Thursday, April 30, 2009

Black Lantern Speculation

Since I was an intern at DC Comics, I was able to get my hands on one of the BLACKEST NIGHT #0's a while ago but I couldn't talk about it. Now that DC's official blog THE SOURCE has released the artwork from it, I can now share my speculations of who I think will rise from the dead in this exciting new event! BLACKEST NIGHT#0 presents each of the new Corps in a very user friendly way that a lot of people, including myself, will find helpful. This chilling rendition of the Black Lantern Corps is fantastic and I believe it offers quite a few answers.

To the left here I have broken down each of the most recognizable hands. Starting from top left to right then to bottom left to right: Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, the Question?, Mirror Master, either Blue Beetle or Elongated Man, Abin Sur, Hawkmn or woman, and Superman from Earth-2. DC has released art that has basically given away that Superman and Aquqman are coming back, but what about the rest?

Abin Sur would be the ultimate baddy to line up against Hal and the white glove with the black sleeve really drives it home. I personally would love to see the question return since I have always been a big fan of Vic Sage's alter ego and he is someone (like Sur) who people won't see coming. Of course these are only a few of many dead DC characters who could show up in this event. But only time will tell. Sound off with your speculations.

The Rise And Fall of An American Hero

Recently I was watching The Chelsea Lately show which, I don't care what you nay sayers think, I find it to be hilarious. Maybe its because she is such a bitch, maybe it is her exploitation of her resident midget Chuy. I just like it. But the thing that caught my eye was the fallen-through-the-cracks comedian Carrot Top as one of her comedic panel. Where I should have been paying attention to the commentary I couldn't help but feel uneasy. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry and I couldn't help but feel scared for my life.

What happened to that guy? He barely spoke the entire time, seemingly lost without his box of one-liner props. He just kept eying up Chuy like he was going to eat him. I mean, this funny man I found hilarious when I was younger is now reduced to this picture on the left.

What the shit? This isn't the happy go lucky comedian of yesteryear. This is a middle aged woman juicin' up everyday before she gets her Botox injections. VH1's special on plastic surgery pointed out the extent his eyebrows have risen over the years which leaves me having to ask why, Carrot Top? What was so wrong in your life that something out of your box-o-tricks couldn't remedy? But I don't blame you, I blame our society. We did this to you. We shunned you when you needed us, we turned our backs on your routine, we subjected you to criticism, and we forced you to take any gig you can get ala The Chelsea Lately Show.

So let me say sorry Carrot Top. I'm sorry that your face looks like you have been rubbing meat salt on it for the past decade. I'm sorry you always look like you are half surprised and half psychotic. And I'm sorry your balls are the size of peanuts due to the steroids. America owes you an apology. Just please, think of the children. You are spiraling down a path of no return. Stop yourself before it is too late. Stop before you become nothing more than this:

Scary, huh? Pictures complements of Mike Dejoy.

Gotta Get Get

It almost seem as if I shouldn't post these so called "lyrics" at all, but this is something I need to address (especially to follow the Creed post).

This is currently the #1 song in America.

Gotta get-get, gotta get-get
Gotta get-get, gotta g-g-g-get-get-get, get-get

Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get

Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom pow
Boom boom

Yo, I got that hit that beat the block
You can get that bass overload
I got the that rock and roll
That future flow

That digital spit
Next level visual shit
I got that boom boom pow
How the beat bang, boom boom pow

I like that boom boom pow
Them chickens jackin' my style
They try copy my swagger
I'm on that next shit now

I'm so 3008
You so 2000 and late
I got that boom, boom, boom
That future boom, boom, boom
Let me get it now

Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get

Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom pow
Boom boom pow

I'm on the supersonic boom
Y'all hear the spaceship zoom
When, when I step inside the room
Them girls go ape-shit, uh

Y'all stuck on Super 8 shit
That low-fi stupid 8 bit
I'm on that HD flat
This beat go boom boom bap

I'm a beast when you turn me on
Into the future cybertron
Harder, faster, better, stronger
Sexy ladies extra longer

'Cause we got the beat that bounce
We got the beat that pound
We got the beat that 808
That the boom, boom in your town

People in the place
If you wanna get down
Put your hands in the air drop the beat now

Yup, yup
I be rockin' them beats, yup, yup
I be rockin' them beats, y-y-yup, yup

Here we go, here we go, satellite radio
Y'all gettin' hit with boom boom
Beats so big I'm steppin' on leprechauns
Shittin' on y'all with the boom boom

