Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 3rd Annual Perfect Strangers Forecast

2007 Edition (Part I, Part II)

2008 Edition (Part I, Part II)

Well, if you didn't read those links, let me explain what this is all about. There was a great episode of "Perfect Strangers" in which Balki was able to predict the outcome of football games simply by determining which mascot would win in a fight (a lion would beat a ram, for instance). In 2007, I used that flawed logic and applied it to the NCAA Tournament. I did it again last year. Now it's 2009 and...

HERE WE GO!

MIDWEST REGION

1 Louisville Cardinals vs. 16 Morehead State Eagles
The Verdict: Morehead State
Why: Okay. Two birds here. Which one looks more dangerous? The Cardinal with its "mildly pissed off" sneer or the Eagle with the freakin' "tear your guts out" talons? No contest here.
8 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 9 Sienna Saints
The Verdict: Siena
Why: It's a classic 8 vs. 9 battle, but I think Siena gets the edge here. Think about it for a second...when you hear the name "Saints," you usually think of some long-dead do-gooder. But Siena pulls the big switcheroo...using a vicious SAINT Bernard in its logo! What does Ohio State have? A big "O." Perhaps if Brutus featured more prominently in their plans, I'd have to say "Buckeye!"

5 Utah Utes vs. 12 Arizona Wildcats
The Verdict: Utah
Why: From a pure logo standpoint, this one is about as boring as you can get. A Washington Redskins-knockoff logo against a tri-colored "A" is pretty yawn-inducing. But when you consider the combined might of the 17 loosely-associated groups that once comprised the mighty Ute tribe, it's a no brainer. Even if Arizona's vicious, feral cat always gets the girl:


4 Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. 13 Cleveland State Vikings
The Verdict: Cleveland State
Why: This would be an easy call if we were talking about a regular ol' deacon; after all, a viking would thrash one. However, we're talking about a Demon Deacon, and that makes things a little more complicated. The Vikings win here because they've adjusted tactics...instead of being mindless, straightforward attackers, the Cleveland State Vikings are lying in wait, looking for the perfect opportunity to strike.

6 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. 11 Dayton Flyers
The Verdict: West Virginia
Why: You gotta give credit to the mountaineer. Once the butt of a thousand "dirty, unwashed hick in the woods" jokes, he finally looks like he's ready to shoot someone. Oh...like a dorky, big-headed pilot.

3 Kansas Jayhawks vs. 14 North Dakota State Bison
The Verdict: North Dakota State
Why: Really, what is the deal with the Jayhawk? It's the goofiest looking bird in the tournament and possibly the stupidest looking mascot in the entire field. Bison don't exactly eat birds...but I'm thinking they might make an exception in this case.

7 Boston College Eagles vs. 10 USC Trojans
The Verdict: USC
Why: An eagle is no match for a Trojan like Eric Bana. Well, as long as the eagle isn't named Brad Pitt.

2 Michigan State Spartans vs. 15 Robert Morris
The Verdict: Robert Morris
Why: It's very simple. Spartans, though mighty and prepared for glory, often force themselves into terribly unfortunate situations. Like in this case...swords vs. muskets. Muskets win.

WEST REGION

1 UConn Huskies vs. 16 Chattanooga Mocs
The Verdict: Chattanooga
Why: C'mon! A mockingbird named "Scrappy" driving a train vs. a boring, gray-tongued snow dog? A bird driving a train wins every time!

8 BYU Cougars vs. 9 Texas A&M Aggies
The Verdict: Texas A&M
Why: There are other BYU Cougar logos, yes. This is, however, the most offensive. I mean, this is more offensive than some of those awful ethnic logos that are still in existence. You may as well just go ahead and trim the testicles off every ferocious cat out there if you're going to do this to the cougar. Poor thing's bound to get crushed by some uninspired, giant letters. That's right...today's beatdown is brought to you by the letters "T," "A," and "M."

5 Purdue Boilermakers vs. 12 Northern Iowa Panthers
The Verdict: Purdue
Why: Witness the determined look on Purdue Pete's face. Do you think he's going to lose to a generic-looking panther? With that hardhat and hammer, I highly doubt it.

4 Washington Huskies vs. 13 Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Verdict: Washington
Why: Bulldogs have a reputation for ferocity. But really...does the bulldog employed by Mississippi State look like a fighter or a guy who's smoked a little too much weed? Meanwhile, Washington employs the distinguished-looking husky, whose noble visage overlooks all. It's a dogfight...but the husky wins.

