June 2, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The Parody: Extraneous Colons

See that teeny heading in my blog banner that reads "movie reviews & parodies"? Not being one to let a perfectly good ampersand go to waste, I bring you the premier Movie Meg brand movie parody. Spoilers ahoy!

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE


[PROVINCE OF CANADA, EARLY 1800s]

BABY WOLVERINE
Hi! I'm Jimmy...apparently. I'm sick all the time but this is in no way relevant to the plot; I laugh at Chekhov's gun, ha HA!

WOLVERINE'S FATHER
*Killed by Dude*

WOLVERINE
Khaaan! I mean, Daaad!

DUDE
No. I am your father.

WOLVERINE
No. That's not true! That's impossible!
*Stabs Dude with bone claws*

VICTOR
Cool, I'm your brother! Let's have a montage.


[WOLVERINE AND VICTOR SLO-MO THROUGH LOTS OF WARS, INCLUDING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR]

VICTOR
Aren't we Canadian?

WOLVERINE
Only when it's funny.

VICTOR
Oh. Excuse me while I blatantly establish my role as the bad guy.

COLONEL STRYKER
So I hear you guys have mutant powers?

VICTOR
I can grow my nails really long.

STRYKER
Uh, cool...I guess that's better than marginally above-average marksmanship.

AGENT ZERO
Hey!

STRYKER
Join my team that was in no way chosen by picking leftover-mutants-yet-to-appear-in-a-film from a hat.

JOHN WRAITH
I have Nightcrawler's power but with low-budget CGI and no BAMPF! sound effect.

BOLT
I control electricity when I pretend to concentrate real hard and touch my fingers to my temples.

DEADPOOL
I make even the lamest lines initially seem funny only by virtue of being Ryan Reynolds.

ME
Ha ha...waaait.

BLOB
I get really fat later.

WOLVERINE
Damn, this is like the Celebrity Boxing of mutant teams. Peace out!

[CANADA, YEARS LATER]

WOLVERINE
Hey! I'm Logan now...apparently. I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I love to press wild flowers. I put on women's clothing and-

ME
We get it, you're a lumberjack. Save the singing for the Academy Awards.

KAYLA
Hi, I'm the expendable love interest. Did you hear the Native tale of the wolverine and the moon as separated lovers? Isn't that tragic?

WOLVERINE
Yeah, tragic that my name has such a lame origin. I really hoped it had something to do with Red Dawn.

KAYLA
Gee, I wonder if I fall under the "Women in Refrigerators" trope?

VICTOR
Rawr!

KAYLA
Oh no! I'm totally dead now.

WOLVERINE
Khaaan! I mean, Kaaayla! I'll just leave your body to rot in the woods now.

KAYLA
Toootally dead.

WOLVERINE
Grrr! Fighting! Vengeance!

VICTOR
*Scratches Wolverine*

WOLVERINE
Ow! That kinda hurt. Is that bleeding? No, no I guess it's all right. Ouch though!

STRYKER
I can help you beat Victor by bonding adamantium to your bones. I'm completely trustworthy!

WOLVERINE
You know, I think the other three X-Men movies may have touched on this subject - seems like a bad idea. Then again, I've been through worse.

SCIENTIST LADY FROM TRAILER
No you haven't. Oooh menacing!

WOLVERINE
Nothing's worse than Swordfish.

[WOLVERINE AGREES TO THE EXPERIMENT AND IS STRAPPED INTO A TANK OF WATER FOR UNKNOWN, SCIENCEY REASONS]

EVERY FEMALE AUDIENCE MEMBER
Damn you, conveniently placed groin strap. Damn yoou!

STRYKER
Yay, it worked! Now kill him.

WOLVERINE
*Springs from the tank, naked. Nakedly fights off the bad guys, jumps naked into a waterfall, and finally escapes to a barn. Naked*

OLD MAN
Howdy, hairy naked stranger. Have my son's leather jacket.

PAUL HARVEY
And now you know the rest of the story.

ME
Not really, seeing as Wolverine's amnesic and not wearing the jacket at the end of the film.

WOLVERINE
Really? Of all the plot holes, that's the one you harp on?

OLD LADY
I've brought tea! And bullets...
*Dies*

OLD MAN
*Dies too*

WOLVERINE
Khaa- ah, forget it.

