The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Last Laugh

So, did you hear about Mark Hamill?

From IGN, Mark Hamill discusses voicing the Joker in the Batman: Arkham Asylum sequel:

But with The Joker forming such a large part of his acting career, it seems Hamill took some convincing to sign on for the sequel. "My answer to [developers Rocksteady] for the sequel was, 'Guys, we're never going to be able to top the original.' It was so claustrophobic. There were so many abilities like the stealth mode, and all those things you can do with the new technology. I wanted to be able to say I'd gone out on a high note."
...
So what changed his mind? "I got on the phone with Rocksteady and they really reassured me and told me what they were going to do with the sequel. But I'm sworn to secrecy!"

Nevertheless, there's plenty to be gauged from his final remarks, certainly about the fate of The Joker in this second part. "This will be my last, there's no question about that. But it's the last hurrah."


I always knew this day would come. I'm not going to nerd rage or even nerd mourning. He's been the voice of the Joker for eighteen years now. That's longer than Patrick Stewart's tenure playing Captain Picard (1987 to 2002, btw). Eventually it's time to move on, and he's getting to go out on his own terms here. What more could you ask for?



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

V

So, I finally finished watching the entire first season of "V." Let me get this out of the way, I have never seen the original miniseries, or any of its spin-offs. So I had no expectations and no frame of reference.

What is "V" about? It's about faith. What we place our faith in. True faith, misguided faith. I don't necessarily mean faith, as in faith in a high power, but that is part of it. Although faith in family, in friends, in community also are at the forefront.

I first saw the pilot on hulu the day after it originally premiered. And then, I didn't watch the rest of it until I did a twenty-four our marathon of the last eleven episodes. Why? At the time, ABC said that unless "V" killed in the ratings, there would be no further episodes after those initial four. Then the same came up with the last eight. When "V" was renewed for a second season, I figured I'd watch. In keeping with the theme of faith, I now feel I can invest in another series a little more secure that it doesn't get canceled at the drop of a hat.

Now, one of the complaints that I heard about the series was that the pacing is glacial. I'm not quite qualified to judge it, since I watched it all in one go. But I was more than satisfied with what I saw. The five sections of a novel are: introduction, rising action, complication, climax, and denouement. I think season one covered introduction quite sufficiently. Although I am wondering if they're through the rising action and into the complication yet. We'll see.

If I had to criticize one thing about the series, our leading lady and main protagonist, Erica Evans, is not all that interesting. The rest of the members of the Fifth Column are far more interesting than she is. However, Erica and the queen of the Visitors, Anna, do make natural foils for one another. Both are protective albeit very imperfect mothers (Anna to the nth degree). So I am hoping Erica comes into her own more in the second season.

However, this series also has the misfortune of featuring one of the most annoying characters ever in the form of Erica's son, Retarded Cockstain. It is impossible to last one second watching Retarded Cockstain without wanting to smack him across the head. He is a terrible son to Erica, he takes emo rebellious teen to a whole new level. Anna wants him to breed with her daughter for reasons that have yet to be revealed, but I highly doubt will make any sense. Obviously, Anna "has plans" for Retarded Cockstain, but that can only be because she read the script and knows she's the son of the protagonist. The show tries to make us feel afraid for Retarded Cockstain, which is a flaw when the audience would rather see him die a painful death.

And, just because I feel I must address this. I don't see a right-wing political agenda in this series. Anna is not an allegory for Barack Obama. Yes, the Vs have used certain buzzwords that Obama's campaign and administration have used, but what series hasn't used topical buzzwords? Especially in a science fiction series? Anna is an archetypal politician, period. She is applicable to anyone who has mastered politics. She is applicable to Obama. She is applicable to Bush. She is applicable to Clinton. She is applicable to Reagan. She is applicable to Kennedy. She is applicable to Roosevelt. She is applicable to Hitler. She is applicable to Caesar! She is applicable to any politician good enough to have people eating out of the palm of their hand by presenting herself as a savior and an agent of change. And that is something all of the names I mentioned had in common.

It's a good show. Time will tell if it's an excellent show, but I will be tuning in to the second season.

Oh, and please kill off Retarded Cockstain.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm giddy because I hate her.


Megan Fox's Career R.I.P.: 2007-2010
Transformers hottie reportedly won't be back for third film.
May 19, 2010
by IGN Staff

Megan Fox has reportedly been dropped from Transformers 3.

Deadline claims "Paramount won't be picking up Megan Fox's option on Transformers 3 -- and that it was 'ultimately' director Michael Bay's decision. (So he gets his revenge for her remark comparing him to 'Hitler'.)" In other words, she was fired for her past war of words with the Transformers director.