6 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. 11 Utah State Aggies
The Verdict Utah State
Why: The Warriors. The Gold. The Golden Eagles. Marquette can't figure out what the heck it wants to be. Utah State, meanwhile, made the most of a crappy nickname like the "Aggies" to come up with a big bull named Big Blue. He looks pretty tough, definitely tough enough to rough up an eagle.

3 Missouri Tigers vs. 14 Cornell Big Red
The Verdict: Missouri
Why: Oh, man. Poor Cornell. Is it me or does the bear look "special" in that logo? He's hiding behind the "C," swiping almost drunkenly at whatever comes its way. Then there's the Missouri Tiger...fearsome, bold...out in front of the "M."

7 California Golden Bears vs. 10 Maryland Terrapins
The Verdict: Maryland
Why: Oh, I know what you're thinking. There's no way a turtle could beat a bear. But take a closer look at the Maryland Terrapin. He knows something you don't and he knows he knows something you don't. That cocksure attitude serves him well.

2 Memphis Tigers vs. 15 CS Northridge Matadors
The Verdict: Memphis
Why: Well, it's pretty simple. Matadors are used to going up against bulls. Weakened bulls. If a matador tries to sidestep a tiger, he won't get gored...he'll get freaking mauled.

EAST REGION

1 Pitt Panthers vs. 16 East Tennessee State Buccaneers
The Verdict: East Tennessee State
Why: Well, Pitt's logo is pretty unimpressive. I kind of miss the ol' Panther logo they used to employ. Those four letters ("Pitt") really can't contend with what appears to be an undead buccaneer.

8 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. 9 Tennessee Volunteers
The Verdict: Tennessee (barely)
Why: Okay. So Oklahoma State's mascot is the Cowboys. We get a big orange "O." Tennessee's mascot is the Volunteers. We either get a big orange "T" or a dog named Smokey. We'll give it to the dog, but I'm not happy about it.

5 Florida State Seminoles vs. 12 Wisconsin Badgers
The Verdict: Wisconsin
Why: Anyone brave enough to walk around in that sweater deserves to win.

4 Xavier Musketeers vs. 13 Portland State Vikings
The Verdict: Portland State
Why: I have to give the Vikings props. Last year, they boasted this abstract viking logo that resembled a NASCAR helmet with horns. They're not giving up on that design. It shows resiliency...and that's why I'm picking them over the Musketeers.

6 UCLA Bruins vs. 11 VCU Rams
The Verdict: UCLA
Why: I've never been a big fan of the Bruins, but at least this particular bear looks like he's getting the last laugh. VCU's Ram, well, just isn't that intimidating. Let's see the Ram retain that furrowed brow when he's getting slapped around by a bear!

3 Villanova Wildcats vs. 14 American Eagles
The Verdict: Villanova
Why: The Wildcat means business. Meantime, the Eagles rely on an "A" and "U" to convey their splendid grandeur. Disappointing, American. Disappointing.

7 Texas Longhorns vs. 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Verdict: Texas
Why: Let's face it: the Golden Gopher isn't even looking in the direction he's running. Makes it very easy to get gored, doesn't it?

2 Duke Blue Devils vs. 15 Binghamton Bearcats
The Verdict: Binghamton
Why: That's a sweet logo Binghamton's sporting. That vicious Bearcat is right in your face. The Blue Devil, meanwhile, looks like he's turning for a mugshot. Plus, did you know the term "Blue Devil" is named after a group of French soldiers? You can insert your own joke about France...now.

SOUTH REGION

1 North Carolina Tarheels vs. 16 Radford Highlanders
The Verdict: North Carolina
Why: There can be only one...decent freaking logo. You're telling me that with a name like the Highlanders, Radford can't get Christopher Lambert or Sean Connery? The BEST they can do is "Highlanders" written out? Rameses kicks that logo all over the place.

8 LSU vs. 9 Butler
The Verdict: Butler
Why: Unlike Mississippi State's Bulldog, Butler's means business. LSU's Tiger? That's either a half-hearted feral growl or a terrible smile. You decide.

5 Illinois vs. 12 Western Kentucky
The Verdict: Western Kentucky
Why: If Grimace and Elmo had some kind of illicit affair, you'd end up with Western Kentucky's mascot. No one knows what the hell it is, and that makes it possibly the scariest mascot ever. Boatloads of awesome, too...even over the stoic, noble Illinois logo, who really does deserve a better fate.

