News Ticker

Articles by Derek Austin Johnson

MOVIE REVIEW: Kick-Ass (2010)

Well, why not? As Dave Livewski (Aaron Johnson) muses with his friends in the too hip Atomic Comics shop with his friends at the beginning of Kick-Ass, with all of the superhero comics available, with comic book heroes finding themselves in hundred-million-dollar features every major movie season and developing a cachet of cool that, frankly, did not exist when I filled Dave Livewski's shoes more than twenty-five years ago (hell, I pretty much was Dave Livewski in high school), why hasn't somebody just put on a costume and become a superhero? His friends Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters) lay it out easily: superpowers don't exist, and heroes without powers, like Batman, need enormous amounts of capital. (There's also the fact that comic book readers tend to understand that what they are reading is in fact fantasy.) But it doesn't stop Dave from ordering a green and yellow wetsuit online and deciding to become the hero Kick-Ass. [...]

April 19, 2010 // 4 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Clash of the Titans (2010)

...when I heard that Warner Bros. was remaking Clash of the Titans, I had no qualms. In fact, I wished it well. Granted, it might lack Harryhausen's monsters, but could conceivably make up for any lack with energy and fun. Seating Louis Leterrier in the director's chair only enhanced the movie's standing; after all, he brought 2008's The Incredible Hulk to something almost resembling life, so I assumed he would bring an eye for action and a sense of pace to the remake. Hell, I told myself, if it leaves out Bubo, the mechanical owl from the original, then it already would be ahead of the game. [...]

April 3, 2010 // 15 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Repo Men (2010)

Upon seeing Repo Men, I drove to a nearby Barnes and Noble and purchased a copy of The Repossession Mambo, the novel by Eric Garcia on which this futuristic thriller from director Miguel Sapochnik is based. My decision to buy the novel had nothing to do with the movie's quality. Or, rather, it did, and that's part of the problem. The movie presented ideas that were likely handled in the novel with exactly the finesse, skill and gallows wit that its adaptation lacked. [...]

March 19, 2010 // 5 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

It shouldn't have been this way. Given the cast involved, given the director's knack for the grotesque and the surreal, to say nothing of the source material, this Alice in Wonderland should have been a marvel, a milestone in the development of fantasy cinema. After all, the logical games and off-the-wall situations presented by Lewis Carroll in both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There parallel much of the nonsense language and narrative dissociation one sometimes feels living in this first decade of the twenty-first century. It is also, in a way, the movie Tim Burton has been preparing to make since Frankenweenie. Whether or not his movies have taken place in Pee Wee's Playhouse or Gotham City, whether or not he has followed such characters as Edward Scissorhands or Sweeny Todd, he has always taken his audience to some zip code deep in his own Wonderland. [...]

March 15, 2010 // 4 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Shutter Island, Directed by Martin Scorcese (2010)

At first glance, Shutter Island would seem an odd movie to review for a science fiction site. It opens as a noir thriller, with homage to such movies as Out of the Past, In a Lonely Place and The Big Combo, and is set in 1954, at a time when the House Un-American Activities Committee whipped up anti-Communist paranoia. However, little screen time elapses before one realizes that the noir elements in fact share space with three other genres: Gothic, haunted house story and existential horror movie, with twists and reversals reaching frantic levels as it spin towards its climax. [...]

February 23, 2010 // 5 Comments

1 4 5 6