11 August 2007

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Calendar Man and Girl

To semi quote the song, "I love, I love, I love my Calendar man!" Well not really but Calendar man is this week's foe. Actually, Calendar man was voted Batman's worst enemy by IGN.com, though by the end of this countdown, you may disagree - there are worse coming. He has never appeared in any films or TV shows, and probably never will.

Calendar Man AKA Julian Gregory Day is fascinated by dates and calendars – even his real name is a pun on the Julian and Gregorian calendars. His crimes always have a relationship to the date that they are committed. The theme may be related to what day of the week it is or to a holiday or to a special anniversary on that date; he will plan his crime around that day. He often wears different costumes which correspond to the significance of the date, though he does have a main costume which has various numbers (meant to represent days on a calendar) sprouting from the shoulders.

Calendar Girl, on the other hand, was created for Batman: The Animated Series as a stand-in for Calendar Man (who was historically less than a threat in the comics.)

Calendar Girl's only appearance was in the episode Mean Seasons, in which she kidnapped various fashion designers and television moguls in daring, seasonally-themed crimes. Eventually, Batman determined that the masked figure was Paige Monroe, a former model and actress, who was seeking revenge on the people she blames for her fall from stardom and the disfiguring cosmetic surgery she underwent to stay beautiful. She even reached the extent of developing technology that was commonly associated with supervillains and to train herself extensively in combat with a scythe.

In the final scenes, Calendar Girl was unmasked, to her apparent humiliation. It was revealed that Monroe was not, in fact, disfigured but still as beautiful as she ever was. The flaws she saw in her body were purely psychological. But as Batman pointed out to Batgirl, the flaws were all Monroe could see anymore.



Friend and Foe Profiles:

Ra's al Ghul
Talia al Ghul
Azrael
Baby Doll
Bane
Bat-Hound (Ace)
Batgirl
Bat-Mite
Batwoman
Batzarro
Black Mask
Blockbuster
David Cain
Calendar Man & Calendar Girl

The Dark Knight returns in 342 days!

10 August 2007

Radar Blips - Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

The Year: 1987

The Players: All the originals returned. Christopher Reeve as Supes, Gene Hackman back as Lexie Luthor, and Margot Kidder as Lois. Also, Mark Pillow as the Nuclear Man.

The Take: $16 Million

Any new powers?: Funny you should ask. Superman has super bricklaying vision that he uses to repair the Great Wall of China. Also, his amnesia inducing kiss returns so that he can mind wipe Lois at will. Actually, one of the human women in the movie seems to have a power too. She can breathe and even scream in outer space.

Why you should see it: Some parts of this movie aren't so bad, but frankly this is almost Batman and Robin bad, the silver nailed, grunting nuclear man is awful, but not as bad as the deleted scene nuclear man prototype. Also, the budget is noticeably shoe stringed. The main cast is good, but additions like Lex's nephew are not welcome. Still, Christopher Reeve IS Superman, and this was his last turn in the tights. Also, the idea of Superman ridding the world of nukes is an interesting one, it just wasn't done too well. There is a nice Smallville scene at the beginning, and as goofy as Reeve play Clark Kent, his portrayal always makes me smile.


Ready to be Zapped by Voltron?


After the giant robots of Transformers banked over $300 million at the box office, it was only a matter of time till the other giant robot franchises followed suit. It could be the dawning of the golden age for the live action mecha! Yehaw!

From Variety.com:

New Regency is looking to assemble its own giant robot movie.

The 20th Century Fox-based production entity is close to a deal with the Mark Gordon Co. to adapt "Voltron: Defender of the Universe" into a live-action film.

Gordon has been developing the pic, based on the popular 1980s Japanese animated TV series, comicbooks and toy line, with Justin Marks penning the script.

Should the deal close, project would be one of the company's more high-profile efforts since Robert Harper took over as chairman-CEO of Regency Filmed Entertainment earlier this year.

Interest in the property hit a high after "Transformers" turned into a box office juggernaut, raking in nearly $300 million to date.

New Regency, which hasn't had a major hit since "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in 2005, sparked to the idea of a potential franchise.

