Sunday, May 31, 2009

Planet Griffin's Top Ten Movies That Move On Paper: Comics Undreamt Of ! Pt.2


Yes yes, y'all! PLANET GRIFFIN has returned to the countdown feeling like Casey Kasem! And now, continuing with our top 10 list of movies that would make irresistable comics, on to the countdown---

Number 9. RYUHEI KITAMURA'S VERSUS!

Coming from the old school of John Carpenter and Sam Raimi, Ryuhei Kitamura burst onto the scene like gangbusters with this hybrid action/horror film that utilizes high impact visuals without any CGI, only low budget means, proving that imagination and good storytelling can beat the digital bento box ( i.e., computer) every time!

Anyways, this is the story of escaped prisoner KSC2-303, running for his life deep into what he will soon learn is the 'Forest of Ressurrection'--- a strange place that he swears that he's been to before... Of course, he's not alone in that thought. The gangsters that're tearing through the underbrush trying to kill him feel the exact same way. And then the zombies come. And then the time displacement comes. You know it's gonna be a long day.




This one would sit HIGH in the pantheon of must-see comic tales because its just flat out FUN! As an artist, every frame is laid out for you, giving you the challenge of re-creating it terms of speed, style, and clarity. To a writer--- the number of directions you can go with is unparalleled! C'mon... Zombies! Kung Fu! Swordplay! Gun Fu! Magic! Gangsters! Time travel!
Tell me where you can ACTUALLY go wrong with this one?!

Planet Griffin's Top Ten Movies That Move On Paper: Comics Undreamt Of ! Pt.1

Fellow NEXT 100 man Samax Amen from GhettoManga and I held a brief twitter discussion not too long ago detailing a project he's working on called '100 Movies That Should Be Made Into Comics'. Now, those who know me knows that I am a cinephile like NO other, so when he offered an invite into the subject, it became an offer that I couldn't refuse! Toiling away deep into the bowels of PLANET GRIFFIN LABS, it didn't take long to come up with a HUGE list of ideas to draw from ( a whole 5 minutes to boot! ). From this list, I've narrowed it down to 10--- But it's a 10 you would never expect
( Well, knowing me, you might)--- Let's generate some excitement, shall we...?

The DEAD OR ALIVE trilogy from the legendary Japanese Shockmeister himself, TAKASHI MIIKE--- A violent whirlwind of celluloid (and I mean just that--- the 5 minute opening of the first film alone will leave you exhausted! ), booming in deafening stereo starring V-cinema superstars RIKI TAKEUCHI and SHOW AIKAWA. Miike gives us not one, but THREE VARIATIONS of a tale revolving around two badasses--- the irresistable force meets the immoveable object--- caught in a seemingly eternal good versus evil battle to determine once and for all

who is the master! Miike himself admits to attempting ' A V-cinema version of Michael Mann's HEAT ( In Japan, V-cinema is Video, or B movie here ) --- crammed into a 3 week shoot! DEAD OR ALIVE is a kick ass high involving AIKAWA (always pictured on the right) as a Major Crimes Detective relentlessly dogging the heels of Master Criminal RIKI ( Big haired and scowling on the left ), attempting to take over Japan's vice rackets by any and all means... By the end, you find that NO ONE is spared between these two, and then there's that ending... I can't spoil it here, but you'll definitely find yourself caught in a serious 'WTF' moment, as your craving actually outpaces your high, leaving you wanting MORE! A true comic come to life!


DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS continues the rivalry, only at a slower pace as the two men are 'reincarnated' as hitmen on opposite sides of the same contract--- only to find out later that they are in fact old classmates from back in the daze, as well as targets from a mob that seeks to
make them dead... But are they actually alive to begin with...?!

Which brings us to DEAD OR ALIVE FINAL, which hurls us into an odd apocalyptic future--- this time, AIKAWA is a self aware replicant-on-the-run (yes, I said that right), being doggedly pursued by Cock-of-the-Copwalk detective RIKI! It's all kind of kung-fu and gun-fu in this somewhat hodge-podge of a final film that finally give you a DEFINITIVE finish between these two (again, I won't spoil the ending to those who haven't seen it--- the only hint you've got is in the poster).

