Tagged: movie

“Fantastic Four” Furlough: Feasible or Flummery?

ffShelvedThe rumors that circle through the comics industry span the sublime to the ridiculous.  Some, like the death and/or return of major characters turn out to be spot on, but some make the annual spate of April Fools posts seem tame and rational. (How many times has Dan Didio supposed to have been fired by now?)

The latest hot topic, posited by the gang at Bleeding Cool, claims that Marvel Comics has plans to suspend publication of their Fantastic Four titles, both standard and Ultimate, for an indeterminate period of time.  Not due to poor sales, or pursuant to a planned relaunch, but because the comics provide too much publicity for 20th Century Fox’s film adaptations, and by shelving the titles, interest in the characters would plummet to the point that the next film would tank, and Fox would finally relinquish the rights to the characters, opening the door to a true Marvel-led reboot.


Mindy Newell: The Comics Community

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

Oprah Winfrey

Today, as I write this, is June 1, 2014. Here in Bayonne New Jersey there’s not a cloud in the robin’s egg blue sky, and from this window I can see the waters of New York City’s harbor sparkling like diamonds. It’s so clear that I can see the glint of car roofs speeding along Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway. The eastern tower of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge rises over the lush rolling hill of green… that is Staten Island.

It’s a day for being outside, not stuck here in the house writing this column. Perhaps that is why nothing is coming to me. My mind wanders to other memories of days like this, and I have to figuratively slap it to bring it back to attention. But still nothing comes.

So rather than writing about Iron Man 3 (which I watched again last night on cable and decided that it’s a pretty good movie after all), or writing about some bullshit which isn’t really where my head’s right now, I’ll just come out with it, tell you why I’m having trouble focusing…

Don’t worry; the end of the story is a good one.

I’m in what athletes call a slump. Only it’s not my batting average or my RBI’s or my pitching stats I’m talking about, it’s a financial slump. The kind that makes my stomach hurt and my muscles tense and my head ache. The kind of slump that makes it difficult to sleep. The kind that makes it impossible to think about anything else. The kind of slump that has me spilling out the jar of coins I keep on my dresser top and counting out the quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies.

Have you ever been there?

Scary, isn’t it?

I work hard and I bring home a pretty good paycheck. I don’t think I spend money frivolously; I can’t remember the last time I went shopping for new clothes or new shoes. I continuously wonder how I got here, even though I know it’s just an accident of circumstances, a – what’s it called in astrology? Oh, yeah – a conjunction of events.

Yes, in astrological speak, my planets are afflicted. I just have to wait for the next progression.

But, hell, I wish they would progress already! I mean, talk about the planets being in bad positions – Jeesh, yesterday I was supposed to be in a class for my CPR renewal, without with I can’t work, but instead of counting out chest compressions on a dummy I was stuck in traffic for three hours and never got there. Which means that I’m going to be in class on Tuesday so I’m going to be not at work and not earning the money I so desperately need right now.

I wish I had a super power that could fix this. Yeah, that’s it. A super power to coin money. I could call myself Mint Maid. Nah, that sounds like I pass out Tic-Tacs or Altoids or something. Well, at least I’m not thinking of being a super villain and robbing Donald Trump or Warren Buffet. That should count for something in my karma, shouldn’t it?

But there’s this thing about comics.

It’s a small world.

A small world with big people.

Big people with even bigger hearts.

I’m not going to say who it was who, upon hearing that I was – face it, Mindy – broke, without a moment of hesitation asked me how much I needed to get through this slump. S/he tsked-tsked at my embarrassment and my shame and opened up the wallet.

“We’ve all been there,” s/he said.

Yeah, there are lots of people working in comics today who are riding in limos, and maybe there aren’t many who would ditch the limo to ride on the bus with you.

But I know one.


Win a Copy of Robocop on Blu-ray

Robocop_2014_BD_OringDirected by José Padilha, RoboCop stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson.  In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and OmniCorp – the world’s leader in robot technology – sees a golden opportunity to reap billions for their company.  When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured, OmniCorp grabs their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer.  OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and will stop at nothing – no matter the cost to Alex – to make sure the program succeeds.  But OmniCorp never counted on one thing: there is still a man fighting inside the machine.

Who knew that a robot could be so lovable such as WALL-E from Pixar’s beloved movie, or that robots could think like Sonny from I, Robot? Coming soon to Blu-ray is another story of a famous robot, this time one where the robot is part human and part machine. In honor of RoboCop’s Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD releases, we present to you a look at how robots have been portrayed in films.

