Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cosplay Wednedays

  This week is a double two-fer.  First up is Black Widow and Lady Deadpool.  Natasha Romanov is Black Widow a secret agent of undetermined alliance acting for an ambiguous origin country.  But currently she's a double agent working for SHIELD.  She's a bit of a badass.  Lady Deadpool is an alternate version of Deadpool, when she and Deadpool first met they shared a passionate kiss that made them both feel weird.  She was also a major part of the Deadpool Corps, a group of alternate Deadpools teaming together to kick ass across the cosmos.

  Young Billy Batson was given The Wisdom of Soloman, The Strength of Hercules, The Stamina of Atlas, The Power of Zeus, The Courage of Achilles and The Speed of Mercury by the wizard Shazam.  When saying the old wizards name Billy Batson turns into Captain Marvel.  Captain Marvel Jr. was given a portion of the old wizards power by Captain Marvel so when Freddie Freeman gains a portion of all of Captain Marvels attributes as Captain Marvel Jr.

  You know I usually go into why the costumes are good but I find myself repeating things a lot.  If I post them here they're good, they're well made, the costumes look good and the people wearing them look good so let's just take that for granted.  Both set's of people did a great job.

Cosplay Wednesday

  This week is a twofer as we stay in the world of Red, White and Blue or in the case of one of these entrants Red, White & Black.  First up, on the right, is Isaiah Bradley the OTHER Captain America detailed in the awesome mini series Truth: Red, White and Black.  Isaiah was a part of an experiment to recreate the Super Soldier formula after the success of Steve Rogers.  One of 5 survivors they performed black op field missions.  I suggest reading the mini series as it's quite good.  The art is wonky but the story is good.  On the left is American Dream, for reals this time as that's a pretty comic accurate costume.  Since I detailed the origins of one Sharron Carter from MC2, member of A-Next, previously I won't go into to much detail.  I will note the smaller shields on her forearm as her other method of disposing evil doers as they act as stun disks.

  The player on the left has a well made costume with lots of detail and is comic accurate, she showed up in shape and looks good.  The player on the right has a good mask, from what I can see a comic accurate appearance and possibly a photoshopped shield.  It doesn't look right and I don't know if it's because it's a paper decal attached to a light weight shield or a photoshop but the face of the shield doesn't look like it belongs in our world, however there is a nice hard outline which makes me think SOMETHING is actually there.  But again, the costume is relatively simple but what makes a world of difference is the build of the person wearing it.  This guy has the build of Isaiah Bradley and that really sells the costume.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fan Films: A Necessary Part of Fandom (save one film to save many)

  For those of you who don't know Marvel took down the Blinky Deadpool Webseries.  I started writing about the series from the first time I saw the trailer because the trailer LOOKED awesome and I knew with Chris .R. Notarile at the helm it WOULD BE awesome because he has made some of the best fan films I've ever seen, many of which are reviewed here and will continue to be reviewed here.  But when I did my "gritty reboot" I thought I would expand to fan films as a whole because I started watching fan films made by people other than Blinky Productions and I was amazed at the variety out there.  Some of it excellent, some of it not but all of it necessary.  Liking something is totally subjective, I may not like something but that doesn't devalue it, no matter how I, or anyone else, may criticize it because a fan film generates interest in the character.  Good or bad it makes a person aware of that character and may cause that person to seek out other examples of that character.  That may include other fan films or the comics or big budget productions, the point is that someone out there found this thing that is awesome and now shares a passion for it.  The best part of a fan film is that it's made by fans, fans who may have a better understanding of the character and even with zero budget produce something as good as any big budget production and the fact is that because they aren't beholden to any commercial interest they don't have to make compromises.

  So I've been mulling over how to best support this cause and thinking about what I could write and post to help.  Then this video was posted and it says things better and more succinctly than I could in any post that I could have written.  So check it out, below the video are the petition you can sign, links to the Facebook group you can "like" and a link to the video and the IMDB page where you can leave a review.

  I want to make something clear though, we as a community cannot get anything done by simply yelling, name calling and feces throwing.  As I have said previously, it's up to us to take the high route and elevate the discourse.  So please stay classy, don't antagonize Marvel, don't name call, don't be rude and/or crude, we're trying to do something constructive and we have to act in a constructive manner in order to do it.  So help save this fan film and make a stand for all the other fan films because good or bad they are all worth saving.

