Late last year, the internet broke in half when Disney not only announced that they bought Star Wars, but that they are making more movies.

Today, the internet went nuts again when they finally announced the new director….J.J. Abrams.


Excitement and fear was had by fanboys (as there usually is) but I have ask…what EXACTLY are we excited/fearing for?

Because with all the talk I’ve personally had of more movies (who’s going to direct them, will the original cast come back) surprisingly the least brought up subject that comes up is; what the hell are these movies going to be?

When Star Wars first came out, no one suspected anything with this film. What a difference that was comepared to the expectations and anticipation for the first prequel.

With the prequels, we as fans had a basic idea of where these films could go. We knew we were going to meet Darth Vader before he turned, we knew we were going to see Obi-Wan at his Jedi fighting prime, we knew we were going to meet Luke and Leia’s mom etc. We could speculate all day long what these movies were going to be because we knew where they had to end…they had to end with setting up the status quo for Star Wars: A New Hope.

But these new movies? What are they? Sure, we can come up with our OWN  ideas of where they can go. We can look at the expanded universe novels and comics for possible direction (thought I wouldn’t count on them using ANYTHING from those…)

But the reality is….NONE OF US (outside of the Disney and the new films creative team) have any clue what these movies will be.

The Empire is destroyed. Anakins dramatic arc was fulfilled. Luke has his approval from his ghostly mentors. There isn’t any OBVIOUS place to go from this point on.

….but that does make it exciting doesn’t it?

You know what that affords us? Surprise, something that Star Wars hasn’t had in a LONG time.

The expectations of where the Prequels should/and didn’t go don’t hinder these new films.

They literally can go where they want, and that’s a reason to be both excited and afraid.

So, why do we want these new movies to be good? Anyone can argue that we don’t need them. We COULD just watch the old ones again(plus-minus the prequels/remastered versions/ewok blinking versions….your choice.) BUT, why do we still hope for the best and want these movies to work?

The same reason we wanted Episode I to be good a long long time ago; we want to be excited for the newold.

Newold? That’s what I’m calling this  trend of reboots/or returning of old franchises. The Daniel Craig Bond series, the Nolan Batman films, Tron Legacy, the new Die Hards, Rambo and the 2005-now Doctor Who fall in this category. To me it means we want what we know from the series, but just done differently enough to be fresh.

Also, look at where all those franchise have in common. All these franchises fell apart in some fashion. They became stale in someway or became forgotten. They needed someone to come in, swoop in, dust it off, and remind us why we liked it the first place.

I know that’s what I felt J.J. Abrams did with his Star Trek reboot.

Not gonna lie, I’m an Abrams fan. I will defend Mission: Impossible III. I thoroughly enjoyed Abrams take on Spielberg movies (Super 8). I think the pilot to LOST is one of the best TV pilots I’ve ever seen. And man… I LOOOOOVED his Star Trek film.

Abrams is a right fit, and I think he specializes in Newold movies.

Star Wars needs that person to give it a new shine. That’s why I’m IN LOVE with the new Stars Wars comic that just came out.


I think it does great newold. It uses the old, classic versions the characters but adds new and differently elements to them. It gives us new dramatic angles to the characters that we never got to see. It also gives us plenty of elements that make Star Wars…well…Star Wars.

So…now we play the waiting game. I personally kinda hope that Disney/Lucasfilms will let Abrams usual secretive style promotion that he’s been known to do. Like I said before, I want to be surprise and Abrams understands that I want that.(I.E. Who IS the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness)

All I can say to Abrams is…good luck. If he though making the Star Trek fans happy  was going to be hard, I’m pretty damn sure he knows that  the Star Wars fans are going to be MUCH worse. To many fans, Abrams is the key to fixing their childhood…which is extreme, but I know they exist.

I’ve personally learned to not be like that. All I want is a fun, adventure filled movie. I want the character interaction to be engaging. I want the score to be rousing. I want the action to be exciting. I want it to be funny. I want the characters to know the stakes and to get emotionally hurt sometimes.

It isn’t that hard for Abrams. In my eyes, he’s pulled it off before. I’m not asking for the second coming, I just want it to be fun.

Just be fun. No pressure. Just be fun, because that all Star Wars ever was in the end.


And if the new movie is terrible?…hey….we’ve been through it before….

I personally don’t feel like I’m qualified to define what makes a movie the “best”.

Film, like all art, is subjective. Saying something is the “best” implies (at least, to me) something everyone agrees with. Well, I don’t think I can defend what I think is the best, but I can easily defend what I LIKE.

Earlier last week I wrote a statement that read “Sometimes I judge a movie because I think the 9 year old version of me would flipped for it.”  I want you to keep that in mind when you look at my top ten favorites of last year.

Wow, last year. 2012 was quiet a year for movies. An abundant of riches of a wide array of films. While figuring out my top ten, I seriously had to make some hard decisions.

First, I’m gonna give you my top four runner ups. Trust me, some of these jumped back and fourth in the top ten. All of these I saw only once, so in due time, when I see them again, maybe one of the top ten movies will be bumped off.  Any other year they would have easily been in the top ten, but man, it was just that kind of year for me. So, starting with…

Les Miserables– Stunning performances from Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and Eddie Radmayne, the film really brings the famous Broadway musical to big epic life. The songs and numbers are spectacular, but sadly Russell Crowes performance as Javert isn’t perfect (though I don’t hate like the rest of the internet does) it does hold back the film to go higher on the list. That being said, I still have the songs and numbers stuck in my head so I can’t wait to revisit it again.