To a creator, this is a world undreamed of! The idea of mutliple storylines like these are nothing new ( Hong Kong's INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy serves as example), especially in comics--- but then again, most mainstream houses wouldn't dare touch such material in the manner that's presented here... ( Unless it's followed by Vertigo or MAX, and even then, they would balk before trying ) In independent hands with a little rewrite, you literally have the keys to a kingdom that's STILL ahead of its time!

PLANET GRIFFIN is only getting started, folks! Next up--- Number 9!



Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fierce preview and NEXT 100 moments

PLANET GRIFFIN here to share just a little more FIERCE CREATURES preview work... Just enough until you can get the complete graphic novel edition into your sweaty little palms!

Con season is upon us once again--- HEROES CON is coming up Father's Day weekend, and yours truly, the Infamous RODBUDDAH, will be there! I'll be moving silently among you, with plenty of FIERCE drama to go 'round (the good kind, I assure you!) So those of you among the NEXT 100 and population at large who plan to go, I can't wait to see you there! I plan to have alot of fun for this one, so I expect the energy to be high and the talent to be awesome!


"... Even with a full plate, We stay hungry. We are a threat to the fat cat and those who keep you blind. Seething, watching, and grinding true, We fully intend to conquer, contend, and get some. Our time has now become undeniable to those who tried to build the walls to keep us out--- to those people, we say thank you, because you have provided the fuel in which we burn them down...

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are THE NEXT 100!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

THE NEXT 100: The Bulletproof Future of ASARU MUSHAVU





PLANET GRIFFIN
returns with the start of 'Get Right Summer', and I can't think of anything better than to kick it off with a hot new NEXT 100! The first time I caught sight of this cat's work was through the 'Deviant of the Day' section posted on GHETTOMANGA ( A true NEXT 100 affiliate whose blog world is something PLANET GRIFFIN aspires to be one day.) ... After checking out Asaru's Deviant Art site, I knew that this guy's style is undeniable! 'God put me here to create' is a tagline he definitely lives up to judging from the Neo-noir urban future world he's currently building. Asaru is currently at work on his upcoming website 'Ill-Art.com' as a vehicle for a future webcomic series known as TEFLON--- a tough-as-nails sister samurai that PLANET GRIFFIN and a host of others are anxiously awaiting! Trust and believe when I say that the emergence of this chick and the world she inhabits will EASILY become the hot talk of the industry upon it's inception! Go check out ASARU-75's gallery on DeviantArt.com and tell'em PLANET GRIFFIN sent ya!

PLANET GRIFFIN is proud to recognize ASARU MUSHAVU as member of the NEXT 100!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Criminal Minded: MYRON MACKLIN'S ZOO ACT Unveiled as The Toughest Game in Town!





























Once again, PLANET GRIFFIN has survived another holiday weekend and is back in the captain's chair to continue on with that phrase that's running through the indie underground like wildfire right now... THE NEXT 100!
Many of you know that when I first began the NEXT 100, the first designer I profiled was MYRON MACKLIN of the infamous ARTNINJA STUDIO in Charlotte N.C.--- Those of you who whizzed through any of the FIERCE CREATURES preview pages (scroll down... Thank you) also know that 'Mack' is responsible for the ace color design that you see ( a process that I affectionately call 'ImMACKulate Conception').

What many people are now discovering is that he is also producing a graphic novel --- and I'll be the first to say this if he won't--- if his color work on FIERCE CREATURES is the test cut of his sword, I guarantee that his seminal feature, THE ZOO ACT, will lop your head clean off in one fell swing!

Myron has successfully produced a lean and mean contender in the crime fiction fight game, not only sure to capture crime fiction comic fans, but fans of crime writers like LAWRENCE BLOCK, DASHIELL HAMMETT, and ELMORE LEONARD--- Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is THAT good!--- and when you combine it with Myron's art style ( A visual shorthand that effectively wastes no space while maximizing the storytelling--- no small feat there, folks), you have got a surefire winner that inspires while it entertains! Of course, while you wait for the new series to drop, go check out this guy's design website, ARTNINJA.COM, to see just how good he is!

