Tag Archives: movies

Diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

First things first: Marvel Comics is doing some great things in terms of diversity in their books. Sam Wilson will soon be the new Captain America, Thor’s hammer will be passed to a woman who will take up the role of Thunderer/Protector of Midgard, and there’s a growing number of titles that focus on women and people of color: Black WidowCaptain Marvel, The Mighty AvengersElektraShe-HulkMs. MarvelAll-New Ghost Rider, etc.

And that’s great. The only problem is that this push for diversity seems to stop right before it reaches the doors of Marvel Studios. Sure, Black Widow has been kick-ass in Iron Man 2Avengers, and Captain American: The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier also gave us the aforementioned Sam Wilson. There’s also Sif, who was not only amazing in both Thor movies, but even crossed over to the small screen to appear in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, to date, all of Marvel’s movies have focused on a white dude or a collection of white dudes with maybe a woman (or raccoon or giant tree monster) thrown in for good measure.

So, what’s the problem? The folks at Marvel Studios has claimed that it’s a question of momentum. They have several plates spinning at once (another Thor movie, another Captain America movie, two more Avengers movies, not to mention the new Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), and they’re worried about breaking the pace of these franchises. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of see their point. But, I see a few golden opportunities on the horizon for, if nothing else, a movie for Black Panther and a movie for Captain Marvel.

Wakanda, Vibranium, and the Black Panther

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the following prop was on display at the Marvel booth–

Now, it’s unclear if Cap’s iconic shield is actually shattered during the events of Age of Ultron, or if it’s some kind of dream/nightmare/illusion. Captain America’s shield has been broken several times in the comics. Sometimes it’s repaired by Doctor Strange’s mystical know-how, sometimes it’s repaired by a cadre of Asgardian dwarfs, and sometimes it’s repaired by the advanced science of Wakanda. So, my hope is that Cap’s shield is broken and the post-credit scene of Avengers 2 involves Steve and Tony traveling to Wakanda in order to ask King T’Challa, who happens to be an old friend of Tony’s, to help them repair the shield. That would open the door for a Black Panther movie. Maybe the plot would involve a battle over Wakanda’s vibranium supply, hopefully including the villainous Ulysses Klaw or some new faction of Hydra or AIM.

The Kree, Mar-Vell, and Captain Marvel

This week’s Guardians of the Galaxy–which is amazing fun, by the way–introduces movie audiences to one of Marvel’s classic alien species, the Kree.

The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also included the corpse of something that’s clearly a member of the Kree race–

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So, the Kree have clearly been to Earth. Perhaps they are a continuing presence, lurking in the background. That means that undercover Kree agent, Mar-Vell, could easily appear in the upcoming season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

And, if the first season finale can include Nick Fury and Maria Hill, the second season finale can include the incident that transfers a portion of Mar-Vell’s Kree powers to kick-ass U.S. Air Force officer Carol Danvers and, BOOM!, a Captain Marvel movie.

Mark Ruffalo, Blood Transfusions, and Sensational Cousins

Everyone agrees that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner was the breakout character in Avengers. Since then, everyone has been itching for another solo Hulk movie. I say that’s a bad idea. Hulk is an expensive character to have as the lead in a movie, that’s why he usually doesn’t show up until the third act. Instead, I say use Ruffalo’s draw to open a She-Hulk movie. Banner visits his cousin Jennifer Walters, an up-and-coming lawyer in Washington, DC. When the opposition in Jennifer’s biggest case to date tries to kill her, only a blood transfusion from her cousin can save her life (and change it forever)–

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. A solo movie for Black Widow has been sort of promised. I’d pay to see a movie about Spider-Woman. Or a solo Sif movie. I’d also do horrible things to your loved ones if it got me a movie about Rikki Barnes and Eli Bradley. And, I know that Marvel may be doing this movie or may be casting that character, but it doesn’t count until I see footage.

Basically, all I’m saying is this: Get on this, Marvel Studios. It ain’t that hard.

It’s Okay, DC. I’m Here to Help.

Hey, DC. Look, I know you really want a shared cinematic universe like Marvel has. It’s obvious that you do. It’s just…well, you are really bad at it. Like, really, really bad at it. (You’re so bad at it that you had to take the word “Green” out of Green Arrow before you’d let it air on television!) But, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Just sit back, relax, and let me do the driving.

Oh, this will require some retconning…but, you’re DC, you do a retcon every other week.

