Month: December 2015

William Shakespeare. Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877, Barcelona Spain

Mothers, never let your children become playwrights…

At the start of every new year I make an effort to send off some plays to theatres and festivals across the world. This means once again stepping into the realm of madness, chicanery and anti-logic that is the global theatre scene. These are all (ALL!) real calls for submissions from actual theatres and theatre festivals and my reactions to them.
Read, and realise why you should raise your children to be accountants.
Wanted: Scripts that explore our obsessions with pop and sub-culture, and that use that obsession to say something about social equity and systems of oppression.
Would you like to save us both some time and just dictate the play you want me to write?
One-person shows – musical, tragedy, comedy, etc. $55 entry fee. $695 participation fee if selected. Playwright receives quarter of ticket sales.
You mean I only have to give you $750 dollars and if the show makes three thousand I’ll break even? SIGN ME UP!
Musicals only. Playwrights must produce. $25 fee.”
“Pay us $25 dollars and we’ll give you a hernia.”
Hard copy submissions only.
“Yes, we know everyone uses email now and that it’s cheaper and easier both for you and us. We don’t care. We hate trees. A tree killed our dad. We won’t stop until every last one of them is dead.”
Bold stories, writing that takes risks and plays that speak to a modern audience. No restriction on subject matter. UK based writers only.
Oh what, your “modern audiences” who want bold writing that takes risks with unrestricted subject matter can’t handle my foreignness?! COWARDS.
First-time and experienced playwrights are welcome. All theatrical genres accepted (including musicals). $10,000 prize.”
We are good, decent people who actually understand how this is supposed to work.

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American_tail_fievel_goes_west

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

Hey everybody. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and for all you other religions…um…good luck with whatever you got goin’ on right now. Keep on truckin’. Yes it’s the night before Christmas, and despite belonging to a species that traditionally is known for not stirring at this time of year,  I’ve decided to review…
"Mouse...Moooooouuuuuse..."

“Mouse…Moooooouuuuuse…”

“Jacob Marley?”

“Jacob Marley?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas carol thing. Sorry.”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas Carol thing. Sorry.”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

Right. So. Today’s movie is An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, a sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth. Now, “Sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth” is a sub-category of film with a slightly lower degree of prestige and respect than “Uwe Boll video game adaptation” or “hobo snuff film” and this film’s reputation is not exactly sterling.
40! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

40%?! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

So, following the stunning success of An American Tail (which, I remind you, was a big freaking deal) Stephen Spielberg wanted a sequel to be the first production of his new animation studio, Amblimation. Bluth by this time was based in Ireland and was working on The Land Before Time with Sullivan Bluth so Spielberg had to bring in a new team of animators under the direction of Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells. Amblimation is a weird little footnote in the annals of American animation history, tapping out after only three films (this one, We’re Back and Balto). I haven’t seen Balto and I do NOT care for We’re Back...
IT DID.

IT DID.

…but I think Amblimation could have been a real contender under different circumstances. Why? Because, if nothing else, the animation in these movies was SMURGES. Let’s take a look.

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Movie Deathmatch Part 2: Blood everywhere

Gravity Falls

Goof movie

Steven universe

Pacific rim

Star Trek

Star Trek the Animated Series, Pacific Rim and A Goofy Movie have now all been killed. Would you like to know which of them were cowards? If you want the movies and TV series below to escape the same grisly fate, you know what you gotta do: head over to the Joanna VR Kickstarter  page, make a donation of five or ten and leave a comment to let me know who gets your vote of vote. And remember, for a vote of €25 or more you can request a review of any movie or tv show you like. The remaining fighters are:

Gargoyles

Gravity Falls

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Stephen Universe

Summer Wars

The Lego Movie

Voting closes 31 December when I will be putting up the winners. Thanks for all your support guys.

