Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Am The Ninja Your Parents Warned You About

Welcome to the Peverett Phile, pholks. To all you kids that are graduating in the coming week, get a job! American Airlines is now charging $15 for each first checked bag. And I said, “Hey — anything to slow down that ticket line is OK by me.” Fifteen dollars for each checked bag. And I’m guessing we get to charge them for each canceled flight? Last week, Barack Obama was endorsed by 90-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd. Byrd said, “Obama will make a great president, and if he doesn’t, I won’t be around anyway.” The city of Canton, Ohio wants to impose jail sentences on homeowners who don’t mow their lawns. Residents say this is unfair because watching grass grow is the most exciting thing to do in Canton, Ohio. It’s been revealed that Charlie Sheen pays his ex-wife Denise Richards $52,000 a month in child support. Sheen says, “I've never paid that much money to a woman who didn't have a pimp." Good week this week, Shania Twain is now practically single. Whoo-hoo! But on the flip side, Reese Witherspoon is getting re-married. Well, that's all the jokes I have. All those Late Night shows on repeats this week, so I cannot rip off anybody's monologues. I wil now interrupte this blog with...


A genuine anteater,"
The pet man told me dad.
Turned out, it was an aunt eater,
And now my uncle's mad!


Dick Martin: Say goodnight, Dick.
Sydney Pollack: The director of Absence Of Malice has now attained it.
Harvey Korman: DEADley!


An ancient gold cup mysteriously acquired by an English scrap metal dealer is expected to fetch close to a million dollars at auction after languishing for years in a shoe box under its current owner's bed. Owner John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 5.5-inch (14-centimetre) high mug to play with when he was a child, back in 1945. He assumed the golden cup, which is decorated with the heads of two women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with two knotted snakes, was made from brass. But he decided to get it valued when he was moving house last year and was told it was actually a rare piece of ancient Persian treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Experts said the method of manufacture and the composition of the gold was "consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing" dating back to the third or fourth century BC. The Achaemenid empire, the first of the Persian empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Iran, was wiped out by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Auction house Duke's, in Dorchester, south-west England, will put the cup under the hammer on June 5, with an estimate of 500,000 pounds (630,000-euro, 988,000-dollars). Webber, 70, told The Guardian newspaper that his grandfather had a "good eye" for antiques and picked up "all sorts" as he plied his trade in the town of Taunton in south-west England. "Heaven knows where he got this, he never said," he added, revealing that as a child, he used the cup for target practice with his air gun.


A mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for keeping her 17-year-old adopted son caged in her home. Brenda Sullivan, accused of caging her 17-year-old son, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated child abuse. Brenda Sullivan pleaded guilty in January to three counts of aggravated child abuse. Prosecutors agreed to drop lesser child neglect charges. The teen weighed 49 pounds when child welfare workers found him in 2005 in what appeared to be a cage. Sullivan told a judge at the time that Ohio authorities told her to keep the boy, who had severe medical and emotional problems, in a crib. "There's only one conclusion when you look at the medical evidence in this case, and that is that she literally starved him," prosecutor Julie Schlax said. Two other children, 13-year-old twins the Sullivans adopted as infants, both testified they were kept in similar cages. Sullivan's husband was also arrested, but died in January 2007 while awaiting trial. Sullivan's lawyer, Charles Fletcher, said he didn't think prison was the right option because she does not pose a threat to society. He said they would appeal the sentence.


A major earthquake accompanied by a fire destroys the city of Antioch, killing perhaps a quarter of a million people. The rebuilding efforts are wiped away two years later by another major quake.
Constantinople is taken by Ottoman Turks, after a fifty day siege led by Sultan Mehmet II. The city defense of 10,000 men was no match for a force of 100,000 armed with heavy artillery. It is the final gasp of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Dueling over a horse racing wager, future President Andrew Jackson takes a bullet in the chest from fellow lawyer Charles Dickinson. The slug shatters two ribs and buries itself near his heart. Then it is Jackson's turn to fire, which manages to sever an artery and kill his opponent.
Two hours before kickoff of the European Cup Final, a riot breaks out in the stadium between supporters of Liverpool and Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium. 39 soccer fans are killed and more than 350 injured on live television.
Hikers discover the skeletal remains of Philip "Taylor" in his Ford Aerostar at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine in Malibu, California. The onetime bassist for the band Iron Butterfly had disappeared four years prior.


The Hero Must Lose His Powers at Some Point
Oh, clever Hollywood! In order to make the hero's travails that much more dramatic, the superhero must lose their powers, yet carry on instead of blowing their brains out. It's about the only way writers can figure out how to squeeze drama out of the story, since the whole premise is that the main character is just about invincible and there's not much drama in that. Still, for some reason, this always gets handled in the clumsiest way possible. Superman of course has the kryptonite thing, but they can't seem to get it straight what exactly kryptonite does to him, even within the same movie. Theoretically, he should still have all his powers, but just be too weak to use them. Like in the first Superman, kryptonite makes Christopher Reeve too weak to swim, but he's still indestructible (or else Lex would have presumably just shot him) and he still is able to use his super-sexuality to seduce one of the villains into helping him. However, in Superman Returns, kryptonite takes away his powers of invulnerability, allowing Luthor to injure and then stab him. Of course, he's later able to lift an island containing several billion tons of the stuff. Anyway, in Superman 2 they introduced a special device that Superman was able to use to remove his powers, thoughtfully packed by his mother into a crystal placed in his escape rocket. The Batman franchise handles this a little differently, since Batman is essentially just a normal person with a super passion for vengeance and gadgetry. So, invariably we must have him face the villain when he's out of costume. In the first film Michael Keaton gets shot by the Joker in his living room, in Batman Begins the hero gets his ass kicked while wearing a tuxedo in Wayne Manor, and must sadly be rescued by his butler. Perhaps the most the most mysterious of power losses comes in Spider-Man 2, where Spider-Man's powers start to slowly fade away for seemingly no reason, yet conveniently return when Mary Jane is kidnapped by Dr. Octopus. Even worse, we have the Fantastic Four sequel, where the crew get all of their powers switched around by the Silver Surfer somehow, in a series of events too pointless for us to recap here.
Also ... This rule also has the Alaskan Diner Corollary: while de-powered, the hero usually must perform one heroic act. Clark defends Lois' honor from the Alaskan Diner bully while unpowered, and gets his ass handed to him. Peter rescues a little Asian girl from a burning building. This is apparently Hollywood trying to distract us from the fact that we're really admiring these superheroes for having powers they got completely by accident.


According to Rich Johnston at Comic Book Resources, new "Doctor Who" showrunner Steven Moffat has put forth a request to legendary writer Neil Gaiman to pen an episode for the 2010 season. I will step back while you shriek with excitement.
Neil Gaiman first garnered fame for his comic book of the 80's and 90's, "The Sandman", which endeared him to all sorts of people who are now influential in the entertainment industry. He has written novels (one of which, "Stardust", was recently adapted into a movie). He has written movies (most recently Beowulf). He has written for television before as well (the "Babylon 5" episode "Day of the Dead"). I hope this rumor is true. Gaiman is well-versed in the fantasy genre and would add a great deal of knowledge and depth to the program. Given how the Doctor is portrayed more or less as a wizard with his sonic screwdriver doubling as a magic wand, perhaps Gaiman could add some more fantasy elements to it. Perhaps the Doctor could even meet Death.


Watchmen was always going to be a big deal -- but it actually just got bigger. I was among the fans just counting themselves lucky to get the Black Freighter (and to see Gerard Butler involved in it after all), and it looks just about everything from the graphic novel will make it on screen after all, in one way or another. The New York Times reported today that in an effort to revive their flagging DVD sales, Warner Bros will be releasing a DVD on 03/10/09 (that's five days after Watchmen hits theatres) that will include Tales of the Black Freighter, and Under the Hood. The latter is, of course, Hollis Mason's tell-all about his life as the Nite Owl. At some point in the future, Warner Bros plans to release an "ultimate edition" of the film that will splice Tales and Hood in, which means you will have one heck of a marathon. Says Zack Snyder himself, "The überfans of this property are going to go crazy for that." Snyder was eager to participate in Warners direct-to-DVD plan because it was the only way he could feasibly film everything. "I thought the Black Freighter story would never see the light of day," Snyder says. "The main picture is nearing three hours long and I know I have a fight on my hands just with that." The director's original plan was to tell the Black Freighter story in the film, 300 style, but the studio balked at the $20 million budget. It's a win-win situation for everyone at this point. And because Warners knows, deep down, the majority of non-fans will not be lured into a theatre upon merely seeing a tie-in DVD on a store shelf, they are also planning a series of "Webisodes." Each webisode of The Watchmen Motion Comic will run about twenty minutes, and be a panel-by-panel slideshow of the graphic novel, narrated by an actor. This is a pretty sad commentary on modern literacy, isn't it? These too will appear on DVD at some point, for those still unwilling to crack open a book. I continue to be impressed with the fight Snyder has put up for this movie -- and that Warner Bros is realizing that it isa property worth the deluxe treatment. Even if they are only seeing the financial angle, they appreciate that it is a graphic novel loaded with potential. That's almost good enough for me. 


It's a dream come true for Buzz Lightyear as Disney Parks and NASA send the 12-inch-tall action figure blasting into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida is schedule for 5:02 p.m. ET on May 31. Buzz will finally go "to infinity and beyond" when he flies in zero gravity inside the International Space Station as part of the "Toys in Space" educational program, developed by Disney and NASA for teachers and students. The program builds on NASA's goals of encouraging student to pursue studies in science, technology and mathematics, which are vitally important in sustaining U.S. economic competitiveness and technological leadership. While in space, Buzz will partner with the seven-person crew to provide daily blog journals that tie directly to each component of the mission. He will spend several months in orbit before returning home to a hero's welcome at the Walt Disney World Resort later this year. His groundbreaking mission coincides with the launch of his latest debut on Earth in Toy Story Mania!, the new attraction that opens May 31 at the Walt Disney World Resort and June 17 at the Disneyland Resort. "The Space Ranger Education Series will give teachers an opportunity to incorporate a fun and engaging moment into the classroom with a character that children really love," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We're pleased to join NASA in creating a program that can help keep kids excited about math and science."


