Monday Morning Critic – When Does Fiscal Politics Change Your Ticket Buying Tendencies For Cinema? The Craziness of Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson And Hercules

MMC

It wouldn’t be a proper cinematic year with a comic book adaptation if Alan Moore wasn’t mouthing off about how much you shouldn’t see a certain film about to be released. This week he’s down with trying to get Hercules, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s swords and sandals opus, out of the ticket buying minds of the handful of Steve Moore fans from seeing the cinematic adaptation of one of his works.

“I would also ask that anybody out there who gives a damn about Steve Moore or his legacy not go to see this wretched film,” he said to Bleeding Cool in the original interview. “It is the last thing that Steve would’ve wanted. And I cannot un-recommend it too highly or anybody involved in it.”

Alan Moore’s bone of contention: Steve Moore, who created the graphic novel (Hercules: The Thracian Wars), was like plenty of comic creators of a certain generation in that their creations have found themselves making a lot of money for everyone involved … except them. Basically Radical Comics pulled a Stan Lee and owned his work, not him, and will be profiting off it directly. They got the option fee for the graphic novel, not Steve Moore, who got all the fame and pseudo-intellectual screenplay credit but none of the money.

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It’s essentially being Stan Lee … but without actually profiting from it. Admittedly it’s not quite as pronounced, as Lee is pushed as the man who created everything Marvel when he mainly was the comic book equivalent of a sweatshop owner. Lee’s gotten all the credit a lot of other writers should’ve had over the years, of course, and in the big picture Lee has essentially gotten famous off the spoils of Marvel’s one-sided contracts with its talent.

This is why Alan Moore’s point intrigues me as a film fan. I’m not a comic guy, the bulk of my knowledge about the medium coming from playing Marvel Avengers Alliance on the Facebook, but Alan Moore has been a number of films that find their source material in the genre. Thus it’s why I, and many other film writers, pay attention when he yammers on about things. He’s a broken record at this point, as he never is saying anything positive, but he’s so influential that he becomes a story every time he opens his mouth.

He’s the man behind V for Vendetta, Watchmen and a number of others and those comic books/graphic novels changed the genre. They also influenced many films when released, as a number of films have cribbed from his intellectual properties before they were properly turned into films directly. Moore matters in the world of cinema to a certain degree; it’s not anywhere near his prominence in comic books but it is substantial enough that when he speaks people listen.

It brings up a valid point as far as I’m concerned. When does the generic thievery that has populated one industry affect my desire to purchase a ticket to a movie?

I remember writing about Ender’s Game last summer, about how Orson Scott Card’s personal politics influenced my decision on whether or not to see the film. I went and saw it, of course, as the overwhelming response I got was that it was acceptable to see it. And this is a very similar debate as far as I’m concerned.

Is it OK to see Steve Moore’s work knowing he, nor his family, are going to earn a dime from the box office revenue or the option rights from the film? That’s what I’m pondering this week from the man below.

Normally these kinds of things haven’t been an issue in the past because no one has made a huge stink of it until this point. It’s interesting to me because the entirety of comic books’ past is one where a lot of people made a lot of money by screwing a lot of people out of their work. I’m not sure what the current state of the industry for comic book types, obviously, and there hasn’t been this second wave where every kid has picked up comic books because of the films.

Mainly what has happened is that the genre has expanded in theatres without a similar expansion in actual comic book sales. It’s why doing stunts as a female Thor, or the Falcon becoming Captain America, are announced on “The View” these days. The comic book audience is strong but the casual fan, the one everyone is chasing, hasn’t bought comic books en masse like many thought they would following the explosion of the genre intro theatres.

Thus ticket sales and comic book sales aren’t nearly as related as one would think. Thus Moore is appealing to what ought to be a small but vocal part of the audience who should be plunking down their cash for the comic book adaptation starring a life size comic book hero. But should they, with the knowledge that the man who created this was profoundly hosed out of the sort of financial windfall that the publisher is getting for the film?

I don’t know. I probably will see it but I’m curious what others think. Let me know below and play nice.

Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq

I tackled Sex Tape, which was awful, but apparently The Purge sequel wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be per Travis.

I also wrote on Blood Ties, an American adaptation of a French film, on DVD.

And now on MMC … my loony bin is fine Benny Lava. Now all I need to do is fine Inside Ed, it seems.

If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

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This week’s DVD – Miami Vice

Looking to grab something out of my DVD bins for a good friend of mine, who wanted to see some French New Wave films, and ended up grabbing a whole bunch of films I hadn’t watched in a long time. None of them were on Netflix, either, thus an oldie but goodie wound up as this week’s film.

I reviewed this on DVD and in theatres almost a decade ago, wildly enough. I loved it back then but haven’t watched it in ages. Would it hold up? This week it’s time to step into Michael Mann’s adaptation of the TV show that he’s most identified with in Miami Vice.

Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are a pair of undercover narcotics officers for the Miami PD in the middle of a bust when something takes their attention away from the imminent bust. A confidential informant (John Hawkes) they gave up to the FBI has been found out. With the beginning of a deal to bring down a skinhead gang ruined, and a pair of FBI agents dead, they’re tasked by an FBI head (Ciarin Hinds) to infiltrate and found out what went wrong.

Nearly a decade later it still holds up, perhaps a little better than The Departed does, because it’s still an interesting drop in. I’ve always thought of the film as two acts, dropped into the middle of the second, as we never have a real introduction to anyone in the film. There isn’t a traditional opening act; we’re dropped right into the middle of the action. It’s an interesting choice by Michael Mann, to basically presume we’re going in knowing the basic conceit (that it’s about two undercover cops) without needing to establish the traditional first act.

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I still enjoyed the heck out of it and it’s still a first rate film. Highly recommended.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

The Fluffy Movie – Gabriel Iglesias is a big fat comedian in a stand-up comedy film.

Skip it – This guy looks like he does nothing but dad joke type humor and a quick YouTube search kind of confirms it.

And so it goes – Michael Douglas is a cuddlier Clint Eastwood, apparently. Kids aren’t supposed to get off his lawn. Apparently he seduces Diane Keaton too.

Skip It – This is a soft version of Gran Torino and let’s be fair: Michael Douglas doesn’t have angry old guy in him and this film looks like an angry old curmudgeon, not charming Michael Douglas, would work more effectively. Plus it’s counter programming that basically screams “HEY EVERYONE OVER 50 – PLEASE COME TO THE MOVIES PLEASE!”

Hercules (2014) – The Rock and Rat Hands combine to take 2014’s second take on the legendary Greek hero.

See it – Johnson is completely yoked for the role and this is his attempt at a Conan the Barbarian type of film. He would’ve been great in the remake of that film, which probably would’ve been a bit less date rapey with him instead of the kid from Baywatch.

Lucy – Someone injected Scarlett Johansson with wacky stuff and now she’s turning into the baddest weapon on the planet.

See it – Luc Besson is usually never dull when it comes to the films he produces.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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