyone was going on and on about, and I read an issue or two here or there but it never stuck. It's odd, the first two trades are perfectly harmless, supeheroics by numbers. It's slightly subversive but very straightforward. Cory Walker and later Ryan Ottely are solid draftsmen. I think once you reach the big twist in volume three, you look back on the preceding chapters and realized almost nothing happened for that length of time. Apparently Kirkman was instructed to up the stakes earlier than he planned on doing, as the book was in danger of being cancelled. I can see that, because it's kind of a slow burn. But Mark's likable, his supporting cast is likable. It's a highly recognizable world with the various Marvel and DC pastiches worn very strongly on their sleeve. It must be an Image thing to flat-out rip-off other characters from the Big 2, Erik Larsen's Image does that all the time where some characters are just off-brands of Marvel characters. But it's slightly less egregious in Invincible. Thoughts on the television show to follow in that thread.
  13. Yeahhh, she was Hank's mobster daughter girlfriend
  14. She's also been in the last couple seasons of Venture Bros and was really good.
  15. Mortal Kombat (2021): Was hyped for the movie based on the awesome trailer. This is one that comes down to a very bifurcated list. PROS: -The characters from the game are about as accurate as they could possibly get. Ludi Lin's Liu Kang was a highlight for me even though he cosplayed as Ryu from Street Fighter by the end. -There was a total abandonment of shame when it came to how weird and nonsensical the universe was. Everyone's abilities are present. -Sub-Zero was an unending threat. Every time he was on-screen you felt like someone was gonna die. His fighting style was also really cool. -Hiroyuki Sanada as Scorpion was awesome. -More violent than the 90s films CONS: -I like Lewis Tan quite a bit, but the script failed to present a need for him. He just got in the way and never earned the audience's engagement. -As a result, heavy hitter characters get jobbed -The script is too stiff and arch. Most of the dialogue reeks of feeling unnatural, with the exception of Kano. -There's not a ton of camaraderie established with the characters, especially compared to the '95 movie. -Abrupt ending, whereupon you realize we never actually start the Mortal Kombat tournament. Overall I enjoyed it, but despite itself. I hope it does well enough for a sequel, but it needs to shape up. This watched like a pretty good SyFy channel movie instead of a legit epic film.
  16. So I wasn't around when these were, but FWIW my first interaction with a Superhero Guide Sheet were the bio pages at the end of each issue from DC versus Marvel.
  17. Good on you to do this Mike
  18. The New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito and The Judas Contract Re-read these for an upcoming podcast discussion, largey owed to the recent discussion of Terra's relationship with Slade in the pages of The Other History of the DC Universe #3 which featured Katana. A few new observations this time 'round: 1) Terra's appropriately bad at lying about her origins to the Titans since she's a stupid 15 year old girl, but the Titans at the time are completely up their own ass with their emo drama. Dick is struggling to balance his college life, appearances alongside Batman, solo backup story adventures and leading the team. Donna is proposed to by fandom's most overratedly-hated character Terry Long, Wally is wanting to return to college and is both in love with and afraid of Raven. Vic is in his feelings over the news (lie) that his love interest Sarah Simms is engaged. Starfire is worried that Dick might not love her since her home planet encourages opening up about each other's problems. And Raven is on her usual Trigon BS, although she suspects Terra the most. The only one not having any problems is Gar, and even he questions Terra over her inconsistent backstory at times. But it made me wonder if the team were on their A-game, if Slade's plan would've been found out. 2) Speaking in terms of team members, I think Terra might be my favorite Teen Titan. She's unendingly entertaining, and it's amusing how she secretly hates the Titans but hides it under a veneer of someone who...openly disdains and dislikes the Titans and their do-gooder nature. Like, she couldn't be bothered to come up with a fake persona, she's basically playing herself, just less villianous.
  19. Was lucky enough to be a guest on their Die Hard episode, even luckier to have Derrick look at one of my Creative Writing stories back in college. He was always the most pleasant guy online, I don't think I ever saw him in any way mad. I'm really shocked by this.
  20. Sound of Music fo'sho What's the movie he replaced Kevin Spacey in? With Mark Wahlberg? For all the Money in the World?
  21. Third season is second best, absolutely. Episodes like Hydro-Man, the return of Venom and the Green Goblin sagas put it way over.
  22. Maybe I was distracted listening while driving, but with the "Richard Gere" clips this was finally the first HAA! episode where I had no idea what was going on
  23. The Death of Clark Kent: 90's era Superman story during the Triangle System that leads into Superman #100 and ends with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #1. Clark's old friend from Smallville High School Kenny Braverman is now a supervillain calling himself Conduit who wants revenge on Clark as his knowledge of Superman's identity makes him jealous. He sets out to ruin Clark's life by constantly targeting his friends and family. Lois, Jimmy, Maggie Sawyer and Dan Turpin, Perry White and his adopted son Keith, and most harshly Ma and Pa Kent are all targets that Clark runs around the country trying to protect. At one point Clark believes Lois, Jimmy and his parents to be dead and loudly gives up. That rang the hollowest, as it didn't seem he tried very hard to know for a fact whether or not they died. The second half I found less engaging than the first, which included Superman #100 with some kickass Dan Jurgens artwork. The ending to Conduit's storyline is a bit contrived as well. This story also goes a long way to show why Clark needs to maintain a secret identity, something that Bendis definitely did not read when blowing it in his Superman run last year. A fun 90s story that's pretty flawed but enjoyable all the same.
  24. I think it was public at some point, but I forget. However, Jameson's remained the publisher with Robbie Robertson the EIC ever since, that's not changed. Robbie's been running the Bugle for decades, and ever since Jonah got a heart attack and later became mayor for a while, he's not been at the Bugle for about ten years. BTW the 90s Spider-Man show rules but the first season is far and away the best. The animation is more consistent and great and Peter's sense of humor is super on point. He's such a huge smartass during the Spider Slayer story.