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Shell on Earth!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Directed by: Jonathan Liebsman

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fitchner, Tohoro Masamune, and for some reason Whoopi Goldberg.

Plot: Genetically mutated turtles trained in the martial arts battle Shredder and his army who are terrorizing New York. Just like they did in the 80’s comic book. And the 80’s animated series. And the 90’s live action film series. And the 90’s live action TV series. And the second animated series. And the CGI animated movie in 2007. And the third animated series.

Rating: PG-13 for martial arts violence and the near death of a friggin talking CG rat.

Unless you’re a bear living in the pacific northwest for the past thirty years (and congratulations to you – most Grizzlies don’t live past 25) you’ve probably heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

These “heroes in a half shell” have been fighting bad guys and scarfing pizza for generations of fans on TV and in movies. Plus, the turtles have had their names slapped on tons of merchandise over the years. including toys, videogames, bed sheets:

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and breakfast cereal!

 Nothing says “you’re famous” like a sugar loaded cereal with pizza shaped marshmallows!

Their first live action movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was a huge hit with fans. The two sequels that followed were moderate successes, which is amazing considering one of the films featured an appearance by everybody’s least favorite 1990’s white man – Vanilla Ice.

Pictured: The beginning of the end.

Pictured: The beginning of the end.

After a two decade break from the big screen, the TMNT returned big time in the big budget action movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This reboot is produced by Transformers guru Michael Bay, so it’s chockfull of explosions, destruction of property, slow motion explosions and slow motion destruction of property. Oh, and our teenage turtles (along with Master Splinter are now computer generated which makes them look even more freakish even for creatures that live in a New York City Sewer.

TV reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox, who looks about as Irish as a San Genaro festival) is looking for a great story that will make her top dog at her station, but her bosses want her to keep doing fluff stories while everyone else reports on the dangerous Foot Clan, an armed gang that has been looting and terrorizing New York City. Against the advice of her lunkheaded cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett, who really needs to start saying no to a script or two), April strikes out on her own to track down this powerful crime organization.

While observing a Foot Clan robbery at the docks, April sees a quartet of ninja warriors take out the Clan and foil he robbery. A few days later the same mysterious group lays a smackdown on a squad of Foot Clan soldiers who took hostages in a subway station. Intrepid April learns the identities of the four vigilantes who have the courage to stand up to the evil Foot Clan: They’re the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

and great googamoogle are they scary looking!

April befriends the freakish ninjas and learns from their Master Splinter that they were part of a lab experiment run by (surprise!) April’s late Father and his partner Eric Sack (William Fitchner) to test a miracle mutagen that would cure all diseases, even that toe fungus thing that makes your feet all gross.

A lab fire destroyed the research lab and killed April’s father, but young April rescued a lab rat and four tiny turtles and set them loose in the sewer, where they mutated into giant walking talking creatures who know ninjitsu and bicker like any other loveable sitcom family!

But Sachs, now an evil billionaire is hell-bent on making more evil billions by capturing the turtles and using their blood to make an antidote for a virus he’s about to unleash on the unsuspecting citizens of New York City!

Oh, did I mention that Sachs is in cahoots with Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), the maniacal  leader of the Foot Clan? He is. I told you – Sachs is evil!

TMNT as I said before, is loaded with plenty of action, violence, and mayhem, which can be expected from a Michael Bay production. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you enjoy Michael Bay’s movies. I happen to enjoy Bay’s movies as much as I enjoy a trip to the dentist for a long slow root canal while fighting a very bad stomach flu, but your love of the Bayman might differ.

 But on a positive note, at the midway point of the movie there’s an extended chase down the side of a snow covered mountain that answers a question I’ve been pondering for two decades: can the shell of a mutant ninja turtle crush a Humvee?

The answer is yes. I can move on with my life now.

 

 

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Movies based on Comic Books I want to Punch in the Face!

Okay show of hands, who loves movies based on comic books?

If you raised your hand, I thank you for playing along. You are a mensch.

If you didn’t, that’s okay. I guess you’re too cool to humor an old man who has so little in life. Who also may be coming down with a cold. I hope you’re happy.

Anyway, in a few days another installment of one of the greatest comic book movie franchises ever: Iron Man 3 will hit the multiplexes.  Throw in a brand new Superman movie (Man Of Steel) and another movie starring everyone’s favorite X Man Wolverine (The Wolverine) and the summer of 2013 is chock full of exciting superhero films that will make hardcore fans and casual movie goers across the world jump for joy.

But as we all know, in the world of movies, they all can’t be gems. For every blockbuster, there’s a box office bomb. For every hit, there is a dud. For every Dark Knight, there is a Ghost Rider. And a Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. What I’m trying to say, is the Ghost Rider movies sucked on toast. But they are (sadly) not alone. There have been many cringe worthy comic book films over the last few decades, movies that I would gladly give a sock to the chops if they were standing right in front of me and had a face I could sock. Let’s take a look at a few of these sockable films:

CatwomanCATWOMAN (2004)

On paper, Catwoman had three things any red blooded comic book fan would want in a movie: 1) Halle Berry. 2) Halle Berry dressed like a Pussycat Doll. And 3) Halle Berry dressed like a Pussycat Doll and carrying a whip. But amazingly those things couldn’t prevent this movie from dropping the ball of string big time. Not even Sharon Stone’s triumphant return from oblivion to play the diabolical villainess Laurel Hedare could save this turkey. Good thing Miss Berry still had her Storm costume in the closet.

the-spirit-20090409053906137-000THE SPIRIT  (2008)

“My city screams,” the masked crime fighter known as The Spirit says at the beginning of the film. I know how the city feels. I started screaming about ten minutes into this movie and didn’t stop until the DVD was ripped from the DVD player and crushed onto a fine powder thanks to dozens of blows from a ball peen hammer. Awful, awful movie. You know what? Two punches in the face for The Spirit! My blog, my rules.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990)

Think Captain America’s first big screen appearance was the 2011 blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger? WRONG!!! Sorry, I’m still a bit angry about The Spirit. Jeez, what a terrible movie. Anyway, Cap’s first big screen adventure was way back in 1990, when Captain America barely hit the theaters. See, a few decades ago the movie rights to a lot of superhero characters were pretty much up for grabs to anyone who felt like making a comic book movie, so the guys behind the Cannon movie empire produced this low budget cheapfest. How cheap was it? It was filmed in Yugoslavia!  Cap’s headpiece featured plastic ears! It was filmed in  Yugoslavia! Comic book fans should have known not to expect a lot from a movie prodced by the guy who brought you the break dancing sagas Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. 

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JONAH HEX (2010)

Jonah Hex is basically Ghost Rider with horses, which means this movie also sucks on toast, but with horses. This supernatural western dud co-stars former Transformers  hottie Megan Fox, who has had so much plastic surgery she’s starting to look like Kira the Gelfling from The Dark Crystal:

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Am I right? It’s weird, huh?

And finally:

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DAREDEVIL (2003)

Ben Affleck in a red leather gimp suit. Ew.