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Posts Tagged ‘Green Lantern’

Just Friends” (2005) — movie review
Today’s review is for the “Christmas” rom-com, “Just Friends” staring Ryan Reynolds as Chris Brander and Amy Smart as Jamie Palamino – the two love interests.  Other actors of note are Anna Faris, Chris Klein, Chris Marquette as Mike Brander (Ryan / Chris’ younger brother) and Julie Hagerty as Carol Brander (Ryan / Chris’ mother).  In full disclosure mode: I thought this movie starred Reynolds and Kate Hudson.  I didn’t read the promo and I was expecting Hudson for the first ten minutes.  So, she (Hudson) never shows up and instead we get Smart who is (to me) more of a “Hallmark Movie” / girl next door rom-com female lead.  In absolutely full honestly, this whole movie seems like the production value of a Hallmark Movie — not BAD, but not really good, either.
The movie revolves around the idea of if / whether two lifelong childhood friends (a beautiful girl and an overweight nerd), who separate for ten years after high school can meet again and become more than “just friends“.  The movie opens with a high school graduation party and Chris awkwardly declaring his “love” for Jamie.  Embarrassed by all the other teens at the party, Chris vows to leave town and make something of himself.  The obvious problem with this opening is getting two actors in their late 20’s (I’d guess 28 or 29) to play kids of 18.  Even in a “fat-suit”, Reynolds doesn’t look like a teen.  He also doesn’t look fat.  And, putting Smart in a cheer-leading outfit doesn’t make her look young, either.
We flash-forward ten years and Chris is in California, has lost a bunch of weight and has become a famous music producer / agent / publicist.  (I wasn’t exactly clear what he did.)  Through the stupidity of his current client (Anna Faris) he ends up back near his home town and stuck because she has set fire to the jet they were traveling in.  This is just before Christmas, so Chris decides to take his client to his parents home while the repairs get done.  (Okay, so it’s a stretch…)  And, then we get to meet his ditzy mom, played by Julie Hagerty.  My first reaction was: “Wow! It’s the flight attendant from ‘Airplane’!”  We also get to meet little brother: Mike.  Mike happens to be a mad-fan of the client, with her posters and magazine pictures lining his bedroom walls.  Mike and Chris have a “typecast” brothers-always-fight-and-slag-each-other thing going on.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention Chris’ response to the party is reflected in LA where he is a cad with women, a jerk around co-workers and for some unknown reason, a hockey star in an amateur / friendly league.  It’s only “unknown” at the time, this becomes a plot device a few minutes later in the film.  Actually, the entire movie is a series of plot devices which are introduced from left field and which then become a part of a (and sometimes two) major scene(s) later in the film.
Anyway, the two friends meet again and “suddenly” Jamie is attracted to Chris.  They agree to a lunch date – cause opposite-sex friends “do” lunch; potential lovers “do” dinner dates.  Which leads to a kids hockey game; which leads to an accident; which leads to the competing love interest (Chris Klein) – who happens to be an EMT.  So, blah, blah, blah…  Chris and Jamie admit their love for each other and happily ever after.
And, that’s about it.  From start to finish almost nothing is predictable.  What?  But, didn’t you just say…?
Okay.  This is a “rom-com” so almost everything is going to be predictable.  And, it ALL is.  The kicker is that it is actually entirely predictable, but still funny.  In a strange, bad acting, bad writing, crappy props foreshadowing kind of way, the movie works and it IS funny.  Not side-splitting, lose your breath funny, but just dumb enough or silly enough to prompt a smile, a chuckle or a snort / short belly-laugh funny.
