Homecoming Scream!: Is Comic Book Movie Fatigue Setting In?!

Tell me, do you despair? You will… 

SPIDER-MAN AGAIN: Why?! How about Spider-Woman? After sex, the female spider EATS the male - who wouldn't pay good money to go watch THAT?!
SPIDER-MAN AGAIN: Why?! How about Spider-Woman? After sex, the female spider EATS the male – who wouldn’t pay good money to go watch THAT?!

“I’m not overly fond of what follows…” – Loki. 

Of all that’s sacred! Another one?! 

Still reeling with dismay from the announcement that the umpteenth Spider-Man movie is forging (or should that be spinning?) ahead, it’s even been given the title: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now this is quite possibly the lamest tag EVER concocted; what a pun – alluding to Peter Parker’s high-school frolics as well as “coming home” to Marvel after enjoying box office success in the hands of Sony.  

Ahem, is there anyone celebrating this news?

Sure, the original Spider-Man movie with Tobey McGuire was an enjoyable outing. Good to see Sam Raimi on top of his game, but Willem Defoe as the Green Goblin stole the show and rightly so. When the inevitable Spider-Man II came out, it looked okay, but made me realise that there is more to life than sitting through sequels. By the time No. 3 came along, there was no incentive to go watch; many agreed – in fact, a universal arachnophobia had set in. And then for some ludicrous reason – which STILL  thwarts my investigative journalistic powers – with the dust barely settled on this non-starter, we were subjected to: the reboot. This time it was The Amazing Spider-Man. The obligatory Stan Lee cameo happened to be the only amazing aspect of this forgettable movie.

Sorry, Spidey, but Ant-Man was always more intriguing. Even when only seven years old – and in the prime of his comic-collecting duties – yours truly could never accept the Webslinger’s red and blue costume. Nah, Ant-Man had a cool helmet, and the ability to shrink to ant-size really appealed, especially as a viewing of Jack Arnold’s classic: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) at around that time had thrilled my infant mind beyond measure. 

But press me on the issue (hypothetically of course) of an Ant-Man franchise and yours truly would have to respectfully decline. Don’t get me wrong, last year’s Ant-Man movie was like a dream come true, but, bearing in mind the wonders that can be achieved now with modern sfx, the exploits of the tiniest Avenger really don’t suit the big screen.

PANDA-BOY BEGINS!: What?! Neither DC nor Marvel publish a book called Panda-Boy?! Honestly, if you wanna job done properly...
PANDA-BOY BEGINS!: What?! Neither DC nor Marvel publish a book called Panda-Boy?! Honestly, if you wanna job done well…

“Never rub another man’s rhubarb” – The Joker.  

Initially, the prospect of a Suicide Sguad movie did not instill too much confidence in me. So we’ve never heard of them before, but such was the case with Guardians of the Galaxy, and look what an awesome bundle of fun that turned out to be…

The astonishing success of Deadpool in February showed that cinema-goers want something different… something fresh. Hell yeah, Sguad is so fresh, it’s got the Fresh Prince playing Deadshot who, admittedly, is the only member of this mental mob of misfits one can identify from the comics. It is difficult to tell whether this will be a smash or a mere cult hit – talk so far has centred mainly, (worryingly), on the music used in the trailers, rather than the sort of action on offer.

The big news is that this pic will feature an exhilarating new version of the Dark Knight’s archnemesis: the Joker, played -with tattooes?! – by Jared Leto. Personally, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime seemed so fantastic and fearsome, that any subsequent portrayal would seem misguided.

If, however, that is Leto in the Panda-Boy disguise in the above pic, then sure – what the hell! – let’s have a butchers… 

In Squad We Trust? 

We can find out if these bad’uns do good from 5 August. 

SEARCH & DISTRAUGHT: Argo-Man scours the blogosphere in vain for any favourable reviews...
SEARCH & DISTRAUGHT: Argo-Man scours the blogosphere in vain for any favourable reviews…

“Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The Bat is dead, buried. Consider this mercy…” – Superman.

