Monday, August 31, 2009

Is he strong listen bud, he's got Disney in his blood

You've probably all seen the headlines: Disney buys Marvel Comics.

The thing I love is that Disney touts that it now has access to over 5,000 Marvel characters.

Don't you love that marketing angle. 5,000 characters! Well, aside from Marvel's heavy hitters, like Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers (which includes Cap, Iron Man and Hulk), and the Fantastic Four, you're left with B-list stuff like Daredevil, Blade, Dr. Strange and the Defenders.

That 5,000 characters figure includes gems like Dazzler, Paste-Pot-Pete (yeah, I know he changed his name to Trapster, but P-P-P still makes the list), Firestar, Batroc the Leaper, Leap Frog (what's with all the leaping), the Walrus, Kraven the Hunter (come on, he's always looked like a 1970s PORNO STAR with that stupid mustache and horrendous outfit), the Mole Man, the Human Top, the Awesome Android (is he nifty? No, he's AWESOME!), Gorilla Girl, Gorilla-Man, Egghead, and what looks like seventeen different Green Goblins.

Well, it never says anything about 5,000 GOOD characters.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Keep It Simple Scooby

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

Remember the New Scooby Doo Movies, kids? The cartoon series featured not only the ORIGINAL Scooby Gang, but paired them up with folks both real and imaginary like Don Knotts, the Harlem Globetrotters, Sonny and Cher, and Batman and Robin. KISS Meets... comes off like a live-action version of one of those Scooby Movies. And that comes as no surprise as it was produced by Hanna-Barbera, the studio behind the ghost-busting Great Dane.

Starring the entire original KISS line up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Kriss and Ace Frehley, mostly going by their stage personas of Demon, Star Child, Catman and Space Ace. They come to the aid of some hot chick whose boyfriend has been taken over by Mad Amusement Park Animatronics Inventor Abner Devereux, played with conviction by Anthony Zerbe (this ain't no Dr. Shrinker, goddammit). Looky here, Abner designed all the lame animatronics in the park which made the schlumpy park owner BILLIONS, but the schlumpy park owner doesn't really give a tinker's darn and thinks Abner has been spending too much time with his latex chums, if you know what I mean, so he cans him. In revenge, Abner plans to replace KISS, who are simply rockin' it at Magic Mountain, with animatronic doubles who will play so badly as to cause the clean, wholesome-looking crowd to "destroy the amusement park!"

See, just like a Scooby Doo Movie, just without the ghosts. But we got a mad scientist, so no bitching, got it.

They MUST have been smoking something herbal when they proposed this movie. And when they wrote and shot it too. There's some funny stuff, like every time Paul Stanly opens his mouth to "act" and when Ace Frehley squaws like a bird for no apparent reason. Also there's the Demon crashing through a concrete wall that really looks like the foam it is, and then he smashes up a Coke stand (apparently not the coke he was looking for. And yes, I know Gene Simmons says he's a complete teetotaler and has never touched that stuff. It's. A. Joke.).

There's a near-hilarious sequence set by a really nice looking outdoor pool (this IS California, after all). The park owner and the security guards come to question KISS about an incident (see the Coke stand above), and the band members are in full make up and costume and are even wearing these bitchin' sparkly druid-like robes (in L.A.!). The funny part is KISS is sitting in these chairs that would not be out of place at a lifeguard tower. There they are, looming over the hapless mortals that come to question them.

There's a trippy "fight scene" - actually a couple, and they're more like KISS teetering around in their higher-than-high heels and the stunt people overdoing it trying to sell the gags. Two stick with you: the first, when they fight a bunch of ninja and karate types (it was '78 and the spirit of Bruce Lee was still flying high) and the second when they tussle with a whole mess of albino cat-wolfmen in matching jumpsuits. Read those last six words again, because I didn't make any of it up.

The special effects are more hilarious than awe inspiring, with Paul Stanley's Star Child shooting laser beams out of his eyes that look more like hot dogs and the Demon breathing fire that is obviously matted in there. There's also some rudimentary wire work that recalled the Nicholas Hammond Amazing Spider-Man TV show (also of the same era), and even a nod to Star Wars' lightsabers in one brief chop socky encounter involving swords (or, "suhwards" as Paul Stanley might say).

Two guesses as to whether or not KISS saves the day, vanquishes their evil robot dopplegangers, stops the Mad Amusement Park Animatronics Inventor, gets the hot chick and her bf back together again, and descends from the heavens to rock the crowd one mo' time!

Do I hear an encore?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yes, I Wanna Date Your Avatar

The Guild (Seasons 1 and 2)

Have you seen The Guild? Well, frak and gorrammit, son/sister, what the hell is keeping you? It’s only the most fun online sitcom there is. And I know what the definition of "is" is.

The Guild is the creation of the incredible Felicia Day, famous for starring (and singing) in Joss Whedon’s online experiment Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. Day had previously worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where she had a recurring role in the final season, and recently returned to the Whedonverse by guest starring on the unaired (but included on the DVD and shown at this year’s SDCC) Dollhouse episode, “Epitaph One.”

Day apparently believes in the old writer’s saw of “write what you know” as she played World of Warcraft and other games for many years, so she knows the people who play these games very well. She also may have picked up a thing or two by working with Whedon. You know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout: she really brings the funny.

Like all good sitcoms, there’s a simple premise. A small group of online gamers who have played together for years but never met in the flesh have to start interacting with each other offline in the real world. The gamers usually refer to each other by their characters’ names: Codex the healer, Zaboo the warlock, Vork the leader, Clara the mage, Bladezz the thief, and Tinkerballa the hunter.

They get together for the first time when Zaboo misreads Codex’s online semi colon winks for real world flirtation (she says she meant to use a colon but the shift key was stuck!). In desperation, and to try and get Zaboo off her couch after he moves in, Codex calls the gang together for a meeting in the flesh. In real life, they are much like their characters, only without the cool powers and the gold loot. Codex, who’s real name is Cyd Sherman, is a healer and Cyd tries to fix everything without anyone's feelings getting hurt. She’s also trying to fix herself, as the first episode shows she’s been seeing a therapist about her online gaming addiction. But she’s so caught up in her online world her therapist basically fires her as a patient!