The Petition

The Facebook Group (Like it)

Episode 1
Episode 2

IMDB page (write a good review after watching confirming how awesome the series is)

Blade II (2002) Xbox

Sadly there's no ice skating

Rating:  2 out of 5 Totally Unqualified Voice Actors Not At All Associated With The Original Work

Plot Synopsis:  Does it really matter?  I guess there’s Blade and he does a whole lotta shit that he doesn't do in the movie which includes blowing up cars and motorcycles, destroying security terminals and shotgunning computer monitors.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fan Film Fridays: Iron Fist: The Dragon Unleashed

  I don't know what to say about this really.  I'm not going to credit anybody because I didn't like it and I don't want to sully any ones name with my opinion.  If people want to Google search the people involved with this I don't want them stumbling across my negative review.  So no one is getting credited and they'll probably thank me for that later.

  Where to start.  Well, they made Elektra a scientist.  She's a scientist ninja.  A scientist ninja working with Iron Fist.  I don't recall Elektra every working with Iron Fist.  They're both sort of periphery characters of Daredevil, that's sort of the person they have in common.  Daredevil would hang out with both of these people but I don't know of any time they hung out together let alone one doing SCIENCE for the other.  Just generic SCIENCE, nothing specific, just vague, lab coat wearing SCIENCE.

  There is no plot.  Zero, none at all.  For all I know this is a home movie of shit just happening.  You could argue that there is also no acting.  There are flashes of acting by the mysterious appearing/disappearing antagonist and Dr. Elektra M.D. Doctor of SCIENCE.  But this is basically a vast desert of acting talent and with no plot to prop them up it falls completely flat.

  They sure as shit can kung-fu though.  Iron Fist definitely can kung fu.  The rest not so much.  The ninjas a little bit and Unbreakable Dragon can hold his own.  Elektra and White Lotus look like they've never even seen a punch in real life.  So they know kung fu but what about the fight scene?  Those must be good right?  Nope.  Not at all actually.  Filmed at half speed and no contact the fights have no impact what so ever.  There are some eye catching flourishes but nothing looks like it connects with any force.  This is the most embarrassingly apparent when Iron Fists uses The Fist on Unbreakable Dragon, the chi of the undying dragon looks to have the force of a "good game" slap on the chest that you'd see on a basketball court.

  This is longest 8 minutes I've had to endure in a long, long time.  It was painful for me.  Looking at the comments a lot of people loved it, there are a lot of positive comments.  The uploader responded to one of them saying that it was a zero budget movie but the credits seems to boast a full cast & most of a crew.  It has a producer for gods sake and a director who isn't the star.  A producer who isn't also the Director/Writer/Star/Editor.  Like a separate dude got a producer credit, like a real producer would get.  It essentially looks like 2 guys in Tai Kwon Do class got together a bunch of friends and filmed it in an empty warehouse for a weekend but some poor asshole got suckered into producing it.

  Alright, alright, the positives.  Clearly the main knows martial arts and doesn't flail too much in the making of the kung fu.  The costume is pretty good but the mask looks like it keeps losing the actors eyes in the opening scene but it's competently made.  The dragon tattoo looks good, it must be either magic marker or make up but it always looks crisp and clean.  Ummmm...the title screen is pretty okay.  The main is in shape... I think that's about all that's positive about this.  I think the short would have been best if they could have found a real fight coordinator, they can't be too hard to expensive to find.  Other zero budget short films have great fight scenes using if not a real fight or stunt coordinator at least by rehearsing it a couple of times.  It looks like they filmed the rehearsal with how stiff and slow everything is.  Also the music on this, while good songs individually, don't match anything going on as if they scored it using the shuffle option on their iPod.

  Anyway, I'm just going to rail on this so I'm going to wrap it up.  Take a look...I guess?  Maybe you'll find something I didn't or maybe you just want to subject yourself to the same pain I did.

Fan Film Friday bonus: Avenger's Luke Cage

  Since you can't have Iron Fist without Power Man and since you can't have the bad without the good here's the opposite of the Iron Fist feature.  A brief fan trailer that showcases Eric Thomas Wilson as Luke Cage.  Well shot, well acted, the effects are good the guy playing Cage looks, talks and acts the part.  There's even a Sweet Christmas.  Why couldn't they turn this into an 8 minute film?  Hell, why couldn't they turn this into a feature film.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fan Film Friday bonus bonus: White Luke Cage

From uploader patrickhwillems comes the white washing of the greatest black superhero ever in the Marvel Universe.  This is just damn funny.  Well acted, well shot and damn, damn funny.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cosplay Wednesday

  This week we look at the patriotic world of Captain America.  First up is a really good Red Skull followed by the American Dream or a distaff Captain America.  The true Red Skull was Johann Schmidt (who employed American industrialist [of course he is] George Maxon to act as Red Skull on his behalf).  The history of Johann Schmidt is detailed wonderfully in the fantastic mini series Red Skull: Incarnate but as Red Skull he with the Nazi party and was Hitler's right hand man as well as a constant thorn in the side of Captain America.  The American Dream is Shannon Carter and part of the side continuity MC2 which had the good (Spider-Girl) and the terrible (the grunge, flanneled son of the Juggernaut).  Growing up idolizing Captain America she picked up an indestructible shield of her own and became the American Dream and a member of A-Next.

