Rich Koslowski: Writer, Artist, Genius
homeView and Buy Rich's StuffReviews of Rich's BooksRead Rich's RantsLinksAbout RichContact Rich

THE TEMPLE NOW AVAILABLE!

Hello faithful readers!

I am very pleased to announce that the Motion Comic I was lead artist on (but not the only artist), THE TEMPLE, is now available for viewing and downloading at Amazon Studios. I will now turn over my blog to Director and all around fantastic fellow, Alex Greenfield, to tell you more about this incredible journey... Take it away, Alex...

< Long story short-ish: my dad read me “The Rats in the Walls” when I was like five, literally sitting around a campfire. Let’s agree to ignore the parenting questions that anecdote raises and skip right to the fact that I became a Lovecraft addict before I could read. It was only a matter of time before I would dip my pen in the Mythos well.

Flash forward about thirty years and you’ll find my writing partner, Michael K. Eitelman and I hacking away at a contemporary story that took a bunch of HP’s cosmological elements, mashed them up and turned them into THE TEMPLE. The tale of a group of soldiers in Afghanistan who track their quarry across the graveyard of empires to an ancient ruin that looks like a Cyclopean cancer on God’s earth, the screenplay got some really positive notice.

Amazon Studios (amazon.com’s odd hybrid of screenwriting contest and production company) awarded us their Best Script prize and a competitive $50,000 production grant to make what they call a “test movie” of TEMPLE. In essence, they were looking for a “visual rough draft” of a fully budgeted film. What I ended up going with was something in the no man’s land between motion comic, animatic and storyboard.

I put a hella awesome team together. Our lead artist is three-time Eisner nominee, Rich Koslowski. Our cast includes some pretty awesome genre favorites I’ve always wanted to work with: Bobby Ray Shafer (of THE OFFICE, any number of MegaKangaroo vs. TyranaSquirrel pictures and the awesome PSYCHO COP), Darin Cooper (X-FILES, ANGEL, a freaking Cardassian on DS9) and a whole rogue’s gallery of Folks You’d Recognize.

We turned in the assembly on January 6th, Amazon loved it, we did the final mix and today they’re releasing the movie both on their Amazon Studios site and on Amazon Instant Video. I would love as many people as possible to take a trip to the Temple of Shub-Niggurath because I’m both proud of the comic and I feel like if enough people respond to the motion comic, Amazon may finance the actual movie.

Thus this email and the begging for coverage. I’d love you to check TEMPLE out. If you’re moved to do so, some words and a link or two would help us a lot. If you have questions or want more info, I’ll spin webs of colorful lies at the drop of a hat.

Here's the link to check out the film... http://studios.amazon.com/movies/13729

Thanks so much,

Alex>>

So there you have it. I hope you all check it out and spread the word.

THE TEMPLE!!!

Hey all,

Some pretty cool news to share. A few months back I was contacted by, Alex Greenfield, a writer/director about a "motion comic" he was doing through Amazon Studios called The Temple--a horror story done in a very Lovecraft-ian style. They needed a background artist to design the look of The Temple and then illustrate a good 50-65 backgrounds for the film. Well, after a brief fashion I got the job and have just last week finished the final BG and the rest of the film crew is now hard at work putting the final polishes on the Rough Cut--which I just saw yesterday and am very excited about.

I don't know yet when the motion comic will be ready for public consumption, but I will, of course, keep you posted.

If you liked Aliens and good old fashioned horror I think you're going to like The Temple!

Stay tuned!

word.

R

THOR MOVIE REVIEW!! BY ODIN!!!

Greetings comrades! A hale and hearty hello! It doth bringst me great joy to announce to thou allst that the THOR film production were't, indeed, Mighty and didst shine ever-so-brightly as doth the mighty Rainbow Bridge itself!

In other words I really, really liked it a lot. Although it did not rank quite as highly as, say, IRON MAN or THE DARK KNIGHT it came pretty darn close! A very, very solid B to B+. As a Thor aficianado I may have been too close to the subject and possibly over-scrutinized certain elements of the adaptation...The Destroyer for instance... I'm NOT going to spoil anything here but let's just say that anyone who knows the comics knows that that part of the film could have had much more gravitas had they stayed true to the comic (you comic geeks know of which I speak and I doth speak right, By the All-Father's eyepatch!)!

A minor quibble though as, overall, they did a spectacular job with just about everything else. And the casting was superb as well. I cannot wait for all these Marvel Movies ultimate payoff when The Avengers finally hits! I believe we have Captain America next and then we'll get The Avengers at last. Really looking forward that that as The Avengers is probably my all-time favorite comic book series. Top 2 or 3 at the very least.

So go and check it out True Believers! And I'm still waiting on my royalty checks as, as you can plainly see, they've been plastering my visage all over Odin's green earth and haven't sent me a penny!