Company's upcoming pics include "Alvin and the Chipmunks," the Doug Liman-directed "Jumper," the Alexandre Aja-helmed "Mirrors" and the Eddie Murphy starrer "Starship Dave."

Marks' take is described as a post-apocalyptic tale set in New York City and Mexico. Five ragtag survivors of an alien attack band together and end up piloting the five lion-shaped robots that combine and form the massive sword-wielding Voltron that helps battle Earth's invaders.

There Just Might be a Mighty Thor Movie in the Works

Matthew Vaughn, director of Stardust, and the dude that left X-Men 3 hanging months before filming began (though he also cast the beast and juggernaut) has signed on to direct The Mighty Thor.

Wow, I am surprised this one got greenlit already. Thor isnt gonna be cheap if its done right, but if it gets the all out respectful Iron Man treatment, it could be "marvelous."

From wikipedia:

The Marvel version of Thor is noble and very self-assured, sometimes to the point of arrogance. Odin decides his son needs to be taught humility and consequently places Thor (without memories of godhood) into the body and memories of an existing, partially disabled human medical student, Donald Blake.

After becoming a doctor and thoroughly believing himself to be the young surgeon Blake, he later discovers Thor's disguised hammer and learns to change back and forth into the Thunder God. The real Blake's persona remains elsewhere until many years later, after Odin becomes satisfied of Thor's humility and lifts the spell, thereby removing the need for a mortal alter ego. The mortal experience, however, shapes Thor into an honorable and courteous individual, who is loyal to all comrades.

Stardust has Arrived

Though likely not to be discovered while still in theatres, this fairy tale takes a less epic and more fun approach to fantasy. I read the book last summer and was pleasantly surprised by it. Check out the film and post your thoughts here.

08 August 2007

Superheroes on Screen - Retrospective 1995

Its been a while since the last (1996) retrospective and sorry to say, 1995 wasn't really worth the wait. In all it was a pretty unremarkable year.

1995__________________


At the time, it seemed Joel Schumacher had injected new life into the Batman franchise. Oh how wrong we were. Yet the seeds of disaster were clear as day. Tommy Lee Jones' Two Face and Jim Carrey's Riddler were both camped out clowns. The movie had lots of neon, an overstuffed character list, and a hip soundtrack. Batman and Robin was all but inevitable. Still, this film was a warmly received correction from the overly dark and creepy Batman Returns. This Val Kilmer helmed Batman movie went on to earn $184 million.







Judge Dredd cost $90 million to make and earned $35 mil. The movie also earned Sly Stalone a nomination for the Raspberry award for worst actor. This British character is a law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. I missed this one, but I don't much regret it.









Tank Girl based on another British comic made $4 million and by the looks of the poster alone, it didn't deserve that much.















In all, 1995 was a good year to save your money rather than seeing some manic and campy comic adaptations.

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997
1996

07 August 2007

Ink Blots LXXIV - The Simpsons Movie

I know that I promised a string of post-apocalyptic themed movies, but then I went and saw The Simpsons Movie and decided to interject a quick, but timely themeless review this week.

After 18 years and 400 episodes, the little yellow gang made the jump to the big screen. The Simpsons movie definitely delivered some great laughs. Homer and a pig is always a recipe for laughs, but in this case, it was also a recipe for an environmental disaster leading to the doming of Springfield. D'oh! But, with a running time of 4x that of a normal episode, would the theatrical debut of the Simpsons be 4x as funny? Sadly no.

This movie is basically just a mish-mash of a bunch of Simpsons episodes with every character getting a scene or two. The Simpsons go on a Vacation (to Alaska), Burns releases the hounds, Comic Book Guy cites Green Lantern, Nelson says "Ha-Ha." The plot is basically pretty nonsensical, and most disappointingly, it probably could have all been done in a single episode or two.