Hugh Hefner Biopic
Reportedly, Hef himself is extremely interested in having Robert Downey Jr. portray him onscreen. He also wants that power device Downey sticks in his chest as Iron Man, since it seems a much better idea than popping all that Viagra.
Transformers 2
Michael Bay is having the defunct and abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant "transformed" into a Chinese city for the sequel. First the plant had to close up in 2003 because all the jobs went to cheap labor in China, and now this. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!
A lead actress hasn't been chosen yet, but on the comic-book adaptation's official website you can check out the character concept — a gal with a metal hand and no underwear. I guess they can go with Lindsay, Britney or any other of those skivvies-optional starlets.
The Hobbit
Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro recently announced their plans to have all relevant cast members return, with shooting to begin in 2010. Meanwhile. J.R.R. Tolkien's son is suing to prevent the film from even being made. If he wins, Jackson and Del Toro can just make The Bobbit about Hilbo Haggins and Mandalf the Magician searching for a mystical ankle bracelet.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins
In the first entry of his new film blog, McG shares the first concept art, featuring a devastated Los Angeles. He also writes that the main inspiration behind this particular drawing were the 1992 riots.
Inglorious Bastards
At Cannes last week, Quentin Tarantino insisted that his long-gestating WWII project will finally be done in time for next year's French fest. Yeah, right. John McCain has a better chance of getting the troops out of Iraq first.
Star Trek
Anybody still holding out hope that William Shatner will appear in the franchise relaunch can officially give it up since the original Captain Kirk still claims that director J.J. Abrams never called him back after one initial meeting. Sadly, nobody has been brave enough to tell the Shat that he's been flipping open one of his old ST communicator props instead of his cell phone for months now.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
A low-budget horror-production company is remaking the worst movie of all time into "a serious-minded retelling of the original story." I suppose that's better than making a movie that's just plain seriously awful.

Well, that's it for another entry of the Phile. The next entry will be next Friday as I am working late on Thursday. That's June 6th if you are taking notes, kids. Also, I have  anew goal: 5000 views by Thanksgiving. That's five months away, think we can do it? Anyway, spraed the word, not the turd and remember ... Dont be cruel to a heart thats true. Dont be cruel to a heart thats true. I dont want no other love, Baby its just you Im thinking of.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Well, pholks, this it is: the last May Movie Month Peverett Phile Extra for 2008. This afternoon Logan and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And was it worth the wait?


Indiana Jones is a franchise of moments. Some die-hard fans may recall the precise steps the hero took to locate and procure the Ark of the Covenant (i.e. the plot), but damn near everyone remembers "Snakes... Why did it have to be snakes?" The series is defined and embodied by individual flourishes, images and icons that stubbornly refuse to leave fans' minds, and sometimes even get stuck in pop culture as a whole. As for which ones, well -- that may be different for different people. This is a list of moments that represent Indiana Jones for me: the moments that always evoke a knowing smile or elevate the pulse; the moments I look forward to every time I watch. Some are obvious, some are not, and some of the obvious ones are missing -- but hey, make your own list.
1. Raiders: "Start the engine!"
Oh sure, most people would probably list Indy and Satipo navigating the booby traps of ancient temple to retrieve the golden idol in Raiders' deservingly legendary opening sequence. And yes, that's cool. But what I love even more is a moment that comes a few minutes later: with Rene Belloq and the Hovitos on his tail, Indy comes barreling across a plain, hollering at his companion to "START THE ENGINE" of a waiting seaplane. It's intense, absurd, exciting, funny: everything everyone loves about the series, in the span of a few seconds.
2. Raiders: Indy Shoots the Sword-Wielding Henchman
Indy often resorts to elaborate stunts, but he prefers not to screw around. In the middle of the big Cairo melee, a Nazi operative confronts Indy with a bunch of elaborate and supposedly-intimidating swordplay. Indy rolls his eyes, takes out his gun, and shoots the guy; without giving him a second look, he turns around, having already moved on to his next task. Hey, no one ever said Indiana Jones had to play fair; he's obsessed with history, not personal honor. Yet another reason he's such a singular action hero.
3. Raiders: "Ha ha ha ha... son of a bitch."
"What a fitting end to your life's pursuits," Belloq sneers at Indy just before locking him and Marion in the Well of Souls with those pesky snakes. "You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something." Indy's response -- a sarcastic laugh transitioning seamlessly into a muttered curse -- is priceless. Levity and a personal insult in the face of near-certain death: what better way to epitomize Indiana Jones?
4. Temple of Doom: The Dinner Scene
It's a perfect encapsulation of the films' ability to weave in humor -- often broad humor -- without betraying their tone or degenerating into camp.
5. Last Crusade: "That belongs in a museum!"
I relish the occasional moment when the movies acknowledge that its amazing action hero is in fact a college professor. I love the rare glimpse of Dr. Jones teaching one of his classes and, at one point in Last Crusade, even holding office hours. So too with this timeless line, delivered once by River Phoenix and once by Harrison Ford, about the legendary Cross of Coronado. It reminds us that Indy isn't fighting for justice or defending the weak -- he's protecting the integrity of artifacts. And that's awesome.
6. Last Crusade: "Poor Marcus"
This is a variation on the old Hollywood saw of having a character deliver an impassioned speech about how he will never, ever do X, or how X will never, ever happen, followed immediately by a cut to the character doing X or of X in fact occurring. When Elsa and Walter Donovan realize that good old Marcus Brody is in possession of the Henry Jones diary pages they desperately need to find the Holy Grail, Indy witheringly sings Marcus's praises: "He's got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan; he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom; he'll blend in, disappear, you'll never see him again. With any luck, he's got the Grail already." Cut to: Brody ambling down a Middle East street in a ridiculous white suit and hat, asking whether anyone speaks English. Hilarious, and a wonderful indirect illustration of Brody and Jones' adorable relationship.
7. Crystal Skull: Motorcycle Fight Scene
Here I'd rather not give too much away, but there's a point in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when Indy hightails it out of danger on the back of Shia LaBoeuf's motorcycle, pursued by baddies in cars. Eventually, he climbs into a chasing sedan full of henchmen, throws a few punches, scrambles out the other side and gets back on the motorcycle that Mutt has thoughtfully pulled around. No sweat. Most of the theater applauded in appreciation. It's a moment similar to #1 on this list, and it's reassuring that the franchise can still produce this sort of gleeful action flourish.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett, and Ray Winstone. So, Indy finds himself in the middle of a hunt for a mysterious magnetic object that will unlock a whole lot of secret knowledge and power. No, it's not the Ark again. I said magnetic. Anyway, he'll also cross paths with a former flame (Allen), battle a very wacky Russian (Blanchett), have a tag-along annoyance (LaBeouf), an untrustworthy sidekick (Winstone) and at least one run-in with — and you knew this already because it's just famously part of his ongoing story — snakes. Let's see if I can review this with no spoilery details. I mean, yes, I just told you about the snakes. But that's not exactly the same thing. How's this: It's exactly what you think it will be and exactly what most people will want it to be. It's got plenty of excitement and funny, over-the-top unrealism; the story is ludicrously entertaining; and Ford doesn't try to be 30 years younger (well, not much). If there's anything to complain about, it's that you've been here before, and so there's no real surprise coming your way. But again, for me, that's not much of a complaint. Look for the difference between digital and analog effects. Either digital stuff has gotten so good that it seems three-dimensionally real, or quite a few old-fashioned mechanical-style booby-traps were built for the actors to play on like a whole film's worth of jungle gyms. Either way, it's a blast to watch. You'll either love ot hate Blanchett, as the severe, she-wolfish, Russian clairvoyant. She fully understands the cartoon she's signed on to be in, and she leaps around and sword-fights her way into redefining what "over the top" means. And LaBeouf? Not nearly as much as you'd expect. In fact, it seems that this was anticipated by the filmmakers, so they went out of their way to make his character already sort of a tool that you begin hating and learn to not-dislike by movie's end. So that was a smart move. From one to ten, you know I give it a ten. Logan was mesmerized as he is going Indiana Jones nuts, collecting the Lego sets, and I even got him a book on the movies today. He said his favorite part was when Indy swung forward and then backwards. And he loves the whip. 

Well, there you go, phans. The Phile will be back next Thursday again. Until then, spread the word, not the turd and remember... Red carpet massacre, Don't want to hassle you, Red carpet massacre, Deathstalk papparazzi yeah, Red carpet massacre,
It's going to mess with you, We're in business, You're on the hit list...


World's Goodest Blogger

Welcome to another entry of the Phile. I worked late tonight so I am posting this after one in the morning, when I should be in bed. I know technically the Phile should be posted on Thursday, but from now on, when I work til midnight on Thursday's, the Phile will be posted on Friday. Got that? This entry is sponsored by socks: preventing shoe babies for centuries. A man in Pennsylvania is too drunk to drive. So he gets his kid to drive him. His son is 9 years old. If you can’t do that, what’s the point of having kids, honestly? Barbara Walters has a new book, “Audition.” In it, she says she had a lot of affairs with a lot of important people in Washington. The Washington monument? Nothing compared to Morris Yudall. One time when she was having an affair with a senator, she was tied up in committee. Cher has a new show at Caeser’s Palace. Last time she was there, Caeser was there. Barack Obama says that President Bush refusing to meet with Iran’s president would have been like Richard Nixon refusing to meet with Mao Zedong. After hearing this President Bush said, “Look, if he’s going to make people up . . .” Bill Clinton gave a speech at a high school in Kentucky, and he was 90 minutes late. Clinton told the students, “I’d explain why I’m late but you’re not quite old enough.” The California Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for homosexuals to get married in California. As a result, thousands of wedding planners will finally get to plan their own wedding. NASA has developed a new device that can turn an astronaut’s urine into drinking water. Is there something wrong with that? Can't wait to see that on the next trip to the Kennedy Space Center. Gas prices . . . just crazy. Here’s what I’m doing: I’m just buying it by the glass. Oil is $125 a barrel. But if you return the barrel . . . you get a $2 deposit back. Microsoft in the news. Microsoft is aggressively trying to stop Yahoo! from striking a deal with Google. Experts are calling this the nerdiest fight since “Stargate” went up against “Battlestar Galactica.” A truck overturned in L.A. and spilled 14 tons of Oreo cookies. Authorities say it won’t be cleaned up until well after midnight . . . that’s when Kirstie Alley’s plane gets in. How about the campaign? Hillary is an optimist. She’s the kind of person who sees the pantsuit as half full. Don’t discount Hillary. She has a backup plan: She’s going to marry John McCain. Barack Obama visited an Indian reservation and the chief adopted him and gave him the name Black Eagle. The chief also gave Hillary Clinton the name Runs Even After Losing. The White House has announced that next month, President Bush will be making a trip through Europe. President Bush says he’s really excited to go to Europe because he’s never seen a kangaroo. Last night was the finale of "American Idol" and David Cook won, and David Archuleta was beaten up by his dad. Hillary Clinton called the loser, David Archuleta, and told him not to give up. Lots of people have gone on to have huge careers even though they did not win: Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Sting . . . Bruce Springsteen didn’t win “American Idol” either. The music producer Lou Perlman was sentenced today to 25 years in prison. That’s outrageous! He’s the guy who created N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys. I would have given him the electric chair. And finally, it was announced that Jimmy Fallon is going to take over the "Late Night" show next year when Conan goes to be the host of "The Tonight Show." That'll be just another later night host I'll be ripping off jokes from.


