03 February 2007

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Rhino

Its the mean, tank-like, pajama clad RHINO

The Rhino was initially Aleksei Sytsevich, a poor immigrant from Russia who was desperate to pay for the rest of his family to come to America. With little education and no real skills, the only paying jobs he could get were using his impressive strength and musculature as an enforcer for various criminal organizations. One day he was contacted by some Eastern Bloc agents, who offered him a vast sum of money for participating in an incredible experiment. Sytsevich agreed, and was subjected to intensive chemical and radioactive treatment, which bonded a super-strong polymer to his skin and greatly augmented his strength and speed. He was given the code name "Rhino," and was sent to work as a super-assassin.

Rhino's first job was to capture Colonel John Jameson for his military secrets. Spider-Man defeated the Rhino, leading to the supervillain's arrest. After escaping from prison, Rhino has taken on many other jobs over the years, and although he still hates Spider-Man and would love to crush him, he is professional enough not to let personal feelings distract him from a paying job.

Physically, he is one of Spider-Man's strongest foes with his favored attack being ramming into a target with a sustained charge. He is also not very bright, and thus not too difficult for the wall-crawler to beat.

The Rhino has often tangled with The Incredible Hulk as well. He was significantly outmatched by the Hulk in terms of brute force, but the level of superhuman strength he does have, coupled with his invulnerability, has always made him a good adversary.

Recently, as portrayed in the story Flowers for Rhino, he decided to seek help to improve his mind the same way his body had been improved: through science. He sought out a scientist who had an experimental treatment to increase his intelligence. To his surprise the treatment actually worked and he was able to defeat Spider-Man, who had always outsmarted him in the past. Next, he took over the majority of the criminal operations in the city and started a law suit against Spider-Man that prevented the hero coming within 500 yards of him. However, his intelligence continued to increase exponentially and, with no intellectual competition, he began to find life boring; he even rewrote "Hamlet" because he found the writing style sloppy, and in his depression pointed out to Spider-Man that he was able to deduce Spider-Man was Peter Parker through a simple equation that could give him the identities of any costumed hero. When he began to approach omniscience he worried that such high intelligence would drive him insane so, although he briefly contemplated suicide, he elected to have the process reversed, actually making himself "a little MORE stupid than [he] used to be... Just to be on the safe side." Whether this meant that he no longer remembers Spider-Man's identity was unknown, but is now a moot point due to Spider-Man unmasking during the Civil War crossover.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
the Chameleon
Doctor Octopus
the Green Goblin
J. Jonah Jameson
Jack O' Lantern
the Kingpin
Kraven the Hunter
the Lizard

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 90 days!

Lightning Strikes Twice - More Bad DC News

I just posted the bad news that Joss Whedon has left the Wonder Woman movie, and now I have to report (via Superherohype.com) that The Flash film is in limbo. What is DC smoking? I certainly do not want them to just churn out crap, but this is just depressing. If Iron Man and Ant-Man can get their own movies with Marvel, why can't the Flash and Wonder Woman?

According to David Goyer:

Well, I've been waiting a few months to relate this news -- but I am sad to say that my version of The Flash is dead at WB. The God's honest truth is that WB and myself simply couldn't agree on what would make for a cool Flash film. I'm quite proud of the screenplay I turned it. I threw my heart into it and I genuinely think it would've been the basis of a ground-breaking film. But as of now, the studio is heading off in a completely different direction. I expect you'll hear of some new developments on that front shortly. But in happier news, I'll soon be able to report on what I've been doing INSTEAD of The Flash. Stay tuned.

02 February 2007

I Wonder if There Will Ever Be a Woman Movie

Hera, Give Me Strength! From the mouth of a horse named Joss, Whedon is off of Wonder Woman. And as much as I like Batman and Superman, it seems thats all we will ever get from the dorks at DC that do not realize the gold mine they are sitting on. Well, maybe at least Diana can be on Smallville now. Oh, and Whedon verified that he never had a front runner for the role... so all those rumors were just made up.

Whedon's reasons:
You (hopefully) heard it here first: I'm no longer slated to make Wonder Woman. What? But how? My chest... so tight! Okay, stay calm and I'll explain as best I can. It's pretty complicated, so bear with me. I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked. Hey, not that complicated.

Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.

The worst thing that can happen in this scenario is that the studio just keeps hammering out changes and the writer falls into a horrible limbo of development. These guys had the clarity and grace to skip that part. So I'm a free man.

Well, sorta. There is that "Goners" movie I can finally finish polishing, and plenty of other things in the hopper I've wanted to pursue. I'm as relieved as I am disappointed, and both of those things lead to drink, so that's a plus. Truly, you may be hearing some interesting things brewing in the coming months. But all potential jets therein will be visible.

But most importantly, I never have to answer THAT question again!!!! And you don't have to link to every rumor site! Finally and forever: I never had an actress picked out, or even a consistent front-runner. I didn't have time to waste on casting when I was so busy air-balling on the script. (No! Rim! There was rim!) That's the greatest relief of all. I can do interviews again!

