Sorta super tuesday.

At some point or another, you’ve played.

I finally found someone to agree with me that Kal Penn is basically just the (of) Indian (descent) Zach Braff clone.

Another slow news day, but you remember what I said about Christian Bale probably overworking himself yesterday? Well, today I’d say that guy is probably seriously stressed out. I mention that specifically because this seems to be unofficial Dark Knight week here at Counterforce (at least with me, anyways). Either that, or it’s Shark Week! (editor’s note: it’s Shark Week)

From the wonderul Tracy Jordan (as played by the sometimes brilliant Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock):

Who wouldn’t take advice from the man who starred in this movie:

I know I certainly would. Here’s another bit of sage advice:

Awesome. And speaking of 30 Rock, here’s a picture of the incredible and incredibly beautiful Tina Fey:

And before I go, a few other tasty treats from the internet and bloggery in general:

What a shock, John McCain is a mean old douche!

The myth of the stupid voter.

The stars are exploding.

Be careful how much you love your animals.

Oh, and Shark Week!

Just another manic monday…

Jesus, talk about your slow news day…

Today barely even registers.

What do you think? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Better to glide into a week gently like an old man easing into a bath, or would you rather your week starts with a bang?

I just don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m going to take a little break from singing the numerous praises of and getting lost in the continuous hyper excitement of The Dark Knight, and talk a little about upcoming movies. Let’s talk about those that look like they’re doing it right. And those that just don’t.

For starters… WATCHMEN, directed by Zack Snyder.

Big, blue, and omnipotent or a golden god? Neither. You're a sleazebag for knocking up, then ditching Mary Louise Parker, Crudup.

Which category does it fall in? Simple: Doing it wrong. Big time. Not that the graphic novel of 300 was brilliant, but the movie version was certainly not. It was like a redneck’s version of history. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that people who loved that movie are the reason this country is turning into an idiocracy. The Dawn Of The Dead remake was not a great movie, but wasn’t nearly as bad as the diehard angered purists wanted it to be, but still, 300 really hurt any cred that Zack Snyder had in the bank.

And then the teaser trailer for Watchmen, his latest epic comic book movie adaptation was released (on Friday, in front of The Dark Knight in some theaters).

Even Yahoo couldn't come up with a generic caption about how unintersting this looks.

Since you’ll probably be hearing about this again on Counterforce, I’ll keep it fairly simple for now (avoid quibbles like the cgi, which looks about half done): It all comes down to the question of, Hey Zack Snyder, did you ever read Watchmen, or did you just look at all the pretty pictures?

But to cap that off, I’ll leave you with some words from the creator of Watchmen and the “great bearded wizard of Northampton,” Alan Moore, who had this to say about another of his creations coming to the big screen: “I’ve not seen any recent comic book films, but I didn’t particularly like the book 300. I had a lot of problems with it, and everything I heard or saw about the film tended to increase [those problems] rather than reduce them: [that] it was racist, it was homophobic, and above all it was sublimely stupid.”

"To paint comics as childish and illiterate is lazy. Some comics are very literate - unlike most films." - Alan Moore

Watchmen is probably considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, and Moore, who is a crazy fun bastard magician and worships orgy loving snake deities (and also wrote the Batman story “The Killing Joke,” one of the very many inspirations for The Dark Knight), is probably going to go down as one of the greatest writers in the medium, but still… It’s kind of like trying to make a movie out of something like Catcher In The Rye. No, thanks. I’d really rather not watch you fuck on top of something I love, thank you.

Moving on: Terminator Salvation, directed by *sigh* McG.

"Come with me if you want to live."

Another Terminator movie, coming after a pretty pathetic Terminator TV show and directed by, of all people, McG. And it doesn’t even feature the Governator. And yet, you ask yourself, which category does this fall into? Doing it right.

