December Sun – A Web Comic

March 28, 2009

More ridiculous nitpicking over ‘Hancock’ film

Filed under: 3,movies — admin @ 10:37 pm

yes, Wil, this film really made no senseDrat…. just like the ridiculous Wil Smith movie ‘I Am Legend’, now I’m finding that I’m obsessing over nitpicky details from another one of his films, the ‘Hancock’ film. The more I think about it, the more implausible and ridiculous the situations of the film strike me. Here are a few more observations, rife with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this film yet, don’t bother reading (unless you wisely have no intention of seeing the film, then read on…)

- How on earth could, or would, Wil Smith’s reformed hero vandalize the moon? To somehow create an enormous pink heart on the face of the moon was completely ridiculous, and would have taken an insane amount of materials and time. Wil would have had to fly across miles of lunar surface, dumping tons upon tons of pink paint for this effect to be visible on the earth. And does he eventually undo this damage? And is he powerful enough to breath in vacuum?  And how on earth would vandalizing the moon be any good for the reputation of the Jason Bateman character?

- Why, if the wife character wants to remain hidden, would she bother slamming Wil out of the house? Wouldn’t simply ordering him to leave have been enough? I understand this was done for the supposed surprise twist of the story, but alas, that surprise twist was COMPLETELY RUINED early in the game when I read the back of the box! Great job Columbia Pictures! Why not just reveal the entire plot on the back of the box while you’re at it! “Wil Smith is a reformed boozer who cleans up his act and, after a series of illogical and ridiculous scenes, the end of the film arrives and he becomes an interesting super hero right… in time for the film to be over!”

- How could Wil get nailed with a bus and not have all of the clothes completely ripped from his body? Wouldn’t it be like putting clothing on a statue made of really strong metal, then smashing a bus on the statue? The statue would remain mostly intact if the metal was solid enough, but the clothing would be ripped apart, right? (a side-note: Silly things like this I debate in my own title – and the material of December Sun’s costume will be the topic of an upcoming issue…)

- Would severing the hand of a criminal, who’s hand is on a detonator, really be the best approach?  Wouldn’t the thumb reflexively be released from the trigger from the sudden amputation? (I guess if Wil moved fast enough, held the guy’s thumb to the button then did the amputation, it would work, but all the same this seemed like a sloppy solution.  Why not simply grab the guy’s hand quickly and pin his thumb to the device?  Then, it would just be a matter of walking him out and keeping his hand in place until…. oh for crying out loud, I’m wasting my life with this… I can feel my soul leaving my body…

March 26, 2009

My Completely Arbitrary Movie Rating System

Filed under: 3,movies — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 4:37 pm

One of my more unfortunate vices is movie watching. Granted, I never watch films in the theaters anymore (the reason for that is a future blog post in and of itself) but I do catch plenty of films, both through the video store and library (with the rare, occasional purchase if the film is decent enough to be bought… very rare situation indeed.) And the more I think about it, I decided to write this post and create some buttons with various ratings, and the buttons will link back to this guide for further definition. So without further ado, here is my arbitrary film rating system:

very good Expect to see this rating virtually never on this site.  There is frankly never anything really deserving of the unfortunate movie theater going experience anymore.  Plus every time I’m in the theater, there is some major disruption to ruin the experience (but that’s a post for another day.)  I can’t think of the last time I recommended a ‘see in theater’ of anything (although I did see the ridiculous ‘Crystal Skull’ film in the theater, and I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone.  Indy 4 is strictly a ‘library rental’ recommendation.
semi bad ‘Rent this movie’ means that this film is decent enough to rent, but not worth seeing in the theater.  When I mean rent, I don’t mean a big chain like Blockbuster (nothing against Blockbuster, I just don’t rent from places like this anymore)  Instead, I’m content with the $1 kiosk things at Walmart.  The way I figure, most all mainstream movies these days aren’t worth more than $1 to see, so these things are perfect.  Plus I’m always tragically at Walmart at least once a day, so returning these things on time is never a problem (the problem instead is the lines at these things… I don’t know why Walmat doesn’t just install about 5-10 of these things.  Clearly they work, and clearly they draw traffic.  Anyhow…)

ok ‘Buy the DVD’ is a fairly rare recommendation, but I can think of abiding by this for a couple films (such as the Star Wars original trilogy, which is worth buying… and buy it once, without rebuying it over and over again, even though the George Lucas empire could desperately use the money.)  Tron is another good film to buy (hey, I think so, at least!)

fairly bad A great number of films that I watch fall under this fantastic category, the category of ‘Get it free from the public library’.  The system is simple: I log into the county library’s difficult to navigate (and often crashed) website, find the catalog to request titles, then I sit back and wait, sometimes for months.  Yes, these films are so minimally interesting to me, that I’m willing to wait in order to pay nothing to view them (other than local taxes, I guess.)  The library does a fine job with this material, and I can watch the title for about three weeks before having to return it (better than the $1 a day kiosk!)

awful Last but not least is the ‘Skip this Turkey’ ranking.  Unfortunately a great number of films tend to fall into this category (a recent one that comes to mind is The Notebook…. ugh!)  A Skip this Turkey means don’t waste your time: the studio has clearly wasted enough time and money, and there’s no need to bother watching this particular title.