1. Human-Like Robots

StepfordWe have all seen a movie where a human is discovered to be, in fact, a robot. There are the creepy ones like in The Stepford Wives, the smart ones like in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and the eccentric ones like Edward Scissorhands whose claim to robothood has been heatedly debated. These, at least to some, are the scariest robots since you never know when you might run into one. Maybe the brother you always thought was a bit strange or that co-worker who never really talks is the robot you always feared.

2. Robots that are Killing Machines

terminator2_lWe can all agree that the Terminator is a killing machine. He was sent to assassin every Sarah Connor he came across, almost succeeding.  The robots in I, Robot also fall under this category since they are determined to destroy anything and anyone that does not follow V.I.K.I.’s commands.

3. Robots Built to Fight

atom_in_real_steel-wideWith recent movies like Pacific Rim and the Transformers series, movie fans have gotten numerous doses of huge robots that are built to fight either aliens or large monsters. While watching those movies, one can’t help but wonder if the world will ever come to that.

4. Robots that are Way too Ambitious

MetropolisI, Robot
and The Matrix trilogy fixated on the intelligence machines/robots could gain over humans and thus control the world and all of its resources. These machines tend to be super analytical, overflowing with common sense, and, in rare cases, like I, Robot, want to take over the world in order to protect it. In these movies, humans end up realizing the huge mistake they made by creating these monsters. And lets just admit that the whole Matrix plot was super scary (in a good sci-fi way). Metropolis, one of the first robot movies ever, also celebrates this idea of a machine that is too smart for its own good.

5. Evil Robots

WestworldEvil robots usually fall under other categories on this list, most often in the human-like one. This is probably because in films, robots that end up looking like people are created that way in order to do some real damage. Gunslinger from Westworld is one of these evil robots that will not stop until he has his fake showdown. As many fanatics of the Austin Powers movies remember, the Fembots are evil sexy women robots that are sent as a lethal distraction to the movies’ namesake. Also, Joshua, the robot arm/machine is a robot that doesn’t look like a human but still scared us all. Another contender in this category is the famous MCP from Tron.

6. Robots that Want to Save the World

i-robotWhen robots want to save the world, they usually do it hand in hand with a human. When it comes to the Iron Man series, that robot is actually a suit that eventually becomes part of the human. In I, Robot, we have Sonny “who” sacrifices himself? itself? for the sake of mankind. There is also our beloved RoboCop who becomes the law itself and eventually takes out those wanting to control him/it. Through portrayals like these, audiences get to see a glimpse of robots that intentionally and unintentionally become heroes.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment present RoboCop, arriving on Digital HD May 20 and on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD June 3.

To win the prized copy, you need to identify your favorite category of robot and top choice robot from that category. Have your answers posted no later than 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 6 and the decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open to United States and Canadian readers only.

Marc Alan Fishman: Babyface, Heel, or Tweener?

In the pro-wrestling world, you are either a babyface, a heel, or a tweener. If you’re not down with the lingo and you’re suck at contextual clues: babyfaces are the heroes, heels are the villains, and tweeners straddle the line between the two. It’s always clearcut amongst the older generations that the lines between good and evil should be black and white.

In the golden era of comic books (and wrestling, while we’re at it), good guys were lantern-jawed and stood for the righteous. Villains sported crooked smiles, and completed acts of tyranny for no more purpose than the love of chaos. But with the modern era came the shades of grey. Personally, I live for those shades.

My favorite wrestler is CM Punk, a tumultuous canvas of ashen tones, made into a grappler. In his infamous pipe bomb promo (feel free to watch the entire brilliant tirade if you have an hour to kill here) Punk crossed the line between his then heel persona by breaking the fourth wall harder then it’d ever been broken before in the WWE. Through a scathing set of brutally honest speeches, the WWE Universe (the fans) soon learned that the straight edge superstar was more than a set of catchphrases and lack-of-merchandise. Amidst a hot crowd of vicious booing, Punk made his point: he wasn’t an out-and-out heel, he was a human being capable of good and bad. Eventually Punk got everything he wanted, including becoming a bonafide tweener where even if he completed acts of depravity, it was accepted as being a part of a bigger whole. It’s a theme that occurs elsewhere outside the squared circle.