We’ll start with a new Superman:

Superman: Man of Steel would kick off the DC cinematic universe. It wouldn’t be a full-on origin story. At most, recount the basic points of Superman’s origin over the opening credits (Doomed Planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Kindly Couple.). Man of Steel would focus on Superman’s first appearance in Metropolis. Who is he? What is he? The conflict would revolve around Intergang. The resolution would reveal that the villains were funded by Lex Luthor…who does not take kindly to this freak in long underwear messing up his plans.

Batman: Zero reason to bother theatergoers with ANOTHER origin. We know who Batman is. He’s out in Gotham, fighting crime, and actually doing science things on his own (Sorry, Lucius). The first movie ends with the introduction of young Dick Grayson.

Wonder Woman: Hippolyta is the Queen of the Amazons, but also the Themysciran ambassador to the UN. Princess Diana is the head of embassy security. Ares invades the embassy to use it as a portal back to Themyscira, where he will open the Gates of Tartarus and release the Titans to destroy the mortal world. Diana stops him, is rewarded with fancy new armor by the gods, and becomes Wonder Woman. (There’s a longer description here.)

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis: Arthur Curry hates the ocean. This is a bit of a problem when you live in a small Maine fishing community and you’re the adopted son of the owner of the town’s largest fishing company. When Arthur rescues a redheaded stranger calling herself Mera, he suddenly finds himself drawn to the sea. With Mera’s help, Arthur rediscovers his identity and reclaims his rightful place on the throne of Atlantis.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow: A group of LuthorCorp scientists are on an expedition to find a new power source. They come across shards of weird green crystals, while one of the team—Dr. Milton Fine—comes across something far more sinister. Back in Metropolis, Luthor discovers that this new source of power has an interesting effect on Superman and he initiates Project: Metallo. Man of Tomorrow is a standard villain team-up with Brainiac and Metallo.

Justice League: When aliens invade Earth, the planet’s mightiest superheroes come together to save the world. This isn’t going to be The Avengers. This isn’t Batman in his cave saying “Hmm, I need to form a team of heroes to stop this.” No. These folks are heroes. They know that when aliens invade Earth, you stop them. The team-up happens organically. With an audience that’s familiar with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, you’re free to add Green Lantern, Flash, and Martian Manhunter.

Batman and Robin: Jumps forward a bit. Bruce and Dick are the Caped Crusaders. Introduce Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

Birds of Prey: An interlude, of sorts. Batman and Robin make brief cameos in what is essentially the story of Barbara becoming Oracle and forming the Birds of Prey.

The Sensational Wonder Woman: Diana is still getting used to her position as ambassador. Rumors are spreading that Bialya is amassing troops along its borders. With its neighbors understandably concerned, the UN tries to intercede, only to be stopped at every turn by an increasingly aggressive Bialya ambassador. When Wonder Woman and Donna Troy investigate, they learn that the ruler of Bialya has come under the influence of a sociopathic dwarf calling himself Doctor Psycho.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights: With increasing alien activity in Sector 2814,the Guardians decide that there needs to be a greater Green Lantern presence in the sector. They task Hal Jordan with training two new Lanterns from Earth: Guy Gardner and John Stewart. Jordan has his hands full with the rookie Lanterns, a situation that only gets worse when Sinestro, the greatest Lantern of all time, goes rogue and sets his sights on Earth.

Superman: Last Son of Krypton would be the movie that looks at Clark’s alien heritage. You’ve had two movies to showcase Superman’s ties to, and love of, Earth. This is the one where Zod shows up and tries to ruin it all. How does Zod show up if Krypton was destroyed? A flashback shows us how Zod and his followers were placed in suspended animation and set adrift in space. When Krypton explodes, the prison ship gets caught in the shockwave and eventually ends up in our solar system. (This is where you can establish Power Girl. Superman is able to convince one of Zod’s followers that the Earth needs protecting and she decides to fight with Superman instead of against him.)

Batman: Gotham Knights: Dick has quit and become Nightwing. Batman has a new Robin, Tim Drake. Introduce Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl. From here, you can pretty much do anything you want in Gotham City: a Nightwing movie, a solo Robin or Batgirl movie, introduce Batwoman, a Birds of Prey sequel.

