Friday, March 21, 2008

Showing is Half the Battle

Once last summer's Transformers flick became a blockbuster success, a big budget update of fellow Hasbro stablemate G.I. Joe was all but inevitable, and went quickly from green light to casting to currently filming, for a Summer '09 release.

Now, far more than Transformers, I have a pretty abiding affection for the Joe "Real American Hero" line from the '80s, having watched the cartoon regularly and followed the Marvel comic for the entirety of its decade-plus run. Thus, I was a little trepidatious from the initial news that Stephen Sommers (he of the first two Mummy flicks and the awful, awful Van Helsing) had been hired to direct.

Then a steady stream of solid casting news began to break, and I started hearing good things about the script, then I heard that Larry Hama, writer of the Marvel books and originator of the "Joe vs. COBRA" line, was on board and giving the project his blessing, all of which helped assuage some of my fears. Now, courtesy of USA Today, comes our first look at Ray Park as the lodestone of the entire Joe mythology, Snake Eyes. All I can say is "Yo Joe!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


As usual, The Onion hits it out of the park:

Black Guy Asks Nation For Change

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Speech

This morning saw Barack Obama give a talk in Philadelphia which was ostensibly intended to tackle head-on the simmering controversy surrounding his former pastor, but ended up with a far greater reach, addressing topics of race, religion, economics, and much more. Of the many stirring speeches Obama has given throughout this campaign, this is surely one of his most memorable, and I would go so far as to say it's one of the decisive and definitive political speeches of this young century. Read the text here, or watch the video below:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Cheap, ignorant, vile racism"

Since before the March 4 primaries, I've watched with an increasing degree of mortification as the Democratic primary has taken a sharp left turn into the bizarre. The tactics employed by Team Clinton to eke out a victory over Barack Obama at any price has taken on a desperation that would be comical if it weren't for the tragically real possibility of a John McCain presidency.

The flap regarding seemingly racist comments about Senator Obama by former vice-presidential candidate and current Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro appears to have been the final straw for Keith Olbermann, who, up to now, has reserved his eloquent, scathing "Special Comments" for President Bush and the various operatives in his junta. No more, as he reads Hillary the riot act for her campaign's recent (mis)conduct. Let's see if it has any effect.


While the marketing machine has been chugging along nicely for the May release of Iron Man, including the newest trailer and two new posters, things have been a lot quieter for Marvel's other big summer flick, The Incredible Hulk, which is a bit odd considering it's due out a month or so afterwards. I guess on some level it's understandable that Marvel is keeping low-key on this one. Given the generally "blah" reaction from audiences to 2003's Hulk, directed by Ang Lee, they want to put as much distance between that one and this franchise redux as possible.

The first salvo in the Incredible Hulk marketing machine has now finally arrived with the new trailer. One gets a pretty good idea of what to expect here, with Edward Norton's Dr. Banner seemingly cut from the same cloth as Bill Bixby on the classic '70s TV series. Also visible in there: Liv Tyler as love interest Betty Ross, William Hurt as her father/Banner's main antagonist, "Thunderbolt" Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky, the poor sap who mutates into comic book baddie The Abomination. In addition to the cast, the trailer shows off movie's other big selling point: lots and lots of CGI-created monster-on-monster violence. Count me in!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Curbed Enthusiasm

Larry David on the now-infamous "3 AM phone call" ad, very much echoing my thoughts:
How is it that she became the one who's perceived as more equipped to answer that 3 a.m. call than the unflappable Obama? He, with the ice in his veins, who doesn't panic when he's losing or get too giddy when he's winning, who's as comfortable in his own skin as she's uncomfortable in hers. There have been times in this campaign when she seemed so unhinged that I worried she'd actually kill herself if she lost. Every day, she reminds me more and more of Adele H., who also had an obsession that drove her insane.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Life/Art, Part II

Recommended Reading

There's no way around it, last night's hard-fought primary contest was a stark disappointment, putting an end to Barack Obama's twelve state winning streak, and giving a huge vote of confidence to the smash-and-smear, scorched Earth brand of politics that's been so characteristic of the Hillary Clinton campaign up to now. Sadly, while the current delegate count gives Obama a considerable (perhaps insurmountable) edge, the media narrative has shifted to Clinton's "comeback," which I leave in quotes because the numbers just aren't on her side. Nevertheless, this campaign is going to be exceedingly nasty for the next few months, as John Nichols tells us.