Every episode, which runs about four to six minutes long, opens with Codex making a vlog. This is Day’s time to shine and she does, being funny, sweet, and a touch vulnerable, but she gets tougher as the episodes continue. Much of each episode, at least early on, is the characters dealing with each other while wired into the game. This could get boring except Day’s writing is so funny and spot on with these characters and this particular culture. For instance, Vork, the guild’s banker as well as leader, is such a miser in his real life that he cashes his dead grandpa’s Social Security checks, steals his old neighbor’s wifi, and buys bulk mayo and ketchup (hey, every penny counts on and offline). Clara is a mom with three young children and those darn kids with their - oh what do you call them - oh yeah, needs like feeding and changing, keep getting in the way of mommy’s online time.

Felicia Day and the entire cast – Vincent Caso as Bladezz, Jeff Lewis as Vork, Amy Okuda as Tinkerballa, Sandeep Parikh as Zaboo, and Robin Thorsen as Clara – are spot on and hilarious in their roles. I’m glad they went the online low budget route because if this was pitched to a network, they wouldn’t “get” it, but on the off chance they did, they’d have gathered a cast that looked like Beverly Friends 90210 (basically any show on The CW). And a network would demand rewrites until the show was just like Two and a Half Men. Nothing against Two and a Half Men, but it’s one type of animal and The Guild is entirely another. It’s like taking Coke and saying “Great, this is awesome, it’s just what we were looking for. Now change it so it’s more like 7-Up.”

There’s a way cool music video made to promote the DVD release of The Guild that features the entire cast all decked out in their character costumes. Day sings Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? which could easily stand up to any late 80s/early 90s pop song. She also wrote the ridiculously catchy song, with music handled by Jed Whedon (one of the outlaw Whedon Brothers Gang).

+five to sexterity for all!

Paging Agatha, Arthur and Dashiell

Death Calculator Predicts Your Odds of Kicking the Bucket, screams the headline.

It looks to me like a couple of frat guys at Carnegie Mellon U got together to polish a keg while Minority Report was playing on the big screen at the same time. Too much Cruise, Spielberg, P.K. Dick, and Pabst Blue Ribbon later, they have a website that predicts your death (instead of your murder as in the movie).

I'd rather they have tried to build one of those sweet jet packs they had in the movie. Or at the very least that "Boba Fett hovercraft" the cops used to zip around.

Focus, college kids, FOCUS!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Muddy Muddskipper

Star Trek. "I, Mudd"

Harry Mudd and all his rowdy android friends are comin' over tonight.

Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended. Screencaps from

A review within a review

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

I have managed to not see any Charlie Kaufman-written movies. That all changed last night; I am a "Charlie Kaufman virgin" no longer. And based on Syndecdoche, NY, I will NEVER watch another Charlie Kaufman film ever again.

What a totally confusing, boring, utterly pretentious piece of nonsense. Philip Seymour Hoffman cranks his uber-sad sack routine beyond 11 as Caden Cotard, a noted stage director whose marriage, life, and body are falling apart. His wife, Catherine Keener takes their four year old daughter Olive with her to Germany. Things get very, very, very weird after that.

Now I enjoy metaphors, themes and layers in a film as much as the next person. But with what Kaufman has put forward you need a PhD in psychiatry - make that two PhD's - a few medical texts, a degree in dream interpretation, and an expert in Jungian theory to begin to understand the least little thing. This is an "art house movie" of the absolute worst kind. For example, according to Wikipedia "Cotard" refers to Cotard Syndrome a "neuropsychiatric condition where a person believes they are dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or losing blood or organs." Hoffman's pee and stool are both filled with blood, he gets pustules growing on his face; he's falling apart mentally, physically and spiritually. But is he truly ill, or does he merely BELIEVE he's sick? Is it all in his head?

After Hoffman is given a huge grant to stage his ultimate play, his real life, such as it is, begins to blur with what's on stage. He finds a giant airplane hanger of a warehouse and basically recreates his current existence, even constructing entire streets, buildings and apartments, and casting actors to play the people in his life, including himself.

His girlfriend, the box office girl played by Samantha Morton buys a house that is perpetually on fire. It's funny at first then just downright maddening as we come back to it several times and it's still smouldering away. The movie plays loose with time and space. At the very beginning, Hoffman's having breakfast and reading a newspaper dated November 2005, but a wall calendar directly behind him displays March 2006. He has a TV from the late 1970s with a pair of knobs on it but he uses a remote control, and later a cell phone. After his wife and daughter move to Berlin, he states it's been a few months but someone tells him its been 17 years. Tom Noonan first pops up standing behind a tree in the park; he tells Hoffman he's been following him around for 20 years. Why? Who cares, it's a wacky dream, everyone! Hoffman casts Noonan as Cotard in his play. It's all very surreal, confounding, confusing, slow and (a movie's ultimate sin) boring. I cared not one iota for Cotard (his character didn't seem to care, so why should I?). In the last ten minutes, I actually got up to use the bathroom and said, "Do NOT hit the pause button. Keep it running." I could not STAND the thought of coming back from the bathroom and having to sit through anymore of this goddamn movie. I have NEVER done that before.

This movie attempts to infect viewers with Cotard Syndrome or worse. You couldn't pay me enough to sit through it again. DO. NOT. WATCH.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Qwarthak the Twitterer

More recent Tweets from Qwarthak the Conqueror.