Final recommendation: medium. This is more of a com-rom than a rom-com, but that’s okay.  Actually, I’m pretty sure, I prefer it that way.  The movie ends with Reynolds doing a closing credits song / lip-sync.  I guess this closing credits scene is kind of his “thing” as he also did it in “The Proposal” and his Deadpool movies.  I am now “officially” a Ryan Reynolds fan.  I loved him in “Deadpool” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard“, enjoyed him in the Deadpool sequel, enjoyed him in “The Proposal“, liked him in “Green Lantern” and I thought he was okay in the X-man movie. I now have to look out for some of his dramatic roles to see if he’s any good in those.  If anyone reading this has any recommendations, please leave me a comment…
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On This Day In:
2018 Daydreams And Wanna-Be’s
Or Work For #45
2017 Summer Pale
2016 Ain’t It Funny
2015 At Both Ends
2014 Whiner(s)
2013 Just Passing Through
2012 Dog-gone Heaven
2011 Occasional, Sad Results

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Deadpool  —  movie review
Today I took my son James to see the new movie from Marvel Studios, “Deadpool” (2016).  This movie is rated “R” and for very good reasons: violence, nudity and language.  Of the three, the most egregious is the language, followed by the violence and then a distant third is nudity.  Obviously, it’s a comic-book movie and “kind of” a rom-com, but I would more accurately describe it as an action (violence) based dark comedy.  Most of the “comedy” is from the scripted lines spoken by the main character Wade Wilson / Deadpool – played by Green Lantern, I mean Ryan Reynolds.
This is clearly the first in a series, so of course, this is the origin story told in a series of flashbacks.  Blah, blah, “hero” does small “job”, meets girlfriend, love ensues, “hero” is diagnosed with terminal / inoperable cancer and advised to get his things in order.   Blah, blah, “bad-guy” is introduced, torture of hero follows.  Hero escapes and tries to track down the bad guy.  Hero kills a lot of people and blows stuff up.  Bad-guy gets away and kidnaps hero’s love interest.  Blah, blah, big fight, hero wins and saves girlfriend.
So, is the movie any good and what about the “R” rating?  This is a surprisingly good movie and Reynolds, I mean Green Lantern, seems to be perfect for the role.  Because so much of the humor is oral / spoken, you really have to pay attention to the movie.  How strange is that?  You’re paying attention to the movie so you can catch the jokes, not because the movie is all that interesting!   It is (interesting).  But that is not why you’re paying attention.  Either way, it works.  I enjoyed the movie a lot.
What about the big three?  Well, in (severity) reverse order, the nudity isn’t that big a deal.  I only really remember one bar scene with nude dancers.  Oh, yeah, they show Reynolds’ tush a couple of times.  Bad language, yeah, there is quite a bit of that.  Is it “really” bad?  I’ve heard worse.  Did it spoil the movie for me?  Not at all.  What about the violence?  There is quite a bit of that, too.  But, and this is the BIG qualifier, I didn’t find it to be as gratuitous as I’ve seen in some movies – actually, many movies.  I would say it’s easily on a par with “Watchmen“, the two “300” movies or “Sin City“, but not as bad as the “Kill Bill” movies.  None of this is to excuse the reasons for the “R” rating, merely to put them in context with other similar movies.
Final recommendation – strong but with the qualifications that this movie is definitely not for children just because it is a comic book hero movie.  As the “hero” says in some of the promos: “this is not that kind of hero movie.”  Not as good a movie as “Guardians of the Galaxy” for non-mainstream tier comics,  but a very good addition to the “adult” comic hero movie genre.
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On This Day In:
2015 Within The System
2014 None But…
2013 Obviously Longer
2012 A Childhood Poem
Who Are You Callin’ Leather-Faced?
2011 In No Particular Order
The Need For Proof

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Another comic book collection from my son, James.  This is the re-boot of the Justice League of America as the “Justice League International: vol 1“, (2008©).  Does it work?  Yeah.  Is it great?  No, not really.
To start off with, the book is kind of drawn from the early 60’s method.  The book is hard-bound, rather than just thick paper like most of these “modern” collections.  And it’s done on old school paper, not the glossy stuff they put everything one these days.  Overall effect – I liked it!!