In other news!... FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) was a total blast down at Comicopolis in downtown Santa Cruz, CA! The turn out was fantastic, the people were enthused, the sales at Troy and JD's shop also reflected the overall enthusiasm and I sketched like a madman! I did $1 sketches for the customers and they took FULL advantage lemme tell you.

Anyway, it was a fun event and I can't wait to do it again next year. Kudos to Joe Field for spearheading this nationwide idea/event in the first place, what?...Ten years ago now? Wow!

word.

R

IRON MAN, KICK ASS & MORE!...

Hello faithful blog readers,

It has been some time since I have regaled you with my magnificent movie reviews. So, as a public service, I shall now proceed to give you this useful (and tax free) advice...

KICK ASS!...Kick Ass kicked ass. 'Nuff said. Nah, I'd like to be all cool and succinct and all but that's not really a review is it? Okay, here goes...I read the comic series and really liked it a lot. Mark Millar is one of my current favorite writers in mainstream comics and John Romita Jr.'s art on the series is absolutely phenomenal. The comic is brutal, hilarious, gripping and realistic enough--while all at once completely absurd--to make it one of my top ten picks of 2009. So, when I heard the movie was on the horizon I actually thought, "this could work." Usually I'm kinda pessimistic when it comes to comic adaptations (although they have been steadily getting better over the past 5-6 years). But with KICK ASS and no need to have an overly HUGE budget, I really thought this adaptation had a shot. Absolutely right it did! The movie remains true to the comic in almost every sense (except the guy getting the girl in the end. I preferred the comic version) and with the ability to add sound, and the most, dare I say it again?...yes, I dare...the most KICK ASS soundtrack in any movie I've ever seen, they've actually improved upon the original product! They did what film is supposed to do...transform and transcend the original! The violence and mayhem is a given, right? That's kind of what the comic was all about...But then they went and added that brilliant soundtrack!!!...Sandy and I watched with giggling glee as we witnessed dozens of hoodlums dissected and vivisected in every way imaginable because the music they set to these brutal scenes was so utterly perfect in it's proposterousness! (Is that a word?)

And the acting was superb. The humor pitch perfect. And it was one of Nicolas Cage's "great" movies. Every one out of about 6 he scores and this is definitely one of them, folks.

KICK ASS...Grade A

IRON MAN 2. Not as good as Iron Man 1. Nor as good as Kick ass. But still, we enjoyed it. The overall flow of this sequel was a bit "clunky." The story a bit disjointed I felt. Much like the beginning of this review, eh?

Okay, Robert Downey, Jr. was great again as Iron Man/Tony Stark. The rest of the cast all acted well too. No problems there. But they tried to do too much with too many villains and too many good guys in this one. And do they all have to wear Iron suits? They did that in the first one and now they did it again in this one only ten-fold. There was, like, 36 Iron Dudes in this one! Mickey Rourke/Whiplash wasn't developed enough. Kind of a sidebar to the whole film, actually, and a wasted character. Justin Hammer was okay, but too sniveling. Black Widow and Nick Fury were fairly inconsequential...just too many characters vying for screen time.

And they went back to the well again with Stark's heart problem! Didn't we just see that in the first film? Yeah, yeah, I know...different reason this time that's killing him...I GET it, okay? But it still had the same exact feel as film #1.

IRON MAN 2...Grade C+/B-. We liked it, just didn't love it like the first one.

NOW! If you want to see an A+++ flick go out and rent THE PRESTIGE! Flat out brilliant movie by Batman: Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. This was his follow-up to another favorite of mine, MEMENTO. The Prestige stars Christian Bale (yes, Dark Knight) and Hugh Jackman (yes, Wolverine) along with veteran actor, Michael Caine who plays the two's mentor in all things magic! It's a period piece that takes a gripping look at the world of magic and it's intense performers at the turn-of-the-century. And, of course, as you'd expect from Christopher Nolan, you get a little bit more in the way of unexpected twists and turns. This is one of the most complex, brilliant, well-acted movies I've ever had the pleasure of watching. And pay attention...pay attention to every thing you see!...the ending is going to knock you on your ass!

And when it's over?...I guarantee you'll want to watch it again immediately to pick up all the clues you missed the first go 'round.

Another film I'm going to highly recommend is an indy film called INK. A friend of mine and 3 GEEKS fan, Matt Simmons, was kind enough to send me an autographed copy awhile back with his personal guarantee that I dig it. Matt was correct. As original a concept and execution of any film I've ever seen. And from what I understand they did this movie with a budget of around 250K!!! Believe me, when you see it you'll be as astounded as I was. This looks "big budget" my friends...the special effects are flawless. Directed (and I believe written) by Jamin Winans the film explores what happens to people when they sleep and how opposing forces fight for our souls as we do so. There is one tortured soul in particular that the action/story centers on, and again, the ending will knock you for a loop. It started out confusing, but you just have to give it 15 minutes. Once you settle in for the long haul every piece of this magnificent puzzle starts falling into beautiful place.