For starters: the cast. Christian Bale, possibly the hardest working man (he’s about to play Robin Hood in the new Ridley Scott movie) in genre movies (seriously, you English bastard, take a vacation before you pass out), Helena Bonham Carter, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin (Chekov in J.J. Abrams upcoming Stark Trek reboot), and Common. The trailer came out the same time as the Watchmen trailer and for a movie that you either A) had no faith in, or B) couldn’t possibly ponder being worth your time, it wasn’t that bad. It told you absolutely nothing, but it was intriguing. Possibly because it primarily just featured Christian Bale and a bunch of robots, but those are two things that probably every movie could benefit from a little of. If Mamma Mia! had Christian Bale and killer robots in it… Well, I couldn’t promise that I’d go see it, but it’d be a hell of a lot more likely, wouldn’t it?

"You're a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab you to death and then play around in your blood."

It’s still a little early, but I think I could probably say that I’m a little excited to see this. Just a little.

Another movie that’s in the doing it right category for now based on it’s trailer is the next Bond movie, Quantum Of Solace. I had serious reservations going into Casino Royale and especially with the casting of Daniel Craig as Bond, but this movie looks good. A good example of a movie that I’m not that excited about would be whatever the fuck Tarantino is doing next. And a movie that I’m both looking forward to and dreading in an equal WTF cold sweat is Crank 2:

"Does it look like I have 'cunt' written on my forehead?"

It’s like we’re entering a renaissance for big crazy ridiculous movie making.

Oh, and before I go, a few quick links:

Politics, politics, politics.

Music, music, and good writers.

Life, love, and Neal Stephenson.

Oh, and you keep your friends close, but you keep your frenemies closer.

Whoever wins, we lose

I’d like to submit a topic for your discussion and debate. As many of you know, California recently mandated state-wide douchebaggery. At the same time, I’ve been seeing tons of dudes rocking the girls’ sunglasses upside down on the back of their heads look. And it begs the question: which accessory is the douchiest of them all?

The Bluetooth earpiece when not in a car?

The sunglasses on rear of cranium?

Or, the old standby, the sunglasses on indoors when not participating in the World Series of Poker?

The ‘Tooth-in-ear just screams “I’m important! No, really!” Which is funny, because 10 years ago, we all thought that kinda star trek shit would be geeky, but it’s actually far more prevalent amongst ‘bags. On the other hand, the backwards sunglasses are just begging for anybody to notice your $200 shades, even though it’s 11:30 pm. But the indoor sunglasses tell the world that you’re willing to sacrifice visual fidelity in order to put glass between you and everyone else.

I don’t know, it’s a tough call. Right now I’m leaning towards the backwards sunglasses, if only because I keep seeing bros roll up at like 3:30 am with this look. It’s like, dude, there’s no way you couldn’t have found the opportunity to take off your shades in the last 7 hours since daylight faded. Surely you could have left them in the giant penis metaphor truck that you drive.

But what do my fellow members of the Counterforce think?

Also, dead money kids: you never see Negreanu or Ivey wearing shades at the table. I’m just sayin’.

Knew there was a reason I always kinda liked Miranda

Yahoo! front page wants to warn me about frenemies.

Why wouldn't you take dating advice from a cougar 5 years on the wrong side of menopause?

Why wouldn't you take dating advice from a cougar 5 years on the wrong side of menopause?

Without having seen the movie, I’ll go ahead and agree with Miranda because Big is a power-tool. But then, Carrie is so aggressively shallow that she probably deserves to rot into old age with a creep like him. Can’t wait for SatC 2: Havana Nights where poor Ms. Bradshaw discovers that Big’s been married with a family in Queens the whole time and she’s just his clueless mistress on the side.

But I just want to say that I love the concept of a frenemy and would like to see this word get more play in our culture. Even if it’s just being used to describe a friend who is trying to limit your own self-destructive behavior.

Unstoppable force? Meet the immovable object.

How about a magic trick?

Well, I think it’s a fair guess at what all the kids will be hearing for Halloween this year…

This won’t be a full review of The Dark Knight, not in it’s entirety, not yet. This maybe be long and I may ramble, but I don’t think I’m ready to put the final word, at least not my final word, on it yet. I guess you could say that I’m still thinking about the movie. Was it good? Fuck yes, it was amazing. Was it overly thought provoking? No, not really. It was just awesome, and I don’t really want to rush into a review just yet. So this will just be… some thoughts, if you will.