Argo– Ben Affleck gave me the kind film that I miss seeing. Smart, tense, mature and exciting. The final sequence was tension filled to the brim. This is my favorite of Afflecks directed films, and I can’t help to think he’s only getting started.

Wreck-it Ralph– The Pixar film I didn’t get this year (sorry Brave…you looked very pretty though!) The film surprised me how emotionally invested I got with Ralph and more surprising…Vanellope Von Schweetz. Sarah Silverman gives one of her best performances voicing Vanellope, and her story really surprised me.

Cloud Atlas– It’s big budget art, and I have to respect that. I love the fact that I know that I lot of people hated it as much as the people who loved it. I couldn’t help but be impressed. The scope, the performances from Tom Hanks, Bae Doo-Na, and Ben Whishaw. I also dearly loved how they edited this film. It constantly challenges you to pay attention, to not look away. Look away, you might miss something.

Ok…here we go, my top ten….


10.) Chronicle

Surprises are nice. I love surprises. Surprises for films being released are hard to come by nowadays. When I saw the trailer to this, I had very little interest in watching another found footage movie. Here comes the surprise, it’s not. It’s wants to be better then that. It’s got characters I legitimately give a damn about.  It’s wonderfully directed. It’s smartly written. The acting is great. It’s a fresh take on the this subgenre of “superpowered” people movies/tv shows we’ve been getting lately, and most of us didn’t knew this thing existed until a few weeks before it came out. It’s made $64,314,970 in the US and Canada alone. Like I said, I love surprises.


9.) The Raid: Redemption-

Straight up, no bones about it, this a modern action movie classic. BRILLIANT! AMAZING! FIGHTS! A simple (but effective) story. Great directing and editing. The score kicks ass. Oh, and did I mention how GOD DAMN AMAZING THE FIGHTS ARE?!?! This is pure adrenaline movie making, the kind that they don’t make as much as they used to.  You see this if all you want to see is spectacle and action, and you will NOT be disappointed.

Moonrise Kingdom poster

8.) Moonrise Kingdom

While I always like Wes Anderson films, I haven’t always loved every single one. This the first time I truly connected with one of his movies since Rushmore, which is my all time favorite one of  his. The quirks that makes Wes…well…Wes, truly shine, making this strange coming of age/love story  a special movie.  Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward give remarkable performances as Sam and Suzy. Loved Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis.  Loved the music.  It’s the most Wes Anderson-y movie that Wes has made, and I loved every second of it.


7.) The Cabin in the Woods-

Being too clever can be a dangerous thing for a film. It can sometimes feel like the filmmakers are trying too hard to impress you as oppose to just tell the story.  So when a movie does BOTH, it’s an exciting thing. Director/co-writer Drew Goddard and co-writer/producer Joss Whedon (hmmm….that name sounds familiar) crafted a movie that feels both familiar yet different. OH, and it’s gory, hilarious, exciting and so much fun. This has to have one of the best third acts of ANY movie this year. Just a blast. We horror fans should feel so lucky to have this film.


6.) Skyfall

The Bond film that reminds us all why we go and watch Bond films. It blends the aesthetic that made the Daniel Craig era of Bond so appealing to the new fans yet brings back the fun of the original films. It’s also one of the most BEAUTIFUL looking films of the year, thanks to Roger Deakins amazing cinematography.  Javier Bardem also kills as one of the best Bond villains in the series history. I now can’t wait to see the next Bond. A great film to celebrate the 50th anniversary.  Now…..BRING BACK BLOFELD!!


5.) Sleepwalk With Me

Hilarious, real, and mature. Writer/director/star Mike Birbiglia crafted a first film that many would call Woody Allen-esque. I won’t, I’m calling it Birbigliastic….or not, you can ignore that. As I wrote in my Blu Ray review of the film: “Birbiglia crafted a film that wonderfully balances the humor and the drama. It feels so effortless clever in how it allows us to understand Matt (the character that Mike plays) and really get into his headspace. It would be very easy to accidentally have us dislike Matt, what with the some of the choices he makes throughout the film. Thankfully, the smart writing from Birbiglia (along with co-writers Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia and Seth Barrish) never falters, and I remained invested with Matt’s story…even when he messes up.” Since owning the Blu Ray I realized I ended up watching it 4 times that week.  I look forward to Mikes next film, especially since his first film that is as good as this.

django unchained

4.) Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino makes movies. No shit right? But you don’t understand…he makes…MOVIES. Movies that know how to BE movies. Films that firmly live in the fictional world they live in. Characters that move to music that, while they shouldn’t know there’s music, seemingly feels like they DO know there’s an awesome song being played for them as they walk and stand. Characters that know what they should be doing in the genre they’re in, but refuse to act the typical way they are suppose to act in the genre of film they’re in.  Tarantino writes dialogue you wanna memorize. He makes films that you wish had a 100 sequels/spin offs, just so you can spend more time with the characters. He helps give actors memorable roles that they clearly are having fun playing.  He creates soundtracks that you wanna own. He creates moments that he knows will get a crowd excited. Tarantino makes MOVIES, and I love him for doing so. Django Unchained is no different. He made another badass film, and I am dying to see it again.