You can, hopefully, take it from there, DC. It’s not that hard. In fact, I’d say that the DC heroes are more suitable to an ever-expanding cinematic universe than the Marvel heroes are. You have legacy heroes, sidekick after sidekick, the possibilities are endless. Introduce Wonder Girl in the third Wonder Woman movie and Aqualad in an Aquaman sequel and, BOOM! Teen Titans. Make a movie where Green Arrow is more than just Shirtless Murder Batman. Introduce Supergirl and Superboy. Bring the JSA out of retirement.  Make an emotional Flash trilogy that gives us the death of Barry, Wally’s decision to become the new Flash, and the introduction of a new Kid Flash.

Oh, and on the television side of things: Batman: Gotham Central and Superman: The Daily Planet. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.

 

2012: The Year In…

Usually, I write up a bunch of Top 10 lists to end the year. Unfortunately, as some of you may know, I had a bit of a meteorological problem a few months back and lost all of the notes I had been keeping regarding my year in entertainment. So, instead of four separate Top 10 lists, I’m just going to give you all one post where I info-dump everything I can recall about what I liked this year.

BOOKS:

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

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There’s a reason the haunted/otherworldly traveling circus/carnival has been used as a setting for stories more times than I can remember. That reason is: It works! Morgenstern’s novel revolves around the doomed love between the apprentices of two feuding sorcerers; however, for me, the best parts were about the goings-on at the Night Circus itself, particularly the story of circus-born twins Poppet and Widget.

Cold Days, by Jim Butcher

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Here’s the deal: Jim Butcher releases a Harry Dresden novel and it goes on the Best of list for that year. End of story. I feel about this series the way a lot of people feel about the Harry Potter series.

The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan

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I really do love the kids from Camp Half-Blood. I’ve been amazed at Riordan’s ability to weave genuine Greek myth into a modern setting since The Lightning Thief, but the mythology geek in me was blown away by the way he’s decided to address the whole Greek god/Roman god quandary.

Phoenix Rising, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

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Phoenix Rising is the first book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. The best way I can explain it is to compare it to that episode of Warehouse 13 where we got a glimpse of what it was like when H.G. worked as a Warehouse agent in Victorian England. Eliza Braun is a dynamite-loving, armored corset-wearing Ministry field agent who finds herself saddled with a new partner: the prim and proper archivist Wellington Books. Needless to say, there are steampunk-fueled shenanigans aplenty.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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I’m always wary of anything that’s held up as “OMG Like Totally The New Bible of Geek Culture!!!!!111!!!1!!” Nine times out of ten, I can see the oily, pandering fingerprints of someone’s marketing department all over them. This is not the case with Ready Player One. A joy from start to finish, RP1 never felt like it was just trying to cash in on “geek culture” with a few carefully placed references to Star Wars or video games–other than a rather obvious “OMG HE KNOWS WHAT THE INTERNET IS!!!!!” reference to Wil Wheaton.

TELEVISION:

Gravity Falls (Disney Channel)

I’m not really sure what to say about Gravity Falls. I will say that, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best thing to come from the Disney Channel since Kim Possible. It’s also leagues better than anything I’ve been able to find on Cartoon Network in a long time.

The Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon)

The Legend of Korra is as different from The Last Airbender as a show could possibly be. Set in the generation following A:TLA, Korra focuses on the new Avatar, a waterbender named Korra. Aang’s world was a world of feudal states, kings, and farmers; Korra’s world is a world of industry, airships, and steam power. The animation has matured, becoming less stylized than the designs used in TLA, and the writing has matured, as well, presenting a darker storyline than that of the original series. Bring on the second season!

Bunheads (ABC Family)

Let’s face it, you are never going to recreate the adorable charm and whimsy of Gilmore Girls. Not gonna happen. But, with Bunheads, Amy Sherman-Palladino returns to what made GG so good, a town full of maniacs. Riding a Northern Exposure-like wave, Bunheads replaces a New York doctor with a Vegas showgirl, and small-town Alaska with small-town California. Yes, Sutton Foster’s Michelle is a cynical, slightly edgier version of Lorelai Gilmore, but you fall in love with her just the same. And, if your heart doesn’t melt when shy, awkward Boo finally dances with Carl–to “Rainbow Connection”, at that!–then you have no soul.

***

Finally, I’d like to take this time to thank the creators, cast, and crew of Leverage for five seasons of pulp goodness. This was a show that pushed every single button I have, sometimes at the same time. Never has it felt like a group of people sat down and decided to make something solely for my enjoyment. Thank you. All of you. Thank you.

