Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Heroes 3x07: Eris Quod Sum

Villain: The episode title
Anyone know Latin so they can tell me what the hell title means? It wasn't mentioned in the episode. Eris is the Greek goddess of discord, for what that's worth, and my armchair knowledge of Descartes (cogito ergo sum) suggests that sum means "I am" or something to that effect. So something about "being discord", maybe?

Hero: Lyle dunking Elle
That was pretty funny. Go Lyle. Nice to see the overlooked Bennet getting his licks in.

Villain: Elle on a plane
Claire seems to have taken over Hiro's job of doing something dumb every week. Look, I get that the writers needed Claire and Elle to physically get to where the main narrative is quickly, but they could have just dropped them in front of Pinehearst and let us fill in the blanks instead of showing us that Claire was stupid enough to bring an electrically out-of-control Elle on a plane, endangering the lives of all those passengers, even going so far as to taunt Elle while they're flying. The payoff of that scene, Claire and Elle's sisterly bonding as Claire takes the brunt of Elle's power, wasn't worth the idiotic setup. And really, if Elle had just let go of the metal arm of her seat, she probably could have dispersed the electricity as well as Claire did.

Hero: Claire is involved in the main narrative
I often feel that Claire, a continent away, often ends up removed from the main narrative of the show and gets saddled with lackluster subplots and lame characters (*cough* Wes *cough*) so I always appreciate it when she finds her way back into the main narrative and hangs out with her birth family.

Hero: Parkman does good
Hey, Matt the loveable doofus did something effective! And he showed just the right combination of sorrow and nonchalant-ness at the news of his father's death. I'm just hoping he's already aware of Daphne's double-cross (although, honestly, Parkman automatically trusting her enough to NOT read her mind and see that wouldn't surprise or anger me much).

Villain: Sylar gets whomped again
I was a little disappointed that Sylar was taken down so easily by Mohinder. First he was beaten to a pulp by Peter last week and now this. I'll take back this criticism if Sylar not fighting back against Mohinder was part of the "infiltrate the bad guys" stratagem suggested by his slowing of Peter's fall.

Hero: Maya gone for good
Hopefully her amends-making will occur firmly offscreen, making this the last we'll see of the irritatingly doe-eyed Maya. Though I have to wonder, if this was Maya's final exit, what was the point of having her in this season at all? We could have gotten the "Mohinder is becoming a monster" vibe sufficiently from his webbing of the abusive neighbor and drug dealer and subsequent attack on Tracy and Nathan. It's funny: of all the season 2 plots the producers are doing their best to ignore that I wish they wouldn't, they decided to carry over Maya, the one season 2 plot I'd like most to be ignored.

Not much to say about this one. Another steady and enjoyable outing. I'm looking forward to the flashback episode in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anyone for a 3-way?

She's stood up to an oppressive regime.

She has vast experience with foreign affairs.

Her running mate knows how to handle terrorist threats.

She's a certified genius.

And she's hot ! ! !

Do you really want another stubborn white guy in the oval office?

It's time to put Pryde back in politics.

Kitty Pryde - guaranteed to NOT stop a bullet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Make America Magical!

Hi, I'm Doctor Strange. These are some scary times. What, with the economy going up in flames.

Crime on the rise.

And Mindless Ones terrorizing cities.

With all this negativity in the world, I'm going to act positively. That's why I'm asking for a complete halt to all this "negative campaigning." That's not to say other independent committees might not put out adds pointing out that Cyclops is guilty of committing hate crimes against homosexuals...

Or that Cyclops may possibly be a homosexual himself.

But I won't go down that road because that's not what's important to this race. What's important is that I'm going to be tough on evil extra-dimensional deities.

Tougher on vampires.

And toughest on taxes.

So vote for Doctor Strange and together we can bring America to new heights.

I would also like to point out that by taking the high road and ending my negative campaigning I've proven myself to be ethically and morally superior to my opponent.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Doctor Strange.
I'm Doctor Stephen Strange and the almighty Vishanti have bestowed upon me the power to approve this message.

A Strange New World for America

Did you know: Doctor Strange claims to speak for the "average American?" How many "average" Americans do you know that have man servants?

Did you know: Doctor Strange's apprentice is a man-bull. Can America withstand a cabinet stuffed with man-bulls?