So, most critics and bloggers unanimously agree that DC’s initial entry of their own Cinematic Universe is just a Dawn of Just Ass. Honestly, how can a movie featuring the two most iconic superheroes EVER turn out to be SUCH a phenomenal FAIL?!

Believe me, as someone who collected both Superman and Batman comics as a kid, the thought of seeing them finally spar against each other in one epic blockbuster was overwhelming to say the least! (Given the choice who to root for, it would be very difficult for me to pick a side). Unfortunately, we read the somewhat underwhelming reactions from reviewers and bloggers alike…

One of the few warmly-received aspects of Batman v Superman (or BS for short) was Ben Affleck’s seemingly definitive portrayal of the Dark Knight. Fans are rejoicing at the prospect of another solo Batflick written/directed by Benaffleck – the very same fans who, incidentally, were cursing the casting director when news of Dawn of Justice broke…

If this is the Dawn we’ve all been waiting for, a lie-in has never seemed a sweeter option. And if this “dark and gritty” approach is what we should expect when the DC Cinematic Universe expands, then all does not bode well for a Justice League movie. As a Brit, Brad finds himself rooting instead for the imminent Captain America movie (a character he’ll never tire of watching!) – where’s the Justice in that?

Civil War (released on 6 May!) is shaping up to be another cracker, but personally, the build-up has been marred with a tad too much speculation as to whether – uh-huh, him again – Spidey would make an appearance… in the latest trailer…  

Couldn’t care less? You bet…

Ooh, but Brad! Did ya see that cool thing Spidey did with his eyes?

Yeah… so what?

My attention falls instead on Black Panther. His appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about time and would be most welcome. And a standalone Black Panther movie? Sure: a previously unseen character, and an exploration of diversity – why not? 

But PLEASE – for the love of cake – DON’T give us ANOTHER Spider-Man cameo!!

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“Are we done here?” – Steve Rogers. 

Be sure to join me next time for more cynical banter an’ japes! Same Brad time, same Brad channel. 

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Fear The Walking Brad!: Another Monday Morning…

When There’s No More Inspiration Left In The Tank, The Brad Will Walk The Line. 

DawnoftheDead3

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.  

My name is Brad. 

My world is strife and rejection. 

Once I was an office-worker, a struggling go-getter searching for a righteous income. 

As the economy fell, each of us in our own way was made redundant.

It was hard to know who had the more cake: me…

Or everyone else…

Walk the Line: to maintain a fragile balance between one extreme and another. i.e.: good and evil, sanity and insanity, decency and decadence, etc.

Grief.

In this instance, it is the fine line between constant awesome copy and a heaving pile of uninspired bunk… and yours truly has stepped right into the latter. 

After juggling with numerous possible topics for this weekend’s latest Post – it soon became apparent that… none of these drafts made any sense(!), had relevance… or at least exhibited the brand of Brad-brilliance you have come to know and love!

Besides, with yet another boring and bothersome Monday around the corner for us, everyone – particularly the 9-to-5ers (and this freelancer included) – finds the thought of Monday mornings both tedious and abhorrent. As this infamous day dawns, that’s it: Brad’s heading off to the mall, uttering some lameass excuse that the nachoes have run out (…as if!)

Some kind of instinct, they reckon. Memory of what he used to do. This was an important place in his life… 

Admittedly, on this particular Monday, there is ZERO inspiration left in my tank. Nada. Zilch. Rien. Nichts. But that’s much ado about nothing; it’s best to go for a stroll. Going out now with (hopefully) joyful springs in me stride:

“You can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man. 

No time to talk…” 

WRITE TO SURVIVE!: Blow procrastination and writer's block to Hell!
WRITE TO SURVIVE!: Blow procrastination and writer’s block to Hell!

“Rejection slips, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul – if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them” – Isaac Asimov.  

Never give up!

That’s what my mind keeps yelling at me most mornings, as the will to rise and search for new markets to infiltrate becomes steadily less appealing. Oh yeah, as if doing that blog on spare auto parts for a measly fistful of satang is worth the bother! Sure, that rent has got to be paid, but… Come! ON!  

