Tenfold Hate

Bring It On, Winter Doldrums
January 7, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: Film, Gaming

Not much going on with me game-wise since the holidays. Still having a hell of a lot of fun with LoTRO, but merrymaking coupled with post-holiday blues has compromised my MMO time the past few weeks. I’ve never been a fan of those “year-in-review/predictions-for-the-upcoming-year” posts, so I’ll spare you all. Simply put, 2008 was a year of lukewarm games failing to hold my attention. From Mythic and Blizzard to Funcom and SOE, a good part of the year was spent bed hopping from Vanguard to Burning Crusade to Age of Conan to Warhammer.

While none of these games are terrible by any means, it took LoTRO coming waaay out of left field with the MoM expansion to rinse the bad taste out of my mouth.

2008 was not all mediocrity on the MMO front–if only because it spawned the Spouse Aggro podcast. Beau Turkey, who took over the helm at Troy’s Voyages of Vanguard podcast earlier this year, and his wife Leala (who hosts the uber-awesome Epic Dolls podcast) lend a breath of fresh air to the often all-too-whiny, eternally dissatisfied legion of MMO bloggers and podcasters out there.

For me, these guys pull off in their podcasts what Tipa over at West Karana miraculously has pulled off in her blog year after year–that perfect blend of intelligent discussion, humor, and a true affection for RPGs.

Caught two great westerns over the holidays–one old, one new.

The first is John Ford’s Fort Apache. Ford’s work stands the test of time surprisingly well, whereas many other classic Hollywood westerns can come off as a bit to hokey. Henry Fonda. John Wayne. Apaches on the warpath. What more do you need?

The second is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This flick is not your standard western. If you like the slow, poetic style of directors like Terrence Malick and Werner Herzog, you’ll love this one–which plays more like a starstruck stalker flick than a shoot-em-up. Great performances all around.

What am I looking forward to in the first half of 2009? Watchmen.

New Wolverine Trailer
December 15, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

I’m approaching this spring’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine with severe reservations, based mostly on the extreme suck that was the third installment of the X-Men franchise. But I’ve gotta say, this trailer has piqued my interest. First off, if I’d been editor-in-chief at Marvel in the early nineties, I’d have squelched fleshing out Wolverine’s origins in the first place. I always thought his story played out better veiled in mystery than the stories of Victorian-era Canada fleshed out during a time when Marvel really hit an all-time low in terms of storytelling.

Anyway, this trailer is a mine field of nods to comic book geekdom, which I’m always a sucker for. However, this is dangerous territory, because it provides enough filler to make a trailer look awesome without suggesting any substantial plot. You’ll notice everyone from Emma Frost and the Blob to a young Storm and Gambit making cameos. But nods to nerd-dom does not a movie make–that’s where Last Stand failed. They culled superficial elements of X-lore, put them all in a blender, and added explosions.

Hopefully Jackman and company can flesh out a coherent, gripping story that doesn’t pee all over the existing lore, something Last Stand was not able to do on any level. Liev Schreiber looks like a great choice for Sabretooth and I always find Hugh Jackman likeable. And from the brief clips of them together, the two actors nail that antagonistic anti-chemistry Logan and Creed have for each other.

It’s hard to say what the worst Marvel adaptation has been. For me it’s a three-way tie for last between Fantastic Four, Elektra, and Spider-man 3.

Check out the trailer here!

Renowned Comic Creator Crankier Than MMORPG Bloggers?
November 12, 2008, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

You be the judge.

I agree with Moore’s criticism of Hollywood as a vampiric machine that spoon-feeds moviegoers utter crap and all–especially when comic book licenses are concerned, but putting a hex on a movie?

I think Zack Snyder did a great job with his Dawn of the Dead remake. He was able to perform that difficult juggling act of maintaining the essence of the original while freshening the material and making it his own. Most directors fail miserably trying.

Sure, we’re not gonna get a frame-by-frame recreation of the graphic novel in all of it’s intricacies, but I think Snyder has proven he has the talent and enthusiasm for the subject matter to capture the spirit of Watchmen without peeing all over the source material.

Heck, it’s guaranteed to be better than The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Sam Mendes Set to Bring “Preacher” to the Screen
October 30, 2008, 9:21 am
Filed under: Comics, Film

Sam Mendes, the guy who directed American Beauty, Road to Perdition, and Jarhead is slated to bring Garth Ennis’ comic book series Preacher to the silver screen. I’m happy to see another quality, non-schlock director at the helm of another quality, non-schlock comic book adaptation. Probably best known in mainstream comic book circles for his Punisher revamp, Ennis is a very talented writer who is worth reading.

Preacher has a unique, bastardized, Southern gothic feel to it, telling the story of a modern day preacher travelling through the west (accompanied by a former girlfriend and an Irish vampire) in search of God, who seems to have abandoned Heaven. Many supernatural hijinx ensue. I’m pretty sure you can pick up the whole run in a series of handy trade paperback collections.

One of my favorite mainstream Ennis storylines that many people seem to have missed is Marvel’s Thor: Vikings. It’s about a cursed Viking ship doomed to roam the seas for all eternity that washes ashore in NYC. The undead vikings start to do what they do best (rape and pillage) while beating the crap out of the Avengers in the process.

At its heart, Thor: Vikings IS a Thor story, and a damn good one. I never quite bought Thor in the Marvel Universe. I mean, why would a Norse god speak in Shakespearean English? He never seemed believable to me–even in a fantastic universe where folks don tights and swing from buildings. Though Walt Simonson’s run on Mighty Thor in the eighties was a lot of fun in an over-the-top, traditionally “comic booky” way, it was more Simonson’s fantastic visual style that appealed to me than the stories themselves.

Ennis gives the character three-dimesions and made me really root for him, as the normally omnipotent man-god finds himself defenseless against the viking invaders and must find a resolution outside of his brute strength and otherworldly wamma-jamma.

With a story rich in history, folklore, and mythology, I highly recommend Thor: Vikings–especially to hesitant fantasy fans who may have never caught onto the whole men-in-day-glo-tights-fighting-crime thing but want to jump into comics.

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Dark Knight Trailer Leaked Online
December 14, 2007, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

Apparently, someone whipped out their camera phone at the midnight premier of I Am Legend Thursday night and captured the Web’s first peak of The Dark Knight trailer. The quality is shoddy at best, but a must see for any Batman enthusiast. It probably won’t be around for long–seems that Warner Bros. has their internet bloodhounds on the case. Catch it if you can.

Director Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger manage to capture the Joker in all his deranged, psychotic glory from what I’ve seen. Perhaps it can erase Jack Nicholson’s portly, polished, pale interpretation of the character from pop culture memory once and for all.

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