[INSERT ACTION SCENE OF WOLVERINE FIGHTING OFF STRYKER'S GOONS HERE]

ME
Let's see, on my "Cliche Action Sequence Bingo" card I've got: car chase, helicopter chase, "The Stormtrooper Effect," defying laws of physics, and walking away from an explosion in slo-mo. Damn, I only need "crappy one-liner for trailer/commercial fodder" to win.

WOLVERINE
You wanted the animal, Colonel. You got it.

ME
Yay!

DIRECTOR GAVIN HOOD
I know what this film's missing: a boxing match!

EVERYONE
No.

[BOXING SCENE REPRESSED]

[WOLVERINE HEADS TO NEW ORLEANS IN SEARCH OF GAMBIT, THE MUTANT WHO CAN LEAD HIM TO STRYKER'S SECRET HIDEOUT]

GAMBIT
Mon dieu! I say to you, homme, you're askin'-

WOLVERINE
Whoa whoa whoa, Gumbo! That's way too in-character; tone it down.

GAMBIT
OK, how about I use this vaguely hickish accent and a pimp cane?

VICTOR
Rawr!

[BURLY, HAIRY, CLAWY FISTICUFFS ENSUES. JUST AS WOLVERINE IS POISED TO DELIVER THE COUP DE GRACE...]

GAMBIT
I'm somehow convinced that you're working for Stryker despite actively combating my known enemy/Stryker lackey. Fear my twirly staff, Wolverine!

VICTOR
*Scampers away*

WOLVERINE
I'm a good guy.

GAMBIT
Cool. Then I'll help you get to Stryker's hideout to defeat him and Victor.

WOLVERINE
You want to help me kill Victor?

GAMBIT
Yep.

WOLVERINE
The guy I was just about to shish kebab before you stopped me?

GAMBIT
Yes.

WOLVERINE
...

[GAMBIT FLIES WOLVERINE TO STRYKER'S HIDEOUT ON THREE MILE ISLAND...IN A PLANE. FLYING’S NOT A POWER OF HIS OR ANYTHING, THAT WOULD BE TOO INTERESTING]

KAYLA
I'm alive! Now help me rescue Emma Frost and Cyclops from meaningless cameos.

EMMA
Since when does my "diamond-hard skin" equal "more diamond-encrusted than a rapper's grill"?

WEAPON XI
Rawr!

WOLVERINE
Who the hell are you?

STRYKER
Him? Oh, this is the super mutant I've created, aka Weapon XI, aka formerly Deadpool, aka character we fucked up so badly he gets a spin-off as an apology. Sorry, Gambit, you were a close second.

GAMBIT
Merde.

WOLVERINE
Are those retractable katanas? How do you bend your arms?!

WEAPON XI
*Shrugs*

[WOLVERINE AND WEAPON XI CROCHET MITTENS FOR THEIR SPIKEY APPENDAGES WHEN...THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT. OH YES...FIGHTING. THEY FIGHT.]

VICTOR
Rawr! I'm here to help you, bro, by luring Weapon XI to the most inconvenient, contrived fighting arena ever.

WOLVERINE
Sure, that makes sense. Nice character arc.

[WOLVERINE AND VICTOR CUT WEAPON XI DOWN TO SIZE. OH HO! PUNS!]

AUDIENCE
Can you put us out of our misery too?

STRYKER
Damn you, Logan! I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling mutants! Fine, I'll have to shoot you with this adamantium bullet.

SCIENTIST LADY FROM TRAILER
*Whispers*

STRYKER
What's that..? "Wolverine," "Were-wolverine," same difference.
*Shoots Wolverine in the head*

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE
Is he dead? Suspense!

KAYLA
Oh no, Wolvie! Stryker, using my mutant powers, I command you to walk away and keep walking until you reach X2.

STRYKER
On an island? Uh, OK. I'll get right on that.
*He does...somehow*

KAYLA
I'm dead, for reals this time.
*Dies*

WOLVERINE
Damn, I can't remember a thing about what just happened!

ME
You lucky, lucky bastard.


-END-



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(Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox and www.webweaver.nu)



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May 20, 2009

Lozenge?


I hear they have the same voice coach.


(Images courtesy of Warner Bros. and www.1001fonts.com)

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May 7, 2009

Watchmen: Graphic and Novel!

Meg's Journal. March 7th, 2009: Old popcorn in theater this evening, spilled soda on sticky floor. Watchmen is watched by me. I have seen its many hours. The scenes are extended slo-mo and the slo-mo is full of blood and when the credits finally roll, all the moviegoers will clamor. The accumulated hype of all the montages and monologues will foam up about their mouths and all the fanboys and critics will look up and shout "Frontal nudity!"...and I'll look down and whisper "Meh."

