Archive for the ‘CommentaryCast’ Category

COMMENTARYCAST: Hellboy

Posted: December 8, 2016 in CommentaryCast
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bprdI still cannot believe that this movie is 12 years old. Argh! Where does the time go?! Anyway, you’ve likely seen this movie. It’s awesome. I stand by my statements about both Ron Perlman and Doug Jones. Both are amazing actors and insanely cool people. Hellboy is a rare adaptation that doesn’t necessarily go with any particular story from the comic but absolutely nails the universe, tone and characterization of the comic series. Director Guillero Del Toro’s love for the source material is clear in every second of film and the personalities of all of the cast comes through wonderfully even when covered with layer upon layer of prosthetics and make-up. The follow-up film, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, continued that tradition and created an even richer world of fantasy. Sadly, at this point, there is no third film to complete the trilogy. Hopefully (but doubtfully) that’ll happen some day since this series is so much fun that a continuation seems both necessary and logical. (more…)

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lexThis week, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Superman Returns. In many ways, this movie is the complete antithesis of the current slate of DC’s films. It’s a quiet, somber story about a hero trying to find the MAN amid the SUPER. Director Bryan Singer famously stepped away from the X-Men franchise in order to direct it and his love for the character shines through. At the time of it’s release, it was a critical darling but a point of contention among fans. Some saw it as a suitable love-letter to the Richard Donner age of Superman past while many viewed it more as a boring slog without enough punching. Well, now we have a meat-headed, murderous Superman, so be careful what you wish for. While underperforming at the box office, a lot of that had to do with expectations derived from past, scrapped attempts at  this iteration of Superman which cost the studio up to $200 Million. Both Brian and I (as well as Quentin Tarantino) agree that is probably the best take on Superman that modern audiences are likely going to see and a well-crafted, poignant, heart-felt film. Now enjoy listening to us curse through watching it.
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grTo a lot of people, this movie is probably the definition of “superfluous sequel”. It sure seems like very few people wanted to see it, or even noticed when it was released. Hell, less than a year after it came out, I was on a radio show discussing comic book movies and the host had never even heard of it. That said, I think it’s actually a surprisingly decent film. The Neveldine/Taylor brand of kinetic action works well for a character like Ghost Rider. It features surprisingly strong performances from the principal actors and a tone that is much more in-line with how a character like this should be portrayed. In fact, it seems like the only major failing of the film is that it wasn’t pushed further into weird Neveldine/Taylor territory (which is a struggle that is well documented in the film’s “making of” feature). Regardless, it’s miles above the original film.
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punI have gone on record, time and again, defending this film. I feel it is the most true representation of The Punisher that we’ve ever had in expanded media. And, when it comes to film, this is likely the as close to the comic as we’re ever going to get. It wisely accepts his origin as read and crafts a narrative around his obsession with punishing evil-doers. Ray Stevenson’s stoicism as Frank Castle is dead-on and is a nice counter-balance to the rambunctious ridiculousness that is Dominic West’s Jigsaw. While I find that each adaptation of the character has some merit, this is the one that I consistently go to when I need a real Punisher fix. Director Lexi Alexander also ensured that the film retained the palette and many characters from the comic. In the past, Baer has been less complimentary of the film, but I think some of my enthusiasm rubbed off on him during this recording.

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batjoke

It’s very hard to really appreciate what a momentous film Batman was without actually living through it. In 1989, I was in kindergarten and was completely caught up in the Batmania that was gripping the world. For the first time in my life, I could go to the store and find an entire row of toys based on Batman (and Joker and…Bob the goon?) and every kind of tie-in and cash-grab imaginable. These days, that sort of thing is common place, it’s even strange if a comic book movie doesn’t have a bunch of advertising. In that way, Batman was very ahead of its time. In many, many other ways it’s still a product of the late 80’s. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s fairly dated and not nearly as beholden to the character as modern interpretations. As such, it’s kind of fun to look at it from a historical perspective and see just how much the character has changed over the course of two and a half decades. With that, enjoy Brian and I talking through Batman. Also, don’t forget the trivia question! Or do…I’d rather not have to come up with a prize.

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Blade is the first new CommentaryCasts to be posted in this new format. Starring Wesley Snipes, this 1998 film is the first to kick-off the modern “Golden Age” of comic book films. That’s especially interesting since the studio that released it, New Line, didn’t promote it as such. It’s not too odd considering the cinematic pedigree of movies based on comics at the time (and let’s not forget that this was only a year after the Great Bat-Implosion…also called Batman and Robin). But it’s cool to see the cinematic juggernaut that comic book movies (and Marvel especially) have become, with much thanks going to the strong foundation that Blade laid. Brian and I discovered that even with dated cgi, it’s still an incredibly entertaining action flick. (more…)

For those keeping track, this is the fifth CommentaryCast and also the fifth one to reference THE Matthew Stacey, he of myth and legend. At this point, I fear the inside jokes and shorthand between myself and Mr. Baer threaten to overtake regular discourse and comic-movie-based trivia. But, I don’t fear it enough to stop. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the very definition of “cult classic”. It received great reviews but piss-poor box office receipts. And like any good cult classic, it’s found a vocal and passionate fanbase on home video. Directed by genre god Edgar Wright, you  may never see a comic book movie that is directed quite so beautifully. (more…)

It could be argued (correctly) that this shouldn’t count as a DC comics film. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was originally published by ABC Comics in 1997. The first two volumes have recently been acquired by DC’s mature imprint Vertigo. So it’s not really a DC comic, but we really wanted to watch it next…so there. This movie has some degree of infamy and not just because it’s a fairly crappy adaptation of the source material. It had an incredibly troubled production involving natural disasters and cast/crew in-fighting which lead to both the director and star retiring from film-making and citing this film as the reason. Add to it a complicated legal battle involving plagiarism and it’s a wonder it even got released. It’d been a while since I had seen this movie and my strong negative sentiment toward it has definitely chilled a bit. For your listening/viewing pleasure, here’s our discussion of LXG (don’t call it that -Brian)…
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The third CommentaryCast ventures into one of Marvel’s first pseudo-failures at the box office. While the original theatrical cut of this film is fundamentally flawed, this director’s cut does a lot to correct those issues. It still ends up being an odd mish-mash of silly and serious, but it’s much easier to watch. That said, it hasn’t aged exceptionally well. I was once a staunch defender of this film, now some of its problems are much more evident. It seems odd that Marvel would follow up X-Men and Spider-Man with a relatively little-known hero like Daredevil. And yet, it was a surprisingly faithful adaptation, even down to some visual cues. With that, enjoy Brian and I discussing Daredevil and see if your thoughts on it have changed (for better or worse) over time.

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The second CommentaryCast is the criminally under-seen action-flick, Dredd. Despite decent reviews and a focused story, the film failed to make much of a mark on the box office and as such, the much-promised sequel is all but dead now. Fans have been holding out hope, but at this point deeming it “unlikely” seems schockingly optimistic. Despite failing monetarily, the movie succeeds is spades with it’s impressive visuals, effective violence, excellent performances and reverence to its source material. Brian and I are completely unable to hide our admiration for everyone involved in this film. So give this a listen…and then go buy the Dredd Blu-Ray.

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