Yes I saw it. Saturday afternoon I headed out to Amherst cinemas and plunked down my $4.00 for the newest Star Wars movie (We’ll talk about that later). It seemed like something I should do sooner rather than later since spoilers were already starting to leak out and I was headed out to a Star Wars themed party at Carol and John’s later that night.
I had done a piece for thier art show that would be raffled off as the night went on. The Christmas party was great fun as always, with snacks and deals and friends. They brew a craft beer every year just to hand out at this event (I don’t even drink beer. I just want the bottle!)
And of course they showed us that the one thing that can make a Christmas party better is Lightsabers.
Hope your weekend was just as eventful.
I hit up Amherst Cinema to catch my buddy Tom’s new MI film.
I’m not really a big MI fan from way back like some folks, but I find the series to be fun and this is a solid entry in the franchise. JJ Abrahams has it firing on all cylinders with a great ensemble of fun recurring characters, each with a role to fill.
Really, that was the big problem with the first two instalments. One is a fine DePalma film and two is a great Woo film. Neither are great MI movies, nor are they ensemble pieces. They are very definitely the Tom Cruise show- his attempt to do his version of James Bond, but also showcase a different auteur director each time.
It’s an interesting idea, but it never really connected with audiences and might be a reason the numbers dropped. Even with 3 swinging back towards a more traditional MI with a greater emphasis on ensemble the series was beginning to show signs of sequel fatigue. This is a shame because 3 is really the place where the series begins In earnest and rogue nation is a great part of that series that starts with 3. But we’re in the 5th movie now, and Cruise isn’t getting any younger.
Some of those lines on his face are starting to show. And it’s getting harder to get Ving Raimes in there with Simon Pegg filling such a similar function (though they did it brilliantly in rogue nation, and it was so great to see Ving back in such a big role after only having a cameo in ghost protocol). I notice a lack of iconic set pieces that we got in the first two though, and It also doesn’t help that we keep repeating themes- were getting disavowed now in almost every film. We need something new…but how many more films does this series still have in it?
It’s right there in the first song – “We’re doing a sequel! That’s what we do in Hollywood and everybody knows the sequel’s never quite as good”
I think Disney is having a problem balancing callbacks (fanservice) with trying to be fresh. In the last film it was all about being new, with a hint of nostalgia, this time around they really crank up the homages – perhaps too much so. They acknowledge it though, pointing out in one line that the last film spent an inordinate amount of time on the new Muppet Walter, perhaps at the expense of other beloved characters (seriously, that’s a line Rizzo delivers). At least Rizzo and PePe both have a line in this one.
It’s not badly done. The duplicate frog has been done before on TV, though I don’t remember it in film. It may be a little too goofy of a concept for a film, probably would have worked better as a direct to DVD story. I’m amused though, from now until the end of time, Every time John Constantine is introduced in a Hellblazer story I’m not going to be able to resist thinking “the most dangerous frog”?
The sequences with Kermit trapped in the Siberian prison feel tacked on, like they didn’t know what to do with him -a shame because its some of the best stuff in the film…but more on that in a moment.
I think my biggest problem in this film is Ricky Gervais . I know it’s kind of his schtick, but really it feels like he just doesn’t want to be here. He kind of sleepwalks through the entire thing. Everyone else in this movie is obviously having the time of their life. All you have to do is look at Tina Fey (who I normally despise) to see how much they want to be there, and it’s a huge contrast against Gervais’ performance.
Fey’s role is mostly confined to the prison camp…though she still manages to have a chic look with those gorgeous boots and the soft fur and big buttons on her coat. She’s vamping it and really makes it work. I’m not sure what Ray Liotta is doing here. Cashing a check I suppose. He’s kind of wasted in the role. Danny Trejo on the other hand….
If you’d asked me a year ago I’d have said it was ridiculous to have Trejo in this film. He doesn’t belong here. But after meeting the guy, it’s a different story. He fits here. He really does. You may actually be seeing more of the real Danny Trejo here than in any other role he’s ever had.
The world needs more of Danny Trejo singing Broadway. It really does.
The main characters are used really well this time around. Animal (traditionally a tangential though popular character) has some good moments and Sam Eagle has one of his best characterizations ever. The idea of making him a CIA agent just ….fits. It plays perfectly into his character and really lets him show his intellect without it being the butt of a joke.
Speaking of the agents, Jean Pierre Napoleon as the French Interpol agent is a revelation. I mean it. He is absolutely brilliant. Why was Steve Martian in the last Pink Panther movie when THIS guy is around? Seriously, it was like watching Clouseau interact with the Muppets. Someone needs to give him a shot at that role. He was another of the best things in the film.