Yeah...guess who saw Watchmen.
Obligatory "Lower Manhattan" joke


Director Zack Snyder's latest venture adapts Alan Moore's nichely popular graphic novel of the same name to the silver screen. Boiled down, Watchmen follows a group of former superheroes (minus the superpowers) who find one of their own murdered. The threadbare heroes suspect further attacks on so-called "masks" but have bigger matters to worry about, namely, the escalation of a nuclear standoff between the U.S. and Russia.

Inevitably, comparisons will be drawn between the film and the graphic novel. Unlike standard novels adapted to film, graphic novels already visually interpret everything for the reader. So the movie becomes less about, "That's not how I imagined the Balrog!" and more a matter of: How faithfully is the story preserved, do the actors well-represent their characters, does the cinematography reflect the style of the art, and can the uninitiated viewer enjoy the film in and of itself? For the most part, Watchmen holds up on these counts, but the movie is only as good as its source; which is to say, the graphic novel's pedestal is debatable.

Visually, Watchmen is rather beautiful, in its own dreary, wow-that's-a-lot-of-blood kind of way. The opening credit sequence is perhaps the highlight of the film, providing richly colored, detailed tableaux that masterfully illustrate what would've otherwise been cumbersome exposition.

True to form, Snyder slathers on the slo-mo like it's going out of style, so much so that it becomes tedious and even dilutes the adrenaline of action scenes. I'd like to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt and say that utilizing slo-mo emulates the experience of reading a graphic novel by allowing the viewer to linger as they would on a comic panel...Nah. He's just really enamored with slo-mo.

Complementary to the hypnotizing visuals is an equally impressive soundtrack, from Jimi Hendrix to the Philip Glass Ensemble. In a way, the music borders on too remarkable, often interjecting and distracting from the substance of a scene. Much like-

♫ My backpack's got jets. I'm Boba the Fett. I bounty hunt for Jabba Hutt to finance my 'Vette♫

Hey, that's a good song! Waaait...knock it off, soundtrack! I'm trying to do a review here. Jeez.

Anyway. Alongside the ubiquitous smiley face, Rorschach is iconic of Watchmen: a fan-favorite atypical antihero. Not only does Jackie Earle Haley look the part, but also expertly breathes life into the integral character. Jackie delivers Rorschach's more memorable quotes with just the right emphasis, omitted articles and all. Rorschach's scenes with his therapist are somewhat truncated but even dyed-in-the-wool fans should be pleased with the performance. This is fortunate - the world can't take another fan uprising like "Jar Jar Binksgate." Jeffrey Dean Morgan also portrays the Comedian to a tee; his rakish countenance misled me to believe Robert Downey Jr. landed a role in Watchmen, but he still deserves props. Matthew Goode as Ozymandias is a bit too foppish and Malin Akerman's Silk Spectre is too I-can't-act-my-way-out-of-a-paper-bag, but the cast as a whole is fairly solid.

What remained on the cutting room floor-

♫ All right stop, collaborate, and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention ♫

Dammit, soundtrack! See what I mean?

As I was saying. Many scenes of the 400-something-page graphic novel obviously didn't make it to the big screen, but the majority of edits were wisely chosen. Occasionally, dialogue seemed throwaway or offhanded to friends unfamiliar with the novel, and the revelation of the Comedian's relationship to a fellow mask came off as melodramatic without its developed back-story.

Ultimately, both incarnations of Watchmen have their own merits: it's not the end-all-be-all of comics as some would purport, but is a unique and refreshing alternative to the mainstream. Even comic non-enthusiasts may be inspired to pick up the graphic novel after viewing its film. As Moore would say, "There is something about the quality of comics that makes things possible that you couldn't do in any other medium. Things that we did in Watchmen on paper could be frankly horrible or sensationalist or unpleasant if you were to interpret them literally through the medium of cinema...It's not the same when you're being dragged through it at 24 frames per second."




