A Year In The Life of Matt Sutton
Thursday, December 25, 2008; 7:48 p.m.
Want to know how I celebrated Christmas? After opening all the presents under the tree with my family, I went to the movies. Yeah, big shocker. I practically live at a movie theater. But anyway, I decided to go see The Spirit, a cinematic adaptation of the comic book hero created by Will Eisner in 1940. I had absolutely no expectations going in, due to my lack of knowledge regarding the Spirit character, but I figured I'd give it a shot anyway. I was almost afraid I'd miss the showing I was there for, because the line of people there to buy tickets for Marley & Me stretched outside the building all the way to the parking lot. But I did get to see it after all, so let's talk about it.
Judging by all the promotional material, you'd think that the movie would end up being something similar to Sin City, especially considering that both of them were directed by Frank Miller. And as far as appearances, yeah, the movie looks exactly like Sin City. But unlike the grittiness of Sin City, The Spirit is essentially a live-action cartoon. It's thoroughly silly to the point of being absurd, feeling like a remake of Sin City as performed by Bugs Bunny and crew. There's also no story to speak of Seriously, I couldn't identify any sort of plot whatsoever. There was something about stealing these cases filled with ancient artifacts, but I had no clue at all what was supposed to be happening. So while Miller's direction is visually exciting and stimulating, his writing leaves a whole lot to be desired.
But while I can't say I liked the movie's script, I'll applaud the acting, with Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson putting forth awesome performances worth seeing the movie for. In fact, the only bad part of the movie was the fact that the first half of the movie is way too slow. It takes a while for things to really get rolling, but once it does, it's a lot of fun. So I guess in short, I'd be willing to give The Spirit a thumbs-in-the-middle with three stars. It's worth a shot if you think you might be into it. It won't be up everyone's alley, but I didn't think it was too bad at all.
Thursday, December 25, 2008; 2:23 p.m. - Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas, everybody! (And happy all those other holidays to everybody else.) I hope you're all having a great day. Me, I'm fantastic.
I promised a new review of a Christmas movie today, so I might as well share it. I finished it a couple of days ago, and now I hope you'll enjoy reading my review of the '80s slasher movie Silent Night, Deadly Night. I don't know what I'm going to review next Christmas, but at least I have a year to decide.
Anyway, have fun reading, and have a great Christmas.
Monday, December 15, 2008; 12:20 p.m.
I wrote the other day about how I'd been putting work in on the reviews I'd been planning. And in regards to that, I finished two reviews Friday night, and I'll hopefully be able to finish my Christmas review within the next week or so. But I decided to take a break from writing those full-length reviews to watch some of the movies I'd downloaded over the last few months. So why not do some quickie reviews?
The fun began on Saturday night with Resident Evil: Degeneration, the CGI-animated movie commissioned by Capcom to bridge the gap between Resident Evil 4 and the upcoming Resident Evil 5. So what did I think of it? As a ninety-minute video game cutscene, it works. It has everything you could want from the Resident Evil franchise: guns, zombies, a giant monster, blood, evil pharmaceutical corporations, and more blood. Plus there's the obligatory reference to Raccoon City and even a cameo (in flashback form) from Resident Evil 2 villain William Birkin. Alas, no Wesker and no Ada. Bummer.
I did enjoy the movie, though. It stays closer to the spirit of the games than the live-action movie trilogy, but I don't know if I would call Degeneration a good entry point for the world depicted in the Resident Evil games. If you've never played the games, you might not "get" the movie. But I liked it, and that's all that matters to me. So I'm giving Resident Evil: Degeneration three and a half stars and a thumbs up.
Next on the list was Tropic Thunder, a movie that I wanted to see this past summer and missed. I'm bummed that I'm just now getting around to watching it, because it's hilarious. The acting is what really drives a movie like this, and the cast are all on their A-game. Robert Downey Jr. completely steals the show, really earning all the praise he's been getting with his incredibly funny, over-the-top performance. The supporting cast is good too, and Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Tom Cruise - none of whom I can really say I'm a very big fan of - are all really, really funny.
Tropic Thunder was a pretty big hit during its theatrical run, and it's been on DVD for a while. So I'm pretty sure every one who wanted to see it has by now. But if you have any interest in Tropic Thunder at all, head out to the local Blockbuster and rent it. Me, I'll give it four stars and my seal of approval.
So those were just the movies I watched Saturday night. I decided to keep the ball rolling into Sunday, and watched two more movies last night. Starting off the evening was Gran Torino, the new movie from Clint Eastwood. It isn't in wide release until January, which means that it won't be playing in my neck of the woods for another month. But I managed to find a screener intended for Oscar voters that had turned up online, so I figured, "why wait?" And after watching the movie, I was really blown away by just how gripping it was. I just couldn't turn away from the movie for more than a second. It's got its flaws, but it's otherwise fantastic.
I've heard a rumor that this might be Eastwood's last movie as an actor, and if that's true, he's picked a fine note to go out on. His character is a crotchety old racist who can't quite get along with his Hmong neighbors and is treated like crap by his spoiled sons and his disrespectful grandchildren, a character that Eastwood really brings to life. (And if my family was like his character's, I'd probably be in a pretty pissed off mood all the time too. I don't know if I'd use all those racial slurs, though.) There are also very good performances from Bee Vang and Ahney Her; I've never heard of either of them previously, but both of them contribute their fare share of the movie, and by the end, you find yourself liking them a lot.
But to sum this all up, I thought Gran Torino was a great movie. Once it opens up in your area, I'd totally suggest going to see it. I liked it enough that I might even have to go see it again theatrically. The final rating is four stars out of the usual five, and one huge recommendation.
The second flick on last night's double feature was Fido, a Canadian comedy that saw a limited theatrical release last year. The plot? It's the 1950s, and zombies have been domesticated and turned into pets/slaves. Hijinks ensue. Yeah, this is exactly the kind of movie that one would watch immediately after watching a drama about a racist who overcomes his long-held prejudices by defending his Asian neighbors from a gang. Right? All kidding aside, I'd heard a lot about the movie over the last year and a half or so. But when I got the chance to actually see it when it aired on the Sundance Channel last weekend, I totally forgot about it and missed the whole thing. But thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I finally got to see it, and I enjoyed it a lot.
For those of you still with me here, Fido is a parody of 1950s pop culture. From Lassie to bad monster movies to those crappy, overblown propaganda film reels, Fido hits all of those bases and has a silly go with it all. If you ever wondered how the ultra-saccharine world that Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon visited in Pleasantville would deal with a zombie apocalypse, this would be the movie for you.
The movie's writing is really clever and smart, but it's main drawing point is its cast. Though it's ostensibly an ensemble cast, the movie really hangs on K'Sun Ray and Carrie-Anne Moss. Their performances really hold the whole movie together. Ray is innocent and charming, which is exactly what his character needs to be, while Moss's turn as Ray's character's mother is warm and full of life. It might sound hyperbolic, but Fido is a better movie because of Ray and Moss. And I also have to say how much I enjoyed Tim Blake Nelson in his small supporting role. That guy is a hoot.
So yeah, I totally dug Fido. It isn't quite the best zombie comedy I've seen, but it's a cute movie that probably deserves a bigger audience than what it has. I'm going to give it a solid "thumbs in the middle" with three stars. Give it a rental, you might like it.
And that's all for the downloaded double features right now. I'll probably pick back up with more of them in the future. But for now, I need to get back into my work on "Super Saturday 2" and my Christmas review. Those things aren't going to write themselves, unfortunately.
Friday, December 12, 2008; 11:13 p.m.
I once again headed out to the movies, this time to see the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still. Having never seen more than just a few minutes of the original movie, I didn't really have any sort of expectations for this new interpretation of the old classic. And after watching it, I can safely say that the remake is just "okay."
I didn't hate the movie, but I'm unable to rave about it either. I'm actually rather ambivalent towards it. It's a serviceable movie, although it is an ultimately mediocre one as well. That's a real bummer too, because movies that are either one extreme or the other are more fun to right about. It's kinda hard to get worked up over a movie where your opinion can be summed up with the phrase, "eh, it was alright." Know what I mean?
The movie has both its good spots and its bad spots. The acting is hit or miss, with Kathy Bates and Jaden Smith being the weakest. Seriously, I didn't see any purpose for Smith's character to be in the movie at all, and his blah acting didn't help things. The ending was also rather anticlimactic, and the whole thing ends up feeling hollow. It's a shame too, because the movie could have been great. So I'm just going to give it a thumbs in the middle with three stars on my usual five-star scale. It's an acceptable way to kill two hours if you can get into the theater at a cheap price, but if you don't see it, you aren't really missing a whole lot.
And the trailer they ran for the new Wolverine movie coming out next May? Consider my ticket for the movie already purchased.
Thursday, December 11, 2008; 5:14 p.m.
Ugh, I hate having so little to do. It's really frustrating. Know what I mean? So I guess I can just fire up the blog and use it to kill some time, even if I'll have to struggle to think of something to talk about.
I guess I could always talk about the different things I've been working on. Yeah, I'm still trying to finish that "Super Saturday 2" project I started about six or seven months ago. I don't really have a reason as to why it's taking me so long to finish these things, outside of a bad case of laziness. The DVD I currently have in from Netflix has been in my possession for right at a month now, and although I'm almost done with the review of it, I keep putting off what little work I have left to do. I still have quite a few movies left to write about after this one, so I'm hoping to be done sometime by... oh, let's say February.
It might be a little longer, though, because I also started working on a side project earlier this week. I reviewed some Christmas movies in 2006 and 2007, and I didn't want 2008 to be any different. Therefore, I started on a new review of a Christmas movie on Monday. Christmas is two weeks away, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to have it finished in time to post it on the 25th. Just like the list of movies I've compiled for Super Saturday 2, my Christmas movie of choice is going to remain a secret until it's actually posted. But I hope that you readers will get a kick out of it when I finally put it online.
I still think I almost got a little bit too over my head by taking on that Super Saturday 2 idea. Or at the very least, I might have picked too many movies for it. This is the third time I've attempted a big multi-review project (following the first Super Saturday in 2005 and "Sutton at the Arcade" a year ago), and it seems more troublesome this time. I could always blame it on the fact that a number of the movies I'm reviewing are lame, but I could say the same thing about Sutton at the Arcade, and I got that done in a respectable amount of time. I guess I need to start sitting down and really concentrating on these things. But as I always say, I figure I'll finish them sooner or later. I usually do, don't I?
Sunday, December 7, 2008; 5:28 p.m.
Despite being worn out from the busy evening I had last night, I got out again this afternoon to go see Punisher: War Zone. Following in the footsteps of this summer's The Incredible Hulk, this one reboots the Punisher movie franchise while only offering the briefest of origin stories. And just why would they do that? Beats me. I didn't see just what was so wrong with the last movie. Yeah, it had its fair share of flaws, but I don't see the reason why they needed to hit the reset button instead of calling this one Punisher 2. Even if they had to replace Tom Jane in the lead role, this one could have just as easily been a sequel.
But anyway, I totally dug Punisher: War Zone. The filmmakers apparently decided to take this reboot in a direction more akin to Dolph Lundgren's long-forgotten Punisher movie from 1989, focusing less on a tortured, introspective Frank Castle, and more on a Frank Castle who likes shooting people and making things explode. And frankly, that makes Punisher: War Zone a whole lot of fun. It's a colorful assault on the senses that rarely ever lets up, but still provides a boatload of entertainment for those who enjoy seeing wild action movies with high body counts and no plot. And it helps a lot that director Lexi Alexander has chosen to break away from the very annoying norm by actually holding the camera still during the action scenes, allowing us to see what's happening during the moments we're there to see in the first place.
Ray Stevenson steps into the role of the Punisher, and he does a great job. The character has only a rare number of moments where he isn't killing every bad guy within a two-mile radius, and Stevenson handles these scenes well. The supporting cast are all acceptable as well, but the show is thoroughly stolen by Dominic West as Frank Castle's primary nemesis, Jigsaw. West plays the role almost as if he were channelling Jack Nicholson in Batman, an entertaining performance that makes every scene he appears in worth watching.
As it stands now, Punisher: War Zone isn't doing so hot at the box office. It came in at the eighth spot in the domestic rankings, which is kinda shocking considering it was the only new movie in wide release this weekend. Me and my dad were the only people in the theater too, something that hasn't happened to me personally in a long time. So needless to say, I think we can already call the movie a bomb. But it's totally worth seeing. It's an over-the-top B-grade action movie that is more silly than serious, and I couldn't love it more. Therefore, I'm going to give the movie three and a half stars out of the typical five, along with a thumbs up. Go check it out before your local theater stops carrying it, okay?
Sunday, December 7, 2008; 12:29 a.m.
This might be a short entry, but I want to get it up while things are still fresh in my mind. My dad and I just got home from seeing some good ol' professional wrestling. No, not WWE. No, not some nameless indie promotion. No, we instead attended a show Total Nonstop Action was putting on in Lawrenceburg. Ostensibly the number-two wrestling company in America, TNA isn't a promotion I can say I watch with any regularity. I don't think I've watched TNA's show on a regular basis since they left Fox Sports in the middle of 2005. But the chance to see a bunch of wrestlers who appear on national TV, along with a handful of former WWE wrestlers, within 45 minutes of my house wasn't something I wanted to pass up. So my dad and I hit the road to see some TNA. (That sounds so very wrong.)
As someone who is perhaps the most casual of all causal TNA viewers, I have to admit that I had a really good time. The fantastic seats helped, but the fact that the wrestlers seemed to be going out of their way to entertain the crowd really enhanced the experience. The matches were all a lot of fun, and the fact that they were giving away backstage passes to certain people throughout the show really improves my view of the company. And I can't say enough about the post-show activities. After the show, five or six wrestlers came out to sign autographs, and they even let fans get into the ring to take pictures with two of the show's main eventers. (You'd better believe I took advantage of that.) And I even scored a free bag of TNA goodies by correctly answering a question in a trivia game some guy was playing with audience members that were still hanging around.
Seriously, though, the show was a blast. If TNA ran another show around here, I'd totally go. I definitely got my money's worth.
Thursday, December 4, 2008; 3:33 p.m.
You know what really sucks? My Xbox 360 is on the blink. An E74 error message popped up last night, which means one of two things. One, I'll need to replace the AV cables. That's the best case scenario, because that'll be the easiest thing to take care of. The only problem is that I don't know anyone else who owns a 360, so I can't swap out the cables to see if that's what's wrong. So I'll probably have to take it to a GameStop or somewhere like that, and see if they would be willing to test it for me. If all I need is a new set of cables, that would be no big deal.
The second possible problem is the worst case scenario. In this event, the problem is an internal error, and I'm screwed. The first year of my warranty expired (two weeks ago, frustratingly enough), and I've heard that an E74 error isn't covered by what remains of that warranty. So that means if I have to send it back to Microsoft for repairs, it's going to cost me over 100 bucks. And that's not a fee I'm willing or able to pay right now.
Right now, I'm hoping it's just the cables. I can live with buying replacement cables if I have to, since they're relatively cheap. At the very least, I'd hope that I could find a professional to refurbish it at a price cheaper than what Microsoft would charge. Because paying 100 dollars or more for something that should be under the entire warranty is outrageous. I'm sure I'll end up having to spend some money to fix it, since the only other option is to crack it open and work on it myself. And that would probably just make things worse, considering I wouldn't know what I was doing.
Sigh... why can't I have nice things?
Monday, December 1, 2008; 12:06 p.m.
We've now entered the month of December, which means that the countdown is on. Not just the countdown to Christmas, mind you, but the countdown to 2009 as well.
The year has gone by way too fast. I know I say that every year, but 2008 has really been trucking along. It seems like just yesterday that we were ringing in 2008, and now it's only one scant month from being over. It's crazy, isn't it? Yeah, I'm ready for the new year, but sometimes I wish the current one would slow down and say hi once in a while.
Friday, November 28, 2008; 7:49 p.m.
Geez, they aren't kidding when they say the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. My family and I decided to go ahead and get some of our Christmas shopping out of the way, so we ventured to the mall and Wal-Mart down in Elizabethtown. And holy freaking crap, were those places packed.
Thank God Black Friday is only one day a year, because I'd dread having to go out amongst that sea of humanity on a daily basis. I probably didn't even need to go out today, since I got almost all of my Christmas shopping done late yesterday afternoon. But I did manage to score some DVDs for myself at a discounted price, so the day wasn't all bad.
But we're now just under four full weeks from Christmas, and five weeks away from ushering in 2009. Time flies, doesn't it?
Thursday, November 27, 2008; 11:06 a.m.
Welcome back to the MSX, folks, and happy Thanksgiving. I hope you guys are having a good one. And for my international readers, uh... happy Thursday?
As for me, I'm having a pretty good Thanksgiving thus far. For one reason for another, my immediate family doesn't have anything big lined up for today, so I'm celebrating by watching NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I grew up watching the Macy's parade every year, so it's become something of a tradition for yours truly.
But it feels like I'm not in the parade's target demographic anymore. Do I want to watch a bunch of high school marching band do a lame 30-second routine? Do I want to watch Miley Cyrus and a bunch of other D-list celebrities lip-sync crappy pop songs? Do I want to see glorified advertisements for Broadway musicals that 98% of the American population will probably never see? No, no, and no. I'm not interested in any of that, which means all I have left to enjoy are the floats and the balloons, which I like. I can't complain about them.
It's weird, though. Back when I was a kid, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was absolutely crammed full of whatever the hottest things in kid-oriented pop culture each year. But nowadays, it's usually just balloons and floats that have been in the parade for years, along with random floats and the occasional pop star(s) that nobody's ever heard of and that'll be forgotten just as quickly. Take, for example, today's "performance" by a band called PushPlay. Has anyone ever heard of them before? I haven't. Sure, I could be out of the loop, but still, is anybody ever going to think back to that legendary Thanksgiving Day performance by PushPlay? Unless they completely bomb it like John Ratzenberger in the 1984 parade, I doubt anybody will remember a musical performance in the parade. And I'm not even sure why they give the singers microphones or instruments when none of them are actually performing. (Is it wrong to hope that one day, the music starts skipping during the lip-syncing?)
But yeah, in spite of my complaints about the parade (including the similar complaints I had last year), I can't help but watch it. And whoever decided to use the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends float to Rickroll the parade is my new hero.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008; 5:22 p.m.
Just got back from the movies a little while ago. Despite not seeing the first two chapters in the franchise, the movie of choice was Transporter 3. And if I may be succinct, I thought the movie was a lot of fun.