Qwarthak. Has. Ice cubes. Let the bon ton roulet!
7:23pm Aug 20

Qwarthak just cleaned out the Zero G Toilet. Qwarthak has females coming over Friday and things must be spic and span.
6:45pm Aug 20

Qwarthak does customary Princess Leia hair jokes with Cinnabon staff. Qwarthak KILLS! Metaphorically, this time.
1:37pm Aug 20

Qwarthak hits up the Cinnabon.
1:35pm Aug 20

Qwarthak is at the mall. What? Qwarthak’s gf shops at Hot Topic.
1:30pm Aug 20

Qwarthak did a “California stop” at a stop sign…w/ a police cruiser directly astern. The cruiser did nothing. THAT is how Qwarthak rolls.
11:23am Aug 20

The same entity AGAIN calls yada yada. Qwarthak orders an underling 2 locate the entity & educate them with an Ellonian Convincer.
11:38pm Aug 19

The SAME entity calls Qwarthak back. Qwarthak, with the patience of Prellmar the Patient One, once again explains the entity’s error.
11:35pm Aug 19

Qwarthak explained that Qwarthak’s is a private number and NOT the phone company.
11:33pm Aug 19

Qwarthak received a wireless transmission by an entity wanting to change phone companies.
11:32pm Aug 19

Qwarthak relishes the day Qwarthak meets the One Called Hasselhoff on the field of battle and vanquishes such a worth foe.
8:35pm Aug 19

Watching America’s Got Talent. By the Eyebrows of Zutak, the one called David Hasselhoff is a mighty warrior.
8:30pm Aug 19

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gimme some sugar, baby. (No please don't)

I made the mistake of pausing for longer than two seconds on Qubo, the wee kid's cartoon channel. Some BIG CEREAL COMPANY who shall remain nameless was touting four of their cereals as being a good source of essential-for-your-kids calcium and vitamin D or something.


A quick look at the packaging of these good for you kids cereals shows sugar and/or corn syrup appearing three to four times among all the ingredients! Yeah, you get some whole grains, but we toss in marshmallows that are made of sugar and to sweeten the whole dried up mess we dump in loads more corn syrup and sugar.

Way to go, big business! Here's a suggestion for a new cereal.

Cereal parody only. So don't sue me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kirk's Trek Through the Looking Glass

Star Trek. "Mirror, Mirror"

Also known as the one with the "sexy" Spock (he sports a wicked goatee).

A transporter glitch (is that thing built by Sony and run with Windows Vista 2300?) sends our heroes into the Mirror Universe, where left is right, up is down, right is wrong, breakfast is dinner, and Chihuahuas are HUGE.

Gaze into these Mirror Fumetti...if you dare!

Star Trek is copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended. Screencaps from

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Only Humans Can Read This Review

District 9 (2009)

Humanity finally makes contact with an extraterrestrial alien species in District 9, but we soon grow tired of them and we wish they would just go back to where they came from.

District 9 is the name of the fenced in shanty town in Johannesburg, South Africa where the aliens, derisively nicknamed “Prawns” due to their crustacean-like appearance, are forced to live. We don’t know why their giant spaceship appeared in the sky one day 20 years ago, but now they’re stuck here. They’re the ultimate boat people.

This is the first feature from director Neill Blomkamp, adapted from his short film Alive in Joburg. Like the short, the first part of the movie is shot in a handheld documentary fashion as a small camera crew follows private military contractor Multi National United's (MNU) chipper bureaucrat Wikus van der Merwe as he serves notice to the aliens that they are being evicted from District 9 to a new location outside the city. (The aliens are asked to sign a form "for legal reasons.") This new residence, which looks more like a concentration camp, is “for their own good” of course. Wikus soon makes a discovery during his time in the alien slum which I won’t reveal here. Suffice it to say, it puts him at the top of everyone’s most wanted list, including some nasty Nigerian gangsters who run all sorts of illegal operations in District 9.

District 9 is a good sci-fi movie, but not a great one. Actor Sharlto Copley as Wikus is exceptional in his first real acting role (he had bit parts in some of Blomkamp's short films). In early scenes, there's a Peter Sellers quality about him as the bumbling pencil pusher in the short-sleeve sweater. Then as things turn anxious and deadly serious Copley never once falters. I hope we see more of him in other films soon. The “Prawns” (funny the movie never had a “real” name for them, other than this slanderous term) early on are really alien. Their language consists of strange clips and pops. We cannot understand why they do what they do, and they seem to make no attempt to understand us; their strange behavior is a mystery to humans. I liked the apartheid theme, particularly in the early scenes where scientists and people on the street are interviewed about their thoughts on their new alien neighbors. Many of those thoughts, especially from the man and woman in the street, are along the lines of “We don’t want their kind here.”

Before I saw the movie I wondered how the documentary or reality show would play out for the entire movie. It doesn’t; after Wikus’ discovery the documentary camera crew no longer follows him around, the fourth wall goes back up and the movie goes into a traditional narrative. It also becomes a traditional shoot ‘em up. Maybe not traditional as some of the action sequences are fairly impressive, as are all the digital visual effects, especially given that the movie had a budget of about $30 million (that’s just over 1/7 the budget of Transformers 2).

There are more pluses than minuses in District 9. I very much look forward to Blomkamp’s next film. I’d much rather see a sci-fi movie like this that gives you something to think about between all the gunfire and explosions rather than one that’s concerned only with the explosive spectacle.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It Rises: Fins Wrestle Against Tentacles

Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus (2009)

Must. Review. Slowly. To avoid. The bends.

Those zany madcaps at The Asylum have produced another winner. Okay, that’s total bullshit. Asylum is famous/infamous for producing “mockbusters,” ultra-cheap direct-to-DVD clunkers that rip-off big-budget theatrical fare. Transformers becomes Transmorphers in their hands. Speed Racer puts the pedal down against Street Racer. Pirates of the Caribbean hoists the mainsail to Pirates of Treasure Island. And don’t get me started on their versions of public domain properties like Jules Verne novels (Asylum went 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea). In addition to mockbusters they create tripe like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. According to producer Paul Bales, Asylum was asked by a Japanese distributor to create a movie with a giant shark and a squid. They sent them a picture of a shark and an octopus. “That’s it!” said the distributor. Squid, octopus. Potato, po-tah-toe.