The Punisher, Wolverine, Venom, dare I even say GrimJack, et al… the venerable anti-heroes. Good guys that do bad things, and we love them for it. They cross the line where Batman, Superman, or Professor X grit their teeth and shake their heads. As an audience, we respect, and even love that those heroes are forced to make the hard choices. But the devils that sit on our shoulders whisper sweet nothings to us – we want to see the villains pay the ultimate price. We want to see that the means justify the ends. We need to see that villains can’t always get away with murder, rape, and the like. And yes, we love it when those good men do bad things, because wish fulfillment is a vice we can all enjoy. Ask every Tarantino character immortalized in celluloid.

Most recently I’ve found a love for NBC’s Hannibal, which seeks heavily to relish in the subtle pathways between the light and dark sides of man. Dr. Lecter is a monster – a veritable Satan if ever there was one – but in his defense, he tends to only eat the rude. Humorous perhaps, but we as the audience are made to feel a wisp of compassion every now and again for the man-monster that Hannibal is. Much like Bret Easton Ellis makes us root for sociopathic serial killer in American Psycho. Never before had I read a novel where I’m rooting for a man to feed an ATM a kitten before. But there, Ellis shaped the world as such to make me see that beyond the pure chaos that Patrick Bateman represented, was a man living as a metaphor for the facade that existed in the go-go eighties. Can’t get that reservation at Dorsia? Well, that’d drive you to murder too, when you know that missing that squid-ink carpaccio is akin to you just being a failure in everything at life! Get my meaning?

And let’s get a little spoilery, if we can, eh? Seen Days of Future Past yet? If not, skip down a paragraph. For the rest of you, what did you think? I thought “Wow! They really played up the notion that these were actual human beings capable of an array of emotions!” Now I know that’s a bit of a complicated thought coming from a movie that was mostly made as an apology for The Last Stand, but I digress. Of all the things that made the movie enjoyable to me, was the fact that characters like Professor Xavier, Raven, and Eric Lehnsherr were allowed to respond from a place of emotion and thought, rather than because of a plot dictating them to do what’s right or wrong. In one of the best set pieces of the film (barring the whole Quicksilver sequence which was just fun as all get-out) came when Magneto decided that he was done being a pawn in a greater plan. With Bolivar Trask not murdered, the future was in flux, and Magneto, freed of his concrete and plastic prison stole a baseball stadium, rewired the Sentinels, and attempted to stage a bit of a coup. And when he lost? His best friend didn’t do the right thing; he let him go because he still cared for his troubled friend.

Therein lay the heart of my love for the tweening of fiction. When authors (me included) allow characters to be more than the sum of the plot and story beats, the audience is better for it. While there is a time and a place for white and black, I implore you to look beyond the simple. Complexity breeds intelligence. Intelligence allows for a deeper enjoyment of a piece of art. It’s sure fun when Al, Kung Fu Monkey Master of the Samurnauts clocks the evil pirate Blackstar with his bo-staff because it’s clear he’s the good guy… it’s a nice beat. But the true fans will enjoy the moment further because they know that when Al makes the critical strike, it’s make because of the torturous acts Blackstar used on former Samurnauts in the name of chaos. The blow is beyond justified – it is struck with anger, hatred, and desire for pain. Those shades of grey elevate what would be good defeating evil, into a personal vendetta.

At the end of the day, aren’t we all better people when the world is depicted in three dimensions?


Captain America: The Winter Soldier Arrives on Disc August 19

CaptainAmericaWinterSoldierBlurayThe most interesting thing about today’s announcement regarding the home video release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the absence of a Marvel One-Shot. Maybe they’re keeping it a secret or maybe there won’t be one which would be a real disappointment. Here are the rest of the details.

BURBANK, Calif. May 30, 2014— From the studio that brought you the biggest Super Hero movie of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, comes this year’s #1 live-action adventure, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, available early on Digital 3D and HD August 19th, 2014, and on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand September 9th, 2014, from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Saluted by critics as “action-packed” (NY Daily News), “thrilling” (Cinema Blend) and “better than The Avengers” (Access Hollywood), this blockbuster second chapter in the Captain America series teams Marvel’s First Avenger, Captain America, with Black Widow and new ally The Falcon as they battle their most mysterious and powerful enemy yet, the Winter Soldier.