4 Gonzaga Bulldogs 13 Akron Zips
The Verdict: Akron
Why: I guess I'm not too big on a bulldog unless it's Butler's. But hey...how many teams can you think of that have a freaking KANGAROO in their logo? Kangaroos can box. I say the Gonzaga Bulldog gets a bloody nose.

6 Arizona State Sun Devils vs. 11 Temple Owls
The Verdict: Temple
Why: I would expect a Sun Devil to have fun. Nothing wrong with that, really. But when Temple's Owl gives you that stare...and you think it might be John Chaney staring at you...you become John Calipari and get really, really scared.

3 Syracuse Orange vs. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
The Verdict: Syracuse
Why: This is a toughie. I mean, you can't see anything but the Lumberjack's ax. That's pretty scary. But take a look at the sinister expression on Otto the Orange's face. Tell me you want to mess with that...and I've got some beachfront property to sell ya.

7 Clemson Tigers vs. 10 Michigan Wolverines
The Verdict: Michigan
Why: John Beilein's teams have been tournament killers...just like Wolverine kills everything he sees. Do you really think a tiger would stand a chance against Wolvie's adamantium-enhanced claws? Plus, Hugh Jackman hosted the Oscars.

2 Oklahoma Sooners vs. 15 Morgan State Bears
The Verdict: Morgan State
Why: Hmmmm...what could possibly be sitting inside a Conestoga wagon? Tasty Sooners, of course. That bear looks mighty hungry!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Skate or Die...emphasis on the DIE

I saw this over at Cinematical.com this afternoon and literally laughed for five minutes straight because of the terrible acting and completely ridiculous nature of this kill scene. There...are...no words...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen? I do!


Caution: Contains Spoilers!

As you are already aware, Studicus and I had the honor of catching a sneak preview of Watchmen on Monday night. Sometimes, working for a major media conglomerate has it's advantages. As the proverbial cherry on the sundae, we also saw it in IMAX. Now, to my knowledge, they did not shoot any IMAX-specific sequences like in The Dark Knight (which were amazing BTW), but it still looked awesome on the XL screen. The sound was great as well, and fortunately it wasn't eardrum blowing like TDK was when we saw it (and I'm a guy who likes it loud). Now, the question has been posed on multiple occasions to me if one should read the graphic novel before seeing the film. I'd say that it will help you understand what's going on, but not a prerequisite.


As for the film...


I believe that it is as close to perfect as one could get given the source material. It hits all of the major highs and lows of the story and somehow manages to compact it into an almost 3 hour film that moves along quickly and doesn't drag at any point. Feels a lot quicker than 3 hours. Of course, I don't mind long movies anyways, but that's neither here nor there. I doubt Alan Moore would like it, but he'd rather hang himself in his closet than watch a film about one of his comics anyways. Visually, Zack Snyder does his damndest to recreate the alternate universe 1985 New York City that we know and love from the comics. The airships are there. The Gunga Diner is there. So's Studio 54 and Times Square. And, they all look beautiful. I have to say it felt good to see the World Trade Center again. Not quite sure why. It's been recreated in other films before (the first was the kickass movie Miracle about the 1980 US hockey team), but this time felt more special. It's a credit to the director and his crew for bringing the city to life in such a great way. The secnes on Mars were great as well, and I was very happy that a certain expression was shown on the planet's surface as Laurie and Doc Manhattan prepared to return to Earth. Also, I thought it was great that they made sure to point out that Archie serves coffee just like in the book. And, they left the last few scenes of the film untouched. Little nods like this make fanboys like myself very happy. BTW, I didn't miss Tales of the Black Freighter at all. I suspect it would've thrown off the pacing. Besides, you're getting it on DVD if you so choose.

I also enjoyed all of the "cameos" (Nixon, JFK, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, The Village People, Henry Kissinger and Jackie O to name a few) in the film. It further immersed me in the setting and also made me wonder about things like if John Lennon and Elvis were still alive and kicking in this universe and what they were up to. I have to admit, I also wondered what the 2 almost 3 year old version (the events of the film take place roughly 10 days before my birthday) of yours truly and his family would look like through Moore's eyes in this setting.

I loved the opening sequence, as well. The choice of Dylan for the montage and the recreation of some of the iconic panels from the book were done expertly. Really set the tone well. All of the music was great and helped again to convey the 80's vibe. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen in the film, as the version by Jeff Buckley is one of my favorite songs right now.