The movie gets to being bad right away. Stock footage of a helicopter surrounded by nothing but blue sky is inter-cut with stock footage of a snowy inland mountain range (you never actually see the copter flying over the range, which looks like it was shot somewhere in Europe). This is juxtaposed with shots of a crude CGI mini-sub nosing around near an Alaskan glacier. Inside the sub we have Deborah Gibson, formerly Debbie Gibson, 80s teen pop star of “Foolish Beat” fame, piloting her little heart out. I said the movie was bad, but that’s not the half of it. After a few minutes we soon realize that the majority of the actors’ scenes were shot in TIGHT close ups with shitty framing. Characters often only have half their faces in any given shot. I HOPE this was done on purpose – the movie’s producer was sitting in the audience with us and didn’t complain to theater staff– but it’s so hard to tell. It’s also extremely hard to watch. Even Ed Wood, the “worst moviemaker of all time,” had better camera work in his movies.

To get back to the plot – if you really are interested in that – the helicopter, apparently on one of those generic top secret, tightly-framed and sometimes out-of-focus government missions, drops a thingy into the ocean that accidentally frees a prehistoric megalodon and a giant octopus to boot. The big fish immediately get jiggy wit it. The shark leaps out of the water and munches on an airliner (geez, how low were they flying?); it also takes a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge. Octopussy attacks an oil rig and swats an Air Force fighter jet. When the military realizes they can’t shoot the damn things out of the water, shady government honcho Lorenzo Lamas, complete with Steven Seagal-esque ponytail, black t-shirt, black sport jacket and pants (guess he’s going clubbing afterward) forces top ocean scientist Gibson, her Irish scientist mentor Lamar (Sean Lawler), and J-scientist Shimada (Vic Chao) to figure something out.

In the movie’s funniest sequence, proving the point made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in Team America that “you gotta have a montage," the scientist trio toils away in a government lab which consists of nothing but a back counter and a foreground island on which dozens of test tubes are filled with various colored liquids, which is naturally how you deal with shark and octopus problems large and small. They mix the red Kool Aid with the green Kool Aid, etc, until they come up with the glowing re-agent from Re-Animator. The glowing stuff is pheromones, which has been used WAY too many times now in movies. Anyway the stuff is supposed to attract the big lugs in an attempt to trap them. When that fails, they go to plan B: let the monsters kill each other.

Everything in this movie is bad. The script is bad (best line of dialogue, by apparently psychotic but for no real reason sub captain, "It rises!"). The direction is bad. The acting is bad. The photography is bad (apparently master shots are verboten in Asylum movies). The costumes are bad (the U.S. Navy sub and battleship personnel wear cheap little American flag pins on their generic blue jumpsuit collars). The sets are bad (the Navy sub looked like a re-dressed Klingon bridge set; most other sets you really can’t see due to the ultra-tight photography). The special effects are a joke – many shots literally last a fraction of a second (when they aren’t recycling effects over and over and over). Since CGI effects are expensive and time consuming, even crappy ones, this movie would have been better served all around by going to Toys ‘R Us and buying a toy shark and octopus, putting them on sticks, and filming them through a goldfish bowl.

But is it “good” bad? I’d have to say NO. Most bad movies, especially classics from Roger Corman, Ed Wood, Bert I. Gordon, and others, weren’t made to be bad. Sure they were created to make money, but the filmmakers’ hearts were generally in the right place – they wanted to make a good movie, but didn’t have the money or resources (and, yes, they sometimes didn't have the talent either). When companies like Asylum set out deliberately to make bad movies, it’s a very fine line they walk, especially when they "sabotage" every aspect of the filmmaking process on purpose. Look at Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse a few years ago. They wanted to do a raw, funny, sexy low budget movie like those they used to show at cheap, skuzzy grindhouse theaters. They got the visual look right - thanks to CGI scratches, scrapes, dust and the like - but the movies were too well written, acted and shot (they also spent nearly $70 million to make a type of movie that used to cost a few hundred grand to get in the can). They only got the surface right and missed the heart of the real grindhouse movies.

Real “bad movies” can be watched many times – see many of the movies taken to task on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus has no real heart. It tries so hard to be bad that it becomes simply stupid and annoying.

A Quinn Martin Production-like Epilogue:

When we got to the theater we soon found out that this unusual big screen showing of a movie that’s already out on DVD was for the “benefit” of Lorenzo Lamas’ upcoming E Channel reality show, Leave it to Lamas. Lamas, whose acting career hit its apex with Falcon Crest in the 80s, said he’s tried everything else, so why not a reality show. (He's also using the reality show and the movie screening to pimp his new motorcycle production company.)

Lorenzo Lamas and Deborah/Debbie Gibson had their biggest fame in the 1980s. Japan has long held a fascination with American pop culture, past and present. Those facts, plus the producer’s statement about how a J-distributor asked them to make a giant monster movie, really show you how movies are often just manufactured product. I can see the Asylum’s head honcho saying, “If we put Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson in this movie the overseas audience, particularly the Japanese with their love of the 80s, will eat it up!”

After the movie ended they asked the audience to stay in place so they could tape some reaction shots. Big laugh here. Small laugh here. Clap and cheer. Clap and cheer again. Clap and cheer some more. They made whores out of all of us that night (and we even PAID them for that honor).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tweets from a Twit

Recent Tweets made by Qwarthak the Conqueror:

Back at the mothership. Someone took Qwarthak's parking space! Revenge will be Qwarthak's. And Qwarthak's Antharnnian Lazatronic Pistol 1 hr ago

Carl's Jr. Contemplate stocking moist towelettes. SERIOUSLY. 1 hr ago

Qwarthak requires 8 ketchup packets. What? 2 hrs ago

Qwarthak is given a number by Carl's Jr. personnel. Qwarthak is NOT a number, Carl's Jr, Qwarthak is a CONQUEROR! 2 hrs ago

Qwarthak and some peeps are hitting Carl's Jr. 2 hrs ago

Qwarthak docks with the mothership. When world conquest is your job, it's not work. 6 hrs ago

Flying low in my space cruiser with the top down. Passed a skunk. GodDAMMIT! 7 hrs ago

Qwarthak "took care" of a-hole driver with a Blazznerion Blaster. 1 day ago

Driving to Qwarthak's sister's place. SOB just cut Qwarthak off. The fool! 1 day ago

In the checkout with 3 pallets of toilet paper. Yes, Qwarthak buys in bulk at Costco. 2 days ago

Costco. Daddy is here. By Daddy I mean Qwarthak. 2 days ago

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Checking in

Hotel for Dogs (2009)

Best. Movie. Ever.

