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The Cynical Optimist – 21/4/10

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Kick Ass

Based on the comic series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., ”Kick-Ass” is the story of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), an average teenager who sets out to become a real-life superhero. As Kick-Ass, Dave soon meets fellow vigilantes Hit-Girl and Big Daddy who are on a mission to take down the crime boss Frank D’Amico.

David Chen at /Film accurately describes Kick-Ass as, “the logical culmination of the last decade of popular American cinema.” Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) has impeccably fused the styles of previous films and directors to create arguably the most entertaining and stylistic superhero flick to date (Hey, what’s with the plugging of /Film? We love ‘em and all, but this is Moviehole! – Ed).

”Kick-Ass” is a cinematic ”Voltron” of sorts – a mighty mechanized warrior made from the best bits and pieces of John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, the Wachowski brothers and Sam Raimi. The film masterfully combines elements from practically every popular film from the past decade, as Chen points out in his review.

Dave Lizewski doesn’t gain any super powers from a radioactive spider, though it’s obvious he’s the Peter Parker of Kick-Ass. He’s a genuine square – a loser with a high school crush who’s convinced he’s gay. Every time Lizewski or his alter ego takes the stage, we are intentionally made to relate him with Spider-Man. Even his neighborhood and cramped bedroom seem to be the exact trappings of Raimi’s 2002 film.

Big Daddy, played brilliantly by Nic Cage, is an eccentric mix of ’60s Adam West camp and the brooding brutality of Christian Bale’s Dark Knight. Even D’Amico’s thugs point out the resemblance to Batman. His sidekick, Hit-Girl, is a more sadistic Robin – complete with a cape and eye mask.

In the film’s first scene, a would-be superhero stands on the edge of a skyscraper, wings strapped to his back, ready to take flight and soar through the air. As the camera cranes overhead, a familiar song plays in the background. It’s John Williams’ iconic score from Richard Donner’s ”Superman”.
Vaughn seamlessly weaves all of these elements together to create a landscape in which real-life superheroes are imitating the modern day mythology of comic books. Even bits of dialogue from previous superhero film entries are used to bring the influence full circle.

“With no power comes no responsibility,” declares Lizewski’s Kick-Ass – again, cementing his position as the Spider-Man of this new wave of superheroes. Red Mist, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, steals a line from Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “Wait’ll they get a load of me!”

This weekend I went to my local comic shop, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, and was pleased to see empty slots on the shelves where Kick-Ass should have been. In fact, there wasn’t a single copy in the entire store.

It’s pretty obvious that, even if the film adaptation doesn’t break any box office records, at least people are checking out Millar and Romita’s inventive and inspired take on the superhero genre. It’s a shame the film has been marketed so poorly.

It’s films like ”Kick-Ass” and ”Watchmen” that are taking real risks and making interesting entries into the superhero genre – unfortunately it’s only the mainstream releases that seem to get any attention.A Spectacular, Consciousness-Altering Love

Lost 6.12

“There’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of Me.” – Gretchen Kemp

As Charlie Pace choked on the bag of heroin lodged in his throat, a vision was ignited within his mind and, for one brief moment, Charlie saw something real – he saw the truth. He saw a beautiful, rapturous woman with blond hair – a great love in another life.

It was love at first sight for Daniel Faraday, who spotted a gorgeous redhead on her lunch break at a museum. When he saw her, enjoying a chocolate bar on a stroll through the courtyard, it felt as though he already loved her – like he had loved her all his life.

Desmond Hume encountered his own spectacular, conscious-altering love when he touched Penelope Milton’s hand – a glimpse of a universe in which his soul was destined to be braided and bonded with Penny’s.

And then there’s Hugo Reyes who, upon touching Libby Smith’s lips, experienced flashes of another life – a world in which there was a plane crash and an island, and a love left unfulfilled.

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is Love.” — Sophocles

These conscious-altering moments occur when the barrier between worlds and realities is thinnest – an instant of deja vu. These moments are often accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of eeriness.

Desmond watched Charlie drown in the Looking Glass Station, his hand pressed against a glass porthole. When Desmond lost control of the car in Flash-Sideways World and was submerged with Charlie, a moment of deja vu sparked memories of another life.

This too is the case with Hurley, who was in the midst of a romantic picnic on the beach when he suddenly had memories of Libby in another lifetime. These connections are universal constants that span all dimensions and lifetimes – the human heart knows no boundaries and love crosses all thresholds, even the vast infinity of time.

I’m sure John Locke will soon experience his own moment of conscious-altering clarity as he lies on the pavement, staring up into the blue sky above. Desmond hit John full-speed with his car, hoping the trauma would rattle something loose from the complacent old man’s head.

I would imagine it would feel familiar to a man who, in another life, was thrown from a window and plummeted eight stories to the ground below.

I like to imagine that Benjamin Linus would accompany John Locke to the hospital, where Jack Shephard operates on Locke’s mangled spine – alluding to his statement that, “nothing is irreversible.”

Maybe John Locke will be able to dance at his wedding after all, just like Sarah – a girl broken by a car accident, who Jack so desperately needed to fix.

Episode 6.12 – “Everybody Loves Hugo”

Highlights:

– “That is a lot of chicken.”
– “How do you break the ice with the smoke monster?”
– “Clearly she was well enough for a… fajita field trip.”
– Desmond is Order Number 42
– Ilana was carrying 4 sticks of dynamite

Answers:

The whispers are the ghosts of people who are stuck on the Island and are unable to move on because of the things they’ve done.

Libby was in Santa Rosa because she had issues with reality. It seems as though she’s been having these moments of deja vu the longest. This would explain why she would give Desmond a sailboat for his race around the world.

The Black Rock dynamite is still extremely unstable and could explode spontaneously. Turns out the Black Rock could too.

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