I keep saying it, but entertainment should be one of the most important parts of movies like this. And Transporter 3 delivers, for sure. Yeah, the plot may be relatively anemic, but it has such an energy to it that you never really worry about it. The whole movie is an excuse for Jason Statham to get into fights, engage in car chases, and make out with some pretty Eastern European redhead. And it's got better editing and camerawork than Death Race, the movie that Statham starred in back in August. The camera didn't bounce around like the movie was being filmed during an earthquake and it didn't have any of that annoying super-choppy editing, which made it that much easier to follow all of the action scenes. So that's a plus, right? Sure, totally.
But I liked Transporter 3 a lot. I can't really complain about it. So I'm going to give it three and a half stars and a big thumbs up. And now I guess I'll have to go swing by Netflix and rent the first two Transporter movies, right?
Sunday, November 16, 2008; 5:21 p.m.
It's been two weeks since I could get out to see a movie, but I managed to get out today and see the new James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. I'll admit that I'm not exactly the world's biggest Bond fan. It's not that I don't like the franchise or anything, but I'd only seen three Bond movies all the way through prior today. But one of those movies was Casino Royale, and I liked it enough to justify seeing its followup.
So what did I think about Quantum of Solace? I thought it was okay enough. It was a solid movie in spite of a few flaws, and it was fun to watch. The only problem I had was that it's forgettable. I can only recall bits and pieces of it right now, and come tomorrow, I won't doubt that I'll remember even less.
Do I feel it the movie earned my money? Yeah. Okay, Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale, but I enjoyed it enough to give it three and a half stars on the Sutton Scale. If you're a Bond fan, go check it out.
Friday, November 14, 2008; 2:50 p.m.
All the way back in 2007, I made a New Year's resolution to "move forward." That phrase was kind of a mantra I used to describe all the changes I wanted to make in life. In essence, I wanted to start growing up. Though I got the ball rolling back then, I decided to make that same resolution for 2008. I'll probably even do the same thing for 2009, but for this year, I can say "mission accomplished."
I say that because I finally got my driver's license this afternoon, ten years after I first gained eligibility for it. The fact that it took me that long has never been something I've been eager to brag about. But now that I've actually got the job done, I don't think it's anything I have to worry about anymore. And that's fantastic.
Now I have to start thinking about job prospects. Sigh.
Friday, November 7, 2008; 6:39 p.m.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome back to my silly little corner of cyberspace. You've arrived for a very special post: number 800. Yep, after seven years of operating the MSX, I've finally hit 800 posts. I just wonder how long it'll take me to hit the magic number of 1000.
Anyway, I might as well make the most of this milestone. So while I'm here and I have your attention (hopefully), I figure I'll go back and talk about my experiences during Halloween last week. No, I don't mean how I saw Zack and Miri Make a Porno, because I've already talked about that. Instead, I wanted to discuss trick or treating.
Unfortunately, I'm too old too old to go trick or treating without it being really creepy. It's a bummer, I know. But since my forced retirement from the game, I've started helping my uncle hand out candy at his house. It's been a lot of fun, but I'm noticing more and more that the times, they are a-changin'. And by that, I mean that it seems that kids just don't take Halloween as seriously as they did when I was little. It's bad enough that about half of them couldn't be bothered to say "trick or treat" or "thank you," but there were a sizable amount that were wearing outfits that barely qualify as costumes at all. It was just their regular clothes with some cheap mask, or maybe a little face paint. And there were two kids who weren't even wearing costumes at all. They just showed up wearing T-shirts with "Happy Halloween" scribbled on them with a magic marker.
I'll admit that my neighborhood isn't what you would call "financially blessed." Just about everyone around here is either a farmer or a factory worker, so it's not like we're upper class or anything. But does that mean parents and kids can't afford to put at least a little effort into Halloween costumes? Or am I the only person in this town who gives a crap about Halloween anymore?
I will admit to seeing some really good costumes, though. One little girl had a great Supergirl costume, while an adult acquaintance of mine was helping her cousins trick or treat in a fantastic Phantom of the Opera outfit. She had a great Jack Sparrow costume last year, so at least I can count on somebody to have a spiffy costume every year.
I don't know, maybe it's just me. But if when you can't even put forth the effort to half-ass it, why bother at all? If I see some kid with no costume next year, I'm going to make him or her do something to earn the candy. Sing a song, tell a joke, do a magic trick, throw down some breakdancing moves out in the front yard, drink from the fire hose, anything they can think of to get that candy in their basket. Otherwise, no dice. Sorry, kids, but that's the way it's gotta be.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008; 10:04 p.m.
Yeah, everybody's talking about Barack Obama winning the election. But more important is that today is the fifty-third anniversary of the most groundbreaking scientific breakthrough in history: the conception of the flux capacitor.
Back on November 5, 1955, an amateur scientist from Hill Valley, California, slipped off his toilet while hanging a clock. He hit his head on the sink, at which point he had a vision of an important piece of technology that would make time travel possible. And while it took him thirty years to complete the creation of the flux capacitor, his idea was nothing short of revolutionary.
So thank you, Dr. Emmett Brown, for taking us back to the future. And thanks for keeping the universe from exploding due to some wacky paradox. Now where can I go buy my own flying DeLorean?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 11:21 p.m.
Folks, it's official: Barack Obama is the next President of the United States of America.
I can't say I'm all that shocked or surprised, because he had this thing wrapped up as soon as he got the nomination. And although I can't say I agree with all of his platforms or that he had my support during his campaign, I'm still optimistic. I know America hasn't turned into some crappy third-world hellhole or anything, but things could be better, and I'm hoping that when Obama actually enters office, he'll be able to pull the country at least partially out of the slump it's been in. We'll just have to wait and see... and hope he doesn't follow in the footsteps of his predecessor by doing something incredibly stupid.
But that's about it for the political talk. Politics really aren't my forte, so to speak. But this is a pretty huge moment in American history, so I had to say something about it. How could I not?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 5:57 p.m.
Okay, I'll admit it: I think I'm already in the Christmas spirit.
All truth be told, it was really starting to look that way when I was doing those posts about the holidays last month. And as much as I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, it's always been Christmas that has been my true favorite amongst the three. And now that only Thanksgiving stands between the world and Christmas, I'm starting to get more excited than before. We're still seven weeks away, but I can't help myself.
It isn't helping things that stores have had their Christmas sections set up halfway through October. I even heard Christmas carols playing over the PA system at Wal-Mart this past weekend. And I'm conflicted about it, too. Part of me has no problem with getting ready for Christmas this early in November, because I have a lot of fun with it. But on the other hand, is it too hard to wait until Black Friday before stores start going totally gung-ho with the Christmas stuff? I can understand selling trees and decorations so people can be ready, but other than that, it's nuts.
You know what? To heck with it, I'm not worried. I'm going ahead and letting myself get into the Christmas mood. I won't go full bore into it until Black Friday, but I'm still going to watch Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas special on YouTube, along with my downloaded copies of A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I've been doing that already, and I think I might just go ahead and do that again now.
Sunday, November 2, 2008; 11:29 a.m.
Welcome back to the MSX, folks. I'm glad you're here, because today is a big day. Why? Today marks the seventh anniversary of the very blog you're reading right now. Yeah, I've been operating this silly waste of cyberspace for seven years. I can hardly believe it myself.
The MSX has had its ups and downs in the time since I made my first post on that cheap Tripod website from a college dorm room back in 2001. I've covered the MSX's history in past anniversary celebrations, but I can't help but reflect on my blog's past. I can barely remember a time when I wasn't doing at least something with the MSX, and there's been so much that's happened since its inception. Check the archives if you don't believe me. I'm also a little bummed that just about every blog started by the members of the online community I fraternized with back in 2002 and 2003 has shut down within the last year or two. It's weird knowing that the MSX has outlived then all, but you know what? I'm still here. I've made it seven years. Now let's see if I can hit ten and make it an even decade.
Here's to the future.
Friday, October 31, 2008; 4:11 p.m.
Normally, I'm not a fan of romantic comedies. The only movies that could be classified as such that I can bring myself to watch are Shaun of the Dead and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Those two movies are just plain fantastic. And on that very short list, you can also add Kevin Smith's newest movie, Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Zack and Miri is Smith's eighth movie, but only his second outside of the "Askewniverse" series that made the characters of Jay and Silent Bob so popular amongst my age demographic. And with Zack and Miri, it seems like Smith was making an attempt to do his own version of a stereotypical Judd Apatow movie. Really, the hallmarks of an Apatow movie are there. Seth Rogan, an instance of full-frontal male nudity, a plot where sex is a major plot point, lots of profanities, that sort of thing. But Smith gives it his own touch, which makes Zack and Miri quite the endearing movie.
Though the supporting cast members all chip in with funny performances (especially the fantastic cameos from Justin Long and Brandon Routh), the best performances come from the stars. Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks are wonderfully charming as the titular pornographers. Whether the movie sinks or swims hinges on them, and I think they pull it off. The pair are hilarious together, and their obvious enthusiasm rubs off on everybody else.
I think it goes without saying that Zack and Miri Make a Porno is not a movie for everyone. The title alone is enough to gauge whether or not it would be something you'd want to see. If you aren't completely turned off by the fact that the movie is a comedy about porn, then you might get a laugh out of it. Me, I got plenty of laughs. So I'll gladly give the movie a thumbs-up and four stars on my Five-Star Sutton Scale. Go check it out, won't you?
Friday, October 31, 2008; 2:51 p.m.
No, folks, your calendar isn't wrong. Today is the big day. That's right, it's Halloween. Oh, do I love Halloween. I wouldn't hold it up as high as Christmas, but Halloween still rules pretty hard. Anybody who says otherwise is either crazy or lying.
Halloween isn't exactly what it was when I was a kid. When I was young enough to enjoy trick-or-treating, everybody my age was warned over and over about the urban legends of people handing out apples stuffed with razor blades, and how we were going to get hit by a car if we wore dark costumes. And did any of that ever happen? Not that I know of. (Though since the crappy sidewalks in my podunk little neighborhood only went for about a quarter of a mile, thus forcing trick-or-treaters to choose between cutting through people's front yards or walking in the street, that "get hit by a car" could have potentially occurred.) I have no clue if people still deliver these messages nowadays, but I really doubt that parents or other authority figures are still warning kids about the dangers of bladed apples and vehicular manslaughter. Besides, most of that is common sense anyway: Make sure your candy is actually candy before you start eating it, and don't run around in the street like a jackass.
And nowadays, the costumes have advanced so much farther than what I had when I was little. Back in that fargone era between 1987 and 1992, a lot of the costumes that I remember were pretty cheaply made. They were pretty much a crappy plastic mask with only a tight rubber band to hold it onto your face, and a smock made of plastic that would probably create a poisonous gas you if you tried to melt it. And these smocks didn't even look like what they were supposed to be. Instead, these stupid things just had a picture of something on it. Like if you wanted to dress up as Yoda, you'd have a cheap Yoda mask and an outfit that had a picture of Yoda on it. Maybe the Star Wars logo would be stamped on it too. But seriously, though, you'd be better off just walking around town in your regular, everyday clothes with a "Hello, My Name Is" tag stuck to your chest. It'd accomplish the same thing.
To get a better idea what I'm talking about, just check out this link. And honestly, I can't say I know of any of my generation who would dress up in any of these costumes. I mean, if you're going to dress up like Scott Baio, why not go with Baio circa Charles In Charge instead of Joanie Loves Chachi? At least Charles In Charge wasn't a lame spinoff of Happy Days.
The costumes that you can currently purchase off store shelves for a respectable price and not a whole lot of effort have improved so much over the last twenty years. I'm also really happy to see the old standbys of Freddy Krueger gloves and Jason-inspired hockey masks are still around, as well as the modern standby that is the Scream mask. It's really weird to think that the Scream mask has reached the same Halloween plateau as Jason and Freddy. The Scream trilogy's legacy kinda pales in comparison to Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (three movies between 1996 and 2000, compared to a combined nineteen movies since 1980), but I can't help but notice that the Scream mask has become a big Halloween thing. And I'm not going to argue with somebody dressing up as a horror movie villain for Halloween, because that sort of thing is great.
But Halloween is here now, so I need to go out and enjoy it. If only Macy's could do a Halloween parade like they do for Thanksgiving...
Friday, October 24, 2008; 11:50 p.m.
I got back from seeing Saw V about a half an hour ago, and my initial reaction to the movie is that I enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it about as much as I could without coming across as a would-be serial killer. I was hoping for a good movie after the frustration of trying to fight my way through a theater lobby filled with a crowd of literally 18,402 children who were there to see High School Musical 3, and I don't think I was disappointed. Seriously, couldn't High School Musical 3 have aired exclusively on the Disney Channel like the first two, and spared me the struggle of having to swim through a sea of kids so I could watch an R-rated horror movie?
But enough about that. All truth be told, Saw V is an odd entry into the franchise. The movie features two concurrent storylines, one seeming to borrow from Saw II's "trap house" story and the other establishing the methods to Jigsaw's successor's madness. It's like we're watching a traditional Saw movie and a horror movie villain's origin story at the same time. And to tell you the truth, I thought Saw V was a solid movie that offered all I could hope for out a movie like this. I also thought it helped that it boasts some good direction, a lack of the awful moments of shaky camerawork and choppy editing that are an unfortunate staple of the franchise, and actors who are committed to their roles. I definitely approve, and will give Saw V three and a half stars and a thumbs up. The only bad part about it is that it left me with the feeling that there was more to learn about the movie, like they were bringing up questions that they have no intention of answering until Saw VI next year. But hey, all the more reason to keep following the series, right?
One of the most exciting parts of the movie, humorously enough, were the trailers that preceded it. Rolling in front of Saw V were the previews for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the remake of Friday the 13th, Punisher: War Zone, and the 3-D remake of My Bloody Valentine. I'm on the fence about Underworld, but do you think it's too early to go wait in line for the other three movies?
Or would that be too nerdy, even for me?
Thursday, October 23, 2008; 10:28 p.m.
Like a goon, I've been spending more time watching all those movies I've downloaded than I've been spending on that gigantic pile of movies I've been working on since freaking June. Most professional reviewers could probably write more reviews in four hours than I could in four months. I'm such a slacker. But I guess I can use some of these movies I've been watching to add content to the blog. Yes, I know I did a post just like this on Monday, bite me.
Anyway, first in line is Pineapple Express. As much as I wanted to see this in theaters, I missed out on it for one reason or another. But thanks to the wondrous creation that is the Internet, I've finally gotten to see it. Upon watching it, my initial reaction was sadness that I missed it during its theatrical run. It's nothing short of hilarious. I never thought that someone would be able to blend stoner comedies and action movies, but Judd Apatow's crew did it.
Pineapple Express is one of those incredibly rare stoner movies where you don't feel like you need to smoke a whole bunch of pot in order for the movie to achieve full entertainment value. It actually works if you're completely and totally sober, which is a nice change of pace that I wish most movies like this should shoot for. Not everybody who watches these movies is a pothead, after all.
If there's something specific that I can point at and say, "that's what makes Pineapple Express work," it would be the team of Seth Rogan and James Franco. Their comedic timing together is perfect, and just about anything either of them does is hilarious. And even at two hours long, there are no real lulls in the movie. It never really slowed down long enough for me to get bored with it, never letting more than a couple of minutes go by without some kind of joke. And that's the sign of a comedy that's trying to be the best it can be, folks. On my patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, I guess I'll give Pineapple Express four stars. And that Huey Lewis song over the credits? It rules.
Up next was the slasher movie Return to Sleepaway Camp, Robert Hiltzik's sequel to the cult favorite he directed in 1986. Well, to be truthful, I was going to watch it, but I had to turn it off after just five minutes because it was so ungodly terrible. I couldn't bring myself to watch any more of the movie. Maybe I'll give it another shot later this weekend, but holy crap, did those five minutes suck. I made it only to the second scene before I wanted to throw a brick through my television. So anyway, I don't really think I can give it a ranking as I typically would. But hopefully I actually can watch it all the way through soon. And I'll have to hide my stash of bricks, just in case. I mean, I don't have the money to go buy a new TV right now.
You hear me, Return to Sleepaway Camp? You'd better stop being so crappy!
Monday, October 20, 2008; 11:25 a.m.
I got around to watching a few movies with my dad this weekend, so why not talk about them here? You ready?
First up is the direct-to-video sequel Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead. I was a fan of the original Joy Ride back in 2001, and though I was mystified by the fact that it took seven years for a sequel to pop up, I will admit that I was looking forward to seeing it. And I didn't think it was all that bad.
Of course, it is not without flaws. But that's to be expected from a direct-to-video horror sequel. My biggest complaint, though, was the fact that the villainous Rusty Nail has been recast. Nothing against the actor playing him here, but I'd have much preferred having Ted Levine return. What, was he too busy doing Monk that he couldn't come in and record fifteen or twenty minutes of dialogue for Joy Ride 2?
But other than that, I can't really say that I thought it was a bad movie. I actually enjoyed it. Mark Gibbon, the actor playing Rusty Nail, is acceptable, and Nicky Aycox does a really good job. There's also some decent stunts and good action too, so I think I'll give Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead three stars. It isn't as good as the original movie, but this'll do.
The second movie my dad and I watched this weekend was Strange Wilderness. You probably haven't heard of the movie, but that's more than likely due to the fact that it was a massive box office failure when it was released back in February. To be fair, it did end up turning a small profit, but its stay in theaters was forgettable and unremarkable. Seriously, it only played around here (and apparently, in most theaters) for a mere two weeks. But that's probably for the best, because Strange Wilderness induces more groans than laughs.
Yeah, there are some funny parts, but they end up being few and far between. Lead actor Steve Zahn does his best to hold everything together, though despite his efforts, he ultimately can't stop the movie from falling apart. And that's terrible. My final rating is two stars on the Five-Star Sutton Scale, and a recommendation that you do as big a bong hit as you can if you plan on enjoying the movie. I did it straight and... yeah.
And that's pretty much it for now. I really need to get back to working on my "Super Saturday 2" reviews. I got one movie in the mail on Friday, and I have yet to actually sit down and watch it. So yeah, I think I'm going to attend to that soon. Those reviews aren't going to write themselves, after all.
Friday, October 17, 2008; 1:29 p.m.
With Halloween coming up in just two short weeks, I've noticed a few cable channels have started showing more horror movies than usual. The Sci-Fi Channel is heavily promoting their "31 Days of Halloween" concept, while the Starz movie channels are advertising something similar for the week of Halloween. But I'm not here to shill for the Sci-Fi Channel or Starz (though I totally will if they're willing to cut me a paycheck). What I really wanted to talk about is how much I miss creature feature shows.
