Special (2006) mini review

superhero movie not based on a comic

Do you ever dream of being different?

Does life ever have its foot on your chest, and you know you need to find the strength to stand up, but just don't know where to get it?

When a movie is really good, sometimes it's better to say less about it and let other people experience it for themselves. I was able to catch Special (here's the film's website) on Comcast On Demand last night - I had to look for it; it wasn't with the rest of the movies, it was in a separate category, "Magnolia Pictures".

Anyway, it was awesome.

Les (Michael Rapaport, Comic Book Villains) has decided to participate in some clinical trials with a new drug - a drug that's supposed to remove self-doubt. He starts taking it, and he starts to develop special powers. Or does he? Here, everyone involved in the film did an amazing job of making me wonder - does he really have these powers? (I mean really - you could see everyone's hand involved - from the writer to the director to the actors to those editing the video and the sound). And you keep second guessing...

Needless to say I was impressed.

Other cast includes Jack Kehler (Men In Black II), Josh Peck (you probably recognize him from Drake and Josh), Christopher Darga (Return to the Batcave, The Mask), and Amanda Carlin (Superhero Movie).

If you come across this film somewhere and get a chance to see it - see it.

See it if you like indie films or superhero films - or especially if you like independent movies and superhero movies.

Don't see it if your movies need to be big-budget Hollywood blockbusters.



Of course, this movie never came anywhere close to here, but I just saw on the movie site that it's on Comcast On Demand.  I've liked Michael Rapaport ever since I saw Beautiful Girls.  That reminds me - I've got watch Comic Book Villains again so I can review it. I'm going to check right now to see if we've got Special on our On Demand.


What's Up with The Dark Knight?

Just saw the list of IMAX theaters that The Dark Knight was re-released to today. Is the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center on it?


What's up with that?!?

Hmmmm...is it worth it to drive all the way to Nashville to see it on the IMAX? I'm still kicking myself for not going to V for Vendetta.


Upcoming: Push, Afro-Samurai, Wolverine and the X-Men

News, news, news...

I happened to be reading Entertainment Weekly yesterday, and caught that Afro Samurai: Resurrection (sequel to Afro Samurai) is on is on Spike this Saturday night at 9 pm Central. (They're showing the full 2 hours rather than breaking it up like they did the last one). Once again it stars Samuel L Jackson, but the sequel adds Lucy Liu to the mix. (Shoot - I got the uncut version of the original for Christmas, and still haven't watched.  Good grief.)

Also, Wolverine and the X-Men premiers Sunday at 1 pm Central.  Wow; that's a weird time.  It looks like they're showing two episodes back to back.

And here's the trailer for a movie that looks pretty interesting.  It reminded me of Heroes, but I'll just have to go see it. It's called Push.


Mystery Men (1999) mini review

based on a comic book
Call me crazy, but Mystery Men is, in my opinion, the finest superhero movie ever made - so far, it's the only superhero film I've rated a 10 out of 10. Why? It's not easy to put into words. The directing is excellent. The acting is wonderful. The casting is perfect. The cinematography is just Amazing. The writing is genius - the only other notable film among the writer's other credits include the nauseating The Return of Swamp Thing, so I don't know if he had a flash of genius, or if the script evolved during production.

The movie begins with Champion City's greatest hero (Captain Amazing - Greg Kinnear, Blankman) having to bail out a group of second string superheroes (Mr. Furious - Ben Stiller; The Shoveler - William H. Macy, Batman Beyond, Superman: TAS; and The Blue Raja - Hank Azaria), as they once again get their butts kicked while trying to fight crime. The three would-be crimefighters are later joined by The Bowler (Janeane Garafalo, Southland Tales), The Spleen (Paul Reubens, the Penguin's father in Batman Returns), The Sphinx (Wes Studi), and Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell) and summon the courage to work through their individual issues and work as a team fight the evil Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). [Claire Forlani (Mallrats) has a small part, and the incredible Tom Waits (Wristcutters: A Love Story) has an excellent cameo.  Other notables include Eddie Izzard (My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Blueberry) and Doug Jones (Hellboy, Hellboy II, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Men in Black II, Monkeybone, Tank Girl, Batman Returns)]

This movie has everything - some great superhero lines, a Disco gang, an insane asylum, a Corvette Limo. It even solves the mystery of how a simple pair of glasses can work as a disguise for Superman.

The Mystery Men were born in the pages of Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics. All of the heroes in the movie originally appeared in this title, but the Mystery Men never even had their own comic until after the movie came out.

See it if you are in any way, shape, or form a fan of comic books.

Don't see it if you don't want to lighten up and suspend disbelief for a few minutes.


Hellboy Hawking DirecTV

I saw this commercial last week and about fell off the couch laughing.  It cracked me up for some reason.


The Spirit (2008) mini review

based on a comic

Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) is The Spirit.  He's the hero of Central City. But what is he? Is he dead? Is he alive? To be honest, I had some trouble following it; partly because it was convoluted, and partly because it had trouble keeping my attention and I think I may have dozed off a few times (you know, like you do in school, when you're sitting at your desk and suddenly you jerk awake, knowing you just dozed off for a second or two).

Maybe the film is an homage to the comic, and the comic leaves as many questions unanswered. Maybe the film is an homage to film noir, and that's why there's so much over-acting and corny dialogue.  Either way, you can tell I was a bit disappointed.  It's an interesting experiment, but not as good as it could have been (or should have been). I'm not sure what the film was trying to be, or what it was trying to do.  Was it campy? Was it an homage? Was it film noir?

The film is, of course, based on the Will Eisner classic comic book/strip The Spirit.  It was directed by Frank Miller (who you might remember had co-directing credits on his Sin City movie).  Samuel L. Jackson (Iron Man, The Incredibles, Unbreakable, Afro Samurai) plays Octopus; Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider) is The Spirit's first love - Sand Seref. Paz Vega (you may remember her from Spanglish) is the enchantress Plaster of Paris, Scarlett Johanssen (Ghost World) plays The Octopus's right-hand woman Silken Floss; Jaime King (Sin City, upcoming Sin City 2, Bulletproof Monk) is Lorelei Rox, and Dan Lauria is Dolan (he had parts in Smallville, Static Shock, and Batman Beyond) - he's the dad from The Wonder Years, if you, like me, were struggling to remember where you knew him from.

See it if you're a comic fan and want to see a feature based on comics legend Will Eisner's The Spirit or want to see Frank Miller's directorial debut.

Don't see it if, if you hate to see such great talent wasted, or based on Miller's comic writing and Sin City, you expect this to be really good.


Watchmen Comes to Life

Because Moore brings gives his characters such depth, making them feel as if they're real-life people, I sometimes think of Watchmen as a story describing what might happen if people really did decide to dress up, become superheroes, and fight crime. Well that era has arrived. The most recent Rolling Stone has a story about Real Life Superheroes.

In other news:

The Edge talks about the Spider-man musical.

You've probably already seen the X-Men Origins: Wolverine site and trailer. It looks awesome.

XIII finally hit the news with some real info; it'll be on NBC in February. Here's the story; I've put the mini-series dates to the right under Premiers/Releases.

The Hulk fights Thor and Wolverine this January. Marvel has the trailer and some clips.

Well, here's hoping I get the chance to go see The Spirit tomorrow night.

I'll leave you with a trailer for a video game I may just have to buy. Think it'll come out on the Wii? *sigh*

Batman - Arkham Asylum