There you have it.  I toyed with adding another rating for ‘safe for kids to see’, but the sad truth is that virtually NOTHING I’ve seen recently is safe for kids.  The PG-13 rating just seems to get worse and worse (I’m not sure how that works… can rating quality diminish with age or something?)  Even the Superman:Doomsday DVD, an animated Superman CARTOON, wasn’t ideal for kids to see (as Doomsday is SLAGUHTERING Lex Luthor’s minions towards the beginning of the film.  Oh yeah, great idea there…)

Anyhow, there’s my arbitrary rating system.  Expect these goofy buttons to appear with future film ratings.  Oh, and the old guy in the button is Wilford Brimley.  A few years ago, I had written a Java game in which you controlled Wilford Brimley and had him jumping from one block to another.    I haven’t updated it yet for this site, but one of these days expect an ‘ARCADE’ link with jumping Wilford and other nonsense.

March 11, 2009

Superman II: random musing…

Filed under: 3,movies,superman — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:01 pm

So I’ve been rewatching the somewhat silly film ‘Superman II’ which, at age 10, seemed a lot more convincing than it did now.  I see it now, and it’s just plain goofy.  And not quite appropriate with children: what’s the deal with the ridiculously inappropriate Lois Lane-relationship thing occupying far too much of this film?

Anyhow, it’s no secret that I really did NOT like “Superman Returns”.  I watched it once, hated the story and the music, then tried ONE MORE time to get through it and couldn’t.  I just didn’t care so I stopped it.  But one thing that stood out to me just now was a glaring inconsistency with Superman II and Superman Returns, both of which supposedly take place back to back (and I can’t fault Bryan Singer for wiping out Superman III and IV from the continuity, although I am partial to IV simply for cheesiness value.)  Superman II ends with Superman’s final dialog to the President of, “Sorry I’ve been away so long… I won’t let you down again…” then he flies off and smiles for the camera. 

In Superman Returns, however, Superman decided to ditch the earth and spend 5 years looking for the lost planet Krypton.  So apparently the whole “sorry I was away” thing and the “I won’t let you down again” thing was just a bunch fo bologna for Singer’s story, even though Superman Returns supposedly follows RIGHT after this?  So, what happened?  Why did Superman tell such a ridiculous mistruth to the US President?  And why am I over-analyzing this silly (II) and awful (Returns) pair of films?

March 2, 2009

Fancast – sortof like Hulu, just, well… no, it actually is just like Hulu

Filed under: 3,film music,free,movies — admin @ 11:17 am

So I looked over the selection of shows and films at Fancast, and can’t help but notice that this site seems, more or less, just like Hulu, with the same format: you can find some tv shows or lackluster movies, and you can watch them with some ads tossed in. I’ll admit, I like the convenience of this new system, and hope that it picks up and the selection improves, but like Hulu, the selection of shows and films is just mediocre to me.

In fact, looking over the film selection of both sites, I can’t help but be reminded of my year working at ‘Family Video’ as a video store clerk, and the time spent reshelving one bad film after another. Even today, I can’t walk around Blockbuster without seeing so many films that just hold no interest whatsoever to me. I don’t know what the intended audience was for some of these films, but there they sit, gathering dust. And now there they are again, online for free (with minimal commerical interruptions)

But amongst the forgettable turkeys of Fancast, they do have an interesting and slightly-obscure Sean Connery film called ‘The Russia House’ which I’ve posted a link to below (hopefully, unlike Hulu, they won’t take this film down anytime soon! What’s the point of offering to embed films from your site if you’re just going to take the film down again, Hulu?) Anyhow, ‘Russian House’ features a head-spinning plot, lots of terse board room meets, NO actual violence, some unfortunate profanity, and a remarkable Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack, blending elements of jazz with rich, romantic strings. If for no other reason, check out the film for the music by the late, great Goldsmith.

February 18, 2009

‘G.I. Joe – the Movie’ Teaser Trailer

Filed under: 3,doctor who,film music,movies — admin @ 9:13 am

I’m not sure what to think of the G.I. Joe film being made. From the very brief trailer online, it looks like this film has some potential, but it also looks like, in the very brief play time of this video, that there is lots and lots and lots of CGI, one of my least favorite things in a film.

