Friday, January 27, 2012

Superhero Double Feature

DC vs. Marvel. The Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger.

I haven’t seen a superhero movie that I haven’t liked so I figured The Green Lantern and Captain America were two good choices.

(Warning! Superhero geek mark-out mode here) Batman will always be the best, but I remember wanting a shield like Captain America when I was five-years-old.

I started off with The Green Lantern. As big a fan of the comic book heroes as I am, the Green Lantern is one back-story I wasn’t familiar with. I knew he had the ring and it had some sort of power, but, beyond that, I didn’t have a clue what to expect.

Unfortunately it fell a little short of what I would’ve liked. It was a little more corny than epic, a little more predictable than exciting and, with the heavy use of computer animation, a little more video game than movie.

It felt a little bit like they were going through the motions with this one. Ryan Reynolds was a good choice for the part, but it seems he watched Iron Man a few too many times. His delivery of the sarcastic, witty and brave-hearted character comes off well – but not as good as Robert Downey Jr. was playing Tony Stark. If you like superhero movies and don’t take them too seriously you’ll probably enjoy it; don’t expect to be amazed though.

Captain America was the real surprise of the night though. You don’t get much of a superhero movie with this one; instead it’s a World War II film. There’s some computer-generated animation thrown in to modernize it, but most of it felt like a re-creation piece from the 1940s.

Much like The Green Lantern, I knew of Captain America growing up. I was a fan of the patriotism, the outfit and the shield. I knew that his nemesis was the Red Skull. That’s it. That’s where my knowledge ended.

To that extent the movie was superb. It really did a nice job of exploring the history of Captain America. Whether it’s the proper comic book history I’m still not sure of, but it’s a fun lesson to watch unfold. My only complaint is that it left me wanting to see the 2011 version of Captain America. If Marvel wanted to get fans amped up for the Avengers movie that’s coming out this summer, then, again, I guess they succeeded.

Watching Captain America kick-ass in modern times should be extremely fun to watch. Looking back at it, The First Avenger was a good introductory piece. If this was all we got – it would definitely fall short – but if the best is yet to come, then job well done.

Both movies will probably end up on my shelf – sitting proudly alongside all the other superhero DVDs that are there now – but I don’t think they’ll be the first DVDs I grab when I want to watch an awesome comic book story come to life.

The first trailer for "Marvel's The Avengers", in theaters May 4, 2012.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life without Cable TV – Week 1

It was an interesting week. Me – being the TV fanatic that I am – living without cable? My Grandmother thought it would more than difficult for me.

So far, I have to say, it’s not so bad.

I grew up with cable TV and, after it was dark and time to come inside from riding bike with my friends, television and movies were a big part of my 8-year-old world. I loved the characters, the suspense, and the cinematography. It was like reading a book, but a little better because I could watch the story unfold before my eyes. The directors and producers show you what they want – leading you on a journey that can be happily predictable or surprisingly confusing. Either way it’s fun to go along for the ride.

Last week I decided to cancel my service though. What sense does it make to keep it when a cable bill costs $73 a month (before taxes) and there’re just a few programs I watch religiously? I found myself watching WWE and Friends reruns on Nick-at-nite. I’m usually about 6 years behind when it comes to TV shows. This past summer is the first time I saw an episode of How I Met Your Mother. It seems that when a show hits syndication, I start to watch it.

Anyway, watching a few shows a week for $73 just didn’t compute, especially when I have 20 – 30 movies in my DVD collection. The apartment complex I live at has about 50 DVD titles they rent out for free. There are more options on top of that. I can buy movies for $3 at Big Lots, $4.75 at Target, and $5 at Wal-Mart. Plus, it costs just $1.20 to rent movies at Redbox. I figure I can get a lot of $1.20 Redbox rentals for $73.

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing this week – watching about two movies a night or watching a few episodes of The Nanny and Seinfeld (I scored season 4 for just $7.99 last week!).

So far it’s a lot cheaper. The only problem is that at two movies a night, I’m going to run out of entertaining movies to watch. I think that number will probably decrease as the weeks go on though. We’ll call this the ‘adjustment period.’

My goal is to use this newfound free time to exercise regularly and practice my writing. I have a few books on my shelf that I’d like to use as more than decoration too.

I’m sure I’ll eventually hook up the DVR again, but I’m not missing it so far. We’ll see how long it is before I cave in.