Redline Recap

Jamie

I realized recently that I was touching on a lot of our obsessions with the 6W’s (MacGuffins, plot twists, settings, cameos, and Planchets), but I had missed one: product placement. Should probably have ended up as the What?! but instead I think I’ll just sprinkle the product placements throughout the email wherever appropriate. Seems like the right thing to do.

What?! Natasha and Carlo find themselves inadvertently embroiled in the dangerous world of underground street racing. When Carlo’s brother is killed and Natasha captured by one of these racing hot shots, Carlo is out for revenge. Can he take the syndicate down, quench his thirst with some sweet Dasani Water, and rescue Natasha before it’s too late? Find out in… Redline!

Why?! Natasha just wants to further her music career. Carlo is just there to watch out for his little brother. However, all this goes out the window when Carlo’s brother succumbs to the overwhelming pressure to win and is killed attempting a risky racing maneuver. The story immediately turns to vengeance as Carlo goes after those responsible. Unlike the other racing bosses (who are fueled only by crippling gambling addictions), our main antagonist is fueled by a combination of lust for Natasha, fear that he’ll be killed over his gambling debts, and his own psychotic tendencies.

How?! Carlo has a simple backstory as he has just returned from the army as a war hero to find his younger brother is racing for an evil gangster. The backstory for Natasha, however, is much denser. She is the daughter of a famous racecar driver killed in a tragic accident. While she herself possesses great talent in the sport, she can’t race as a result of the trauma of that loss. Instead she aspires to be a singer. When an underground racing fat cat sees her talent he tricks and bribes her into racing for him, only to turn around and bet her as stakes in the race against his evil rival. The stories converge when Carlo’s brother and Natasha race each other, Carlo’s brother is killed, and Natasha is taken captive. Carlo wants to kill the evil gangster, but ends up rescuing Natasha instead. When Natasha is subsequently blackmailed into racing they put together a dastardly plan to throw the race and get the gangster killed. Everyone lives happily ever after with huge record contracts, dope sportscars, and all the Dasani they can drink. Hooray!

Who?! Claims abound online that Wyclef Jean scored the film and appeared in a cameo. I don’t remember him showing up but it is credited (or more accurately uncredited) on IMDb. No music credit, though, just a “Thanks.” I did notice that the scumbag of a producer cameoed as a poker player who immediately loses all his money. A little foreshadowing.

Where?! Right off the bat we are treated to a rad street race from LA to Las Vegas, highlighting the two major settings for this film. I would give the main setting title to LA, but Vegas is not far behind. B

When?! I scoured the film twice over trying to find an exact date. There were two potential leads (a close-up of a loan contract and an issue of variety) but the quality of the video and focus of the shot wasn’t good enough to make it out. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out… maybe someday [Jamie says wistfully. A tear trickles down his cheek and tumbles playfully to his well-oiled six-pack abs]. F

Woooooo. Getting those details is like a rad racecar race at 200mph. Exhilarating. My overall impression of the film is that it’s similar to what Patrick and I might end up creating if we were ever tasked with creating a bad film. Everything is horrible, only entertaining from the viewpoint of its horribleness, and a product of extreme hubris. Most people would think it’s just boring and bad… exactly how we meant it to be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Redline? More like Bad Sign! Amirite? So a predatory lender loves fast cars. But like … in a I-like-to-show-off-my-fast-cars-I-bought-with-my-gross-predatory-lending-profits kind of way. He also likes to show off his girlfriend, a former soap opera star trying to make it big in the industry. Presto! Making a movie is like saying your ABC’s: Action, Boobs, and Cars. What could go wrong!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Cars (maybe, I’m not exactly sure what people who like cars like exactly since I don’t really like cars), but that is about it. I’ll leave all of the things that did go wrong for the next section, but an interesting aspect of this film was how much of a history they managed to give everyone. Right at the end a random guy who we had not seen before pops up and the main character is like “he’s the man who killed my father” WHAT?! So obviously we are doing a prequel called Redline: Warzone. The film finds Carlo and Jason working with their father running a successful race team in NSCRA alongside and against Natasha’s father. Ultimately the movie tells the story of Michael, who is running an illegal gambling syndicate surrounding the sport, fixing the race in which Natasha’s father dies. When Jason’s father threatens to expose Michael, Michael has him killed, but staged to look like a suicide. This is all set alongside the run up to the Iraq war, and Carlo leaves for Baghdad, but not before telling Michael to stay away from Jason. Oh … if only Michael would have listened. We finally get the backstory we were all dying for!

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Well this is easy: Pride. On the part of the producer who was clearly a lunatic. Now that that is out of the way: The acting in this film is an atrocity, it is so bad you can only kind of notice that the crazy producer put himself in the movie and gave himself like seven lines (I only noticed it because he doesn’t at all look like an actor). The writing is ridiculous. At one point the rap producer Infamous lands his plane on a highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas … the FAA would like to have a word with you, and the phrase “prison time” was mentioned emphatically. This is the first film in a while where I can call the direction bonkers. A lot of weird transition choices, weird CGI, the cars all look like they are travelling half speed in most shots. So yeah … Basically this is borderline barely-a-movie and it is ridiculous that it exists.