3.) Looper

Had the film been ONLY about Bruce Willis chasing Joe Gordon-Levitt in the near future, that would have been enough. BUT, it’s not just that. It ask big questions about morality, and it does so in the only way a Sci-fi film can. It does it originally too. Writer/director Rian Johnson continues to make films that are more then what it seems and he never fails to impress. The big winner for the film to me is definitely  Joseph Gordon-Levitts incredible performance as Joe. Never being a parody of Bruce Willis, he brilliantly takes the essence of Willis and creates a character that is all his own. Add that to the great storytelling, action, and exciting world building that Johnson crafted, Looper is another unique notch in Johnsons film catalog.


2.) Beast of the Southern Wild

This film lives in it’s own world. It’s a larger then life fable. It’s emotionally gut wrenching. It’s sensational filmmaking that takes you on a trip. You will meet characters that are fascinating, strange, but utterly compelling. You will see one of the most charismatic performances of the year from the 9 year old actress, Quvenzhane Wallis. You will hear a score the tells as much story as the images on the screen (and it’s my personal favorite score of the year, give a little listen to it here.) After I saw the film, it didn’t leave me for days. If you like to watch movies to be transported, then I suggest to take a trip to this film.

and finally my number one pick is….


1.) Battleship-

Now, I know…this film gets a lot of shit, but …hear me out. I truly thinkBWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


I couldn’t do it! I can’t keep a straight face about that. Ok…for reals, my number one is pretty obvious…..


1.) Marvels The Avengers

This movie is the film I’ve dreamed of seeing since childhood. I got into movies the same time I started reading comics. I grew up watching/reading the good and the bad superhero stories. I love this genre too much. This movie bottles what makes reading all those comics that I’ve read and finally put it on the big screen. This film is pure joy to me. Any flaws it has in it’s script, it goes away by charm and personality. As a Joss Whedon fan, I’m happy to see him make something that connected to not only the comic fans, but to everyone else too. I’m happy to see a cast that brings it’s “A” game. I’m happy that it’s hopeful and bright. It’s a crowd pleaser that makes watching a movie in a room full of strangers a great experience. I love it when you and the rest of the audience is laughing together, clapping together all because your sharing this one big movie. It’s the reason why I saw the thing 10 times (?!) in the theaters this year. I want to relive that excitement again and again. Those are the kind of movies I grew up loving, and I am glad to know I can still feel that way about seeing a flick.

Whew….2012. That was quiet good. So 2013, lets see what you got, but I’m not gonna lie, 2012’s movies were quiet a doozy.

And there were so many more that came out that I HAVEN’T seen but I still want too:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Jeff who lives at Home, The Master, End of Watch, Seven Psychopaths, Lincoln, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Holy Motors, Silver Linning Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.

This list could STILL change.

2013, not to put any pressure on ya, but you have a hard act to follow.

How about you guys? What’s on your list?

By all accounts…I’m a pretty geeky guy.


Wow, please, don’t gasp in shock all at once.

But I am. I collect DVD/blu-rays/comics and the occasional toy. I can talk endlessly about movies and comics. I know the works of directors/writers/actors off the top of my head. I watch fringe comedy/sci-fi shows. I go to fan conventions.

So yeah, I’m super geeky.

There are only a few things I’m don’t do the world of geekdom. 1.) I’m not a video gamer (I like video games just fine, but I don’t own a system and I just play casually with friends) 2.) I’ve never cosplayed (costume played)

Like video games, I have nothing against cosplay, but I just never did it. When I was younger (and a lot more cynical) I used to mock cosplayers at conventions. That’s ridiculous of course. It’s basically the kettle calling the other kettle black but with a weirder spout.

I never thought about cosplaying until…well…last year.

It was the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. My friends decided to dress up in full Harry Potter cosplay that night.

Now for them, they only did Halloween costumes and never did a convention. Tonight, well tonight, they felt the love.

Fans got excited, tons and tons and tons of people wanted pictures. They were mini celebrities that night, and they were having a blast. At the end, they started thinking about wanting to do this for an actual convention. I saw how much fun they were having, and soon my brain started thinking.

In the months to come, I saw a few more friends try out cosplaying (this time at conventions) and soon they saw the fun in it too. The joy of pretending to be a  character, the fun of posing for pictures….it was starting to be appealing.

Cut to a few weeks ago. I was hanging out with some friends. We just watched a movie together and were walking to get some dinner. Two of my friends were planing on cosplaying at ANIME EXPO (an Anime Convention in LA).

One was going as Deadpool….

The other was going as movie style Hawkeye….

My friends (lets call them Deadpool and Hawkeye respectively for this blog post) asked if I had plans on cosplaying for AX. I told them no, and that I wasn’t sure what to dress as anyways.

I told Deadpool that I had some mild interest in dressing up as Nightwing or Robin at one point, but I don’t have the time or the money.

Deadpool said “How about Red Hood? I have one of those masks from comic con.”

What mask is he talking about? This one….

And who’s Red Hood? Red Hood is former Robin Jason Todd, who is now a “dark” vigilante.

Huh….I thought about it.

When I went home, I reminded myself on how Red Hood looked like.

I quickly realized I HAVE that jacket. The rest is all black, some guns and a bat symbol. While Red Hood is not really one of my favorite characters, I can make the costume really quickly and easy.