From the home office in Groveland, Florida, here is tonight's top ten list...
Iron Man's Top Ten Pet Peeves
10. Being stalked by Rosie, the Jetsons' robot maid
9. When people ask him, "How are the Lion and Scarecrow doing?"
8. Try as he may, there's one part of him that never becomes iron-like
7. Loud clanging noise when the suit's in the dryer
6. When his mom walks in on him pumping iron
5. Incessant nagging from Iron Woman
4. Apparently, Paris Hilton does not want a BFF who is made of metal
3. Someone keeps putting "Vote For Hillary" bumper stickers on his ass
2. Richard Simmons comes over every evening to oil him up
And the number one Iron Man pet peeve... 
1. Rusty nuts


Must Feature an Evil Version of the Hero
Hollywood hates boy scouts, so nearly all heroes have to turn evil, at least temporarily. Nearly always, this change occurs in the third film of the series. Usually the hero somehow has to fight the evil version of himself, demonstrating with some of the most ham-fisted symbolism possible that the real villain is within ourselves. Get it?! Most of us are still having nightmares about Spider-Man 3, where Peter Parker, under the control of the alien symbiote, turned into the love child of Alex from A Clockwork Orange and John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, while looking oddly like a lesbian biker. The evil symbiote then bonds with Eddie Brock to become Venom, the evil version of Spider-Man, and they fight to the death. Only slightly less ridiculous was Superman 3. Unable to figure out the "secret ingredient" for kryptonite, Gus Gorman substitutes cigarette tar into the formula, which causes Superman to turn into an alcohol-fueled sex machine. This then causes Superman to split into a Good and Bad Superman, which then, you guessed it, fight each other to the death. Also ... They found another way to handle this in X-Men 2, since they have a group of heroes, they were able to mix it up a little bit by just having some of the heroes turn on each other. Thus Phoenix must fight a brainwashed Cyclops, a brainwashed Professor X almost kills everybody, a brainwashed Nightcrawler almost kills the President and Wolverine must fight a brainwashed Lady Deathstryke. As an added bonus, Lady Deathstryke is the evil twin of Wolverine, but less hairy and almost as hot. Another variation occurs in Batman & Robin, where a mind-controlled Batman and Robin, apparently under the hypnotic control of Poison Ivy, argue about who gets to pork her.


Emperor Constantine dies. Although quite dead, his embalmed corpse continues to act as head of state, receving state dignitaries and daily reports from ministers as if nothing had changed. Constantine's macabre leadership continues through winter.
Hail the size of pumpkins falls on Bangalore, India.
Former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal falls out of a 16th floor window at Bethesda Naval Hospital with a bathrobe cord knotted tightly around his neck. The death is ruled a suicide, and Forrestal is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
400 people attend the Bar Mitzvah for Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) in Hibbing, Minnesota. He later converts to Christianity in 1979.
A B-36 bomber accidentally drops a 10 megaton hydrogen bomb over an uninhabited area near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conventional charges detonate on impact, leaving a radioactive crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet wide.
322 Belgians are killed when fire sweeps through the second-largest department store in Brussels. Many of the victims leaped to their deaths, although most who landed on parked cars survive. The store, L'Innovation, had been having a sale on American goods.
The nuclear submarine U.S.S. Scorpion sinks to the bottom with all 99 aboard perishing, after it is reassigned to a spy mission and begins to head towards the Canary Islands. Navy Warrant Officer John Walker (a mole) had certainly reported enough to the KGB to allow them to read the Scorpion's encrypted transmissions. For reasons yet unknown, Navy officials of the U.S. and Soviet Union agree not to discuss the circumstances of this incident or the sinking of a Soviet sub the same year.
Peter Sutcliffe is convicted of murdering 13 women in the Yorkshire Ripper trial. In the words of the presiding judge: "It is difficult to find words that are adequate in my judgment to describe the brutality and gravity of these offences and I say at once I am not going to pause to seek those words. I am prepared to let the catalogue of crimes speak for itself."

And on May 23rd, 1947 my mom was born. Happy birthday, mom.


Robert Mondavi: Popped his cork.


David Cook won "American Idol 7", after receiving 56 percent of the 97.5 million votes cast Tuesday night. David Archuleta lost by a surprisingly large margin of 12 million votes, despite the judges’ relentless praise Tuesday night. That gap seems to be too big to be attributable to one factor, such as backlash against the judges or the fewer numbers of young women watching, and may just have to do with all of those things combined, in addition to David Cook’s talent. In the final moments, Simon Cowell apologized to David Cook, whichworked well to save face since David Cook won, although if he’d lost, it would have been too little, too late. “Wasn’t quite so clear cut as we called, and David, I will take this opportunity to apologize, because I think I was verging on disrespectful with you, and I don’t think you deserve that,” Simon said. He also added, “For the first time ever, I don’t really care who wins; I think you’ve both done terrific.” David Cook sung the songwriting contest winner, “Time of My Life,” in the final moments, and it’s good they saved it to wrap up the whole season, because it sucked although its suckiness was no fault of David’s. Its writer, Regie Hamm, told USA TODAY that it’s “a midtempo anthem, no surprises. (Fans) can wave their arms and light their lighters, all that cool stuff. We’ve all heard those finale songs, so you know the parameters and almost by osmosis what the moment is all about.” Yes, it’s about another weak original song. Despite wasting two hours, the show still couldn’t come in on time. Ryan Seacrest literally announced the winner exactly at 10:00:00 p.m. on the east coast. Here’s all of the super-important stuff the show needed to do before announcing the winner. Hour one included a top-12 group number; product placement for Mike Myers’ new movie; Syesha’s performance with Seal; a Jason Castro performance; the final unwatchable Ford ad of the season; product placement for the Ford Escape Hybrids that each David receives; the top six women performed with Donna Summer, who needed two guys to help her walk down the stairs; a Carly Smithson and Michael Johns performance; Jimmy Kimmel’s return to roast the show, calling it “karaoke” and saying Ryan has “Lee press-on nails”; Simon Cowell’s insults set to music (“Pop Goes the Weasel”); a performance by the top six men with Bryan Adams; Jordin Sparks pimps for the American Idol Experience attraction at Walt Disney World; and David Cook’s performance with ZZ Top. In hour two, Brooke White performed with Graham Nash; the Jonas Brothers performed (and by that, I mean lip-synced badly—do they have any talent except looking pretty?); Ryan Seacrest brought a little old lady clutching her purse to the stage to introduce a segment featuring the worst singers from the auditions; one of those awful singers returned; One Republic performed “Apologize” and was joined by David Archuleta, apparently to prove how inferior he is to Ryan Tedder; Jordin Sparks performed; we saw 1972 footage of Gladys Knight digitally manipulated to include Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. as alleged Pips, and it went on much longer than it should have; Carrie Underwood performed; the top 12 performed again; and George Michael performed and made Paula Abdul cry (then again, what doesn’t make her cry?). Oh, then Ryan Seacrest announced which David won. During the most egregious product placement, the two Davids went to watch The Love Guru, which is rated PG-13 for its “crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence and drug references.” David Archuleta watched that but wouldn’t sing Neil Diamond lyrics? Shocking. Myers showed up to pimp his awful-looking new movie and quasi-roast the two finalists, but didn’t even appear to be in the same room with the two Davids as he read his lines off a teleprompter. He told Archuleta, “soon, you’ll have hair in weird and wonderful places.” David Archuleta may have lost, but at least he got his pubic hair referenced by Mike Myers on the most popular show on television, and not many people can say that.


Yet another classic "Doctor Who" villain gets an update. This time it's the Sontarans in their first television appearance in 23 years. For a revision, it's actually pretty accurate to the original series. The only difference with the Sontarans now is that they're all short. This is actually an improvement on the original series since they've always been from a heavy gravity world yet appeared at normal size (which always struck me as a little odd, unless the Sontarans we've seen historically were the professional wrestler versions). The Doctor returns to Earth after being summoned by his former traveling companion Doctor Martha Jones, who now works for U.N.I.T., the Unified Intelligence Taskforce (known as the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce in the original series). Also lurking in the background is misunderstood child genius Luke Rattigan (an anagram of "Giant Rat," which may also be a callback since I know of at least one Tom Baker episode of "Doctor Who" which involved giant rats) who runs his own genius school called the Rattigan Academy. Once again, Russell T. Davies (along with episode writer Helen Raynor, who brought us last year's rather disappointing Dalek two-parter) shows us the evils of commercialism by having "everybody" own an ATMOS system in their car, which eliminates carbon dioxide emissions. I liked that the first meeting between Martha and Donna didn't involve any nastiness or snark, since Donna doesn't have those types of feelings for the Doctor and Martha has obviously moved on. I also enjoyed it when the Doctor ran into Donna's family again and the reactions of everyone involved. Such coincidences are the nature of the Whoniverse. It's amazing how the new series is acknowledging the previous one. Even particularly amazing is that they're even acknowledging the strange dating system used in the previous one (it's tough to keep continuity with the original series when even that series contradicted itself). The Sontaran leader, General Staal, was played by Christopher Ryan, a diminutive actor who is best known for roles in "The Young Ones" and "Absolutely Fabulous". Since the Sontarans are a cloned race, why don't they just have him play every Sontaran (like they do with the Cylon models on "Battlestar Galactica")? Instead, we got the subordinate officer Commander Skoor. So the Sontarans weren't "allowed to participate" in The Last Great Time War, eh? Since their first appearance in the episode "The Time Warrior" with John Pertwee's Doctor, they've had time travel capabilities. I think the only reason the series had to go to another dimension to bring back the Cybermen is that the Time War wiped out the ones in this universe. I blame the Rutans. Everything wrong for the Sontarans always seems to be their fault. Sontaran battleships always looked like giant golf balls in the original series. The revised Sontaran ships are nice variations of this theme. Wasn't the Sontaran Dance cute? Sontar-HA. David Tennant gave his usual brilliant, ebullient performance. He almost seemed relieved when he learned he was fighting a familiar foe and easily displaced Staal TheCoolPerson using a racquetball and a weakness learned from their first appearance 34 years ago. Donna continues winning my "favorite companion" award. The scenes between Donna and her grandfather were touching. The scene where the Doctor thinks she's leaving him so he pours his heart out to her and she responds by calling him a dumbo...that was brilliance. Donna's flashback scenes were kind of pointless at this stage but maybe they needed to fill time. Overall, it was an enjoyable episode and a step up from Helen Raynor's last attempt. Poison gas from a car does seem sort of an indirect method of killing off a populace, but we'll learn more about the true motives of the attack next week. Tune in for part two. Cue end music.