From Dreamworks/Nickeloden comes a charming movie that recalls the fun live-action kid’s movies that Disney used to make in the late 60s/early 70s (yes, we at BNFOS remember those by gone times). Hotel for Dogs, based on a best selling children’s book by Lois Duncan, tells the straightforward tale of a pair of orphaned siblings, 16 year old Andi (Emma Roberts) and 11 year old Bruce (Jake T. Austin), who open up a “hotel” for all the homeless dogs in their city.

Andi’s and Bruce’s parents died two years before this story begins and they have been moved from one set of foster parents to the next. Their child services social worker, Bernie (Don Cheadle) points out that finding a home for two kids is hard enough, let alone kids as old as they are. They are now under the care of Lois and Carl Scudder, played by Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon. They are not so much the villains of the piece, but rather self-centered adults who care more about themselves and their own ambitions (they want to be rock stars) to truly be decent parents. But they do padlock all the food in their apartment for some reason. They obviously don't understand the teenager's metabolism.

The kids have been hiding a cute little white furball they call Friday from their foster ‘rents. Running from the cops one day (they scam pawn shops to make money to feed the pooch) the kids and Friday take refuge in an old abandoned hotel. They soon find it already has two occupants in the form of a giant mastiff Bruce names Henry and a tiny Boston Terrier he names Georgia. They are a very cute pair. Soon the kids, with the help of some friends, turn the old hotel into a haven for the city’s stray dogs.

The child actors are all appealing (Roberts definitely has her famous Aunt Julia’s smile); also it's nice to see kids playing kids instead of 25 year olds playing them. The dogs are all funny and charming - there's practically one of every type of dog, each with their own personality. One outstanding dog is Cooper the bulldog who snorts and wheezes and growls and chews his way through anything and everything.

An outstanding feature of the movie is Bruce, using ordinary every day tools and supplies, comes up with hilarious Rube Goldberg devices and contraptions to deal with the dogs’ needs. They all gather in the main dining hall and this huge device, which looks like a ferris wheel made with dog food cans, uses an assembly line method to feed all the dogs at the same time that would make Henry Ford proud . Ditto the “water closet” for handling the end result of eating all that dog food. The many thing-a-majigs looked like something Kurt Russell’s genius Dexter character would have devised in the old Computer Wore Tennis Shoes movies.

What sets the movie apart from just a run of the mill kid’s movie is its subtle message. Without hitting you over the head with it, the movie compares the story of the unwanted orphaned kids with the unwanted dogs. Many of the dogs were given up to the pound because they outgrew their cute puppy phase (recall what the social worker said earlier about placing older (read: less cute) children) or were just too much trouble to deal with for one reason or another. The main villain is ignorance more than evil, which is often how it goes in the real world.

The end credits include a plea to adopt a dog from a shelter. (In fact, several of the canine actors used in the movie were found in shelters, including the lead dog who played Friday.) A good message in a good movie.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Talk to the Conquering Hand

It's round three of the column that's sweeping the galaxy. Its...


Dear Qwarthak,

My wife recently found a stray cat in our backyard that had no tags. We both agreed we weren’t going to keep it for more than a week but it’s been over two weeks and my wife has become attached to it (she calls it her “baby”). I’m allergic to cats but I love my wife, so I’d like to see Kitty find another home – fast (my sinuses can’t stand much more). How do we do this without breaking my wife’s heart?

Signed, Unplanned Cat Sitter in Washington, DC

Dear Unplanned,

You should spay the cat with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Junnqellion phase ray. Let Qwarthak get this straight: you are allergic to cats, yet your spousal unit has kept one in your shared domicle for over two earth weeks? By the Three Suns of Moozbakk, perhaps you should turn your Junnqellion phase ray ON YOUR WIFE. There, Qwarthak said it. You should restate to your wife that you agreed were only going to shelter the feline for one earth week while you tried to find its real mommy and daddy. (Qwarthak assumes you looked hard and came up spades in that department.) You did your best as animal lovers and good, concerned citizens of your world, but now you must turn the feline over to your local animal control officials and let them take it from here. The feline will thank you, your sinuses will thank you, your wife, after 3.7 days of continuous sobbing will thank you. Or you could just turn your Junnqellion phase ray on her (btw, that option is ALWAYS on the table).

Dear Qwarthak,

Are you as cute as you sound?

Signed, Hot and Ready in Macon, GA

Dear Hot and Ready,

Wouldn’t you like to know? (Do not make Qwarthak blush. The consequences would be deadly.)

The answer is cuter than a Fiizgelvian Moon Puppy (it’s the big eyes).

Dear Qwarthak,

What exactly have you "conquered?"

Signed, Curious in St. Louis, MO

Dear Curious,

What has Qwarthak conquered? Yo mama.

(Yes, Qwarthak went there. Qwarthak always goes there. And returns victorious.)

Dear Qwarthak,

I rent a house with three friends. We all split the rent and utilities, but we are supposed to each take care of our own food needs and respect the others’ foodstuffs. We all do, except for one roomie, who constantly uses the other roommates’ milk, soda, beer and even marked leftovers. This person promises to replace the items, and never do it again, but hardly ever replaces them and keeps doing it over and over. What can we do?

Signed, Starving but shouldn’t be in Flagstaff, AZ

Dear Starving,

…Are you s------- Qwarthak? You are s------- Qwarthak, are you not? Sunofa--

Qwarthak has your full address on your letter. Let Qwarthak check--- Yes, Qwarthak has it right here. Qwarthak will be over shortly, with a fully charged Evynndian Expunginator (this sucker rocks). Great Geysers of Glyntos V but this brings back BAD memories of Qwarthak’s post-college years. Qwarthak had this one roommate, B’unthos the Brawler, who did the exact same thing with Qwarthak's donut holes. To add insult to injury, B’unthos. Used. Qwarthak’s. Bath soap (Lever 2000, for Qwarthak’s 2000 parts). Fret none, Starving in Flagstaff, Qwarthak is out the door and headin’ over.