The site adds that the script is being rewritten now to give Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) a new love interest. That role will be cast as soon as possible. Nothing is known about the character, except that she will likely be extremely hot and vapid.

Fox, 24, has seen her star rise and fall in just a few short years. She burst into the big time with her role as Mikaela Banes, a.k.a. eye candy bent over the engine of a muscle car, in 2007's Transformers. She followed that with the flop How to Lose Friends and Alienate People before appearing in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Jennifer's Body, her horror comedy with Diablo Cody, also flopped, and her upcoming Jonah Hex doesn't exactly have the greatest buzz surrounding it.

Time will tell whether Megan Fox can rally back and prove to the industry and public that she's a legitimate actress and star, or if she'll serve as a cautionary tale for other overnight stars whose outspoken antics and diva reputations ruin their once promising careers before they even truly began.


Guys... she wasn't even hot!

But I'm happy, simply because I don't believe talentless people should earn the success and fame she did. I still believe, and call me old fashioned, that people with merit should get these opportunities. The only reason she got famous in the first place was because she, and I am not fucking with you, "cleaned his Ferrari."

Good god... he actually calls it that.

And, just for the fun of it, here's the infamous letter:

This is an open letter to all Michael Bay fans. We are three crew members that have worked with Michael for the past ten years. Last week we read the terrible article with inflammatory, truly trashing quotes by the Ms. Fox about Michael Bay. This letter is to set a few things straight.

Yes, Megan has great eyes, a tight stomach we spray with glycerin, and an awful silly Marilyn Monroe tattoo plastered on her arm that we cover up to keep the moms happy.

Michael found this shy, inexperienced girl, plucked her out of total obscurity thus giving her the biggest shot of any young actresses' life. He told everyone around to just trust him on his choice. He granted her the starring role in Transformers, a franchise that forever changed her life; she became one of the most googled and oogled women on earth. She was famous! She was the next Angelina Jolie, hooray! Wait a minute, two of us worked with Angelina - second thought - she's no Angelina. You see, Angelia is a professional.

We know this quite intimately because we've had the tedious experience of working with the dumb-as-a-rock Megan Fox on both Transformers movies. We've spent a total of 12 months on set making these two movies.

We are in different departments; we can't give our names because sadly doing so in Hollywood could lead to being banished from future Paramount work. One of us touches Megan's panties, the other has the often shitty job of pulling Ms. Sour pants out of her trailer, while another is near the Panaflex camera that helps to memorialize the valley girl on film.

Megan has the press fooled. When we read those magazines we wish we worked with that woman. Megan knows how to work her smile for the press. Those writers should try being on set for two movies, sadly she never smiles. The cast, crew and director make Transformers a really fun and energetic set. We've traveled around the world together, so we have never understood why Megan was always such - the grump of the set?

When facing the press, Megan is the queen of talking trailer trash and posing like a porn star. And yes we've had the unbearable time of watching her try to act on set, and yes, it's very cringe-able. So maybe, being a porn star in the future might be a good career option. But make-up beware, she has a paragraph tattooed to her backside (probably due her rotten childhood) easily another 45 minutes in the chair!

So when the three of us caught wind of Ms Fox, pontificating yet again in some publication (like she actually has something interesting to say) blabbing her trash mouth about a director whom we three have grown to really like. She compared working with Michael, to "working with Hitler". We actually don't think she knows who Hitler is by the way. But we wondered how she doesn't realize what a disgusting, fully uneducated comment this was? Well, here let's get some facts straight.

Say what you want about Michael - yes at times he can be hard, but he's also fun, and he challenges everyone for a reason - he simply wants people to bring their 'A' game. He comes very prepared, knows exactly what he wants, involves the crew and expects everyone to follow through with his or her best, and that includes the actors. He's one of the hardest working directors out there.

He gets the best from his crews, many of whom have worked with him for 15 years. And yes, he's loyal, one of the few directors we've encountered who lowered his fee by millions to keep Transformers in the United States and California, so he could work with his own crew.

Megan says that Transformers was an unsafe set? Come on Megan, we know it is a bit more strenuous then the playground at the trailer park, but you don't insult one of the very best stunt and physical effects teams in the business! Not one person got hurt!

And who is the real Megan Fox? She is very different than the academy nominee and winning actors we've all worked around. She's as about ungracious a person as you can ever fathom. She shows little interest in the crew members around her. We work to make her look good in every way, but she's absolutely never appreciative of anyone's hard work. Never a thank you. All the crewmembers have stopped saying hi to Ms. Princess because she never says hello back. It gets tiring. Many think she just really hates the process of being an actress.