Even though I pride myself in being a so-called "child of the '80s," I never got to watch Elvira's Movie Macabre. I totally would have, if I'd been born ten or fifteen years earlier, but the sad truth is that I was an infant during the show's run. Instead, I grew up watching the USA Network's Up All Night with Rhonda Shear and Gilbert Gottfried, and TNT's MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs. I never got the opportunity to enjoy Elvira's Movie Macabre, but I like to think that Up All Night and MonsterVision made up for it.
I have to say that I enjoyed Up All Night and MonsterVision in completely different ways. I have to admit that I never watched Up All Night for Rhonda Shear. With a decade of hindsight, I can definitely see how she could bring in viewers. Instead, I loved Up All Night for the movies. It was the only place I could go to see Troma movies like Class of Nuke 'Em High and the first three Toxic Avenger movies. And though Up All Night showed a multitude of other cheap and sleazy B-movies, it was always the Troma stuff that brought me in. So maybe I should accuse the USA Network circa 1994 for making me the weirdo I am today.
But while it was the movies that drew me to Up All Night, it was the host that made me a loyal fan of MonsterVision. Sure, MonsterVision showed a lot of awesome movies, but it was always the incomprable Joe Bob Briggs that brought me back every weekend. As much as I liked and enjoyed the movies they aired, the segments coming back from each commercial break - along with the "drive-in totals" before each movie - were priceless. Joe Bob was an incredibly funny host, and even when they retooled the show and started more mainstream flicks, Joe Bob was consistently funny and entertaining.
My favorite memory of MonsterVision, though, was the marathon of Friday the 13th movies the show ran on Halloween night in 1998. The interstitial segments where it appears that Ted Turner is picking off members of the show's cast and crew are some of the funniest television that I personally have ever seen. The marathon ran for twelve hours, from dusk til dawn, and I was glued to the television for all of it. That's the kind of show MonsterVision was.
I'm bummed that not only were Up All Night and MonsterVision were both cancelled at least a decade ago, but that no network has started up a similar show in all that time. The Sci-Fi Channel or Chiller would make perfect places to run a new show in the vein of Up All Night or MonsterVision. It wouldn't even have to share a name or a host with the old shows; I'd just like to see something new along those same lines. And with Halloween on the way, this would be the perfect time for some new creature feature show to start up. Hey, Hollywood, are you listening?
Thursday, October 16, 2008; 11:11 a.m.
Being currently between jobs and lacking any major responsibilities at the moment, I find myself with an incredible amount of free time that needs to be spent in some form or fashion. Usually, I can just handle that by playing video games, watching television or DVDs, reading comics, or goofing around on the Internet. Basically, acting the same way I did in college, only without all the wacky shenanigans.
But other times, I spend that free time coming up with various ideas that I should probably be locked up for having. Nothing illegal, just... crazy. One is my idea to run for President on the "All-Night Party" ticket. It would be my little tribute to Howard the Duck's ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976. But considering that I won't be eligible to run for the Presidency for another nine years, I don't see myself hanging onto that idea for that long.
Another such idea is the possibility of doing a sequel to the incredibly obscure (and incredibly lame) Canadian movie The Final Sacrifice. I doubt you've heard of The Final Sacrifice unless you've a hardcore devotee of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but I'm sure that either a Final Sacrifice sequel or a spinoff starring the heroic Zap Rowsdower would be money in the bank. (By which I mean that it wouldn't make a dime.) But do you remember all that talk I put into how I was writing a script a few years ago? Remember how I ended up basically saying, "This is hard, I quit"? That's what I think would happen to Final Sacrifice 2: Rowsdower's Revenge. It's a shame, really.
So do you see what I mean? It's crazy talk like that that runs through my mind when I don't have anything better to do. And to think, I used to wonder why all my friends thought I was weird when I was a kid.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008; 9:17 p.m.
I know that I've been talking about it off and on for a couple of months now, but alas, I'm still working on that large number of movie reviews I've dubbed "Super Saturday 2." I've currently got seven reviews finished, five on my Netflix list that I plan on writing about, and four bootlegs whose reviews I've got in development. So yeah, plenty of work remains to be done.
Once I get this finish, I don't think I'm going to do anymore of these mega-updates for "Sutton at the Movies" anymore. At least not for a while, anyway. It's really killing me to keep those seven reviews off to the side while I work on the other nine. I'd really like to share them right now, but considering I want to make a big thing out of posting the whole batch, I guess I'm stuck waiting. (And so are you, dear readers.)
Hopefully, I'll have this done with the next few months. I've been working on "Super Saturday 2" for a few months now, and as much as I want to be done with it, it'll still be a while. So stay tuned for a little bit longer, I guess.
Saturday, October 11, 2008; 11:27 p.m.
I was in Wal-Mart after the movie, and noticed the two or three aisles of Halloween goods they had for sale. I didn't get the opportunity to check out these aisles and bask in the glory of all things Halloween, but I did wander over to their Home and Garden section and got a mild surprise...
A whole section of Wal-Mart full of nothing but Christmas merchandise. Trees, decorations of both interior and exterior varieties, those big inflatable things that you can stick out in your front yard, all that stuff. Now I could believe just having a few little knick-knacks out at this point, but having the whole darn section set up just 11 days into October? Is there that big of a demand for that stuff now?
I'll gladly admit that I'm a sucker for Christmas, and I have been since I was a little kid. But nowadays, I always get surprised when I see the Christmas stuff up in stores. It seems like it shows up earlier and earlier every year. I know I said a few posts ago that the start of holiday season should be October 1st, but it's still kind of a shock to the system to see such a wanton display of Yuletide festivities available for mass consumption like that.
As much as I want to, I'm almost afraid to start going ahead and getting into the Christmas spirit. Like I said, we're only a week and a half into October, and we haven't even hit Halloween or Thanksgiving yet. I don't want to get burned out. If I can hang on until Santa Claus shows up at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I think I'll be okay.
Saturday, October 11, 2008; 9:34 p.m.
If you've been reading the MSX for any length of time, you'll know how much I enjoy going out to movie theaters. It's been right at a month since my last trip to the movies, though, so I was glad to get out and see a new movie this afternoon. The new movie in question is Quarantine, the latest in the long line of American remakes of foreign horror movies. I was especially looking forward to Quarantine, considering how much I enjoyed its source material, the Spanish zombie movie [Rec]. I absolutely loved [Rec], so I was hoping Quarantine would be able to live up to it. And my personal opinion is that it got very close.
The biggest problem I had with Quarantine is that it's pretty much a carbon copy of [Rec]. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, because [Rec] was awesome. But the reason I call that a problem is because in my eyes, it made Quarantine kinda predictable. Yes, I'm pretty sure that 99 percent of the people who have seen and will see Quarantine have no idea that it's a remake. So I'm sure they'll be able to enjoy it for what it is. But having seen the original movie, it's hard to get into it when you keep thinking, "Ooh, here comes this one scene," or "Hey, this is about to happen, I remember that." Remember how everybody got on Gus Van Sant's case because his remake of Psycho was practically identical to the original, featuring no extreme changes outside of different actors and a transition from black-and-white to color? Quarantine is pretty much the same way, featuring no extreme changes outside of different actors and a transition from Spanish dialogue to English.
But although I could see practically everything coming due to its faithfulness to [Rec], Quarantine still managed to scare me a few times. The acting is also solid, with Jay Hernandez getting an honorable mention. The ultra-shaky Blair Witch-style handheld camera deal gave me a headache, but I guess that's to be expected? Anyway, I'll give Quarantine three and a half stars on my Five-Star Sutton Scale, and a thumbs up. It isn't quite as good as [Rec], but I thought it was a fun little zombie movie.
And if every other movie on the face of the planet can get a video game, why not Quarantine? With the whole handheld camera gimmick, I think a Quarantine video game would seem a natural fit into the first-person shooter genre. If they did it like Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Quarantine: The Video Game would rule. I'd totally buy a copy of it.
Saturday, October 4, 2008; 5:42 p.m.
Where does the time go nowadays? It's hard to believe we're already four days deep into the month of October. And being the sort of person I am, I'm declaring that we're also four days into what I consider the true holiday season. I know the common thing to do is to call the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas "the holiday season," but I like to pride myself on being strange and unusual. So yours truly is putting forth the idea that October 1st is the true start of the holidays. Why? Because Halloween rules just as hard as the other holidays, that's why.
I know that I briefly discussed my childlike affection for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas just two weeks ago. But after seeing all of the candy and costumes and occasional Christmas item on sale at my local grocery store this afternoon, I just had to talk about my three favorite holidays again. Yes, again. Just let me indulge myself, okay?
Even though I'm technically an adult now, I've always viewed the months of October, November, and December with a glee generally reserved for kids. I know that the primary causes for this youthful enthusiasm of mine only account for three days out of the 92 days that comprise the closing trimester of the year, it is the unoccupied days that surround them that really gets the anticipation building. Seeing all the decorations around town, all of the holiday goods in stores, all of the various shows on television... it makes me feel like I'm ten years old again. This is why I love this time of year so much.
But I believe I'll share more of my feelings for these holidays as each one approaches individually. And heck, one could even throw in November 2nd as a holiday, because it'll be the seventh anniversary of the MSX. So there'll be all kinds of stuff to talk about sooner or later. Have fun waiting for the fun. :)
Sunday, September 28, 2008; 1:21 a.m.
How could I let myself go a full week without another post? I was doing so well last weekend, but then I fell right back into that big ol' apathetic hole this blog usually sits in throughout the week. But I guess since we're all here now, why don't we spend a little time getting to know one another?
I know I talk an awful lot about movies, but I also watch quite a bit of television. Too much television, actually. And since the new season is starting, I figure I might as well discuss some of the shows I'm watching.
First on my list is Heroes, which returned for its third season with two new episodes this past Monday. Like a good number of people, I thought the second season of Heroes was uninspiring at best. To tell you the honest truth, I thought it sucked donkey butt. And I don't know if I can truly judge it just by the two episodes I've seen thus far, but this new season seems to be better than the previous one.
I do have a few complaints, like does a thoroughly useless character like Maya gets to stay on the show and have hot, steamy, superpowered sex with Mohinder Suresh while poor Molly Walker (who just may be one of the most adorable characters I've ever seen on television) gets written out with just a cheap throwaway line? And why does it look like Peter's cute Irish girlfriend, the one who got stranded in a dystopian future, will be forgotten about? I know there was a vocal group of Heroes fans who didn't like the character, but if they're just going to ditch her altogether, you'd think they could just tie up a loose end or two. Maybe they could do that in an eventual episode later in the season, I don't know. But it would be just plain lazy to forget about her.
And going back to Mohinder for a second, that storyline they've started with him trying to give himself superpowers is not going to end well. And I'll tell you why. Do you remember the remake of The Fly, where Jeff Goldblum is so sure his new scientific discovery will be successful that he uses himself as a guinea pig? Oh, sure, things started out cool. He was walking on the ceiling and snapping some biker's forearm in half with one hand and generally kicking all kinds of ass. But then by the end of the movie, things had taken one horrific turn for the worst and Geena Davis had to shoot him in the face with a shotgun. If Mohinder gets shot in the face at the end of the season, just know that you heard it here first.
My relationship with Heroes is on shaky ground thanks to that awful season last year, but I'm not ready to give up on it yet. The first two episodes of this new season have, in my eyes, have gotten the show back on the road to redemption. So we'll just have to see how it goes.
My Name Is Earl also started back up with two new episodes on Thursday, and I'll say it's the funniest show on television now. Name any comedy on TV, and I'll say that My Name Is Earl is funnier. Screw The Office, screw Entourage. My Name Is Earl is where it's at. The "Eye of the Tiger" bit from Thursday night's second episode was gold, and Jamie Pressly and Ethan Suplee are just fantastic. If you aren't watching My Name Is Earl, you should be ashamed of yourself.
And then there's the shows whose new seasons began earlier in the month. Like Smallville, for example. I'll admit that Smallville's writing has been consistently stupid since its inception, but I'm a sucker for comic book things, so I'll keep on watching. We're two episodes into Smallville's eighth season, and the show's new creative team are finally advancing the mythology. I mean, you could practically call the show "Metropolis" now. And yeah, this advance towards Clark Kent becoming Superman is about two or three seasons too late. But better late than never, I guess. I am bummed that the best actors on the show - Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover - are no longer on the show, but Allison Mack and the very awesome Justin Hartley still around, so that's a plus. And Kristin Kreuk has pretty much left the show, so hey, the show can only get better, right? Judging a season by only two episodes is tough, but considering the strides they've taken thus far in ushering in Clark's eventual escapades as the Man of Steel, I have high hopes for Smallville.
In the time slot immediately following Smallville is the second of only two shows I watch on the CW Network, Supernatural. I missed a lot of the first season of Supernatural due to scheduling conflicts (My Name Is Earl was on in the same time slot, and I had yet to discover downloading episodes), but after finally getting to watch the show on a regular basis, it's become one of my favorites. It's been consistently strong, and the two episodes of the fourth season have been no different. The fact that they'll do episodes that go back and reference even minor events from the show's past episodes a real sense of continuity that I can respect. The season's primary story arc - the Winchester brothers are charged by an angel with the task of stopping a demon from letting the devil loose on Earth - could make for some interesting television, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Another returning show I'm watching rather faithfully is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I really enjoyed the previous season of the show, because I thought it was a fun spin on the Terminator mythology. Besides, at its worst, it's still a teensy bit better than Terminator 3. Summer Glau and Lena Headey are both very good, and Brian Austin Green is solid in his role, as is Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson (though you can tell she's not a seasoned actress). But in my eyes, Thomas Dekker still hasn't fully shown that he was the best person for the role of John Connor. I don't know, maybe I'm still seeing him as the dorky kid that hung out with Hayden Panettiere during the first season of Heroes. Maybe I'll warm up to him, I don't know.
And of all the shows I'm following, the only new one of the bunch is the HBO series True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris's series of "Southern Vampire" books. I'd seen the advertisements for it in Wizard Magazine, and I thought the concept - vampires reveal their existence to the world and end up being looked upon as second-class citizens - was an interesting one. But just my luck, I unfortunately don't have HBO. So thanks to my good friend known as the Internet, I get to watch it after all. I'm three episodes into True Blood, and I'm really enjoying it thus far. The writing is entertaining and lead actors Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are both really good, but then again, so is the supporting cast as well. The show has already been picked up for a second season, so I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who likes it.
And that's about it for this one. Just thought I'd bring everyone up to speed on what I'm watching, and what you should be watching. Because as we all know, my opinions are law. (Wait, why are you laughing at me like that?)
Saturday, September 20, 2008; 4:21 p.m.
The toy section wasn't the only part of Wal-Mart I visited today. I also noticed that they had an aisle or two dedicated to Halloween products. I guess that means that not only is autumn actually upon us now, but my favorite trimester of the year is coming up soon as well.
The span from October to December, as I'm sure you may be aware, covers the three holidays I anticipate more than any others: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I'm a big kid at heart, and if any of the 365 days on the calendar can get my inner child excited, it's those three. I'm a little surprised that they're rolling out the Halloween stuff in the middle of September, but the big shocker is that I was in a store the other day that is already putting Christmas items on the shelves. Does that seem a wee bit premature to anybody else? It isn't even October yet, and they couldn't wait to put the Christmas decorations up?
But as weird as that comes across, I actually can't complain. As a matter of fact, I enjoy seeing the holidays up like that already. Like I said, I'm a big kid, and Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the three most kid-friendly holidays out there. At least, that's how I like to view them. There's so many fun memories from my childhood that center around those holidays that I can't help but love them as an adult. I'm sure I'll have more to say about each holiday individually once they finally arrive, but as for now, I'll just say that I can't wait for the holiday triple threat. They'll be here before you know it, and I can't wait.
Saturday, September 20, 2008; 3:43 p.m.
Whenever I'm at Wal-Mart, I like to venture into the toy section so that I can check out their selection of action figures. I very rarely ever buy any, mostly because I don't really feel like purchasing any of the 3,000 varieties of the action figures I'd typically want. I don't want Aquamarine Iron Man with the special scuba gear built into his suit, or the Ultra-Stealth Batman with the camouflage costume. I just want the regular, standard versions of the action figures I'd want to buy, but the toy companies apparently don't make them. They must figure that instead of buying just the regular old Batman like he appeared in the movie, people would much rather purchase a Batman figure with a million useless accessories that you've never seen before (and more than likely don't want).
But I'm going off on an unnecessary tangent. Back to the point. I was visiting the action figure aisle of the local Wal-Mart earlier this afternoon, and what caught my eye were their selection of WWE figures. As a wrestling fan, it always strikes me as weird that every Wal-Mart I've ever been to carries an incredibly outdated selection of wrestling toys. By "outdated," I mean that most of the wrestlers seen on these racks in toy form were fired by WWE long ago. The Wal-Mart I was in today had figured representing Big Daddy V, Balls Mahoney, Nunzio, Stevie Richards, Marcus Cor Von, and The Gymini. I could understand seeing the figures of Mahoney, Nunzio, Big Daddy V, and Stevie, since they've only been on the unemployment line for less than six months. But Marcus Cor Von? The Gymini? Cor Von was fired a year ago yesterday, and The Gymini were fired right at - get this! - 21 months ago. Nearly two years they've been gone from WWE, and every Wal-Mart I've been in during that time period usually has one or two sets of Gymini figures. And I think they only wrestled three televised matches, to boot. It'd be like if they made figures for the Gobbledygooker or the Heartthrobs or somebody lame like that.
The Gymini figures really blow me away. It's not just the fact that they exist to begin with, but also that these poor unloved, unwanted figures have been sitting on store shelves for nearly two years and nobody even bothers to look at them. Yeah, Gymini was an incredibly lame, forgettable tag team, but come on. You'd think that somebody at Wal-Mart would notice that these figures have never moved and get the hint that they probably never will. Just shove them over into the clearance aisles, then ship them off to the Island of Misfit Toys to go hang out with Hermey the elf and Yukon Cornelius. Or at the very least, they could just invest in wrestling figures that kids would actually want to buy.
And while I'm thinking about it, I've got to hunt down a Yukon Cornelius figure. He rules.
Friday, September 19, 2008; 11:50 p.m.
Remember how I said I'd acquired some movies from the Internet? I've been watching a few more of them today, so why not have a replay of last Saturday and discuss them? Sure, I could be doing other things right now. But sometimes, the same old stories are better than no stories at all. Am I right?
Anyway, first up on today's checklist is the direct-to-video sequel Lost Boys: The Tribe. Basically, the movie is a remake of the original, hidden beneath the guise of a sequel. Sure, there's little acknowledgements to the prior movie, but other than that, there aren't really all that many differences between the first Lost Boys movie and its sequel. The sequel is basically a carbon copy of the original only with enough changes made to qualify it as a sequel. And as both a remake of and a sequel to The Lost Boys, the movie doesn't exactly live up to the original movie's legacy.