Did you know: Jesus Christ died for our sins; what have Hoggath, Ikthalon, Agamotto, and Watoomb done for us lately?

Did you know: "Doctor" Strange is no longer licensed to practice medicine?

Did you know: when Doctor Strange was a doctor, he wouldn't help poor people; he was only concerned with making money for himself?

Did you know: Doctor Strange's wife isn't American? She wasn't even born in this dimension.

Did you know: While Doctor Strange claims to be against tax increases, he plans to raise "fees" to help fund the arts? And not the fine arts, but the "mystic" arts?

Did you know: Doctor Strange is friends with the Hulk, who repeatedly destroys American cities, the Silver Surfer, who once led the world-devouring Galactus to our planet, and Namor the Sub-Mariner, who has repeatedly declared war on the surface world?

Do you know where on the world America is? That's right, the surface.

Does America truly want to be part of the "strange" new world promised by this candidate? Can America afford to trust the trippy and surreal vision of this "doctor?"

On November 4th, vote for the candidate with a clear and direct vision for the future.

Isn't it time America "mutated" into something that was beneficial for all?

Paid for by Mutatis Mutandis and People For A Strange-free America.

I'm Scott Summers...and I approve this message.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heroes 3x06: Dying of the Light

Villain: Adam's death
Killing Adam off was lame because:
A. Adam was a cool character, with lots of potential and ties to several characters the writers never bothered to explore.
B. The old "having the new villain attack/kill the old one to prove how much more badass the new villain is" trick was hackneyed by the time Stan Lee finished using it and ridiculously transparent by now.
(And didn't Ma Petrelli see Adam in her vision of the future, joining in the attack on the Company? Or are her visions more metaphoric rather than literal? Ah well, that vision's specificity has probably already been erased by the Peters' future shenanigans two episodes ago.)

Hero: Pa Petrelli's power
That a man who fathered two people with powers that both involve the taking of other powers in some way would have a cruder form of that power makes so much sense that I'm embarrassed I never thought of the possibility.

Villain: Stupidity is hereditary AND learned
After Meredith rushed off last week to face the Puppet Master, knowing full well her fire power would do dick against someone who could physically control her, this week Claire and Sandra rushed off to rescue her, knowing full well that super healing and motherhood would do dick against someone who could physically control them (either Claire and Sandra are morons, or else the Company's file lack specifics regarding people's powers. In which case, they're morons.). Even assuming that Claire and Sandra went charging in well aware of Doyle's abilities, believing the old "distract the creepy guy with talks of a little boy's party while someone else tasers him from behind" trick would work, success is predicated on the one with the taser, who knows the target can control people's bodies, not giving the target a chance to surrender instead of just tasering him! This is why your dad won't let you be a super hero Claire.

Hero: Russian Roulette
Once again, Heroes pulls the old "bad setup, good execution" routine at Claire's expense by following up her thoroughly moronic capture at Doyle's hands by having the four sit down for a rousing game of Russian Roulette. I loved how Doyle thought Meredith was the fun aunt, and that when Sandra shot Claire she fired until Claire was hit, rather than having her one shot miraculously be the loaded one.

Hero: African Isaac does the viewers a solid
Clanking Hiro on the head (twice)? Yup, this viewer has certainly wanted to do that a few times this season. Telling Hiro he relies on his power too much? That's another thing we've wanted to tell Hiro. Commenting that instead of blindly going down the path laid before him, Hiro could choose his own course? Man, its almost like African Isaac was winking at the audience by the end there. Hopefully Hiro listens to him.

I also enjoyed the "One Minute Before Hiro Got Hit" timestamp. Nice to see the show not take itself too seriously.

Hero: Formula clarification

Thanks to Daphne's recruitment of Mohinder we learned that the formula she stole from Kaito and Angela is essentially the refined, side effect free, version of the formula Moronder independantly stumbled upon and with which he injected himself. A little detail, but an important and needed clarification when a plot built around a formula is tossing around two instances of such.

Hero: The turtle
"High five, turtle." Parkman always seems to end up in the lamest plot threads and consistently written so as to battle Mohinder for the idiot crown, but damn it all if he doesn't remain a loveable doofus. I loved that he brought the turtle back with him and was talking to it. His determination to save Daphne, a woman he only knows from future visions, and his subsequent vigil at the airport, even his uber-sappy "what does your heart say" line were all enjoyable in that doofy Parkman way.