The hottest rumors these days revolve solely around Marvel Studios. Everyone is obsessing over scraps of information, and finally there's some solid news from the horse's mouth thanks to some eager Internet journalists, and Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios.  First of all, every Captain America fan (and perhaps even America herself) can rest easy: Matthew McConaughey will not be playing that iconic hero. The other good news is that Cap's origin story will be set in World War II. The bad? Additionally, reports that the plan is to remain very faithful to the source material, and completely traditional. I honestly think there would have been riots if they tried to update Captain America, so color me unsurprised by the news. The eye-rolling part of this is that Cap's movie will be titled The First Avenger: Captain America in keeping with Hollywood's love of comic book colons. Of course, the clunky preface is there so that it can easily tie into The Avengers. (There will be a colon in that title eventually, just wait.) As to who is going to be in the Avengers line-up, it sounds highly probable that the Hulk will be one of the core members, though I think we can be safe in assuming that depends largely on how The Incredible Hulk performs. As of now, Iron Man, Thor and Cap are still the only confirmed Avengers.
And speaking of Thor, look for a new director to be attached to his movie by summer's end. That script is still in the process of revisions by Mark Protosevitch, but Feige revealed that a large chunk of the movie is not set in the real world, but located firmly in Asgard. There is still no answer as to why Matthew Vaughn was dropped after so much Thor talk; there has to be a story there. Obviously, with all the talk of origin stories and the Avengers line-up, we all want to know who is going to be in what -- and when? "The sky's the limit right now. It's us being very cautious and careful about how we do these crossovers so that we don't collapse under our own weight - as even every 12 or 15 years the comics do; they revamp and do new number ones and get back to what the characters were all about. I don't want [the movies] to forget what the characters are all about and, knock on wood, the interconnectivity will be that extra bit of fun for comic fans." Don't expect them to include the X-Men or Spider-Man any time soon, though. As long as Marvel characters are in use by other studios, like Fox, the rights can't revert back to their maker. It all depends if Fox or Sony want to pander to us geeks by agreeing to their use. Clamor now, maybe they will hear you. Last, but not least, negotiations have opened with Jon Favreau on Iron Man 2. There's loads more over at CHUD and -- if I tried to post it all here, your eyeballs would fall out. I think this is just the start of a very interesting summer. The Internet might actually collapse on the day Captain America is cast.


21 Jump Street
Superbad star Jonah Hill says his big-screen update will have a part for Johnny Depp, who hit it big on the original cheesy '80s TV cop show — if the Oscar-nominated actor is willing. He'll play McLovin's even nerdier big brother: McScissorhands.
Transformers 2
Screenwriter Roberto Orci says he's thrilled to put fan-favorite robots Soundwave and Ravage in the sequel since he couldn't fit them in the first film because of the movie's "limited" budget. You know you've been in Hollywood too long when $150 million seems like a teeny amount of money.
Dawn of the Dead 3-D
George Romero's classic zombie flick is going to have 3-D effects added to it à la The Nightmare Before Christmas and be re-released later this year. I don't know what's scarier to see pop out of the big screen: the flesh-eating undead or those horrible '70s fashions.
While America Slept
Michael Moore says that the title of his new documentary refers to an examination of "America's global conduct and reputation." Personally, when I sleep I think about naked chicks, but that might just be me.
Super Max
An early review of the script for the superhero movie that has Green Arrow thrown in prison has a rundown of the villains he plans his escape with: Shock Trauma, Gemini, Icicle, the Calculator and Count Vertigo. Too bad he didn't get locked up with the Amazing Key Man and Escapo.

Well, that's it. pholks. It's after 2am and I am dead tired. Tomorrow after school Logn and I are going to go see the new Indiana Jones movie, so the last May Movie Month Peverett Extra will be posted tomorrow, instead of Saturday. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. And one more thing ... One night and one more time, Thanks for the memories, even though they weren't so great, "He tastes like you only sweeter". 'Nuff said.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Peverett Phile Extra: Narnia Business

Welcome to another Phile Extra for May Movie Month. This week we focus on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspain. So, let's get down to business.


Well, that was quick. The dust had barely settled on Disney's decision (announced at New York ComicCon) to possibly end the Narnia franchise after three films, but then they decided no, not really. They take their cues from Aslan. MTV Movie News cornered producer Mark Johnson, who revealed he has a list of directors for The Silver Chair, and is closely eying several names on it. (I appreciate that MTV was as shocked as everyone else by this.) Johnson went on to say that he envisions Narnia along Harry Potter lines, with a new director coming on for each installment. "I think [the director of Silver Chair] will be somebody new entirely," John said. "I would like to get somebody totally unexpected." So, never say never. If they truly go in this direction, I would applaud them, as I think it could add some spice to a film series that hasn't really distinguished itself from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings -- and should have, because the books are pretty fabulous. Johnson admits, however, that future books are going to be increasingly difficult to adapt. "I'd be lying if I didn't say a couple of them I don't know how to film," Johnson confessed, adding a wry smile. "It would be a good problem to have."


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Starring: William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, and Peter Dinklage. The kids go back to Narnia (one year later, but 1,300 years later in Narnia time) to help Prince Caspian defeat the evil Telmarines and make the place safe for all Narnians again. But where's Jesus-Lion Aslan to help them? Nowhere to be found, unless you're youngest and most faith-possessing Lucy and you can see him when no one else can. So, that sense of magical otherness that greets you on your first visit to an enchanted land of icy witches and all-seeing animal pals is pretty much impossible to recapture on your second pass through. So it's smart of the movie to dig deeper into the heroic action stuff. And if you don't know to look for them, then you'll take this double-edged fable that's full of biblical references at face value and just enjoy all the epic battling. Whether it's good or bad to be ignorant of the Bible isn't really for me to say. Barnes as Prince Caspian is kind of an empty shell and spends the whole film with a wooden expression of grim determination on his face. It's really the continuation of the Pevensie kids' story anyway. You're on Caspian's side, of course, but if he didn't have four protectors backing him up, you might not care as much. The best character was Eddie Izzard, who voices a highly confident mouse warrior. I have no idea if this is in the original book. I'm going to guess not. But still, he's really funny. For those of you lulled into a false sense of security with the PG rating, you should know that people get killed left and right in this thing, and it's full of war violence. It's just the kind of war where people die without much bloodshed. From one to ten, I give it a ten. And Logan's favorite parts were the battle scenes, oh, and Lucy.

There, phans, a quick entry of the Phile, all about Narnia. The Phile will be back next Thursday and again on Saturday with a Peverett Phile Extra on the new Indiana Jones movie. Until then, spread the word, not the turd, and one more thing... Did you stand by me, No, not at all, Did you stand by me, No way...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anyway We Can Speed This Up?

Hello, and welcome to the Phile. So, how are you? So, mother's out there, did you have a good Mother's Day? I was going to get my wife something special for Mother’s Day, but then I realized she’s already going to get that economic stimulus check. Nelson Mandela has invited Amy Winehouse to perform at a concert celebrating his birthday. Winehouse says she admires Mandela and would love to be there, but it’s the same night she’s scheduled to punch out a fireman. The other day in Iowa, a 78-year-old blind man went bowling, and he bowled a perfect game. Of course, no one had the heart to tell him he was in a supermarket. A new economic study coming out today shows that women have an easier time getting a job than men. All except Hillary Clinton. Democrats are really trying to pressure Hillary to drop out. She hasn’t faced this much pressure from another Democrat since Bill tried to get her into a three-way. Hillary just won’t quit. You have to admire somebody against all odds who just won’t quit. She has absolutely no chance of being president. And she’s running out of money. Today she was wearing a certified pre-owned pantsuit. If you look at this historically, it’s not that hard to believe that Hillary is still campaigning. Once a year . . . in his basement . . . Al Gore gives a State of the Union address. Oliver Stone is making a movie about George Bush. It’s called W. He’s also making a movie about John McCain called, No Country for Old MenThe other day a man in London dressed as Darth Vader assaulted two men dressed as Jedi knights. He got drunk and assaulted two men dressed as Jedi knights. He was sentenced to two months in jail and 10 more years living in his parents’ basement. In Wisconsin, a driver took a wrong turn and crashed into the bathroom at a Taco Bell. The Taco Bell’s owner is calling it the second worst bathroom accident that day. A new survey says that of the 10 fastest growing cities in America, four of them are in Texas: Dallas, Houston, Austin . . . and Narnia.


From the home office in Groveland, Florida, here is this week's top ten list:
Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara Walters' New Autobiography
10. First career choice: journalism. Backup career choice: wrasslin' gators.
9. Her tawdry affair with William Taft almost cost him the 1908 presidential election
8. Spent three years as a roadie for the Grateful Dead
7. She helped coin the phrase "Mo' money, mo' problems"
6. Spent summer of '71 as a linebacker on Jets' practice squad
5. She made $200 by taking the "under" on Star Jones' wedding
4. Wore the title of 1985 New York State Fair Hot Dog Eating Champion
3. Katie Couric is the result of one night of passion with Walter Cronkite
2. She injected Rosie O'Donnell with steroids
And the number one surprising fact in Barbara Walters's new autobiography...
1. Spent more time on her back than Michelangelo


Syesha Mercado was voted off "American Idol" last night, leaving finalists David Cook and David Archuleta, two people who could essentially be replaced with cardboard cutouts on stage and we wouldn’t know the difference as long as they were singing off-stage. I don’t want to be one of those annoying "American Idol" fan conspiracy theorists who’s convinced everyone is out to get whoever their favorite contestant happens to be—especially because I really don’t care—but on Tuesday night, the judges seemed intent upon making sure Syesha didn’t make it to the finals. Paula Abdul, of all people, even told her, “I don’t know if it’s going to be good enough to get into the finals of "American Idol".” When Paula Abdul offers not just criticism but a prediction, something’s wrong. And last night, during the hometown visits segment, Syesha told an auditorium full of students, “dreams really do come true, and, like, anything is possible, so just make it happen.” The editors cut to a kid in the audience yawning. That was only audience reaction shot they had? While the final three are all fine singers, Syesha’s performances seemed alive, while David Archuleta did the same Joker-grin going-through-the-motions thing on Tuesday, and his nervous laugh now irritates me so much I basically have to put him on mute. He is increasingly insufferable, and the only thing mitigating my all-out reality show hate is his age and father. It’s particularly annoying that making it to the finals is going to do nothing but fuel his father and perhaps destroy his life. I hate to be such a pessimist, but let’s just see what his "Behind the Music" lookslike in 15 years. We did see some humanity from David during his hometown visit. All three contestants cried, but only David cried and turned into a drunken sailor with his potty mouth. “Gosh! I can’t believe how many people came out for this. I just can’t thank them enough. It makes it all worth it, knowing how many people appreciate this, and all the hard work I’ve been doing for this. Gosh darn it, I didn’t mean to cry or anything, sorry. Gosh!” he said.
All three cried during their visits, but perhaps the weirdest moment came in Bradenton, Fla., when a woman rushed up to Syesha and handed her a baby for some unknown reason. Syesha looked horrified and said, “I can’t, I can’t I can’t.” A cop had to make the woman take her kid back (“ma’am…”). Apparently, having witnessed Jeff Archuleta’s success, that woman couldn’t wait to get her kid on the show.