Now, meat and potatoes – the art work itself is good – old school, so not the super-heroic, ultra-muscle drawing so common today.  The story is well put together and has a decent flow.  It doesn’t jump all over the place like an Ang Lee movie.  As a first introduction to many of these characters, the book was well done.  Some of the characters are “old”, like Green Lantern, but he’s not the Hal Jordan character I grew up with.  Also, Batman is a very interesting character / leader in this version of the League.  I found that intriguing, because I was always used to Batman being the loner.  Finally, I appreciated how the various heroes have personality quirks which cause them to rub each other the wrong way.  That made for group dynamics I don’t remember ever seeing in DC Comics before.
Bottom line:  recommended reading.
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My son, James, collects comic books.  Not comic books like I used to collect – monthly issues for $.10, $.12, $.15 and then a quarter.  He collects the actual books which are consolidated versions of the single monthly issues which I used to buy.  (Back in my day, they didn’t have consolidated versions…)  Anyway, he’s been passing them on to me by the foot-load –  I have about two and a half foot worth stacked in various places around the house.
I’ve started to read them, so I’ve decided to start passing along my comments here.  I’ve read a few of the books but not included them because I generally felt they were too trivial to bother noting, but I’ve changed my mind.  I’m not sure of why.  I’m still considering the reasons in my own head.
Hawkman – Omnibus Volume 1 (2011©)
This book is almost 700 pages long!  Obviously, this is not a “comic” from my day.  It is, in fact, a work of literature.  I’m not sure how many pages a comic book needs to move into the “literature” category, but this one definitely drops into the category with the “whomp” of a decent dictionary.  My background knowledge of the main character is very limited as he (Hawkman) was very much a third (or fourth) tier character back in my day.  He was in the Justice League of America and I remember checking out some individual issues, but he was never someone I followed.
Anyway, the character seems to have been recreated in the “Highlander” mode of living forever – slightly different in that he is reincarnated, not simply immortal, but basically, he and his wife are immortal.  The book covers a couple of their lifetimes and there are promises of lives to come.  All in all, I found it a surprisingly good “book”.  It is definitely something I’d continue to follow when the second omnibus is issued, but it is extremely pricey (by my standards), so unless my son is passing it on to me, I’ll not be spending $50-plus dollars to read further adventures.
For anyone not familiar with the character, Hawkman has wings to help him fly and he is reasonably “super” strong.  The flight and strength come from a harness made of a non-Earthly metal which affects gravity.  Please, no comments about weight vs mass in the area of being super strong – it’s just a comic book…  Bottom line: a surprisingly interesting character and I highly recommend it if you can borrow it or find it second hand.
The Spectre – Infinite Crisis Aftermath (2007©)
This is a much shorter book (142 pages), but it seems about the standard size for these compilations (as opposed to the doorstop of “Hawkman”).  This is another third tier character I barely remember from my youth.  The Spectre is a ghostly character who goes around “harvesting” the souls of folks who have committed major sins (mostly murder).  There seems to be some requirement to be connected to a recently deceased person (this is not fully explained in this volume).  So, Spectre has to first convince the recently dead to merge with him, and then he has to get on with his real business.
The individual stories are all graphically violent (excessive not visual) in nature and this is not a series suitable for pre-teens (probably not teens either).  Also, the artist seems to change from modern detailed drawing to old fashioned smooth drawing, sometime in adjoining frames, which I found visually annoying.  All in all, I might follow the character for one or two more collections, but there would have to be some real story-line development / change as revenge for murder simply doesn’t hold my attention as an over-arch for the story.  The stories are simply too dark for my tastes.  Bottom line: I would consider following this character only if there were some major changes in the story basis.
Green Lantern Legacy: The Last Will & Testament Of Hal Jordan (2002©)
Green Lantern was a character I followed in my youth.  He was no where near as fleshed out as he is now – some 45-50 years later.  He’s gone through multiple personas and I guess that’s a good thing.  It’s certainly better than pretending the character doesn’t age, but history is changing around him.  In this volume, the Green Lantern I knew (Hal Jordan) is dead and is passing on the ring to another person.  I got “it”, but I didn’t.  The artwork is very good and consistent with a nice variation between simple and extremely complex images.  By that I mean, some are of just the character and some are of the millions of things around in a Green Lantern universe.