But when viewed in the context of a stand-alone movie, it isn't terrible. There are a few parts that don't really hold up, and it doesn't really have the same sense of whimsy that the original has. But it's good enough for what it is. The acting is acceptable, and despite a few instances of lame jokes and corny dialogue. the writing is sufficient. The only truly bad thing about Lost Boys: The Tribe is the inherent "been there, done that" feeling. If you've seen the original movie, then you'll end up thinking you've seen it all before once you watch The Tribe.
That's why I called it a remake earlier. The plot is nearly identical, albeit with a few alterations. Wouldn't it have just made more sense to do a straight, unabashed remake instead of this remake in sequel's clothing? Or why not do that Lost Girls movie that was rumored a few years back? But in any event, anything bearing the Lost Boys name is cool by me. Lost Boys: The Tribe gets three stars on the Sutton Scale. And after that scene during the credits, I really want to see Lost Boys 3 now.
Up next on the movie-watching agenda was the remake of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead. This was another direct-to-video movie that came out back in April, and it boasts the unenviable distinction of having the worst DVD cover art I have ever seen. Luckily for me, my copy of the movie was downloaded off the Internet, so I can easily bypass that whole "ugly DVD cover" thing. But enough about that, let's talk about the actual movie itself. The original Day of the Dead is my favorite of Romero's five zombie movies, so I was both nervous and curious to see how the remake went. As it turns out, I was actually mildly surprised.
I guess it should be noted that Day of the Dead is really only a remake in the loosest way possible. The "zombies vs. the military" concept remains, as do the names of certain characters and the idea of an intelligent zombie. But other than that, the Day of the Dead remake is its own movie. Boy, is it ever its own movie. It's basically the most insane Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie ever made. I say that not only because the movie looks decidedly low-budget, the acting is hammy at best, the CGI blood is laughable, and the script is atrocious, but the zombies are unlike any other zombies I've ever seen in my life. It's far beyond the simple running zombies. These things make the running zombies look tame. The Day of the Dead remake's zombies not only run at ninety miles an hour, but they can leap up into second-story windows in a single bound and crawl along walls or ceilings. Go back and read that last sentence. I swear that every last word of it is the absolute truth. Seriously, these are the most relentless zombies I've ever seen. And I've seen a heck of a lot of zombie movies in my day.
Steve Miner, the director behind the second and third Friday the 13th movies and Halloween H20, is in charge here, and the whole movie is basically a document of his efforts to polish a turd as hard as he can. If there's one thing that can be held up and acknowledged as the worst thing about this movie, it's the script written by Jeffrey Reddick. How do you go from writing Final Destination to this mess? There are a few things brought up that you think will be explained later, only to just have it blown off with the phrase "it's complicated." Mena Suvari's character curiously doesn't keep her gun loaded. Why? It's complicated. She and her brother don't get along. Why? It's complicated... and something about bicycles was thrown out there that I didn't really get. Why even bring these things up at all if you're not going to resolve or explain them? Were the necessary scenes deleted, or was Reddick just being incredibly lazy?
But the point of this whole thing is that there are many reasons why the movie should suck, but so help me, I couldn't bring myself to hate it. I actually had fun watching it. I'm so conflicted right now. Do I actually want to give the movie a good review in spite of its lameness, only because it managed to be fun? Oh, what the heck. The Day of the Dead remake gets three stars and a thumbs up.
And that's it for this one. I probably shouldn't be watching all these downloaded movies when I've got movies in from Netflix. I've got one in from Netflix that I need to watch in order to review it for the long-delayed "Super Saturday 2" project, but I've been neglecting it for the last week or two. I really need to fix that so I can get this stinking project done. I'll jump right into that tomorrow.
Sunday, September 14, 2008; 11:58 p.m.
Just figured I'd preface this post by saying that the power came on about 45 minutes ago, right when I finished writing the last words of the previous post into my notebook. So I figured I'd go ahead and post what I'd written in my notebook, then continue the story in this post.
Anyway, I was going on a pretty decent writing roll with that last post, so let's keep that momentum going. As I was saying before the electricity kicking on interrupted me, Moses and I were reading selected issues from the Spider-Man portion of my comic book collection when we were hit with the idea to go see a movie. The theater is in the next county, so we figured that if the power outage affected them to, then at least we got to kill some time.
We ended up seeing Bangkok Dangerous, Nicolas Cage's newest action movie. The movie has been less than successful, combining negativity from the critics with a lack of money made at the box office. But I'll readily admit that I'm a fan of Cage's work, no matter how bad or how cheesy his movies can get, so what did I think of Bangkok Dangerous? I liked it. I didn't fall head over heels in love with it, but I thought it was a flawed yet fun movie.
There isn't a whole lot going on in regards to plot or character development or any of that stuff. But as someone who enjoys the occasional nonsensical action movie, especially one starring Nicolas Cage, I thought it was endearing in a goofy kind of way. All I really expected was a movie about a hired assassin who shot lots of people in Thailand, and that's exactly what I got. I guess I'll give it a score of three and a half stars on my patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, along with an advisory to go see it soon if you're interested in it at any way. Considering the movie hasn't really been financially successful, I doubt a lot of theaters will carry it for much longer.
So I think I can say without much exaggeration that it's been a weird kind of day, to say the least. I don't know if I would care to repeat it, outside of the trip to the movies, but I think it might be a day worth remembering. I also have to say that I enjoy writing posts during power outages. I don't know why exactly, but it makes me feel like I have more of a chance to use more of my imagination while I'm writing these things. Not once in the nearly seven years since the MSX's initial launch have I ever really considered myself all that talented of a blogger. I don't know what it is, but these rare instances of the electricity going out, it feels like I'm writing a different kind of post than the ones I usually crank out. As much as I hate to say it, maybe it would be in the best interests of this poor blog if the power went out more often?
Sunday, September 14, 2008; 11:51 p.m.
[Thus continues the latest addition to my "Blackout Manifesto."]
The time is almost 11:00, and yeah, the power is still out. Whoopee. My search for that portable television turned up fruitless, sadly. Though considering that I had to limit where I searched - I couldn't really go digging through bedroom closets out of fear of waking up everybody else - I'm not surprised I couldn't find it. I probably could conduct those searches anyway, but since I have all the grace of an angry bull in a china shop, I would probably awaken a sleeping giant or two and get chewed out for rummaging through closets for no good reason. Besides, I'm not exactly 100% sure if we had the proper batteries to go in it. It's not like I can plug it into the wall or anything right now.
And now that I think about it, that portable TV will probably be useless come February after the digital conversion is finalized. At least it has a radio on it. And I do have a battery-powered radio beside me, so at least I have something to keep me from climbing the walls right now.
Anyway, while I'm writing, I might as well write about something worth reading about later. I spoke in the prior post that I'm in need of constant entertainment, lest I go loony from boredom. I guess I'm incredibly susceptible to cabin fever, I don't know. But maybe thirty minutes into the power outage, my buddy Moses came over in order to ease his own boredom by giving himself somebody to talk to. And after an hour or two of raiding the Spider-Man section of my comic book collection for some entertainment, we decided to get out of the house and go see a movie. But I'll continue talking about that in the next post.
Sunday, September 14, 2008; 11:43 p.m.
[You devoted readers, all none of you, may or may not remember what I jokingly called my "Blackout Manifesto." To refresh your memories, the series of posts comprising the Blackout Manifesto were basically things I scribbled into a notebook during power outages in order to pass the time. This post is another chapter into that series.]
The time is in the neighborhood of 10:30 p.m., and here I am sitting in the dark, pen in hand and notebook before me. The power went out about 1:30 this afternoon thanks to the ultra-high winds coming through the area courtesy of that pesky hurricane passing through the Gulf of Mexico. At least I have a flashlight handy, but who knows how long the batteries will hold out.
As much as I hate power outages, I can tolerate them so much more when the sun is up. I enjoy being able to see what I'm doing and where I'm going without a flashlight or candles. Know what I mean? This is why I could never survive as a blind person. I enjoy being able to see way too much.
My real beef with being stuck in a power outage is what I constantly find myself needing to be entertained. Maybe I have ADD or something, I have no idea. But yeah, I can get restless rather quickly. And since I usually don't have all that much to do besides watch television and goof around on the Internet, I find myself being quite bored. If everyone in my house besides myself weren't asleep, I would be hunting down some board games or something. Though we do have a portable TV around here somewhere. Maybe I should go hunt it down.
[To be continued...]
Saturday, September 13, 2008; 8:32 p.m.
Today has been really slow, so I figured I'd kill most of my free time by watching some of these movies I'd downloaded. So why don't we kill some more free time by talking about them, hm?
First on my plate today was The Ruins. Released back in April to not a whole lot of fanfare, The Ruins is an adaptation of Scott Smith's novel about a group of tourists in Mexico who, while adventuring to some ancient Aztec ruins, become trapped and are systematically picked off by the flesh-eating vines that have a stranglehold on the area around them. I'd read and enjoyed the novel in the past, and I thought the movie complimented it well. There's some differences that turn up in the translation, like events that happen to certain characters in the book happening to other characters in the movie, along with a different climax. But considering that the book's author wrote the movie, I suppose it shouldn't be that big of a deal after all.
The Ruins is a solid horror movie, one that is both quite graphic and engagingly scary. The only bad part is that since I'd read the book before, none of the movie's scenes really came as a surprise. Nothing is shocking if you know it's going to happen. Other than that, I will say that I did enjoy The Ruins. With decent acting, well-done special effects, and effective scares, the movie earns three and a half stars on my patent-pending Sutton Scale.
I followed The Ruins with George A. Romero's latest zombie movie, Diary of the Dead. I'd really wanted to see this when it was released theatrically back in February, but I didn't really have a chance to because it only played in 48 theaters. And here I thought Midnight Meat Train was the one that got screwed by its distributor. Anyway, Diary of the Dead essentially works as a modernized side-story to Romero's original Night of the Living Dead. The movie follows a group of college students in the middle of making a horror movie when the zombie plague begins. Their horror movie quickly ends up becoming a documentary about their attempts to survive the blossoming zombie apocalypse. So in short, Romero's pretty much taken Cloverfield, replaced the crummy Godzilla wannabe with zombies, and set the whole thing in Pennsylvania.
And I'll admit that I did enjoy Diary of the Dead. I'm not sure if I liked it as much as I liked the stylistically-similar Spanish film [Rec], but I still think it was a very entertaining movie. The crazy thing about Diary of the Dead is that it simultaneously feels and doesn't feel like a typical George Romero zombie movie. The filmmaking style is unlike anything I've ever seen Romero do, even if the slow-moving zombies are the same. I think it all comes from the writing. Romero's zombie movies have always had some sort of subtext, some kind of hidden social commentary that completely changes the movie if you can pick up on it. Diary of the Dead is no different.
With this chapter into his zombie universe, Romero takes a look at our media overindulgence. From governmental spins on news stories, to bloggers, to those particular folks who have to record every waking moment of their day so the footage can be uploaded to MySpace or YouTube, the whole shebang is Romero's focus here. It's basically a movie about how my generation would handle the end of the world. Do we we deal with things rationally, do we revert to our ancient primal nature, or do we fire up our camcorders and use it to shield ourselves from reality?
And I'd be remiss if I didn't note the little digs Romero gets in on the super-fast zombies that have gained popularity through movies like The Return of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, and the Dawn of the Dead remake. Considering that Romero has been pretty vocal about his, shall we say, "lack of enthusiasm" regarding zombies that can run, I can't really say that I'm surprised he added the quick little "dead things don't run!" lines of dialogue. As a fan of the horror genre, I got a kick out of it.
Diary of the Dead marks Romero's fifth zombie movie in as many decades. The four that came in the past were all entertaining in their own way, and I thought Diary of the Dead was just as good. And if this whole Blair Witch style of filmmaking continues, it could surely be considered one of the best in that genre. All things considered, I believe I'll score it with another three and a half stars on the Sutton Scale, and give it a thumbs up. I'll more than likely end up doing a full-blown review of it for Sutton At The Movies one of these days. Perhaps when Quarantine comes out in about four weeks or so, I can lump these two, [Rec], and Cloverfield all together and review them at the same time. Maybe I could even throw in Blair Witch 2 just for fun.
So yeah, that's pretty much all I've been up to today. The only bad things are that my air conditioner is broken, meaning I've been sweltering in 90-degree heat all day, and that I'm going to have to miss the midnight showing of the original Friday the 13th movie up in Lexington tonight. That normally wouldn't bother me, but considering they're actually having members of the cast there to introduce it, I'm really bummed. The Friday the 13th franchise has always been really special to me, and how many other opportunities like this would I have? Sigh. Maybe whenever they invent time travel, I can come back in time to tonight and buy myself a ticket. Does anybody have Doc Brown's telephone number handy?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008; 12:59 p.m.
With the race to the White House now in full swing, I guess it's inevitable that we're going to be seeing an incredible amount of celebrities coming out to support Barack Obama. (Because let's face it, the only Republicans in Hollywood are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Baldwin.) But I really don't see why it's so important for celebrities to publicly endorse a Presidential candidate.
Yeah, I can understand that maybe they want to use their influence to sway people to vote. But what makes a celebrity's opinion so important anyway? Why should anybody care who Oprah Winfrey is voting for? Some stupid women out there may view Oprah as God Herself, but just because she's pulling for one candidate over another doesn't mean a thing to me.
Am I really supposed to vote for someone just because a celebrity says I should? Screw that crap. That's stupid. I'll admit that I've never voted and I'm not really in a rush to register, but if I did, my vote would not be based on who Oprah or George Clooney or whoever told me to vote for. I'd vote for the candidate who I thought would screw up the least. Maybe I'd even throw my vote away by picking Ralph Nader. Things could go in any direction, and that's what makes the democratic process so awesome.
And do you remember Puff Daddy's "Vote or Die" campaign from four years ago? Total crap. Maybe it should have been "Vote or I'll Kill You." If Puff Daddy started threatening to kill people if they didn't vote like in that one episode of South Park, more people would get out there and do it. Maybe I should become famous and do something like that.
Saturday, September 6, 2008; 7:12 p.m.
So I just now noticed that Fox Reality Channel has been running a marathon of the first season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? today. But just my luck, I didn't notice until they started running the last episode. How could I let something huge like this go on without my full and undivided attention? Why was I not informed?
If you were reading the MSX during the summers of 2006 and 2007, you might remember that I really enjoyed Who Wants To Be A Superhero?. I'm actually really bummed that the Sci-Fi Channel didn't run a third season of the show this summer. Yeah, I know that nobody who has seen it will ever accuse Who Wants To Be A Superhero? of being the best reality show ever. And as much as I hate to say it, I doubt it'd even make the top five. But what I loved so much about it was that it was just unabashedly silly, harmless entertainment that was actually really charming in a goofy way. Even when it was at its most lame (I'm looking at you, the entire second season), there was still the sense that it was never supposed to be taken seriously in the first place.
I don't know if the show's been cancelled or if it's taking a year off, or anything like that. But at least Fox Reality Channel's showing reruns, and I can live with that. Now if there's nothing about the show next summer, that's when I'm gonna raise a big ol' stink.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008; 12:39 p.m.
Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the month of September here at the MSX. I hope everybody had a fun Labor Day weekend, but now it's time to get back to business. And by that, I mean you'll only see posts from me after I go see a movie and come back here to talk about it. (I kid, I kid. Though it does seem like the majority of the posts I write nowadays are like that, doesn't it?)
But although I actually didn't see any movies this weekend, that's not to say I didn't do anything. To make up for no movies I was interested in being out, I went and did a little shopping this past Saturday instead. My dad and I went out to the flea market over in Shelby County, which is always a mini-adventure in and of itself. Once you step through its doors, it's like walking into another universe. If you've seen Hellboy 2, think back to the scene where the heroes go down to that secret underground promenade populated by all those fantastic creatures. It's a lot like that. Definitely a wacky place, I can say that much. And as an aside, I've never seen so many head shops in one place in my life. I counted at least three in this one flea market. If I ever wanted to start smoking pot, I know exactly where to go.
So while we were at the flea market, I found and bought a copy of the Punisher video game that was released on the original Xbox back in 2005. Yeah, there's a PlayStation 2 edition of the game too, but the Xbox version is the one I came home with. And it only cost me twelve dollars, too. After spending all weekend playing it, I must admit that I thought it was a lot of fun. It has a flaw or two, but none of them get affect the game's quality. Truth be told, I had so much fun playing the game that I actually had a hard time putting it down for more than an hour or two at a time. I ended up beating it late last night, but I'm thinking of jumping back into it sooner or later, just to see if there's anything in the game that I missed. That's how much I got into the game.
All in all, the game was worth more than just the twelve bucks I paid for the game. I'd been hunting for it for a while, and I'm happy to have finally found a copy of it. I'm a little curious as to why THQ haven't released a sequel, but I guess there's a good reason why. If they ever announced that they were making Punisher 2 for the Xbox 360, I'd go get in line right now. Now if only I could find a copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 for that kind of money, I'd be set.
Saturday, August 23, 2008; 8:08 p.m.
Another weekend, another trip to the movies. This time, my dad and I headed out and caught Death Race, Paul W.S. Anderson's remake of the Roger Corman-produced 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000. As someone who enjoyed the utter silliness of Death Race 2000, I have to say I entered the remake with a minor bit of trepidation. They'd made some serious alterations to the original movie's plot and Paul W.S. Anderson is the director, so that's two strikes against it. But in spite of that, I thought it was a relatively entertaining movie.
Death Race is exactly what you'd expect from a movie directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. It's loud, badly filmed and edited, and ultimately hollow. But I can't bring myself to hate Death Race. Call me crazy, but sometimes I just like to watch a movie that's nothing but car chases and explosions. Seriously, that's all there is to Death Race. No deeper meaning, nothing to say about society or anything like that (despite the incredibly overused plot point that Death Race is being broadcast as an online pay-per-view event). The whole movie is just a bunch of cars with machine guns and rocket launchers strapped to their hoods. Sometimes, that's all a person like me could really ask for in a movie.
Unless you're a complicated moviegoer with complicated tastes, then Death Race isn't going to be up your alley. And even if it is your type of movie, it may be hard to overlook the shaky camerawork, the choppy editing, and the thorough lack of substance. But if you can get past all of those flaws, you'll find that Death Race never once tries to be more than what it is: an excuse to watch cars with machine guns shoot at each other for nearly two hours. And if that sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon to you, then Death Race is a solid choice. I'm going to give it three and a half stars on my world famous Five-Star Sutton Scale, and a thumbs up. Heck, I'd have given it a thumbs up anyway, just because they gave David Carradine a cameo as the character he portrayed in Death Race 2000. Now if only they could have given Sylvester Stallone a cameo too...