Megan has been late to the sets many times. She goes through the motions that make her exude this sense of misery. We've heard the A.D's piped over the radio that Megan won't walk from her trailer until John Turturro walks first! John's done seventy-five movies and she's made two!

Never expect Megan to attend any of the 15 or so crew parties like all the other actors have. And then there's the classless night she blew off The Royal Prince of Jordan who made a special dinner for all the actors. She doesn't know that one of the grips daughters wanted to visit their daddy's work to meet Megan, but he wouldn't let them come because he told them "she is not nice."

The press certainly doesn't know her most famous line. On our first day in Egypt, the Egyptian government wouldn't let us shoot because of a permit problem as the actors got ready in make up at the Four Seasons Hotel. Michael tried to make the best of it; he wanted to take the cast and crew on a private tour of the famous Giza pyramids. God hold us witness, Megan said, "I can't believe Michael is fucking forcing us to go to the fucking pyramids!" I guess this is the "Hitler guy" she is referring to.

So this is the Megan Fox you don't get to see. Maybe she will learn, but we figure if she can sling insults, then she can take them too. Megan really is a thankless, classless, graceless, and shall we say unfriendly bitch. It's sad how fame can twist people, and even sadder that young girls look up to her. If only they knew who they're really looking up to.

But 'Fame' is fleeting. We, being behind the scenes, seen em' come and go. Hopefully Michael will have Megatron squish her character in the first ten minutes of Transformers 3. We can tell you that will make the crew happy!

-Loyal Transformers Crew

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hope for "Gargoyles"

So, today I read that Boom Studios is turning "Darkwing Duck" from a mini-series to an on-going series. Based just on the fan response. It got me thinking that maybe the Gargoyles Fandom should try to get their attention.

Boom is a great comic book company, and I think "Gargoyles" would do quite well there. I just wrote to them. Mentioned "Gargoyles," the fanbase, Greg, and how impressed I am with their company and how, as a fan, I think they'd be a great home for the series I love. etc.

I think we should all write to them, and spread the word to other fans... drum up the interest. Because, I personally think Boom is one of our better options right now.

Here's their contact info:

Boom

Let's get their attention! Let's try to get five hundred people to e-mail them over the next month or so. I think we can do this.

Saturday, May 15, 2010



Normally, especially since "Transformers Animated" was canceled in favor of "Revenge of Michael Bay's Racist Orgasm Juice," I don't give a crap about what's going on with "Transformers." But, recently, something did happen which I figured I should talk about.

Hasbro has an official Transformers Hall of Fame. Right now there are four members: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, and Starscream. Big surprise there. However, they are allowing fans to vote on the fifth member. They polled the fan sites for a while to get five nominees. Jazz, Grimlock, Soundwave, Shockwave, and Dinobot

http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/en_US/discover/TRANSFORMERS-HALL-OF-FAME-Poll.cfm

Yes, Dinobot from "Beast Wars." This was a surprise, but a very welcome one. Yes, we all know "that guy with the cool voice who shoots tapes out of his chest" will sadly, pathetically, most likely win this. But I'm voting for Dinobot, and I'm going to tell you why anyone who'd be interested in voting in this poll at all should vote for Dinobot.

Jazz: Um... he was voiced by that black guy who Jack Nicholson killed with an axe. Not much to say.
Grimlock: I suppose he presents himself as a positive role model for the mentally deficient. But, he got no development in the cartoon except regression into bigger moron than he started. Then, in the comics, Simon Furman turned him into an autistic Wolverine. Don't get me wrong, I like Grimlock, but no... he's not getting my vote.
Soundwave: Well, we all know he's going to win. But, really, what did he ever do? He had a cool voice and interesting henchmen. That was it. Nothing else to him. He was just there. I like him too, but there's really nothing to him.
Shockwave: Now, this is a tough one, since I like Shockwave. Or rather, I like the Shockwave of the comic books that slaughtered all the Autobots and Decepticons before making Megatron his personal bitch. The cartoon's janitor of Cybertron that can't shoot for shit means nothing to me.

Dinobot: Now, he had something that none of the previously mentioned characters have. Hell, something none of the GeeWun characters ever had... a character arc. He went from renegade Predacon war criminal and terrorist, and developed into a hero and died saving humanity... all the while, he never once apologized for what he was.

"Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly."


He wasn't a walking catchphrase or a stereotype. He hasn't been replicated in countless reboots of the franchise like everyone else has been. As far as this franchise goes. If I had to make a comparison in the sophistication and level of writing between the two shows, "Beast Wars" is to the original cartoon what "Gargoyles" and "Batman: TAS" are in comparison to "G.I. Joe." and "Thundercats." The difference in quality is that great, and Dinobot was a very well developed character.