M Payoff 1sht

“That’s how Dad did it. That’s how America does it. And it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

Iron Man is one of the five most recognisable superheroes in the world today and that is goddamn insane.
From pretty much the early forties to the turn of the millennium there were only two comic book characters that everyone knew, even if they’d never picked up a comic in their lives and that was the two DC icons; Batman and Superman. And despite the fact that Marvel’s actual comics had consistently outsold DC’s for most of their history, no one Marvel character had ever managed to achieve that kind of cultural purchase with maybe the possible exception of Spider-man. And if you were to pick a character that would upend that status quo and be the first Marvel hero to achieve that kind of instant, iconic, worldwide recognition…you probably wouldn’t pick Iron Man.
Here’s the thing, for most of its existence, the Avengers was not the cool kids’ table at Marvel. The Avengers comic book was a support network for characters who needed exposure and whose solo titles weren’t doing so hot (if they even had their own books). Know why Spider-man and Wolverine didn’t join the Avengers until 2005? Because their books were selling just fine thank you very much. So the fact that Iron Man is a founding member of the Avengers and has been with the team for almost its entire history should tell you a lot. This guy was kind of a B-lister, with more than his fair share of knocks from the bad story stick.
We do not speak of teen Tony.

We do not speak of teen Tony.

So how did this character go from perennial also-ran to the most recognised face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Sit down and I’ll learn ya.
The initial idea for Iron Man was Stan Lee’s because he is a massive, massive troll and we love him for it.
See, it was the sixties and Stan knew that most of his readers were college kids who hated the military and capitalism and bathing so he thought it would be an interesting challenge to sell them on a character that embodied all those traits.
iron man 160 b

He’s a capitalist arms-dealer in the shower. Can you handle that, hippies?

I don’t think this was really a political thing (Stan seems to be a fairly middle of the road Democrat) but simply came from Stan’s unwavering ability to find niches that hadn’t been filled yet. The great Jack Kirby did the cover and so created the character’s first visual design, and then the actual first issue that Iron Man appeared in was written by Stan’s brother Larry Lieber and drawn by Don Heck. Iron Man therefore had four daddies, which probably explains why he’s trying to form a gay polyamorous harem with Steve Rogers, Rhodey and Sam Wilson in every second piece of fan fiction featuring the character.
So why was this character chosen to launch Marvel’s massively ambitious experiment in inter-movie continuity porn? Basically, he got it by default.
By the mid 2000s Marvel had sold the movie rights to most of their major properties and were starting to feel like they were getting screwed. Sony had the rights to Spider-man, Fox had X-Men, Daredevil and Fantastic Four which combined represented a huge swathe of some of Marvels’ most iconic heroes, villains and supporting characters. When the time came for Marvel to set up their own movie studio they realised they were basically left with the Avengers who, at the time at least, were very much second stringers. It was deemed that the time was not right for another Captain America movie (too soon, we needed time to heal) and the corpse of Ang Lee’s Hulk was still warm. That left…Thor? Well, Thor’s great and all but…
Thor
Yeah, so they went with Iron Man. How did it turn out? Weeeelllllll it was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, completed Robert Downey Junior’s journey from washed up recovering drug addict to A-list superstar and created the future in which we now live. But does it hold up as a movie? Let’s take a look.

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MOVIE DEATHMATCH- THE FIRST TO FALL…

Swat Kats

Turtles

Gargoyles

Darkwing

And so the first round comes to an end the way they always do, with senseless, awful, awful violence (maniacal cackle).

So? Fan of DarkWing Duck? Lover of Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles (the cartoon I mean, not actual reptiles)? Friend and well-wisher of SwatKats?

My condolences. They are with God, now.

Our surviving fighters are:

Gargoyles

A Goofy Movie

Gravity Falls

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Pacific Rim

Star Trek

Stephen Universe

Summer Wars

The Lego Movie

If you want one of these movies or series to survive to fight another day, head over to the Joanna VR Kickstarter  page, make a donation of five or ten and leave a comment to let me know who gets your vote of vote. And remember, for a vote of €25 or more you can request a review of any movie or tv show you like.