Google+ Followers

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All-Star Superman - What The Frak!?



I love watching the recent entries into the Marvel and DC Universe Animated features. Batman Superman: Apocalypse, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (Based on Crisis on Infinite Earths), Green Lantern: First Flight (seemingly the story-line for the Green Lantern film), Batman: Under the Red Hood, Hulk vs and Planet Hulk. All of these are fantastic pieces of work. When I recently added All-Star Superman I was eager to see it.

I was awkwardly surprised. 

I don't need to give two perspectives on this film because both sides are thinking the same thing, well...sort of. Most may not know that this was also pretty close to the comic of the same name. Perhaps my vitriol is more specific to the comic and not the film.

I was not sure what to expect, and last night I showed this one to my friends who were relatively crashing at my house. We had just finished watching Superman Batman: Public Enemies, might as well show them this one, I was curious to see their reactions. In truth I fell asleep...It was 6:00 AM and I had seen this before with limited concern to watch it again.

The movie essentially starts out with an awkward allusion to kryptonians and then jumps to an image of Superman, to then show some scientists on an orb orbitting the sun conducting some experiments. At first, you figure you are watching another origin film on Superman until you realize it's not about that at all...

Continuing, you end up seeing a scientist morph into some strange mutant that begins to trash the ship and eventually realize Lex Luthor is behind it controlling this mutant, coordinating his movements from Earth with a few minutes of time delay.

Around this moment it shows Lois Lane typing up a story stating "Superman Saves the first Manned Mission to the Sun". Yet it's still occurring? O_o

Of course he does, but the presumption is a little odd...perhaps it's just bad writing...

Then of course in the myriad of strange abilities Superman has shown throughout his career, a new one emerges...He all of a sudden surrounds the ship with his "Bio-Electric" field, which looks more like a ton of his snot in a net, pulling it from his head to protect the ship from the Sun...wasn't the ship fine as it was already coasting very close to the surface of the sun?...XD Couldn't he have just gotten under it and pushed it away quickly...Obviously this was a "state-of-plot" device to showcase the new ability (of course originating in the comic).

Essentially it takes you to the moon where he is being checked on by the same scientists he just saved and apparently his strength has nearly tripled...

Later on, he reveals his secret identity to Lois, gives her super powers, fights with Samson and Atlas, answers riddles from the Ultra-Sphinx, yeah ok... He tours his fortress with all sorts of new hobbies he has contained inside and at one point makes dresses for Lois. Odd...

Here is where it gets interesting, in one scene while Lois is observing whats going on in the fortress, Superman is off the screen for a few seconds, then flashes back with some strange flowers..."I picked these for you from a planet near Alpha Centauri" - So, he pretty much traveled 4.365 Light Years and back (8.730 to be exact)... in under 5-6 seconds...WTF - that's faster than anything I have ever heard of in any comic (or Sci-fi for that matter) in terms of moving to and from, not jumping or teleporting...If you're like me and you want to do the math. that speed of light is 186,000 miles per second (per second) - and a light year is how much time it takes light to travel in a year. usually 9.46x10 to the 12th power (that's 12 0's following 9,460,000,000,000,000 - that's Quadrillion). in this case take the Quadrillion measure and multiply it by 8.730, you get 82,585,800,000,000,000 (Quadrillion) and he did this in 6 seconds (let's round up) that's 13,764,300,000,000,000 (Quadrillion) per second - or essentially - 74,001,612,903 times faster than the speed of light...compare this as an example to Star treks Warp 9 (just under 300 billion miles a second)...If I haven't bored you with the math yet...you understand my WTF at this ridiculous moment in the film. Don't get me started on the ramifications of his mass moving at such speed in and out of earth - which would alone ignite molecules at the nuclear level causing most of the earths destruction if he actually moved at that speed...Lois and flowers...No...Earth = ball of fire, yes.

He essentially has to fight off a few more issues, random encounters which were absolutely strange, more of Lex Luthor, and a random pact that he makes with a being to remove Superman's powers...I don't want to ruin this part that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, simply because of the essential timeline - There was no way Luthor could have been in contact with this "being"...it also makes no sense that he could be...But it's a comic, so its kind of a "Who cares, move on" kind of situation, I just accept it...