For the most part, I’ve been supportive of Disney’s handling of the Muppets. Despite my initial reservations, it’s been a good home for them. The slick Disneyfied packaging never bothered me. I like Muppets in OZ (Made sure to see it when it was broadcast on TV, recorded it, then bought the DVD anyhow). A Very Muppet Christmas is one of my favorite Muppet movies ever, defiantly my favorite of ALL the Christmas ones. I kind of wish they would jettison Walter, but the way they brought the Muppets back to the big screen was very wise.
This isn’t a bad entry (It’s better than Muppet Christmas Carol) but it’s far from the best. Better songs would have helped…especially after the musical triumph of Frozen. There’s a couple that are clever like the opening “We’re Doing A Sequel” and the closing “Together Again, Again) but those are more interesting because they are homages to previous films and probably wouldn’t stand on their own any better than any of the others which are all forgettable. A shame, there were some stand outs in the last film like “Me Party” and I wonder why we didn’t see that kind of thing here. Still, I’m grateful that I can take my kids to see a new Muppet movie over at Amherst Cinema and you can bet we’ll be back for the next one!
I started my Free Comic Book Day this year at Midnight. Well, actually a little before, heading out to Carol and John’s comic shop for the Midnight release party.The midnight party features free comics, specially brewed drinks and food along with sales and costumes. I went to this a couple of years ago with my friends John and Carl, and remembered not liking it, but didn’t quite remember why.
The two and a half hour wait in line may have had something to do with it. I remember it being crowded, but not this crowded….and we were waiting forever. The young lady in the great Doctor Who shirt (Complete with a button that said “come along Pond!”) that I was in line with was getting a little worried that there might not be much left if we ever go in. (By the way, if your reading this, I owe you an apology. I was in a bad mood and didn’t realize we would be out there so long. I should have talked to you more and been friendlier. I was rude to just stand and read my book as much as I did). On Facebook I joked with folks that we should have headed to the party and played a game of Heroclix while we waited. Seriously, there was enough time to get in a full game while in line. If I do this party again next year, I’m planning something like that. Cards or heroclix or SOMETHING.
Still, we eventually got in and I got my first selections, including the Cleveland edition of Superman. That was one I definitely wanted, especially since we’re celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the character – or trying to at least.
Madeline had ballet the next morning and we weren’t about to let her take off just to trot around town trolling for comic books with Daddy. We suited Lydia up and were ready when Maddie got home at 11. We tossed her costume on, packed a lunch and headed back to Carol and John’s for the costume contests.
We had no idea that half of the places we went for Free Comic Book Day would be OUT by the time we got there. Perhaps we need to start earlier, but it also seemed like there were a bunch more people out this year than before.
I saw the line at Carol and Johns and my heart sank a little. It was as long this afternoon as it was at midnight. Ugh. The girls wouldn’t last an hour or two of waiting like that. Still, we were there in time for the costume contest, so the girls got their numbers and headed up. Maddie and Lydia were in different age categories, so they weren’t competing against each other. I think I’ve very glad for that.
To my great delight (and perhaps a little surprise) both of my girls placed. Lydia got third (and lost out to the cutiest set Power Puff girls EVER) while Maddie got second in her division. I couldn’t be happier.
Next off, we headed out to Parma to swoop down the Polish corridor. B and L comics was out, however he had a few ones from last year and older on the counter to try and still have something for people….my girls and I were at the counter making our purchases (we raided the .50 box) and were asking about which free ones he still had and folks were reaching around us to snatch them away before my two little girls could get anything! How rude!
Traffic was bad enough that we skipped Northcoast Nostalga…a shame too, because they always have great discount bins – .25 and .35 bins, and I always rummage through those. York was running out, but the girls got some Strawberry Shortcake there and we bought some Trinity (because they had Wonder Woman on the cover). I also got my Uglydoll comic here. This was just the coolest offering the FCBD! The girls loved looking at the statues and figures. York was running out too, so they pulled stacks of old issues from the back and set them up on the free table so everyone could still get something. Very cool guys. On the way to our next stop, I became aware of Maddie talking in the back seat. Not to me….no she was reading on of the strawberry shortcake comics she had just gotten to her sister.
Thank God for Comics are Go! in Sheffield. They still had a decent stock and had save me one of the FCBD Iron Man 3 heroclix! You guys saved the day. Seriously. The girls had been getting a little discouraged. The other thing Comics Are Go! managed to find for me was a copy of the Walking Dead comic for this year. Not one place we went had that one still in stock. In fact, Mike ran into the back and dug that and a Judge Dread out for me I wouldn’t have gotten these comics otherwise. Then again, that’s one of the things about having a shop you go to regularly. In fact, I think next year, we may mostly just do Comics Are Go. (Maybe the midnight party at Carol and Johns, but maybe not).