Bottom line: while this book itself doesn’t sell me on Green Lantern, I would definitely read follow on’s and it seems likely I’d get hooked on the character arch.
Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes – The Early Years (2011©)
This volume is the “origin” story for the Legion Of Super-Heroes.  This was a teen version of the Justice League Of America, but spread out across the planets instead of just being American super-heroes.  As a “Marvel” comics follower (as opposed to a “DC” follower), the Legion always seemed to me to be a reaction to the X-men.  In fact, it’s the other way around, but the X-men (historically) have been better received (more popular) than the Legion.
What did I like – Saturn Girl.  She is the only interesting character in this volume.  None of the characters, except Superboy, seem to have their powers well developed and that may be the main issue for me, but even though Saturn Girl’s only power is her ability to read minds, she still came across as the best character.  “Best” meaning developed and interesting.  I enjoyed seeing a female character not only play a predominant role in the comic, but also assume leadership in the Legion.
What did I dislike – developing powers is hard to understand when one minute you can barely hold your own and the next you’re lifting ships full of civilians and then you’re back to being “weak” again.  Also, the individual powers (and heroes) don’t seem that great either.  At first I wondered why this bothered me and then I realized it’s because they are not unique in their powers on their home world.  They are only heroes because they are on Earth where not everyone has their ability.  In theory, the same argument could be made about Superman/boy, but it is less valid because his planet is destroyed and there are few other Kryptonians (but of course there are more all the time).
Outside of the character development, what was wrong?   My main complaint would be the art work.  In this case there is a full issue of suddenly “stringy” super-heroes, who then flip back to being drawn normally in the next issue (chapter) of the book.  Needless to say, stringy super-heroes are not my cup of tea.  I would still buy the comic if the story line is good, but I would not enjoy the artwork as much.  Finally, there is the issue of intoxicated promiscuity.  Because the book focuses on a young lady, she ultimately ends up intoxicated and waking up in bed with another hero.  Admittedly, I’m old fashioned, but I would ask: does a young female have to be intoxicated to consent to sex and if she does have sex, is it too much to ask for some mention of protection (disease and birth control).  Granted there may not be any such things as sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies in the future, but while the story is centuries in the future, it’s still being read by people today.  Now, having asked my questions, I’ll answer: it’s ridiculous to imply anyone HAS to get intoxicated to desire and/or enjoy sex AND I would have wanted the issue of protection dealt with regardless of whether the interesting character were male or female.  But that’s just me…
Group comics are only interesting if the individual characters are interesting and if there is some issue of group dynamics being dealt with.  In this case, Saturn Girl, Brainiac and Superboy are all interesting characters to me, (with the others being far less interesting so far) so it will come down to their interaction as a group.  Bottom line: I would definitely follow this series for several more volumes to see what happens to the group.
Justice League – Volume 1: Origin (2012)
What does a comic book publisher do when they feel they are running out of story lines after 50+ years of stories?  You create a new universe with mostly the same people!  This allows you to re-boot all of your story lines and re-tell your old stories in different ways or with different endings.  Now, how do you get from here to there?  Well, traditionally to have one of your “super-super” characters (good or bad) do something which alters the the time-space continuum and blah, blah, blah, everything different.  Hence, DC Comics now has the new 52!!  In a way, this is even better than the old way of doing things because DC now has 52 ways of telling and re-telling the same stories with a host of ways to end up with alterations.  This book is the origin for the new Justice League.
Now the JLofA is one of the DC comic series I did follow as a child.  Having said that, I don’t remember any of their specific issues or arch-enemies.  I do remember the individual heroes and I did like them in their individual series too (some of which I bought).  The classic characters are Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.  I’m not sure when the additional character (Cyborg) was added, but he is appearing in this so he’s now an “original” member of the League.