In Part 2, The Hero Must Reveal His Identity to Someone
Look, Hollywood, the whole "secret identity" thing is there for a reason. In the comic, a hero's secret identity is the only way they prevent their enemies from sending wave after wave of henchmen after them and their families and friends. Yet, in the transition to film, secret identities are often the first casualty. Secret identities are usually revealed in the second film in the franchise, to a girlfriend, family member or even the villain. For instance in Superman II, a Superman who is desperate to get into Margot Kidder's pants reveals his secret identity, undergoes possibly permanent genetic damage by using radiation to get rid of his powers, walks from the North Pole to Alaska, and gets a good beating along the way. Hope she was worth it, dude. Michael Keaton, also in an effort to get into somebody's pants, reveals his secret identity in Batman Returns to his girlfriend and the Penguin, also revealing a previously unknown fact about Batman: his mask is made out of Fruit Roll-Ups. Though neither of them can even come close to touching Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2, who reveals his identity to: a) Harry Osbourne b) Mary Jane Watson c) Dr. Octopus d) A subway train full of passengers. It was almost like that last season of "Ellen" where every episode was about her telling some new group of strangers that she's a lesbian. But remember: THAT WAS THE LAST SEASON OF "ELLEN". Also ... There is with this rule the Doomed Franchise Corollary: If the film is not likely to have a sequel (Daredevil) and/or incredibly stupid (Daredevil) then what the hell, go ahead and reveal the secret identity to someone in the first film.


A kindergarten class was given a homework assignment to find out about something exciting and relate it to the class the next day. The first little boy called upon walked up to the front of the class, and, with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on the blackboard, then sat back down. Puzzled, the teacher asked him just what it was. “It’s a period,” said the little boy. “Well, I can see that,” she said, “but what is so exciting about a period?” “Damned if I know,” said the little boy, “but this morning my sister was missing one, Dad had a heart attack, Mom fainted, and the man next door shot himself.”


The Ood return. The race was seen two years ago in the two-parter "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" as a servant race. In this episode, we learn exactly why they're so good at being servile. Here's a hint: it's not by choice. Arriving on the planet known as the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126, the Doctor and Donna find the planet's Ood-production factory which prepares them for shipping throughout the three human-occupied galaxies. Russell T. Davies had this episode made to go further into the characterization of the Ood. The central theme of the episode was slavery, and we soon learn that, unlike the Dish of the Day, the Ood have no interest in being slaves. It's only after they get their secondary, external brain removed that they become subservient. Making a guest appearance as CEO Klineman Halpen (the shippers of the Ood) is a familiar face to Britcom lovers, Tim "Captain Darling" McInnerny. He plays exactly the sort of self-justifying evil bastard that you'd think would run such a company. "Doctor Who", under Davies' rule, has been quite anti-corporate. The callbacks to the original series continue. The Ood are reminiscent of The Sensorites, an alien race from William Hartnell's time as the Doctor in the 60's. They even lived on the "Sense-Sphere", which is similar in name of the "Ood-Sphere" and is located in the same solar system. The Ood and the Sensorites even have a similar look and similar telepathic abilities. The Doctor even mentions in the beginning that he's been to that solar system before. The use of the grant Ood-brain at the end seemed a callback to the abysmal Sylvester McCoy episode "Time and the Rani", but I think that was unintentional. It's interesting how the Ood's red-eye phase was used here. Last year, it was influenced by the beast in the pit (Satan, Sutekh, or whatever he was called). This year it's an effect from getting half-lobotomized. I liked how the Doctor felt he owed the Ood because of his failure to save a bunch of them last season. Overall, the show has been acknowledging its history more this season than it ever has before. It would really be impressive if they acknowledged the 1996 television movie, but that could be too much to ask. Donna remained her usual vocal self and remains my favorite companion ever. "You've got a box and he's got a Ferrari." It was also touching how she shed a tear when the Doctor allowed her to hear the telepathic Ood-song. David Tennant abandoned the tie of his outfit this week, making him look even more hipster than usual. It's an amazing evolution of the character from the hippie Tom Baker. The Ood also give an ominous warning to the Doctor about his song ending. Considering that early reports indicate that David Tennant will be on through the specials that are being broadcast next year, it is uncertain how that would translate. My guess is that David Tennant will still die/regenerate at the end of the season and the four specials (including the Christmas special) will be "filler" from the times he travelled alone between seasons. But that's just me. The missing planets arc continues in this episode. The missing bees also got mentioned (they were mentioned by Donna in the first episode this season and therefore it must be presumed as part of the season's arc). There also seems to be a subtle arc about people telling stories about the Doctor ( The reporter in the first episode, The Doctor's warning to Caecilius' wife, The Ood Song about Doctor-Donna). This is just hypothesis, but maybe someone is trying to change history and create a universe without the Doctor? This is just an observation, but why did the Doctor and Donna get an Ood-song and the guy who spent 10 years of his life infiltrating the company to free the Ood-brain got merely to be brain-food? Truly the universe is unfair. Next week: another evil alien race from the classic series returns. Awesome.


When Heath Ledger passed away earlier this year, he left the planet as one of this generation's great actors; a guy who battled many personal demons off the screen, for sure, but one who gave everything to the role. And while we won't get to see his latest creation on the big screen until July 18th, early footage shows Ledger's version of Batman's arch-nemesis could go down as the darkest, baddest and craziest we've ever seen. My question to you, then, is: Will it be enough to land Ledger another Oscar nod come next year? Sure, the Academy isn't all too keen on recognizing superhero movies unless we're talking about special effects or sound editing, but with bigger actors taking on riskier comic-related roles, isn't only a matter of time before one of these guys (or girls) turns out a performance worthy of a gold statue? Are these characters not meaty enough; are they not conflicted, troubled and crying out for a hug? If an Oscar can go to Javier Bardem for playing a sadistic, calculated murderer in No Country for Old Men, and Johnny Depp can be nominated for playing a sadistic, calculated murderer -- both in the same year -- I see no reason why Ledger's Joker can't be taken into consideration. It's early still, I realize that -- but should this guy turn in the kind of performance we're all expecting, shouldn't he be recognized with an Oscar nomination? What are the chances here, folks?


Grand Theft Auto
Uwe Boll has thrown his hat in the ring to direct the film version, promising that he'll make it extremely violent. You know, like having a bunch of moviegoers brutally attacking a CGI version of Boll outside the Liberty City Cineplex.
In bizarre superhero casting, it's rumored that Brad Pitt is the top choice to star as the Norse god of thunder. Although with how quickly he keeps putting babies in Angelina, he'd be more suited to play the god Prometheus.
The Spirit
A comic-book magazine sports a picture of Samuel L. Jackson as supervillain the Octopus on its latest cover. In it, he's seen wielding a gun and sporting a thick fur coat. Maybe it's just me, but I was expecting him to be wearing a rubber suit and covered in suction cups.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
The first spooky trailer has Mulder and Scully investigating a young girl found frozen to death under an ice-covered lake. Although we don't get to see any aliens or monsters who may have killed the victim, I have my suspicions it's gonna turn out to be an evil Frosty the Snowman.
Quantum of Solace
A bunch of new promo photos have popped up that show Daniel Craig hanging out with babes Gemma Arterton and Olga Kurylenko, plus a shot of him dashing through an underground sewer. That's where he has to escape to once he figures out he's made a date with both girls at the same time.
After he directs the animated Tintin, Steven Spielberg is gonna finally make his long-in-development biopic of the 16th prez. Hmmm. How's Steve gonna put one of his dumb happy endings on this one?
S. Darko
Fox is producing a sequel to Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko, but he says he wants no part of it. I think his exact words were: "I'd sooner have an airplane crash into my bedroom."

There you are, phans, another entry of the Phile. It's May Movie Month still, and this weekend Logan and I are going to go see Prince Caspian. So, Saturday I will post a Peverett Phile Extra entry on that movie. Then the Phile will be back next Thursday as usual. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Oh, oner more thing ... I'm looking for a complication, Looking cause I'm tired of trying, Make my way back home when I learn to fly high, Make my way back home when I learn to fly...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Peverett Phile Extra: Go Peverett Phile Go!

Hello, there, and welcome to the second in the May Movie Month Peverett Phile Extra's. Last week was Iron Man, and today Logan and I saw Speed Racer. Before I show you the review of the film, let me just say I now have a slight crush on Christina Ricci. Man, those eyes... Anyway, let's get on with it, shall we?