And it's a cast of relative unknowns from the Colorado area I understand (correct me if that's untrue) and I'd have never guessed it. The lead actor is fantastic! All the actors are very solid in fact. Top to bottom a great sci-fi film.

INK...Grade B+

In other news...Going to record the BB WOLF AND THE 3 L.P.S soundtrack soon! Seriously! The cd will be limited edition and included in a "BB WOLF Box Set" that JD Arnold (writer) and I are putting together. In the box set will be: The book, 2 shot glasses (2 different designs), 3 coasters (all different designs), the music cd with three "original" BB recordings from the 1930s (the "lost tracks" if you will), and a limited signed art print! And wait'll you see the friggin' box this set comes in!!! A piece of art all and unto itself lemme tell ya! We've got a local engraver/designer creating these beauties and we couldn't be more delighted.

So stay tuned. We just got word the book is "on the ship" from China as I write this so all the pieces are falling into place and the book will be available very soon! And by the time Comic-Con's here we'll be rockin' and a rollin' with all things BB WOLF!

word.

r

GRAN TORINO, FROST/NIXON MOVIE REVIEWS

One sucked ass one did not.

I love Clint Eastwood. Loved all those Dirty Harry movies and all those awesome spaghetti westerns he did. And Unforgiven is my favorite western ever! Incredible movie. Love the guy!

Million Dollar Baby? That movie was ridiculously bad. I have NO idea how it won and academy award. There's an old saying referring to movies that I like to roll out on occasion--"It's easier to make people believe the impossible than the improbable." MDB was LOADED with improbability. The whole sliding the stool out as she fell from the sucker punch knockout from the wickedly evil opponent and then she lands right on the aforementioned stool and breaks her neck and becomes paralyzed and then her beyond loser family only cares about what money they're gonna get????!!!!....This movie was BEYOND ridiculous. BEYOND over-the-top. It was a caricature of a caricature and I was embarrassed for Clint.

Then I saw the trailers for Gran Torino last year and all the fantastic reviews and couldn't wait to see it. Looked like Clint was back!

So we rented it last weekend and eagerly dived in...

53 seconds in Sandy and I looked at each other and I said, "MIllion Dollar Baby II." God help me, it was even worse. Trite? Cliched? Improbable? Caricature? Nope...SuperTrite, SuperCliched, SuperImprobable and yes, SuperCaricatured. I can't believe anyone liked this awful movie. It was so predictable that I was actually calling out lines before they were said-- The part where the pre-pubescent Priest who always called Clint's character by his first name Walt instead of Mr. Whatever like he always reminded the boyish Priest to call him until, suddely, halfway through the film when, all of a sudden like, the Priest starts calling Walt Mr. Whatever like he always insisted and then Walt begins to "open up and reveal his soul" (even though he's the meanest, most racist, hateful prick you've ever seen before in ANY movie--he actually growled and scowled like a bad anime character) I knew, saw it coming from a MILE away, that Walt was going to all of a sudden say, "Call me Walt." It was the worst, most predictable writing I've ever witnessed in a film.

The supporting characters were also awful, predictable, and acted terribly. The family scenes were painful to watch--yeah, we get it, the daughter's a shallow little tramp who only cares about Gramp's cool car and we get it that she ain't gettin' it that that punky little gook zipperhead (Walt's words not mine) is gonna get the car instead. Yep, knew that 78 seconds into the movie than you very much.

And the Hmung actors were terrible! T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! Stiff and stilted when they delivered their awful dialogue. I really can't believe there weren't ANY asian/Hmung actors out there in Hollywood who could act. They must've used the same talent pool that George Lucas used to find Anakin Skywalker actors.

So, in case any of you lack the powers to predict like I have and haven't figured out my grade yet for this movie, here it is..."F."

Now, on the other hand FROST/NIXON was very good. Not quite great but very good, very well acted and very well directed. Frank Langella was brilliant as Nixon. His performance alone is worth the price of the rental. Mesmerizing! And the supporting cast was excellent as well. Michael Sheen was equally brilliant as David Frost. He played the "playboy, in over his head, out of his league yet able to summon up something more than himself and get the job done" role to perfection.

Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt--they all delivered fine performances in this well-balanced, well-directed look at a part of our political history that I think too many of us have forgotten or previously knew little about.

And I like that it focused more on the characters emotional states than the factual aspects of what happened. As I'm likely to believe that that was the more fascinating part of the story.

It was an examination of two souls, two fighters facing off, exchanging punches until only one would rise and one would fall. Seeing the battle of wills and wits was riveting. Not all of the bloodiest battles are fought with bullets, bombs and knives. Some of the bloodiest are fought with words.

And these were bloody good words! Grade: "B+."

Have a happy Independence Day!

R

LOTS O' STUFF!

Hey True Believers!

Been quite a while since I last espoused my opinions, observations and general bitches. Lots of stuff has happened since my last installment so here we go...