So, where to start – the artwork.  It’s great but a bit dark for my taste.  This seems to be a big carry-over from the famous “Dark Knight” days of Batman and made more famous by all of the movies.  It seems the darker the movie, the more it’s popularity, so the comics have trended the same track.  Does it work?  Well, most of the time, yes.  In this volume, most of the characters don’t know each other, so it’s an introduction for them as much as one to them (for us).  Does this work?  Yes, but it’s not particularly believable.  The problem with this book, like most other “super groups” is finding a villain powerful enough to believe there is a real conflict.  In this case, it’s not difficult to believe the villain is worthy, it’s just difficult to believe some of the “lesser” heroes having any chance of surviving.  When you’re a child, you can put aside this problem, but the older I get the harder it seems to be.  Anyone Superman would have a hard time with would destroy Batman or the Flash; anyone they could handle would be insignificant for Superman.
Anyway, setting aside this issue, what’s good? Batman and Wonder Woman!! Batman has no powers and so must get by on brains and leadership. Wonder Woman is just a bad-ass female warrior! Without going too much farther into the story, that’s it… an average guy and a dynamite female – that’s enough to get me to sign-up for future issues/volumes. Interestingly enough, Batman and the Flash were my two original favorites in the JLofA. Bottom line: I’d buy this series for a while just to see the story lines for these two characters. I’ve never been big on Aquaman and never heard of Cyborg, so I’d have to see how these fleshed out. The Flash could be a big attraction for me if he is developed better. Superman will always be a problem character and I don’t like the psych-case they are trying to make out of Green Lantern, but I’d still give the League a good long follow before deciding against them.
So, that’s about five inches of comic book reading over the last few days. If you used to read comics in your youth, I highly recommend you go back and take a look at both the DC and Marvel universes. If nothing else, you’ll know what the action movies will be like in the next decade…
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This week was kind of a potpourri of mostly great entertainment:  I started off the week with an episode of Downton Abbey – exceptional British drama on PBS.  It’s the second season and the future heir is off to the trenches of France.  If you haven’t seen season one (and now, season two), you don’t know what you’re missing…
I finally got around to watching my DVD copy of “Green Lantern“.   I saw the movie in the theater back in June and my review (“In Brightest Day…“) was positive.  I’m a bit undecided on if the DVD translates to the smaller screen as well as some other grand-scale movies, but I think it’s pretty favorable.  I’m not sure why, but the movie seemed longer than I remembered it being in the theater – but it had also had a lot more action than I remember.  I’m not sure about Ryan Reynolds (the lead).  Some times he seemed to fit the character perfectly, and others, nope – don’t buy it at all.  The female love interest is played by Blake Lively, who seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place at all until I looked her up.  She was in the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movie, which I have seen but don’t recall.  I just remember her being a soccer player or something.  Anyway, now she reminds me of a young Jennifer Connally – meaning the camera loves her.  Hopefully, she can get some serious roles and we’ll find out if she has real chops or not.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever say that about Reynolds.  He’s in his mid-30’s now, so if he doesn’t start playing some serious roles soon, I’m not sure he ever will.  All in all, I still give the movie a favorable review and will watch it again soon.
One other comment on Reynolds.  I saw him opposite Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal“, and I thought he did very well in that role too.  Unfortunately, I’d say that role was more comedic than serious.  Not that a comic-book hero is comedic or serious, but you know what I mean…
On Wednesday I went for my first walk/slow jog in ages at the gym at work.  It felt so good I came home and watched “The Jericho Mile” again (see my review).  Still a great little made for TV movie.  Still inspirational.  Kudos to Michael Mann and Peter Strauss!!
Friday night I watched the two-hour ending of the TV series “Chuck“.  I remember watching this series when it first started five years ago.  It was the funniest (Nerd Herd), best written, sexiest (Sarah Walker), spy-spoof (Jeffster saves the General), crime-fighting series I’d seen in ages.  The finale crystalized in my mind the fallacy that nerds are socially inept loners.  In fact, nerds do herd!  And in herding, nerds gather strength.  (They also become even more nerdier…)  In the end, it took the whole team – including the Jeffster – to defeat evil and save the world as we know it (or want it to be) – a happy ending for the nerds.
