Archive for July, 2008

BATMAN FOREVER – Thankfully Not Forever

July 25, 2008

Despite Burton’s hang-ups with plot, pacing and remote-controlled penguins the director helped catapult Batman into the mainstream consciousness as a serious comic book icon, a badass, kind of psychotic, and relevant, because nothing is relevant unless it’s rendered in live-action cinema. When Joel “Lost Boys” Schumacher took the franchise reins from Burton, who held on as a “producer” (whatever that means), Batman’s newfound reputation as a fearsome crusader was dashed to the rocks, replaced by an insufferable neon-lit homo eroticism. How WB allowed this to happen to their superhero cash cow is nothing short of bewildering. Obviously no one gave a damn. The only thing that mattered at this point were the Burger King tie-ins, the action figures and toys and the shitty Super Nintendo game. Clearly, across the board, no one was attempting a modicum of quality control because no one gave a shit. And we allowed it to happen! Batman Forever made a ton of money in 1995 yet even as a kid I knew something was wrong. Mainly I was embarrassed by Jim Carrey’s canoodling. And all that neon rubber? The stupid new theme music?! What, was Danny Elfman’s too good?

I won’t go into a full-detail analysis because I just don’t have it in me to put every codpiece-covered inch of Batman Forever under the grumposcope. It is exactly the type of 1990s clueless studio manipulated trash that deserves to be mocked and shamed, useful for only the occasional ironic laugh. Instead I’ve provided my unedited notes I took while watching the movie, and there are the usual screenshots.



Straw Dogs: THIS IS MY HOUSE!!!

July 24, 2008

Y’know, people think that movies today are so brutal and shocking, but you know what? It’s been that way for a while. Look at the 70s. You had movies like Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and Taxi Driver that pushed the buttons of sensitive viewers. I mean what’s more objectionable? The Matrix‘s lobby scene or waking up with a severed horse head?

My dad and I were trying to find something to watch on a Sunday night and we were rooting through his DVD collection only to happen upon Straw Dogs. Neither of us had ever seen it, and I’d never seen a Peckinpah movie before. So we just shrugged our shoulders, popped in the DVD and sat down to watch it, completely innocent of what the movie was about.

Ohhhhhhhhhh dear.

Be vewy, vewy quiet...

Be vewy, vewy quiet...


BATMAN RETURNS – Beginning of the End

July 23, 2008

Before X-Men, Blade, Spider-Man and Harry Potter and Hellboy, studios and filmmakers didn’t really have a clue how to do sequels or the whole franchise thing. Sure, there was Wrath of Khan and Empire Strikes Back and Godfather Part II but there was also Batman Returns. The first Batman was a huge success so naturally WB wanted Tim Burton to trot out another movie. Problem was no one decided to keep a leash on the guy and he ended up laying down the groundwork for what would become one of the most colossal fuck-ups in film history. Everything in Batman Returns is amplified tenfold in Batman Forever then a hundredthousandfold in Batman & Robin. “Escalation” is right, Gordon.

I understand the movie has its fans. If you like completely unrestrained grotesque production design, sophomoric dialogue that consists entirely of sexual euphemisms, cat and penguin puns, nonsensical monologues that stretch on forever and say nothing, midgets in penguin costumes with mind control devices connected to their skulls and rockets on their backs, then, yeah, you will love all two excruciating hours of Batman Returns.

So call a doctor. QUICK.



(grumplet) Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog: A Geek Tragedy

July 23, 2008

If you’re an Internet nerd, this is old news. Joss Whedon, king of the geeks, found himself with some time on his hands during the writers’ strike. So what did he do? What any other person would’ve done in his place: create a self-contained three-act musical about the trials and tribulations of an aspiring supervillain.





BATMAN – Party Like It’s 1989

July 15, 2008

I can’t pinpoint the specific moment I became aware of the superhero Batman. Amidst the Captain Ns, Super Marios and Transformers of the muddled late 80s/early 90s culturescape I knew about the Batman comic books because my dad had a ton of them. I was semi-aware of the movie when I rented the Nintendo game. I also had Joker and Batman action figures, but I didn’t care about the flick, or any movies, until much later. It was toys and video games for me, and that’s the way it went for a while. I didn’t know about Batman‘s initial impact on pop culture at large, nor was I aware I was actually an important part of it.


The movie was only a very small part of the now-commonplace merchandising juggernaut, something Jack Nicholson took into account when he made his payment deal. Besides top billing (over the title character, Michael Keaton!) Nicholson got a large percentage of the royalties, raking in one of the biggest paydays for an actor in history. Considering the Joker’s climactic parade scene, where he throws millions of dollars to a rabid Gotham populace, to the tune of Prince’s “Trust”, it kind of makes you wonder. The Prince CD, Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, the action figures, the Batmobile and Batwing toys, all prominently displayed in their live-action late-80s glory for kids to nag their parents to buy. In the decade that followed, marketing and toy tie-ins was all Warner Bros. cared about when it came to their lucrative little whore of a Bat-franchise. Quality movies? Who wants those? But we’ll get to WB’s dark dealings in later articles. It’s not like Batman is the first or last cash cow then or now. I remember owning Aliens toys too and I didn’t see that movie until years later.

So it’s weird now, looking at Batman after the sequels, the reboot, the animated shows, the comic books … In Kevin Smith’s Evening With DVD, the director of Dogma and Jersey Girl recalls the time he mustered the ire of Tim Burton because of the finale of his Planet of the Apes remake. Smith jokingly accused Burton of cribbing the ending from a comic book he did. Burton’s alleged response was “Anybody that knows me knows that I would never read a comic book.”

“Which, to me,” Smith says, “explains fuckin’ Batman.”

and here we GO

Hellboy 2 – Del Toro Unleashed

July 13, 2008

If you ever wondered what controlled visual madness looks like you probably want to look at Guillermo Del Toro’s (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II) latest, Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Every sketch, every special effect, every bit of imagination he has is all onscreen. What more can he possibly squeeze out? Everything’s here. It’s like the Wacky Land from Looney Tunes meets Lord of the Rings. There are new creatures, new sights to see in almost every scene. The movie’s pièce de résistance, a Mos Eisley-like location called the Troll Market, is a feast for the senses, with a billion moving, crazy things to keep track of. It’d be worth to get on DVD just to freeze-frame the myriad of characters and happenings going on at the same time. Be sure to leep a look out for a creature carrying a huge set of dentures!

Gimme my dentures back.



July 11, 2008

So you’ve seen the smug TV ads with Angelina Jolie driving with her feet and people shouting “CURVE THE BULLET!” with complete sincerity. Just what IS this movie? Besides ridiculous and silly.