STAR TREK. Yes, it rocked! Solid "A." I'll assume most of you have seen this by now (those that matter anyway! If you haven't you just suck) so I'm not going to worry about spoiling anything for anyone. From the first five minutes I knew this movie was going to be absolutely perfect and it was. JJ Abrams not only captured the "essence" of Roddenberry's Trek--his vision--but he also managed to give us a fresh take on the franchise. How? By creating an alternate universe where he can now take the characters in a whole new direction. Spock HAS emotion and isn't afraid to show it! At least show a little bit of it--and don't piss him off. Kirk's an orphan--his father the earliest victim of this new reality. So he's even a bit more of a cavalier rebel than the previous incarnation was. Uhura is HOT!!! And her and Spock are doing the deed.

And not only are we seeing some great new direction with the characters but the story, action and special effects were all knocked out of the park. Abrams direction of the massive battles in space were the best I've ever seen. The way they cut from a noisy, chaotic interior shot to a spacious, noiseless exterior that was massive in scope and impact?...Best I've ever seen. It bears repeating. Trust me.

This was, by far, the best of the Star Trek bunch. And Sandy and I are huge Trek fans. And the masterstroke of creating this "alternate reality version" should leave every fan tickled pink, even the most ardent, hardcore Trekkie. Now we all get to enjoy this brand new playground and not have to worry about messing up any continuity, do we? Anything goes!!! Wa-HOOOO!!!!

Contrarily...Night At The Museum 2. S-U-C-K-E-D. S-U-U-U-U-C-K-E-D!!!!! This was the worst sequel I've seen since Phantom Menace and maybe the third worst ever behind the aforementioned Phantom Menace and Highlander 2...Okay, Batman & Robin blew ass too, but this turd ranks Top 4 or 5 easy.

Not. Funny. At. All.

The story sucked, the premise sucked, the jokes sucked, the acting sucked...I think you get the picture.

This was a huge disappointment since the first NATM movie was really good. We looked forward to seeing this as a good family film to see with our 7-year-old. Not. And the most disappointing part was that the actors didn't really seem to be into the movie at all. The trod out the same jokes as the first movie--Owen Wilson must have called Ben Stiller's character "Gigantor" 12 times in this movie. Stopped being funny 3/4s of the way through the first one. Stiller also had three or four of the "classic Ben Stiller argument scenes" where he and the antagonist bicker back-and-forth exchanging verbal volleys that just end up going round and round in futile, exasperating circles and the audience just can't help but chuckle, giggle, chortle and titter helplessly as they watch this silly exchange...Sadly, though I am a fan of Stiller when he's good and the movie's well written, these scenes in this movie fell very, very, very flat. They seemed forced and pointless and meandered on and on. Much like this review.

The movie sucked. Save 40 bucks. We, as a family, gave it a "D-." The ONLY good thing was seeing Amy Adams in those tight tan pants.

SUPER-CON, San Jose! Had a great time at the Super-Con and many thanks must go out to the convention organizers! I got drunk, ate well, spent a nice weekend with my friends Johnnie and Katie Arnold and narrowly avoided vomiting on the plane while flying over the turbulent Rocky Mountains. So a Grade "A" trip.

OUR FREAKING ROOF IS FINALLY FIXED!!! Yes, after one full year, almost to the day, and about 7 different roofers, we finally have a roof that no longer leaks! Serenity now! M-M Roofing saved the day and all it cost us was another $2,000. And worth every penny to finally have the peace of mind at night when the sound of distant, rumbling thunder is heard on the horizon. So the house is officially "On The Market" if anyone's interested. And it is up to snuff lemme tell you. New roof, new paint job, kitchen, bath...we did a shiznitload of remodeling on this palace and are proud to display it to all interested parties.

Saw the Titanic exhibit when it was here in Milwaukee. Not ashamed to admit that I got choked up on more than one occasion as I perused the exhibit and read about the lives that were lost--the heroism that was shown by so many that sad night. I tell you, the story's almost 100 years old and we've all heard it a hundred times, but when you see those artifacts up close and personal it hits you like a ton of bricks right in the soft spot. I had to choke back the tears a few times. If the exhibit comes to a town near you I highly recommend it. And we also saw the Cameron movie on the IMAX that same day, Ghosts Of The Abyss. Very interesting, very well done. And Bill Paxton's in it and his raw, unrehearsed reactions to diving down those 8-9,000 feet are priceless! See the exhibit then see the film if possible.

Other than that I'll be attending Comic-Con International next month so be there or be square. I'll be nestled amongst the hundreds of other talented artists in Artists Alley.

ALSO! The Brazilian version of THREE FINGERS recently came out! Very cool. And if you didn't see the "trailer" they put together and posted on YouTube check it out. I was alerted by my good pal Rik Offenberger over at Archie one day that he "saw my trailer on YouTube" and had absolutely no idea to what he referred. So I click on the link and watch what I think, at first, must be some ambitious fan's tribute to the book. I also take not that the text that occasionally pops up is written in a language that I do not speak so my confusion only increases as I watch on. Then it ends and a name pops up and a bell rings in my head! I remember signing a foreign publishing rights deal a good year back and it dawns on me that this must be that pub. So I write to the email address and Voila! I get an almost immediate response from the Brazilian publisher that, yes indeed, it was they who posted the trailer.