So…..it wouldn’t hurt to do it…for ONE day.

I made a cheap (and I do mean CHEAP) red bat symbol out of cardboard, borrowed some belts and holsters from friends and well…..

Ok….I think it stinks and I look like a weird Mexican wrestler.
But you know, thats ok, I have seen worse at other conventions.

So I walked around with Deadpool and Hawkeye at the convention. I wasn’t getting much attention (especially since their costumes were AMAZING) until we were looking at one table at artist alley. The artist behind the table looked at me and quickly said….

Artist at Artist Alley Table: ….whoa, dude…are you….uh…oh crap…RED HOOD?!?

I nod my head.

Artist at Artist Alley Table: DUDE! Can I take a picture of you?

Ah….so it begins.

Or so I thought.

Not shocking, Red Hood (an American Comic character) is obviously not very well known at an ANIME convention.

But that’s ok. For every 3-4 people who confused me for Deadpool (which is funny because I was standing right NEXT to Deadpool!) Spider-Man, Batman Beyond (the red bat symbol makes it confusing I guess…), Batman (REALLY?!?) I got the few really excited guys who knew who I was.

One moment played like this….

Young Fan 1: OH man! Check out who this guy is dressed up as!

Young Fan 2: Duude, that’s a sick Deadpool!

Young Fan 1: NO YOU IDIOT! That ain’t Deadpool, this is Red Hood!

Young Fan 1 proceeded to tell me and Hawkeye how much he loved Red Hood, got excited because I was doing the new comics version of him, showed us his very cool pipe cleaner toys he made (his Red Hood one was at home he said) and proceeded to geek out to me. It was pretty adorable.

Now, Red Hood’s history has a dark one. You see, when Jason Todd was  Robin, he got beaten to a pulp by Joker. When Todd came back from the dead as Red Hood(long story), lets just say he had some beef with Joker.

So of course…look who I bumped into at the convention…

He mockingly called me Deadpool and bird boy…and yeah, I played along, acting tough and gruff. Not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome.

I also enjoyed freaking out my friends that I did see at the convention, but didn’t know I was in costume…

Example below…

I did that twice, and probably enjoyed it more then I should.

I ended the day taking some duo pictures with Deadpool and Hawkeye..

Then we ended our day at Denny’s.

So my finale thoughts on my first time trying out cosplay?  Well, like my friends earlier in the blog post….I finally get the appeal. It’s fun, and yeah, its extended dress up for the right crowed.

And yes…I’m going to do it again. I want to actually put some WORK into it. I want to have a character that I can have some fun with. I have ideas for the next ones. Nothing crazy or elaborate. I won’t be ready for San Diego Comic Con, but the plan is to have it ready for Long Beach Comic Con. So yeah…I guess I cosplay now.  Who knew. Sorry that I avoided it for so long.

P.S. All photos were taken by either Deadpool (if he’s not in the shot) or Hawkeye (if she’s not in the shot). Also, to commemorate my first cosplay, they got me this pin from Artist Alley. Thanks guys, your the best!

I love superheroes as far back as I could remember.

Before I could read, I watched a lot of  superheroes cartoon/movies/tv show. That was how I was introduced to them. Lord knows how many times I used to rent this Hulk cartoon on VHS when I was a kid…

I’d watch any version of superheroes. That crap live action Spider-Man show from the ’70’s? I’d a seen it all. That bad Captain America movie?

I’d rented it a dozen times…knowing that it wasn’t that good.

Hell I even own a bootleg copy of the Fantastic Four movie in the early ’90s…

And when I FINALLY started reading comics, oh boy, did it get worse.

But, why? Why do I love this genre so much?

There is the big question right? We’ve been fans for so long, you take for granted that loving superheroes is part of the DNA of our fan culture.

For me, the answer isn’t so easy. It’s not just one reason, it DOZENS of reasons. First you get drawn to the costumes and powers. A power fantasy of looking cool, and having abilities we all wish we had. Then the battles! Screw guns and regular fisticuffs,  nothing gets more epic then seeing Superman fight someone like the Hulk and witness something awe inspiring.

Then, it’s knowing that the superheroes in these stories are doing this to save US. They don’t have the luxury of having a simple day, they have to fight to ensure that everyone else can  survive to have to those days. It’s that superheroes have this incredible self sacrifice that is inspiring, and it makes you want everyone else in the world to have that same ideal.

That’s why I keep reading and watching superhero tales.

I’m inspired to watch heroism at it’s finest, and to see some kick ass throw downs.

That’s part of the reason why I loved last years Captain America: The First Avenger so much. It’s about a man who, even before he got the powers, was a great man who wanted to do what’s right. Plus, he looked cool throwing that shield.

So, you can imagine that watching a film like The Avengers is only going to make me giddy.

The Avengers isn’t just one of the best superhero films ever made, it’s also the first film that truly nails the the blending of comic book storytelling with filmmaking.

The movies opening is a great example of that. The way that writer/director Joss Whedon wrote, shot and his editorial decisions dictated a  tone and pace that is very much a comic book style of story telling. With out spoiling anything, the way the opening scenes uses a narration that overlaps with simple images feels like reading a comics page. It evokes the pacing of seeing a single panel and reading a word box narration.

