Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making Reading Sexy

Have you ever wondered what a bunch of topless women would look like while they are reading under the sun, in the grass, laying on towels? Well, this'll satisfy your curiosity.

Again, lemme stress that the material contained in the link below is not exactly safe for work. I warned you.

Justice League Movie?

I have a bit of a thing for superhero movies. Hell, who doesn't? And just lately we've all been pummeled with many tremendous superhero movies. Sure, there are films like Green Lantern that make us wonder if there is any sanity left in The world, but then movies like The Dark Knight and The Avengers send us into a sense of tremendous awe and wonderment. We are truly in a golden age of superhero movies. Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, Iron Man II, The Avengers, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, X-Men, X2, and X-Men: First Class (assuming what I've been told is correct) are all very good movies and some of them could even rank among the greatest films of all time. Face it, we are spoiled. With The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man coming out and Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, and The Avengers 2 on the horizon it can only get better. Unlike most sequel films, these superhero sequels are at least as good as the originals if not too much worse. We are getting quality and quantity.

I'm waiting for the day a Justice League movie gets made. Yeah, anything that has Superman in it since Superman 2 seems to be doomed, but Marvel's crop of Avenger movies have proven that it can be done. Of course, it would be difficult to do. Marvel has chosen to be more light-hearted in tone and that makes the movies fun and audience-friendly. It's a walking comic book. DC has chosen, perhaps wisely after debacles like Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, to strip all of the comic book elements from the movies and leave only the stark elements to make the movies seem more realistic. It works for The Dark Knight, but could that same approach work for a Justice League movie? I don't think so. Especially when it seems that Christian Bale says he will not be in another Batman movie and the director of the film says that The Dark Knight Rises will indeed be the last.

So that would require a lot of reboots, wouldn't it? We'd also require a Wonder Woman movie, a reboot of Green Lantern, a reboot of Flash Gordon, a reboot of Superman (I think we should assume that the upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel won't have the Justice League in mind, either. So that would mean yet another reboot), and then a reboot of Batman (I think there is probably one on the way anyway, but that's probably more of a cash-grab off the Nolan-Bale Batman movies than anything else). So the big question is... is there any studio prepared to really go for the Justice League? Can it be done? Marvel had a serious advantage when they made their Avenger movies because none of those characters had ever graced the big screen before. Okay, well, the Hulk had been done before with Eric Bana, but those were not exactly big shoes for the Norton-driven vehicle to fill.

We are actually talking about dethroning The Dark Knight here. One of the greatest comic book adaptations and greatest movies of all time. Would you want to be that guy? Forget Heath Ledger's Joker and everything Chris Nolan did for the franchise because we need a new Batman movie that will actually fit into a Justice League kind of mold. More than that, we are talking about linking all of these proposed movies in such a way that Marvel did. They've got to be puzzle pieces that don't give an entire story away, but enough of it each time to where you can see that there is indeed a bigger story and not just a bunch of heroes accidentally running into each other. This has to be carefully planned out and it will take years to do it right.

DC dropped the ball with Green Lantern and Superman Returns so, if they start today and work at the same pace, they'll be half a decade behind Marvel's The Avengers

I think The Dark Knight Rises will be a key turning point. No one expects it to be as good its predecessor (or at least they shouldn't), but they expect it to be great. If it is then that'll make work on a Batman reboot even harder, but if it isn't then it'll certainly soften the blow and lower expectation level just a bit. Not that I'm rooting for The Dark Knight Rises to fail, mind you. I'm just stating the obvious.

It'll be interesting to see if it happens, but I'm not holding my breath. I think Justice League will probably get made when Stephen King's Dark Tower series gets made: probably never.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones (A Review)

I don't read popular books or fad books. Yes, I read Dan Brown's Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, but I also read Brown's Digital Fortress and Deception Point and I'm not sure many people can make that claim. I'm kind of like Dr. House when it comes to what I read. If it looks interesting (if only so much as the cover looks interesting and I know little or nothing of the plot) then I'll keep an eye on it. If it still looks interesting when I come back to it then I'll pick it up. I admit that I'm very easy to please, but also very picky. 

I picked up George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones on a whim because I thought the cover of the book was neat. It shows Sean Bean sitting on an Iron Throne with a sword between his hands, looking thoughtfully at the ground. Up top I read something about HBO and a new series, but I didn't care about that. I don't have HBO nor the money to afford a huge DVD box set. If I did there would be other shows I'd want to get first. 

I wanted to know why the cover was such a stark gray and why the character looked so depressed. I read the cover and it described the plot in typical fantasy fashion by listing words like "bastards" and "sorcerers" and proclaiming how grand and sweeping the book was without saying anything more about it. Other than the family of the Starks there isn't a single name mentioned on the back of the book.

I prefer my fantasy described like that. I don't want to know anything going into a fantasy novel because I want to experience everything without being told what I'll experience. Well, I experienced a lot in A Game of Thrones and it was very satisfying. Now an 800 page tome is not the best way to begin a fantasy series unless you are sure as hell that it is a zinger. Something of that length gets a little more leeway if it is further along in a series because people will already be hooked by then and you won't have to worry about winning over new fans because chances are fans who didn't like it will be long gone before the second book, but for the first book? It's risky. That is not to say that it doesn't happen all the time anyway, but it just shouldn't happen as much as it does. 

