Thursday, April 14, 2011

HOP movie review

I’ve been anticipating a movie about the Easter Bunny for over a year now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m some Easter enthusiast. I don’t go on daily egg hunts while stroking my strap on ears and fluffy cottontail. Okay, well, fine, I do all that, but I wasn’t looking forward to the movie because of the whole bunny thing. I’ve been anticipating this movie as much as probably every candy loving kid in the world because of the creative team. Brian Lynch co-wrote the screenplay. I love Brian Lynch. For those who don’t know of him, he wrote perhaps my favorite comic book of all time, Angel: After the Fall. In his various Spike spin-off series, he took the character to places that even creator Joss Whedon hadn’t. His creator owned stuff, such as the brilliant comic Everybody’s Dead and the always entertaining Angry Naked Pat, is every bit as good as his work on Angel. In short, his writing kicks ass in a way that is hilarious, emotional, and wholly original. Pair that with Russell Brand (one of the most brilliant comedians and actors of our time) starring as the friggin’ Easter Bunny (well, kind of; we’ll get to that), and you’ve got something worth getting excited about.

So. After a long, long wait, I found myself sitting in a theater next to my girlfriend, surrounded by what was either a clan of midgets on a popcorn high or a gaggle of excited children. Besides a few tired looking parents, we were the only people in the room who didn't actually believe in the Easter Bunny. Normally, we try to avoid situations that promise to include such a large amount of children, but for “Hop,” I’d stick it out. And man. Man man man. It was very worth it. It was even worth dealing with that one kid with the light up sneakers—which is saying a lot. It’s unfortunate that there weren’t more adults, because while the simple storyline and colorful eye candy (ATTACK OF THE TERRIBLE PUN!) is enough to keep the kiddies staring at the screen all oogly eyed, the script is dripping with that trademark Lynch snark that made me love his work in the first place. Russell Brand, who is known for his fluid, improvised humor, seems to have found his match in Lynch. I can’t count the times that I laughed out loud; I was making the children look like well-behaved little gentlethings.

The plot is simple. EB, son of the Easter Bunny, wants to play drums; his dad has other, decidedly more festive plans for him. EB is destined to be Easter Bunny. It’s just the way things are. However, in an appropriately punk rock move, EB flees Easter Island and heads toward his new home: the Playboy Mansion.

Despite EB's reasoning (he describes himself as a “sexy bunny,” and he heard that the Mansion houses that sort), he isn’t given admittance. He ends up with Fred (James Marsden), who is going through a struggle of his own. Fred is a bit of a slacker and his parents are more than a bit disappointed. The film then tells the wonky story of how Fred learns about responsibility through EB and ends up becoming the first human Easter Bunny. While I was a little dubious about the premise, the execution is nothing short of brilliant, as the script, for the most part, avoids cliché like an apt Frogger player avoids incoming cars. The only issue I took with the film was the interaction between the Fred and his father; their relationship seemed forced, both in the conflict and the resolution. Toward the end, when Fred’s father discovers that his son has become the Easter Bunny, his reaction is instant pride, instead of the sort of holy-shit-my-son-is-actually-the-Easter-Bunny. It’s a small moment toward the end of the film, and it serves to only slightly cheesify what is essentially the perfect family film.

It’s been Number One for two weeks in a row, so if you haven’t seen it yet… go and give HOP a third week on top. It’s a rare flick that little kids, teenagers, and even skeptical parents can enjoy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Writing for Angel - A Dream Come True

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have always been my favorite TV shows. Well... actually, scratch that. They're my favorite stories. The TV shows, the comic books, and the characters are parts of my every day life. To me, those characters are as real to me as any of my closest friends. I love them very, very dearly, the way that only an geeky fanboy can.

So I'm pretty pumped that IDW Publishing has given me the chance to write for these characters.

A short ANGEL story that I wrote is going to appear in IDW's final Angel book, Angel: Yearbook. You can order it right here or request it at your local comic shop. It should hit shelves May 18th. It's going to be a great book, featuring the best of the best Angel writers and artists, such as Brian Lynch, Stephen Mooney, Scott Tipton, Peter David, Chris Ryall, Elena Casagrande, David Messina, Franco Urru, and more. Even if I weren't in the book, I'd urge you nerdlings to pick the thing up, because just look at who is in it.

I can't say enough about how it felt to write for characters I've been obsessed with since I was eleven (I'm a lot older). I'll probably write a really long, gushy blog about it eventually, but for now, I'll just say that it was a blast to play in Joss Whedon and IDW's sandbox. It's the best sandbox in the park.

I've got some other cool stuff coming up too, so be sure to keep on following this blog!

NEXT POST: A review of Brian Lynch's HOP. Go see the flick so we can chat about it!

FRAY: Man, this is a Whedony post. Read my new article on Joss Whedon's FRAY. Pop Matters published it, and they're pretty damn shiny.

POP MATTERS: Keep the site bookmarked, because I have an ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL article popping up there (HAH! I mean, what?) next week. Also, it seems that I'll be doing a non-Whedon related weekly comic book article on the site.

SECRET PROJECT: I've got a few of these. Some comic booky, some just pitchy (as in, I have no idea if they will let me write, but I damn sure hope so), and some filmish. All coming up faster than you or I can believe. For now, please become a fan of the short film that I wrote, The Sucker. Katie Carman is directing it, and considering that she fucking made EAT ME, I'm exceedingly lucky to have her on board.

BUFFYVERSE COMIC REVIEWS: I'm getting ready to close out my old blog with some in depth, retrospective articles. Oh, and an interview with the one and only Brian Lynch. Read about it here.

Thanks! Funnier, less self-centered stuff coming soon. Well... alright, fine, funnier stuff coming soon!