Tuesday, August 19, 2008; 1:34 p.m.
So I was looking around YouTube, as I am prone to do, and I stumbled upon the teaser for the animated Wonder Woman movie that Warner Brothers is releasing straight to video next February. And all I have to say is, "huh?" Warner Brothers and DC can do a feature-length Wonder Woman cartoon, but can't get their act together long enough to do that live-action movie that's been rumored for a few years now?
I'm actually disappointed with the output of Warner Brothers and DC's superhero movies. Yeah, they've adapted comics like A History of Violence, Hellblazer, and Road to Perdition (plus the yet-to-be-released movies based on Watchmen and The Spirit). But when it comes to mainstream characters like Batman, Superman, and the like, they're lacking. Since the genre really took off at the beginning of the decade, there's been two Batman movies, Superman Returns, and Catwoman. And that's it! Compare that to the twenty Marvel movies between 1998 and right now, with the twenty-first coming out in December. While DC is taking their sweet time putting their movies out, Marvel's getting a lot of their major (and some of their minor) characters out there for consumption. And that's not to mention the Wolverine movie coming out next summer, the Thor, Captain America, Ant-Man, and Avengers movies that are in development, and the inevitable Iron Man sequel. It's crazy!
Now I'm not saying that Warner Brothers should start cranking these things out all willy nilly or anything like that. But two a year could work. Warner Brothers owns New Line Cinema now too, so they could always pawn off a few of DC's properties over to New Line. I'd also enjoy seeing them start building towards a shared universe akin to Marvel's preparations for the Avengers movie. I know they got really close to doing a Justice League movie before the Writers Guild went on strike, but I don't think they need to do it right away. Why not do solo movies first, instead of taking the X-Men route (group movies first, solo spinoffs later)?
I've heard rumors of a possible reboot of the Superman movie franchise, so maybe they could start the shared universe idea there. Maybe they could have Superman explain his brightly-colored costume and more personable demeanor by saying he wants to be different from Batman? Or at the very least, they could have Christian Bale do a cameo where he gets interviewed by Lois Lane at some charity function. You know, just something a little more than referencing Gotham City in some throwaway line in a throwaway scene, like in Superman Returns. (Or if you'd count it, something bigger than the quickie Metropolis reference in Batman Forever). I'm no big-shot Hollywood writer or anything, so if some bigwig out in Hollywood is reading this, you can have those ideas for free.
I guess it's because I grew up being more of a DC fan than a Marvel fan is what makes me want to see DC's movies become as prevalent as Marvel's. But it really seems like outside of Christopher Nolan's very awesome Batman franchise, Warner Brothers and DC have no clue what they're doing. I mean, even the worst of Marvel's movies end up being better than Catwoman. (Seriously, what idiot approved Catwoman for a theatrical release?) Maybe someone should take a cue from Marvel and create DC Studios, so the dots between the movies could be connected. Or maybe they could just talk Chris Nolan and David Goyer into doing all of DC's superhero movies?
Then again, with The Dark Knight being the number-one movie in America for a month straight and making more money than anybody would know what to do with, maybe they've got the right idea after all.
Sunday, August 17, 2008; 7:34 p.m.
I just got back from seeing Mirrors, the newest remake of an Asian horror movie. Thanks to the combination of Alexandre Aja in the director's chair and Kiefer Sutherland in the starring role, it actually had potential. But to tell you the truth, they need to just cut it out with these movies. Seriously, Mirrors is one big letdown.
I can't say that the movie totally sucked. Aja did a good job, the music is great, and there are some genuinely spooky parts. But outside of that, Mirrors wasn't all that impressive. There was at least one gaping plot hole, silly acting, bad CGI, and the general feeling that there was nothing positive being added to a genre that just seems to be getting dumber with every new movie. Long story short, I'm going to give it three out of five on the Sutton Scale. That sounds about right, considering I liked about half of it.
But seriously, it seems to me like every one of these remakes of Asian horror movies are starting to become the same thing. Just take some random, harmless inanimate object and turn it into a malevolent force of evil, and you've got yourself a remake of an Asian horror movie. There's been VHS tapes, water, cameras, cell phones, the Internet, mirrors, and even the human eye. The Grudge is, as far as I can tell, the only exception. Sure, not all of them are bad, but the good ones seem like they're few and far between. Somebody just needs to put a moratorium on the genre until they can come up with something really awesome.
Please, Hollywood, do it for my sanity.
Sunday, August 17, 2008; 11:44 a.m.
You know, I must have missed the memo, but I would have been happy if Blogger had let me know they were going to be tinkering around with the layouts of some of the blogs. I noticed the other day that the very blog you're reading right now had been reduced to just a simple white page with the text in Times New Roman, with with no fancy formatting or anything like that. I had to go in, hit the reset button, and re-add all the links and revolving taglines in order to straighten it out. It looks like I've got it taken care of, but it was still a bit of an inconvenience. And me and inconveniences just don't jive.
Anyway, there's other things I'm here to talk about. For example, I've finally started getting back into writing. I finished up two new reviews earlier in the week, which is nice, because I felt like I've been working on them for forever in a day. But alas, it'll be a while before I have them posted, as they're part of my "Super Saturday 2" project. And I'm actually thinking of putting a temporary hold on that project so I can do a few extra reviews to tide you, my faithful readers, over until I can get "Super Saturday 2" finished. I watched The Lost Boys for the first time in forever a couple of days ago, which really put me in the mood to review that and its recently-released sequel sometime in the future. So maybe you should keep an eye out for them in the next few months?
I've also been wanting to write about a lot of the movies I've been downloading over the last eight months. Movies like George Romero's Diary of the Dead and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd have been crying out for me to finally watch them, while Juno is totally waiting for my repeat viewing. Plus I have a bunch of other movies I'd like to get around to reviewing, but as I'm wont to say, we'll just have to see how it goes.
But I plan on having something worth reading posted sometime in the near future... maybe. Of course, I could just work on improving my regular posts instead of doing this "here's what I'm trying to write" style of thing, but I've kinda gotten into a routine here. Know what I mean? Yeah, I'm sure you do.
So that's about it for this one. I'm sure you'll here more from me later.
Sunday, August 10, 2008; 9:56 a.m.
I've been downloading a bunch of movies lately, but I've been putting off watching them because I've been getting caught up doing other things instead. (Mainly downloading more movies while trying to put in the occasional bit of work on that "Super Saturday 2" project that I've spoken of in the past). But I finally got around to watching two of my illegally-acquired movies last night, so I figure I might as well talk about them. I don't have anything else to talk about, so why not that?
First was a movie with the most appropriate title ever, Zombie Strippers. Yes, I actually acquired and watched a movie named Zombie Strippers, no joke. The movie stars Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund and prolific porn star Jenna Jameson, and the movie is basically about exotic dancers who become undead flesh-eating ghouls. That's pretty much the entire plot, actually. Girls get naked and dance, turn into zombies, get naked and dance some more, then eat people. Repeat ad nauseum for ninety minutes, and you have Zombie Strippers.
But the truth is that the movie is a lot of fun. If there was any way I could go back in time and make it the second half of Grindhouse instead of Death Proof, I'd titally do it. I say that because Zombie Strippers is definitely a modern version of what a classic grindhouse movie would be. It's nonsensical, so full of cheese that I'm surprised it wasn't sponsored by Kraft Foods, and is wholly based around the three B's of grindhouse movies: blood, boobs, and bullets. It's pretty much the greatest Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie ever made. And for all it's worth, Zombie Strippers is more entertaining than it should be. So I'm going to give it three and a half stars on my Five-Star Sutton Scale.
Up next was The Condemned, the third venture from WWE Films. I missed the movie during its theatrical run last year, mainly because it was such a tremendous failure that all the theaters in my neck of the woods only carried it for two weeks. But I finally got the chance to watch it, and I actually thought it was pretty good. It definitely the best of the three movies produced by WWE Films so far. (Though that isn't really saying much, considering See No Evil and The Marine were no great shakes.) Steve Austin makes a credible action movie star, and the always-entertaining Vinnie Jones is fun as one of the movie's villains.
While the plot is pretty much a modified version of Battle Royale's, the movie does make a very thin attempt at social commentary. Unfortunately, it isn't a fully developed as it could have been, leaving us with good parts but no great wholes. (Couldn't The Condemned have pretended it was May for a second and stitched those parts together to make a while?) But other than that, I really didn't have a problem with The Condemned. It's a solid action movie that, though flawed, it isn't as bad as the box office returns may let on. Like with Zombie Strippers, I'll give The Condemned three and a half stars and a big thumbs up. It's totally worth at least one viewing.
So that pretty much sums things up. I'm hoping to get around to watching all the other movies I've acquired lately. Plus I really need to start putting more work into my aforementioned "S@TM" project. I'm really slacking off on it. Perhaps I've put too much on my plate with it? I mean, my reviews nowadays are few and far between as it is, but do I really want to sit down and write thirteen consecutive ones? It's not like I'm getting paid for it or anything. (But if any of you readers want to send me a big fat check with my name on it, I wouldn't say no!) I don't even feel like really watching some of the movies I had lined up, let alone write about them, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
I'll just have to play it by ear and see how it goes. I know my readership isn't very high, but I don't want to disappoint those of you who are regular readers by not delivering on something I've been trying to hype. It's not like I'm George Lucas or anything.
Sunday, August 3, 2008; 10:20 p.m.
Howdy, folks, and welcome to the month of August here at the MSX. And as I am wont to do, I made my usual weekend trip to the movie theater. This particular trip was to check out Step Brothers, the new comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. And while the reviews for the movie have been mixed at best, I didn't think it was too bad of a movie. Matter of fact, I thought it was pretty darn funny.
I'll admit that the movie does have a few flaws. Like the story, for example, is complete nonsense from start to finish. But the movie redeems itself by being as silly as possible. But not a minute or two goes by without something that's at least a little funny. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly should probably go ahead and have themselves surgically attached to Judd Apatow, just to make sure that their future comedies don't suck. (Just sayin', is all...)
So yeah, Step Brothers isn't all that bad. It's definitely good for some laughs, that's for sure. (And it's weird that the characters are pretty much exactly like me, except I'm not forty and my parents are still married.) I guess that on my still patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, I'd say Step Brothers is worth about three and a half stars. And that sounds about right.
Monday, July 28, 2008; 1:13 p.m.
I know I've said it a million times in my reviews over at "Sutton At The Movies," but I've noticed that the latest trend in Hollywood over the last few years is to do remakes of horror movies. Ever since The Ring hit it big in 2002, it seems like everybody wants to do these remakes. It started out with just international horror with stuff like The Ring and The Grudge, but then Hollywood branched out into American horror. There's been at least twenty remakes of American horror movies this decade alone, not to mention the remakes of movies of other genres. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when it was announced that Michael Bay was going to be producing a remake of Friday the 13th.
I've never made it a secret that I'm a fan of the Friday the 13th franchise. I have been since I was ten years old. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of going to the local mom and pop video store and renting as many of them as I could. And I still haven't forgiven my dad for not taking me to see Jason Goes To Hell when it came out in theaters. (So what if I was only eleven years old? I was for sure it was going to be the last one, and I didn't want to miss it.) Over the years, I've followed Jason Voorhees's escapades from Crystal Lake to New York City to Hell and to outer space, followed him through epic battles with a Carrie wannabe, Freddy Krueger, and a comic book brouhaha with Bruce Campbell. Because of my affection for the franchise, this is the first remake that actually had me worried.
But then along came the San Diego Comic-Con, or as it should be called, the "Nerd Prom" (™ Stacie Ponder). Footage from the Friday the 13th remake was shown at Comic-Con this week, and of course you know that footage was going to show up on YouTube. I did see that footage last night, and it's made a good first impression so far. I'm sure a full-fledged trailer will end up in front of either Mirrors or Saw V (if not both), but as it stands right now, I'm pretty excited.
I'm just counting the days until February 13th, 2009. And you guys making this movie had better not let me down.
Friday, July 18, 2008; 10:48 p.m.
You know that new movie, The Dark Knight? Did you know that it's awesome? Because it is!
I just got home from seeing it, and it blew me away. No kidding, this has to be the best movie of the year so far. Screw all that artsy ultra-pretentious nonsense that will get all the Oscar nominations, because for my money, The Dark Knight is where it's at. The cast is utterly fabulous, Chris Nolan's direction is awesome, the writing is solid, and when thrown all together as one big whole, it's a movie that blows away nearly everything that could possibly resemble competition.
And I know that much of the attention The Dark Knight has been getting is due to it being Heath Ledger's final completed movie. I do wonder if the movie would have earned such notoriety if Ledger were still alive, but either way, his performance makes the entire movie better through cinematic osmosis. He steals every scene he's in through his frenetic performance, to the point that the movie very nearly begins to gravitate around him. And as much as I love Jack Nicholson's Joker from 1989, Ledger's just might be better. He's been gaining some early Oscar buzz, and if Javier Bardem can win last year, Ledger just might have a chance.
Heath Ledger might be getting all the attention, but the rest of the cast aren't any slouches either. Christian Bale and Michael Caine are perfect as Bruce Wayne and Alfred, while Aaron Eckhart puts forth a noble performance as Harvey Dent. And I've also got to give a big thumbs up to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who makes us all wish that they'd hired her for Batman Begins instead of Katie Holmes.
I cannot say enough positive things about The Dark Knight. It's an amazing movie from beginning to end, and it's a true benchmark in the superhero genre. So I'm going to give it four and a half stars on my patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, and if you haven't seen it, go get in line now. And you know, it's nice to see that the superhero genre has evolved into movies like Iron Man, Hellboy 2, and The Dark Knight. Just like the comic books that serve as their inspiration, superhero movies have started growing up. Of course, their sense of whimsy is still there, and I hope it stays. But they've finally started becoming mature pieces of art, and bravo for that.
Friday, July 18, 2008; 1:10 p.m.
I think it's been a while since I mentioned the big project I was working on for "Sutton At The Movies," so why not spend a little time discussing it?
In case you've forgotten (and I wouldn't doubt it, since like I said, it's been a while) is a sequel to a similar project I did a few years back called "Super Saturday." Similar to the "Sutton At The Arcade" thing I did earlier in this year, it's basically a big group of reviews with a common theme, which in this case would be superhero movies. I've got at least twelve or thirteen reviews lined up for "Super Saturday 2," so I think it might take me a while to get through them all. But I've got two done and another one almost finished, so I'd like to think I'm progressing along quite nicely.
All I really have to do now is hunt down decent downloads of Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight (or just wait four to six months for the DVD releases), and I'll have my whole lineup set. I'm a little bummed that I can't find Howard the Duck or Steel anywhere, but eh, I guess I'll survive. It's probably for the best too, since I'd probably claw my eyes out watching those steaming turds again. Anyway, the reviews I've got lined up will get done sooner or later, so keep an eye out for them in the next few months. Okay? Cool.
Friday, July 19. 2008; 12:59 p.m.
Seriously, March 6th can't get here fast enough.
Sunday, July 13, 2008; 7:48 p.m.
Once again, yours truly made his way to the movies this afternoon. I know it seems like I've been saying that a lot lately, but that sort of thing will happen when you're a movie fan during the summer blockbuster season. Anyway, I hit a movie theater this afternoon to check out Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I was a fan of the first movie, so I was most definitely looking forward to a sequel. And I'll say that Guillermo del Toro didn't let me down at all.
Hellboy II is nothing but fun from beginning to end, no doubt about it. It feels like some scenes containing a plot point or two were missing, but it's nothing that detracts from the movie in any way. It's still constructed in such a fashion that will keep you engaged and entertained through the whole movie. From del Toro's direction and script to the actors, all of the movie's elements combine to make a fine piece of work. And how about that cast, huh? Each and every major player - particularly Ron Perlman in the lead role - does a fantastic job, and the interactions between the protagonists is enough to warrant the ticket price.
After seeing this, I can say that there's now a movie to rival Iron Man as the best comic book movie of 2008. (That is, unless The Dark Knight blows them all out of the water next weekend.) Hellboy II is, quite simply, a great movie. So on my Five-Star Sutton Scale, I'll give it a solid four stars, for sure. Go check it out, folks.
Saturday, July 12, 2008; 12:34 p.m.
It's common knowledge amongst my longtime readers that in addition to my affection for movies and comic books, I'm also a fan of professional wrestling. Yeah, I know that there's a certain stigma around both pro wrestling and its fans, but whatever, I'm a fan anyway.
I mention that because I got to attend the WWE house show at Rupp Arena last night. This was the first WWE event I've been to since the pay-per-view show they ran back in 2006, and they didn't let me down. The show was nothing but fun from start to finish, but I guess I can say that about every WWE show I've been to over the last ten years. From the big name talent to the no-name talent, everyone on the show did their best to entertain the crowd and make it worth the money spent. And for that, I thank them.
I'm bummed that Kentucky doesn't get very many WWE shows, though. It seems like we only get one or two every other year, and we get TV tapings even less than that. I doubt anybody from WWE will ever read this, but why not bring more TV shows or pay-per-views to the Lexington area? Heck, at this point, I'd be happy with a TNA show, and I don't even watch TNA.
Yeah, I guess that this post hasn't been as in depth as it could have been. But there isn't really all that much I can say. A WWE show is something that needs to be seen in person, instead of having it described to you. And needless to say, I'll definitely be at Rupp Arena next time they come to town.
Sunday, July 6, 2008; 5:16 p.m.
I said in my post on Friday that I wanted to go out and see Wall-E sometime, and that's just what I did this afternoon. I must admit to having something of a love/hate relationship with Pixar. I love half of their movies, and I'm rather ambivalent towards the other half. But I thought the commercials for Wall-E looked cute, so I made a point of seeing it when the opportunity presented itself today.
And let it be known that every positive thing you may have heard about Wall-E is true. It's a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable movie from start to finish. I was initially afraid that the movie's whole eco-friendly subtext would be overbearing or preachy, but it really wasn't, and Wall-E's a far better movie because of that. It focuses more on the love story between the two lead characters, and it does it with as little dialogue as possible. The two leads, Wall-E and Eve, have a combined vocabulary of about six words. And truth be told, they don't need to speak. Pixar has let their animation do the talking here, similar to the old silent movies. Only one robot and the human characters have any extensive dialogue, and you know what? That works just fine.
I really cannot say enough good things about Wall-E. Once it has its hooks in you, it'll suck you in and keep you involved all the way to the end. It's charming, heartwarming, funny, and worth every dime of the ticket price. So on the World Famous Five-Star Sutton Scale, Wall-E is worth an easy four stars. Go see it and enjoy it, if you haven't yet.
