Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ex-KOP- Sci-Fi Noir

KOP: Koba Office of Police, a corrupt graft ridden cess-pool of bribe taking sociopath cops that appear to be keeping order in the city of Koba on the planet Lagarto. Set several centuries in our future Warren Hammond brings us the gritty anti-hero Juno Mozambe the once bad-ass enforcer for the former chief of police, until said chief was assassinated in a coup.

Now Juno works as a private eye, mostly peeping though key holes trying to get the goods on high-tech off-worlders to bribe them as much as get an honest fee. His former partner asks him to investigate a young woman’s confession that will see her to the gas chamber. What follows is a twisting, creepy, and dark adventure in the near future on a distant planet that would have done Hammet or Chandler proud. Bogart would have made a convincing Juno Mozambe.

The story is excellent, noir ridden, and earthy. One part China Town with a dash of Big Sleep, except instead of .38’s and tommy guns, the bad guys carry body mods and las-pistols.

Ex-KOP is for anyone who enjoyed Blade Runner or The Maltese Falcon. There is an engaging story; heroes and villains are only separated by a few shades of gray, with plenty of character story and world building to swirl around the antagonists!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thor: Please Dont’s Let it Suck!!!!

So unless you are not a comic book fan or totally without internet access you have probably seen the Thor preview trailer that premiered at Comic Con a few weeks ago. The movie is slatted for a May 2011 release, starring Chris Hemsworth in the title role with Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. I had previously posted my thoughts on the initial release of photo stills from the film and the general plot line. The preview brought some of the action to life and, though it has not allayed my fears, it has eased them. If you are interested in watching it hopefully it is at Marvel is pulling it as fast as fans can post it. This by itself seems to be a smart marketing tool because it keeps fan boys constantly searching for it, possibly creating an inflated interest and desire to see the film when it is released.

The preview opens essentially where Iron Man 2 left off with its “after the credits trick ending” with the discovery of Mjolnir in the New Mexico desert by SHIELD. Thor is being interrogated after being captured breaking into the secured area and trashing some of SHIELD’s best soldiers. It then pans across the vistas of Asgard flashing to Odin’s throne room. There are scenes of Thor and his companions doing some fighting, Odin then banishing Thor for actions that have brought Asgard to the brink of war.

Thor appears upon Earth in a crumpled heap, meeting Jane Foster as she aids him. It then flashes to Thor trying to explain to Foster who he is and where he comes from. She then apparently helps him in his attempt to regain his hammer.

Flashing back to Asgard it appears that Odin becomes incapacitated and the throne passes to Loki, the trickster god, who lurks one step behind the throne like Worm Tongue. (I hope they are not using the ridiculous “Odin Sleep” to see the All Father out of commission for Loki’s machinations.) The scenes shift into a montage with Thor’s voice over “For the first time in my life I have no idea what I am supposed to do.” showing the thunder god on Earth then in Asgard with his hammer high. Battle and adventure ensue with brief glimpses of the Warriors Three: Volstagg, Hogun, and Fandril. Sif and Hemidall, as well as whom I take to be Frigga played by Rene Russo.

The preview wraps up with the Destroyer, a construct built by Odin to help fight and stave off Ragnarok, making an appearance and unleashing fiery destruction.

This is a very brief sketch of the five minutes of uber cool that was the preview. Yes, oh yes, I loved it, but I do not completely give my heart away. The sequences were obviously out of sync to the movie progression, which is usual, and like many movies, the scenes used in previews don’t make it to the screen in the theater.

From what I saw I am very excited. The costuming looks a little less rubbery and cheesy in the environments of Asgard. I am pleasantly surprised by Hemsworth as Thor. At first, based on seeing him in his brief appearance on Star Trek as George Kirk I thought he would be too small physically to portray the god of thunder, but seeing him straining to free Mjolnir from its resting place as well as the obligatory beef cake shot for the ladies, I was impressed by the gym time he put in.

The story itself follows the idea that launched Thor’s career with Marvel Comics in Journey into Mystery #83 back in 1962. Thor has become arrogant and prideful; Odin banishes him to Earth to learn humility and humanity. In the comic he is placed into the crippled form of Doctor Donald Blake. For the movie he appears to be stripped of his godhood; a good way for a movie adaptation to go for the time constraint and to give the super hero, instead of his alter-ego, the screen time.

Anthony Hopkins as Odin, in my opinion, was inspired, when I saw him on screen and heard his voice delivering such powerful lines, I could overlook the ridiculous eye patch. “I have sacrificed much to achieve peace. So too must a new generation sacrifice to maintain that peace. Responsibility! Duty! Honor! These are not mere virtues to which we must aspire. They are essential to every soldier….to every king.” Awesome dialogue! And when he dresses down Thor: “You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy!” Pitch perfect. The man is easily a match for the material and Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearian chops.

The rest of the cast looks like it will mesh well with the roles assigned to them. I only wish I could have seen a bit more of Loki’s manipulations and mischief as it relates to the plot of the film. I hope to see something in that vein in future previews.

I am very excited about the film now, but the decision to use 3D leaves me cold. I hope to be able to catch it in a normal format, for almost half that price tag. Regardless, I will be there opening night, and if they do a midnight show then I will be at the theater by 10 PM to make sure I have a ticket. I hold hope that the film will hit me as hard as the extended trailer did. Now I have to wait almost a year to find out!