MOVIES:

Avengers

I paid to see this movie in the theater three times. I have never done that before and probably won’t do it again. (Okay, maybe I’ll do it for Avengers 2…only time will tell.) The point is: this is the movie I have been waiting for since the night I saw X-Men.

Skyfall

I’ve not been a big fan of the Daniel Craig Era of James Bond; I miss the camp-fueled insanity of Classic Bond. Skyfall did a good job of taking a lot of the tropes from the older Bond movies and either incorporating them wholesale (could Javier Bardem’s villain be any more like Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill?) or, at least, tipping its hat to them. I’m a tad annoyed that the new Q looks like a background character from Portlandia or Flight of the Conchords…but, the new Moneypenny? Yes. More of the new Moneypenny, please.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A lot of people are all cranky about making one book into three movies. As someone who can read, I realize that so much shit happens between the lines in that book that you could probably turn The Hobbit into a six-season series HBO. Also, and this is the heart of the matter, Peter Jackson can make a Middle-earth movie every year until he dies and I will pay money to see that shit. Why? Because they are just so damned pretty.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom manages to be like every other Wes Anderson movie ever made and unlike every other Wes Anderson movie ever made. Visually, musically, verbally, Moonrise Kingdom uses all of the standard Anderson tropes. But, where it differs from–and, I’d argue, surpasses–Anderson’s other movies is innocence. Moonrise Kingdom is his most innocent film to date. It’s utterly charming, without resorting to the usual undercurrent of snark, dysfunction, and melancholia that you usually find in a Wes Anderson movie.

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods is what it must have been like to be inside Joss Whedon’s brain while he was creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Brave

Brave was the most fun that I’ve had in a Pixar movie since The Incredibles. I’m glad that the good folks at Pixar are still able to make a movie that doesn’t reduce grown men to blubbering, emotionally-destroyed shells of their former selves (I’m lookin’ at you, Up). Bows! Gingers! Scots! This movie had it all.

COMICS:

Daredevil

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I’ve always liked Daredevil. I’ve also always been confused as to why the only kind of Daredevil books that sell are ones that follow Frank Miller’s Watchmen-ization of the character. Daredevil is a guy who jumped from rooftop to rooftop in bright red and yellow tights. Grim and broody he is not. And that is why I want to thank Mark Waid. Yes, Matt Murdock’s life has been absolute shit for the last few years, but he realizes if he doesn’t lighten up, he’s gonna wake up one day and swallow a bullet. Mark Waid is responsible for making Daredevil a swashbuckler again and we should all send him a muffin basket.

Captain Marvel

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I can’t gush enough about this book. I love Carol Danvers. I loved her when she was Ms. Marvel and, if it’s possible, I love her even more since she was “promoted” to Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick can do no wrong (as far as I’m concerned, Marvel Comics is just KSD and Mark Waid in a tiny room with some artists, cranking out comics).

Indestructible Hulk

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Just like he did with Daredevil, Mark Waid offers up a Hulk concept that’s so simple it should have occurred to someone ages ago. Bruce Banner, annoyed that Tony Stark and Reed Richards get all the credit for using their big brains to make the world a better place, agrees to work for SHIELD. He will invent amazing shit for them every day and, if he ever needs to blow off some steam, SHIELD tells him where to aim the Hulk. Simple. Amazing.

Avengers Assemble

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Avengers Assemble is a no strings attached title for folks who just want to see the Avengers being superheroes. It started as an obvious tie-in to the Avengers movie (the team consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye), but has since found a nice balance between being in and out of continuity at the same time–the characters behave like their standard Marvel Universe counterparts, but the stories seem to take place without regard to what is happening in the other Avengers titles. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only Avengers title Marvel needs. While I’m sending Waid that muffin basket, I should order a second one for Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Dungeons & Dragons

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John Rogers, the co-creator of TV’s Leverage, shows that a group of competent, bickering characters can work in any genre.

The Sixth Gun

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The other day, it occurred to me that The Sixth Gun is, basically, the western equivalent of Hellboy. The mythology that Cullen Bunn is creating around the six eldritch revolvers and the various characters hellbent on acquiring them is as layered and complex as anything that Mike Mignola has come up with. Gunslingers. Zombies. Wendigos. Voodoo spirits. Secret Societies. Golems. Mummies. If you want it, it’s probably in an issue of The Sixth Gun.

