I know, I know. I’m starting off with a cheat. But the only reason that Dodgeball is this low on the list is that it isn’t really about pirates. It’s just about one, awesome pirate named Steve played by Wash from Firefly. That’s good enough to bump it above most “real” pirate flicks. Garrr!
I’ve got no objectivity when it comes to Peter Ustinov’s Blackbeard trying to help Dean Jones and a bunch of old ladies save an ancient, pirate-themed inn from being destroyed by crooked landlords. This was one of my favorite childhood movies, but it does hold up fairly well. There’s lots of goofy slapstick and Ustinov is thoroughly charming. And Disney doesn’t spare any expense on the awesome, old, pirate inn.
Dude, it’s Abbott and Costello. That’s all you really need to know. And Charles Laughton is surprisingly hilarious reprising his role from the much less fun Captain Kidd. Anyone who can hold his own against Lou Costello deserves some recognition. It’s too bad it’s not available on DVD.
If I really had to pick between the two I’d choose Disney’s version because it’s awesome and it defines Peter Pan for so many people. But man, you can’t ignore Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook. You just can’t.
I don’t care what everyone says about this being the movie that killed traditional animation at Disney for a while. It wasn’t because Treasure Planet was bad, it was because Disney had been releasing too much stuff and folks were just getting tired of it. Treasure Planet is actually an awesome, well-designed, faithful adaptation of Treasure Island. Or as faithful as it can be and still be set in outer space. It got a raw deal is all I’m saying.
This might be another cheat, but the Singh Brotherhood are undeniably pirates – and very piratey pirates at that – so I’m counting it (even if it is impossible to find pictures of the pirates online). This is another movie that gets a bum rap by people who have no souls. It’s better than every Indiana Jones movie except Raiders of the Lost Ark. I seriously don’t get the negative reputation.
Of course, Errol Flynn defined “pirate” for everyone who came before Newton. Newton may be more influential over the popular perception of pirates, but Flynn’s a lot more fun (and that’s saying something, because Newton is fun). Plus, Flynn gets to smooch Olivia de Haviland.
They took everything I ever loved about pirates and sea adventures and rolled it all into three awesome films. Sure, it would’ve been cool if they’d added another hour to At World’s End and shown some other stuff I wanted to see, but they more than made up for it, all things considered.
It’s been a while since we’ve talked about pirates and we’ve had an International Talk Like a Pirate Day since, so lots of pirate stuff to link to. Which means that I’ll be doing this again tomorrow. Arr.
One of the nice things about Talk Like a Pirate Day is that people also like to talk about pirates. And make pirate lists. Like this one of the Top 10 Pirate Movies of All Time. I’m going to disagree with his (admittedly half-hearted) inclusion of Hook, but he certainly got Number One right. No Treasure Island, though? That’s just wrong. I’m gonna have to make my own list.
Pirates of the Caribbean 4
I know everyone knows about this already, but I can’t very well not mention it, no matter how late I’m getting to it. Johnny Depp has signed up for another Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And I’m hearing rumors that they’ve got Geoffrey Rush as well.
It’s strange, but shortly before this news, I was reading about how Keira Knightley isn’t interested in any more Pirates films. I thought that was kind of a stupid story at the time. Sort of like asking Carrie Fisher if she’s up for another Star Wars film. What’s she going to say? “Oh, yes, I’d love to be in this hypothetical movie that’ll likely never get made.”
Now, the Keira story doesn’t seem as stupid anymore. Which makes me sad, because as cool as Jack is, Elizabeth was my favorite part of those films.
We’re a couple of episodes into the Burn Notice season, but this is still a good interview with Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell about the show and where this season is headed.
Not much about Fiona unfortunately, except to expect that her relationship with Mike will “go left, right and all around, and it’ll be exciting.” Donovan also says, “Some of the episodes I actually don’t read until I get on the day just so I can see what crazy thing she’s going to do to me that day.”
Sounds about right. I love Fiona and she’s continuing to show this season that she’s a strong character, not just in kickbuttability, but also in the way she’s growing emotionally. She’s still psychotic though, which is so cool.
Alan Moore on Sexism in Comics
This is an ancient series of articles and doesn’t shed any new light on the subject, but it’s written by Alan Moore which means that it’s thoughtful as well as entertaining as all get out.