"It's all part of the (marketing) plan..."

Oh, and I guess I should warn you here that it’ll be a SPOILER packed post? Should I? Let’s just say that from here on out, Counterforce will always be SPOILER packed, okay?

The movie picks up roughly one year after the first, and shows that some of Batman’s efforts have been an amazing success. The war isn’t over, but the enemy (the mob) is definitely afraid. And not just of Batman, but the kind of idealistic forces for good that could possibly be inspired by him… Like maybe the new district attorney and Gotham city’s resident “white knight” (a phrase you’ll hear until you’re sick), Harvey Dent…

This is good news for Batman and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, because secretly, that’s what he wants: Someone to be inspired by him. Someone to take up his mantle. And someone who make it easy for him to possibly retire and settle in with (wanna be) lady love, Rachel Dawes. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that she’s dating Mr. Dent (her boss), but Bruce doesn’t really see that as a wrinkle in his plans. He is Bruce fucking Wayne, after all.

I smell bromance on the horizon.

For starters, in some bullet shaped thoughts, I just want to comment on the title character of this movie: Bruce Wayne/Batman. You remember the horrible analogy from Kill Bill, about how Clark Kent isn’t the real man, he’s just the alter ego of Superman? (It’s horrible because it’s from Tarantino, who’s hardly got what I’d call a keen analytical mind) That’s one of the things I love about these movies: Bruce Wayne is the character and Batman is the mask. Even the public persona of Bruce Wayne, crazy rich partyboy, is a mask, something he throws out and spreads around, always making sure no one would look at him and think in a million years that he’s Batman. But, possibly even more than Christian Bale’s constantly suffering Batman, I think you have to love his Bruce Wayne of the public eye. At one point, the millionaire (billionaire?) playboy throws a black and white fundraiser for Harvey Dent, the kind of which he’ll never need another after he’s done collecting checks, and then upstages him by showing up in a helicopter with not one, not two, but three beautiful young women in brightly colored dresses. And at another point, Batman needs to take a little trip to Hong Kong for some ass kicking business, but needs to cover his famous alter ego’s absense for a few days, so what’s the solution? Just abscond with the entire visiting ballet of Russian hotties for a cozy little cruise. And Bale does all of this brilliantly, with a panache and pleasant smirk constantly on his face. He channels all the best parts of Patrick Bateman into this aspect of himself, the parts it’s okay to idolize, the cool yuppie who enjoys being filthy rich, and he does it brilliantly. When he’s out with his date and runs into his ex and her noble chinned current boyfriend at a posh resturaunt, well, why couldn’t he push two tables together so they can all schmooze together? After all, he does own the place. The man is just one big smooth dick move in a suit.

But it’s not really his movie.

It’s Harvey “Two Face” Dent’s movie. In a lot of ways, he’s the star of the film as we follow his rise and his eventual fall. But we can always talk about him later. What you really want to talk about is…

Let's put a smile on that face!"

Heath Ledger as the Joker. Oscar worthy? Excellent question. But that’s really one for the wheeling and dealings of Hollywood come award season. It’s about what other performances are out there and how much sympathy we can pile on for his extinguished flame, but the man was undeniably good in this movie. He’s pure glee in his role as the city’s new anarchitect, bringing an explosive punk jihad to just about everything you think you know about this character or have seen before, and then changing it, somehow making it better, making it more psychotic and crazy, and making it make more sense. The actor we thought we knew, whose abilities we were only beginning to see them stretch themselves, gets completely lost in this role. You go into the darkened theater expecting to deal with the hype of Ledger’s last role and instead… all you have is the Joker. At times, he’s intensely child-like, and at others, he seems almost tired and old, something delicate, and from out of nowhere, a feral beat will emerge behind that dingy caked on makeup. His Joker gives you nothing about who or why he is, and only reveals himself to be both a liar and a man of his very scary word, and even when he’s terrifying you, a small part of you is smiling along with him. That’s something you notice if you pay close attention to his brilliant monologue that he delivers to the bed ridden Harvey Dent at one point, talking about the planners and schemers of the world. His logic is frightening, something you could see coming out of a terrorist on the news and he delivers it with a youthful gusto, at one point distancing himself from his own comments, describing himself as a dog chasing cars. “I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one.” And from the movie’s prologue to the first real scene of the Joker introducing himself, with what is sure to be a much remembered magic trick involving a not so willing volunteer and a pencil, to his very last scene as he watches the world from upside down, you’re only left wanting more.