My favorite character is a coin flip between Rorschach and The Comedian. Both actors did a fantastic job of bringing the characters off of the page and onto the screen. Though it will never happen, I think Jackie Earle Haley's performance was best supporting actor Oscar-worthy (even though the Oscars are dead to me). And the more I think about it, The Comedian really resonates as the other side of the coin to Ledger's Joker from TDK. I know that it's impossible for numerous reasons, but I'd love to see them square off. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a great job of adding a ton of dark humor to a somber film. My favorite moment with him has to be when he and Nite Owl II deal with some rioters in the NYC streets. He makes very creative use of a tear gas gun. Even though I was not familiar with the prior work of the majority of the cast (save Danny Woodburn {who was perfectly casted}, Carla Gugino, Matt Frewer {was also great} and to an extent the smoking hot Malin Akerman), I enjoyed the job they did.

A lot has been made about the decision to change the climax from what happens in the book, and I thought they pulled it off well. They managed to take elements of the story that were already there in the source material and make some adjustments to keep the outcome and desired aftereffects the same. And yeah, there's no squid, but I survived without it and I think you can as well.

That's not to say I don't have some issues with this film. Most of them are minor, but they are still issues nonetheless. I'm sure a lot of these will be resolved when we get a director's cut of the film:

Why didn't we see Rorschach steal and/or eat any Sugar Cubes?


Why didn't Doc Manhattan go to Gila Flats before Mars? (this was probably a timing issue)

Why did Doc talk with the same voice throughout the whole movie? I was under the impression that he used his softer voice only while talking to Laurie in the book.

Why in the hell did Veidt adopt a German accent at the end of the film? Was he a secret Nazi? Did the audience really need to be so blatantly hit over the head with the logic hammer to show what role he ended up playing?

Why did Rorschach take off his mask at the end? He would not do this! Did JEH have a "Tobey Maguire clause" in his contract or something? This was not necessary!

The flamethrower? Are you fucking kidding me? (You'll see what I mean.)

Why didn't we get to see what happened to Hollis Mason? (another timing deal, I bet)

Why did Laurie and Dan keep making faces at each other during the fight with the Top Knots and the Prison sequence? It was retarded.

Why'd they change what happened to Laurie and Dan, anyways? There ain't going to be no sequel. There better not be, at least.

Bottom line, if you read the book or like comic book based movies, you will love this. If you like action movies, you will love this. This film was worth the 20 something year wait and stands along with The Dark Knight, X2 and Spiderman 2 as a prime example of how you make a comic book movie.

5 stars out of 5.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Advance Review: Watchmen

As I've mentioned several times, I had the chance to see an advance screening of "Watchmen" last night at the Kerasotes Showplace 16 and IMAX on the southside of Indianapolis.

From an atmosphere standpoint, you really couldn't beat it when I walked in the door and saw a guy dressed up as Hooded Justice from the comic. That set the tone. I arrived at around 6:20 for the movie. It was a 7:30 screening, and I could already see a gigantic line. I didn't have my movie pass (valiant Krildog was bringing it from work) and watched as person after person went in for the screening. By about 6:35, I received a text from Krildog that he was on his way. He made it about ten minutes later. We walked through, went up to the IMAX theater (we didn't know it was the IMAX version...BONUS!), and then had to go back to the box office. Apparently, we had to exchange our passes for actual tickets. Thanks to the alert box office workers for nodding us through in the first place.

By the time we arrived at the theater, we'd been told approximately 80 times that cell phones would not be permitted in the screening. Krildog took his back out to his car; I turned mine off and gambled that no one would catch me. Fortunately, I was correct, proving again that I'm as stealthy as a ninja.

When we entered the theater, it was probably 70% full at that point...and this was a full 45 minutes before the movie started. I've been to a few advance screenings before and sometimes they're not completely full. Not the case here...everyone was told to squeeze together and fill in any seating gaps. By 7:20, we were treated to a couple of announcements from some officials...a dude from Warner Brothers and one of the theater assistant managers. By 7:30, everyone was in place and they rolled the film without any trailers (we kind of hoped we'd see the new Star Trek trailer, but, alas, it wasn't to be).

So, this isn't what you really want to read about, right? You don't want to hear about start times, the delicious nachos we ate, the insanely packed theater, or the boring announcements. You want to know if the movie is any good?

My verdict: Watchmen lived up to the hype.

The movie opens with a scene of the Comedian in his posh penthouse, settling down to watch some television. The threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union looms over everything. Richard Nixon is president, having been re-elected to his fifth term. As the Comedian flips around the channels, he sees a perfume commercial that includes the song "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole. The Comedian sees a shadow at his door...someone breaks in...and we set the tone for the entire movie.

