Sunday, January 7, 2018

Agent X (2015) - Pilot - Sharon Stone, Gerald McRainey and Jeff Hephner

Living in Australia can be interesting.  You hear about new TV shows from the States and hope that one of the networks here pick it up.  Sometimes it takes awhile (don't get me started on Season 2 of Arrow on Channel 9 or Agent Carter on 7) and other times we get fast tracked on the same day or within hours of the US or we just miss out.

So I hear about Agent X a couple of years back, the same time as The Player (Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester), Limitless and Intelligence (Marge Helgenberger and Josh Holloway). All four shows have a few things in common, they had an interesting premise that I found interesting and they all lasted only 1 season.  Where Agent X differs from the other three, it never aired in Australia.

I had seen Agent X promos on YouTube and it seemed like an interesting variation on the President's Man films starring Chuck Norris.  With Agent X being the Vice-President's man.  As pointed out in the episode the founding father's gave the Vice-President almost no duties to free him or her up to run this agent.  I presume that the Vice-President has access to all the same briefings as the President and is able to discreetly send one agent to resolve threats to America.

So I found the pilot on line and I quite enjoyed it.  Littered with familiar faces: Jamie Sheridan (Arrow), Sharon Stone (Catwoman, King Solomon's Mines) Mike Colter (Luke Cage), John Shea (Lois and Clark, Mutant X) and Gerald McRainey (The A-Team movie, Simon & Simon).

The premise isn't the most original but the use of a Vice-President was an idea I hadn't seen before.  I presume that as the series progresses we find out more about John Case.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pulp TV

Image result for Black Hood Riverdale
With The Black Hood making his TV debut on Riverdale, after appearing in comics, radio and a three issue pulp, I decided to look at what other pulp characters and works from pulp writers have been adapted to TV.
Image result for Hooded Detective

So either the character had to appear in a pulp magazine or it had to be the work of a pulp writer. 

Pulp Characters

Image result for Conan Rolf

Conan The Adventurer (1992)
Conan (1997-1998)

Image result for Guy Williams ZOrro

Zorro (1957-1961)
The New Adventures of Zorro (1981)
Zorro and Son (1983)
Zorro (1990-1993)
Kaiketsu Zorro (1994)
Zorro (1997-1998)
Zorro: La Espada y La Rosa (2007)
Zorro Generation Z (2008)
Zorro The Chronicles (2015)


Image result for Gina Lee Nolan Sheena
Sheena Queen of Jungle (1955-56)
Sheena (2000-2002)

The Lone Ranger

Image result for Clayton Moore Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)
The Tarzan Zorro Hour (1980-82)

Image result for tarzan the epic adventures

Tarzan (1966-68)
Tarzan and The Super 7 (1978)
Tarzan The Lord of Jungle (1976-79)
The Tarzan Zorro Hour (1980-82)
Io Jane, Tu Tarzan (1989 – Italy)
Tarzan (1994)
Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996-1997) - which also featured Pellucidar and Amtor (Venus) from Burrough's other series.
The Legend Of Tarzan (2001-03)
Tarzan (2003)
Tarzan and Jane (2017)

Philip Marlowe
Image result for philip marlowe tv series
Philip Marlowe (1959-60)
Philip Marlowe, Private Eye (1983)
Flashgun Casey
Crime Photographer (1951-52)
Buck Rogers
Buck Rogers (1950)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81)
Image result for Buck Rogers
Pulp Writers
Dashiell Hammett
The Thin Man (1957-59)
Image result for the thin man tv series

Erle Stanley Gardner
Perry Mason (1959-66)
The New Perry Mason (1973)
Perry Mason TV Movies (1986-1996)
Image result for Perry Mason

Max Brand (Frederick Faust)

Destry (1964)
Doctor Kildare (1961-66)
Young Doctor Kildare (1972)

A number of stories that appeared in pulp magazines were adapted as episodes of anthology series like Robert E. Howard’s “Pigeons from Hell” as an episode of Thriller or Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos appearing in many sources such as Supernatural, Scooby Doo, Justice League, and Limitless to name a few. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Justice League (2017)

So this movie has been a loooong time coming.  The 2007 attempt Justice League Mortal never happened due to the writer's strike.  The less said about the pilot that came out in 1997 the better. So The Justice League finally come out after some twenty years of trying. 