CaptainAmericaWinterSoldier3DComboDirected by Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and starring Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier arrives on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD armed with explosively entertaining bonus features, including Making-of Featurettes, Audio Commentary, Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes, Bloopers and More…

Bring home the movie that changed everything and expand your Marvel collection in the following formats with bonus features as listed:

Bonus Materials Overview for These Products:

Digital 3D, HD, & SD*

3D Blu-ray Combo Pack (3D BD + Single Disc BD + Digital Copy)



Making-of Featurettes
Audio Commentary
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
And More…

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

1-Disc DVD


Making-of Featurette
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scene

Feature Run Time: Approximately 136 minutes
Rating: Feature Film: “PG-13” in U.S., G in Canada (CE and CF)
Additional Bonus Features Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: 3-D Blu-ray Feature Film = 2.40:1
Blu-ray Feature Film = 2.40:1
DVD Feature Film = 2.40:1
Audio: Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray 2D = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Latin Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital
DVD = English/Latin Spanish/French Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital
Languages/Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (Applies To Film Content Only)

Review: Marc Alan Fishman’s Snarky Synopsis – Ultimate FF #2

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov. Art by Tom Grummett, Mario Guevara, Juan Vlaskco, Scott Hanna, Mark Pennington, Jay Leisten and Rachelle Rosenberg.

Ultimate FFOnce I adopted Eric Larsen’s creed of “all issues are jumping-on issues” I’d like to say I’ve become a better comic reader because of it. Using that motto has removed the excuse “… maybe it’s better if I’d read the backstory” from my fallback position when an issue is subpar. In its place comes the knowledge that a comic can be judged devoid of context. The dialogue can be snappy without previous knowledge of what came before the page you’ve read. More to the point: jump into Silence of the Lambs 45 minutes in and it’s still a great movie. I say all of this because I need you all to understand: Ultimate FF #2 is an absolute top-to-bottom atrocity. No context needed.

Let’s start with the script / plot / words on the page. Joshua Hale Fialkov generally grasps the beats and characterizations of his Future Foundation. Beyond that grasp though, is a mishmash of simplistic and idiotic dialogue awash in a plot dug out of a half-read Dungeons and Dragons campaign, topped liberally with incoherent action sequences to pad things out. The plot as it were: Sue Storm’s FF field team investigates the disappearance of some 130 wealthy Atlanteans. They arrive, things get weird, and then there’s fighting. Tah Dah!

I understand that it’s hard to effectively move a complex plot in only 20 pages or so, but then I think of all the other amazing comic books I’ve read – one shots, parts of a whole, or otherwise – and I come to the bitter conclusion that the modern trope to write for the trade is merely an excuse. I like to equate a single issue of a comic to a single episode of a cartoon. If Ultimate FF #2 were on TV, it’d be akin to one of those 12-minute shorts they traipse out during Adult Swim. It’s short, it’s shallow, and its attempts to ride on more style than substance falls on deaf ears.

All this, and the big ending is a tongue-in-cheek nod to issue three’s impending catfight. Yawn.

While I admit that I’ve not dabbled in the Ultimate universe for years, the tenants and tent-poles that make up the characters must hold true. And Fialkov seems to want only to revel in them without any further exploration. Akin perhaps to the remake of Ocean’s Eleven remake, sans the Julia Roberts subplot. FF here is just Stalwart Sue, Angry Douche Doom, Generic Black Guy Falcon, and Rich Douche Iron Man on a tepid adventure to fight the multiverse, or the garbage therein. That caveat I can buy – it gives us a good excuse as any for this rag tag team of type A’s (minus Falcon, of course) to get into nasty spills. But unlike Matt Fraction’s whimsical Defenders or terse and tepid Others (where that tepidness was a perfect foil), this team is a collection of islands that only know the melody amongst one another. And when the first big reveal gives us Namor, we simply add another tool to the chest. Emphasis on tool.

Artistically, I’m nearly at a loss for words. If you count my accurate list above, you will see that it took seven people to put together twenty pages of loose, scrappy, crappy art. At first, I was almost won over: the delicate inking and detailed underwater environmental renderings were certainly an antithesis to today’s modern photoshoppery. But the devil is in the details, and here Tom Grummett and Mario Guevara fail to deliver on their initial pages’ promise. Figures are jerked and crammed into panels without care or cause. And the litany of inkers scrawl excessive lines throughout, causing tons of unnecessary visual confusion. From Namor’s oddly shaped five-finger forehead and Doom’s spastic cape, to Falcon’s always-hash-shaded-muscles, there’s nary a page that doesn’t contain an obvious rush or flub. And given that over half a dozen people touched this issue? I’m aghast with curiosity as to how this passed mustard with anyone calling themselves an editor. All this, and I haven’t even talked about the colorist!