And then you remember… Oh, wait… Shit. That actually kinda fucking sucks.

It’s harder to find things to say that are wrong with this movie than to praise with the film. The reason being is that there’s just so much that is so good here. The writing, by Christopher Nolan and his brother, is strong and witty (how much input David Goyer actually had in the story is hard to say, and honestly, who gives a shit?). And the casting, as with the first one, is an all star and incredibly classy affair. Again, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as the head of Wayne’s company, Lucius Fox, bring weight and grace and the occasional much needed big of humor to the movie, even when the world within the film is being burned to the ground. Bale, who doesn’t have a lot of scenery to choose, keeps it solid as Batman, and Gary Oldman shines in the expanded role Lieutenant (soon to be Commissioner) Gordon receives. And Aaron Eckhart (at his most Robert Redford-ish) is incredibly strong and plays perfectly into the recurring “white knight”/psuedo modern medievalry they give him… up until a point. But more on that later.

Making something like $66 million opening day? That's serious money.

You know who I actually missed in this movie? Katie Holmes. For serious. I’m not going to try to justify her existence since becoming a bride of Xenu (or her shitty career choices since), but I felt that she was perfectly adequate in the first movie. And Maggie Gyllenhaal is by no means bad in this movie, and clearly the character of Rachel Dawes wasn’t that strictly mapped out in the first film that you could say that Jake’s sister doesn’t match up, it’s just… I don’t know. A bit of an error in the writing/conception of her character? Yeah, a little. She’s always just there to be “the girlfriend” to somebody, or the woman thought and fought over. We know she’s supposed to be a good lawyer, but we never see that in this movie. She’s just the chick fucking the boss. Would that fly in this day and age? I guess so in Gotham City. She’s always well dressed, flaunting a wardrobe that’s classy and workable and wouldn’t be out of place in a more stylish Hollywood of yesteryear, but her delivery feels like it’s a young girl inhabiting these clothes and this place, and not the incredibly talented actress we’ve seen her to be in the past playing a well thought out character. In this movie, she’s the woman you put on the pedestal, then she’s the woman you cry over, and the one you scream “Noooooo!!” over.

"Noooooooooo!!!"

Oh, and the action sequences. Would Commander Light approve? I should think so. The choreography and construction of the action in this movie is solid, all quick and brisk, and executed in a way that leaves you breathless. And not to mention, it just looks damn good, since they shot a lot of action in IMAX. Even the last major fight scene, with Batman taking on a shitload of the Joker’s goons and SWAT red shirts alike, gets a little chaotically frantic, but it’s quick and when you really get down to it, it holds up. But the action has to be quick, just like the rest of the movie, because Nolan has a lot to throw at you in this movie. This is a movie about watching your world burning to the ground all around you, and you’re strapped in, feeling the heat as it dances on your skin. The score, the acting, the direction, the writing, the editing: it’s all there. You feel like you’re getting kicked in the balls and your face caved in right along with a lot of these characters.

And it feels great. Like watching a tragically beautiful force of nature tearing down your house.

Epic smack? Welcome to a world without rules.

Now, if you were to press me for something that was off about this movie, while it’s not a huge talking point, it’d be the ending. After the big finale with the Joker (which doesn’t have a whole lot of resolution, alas), we have to cut back to our main character, Harvey Two Face. This is after his transformation from Gotham’s “white knight” (much like the fear theme was just a little overused in Batman Begins, so goes it here with the duality of characters and being the other side of someone’s coin, etc.) and into an angry, disfigured burn freak. And he goes on a little vengeances streak. It stays in character and it makes sense, but all the same, you’re left hoping for a little more from Two Face. And the very ending is dangerously talky (especially when utilizing Bale’s Batman voice, which still feels like it needs some work), almost bordering on the hideousness of Spiderman 3 level dangerously talky, but thankfully, unlike that trainwreck, Nolan knows when to bow out on a sad but high note, and how to leave you wanting more…

"And here we... go."