Speed Racer starred Emile Hirsh, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Matthew Fox. I don't know a lot about Speed Racer aside from what I've gleaned from the theme song over the years, apparently, the young man's a demon on wheels -- so, in many ways, I'm the best possible audience for Larry and Andy Wachowski's new big-screen interpretation of the character. Originally a Japanese animation program exported and re-dubbed for the American market in the '60s, Speed Racer has now been revived and revitalized for now. And the Wachowskis have created a blast of pure pop family fun; Speed Racer's a bright, bold visual spectacle designed for kids. And why shouldn't it be? Or, rather, how could it not? This is a property where one of the supporting characters is, after all, a monkey; any fully-grown individual hoping for an adult action film or racing realism is looking in the wrong place. Speed Racer plays like a car-crazed visual wonder. It looks and feels like what pop artist Roy Lichtenstein would dream if you locked him in a room full of gas fumes, gave him only candy to eat and showed him nothing but Tron, Indianapolis 500 footage, episodes of the '60s "Batman" TV show and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. All at the same time. With the volume very, very high. Speed Racer revolves around a young race driver named ... Speed Racer. (And, again: Yes, it's for kids.) We first meet Speed sitting in the ready room before a big race, ratcheting his right heel up and down with nervous energy. The film goes into reverse gear, flashing back to show us Speed's boyhood and his unabashed love for two things: racing and his older brother, Rex. As Speed races around the track in the present day, we learn how Rex moved on from the Racer family's independent crew ... and died in a crash during a cross-country rally. As Speed, in the present day, laps the track, it becomes clear he may be on the way to breaking the course's record ... which is currently held by Rex. And so, millions of dollars in special effects are being used to create the simple, blunt metaphor of Speed literally racing his brother's ghost. But in a way, that sets the tone and tenor for the film; bold colors, big emotions, tricky driving, simple motivations. Speed's win attracts the attention of the huge corporate race sponsors, who want him to work for them, but he respectfully declines -- at which point he's told that all of racing is a rigged fix to sell tech and stock and auto parts. It's a sham, and worse, it's a sham he'll be shut out from. Speed vows to carry on even in the face of this crushing knowledge, but he's not alone. Racing overseer Inspector Detector wants to make sure the sport is clean, and his enforcer is the masked driver, a skillful, willful master of the track called "the harbinger of boom" by fans and foes alike known only as Racer X. And, of course, Speed's family and friends are there for him, too: his race car designing dad, Pops; his supportive mother, Mom; the comedy-relief duo of his little brother Spritle and pet monkey Chim-Chim and his chase-copter pilot and best girl Trixie. Speed vows to race, and win, and with the backing of those who truly believe in fair racing and the support of those who love him, he may pull it off. And I felt a bit like an idiot just typing the above sentences, but, again: It's for kids. Using digitally-created backdrops for the live-action actors, integrating pixel-forged spectacles with flesh-and-blood performances, depicting racetracks that look like something from a videogame driven by cars loaded with weapons that look as if they were designed by a cartoon coyote, Speed Racer creates a universe of day-glo, neon-edged fun. The acting is, at best, secondary to the spectacle, but the actors know that it is. Hirsch plays Speed as a polite, earnest, gentle young man who turns into a lunatic behind the wheel. Fox is all gravel-growl gruffness in the Han Solo role. (Racer X wears leather, crossed holsters and a gun on his hip; Speed wears ... an ascot. But while Racer X is cooler than Speed, Speed has a certain emotional availability that Racer X doesn't. Your older kids will pretend to be X, your younger kids will identify with Speed, and that's as it should be.) Ricci is a retro-plucky sweetheart and sidekick given to exclamations like "Gee!" and "Hubba, hubba," while Goodman and Sarandon lend lightweight moments some emotional ballast by the heft of their presence. But you don't need a lot of character development when all your characters are there to do is step on the gas, metaphorically and literally. But the film's star, in the end, is the Wachowskis, they've created a visually stunning entertainment that blurs the line between animation and live-action through high-tech wizardry and sheer velocity. And keeping Speed Racer a family film blunts some of the ironies inherent to the material: This is a multi-million dollar film backed by a huge corporation about how a small group of friends can thwart a major corporation, and it's weird to see so much auto-erotic racing action at a time when gas is over four dollars a gallon -- but you'd have to be some kind of commie weirdo to think about those things when Hirsch zooms around the track while the laws of physics smile and look the other way. And Speed Racer is long, but trust me, it isn't slow. If your kids have trouble with the bladder-bursting length of it (well over two hours), rest assured, there'll still be plenty of stuff going on when you get back. When we first meet Speed, in flashback, we get to see his young boy's dreams of racing, all motion and color and speed and energy; thing is, that's also what we get in the film. Speed Racer may not look too real when it's stopped and you're walking around it taking notes, but when it's moving, it's a bright buzzy blur of excitement and fun your kids will love. From 1 to 10, I give it a 7. Logan's favorite part was "when Spped Racer was fighting with the kid and monkey. Andd when the bad guy was kicked in the balls."

There you have it, phans, a short (or fast) entry of the Phile. The Phile will be back regular next Thursday and the Saturday afterwards it'll be the Chronicles of Narnia entry of the Phile. Until then, spread the word, not the turd, and remember... Go Speed Racer. Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This Text is Only Blue When I'm Thinking About Dwarves

Hello, and welcome to the Phile, I am your host, David Lee Sloth. It's May Movie Month and this week it's Speed Racer. God, I hope it's not a movie about drugs as I'm
taking my eight year old. Amy Winehouse was arrested for assaulting a guy in a bar. In all fairness, she didn’t do anything. The guy was sucker punched by her hair. They took her to jail and she tried to escape by combing her hair into the shape of a gun. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has lost the election, but he refuses to step down, saying he still has a chance to win. Mugabe says he got this idea from Hillary Clinton. There’s some footage on YouTube of Hillary Clinton trying to make a cup of coffee. She couldn’t get the machine to work. When he saw the video, Bill Clinton said, “Yeah, she’s not very good at turning things on.” On “American Idol” a woman called in to the show and said she was Simon Cowell’s first kiss when they were both 9 years old. She said he hasn’t changed a bit since he was 9 — he stills wears the same size T-shirt. Tom Cruise was back on "Oprah Winfrey" today for the first time since he sexually assaulted her couch. Oprah was analyzing whether he is crazy or not. This is a woman who flies her schnauzer out in a private jet whenever her feet get cold. Tom's not crazy, just very, very rich; and sometimes being very, very rich makes you jump on things. Monday was Cinco de Mayo and Roger Clemens tested positive for salsa. President Bush said that Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to recognize the strong ties of family, economy, and culture that bind the United States and Mexico. Then the president said, “Now let’s get back to building that fence.” In Los Angeles they celebrated by having a parade through the city. In Mexico they celebrated Cinco de Mayo by having a parade to Los Angeles. On Long Island, a Dunkin' Donuts employee has been arrested because he placed a hidden camera in a Dunkin Donuts bathroom. As punishment, he’s been sentenced to five years in a Taco Bell bathroom. John McCain admitted that he didn’t vote for George Bush. He did vote for George Washington, however. A woman in New York City is angry because Lindsay Lohan left a party wearing the woman’s fur coat. When she heard where the fur coat came from, Lindsay said: “Thank God — I was worried I’d blacked out and killed a pimp.” There’s a new study out that breast-feeding can boost your IQ. I tried. It just made my nipples sore. There’s sad news: The founder of Baskin Robbins died. He will be buried in a large cup. At his funeral there’ll be 31 different kinds of graves. The primaries are over and I am projecting that Barack Obama is liked by more black people than Hillary Clinton. Hillary lost North Carolina, which is huge. They’re saying that the only way for Barack to lose is if he married Bill Clinton. Will she quit? Not a chance. She will stay in this race for as long as it takes to elect John McCain president. And finally, Charlie Sheen is getting married. This will make wife No. 3 for him. Somebody should tell him you don’t need to get married to have a bachelor party.


From the home office in Groveland, Florida, here is tonight's top ten list...
Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear While Stuck On An Elevator
10. "Hey, wanna see my ferret collection?"
9.  "99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer..."
8.  "To help pass the time, why don't we switch pants"
7.  "I can't believe I just polished off that whole bowl of chili"
6.  "Why is that man eating a hamburger off the floor?"
5.  "My water just broke"
4.  "Your call is very important to us. Please hold for the next available operator"
3. "The building engineer said he can pipe in 'The View' while we wait"
2.  "Does this look infected to you?"
And the number one thing you don't want to hear while stuck on an elevator... 
1. "Hi, Jason Peverett"


Buzzie Bavasi: There once was a GM named Buzzie Whose tactics were said to be scuzzy From the day they were drafted All his players got shafted Ol' Buzz wasn't very nice, was he?
Irvine Robbins: I scream, you scream, we all scream — he's dead!
Eddy Arnold: He sang "Make The World Go Away" in 1965, and finally got his wish in 2008.


A substitute teacher in Pasco County has lost his job after being accused of wizardry.
Teacher Jim Piculas does a magic trick where a toothpick disappears and then reappears. Piculas recently did the 30-second trick in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land 'O Lakes. Piculas said he then got a call from the supervisor of teachers, saying he'd been accused of wizardry. "I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue, you can't take any more assignments you need to come in right away,'" he said. Piculas said he did not know of any other accusations that would have led to the action. The teacher said he is concerned that the incident may prevent him from getting future jobs. Accused of wizardry for making a toothpick disappear. Welcome to the 1600's.


Following a birthday celebration for King Louis Philippe, 59 Parisians returning home by train are trapped in their railcars and incinerated when their train collides with another. In these early days of rail travel, coaches were locked and no means of escape was available.
Mt. Peleé erupts on the West Indies island of Martinique. A wall of superheated ash and rock cascades down the slopes, slamming directly into the community of Saint Pierre. The shockwave and intense heat even manage to destroy twenty ships in the harbor. Only two of the town's 28,000 residents survive the cataclysm.
Science fiction author Robert A Heinlein dies of emphysema, leaving behind a legacy of subversive novels -- many of which meditating on unconventional sexual mores.
In a room at Little Rock's Excelsior Hotel, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton exposes his penis to state employee Paula Jones and propositions her to perform fellatio. In her civil deposition, Jones will later claim to have witnessed certain "distinguishing characteristics" of the governor's genitalia, the precise nature of which soon becomes the subject of much speculation. For her trouble, Jones eventually receives an out-of-court settlement for $850,000 and a nude pictorial in Penthouse magazine.
Former Senator and onetime Presidential candidate Bob Dole tells television interviewer Larry King that he participated in the Viagra impotence drug trials, and thoroughly enjoyed himself in the process. Dole's name soonbecomes synonymous with erectile dysfunction.
Actress Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on "Diff'rent Strokes", dies in Oklahoma of an overdose of Valium and Loritab. Just the previous day, Plato had appeared on the Howard Stern syndicated radio program claiming to be clean and sober.