Shittin' on y'all you with the boom boom
Shittin' on y'all you with the

This beat be bumpin', bumpin'
This beat go boom, boom

Let the beat rock
Let the beat rock
Let the beat rock

This beat be bumpin', bumpin'
This beat go boom, boom

I like that boom boom pow
Them chickens jackin' my style
They try copy my swagger
I'm on that next shit now

I'm so 3008
You so 2000 and late
I got that boom boom boom
That future boom boom boom
Let me get it now

Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get

Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom boom, now
Boom boom pow
Boom boom pow

Let the beat rock
(Let the beat rock)
Let the beat rock
(Let the beat)
Let the beat
(Let the beat rock, rock, rock, rock)

So let's break this down. Fergie and Will I. Am are trying to tell us that they play music and that music has beats. I also think there's some assertion in there as to them being better than you. Also it is important to note, boom boom pow.
I could go on but these lyrics speak for themselves


Rack Review: 4/29/09

Superman #687

As a fan of Superman since I was little kid, I am very critical of how different writers represent him in their stints on his books. When Robinson took over, I couldn't help but feel that there was something off with his voice for the Man of Steel. So the fact that Superman has left Earth for NEW KRYPTON is almost like a breath of fresh air and a clean slate for Robinson to maybe find his grove. In this issue is jam packed but mostly with set ups. Everyone seems to be eying up Mon-El, the new protector of Metropolis. We get glimpses of General Lane, Toyman and Parasite but not much more.

The focus of the issue is the Guardian and his management of the Science Police which isn't the most exciting thing to behold. Yet, I can't help but get excited for the things to come. I just hope Robinson doesn't let down like he did with WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON. One highlight though is Renato Guedes' pencils are smooth and well choreographed as always. The only gripe I have with the art is David Curiel's coloring. Ever since this creative team took over, I can't help but feel like the colors are watered down or washed out. Like the entire book is bathed in a blue tint ala Minority Report. It worked there in the future, but not here. Score: C

Green Lantern #40

I have been waiting for story arc as soon as we saw the greedy hands groping the orange power battery in the beautiful and explanatory splash page of the SINESTRO CORPS WAR. So, when Agent Orange Larfleeze finally made his debut, I could not have been happier. Johns has created in this character a truly unique Corps set apart from the rest. And its a good thing because it was getting a bit repetitive - but still very cool. In this issue the Guardians have decreed that the Vega System and home to Agent Orange is no longer off limits. We still do not know exactly why they left the Vega System to Larfleeze and the other scum of the galaxy but I assume we'll find out soon enough.

Still torn asunder by the Blue Lantern ring, Hal Jordan's inner struggle is one of the more interesting things to happen to our hero as of late. The fact that hope and will go so hand in hand is interesting seeing that manifest itself physically. I just don't exactly think Hal being part of three different Lantern Corps in three consecutive issues is the exact pacing Johns should be going for. Philip Tan's pencils are for the most part solid but I think I am spoiled by Ivan Reis. Where Tan's art shines the more complex the panel is, his facial renders leave something to be desired. Yet, his Orange Lantern work is terrifying leaving me wanting more. He captures the stolen and twisted identities of the dead Lanterns so beautifully and regurgitates them as greedy shadows of their former selves. His best splash is the last page where we finally see Larfleeze who wants Jordan's Blue ring.

I'm loving this story arc for the genuine unique feel the Orange Corps has. I hope this new threat has a nice long stay in the DC Universe. Score: A

Legion of 3 Worlds #4

After a very long delay, issue 4 has finally been released and it worth the wait. I have always been a fan of Johns' arc for Superboy Prime. His descent into madness wasn't the most convincing but Prime's lunacy has been firmly established time and time again within DC's big events. He is the reason I started reading this story, though Johns' is what keeps me coming back.

First off, each issue of this series has been jam packed with characters, action and story making these over sized issues worth every cent of the $3.99 tag. But this issue in particular delivers one reveal after the other making it the strongest of the series yet. Comprised mainly of one giant battle between Prime and the Legionnaires of the future, George Perez demonstrates his uncanny ability to balance action and story with his beautifully rendered and unfathomably epic fight scenes.

We finally get some answers in terms of Kid Flash which with the release of FLASH: REBIRTH left a lot of readers asking WTF. At least now we have something to satiate our appetite. If you haven't read any of the Legion of 3 Worlds, you are a fool. Johns' encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU is stunning and his balance of decades worth of characters and stories is beyond comparison. Go get the rest of the series just so you can read this, for not only is it visual stunning, but it also has the return of some familiar faces. I'll leave you with that. Score: A+

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride... and Creed.