Aw well, here was an excellent essay written about why Dinobot is great way back in 2000... a decade old, now I feel old.



And, just remember, a vote for Dinobot is a vote against the blinders of nostalgia.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stephen Baldwin...

With your indulgences, I'd like to get serious for a moment. And by serious, let's talk about the least talented Baldwin brother, shall we?



I did some research, apparently Stephen here bought a nice, big Victorian house in Arizona, loves the house, but renovating and restoring it are more expensive than he thought it would be. Also, according to IMDB, Stephen has six movies in development.

And they're comparing him to Job. They're saying he's been blacklisted because of his Christian faith. Have any of the following been blacklisted?

Kirk Cameron
Robert Duvall
Olivia Newton-John
Gavin McLeod
John Schneider
Paul Walker
Andy Griffith
Steve McQueen
Lisa Whelchel
Miley Cyrus
Jonas Brothers

Nope, I don't think so. And Robert Duvall kicks ass!

Maybe, Stephen Baldwin just sucks? He's a third-rate actor with no discernible fanbase. So they're creating this website portraying him as an oppressed "man of God" so that a bunch of sheep. I say donate to Haiti before Stephen Baldwin, but maybe I'm wrong.

I'd say God is more of an Alec Baldwin fan. Alec is doing pretty well. Hmm, why doesn't Stephen ask Billy or Alec for money? Could it be because they want nothing to do with him?

Now, I'm sure some of you would say it's hypocritical of me to say that God prefers Alec to Stephen, after all, how can I know what God is thinking? Personally, I am an agnostic. So, I think I'll list four other fictional characters, who I am pretty sure think Stephen Baldwin sucks:

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Tee hee, one of these is not like the others.

Aw well, I prefer this video:



And for those of you who don't know the story of Job... er, I'm just posting this because it's funny:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Iron Man 2

It was probably the most anticipated sequel since "The Dark Knight." Well, anticipated by me anyway. I'm sure some people anticipated "Revenge of the Fallen," although I didn't. So, how does "Iron Man 2" stack up? Pretty damn well, I think.

Robert Downey Jr. reminds us all that he was born to play Tony Stark. Strike that, he doesn't play Tony Stark, he is Tony Stark. He embodies that character, and no where does it shine through more than during the birthday party scene where Stark is as drunk as an Irishman on Cinco de Mayo while wearing the armor. It's a scene that, if played by almost anybody else would be so over the top and ridiculous, it would take you out of the movie. But, RDJ doesn't just make you believe it, he makes you feel it.

Mickey Rourke was our villain in this installment as Ivan Vanko or Whiplash. Like RDJ, Rourke just embodies the character of someone you would think spent many years in a Siberian gulag. He was creepy, scary, and managed to both seem not all there while at the same time knowing exactly what he was doing. Not to mention, they took a pretty lame villain in the comics and made him scary.

Scarlett Johansson was very sexy as super spy, Natasha Romanov. While I definitely missed the Russian accent, I can buy their explanation that when she is on Russian soil, she doesn't speak with one. But her role in the story surprised me. I thought she was infiltrating Stark Industries to steal the armor for Russia. I didn't think she was already working for Nick Fury. They also didn't once say her codename, Black Widow out loud. But she was a lot of fun, and I hope to see more of her.



You will love to hate Sam Rockwell as the slick and greasy Justin Hammer. Played younger here than in the comics, but he is just oozing slime whenever you see him. Figuratively, not literally. Not sure if he'll be back for further installments, but I wouldn't mind.

I missed Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes. Not that Don Cheadle was bad. But with Howard, you got the sense that he and Stark were long time friends. With Cheadle, while you knew that, you didn't feel it at all. They just didn't have that chemistry.

The action in this movie was terrific, which is one would expect since it was storyboarded by Geddy Tartakovsky. There are a lot of fun easter eggs in this movie, which I won't spoil for you, you'll either spot them or you won't... but one of them is impossible to miss.

It's not "The Dark Knight." But it's not trying to be. It's the sequel to "Iron Man" and it is spectacular at what it is... an action-adventure movie with heart and soul. It brings the story and the character development to the table that so many action movies lack. Michael Bay could learn a lot from it... the best action sequences in the world don't matter if your story has no heard to it.

On top of this all, the movie sold me on a concept I was a bit cautious about. The idea of the Avengers as a movie. I was not sure how practical, or even possible coordinating a series of separate movies to build up to the climax that is all these heroes coming together. It's never been done before in the film medium. But here, I can really see it beginning to come together. I'm sold on it now, and very excited.

Terrific movie, I am seeing it again.