The action feels the same way.  Let me tell ya, this film will ruin every other Alien Invasion scene in movies for me from this point on (looking at you BATTLESHIP). Its not just enough to see the destruction, I now really want to see some heroes fly in and and fight back. Which brings me to the fights. Oh man, the fights. The one on one battles between the heroes, the sequence on the Hellicarrier and of course the epic finale 20-30 minutes are just breathtaking. Impacts, hits, punches, laser blasts, everything  is seen clear and crisp. Whedon knows exactly when to speed up the action,  and when to slow down. It’s these moments where it felt most like looking a splash page in a comic, or looking a dynamic fight sequence in a 3 page battle. It wasn’t just great action filmmaking, it’s true superhero comic action on screen.

As a Joss Whedon fan going back as far as 1997 , watching this film felt like Whedon’s graduated. He brought it his all, and for the first time, regular audiences can finally “get” Joss’s sensibilities. I guess it needed to be in a context that they where comfortable with, and after watching the Marvel Studio films for the last five years, audiences where ready.  They just needed to enjoy the story that Whedon fashioned. As Whedon fans, we knew he was not only going to bring in the action, but also the story, characters, humor and the drama. Glad the rest of the world can finally see what we always knew.

It’s been forever seen I’ve seen a true crowd-pleaser,  and every time I’ve seen it ( 3 times as of this writing) the audience is there with the film. It’s the kind of filmmaking that audiences love going to the movies as a big group for. The big laughs and the huge applause from the audience is the kind of magic that makes going to a movie theater fun.  It’s the feeling that audiences got when they first saw Stars Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc for the first time. (Note: Before you go crazy, I’m not saying The Avengers is THAT great, but the elated joy and entertainment the audience got after leaving the theater was just as close.)

But it isn’t just the spectacle that the audiences are eating up in this film, it’s the characters too.  The film is full of great character interaction, great work from the cast from the previous films, and (of course) Whedon’s script getting every single character right. Of course Cap’s ideals and Tony’s ego will clash, but it’s going to be fun to see them learn how to get along. Thor feels responsible for Loki’s action,  yet no matter how crazy his brother gets, he loves him and wants him back home. Black Widow being insanely scared of the Hulk. Tony and Banner being friends because  of their amazing scientific minds.  Agent Caulson’s admiration of Captain America. Hawkeye’s relationship with Black Widow, and the history they share. It’s just a ton of fun seeing this group together. The fact that we take our time seeing this group interact, means when this moment happens in the film….

…it’s earned, and it never fails to give me goosebumps every time I see it in the film.

Going back to that “comic book” feeling, the moment that made me truly realize I’m watching an “AVENGERS” movie is the moment when Captain America faces off with Loki. Seeing Cap talk Loki down and fighting him made my brain go “Oh wow….it’s really happening. This movie really exist!” Why? Because this is the first cross over moment in the film. When the main bad guy from one movie is facing down the main good guy from another.  It would be like if Hans Gruber from DIE HARD is facing Rambo. It only got better when Iron Man flew in!

Ah, and Loki. After the Thor movie, I declared that Loki was the best Marvel studios villain by far. It wasn’t just Tom Hiddleston’s wonderful nuanced performance, but it was the fact that Loki had a strong motivation. His reasons for turning on his family and his fellow gods just made all the sense you when you find out about his backstory. I love were we find him in AVENGERS. I love how much more twisted he got. I love that he actually has a pretty solid plan and for the most part , it’s working…but as Agent Coulson said, Loki’s one weakness is that he has no conviction. Having Loki being too arrogant is a great way to give another layer to the bad guy.

I also loved how Nick Fury was used. Sam Jackson must of had a blast making this, because he wasn’t just used to be a badass (which he was) but he was the one character that had faith for this group. I loved that Fury had to fight for the idea of this group.

Can I also say thank you to Joss for giving me back the real Black Widow? The sexy assistant/ass kicker in Iron Man 2 was ok, but I would like to thank Whedon for giving me back a Natasha that speaks Russian, has a black past, and giving Scarlett Johansson more to do. Whedon gave us a much more rounded character this time, and I thank you.

Is there something I’m missing?…..

Ah…of course….HULK smash.

Ruffalo had a lot to prove here. The poor guy had to come into this film pleasing a group of people still hurt that Ed Norton isn’t coming back (Eric Bana who?). Thankfully, Ruffalo was spot on. I loved his nervous gestures, his sarcastic tone and his “keep to himself” nature. Whedon gave him a lot to do, and when we find out how dark Banners past gets, it’s surprisingly tough.  Also, this movie Hulk is flat out the BEST LOOKING Hulk from any of the movies. Never feeling like he’s made of rubber or plastic like the previous movie Hulks, he’s got a great design, and when he starts fighting (oh the nerdgasam I got when Hulk started fighting Thor…) it’s so damn entertaining.  I also think it’s pretty safe to say that the Hulk STOLE THE SHOW for a lot of people, and for good reason.

Are their issues I have the film? Small ones, to be sure, hell, some are nitpicks. I wished Hawkeye wasn’t in the “state” that he was in for most of the movie since he’s the one member of the cast that I felt we haven’t got a true sense of his character (though in defense of that, he do get little bits here and there that I like.) The plot is too simple and generic, and there are plenty of moments of “well, isn’t THAT convenient”  in the movie. But, WHO CARES! Say the plots to Raiders of the Lost Arc, Star Wars, Die Hard, Jaws, E.T. and many others and they all have their fair amount of issues…but why do we love those movies? The characters, the humor, the earnest drama, and fun.