This was the most anticipated movie of the summer and quite probably the most anticipated movie of the year, and for once, Hollywood delivers. This movie is worthy of all the hype and more (even the lukewarm reviews have to cop to a certain level of mastery on display here). Not only does this set the plateau so much higher for what can be do well in a comic book movie, it sets the bar high for what can be done with a movie, period. (Even if it is just a little bit of a remake of Heat, but never you mind that.) I want to wrap this up, so I’m fighting the urge to sing much more praise upon Ledger’s take on the Joker. He’s the return of the criminal genius to a movie. He is a pure antagonizing firecracker of a character, finding the exact buttons of every character he comes into contact with and making them want to do much, much more than just punch those buttons. When Nolan was asked by he went with the out of left field choice of casting Ledger, he said simply, “Because he’s fearless.” And it’s all there on the screen.

Which leaves you wondering… What next? Sure, the sequel would be several years away at the earliest, but we’ve been told that originally Two Face and the Joker were intended to be a large part of a third film, and now you have to wonder where that leaves us. Nolan has indicated that he’d much rather not recast Ledger’s part and Two Face doesn’t seem like he’d really hold all that much water for another outing. Some have already gotten the shovel out to go into the dirt of Batman’s remaining rogue’s gallery (that hopefully haven’t graced the big screen yet), but I’m not all that concerned about it for the moment. There’s plenty of time and a great movie to enjoy just a little more still.

"I get the feeling you and I are destined to do this forever!"

 

Weird Wild Wednesday.

"Oh hai intarnet. I can haz bublz?"

It’s been one of those days. One of those “Oh, fuck me, it’s only the middle of the goddamned week” kind of days. You know what I’m talking about. Ugh. I’m going back to bed. Wake me when it’s Friday. Only I’m not going back to bed. I’m here, I’m trying to leap over this middle of the week hurdle and the fucking internet is just not helping. So, this post is going to be links.

Links to make you think? No. No, not exactly.

For starters… Touching shouldn’t always mean sex, people.

Here’s some blogs you desperately need. And one you don’t.

Kids have scary crazy space alien stress problems too. (I’d love to get into a diatribe for you about which religions are real and which are bullshit, but let’s face it, it’s all bullshit. But still, the cultiest of cults have to advertise. And sadly, some of them don’t have to.)

At some point, there’ll be a hardcore politically topic-ed blog coming out of me. Today? Not so much.

This is the best worst review of Cloverfield ever. I can only hope this guy also reviews The Dark Knight as well. But he probably liked Hellboy 2, so… nevermind.

I gave Michael Cera some shit a while back, but really, he’s a cool guy. In fact, he wants to make sure you know your American history.

"I can haz protective window frm world? Plz thnk you."

Apparently, Sex and the City is an international phenomenon.

I tell you, I don’t know if I believe in karma (or Kramer anymore, alas), but I’d like to prescribe in a more universal notion that unites all creatures: sweet, sweet revenge. And truly I hope that from beyond the grave, Steven Irwin is getting his.

There are very few times in my life when I’d actually live in Mexico, and while I don’t know if this is one of them, it’s close. But would I drink the water? No, I would not.

Remember how I said the 80s were coming back? Well, they still are. But so are the 90s apparently. And so are their sad little relics.

But then again, the 00s aren’t even past us yet, but they’re already coming back at us.

Is it sad that the originator of the LOLcat (and the other species in the paragon of LOLanimals) doesn’t get any of that big LOLcat money? (Not to mention, that big RickRoll money.)

If you listen closely, nature can make weird beautiful music. Kind of like Bjork? Kind of.

Have I ever mentioned that Thailand scares the fuck out of me? Cause it does.

And before I change directions, I just want to say, don’t worry, cause some guys out there are still doing it right. And somenot so much.

"I can haz greatez movie of all time?"