PLANET GRIFFIN proudly recognizes MYRON MACKLIN as a member of the NEXT 100!

A Fierce Moment Pt. 3

A Fierce Moment Pt.2

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"The First Of Fight Club Is... "




JIM UHLS
is the screenwriting mastermind behind one of the most subversive pieces of literature out there: Chuck Palaniuk's FIGHT CLUB! Anyone who has read the book can attest that between page and screen, this is, without fail, one of the BEST adaptations out there! This is dangerous material, but oh, how life is measured by the risks we take... Jim takes a minute to share a couple of tricks of the trade of writing and how he sold it without pitching it to the studios--- I am Jack's complete lack of surprise...

PLANET GRIFFIN invites you to take a minute to break the first rule of FIGHT CLUB with us!
If this your first night of Fight Club, you have to fight

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something To Hold In Front Of Your Lobe...

Here's a little something to never lose sight of...

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ' I love you ' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don't send this to at least 8 people......Who cares?

-George Carlin

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Than Elementary: The Return Of The Original (Dark) Detective


One of the most highly anticipated films to be unveiled at ShoWest last month, the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law suspense-actioner SHERLOCK HOLMES take a radical departure from the daze of the old prose to give us a Holmes who is more of a streetfighting rascal detective and a Watson who comes off as a master thief rather than a bumbling teddy bear. The biggest surprise to the audience is that the film is directed by none other than ROCK N' ROLLA director, GUY RITCHIE--- with such a big buzz from ShoWest, Guy looks set to get his come-uppance from those who may have looked down on his plans of a ROCK N' ROLLA trilogy.

Set for a tentative opening on Christmas day, PLANET GRIFFIN will be there on the front row to celebrate the christmas cheer!

Remake as a life function: THE MECHANIC



Back in 1972, Charles Bronson introduced the movie going public to Arthur Bishop, AKA THE MECHANIC, a dangerous hitman put in the odd position of training a young protege to continue his work, not realizing that his student was soon about to teach him a very dangerous lesson... But then again, what could Bishop expect training the son of one of his victims?

It appears that Hollywood is prepared to do it again as Jason Statham, hot off the heels of CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE, has signed on in the title role of Bronson's famous hitman. Simon West, who gave us the infamous CON AIR and the recent remake, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (which Hollywood could've kept to themselves), will start lensing the remake in Shreveport, LA. this summer near the currently constructed Nu Image/Millenium studio complex.

Seeing as how West and Statham have the greenlight to shoot a remake, it should be interesting to note that this project hasn't derailed (so far) ANOTHER MECHANIC project currently being developed by 'Mr. Expendable' himself: SYLVESTER STALLONE.


Heh... To Hollywood, the term 'remake' isn't even a word--- it's a life function.

The Lean, Mean, Two Fisted Machine: WORLD OF HURT



" That’s what it is."


The Grind continues here at PLANET GRIFFIN, and what a grind it has been! To my NEXT 100, I present an interesting little diversion which I stumbled upon during a surfing expedition that caught me by surprise. During the daze of the Grindhouse Era, nothing on film was more powerful (or exploitative) than the Blaxploitation genre of the 70's--- A genre that gave us Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and many other superstars of the era! Of course, in the realm of comics, many of us were relegated to Luke Cage or Black Panther as the paper equivalent. For Columbia S.C. resident JAY POTTS, it would seem that he's determined to make sure the genre lives on in his ongoing webcomic, THE WORLD OF HURT!

The webcomic--- published in strip form and bearing an unmistakable style akin to the likes of old school legends like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and Alex Toth--- focuses on the world of Isiah 'Pastor' Hurt, a street fixer ( a cool send up of one of my all time favorite flicks, TROUBLE MAN) who fixes problems that can't be solved by any other means! Potts views the WORLD OF HURT as a comic strip love letter to the Black action films of the 70's heyday, and adds that his focus is not the garishness or the sub-par values the genre was forced to deal with.

To Jay, the genre is bursting at the seams with "... An undeniable edge and raw energy..." A world with limitless storytelling potential... To this, I can obviously attest and agree. After reading and keeping up with the current storyline, 'The Thrill-Seekers', Jay is certainly living up to the edge and raw power with each installment!