Hero: Sylar and Peter's brawl
Heroes draws ever closer to that full-on, no-holds-barred, powers extraordinaire battle royal that's been implicity promised since Peter was revealed to be a powers sponge back in season one. This fight was almost there, falling a bit short considering Sylar basically just took what Peter was dishing out rather than fighting back much (which I chalk up to Sylar being essentially the "good guy" in that fight) but it was nice to see Peter utilize more than one power in a fight: Nathan's little-used flight, Elle's electricity (a Peter favorite) and, presumably, Niki's strength (when he was pummeling Sylar). I also liked that the writers didn't forget Peter's invisibility when he entered the Pinehearst building, showing that when Peter is thinking he can remember the broad range of his assorted powers (the writers' pat response to questions of "why didn't Peter use such-and-such power instead of this one" is that Peter is very emotional, and people don't always think as clearly when they're emotional).

Hero: Peter Powerless
Hopefully when Peter eventually regains his/a power (presumably synthetically, from the formula) the writers do what they should have done from the beginning and establish some kind of limitation on it. I like the villain being uber-powerful a lot more than the hero.

And Pa Petrelli's pilfering of Peter's power raises all kinds of fun questions regarding the overarching plot: Does Pa Petrelli now have the Hunger? Is that why Future Peter wanted Peter to activate Sylar's power, because he knew that Pa Petrelli was going to take Peter's powers and giving him the hunger makes it more likely that Pa Petrelli will cut down his allies in Hunger-fueled murder? Or because Sylar's power is more sticky, which means Peter might be able to rebound against his dad in a way Sylar-less Future Peter couldn't?

Also, I wonder if he can steal a power more than once? Like, could he take Claire's healing power now that he has Adam's?

Huh. A lot more "heroes" than "villains" this week. I did like this episode a lot. The last few have the show on a bit of a roll. Let's hope they keep it up, and maybe even step it up.

Also, check out this article from Entertainment Weekly featuring five ways to save Heroes. I really like ideas 1 (especially the idea of more "Company Man"-esque episodes), 2, and 4 (I don't mind the time travel but some new sets would be nice).

#3 doesn't do much for me, as the "ordinary people" portion of "ordinary people with extraordinary abilities" bores me to tears so I'm perfectly happy if the show wants to become even more like a televised comic book. Put 'em costume and give 'em a headquarters, for all I care. Similarily, #5 doesn't seem like a needed fix. "Big vision" is certainly okay, but setting an end date doesn't seem as necessary for Heroes as it does a show like Lost. As long as they aren't afraid to rotate the cast and remove characters, Heroes can withstand being a long running serial (again, like a comic book).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Max Lame

Max Payne is a movie based off a video game. It's based off a video game that I have played. It's based off a video game that I liked very much. Max Payne is a movie that I did not like very much...or at all.
No matter the genre, a movie must meet some minimal standard for me to like it. And the most basic standard a movie must have is a coherent plot. Depending on the kind of movie the plot does not have to be rich or deep, it doesn't have to complicated, and it doesn't even have be the strength of the movie for me to enjoy the movie. But what the plot must do is have one scene logically follow another. Character actions should be based on character emotions, character personality, and logical reactions to the events that have occurred in the movie. Max Payne fails to do any of those things.
Max Payne is about a police detective, Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg), who gets involved with a women named Natasha (Olga Kurylenko) who ends up getting murdered. This murder turns out to be linked to the murder of Max Payne's wife and child years earlier. Max Payne continues to peal back the layers of this crime revealing a grander conspiracy.
Of course, I've already done the plot too much justice, since 'investigating a crime' in Max Payne's world has less to do with finding clues and methodically piecing things together and more to do with him going places and doing things because the movie needs him to, not because it would be logical or reasonable. I'm also leaving out the numerous elements of the story completely left to the audience to figure out. Like Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), Natasha's sister, has an occupation that is never disclosed. But she seems to get information easily enough and shows up when the movie needs her to and disappears just as quickly.
Video games are especially hard to translate into movies. At the heart and soul of most video games lies repetition. That's not to say a video game can't have different styles of game play throughout the game, but usually a player is doing a lot of the same thing. Variety in a video game is provided more by the player doing things differently than the video game changing its game play. Also, video games are almost invariably action orientated. Plot usually takes a back seat. In fact, some people have complained about some games having too much plot. Now, I'm over simplifying things, but let's just say many of games have been successful with little story and much repetition. For movies, on the other hand, high repetition and low plot is a recipe for disaster.
So going into this movie I figured that if it failed it would be because it sacrificed the plot to get to the action. However, halfway through this movie I started asking myself, "Where the hell is all the action?" So not only did this movie fail to deliver on the plot, but the action was subpar as well. Slow-mo action sequences may have been mind blowing when The Matrix came out, but these days, it's old hat. That's not to say it can't be used effectively, but if that's the only trick up your sleeve, you aren't going anywhere. And I guess that's the best way to describe this movie. It went nowhere.