It was quite hard to watch and accept this as a film, especially because it was not Tim Daly doing the voice of everyone's favorite Kryptonian. 

He even at one moment argues "What is it going to take for you to keep you hands off my girl" "Que!" as I went off in Spanish...This is not normal behavior...I would understand if they perhaps threw some red kryptonite in (among the other kitchen sinks thrown in) to make the argument, but essentially we are supposed to believe that the Sun, which has always been a good thing for him now was just a little bit too much and is affecting him in these ways...Simply because of the plot device used (that is revealed at the end of the film).

In the end this film was simply OK...it was interesting to see a Superman A.D.D. film that goes all over the place and see how they somehow pieced it together. 

Personally I would tell you all to relatively steer clear of this one, it was poorly put together, moved away from the voices we all know and love; pretty much ignores the fandom completely and tries to do something in the end that is unconscionable...for those that have seen it, you already know. 

In truth to be fair, the movie does take a lot of the shots from the graphic novel of the same name and utilizes it well, but this film does not do the novel any justice, it takes to many liberties that did not gel in the film. If you loved the comic this is based on, chances are you loved to see an unrestrained Superman, and for that reason I did like this film. But it was a very haphazard comic, and essentially (as a consequence) a haphazard film. I would say in terms of this one, stick to the graphic novel or wait for it to come on cable and DVR it, it's not worth the money of a Blu-Ray price tag. 

Go for the movies I mentioned above or focus more on just the Superman Flicks:

  • Superman/Batman: Apocalypse 
  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies 
  • The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest 
  • Superman: Brainiac Attacks 
  • Superman: Shadow of Apokolips 
  • Superman (Series 1996-2000) 
  • Justice League: The New Frontier 
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cacophony of Fail vs Opera of Win:

Cacophony
[kuh-kof-uh-nee]  
–noun, plural -nies.
1. Harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.
2. S discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds: the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday.
3. Music . frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.

To premise my title, you now have an idea that I am speaking about a lot of sound that fails...in this case music.  

Opera
[op-er-uh, op-ruh]  
–noun
1. An extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias,choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet. Compare comic 
    opera, grand opera.
2. The form or branch of musical and dramatic art represented by such compositions.
3. The score or the words of such a composition.
4. A performance of one

Just in case there are those out there that need to break up the difference.  

I am no music critic, I do not follow certain genres nor get into the breakdown of such genres into their respective groups and subgroups, all deriving their individual cultures. 

I do love music, and I am pretty eclectic, almost an audiophile of sorts, in terms of how I will make sure I have the best setup for my listening enjoyment. You might, if you peruse, through my iPhone, iPad, laptop, or even my media center, find that I have anything from Andrea Boccelli to Led Zeppelin. I love Rap, but depending on the generation you belong to may not know some of the people I listen to. like Sheila E, Eddie E and Grand Master Flash. You would also easily find Run DMC, Rob Base, and Cool and the Gang, but if you don't know those two, you are missing out on cultural icons that defined their genre for my generation.  

I even listen to what other guys in my circle would call "girly music", like Pat Benatar, Janis Joplin, Melissa Ethridge, and Celine Dion. Hell I had a musical love affair in the 90's with Ace of Base. Whenever the blues hit me in High School, be it a fight with the girlfriend, or a break up. There were many. I would pop Ace of Base in, "Don't Turn Around" would play, I was home.

I had debates with friends when My Chemical Romance started pitching their music onto the airwaves, because I loved it and love their videos.  I thought it was very artistic, angsty, yes. But Artistic none-the-less. I was granted an Emo Brand. Emo...really? Me? I'm not Emo, so I thought, to myself. These guys are stupid, branding people for what they like. Like I need some type of personal pain or need to cut myself to enjoy someones apparent Emo music.  

In that case, most of us are Emo, since a huge majority, of anyone, that was a teenager or in their 20's during the 90's, like me, would of liked Nirvana. Cobain was so Emo, he killed himself. I find it annoying to be labeled for my likes or dislikes. Granted, it is the mark of the disenfranchised to create a label to assert some semblance of their individuality by associating with something other then the norm they were raised to be.