I thought it was cool to see a brief second of what appeared to be Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow fighting with swords, but the computer-animated Eiffel Tower falling over just looked goofy, as did some of the CG-enhanced action sequences.

Christopher Eccleston as the villain is a strange casting choice. I still sort of see him as the brooding 9th regeneration of Doctor Who, so I can’t help but wonder if seeing him in this film will be like watching a rogue timelord causing world calamity. Actually, I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to end up as Cobra Commander or Destro or someone at some point later in the film.

To be honest, growing up, I was never a big fan of G.I. Joe, and instead preferred the cartoons with super-heroes, or transformers. With G.I. Joe, the few times I’d check it out, I never understood, even at a young age, how each side could shoot millions of laser blasts at one another and yet only cause vehicle damage, with no actual casualties. Boom! A tank blows up, right as the occupants jump out. I know it was a kid’s show, so they weren’t going to show brutal military fatalities, but all the same, even at a young age, that element of the show always seemed silly to me.

Maybe this film will be an improvement over that. Maybe not.

February 13, 2009

Rocky IV – all of it free online (with a couple commercials)

Filed under: 3,movies — admin @ 11:27 pm

I’m a fan of the Rocky films…. well, sortof. The first one is just remarkable, the second one was unnecessary, the third one was good corny fun with Mr. T, and the fourth, with the big Russian guy, is my absolute favorite. I don’t remember much about the fifth one, except that he trains some kid, and the last one, Rocky Balboa, was completely implausible and ridiculous.

So here’s a link to Rocky IV, what I consider the best of the series. Very cheesy from the start (with the exploding boxing gloves…. yeah!) and it’s all downhill. I’m particularly fond of Rocky’s decision in the film to head to the middle of snowy nowhere, in Russia, to train for his fight with Drago. The sequence of Rocky running up the hill then triumphantly yelling, “Drago!” is a classic moment of cinema corniness for me.

February 12, 2009

“4 Film Favorites: Superman”

Filed under: 3,film music,movies,superman — Tags: — admin @ 12:33 pm

I just found the “4 Film Favorites: Superman” at Target, for around $9. Not bad considering you get all 4 films bundled together, with a couple extras on each disk, too.

I’ve been rewatching some of these, with ‘Superman I’ being the best, ‘Superman II’ decent, ‘Superman III’ laughable, and ‘Superman IV’ being atrocious yet entertaining (and it’s worth noting that Superman III and IV, for all of their massive faults and silliness, still trump ‘Superman Returns’ any day of the week.) The constant of all of these, that keeps them so watchable, is Christopher Reeve. It’s like, no matter how ridiculous the story, the special effects, the other actor’s acting, etc, Christopher Reeve just makes the film good. Everything about him just looks like Superman.

I’ll probably write some reviews of these along the way. This collection is good for the price.

February 3, 2009

‘Flash Gordon’, Timothy Dalton and Commentluv

Filed under: 3,movies — admin @ 1:40 pm

I just installed the commentluv plugin, because I’ve seen it on a couple pages and I’ve curious to try it out here with DSCOMIC. If I understand from the documentation, it won’t apply to previous blog posts, but only to new ones posted after installation. So let’s see if it works with this one.

I recently watched the horendously goofy ‘Flash Gordon’ film from the 1970′s, and wanted to throw out a few comments here. I have to admit, it does have it’s moments where it can be decent entertainment (in a corny film way) but there’s enough suggestion nestled into this film to make it not only a little uncomfortable, but I’d say, not appropriate for children (namely scenes like Flash being KILLED in a gas chamber, or the scenes of suggested torture, etc.)

I enjoyed some of the video commentary by Alex Ross, comic book legend. Ross’ artwork is just staggering to me, and I have no idea how he manages to create such incredible paintings (let alone the sheer volume of time it must take him.) A remarkable artist, but as for his utter fascination with this Flash Gordon film? I totally don’t get it, and really don’t get why anyone would want to rewatch this. I’m thankful for the public library, in that I got to see this, furrow my eyebrows in confusion through half of the film, then, drop it back at the library, thanks. His ability to praise the merits of this film really seemed like trying to squeeze virtue out of something that, for all intents and purposes, just seemed like a tongue-in-cheek, overly-suggestive camp Star Wars clone. Regardless, Alex Ross is a genious among men. My pathetic December Sun will never come close to the substance of artistry he’s creating (well, with the exception of the Uncle Sam book which I thought was wasted talent on his part. Painted Superhero books? Yes! Painted slanted pretentious preachiness aimed to make you feel rotten about everything American? No!