Thanks for your time. You are the people who make the world go 'round. Or, no, science does that.

01 February 2007

Radar Blips - Forbidden Planet

The Year: 1956 (10 years before Star Trek)

The Players: Leslie Nielsen, but don't call him Shirley

The Take: $3 million

Is the Planet Really Forbidden?: Only if you are against have your limbs torn asunder by invisible monsters.

Why you should see it: This is a classic sci-fi film. It must have been a heavy inspiration for Star Trek as it features the standard interstellar crew complete with womanizing captain who land on a planet equipped with advanced alien technology. It also introduces the iconic Robby the Robot. The sets, effects, and story all hold up incredibly well 50 years later.

31 January 2007

Aardman Flushed Away By Dreamworks

Following up on the story from a couple days ago, as part of Dreamworks' strategy of making only 2 pictures a year rather than the 2 a year it had been making (dur), Dreamworks is severing its partnership with Aardman Animation. Aardman was the studio behind Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, and Flushed Away. While Aardman's films gained critical acclaim they failed to generate Shrek-sized dollars. So, out with the witty humor, and in with the "hip" pop culture zingers.

One victim of this is the planned Crood Awakening, a story set in the prehistoric era about a man's position as Leader of the Hunt being threatened by the arrival of a prehistoric genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions ... like fire. Instead, we get Madagascar 4. Variety has the details.

30 January 2007

Ink Blots XLIX - Spirited Away

Usually when viewing a movie for the first time, you can sort of know what to expect. I am not even talking about the endless number of sequels, prequels, adaptations, or spin-offs. There are just so many ideas in the world, and it seems like most movies are at least inspired by something else that you have already seen. When I first saw Spirited Away, I was taken to a new and fantastical place that I had never before seen. Writer and Director Hayao Miyazaki has created a unique and creative world, a new idea in a world of reruns.

To call it a "Japanese Alice in Wonderland" is a complete disservice, but there simply is not other way to give you a flavor for what this film, set in a land of wonder, is about. In the movie, the young girl Chihiro and her parents wander into a magical realm where the parents are turned into swine and Chihiro must accept a job in a bathhouse for spirits. She meets up with a grumpy witch Yubaba, a the creepy mute No Face, a giant baby, cute little soot sprites, and Haku, a boy who can transform into a dragon. I do not want to spoil any of the story but watching Chihiro struggle to find her way home takes you on an adventure unlike anything you have seen before. I promise.

The animation and music in this film are remarkable and beautiful. This film is a true masterpiece and though it earned the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2002, it should have won the overall best picture as it is much better than the winner Chicago. I know I am gushing, but I simply adore this film. Please, WATCH THIS MOVIE and find out why I love it so much. It is simply magical, and after you fall in love with this one, watch all the rest of the films produced by Studio Ghibli. They are all good, but this one being especially good earns an A+.

Miyazaki 3 Pack (Spirited Away/Castle in the Sky/Kiki's Delivery Service)

Howl's Moving Castle

Princess Mononoke

29 January 2007

Shrek 5? Madagascar 4? You're Kidding Right?

According to this article, Dreamworks admits that it has rushed out too many movies and vows to slow down the process focusing more on story development. So, instead of releasing 2 movies a year, they are going to release just 2 movies a year. Um, yeah, big change! I guess the difference is that instead of having 2 new films, they will release 1 new film and 1 sequel a year. Apparently sequels are quicker to churn out. So they have already mapped out 5 Shreks, and then a Puss-in-Boots spin off, and 4 Madagascars.

Frankly, I think this article is a bunch of BS. If you look at Dreamwork's films that have underperformed, you have Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Over the Hedge and Flushed Away. Both Wallace and Gromit and Over the Hedge were fantastic films. W&G underperformed because it was claymation and had broader British than American appeal (damned yanks!) It had NOTHING to do with story. It won the academy award after all for best animated film. As for Over the Hedge, I think the timing of another animal pack movie was what hurt it because the film was smart, funny, and great. I can't speak for Flushed Away since I haven't seen it, but again, the clay style and Britishisms probably just didn't appeal to Americans.

As for the hits, the Shrek's have been decent so far with perhaps too many pop culture references, but Madagascar and Shark Tale were both hits and they had the most problems with story. Basically, Dreamworks is just trying to say the right things to their investors hoping that they aren't actually watching their movies. Now that computer animated films are becoming a dime a dozen, they actually have to fight for blockbuster status. That's the main thing that has changed. And 2007 is just as overstuffed as last year. Its a good thing Dreamworks is releasing just 2 films this year.

Madagascar (Widescreen Edition)

28 January 2007

A Little Something to Hold You Over

It been a slow couple of days, so I thought I would post this acid-trip influenced edit of an old Zelda cartoon I found on youtube. It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.