Creed (or avarice, covetousness) is, like most sins, a destroyer of grace. The band represents everything that is wrong with our society and brings its audience "six feet from the edge" of an untimely suicide with every listen. It was of great circumstances that June 2004 delivered us the breakup of Scott Stapp's musical crime.

Today, it is with a heavy tear in my eye that I can confirm Creed's inevitable reunion into the world of music. Not only has the band assured the world that their first album in over six years is on its way, they have also released the dates of a reunion tour kicking off on August 6th and wrapping on the 14th of October. While this poses no immediate threat to the average music fan, there have been numerous reports suggesting the possibility of radio air time for Stapp and friend's upcoming singles. This could raise the danger of Creed's reunion from a minor annoyance to the severity of a global pandemic.

China, Russia and Ukraine were among countries banning imports of 2 of Creed's 3 albums, ("My Own Prison" and "Human Clay") from Mexico and three U.S. states that have reported Creed inspired suicide cases, while other countries, such as Indonesia, banned all post-grunge music.
Check out this funny DCU parody brought to you by the fine folks at COLLEGE HUMOR. What would happened when Batman takes over for Superman for the first time? Enjoy! --


In leu of the release of J.C.V.D. on DVD tomorrow, here is a review I wrote of the film after I went to see it at the Angelika Film Center with my friend Mike Dejoy where he was suppose to have Q & A afterwards but canceled because his dogs were sick. I was going to ask him if he thought there should be a HARD TARGET channel. I think there should be. --

I went into J.C.V.D with all the prepubescent memories of the action heroes of yesteryear; nostalgic roundhouse kicks, horrible dialogue, overdone explosions, one-liners and all. A time where the movie industry churned out the same movie a hundred different ways with the likes of Schwarzenegger, Stalone, and Van Damme in the spotlight. These action movies seem set aside from Hollywood history, not as bad films per say but as their own separate entity where critics and nay-sayers alike had no power to quell the insatiable appetite of young movie goers. A time where this trinity of subpar actors ruled the box offices with their muscles and gun toting charisma. Not that I was expecting J.C.V.D to be one of these films, but it is almost impossible not to be reminded of the better days of mindless entertainment when the film's title is the initials of the King of High Kicking, Jean Claude Van Damme. I was expecting something I have never seen before, something of a reinvention of an American, French, or more importantly, world icon. Which is exactly what I got.

J.C.V.D. is not a Jean Claude Van Damme movie whatsoever, no more than its namesake. There are no drawn out fight scenes, no car chases, and certainly no bad one-liners. Instead, the film is a hybrid, a meta-film, going beyond documentary, mocumentary, or full blown narrative. If I were to categorize it as anything, it would be a documentary of a mocumentary since it isn't afraid to break the fourth wall and does so on many occasions. The narrative is broken up, flipping back and forth if not only for the element of short lived mystery. It is not a character study since Van Damme is almost too well known for that, rather it is reenactment of his life dramatized for Hollywood. It doesn't matter if the story is true or not, the important thing is that Van Damme makes it real. Obviously drawing from his real life experiences, he pours his heart into his cinematic counterpart and proves to the world that he can flex his acting muscles just as well as he can flex his biceps, if not better now in his old age. Van Damme humanizes himself in a way that we have never seen. In a power and telling scene where Van Damme literally is lifted above the fourth wall, he explains to the camera his inglorious life and career, full or mistakes, drugs, and heartbreak. It brings a heart to those action films of yesteryear, of a past where things were simpler and a present where retrospection, as well as introspection, only leads to heartache.

This film speaks about the power of the celebrity and the quick to judge public. It brings to light the blood thirsty court system once it has a celebrity to make it famous. And it shows that not all of these superstars are the personalities we see on film. That they are normal people thrust into extraordinary situations with nothing to do but buckle under the pressure of the public. But beyond the serious nature of J.C.V.D. there are plenty of easter eggs to be found for those pure action fan boys. References to all of his previous work and signature high kicks are spread throughout the film that give it it's humor while the performances and solid writing attribute to many laughs as well.

