BLOT: (06 Aug 2010 - 04:19:22 PM)
I liked Kick-Ass. It's sort of the anti-Spider-man. Kid simply gets fed up with being a nobody and adopts a garish outfit—an ugly scuba outfit with modifications—a garish name—Kick-Ass—and proceeds to go around and try to pummel bad guys over the head with batons. In both Mark Millar's graphic novel, and in Matthew Vaughn's film adaptation (co-written with Jane Goldman), the idea of a moralistic super-hero is the golden sweet-spot, soured by the reality that only someone willing to actually shoot, maim, break, and burn the baddies is ever really going to make a dent in the world gone awry. Dave, Kick-Ass's secret identity, full-out loses his first fight, is severely injured in his second, and is saved a couple of times by Hit-Girl (played by Chloë Moretz in the film). Even an attempt to save a cat is only a partial success. This is the hell of Kick-Ass: good intentions are better on paper than in action. Had this been set in an office, he would have been the guy who boggled the big account after making a speech about how big-business doesn't have to be corrupt.
Where the movie stumbles, besides a front half that feels longer than it is (could have shaved 20-minutes, probably, and still worked) is it ignores the central thesis: real life crime fighting is not, and never will be, Spider-Man. Even as the movie heats up and a pair of warehouse scenes as well as a shoot-out in an apartment study make us giddy with action glee, a part of the mind will spark up and go "Wait, isn't this an anti-comic comic-turned-movie?" It pits our id versus our ego, and Vaughn (who pulled a similar stunt with the Layer Cake movie, turning a somewhat wry, almost anti-crime crime novel into a bit lighter, fluffier fare) excises all but two "dark revelations"* from the end plot so that the movie migrates towards popcorn munching and 180s the earlier stabbing scene but coming back with "You know what, maybe it is awesome to fight crime, after-all!"
What the movie does well, though, is find the people to play the roles. Aaron Johnson and Chloë Moretz are pitch perfect as Kick-Ass and Hit Girl. Nicholas Cage, who will occasionally cause me to avoid going to movies I otherwise want to see, plays Big Daddy with a certain stitled, near-child-abuse charm that works. Mark Strong (who is always awesome, no?) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse work as father-and-son post-Soprano gangster pair. Even the bit cast has gems. For the 12-seconds or so that Jason Flemyng had screen time, I dug it. Omari Hardwick brings instant pathos to Marcus, Big Daddy's ex-partner. And, well, Clark Duke and pal (Evan Peters) do what they have to do.
PS: Just think, all you fans of Kick-Ass, you are less than five years away from hearing some "concerned" parent rant about how a movie for kids shouldn't have so much violence and bad language, and you'll have to decide whether or not it is worth pointing out that just because a movie has teen actors in it doesn't mean it is necessarily for kids. Good luck!
* For those curious about the bigger changes, highlight the text between the astericks to see. Be warned, the styling mark-up might not work in the feed, so you might want to stop reading now. Here we go, changes from Kick-Ass to Kick-Ass... ***Big Daddy was originally just an accountant who, like Kick-Ass, stood up. This makes his treatment of Hit Girl even more psychotic. Speaking of Hit Girl, she is a lot less stable at the end of the comic, though the scene with her beating up the bullies is still there (just involving an ambulance). Dave does not get the girl and actually gets crapped on for even coming out of the closet to her. His dad turns out to have developed a love-life, so he even loses that degree of commiseration. In short, outside of some sense of personal satisfaction, Dave profits little in the comic...while he seems to make out ok in the movie.***.
BLOT: (05 Aug 2010 - 02:13:32 AM)
BLOT: (04 Aug 2010 - 06:13:38 PM)
I liked Google Wave, though I could rarely think of a use for it, so the announcement that Google is killing support for it is both "meh" and "eh" for me. Essentially, I'll miss it, but if it was around in two years, I would probably still be confused about what to do with it.
However, in news that made me clap just a little, California's ban on gay marriage was struck down. For now. No doubt this will resurface. The judge said that the arguments against gay marriage (or, more specifically, for denying gays the right to marriage, this is not a case of rights denied by exclusion, but specifically rights denied by inclusion) were founded on sketchy evidence and the concept of protecting children. It forced gays to become second class citizens who could only achieve the coveted married status by marrying a loveless partner. And since marriage status is essentially a legal and tax-status (presumably gay couples can live together and so forth, already, so all that is being denied are (a) legal and (b) financial rights), I personally don't think you can prevent any two adults from doing it, assuming legal right to consent. Now, if churches want to refuse to admit gay marriages, go right ahead. I think it is their right.
There are those, of course, who are screaming that this violates "the will of the people", which might be true but this nation has never intended the will of the people to be an unchecked mandate (in fact, I think the founding fathers may have talked about mob mania and how you want to avoid allowing the direct will of the people to make much policy). Especially when it comes to setting otherwise legal citizens into special groups of restricted rights and access to authority (for the record, I also oppose taking away the rights of felons, at least those without direct consequence attached). Gays have the right to marry in the way that blacks have the right to own land, in my opinion, meaning this isn't the kind of thing you vote about unless there is good reason. You would have to show that a country with gay marriage is one doomed to imminent disaster and not that it is just icky.
And I know there are those of you who think this is wrong of me, and that's fine, too, I just wish more small government people wanted an actual small government, not merely a government that dictates moral laws while giving tax breaks.
To sum up my argument:
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