Let’s Cast…JUSTICE LEAGUE

Look, it was inevitable. As soon as Marvel’s Avengers made ALL THE MONEY, it was only a matter of time before DC announced that they, too, would be bringing their premiere super team to the big screen. At one point (say, about a decade ago, when DC had first started working on a Justice League movie), I would have entertained the notion of a JLA movie with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the other big guns of the DC Universe. Frankly, by now, I’m sort of sick of Hollywood’s interpretation of these characters.

No. I say go another way. I say draw on the characters from Justice League International.

Picture it: Ted Kord has given up heroics, planning on spending the rest of his days making Kord Industries the leader in advanced technology. One night, a shipment of prototypes from KI is intercepted while passing through a lonely section of Texas. Teenager Jaime Reyes, seeing the accident, stops to help, only to inadvertently become the new Blue Beetle. Kord calls his old friends (Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, and Vixen), as well as younger heroes Fire, Ice, and the Atom, to help track down those responsible for the theft and to help mentor Reyes. Using his vast resources, Kord decides to fund this collection of heroes. This…Justice League.

Starring:

Joe Morton as Ted Kord/Blue Beetle II

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Every week on Eureka, Joe Morton brings the right mix of humor, warmth, and intelligence that I’d want to see in Ted Kord.

Chris Pine as Michael Jon Carter/Booster Gold

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You need a certain charm, a certain swagger to play the disgraced athlete from the future who traveled back in time to make a name for himself as a hero. I think Pine has that in spades. I’d cast Will Arnett as the voice of Booster’s robot sidekick, Skeets. Just because.

Freema Agyeman as Mari Jiwe McCabe/Vixen

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include Vixen…but, then I thought: Freema! And, if you don’t need more Freema in your life, then you’re doing something wrong.

Chris Pratt as Guy Gardner/Green Lantern

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Guy Gardner is a lug. He’s kind of a jerk, but he’s not really a bad guy. Pratt has that kinda jerky and immature thing down, but you know he’ll have your back when you need him. He’s our “Guy.”

Alexa Vega as Beatriz Bonilla da Costa/Fire

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I remember Vega from the Spy Kids movies. It would be nice to see her in something again.

Evanna Lynch as Tora Olafsdotter/Ice

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There’s something otherworldly about Lynch. I could totally see her as a Norwegian tinker who occasionally cuddles with seals.

Archie Kao as Ryan Choi/The Atom

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Kao has kicked butt as a Power Ranger and gotten his science on as a member of CSI Classic’s merry band of lab monkeys. That’s good enough for me.

Tyler Posey as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle III

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From what I’ve seen of Posey in Teen Wolf, he’s pretty believable as a shy teenager dealing with a secret identity. I’d happily let him suit up as the new Blue Beetle.

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Barsoom.

Full disclosure: I had no intention of seeing John Carter in the theater, and I certainly had no intention of seeing it on opening night. But, a friend was all “What are you doing Friday?” and I was all “Nothing, what’s up?” and she was all “Wanna see John Carter?” and I was all “Yeah, okay. Why not?” Long story short (too late): I’m glad I did.

I’m a fan of a pulpy space opera–whether it’s Star WarsFlash Gordon, or Farscape (all of which owe their existence, in one way or another, to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom series)–and John Carter delivers a pretty pulpy and splendidly spacey opera. The movie captures the very essence of pulp fiction: a thrilling, action-packed adventure.

I’m a fan of prosthetics, animatronics, and various and sundry other practical effects, so I was worried that the CG effects would be overwhelming, like the opening space battle in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; however, they whelmed just the right amount, like pretty much every second of The Lord of the Rings. Of course, like Tolkien’s epic, I don’t think you could have done Burroughs’s story justice without computer effects.

John Carter–like the novels on which it is based–combines aspects of sci-fi, fantasy, romance (in the classic sense) and westerns. Like the novels, John Carter is a frame story, introducing us to Carter through his “nephew” Edgar Rice Burroughs, who inherits Carter’s journal upon the titular character’s death. I imagine this might strike some audience members as being a bit twee, but you have to remember it was a common literary device at the time–for example, The Shadow stories were said to be factual accounts “told to” Maxwell Grant by the Shadow.

John Carter of Virginia was a cavalryman in the Civil War; when hostilities came to an end, Carter headed west with a desire to find his fortune and live out the rest of his life in peace. Events conspire, shenanigans occur, and Carter finds himself on Mars…which, coincidentally, resembles the United States that he just left–there are two warring Red Martian city-states vying for dominance, while tribes of nomadic Green Martians control the wilderness. If you’ve ever seen a western, you know that the one man who wants to be left alone is the guy who’ll end up right in the middle of things when shit goes down. There’s also a princess, who’s a scientist and pretty good with a sword (okay, you don’t often get that in a western).