The opening sequence of J.C.V.D. perfectly captures the message it is broadcasting to our time. It features an action sequence where Van Damme is out of breath and sloppily taking out soldiers while the stunt men and actors alike exhibit their heartless effort for a pay check in the film industry while the director throws darts at a picture of Hollywood. It lacks all the magic of his work while accentuating the cheesiness to a point where the fake film is a mirror image of the action industry today. And as Van Damme tries to catch his breath and lobby for a better film, he can only walk away in disgust of what his beloved career has become. J.C.V.D. is a film that knows what it is and what it is trying to say. Yet it somehow goes beyond that to become something more. It breaks down and then raises up one of the most famous action stars of all time only to show him in one of his best roles. Himself. It is not a tribute to those days gone by where I would rent six Van Damme movies and watch the rest of the afternoon away, it is more. It is a fun, funny, entertaining, and a damn good film. One thing is for sure, I will never look at Van Damme the same way again, and that is a great thing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rack Review: 4/22/09

Detective Comics #853

In the unfathomably confusing and mysterious epic that was FINAL CRISIS, Grant Morrison capitalized on some things that he had promised, especially with the BATMAN RIP arc. One being, he killed Batman. Yeah, caught one of Darkseid's Omega Beam to the head. Dead instantly, not a pretty sight. Though, it ended with a rather ambiguous shot of, presumably, Bruce Wayne drawing on cave walls, thousands of years in the past.

So in the vacant titles of Batman and Detective Comics, we have been given a surreal and touching look at the Dark Knight's heroic past. In this second and final part of the WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER? story, Neil Gaiman (writer of Vertigo flagship SANDMAN) crafts a moving masterpiece our retrospection and introspection.

Where the first chapter left off with different version of Batman's death being told by his enemies and friends alike - all at his funeral - this chapter picks up with other heroes paying their last respects. Presenting Batman through the ages, Gaiman pulls at the heart strings of fanboys like me with heart wrenching delicacy. I have to say that Andy Kubert's work really shines through when presenting each character from each different era. Together, Gaiman and Kubert hit their stride and without giving too much away, deliver an instant classic that will surely be placed next to Alan Moore's Superman Farewell story WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW? The last three pages are fantastic and are worth the price alone.
Score: A

Supergirl #40

Ever since Sterling Gates has taken over SUPERGIRL, I have eagerly anticipated each issue that has come out. Supergirl has always been a thorn in my side as a Superman fan (as is Krypto the dog). I never took her seriously or even gave her much thought until Geoff Johns' BRAINIAC storyline in ACTION COMICS, albeit it was a small role. Suddenly, I felt for her, cared about her and soon found myself welcoming her as one of the books I read every month! Somehow when I read Supergirl I feel like the world of Superman is bigger. Probably because in Action Comics and Superman, the title hero is the biggest of them all. With Supergirl there is room to breath and stretch and get ready, especially with the grove Gates is hitting.

Supergirl #40 in particular is wonderfully enjoyable due in part to the lighter mood it seems to take. I hate to use the word swashbuckling but the fight scenes with Reactron were extremely fun to read and had a very humorous sense of timing. Gates is crafting a fitting mystery in the WHO IS SUPERWOMAN storyline and this issue is by far the best yet. Its jam packed with action, twists and turns, and an ending you won't see coming. Please, do yourself a favor and check this book out. Score: B +

The Walking Dead #60

Each issue of THE WALKING DEAD is like a piece of a TV show, the months in between are the commercials. There are never splash pages with the title and creators - Kirkman you rock! It picks up where the last issue (commercial break) left off eventually building and building to a cliff hanger. It is also a series not afraid to change things. The characters 5 years ago are recognizable to the characters they are now. The main character is missing his frickin hand! Issue 60 furthers the concept of these zombie "herds" we've been told about. At first it sounds a little silly but Adlard's chillingly epic work here drives home the gravitas of this phenomenon. Basically, what is one big chase scene, becomes a desperate race for the survivor's lives while Kirkman peppers it with his soap opera character decision making that I enjoy so much. The only problem, like with LOST, I have been spoiled with big twists and holy sh!t moments. Still, 60 is a milestone for the series that maintains such a high level of quality and entertainment. Score: B

Early Christmas?

I gave up on Santa Claus a long time ago...until last night. I don't have a chimney here in L.A. so the fatass just came knocking on my sliding glass door. He was hopped up on Peppermint Schnapps and had some bits of chicken wing in his beard. He was quite unkempt, it being the offseason and all, but it was cool to see him.
"What the hell, old man?" I said to him as he sat down at my computer, typing into my address bar.
"I know it's only April, but you gotta see this. Consider it an early Christmas present from me."
Then Santa brought up this video, one of about 70.

As I watched while Santa used my sink as a toilet I just sat in sheer amazement. This was truly the greatest Christmas present anyone could possibly give or get. Thank you Santa.

P.S. Not a great surprise that after I enjoyed this man's videos and life couldn't get any better, we found this.

Bioshock Movie On Hold: A Good Thing?

Being a movie buff and a video gamer, I have always been disappointed with lack of quality in video game to movie adaptations. And yesterday, it was announced that director Gore Verbinski's BIOSHOCK adaptation is now put on hold while they try to quell the rising budget which was reportedly $160 mil. I can't help but think that maybe this is a good thing.