PLANET GRIFFIN gives a big thumbs up to Jay Potts and The WORLD OF HURT Online! Support the site and tell'em that PLANET GRIFFIN and THE NEXT 100 sent ya!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Night Blog Double Feature Pt. 2 Nemesis





As PLANET GRIFFIN continues with tonight's blog double feature, and continuing the subject on the Action Hero Genre, we take a quick trip through the wayback machine to blow the dust off a B movie masterpiece that went largely unnoticed upon its initial straight to video release back in 1993, but is making a surprise resurgence back into the spotlight--- Ladies and Gentlemen, Albert Pyun's action classic, NEMESIS!

Originally created as a role for Jean Claude Van Damme (JCVD respectfully declined, mumbling something about shooting a movie with John Woo...), Action director Albert Pyun had to quickly find a replacement to appease the Straight to Video B Kings of the early 90's, Imperial Entertainment... Enter Kickboxing champion Olivier Gruner as the hybrid cyborg cop Alex Raines, out to stop a growing conspiracy where cyborgs will soon take over the world (a la' Terminator), and in his quest, discovers that sometimes it pays to be more than human.

This is what I refer to as a 'Perfect Midnight Beer Movie'--- Despite the wooden acting by many of the players involved ( including a hilarious gang leader played by North Carolina's own Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa , B genre king Tim Thomerson, and one of the final screen roles for 'Blade Runner' Brion James), this B movie love letter to the sci-fi/action genre is actually alot of fun! Director Pyun's hit (and sometimes miss) formula to the action scenes is what really makes this movie tick... And move!
Utilizing various tricks from master filmmakers Woo (for the gunplay) and Raimi (for the camera movements), Pyun wastes not one shot in attempting to maximize Gruner as a cyborg badass!
(Oh yeah, as you watch the film, you'll notice certain sequences that would later be lifted 10 years for another small action movie known as UNDERWORLD)

Don't get me wrong, Nemesis is hardly perfect by any means. The action is relentless, inventive, and fun ( which means that the film review blurbs on the VHS cover is dead on accurate) yes, but the biggest problem is Pyun's inability to tap into the character material and make any headway into the subject matter, which can make the story lag until the next action scene. Interestingly enough, the plot of the film is open-ended enough to take it in far better directions than it does. (If I could remake this as a comic adaptation, I would do it in a minute--- Hmmm...) In the hands of a great writer/director team, this would be an easy seat-filler in any movie house--- but until the remake, it easily earns the title of 'Late Nite Grindhouse'!

Check out the trailer above, then check out the opening 10 minute action sequence of the flick.
This concludes PLANET GRIFFIN's blog double feature for the evening ( you did remember to scroll down to Part Ones' EXPENDABLES preview, right??)--- Stay tuned for upcoming installments where anything and everything is possible !

Fridat Night Blog Double Feature Pt. 1: Old School. New School. One Master Class... The Expendables!





For better or for worse, 80's cinema gave us the Action Hero Genre, to which the rise of major A list players (Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis), to the B-movie champions (JCVD, Steven Seagal), and even the grindhouse legends
( Chuck Norris, Olivier Grunner, Dolph Lundgren...). The age of the "Biggest Bang for your buck" blockbuster dominated the cinemas until the advent of the 90's when CGI, 'standardized formula fare productions', and Hollywood's mining of foreign material left many of our Old School Heroes making room for the New School Upstarts waiting in the wings.

After a full decade of ups and downs in 21st century Hollywood, the founding fathers of the genre they helped establish are coming back one more time to remind us of what that genre truly is.

THE EXPENDABLES... a massive action film which revolves around a crew of freelance mercenaries who venture to South America on a do or die mission to take out a vicious dictator...
Simple premise ( a staple of the genre ), but once you see the cast list, simple flies right out the window!
Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Scharzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Brittany Murphy, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo and soon-to-be- announced surprises ( Stallone has campagined Van Damme AND Steven Seagal to be part of the show, but as of this writing, their was no confirmed words...) are currently shooting in and around Malayasia, and have recently dominated the Cannes Film Festival with more one sheet posters and banners than any other film production in Marseilles heralding their coming. Of course, for some the stars, this will be their last foray into the rock'em sock'em action genre ( writer/director Stallone looks pretty damn good at 62 years old! ), making this movie a bittersweet love letter to the genre they founded!

