Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Origin of Superman

Everyone knows who Superman is and who created him. But, I came across this story in USA Today that gives a little backstory on the possible inspiration of Superman. On the night of June 2, 1932, the father of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel died of an apparent heart attack during a robbery. Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow, thinks that it was the death of his father that pushed Siegel to come up with the idea of a superhero. The book, published in 2004, is credited as being the first place this story was told. The USA Today article also mentions a possiblity of where the name Lex Luthor came from.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)

Last weekend I got the opportunity to see the Harold and Kumar sequel. Writers Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg do double duty this time and step behind the camera as directors. I enjoyed the first one immensely. It was a perfect blend of stoner comedy and road trip movie with one or two of the now standard gross out scenes. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the sequel a bit less. Gone are the two kind-hearted stoners and the biting (yet funny) satire about racial stereotypes. In their place is a traditional comedy with characters who point at something with outrage and exaggerated redneck stereotypes.

The events take place shortly after the first movie. Harold and Kumar return home after a night of binging on White Castle burgers. They start to follow Harold's crush to Amsterdam, but get kicked off the plane when Kumar tries to light a bong. The boys are then chased through Guantanamo Bay and across The South leading toward a climax in Texas.

Along the way they encounter a bottomless party, an inbred redneck Cyclops, a KKK rally, and have another run-in with the legendary NPH. Instead of a complete story, the movie feels like it’s just running its protagonists through a series of sketches. Still, it’s good for a chuckle or two, but nowhere near as funny as the original.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

Got a chance to see the movie this past weekend. It was.....OK. I was/am a huge fan of the series and was eagerly anticipating the second movie. Chris Carter, creator/writer/director, of The X-Files said all along that this movie would be more like the standalone episodes than the mythology episodes. He was right on that point.

Mulder and Scully no longer work for the FBI. In the six years since the season finale, Scully started to practice medicine at a Catholic hospital and Mulder lives as a near recluse on a farm. An FBI agent goes missing and during the search a disgraced priest leads the FBI to a severed arm buried in the snow. The priest claims he was led by a psycic vision - just the kind of stuff that Mulder and Scully investigated for 8 years on the series.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The cinematography was great and it was good to see the old gang back together. My big quibble is that Chris Carter was right: it was just like a standalone episode. Some of those episodes were great ("Jose Chung's From Outer Space", "Clyde Bruckman's Last Repose", "Triangle", etc), but a lot of them weren't. The characters that were developed to any stretch of the word were Mulder and Scully. And that could only be because we know all their history from the tv show.

I'm glad I saw it on the big screen and I definitley will be there if they ever make a third movie. But at that point it will probably be only die-hards like me who go see it.