The Sequels Must Have Multiple Villains
For the first film, the franchise always whips out the most prominent villain in the hero's rogue gallery. They don't have a choice, millions are at stake and if you go with a lesser villain there may not be any sequels at all. Unfortunately, this means that you're going with a decreasing grade of villain for the rest of the series. Thus introduces the Multiple B-List Villain Rule: Since the best villain has been used in the first film, all sequels must use a minimum of two less-popular villains. Quantity to make up for quality. Michael Keaton's Batman fought the Joker first, then found himself simultaneously taking on the combination of the Penguin and Christopher Walken. Superman fights Lex Luthor in the first film, in the second he's going up against Lex and three supervillains. They do sometimes cheat this rule by trying to bring back the first villain as often as possible, regardless of whether the villain died in the first movie. They'll film flashbacks if necessary. Lex Luthor, Magneto, Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin have all appeared in nearly every single film in their respective franchises--two of them returning from on-screen deaths, proving that nothing is impossible in a world where big box office dollars are at stake. Also... Interestingly (or bafflingly, depending on your point of view) the villains often turn up in a predictable pattern: the Brain, the Bod and the Bumbler. The Brain is the planner and nearly always creates the main conflict the heroes must resolve. However, since the plan is usually very simplistic and takes about two seconds of screen time to explain, the Brain spends most of their screen time heaping verbal or even physical abuse on the Bumbler. The Bod is usually there to show cleavage, wear tight leather pants and show partial nudity. Some market research suggests this appeals to comic book fans. The Bumbler began as just that, a character who shuffles around, usually screwing up the simplest of assignments. However, this role has evolved into a mute or retarded character with great physical strength but little in the way of brains. However, they are still the target of jokes and abuse by other characters. Plus, they often provide many of the film's comic relief which may or may not be gut-wrenchingly awful. No one knows why this formula has been used so often. Perhaps it is some sort of primal urge in humanity where the three faces represent the three ages of man. Or, perhaps there's some deep psychological comfort in triangles or groups of three. Maybe it's a subconscious representation of the Holy Trinity or a subliminal image of the Masonic Pyramid. Or, maybe Hollywood executives think we're fucking imbeciles.


The Doctor and Donna land in ancient Pompeii, and it's Volcano Day (a phrase used by Christopher Eccleston a few seasons ago to describe when Mount Vesuvius erupted). As usual with "Doctor Who", a race of aliens are involved and this time they're called the Pyrovile. They are trying to harness the power of the volcano for their own nefarious needs and are turning local humans into creatures like them as a side-effect. This was a very enjoyable episode. The plot was pretty standard for "Doctor Who", but the pacing was solid and the characters were well-done. What really made it stand out was Donna's behavior. Would any other companion have reacted the way that she did when she was tied to a table and about to be stabbed in the chest by a dagger? I enjoyed the subtle winks to the classic series (as well as other television series) sprinkled through the episode. The Doctor confessed to involvement in Great Fire of Rome, which is reference to the William Hartnell 1965 episode "The Romans" which involved the Doctor leaving just as the fire was starting. The group of female psychics called the Sybilline Sisterhood was reminiscent of the Sisterhood of Karn from the Tom Baker era of the show (remember him? The one with the scarf?). The TARDIS is, at one point, appraised as a piece of art similar to the Tom Baker episode "City of Death". David Tennant uses the line "she's from Barcelona" straight out of Fawlty Towers (and John Cleese, who played Basil Fawlty, was the art appraiser from "City of Death"). Of course, they also quote the famous movie line "I am Spartacus". The theme of disappearing planets comes back into play as the viewer learns that the Pyrovile home planet was destroyed. The Medusa Cascade, which has been referenced in previous episodes of the new series, was also mentioned. The pattern for the season slowly emerges. Wasn't that a flattering dress that Catherine Tate wore later in the episode? I haven't seen that much cleavage on "Doctor Who" since Nicola Bryant. The sets for this episode were fantastic. It was helpful that Doctor Who was able to use some of the sets from the HBO series "Rome". Thankfully, the set fire that held up production for a little while didn't stop things entirely. It was quite amusing to learn how translation works when traveling with the Doctor. When Donna intentionally tried to speak Latin, it came across to the natives as Celtic. If memory serves, that was the language spoken in England at the time. In effect, the ancient Romans (or Pompeiians, or whatever they're called) are saying that she's English.
It was the little touches for this episode that made for such great entertainment. The golem-like Pyrovile who attacked the Doctor and the family of the sculptor Lucius was wearing a stone Roman centurion helmet. In the end, the episode was about making moral choices. The Doctor had to sacrifice Pompeii to save the world. He was prepared to let everyone in the city die until Donna became his conscience and convinced him to save Lucius and his family. If you ever watch the early episodes of "Doctor Who", the Doctor is presented as cold and inhuman (a theme that has been returned to on several occasions including last year's "Human Nature" two-parter). It is obvious that traveling with humans serves the dual purpose of alleviating his sense of loneliness and having a "humanizing" effect on him.


Folks expected a huge opening take for Iron Man, but $201 million worldwide? Damn. And doesn't it feel a whole lot better when a film that makes that kinda money actually deserves to make that kind of money? Anyway, as expected, Marvel went absolutely nutty over this news and, while announcing quarter one profits, took some time to give us tentative release dates for Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. Marvel Entertainment will not release a film in 2009, but first up in 2010 will be Iron Man 2 on April 30. Two months later, on July 4, 2010, Thor will debut in theaters. So, like this summer, we'll be getting two Marvel flicks in 2010 -- and if Thor wants to claim fourth of July weekend, that film better know how to kick some serious ass. You don't jump on July 4th without knowing you have a set -- know what I mean? Similarly, in 2011, Marvel Entertainment will debut another two films. First, on May 6, 2011, we have The First Avenger: Captain America (new title I believe). Then, in July, the biggie -- The Avengers! There was no word of an Ant-Man film in there, though last we heard it was in development with Edgar Wright attached. Honestly, unless they push The Avengers to 2012, I don't see where Ant-Man could fit in. Additionally, I imagine we'll have to wait to see how well The Incredible Hulk does, seeing as they may want to sequel-ize that one too. Otherwise, Iron Man will be the only franchise to debut a sequel prior to an full-on Avengers flick. Phew.


A new month, a new video from the set of Watchmen! Zack Snyder gave this one to JoBlo for posting. The video has me seriously geeking out. It is a guided tour from costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who happily explains everything from police uniforms to the iconic outfits our heroes will be sporting. The hero costumes should help quell some of the "Oxymandias isn't gold enough!" cries that were going around, because the sketches look perfect. Nothing like the first character still. I am loving that first shot of what has to be Sally Jupiter -- her dress! Her hair! She's perfect. May this movie be half as good as it looks. Watchmen hits theatres March 6th, 2009.


X-Men 4
"Gossip Girl" creator Josh Schwartz is working on the script that will revolve around a teenager attending Professor Xavier's institute for the first time. That works. Chace Crawford is already a mutant.
Anchorman 2
Director Adam McKay says that a Ron Burgundy sequel is 100 percent in the works, but it's gonna take two years. Apparently he wants to wait till his hilarious daughter Pearl from that Landlord video is big enough to sit next to Will Ferrell at the news desk.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins
Speaking of appealing to the kids, word is out that although the three previous Terminators were all rated R, this one is going the PG-13 route. Jeez, next thing you know they'll turn it into a lame TV series. Oh wait …
A feature film based on the character who could build a nuclear bomb out of a paperclip, toothpaste and a can of hairspray is reportedly in the works, according to the series' original creator Lee David Zlotoff. When asked in a video interview if the movie MacGyver would still carry his trusty Swiss Army Knife, Zlotoff showed off his own knife that included a computer zip drive. That must come in handy if you want to mug somebody for their e-mail.
Cocaine Cowboys
Action-movie mavericks Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer are teaming up once again to produce a fictional film based on a documentary about drug lords in Miami. Like nobody's ever made a movie about that before.

There, kids, a new entry of the Phile. This Saturday Logan and I are planning on going to see Speed Racer
so check back here over the weekend for a Peverett Phile Extra. Until then, spread the word, not the turd, and remember... They got little hands,
and little eyes, and they walk around tellin' great big lies. They got little noses and tiny little teeth, they wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Peverett Phile Extra: The Invincible Blog

Hello, phans, no, it's not Thursday already. This is a special entry of the Phile dedicated to Iron Man. It's May Movie Month, so every week through May there ill be an extra entry dedicated to a movie. Remember I did that last year? Okay, let's get started.