I'm really torn on this movie because there were some great laughs. In one Austin Power'sesque scene, Bart skateboards in the nude with a shockingly funny conclusion. Also, as I mentioned above, the pig aka Spider-Pig made for some great scenes. Actually, the first 30 minutes of the film was great... until the story kicked in. The doming just didn't seem like a good enough story to warrant a feature film. What cements my opinion is that the only 2-parter Who Shot Mr. Burns is a far more epic and great story. Then again. it really was nice to see a beautifully animated non-CG movie on the big screen, and the Simpsons have never looked better (unless you are a fan of Dadaism and the first season look). Taking all that into account, and as I have been with the Simpsons for all these 18 years, I shall award this gang a B+.

06 August 2007

UPDATE: Baby Avengers

Update: New video feature on Avengers Reborn.

When Marvel announced plans for a line of DVDs for a more mature crowd featuing PG-13 action, people got excited. Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2 were both reasonably entertaining, and Iron Man was also fairly ok. Next up is Doctor Strange which actually looks pretty fantastic. After that, Marvel decided to take a moronic turn for the worse with Avengers Reborn. Behold, aren't they cute:



Now how is this for the older mature crowd? What a waste. I dont care if they make this movie, but its ridiculous to put this in the same line of "hardcore" titles. Its only a matter of time until we get Baby Doc Ock.

SuperMEN Return

While not near as good as Teen Titans or The Batman, Legion of Superheroes is okay enough to fill a lonely Saturday morning. Check out this preview for season 2 with double the Supermans.


New Frontier Trailer

Behold the first look at the upcoming DVD Justice League New Frontier.


New Poll

Iron Man took the crown as the most anticipated Superhero movie of 2008. In a late rally, Wolverine took 2nd place ahead of Batman. Puny Hulk finished last behind Hellboy 2.

This week, vote for your favorite current spy.

05 August 2007

First Look at "The Superman"

I don't know if I like The Batman's show being overloaded with Leaguers. I like the league and all, but would prefer that Batman maintains the spotlight in his own show. Having said that, the addition of Superman in season 5 of The Batman is something I am looking forward to, especially with Bane and Metallo taking on the Man of Steel. Take a look for yourself:


Bourne to Rule

Bourne Ultimatum reigned supreme at the box office this weekend, opening bigger than Identity or Supremacy an setting a record for the largest August opening to date with $70 million (topping Rush Hour 2's $67 million). Poor Bart Simpsons on the other hand ate his shorts with a steep decline from last weeks monster opening adding only 25.6 million more to the pot. Still, The Simpsons Movie passed the blockbuster mark, the 15th film of the year to do so. Other openers, Hot Rod, Bratz, and Underdog all did miserably, and since theaters had to be freed up to show these crapfests, other good movies suffered drops to a flooded market. Live Free or Die Hard barely passed up The Fantastic Four, but both are probably going to drop by next weekend anyways.

In other milestone news, Fantastic Four 2 finally crawled past its $130 budget mark and Harry Potter managed to make it past $250 million. Transformers is still aiming for $300 plus, and though Ratatouille really wants $200 mil, it may be tough.

Next week, Rush Hour 3 opens, and while it will probably be big, I can't say I am too excited for it. Also, Stardust opens which looks like this generations Princess Bride, but will likely bomb big time. Daddy Day Camp also opens, and hopefully does worse than Bratz.


Current Rankings:

#9 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $130,004,088
#8 Live Free or Die Hard - $130,246,000
#7 Knocked Up - $146,304,000
#6 Ratatouille - $188,282,000
#5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $260,790,000
#4 Transformers - $296,308,000
#3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $307,125,947
#2 Shrek the Third - $320,246,557
#1 Spider-Man 3 - $336,027,292


My Predictions:

#9 Evan Almighty - $170,000,000 (57.2%)*
#8 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $175,000,000 (74.2%)*
#7 The Bourne Ultimatum - $185,000,000 (37.9%)*
#6 Transformers - $205,000,000 (144.4%)*
#5 Ratatouille - $260,000,000 (72.3%)*
#4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $275,000,000 (94.8%)*
#3 Shrek the Third - $325,000,000 (98.5%)*
#2 Spider-Man 3 - $380,000,000 (88.4%)*
#1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $395,000,000 (77.6%)*

*Percentages earned relative to my predictions