New Black Canary writer
So, it’s true. Green Arrow/Black Canary does have a new writer as of issue #15. Andrew Kreisberg is one of the writers on Eli Stone, which bodes well since I really, really like that show. He also wrote that Helen Killer comic that Chris Sims likes so much, so there’s that too.
Still, I can’t help but be skeptical. I’ve really loved the globe-trotting adventures that Judd Winick’s been writing and I’ll be sorry to see Dinah and Ollie go home to Star City to focus on their marriage and the new bad guys Kreisberg’s creating. Still, there’s no reason that the series can’t continue to be awesome under those circumstances. Hopefully, it will be.
Now here’s a Black Canary doll the Christian Voice can get behind.
Here’s some footage of the trailer that someone nicked at San Diego.
I really hate the look of Hasbro’s Marvel Super Hero Squad. Especially the happy-as-pie Hulk and the disturbing and creepy Thing. It works pretty well on She-Hulk though, so I may have to pick up this two-pack. Anyone want a disturbing and creepy Thing toy?
Namely: write ups on underappreciated DC characters like the Grim Ghost (who’d be much more interesting if he still called himself the Gay Ghost), G.I. Robot (it’s all there in the name, pal), and the dino-kicking, poison-blooded Green Man. Gorilla Grodd’s there too, making me fantasize about what a cool comic it would be to have him fight the Green Man, G.I. Robot, and the Gay Ghost.
Did Millar bait-and-switch the Wanted movie?
Trying to head off potential complaints that Wanted is no longer a superhero story like the comic it’s supposedly based on, Top Cow spokesman Mel Caylo explains that the movie is actually based on Wanted’s original concept; not the comic that was produced from it.
“What many people don’t know is that Wanted was optioned before the series was concluded … At that time, Mark had an idea based around a society of assassins that worked underground or behind the scenes, and that’s what the producers bought. Mark then decided to go in the direction that Earth was once populated by superheroes, but they have been vanquished, … and supervillains now run the Earth [in] five major cabals that run the whole world.”
Before the series was “concluded?” It sounds to me like it was optioned before the series was started. I’m not saying that Millar was necessarily unethical because I don’t know what kind of communication went on with the filmmakers as he was changing his mind. I am saying though that I’m way more excited about the movie than I am about ever reading the comic.
Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam
Speaking of movies’ being faithful to comics, Peter Segal (Get Smart) reassures fans that he’s going to keep the Shazam movie as faithful to the original comics as he can.
“You have to please the original fans, but also make it survive on its own for people who might not be familiar with the series,” Segal said. “So we try to do both, and that’s constantly the balancing act. But I think the underlying similarity between adapting Shazam and adapting Get Smart is you have to love the source material, you have to embrace it. You can’t look at it as a fixer-upper.”
I never had this Wonder Woman one, but I had a couple of these superhero records (like this Hulk book-and-record one) when I was a kid. Clicking either of those links will take you to the Power Records blog where you’ll find tons of these things. Very cool site.
Confessions of a Disneyland Captain Jack. It’s an extremely interesting behind-the-scenes look into the challenges of adapting a drunken, horny pirate to a family setting without losing the initial appeal. Be sure to read all the way to the end. It sounds like he’s complaining in parts, but it’s got a very sweet finish.
Disney wanted us to tone Jack down, so they put us through an acting class to discover reasons why Jack walks and talks the way he does. Obviously he is based on Keith Richards, who’s always messed up, which is why they came up with the class. “Don’t be flirtatious,” they told us. “See women as trouble.” And they said as far as alcohol goes, don’t even mention drinking. But the Pirates of the Caribbean song is all about drinking, and they’re drinking all along the ride. So I eventually broke that rule, because it would have taken me out of character. When parents took pictures, I’d say, “Everyone say ‘rum,’ ” and the parents loved it.
Do you remember my raving about Gene Gonzales’ flying gorilla? Turns out its for Perils on Planet X, so we can thank Christopher Mills and be even more excited about his and Gene’s comic.
“Moon Town is a series of science-fiction episodes being created by writer/director Steve Ogden. He is planning to use a ‘Production-Based’ approach to developing the series, in hopes of keeping down the production cost and amount of time it takes to develop each episode. Look for finished episodes to be released online in serial form. The first episode, “Arrival,” is slated for completion in Spring 2008.” (Thanks, SF Signal!)