John Carter has everything: action, laughs, the aforementioned sword-wielding scientist princess, Taylor Kitsch in a loincloth reenacting the scene in Return of the Jedi when Leia escapes from Jabba the Hutt and blows up his sail barge. Basically, I’m already looking forward to the day John Carter comes out on DVD.

(True story: the only problem I had with the movie was finding out that the voice of Tal Hajus was Thomas Haden Church and not Lance Henriksen.)

Top 10 Movies of 2011

I always say that I don’t really go to the movies that often… But, I actually managed to see seven of these in the theater. As for the remainder: Thank you, Netflix.

1. Paul

After seeing Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I expected Paul to be more of the same. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be less of an homage to–or pastiche of–an alien encounter story and much more akin to a stoner road trip movie. Pegg and Frost can truly do no wrong.

2. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

So, there’s this parallel universe where Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen fight zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Dylan Dog seemingly came and went in about a day, which is too bad because it was a lot of fun. And, after seeing this, I could see Brandon Routh playing Harry Dresden.

3. X-Men: First Class

An X-Men movie where the X-Men actually fight evil…amazing! I’m willing to forgive Magneto’s whiny mommy issues and the fact that Xavier continues to be inexplicably British.

4. Bridesmaids

An example of how not to market a movie. Every piece of promotional material for Bridesmaids compared it to The Hangover, a movie I have less than no desire to see. Thankfully, I listened to the opinions of people I actually trust and I was rewarded with a movie that is perfect on so many levels.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

Cap was always the one Avenger that I found to be next to impossible to cast. But, man, does Chris Evans capture him perfectly. This movie gets Captain America; it gets that, no matter how strong or fast he is, it’s the man that Steve Rogers was before that makes Cap who he is.

6. Page Eight

A tense, British spy thriller starring Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz. Any one of those things would make this a movie I wanted to see. All of them together? Score.

7. Thor

Not the best of Marvel’s 2011 offerings (sorry, that honor goes to Cap), but Thor was a ton of fun with a lot of heart. I could have done without a lot of the political shenanigans on Asgard and with a lot more Darcy…but, what can you do?

8. Super 8

I grew up on movies like Goonies, Flight of the Navigator, and Explorers. Super 8 recaptured the spirit of those movies and several others.

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Do I even have to explain? I’ll watch all eight movies in a row just to see the last fifteen minutes of Deathly Hallows 2.

10. The Muppets

I saw more than one review that called The Muppets “fan fiction.” I think that’s just a term used by people who think they’re too cool to admit to liking something. This movie was a love letter to a group of characters that we’ve all grown up watching. Deal with it. Also: I’m pretty sure this is what it’s like in Jason Segel’s head 24/7.

I Would Control the Horizontal. I Would Control the Vertical.

I just found out that Winona Ryder will be TCM’s Guest Programmer on December 21. That got me thinking–as these things often do–what movies would I choose to air if, by some miracle, I became famous enough for TCM to bestow such an honor upon me? Would I pick four movies from a particular genre? How about four movies that shared a similar theme?

Here’s the problem I encountered: I like a lot of movies. A lot. What can I say? I just like things. I’m a liker. I could easily come up with a list of ten or twenty “classic” movies that I’d want to show. So, in the end, I just picked the first four* movies that popped into my head.

1. His Girl Friday (1940)

Intelligent, forthright, and tough: there is nothing better in this world than a Hawksian woman. And, when I think of that particular archetype, I think Hildy Johnson.

2. The Thin Man (1934)

I love this movie. So much. William Powell and Myrna Loy are brilliant. All I want out of life is a banter-filled marriage like Nick and Nora’s.

3. Animal Crackers (1930)

Of course I would have to include a Marx Brothers movie. But, which one? Asking me to pick a favorite Marx movie is like asking someone else to pick a favorite child. So, I just went with the first one I ever saw.

4. The Invisible Man (1933)

My favorite H.G. Wells novel and my favorite Universal horror movie. Keep your Avatars and your Jar-Jars, the effects in this movie are still amazing.

*: In order to fill an entire night’s schedule, most TCM Guest Programmers choose four movies, unless one of them is particularly epic in length.