Like everyone else in existence I’m planning on seeing The Dark Knight. Friday showing? No, fuck that. That’s amateur hour. I’m going tomorrow night. The midnight showing, baby. Like the pros do. Okay, technically, midnight is Friday, but here’s the thing about that: Fuck yourself. That said, I don’t want to get into the talk of a posthumous oscar for Heath Ledger as the Joker, because like the posthumous oscar award itself, it seems a little too early. Shit, it seems too unreal still. This isn’t going to be one of those tear soaked elegies about the bright flame of a promising young actor being extinguished before his time, because… it’s just not. But I will say that after 10 Things I Hate About You (seriously), I grew to like Ledger and some of the choices he made in his career. I’ve seen the few interviews he did talking about his approach to the Joker (and the craft of acting as he saw it, as well) and I’ve enjoyed what I read in the reviews. I like what his approach to the character seems to be and the film seems to be of a high quality. I’m excited.

Hell, I’m excited to just have a movie this summer to be excited about. Apparently it’s pretty bleak out there.

I feel like I should watch Batman Begins again to get myself primed up for the movie, but I probably won’t. I’ll probably watch The Prestige again, actually. As good as Christopher Nolan’s first Batman movie was, especially at reintroducing the character as something that didn’t have to be laughed at or sneered at, I really think that with The Prestige, he started displaying the craft of a genius director. Something it sounds like he carried over into The Dark Knight. Also, this reminds me The Prestige.

Why so serious?

I can haz comments?

Lil WayneShoot Me Down

Serenity. Now.

One of the many great Seinfeld episodes was on last night. The one where George dates a girl in prison. The one where Elaine utters the seminal line:

“Jerry, it’s 3:30 in the morning. I’m at a cockfight. What am I clinging to?”

The one where her boyfriend is going bald and George gives him only 10-14 months left before his life is (basically) over. “Live, dammit. Live! Every precious moment as if this was the last year of your life. Because in many ways…it is.”

Which is all barely tangental enough to segue into this:

Yahoo! front page has some bad news about your tests. Maybe you'd like to sit down.

Yahoo! front page has some bad news about your blood work. Maybe you'd like to sit down.

Bonus points for the sublime column topic on the bottom right (though the column itself is rubbish). And yes, I am now openly pining for whomever’s job it is to pick these articles and write the headlines. Side note: didn’t Elaine Benes make it cool to be a single girl in New York way the fuck before Carrie and her fake friends did? And with a lot better writing?

Guillermo del Toro does not know Kung Fu

While suffering through the ludicrously over-rated Hellboy 2 the other day, I was given to a few thoughts. One being that bad comic book writers are ruining cinema. The other that nobody knows how to film a fucking action scene anymore. I’ll get back to the damage shitty comics are wreaking on the industry later, right now I want to ponder this action movie problem. We’re at a point, technologically, where with stunts, wire work and CGI, filmmakers are capable of putting any kind of fight scene imaginable up on screen, and yet for the past several years almost every big action scene out there has totally sucked.

Fail

FAIL

Take Hellboy 2 for example. There’s lots of flipping around and swinging of swords and seamless stunt work, but I was bored as hell watching it. Perhaps the problem is that while filmmakers can use CGI to make everything look photo-realistic, the scene just don’t pass the eye test. You see some dude on screen doing too many impossible flips, leaps, spins and kicks, and you just start to tune it out. And most of the time, unless they’re going for some hyper-real insane sugar rush karate explosion movie funtime like Speed Racer, all those millions of dollar up on screen are just a bunch of sound and fury.

The main culprits:

1) The cuts are too quick.