Well, George R.R. Martin's first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is excellent and completely worth the 808 pages it takes up. I've already got the second book on my bed and I'll probably start on that one later today or tomorrow when I get home from work. 

A Game of Thrones is Martin's sixth novel and it was released in 1996. I don't know how much fanfare it got then, but it seems that everyone I know seems to be talking about. I guess that is what making a TV show will do for a book. Anyway, please allow me to give a brief description of the plot and the principal players.

The novel is about a large tract of land called the Seven Kingdoms. There are castles and knights and free cities and rebels and much more to arouse the curiosity of any fantasy fan. The Seven Kingdoms is ruled from a place called King's Landing where the king sits in this large uncomfortable iron throne. 

Winterfell, home of the Starks, is located up north, far away from King's Landing, but the Starks gradually find their way south when intrigue and conspiracy rear their ugly heads. 

North of Winterfell is the Wall and the land beyond the Wall. Something supernatural is happening up there while chaos begins in the South and suddenly a war on both sides threatens Winterfell and all of the Seven Kingdoms, too. Allegiances are made and pacts are broken and the only rule is that you cannot trust anyone. 

The chapters alternate the point of view from character to character. The prologue follows a minor character named Will, but everything else is from the point of view of a main character. Lord Eddard Stark, Lady Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Princess Daenerys Targaryen are the characters we spend time with on our journey. We sit on their shoulders and see what they see. With the exception of one I think all of the characters I just mentioned are very likable. The one I don't like will become obvious to you if you read it or have already read it. The character does sort of redeem his or herself by the end, but then it is too little and too late for me to change how I feel about the character right now. 

Bottom line: read it. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I just read this: #ToonamisBackBitches I don't know what shows they are bringing back and what shows they are keeping from the regular Saturday adult swim line-up. I don't know if this will be an every Saturday type event and I don't know if it will be at night or in the evening or whatever. But it's going to be back. Finally. YESSSSS!!! 

Welcome back, TOM!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mysterious Girlfriend X (Nazo no Kanojo Ekkusu)

It sounds like the name of some cheap sci-fi skin flick, but Mysterious Girlfriend X is actually a new anime based off a manga that came out in 2006 and is still in circulation. I've only seen three of the six episodes that have been listed on the Wikipedia page so I don't have much to review. Instead I'm just putting the name of the show out there because I think it is worth watching. The show is new and that means it is in Japanese (with English subtitles, of course) and only available online at certain sites. Crunchyroll, Hulu, and The Anime Network are three sites I know of where you can watch the show. I don't know when the American release date will be, but these things usually take a few years. 

This show is about this boy named Tsubaki and this girl named Urabe and the relationship they form. Tsubaki is a schoolboy and when he sees the new student Urabe, he is enchanted by her. Urabe is a peculiar girl, though. Almost alien. Of course, Tsubaki doesn't realize this at first. One day when he wakes her up after school she stares him in the face and he realizes that he must have her. But what will he do? She walks out of the classroom and Tsubaki is left all alone with the drool that Urabe had left on her desk. What he does next is quite cringe-inducing and creepy, but kind of sweet, too. He takes his finger and swabs it in her drool. Yup, you read that right. Then he sticks his drool-covered finger in his mouth and sucks on it. You read that right, too. 

Over the next few days he becomes ill. Very ill. Urabe visits him at home and tells him that she knows why he is sick. She says that it is because he had some of her drool. I wonder if Sherlock Holmes would have deduced that. From that point on Tsubaki must have some of her drool everyday or else he will go into severe withdrawal and become very sick. And not only that, but Urabe can communicate with him through her drool and send him messages in his dreams. 

They become a couple, but Urabe is not like other girls and her idea of being in a couple is very peculiar. More than once Tsubaki finds himself overwhelmed and on the end of a sharp pair of pointy scissors that Urabe usually keeps hidden in her underwear. 

Urabe believes they are destined to be together because she heard voice tell her that Tsubaki would be her first intimate sexual partner. But she doesn't want to advance into a such a relationship quickly and Tsubaki just has to be happy with sucking drool off her finger after school in the meantime.

Another thing I should mention is that not just anyone reacts to Urabe's drool in such a fashion. That means there truly is something special about Tsubaki's relationship with Urabe and the drool they share. The drool serves a purpose. 

But if you find drool incredibly gross then this seriously is not for you because it is in every episode. The Japanese are a bit weird and this show takes some getting used to even if you don't throw up at the sight of drool, but I find Mysterious Girlfriend X to be funny as hell. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Best of Eddie Murphy

If you looked at some of the films that Eddie Murphy has been in over the past decade then you'll soon forget that Murphy used to be funny. And even if he wasn't completely funny in his best movies then at least he was entertaining. So, I've taken it upon myself to rank his ten best movies. Actually, these are more like the only ten Eddie Murphy movies that are really worth watching unless the never ending slew of kiddie movies Murphy has made as of late are your cup of tea.

