Film reviews

Review: Justice League: Doom

Starring: Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tim Daly (Superman), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern), Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter/Ma’alefa’ak), Michael Rosenbaum (The Flash), Bumper Robinson (Cyborg), Carlos Alazraqui (Bane), Claudia Black (Cheetah), Paul Blackthorne (Metallo), Olivia d’Abo (Star Sapphire), Alexis Denisof (Mirror Master), Phil Morris (Vandal Savage)
Writers: Dwayne McDuffie, Mark Waid.
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Price: $24.98 (Amazon price: $14.99)
Released: February 28, 2012

When it comes to movies, Marvel and DC both have their specialities these days. Marvel has it sewn up at the movies, with things like Captain America, Iron Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, Daredevil, Thor et al. Sure, DC has Batman, but Superman isn’t working that well, Green Lantern wasn’t exactly brilliant and if you can’t work out how to make a movie of Wonder Woman after a decade of trying, clearly you’ve got problems.

By contrast, in the realm of animated movies and TV shows, it’s the other way round. You’d only have to have a teeny weeny, atom-sized piece of paper to write down all the decent animated shows that Marvel has put out (X-Men Evolution and that’s about it) in the last couple of decades, while DC has had Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and, of course, Justice League shows filling up the airways for years. They even did a halfway decent animated Wonder Woman movie.

Possibly their best effort was Justice League, which expanded to become Justice League Unlimited later on. That, of course, ended nearly six years ago, but now the brainiacs at DC have decided to take an old Justice League comic and create a brand new Justice League animated movie, Justice League: Doom, in which the Justice League’s arch-enemies club together to kill the League. Cleverly, DC has got together virtually all the cast from the original series, as well as Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) from its Green Lantern animated TV series, Tim Daly from its Superman animated series and a great guest cast to do it.

And while it’s not outstanding, it does at least make you wonder why the hell they can’t make a proper live-action movie. Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading “Review: Justice League: Doom”

Tuesday’s “Lucy Liu is Watson, F Murray Abraham in Beauty and the Beast and Alan Ball to leave True Blood” news

Film

British TV

US TV

US TV pilots

Question of the week: would you watch prime-time plays?

Back in the day, series of plays (and their close cousins, the anthology series) were one of the staples of TV. Play for Today, Armchair Theatre, Theatre 625, The Wednesday Play et al were vibrant parts of scheduling and they launched the careers of some of our best writers, including Dennis Potter and Jack Rosenthal. There were even themed play series, such as Espionage, Out of the Unknown and Worlds Beyond, dealing with spies, science-fiction and the supernatural respectively. And who could forget Tales of the Unexpected?

Yet where are they now? Sky Arts and daytime TV, that’s where. The popular wisdom is that even with something like The Street, which is essentially a play series (albeit one set in the same location each week), with no recurring stars, there’s no way to build up regular viewership in primetime. With so many draws for the attention, each play would have to be individually marketed and still have to appeal on things like the iPlayer as well.

But today I’m questioning received wisdom and asking this question:

Would you watch a primetime series of original plays if you knew the quality of the writing and acting was going to be good, even if the cast and writers were unknowns? Or would it have to be themed or in some other way more narrowly defined?

Answers below or on your own blog, please.

US TV

What did you watch this week (w/e February 24)?

It’s "What did you watch this week?", my chance to tell you what I watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: Archer, Being Human (US), Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House,  Happy Endings, Modern Family, Portlandia, Ringer, Royal Pains, Shameless (US), Southland, Spartacus, Suburgatory and 30 Rock. Do watch them (if you can and they happen to be on TV this week). The Almighty Johnsons is still in my view pile and there are a couple of other things that I’m going to be reviewing in the next day or so, including Those Who Kill (aka Den Som Dræber) and Justice League: Doom

  • Caerdydd: Slowly catching up on this about a year (or two) since we recorded it. Not as good as the previous series, but still great fun.
  • Modern Family: Very sweet
  • Ringer: Nice guest cameo by Misha Collins from Supernatural, and thankfully the whole thing was as ludicruous as always.
  • Royal Pains: Ah, the never-ending slow progress of the plot. And for a finale episode, incredibly badly written – bad dialogue, obviously plotting and no real draw for the next series and that might work in a lazy summer show, but in winter, you need to be a whole lot sharper.
  • 30 Rock: Great cameos by Jim Carrey and Andie MacDowell. But very strange.
  • Southland: I could see the cliffhanger coming a mile off, but still great work. Whoever does the trailers for TNT needs to be shot, since they give away the resolution to the cliffhanger.
  • Spartacus: Back on track now, with a very well paced and plotted episode, although the crunch moment (ho, ho) was an obvious twist. Good to see the return of Gannicus, too. Pondering Spartacus, it amazes me that it’s so popular. Although there’s the obvious, nudity, swearing and massive violence, complete with bloody entrails, we’re talking about a historical story, set in a foreign country, with no Americans (obviously) in the cast, people talking in pseudo-Shakespearian language, gay men front and centre, full frontal male nudity and the whole thing largely filmed and staged like theatre. It breaks all the rules, but yet people love it. Isn’t cable great?

And in movies:

  • Real Steel: Rocky with robots and Hugh Jackman. Surprisingly fun and not awful, although Evangeline Lilly is very much lost in a somewhat tedious "deadbeat father and son work out their differences by building and training a boxing robot" story that has no room for women unless they’re dead or wearing Gucci cocktail dress with cut-outs. But some great robot boxing, including a final homage to Ali’s rope-a-dope trick against Foreman. Wonder if they’ll turn ‘Zeus’ into a lean, mean fat-reducing machine.

"What did you watch this week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?