Monday, July 26, 2010

Punisher War Journal: The Blog File

Frank thinking he's getting too old for this shit.

So this weekend at the San Diego Comic Con (which I sadly did not attend) Marvel announced that they are yet again going to reboot the Punisher film franchise. This will now be the fourth time an attempt has been made to make a movie based on the violent vigilante. The first time was in 1989 with a Dolph Lundgren, followed by Thomas Jane in 2004, and finally (and unfortunately) in 2008 with Ray Setevenson. All three films were far from box office success stories. The upcoming film will be made directly by Marvel who now has complete creative control over the film version of Frank Castle.

I read this news and was actually kind of intrigued. I’m all for Marvel trying again after the last 3 didn’t work. Keep doing it until you get it right I guess. I only have one question: Why hasn’t a good Punisher movie been made?

It’s not like the character is all that complex. Former soldier turned family man Frank Castle’s wife and kids get killed by the mob and he flips out, taking all of his training and exacting vengeance on the criminal underworld of New York with a skull painted on his shirt, and that’s about it. Yet they still find ways to mess it up.

Dolph Lundgren was completely flat in a cheesy direct to video version. Thomas Jane was a great Punisher, but everyone and everything else around him was weak. The Punisher in Florida? Come on. And Ray Stevenson was barely given any lines in Punisher: War Zone, which felt more like a slasher movie than a comic book/action film.

If Marvel wants to do it right they need to get a leading man who can capture the brooding anger and intensity of the Punisher. This guy is a tortured soul to the nth degree and has the training and tools to turn that torture on his enemies. He’s not a traditional super-hero and the film makers that take on the project should be aware of that and should sample ideas and the tone from movies like Taxi Driver and Man on Fire rather than Spider-Man. The Punisher is killing mobsters and common criminals in back alleys, not super villains on roof tops. Frank Castle is more like Travis Bickle than Peter Parker. Movies like the original Mad Max, Death Wish, and even Gran Torino have way more in common with what a Punisher movie should be like than X-Men, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk.

In a perfect world, Martin Scorsese or Tony Scott would be directing this new Punisher movie and they would get a credible actor who could approach the character with the mental, physical, and emotional devotion that he deserves. Like I said, I’m intrigued, but something tells me I should prepare for a fourth disappointment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Everyone’s got one. That one movie that they love so much and watch again and again, but everyone else can’t stand and didn’t even turn a profit at the box office. You might not share to the world that you dig it, but as soon as you get home you pop in the DVD (because it hasn’t done well enough to get a blu-ray release yet) and you end your day with a smile on your face.

There are also the types of people that fight for their flops. They stand up for them and will get in heated discussions that make the Friday night party at your friend’s house either extremely awkward or 10 times more awesome. Every flaw that audiences and critics point out is shot down with justifications and explanations and they will not rest until your opinion is identical to theirs.

I’d say I’m a mix of the two sides. I can totally admit a movie is complete crap, but still enjoy it, but there are some movies that get ripped on that I believe are far better than most people think and wish more people would give it a second, deeper, look at.

Some examples of ‘flops’ I stand by are:

The Fountain

Darren Aronofsky’s science fiction love story that spans 1,000 years didn’t even make 1/3 of its production budget back, and it’s not necessarily a surprise. The storytelling relies the viewer to decipher a lot of things on their own and its beautiful but extremely unconventional styling of the future and space travel would leave the mass movie going public scratching their heads. I’m not calling general audiences dumb, but I do notice that a sequel to Baby Geniuses got made. But what people who haven’t seen this are missing is one of the most original films of the decade with a heart breaking love story and visuals that rival sci-fi classics. Clint Mansell’s wonderful score take this film to an even higher place and is worth listening to as its own masterpiece.


I can still hear all the fanboys whining that Keanu Reeves wasn’t blonde, British, or in a brown coat. But let’s not forget that in the comics The Joker does not have a Glasgow grin scar, Spider-Man doesn’t have organic web shooters, and the X-men didn’t wear black jump suits, and all those movies were pretty well received. I’ve only read a handful of the John Constantine: Hellblazer comics and thought they were ok, but I thought Francis Lawrence’s directorial debut based on the DC/Vertigo comic was amazing. It had sleek Blade Runner-esque look, some interesting takes on Heaven, Hell, demons, and angels, and was just a fun time on top of that. Keanu Reeves portrayal as a rogue exorcist who knows Heaven exists, but guaranteed to go to Hell was honestly one of his strongest performances and shows he can carry a movie without saying “woah”. All that along with Rachel Weisz looking her best and Peter Stormare in the most unique take on Lucifer make this a movie I watch again and again.

Halloween II

Most agree that Rob Zombie’s Batman Begins origin approach to his Halloween remake was pretty good. Unfortunately, most also agree that his sequel was horrible. I’m gonna have to disagree. Zombie’s original remake of the classic slasher was great, but I thought his follow up in Halloween II was nothing short of brilliant. Scout Taylor-Compton’s performance as Laurie Strode made me really believe these events happened and this girl was truly tormented and the character of Michael Myers actually had just that, character. Most saw the return of Sheri Moon-Zombie in the ‘white horse’ scenes as a bit too supernatural and out of place for the franchise, but I saw a unique psychological view of the Myers family and gave more insight and emotional weight to Michael Myers. Overall what did it for me was Zombie’s complete lack of fear in making this movie. He wasn’t afraid to completely turn the franchise on its head, try new things, and take it in a darker, more serious direction than any other slasher movie, even if it meant losing some fans in the process.

Those are just some of mine. I could do about 10 more blogs on movies of this nature, and maybe I will down the road. Leave a comment below with your favorite flops and why you think they deserve more credit.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

This Just In 7/10/09

Hulk angry because Hulk not know who play him in movie. RARRRRR!

Marvel has just announced that they plan to find a new 'name' actor to play Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie rather than bring back Edward Norton. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige issued the following statement:

"We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks."

First off, that's kind of a low blow/attack on Edward Norton and just a douche way of saying it. Edward Norton is a good actor and I feel this statement is implying he's garbage. You don't want to bring him back, whatever, you don't have to mudsling. Unprofessional sir.

Second, it's not over money? I don't believe you. Marvel is notorious for low balling their actors when it comes to pay. It was rumored that's why Terrance Howard didn't come back for Iron Man 2 and why Sam Jackson almost didn't come back to play Nick Fury. Even Chris Evans was rumored to be paid only $500,000 for Captain America. Norton's a higher up actor who's not past his prime, so I think money had at least a little to do with it.

So you're short a guy for your ensemble movie you're leading up to with all of your other movies. What are you gonna do now? Bring Eric Bana back? That'll piss off even more fanboys. You want a 'name' actor? It'll be interested to hear their choice.

One article I read on the matter made a suggestion that I found to be brilliant and probably the only one that would make this nerd remotely happy. The name they gave was

Sharlto Copely

Maybe not an obvious choice to some, but the District 9 star has got more than what it takes for this role. His physical appearance isn't drastically different than Norton's from the last Hulk movie (not as drastic as the difference between Don Cheadle and Terrance Howard anyway), he's got some star power steam going with District 9 and the A-Team both being well received, and the guy has proven he can act. Even the A-Team was an ensemble/team cast so Marvel can already see he's good in that environment.

Although idealy I would rather see Norton return to the lab coat of Bruce Banner, this is an excellent second choice that wouldn't take me out of the Avengers movie that has about as much going for it as it does working against it at this point.