Tintin movies a trilogy
Sounds like Spielberg’s directing the first one, Peter Jackson’s got the second one, and they’re co-directing the last.
I’ve never seen a review of an action figure doll before
At least, not one this in depth. Lots of great pictures too. It really is a great-looking doll.
Devil May Care
The new Bond novel is out. I had my hands on it the other night at Borders, but decided I didn’t have time to read it right now. Besides, I’m saving up for the Fleming hardcovers. Devil May Care is definitely on my list though.
“So young, my lord, and true.”
It’s no secret that we like Keira Knightley around here. And thanks to a re-watch of Emma and her performance in Iron Man, I’m kinda developing a crush on Gwyneth Paltrow too. Put them together with Anthony Hopkins and you’ve got a can’t-miss King Lear. The only thing that could make it better would be for Kenneth Branagh to write, direct, and produce, but we’ll give this Joshua Michael Stern fella a chance too.
Saw Iron Man again last night and dang it if I didn’t forget to look for Captain America’s shield at the appropriate time. I thought about it as the movie started and then got sucked in and didn’t think again about Easter eggs. (Or maybe I was just way distracted by Gwyneth Paltrow.)
Finally saw the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudicethis week. Matthew Macfayden is no Colin Firth, but dang if he didn’t grow on me as Darcy should. At first I was all cross-armed and judgmental. “He’s not Darcy,” I thought. “I don’t like him.” But then I kind of started to and I remembered with embarrassment that I wasn’t supposed to like him right off the bat and that — what do you know — I started warming up to him right about the place the story called for it. So I guess he’s not so bad.
Keira is flawless as Keira will be. I’m completely unable to be objective about her at this point, but she’s a fine Elizabeth. Hell, she could’ve played Darcy and I’d have been happy with her.
I missed how much time we got to spend with the characters in the six-hour Colin Firth version, but this one made up for it a little with better production values. The movie rushed through parts of the story — especially Elizabeth’s introduction to Darcy’s home — but it sure was gorgeous and exciting. It’s one of those times when I’m thankful not to have to choose between two versions because I can enjoy them both for different reasons.
Four out of five Keiras.
We also watched Becoming Jane this week. I was a little disappointed that the story didn’t cover Jane’s life all the way up to her acceptance and almost immediate refusal of Harris Bigg-Wither’s marriage proposal. I’ve always imagined that to be a defining event in Jane’s life and figured that leaving it out would be sort of like leaving out the midnight ride in a movie about Paul Revere. But I’m no Austen scholar, so maybe I put too much emphasis on ol’ Harris. The writers of Becoming Jane see her relationship with Tom Lefroy as the important one and for all I know maybe they’re right.
Their focus is on how Jane came to the decision to pursue writing as a career and they make Lefroy integral to that decision. Again, I don’t know how true that is, but I suspect that maybe they were reaching a bit. It doesn’t hurt or help my perception of Jane one way or the other. In fact, I kind of liked that that’s where their focus was because it drove them to include a fictional (I assume) meeting between Jane and The Mysteries of Udolpho’s Ann Radcliffe (creepily played by Helen McCrory) in which Jane gets to pick Mrs. Radcliffe’s addled brain about the dangers of becoming a famous novelist.
The only Austen biography I really care about is Stephanie Barron’s fictional one, so watching Becoming Jane was all about making connections between that story and Barron’s. I recognized Tom Lefroy’s name from Barron’s books, but I can’t remember what she said about him or how he figures into whichever novel he’s mentioned in, but now he’s someone I’ll be keeping an eye out for.
More interesting to me were the portrayals of Jane’s parents (James Cromwell and Julie Walters), her sister Cassandra, and especially the romance between Jane’s brother Henry and the saucy Countess Eliza De Feuillide. Eliza and Henry are two of my favorite characters the way Barron writes them. Barron’s novels begin when they’re already married, so it was great fun watching their early romance in Becoming Jane.
Anne Hathaway did a fine job as Jane. She’s not my favorite actor or anything, but she worked for me. Barron’s Jane is more animated than Hathaway plays her, but then Barron’s also has wittier dialogue than the Becoming Jane writers were able to muster, so it’s just a poor comparison all the way around.
Three out of five Keiras.