I find now that music has some champions regardless of their genre or what you may perceive to be artistic or beautiful. There are avatars, of such variety, for each.  It's when these, wondrous, people, we tune in to listen to, are featured in another music. Crossing over genres, to build on something different, or try to be new, that is when I cringe.

Back, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was a Rap group called Public Enemy and a Rock Group called Anthrax and they decided, why don't we do something no one has ever done before. We'll team up and make some music and combine our styles. Holy Shit...We just invented magic, sex in a cup, and all of that kind of thing.

Run DMC + AeroSmith - Walk This Way


Which gave rise to this diamond of music:

Anthrax + Public Enemy - Turn it Up


But then again, nothing has ever been better than Run DMC when it comes to rap. You have others that are amazing, but they are the top, as far as I am concerned.  I am old, what do you want.

After that, everyone tried to do the crossover. We see it all the time now and we don't think much of it. A lot of times you will have partial crossovers where one superstar singer or group helps an up and comer. Simply sharing a video or a stage. Boom! Up and comer explodes  Eventually doing the same thing for another rising star. It seems to be a popular model, almost a Pay it Forward set of planning.  

I love crossovers, there are many that do the original pioneers justice. But every so often you have, well, flops. You can have a totally garbage crossover. You can have a totally garbage main performance, where the crossover, or the featured person, steals the show. Or the reverse, a great song where your featured person just kills it.  

I see this a lot, where you have perhaps pop or rock and a rap artist featuring.  Then again, I don't always go out there for new music, I'm contented with a brisk list of music I tend to listen to often.  With the occasional, let me check out whats new, and absorb the music of any one person I really like.

Let's put a good example of a recent musical crossover.

Kevin Rudolf Ft. Lil Wayne When I arrive


Eventhough Lil Waynes lyrics are a little weird, the song is great and it works.

Lets look at a female variation crossover

Mariah Carey Ft Nicki Minaj - Up out my Face (Boy)


These are great and are entertaining, you don't think to yourself, some of the rap lyrics don't really make sense.  Which is a plus, even though some of it is off.

Here is an example, where the Artist is fantastic, but the Rap feature...not so much.

Katy Perry Ft Kanye West - E.T.



Now, when you listen to Katy Perry sing, you almost immediately get sucked into her lyrics and her beat. Especially if you are into this particular genre, you can't avoid liking it, even if you are not a Katy Perry fan. The lyrics make a lot of sense toward the goal of her song.  But, I know, there is the but, You listen to Kanye's Rap, and you have to stop and ponder, what the fuck, does any of it have to do with her song. It seemingly makes no sense.  Here is a set of lyrics 

Katy Perry

Your 
So
Hypnotizing
Could you be the Devil
Could you be an Angel
Your
Touch
Magnetizing
Physical Imploding
Leaves my body glowing

Kanye West

I know a bar out in mars
Where they drive spaceships instead of cars

I don't need to go further than those two lines.  The video itself is fantastic, beautiful, a spectacle.  I loved it right away, but I have other motivations. It reminded me of one of my favorite fantasy characters in Anime, Sharon Apple, from Macross Plus.  I thought the parallel was uncanny.  Almost potentially inspired by it.  To the point I sent out an email to her production label with a curious question of its inspiration.  I have a friend at Capital Records, figured he might know the answer.  Which most likely it's just similar, and he will ask me "Wha???".  But I'm curious and inquisitive and have found no information on it online.  

Either way, her music is great and the song itself is also great, but the Rap feature, kills it for me.  

Lets look at a different Rap feature for someone that would normally be hardcore as a rapper but is fantastic

Far East Movement Ft Snoop Dogg - If I was you (OMG)



Although, the more I think of this one, it's not much a crossover as it's a combination of similar genres. But it is a great song featuring Snoop, the rap lyrics, which can be, related more toward Hip Hop still makes total sense.  I also get a kick at how physical he is with the models ass.  Nice Job Snoop...So let me look at a different example.

