Monday, July 29, 2013

Joker Rising

Know what I like? Fan films. Sometimes the fact that they aren't associated with a big studio means they have a little more creative with their storyline and approach to making the film. About a month ago, I posted a fan film about Dick Grayson who was never adopted by Bruce Wayne and forgoes donning the Robin tights to become Nightwing instead. Seemed like an interesting project but unfortunately, they weren't able to hit their IndieGoGo goal.

While that was a great attempt at an alternate telling of a familiar story from the DC Universe, it approached the subject the same way all filmmakers do. From the perspective of the hero. The comics are about superheroes, so naturally, most movies focus on the heroes themselves. This is where Joker Rising comes in.

This is one of those rare occasions where the focus of the movie is on the villain and their eventual rise to power. I'm sure there are comics that have focused on developing the villains but you really don't see it as much in films or even animated releases. This was a fresh take on Gotham City's criminal underworld, with Batman only making a brief cameo appearance.

And he doesn't even have any lines!

I saw a rough cut of the film and I have to say, I was extremely impressed. Everyone praises Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy for being gritty, dark, and realistic. (I guess as realistic as a movie about a playboy billionaire karate master running around in a mask and cape could be)  If you're looking for a movie that is REALLY dark and gritty, check out the rough cut of Joker Rising:

I'm a Gangland junkie. I watch a lot movies, shows, and documentaries on street gangs and that's where this movie gets its charm. You see "Cyrus" starting off as a common street soldier who's putting in work. From there, you see his climb up the ladder as he encounters other known villains from Gotham's dark criminal underbelly. If you're going to make a big deal about canon, this movie does NOT follow canon and is more a story inspired by the DC characters that we all know and love. (Although I would've preferred if they stuck with more traditional Riddler riddles, even the ones from the 1960's Batman were better!)

I have to say that I liked their take on most of these characters, the best spin was on Black Mask. The mask that they had him wearing was more like something you'd see on Dia de los Muertos. I think that's way more realistic than some dude who just walks around in a black skull mask expecting people to take him seriously. The one thing I just HAD to mention and compliment them on was Harley Quinn. Although I've never seen Harley's story spun this way, the actress they got to play her was stunning and had so much charm that you could easily fall in love with her character. That sweet smile and adorable voice/accent was perfect.

Then again, I've never seen a Harley Quinn that I didn't absolutely ADORE!

Overall, this is a fantastic fan film and really deserves your support. Immediately after watching this, I popped in The Dark Knight so I could have some more Joker in my life. So far, they've only raised a couple hundred of their goal but I really hope that people will start funding this project. Here is their IndieGoGo link:

Even as a rough cut, you can tell that they've really got something good going on here. With a bigger budget, I'm sure they can do something really awesome. Please, check it out for yourself ASAP because the rough cut will online be online for a limited time. I hope that other people are as excited as I am to see more of this. If they can get funding, this will become a 3-part rated-R trilogy. Trust me, there are definitely worse things out there that you can be funding. If the rough cut is taken down before you get a chance to watch it, I will post the trailer here so you can at least see something. I hope that this gets out to fans before the rough cut comes down though. Share this post with anyone that you think would be interested or likes comic book movies. Let's get this project funded so we can see some really gritty comic book movies for once!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quick thoughts on Pacific Rim

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably noticed me squirming with excitement to finally see this movie that I've been waiting for all year. Finally, Guillermo Del Toro's contribution to the Daikaiju and Real Robot genres has arrived!

This film is everything you would expect from a movie about Giant Robots fighting Giant Monsters, minus a few rubber suits perhaps. I really don't want to hype this movie up too much and raise everyone's expectations (because you know, EVERYONE reads this blog...)

When I first heard about this film, I was ecstatic. Why? I grew up watching Godzilla marathons on the Syfy Channel (then known simply as 'Sci-Fi') and every so often on TNT's MonsterVision. I was also a huge fan of Power Rangers, where nearly every episode ended with a Megazord vs. Giant "Monster of the Day" battle.

Whatcha gunna do, brother?

Not to mention that Guillermo Del Toro, writer and director of Pan's Labyrinth, was going to be the helmsman for this project. If you've seen Pan's Labyrinth, you'll understand the depth of the fantasy world Del Toro creates for his films. Bringing to life mystical creatures that only existed in our wildest dreams (or nightmares) before. To think that he would be creating all-new and completely original Kaiju for this movie made me squeal like a teenage girl at a boy band concert.

Like OMG! I've been waiting for this movie my whole life!!!

Pacific Rim has definitely lived up to my expectations. You can tell that it was carefully crafted by someone who truly has love and a passion for this niche genre. Guillermo Del Toro took the fantasies from our childhood where we would make our robot toys fight dinosaurs or other monsters and brought it to life on the big screen. That might be the only real complaint I had about my experience was that the screens are a little small at the theater by my house. My recommendation is to watch this on the biggest screen you can find. I was hoping for an IMAX showing but there weren't any in my area. A movie about giant robots and giant monsters should be seen on a giant screen, with deafening sound to feel like they're really fighting above you.

This is what they looked like to me!

Aside from that, the monster battles were action-riffic and they don't waste our time by focusing too much on the humans. That's not to say there isn't any character development. This is a story about trust, loss, and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. The movie just doesn't waste any of our time though and jumps right into the action from the very beginning. Del Toro understands what we all came to see (giant monster battles!!!) and keeps the human chatter to a minimum. Charlie Hunnam (Green Street Hooligans, Sons of Anarchy) plays the main character who pilots the Jaeger from the poster. His co-pilot and co-star is the lovely Rinko Kikuchi who was also in one of the most bizarre movies in history, Funky Forest: The First Contact. Rinko has very beautiful eyes and speaks louder with her facial expressions than she does with her lines. I would recommend this movie to ANYONE, whether you're a fan of the Kaiju or not. What's not to like about 250 ft. tall robots punching 3000 ton monsters in the face until they die? Nothing, that's what.

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

This movie is also really blue. I don't mean that the characters are depressing but you see a lot of the color blue. Everything in this movie is blue! Watch it and you'll see what I mean. Don't miss out on the most awesome movie this summer! If you're going to see it, do stick around because there is a secret ending in this movie after the credits.