Check it out. It delighted the hell out of me...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOvHKRK-pn0

Word.

R

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN? I DO!

Finally had the chance to catch THE WATCHMEN today with Sandy. We usually wait at least a week on any new major releases (except Lord Of The Rings...to geeked up for that) so we don't have to deal with the "knucklehead" factor. The chick next to me at the Superman opening night who texted through all the "talky" scenes pretty much ended my going to premiere nights. So, after a good solid week of waiting and pretty much avoiding any conversations with friends who already saw it we blew off work this afternoon and caught THE WATCHMEN at long last.

I admit that I was more than a bit skeptical going in. I echoed all the naysayers opinions that the film just couldn't be made. Too ambitious for the screen and would take a trilogy at the very least. And I did come across a few reviews that were less than stellar. But, had to see it. Had to. Couldn't wait any longer.

Loved it! And so did Sandy. It's one of the handful of graphic novels I've got her to read over the years so she was familiar with the brilliance. We both agreed that it deserved a solid 8.5 out of a possible 10.

First off it looked great. And I guess we'd expect that out of Zack Snyder after the stunning visuals of 300 wouldn't we? The opening scene of The Comedian getting the snot beat out of him was stunning in it's vicious clarity. So, the movie looked great.

Second, the cast. Great from top to bottom starting with the aforementioned Comedian aka Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His character rocked! He played the part to perfection. The guy who kicks the shit out of the bad guys--even kills them (kills the good guys too for that matter)--with a certain kind of sick relish that makes you really like the dude. I know, it's wrong. It's so wrong it's right.

Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan. WOW! Never been a huge Billy Crudup fan per se. I always thought he was a fine actor but he never wowed me before until this. He played the part with such subdued, subtle emotion...and yet the emotion crackled with energy. I'm telling you, it must make Leonard Nimoy proud! And the character Dr. Manhattan is so freaking cool! He looked amazing. And when they put him in the black suit? Awesome. He'll never get a nomination because it's a "super-hero" film and that's a shame because he nailed this part. And the CGI blue suit was phenomenal. Usually the CGI muscles look like crap but this was top-notch right down to Mr. Johnson's swaying along as the good Doc strutted towards Ozymandias with bad intention.

Malin Ackerman, The Silk Spectre II. The only other movie I ever saw her in was the very uneven Harold & Kumar/White Castle thing where she played the horny housewife of some deformed creep. In H&K she revealed her breasts and I'm happy to report she does so again in Watchmen. Not gonna mince words here folks, she is a fine looking woman! Stunning. And you know what?...She can act! Not just a pretty face but along with the Nite Owl II the moral compass of the film. It was her after all, perhaps the "weakest" super-hero, who was able to touch Dr. Manhattan's fleeting connection with humanity. I sincerely can't wait to see her in upcoming films. Even if she remains fully clothed.

And speaking of Nite Owl II...Patrick Wilson...I've seen him in a handful of things but can't seem to remember what. Only that I've seen him before. I seem to recall that his prior works have always been good but, again, can't remember what they were. As Nite Owl he was great. He played the part of the "lost soul" very well. Not sure what his place was, afraid of where he was going, unsure...lost. He didn't weep or cry or sulk. He just played it with a sense of sad lonliness. Again, like Crudup, with a subtlety. A dignified subtlety that made you want him to succeed...to get the girl! Just that "nice guy" who deserves a break. I should add that "nice guy" who can and does kick some serious ass too, folks. The alley scene was great.

Matthew Goode as Ozymandias. Never seen this actor as far as I know but he played the cold, calculating part of Ozymandias quite well. He looked the part too. Thin, handsome in an almost feminine way without being feminine (does that make sense?), and deadly. He simmered with calm deadliness. Course it probably helped that I knew the score on him before ever seeing the film. I knew what the dude was up to so I also knew what to watch for. Anyway, another stellar choice in casting.

And finally Jackie Earle Haley. Yep, same skinny runt from The Bad News Bears flicks we all loved as kids (if you grew up in the 70s/80s like me anyway). He ain't the scary cigarette smoking punk, Kelly, anymore. Nope now he's the even scarier freak Rorschach! Could this part have been cast anymore brilliantly? I want to know who's responsible. They simply could not have found a better person for this role. Impossible. And why did Hollywood virtually ignore Jackie for, what, 20 years before his comeback in Little Children last year. The guy's got talent! Man! He was unbelievably brilliant as the twisted Rorschach. Seething with rage, anger, yet that sense of right. Another performance that should receive numerous nominations that sadly will not. But I'd hope that Jackie's not going to be lacking for good roles for a long, long time after this. Hollywood just can't be that stupid twice, can they?