Full disclosure time: way back in the second season, when it looked like the show was going to be cancelled, I was one of the fans who went to Subway (well, actually three Subways), bought a sandwich and asked the store manager to let the company know I liked their support of “Chuck” and hoped they’d keep the show on the air.  Two had no idea what I was talking about.  They didn’t even know Subway had product placement in the series!!  The third said he’d already had several people stop in and ask for him to support “Chuck” with a message to the head company.
Power to the nerds!!!
Last night, I also watched a documentary on diet and health titled: “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“.  It’s an excellent movie about how we are killing ourselves with the food we eat.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman, of “Eat To Live” fame, plays a prominent role in the movie explaining how we’re killing ourselves and how we can make a recovery.  The “interesting” thing to me is that his book says you need to eat the fruit and vegetables to get their goodness, but the movie says you can do it by simply juicing them.  My “gut-feeling” is (pun intended) that the book is correct and the movie less so, but still reasonably healthy.  To make a long story shorter, today I went out and bought a juicer.  Now the next step is …
Off to the store to get my fruit and veggies.
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Today, after work, I went to see the new movie: “Green Lantern“, with my daughter Sarah.  I had read the reviews over the weekend and got James’ (my son) review.  He saw it at the mid-night premiere last Friday morning.  I also got a short review from a guy I know at work who goes to a lot of movies.  Everyone had mixed reactions.  The professional reviews were the harshest.  James said he didn’t think much of the main Green Lantern actor, but thought the rest of the movie was good.  My work friend said it was more of a comedy movie than a super-hero movie.
I don’t know what they were all expecting, but I thought it was terrific!!!  It had very good special effects, good comedic moments, a little romance, and some pretty good battle scenes.  I thought the main actor (Ryan Reynolds) carries the movie and is certainly better than many of the actors in the early days of comic-movies – including some more modern actors / roles  like Ben Affleck in Daredevil.  I think the best way to describe it is that it is a kind of comic book / sci-fi / space opera (minus the Italian singing).  Considering Green Lantern has always seemed a third tier super-hero to me, I found the movie to be on a par with the two most recent Batman movies.  I have read rumors there may be a trilogy, and if so, I will definitely go seem them as well.
On Sunday, I finally completed the book: “Microtrends“, by Mark J. Penn (2007©).  The author is a pollster who had his claim to fame in the Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.  Penn is attributed with the invention of the term “Soccer Moms” and the targeting of them, which is supposedly what pushed Clinton over the top to victory in the election.  The book is a collection of short essays about over seventy microtrends (defined as a trend which is or is soon expected to be at least one percent of the population).  Many of the trends do not “seem” new to me, but one has to remember the book is now over four years old, so some of these trends have now become mainstream.
As usual with many of the books I read, I will be putting some of interesting quotes up in this blog over time.  Again, it’s not so much the newness of the idea as it is the conciseness of the ideas expression which interests me.  More critical and more favorable reviews can be found at the various on-line book sales sites.  I would only note, I tended to agree more with the positive reviews than the negative.  I also find it interesting that some reviewers simply can’t get past the “he worked for the re-election of Clinton”  factor and that seems to completely cloud their judgement (and reviews) to the point of vitriol.  It must be a sad life, not being able to get over something after all this time.
On Sunday, I also completed a very short book from my past: “The Wisdom Of Gibran“, edited by Joseph Sheban (1966©).  I first heard of Kahlil Gibran when I was in high school.  I’m not sure if I read this book or another very much like it, but I remember  being very touched by this “strange” person, who seemed to write as if he were from a fictional, medieval place and time.  Back then, I used to keep a journal and I remember writing quote after quote from Gibran in the journal.  As strange as it may sound, Gibran was like a “Star Wars” Yoda figure to me, speaking honestly to me, but in a funny version of English.  It was only on reading this book yesterday, that the image of Yoda came back to me.  It’s funny how life can go around in circles and create its own chain of links.
A couple of months ago, I bought Gibran’s collected works in a single volume.  This collection of short quotes has reminded me they (the full works) are on the shelf calling to me…
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
    —   Kahlil Gibran
From: “Mirrors Of The Soul
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