Fear of the iron mask

I know the Iron Man movie is at least a year or two away, but has anyone seen any recent concept art or designs yet? I need something to put my mind to rest.

Whenever I think of someone doing an Iron Man movie I have nightmares thinking of the pilot for the television series Exo-Man back in 1977.

I’ve always loved movies, comics, cartoons, short stories and novels about guys in armored suits, but one of my pet peeves is that at some point in the story it’s inevitable that the armor will develop some sort of mechanical defect. Whether it’s dead batteries, short circuits, oil leaks, or some sort of sabotage. Writers typically seem to be more focused on what could go wrong with armor as opposed to what could go right with it. That’s why the Tony-Stark-as-a-drunk storyline was so refreshing. For once the problem was with the wearer and not the suit.


Two on the aisle, please...

My wife Valarie and I were decadent beyond compare this weekend and actually got out to see two movies at the theater. Val had some dicey deadlines to dance around, but she made it work.

On Friday night we saw The Prestige, which apparently was the most profitable movie playing this weekend by just a whisker. Val enjoyed it and I think I would have had a better time if I hadn’t read the book last year. Instead of sitting back and letting the film wash over me and absorb it as it was presented to me, I kept making comparisons to the book and wondering how some of the more radical changes would affect the outcome. If you get the opportunity to catch it in the theater before it goes away, go for it, but with all the craftiness that Christopher Nowlan serves up, this is a film designed for DVD, so you can back up and track down all the clues that have scattered around.

The second film was Martin Scorsese’s cop drama, The Departed. Scorsese has once again cast Leonardo DiCaprio in a starring role, which is starting to get a little old, but the good thing is that there are plenty of other juicy parts to go around. Jack Nicholson plays a colorful crime boss, while Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen play agents in the Boston police department. Alec Baldwin adds some weight to the cast; milking his role as a taskforce team leader for all it’s worth, and manages to get a lot of funny lines in along the way. I’m unfamiliar with the Japanese film that The Departed was based on, but I’m betting there were too many changes to keep track of. That said, both Val and I enjoyed the film quite a big. Matt Damon has a reputation for being something of a joke in Hollywood, but he manages to hold his own just fine here. Jack Nicholson comes close to overplaying his role, which was originally written for Robert DeNiro, but I think he hold it back and quite well and I don’t think I’ve liked him in anything this much for a long time.

Have the lab boys dust for monkeys...

I’m normally not a regular viewer of the Sundance channel, but every once in a while I stumble on a fun film or series. The way our cable company has the channels set up, the Sundance channel and IFC, the Independent Film Channel are off in the middle of nowhere, hidden between coverage of local politics and one of the sixty-four NASCAR channels.

Sundance has been showing an animated series that first played on BBC 3 a few years ago. The show is called Monkey Dust, for no apparent reason. The episodes run a solid thirty minutes with no commercials and features reoccurring or standalone characters and settings.

The animation is done by at least five or six different art teams, each with a dramatically different style. England is dirty is funky and pleasantly twisted. Some of the art styles might be a bit sloppy and unkempt, but for the most part the writing is as clean and sharp as a laser.

Like a lot of things I talk about here, Monkey Dust isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those love it/hate it situations. Don’t you just hate situations like that? Or maybe you love it. Whatever. Free country and all that.