The Good: Uhhhh...hmmmm....ummmm....Mila Kunis is hot? Although she was entirely too clothed in this movie. (But I'll make up for that fact with the picture to the right which is, unfortunately, NOT from the movie.) Mila Kunis may be the most underrated hotty in Hollywood. And after writing that sentence I feel like my chances of one day writing for Maxim just got slightly better.

The Bad: Wasn't the whole review above just to the bad? Of course, a lack of nudity also hurt this movie. Hell, nudity is about the only thing that could've saved it.
I will say that it was also bad that the ending seemed to make a pro-drug statement. Drugs made Max Payne stronger, faster, and nearly invincible. Trust me, that wasn't part of the game.

The Disappointing: Yet another video game movie flopping. There really hasn't been a great video game movie yet. And every video game movie that comes out and fails leads to more and more people besmirching one of my favorite mediums. You may not believe me but there have been times where art and video games have met. So now I must cross my fingers and hope that the 2010 Bioshock movie can come through for me and video games as a whole.

C'Mon, big daddy. You won't let Bioshock suck, right? RIGHT!?

Drink to best accompany this movie:

Liquid Cocaine
1/2 oz of 151-proof rum
1/2 ounce Rumple Minze
1/2 oz of Goldschlager
1/2 oz Jagermeister

Hey, this movie extolls the virtues of heavily addictive drugs. So liquid cocaine seems like a natural pairing for this movie. Plus, the drink is so strong you might get the added bonus of passing out and missing the majority of the movie!

Friday, October 24, 2008

200 Posts and Counting...

By blogger's count, this is the 200th post on Gentlemen of Leisure. To celebrate (and to publish some more comic book-related material) here's a look at the 200th issues of some notable comic books.

Amazing Spider-Man: Spider-Man confronts the Burglar that killed Uncle Ben.

Avengers: Ms. Marvel's mysterious and speedy pregnancy results in her giving birth to a rapidly aging son, who turns out to be Marcus, son of Immortus, who brought Ms. Marvel to Limbo a few issues previous in order to hypnotize her into having sex with him so he could impregnate her with himself in order to be born back on Earth. In the end, he goes back to Limbo with a seemingly willing Ms. Marvel. The Avengers are okay with all of this this for some reason...

Batman: Awash with fear thanks to the Scarecrow, Batman and Robin recall their origins and rededicate themselves to crime fighting, eventually turning the tables on the fear-mongering rogue.

Captain America: Jack Kirby writes and draws an issue celebrating the bicentennial of Captain America's comic and America's.

Fantastic Four: The Fantastic Four battle Dr. Doom to prevent him from using his Hypno-beam to enslave the United Nations.

Iron Man: Tony Stark dons a new suit of Iron Man armor after a lengthy absence (brought on by the resurgence of his alcholism) to take down his rival Obadiah Stane in a story from which the movie drew partial inspiration.

Justice League of America: The original Justice League members, possessed by aliens, battle the newer recruits in chapters illustrated by character-appropriate artists of the day.

Superman (vol 2): The modern Superman continuity is slightly (and quietly) rebooted as a Supergirl dies and Superman battles Brainiac 12 in the future.

Uncanny X-Men: The X-Men battle Fenris while Magneto goes on trial for crimes against humanity. In the end, he accepts stewardship of the X-Men when Professor X leaves Earth to hang with his alien girlfriend (he claims it's for health reasons...).

Wonder Woman (vol. 2): The "Down to Earth" storyline, which helped define Wonder Woman's role as an Amazonian ambassador of peace, concludes while several backup stories celebrate the character's history.