And what happened to B’unthos the Brawler, you ask? Let Qwarthak put it this way: Qwarthak was scrubbing the walls, floors and ceiling for MONTHS afterward (Qwarthak told you that Expunginator rocked).

Wouldst Thou Joinest Me in Yon Airshaft?

It's another "Fuck You, Alien!*" This one's dedicated to Kim Jong Il. Lil Kimmy J may be a rat bastard, but with his pseudo-Nehru jackets and 1950s eyeglasses, he's a stylin' rat bastard!

"What shit through yonder window breaks?"

This is just what we needed: a monster who thinks he can act! Look at him posing there with his, well, claw held aloft in the manner of a Shakespearean actor (that’s pronounced “ack-toar”). You know sooner or later he’s going to need a fucking skull to put into that empty claw. Is that how you want to end up? A prop in some crazy alien’s Hamlet fantasy? I didn’t think so.

He’s trying to downplay the whole killing you for your skull thing, but don’t be fooled by those deep set but still very beady eyes, or the cool expression on that lettuce-meets-pig-meets-piranha head of his. Keep your wits about you, and you may live to see another day. Just nod at the guy when you see him after the play, but keep your distance and make no sudden moves. Talk about the weather, the cab ride over, or maybe the latest Jon & Kate shenanigans, but move slowly to the nearest exit.

And whatever you do, don’t ask him to sign your Playbill copy.

* Inspired by the little-known George Bernard Shaw classic, Fuck You Penguin.

Image from It! The Terror from Beyond Space copyright its respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is implied.

John Hughes is gone

John Hughes, writer, director and producer of some of the most memorable, beloved and influential films ever, has died today at the age of 59 from a heart attack.

Hughes was known as the "King of 80s Teen Comedies," with films such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but he also created for adults with Planes, Trains and Automobiles, National Lampoon's Vacation and Uncle Buck, and for children with Home Alone and Beethoven (yes, the one with the St. Bernard).

One constant among his work was whether he was writing about little Kevin being left home alone, Neal Page and Del Griffith running afoul at every transportation turn trying to get home for Thanksgiving, Ferris taking a day off to help his best friend get out of his life's funk, or everyone in Sam's family forgetting her sixteenth birthday, it was always about character. You remember the characters because Hughes made them real; it wasn't just goofy situations and crude dialogue like so many of his imitators generate. You understood what his characters were going through, and you felt for them.

Another thing common to a John Hughes movie is the memorable and often quotable dialogue, fitting for a man who worked as an advertising agency copy writer before being a filmmaker:

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

"I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!"

"Marcie Dahlgren-Frost. Dahlgren is my maiden name, Frost is my married name. I'm single again, but I never bothered to remove the Frost. And I get compliments on the hyphen."

"Captain Hayes."

"Stop hitting people with your Rex Harrison hat!"

"You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They're not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! "Honey, I'd like you to meet Del Griffith, he's got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh and here's a gun so you can blow your brains out. You'll thank me for it." I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They'd say, "How can you stand it?" I'd say, "Cause I've been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.""

John Hughes had a voice and vision unequalled in Hollywood. Many have tried to imitate his success. None have come close. He will be missed, but we will always have his movies.

(The quoted films in order from the top were Ferris Bueller's Day Off, National Lampoon's Vacation, Uncle Buck, Nate & Hayes, Weird Science, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Quotes obtained from

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brothers to the end. Please end NOW.

Thumping - LOUDLY - off the L.A.Public Library's DVD shelves.

Step Brothers (2008)

Will Ferrell plays yet ANOTHER man-child. So does John C. Reilly.

I used to love Ferrell. His stint on SNL is one of the best. His characters there among the funniest in the series long run. But enough is enough.

In Step Brothers, they play two 40 year old men who still live with their respective single parents (Ferrell with Mary Steenburgen, Reilly with Richard Jenkins). After meeting at a conference the parents decide to marry, so Ferrell and Reilly become step-brothers. Now they not only still live at home, but are forced to even share a room.

My problem with the premise is that I didn't buy it. At all. Ferrell and Reilly were literally acting like 10 year olds, not only in attitudes and language but even down to posture and mannerisms. I felt like I was watching a sketch with two grown men acting like little boys. Tom Hanks did it perfectly in Big, the gold standard, but that was a fantasy. This movie, while also a comedy, is NOT a fantasy.

With Ferrell and Reilly being such morons, it really makes their parents, Steenburgen and Jenkins, look like complete boobs as well. Why would they encourage and nurture such behavior, when they as educated people, know it's wrong on so many levels?

The movie really goes all over the place to try to get laughs, even down to showing Ferrell's "ball sack" - at one point he yanks it out and rubs it all over Reilly's most prized possession, his drums. Vulgar visual humor is very hard to pull off well. When it works you have There's Something About Mary (a classic) and The Hangover (a possible new classic). When it fails you have Van Wilder, Harold and Kumar 2, and the remake of The Heartbreak Kid. To get all professorial for a second, the dick joke in ... About Mary was about more than just showing Ben Stiller's "twig and berries." The physical pain, and all the humiliation that went with it, was nothing compared to the pain of losing Mary that night; they wouldn't see each other again until they were adults. It was funny in and of itself, but it meant something to the story as well. In Step Brothers, Ferrell pulling out his nuts and rubbing the drums meant nothing to the scheme of things. And it wasn't very funny either - he could have easily just licked the drumsticks. Isn't that what a 10 year old boy would do anyway?

I did laugh once, and honestly, at one bit where Ferrell and Reilly are woken up one morning and Ferrell, out of nowhere, utters, "I'll punch you in the face, Leonard Nimoy." That was a great ad lib, but it has nothing to do with anything.

Blam! Blam! Reload your DVD player

Blowing off the shelves of the L.A. Public Library and onto your screens!

Max Payne (2008)

A run of the mill Punisher movie, and heaven help us, we’ve already had three run of the mill official Punisher movies. Now we’re dealing with Punisher knock-offs by way of video games. See what your poor viewing choices have done!