Speaking of Stephanie Barron, I mentioned that I’m focusing on reading all the Jane mysteries this year. I figure if I read one a month I’ll be able to re-read the ones I know and catch up with the ones I don’t by November. That leaves December open, so I was planning to read Barron’s most recent novel, the Victorian-set Flaw in the Blood. Unfortunately, Bookgasm lessened my enthusiasm for that, but they also turned me onto the fact that Barron writes contemporary thrillers with an historical slant under the name Francine Mathews, so I’m thinking I might check out The Alibi Club instead. Or maybe I’ll save the Mathews books for another year. I guess I have a few months to figure that out.
Like I said before, I’m sort of into Jane Austen lately. I wanna spend some time talking about it, but I don’t want it to take over the blog or anything, so I’m thinking I’ll devote Saturdays to Jane for a while. That way it’s additional content that doesn’t displace anything else.
Don’t know if I’ll review the remaining Masterpiece versions of The Complete Jane Austen. It feels weird to start talking about them in the middle of the series, but they have been very good and were my first introduction to a couple of the stories. And I did talk about the ones they’ve shown so far a little bit in that other post, so I’ll probably at least mention them as I watch them.
Like the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice? I finally see what everyone’s been talking about there. I’ve always liked Colin Firth okay, but never really saw what everyone else did until now. He’s an awesome Darcy. The looks he gives Elizabeth are freaking heart-breaking.
I’ve got the Keira version at home now from Netflix and I’m actually procrastinating watching it. It’ll be interesting to see if I can even get my wife to watch it at all. She’s burnt out on Keira anyway and is also suffering a post-Firthian P&P apathy towards all other TV. We watched The Jane Austen Book Clublast night and she enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I did.
I loved trying to put together the connections between the movie’s characters and Austen’s. Jocelyn (Maria Bello) is a matchmaker a la Emma. So much so that she even breeds dogs for a living. She wants to fix up her recently divorced friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman from Private Practice), so she invites a potential candidate to join their new, Austen-only book club even though he’s never read anything by Jane.
Like Fanny in Mansfield Park, Sylvia has always been the stable element in her otherwise tumultuous family. Now that she’s single again, she’s shy about relationships, unlike her daughter Allegra (Lost’s Maggie Grace) who always falls in love quickly. The two of them are a lot like Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.
Then there’s prim and proper Prudie (Emily Blunt) who — like Persuasion’s Anne — has convinced herself that she doesn’t care for the man who really should be the love of her life.
The guys in the movie are all amalgams of various Austen men. Sylvia’s ex-husband (Jimmy Smits) has fallen from his pedestal (sort of like Darcy, but more like Edmond in Mansfield Park, who ignored Fanny for another woman). The guy Jocelyn wants to set Sylvia up with (Galahad from King Arthur), is a wealthy, but unaffected dude named Grigg whose qualities aren’t immediately obvious to the woman he’s interested in. That covers most of the rest of the Austen men.
Grigg’s into science fiction the way the rest of the book club is into Austen, which immediately connects him to Northanger Abbey, Abbey’s only experiment with genre fiction. Through the club though he comes to appreciate Austen, as do a couple of the film’s other guys. I like how he doesn’t turn into a total Austen zombie, but simply adds her to his repertoire. I also love how he buys a huge, collected volume of Austen’s novels expecting them to be sequels. He’s surprised when the club decides to make Emma their first discussion. “Oh, we’re starting in the middle,” he says, referring to the order in his collection. I totally connected to that guy. Except for the part where he likes reading Austen and doesn’t complain about how long and boring The Mysteries of Udolphois (like any genre geek, he decides to read it because it’s so prominently featured in Northanger Abbey).
If the movie has a flaw it’s that most of the other characters are (or turn into) Austen zombies. It’s Jane or nothing for them and that’s a bit creepy. But the movie is about Jane and why people like her stuff so much, so I’ll forgive it for that. It’s a wonderfully acted, smart, literary movie and if it’s a bit sentimental and cheesy in parts, it comes by it honestly. Austen certainly has that quality often. And besides, sometimes I like cheesy sentiment.
Five out of five Keiras (you thought I was kidding about that, didn’t you?) if you like Austen stories.
I don’t know how I didn’t know about this. It’s Keira and Robin Hood: two great tastes that go great together. But I didn’t until it showed up on TNT or wherever TiVo snagged it from. And it’s really very good.