Right here in this opening scene, you'll know everything you want to know about the movie's direction. The ensuing fight between the Comedian and his assailant is hyper-kinetic, overwhelmingly violent, and incredibly exciting. Even though he's resigned to his fate, the Comedian fights back to the last drop of blood before he realizes he can't win. He's thrown out of the window...recreating the famous panel from the comic...and that's where it starts. The audience already needs to catch its breath.

What follows is some of the greatest imagery you'll ever see. To catch people up on the universe in which "Watchmen" takes place, the movie uses a stirring montage set to "The Times They Are a Changin" by Bob Dylan. This includes iconic images of costumed avengers (including the Comedian in his younger days) and shows how "superheroes" have changed the world. There are nods to the comic here...and some striking images. I think this is one of the movie's most affecting moments. The "Watchmen" universe is just a little "off"...this is illustrated when, while celebrating VJ Day, a female hero grabs a nurse, dips her, and kisses her...all while a sailor strolls by and smiles, having missed the iconic "Kiss" on Times Square.

Before I start going into a shot-by-shot description of the movie (you don't want to read that; I don't want to write it), I'll get to more generalities.

Overwhelming violence. This one is not for the squeamish. This isn't just harmless, cool-looking punching and kicking. The heroes in "Watchmen" are strong, violent, and ruthless in combat. A child killer gets a meat cleaver in the head (Rorschach's doing). An inmate gets his arms cut off in a scene reminiscent of "Scarface" (Rorschach didn't do that one...but he's the reason for it). The Comedian gets beaten to an absolute pulp in the opening scene. People get knives in their necks and all kinds of broken limbs. Be prepared to see blood, hear blood spurt, and feel the uncomfortable essence of cracking bones. If those things or disintegrating human beings bother you, avoid this movie at all costs. I have a pretty strong stomach for movie violence, and I found myself cringing and looking away at times. Of course, the same guy (Zack Snyder) directed "300," so if you can stomach that, you can stomach this.

Rampant sexuality...sometimes of the violent type. This is a grim world "Watchmen" introduces us to. You'll find lots of sexual innuendos and situations. Like the comic it's based on, this movie has an attempted rape scene. It's raw, uncomfortable, and violent. Two main characters also engage in onscreen sex in a scene that you'll either laugh at or find compelling. I actually had to laugh...it was pretty ridiculous. Also look out for sexual allegory...Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II) can't get his mojo going until he puts on his crimefighting outfit. That's his outlet for personal expression and confidence...both internally and physically.

Visually arresting. I mentioned this during my comments in the opening montage. Whatever you say about Zack Snyder, you can't accuse him of making a visually drab movie. Every frame of "Watchmen" says something. Of course, Snyder had fantastic reference material...and used many of the comic's panels to influence his storyboards. You can definitely tell the guy did his homework. From the Comedian's fatal plunge to Dr. Manhattan's Mars escape to Rorshach's prison stint and eventual "rescue," you'll be overwhelmed with incredible visuals.

Well-timed bits of humor. True, there's not a lot of opportunity to laugh in "Watchmen." It's a story about death, sacrifice, and impending nuclear war. Still, there are some fantastic moments and comedic bits sprinkled throughout the show. Rorschach is responsible for a good bit of these and the Comedian has a couple of laugh-out-loud "I can't believe he did that" moments. It helps if you have a dark sense of humor, as I sometimes do.

Rorschach. After reading the comic, I was struck by the character of Rorschach. He's sociopathic, brutal, and uncompromising. Jackie Earle Haley brings him to life incredibly. His voice, his look, and his delivery are pitch-perfect. I read earlier this week that author Alan Moore was surprised people gravitated so much toward what he perceived as an unlikeable character. However, Rorschach is the heart of the story.

Nite Owl II. You know, when I realized the guy who was playing Dan Dreiberg was the dude who played the non-phantom love interest in the movie version of "Phantom of the Opera," I almost choked myself. However, Patrick Wilson is tremendous in his role; at first self-deprecating, uncertain, and hesitant, he gains confidence and strength throughout the movie. I thought it was a good performance.

The Comedian. You can't take your eyes off Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Every time he's on screen, you want him to keep going. His character is amoral, dark, and indecent. Deep down, though, you get the feeling it's all an act. Of course, you have to look very hard and very long to see that...

Amazing special effects. In this era of CGI movies, you really have to pull out all stops to get noticed. From the effects that brought Dr. Manhattan to life (and I'm coining the term now: BLU-DITY), to Archie (Nite Owl's beloved ship), life on Mars, and the fight choreography/wire work, everything in "Watchmen" is top notch. Again, much of it echoes the comic.