With a tentative release date of April 2010 (but don't be surprised if it comes gift wrapped for christmas), this movie will definitely make history--- either as the biggest action hit of the year, or the biggest disaster since Ishtar---
Nonetheless, I have firm plans to sit on the front row!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Vagabond Within Us All




Tonight, PLANET GRIFFIN continues the subject of the Mighty Japanese Manga market and its far reaching effects into the American subculture... The illustrators of the genre alone are considered legends, not only in their own backyard, but here in ours as well. From Godfathers like OTOMO (Akira) and IKEGAMI (Crying Freeman) to the upstarts like KISHIMOTO (Naruto) and OKAZAKI (Afro Samurai), these guys create magic pure and simple! And to top it off, despite that fact that each artist works with a 'ghost staff' of about 30+ people ( How else are they gonna grind out a 200/300 page book per week), the artist still manages to instill that same level of passion in their staff! (As far as people like PAUL POPE and FELIPE SMITH to take on that level of commitment over there, you gotta respect them for that! I'd like to see someone like Joe Quesada pull that off---)

One cat in particular that I simply can't get enough of is TAKEHIKO INOUE, who has become, without a doubt, one of THE most recognizable names in the business since SHIROW. Here's a guy who's working on 3 different volumes right now (Yes, volumes to them are like complete 6 issue mini-series ready for trade here)--- the sports manga's REAL and SLAM DUNK, and the ongoing historical epic of Miyomoto Musashi as VAGABOND--- the combined workload that sells almost 160+ million copies worldwide! I'm a Vagabond fanatic personally--- the recent VIZ BIG oversize series is a BIG HIT in my house ( I mean, where else can you find a 600 page manga for $20 bucks US, huh?!)

For those of you who haven't picked up a copy of VAGABOND, now is definitely the time because I can't recommend it strongly enough! For any artist, this series should appeal to the Vagabond in us all--- wandering the land, looking to become the strongest of them all--- or at least, never being satisfied until you realize your strongest potential!
I have no problem admitting that this guy's style inspires me to put even more effort into my work than ever before... But then, shouldn't we all?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kodansha as a noun and a verb


The manga phenomenon that is GHOST IN THE SHELL and its elusive creator, Masanori Ota
Better known to the world under his pen name, MASAMUNE SHIROW. Note the Dark Horse
label in the bottom right hand corner... It's the last time you'll see it there.

Comics, and the industry in general, seems to be in a state of flux right now... No one appears to be safe it seems ( Slave Labor gets a slap from Diamond, David Lapham actually loses a title, etc.)... The biggest thing I notice more regularly is the acquirement of licensed properties. If you open a Previews ( Diamond's premiere world domination catalog ) at any given page, you're going to find that from Devil's Due to You-Know-Who is shovelling out cash to outside media outlets in an effort to attract more readers or quell the bloodlusts of the cult fanboys who want to find out what happens next in G.I.Joe, Transformers, Star Wars, or--- God forbid--- Jason Vs. Freddy Vs. Ash... Either way you go, whether good day or bad, you still have to pay the price as you roll the dice on stuff like this.

Don't get me wrong--- if done right-- like Evil Dead by way of Brian Bolland or Nick Bradsher, or the upcoming Richard Stark adaptation 'The Hunter' by Darwyn Cooke--- licensed props can be that shot in the arm that we all need. If they're just done to be done, it's nothing more than a bullet in the head. But I digress...

Dark Horse, though not the first, practically pioneered the field in the way of licensed properties, thanks to marketing mastermind Mike Richardson. One of their more interesting purchases was the American rights to distribute the works of Japanese publishing powerhouse KODANSHA. Of course, with manga legends like Shirow and Otomo (once the rights of AKIRA passed from Marvel into Dark Horse's hands), selling like hotcakes was a no-brainer.