One thing about Flash Gordon that stuck out to me was seing Timonty Dalton again, and how I’m starting to believe that he was truly the best actor to ever play James Bond. I read the Ian Flemming bond books years ago (all of them, including the oddball “Quantum of Solace” one, which I can’t figure out how they turned into a film, but once the library has this title, I’ll check it out. I really don’t like the Daniel Craig guy as Bond) and Dalton seems more like the Bond as described in the books. He’s got this serious anger side to him, almost the opposite of the sillier Roger Moore version of the character winking at the camera. It’s unlikely Dalton will ever return to the role, but I think I need to revisit the past Bond films he was in again and give them a second look, including that strange one where Anthony Zerbe blows up in a pressure chamber. That one always troubled me, and totally put me off of scuba. Can someone really blow up if put into a pressure chamber like that?

Ah, well. In conclusion: commentluv on. Flash Gordon bad. Dalton good Bond actor.

January 27, 2009

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, John Williams, and Reused Music

Filed under: 3,indiana jones,john williams,movies,music — admin @ 8:52 am

Once again, following in the tradition of “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith”, George Lucas has again produced a film, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, in which a good chunk of the musical soundtrack is comprised of reused music from other Indiana Jones films. I sortof knew that this would happen going into the film, as this seems to be Lucas’ operational style these days: take music from other films and cut-n-paste them in, and no one will be the wiser, or will notice the reused music in the film. Well, that is, except for fans of John Williams who know most of his music by heart.

But what’s troubling this time is, part of the music sounds like it was taken and reworked by Williams himself (namely, the “flight from Peru” music) that’s heard briefly in the film. Now I’m left wondering if this cut and pasting was all Lucas to blame, or if Williams willingly had a part in this as well?

Regardless, the new music (not the cut-n-pasted music) was an absolute disappointment in “Crystal Skull” and sadly was completely unmemorable. The brief reappearance of Marion’s theme was a nice touch, but was just too brief throughout the film (and why wouldn’t we hear Marion’s theme when she first reappears in the film? During that sequence, all we hear is awkward musical silence?) More of this, and more variation thereof, would have been great.

Also, throwing in the “Ark of the Covenant” theme at the warehouse sequence made no sense to me. I remember hearing the music in the theater and thinking, “The Russians are going after the ark! That’s…. sortof strange, since this film is supposedly about a crystal skull.” But no, now, apparently, the “Ark of the covenant” theme is now just “the Warehouse” theme. The logic there escapes me.

As for the rest of the film score, I’ve tried to listen to it isolated from the film repeatedly, and try as I might, I just can’t get into it. It doesn’t have the emotional appeal that the other Indy scores had (even awful films like “Temple of Doom” have absolutely remarkable segments of music to them.)

What’s puzzling to me is that Steven Spielberg, who I thought was a fan of Williams’ music, would watch the final cut of this film and not notice, “hey, that’s the same music from ‘Last Crusade’! [the sequence when Indy picks his hat up off the CGI anthill was taken from the boat sequence at the beginning of Last Crusade]“. I mean, didn’t I read once that Spielberg collected Williams’ music and was a fan of it? Wouldn’t he be just a little puzzled to have directed a NEW film, but with rehashed music in it?

Whatever. The glory days of John Williams, the greatest composer ever, are gone, and I’ll always be a huge fan of his music, but this last outing of Indiana Jones was, musically, a huge disappointment.

January 21, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – part #2

Filed under: 3,indiana jones,movies — Tags: — admin @ 3:29 pm

If indeed alien life exists, I truly hope that the aliens aren’t cheesy-looking CGI creatures. Nothing could be more disappointing to me than meeting an alien and thinking, “Oh, you look like something animated in a computer!”

cheesy alien

There have been countless films that come to mind where the alien characters, being animated by computer, just don’t work. They don’t look like tangible, living, shadow-casting, light-reflecting occupants of the real world, but they look like artificially-inserted “Roger Rabbit”-universe beings.

The odd thing is, I could have sworn I read an interview once with Spielberg where he said that he personally avoided using CGI characters because they didn’t have any soul. Yet here we are at the big finale of Crystal Skull, and the skull animates (via computer) into a cheesily-animated computer-character. Spielberg did the same thing in A.I, I believe, at the end of the film. Computer animated fakeness that RUINS the reality established by human actors. Again, it’s like Bob Hoskins talking to an animated cartoon rabbit.

If December Sun were ever to see the big screen (as I can only hope, but, realistically, doubt) then I would beg of the producers to go as LIGHTLY on the CG as possible. CGI just seems to work to RUIN so many pictures (watch ‘Attack of the Clones’ and count all of the cut-n-paste clone troopers…. or the SAME exact flying ship design that darts across the sky in Coruscant.) And yet I look back at pre-computer sfx, and for all the cheesiness of puppets, wires, blue screens, models, etc…. that stuff just looks so REAL! Real light, real shadows, real occupation of space and time.

I’m living in the past I guess.

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