Friday, July 4, 2008; 10:32 p.m.
Happy fourth of July, everybody. I hope all of my fellow Americans have had a great day. Me, I've had a fine one, thanks for asking. Didn't get to see any fireworks, but it's no big deal. You don't really need fireworks to have a rockin' Independence Day. (Though it helps!)
I actually celebrated the holiday by doing what I do most weekends: I went to the movies. Yeah, it's my usual routine, so what? Anyway, I went out and saw Hancock, the new superhero movie starring Will Smith. Now I know Hancock has been getting some pretty mixed reviews, but I had to go and see it for myself. I'm a sucker for superheroes, what can I say? And I have to admit that I liked the movie, for sure.
Smith is really entertaining, as always, and Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron are both likable too. The only problem with Hancock is that after the mid-movie twist, it can't seem to maintain the adrenaline level it had built up during the first half. Once that twist occurs, things start going crazy. The tone of the movie completely changes from an irreverent action/comedy into a more serious drama-oriented superhero movie. It's kind of jarring once you notice it, especially since it ends up leading to a climax that feels rushed and ultimately, not as satisfying as it could have been. The fact that the movie got cut down from an R-rating to a PG-13 rating seems a little obvious too, since there feels like there should be a little more to the movie than what there is. They'll probably restore all of the excised material for an unrated director's cut when it comes time to release Hancock on DVD, but I really wish it had been left in the movie's theatrical release.
Flaws and inconsistencies aside, I'll fess up to having a lot of fun watching Hancock. I wouldn't call it the best superhero movie of the summer so far, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. I guess I'd give Hancock three and a half stars on my patent-pending Five Star Sutton Scale, and a certain thumbs up. Now I just need to get around to seeing Wall-E...
Saturday, June 28, 2008; 10:07 p.m.
So I just got back from seeing Wanted, the new action movie starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and some guy I've never heard of. James McAvoy, I think his name is. Anyway, I saw Wanted, so I figure I might as well talk about it here.
Wanted is big, loud, badly edited, unbelievably clichéd, and downright silly... but it's still a lot of fun. I've never read the comic book the movie was based on, so I can't compare the two, but Wanted has just about everything you could ever want out of a movie like this. There's lots and lots and lots of car chases and shootouts, a paper-thin plot, and a few explosions, which is enough for Wanted. The only real problem with the movie is the camerawork and editing. The action scenes look like they were filmed by a cameraman who's in the middle of a horrific seizure, and edited by someone with ADD who's hopped up on a cocktail of cocaine and Red Bull. A hummingbird couldn't follow half of this movie.
Well, that isn't exactly the only thing I didn't like about the movie. I hated the ending so much. The movie had me all the way up until maybe the last sixty seconds, then it really took a crazy turn. (Now here's a spoiler alert, so skip to the last paragraph right now if you don't want to know anything.) Wanted concludes with James McAvoy's character getting revenge against all those who wronged him, and he wraps things up with a monologue that kicks the everloving crap out of the fourth wall. I don't remember it word for word, but I'll paraphrase: "I used to be nothing. I used to be a complete loser... just like you. But now, I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. I'm saving the world, one dead body at a time. What the [F-bomb] have you done lately?"
Excuse me, what?! What was that?! Why would I want to pay good money to go watch a movie, only to have it call me out like that? I don't care if that was taken from the comics, because having the lead character make fun of the audience after we just spent two hours rooting for him is the most asinine thing I can think of. Call me crazy, but that completely ruined the whole movie for me. I have enough people that think I'm a slacker, so I don't want to spend seven bucks so a movie tell me what I can have real life people tell me for free. Watching Wanted is like riding the most awesome roller coaster on the planet, then when the ride is over, someone shows up and punches you in the nuts. That's not cool, Wanted! What did I ever do to you? Seriously, words hurt. You might want to remember that little lesson if they ever make Wanted 2. (Before anybody says anything, yes, I'm pretty sure that line was making some kind of point about the theme of the movie, but it's still friggin' retarded.)
So yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings about Wanted. It's an entertaining movie for the most part, but it just isn't worth paying seven dollars to see. My suggestion would be to see a cheap matinee, wait to rent it on DVD, or just download it off the Internet. On the patent-pending World Famous Five-Star Sutton Scale, Wanted is worth around three stars. And that's about the long and short of it.
Sunday, June 22, 2008; 1:40 p.m.
Yours truly made a trip back to the movies last night, hitting the local cineplex to scope out the cinematic adaptation of the old '60s television show Get Smart. And if you haven't seen it yet, go see it now, because it's the best comedy of the year so far.
I can't really say that I was all that familiar with the TV show. I've never actually seen an episode. I knew it was a comedy about spies, and that there was a telephone built into a shoe. But other than that, I didn't know anything about Get Smart. So I went in with practically no expectations at all. After seeing it, I have to admit that it's some of the most fun I've had watching a movie. Steve Carrell is awesome, while Anne Hathaway and Dwayne Johnson (or "The Actor Formerly Known As The Pro Wrestler Called 'The Rock'," if you prefer) are both really funny too. But it should be noted that for all those three do, Alan Alda practically steals nearly every seen he's in.
Alda is awesome, but I can say that about the whole movie. I can't heap enough praise upon Get Smart, it's that good. So I'm going to throw out four stars on my world famous patent-pending Five Star Sutton Scale and give it a big thumbs up.
Sunday, June 15, 2008; 8:30 p.m.
Went out to the theater again this afternoon for a showing of the new Incredible Hulk movie, appropriately titled The Incredible Hulk. And I don't know if I'd call it as good as Iron Man, but it's close. Very close.
The movie is definitely an improvement over Ang Lee's attempt at a Hulk movie back in 2003. It forgoes the cartoony feeling of the original, as well as the brooding existentialism that seemed prevalent there. It's mainly an action movie starring a giant green man whose explosive temper has a short fuse. Sure, there's our moments of plot and characterization, but the creative forces behind this flick make sure to keep it from getting in the way of all the awesome action.
Not only is that aforementioned action great, but the cast is quite good as well, with Edward Norton and Tim Roth as the standout players. I also enjoyed the little nods to the comics (mainly the references to Nick Fury, SHIELD, Stark Industries, the Avengers, and a particular character's eventual evolution into a villain), along with the fun cameos from Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno, and Robert Downey Jr. (and Bill Bixby too, if you count the stock footage from The Courtship of Eddie's Father that shows up in the movie).
So yeah, I thought the movie is really entertaining. Can't really complain about it. So on my world famous patent pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, I think I'll put The Incredible Hulk at around four stars. Go check it out, folks.
Friday, June 13, 2008; 9:59 a.m.
Howdy, folks, and welcome back to the MSX. I hope everybody is having a fine Friday the 13th so far.
You longtime readers - all two of you - know I'm a sucker for scary movies. I've been a fan of the genre for a long time, so long that it's hard for me to remember a time when I didn't watch horror movies. Because of that, Friday the 13th is kind of a big deal for yours truly. When I was growing up, my favorite horror movies were the Friday the 13th series. It seems like not a weekend went by when I wasn't going to the local "mom and pop" video store to rent either a Friday the 13th movie or a wrestling video. (It helped that the store conveniently kept the horror movies and the wrestling videos next to each other.) I don't watch the movies as often as I used to, but I've since made it a little tradition to watch at least one every Friday the 13th. Still haven't decided which one I'll pick to watch today, but it's early. There's plenty of day left.
I'm really not a hundred percent sure what drew me to the Friday the 13th franchise all those years ago. I can't say it was the Internet that got me excited about it, since I'd never even heard of something like the Internet when I'd got into the movies. I tend to blame my affection for those movies on television shows like the USA Network's Up All Night and TNT's MonsterVision. I never got the chance to see Elvira's old horror show, but Rhonda Shear and Joe Bob Briggs were good enough for me. I loved Up All Night and MonsterVision, even if I did have to stay up until the wee hours of the night to watch them. It was these shows that helped craft my affection for not only the Friday the 13th franchise, but for silly B-movies like the Toxic Avengers movies and the horror genre as a whole. The movies were fun to watch back then, and still are today.
And really, shouldn't movies be fun?
Sunday, June 8, 2008; 3:28 p.m.
I have to say that I enjoy going out to the movies. Sure, the seats aren't always that comfortable, and the prices for tickets and snacks are outrageous. And then there's the morons who'll talk during the movie and the rare occasion where it seems like the projectionist has no clue what they're doing. But still, I do like going to movie theaters.
I say all that because I hit the road last night and caught The Strangers. The plot sounds a lot like the recently released Funny Games, in that some psychos trap two or three innocent people in their house and royally screw with them with the intent of killing them by the end of the movie. But considering I have yet to actually see Funny Games, I can't compare it to The Strangers. But if they're anything alike, then Funny Games can't be too bad, because I really liked The Strangers.
There's a few parts that didn't really work, like the cheap jump scare that ends the movie. But aside from the small handful of weak moments, I thought the movie was quite effective. There's plenty of jump scares, which could get tiresome after a while, but it's counterbalanced by a healthy heaping of suspense. The really creepy thing about The Strangers is that you never clearly see the faces of the villains, and the only motive they give is "because [the victims] were home." The idea that these three people, who could be anybody, are terrorizing poor Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman for no good reason at all is frightening in and of itself. At least, that idea scares me.
Overall, I have to say that I liked The Strangers. Are there some things about it that I would change if I could? Yeah. But you could say that about almost every movie. The Strangers is a rare movie in an era where most horror movies are sequels or remakes. It's an original movie that, if you let it get under your skin, is pretty darn scary. So if I'm going with three and a half stars on my patent-pending World Famous Five-Star Sutton Scale. And let it be known that The Strangers is a prime example of why you should have a peephole installed in your front door.
Thursday, May 29, 2008; 11:47 a.m. - Happy Birthday To Me!!!
Yep, today is my birthday. I can pretty much guarantee it won't be too awfully exciting, but the weekend will be soon. So I guess I can make the most of it then. Nothing wrong with that, is there?
That aside, I'm still hoping that there will be some fun to be had. It's my birthday, it can't be too bad of a day. High hopes, and all that.
But happy birthday to me, anyway. :)
Monday, May 26, 2008; 2:06 p.m.
I hope everybody is having a safe and happy Memorial Day, or just a good Monday in general if you're not from the United States. I actually meant to make this post last night, but I've been so worn out this weekend that I completely forgot to do it.
I managed to get out to the local multiplex late yesterday afternoon in order to catch a showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And for what it's worth, it's an entertaining movie. The only really glaring problem is the fact that it's less like Indiana Jones 4 and more like National Treasure 3. Take one of the National Treasure movies, replace American history with archaeology and Nicolas Cage with Harrison Ford, and put the movie in the 1950s, and you've got Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
It doesn't really matter in the long run, because as I said, Indy 4 is still an entertaining way to spend two hours. It's some of the most fun I've had watching a movie all year. It's funny and exciting, something a lot of adventure movies have a hard time pulling off nowadays. Sure, the mid-movie twist regarding the connection between Indy and Shia LeBeouf's character might be a bit obvious, and the origin of the crystal skull might be a tad preposterous, and the climax could be accused of being lame, but it's still a fun ride from start to finish. My vote? A hearty thumbs-up and three and half stars on the patent-pending World Famous Five-Star Sutton Scale. Go check it out.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take care of my sunburns. I spent all of Saturday out in the sun during my neighborhood's annual Memorial Day Weekend festival, and my face, neck, and arms are downright toasty. Fun times, though. Fun times.
Thursday, May 22, 2008; 7:01 p.m.
Since there isn't a whole lot to do here at Sutton HQ, I have to find different ways to bide my time. As you regular readers have seen over the last several years, I've taken to writing my own movie reviews to take up my free time.
I bring that up because I've got one more review that I wanted to share. The new review: the comic-inspired vampire movie 30 Days of Night. I've been wanting to review it for quite some time, so I'm glad I can finally get it done. So have fun reading it, okay?
You know, it just hit me that this coming summer will mark the fifth anniversary of "Sutton At The Movies." I'd started it as a lark, just as something fun to do to get myself prepared for the release of Freddy vs. Jason. But taking the ball and running with it for five years and currently 173 reviews is surprising.
Maybe I'll have to think of something big to do in a few months to celebrate. Hmmm...
Sunday, May 18, 2008; 11:49 p.m.
So this afternoon, I happened to visit the comic book shop over in Danville. Their inventory isn't really all that big, neither in terms of new stuff or back issues. But whenever I'm nearby, I like to stop in and look around anyway. Might as well, right?
Anyway, like I was saying, I was in the shop this afternoon. I wasn't looking for anything specific, I just wanted to see what they had around and maybe purchase something that caught my eye. You comic book fans know what I mean, right? So I'm in there browsing through the back issue bins, and I stumble upon Daredevil #9, cover-dated August 1965. Yeah, the ninth issue of Daredevil's very first run. And the price tag? Three dollars and fifty cents. No fooling, it was that cheap.
Now I should say that it was marked for only $3.50 for a reason. Frankly, this issue's better days were long ago. There's small stains on the cover, which is hanging on for dear life thanks to some small tears. The staples look rusty, and the poor thing looks like its spine is lined up crooked. But considering the issue number and the fact that I'm not too incredibly picky when it comes to comics that are nearly forty-five years old, I don't mind making a concession or two when I think it's necessary. So as you may have surmised, Daredevil #9 is part of my ever-blossoming comic book collection now. I must admit that I'm somewhat proud of myself, since it's the oldest book in my collection. How many people can say they paid less than five bucks for something like this, no matter what shape the book is in?
I came close to buying the four issues that made up the "Batman: Year One" storyline while I was in the store too, but due to budgetary concerns, I had to pass on them. Maybe next time...
Thursday, May 15, 2008; 12:38 p.m.
Howdy, folks. It's little ol' me once again, here to amuse you with my vaguely incoherent ramblings and all that jazz.
There really aren't a whole lot of exciting things going on around Sutton HQ. To be brutally honest, absolutely nothing has been happening this week, outside of yours truly hitting my favorite comic shop yesterday and purchasing a stack of comics as big as my head. (Okay, so maybe not as big as my head... but close!) I've also got the shop holding a mighty crapload of books for me every week, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of reading material coming my way in the weeks and months to come. Hopefully, it'll lead to some good topics of discussion in the future.
But I'm not really here to talk about comic books. I actually wanted to draw your attention to the new review I've got up over at S@TM. So for your reading perusal, I submit my thoughts on the movie Vacancy.
As I've said in previous posts, I've got several movies lined up to potentially review. I'm still in the planning stages of my "Super Saturday 2" idea, plus I've got bootlegged copies of Juno, 30 Days of Night, and Cloverfield, and a bunch of zombie movies that I need to get around to writing about. I'm sure I'll touch on them sooner or later, it's just a matter of finding the time. But for now, have fun reading my review of Vacancy.
Go read it already.
Go on, read it.
Thursday, May 8, 2008; 1:42 p.m.
Am I the only one who's sick of that Planters commercial featuring the ugly woman? For those of you who are lucky enough to have missed it, there's this commercial where a hideous troll of a woman rubs a Planters peanut on herself as if it were perfume, and every man she walks past falls blindly in love with her. It's as stupid as it sounds.
Seriously, what genius ad agency came up with this stupid thing? Did they honestly think a commercial featuring Ugly Betty's uglier sister was going to make people say, "Holy crap, I've gotta go buy some peanuts, and I've gotta do it right now!" Does it? It just makes me want to run away from my TV, screaming and crying like a little girl. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't run it during every commercial break of every show I watch. This commercial is so annoying, so awful, that I would rather watch an hour of those crappy Esurance commercials than this one 30-second Planters commercial. That's why I hate you, Planters.
Saturday, May 3, 2008; 10:58 p.m.
Today has been a good day. Not only was it Free Comic Book Day (a fact that I made the most of, trust me), but I also headed out to see the cinematic adaptation of Iron Man.
Now I'm sure that most of you, my faithful readers, have seen that Iron Man has been getting some pretty good reviews lately. And having seen the movie now, I can assure you that many of the positive things those critics have said are true. Iron Man is a thoroughly entertaining piece of action cinema. The acting, primarily from Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, is great, the action is exciting, and the special effects are fantastic. It naturally has its flaws, like all movies do, but as two hours of pure entertainment, Iron Man is pretty darn good. On the patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale, I'll give it four stars and a thumbs-up.
The really odd thing about it, though, was the previews before the movie. Apparently, the theater felt the need to run two previews for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, bridged by a preview for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I understand that Iron Man and Indiana Jones are both Paramount films, so one preview is to be expected. But two? Why not run one for the other superhero movies this summer? I guess some things just aren't meant to make sense.
Friday, May 2, 2008; 10:53 p.m.
We're now two days into the month of May, so let's properly ring in the new month with the new doubleheader of reviews I'd mentioned a few times in the past. The two films in question: Hatchet and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
There's quite a few reasons I chose to do a double feature with these two particular movies. Both are post-modern slasher movies with their fair share of humor. Both feature Robert Englund and Kane Hodder in some form or fashion. Both were distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, who gave them theatrical runs so extremely limited that they might as well have gone directly to video. But the differences? One is good, and the other is bad. Feel free to read the reviews and see which one is which.
Now that that's out of the way, I can start putting effort in on the other reviews I've been planning. I have several lined up, as I mentioned in the past. I'm also hoping I can work in some of this year's summer blockbusters. I had an idea for a mega-post of reviews of superhero movies, a sequel to the "Super Saturday" thing I did all the way back in 2005, and if possible, being able to work in Iron Man, The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, and Hellboy 2 would be great. I could probably even throw in Hancock and Superhero Movie, though neither one of them are really based on comics.
So anyway, enjoy the new reviews. I'll hopefully have more in the coming weeks.
Sunday, April 27, 2008; 9:38 p.m.
As much as I enjoy motion pictures, I haven't found the opportunity to get out to a theater since I saw The Eye back at the beginning of February. I finally did get around to hitting the movie theater this afternoon to check out Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, and I might as well share my thoughts regarding it.
I really liked Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, so I naturally assumed I'd enjoy the sequel as well. But the truth of the matter is that I'm on the fence about it. There's some funny parts, and Neil Patrick Harris's extended cameo is awesome, but other than that, the movie is adequate at best.
A lot of people noted a quite subtle social commentary about race relations in the original Harold & Kumar movie. And in Escape From Guantanamo Bay, they ditch the subtlety and practically beat you over the head with the comedic social commentary. The main antagonist in the movie is both incredibly racist and stupid as all hell, and they practically come out and say that the doofuses running the country are making every other American look bad. Like I said when I spoke about The Tripper, I'm not really into movies that wear the political snark right out there on their sleeve. I guess I'm saying that I appreciate subtlety more. Admittedly, some of the humor does work, but the rest? Meh. Seriously, did we really need the cheesy cameo by a George W. Bush facsimile, or the cheap deus ex machina that results from said cheesy cameo?
