Tag Archives: “Mark Strong”

John Carter

John CarterBefore I start this review, I would like to make sure I have the attention of the person(s) responsible for Star Wars – Episodes 1, 2 & 3. Are you out there, are you listening? Good… The massive [correct use of ] technology was required to tell this type of story, it was not a vehicle to show off how much time was put into design and computer processing ability. And “Oh, yeah… let’s try and build crappy story around it.”

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a normal earth man, and a civil war vet, who finds himself transported to Mars (known as Barsoom to the inhabitants) and caught between warring factions. As Mars has lower gravity than Earth, John soon finds he has some enhanced abilities. Upon his arrival, he is discovered by Tars Tarkas, (Willem Dafoe) leader of the Tharks. Tharks are a race of tall, bipedal, four armed, green skinned, nomadic beings that inhabit Mars.

Did I forget to mention the Humans, (or at least human-like)? Yeah, there are some of those too. I was scratching my head about this, and then eventually let it go. There are two factions of “humans”, the city of Helium, of whom Deja Thoris (Lynn Collins), is their princess. (Deja is freaking incredible!) Sab Than (Dominic West), is the leader of Zodanga, a traveling city of destruction and the sworn enemy of Helium. Mark Strong makes a very memorable appearance as Matai Shang, a mysterious manipulator with (obviously) his own interests in the outcome of the conflict.

I cannot speak to the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs on which this movie is based, but the following comments are grounded in seeing this movie today, and the films that have come before it. Is John Carter the most imaginative piece of work I’ve ever seen? No. Is space travel/teleportation a unique concept? No. Do we see shades of other scifi, fantasy, love stories and aliens that will look familiar? Most definitely. Then why should I see this movie? As the answer parents give when they don’t want to explain everything, “Because I said so…”

John Carter has some flaws and a few inconsistencies, but I was so involved in enjoying myself, I didn’t care. It is fun, engaging, fanciful and the characters actually make me give a shit about what is happening to them. There will most likely not be any academy award nominations for best dramatic anything, but you will come away having enjoyed that 2hr 19min.

I have purposefully avoided focusing on some of the flaws of the film, because for the type of story and adventure John Carter is, I do not think they are important. Instead of trying to pick them out, sit back, relax and prepare to whisked away. Pay attention to Earth side story as well. It is important background (and just as entertaining as the off planet story) of how John Carter has become, and will become, the man we see on Mars. The Earth story also includes a special appearance by one of my favorites, Bryan Cranston.

3D is still useless. It blends ok in normal scenes, (I still don’t feel like I can reach out and touch the flying ship.) In action sequences is an abysmal and unnecessary distraction. Save the extra $ and see it in 2D.


KickAssUm, wow… That is pretty much what I have to say, but for those who want more, read on.

“Kick-Ass” actually surpassed my expectations. I do admit that I never read the graphic novel, so it’s existence never influenced my understanding of what this comic book movie was going to be. I’ll do my best not to give away any significant spoilers.

Read enough comics, watch enough adaptations and you think you can predict what is going to happen. Yeah, not so much with “Kick-Ass.” Maybe it is a narrow comment, or maybe you get used to [bad] bastardizations of pre existing material. I really liked some of the routes they chose to take.

Kick-Ass AKA Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), who I believe does a better job of being the under appreciated, troubled secret hero than Tobey Maguire,  is our narrator and a “typical” high school comic geek who ponders the question, “Why has no one tried to be a superhero?” So he tries it, with some interesting results. He also finds that he is not the only one out there…

Big Daddy AKA Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage) is the literal dark avenging vigilante with a purpose. Hit-Girl AKA Mindy Macready (Chloe Moretz)is his daughter who is I vote as most likely to need therapy even though it probably won’t help. But that is a long way down the road, currently she revels in her life of weaponry, jumping rooftops and mayhem.

Hit Girl stole the show. She was absolutely awesome! I am impressed how a 12 yr old can come off as someone to actually be feared. AFTER you find out she is not your average pre-teen. As a thug in the movie states, “She’s just a kid.” Cue the chaos…

Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca) is David’s lust interest that likes the alternate personality, but never notices the real person standing in front of her. (Lois Lane anyone?)

Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) is our resident bad guy. They are required in almost every comic book story. Without a villain, what good is a hero? He is head of a criminal organization that finds its illicit activities interrupted by a rumored masked individual. The villain’s henchpeople seem to really enjoy reeking havoc, bringing criminalism into an artistic arena. More so, they are capable, this makes the triumph even more enthralling. Where’s the pleasure in defeating an idiot?

“Kick-Ass” pays tribute to much of the comic universe. Dave’s house looks eerily similar to Aunt May’s from Spider-Man. Big Daddy’s speech patterns remind me of Adam West’s campy Batman. “Wait til they get a load of me,” is quoted directly…

If you are a comic book fan, I think you will appreciate this film, minus a couple misguided instances in the final 5 minutes. It’s campy, fun, funny, violent and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but seriously enough.