The soundtrack was the only uneven thing for me. I'm big on soundtracks and some of the choices just didn't quite fit. Or they were too loud. Out of place. Some songs were great like 99 Luftballoons. Weird and perfect. Especially considering this took place in the mid 80s. But some just missed the mark and were distracting. Really my only minor quibble with the film.

And I am THRILLED that the bigtime Hollywood decision makers, who all-too-often miss the mark by miles, acquiesced to letting this be a "period piece" and not try to modernize it by putting it in present day. That would have been a big mistake. Having the political climate of the 80s and staying true to Alan Moore's vision was a refreshing gratification after all the arbitrary changes I've seen Hollywood make to other comic book adaptations over the years. Whoever convinced whomever is my hero now. Well done!

I talked with my good pal, Jim Droese (fellow comic geek),after seeing Watchmen today and he summed it up pretty nicely after explaining why he only gave the movie a 7.5. He said, "I wanted MORE! 2 hours and 40 minutes just wasn't enough."

And I couldn't agree more. I want more too. I'm not a big advocate of extended DVD "Director's Cuts" but in this case I'm drooling with anticipation. I'm even going to go on the first day of its release!

Word.

R

THE HULK VS. HELLBOY

Okay, did a little movie marathon last week Thursday with Sandy and we saw The Hulk and Hellboy II back-to-back. We both saw the previous prequels of these two films as well when they both came out a few years back and enjoyed both of them--even though the first Hulk was slammed by just about everyone--but REALLY enjoyed the first Hellboy! The first Hellboy was fantastic, capturing everything that made the comic book a hit perfectly. Hellboy was quirky but also noble and courageous. The supporting cast was equally brilliant with Abe Sapien and the Jeffrey Tambor character stealing every scene they were in.

The story had intrigue, action, humor and wonderful visual effects. An A+ movie and we couldn't wait for the sequel.

The sequel stunk.

And I don't know if we entered an alternate reality version when we walked through the theater doors last Thursday, or not, because all the reviewers gave this movie glowing reviews! Maybe we saw a different film?! Rene Rodriguez from Entertainment Weekly is usually dead on and I agree with her reviews 90% of the time...she gave it an A or an A- can't remember which but I was stunned!

Now I don't want to bash this film as I truly love Hellboy and Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro but the film was just too goofy! Two minutes in I knew I was going to be disappointed. They went for camp and visuals in this sequel and seemingly only that. Focusing on what they thought made the first film so great...the quirky bits of humor that gave the movie such charm. But in focusing on that they abandoned the elements that also made the film AND the characters so great! Hellboy was turned into an adolescent goofball with a serious case of attention defecit disorder in HII. Gone was his nobility, his heart, his charm. Instead he only annoyed. They started the film off with him as a young boy..er, HELLboy. And although this start was very, very goofy--very over-the-top!-- it seemed intentional and I accepted it. I thought it was a cheesey, campy set-up for the terror that was sure to follow...wrong. The camp continued, never stopped. Then they followed with a knock-down drag-out fight between the now bickering couple in love, Hellboy and Liz Sherman. This was uncomfortable and didn't work. The first one ended with them finally realizing how much they meant to one another and now they can't stand each other? At least she can't stand him. And who can blame her, really, since they turned him into such an unlikable character here? ugh. And remeber how Hellboy saved Liz in the first film and how brilliant and beautiful that was? Ruined here. And, AND, they repeat this scene later in HII with Liz now having a similar scene with Hellboy now at death's door. Sheesh! (Liz also repeats her line from the first film about, "You should be running now." When she fires up at one point. Sheesh again.) They ruined Abe turning him into a stumbling bumbling lovesick puppy; they ruined Jeffrey Tambor's character turning him into a sniveling kiss ass taking away his pompous charm that made his character work so well in the first film; they ruined Liz Sherman turning her into a boring crank and they brought in the great character Johann Krauss from the comics and turned him into a character with really bad punchlines and a really bad german accent.

And all the creatures they rolled out? Too much focus on that here and at times it seemed as if they were doing it just for the sake of doing it. The entire Troll Market seemed very contrived and completely superfluous. And they just happened to stumble upon the missing princess there?! Come on guys, I know you can write better than that.

But the topper of the whole thing was when Hellboy saves the entire city from a building-sized monstrosity, also saving a baby along the way (and holding the baby through the entire fight BTW. Again, come on, guys!), and after saving said city and baby the entire crowd suddenly turns on the formerly beloved Hellboy calling him a menace and hurling objects at him as the woman whose baby he saved screams at him in terror grabbing the baby away as Hellboy stands there stunned. And then, THEN, Liz rushes to his side and actually says, "Can't you see he's trying to help you?! Can't you see?!!!" or something to that effect. ugh. Haven't we seen this scene before soooo many times? It's trite and it's implausable. Painful and I was surprised that two geniuses like Mignola and Del Toro would write this. I don't get it.