Mark Wahlberg stars as Max Payne, a cop whose wife and baby were murdered years ago by a trio of junkies and now, stuck in the department’s basement in the cold case unit, he prowls the streets at night searching for the last junkie who escaped getting capped in the ass that night, getting caught up in a conspiracy in the process.

Apparently the game’s story has been extremely simplified for the big screen. In the game, he changes from cop to DEA agent, and even infiltrates a mafia family in his search for the truth about his family’s murder. Max remains a cop throughout the movie, and the story is so simple you figure out right away who the baddie is (you could be half asleep while watching and still figure it out).

One major change made for the movie is that the designer drug, Valkyr, gives users the same major hallucinations of apocalyptic winged creatures, similar to mythic Valkyrie, swooping about. Good thing the hallucinations tie in with the name of the drug, if you saw giant Harvey-like bunnies, then Valkyr would suck as a name. The hallucination scenes give the movie a Constantine-like vibe, with Walhberg giving Keanu a run for the money in expression-deficit acting. You don’t know until ¾ of the way in that it’s NOT a supernatural horror you are watching.

Mark Wahlberg does his standard whispering, furrowed brow performance. I couldn’t help but think of the Saturday Night Live bit with Andy Samberg doing a pitch perfect imitation of this typical Wahlberg persona (see all the crappy Wahlberg movies, like Planet of the Apes and The Happening). I kept waiting for him to utter, “Say hi to your mother for me.” Someone on the interweb, get on this and re-dub this movie, okay?

Mila Kunis, who was fantastic in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is totally wasted here as a Russian mob chick whose sister is killed because of the drug. Kunis, born and raised in Ukraine, speaks a smattering of Russian in the movie, but fellow babe/fellow Ukrainian, Olga Kurylenko, who plays Mila’s sister, beats her in the accent department. They should have done the old standby of the twin sister and have Kurylenko play both sistahs.

When the story is pretty straightforward in something like this, you at least hope for "good kills," like in a zombie movie. Aside from a couple of the best shotgun blast deaths since Open Range the gun fu scenes were pretty standard stuff, meaning very disappointing. This might be expected in the movie's PG-13 version, but I watched the "unrated" version (a whole 3 minutes longer than the theatrical) and aside from some CGI blood, the gunplay sucked bullets, which is really sad as this is based on a third person shooter video game. I wonder if that irony is lost on director John Moore, who also helmed the recent remake of The Omen and the Owen Wilson actioner (oxymoron there) Behind Enemy Lines.

The movie was shot in Toronto, substituting for a perpetually snowing New York City ("Gimme a hot dog, eh."). One big problem with the movie was with the photography. Not only did they do the overused bleached out look where, for example, instead of green, you get a dull olive color, but a lot of shots had a Sin City green screen vibe, even though it was apparently shot on location and not a green screen stage. I think it was the constant CGI snowflakes that were drifting sideways onscreen in many scenes. It gave the movie a very artificial quality. Fitting perhaps for a movie based on a video game.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oldies but goodies

Star Trek. "The Deadly Years"

This episode that always felt to me like a third season effort, but to my great suprise was a mid-second season show. Earlier in season two we had the undisputed classics Amok Time, The Changeling, Mirror, Mirror, The Doomsday Machine and Journey to Babel. And after this episode they gave us Trouble With Tribbles, A Piece of the Action and The Ultimate Computer. Well, they can't all be winners.

Any time you need to save money you do a bottle show on your existing sets and Deadly Years felt like one of those - they even had a trial onboard the Enterprise - but with having to do old age make up on the four leads, plus constructing the planet set with those neat buildings simply for the teaser, this one must have cost at least as much as an average show. This was probably the talkiest episode they've ever done, but also the dullest in that respect. Commodore Stocker starts out as just another standard Federation or Starfleet Stick in the Mud, "You have to get me to my new base/war/garage sale/etc" (see Commissioner Hedford in Metamorphosis, Commissioner Ferris in Galileo Seven, Ambassador Fox in Taste of Armageddon), but I liked his last line to Kirk that he's "now quite aware of what a starship can do...with the right man at the helm."

There were a couple of really sad moments, like when Spock and Dr. Wallace go to Kirk's quarters with the results of the hearing and they have this exchange.

Kirk: Spock?
Spock: Yes, Captain.
Kirk: So...I've been relieved.
Spock: I'm sorry, Captain.
Kirk: Yes. (beat) You should've been a prosecuting attorney.

and later in that same scene:

Kirk: I order you to take command.
Spock: I cannot, Captain.
Kirk: Are you refusing a direct order?
Spock: No, sir. Only Commodore Stocker can give a command order onboard this ship.
**Kirk: You stab me in the back the first chance you get.
Kirk: Spock...get out. I never want to have to look at you again.

** The look of shock on Kirk's face here is amazing as Spock's line sinks in. He really give Spock hell - I wish there was a scene at the end where they two discuss this feeling of Kirk's.

One thing I've always thought was odd was the scene where Kirk is given the antidote. The camera focuses ON HIS CROTCH! What are we to imply from that? The ST Compendium says they originally wanted to show Kirk gradually getting younger as he and Old-Spock headed from sickbay to the bridge. They never shot it but that would have been a neat sequence.

At the end, as McCoy is escorting Spock from the bridge to get his antidote, cutey Dr. Wallace comes onto the bridge. Kirk turns, sees her and waves Hi. He even wiggles his fingers a bit. What the heck? Did the serum de-age him back to a pimply 13 year old? If you have Season Two on DVD, you have to pop this episode in just to see that last little bit.

Star Trek is copyright 2009 and a Registered trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. Muppets characters copyright Muppets Studio, LLC. No infringement of those rights is implied. Screencaps from

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Love Hurts, Love Stinks

Another disk off the L.A. Pubic* Library’s shelves.

The Love Guru (2008)

You don’t know how many times I passed this one up when perusing the LAPL’s DVDs. Perhaps I finally succumbed to morbid curiosity, or maybe I just had a major brain fart, but I watched Mike Myer’s last opus. Well curiosity shit all over this cat.