Authenticity. The world seems very real and very true to the comic. As I mentioned earlier, this is our world, in the 1980s, with some noticeable differences. You'll see everything from bad 80s clothing to old Sony electronics. Painstakingly detailed, I can't wait to see this again.

Quickly-paced. I foresee endless debate over my analysis that Watchmen "zips" by in a flash. After all, the movie clocks in at 172 minutes. However, I was captivated the entire time, eager to find out what would happen next. I bet other people will see this movie and say it's way too long. It's all subjective, but I commend Zack Snyder for getting the main storyline wrapped up in less than three hours. That's with judicious cuts of several subplots.

Great character actors. Hey, I didn't realize Matt Frewer was in this movie until I saw the opening credits. Then I realized...he'd be a TERRIFIC Moloch. That's the role he played, too. Also, I laughed out loud when I first realized that Danny Woodburn (Kramer's little person buddy Mickey from "Seinfeld") was playing Big Figure. Great, great casting on both accounts.

Great use of music. From Bob Dylan to "All Along the Watchtower," "Unforgettable," and "I'm Your Boogie Man," I thought the soundtrack songs were used very effectively. The musical score is drawing comparisons to the synth score in "Blade Runner," certainly not a bad thing if you're into that (which I am not).

While I think "Watchmen" does several things fantastically, it also has some shortcomings. I'm not going to nitpick (you'll find no fanboy "where's the squid!" or "they took out the Black Freighter!" here), but there are a few things that give me pause about recommending this movie for everyone.

Convoluted, confusing storyline. "Watchmen" makes perfect sense if you've read the graphic novel. However, I'm not sure someone who HASN'T read the comic will be able to follow everything the first time around. All the pieces fit, but I think a lot of people will walk away from the movie confused. Rorschach's "mask killer" theory has to be accepted immediately and the plot against Dr. Manhattan may not be so clear to audiences. In addition, Dr. Manhattan's ability to "time shift" will cause some headaches. That's what happens when you have to compress a comic into a movie. You can always re-read a comic; you get one shot at taking everything in at the theater.

Not all the acting soars. Silk Spectre II is great to look at, but Malin Akerman stumbles at times. True, spouting out comic book dialogue isn't always the easiest thing to do, but Akerman isn't very convincing. I will give her credit, however, for having synergy with and tenderness for Nite Owl II. Matthew Goode, who plays Ozymandias, may be slightly miscast. While he possesses the holier-than-thou manner and put-on righteousness of the character, he lacks the commanding, magnetic charisma the character requires. In fact, he seems a bit too "Kumbaya" for the movie and lacks Ozzie's (God love the Comedian for that nickname) passionate and misguided conviction. Not a terrible performance...I'm just not sure he's 100% right for the role.

Hallelujah flamethrower. This got big laughs in the theater. I know what the director was trying to accomplish, however, I don't think he pulled it off as he intended. It all turns into a weird/comedic/late night Cinemax moment. If you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Unlikeable characters. Dr. Manhattan is apathetic toward life. The Comedian has no regard for decency. Ozymandias is caught up in the idea he's a great savior. Rorschach has an offensive odor, breaks into people's homes, and doesn't shy away from killing. Not many of the people in this film have the magnetic likability of someone like Robert Downey, Jr., in "Iron Man." In my opinion, some people won't know who to root for...or why they should be rooting for them at all.

Sensory overload. Between the music and stop-and-start slo-mo action pieces, and non-stop violence, "Watchmen" may just be too much for some people to take. It's a visual achievement...but there's so much going on at times, it's overwhelming. It may give some people a headache or force them to do what Silk Spectre II does every time Dr. Manhattan teleports her...throw up.

Not a family movie. I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to what kids can handle, but no one under the age of 13 should be caught anywhere near this one. They won't "get it," and they'll be inundated with violence, sex, violence, and more violence. Any parents who haven't done their homework will be in for a violent and bloody surprise.

Those points aside, "Watchmen" is a stunning cinematic achievement. The source material is respected and much of the dialogue is ripped directly from the pages or paraphrased. The updated costumes work very well and I think the producers did a fine overall job of casting the film.

"Watchmen" opens Friday. It's rated R for extreme violence, sexual situations, nudity, full-frontal blu-dity, apocalyptic images, and Alan Moore's wrath.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Advance screening tonight!

Krildog and I take in "Watchmen" this evening. Don't miss the review tomorrow!