**Medium with a refill (refill = 1/2 "star" on the scale, ha HA!)**



Spoiler Rant:


As for the oft-discussed Giant Squid ending, I absolutely prefer the movie's finale. Despite being a story about "super" heroes, Dr. Manhattan is the only character with actual superpowers. How he receives his abilities is about as far-fetched as a radioactive spider bite, but the story maintains a pseudo-scientific, non-magical explanation for its universe. Even Rorschach's shifting mask has no paranormal properties. Yet, I'm supposed to buy the idea that Ozy's DIY Catastrophic Calamari's destructive capabilities are thanks to a psychic? Sorry, but my Suspension of Disbelief Account has been overdrawn.

Yes, it really did take me two months to crank this out. Go me.


(Images courtesy of Warner Bros. and www.webweaver.nu)

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February 11, 2009

From My Arc Reactor to Yours

I bet by now you're beginning to think:

“Wow, Movie Meg doesn't like any new films!”
“All Movie Meg does is complain!”
“Movie Meg conjures imaginary dialogue for her non-existent fanbase!”

Well, contrary to what's been evidenced so far, I adore and am mildly obsessed with Iron Man.

I picked up some spiffy “3-D” Iron Man valentines but they were distinctly lacking in the Robert Downey Jr. department. So to show just how much I dig Iron Man, my readers, and RDJ, please enjoy these valentines I cobbled together.

Happy Valentine's Day!

(Images, fonts, and brushes courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Marvel, Seishido, and Blambot)

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February 7, 2009

Thumbs Down for Down Under Flick

Roger Ebert describes Baz Luhrmann's Australia as “epic” and “sweeping,” which I can only assume is code for “tedious” and “so long you'd think it was filmed in real time.” Much as Nicole Kidman's Lady Sarah Ashley likens herself to Dorothy who's swept to the mysterious land of “Oz,” I too felt myself in Dorothy's ruby-bedecked shoes. Only, I wished I could escape from the meandering melodrama with a click of my heels and the words, “There's no place like home, where I could be watching something entertaining from Netflix.”



Australia is a madcap adventure about an English aris
tocrat who inherits her husband's cattle station. With the help of a rugged and roguishly charming Drover (Hugh Jackman), they foil cattle barons plotting to take her land after a grueling drive across the outback. No! It's a classic, melodramatic love story: Gone with the Wind meets Crocodile Dundee. Wait, maybe it's a historical imagining of the Japanese attack on Darwin during World War II?

Actually, Australia is a Frankenstein mash-up of all these plot elements. Instead of weaving multiple themes into a complexly layered tale, the result is incohesive and strained. It's as though Luhrmann desperately wants to illustrate each idea but flips the station with ADD-like freneticism.

The characters themselves are not exempt from lack of focus. Lady Sarah Ashley wears so many hats (literally, what a wardrobe!) that it's difficult to warm up to her; at one moment she's painfully fey, then bold and independent with no real transition. Jackman sticks to what he does best, namely taking off his shirt and looking scruffily handsome (no complaints here), but the Drover never quite sheds his cowboy cliché. While Kidman and Jackman's various performances are usually widely enjoyable, their interaction in Australia lacked much spark. Trailers promised rollicking romance a la Moulin Rouge! but delivered a typical boy-meets-girl from the other side of the tracks who, despite initial antagonism, wind up doing “wrong side business.” Contrary to what Luhrmann may think, umpteen shots of the actors so close up you can count their pores does not equal romantic chemistry.

Much of the movie is devoted to and narrated by Nullah (Brandon Walters), a “half-caste” boy who struggles to uphold his aboriginal heritage in face of being removed from his family and “re-educated” by the government. This is a tragic yet true example of Australia's “Stolen Generation.” Though Luhrmann rightly denounces this racist policy, Nullah ironically slips into the cinematic “magic negro” role and becomes a mere vehicle to unite Sarah Ashley and the Drover. Also, Walters may be a fine actor, but one more utterance of “cheeky bulls” and I would've found a way to reach through the screen to strangle him.

With a title like “Australia” it didn't seem too much to ask for gorgeous cinematography. A few sweeping wide-angle views of its vibrant namesake perhaps? Yet Luhrmann's usual painterly - almost fantastical - cinematic flair comes across as heavy handed, failing to do justice to the country it's supposed to be celebrating. Australia could have been entirely filmed in front of a green screen for all I could tell. Not only was the digital tweaking obtrusive but, frankly, rather poor. The cattle stampede was so hokey that it rendered the scene comical, not suspenseful.

If you want a poignant story of the Stolen Generation, watch Rabbit-Proof Fence. If you want touching romance between an Englishwoman and an Australian roughneck, read A Town Like Alice. If you want a good example of Luhrmann's oddball talent, rent Moulin Rouge! Just don't pack your bags for Australia.