For me, this was the comic book superhero film I’ve dreamed of seeing since I was a kid. Look back at the videos I posted in the beginning of this review.  See how far we’ve come?

That’s why I kept watching those bad Marvel movies as a kid. It was “enough” till the day they finally got it right.

After watching The Avengers, I wish I can tell the kid 7 year old version of me…dude….they FINALLY did it. And man, your going to LOVE it.

He then will be heartbroken to find out he has to wait 21 years to see it, but….still, I thik it’s well worth the wait.

This past weekend I got the chance to see the Indonesian action film, The Raid.

Needless to say, if you know me at all….you know that this film is completely my cup of tea. It’s the kind of action film I crave. Amazing fights, tight story, likeable heroes, hateful villains, kick ass score (which I am listening to right now as I write this) and wonderful direction.

So of course…..Hollywood wants to remake it.

So lets ask this question, the question everyone ask when they hear a film is going to be remade…WHY?

For the Studio, the answer is simple: it’s got an easy premise to redo and it’s got some name recognition.

Ok, I get that, but can I explain that isn’t really enough to remake this movie?

What’s there to remake? The premise isn’t such a high concept idea that you can easily see another take on it. This isn’t an Infernal Affairs to The Departed situation. It’s main appeal is that it’s simple. It’s a reason to have fights.

What I’m trying to get at here, is that The Raid works because of execution.

The way that writer/director/editor, Gareth Evans , and his star/fight choreographer, Iko Uwais, have crafted this film with razor sharp action movie accuracy is what’s blowing people away from this film.

It’s clear that Gareth Evans is from the school of showing clear fight geography,  a class that a few Hollywood directors should retake…or take if they haven’t yet. :::coughGaryRoss:::coughMichaelBay:::coughEVERYOTHERHOLLYWOODDIRECTOR…cough

My suggestion? Instead of remaking The Raid, learn from it. Watch it a few times, and listen to the audience. See  and hear what’s getting them excited.

Hollywood used to be the home of high adrenaline filled action films! Your telling me there isn’t a single script in the piles and piles of scripts you guys have underneath all the remakes,reboots, prequels, sequels, comic book movies, and TV show adaptions that you can’t retro fit to have your own The Raid?

I’m sure you do. You’re just not looking hard enough.

Sigh…your not even listening to me are you? That’s ok, I’ll just watch The Raid again.

This film surprised me, and not so much in terms of what happened in the story(I already read the book). What surprised me was the approach director Gary Ross and his team did with the film. This is a big budgeted sci-fi film that somehow also has an indy movie aesthetic. It’s epic and fantastic, but  grounded and intimate. It’s exciting and thrilling, but heartfelt and touching. What I’m basically saying, is that this a good movie.

First , let me go back to the aesthetic and tone of this film. It would have been easy to make this a showy sci-fi film. To really revel into the design of  The Captial and the other Districts. To make the costume design and the production design a huge focus (looking at you IMMORTALS) but Ross doesn’t want you to focus on that. He wants you to focus on Katniss, and her story.Ross’s matter of fact approach to the world of Panem is confident and non distracting. It feels lived in, even when the budget shows, (the CGI work in this film is a little shoddy) you still buy into this world.

Of course, for us to focus on Katniss, he needed the right actress. Jennifer Lawrence shines in this film.  This is the film that will push her further as a true movie star. She’s compelling, subtle, and straight up likeable in the film. She is also a believable action heroine; tough  and brave, yet never loosing her femininity.

The rest of the cast does well too. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz all deliver in the roles of Haymitch, Effie, and Cinna.  I also quiet enjoyed Stanley Tucci as the over the top Ceasar Flickerman, and as well as Wes Bentley giving a wonderfully nuanced performance as Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker for the games.

As an adaptation, I’m also surprised how close to the book they where, with very minor changes. I also felt the changes were made for good reasons. For example, how Katniss  got the Mocking Jay pin is different in the film, but it adds a nice emotional impact for the adaptation and I think it works great. I also quiet liked the added scenes of Seneca with President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland (who brings a quiet menace to the role.) .

The action in the film was surprisingly as brutal as the book, being able to be exciting with out being over the top.

Try as they might, the cave scene drags the whole middle section down ,which is how I also felt was the problem with the cave scene in the book (click here to read my previous blog about the book) and, yeah, I don’t like Peeta.

Josh Hutcherson does a great job playing Peeta, and I have no issues with his performance, but I overall just don’t find the character that great. Just like in the book, it feels like he is mostly there to give Katniss another obstacle.

The Hunger Games has a huge fanbase, this time out, not only is it a film that I think (most of) the fans of the book will be happy with, but I think it’s also an exciting and smart film for non-fans to jump in and enjoy.

I love this show, and yes, so does most of the internet.

Sadly, the show is currently on hiatus, which simply means that we don’t know WHEN it will come back.

I have faith that it will come back before we know it, but it does mean a long wait time.

So whats a fan to do? For me, it’s looking back on this season and remember my favorite moments.

What are those moments? Glad you ask….

-First off, Troy representing Georgia.

-Next, Garrett informing us when there’s a CRISIS ALERT!

-Professor Kane wondering about the changes that happened while he was in jail.

-Britta’s reaction to when the pizza arrives.