My goodness but this was a very unfunny movie. I may have laughed once out of pity. Myers – co-writer and star of this dreck – plays a Caucasian, but Indian-raised, self-help guru named Pitka. He has amassed a following and much wealth with ashrams in several countries, but he always comes in number two behind Deepak Chopra. It turns out Pitka and Chopra were both raised by the same Indian guru, played by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, who is named Tugginmypuddha. Read that name again. This move is FILLED with knee slappers like that: Coach Punch Cherkov, Richard “Dick” Pants, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, and Guru Sathabigknoba.

Beyond the wacky names, the script is littered with dick/penis/weiner/c--k jokes (well, as much as they could do with the PG-13 confines) – enough to cover the world’s largest landfill. Myers, who is capable of near-brilliant work, really thought this was funny?

Myers restrains himself to playing Pitka, albeit even at as a boy and teen by superimposing his head on other actors, and cameoing as Mike Myers, so he doesn't have the distraction of playing multiple characters. In a Mike Myers comedy usually several of the supporting characters are funny and memorable. Here he isn’t even surrounded by his usual cohorts like Will Ferrell (I’m not counting the annoying and disposable Verne Troyer). That leaves Myers’ constant, uninspired, mugging front and center. Oh, joy.

The satire of the self help movement wasn’t very smart or inspired, merely silly, with trademarked acronyms for nearly everything, including "bible." I don’t think satire is Myers’ strong suit. And by having appearances by the real Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey in this beyond lame movie, it just shows what media whores they really are.

I believe this movie would really make 10 year old boys laugh. Wring it out and it’s just a bunch of dick jokes. However, Jessica Alba is always easy on the eyes, especially in the all-too-brief Bollywood dance numbers.

* You’ll understand this reference after reading the review.

i Robot Monster, i Pod

Music to blow (billions of) bubbles by.

Original Robot Monster image copyright its respective rights holder. Original Apple iPod ad copyright Apple, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended by this parody.

Two Giant Thumbs Down

Big Man Japan (2009)

Massive spoilers (yes, I will reveal the ending), but it’s okay because YOU SHOULD NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE EVER!

Taking a great premise - a profile of Japan's lone defender (a superhero who grows to giant size and gains a Kid 'n Play hair do) against its constant giant monster attacks - and shitting all over its audience, Big Man Japan is one of the most difficult movies I've ever had to sit through. Make that ENDURE.

Writer/director Hitoshi Matsumoto (credited as Hitosi Matumoto) stars as Sato, our hero, who is interviewed for a reality show or documentary (we're not really shown which). In the first ten minutes, we get a really good feel for Sato and his world. He lives in a very small old house, he likes dried seaweed (because it grows in his mouth - get it?), he doesn't make much money (compared to the previous "Big Men" - his father, grandfather, etc. [Sato is Big Man No. 6]), he never takes a vacation or goes too far away (you never know when a giant monster will pop up). He has no friends; he's separated from his wife, and only sees his young daughter once or twice a year. Yeah, he's a real winner. Oh, and the public generally laughs at him and hates his guts for all the damage he causes fighting the weirdest giant monsters you will ever see; disparaging signs are strewn along the road to electric plants where he "powers up" and graffiti imploring him to "die" is spray-painted on his house.

After 15 or 20 minutes I desperately wanted to use the fast forward button on this mockumentary. The majority of scenes with Sato are interviews with him sitting on the floor of his home, or sitting at a bar, or sitting at a restaurant. Call him, Mr. Inaction. The off screen reporter or producer asks him questions and Sato stumbles and mumbles his way through all of them. These scenes are long, slow slogs. AND THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM! I got the message, okay, movie? Everyone who watched this movie got the message in the first 10 minutes, SO PICK UP THE FUCKING PACE ALREADY! It's called "MOTION pictures" - that's MOVING pictures. Chris Marker's all still photo movie La Jetee has more movement and better pacing than Big Man Japan. There is so much dead air in these interview scenes (ever see a real documentary - they trim the dead air out but keep the responses in). Watch This is Spinal Tap, the movie that invented the mockumentary. There is NO dead air in that film. The jokes work beautifully, they don't sit there decomposing before your disbelieving eyes.

The funniest part of the movie was a running gag where everytime Big Man faces a giant monster, the movie cuts to a document of some sort that profiles the monster. The document is read by an unseen narrator who gives the monster's name, its powers and what it might be after. These bits always end with, "And these are the features of the (blank) monster." Very studious and efficient; very Japanese. The monsters have names like the Stink Monster, whose farts are like "10,000 human feces", the Strangling Monster, who looks like the Michelin Man's skinny cousin (but with his head on a long neck so it resembles a Q-Tip end) and likes to wrap his stretchable arms around buildings so he/it can flip them over his back, and the Leaping Monster, which is basically a head on one severely muscled leg that jumps around from building to building yelling one word, "Sei!"

This movie is interminably long at 108 minutes. In the beginning I assumed it was about 90 minutes. Then about 20 minutes into it I was praying that it was only 90 minutes. Don't be fooled into thinking that an extra 18 minutes isn't enough to hurt a decent movie. AN EXTRA 18 MINUTES CAN KILL A DECENT MOVIE.

To add insult to all this injury Big Man is killed towad the end in his second encounter with a giant monster that was obviously modeled on Hellboy for some reason (one that beat the snot out of him the first time). Heaven for Big Man is an Ultraman-like TV show with giant superheros - the Justice Family - and really fake buildings. This sequence goes on and on and on. The Justice Family beats the shit out of a similarly fake looking giant Hellboy monster while Big Man cowers behind the fake scenary. I am NOT kidding when I said this sequence goes on and on. It does, with one member of this gaudy, shiny Justice Family - Papa, Mama, Grandpa, Sister and Baby Justice - each taking turns literally kicking the stuffing out of the Hellboy monster (it went from a beating to a humiliating beating). Then they put their Justice hands together, like a football team about to break huddle, and a colorful laser beam shoots out from their hands to envelope Hellboy monster. Big Man puts his hand in and discovers it has NO effect on their beam - he contributes nothing to the situation. And then it ends.

You the viewer are left feeling totally drained by the movie - perhaps that was its evil superpower. Big Man Japan is a big waste of time.