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.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

This is the End: The Destroyer

Image result for The Destroyer Remo Williams
Strictly speaking this is not the end for the world of The Destroyer.  The books are still being published as is the Legacy spinoff series.  But this is the end of playing catchup with the series which started in the early 1970s.  I started collecting in the late eighties and now have finally caught up (if I had more time I'd reread the whole series in order) thanks in large part to fact the entire series is now available as ebooks.  151 books, a spinoff series of six books so far, a movie (and a new one in the works), a TV pilot as well as Marvel comics. (There are new comics that I need to get)
Image result for The Destroyer Remo WilliamsImage result for The Destroyer Remo Williams

It feels weird being caught up, the hunt for Destroyers has been part of my life for 30 years now.  The Destroyer I can't remember how I discovered him it might have been a copy of Inside Sinanju at the cheap books in the corner store visiting my grandmother.  It might have been a library book.  It may have been the back cover blurb for the Doc Savage video (which was definitely my introduction to Buckaroo Banzai).
Image result for Doc Savage VHS Cover

When I found The Destroyer, I was in love. The characters are great.  Chuin should be the most offensive character in the world but he's not. Some would say that he's racist but it makes sense because he IS far superior to everyone else. He’s a frail looking little old man but heaven help you if you upset him or interrupt his soap operas.

Then there is Harold Smith the incorruptible WWII veteran cheapskate with a computer system that can infiltrate any electronic information.  Smith was asked to head the agency CURE by Kennedy and has been in the job since the 1960s. 

Remo is the meat in the sandwich of these two extremes. The Newark beat cop conscripted into an eternal battle with outré threats to America. He's the guy who cleans up Chuin's bodies when the old man kills someone who has annoyed him.
Image result for Hector Garrido The Destroyer Remo Williams

A lot of the Destroyer has made its way into other things Person of Interest, Knight Rider, The Karate Kid.

The Destroyer lead me to explore other series and was why I wrote Serial Vigilantes of Paperback Fiction.  Being able to write a Destroyer short story for the More Blood anthology was one of the greatest moments of my life. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

50 New Pulp Movies

Recently Derrick Ferguson announced that he was doing a list of 50 New Pulp movies.  The end result can be found here

When he announced it, it for shits and giggles I thought I'd try and see how well I'd go at predicting what would be on his list.

So here is my list the ones in red weren't on Derrick's list.

50 New Pulp Movies

1. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins

2. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

3. Sahara

4. Indiana Jones Quartet

5. The Rocketeer

6. Sky Captain

7. Hudson Hawk

8. Our Man Flint/In like Flint

9. High Road to China

10. Darkman

11. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou

12. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

13. The Fifth Element

14. The Phantom

15. Romancing the Stone

16. Jake Speed

17. Dark Avenger

18. Dark Knight trilogy

19. King Kong 2005

20. Kong Skull Island

21. The Mummy Trilogy

22. The Goonies

23. Cutthroat Island

24. Sunset

25. Shoot em up

26. Captain America: The First Avenger

27. Atlantis the Lost Empire

28. The Punisher 2004

29. Big Trouble in Little China

30. National Treasure

31. Cast a Deadly Spell

32. The Black Mask

33. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

34. Brotherhood of the Wolf

35. The Black Samurai

36. The Black Scorpion

37. Billy Jack

38. Congo

39. Machete

40. The Man with the Iron Fists

41. Second Hand Lions

42. The Specialist

43. The Transporter

44. Cleopatra Jones

45. Coffy

46. Foxy Brown

47. Black Belt Jones

48. The Equaliser

49. The A Team

50. The President's Man
So with only 14 out of 50, I'm a poor prophet of Derrick's choices but it just shows the wide range of New Pulp movies out there (that is movies from after the 1950s in the pulp style)