Ultimately, the handful of truly entertaining moments weren't enough to sustain it for a two-hour running length. Had they trimmed the fat and cut the movie down to about 90 or 95 minutes, then the movie probably would have been better. There were a few scenes - Harold and Kumar encountering the inbred son of an affluent redneck couple, then a group of Klansmen led by Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: SVU; the movie's primary antagonist interrogating Harold and Kumar's Jewish friends by taunting them with a pouch full of money - that could have been trimmed or cut out entirely, and I don't think anybody would have noticed the difference. But as it stands, it might be a good sequel, but it just isn't all that great of a movie. At least the cast is entertaining, because without them, I don't know if I'd have made it. I guess I'll give it two and a half stars, and a recommendation only to people who absolutely loved the first movie. And to those of you who do see it, make sure to stay all the way through the closing credits.
I might not have been to the theater in nearly three months, but with the summer blockbuster season starting next week with Iron Man, I'm sure I'll be there more often.
Thursday, April 24, 2008; 9:33 p.m.
A few posts ago, I mentioned a doubleheader of reviews that I was in the midst of writing. For all none of you who may be interested, those reviews are coming along swimmingly. One of them is completed, and I'm almost halfway through the other one. I'm hoping to have it done and both of them posted within the next few days, if I'm lucky.
There for a while, it seemed like I was going through a phase of not wanting to write very many reviews at all. Now I've got more movies lined up than I know what to do with. I've got at least eight backed up on CD-R's, and at least a dozen more near the top of my Netflix queue. If I do end up writing reviews for all of them, I'll be spending a lot of time writing more reviews. Hopefully I'll be able to actually crank some of these reviews out sometime, especially since a remake of one of the potential reviews is being released in October.
But as always, we'll just have to see how these things go.
Thursday, April 17, 2008; 8:51 p.m.
Since we're talking about comic books here at the MSX, I might as well mention that thanks to the county's public library, I began re-reading Watchmen earlier this week. Maybe it's because of the fact that I'm getting to hold the actual physical book instead of looking at the bootlegged version I'd downloaded off the Internet, but I'm finding myself being pulled deeper into the story while reading it now. Nothing feels superfluous or unnecessary, maybe with the exception of the whole "Tales of the Black Freighter" thing, which I really just wasn't all that into. Both the writing and the artwork are fantastic, a word that I could use for the Watchmen reading experience as a whole.
Take away any sort of social commentary on the Cold War or '80s society or anything like that, and Watchmen is still an awesome read. And I'd be willing to say that it's because of the characters. I'll fess up to being a Rorschach fan, but every character in the book has something intriguing that they bring to the table. Even the guy running the newsstand is worth keeping up with during his random scenes. The awesomeness of the characters, though, is just a testament to how awesome Alan Moore's writing is.
So yeah, I guess you could say I like Watchmen. Why do I not own my own personal copy of it yet?
Thursday, April 17, 2008; 1:08 p.m.
I swear, I think my affection for comic books is starting to snowball. I say that because thirteen old issues I'd ordered online came in the mail just a few minutes ago. They set me back thirty bucks, but I'd say my haul was worth it, especially since I managed to score the Who Wants To Be A Superhero? comic for two dollars.
Needless to say, I've got plenty of reading to do.
Sunday, April 13, 2008; 11:46 p.m.
Yeah, okay, so I've been pretty much neglecting the MSX as of late. But outside of all the comics I've been buying lately, I've had practically nothing at all to talk about. Yes, I understand that's a lame excuse, but that's all I've got. I'm sure I could talk about my comic purchases, but it would end up becoming something lame, and I don't want lame. Though I will admit that I could use the new content.
Speaking of new content, I am working on some, in the form of new movie reviews. Some of the reviews I've got planned for the summer, but right now I'm halfway through what will be the first part of a planned double feature. Unless you're an ultra-devoted fan of the horror genre, I doubt you've heard of either movie, but I hope you'll still anticipate the reviews regardless. :)
But those summer reviews.... all in due time. Just wait and see.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; 11:42 a.m.
Haven't posted in a while, so why not break that up with two bite-sized "S@TM" mini-reviews?
First up is a little slasher movie called The Tripper, David Arquette's directorial debut. And like any good slasher movie, The Tripper's plot is astoundingly simple. Six ultra-stoned wannabe hippies head up to a redwood forest in northern California for a festival in the vein of Woodstock. But also in town is a psychopath obsessed with Ronald Reagan, and with a handy-dandy axe in tow, he's violently crashing the party.
I'm not exactly what you'd call a fan of hippies, so you'd think a horror movie about somebody hunting them down would be my kind of cinematic adventure. But when The Tripper starts throwing in the lame political satire, it loses me. I just plain don't care about politics whatsoever, so any movie where people are all "wah wah George Bush sucks, boo hoo we're so oppressed" bores me to tears. Not that I like Dubya or anything, but sometimes I get tired of hearing about how much people think he sucks. Though for all the mockery The Tripper deals towards the right wing, it does have a laugh or two at the expense of the left wing as well, so there's at least some balance.
There is some good to be had in The Tripper, though. There's some good performances from Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes, Thomas Jane, and Paul Reubens (and a funny cameo from Courteney Cox too), and when it tries being a straightforward slasher movie, it's entertaining. But all the political stuff really pulls it down. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want my slasher movies to try and make profound statements about the government. I just want my slasher movies to be slasher movies. I guess I could have stood all the politics if it just wasn't handled so... lamely, I guess is the word I'm looking for. So I guess I'll give The Tripper two and a half stars on my patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale.
The other movie on the docket is [Rec], a Spanish horror movie that I discovered through the Internet. The basic plot of the movie centers around a reporter who hosts a TV show, following certain people during the nighttime hours. I imagine it's kinda like Dave Attell's old Comedy Central show Insomniac, only without all the booze or the weirdos. Our fearless reporter's latest episode has her shadowing the Barcelona fire department, but things start going all to hell when she and her cameraman follow two firemen on a call to an apartment building. Soon, they and a small group of others find themselves quarantined inside the tiny building with a growing number of flesh-hungry zombies.
Seriously, [Rec] is an insane movie. It's done in a wild cinéma vérité style akin to The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, which works to make things more frightening. It allows things to sneak up on you, and turns regular jump scares scarier. And it helps that the cast all do fine jobs as well, especially lead actress Manuela Velasco, who I thought was very likable in her role as the inquisitive (to the point of being pushy) reporter. I'm not exactly sure how to properly describe it without giving things away, but [Rec] was definitely one of the scariest movies I've seen in a while. It definitely earns four stars on the Sutton Scale, and I'm totally looking forward to the eventual American remake.
And that's it for the two quickie reviews. I'm pretty sure I'll be coming back to [Rec] one day with a full-length review, maybe a double feature with a review of George Romero's Diary of the Dead. And what is it with all these recent movies using the Blair Witch style, anyway? Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, [Rec], The Poughkeepsie Tapes... all of them are using the handheld camera thing. The Blair Witch Project is nearly ten years old, what took so long?
Saturday, March 22, 2008; 11:38 p.m.
I've made it no secret over the last couple of months that I like comic books. All the cool kids do, after all. And if there's one comic that fans and non-fans should read, it's Alan Moore's Watchmen. First released in 1986 as a twelve-issue series, Watchmen is one of those books that just blows you away as soon as you open it up.
So of course, it was only a matter of time before somebody got the bright idea to turn it into a movie. It was in developmental hell for years, but hey, at least it got made. Anyway, about two and a half weeks ago, they released pictures of all but one of the main characters in their costumes. Go check out those pictures here, if you have yet to see them. I've read different opinions from different people around the Internet, so I guess I might as well throw in my two cents as well.
What do I think about them? I think they look good. They'll probably look better in action on the big screen, but I dig them already. I've heard some people complaining that the costumes look too modern, considering that the comics and the movie take place in 1985. And those people do make a good point. The costumes look like leftovers from the wardrobe department of the four Burton/Schumacher Batman movies. But could there be deeper reasons behind that? Watchmen was a well-noted satire of '80s society, so maybe Zack Snyder and everyone else involved with the movie are trying to poke fun at the costumes in other cinematic superhero movies? That could totally be a possibility, couldn't it?
But I must say that the pictures have gotten me excited. I can't wait to see a Watchmen movie. Heck, I can't wait until the first preview for it gets released. (Since DC published the Watchmen comics, I wouldn't be surprised if they debuted the preview in front of The Dark Knight this summer.) Having seen and liked Zack Snyder's other two movies, I have full confidence that Watchmen will be great. But I guess we won't know just how it will turn out until next year.
Man, it's going to be a long year.
Thursday, March 13, 2008; 6:18 p.m.
Believe it or not, I've actually been doing things besides purchasing comic books. (Though I did do a little of that yesterday, to be totally honest.) But what, you ask, have I been up to? I've been working on a new review for S@TM. Just because I have a new hobby doesn't mean I can't still tend to the old one, after all.
In this new review, I take a look at a slasher movie, the 1981 cult classic The Burning. This is a movie I've been wanting to see for a long time, so I figured that I might as well take the time to review it while I had the DVD from Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, there's a few more horror movies in my Netflix queue that I'd like to review when they arrive at Sutton HQ. So I'm sure you can look forward to those sometime within the next few weeks.
But for now, enjoy the review of The Burning. I'm going to jump back into the comics I bought yesterday.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008; 11:16 p.m.
I swear, one day soon, I'm just going to have to rename this blog "Matt's Weekly Comic Book Purchases." Because little ol' me went out and bought a bunch more comics today. I guess I need to start cutting back to only once or twice a month, because I've made some relatively big (for me, anyway) purchases over the last two or three weeks, and I don't want to get burned out on my new hobby too quickly.
Anyway, comics were purchased today. Added to the ever-growing collection: a second printing of Captain America #25, Detective Comics #823, the first two issues of Dark Horse's Evil Dead adaptation, Spectacular Spider-Man #76, and a free comic called Secret Invasion Saga. I guess that free comic is supposed to be some promotional material to hype an upcoming storyline that Marvel is doing with the Skrull, but I'm a bit out of the loop on this one. Either way, I think I made a pretty decent haul today.
Though I have to say that my shopping experience today was a bit different than what I'm usually used to. I've been frequenting a particular shop in Frankfort lately, and I split my purchases today between that shop and one in Lexington that I'd never been to before. I was blown away by the sheer amount of inventory that the shop in Lexington had, especially the huge rack of Masters of the Universe action figures they had. If the clerks had looked the other way, I'd have snatched the whole rack and made off like a bandit, but I digress. So yeah, the store gets an A+ for inventory, but my big gripe? The place is tiny. I mean, really tiny. It's like someone converted a broom closet into a comic book shop. Go crawl into your refrigerator, and that's how cramped it was in there. I had to sit in the floor to go through half of their back issue boxes, which is inconvenient enough without having other customers stepping over over me because there's no room to maneuver around me. Trying to get around was like playing Human Tetris. It was unbelievable.
They might as well rename the store "Claustrophobic Comics," because that would be some truth in advertising. Not to bash the store or anything, but I like having room to walk around when I'm perusing through my literature of choice. At least I know of two shops that have plenty of floor space in order to accomplish that.
Saturday, March 1, 2008; 10:02 p.m.
Welcome, everyone, to the month of March. Me, I'm having a great time so far. I say that because I made another addition to my slowly growing comic book collection this afternoon. The issues I picked up:
It's too bad I only had a certain amount of money to work with, because there were at least ten more individual issues I'd have bought had been able to afford them.
Though there isn't much to my collection right now, it's growing steadily, so I can't complain too badly. I could probably stand to go buy some bags and boards in bulk, just in case. You never know when they might come in handy. Am I right? Of course I am. Besides, I could stand to get some new ones, since a few of the bags and boards I have are too big for the comics I'm keeping in them. I'd like to keep everything one uniform size, so maybe getting some new stuff to fix that is an idea I should entertain. Call it OCD, I guess.
Wow... for somebody relatively new to the hobby, it sure feels like I've jumped into it pretty heavily. I'm surprised, myself.
Friday, February 29, 2008; 11:55 a.m.
Happy Leap Day, everybody. You'd better make the most of it, otherwise you're stuck waiting four years for the next one. It's like the Olympics, only not.
It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of March. This year's just trucking right along, isn't it? Spring will be here before we know it, and that means only one thing: the beginning of drive-in season is coming soon.
Oh boy, do I love drive-in theaters. I've made that no secret in the past, but I just have to reiterate it. here aren't a whole lot of things that are quite as fun as going to a drive-in theater. I know it's hard as a rock to find them nowadays, bu I'm a firm supporter of such establishments. If you have the means, I highly recommend visiting one sometime.
Honestly, I'm not completely sure what it is that makes them so appealing. Maybe it's the whole retro atmosphere. Maybe it's just being able to enjoy some fresh air and some movies at the same time. I'm not completely sure. But no matter what the draw is, there's something inherently fun about them. And if there's anything I enjoy, it's fun.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008; 11:31 p.m.
I've been playing my Xbox 360 an awful lot lately, to the point that I nearly forgot I owned any other video game console. (Which is kinda sad, since they all sit right there next to each other on my entertainment center.) So I decided to take a break from the 360 and fire up an oldie but a goodie, Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube. Remember all those posts last year about how I was dominating the game? After playing it just a little while ago, I feel like I've totally forgotten what to do.
It's primarily because of how foreign the controller feels now, since I've fallen so far out of the habit of using it. Of course, if there was a way for me to utilize my Xbox 360 controller with my Gamecube, I totally would. But alas, no go.
Perhaps I should get back into playing games on the ol' Cube more often. Resident Evil 5 is being released in 2009, so it might not hurt me to go through and replay the six games in the franchise that I own. Just as a little plot refresher course, y'know? I still have yet to ever actually play Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles over on the Wii, so I'm sure I'm missing out on one or two big plot points, but hopefully, that will be remedied sometime this year.
Luckily for me, though, I still have the other six games. And with them, I can reintroduce myself to the little purple lunchbox from Nintendo that I used to love so much.
Sunday, February 24, 2008; 1:28 p.m.
Yesterday was a pretty long day. My buddy Mo and I headed up to Louisville for the annual Carl Casper Auto Show and to see what kind of mischief we could get into. And outside of the outrageous $14 admission fee, it was some good times.
Naturally, I don't believe there's going to be a whole lot to say about a car show, other than "we saw a bunch of cars, the end." But the four or five hours we spent at the show were really entertaining. Plus, as an added bonus, WWE diva Victoria was there signing autographs and showing off a custom car she helped design. That alone made the whole trip worth it.
All that matters about the day, though, is that we had fun. I also learned that I'm just not built to properly get into and out of a Corvette. I didn't realize until it was too late that their interiors are a lot smaller than you'd think from just looking at them. But either way, I enjoyed myself. I'm not a huge car enthusiast or anything, but if they lower their price, I'd totally go back next year. That is, as long as I remember to wear more comfortable shoes. I love my Chuck Taylors, but they just aren't made for all the walking I did.
Friday, February 22, 2008; 7:08 p.m.
Howdy, folks, and welcome back to the MSX.
There's not a whole lot to report today, but there is some new material over at "Sutton At The Movies." This time, it's a review for Grindhouse, the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature from last year. And just to be silly, I've also done individual reviews for Grindhouse's halves, Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Tarantino's Death Proof. Go check 'em out.
I've got my next review in mind, but it's just a matter of getting around to watching the movie. I am, though, considering doing it as part of a doubleheader with a movie in the top ten on my Netflix list. We'll just wait and see how that goes.
Anyway, have fun reading the three new reviews.
Monday, February 18, 2008; 11:58 p.m.
I've made it no secret that I'm a fan of pro wrestling, and about a week and a half ago, there was a real bummer of an announcement. As of February 7th, WWE has ended its relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling, and all WWE-contracted talent in OVW will be transferred to WWE's developmental territory down in Florida by the end of the month. OVW is going to stay open, but with the majority of their talent heading to Florida, their roster is going to be a little bare. They've got plenty of people in their training program, but I don't know how many of them are ready for prime time, so to speak.
As an OVW fan, this is a real downer. Up until the announcement, there was a certain novelty to watching OVW's TV show and live events during their time as part of WWE's developmental program. Watching an indy promotion and knowing that many of its performers could be called up to the big leagues at any time was neat. Seeing a handful of current WWE wrestlers in my neck of the woods before they were famous was very cool. But without WWE backing them, they're just another independant promotion. I'm not sure I can see them matching the cult popularity of, say, Ring of Honor or ECW's early days, but here's hoping that they can.
Monday, February 18, 2008; 9:38 p.m.
I said in the previous post that I really wanted to start posting more often, so I might as well actually start doing that. Otherwise, I'd be a liar, right?
WWE just announced a few minutes ago that they'll be inducting Ric Flair into their Hall of Fame next month. That's great, and a much deserved honor for Flair, but I can't say that it's really all that surprising. The real surprises lie in the next six or seven names they announce. I've actually heard Mae Young's name bouncing around as a possible inductee, but I can't say I'm very enthusiastic about that. Now I know that Mae Young was a pretty well-known wrestler in the '50s or whenever, but is that going to be her legacy? Are people going to remember her as a wrestler from fifty years ago, or as a super-horny octogenarian that was always tagging along with the late, great Fabulous Moolah, got impregnated by Mark Henry and gave birth to a hand, and took her top off live on pay-per-view?
And I know I did a post like this last year, but I think there's a few people that WWE should get around to inducting into the Hall of Fame. Big names like Bruno Sammartino and Randy Savage deserve it, but I doubt it'll happen as long as they're not on the best of terms with WWE. Or how about Dory and Terry Funk? They've been on a kick of inducting wrestlers from the '80s lately, so why not induct guys like Jake Roberts, the Honky Tonk Man, or Jim Duggan? I've heard the Von Erich family getting thrown around as a possible induction, which would be great. It would be bittersweet, though, since only one member of the family is still alive. Other posthoumus names that I'd love to see inducted would be Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Rick Rude, Brian Pillman, and Miss Elizabeth. All of them totally deserve it, though I'm not sure if they would induct Miss Elizabeth without inducting Randy Savage as well. And if they induct Davey Boy Smith, they'd have to induct Dynamite Kid as well. It wouldn't really feel right to honor one British Bulldog and not the other.