For me, the most annoying aspect of getting rejected – both fiction and non-fiction projects – is realising that they got my name wrong. This invariably causes mild spasms of madness, especially after having been so careful to get the current Editor’s name correct. 

No matter how soul-destroying rejections are when they do pop into your inbox, you can take comfort in the fact that they happen to the best of us. 

Did you see that JK Rowling put rejection slips she’d received from publishers on her Twitter feed last week?

To “encourage aspiring authors not to give up after receiving rejections,” these rejections were for: The Cuckoo’s Calling, recently written under the pseudonym: Robert Galbraith; the publishers were unaware that it was Rowling’s work! One of the letters went so far as to advise her to take up a writing course…  

Amazing how blunt some rejections can be. Renowned British SF author: JG Ballard was told by one publisher: “The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.” 

Another fellow Brit was informed by the San Francisco Examiner: “You just don’t know how to use the English language.”

His name? Rudyard Kipling…(!)

Even rejections get rejected! The most amusing response came from Winston Churchill: 

“Dear Sir, 

I am in the smallest room in the house. I have your letter before me.

Soon it will be behind me…” 

writers-block

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” – Benjamin Franklin.  

We budding SF authors could do with some respect. 

And watch your step.

We can destroy whole planets before breakfast, and have fomented rebellion in the Outer Rim territories before you’ve ordered your mid-morning coffee. 

At least the resurgence in my fiction-writing has alleviated the listlessness caused by the current lack of editorial responses from potential markets. Again, my meticulously-crafted fiction goes unnoticed while some bloggers upload a trailer that anyone could put up and scores 30 Likes: jeez… 

But what about that fiendish archnemesis: Writer’s Block?

Fortunately for me, ideas and promising passages perpetually sway around my seemingly energetic noddle – formulated, ironically, during my daily strolls (although, these days, one wishes most of those ideas weren’t so crap).

Making time and energy to write is imperative. Finding the right location from which to energise that mad swirl of ideas also helps. Regularly changing your base of operations is advisable – keeps the standard of writing fresh. Luckily, we have a spare bedroom already converted into my office. From this spacious base, the counterattack against the advancing army of bills is planned and launched most days. 

“Fool!” said my muse to me.

“Look in thy heart, and write.”

twd_610

“Lonely inside our separate skins, we cannot know each other’s pain, and must bear our own in solitude. For my part, I have found that walking soothes it” – Alan Moore. 

Get out! 

Every now and then, more like. That’s the general consensus of advice columns in writing magazines/newsletters when it comes to the mental as well as physical health of your average scribe. Quite frankly, right now, this scribe feels decidedly below average. Smarting after the lacklustre response to a few recent Posts, a Review is in order.

It doesn’t do too good to be stuck constantly at your desk.

Get up!

Move around. Well, here in the office only -can’t go out. It’s the height of the hot season, and the searing heat right now is lulling me into a stupefying daze.

It’s hard to believe, but- hey, hey, HEY! What’s this?! FINALLY! A new e-mail in my Inbox!

Get in!

Open it up…!

“Dear Mr. Radley, We regret to inform you that…” 

evildead1

 “For God’s sake, how do you stop it?!” – Ash. 

COMING SOON: The Light At The End Of The Fridge (and not a moment too soon).

Darkest Before Dawn: Distortions In The Bradmosphere

How Did It Come To This…? 

helmet

There now ensued a series of incidents which transported me to the opposite extremes of ecstasy and horror; incidents which I tremble to recall and dare not seek to interpret” – H. P. Lovecraft. 

What a difference a day makes…

The news hit us, as abrupt and painful as a punch to the face. Hell, for although we live in a heavenly spot on the other side of the word, life, at the mo, is FAR from cosy. 

Much as mentions of the lovely Mrs. B always graces these Posts, here is not the time or place to elucidate the nature of our present ordeals. Certainly, there are plenty of bloggers who reveal all their problems and suchlike – thus inadvertently making for some rather uncomfortable reading – but this one doesn’t do that. Besides, that would be a gross betrayal of trust. Strictly not my style. 