-Jeffs amazing  performance in the new Greendale commercial.

-The fact that the song that Abed sings in this clip…

…is what Troy sang when he entered this scene.

Actually, that whole scene is just kinda amazing. From Annie’s  Christian Bale “impression” to Troy’s actually being afraid of Abeds knowledge of pop culture for once.

-Next up, the clip that birthed a million GIFs.

Also, Annie’s performance breaking down from dumb sexy girl to caveman to a baby is pretty amazing.

-And of course, the clip I couldn’t stop watching for days.

My goal has been to try to memorize Troys part of the song. I think I almost got it.

See ya next year Community…whenever you came back….when…..OH GOD PLEASE COME BACK TO US SOON!

As the  years go by, and as I get older, sometimes it’s harder get into the holidays spirit.

But if I ever need to get that instant jolt of Christmas Cheer,well then I look to these flicks to help me. And no, this is not going to be one of those list in which I put movies that are SET on Christmas but are not actually about Christmas (I.E. Die Hard, Gremlins, Lethal Weapon etc.) Nope, this will be a list of legit Christmas movies.

Truth be told, it doesn’t feel like Christmas unless I’ve seen  at least a few of these movies, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas unless I saw a full viewing of my number 1 movie.


Director Jon Favreau was able to use Will Farrell’s most famous (and now most overused) schtick , a manchild, and made it into this generations first iconic holiday character. Nearly a decade later, ELF only gets better for me. It’s quotable, funny as hell, sweet but yet has a enough edge to make the adults not roll their eyes.

Here is the scene that I quote every time I think about this movie.


Funny enough, I wasn’t a big fan of this when I first saw it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but I was a bit disappointed, thinking that it was TOO many stories. But as the years go on and the more I watch it, the more I get suckered in to it and more I fell for it. You gotta love the cast too. It’s pretty great seeing so many great actors, most of them known for their dramatic roles, and to play in something like this was just fun. You can tell that they where having fun.   And for me, it’s all about this scene.

How can your day not brighten up after hearing that score?


For a tale that gets told over….and over….and over….and over……this version still one works on me. Maybe it’s because I’m such a Bill Murray nut. While it’s fun to watch their modern take on Charles Dickens classic, the end scene is what makes it such a big deal for me.

Murray’s speech is great, and Murray performance is wonderful. It’s my favorite of the “Scrooge realizes” moments in movies. It’s the reason why it’s so high on this list.

Oh, and this bit…

“Put a little love in Your Heart”  is my favorite part of the whole ending. God, I would have loved to have seen this movie in the theaters when it came out.  To be in the audience when Murray is asking them to join along. I hope people joined in with Murray, because this was still a magical moment even for me when I was watching at home.


A cliched answer? Perhaps, but I have a reason.

Back in 2005, I took a job doing sound for a play version of It’s A Wonderful Life. I knew the director, and he asked me to do it. I said yes, mostly because I was flattered by the idea that someone wanted ME specifically. I then realized that I never did sound for a theater production before.What the hell was I doing?

So, the week before rehearsals, I asked one of my friends who DID do sound for theater to give me a crash course on the mixing board. It seemed easy enough, and after a few weeks of rehearsal, I pretty much got it. The whole time during rehearsal I played it like I knew what I was doing, and tried my hardest to not mess up. Even still, we did a two night performance of the show, I didn’t miss a single cue. I apparently was so good, when I told the rest of the cast that I actually never did it before, they were all stunned! It was a pretty proud moment for me.

So thanks to the play, I got to know the story of It’s A Wonderful Life really well…but the truth is I actually haven’t seen the film yet! That Christmas eve, my brother let me borrow his copy of the film and I finally watched it. There’s something about seeing it for the first time that you never forget. Your heart swells, you gut gets punched, and you go along for the ride with George Bailey. It will always be my personal favorite Jimmy Stewart performance. So yes, I love the film dearly and for me, personally, I will always associate it to the memory of accomplishing a goal, I just have to try hard enough.


Flat out, it ain’t Christmas, unless I’m watching a full viewing of  A Christmas Story at least twice!

It’s that movie that will always be there for me. That sure thing. That movie that will take me back to my childhood, no problem what so ever.

It’s a movie that gets the whole child mentality of wanting THE gift. The gift that, when your a kid, will make your whole year.

But it’s not just getting into the mind set of being a kid that I love. I love that how for a Christmas movie, it’s a bit grimy, unpolished, and just a tad bit dark.

And when the flick it is on TV, everything is fresh again. The characters are still great. The writing is still sharp. And this scene  still gets me every time.

Fra ra ra ra ra indeed.


I actually haven’t seen this in years, but I wanted to talk about this for a second. You see, whats cool about this film is that, for all the MILLION different versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL that they made, this was my first exposure of the tale. It was also my introduction to Scrooge McDuck, who I love now thanks to Ducktales.

And while I’ve seen many versions of this tale (ahem, look at number  3 again.) this one will have a special memory for me because THIS was how I was introduced to it. Thanks Mickey!

Well, that is it everyone. I hope you all have a very Happy Holidays!

When it concerns current popular books, I’m really behind. I’m so movie obsessed I tend to forget about books. It’s not like I don’t like reading, on the contrary, I LOVE reading! For some reason I read less and less books through out the years. So when I first heard about Harry Potter, Twilight, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games my reaction was always a giant “never heard of it.” Of course, all of these books have been out for years and have amass a huge fanbase…and I was left behind.