It's apparently an unwritten rule that they only have one or two posthumous inductees per year, so I guess I should throw out a few more names of wrestlers that are still alive. With Ric Flair being inducted, why not induct Ricky Steamboat and Arn Anderson too? Those would be two perfect inductions any year, and inducting them the same year as Flair would seem rather poetic. Heck, why not go a step further and induct Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson too, just so all four of the original Horsemen are inducted in the same year? I would say to unduct the Four Horsemen gimmick as a whole into the Hall of Fame, but do we really need the idea of Paul Roma and Steve "Mongo" McMichael ostensibly being Hall of Famers?
So who else is there? Why not make a few more inductions into the Hall of Fame's celebrity wing? They've inducted Pete Rose and William Perry, but why not induct someone whose made a more memorable contribution to WWE? Lawrence Taylor would be great, but I'd love to see Mr. T and Bob Uecker get inducted. I'm actually surprised they haven't inducted Mr. T yet, since he main-evented the original WrestleMania, and they've already inducted the other three wrestlers in the match.
And I know it's probably too soon, but there's quite a few wrestlers who've retired within the last few years that I'd love to see get inducted. Mainly three names: Steve Austin, The Rock, and, believe it or not, Trish Stratus. Yes, I said Trish Stratus. It'll probably be another ten or twelve years before they start looking at the Attitude Era for Hall of Fame candidates, but don't tell me those three wouldn't deserve it.
But that's just one person's opinion.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008; 1:02 p.m.
I apologize for being rather lax with the blogging lately. It's just there really hasn't been a whole lot going on that I felt like talking about. That, and I'm just plain lazy. Sorry. I did, however, get out yesterday and visited a brand new pizza place over in Springfield before buying a copy of Batman #673. My guess is I need to go track down Batman #672, because I really had no idea what was going on. This issue was still an intriguing read in spite of me being totally clueless, though. And this reminds me, I really should go buy some bags and boards for my comics.
Anyway, I'm definitely going to try working on getting more posts up here. I'd really rather not fall back into that "one post a month" routine I was in a few years ago. I've got to do something to get my readers, all three of them, to stick around. I will say that I've been working on osme new entries for "Sutton at the Movies," and I've downloaded two movies that I may or may not write about sometime in the future. These all depend on if I can get off my butt and put some work in on them. If only I could find a way to do this and get paid...
Sunday, February 3, 2008; 5:38 p.m.
After the outright disaster that was One Missed Call, I have to say that I've been more nervous than ever about future remakes of Asian horror movies. I thought Pulse was bad enough and One Missed Call was even worse, so I was a little worried about the new remake of The Eye. I went into it this afternoon hoping that it would at least be better than One Missed Call, and I have to say that I was pleasently surprised.
Having seen (and enjoyed) the original Chinese version of The Eye, I didn't think there were a whole lot of surprises during the remake. It follows the original relatively tightly, with only a handful of minor differences. But that isn't a negative at all. The American version of The Eye is a very solid movie from start to finish. The scares are really well done, the suspense is tight, and Jessica Alba puts forth a great, convincing performance. Truth be told, I can't think of anything negative to say about it.
I don't know if I'd put it on the same level as the remakes of The Ring, The Grudge, and Dark Water, all of which I thought were fantastic. But The Eye is a pretty darn good remake, and an entertaining movie in general. I'll give it a thumbs-up with three and a half stars on the patent-pending Five-Star Sutton Scale. Go check it out, horror fans.
The only bad part of my trip to the movies this afternoon? The kid sitting in the row behind me. Some adults were chaperoning a group of adolescents, and the youngest one couldn't have been much older than seven or eight. This kid just wouldn't sit still; he would only actually sit down for maybe ten minutes at a time. He was up walking around for at least half the movie. And it wasn't helping that he would have conversations with the adults, who apparently had no clue how to whisper. At least the kid kept quiet. And every so often, you'd hear the adults to tell thee kid to cover his eyes. Why let a kid watch a horror movie if you're not going to let him see the scary scenes? Watching a horror movie and covering your eyes during the scary scenes is like watching a musical and skipping over the songs. I guess I'm just not a proponent of taking young kids to see movies they probably shouldn't be seeing. For example, I remember someone bringing an infant being in the theater when I saw the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake a few years back. Who does that? If you can't get a babysitter, can't you just wait a few months for it to turn up on DVD or pay-per-view? There should be some kind of theater policy or something about this.
So anyway, I liked the remake of The Eye, but I don't particularly care for people that bring their kids (especially the unruly ones) to horror movies.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008; 4:50 p.m.
[And now for the finale of my second "Blackout Manifesto."]
I finally took the time to finish reading The Dark Knight Returns, and wrapped it up just now. It wasn't exactly what I thought it'd be, but it's kinda hard for something to live up to a reputation like the one The Dark Knight Returns has built over the last two decades. Frankly, I had a hard time following it, and I thought the art was average at best. And I really could have done without the annoying TV news anchor character. Those of you who've read it will hopefully remember who I'm talking about.
Maybe that's just me, I don't know. I almost feel like I should turn in my "comic book fan club" membership card for not loving an exalted classic like The Dark Knight Returns. But eh, whatever. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. But I'll give The Dark Knight Returns props for ending with a fight between Batman and Superman. I've been wanting to see something like that for a long time.
So yeah, I guess my feelings for it can be summed up with a "meh."
[The power returned at 5:00, just as soon as I finished writing this post in my notebook. How's that for coincidence? I think the outage may have fried my VCR, which is kind of a piece of junk to begin with. I really should get around to buying a new one, before VCRs become completely extinct. I wouldn't even worry about it if I didn't absolutely need a VCR in order to plug my DVD player and game consoles into my television. If I can't get it to work, this will probably be the spur I need to get a new one. But anyway, this is it for the posts I wrote during the power outage. I said on Monday that I needed to come up with new content, so hooray for the power outage for helping me out.]
Wednesday, January 30, 2008; 3:25 p.m.
[Longtime readers of the MSX may or may not remember what I referred to as my "Blackout Manifesto." It was three posts that I'd written by hand in order to amuse myself during a power outage in June of 2006. We had another power outage this afternoon, so I decided to kill some time by writing some more posts. Here's the first of two.]
You know what sucks? Being stuck with no electricity. Yeah, it bites hard. The power went out a few minutes ago, right when everybody in the house was in the middle of something. So that really makes it even more bothersome.
It could be worse, though. Last time I remember having a power outage for any length of time, it was at night, so we were all stuck in the dark. At least it's in the middle of the afternoon right now. But that's only one tiny plus. Maybe it's the fact that I spend all day goofing around with electronics that makes me so uptight about power outages. Plus knowing that we're also having problems with our water pressure makes me think that I might as well be living in a cave somewhere right now. (Hopefully a cool cave with a fully-stocked fridge and a big-screen TV, not a "some monster is going to eat my face" cave like in The Descent.)
This is why I could never cut it as an Amish person. I enjoy modern conveniences too doggone much. Without a television and the Internet, I'm clueless. Should I be that way? I know I'm not the only person like this, but does that make it normal? I'm not sure.
Anyway, I'm sure I can find something around here to do between now and whenever the power returns. I checked some graphic novels out of the library two months ago that I have yet to return (or finish reading, for that manner), so I guess I could get back into those. I'm almost finished with The Dark Knight Returns, and I'd like to re-read Batman: Year One, so I could always get that done. Sounds like a plan.
[Stay tuned for Part 2.]
Monday, January 28, 2008; 5:46 p.m.
I figure that I've been neglecting the MSX lately. Considering I post only two or three times a week, I could stand to post more often. I guess I need to start thinking of ways to remedy that.
So I thought I'd begin with a brand new review for "Sutton At The Movies." With this review, I revisit something from my early childhood by reviewing the 1987 live-action adaptation of Masters of the Universe. I was a huge fan of Masters of the Universe way back in the day, but watching this movie is like getting kicked in the nuts. It's so bad.
Anyway, go check that out while I try to think up some more new content.
Saturday, January 26, 2008; 8:42 p.m.
I'm sure all of my American readers have seen the advertisements for the new movie Rambo by now. Your friendly neighborhood movie fan headed out to see it, and I have to say that I was astounded by just how violent it is.
The "Rambo" brand name was built on senseless violence in the three movies released during the '80s. But this new one steps it up to insane proportions. Heads are blown off, arms and legs are blown off, the occasional Burmese child is shot, people are set on fire. It's almost like the Hostel of action movies. (Not really in terms of graphicness, but in terms of the number of violent acts commited.) The sheer amount of violence in this movie is staggering.
But I guess that's to be expected when you see a Rambo movie. And I'll be truthful, the movie is really entertaining if you're into action movies. It's light on plot, and any actor could have been cast in these roles, but that's what makes them so much fun. So I'll give Rambo three and a half stars, and wonder why they couldn't have just called it First Blood, Part 4. That's what it is, isn't it?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008; 11:56 p.m.
You know what's good for a laugh?
Playing Dead Rising with your character dressed as Mega Man.
Bless you, Capcom. You guys are great.
Saturday, January 19, 2008; 8:34 p.m.
I just got home from seeing Cloverfield a little while ago, and I'm really not sure how I feel about it. I guess when you hold it up against all the hype that's been building up for it since July, the word I'd be looking for is "underwhelmed."
There's some really good parts and some parts that could have been better, but thanks to the silly Blair Witch gimmick that the movie's been saddled with, it all ends up being a big jumbled mess. The gimmick only really helps to better the movie in a handful of sequences (the walk through the subway tunnel and the final ten or fifteen seconds, for example), and to tell you the truth, the movie really didn't need the gimmick. Cloverfield would have worked just as good - maybe even better - had it been made as a normal movie.
It doesn't help anything that the movie takes a while to really get rolling, and that the character that's running the camcorder for the whole movie is an annoying pain in the neck that seems like he couldn't hold the camera straight if his life depended on it. But what really grinds my gears about Cloverfield is the amazing lack of screen time for the monster. They only really bother to show the monster two or three times, and you never get a sense for how truly monstrous it is because its entire amount of screen time throughout the entire movie totals to about maybe thirty seconds. Yeah, I know J.J. Abrams is all about mystery, which is why Lost hasn't answered a single question in however long it's been on. But when I go to see a monster movie, I'm expecting to see a monster. It would be like watching a Godzilla movie, only to have Godzilla hiding behind skyscrapers for the entire thing while he was being videotaped by somebody with Parkinson's. I guess with the gimmick and the way the story was being told, they couldn't really give the monster a whole lot of time to shine. But I don't want to have to watch the DVD in slow-motion in order to know what the heck the monster looked like.
I'm sure my opinion of the movie will sway toward one side or the other when I've had the chance to watch the DVD come April or May, but all I can really say right now is "meh." The concept behind Cloverfield is novel, and actually lends itself to adding to the movie's suspense in a few scenes. But I guess I went in with expectations that were way too high, because I was expecting a little something more. So I guess I'll give it a big ol' thumbs in the middle with three and a half stars. Maybe if they make Cloverfield 2, they'll go back to the typical movie-making process. Ooh, idea! Maybe they could do the sequel with another gimmick, telling the story with local news coverage. It'd be kinda like the extra feature that's on the DVD of the Dawn of the Dead remake. It might be better as a short film, but it could be neat.
And to pose a question to those of you readers who've seen it, wouldn't a Cloverfield video game be awesome?
Monday, January 14, 2008; 2:28 p.m.
Keeping with the recent theme of seeing movies, I just finished up a brand new review for you guys to check out. I've ventured back into the realm of horror with this one, as I take on Saw IV.
There's several other movies that I need to get around to reviewing, mainly sequels that were released last year. And there were a bunch of them, so I'm sure I'll be busy. I guess I'd better get to work on that.
Saturday, January 12, 2008; 10:03 p.m.
Unfortunately, not every movie can be as good as Juno. I just got back from another run to the theater, where I caught the new remake of the Japanese thriller One Missed Call. I enjoyed the Japanese version when I saw it a year or two ago, so I went in hoping for the best. And boy, was I way off. I didn't see a movie, I saw a big sweaty turd.
Honestly, I have no idea where to begin with this wretched waste of time and money. The cast - with the exception of the criminally underused Ray Wise - is pretty much awful, with none of them doing anything whatsoever to make me care. Their delivery is really bad, but it doesn't help that they're working with one of the most inept scripts ever translated from paper to film. The thing is just shoddily put together, and it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And let's not forget the absolutely insane subplot involving the lead character, as played by Shannyn Sossamon, being afraid of peepholes. They build this fear of peepholes up through the whole movie, then give it one of the sorriest explanations ever. And then the final payoff is so ludicrous, you just want to yell profanities at the screen. If I had three wishes, one of them would be the ability to jump into this movie and engage in fisticuffs with everyone involved in its production.
Really, the more I talk about this garbage, the madder I get. And if the studio behind it is reading this, please get in contact with me, because I'd really like to get my seven dollars back if that's possible. You know, I never walk out of movies no matter how bad they are, but One Missed Call actually had me inching towards the door. And that's terrible. With a crappy cast, a crappy script, a crappy director, crappy jump scares, and crappy CGI, I'm going to give this crap one and a half stars. Please, for the love of everything that is good and holy in the universe, do not see the remake of One Missed Call. If any of your friends ask you if you want to go see it, punch them square in the face. Forget the waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay, this is real torture.
Saturday, January 12, 2008; 5:06 p.m.
I believe I've mentioned a time or two that I've really been itching to see the latest "little indie movie that could," Juno. The only thing that had been stopping me was the fact that it wasn't playing at any theater within fifty miles. But the two theaters I commonly patronize finally - finally! - decided to start showing Juno this weekend, so I had to get out of the house and see it. And that's just what I did this afternoon. I'm glad I did get to see it, because it's a thoroughly fabulous movie.
Everything about Juno is wonderful. The cast, the writing, the direction, everything. Every superlative you can think of perfectly fits this movie. It's funny, sweet, charming, and sad at times, and it never fails to be nothing short of enthralling from start to finish. The script by Diablo Cody (how awesome is that name?) is full of quotable dialogue and lovable characters, who are played by actors who are pitch perfect. I'm not shy to admit that I'm an Ellen Page fan, and her great performance here reaffirms that. She's the movie's main emotional anchor, and she handles the material wonderfully. The supporting cast are no slouches, either. J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney are charming as the lead character's father and stepmother, while Michael Cera is amiable as the father of Juno's baby and Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman are sweet as the baby's potential adoptive parents.
All in all, Juno is an amazing movie that I wish I'd gotten to see weeks ago. And if you haven't seen it, get out there and see it for yourself, especially if you're into quirky independent comedies. As it stands, I'm proudly going to give Juno four and a half stars and the S@TM seal of approval. And just why weren't there more girls as cool as Juno when I was in high school?
Tuesday, January 8, 2008; 11:47 a.m.
I've written many times in the past about my affection for the Resident Evil video game franchise. Those of you who have been regular readers over the last few years may have noticed that, I'm sure. Well, I believe I may have found a horror game that's earned an equal position in my nerdy little heart.
I got an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and one of the games that have recently come into my possession is Dead Rising. A charming little game from the fine folks at Capcom, it tells the story of a photographer who, along with several others, is trapped in a shopping mall with a legion of undead zombies for seventy-two hours. Sure, the concept may or may not have been stolen from Dawn of the Dead, but it's loads of fun.
Being able to mow down zombies with anything you can get your hands on is some of the most entertaining gaming I've ever taken part in. The whole mission thing is fun, but just killing the zombies can be so much fun that you can eat up an hour or two just doing that. (I know from experience, trust me.) And the fact that a shop in the mall is named after an oft-quoted line of (really bad) dialogue from the original Resident Evil game is just that much sweeter.
So yeah, I do like Dead Rising very much. I haven't finished it yet, and I don't think I'm even halfway through. But it's going to get a definite thumbs-up from me. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some more gaming to do. The zombie killing never ends here at the MSX.
Sunday, January 6, 2008; 9:15 a.m.
Yesterday was a good day.
I say that because myself and a few others were in attendance at the Ohio Valley Wrestling show in Campbellsville last evening. I've made note in the past that I'm an OVW fan, and when I heard they were doing a show in my old stomping grounds, I knew I just had to be there. Besides, I hadn't been to one of their shows since 2004, so I had to go to another one sometime.
Even after attending three WWE house shows and a pay-per-view event, you never really get used to seeing people you've seen on television in person. And that's probably one reason why I was so excited to be at the show last night. It also helped that one of my all-time favorites, Al Snow, was hanging out in the crowd for part of the show. It's too bad I was too chicken to go shake his hand or ask for an autograph or anything like that.
Anyway, I'm getting a bit sidetracked. The show was absolutely fantastic. Some of the most entertaining wrestling I'd ever been seen in person. OVW is supposed to be back in Campbellsville on March 1st, and I'm certainly going to try to be there. I just can't say no to OVW.
Thursday, January 3, 2008; 9:00 p.m.
I got out of the house this afternoon and headed to the local movie theater, as I am want to do, and I caught National Treasure: Book of Secrets. And to be truthful, outside of a few details, it's pretty much the same movie as the first one. So if you enjoyed the original National Treasure movie, then you'll more than likely enjoy the sequel.
And while I did like Book of Secrets, I don't believe that it brought anything new to the table. Take the original movie, replace "stealing the Declaration of Independence" with "kidnapping the President," then include Nicolas Cage's character's mother, a cameo from Randy Travis, and something of a twist ending, and you've got Book of Secrets. It doesn't help that the plot is overcomplicated, tying together the slimmest of threads in an apparent bid to showcase as many historical locations as possible. It's like they weren't even trying when they wrote the movie.
But regardless, there is some good to be found. The direction is sound, the cast is pretty good, and the movie is still pretty darn fun in spite of its flaws. So I'm going to give National Treasure: Book of Secrets three stars and a thumbs up.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008; 10:31 a.m.
Every year since 2004, I've honored what I felt was the best among the movies I'd seen during the previous twelve months. And this year will be no exception, as it's now time for the 2007 edition of what I like to call the "Sutton At The Movies" Achievement Awards. Now remember, these are only for movies that I actually saw. Which means, unfortunately, that I can't give anything to Sweeney Todd or Juno, no matter how much I might like to. And be forewarned, there may or may not be some spoilers amongst these awards. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to it.
And that's it for this year's "Sutton At The Movies" Achievement Awards. Congratulations to all our winners, and to the losers, better luck next year.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008; 12:00 a.m. - Happy New Year!
Happy New Year, everybody! I hope your 2008 will be a great one.
And to ring in the new year here at the MSX, I'd like to get things started off right with a brand new review. This time, I'm digging deep into the realm of cheap '80s slasher movies with the cult classic Madman. Some of you may have heard of you probably haven't. But now you're going to get to read my review of it. So check it out, if you will.
But again, I hope all of you have a safe and happy new year. And let's hope that 2008 turns out to be great.