There were also a lot of convenient story devices which didn't play like them just happening upon a troll on a cart who just happened to know someone nearby who just happened to be able to heal Hellboy's terminal injury. How fortuitous for them. And why/how was Abe able to all-of-a-sudden be able to waltz around without his breathing device he needed and pointed out needing earlier in the film? And their hijacking the plane from BPRD headquarters without clearance even though there are armed guards all over the place? Right.

And I tell you, the only character in this film that I actually LIKED and admired/respected was the bad guy! He had nobility, purpose and a sad vulnerability...HEY! Waitaminute! Just like Hellboy had in the first film! Hmmm.....

If you just need visuals to make your movie going experience a good one this is the film for you as it's just one long Star Wars cantina scene. But if you're expecting the same quality, balanced movie that was the first Hellboy you'll be disappointed like we were.

Contrarily! we weren't expecting much from The Hulk and ended up enjoying it very much. Was it an A movie? No, but it was definitely a solid B. Good story, great acting, great action! Just what one would expect from a Hulk movie, right? Had the sadness we'd expect as well. A couple nice nods to Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee and also Bill Bixby and the great nod to the old tv line, "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" I won't spill on how they changed this line but it was great and it was hilarious. They also threw in a nod to Jim Wilson and Jack McGee and a few other little things only the true Hulk afficianado will pick up. Making the Hulk talk was also great! Missed that in the first film and it was always my biggest gripe in the tv series when I was a wee lad.

The Hulk is a fun film people. Go see it. Hellboy II? Save your money.

And don't even get me started on Spider-Man 3 which we just saw on DVD a couple weeks back! Holy God was this a bad movie. We actually felt awkward while watching it and embarrassed for Toby McGuire. This was almost, ALMOST as bad as Batman and Robin folks. Almost.

Word.

r

p.s. Comic-Con International this week! I'll be camped in artists alley so stop on by! We can debate the film reviews if you'd like. I'm right, though, just so you know.

I. AM. IRON! MAN!!!

Hey all,

This week I'm going to do you all a huge favor and you can then show your appreciation by sending me envelopes filled with cold hard cash. Trust me, you'll want to after taking this next little piece of advice.

GO SEE IRON MAN RIGHT NOW!!!

No, I meant it...If you're still reading this you effed up, man. Go see the movie then come back and read the rest of this blog.

Okay? You back? Awesome! Wasn't that unreal? I've seen a lot of super-hero or comic book based movie adaptations and this was easily the best of the bunch. Was it not? Okay, here's what I know you'll agree made this movie so utterly kick-ass. Here we go...

1) Robert Downey, Jr. Three four years ago I was as fed up with this guy as the rest of us normal "work our asses off to pay the bills" working joes. I was sick and tired of seeing that mussed up, dark circles under the eyes loser in front of the judge getting yet another "last chance" to clean himself up. I really wanted him to just go away...get thrown in the slammer and never hear from the loser again. And I think a lot of you felt the same way.

And yet...

Yeah, dammit, and yet...God Dang myself I couldn't deny I loved the way the guy acted. His talent couldn't be denied. His roles in Wonder Boys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang not to mention just about every-friggin-thing-else he's ever been in have been nothing short of spectacular. Yep, the drug user and multi-abuser definitely always had the good when it came to his acting.

Yep, so when he was cast as Tony Stark/Iron Man, yep, I couldn't help but get excited. I knew he'd be perfect for the role. After all, Tony Stark is an alcoholic. Yep, in the comics series he's an alcoholic in case you don't read the books (and you really should). One of the brilliant things Marvel Comics did with the character to give him the patented "Marvel Flaw" that made the character more human. And, apparently, casting Downey was another sign of brilliance if only to have an actor that could relate on that level with the comic character!

Damn! I couldn't help but shake my head at the brilliance of this casting decision.

Then you find out he's been clean for the past 3 years on top of it! Crap! Could he really FINALLY have learned his lesson after all the fugg ups of the past 20ish years?!! Now I have to applaud the casting decision and Downey himself. It's all good.

And, yep again, the brilliant, now sober actor nailed the part better than anyone else on the planet could have ever hoped to have done. Grade: A+!! He had the charisma, charm, swagger, good looks, smarts, clever quips and delivery only he seems to have--that answering a person's question but really talking to himself thing he does so freaking well!--and the vulnerability necessary to make Tony Stark and thereby Iron Man HUMAN. Just like in the comics and just the reason the character succeeded in the first place.

So, 1) Robert Downey, Jr.

2) Jon Favreau, director. Always liked him as an actor and have grown to really appreciate him as a director. He seems to also have that "everyman" likeability as an actor in the roles he's played (Friends, Made) and a great sense of what works on the screen when he directs. Go rent the underrated Zathura and you'll see the film that preceded Iron Man and probably sealed the deal on landing this gig. Zathura demonstrated he knew how to pull of an action/adventure movie without entirely relying on special effects like so many directors seem to do in these CGI laden days of film making. He understands pacing and humor and characterization as vital elements in making a film. This movie will plant him firmly now on the A-list of Hollywood directors and deservedly so! Grade: Another A+!!