Gal Gadot was great as Wonder Woman in her third  outing as the character and she gets a nice arc here with reference to her solo outing. We finally get an explanation about the age of heroes coming again line from Wonder Woman.

Ben Affleck does another good turn as Batman. Henry Cavill is even better as Superman than his past couple of outings.

Now we finally get to see Jason Mamoa's Aquaman, Ray Fisher's Cyborg, and Ezra Miller's Flash.

Cyborg was probably the least used in the movie but Fisher is fine with a nice callout to the animated Teen Titans.

Aquaman takes queues from the long haired version seen in the 90s and I appreciated the blonde highlights in his hair.  Mamoa is too bad ass to not be taken seriously.

Ezra Miller's Flash probably has the hardest job here not only does he have to compare to the comic book version but to the TV version played by Grant Gustin. (Miller would be the fifth actor to play Barry Allen - after Rod Haase, John Wesley Shipp, Kenny Johnson and Grant Gustin)  And I found him lacking.  Miller's character has more in common with Sheldon Cooper than any of the other Flashes and I found that a little hard to reconcile. The character is a nice comic relief but he never felt right, per haps had they made him Wally West instead of

I did enjoy the movie but I wouldn't rate it as one of the best superhero movies nor would I dismiss it as one of the worst.  I am keen to see more of the new characters and will check them out in their solo outings but I felt that this film left a lot of the work to introducing the characters to the solo outings.  This the advantage of the Marvel Avengers model pretty much everyone had been introduced and could be used quickly.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This is the End: Darkman

So it was Christmas 1989 (or it may be 1990 - Australia typically got stuff much later) when I saw this poster

I was like "who is this?"

It was a number of months later that I got to see the movie - a double feature with Ghost (if memory serves) and holy smokes it blew me away,

Sam Raimi wanted to make a Shadow movie but couldn't get the rights (although there was a story a few years back that he had the rights to all the Street and Smith pulp characters but nothing has come from it - I'd love to see him do those characters)

It always struck me as odd that when Taken came out in 2008 that people were surprised that Liam Neeson was an action hero I mean he was Darkman nearly 20 years earlier.

Darkman became a multimedia star - the movie was adapted to a three issue Marvel comic and a novelisation by Randall Boyle. There was plans to make a TV series with a  pilot that was a 30 minute version of the movie

Except for the pilot, each had their own continuation, first up was Marvel with a six issue miniseries which had Darkman believe that Durant wasn't dead with an outrageous way to bring him back from the dead.

Then there was a four book series by Randall Boyle which was really good.

Next was two direct to TV movies starring Arnold Vosloo: Darkman II The Return of Durant Darkman III: Die Darkman Die.

The final Darkman product is the Dynamite 6 issue miniseries teaming Darkman with Ash Williams from The Evil Dead movies.  Dynamite reported that they were doing a series but nothing came of it.

Surprisingly despite the fact that all the continuations were produced separately the stories form a fairly consistent narrative - the obvious one for me is the novels having Westlake taking a briefcase of money questioning if he should use it or not.  By Darkman II we see Westlake ripping off  criminals for money.  (that said Durant's fate in the Marvel miniseries and the second movie are contradictory)

I collected everything I could find and original Marvel series was the most elusive and I finally found the last issue the other day.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New Pulp TV Series

So after the top 50 New Pulp Movies list a couple posts back, I decided to do a New Pulp TV series list.  I've put them in alphabetical order (more so I don't double up) and not to play favourites.