Well, late this year I decided to do a better job of catching up on my reading.  I’ve been doing pretty good so far. Read some Sherlock Holmes, the great, fun as hell book READY PLAYER ONE, and the first of The Dresden Files book, STORM FRONT.

Then came The Hunger Games. Ahh yes, the current young adult novel series that is ALSO a world wide sensation (aren’t they all? 🙂 ) Well, the movie adaptation is coming out soon, so instead watching the flick without reading the book , I’ve decided nows the time to jump in.

I can see why this book is popular. I may not get why TWILIGHT is popular (That will be the last time I will mention that series from here on out. I know it has it’s fans but I am just simply not one of them. Lets move on.) but this book, I totally get why people love it.  The characters are good, the world building is fantastic, it’s well paced(for the most part) and the action is sensational.

Katniss is a great character, and a good role model for readers. She’s tough, smart, has a good heart, but she can make mistakes, and she’s short tempered.  I love that she’s got these great qualities but there’s still enough flaws to make her relatable.

I  love the adult characters. Haymitch, Cinna…hell, even Effie. I think Collins does a great job of hinting the deeper characterizations of the adults. Sure, on the surface they are following the rules of The Capital, but I can sense the inner rebellion the characters have.

Oh, Peeta. Peeta, Peeta, Peeta…I really don’t know how I feel about him. Since the book is told from the point of view from Katniss, I don’t quiet get him yet. I always feel cold after reading his scenes. Maybe I will like him more by the second book, but as of right now, I really don’t know.

I’m not particularly fond of all the scenes that take place in the cave. I felt the flow of the book slammed it’s brakes, as it seemed like we where in that cave for a long time.

But, the when the action came back in, it was insanely well written. I see every beat, every moment. Very exciting stuff.

At the end of the book I instantly saw how this can be made into a great flick.

And today, we get a good look at what to expect from the movie version of the film….

Looking good so far. The tone feels right on, and I’m digging how the future world looks.

I also hope this trailer convinces people on Jennifer Lawrence, but looking at some of the comments from my Facebook friends, some of them are apparently less convinced.  That’s a shame, I think she’s selling it really well .  I’m a Jennifer Lawrence fan (and believe that the film, Winters Bone , is all the proof you need) and I truly think she has all the qualities to play this role. Her moment in the Reaping scene was quiet good.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was the only casting I wasn’t sure about, but I think his delivery (granted, the only line he has in the trailer) surprisingly worked on me.  I’m not totally convinced yet, but I’m not writing him off either.

I’m curious to see if the trailer works on somebody who never read the book.  Right now, I’m down. Even if I never read the book, it still looks like it could be a cool sci-fi/action film.

May the film odds be in it’s favor when it comes out March 23, 2011.

Sometimes you just need to watch an old favorite.

Today was one of those days where I needed a comfort film. You know the kind I’m talking about.

A film that you’ve seen a million times, yet you know it brings you back to a place that makes you happy.

It sorta funny what films become those movies for me. They sorta sneaked up into my life when I wasn’t looking and all of a sudden I see a movie that represents a part of me.

High Fidelity struck a big chord with me when I saw in 2000(yikes! 11 years ago?) The obvious thing I noticed was how funny it was. I mean, it’s pretty damn quotable (Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?) but what struck me the most was the dialogue.

Whenever I hear geek talk in movies or T.V. it always feels so inaccurate, but in High Fidelity, geek talk has never felt so authentic. Sure these guys are talking about music, but their geek talk is EXACTLY the kind of discussions I have with my friends. Making list, daydreaming about hanging out with creative types, bitch and hate on things that are not of our taste, the need to have endless conversations about the crap we’re passionate about, and even being a bit snobby when we see other geeks who are “worse” then us.

I was so blown away by this. I may not be as big of a music guy as Rob(John Cusack) and the rest of the staff of  Championship Vinyl, but replace “music” with comics and or films and the discussions are exactly the same.Those were the things that drove me to this film.

I also wanted to be Rob when I was teenager. I wanted to have his attitude, his clothes (surprisingly I actually use to OWN the maroon jacket that Cusack wears throughout the film before I saw the movie. )and I wanted his ability to talk to women (I was a super shy teenager). I thought Rob was the coolest.

I of course eventually grew up and realized very quickly that Rob….was a mess. He’s selfish, he cheats, and wears his emotions on his sleeves. You would think that would ruin the movie for me, but surprisingly it made me love it more.

I may not want to be Rob any more, but I love that the story wasn’t afraid to give our protagonist huge gaping flaws. Obviously this was an element that novelist Nick Hornby (in which this film was based on his novelof the same name) had in his book, but Cusack’s own personal charm allows us to still like Rob…even when he’s an asshole. It’s one of Johns best roles (right next to his performance as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.)

And that’s really the cool thing to have a movie like this that I can revisit again and again every few years. I get something new each time. As a young adult I saw the cool “older” adult lifestyle and I wanted to be a part of that. As I’m now an “older” adult, I now saw a film about a guy who needs to stop making bad decisions and stop being so afraid to make the right ones. It’s a movie that still gives me things to appreciate and relate to.

That is why this film one of my all time favorite films of all time, and yes…obviously…it is in my TOP FIVE.