Taio Cruz Ft Ludacris - Break your heart


It's a great song with great rhythm for the club scene, however, while most of Luda's lyrics relatively follow the concept of the song, some of it, is so cheesy.  Really guys, can we egress from the concept of "Clever" Rap, because "hey it rhymes."  

You also have the concept of "Talk" Rap where its not really singing or rapping so in those instances we don't need to rhyme we just spit out there whatever we like:

That's all I'm gonna do woman...listen
Now I'm only gonna break your heart
Shatter and Splatter it, into itty-bitty pieces
whether or not you get it all together
its finders keepers and losers weepers

Let me stop there...it's atrocious when you break it down like this.

Those lyrics are quite possibly the worst I have heard on what is actually a great song.  Well, when i say great, I don't mean the concept. I'm referring to the beat, the rhythm.  You can dance to it...derp.

This one was kind of weird as well and I love Gwen Stefani, never miss a concert.  But personally it seemed like a complete 180 of what she does.  Then again that is good, gives her a different audience to promote to.  

Gwen Stefani Ft Slim Thug - Luxurious


For the record, that dude is not slim...O_o

Then you have her team up with AKon and that was awesome.  More of what her hardcore fans love. but then again, she has hardcore fans across 4 genres...XD  She is not a category, she is just awesome.

Gwen Stefani Ft. Akon - The Sweet Escape



But of course, his role in the song was pretty much, that of a back up singer.  

How about the reverse.  Rap artist featuring someone outside of Rap.  Lets explore this a bit.  

Nicki Minaj Ft Rihanna - Fly



This is a gorgeous song and done well, although from the beginning it feels like its a Rihanna song featuring Nicki Minaj.  Who knows.  

Diddy Dirty Money ft Skylar Grey - Coming Home



Fantastic song.  Diddy knows how to do it.  I expect nothing less from a guy who got the approval of Led Zeppelin to play with him.  Although there are those that hate it, most likely, due to the Godzilla film itself. I love Godzilla, but I love them all, and that one was entertaining, it made relative sense, so I dug it.

I, at this moment, am going blank in regards to finding one where the rap stole the performance.  I am sure I will think of one when I hit my bed at some point next year.  For now, I did think of, a song I loved where the musicians were great but essentially the Rap aspect "out-showed" it, slightly.

David Guetta & Chris Willis Ft Fergie & LMFAO - Gettin' Over You


O.K., actually after watching LMFAO, whom are quite awesome, and stole the show, I remembered a great song of theirs, but it was stolen by none other than Lil Jon.

LMFAO Ft LIl Jon - Shot


While we can all mostly agree this is a great party song.  I sure there is footage of me and my crews blowing rooms up with this song.  I'm certain.  But, I think most will agree with me, if there is no Lil Jon, this song would not be what it is.  

However, both of those above do not really fit the proper bill for what I was looking for, I was trying to research songs that were train wrecks yet the Rap feature gave it some credit.  

I hope the industry out there truly considers what they are shoveling, and understands you cant slap two awesome artists together and expect to get amazing music.  Most of us, I believe, are downloading music and that in itself should be a statement.  That we will get it to listen to it, but we won't buy it. 

I had hoped after 10+ years of the digital download age that the industry would pay attention.  Most people will buy what they like  If they don't like it, but it's tolerable, well you didnt pay for it.  There are tons of ways the Industry can measure what you like and what you don't.  

I like a little bit of everything, but it has to blow me away, for me to love it.  I don't care if it's Pavarotti singing Rap with Khia...if the song is good, awesome!  Speaking of which, the concepts I have been talking about, a lot of times are fixed by, none other than, mash up artists.  Girl Talk and Super Mash Bros have turned music that some of us otherwise would not care for and make it into instant hits. Personally, Khia.  I hate her music, but Super Mash Bros has a great track with Khia included in it

Super Mash Bros - Stop that Booty (Here we Come)


Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get a lot of these performers to come to a concert and perform with these mash up artists.  I think it would be quite epic.  

I hope you all are listening to music, or watching something that puts a smile on your face, something that gets your head grooving.   Raise your voices, the industry has to bend to our will, not the other way around.  Remember that.