3) The story. Don't know offhand who wrote this puppy but they did a bang-up job. They kept it true to the comic's rich history while making the right updates in making it relevant...i.e. Instead of Stark being held prisoner during the Viet Nam war he's now being held by Afghan terrorists. They also tuned a very nice little trick with Tony Stark's "heart problem" he always had to deal with in the comics. They took an element that was always rather simple and gave it a nice, techno twist that also tied in with the overall plot of the film. Very tight scripting. Funny, smart, great action sequences, dialogue, everything!

The only minor quibble I had was when Tony Stark had his revelation--his realization that being a weapons manufacturer was bad--that the transition into turning the revelation into a suit of armor wasn't fully explained enough. Yeah, I got it, he made the suit and eventually used it to right his own wrongs, yes...I got that. But they took us from his saying he wanted to work on his ground-breaking energy source to help mankind to all of a sudden making the suit! It was a quick transition and the "making of the suit part" didn't make sense at the time/wasn't fully explained enough. "Why would he make this thing to convert/store/emit the energy?"

Anyway, it was a minor quibble. Writing still kicked total ass. Grade: A.

4) Supporting cast. All exceptional actors. Terrance Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow. All-star cast and an all-star job. Grade: A.

5) Everything else under the sun. The day was nice, the timing right (was having a craptastic couple weeks being under the weather with horrible cold/flu/throat crap), the popcorn was delicious, the theatre not crowded (go to Tuesday matinees people), the cushy oversized seats (IPIC Theatres rock! Lucky to have the first one in the friggin' country here just 3 miles from my house! Take that you bastards! HA!) and Sandy (my wife) also loved the film and agreed with me on all the reasons why it was so damn great! It's really nice to be right and know you're right and then have someone tell you you're right...am I right?!

Yeah, I'm right.

And you, of course, know this because you immediately went and saw the movie after I told you to twelve paragraphs ago, right?

Right.

Word.

R

ENCHANTED!

Greetings all! Just took the family to see the new Disney movie, Enchanted, at the brand spanking new IPIC theatre located at the newly renovated Bayshore Town Center Mall. The mall is nice, the theatre spectacular--luxury seating, intimate size, chic bar and restaurant and a friggin' bowling alley!--and the movie was absolutely wonderful! Best family movie we've seen in quite a few years. I couldn't recommend this movie enough to anyone with kids...you know what? to anyone at all! I was delighted throughout the entire film. The actors were all phenomenal with Amy Adams (Junebug; The Wedding Date) in the lead and stealing the show (and the hearts of the movie goers) with her charm and talent...and she can SING! James Marsden who always plays the stodgy types (X-Men & Superman Returns) displayed some wonderful, side-splitting comedic ability. And Dr. McDreamy a.k.a. Patrick Dempsey played the role of the straight man extremely well here with some real heart. I gave up on Grey's Anatomy a long time ago but he really proved his star power in this film.

So what's the darned movie about? Simple: it's a fairytale come to life. The movie starts out in a classic Disney animated world playing up all the typical scenarios of the fair maiden waiting for her Prince Charming who's a dashing, courageous sort capturing giant trolls with his broad sword and even broader smile. They both long for true love and find themselves thrown together where they instantly fall in love while singing the same song, finishing the missing parts of their "destiny duet!" But, alas, there's the evil step-mother, of course, who wants nothing more than to see the Prince remain unwed so that she can remain Queen and reap the rewards such a station sews.

And so the evil step-mother tricks the fair maiden on their wedding day (the day after they meet of course!) into falling down a well where she then finds herself no longer a beautifully animated fairy tale character but a true living breathing in-the-flesh person (still mesmerizing BTW) landed smack dab in the middle of absolute "non fairytale land" New York city. She's lost. Literally and figuratively. And that's where the fun begins as we see her oh-so-sweet naivete trying to cope with the harshness of reality. She meets Dr. McDreamy and he reluctantly takes her in trying to help someone he believes to be delusional. And Prince Charming (Prince Edward actually; James Marsden) follows after her down the well and also into our reality. He's absolutely hilarious as he seems absolutely oblivious to the fact that things are completely different here--Attacking a city bus to free the citizens from it's belly is priceless fun.

And the chipmunk? Nice added fun for the kids! Heck, for the adults too.

I won't give away the whole shebang but in the end you leave truly uplifted. I know it may sound corny but it's a wonderful, heartwarming fairytale and I loved it!

A+ on this one folks. GO!

word.

r

More Entries

BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.1.004.

Home | View & Buy Rich's Stuff | Read Review | Read Rich's Rants
Links to sites Rich thinks you should see | About Rich Koslowski
Contact Rich | sitemap

RichKoslowski.com All contents copyright©2014 Rich Koslowski

web design, development & maintainence - sitebyMIKE