I believe that video games are the ultimate melding of multiple entertainment mediums - in game movies, interaction, music, experience - and could very much revolutionize the entertainment world one day. Slowly, games have become more cinematic and their stories more moving (a great example is the Metal Gear Solid series, my absolute FAVORITE!) But once, the movie aspect is removed from the film and crafted into its own entity, it loses something along the way.

The problem? A few things. One is the writers are Hollywood, most have never played the games they are making which demonstrates a lack of commitment and respect for the games as a work of their own. The end result is a petition to get signatures asking a director to never make another film again (take that Uwe Boll!). Two, is Hollywood itself. Too often is the studio dipping into a game license with a pre-established fan base so that they are guaranteed to make money off the die hard fans of said game. Instead of taking the time and money to make a good, or at least passable, film, they only see dollar signs leaving us gamers angry and disappointed.

Now Gore Verbinski at least has some talent to put a good film together if you think of the first Pirates of the Caribbean and try to forget the rest. I just don't know if his directing style is right for BIOSHOCK. The game's story and design is groundbreakingly unique. Set in an underwater city called Rapture, we (the hero) are forced to fight a plasmid crazed population of psychopaths and old-school-deep-sea-diving-look-alikes called Big Daddy's who protect ADAM collecting Little Sisters. Its terrifying, thrilling, grotesque, depressing, dark, visionary, and a heck of a lot of fun! I just feel that it is too serious for Verbinski's style. But I could and would love to be proven wrong.

So is it a good thing that BIOSHOCK might be lost in developement hell from whence it may not return? I think so. We always have the games, untainted by the greedy hands of Hollywood. Maybe one day they will take video game movies seriously. I did like MORTAL KOMBAT though.

First Blackest Night Art!

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of Green Lantern. All star comic book writer Geoff Johns has been behind the hugely successful and consistently amazing run of the Green Lantern series. From the reintroduction of Hal Jordan in Rebirth to the action packed epic of The Sinestro Corps War, Johns has been slowly laying the groundwork for one of the most anticipated comic book events of the year, if not the decade - BLACKEST NIGHT.

Johns has subtly and carefully hinted at the coming storm that not only the Green Lanterns will face, but the entirety of the DC Universe stable of heroes. With the Sinestro Corps War it was revealed that there were multiple Corps from the color spectrum all correlating to a specific emotion: Yellow/Fear, Red/Rage, Blue/Hope, Indigo/Compassion, Green/Willpower, Orange/Avarice and Violet/Love. With the end of Sinestro Corps War we saw the formation of the BLACK POWER BATTERY which will give birth to the Black Lanterns with the tagline - The dead will rise... In more recent years the other Corps have made their presence known, most recently with the Agent Orange storyline featuring the greedy sole Orange Corps member Larfleeze. I for one think that the introduction of each Corps through both Johns' Green Lantern and Peter Tomasi's Green Lanter Corps has been phenominal. Both books truly have been some of the best books on the rack for quite some time and have not, and I think will not, miss a beat in the saga to come.

As opposed to Marvel's MARVEL ZOMBIE run, BLACKEST NIGHT brings a legitamit reason for the walking dead. With Marvel the story it was just a "What If" senario and nothing more. Being a fan of zombies myself, I can not wait for this event. Especially with tons of dead DC characters who I would love to see rise from their graves: Martian Manhunter, Batman, Aquaman...oh yeah, Batman is dead in comics, or presumed dead. Did you know that?

So here, courtesy of the official DC COMICS BLOG - THE SOURCE, is the first art work released from Blackest Night by the awe inspiring Ivan Reis. Enjoy! And if you are a comics fan, be sure to check out this awesome event come July. And be sure to check in, I'll be all over dat shit.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Blog Ever!

That's it.

It happened. After years of learning about it in school, hearing about how the other kids have been doing it, looking them up on the internet with a bottle of lube, and seeing blogs at parties and getting them really drunk to the point that I might get some action, it has finally happened. My proverbial blogging cherry has been popped, and let me tell you, it feels good.

Welcome to THE FUTURE MACHINE! The blogspot for everything movies, TV, video games, and comic books. Everyday the MACHINE will be turning out reviews, opinions, articles, and thoughts on any and all things from the entertainment world. Together we will journey deep into the underbelly of the movie business, ascend to the highest peaks of absurdity, go where no man has gone before on the internet, and rent VHS tapes, watch them and then not rewind them on purpose. Its going to be rough, its going to be dangerous, and its going to be sticky. So buckle your seat belt because am we're approaching 88 mph and where we're going, we don't need roads.