Remember: Friends don't let friends drove drunk, or something...




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Spoiler Rant:


Poor David Wenham. His villain role is so one-dimensional he might as well have tied Sarah Ashely to a train track whilst twirling his mustache. “Pride ain't power, nyaaah.”

As many devoted interwebites have pointed out (the kind who edit Wikipedia as a hobby, I assume), The Wizard of Oz didn't premiere in Australia until 1940, a year after the film is set. “Oz” is a nickname for Australia, we get it, ha ha, how cute. Please don't subject us to another pointless rendition of “Somewhere Drover Over the Rainbow”. Your allusion is completely inaccurate! Screw artistic license, I hope you get kicked by a kangaroo, Luhrmann. (That totally happens in Australia, right?)

How to make a Baz Luhrmann production:
1) Saturate the opening scenes with bizarre, trippy images and near slapstick comedy
2) Melodramatic romance ensues
3) Main character(s) dies
4) ?
5) Profit!
(e.g.: Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom, Australia)
“Wait,” you're saying, “no heroes died in Australia.” Au contraire, my intrepid reader. Initially the film concluded with the Drover buying the proverbial farm, but test audiences despised it so much (more than they would've any way) that Luhrmann reworked the ending. The more you know.

(Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox and www.webweaver.nu)

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January 5, 2009

X-Files not quite X-traordinary


Fondly remembered are the Fridays of my childhood spent watching The X-Files. Each night I huddled in bed, mortally terrified of the latest monster to go bump in the night. Would bugs devour me in the darkness? Maybe a fluke creature was lurking in the bathroom drain. Or was a carnie's ambulatory fetal twin lying beneath my bed, waiting for an unsuspecting host?! Ah, good times.

So it was with nostalgic excitement and high expectations that I trundled to a midnight showing of The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Oh how I wanted to believe.

The film kicks off with the abduction of an FBI agent and a psychic priest claiming he can aid in discovering her whereabouts. To determine if said psychic is legit, the FBI appeals to Mulder for his help because, really, they can't be assed to chase him all over West Virginia any more; it's fucking cold. Mulder gives up on his new hobby of beard cultivation to assist in the investigation. At first Mulder is skeptical of the priest's ability when Father Joe offers the FBI a hand, but, psychic or not, he leads them to a body of evidence that really helps the agents get ahead. Meanwhile, Dr. Scully has a crisis of faith, torn over the merit of subjecting a terminally ill child to the rigors of experimental treatment, which remains risky despite the hours spent Googling stem cell research. All of which culminates in a face-off with gay, Russian, psychopathic, Dr. Frankenstein wannabes. Naturally.

I Want to Believe ultimately falls more in the realm of normal than paranormal, offering many elements of a solid mystery but skimping on what makes The X-Files truly X-Files. The film is set post-series yet it fails to explore many ramifications of the closing episodes. After so many years, this fan wanted more than a few winks and a visit from Agent Skinner.

Watching The X-Files week-to-week afforded the surprise of each uniquely new creation Carter conjured. If it wasn't aliens, it was a man who ate human livers, or one's greatest fear brought to life, or any number of grotesque imaginings. I Want to Believe has a psychic. Maybe. Oh and some hinky surgical experiments. Please, that's paranormal small-fry. An X-Files movie without something superbly supernatural is about as lackluster as an entire season without Mulder.

Speaking of the foxy Agent Mulder, it is a true treat to watch David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their classic roles. I Want to Believe finds our heroes turned domestic couple--a welcome, if foreseeable, approach to an already intriguing partnership. As always, Mulder and Scully's interaction is clever and dynamic with the perfect dash of snarky affection.

Taken at face value – a detective mystery with supernatural undertones - I Want to Believe is an engaging enough film, taut and well-paced. Placed in the X-Files universe, it's a supplemental footnote instead of a crowning endnote. An overlong episode, if you will, which, at the end of the day, is better than no X-Files at all.




**Medium**







Spoiler Rant:


I'm extremely disappointed that Xzibit never offered to pimp anyone's ride.

So a gay Russian psychopath and his boyfriend are in the market for a new body. They choose:
A) random girl body
B) David friggin' Duchovny's body
What? “A”...seriously? I begin to doubt their gayness. And taste in men. Blood type, schmood type, it's David Duchovny!


(Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and www.webweaver.nu)

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