26 January 2008

Daily Dose of Iron

Sorry its a couple days late.

Reepicheep Revealed

Prince Caspians loyal little friend has been revealed at NarniaWeb.com. Behold! I bet he could take Alvin and the Chipmunks in a fight.

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Killer Croc

The first of a couple of "killers," Killer Croc is one of Batman's less plausible foes (if you can swallow Clayface- not literally). Still to make his live-action debut, the Croc has been features in Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman. He also strikes some similarities to Spider-Man's enemy The Lizard. Good thing you can't patent a comic book villain.

Waylon Jones is born with a medical condition that caused him to grow progressively more like a crocodile. In his original appearances, he resembled a powerfully-built man covered entirely in green scales. However, his disease has slowly robbed him of all identifiable human traits. In his most recent appearances, he has an enlongated snout and tail.

Killer Croc attacked a shopping mall where Batman and Robin arrived later. After Killer Croc received several punches, Batman got distracted by an image of Bane, Croc grabbed Batman and tried to break his back. Robin kicked Killer Croc right near Bane and Bane broke Killer Croc's arms. He was then put back into Arkham.

When Bane helped get everyone out of Arkham in the Knightfall saga, Killer Croc went to get revenge on Bane. While in the sewers, he smelt Bane and went after him but only found Robin. Bane then attacked him but the ledge they were standing on broke and the three fell into the sewers. The fight ended up as a draw.

Later, Killer Croc was summoned by a paranormal force to break out of Arkham Asylum and make his way to the Louisiana swamps. Batman followed him there only to find that the mysterious force was actually the Swamp Thing, who offered Croc a place in the swampland where he could finally give in to his animal side and live free from human persecution.

The Dark Knight returns in 174 days!

25 January 2008

Rat Race for Best Animated Picture

The nominations for best animated feature film of the year were announced this week, and I must say the Academy did a better job than the Golden Globes who picked Bee Movie and The Simpsons to lose to Ratatouille.

Oscar opted for Persepolis and Surf's Up to face Remy the Rat. I haven't seen Persepolis, but this black and white movie about a girl growing up in Iran looks thought provoking. Surf's Up was also a nice surprise, proving the superior of last years poorly chosen Oscar winner Happy Feet. But when all is said and done, I can't see anyone but Rataouille winning the prize as it was one of last years best films, and another Pixar masterpiece. Thoughts?

Radar Blips - Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

The Year: 1984

The Players: Crew of "Trek Classic," and Doc Christopher Lloyd Brown as Klingon Commander Kruge.

The Take: $76 million (5th ranked of 10)

Where did Spock go off to?: If you recall, Spock died in ST2 and was launched in a photon torpedo tube which landed on the planet Genesis. Turns out, zombie Spock (back from the dead) may be salvageable.

Why you should see it: Search for Spock really pales in comparison to Wrath of Khan, and appears quite cheaply made. An odd numbered Trek, III is the weak, but essential, link of the classic Trek trilogy spanning 2-4. Still the movie has its moments. The stealing of the Enterprise is great, as is the duping of Klingons, and "death" of the original Enterprise.

24 January 2008

James Bond and the Quantum of Solace

Hows that for a title? Quantum of Solace is the new title for the film formerly known as Bond 22. I'm not sold yet, I think I still prefer "Bond 22." Fortunately, time heals all wounds.

22 January 2008

Ink Blots - Howl's Moving Castle

Even when he isn't on top of his game, Hayao Miyazaki still delivers quality movies with graceful animation and bizarre, but likable characters (The English dub has great performances by Christian Bale as Howl, and Billy Crystal as Calcifer). Earning a mere $5 million in the US and an additional $230 million elsewhere, this 2005 anime feature tells the story of a young girl / old woman named Sophie and her run-in with the wizard Howl. Howl was nominated for the best animated feature but lost to the also good Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Like his other films, Howl has a stunning flying sequence, a female protagonist and some visually brilliant mechanical devices - in this case a castle with legs, and a magical score.

Early on, the young Sophie crosses paths with the witch of the west (a former flame of Howl) who turns her into an old woman. She runs away looking for magical help and becomes the housekeeper (castle keeper rather) of Howl where she meets the cranky but friendly demon fire Calcifer, and the apprentice to Howl. She also meets the unassuming mute scarecrow dubbed "Turniphead."

The castle has a magical door that opens to houses in rival countries where Howl goes by different aliases (aliasi?). Both kings want to enlist Howl in their war, but he doesnt really want to get involved. Anyways, herein lies the film's weakness. This plot doesn't really go anywhere. So, while I enjoyed spending time with the characters, it didn't seem like their actions really took them anywhere. So, while this may sound like a dumb statement, this movie would be another masterpiece if it weren't for the story. Its not that the story is bad, it just wraps up a little too neatly and pointlessly after a great build up. Fairy talesque "happily ever afters" don't belong in Ghibli movies (though happy endings sometimes do). Howl come is just shy of perfect (see Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) but still delivers a pretty great movie earning a low for Ghibli but unattainable by the recent efforts of Dreamworks - B+.