1.      Adventure Inc

2.      Agent Carter

3.      Agent X

4.      Airwolf

5.      Arrow

6.      Bugs

7.      Burn Notice

8.      Daredevil

9.      Darkwing Duck

10.   Human Target

11.   Intelligence

12.   Jack of All Trades

13.   Jonny Quest

14.   Kim Possible

15.   Knight Rider/Team Knight Rider/Knight Rider 2008

16.   Legend

17.   Leverage

18.   MacGyver/MacGyver 2016

19.   Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

20.   Now and Again

21.   Nowhere Man

22.   Person of Interest

23.   Queen of Swords

24.   Relic Hunter

25.   Sable

26.   Sam Fox Extreme Adventures

27.   Soldier of Fortune Inc/ Special Ops Force

28.   Stingray

29.   Street Hawk

30.   Tales of the Golden Monkey

31.   Terra Nova

32.   The A-Team

33.   The Adventures of Briscoe County Jnr

34.   The Cape

35.   The Deep

36.   The Equalizer

37.   The  Finder

38.   The Green Hornet

39.   The Librarians

40.   The Mummy: The Animated Series

41.   The Persuaders

42.   The Player

43.   The Pretender

44.   The Punisher

45.   The Sentinel

46.   Transporter: The Series

47.   Vengeance Unlimited

48.   Veritas: The Quest

49.   Veronica Mars

50.   Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Death Wish (2017) Trailer

So this came out the other day much to my surprise.  I had heard rumblings that a Death Wish remake was in the cards but I hadn't heard anything for some time and I presumed that it was stuck in some type of development hell.

If I'm reading it right this is a remake of the 1974 film and not a reinterpretation of Brian Garfield's 1972 novel.

One of the obvious changes from both sources is the action is moved to Chicago but that's not too big a deviation as the main character Paul Kersey (in the movies) and Paul Benjamin (in the books) moves to Chicago at the end of both.  The novel's sequel Death Sentence by Brian Garfield was set in Chicago.  (The odd numbered movies are set in New York and the even numbered in Los Angeles, the 2007 Kevin Bacon movie Death Sentence (Based on the novel) was set in Columbia, South Carolina)

The film seems to create a visual call back to Unbreakable (as Willis' David Dunn wears his rain poncho with the hood up in the same way as Dr Paul Kersey wears the hood up on his hoodie)  and I've seen it pointed out the visual similarity of Paul Kersey to Denzel Washington's Robert  McCall in The Equalizer 2014.

The script was written by Joe Carnahan who wrote and directed Smoking Aces and The A Team, and has written the script for the Uncharted movie.

I'm intrigued by this movie and I look forward to seeing it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This is the End: Modesty Blaise (novels)

I'm sure that I've mentioned my love for Modesty Blaise.  The character started as a comic strip in 1963 and by 1966 there was a plan to make a movie.  Peter O'Donnell wrote the screenplay which the movie makers then rewrote and reportedly only one line ended up in the final product,  However, O'Donnell also wrote the novelisation and he used his script as the basis for that.  SO O'Donnell adapted his first comic strip into a movie script which he then adapted into a novel. Phew! Now the 1966 movie was less than successful (and less than faithful*)  and most people wouldn't be aware that the novel started out as a novelisation.

 Image result for monica vitti Modesty Blaise

*I mean they made it a musical, dress Monica Vitti as a near perfect recreation of the comic strip and then go "nope not doing that" and have her run around as a blonde.

Given that the movie didn't gain a sequel and O'Donnell wrote another ten novels and two short story collections, I'd suggest that maybe they should have went with his script.

So I still need to read all the comic strips but I recently read all the novels.  Some like Modesty Blaise and Cobra Trap for the first time.

The books are really good I love all the recurring characters - Stephen Collins and his eventual wife Diana, Doctor Giles Pennyfeather.

The novels give us a more detailed look at the world of Modesty and Willie, more than we can in the strips.

I heartily recommend reading the books and the comic strips (perhaps best to miss the 1966 movie and the 1982 TV pilot both available on youtube)  The 2004 direct to DVD movie My Name is Modesty is okay but really get the DVD for the special features interviews with Peter O'Donnell, Quentin Tarantino and an overview of the comics.

Now O'Donnell supposedly has in his will that Tarantino is the only one who can make a movie. Tarantino has said he will quit making movies after 10 films and he has made 8 already - one of those last two had better be a Modesty Blaise movie.