The Book of Lies (Brad Meltzer, 2008)

The other day, I saw that my wife had brought home The Book of Lies from the library.  I remembered hearing about this because part of the story featured the family of one of the creators of Superman (Jerry Siegel). I asked Krista if she like Meltzer.  She said she'd read all his books.

"No you haven't," I replied.

Taken aback, "Yes, I have," she argued.

"Have you read Identity Crisis?" Ha!

"Well, I haven't read his comics."  Color me impressed that she even knew he wrote comics, much less knew the name of one!

Anyway, I figured I better read this since she had brought it home from the library...

I don't read much in the way of thrillers - that's more Krista's speed.  I enjoyed this one, though. It's a quick easy read, with chapters you can sometimes finish in a minute or two - great if you read in tiny bites.

So, how does the first murder (the story of Cain and Abel) figure prominently into the life of the creator of Superman?  Read it and find out.  It's an interesting story with some good twists and turns (none of which I saw coming, though Krista said she saw the first big one).


Push (2009) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

So, technically, it's not a superhero film - but it is a film about people with powers. When I saw the previews for Push, it seemed very reminiscent of the show Heroes, but as I sat in the theater absorbing the film, it didn't remind me of Heroes at all. 

A government organization called The Division is continuing experiments on psychics started by the Nazis in World War II, trying to develop people's psychic abilities and turn them into weapons.  Those who have telekenetic abilities are called Movers; people that can see the future are called Watchers; people that can push their thoughts into your mind and make you see and believe thing that aren't real are called Pushers; you get the idea.  There are a lot more abilities in the film, but it's a lot more fun if you pick them up while you're watching.

The Division is looking for a Pusher named Kira (Camilla Bell) who recently escaped.  They want her back because they've injected her with a serum that multiplies her abilities, and she's the first to survive the process.  She gets some help from Nick (Chris Evans, upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie, Fantastic Four, 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) and Cassie (Dakota Fanning - did you know she played a young Wonder Woman on Justice League once?). They're being chased by Division man Carver (Djimon Hounsou, Constantine, Blueberry), as well as a rival Hong Kong organization.

I thought the film was a fun ride. The way the abilities were handled was especially creative, and I think I enjoyed this part of the film best of all (and it helped me overlook other shortcomings).  If you can find yourself lost in the fun of mindless esapism, sometimes that's all you need to enjoy a movie. I especially like the telekinetic fist fight...but I won't spoil that for you either.

Keep in mind that this is not a film for deep analysis.  If you think too much about it, you can find a lot of parallels with Heroes, though, as I said before, it doesn't have the same feel.  Plus, if you try to analyze the story and plot, I think you'd find a lot of holes.  But as a "popcorn" movie - a movie you can just sit and enjoy, it's not too bad.

[Neil Jackson, who was Marcus in the Blade series playes a Mover who works for The Division. Ming-Na, who plays the Sniffer that helps Kira, Cassie, and Nick , also voiced Detective Yin on The Batman.]

See it if you can just sit and enjoy a movie for the fun of it.

Don't see it if you over-analyze films and look for plot holes.


The Brave and the Bold Toys

I didn't know Brave and the Bold toys were out - even an action figure of Blue Beetle.




Ok; while there's an advantage to pre-picking your seat at a theater like the Monaco, the downside is when you get rule-follower nazis that don't realize they're picking seats right next to you. So when they walk into an empty theater after picking seats right next to you they sit right next to you. Duh.

oh cool - Watchmen trailer

A Darkened Movie Theater

Here am at the Monaco in Huntsville (by myself in the theater) about to see Push. Why? Well because it's not in Florence, of course. I'll let you know if it's any good.

Aw, crud...it looks like I might not have the theater all to myself. Oh, well. The trailers are about to start.


Wanted (2008) mini review

based on a comic book

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a loser. An insignificant nothing who can't figure out why his life sucks. He's treated like crap at his crappy job. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend. Life can't get much worse.

But one day he finds out the father he never knew was an assassin. Fox (Angelina Jolie) finds him and tries to convert him; Sloan (Morgan Freeman - Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) is the head of The Fraternity and convinces him to join the organization. I'll leave the rest for you to find out when you see this movie, if you haven't already.

What can I even say about a summer of comic book movies that had such a strong start (Iron Man) and got better and better with every film, crescendoing with Wanted. Maybe that's not how they came out chronologically, but Wanted was my final stop on my summer comic book tour, and for my money, it was the best of the bunch.

This is only my second 10 out of 10 comic book movie. What can I say - I'm transfixed by films where the hero starts out as some schlub, and when he discovers the truth about life, it's turned upside down (The Matrix and Fight Club are in my top 5 films - go figure.) These kinds of films resonate with me somewhere deep inside. But when a movie is brilliantly made and it reaches inside me and grabs me by the soul - that's a film that rocks my world. And the beautiful choreography and amazing cinematography of this whole movie just makes you need to catch your breath.

Addendum: I wanted to add that not long after I saw the film in the theater, I read Mark Millar's comic that it was based on.  It was interesting that the film wasn't that faithful to the comic.  And, well, it wouldn't have been able to have near the success if it tried to be.  I mean, the comic is dark.  Darker probably than just about any comic I've ever read. In the comics, The Fraternity isn't a fraternity of assassins who go about trying to kill the people who deserve it.  It's a fraternity of costumed super-villains who have done away with all the superheroes and now go about doing whatever they want. Imagine a secret gang of hundreds of Jokers let loose on the world without the Batman to keep them in check, and you can get an inkling of what I'm talking about.  To be truer to the source material would have been cost-prohibitive (all those costumes, all those super powers, all those special effects), and it would've been lucky to garner an NC-17 rating.  I think I'm glad they didn't get any close than they did - it all ended up like an adolescent angry boy's fantasy - what would I do if I could do anything I want to anyone I wanted to.  *Shudder* While I recommend the movie to anyone who can get by the violence, I personally don't recommend the comic; but that's just me.

See it if you like intense action movies or movies about truth being turned on its head.

Don't see it if you tend to avoid the blood and violence.