  1. RAW (1987) - Yeah, I'm including this as a movie. It's great stand-up. Maybe I should have listed Mulan, but I promised myself to keep the kid stuff to a minimum. 
  2. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - A classic Murphy film. See it if you need to get the taste of The Adventures of Pluto Nash out of your mouth. 
  3. Trading Places (1983) - Another classic that should not be missed. 
  4. 48 Hrs. (1982) - Eddie Murphy's Lethal Weapon and sort of a segue to the Beverly Hills Cop movies. It was also his first movie. 
  5. Coming to America (1988) - Prince Akeem comes to Queens, New York to look for a queen. Clever, huh? Add the voice of Darth Vader and Arsenio Hall and you have an 80's classic. 
  6. Bowfinger (1999) - Steve Martin and Murphy team up for the first time and make a very good movie about making movies. It's stupid but funny. I wish I could say the same about Norbit
  7. Shrek (2001) - A great movie. Eddie Murphy pretty much leeched on to the success of this movie (and Mike Myers did the same) and he's done virtually nothing of note since (except for Shrek sequels), but this movie is really good and I guess I can't blame him for getting all he could out of Donkey. Just like he did with Axel Foley and Dr. Doolittle. 
  8. Life (1999) - This movie is pretty decent. It is about two buddies who get charged with a crime they did not commit and have to spend life in prison. This movie also features the second pairing of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. The first time they were in a movie together was for 1992's Boomerang, a perfectly "bleh" movie. 
  9. Shrek II (2004) - The only Shrek sequel that is sort of funny and still kind of original. 
  10. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) - More of the same, but it is entertaining and it is much better than the crappy third installment. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Beguiled (1971) - A Review

***Spoilers abound***

I always enjoy it when actors (and actresses) take on roles that are a bit uncharacteristic of their on-screen personas. Clint Eastwood, much like John Wayne before him, doesn't have too many diverse roles. Clint is either a cop or a cowboy or some other curmudgeon hard-ass. Not that dependability is bad at all in this case, but there are a few exceptional cinematic exceptions that warrant some attention. Play Misty for Me, The Bridges of Madison County, and Every Which Way but Loose are all examples of Clint playing outside of the box. And, even though I find The Bridges of Madison County to be an all out gag-fest, I generally can never say no to a movie where Eastwood decides to shake things up a little. In my opinion, The Beguiled is easily one of his best out-of-the-box roles. I also don't think it is coincidence that the movie came out the same year as Play Misty for Me.

Play Misty for Me is a bit more rudimentary than The Beguiled, but that is only because Play Misty for Me was Clint Eastwood's directorial debut while The Beguiled had been directed by the tried and true hand of the late great Don Siegel. Siegel directed classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Hell is for Heroes (1962), The Shootist (1976), Charley Varrick (1973), and five movies that just happened to feature Clint Eastwood. Chances are you already know the five movies, but I'll list them anyway: Coogan's Bluff (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1971) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979). I think the duo of Eastwood/Siegel could have been remembered as one of the great actor/director duos if it wasn't for the fact that Clint Eastwood's star was still on the rise and it was going to rise much higher while Siegel's time in the spotlight was nearing the end. And, for some strange reason or another, The Beguiled was not embraced at the time. I suppose I can understand why. Who really wants to see Eastwood hobble around for an hour and a half while being held captive by increasingly obsessive members of the fairer sex when Eastwood could be kicking ass and killing bad guys? It is quite a different movie from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly. This movie was Misery before there was a Misery. Actually, if you combined The Beguiled and Play Misty for Me you really would have Misery. Think about it. A radio jockey held prisoner by a woman who claims to be his number one fan and then tortures him by cutting off one of his legs...

Anyway, I think it is funny how both movies came out in the same year and yet The Beguiled is the only one that wasn't a financial success. It boggles my mind.

I haven't gotten to the plot yet, have I? Not in any real depth anyway. The movie is based off a Southern Gothic novel written by Thomas P. Cullinan. I have not read the book, but it is on my radar. So I obviously can't do any comparing and contrasting on that point. I'll just soldier on anyway, okay?

Clint Eastwood plays an injured Union solder on the brink of unconsciousness that is discovered by a young woman while she was out picking mushrooms. She brings him back to this school for women (most of them are really just girls) and they decide to nurse him back to health rather than call for the local Confederate patrols as they should have done under such circumstances. They are thrilled to have their own man around. Enemy or not, they don't want to get rid of him any time soon.

Slowly, Eastwood begins to regain some of his strength and he starts to realize that he may be in trouble. They won't turn him over to the Confederates, but they won't let him free either. He is their prisoner and things start to turn bad when he is caught having sex with one of the girls. Of course, all of them wanted him, but they didn't want to be the ones to not get him. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and there are  suddenly quite a few scorned women around him...

It's a great movie and the ending is perfect for it. It has a stark ending that would have made Edgar Allan Poe proud. Perhaps that is why people preferred Play Misty for Me, though. Some people just don't care for what I call the "Richard Bachman" endings and they want the good guy to win all the time. Especially when that good guy is Clint Eastwood. Well, don't expect a happy ending. I warned you.