Long considered the unsung hero of the medium, here Rachelle Rosenberg barely decided to show up. The book itself is a constant juxtaposition of old-school simplistic flat art, layered over generic paper texture, all adding to the facade of an older book. But these tricks belie the truth that this is an ugly ass book and the color choices do nothing to elevate that fact.

While there’s a masochistic part of me that enjoys that no added glows, knockouts, or filtering try to hide the scrawl and plunder, even the most basic color choices here – on model or not – are unflattering and unsettling. And to the person that picked a lime green logo over a purple, blue, and sky blue palate for the team? I implore you to go back to Parsons, and retake fashion design, and color theory.

Perhaps I’ve been too mean, too hard and harsh to poor Joshua Hale Fialkov and company. Or perhaps, I’m apt now to cast a pall on those waste opportunity with the biggest and arguably best comic book publisher in print today. These are revisions of classic characters, in an all but open world, ready for modern spins and serious explorations. In the wake of that opportunity sits this muddled mess of in-fighting, back-biting, and herky-jerky art. Ultimate FF #2 spends too much time trying to be witty and gritty, instead of layering nuance, complexity, and exploration that should be the foundation of the book.

Erik Larsen is right: every comic is a jumping on point… and as such, I suggest those interested in this new iteration of the Future Foundation jump elsewhere.


Tweeks: Days of Future X-men Fans

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-character-photo-Jennifer-Lawrence-as-MystiqueFangirls love Jennifer Lawrence and Theatre Kids love Hugh Jackman, so the question The Tweeks had to ask themselves is: Will our kind love X-Men: Days of Future Past even if we haven’t kept up on the X-Men franchises?  Will we be able to enjoy the CGI if we’re too busy being confused about who’s who in the movie?  The answer?  Watch the review & see how X-Men fans are made.

REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your DragonWhen your children grow up and leave home, one of the regrets is that until they give you grandchildren, you have little excuse to go see the fun family films that keep rolling out. As a result, I missed How to Train Your Dragon when it arrived in 2010. I was told by those still with kids that it was a charming, funny film. Thanks to Paramount Home Entertainment, I finally caught up with it now that it has been rereleased today as a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital combo pack.

The unfortunately named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a young Viking growing up on the island of Berk. His father, the better named Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), is the tribe’s chief who insists that the youngsters are taught how to fight the fearsome dragons that share the island. Hiccup is destined for greatness – at least that’s the hope; he’s actually skinny and weak and prone to accidents — when fate shakes things up as he saves an injured young beast named Toothless. They bond and Hiccup is handed a new destiny: he has to convince the tribe that their ways are wrong and that the dragons are really allies not dinner.

It’s an uphill battle complicating with the distracting affection he has Astrid (America Ferrara). She, of course, sees him as annoying, clumsy boy. Their friend Gobbler (Craig Ferguson), a blacksmith. supplies support, crazy mechanical inventions, and even more comic relief.

Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DuBlois do a fine job adapting Cressida Cowell’s young adult novel. They make it heartwarming and funny, charming and goofy without tripping over the line and getting excessive on any account.

The current high definition disc is a visual treat for young and old alike. The 1080p transfer is pristine, keeping all the color bright and vibrant. Coupled with the wonderful 7.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtrack, the viewing experience at home is superb, matching the film’s entertainment value.

This edition comes with a sticker on the slipcover offering $7.50 off a movie ticket for June’s obviously named How to Train Your Dragon 2. There are a bunch of extras carried over from earlier editions of the film such as the filmmaker’s commentary, a trivia track, the PiP feature “The Animators’ Corner”, and the featurettes “The Story Behind the Story” (7:40), “The Technical Artistry of Dragon” (10:13), “Viking-Sized Cast” (11:44), and “How to Draw a Dragon” (10:52).

New additions, and welcome ones, include “Frozen” (22:41), billed as an “exclusive episode” of the TV show Dragons: Defenders of Berk; “Book of Dragons” (17:38), a short that provides additional details about the fire-breathing dragons; Ultimate Book of Dragons, an interactive feature; and, Gobber’s Training Secrets” (2:10), a series of short vignettes about dragons.

Two more extras — the short film “Legend of the BoneKnapper Dragon” (16:33), and deleted scenes (7:33) – can only be found on the DVD.