Fail

FAIL

I blame Ridley Scott for this, among others. Maybe they were doing some really awesome stunt work on the set, but the shots are cut so fast (and in Michael Bay and Paul Greengrass’s case so close-up) that you can’t even appreciate what’s happening. Ridley Scott ushered this annoying habit in with the ultimate bullshit justification of “combat is confusing and chaotic in real life, so it should feel the same in the movies.” Asshole. Just because Spielberg used the Shaky-Cam for some iconic D-Day scenes in Saving Private Ryan doesn’t mean the rest of you hacks get to use it to hide your poor directing chops. Special No-prize to Bay for throwing up tens of millions of dollars in effects work every outing and then framing his shots so poorly you can’t even tell what’s happening. Think of all the really awesome fight scenes of the past decade: Keanu in the first Matrix, Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul, the Cripple Fight from South Park, the dual duels at the end of Episode 3, Crouching Tiger showdowns; they’ve all got one thing in common: really good stunt work that the camera isn’t afraid to show us. I think one of the reason the Matrix was so effective was because that was actually Keanu fucking Reeves doing all that kung fu.

2) The odds are too steep.

Fail

FAIL

There are too many movies now with too many characters who are superterrificawesome fighters who can take on 50 bad guys at once with just a couple of pistols and a lot of spinning around. I’m looking at you, Mr and Mrs. Smith. Making the odds ridiculous works every once in a while, when you’re dealing with Jedi or superheroes or Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Thomas, but since most Action Movie Heroes are supposed to be Everyman Protagonists to some degree, watching the good guy do the impossible over and over again takes the thrill out of things. This is the genius of Indiana Jones: the guy gets his ass kicked and fails miserably in almost every scene, but is able to, with help and luck and quick thinking, get out of a jam. Audiences always appreciate smarts over raw power and ability. Note: This rule does not apply to 80s action movies as it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Arnold Schwarzenegger can take on a whole private army by himself and win.

3) The moves are too perfect.

Fail

MEGA FAIL

Think the Legolas vs. an Oliphaunt scene from Peter Jackson’s craptastic Lord of the Rings adaption, or the King Kong vs. T-Rexs fight from Jackson’s craptastic King Kong remake (sensing a theme here? Also, side note: any time your big fight is between two all-CGI characters, you have failed) or that last crappy Die Hard movie with John McClane vs. helicopters and fighter jets. Sure it might look real enough, but the agility on display is too precise to be believed. There’s no way you can watch that T-Rex/Kong fight and not assume that Naomi Watts is getting shaken to a bloody pulp in Kong’s hand during all the action. Wanted, which had some decent action scenes, also had some of this going on. It’s like the filmmakers are more interested in showing off their technique than creating a good scene.

Lastly, a small example of why Hellboy 2 sucks: We first meet the bad guy as he is doing a martial arts routine in a sewer. Just a lot of swinging a knife around, doing kung fu and shit for no reason at all, other than to tell the audience that this guy has moves. And also to see that he has a magic knife-sword thing that elongates into a spear (via Shi’ar technology, I assume). If Guillermo del Toro had any desire to tell a decent story, he would have a) come up with a good reason (any reason) to show off the bad guy’s fighting moves, and b) saved the reveal of the knife turning into a spear for some crucial moment in a later fight scene. But Del Tor seems far more interested in making stuff look COOL! than putting any meaning behind his visuals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch the duel from Revenge of the Sith again, which is still a better action scene than anything else to hit the screen in the past five years.

Yet another generic headline about a Yahoo! article.

Continuing what is seemingly Counterforce’s war against the wonderful ridiculousness that continues to be the Yahoo! front page, this is what greeted me when I went to go check my spam this morning…

Its all about that picture, really.

It's all about that picture, really.

And I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I’m perpetually about five seconds away from having some kind of violent workplace melt down,” so… like a fool, I clicked on the story. And then I saw this:

A generic screencap of a generic caption of a generic picture of a...

I would kill to get a job as a caption writer for the Yahoo! front page, I really would. I would kill babies. Maybe pregnant women, so it’s a kind of two for one thing? I can just imagine myself saying that now as the interviewer asks me how passionate I am in my desire for the job…

But not to make this post totally about the Yahoo! front page, here’s two other vital bits of news from across the internets today:

Apparently, dog meat is off the menu at the upcoming Beijing Olympics? Shit. I may not even go now.

And you remember how we used to hear all about teachers fucking their students? Well, that shit’s old news now, people. The new thing is student/teacher suicide pacts. All the cool kids are doing it. What about you, nerd?