The secret behind Black Sabbath's "tribute" song, the buzz on a sequel already And why Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect bad boy to take on Tony Stark …
1. His birthdate
Iron Man made his debut in bulky iron-colored armor in Issue #39 of Tales of Suspense, published in 1963 (although some sources, like Toonopedia, pin Iron Man's birthday to late 1962, because that's when the March 1963 issue actually went on sale).
2. Various shades of iron
The bucket of bolts took on a solid gold hue in the very next issue. But it would take until the end of 1963 before the character, created by Marvel Comics marvel Stan Lee, became the yellow-and-red can of tin we know today.
3. Stark's M.O.
Underneath the armor, Iron Man is Anthony Edward Stark. His friends call him Tony. He's the Long Island-born playboy of Stark Enterprises, the high-tech weapons company he inherited after his parents, in classic superhero fashion, were killed.
4. Stan Lee mugs again
In the movie, Stan Lee cameos as a girl-magnet man who's mistaken for Hugh Hefner, the Playboy playboy reputedly was a model for Stark. A busy bit player, especially when it comes to Marvel movies, Lee has appeared in the last two Spider-Mans, the first and third X-Men, the first Fantastic Four, the Ang Lee Hulk and the Ben Affleck Daredevil.
5. Penline origins
Jack Kirby, whose pen line was responsible for helping bring to life the likes of the Fantastic Four, the Hulk and the X-Men, is also credited as one of Iron Man's founding fathers, along with scripter Larry Lieber and fellow artist Don Heck.
6. Movie vs. comic
The new movie pretty much follows the old comic-book origin: Tony Stark is wounded and captured in a war zone and is forced to put his genius techie mind to work for the bad guys. Little do the bad guys know, however, that what Tony Stark is really building is a suit of armor that'll bust him out of his prison and, eventually, save the world.
7. Iron Man's wardrobe changes
Being a tinkerer, the movie's Tony will go through three different stages of armor, in the same fashion that the comic book Iron Man changed up his look.
8. The Middle East is the new Vietnam
In the movie, the war zone is set in the Middle East. In the comics, it was Vietnam. Interestingly, in the early 1960s, when Iron Man's first issue debuted, Vietnam was not yet Vietnam, the World-Famous Quagmire — it was just a good place to battle Communist baddies.
9. Summer movies rock this year!
The summer of 2008 is arguably the biggest summer ever for superhero movies: In addition to Iron Man, there's also The Incredible Hulk and the latest Batman caper, The Dark Knight. And that doesn't even count the comics-spawned Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Hancock.
10. Paying his dues with the Avengers
Iron Man has had a weird kind of popularity. He was popular enough to warrant membership, circa 1963, in Marvel's superhero club known as the Avengers. He was popular enough to get his own cartoon series in 1966 (with a groovy theme song, to boot). But he wasn't popular enough to warrant his own title, The Invincible Iron Man, until 1968.
11. Tony Stark's voice
The voice of Tony Stark/Iron Man in the 1960s TV series was supplied by none other than Animal House's Dean Wormer, actor John Vernon.
12. Downey's day to shine
Robert Downey Jr. is the first actor to play a live-action Tony Stark/Iron Man.
13. Iron Man cameos in other movies
Iron Man is Downey's first stint in a superhero movie, but it won't be his last. He'll also appear, briefly, as Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk. He shares a scene with that movie's William Hurt.
14. The perfect bad boy for Tony Stark
Downey, with his record of arrests and jail time, may not scream superhero, but he does scream Tony Stark. Tony, like the best Marvel heroes, is an imperfect man: He's an alcoholic; he's got a bum ticker (from his little war-zone escapade); and he can't settle down, which, from Tony's perspective, actually, might not really be a problem.
15. Stark character sent to rehab …
Tony Stark will not be an alcoholic in the movie. In the comics, the character didn't descend into the "Demon in the Bottle" storyline until the 1980s; the movie is going to stick with the original vision of the character.
16. … Downey went, too
Downey gave up one of his last bad habits to play Iron Man, he quit smoking during the shoot.
17. You've come a long way, baby
Director Jon Favreau is still best known for Swingers (he starred in it and wrote the script), but he's also helmed the hit Elf and trained for the Ultimate Fighting Championship on "Friends".
18. Favreau's posse
Executive producer Peter Billingsley is a longtime Favreau cohort, he produced Zathura for him, but he'll always be best known as Red Ryder-coveting Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
19. Why Iron Man took so long to make
Like most movies, Iron Man kicked around Hollywood for a long time before actually becoming a movie. In the early 2000s, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage and even Leonardo DiCaprio were floated as possible stars.
20. The first director fizzles
In 2004, Nick Cassavetes (Alpha Dog) was signed to direct for New Line Cinema.
21. The second director is 'money'
By 2006, Cassavetes and New Line were out, and Favreau and Paramount Pictures were in. Iron Man became the first project to emerge from Marvel's ambitious 10-film plan with the studio. (Marvel pays for the pics; Paramount releases them.)
22. A Nick Fury movie?
Nick Fury, the eye-patch-wearing agent of the Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division (or S.H.I.E.L.D., for short), is another Marvel hero who's supposed to get a movie out of the Marvel-Paramount deal. There have been many back and forth reports that the character, under the command of Samuel L. Jackson, will put in a cameo in Iron Man. (Stay through the credits)
23. A-list cameo rumors
Hilary Swank's also been tagged as Iron Man cameo material. No word on who she's supposed to play. (By the way, the rumor mill on this one goes back to a pretty solid source, no less than Avi Arad, another executive producer on the film, who told MTV that Swank was going to cameo.) (I didn't see her)
24. Hip-hoppers love Iron Man …
Ghostface Killa isn't just another cameo artist, he has a quick scene with Downey — he's a big Iron Man fan, too. The rapper's 1996 album is called Ironman, and on its cover, he's clad in Iron Man red and yellow. The last track on the CD is even called "Marvel." And to top it all off, one of his rap aliases is none other than Tony Starks.
25. … Heavy metal rockers, too
The Iron Man trailer rocks hard to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," the band's monster 1960s hit that may or may not have been inspired by the superhero. According to the Boston Globe, the answer as to whether the song really is about Tony Stark's alter ego lies in whom you ask.
26. Directors love casting themselves
One more bit of cameo news: Favreau, who still acts out, pulls a Hitchcock and briefly appears in his own film alongside Downey as Tony Stark.
27. An Oscar winner for a sidekick
Gwyneth Paltrow does not put in a cameo. She's a full-blooded costar, playing Virginia "Pepper" Potts, Stark's indispensable executive assistant, think Bond's Moneypenny.
28. Paltrow's first sci-fi flick bombed
Oscar-winner Paltrow is not unknown to sci-fi fans, she battled robots in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
29. Stark's sworn emeny
Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane, a brilliant elder statesman at Stark Industries, who comes to battle Iron Man as the arch villain Iron Monger.
30. Would-be baddies
Iron Man villains who lost out to Iron Monger for their shot at big-screen stardom include: Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man and Mandarin.
31. The big Mandarin tease
Back in 2006, Favreau told fans at Comic-Con that Mandarin, probably the most famous of the Iron Man foes, was going to be his main bad guy, but the script and plans changed.
32. Sloppy seconds for this villain
Mandarin did get a gig in the 2007 straight-to-DVD animated movie The Invincible Iron Man.
33. Could Terrance Howard be any cooler?
Terrence Howard stands up for Tony Stark as the man's true friend and confidante, Lt. Col. James Rhodes.
34. Sequel buzz already?
In the comics, Rhodes suits up himself as the hero named War Machine. As for the movie, well, (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT!): Howard told MTV that Rhodes won't break out the full-on War Machine armor until the sequel. Yes, the sequel.
35. If there's a sequel, Downey's in!
There's almost always talk of a sequel with a big movie like Iron Man, at least until the box-office receipts are tallied. In any case, almost all the principals, from Favreau to Downey, have expressed interest in future Iron Man employment.
36. Will an Avengers movie ever happen?
On the whole, the Marvel universe is definitely expanding. Favreau told Screen Rant that the comic giant, among other plans, is eyeing an Avengers movie that would feature Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and the mighty Ant-Man.
37. Tony Stark is no celebrity …
When Favreau came on board Iron Man, he said he wanted an actor, not a star, to don the armor. He said stars bring too much baggage, and having survived the Daredevil shoot with the then tabloid magnet Ben Affleck, he probably spoke from experience.
38. … But wait, isn't Downey a star?
But wait, isn't Downey a star? Favreau told Comics Continuum he liked the well-known, Academy Award-nominated Downey for Iron Man because, well, he liked the "kind of likable asshole that he can play."
39. Big movie, big money
The movie, which began shooting in early 2007, cost a reputed $186 million. (Special effects — and multiple suits of armor — don't come cheap.) Compared to other recent superhero flicks, the price tag is actually on the low side. Spider-Man 3 reportedly cost $258 million; Superman Returns a super-duper whopping $270 million. The most incredible thing about The Incredible Hulk is that it cost "only" $125 million — of course, Universal is still smarting from pouring even more into the bust that was the Ang Lee version.
40. Pimping costs the most
Iron Man hasn't been cheap to promote, either. Its first trailer premiered during February's Super Bowl, where 30-second spots cost a record $2.7 million.
41. Special effects don't come cheap, either
Another reason Iron Man can't be done (well) as a bargain production: Iron Man's superpowers. The guy can fly (with the help of special robo-boots). The guy can shoot a laser beam out of the yellow logo on his chest armor. And you know a guy who's versed in high-tech weaponry knows his way around a missile launcher or three. These are not Tinker Toys, my friends.
42. Tony Stark's not much without his armor
Unlike an Iron Man movie, a Tony Stark movie would be really cheap to make. Without his armor, Stark — unlike a Peter Parker or a Clark Kent, who are always ready for action, regardless of whether they're dressed for action is nothing. In fact, because of that bad heart, Stark is worse than nothing, he's probably dead.
43. Downey's six-pack regimen
Just to be on the safe side, and just so we wouldn't have to be bothered by the sight of flab, Downey, a longtime practitioner of martial arts, got into extra-special shape for Tony Stark's armor-free scenes.
44. We didn't need a fit director, but OK …
Favreau got into pretty good shape, too, and he's hardly on camera. Howard told Superhero Hype! that his director dropped 70 pounds during production — on a 900-calories-a day diet.
45. Not-so-subtle product placement
In the movie, Tony Stark makes the scene in a $108,000 Audi R8. It's the perfect ride, per Variety, because the car's rear-engine housing glows just like Iron Man's chest plate. And also because it's part of a big-time product-placement deal that'll also see Paltrow's Pepper Potts in an Audi S5.
46. Animated Iron Man
Iron Man returned to the small screen in 1994 via an all-new animated series. This time out, Robert Hays, best known for overcoming his fear of flying in Airplane!, was the voice of the canned hero.
47. What does Iron Man sound like to you?
Ramin Djawadi wrote the score for Iron Man. His previous comic-book-movie credit is Blade: Trinity, which was based on yet another Marvel character.
48. Free comic giveaway!
If nothing else, Iron Man fans will get a free comic book out of the whole movie deal. On Free Comic Book Day (a real annual event), Marvel will comp fans with an Iron Man-Hulk combo that'll hype both of the comic company's summer movies (available at participating comics stores).
49. Iron Man's armor is Terminator quality
Iron Man's movie armor was built by Stan Winston Studio — its namesake is the visual effects guru behind The Terminator, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park.
50. Who's richer than Tony Stark?
In 2007, Tony Stark placed 10th on Forbes' ranking of the 15 wealthiest fictional characters, with an estimated net worth of $6 billion. Scrooge McDuck was No. 1. Fellow comic-book character Bruce Wayne was No. 8.


Today Logan and I went to see Iron Man, both wearing our Iron Man t-shirts. Okay, he;s eight and I'm a geek. Iron Man stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard. A conscience-free war profiteer (Mr. Downey Jr. — think a younger, hornier, more quick-witted Dick Cheney) realizes the error of his ways after getting a taste of his own brutality and develops a supersuit that will restore justice and peace to the world. Of course, there are people who want to stop him …
You probably know that, last summer, I was really into Transformers and how post-talented Michael Bay was and that it didn't matter that nothing made sense and who cared anyway because it was about giant fighting robots. And I still feel that way. But this film, about a giant fighting guy dressed up in a superpowered robot suit, is better, faster and stronger than that other one because he's someone you're genuinely pulling for instead of just cheering on the destruction of it all. That probably marks me as sentimental and weak, but whatever. Superhero movies often seem to take place in eras that are out of their time or too much in their time. Some things will appear modern, some things won't, Tobey Maguire will speak in this odd, gee-whiz manner, Jack Nicholson's Joker will be very self-consciously '80s-cool and wind up looking dated. This one's modern and funny — "now" but not frozen-in-2008 hip. It gets its tone just right. As far as the casting goes, the great news is that Downey Jr. is perfect and seems to be playing a version of himself (talented smartass gets his life pulverized only to rise from the ashes), and Bridges has the perfect shaved head for a bad guy. Only Paltrow continues to annoy. At first, she seems more steel-spined than you've ever seen her. And then she wilts. I want about 15 pounds more Barbara Stanwyck in that woman and soon. From 1 to 10 I give this movie a ten. Logan's favorite part was,
"When Tony Stark fell. And when the fire came out and he punched the robot." 

Well, there you have it, the Iron Man entry of the Phile. It will be back next Thursday,
and the weekend after the Phile will have a special Speed Racer entry. Until then, 
spread the word, not the turd. And remember... Heavy boots of lead, fills his victims full of dread, running as fast as they can, Iron Man lives again! 'Nuff said.