Friday, August 04, 2006

Camera Obscura - A Supervillain Arrives, Serenity Survives

I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit it. I know I have that reek of fanboy geek already when it comes to movies and TV based on comic books, then there's the devotion to the horror genre.

Despite the goofiness of the admission - here it is as simple as I can put it. I am really enjoying the super-silliness of the "Who Wants To Be A Superhero" show on the Sci-Fi Channel from Stan Lee's production company, Pow! Last week, I admitted the fun to be had in hearing Stan Lee say things like "Well done, Monkey Woman."

I tuned in Thursday for the second episode and blast it all if Monkey Woman didn't wow Stan and me with her refusal to allow to attack dogs to stop her from crossing some backyard and reaching the back door as part of the evening's competition. Wearing one of those protective suits dog trainers wear, the critters hauled her to the ground in seconds flat. But for the next ten minutes - yes, T-E-N, ten minutes - she clawed, crawled, inched and scooted her way to complete the goal. Most of the other wannabe superhero types either made it across in a minute's time or caved in to the dog attacks in mere seconds.

That li'l Monkey Woman fought so hard I got exhausted watching it.

Now that's not enough, however, to keep me as a viewer for the show. But at the very end, Stan the Man threw in a new element which excited my childish heart. The brutish "Iron Enforcer", whose B.O. was a topic of discussion among other contestants, and who had already said he wanted to be a superhero 'cause he wanted to kill, kill, kill finally got the boot off the show. But not really.

As the show ended, Stan appeared via a hidden TV screen and said, "Hey! How about you join me in a new plan! Let's make you a super-villain to challenge the other contestants!" Makeover experts zipped him into a waiting van and he emerges in a mean looking costume and is dubbed by Stan as "The Dark Enforcer!"

So yeah, I'll tune in for the next episode. And yeah, I am a total doofus.

(Oh and by the way - Heath Ledger is going to play The Joker?? Holy BrokeBatman!)
Two movies opening today are getting rave reviews, especially the thriller "The Descent," the newest film from the maker of the cult favorite "Dog Soldiers." That movie was a nifty revision of the werewolf myth as a squad of commandos encounter the hairy monsters in the Scottish Highlands. And overall, it was quite scary and a much better than expected movie. Both "Descent", or Tough Chicks In A Cave, and Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights" are getting high marks all around.

Since I've already invoked that Fanboy Presence, the true believers of the universe created by Joss Whedon in the TV series "Firefly" and the excellent movie follow-up "Serenity" should be eager to view a documentary on just how powerful the fan-force was in getting that movie made.

"Done The Impossible" is that documentary and is now out on DVD and snippets are available online.

Maybe sooner than later, the Suits will greenlight a sequel to "Serenity."
If John Williams can provide the theme music for NBC's Nightly News, then I suppose CBS had no choice but to seek the composer James Horner to craft a new tune for the arrival of Katie Couric for her evening newscast. Oh, the drama! The starpower! And maybe even some time for news reporting too!

The link to the story above also reveals that US soldiers in Iraq are making use of YouTube to share the daily events in Iraq. Definitely worth a look.

UPDATE: I just noticed that a movie called "Kibakichi" is on ShowtimeExtreme tonight. The IMDB page for the movie says things like "werewolf samurai in a village of monsters who feed on human flesh". Wow. That sounds really, really awful so I read a little more about it. One reviewer on the IMDB says: "What is important is the dubbed version. Its simply beautiful. Lip sinked by a blind man, scripted by an inbred and performed, by the sound of it, by a motley band of monkeys, castratoes and men who have had all trace of emotion removed from them


  1. I am so crazy addicted to "Who Wants To Be A Superhero," and have a mad crush on Major Victory. That "How's my hair?" line killed me.

    Word verification: diynra. Do-it-yourself National Rifle Association???

  2. Loved that little sparkle effect that they added to his smile when he said that. He seems to be having so much darned fun!!

    Hell, I'm having so much fun watching it!!

    (And I thought all NRA stuff was the definition of a DIY kinda dealie ....)

  3. Tim Smasken5:54 PM

    Armistead Maupin's "The Night Listener" comes out today as well. Awesome book; awesome cast.

  4. CineMonkey5:57 PM

    "Lip sink" huh? There's that spelling thing again.
    You reference Stan Lee & Firefly & don't have a "Big damn heroes!" quote? For shame.

  5. Double points for Cinemonkey for noting the all-new version of the phrase "lip-synching".

    And yes, Tim, "Night Listener" does open today, thanks for pointing it out.

  6. Joe, can I count on you to tape Kibakichi for me since I don't have cable?

  7. GAC - it's been a while since i've used the ol' VCR, but I'll give it a try!!

  8. Cinemonkey11:51 PM

    Kibakichi.....some kinda Chinese sauerkraut or sump'm?

  9. Tim Smith10:08 AM

    Hold on to your hats! There's a sequel as well:


  10. I told you Monkey Woman was a contender. How is that for perseverance?

    Heath Ledger as Joker nauseates me, but I'm trying really hard to reserve judgement until I see what he can/can't do. The only thing I've ever seen him in was "A Knight's Tale," and it's not like that cinematic triumph required any chops. I won't see "Brokeback" until I can see it for free. I never pay for romantic drama, unless it has some kung fu or zombies or something in it other than romance and drama.

    I'm going to watch "The Descent" on Monday (my birthday!), and no doubt I'll get back to you on that one.

    Hey, did you know that "Talladega Nights" also features a cameo by Sascha Baron Cohen? He plays a snooty Italian racer. I don't know if you're a fan of Mr. Cohen, Joe, but if you're into satire (which I'm convinced you are), you might enjoy his work. "Borat" is come soon to American theaters, yes!

  11. P.S. I totally missed "Kibakichi", but since Showtime (and all other cable stations) play stuff ad nauseum, I'll keep on the lookout for it in the future.

  12. My VCR failed, GAC - sorry.

    However I will actually recommend Kibakichi as a fun and gory Japanese semi-monster, semi-samurai event. The version airing on Showtime is the original and not dubbed and I had fun watching!
    The "flesh-eating monsters" were really ancient mythic monsters chased away by humans. They had adopted human form and samurai-werewolf arrives to help protect them from evil humans. There was only one werewolf transformation at the end for the big finale (and yes it was low budget efx). The evil humans had these kind of Matrix outfits and used guns which set up an interesting battle between older style myths versus newer style Japanese myths. And yes, I'm likely the only person to have written this type of critique.
    And there is a sequel.
    The movie has a lot of Leone influence and of course anime, but I had no problems watching it.

  13. I love incredibly shitty movies as much as I love incredibly good movie. I'll poke around on the 'nets and see if I can't find this one somewhere...

  14. 'tis a fine line between the two, GAC -- sure am sorry my ancient telecom setup didn't make a copy!

  15. Aw, booooooo.
    No worries, though. I'm sure I'll find it somewhere.