Surely you must have felt this at some point: when terrible news/events happen to us, we just can’t concentrate on writing (or any other pursuit that brings us creative pleasure).

Is Brad right? Or is he right?

So, soz for not blogging sooner. But you know, like…. distractions… 

Just a few days ago, we had intended to go catch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (while it was still available in our area, with “Original English Sondtack”). But the overwhelming verdict that it is an incoherent mess made us stall on the way to the mall. Moreover, it’s described as “dark and gritty”… heck, life – for us – IS dark and gritty right now anyway. Why go pay for what we are already experiencing?!

The biggest opening weekend in March ever – surely those “super(?)heroes” can survive without my satang…. 

Who knows what tomorrow brings?

“The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day.”

indy-sad-raiders-scene

“That depends on how reasonable we’re all willing to be. All I want is the girl” – Indiana Jones. 

Yeah. “All I want is the girl.” 

Too. DAMN! Right… 

My girl.

Having flown back the ten thousand miles or so to the “Land Of Smiles” and spend what meagre time can be mustered from now on, those forever lurking “unforeseen circumstances” that are “beyond our control” have separated us once again.

Kismet blows in our faces. Once again… 

Considering all those fundamental conundrums: how did life on Earth begin? And why? Are we really alone in the Universe? These – and other brain-addling mysteries – seek to confound us, but there will always be something that really bothers me: 

Why is it that after a lifetime of striving to do what is right, and continually amassing bad fortune, the despicable ne’er-do-wells of this planet carry on unscathed…?  

And you know, when they ask what superpower you would like to have, my reply is instant, not to mention heartfelt: to make my girl happy. Every day. And save her from the torment that lies ahead… 

All this amazing talent and vocabulary at my command, yet no amount of awards or enlightenment can sear past the stress and offer me the best words to soothe and comfort the closest and most important people in my life…

It’s like yours truly wholeheartedly threw the idol so many times. Too many times. 

And in return, those devious rats NEVER had any intention of throwing back that whip… 

andromeda-galaxy-astronaut-art

“I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite” – Scott Carey.

As long as one can remember, the night sky has held particular fascination. Swotting up on the names of star constellations was one of those great, indulgent childhood pursuits, and prevented me from becoming a trouble-making, window-breaking, obstreperous lil juve. 

In later years, one always loved escaping into the countryside, away from the light pollution of suburbia, and marveling at the sheer magnitude of stars, dotted against the blackness (provided it was a clear night sky).

Not surprisingly, it had a profound influence on my science fiction writing.

There are certainly dozens of pursuits in the cosmos this blogger would love to indulge in: fly blind on a Hawkman rocket-cycle; go snowboarding on Frigia… or Hoth; climb trees on Arboria; watch C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate; surf some gravitational waves; bullseye womprats in a T-16; or just chill with the Fremen on Arakis. 

Or how about tobogganing on Jakku? That’s a new one… 

asimov_foundation3

“The stars wheeled overhead, and every day was as long as a life age of the Earth… But it was not the end. I felt life in me again. I’ve been sent back until my task is done” – Gandalf The Grey. 

Chin up! Keep calm and carry on bounty hunting… 

Look on the bright side. Kinda unthinkable at the mo, but it should be done… always. 

Stuck on this Pale Blue Dot – for the time being at least – rather than dream about space, so they say, “create” space – be it emotional, physical or mental. Here in my space – my Bradmosphere – if you will, Meditation has played a major part in my psychological well-being thus far, and – based in Thailand where Theravada Buddhism is so engrained in the national culture – the setting is ideal to attain further knowledge of the dharma. Fortunately, my wife is Buddhist, so it is a blessing to learn from such a wonderful teacher. 

And to think once upon a time my original intention was to: “learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.”

Love plays such pleasant surprises… 

“Normal” – is there such a concept? – blogging schedule will resume shortly.

In the meantime, here is a snippet of the awesome soundscape accompanying me on tonight’s Mindfulness Meditation session. And to think the complete running time extends to 74 minutes(!)

Far out, man…