  The Red Skull has a ton of detail including a Cosmic Cube, a full German uniform and a very well made mask.  Plus it looks like he's wearing a Nazi armband, which takes a bit of balls.  Granted it's in character but you never know who will be offended and to what degree.  The second I don't know if it truly is the American Dream or not.  She lacks a mask and carries a triangular shield which is Cap's old style shield.  So it doesn't add up in that sense but the costume is well made (looks to be a combination of spandex and leather) and the player showed up in shape so props to that.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blade II (2002) DVD (Target multi pack)

Is that a hill?  You know I won't ice skate up it.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Members of a Kick Ass Vampire Death Squad

Plot Synopsis:  So there’s Blade, there’s a new kind of vampire killing vampires and there’s Ron Perlman.  Then shit get’s real.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fan Film Friday: The Flash:The Brave and The Bold

  This week was a bit harder to find stuff.  Last week I found Powers on page one of You Tube, this week I had to go allllll the way to page five which is where I found this little gem.  I found a few things before it that were bad beyond review but when I came across this I was pretty happy.

  Flash comes to us from uploader InfluenceFilms, directed and starring Jason Damian as Wally West.  I'm going to be honest, it's a bit of a mixed bag but it's an entertaining mixed bag dammit.

  The plot is nigh incoherent.  Someone died, let's see if I can properly explain it.  The person that died was a friend of Wally's uncle.  The person that calls Wally is the son of the friend of Wally's uncle so Wally Flash's it up to help out the son of a friend of his uncle.  He runs around a bit, he meets with the Justice League (a scene introduced by the completely out of place but funny "Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice" from the Super Friends cartoon), there's some talk about how super powers don't elevate you above normal man, Wally doubts himself, he goes to Barry's grave and seeing thugs about to kill the son of his uncles friend.  The plot is pretty paper thin and I don't think it holds up any scrutiny or analysis.  There's also a cameo by Lex Luthor but it doesn't amount to much.

  Okay, so the plot is barely there, but the acting is actually pretty... hit or miss as well.  Wally is played pretty well by Jason Damian, I don't know if this was shot sequentially or what but he goes from a little stiff in the opening scene to actually pretty good by the end of the 5 minutes of the film and his voice over is pretty competently done as well.  There a brief cameo by John Stewart Green Lantern played by John A Clark and he is by far the best actor in the group.  He looks good in the costume and delivers his lines really well.  He's in it for MAYBE 8 seconds but he's a highlight.  The other highlight are the 2 thugs who provide some comic relief.  I think one of them was told to act like he was in a 1920's gangster movie or possibly like Joe Pesci, either way it's hilarious.

  I had fun with this.  It's not going to win best independent film or anything but it's a fun 6 minutes with a gag reel tacked on to the end of it which I found pretty funny.  They portray super speed the best possible way they can considering the, what I assume is a, shoe string budget.  The Flash costume looks a little weird but the other costumes are pretty good, also considering the zero budget.  It's shot in an entirely non distracting or detracting way, that's pretty much the highest praise I can give it.  The camera is there, it's pointed at things, those things are in focus and in the frame and you know what, I'll take that.  The acting is what you'd expect from a pool of either amateur actors or friends of the director.  I'd say it's worth a look as there's certainly worse.  A lot worse. Like next weeks entry, which I also found on page 5.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cosplay Wednesdays

This week we have a Stephanie Brown Robin and an Iron Fist.  Stephanie Brown was the daughter of the Cluemaster and started out as The Spoiler but later came under the wing of the Batman who trained to become the 4th Robin after Tim Drake.  Iron Fist is millionaire industrialist (of course he is) Danny Rand who was made the Immortal Weapon Iron Fist when he fought and killed the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying the guardian of the mystical city of K'un-L'un.  After plunging his fists into the dragons molten heart he was given fists of iron and the ability to channel his chi into his fists with devastating results.