Well, it seems that particular era may be coming to an end. Dark Horse has confirmed that they will no longer publish and re-distribute such masterworks as Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, and Akira. That task will now revert back to Kodansha, who have already acquired office space in San Diego, California... Conveniently located within the heart of Comic Con country. Beginning as early as October of this year, Kodansha will retake the reigns of the aforementioned titles, with a HEAVY back catalogue of original titles behind them!

I personally think the turn around is fitting. Manga's true roots began with Tezuka trying to recreate the American Disney style, in the process refining it. Now, like Mickey Mouse as an iconic image, Manga is the most widely recognized artform in the world! With Kodansha renewing its hold on America, they will become the noun as well as the verb--- the driving force that bends comics to it's will!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Mother's Day Somewhere Out There...


Today, PLANET GRIFFIN calls attention to that most revered day on the calendar of May the 10th--- Mother's Day! So this goes out to all the mothers out there! Thank you for the days of staying home when we were sick (or just pretending so we can stay out of school) ...Thank you for cleaning our scrum-nasty clothes for all the days that we remained perpetually dirty from outside (Before the days of PS3's and XBox's and all the things that exemplify digital thump)... Thank you for being great listeners when we told you our problems... And MOSTLY... Thank you for simply being there when we felt like we didn't have a true friend in the world!

It's been said that the word 'Mother' is another word for 'God' on the lips and hearts of all little children... And for those of us who were so blessed to have one like that deserves our heartfelt thanks, more of our time, and a day off!

Today, this one is dedicated to my mother for all of these things.

Of course, she may kill me for posting her photo like this. That's another thing--- no matter how hard some of you might be out there, even you have enough sense not to cross Mama...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO MAMA'S ALL FROM PLANET GRIFFIN!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Return of the Hard Boiled Gumshoe: GIVE'EM HELL, MALONE!




Okay, boys and girls... Live from PLANET GRIFFIN, it's time for another look into the future of bad ass cinema! From Russell Mulcahy, the man who introduced us the 80's fantasy genre classic HIGHLANDER, returns in hard hitting form with a new movie that he describes as
"... The revitalization of great Pulp storytelling..." GIVE'EM HELL, MALONE!

Thomas Jane stars as the title character, a tough-as-nails private eye that's hot on the heels of a mysterious case that contains something that everyone around him is willing to kill for! Along with Ving Rhames and a variable smorgasbord of B genre greats, this movie is a definite must on my list of summer movies! What's really cool about this one is despite the fact that the film is set in real-time, the look and feel of the production has a real retro 80's vibe that pulls off the rare trick of recalling the greatness of old school without boring you with everything else that bogs it down (rivalled in much the same way as John Carpenter's movies). Add the case as a classic McGuffin (i.e, KISS ME DEADLY) and pure smashmouth dialogue a la Shane Black ( KISS KISS, BANG BANG and THE LAST BOY SCOUT), this is a genre flick that cannot miss!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NINJA ASSASSIN: Wachowski's Revenge?





Tonight on PLANET GRIFFIN, We'll be following up on a little film (by Hollywood standards, a film budget coming in for roughly $1 million ) directed by James McTiegue and produced by The Wachowski Brothers called NINJA ASSASSIN currently filming in Germany. Now, seeing as how rushed the movie capital is to milk whatever concepts they can find, this movie comes as no surprise to me. Rising Stars Alum Michael Stracynzski wrote the entire screenplay in a mere 53 hours! ( If the film is a hit, remember 53 hours, cuz' you WILL hear about it again and Michael's name WILL begin popping up everywhere---) This is a true comic book adaptation without said comic book.

The film centers around Raizo (played by Korean pop star Rain), a young street rat taken in by the mysterious Onozu clan; raised and trained in the arts of--- well. Eventually, the day arrives when young Raizo comes of age and must confront the very people that raised him. Pretty simple... Of course, in the hands of V for Vendetta veteran McTiegue, the action will be anything but. The tentative release date is around Thanksgiving of this year.

My take? Stylish visuals will naturally dominate this one. As long as no one ventures into Speed Racer territory (which was Rain's first film and the casting choice was based on this), it may stand a chance at being halfway decent. ( For anyone who wants a surefire bet? look for Ryuichi Kitamura's VERSUS--- if this movie can touch any part of that classic, I'll be first in line for the ticket!)