While we were in Comics are Go! Maddie kept looking around at the toys and other comics, and she discovered the My Little Pony comic book. She asked me if we could get that one too, and I said yes (like last year, we want to buy something at every stop to do what little we can to support these places). She was also looking at the figures and discovered the Wonder Woman line – A Circe figure and a special agent Diana Prince figure. She brought those up the Scott, the store owner and asked why the boxes said “Wonder Woman” when it didn’t look like Wonder Woman inside. He smiled and explained who the figures were. It was unbearably cute.
Of course we dressed up. Me too. I tried something different this year, my costume was Perry White, with Maddie as She-Ra and Lydia as Batgirl. Funny, Lydia’s always refused to wear masks, but this year she came up to me first thing in the morning and asked me to make her a mask for her costume! Rushed in to the basement to find some foam and elastic, but we got it done!
By the time we got home we were all tired and Maddie was eager to tear into the Lego set she won in the costume contest. The girls asked for a Wonder Woman cartoon so I fired up Netflix and turned on the Wonder-Woman centric episodes of Justice League. We played with Legos and plowed through our piles of comics. We didn’t bring home as many this year. The girls had about seven each. I had about twenty. I know they were a little disappointed by that, but we still had a fun day out and I still had plans for the evening. After all, what better way to end FCBD than with Iron Man 3 at Amherst Cinemas? I still had a dollar left over from comic book shopping and managed to scrape together two more dollars in change (remember the days when you could still hit a movie using the change you found in you couch or car seats?)
I got to the theatre just before the movie was supposed to start. Just in time to see them put the “Sold Out” sign up.
Comics shops running out of comics? Comic movie running out of tickets? I’m beginning to see a theme here. Time to pop in the Scott Pilgrim DVD I borrowed from the Library and try again tomorrow.
I did make it in on Sunday. Probably the best Iron Man movie of all of them, I prefer this director. However, while I liked it better than any of the other Iron Man movies, but I still think it needed 30% more Tony-in-the-suit. It seems like the entire point of these films is to get tony out of the armor….I get that they are trying to make up for it by throwing in War Machine/ Iron Patriot, but honestly, for a film called “Iron Man” Iron man is actually not in it very much. I think we had more screen time with Tony-in-the-suit in Avengers. And poor Tony, he was getting tossed around worse than Bruce Campbell in an old cabin.
I really like the Iron Patriot suit though. I’ve got a bunch of foam in my attic. Wondering if I could make a suit….I think my cosplay for Lake Effect Comic Con might be Tony with just the arm and leg armor from the escape sequence. We’ll see.
We’ll close this with some photos from the midnight party and FCBD. Some of these are mine, some are culled from around Facebook. And remember, new Violent Blue is up today!
Don’t forget, Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Head out and support you local Comic Book Shop! I’ve already got the girls costumes ready for them!
Then that afternoon I’ll be hading down to Amherst Cinemas for Iron Man 3! Remember, Amherst is a $3.00 theatre, leaving me enough to go see Godzilla at the Cedar Lee! (If I don’t head over to Comics are Go for Heroclix that is)
The movie theatre I remember the most growing up was Avon Lake. (I found these pictures over at American Classic Images ) It was where I saw Goonies, Flight of the navigator, Both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom, not to mention Batman, Spacehunter and the Dark Crystal. It was where I went to my first midnight movie – which just happened to be a Rocky Horror show screening with the live performance going on below the screen. It was where I first saw the poster for Return of the Living Dead and the Robocop standup. It’s where I dreamed of going to see the Untouchables. It was okay, not quite a dump. It had character. Not the neon glitz of the modern Cineplex’s with 20 or 30 screens. From the time I was five or six until I was nineteen, this was my theatre.
It closed in 1995, the year after I graduated High School. I suppose in it’s own way it made sense. Four screens couldn’t compete with eight screens at midway Mall, or ten in Sheffield , or twenty……
Still, I miss it. Some of these thoughts are coming to me because I’m heading to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. Baron Morbid also got me thinking about it in his facebook post about one of the theatres he grew up with .
But then, there’s also this :
We took the girls to see The Croods tonight at Amherst Cinema. For the longest time we just weren’t going to movies. It was too expensive, especially with young children who might not make it through the entire film! Over the last few years though, we’ve been hitting the Lorain Palace occasionally (less now that they do more 3-d films) and Amherst Cinema. They do first run movies and tickets are $3. I can get my family in, get popcorn and a drink and still spend less than $20.
Amherst is a bit more of a dive, but it has it’s own character. Tonight I realized that just like Avon Lake had been mine, this is my girls’ theater. This is the magical place my girls will remember going to movies at long after it’s gone and they’re grown up.
You know what? I’m thankful that such a place can still exist.