  Both costumes are well done with Robins having more elements to it, it's well made and comic accurate.  The Iron Fist costume is well made but the key in a costume like that is that you show up in shape and this guy did with a pretty impressive mask.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blade (1998) DVD (Target multi pack)

This motherfucker never tries to skate uphill.

Rating:  3 out of 5 People Slaughtered in a Vampire Rave

Plot Synopsis:  Blade, the half vampire, hunts full vampires, but not werewolves, that would just be ridiculous.  At some point he has to stop Deacon Frost from unleashing the Vampocalypse.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bonus: Blinky Deadpool webseries

  So this is the first episode of the Blinky Deadpool webseries. I've got to say it's pretty dang good.  Mandy Evans returns as Typhoid Mary.  She plays it well and holy crap can she dance.  We already kind of knew that but she puts her talent on display during her introduction in Wade's "Pool-o-Vision".  Deadpool is played in costume by Damian Vargas with voice by Chris .R. Notarile.  It's good, there's a fight scene between Mary and Pool and it's well done.  There's a cameo from Elektra and Domino that promises to turn into something more.  It's all done very well, the usual Chris strengths are on display here, yadda yadda yadda.  If you don't know the kind of quality and awesomeness you can expect from Chris .R. Notarile then I suggest you read any one of my other reviews of his stuff.

  Mostly what I want to get down to is the portrayal of Deapool himself.  They nailed it.  Most people try to make Deadpool TOO random.  They think random is funny or that random is what embodies Deadpool.  Deadpool is not random, Deadpool is fucking crazy.  There's a huge difference, it's not about saying weird shit just to say weird shit, it's about having totally different perspective on reality and acting as if everyone else lives in the same reality or at the very least not caring that you're the only person in that reality.  This does not translate to "random".  It translates to snarky, sarcastic, self deprecating and socially awkward.  He has a talent for doing things he thinks are cool and saying the exact wrong or unexpected thing.  Just to quickly wrap this up because I just want you all to watch it, it's a good 10 minutes spent, they really got the source material and it'll be interesting to see where it goes from here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fan Film Friday: Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl fan film

  As will be common for this feature I typed in "superhero fan film" into You Tube and picked the first one that interested me.  This week it's Powers.  Uploaded by user brianbedell and directed by Michelle Massey, it stars Brian Bedell as Christian Walker and Madeline Blue as Deena Pilgrim.

  I picked this because I know nothing about the comic book Powers other than 1) it exists and B) it's pretty good.  But I haven't gotten around to actually reading it.  I am familiar enough with the premise behind the book to not get lost so I thought I'd give this a go as something different.

  I'm glad I did because I really liked it.  It's shot well, there's good framing, the cuts don't get in the way, things are balanced in the frame.  The camera work isn't obvious, I didn't notice the camera work at all, cinematography can be thankless in that respect because unless you're using your frame to say something that isn't being said by the characters or the setting the best you can hope for is unnoticeable.  I mean unnoticeable in a good way, with unnoticeable you aren't actively detracting from the scene and are enhancing the scene subtly.   So I give props to cinematographer Adam Goral.

  The acting is actually really good, Brian Bedell manages to put some emotion in his performance, you can empathize with the character and it never feels wooden or hokey.  Madeline Blue does very good as well, her characters personality works as a good foil for Christian Walker's displayed personality.  In this scene she plays the role of a plot device, something to induce exposition so the role she's supposed to play isn't dynamic.  That being said her line delivery is good, she has good body language and get's across what she needs to get across in the time she has to do it with what she has to work with.  Having not read the book I can't say if the portrayals are accurate to the written characters however.  I found the roles to be well played and believable.

  I was impressed with this choice and it's a good way to kick off Fan Film Friday with a bang.  It made me really want to read the book so I can see if the page translates to what I saw here and, really, isn't that the goal of a fan film?  A well made fan film will encourage others to become fans and a poorly done fan film will turn potential fans away.  This is a well made fan film.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cosplay Wednesdays

 This week we delve into the dark side of the wizard Shazam.  Before there was Captain Marvel there was Black Adam who possessed the Stamina of Shu, the Swiftness of Heru, the Strength of Amon, the Wisdom of Zehuti, the Power of Aton and the Courage of Mehen.  Mary Marvel was given a portion of Shazam's power by Captain Marvel, when she lost her powers during Countdown due to the death of Shazam she was given power the power of Black Adam turning her into a darker version of her white clad self.

  Both costumes are well done, both people went to the trouble to of trying to look like who they're cosplaying.  Black Adam looks sufficiently intimidating while Mary Marvel has an intense expression while maintaining an innocent vibe.