Keira plays Gwen, the daughter of Robin Hood, who’s an old guy now though still very active. Mom Marian is long dead – maybe in childbirth; I don’t remember – and Rob has given Gwen’s care over to Friar Tuck who now runs an abbey or something. Gwen loves her dad, but resents that he’s never around. Rob doesn’t do so much stealing and giving anymore, but he’s still very busy supporting King Richard in the Crusades and running back to England on the occasional mission.
Robin’s latest mission involves protecting Richard’s bastard son Philip. Richard is dying and rather than hand the throne over to Prince John, he wants Philip to reign. Philip is half-French though and no one’s ever seen him, so it’s going to be a tough sell. Plus, of course, there are Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (deliciously played by Malcolm McDowell) who would love to see Philip dead.
Against her dad’s orders, Gwen leaves the abbey, cuts her hair into a hot bob, dresses like a guy, and goes to work trying to protect Philip in her own way.
Let me get my one complaint out of the way, because I want to spend most of my time gushing. The fight choreography sucks in this movie. The sword fights aren’t very exciting and the actors are all obviously pulling their punches trying not to hurt each other. It’s high-school theatrical fighting at best. But other than that, Princess of Thieves is everything a Robin Hood movie should be. There’s robbing from the rich, giving to the poor, sneaking into castles, confounding of authorities, lots of treachery by said authorities, an archery tournament, arrow-splitting, butt-kicking holy men, disguises, jail breaks, and ah! romance.
And don’t think that it’s all Keira either. It’s definitely Gwen’s story, but Rob and Will Scarlet never fade into the background like I kept expecting them to. They may be older, but they’re never portrayed as anything less than a viable, deadly threat to Prince John’s continued rule.
Philip is also an important character. Sort of the male Maid Marian to Gwen’s Robin Hood. He’s charmingly played by Stephen Moyer who reminded me a lot of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. And it’s appropriate that I was reminded of teen romantic comedies, because there’s definitely that quality about Princess of Thieves. Gwen is our heroine, Philip is the rich jock who also happens to be a nice guy, and there’s even a geeky best friend whom Gwen either can’t or doesn’t want to see is completely in love with her. If that sounds like I’m suggesting it’s a Bad Thing; you don’t know me very well. I’m a sucker for a good, teen romantic comedy.
The following video contains spoilers, but’ll give you a good idea of what you’re in for in the movie. Except for the Michelle Branch part. There’s no Michelle Branch in Princess of Thieves.
Four out of five Keira Knightleys.
(Hm. I just realized I should rate everything in Keira Knightleys.)
Bookgasm’s on a roll lately with adding stuff to my Wish List. The latest is Will Lavender’s Obedience, a thriller about a college professor who challenges students to unravel clues in order to save a girl who may or may not be hypothetical.
Indy trailer update
Someone commented here that the Indy trailer “will be broadcast Feb. 14 on Good Morning America, sometime between 8-9 am. It will then be available online at the official site.” The press release is also up at IndianaJones.com again (if it ever went away).
“Appearing on the CBS-TV Jericho panel at 2:00 P.M. will be stars Esai Morales (joining the series in season two as Major Beck), Kenneth Mitchell (Eric Green), Brad Beyer (Stanley Richmond), Alicia Coppola (Mimi Clark), Jonathan E. Steinberg (Co-Creator of Jericho), Executive Producer Carol Barbee, Co-Executive Producers Karim Zreik and Dan Shotz. At 1:00 P.M. there will be a advance screening of the next week’s episode of Jericho.”
So, no Skeet, but not a bad lineup at all. Especially with Stanley and Mimi. I love those kids.
Not really, but almost. DC’s announced that their next attempt at a weekly comic will be called Trinity and will feature Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.
This one bodes well for me, I think. I enjoyed 52, but would’ve liked it more if it had featured more heavily characters I already cared about. Countdownshould’ve had a leg up on 52 in that regard by co-starring Mary Marvel, but as everyone has pointed out, it’s too tied into 600 other series to be enjoyable on its own. I’ve taken to skimming through issues at the store and only buying them if there seems to be development in the Mary Marvel plot.
Trinity promises to fix both of those things by a) featuring Wonder Woman, and b) not being tied to other events in the DC Universe.