The BMT: Legacy – The legacy of this film is it is somehow quintessentially The Golden Age of Bad Movies. The Golden Age s roughly the Noughties (2000-2010), and I now think this has to do with two factors. First, CGI had made the transition to being very cheap and easy to get. Productions which might have been too expensive to make previously could now safely be greenlit with a manageable special effects budget, meaning more options (in more genres) available to producers. And second, there was a ton of money floating around due to the artificially inflated economy. This isn’t even mentioning the writer’s strike in 2007/2008! Anyways, this movie perfectly encapsulates this era: a producer with a ton of fake money to throw at terrible CGI ultimately making a vanity project that is just trash. Great stuff. That is it’s BMT legacy.

Now as for its StreetCreditReport.com? It … is borderline. It makes its way onto MTV’s worst of list of 2007 (barely), but other than that it typically get nary a whisper from things like the AV Club list I linked to for Epic Movie. From there it just kind of ends up as either first or second on blogs concerning car movies in particular. No Razzie cred … it is kind of a forgotten film. But I think a big part of its cred is in that car racing genre in particular. On occasion a film like 200 M.P.H. which was Direct-to-Video and made by the Asylum sneaks in above it, but this is basically a unanimous worst car racing film ever. That counts for something!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Redline Preview

There is something both gross and enthralling about the action film we chose for the StreetCreditReport.com cycle. The confluence of time and place that created the opportunity for the film to exist is pretty incredible. That’s right! We’re watching the totally forgotten underground racing film Redline! What makes the film really interesting is that the producer of the film was a player in the subprime mortgage crisis. In fact the entire production was funded by his company Quick Loan Funding which went bankrupt the very year that Redline came out, 2007. Even weirder was that this producer used his own cars in the production (allowing a number of his very expensive cars to be destroyed in the process… for fun I guess) and also his own girlfriend. You heard that right. He cast his girlfriend (a soap opera actress) in the leading role of a film that ultimately (and misguidedly) got released to >1000 theaters. Predictably this film bombed, his company went bankrupt, his girlfriend dumped him, and he personally declared bankruptcy in 2009. See? Gross and enthralling. That’s called street cred. Let’s go!

Redline (2007) – BMeTric: 60.4

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(This movie gets its BMeTric basically entirely from its Low Rating. I think there are a handful of different “trends” in these movies. This had regression to the mean, but is very poorly regarded. So over time it will seem less disliked, and ultimately, perhaps, suggests that we are not looking at a movie that is going to sustain its terribleness. After over a year of producing these graphs I have the ability to just kind of read them. I’m almost there … I am just one step away from predicting things based on this.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Real estate developer Daniel Sadek financed, cowrote, produced, and provided his exotic car collection for this slow and curious Fast and the Furious wannabe. Gorgeous woman who happens to be an ace driver gets caught up in the world of illegal drag racing competitions in which filthy-rich men with nothing better to do wager big bucks on the outcome. When she’s not pushing the pedal to the metal, she fronts a band singing lyrics like, “I want to be your car so you can ride me tonight.” Steer clear of this one.

(I am mesmerized by the line “Gorgeous woman who happens to be an ace driver ..” … It is like they were desperately trying to drop one word from the book and finally asked “do we really need this ‘A’ in the Redline review?” This description though sounds like an earnest Torque which bodes extremely well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-8qDoDrACw

(Holy shit. It is Torque but earnest. Who are all of these people, what was the graphics at the beginning and end (were they supposed to be like car brake lights, or stop lights?). The story sounds simple enough. I just hope it isn’t like Need For Speed which was … boring and kind of okay if you squinted a bit. This better be a goddamned travesty or I will never forgive it.)

Directors – Andy Cheng – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Wow, he is a member of Jackie Chan’s stunt team and now, as Chan has sustained serious injuries in the past, will stand in for him on occasion. Very interesting to see a one-and-done (although he does have a direct-to-DVD credit) stuntman director. Second-unit director for Red Riding Hood (BMT) and Twilight.)

Writers – Robert Foreman (screenplay) – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Uncredited as a Bartender in recent BMT Rumor Has It … Otherwise I can’t find anything about this guy.)

Daniel Sadek (story) – (BMT: Redline; Notes: So yeah, this guy is the producer who had a company called Quick Loan Funding. There is a whole discussion about why he doesn’t have a wikipedia page on Quora, there are insane stories about how that company totally went under in the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crash and the after effects. There is little information about him these days, and I’d rather not speculate. But let’s just say I use the word “gross” to describe the financing of this film multiple times in this preview …)

Actors – Nathan Phillips – (Known For: Snakes on a Plane; Wolf Creek; These Final Hours; Dying Breed; Balibo; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Redline; Surfer, Dude; Notes: I think I would only recognize him from Snakes on a Plane, although we are certainly going to watch Chernobyl Diaries at some point. Born in Australia, his most significant roles recently have been on television.)

Nadia Bjorlin – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Mostly known for her role as Chloe in Days of Our Lives. She was also a go-go dancer in Ricky Martin’s Shake Your Bon Bon music video (you can’t see her, I watched it))

Eddie Griffin – (Known For: How the Grinch Stole Christmas; The Last Boy Scout; Undercover Brother; Jason’s Lyric; The Wendell Baker Story; Brain Donors; BMT: Date Movie; Norbit (BMT Hall of Fame); Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; Redline; Coneheads; The Mod Squad; Pinocchio (BMT); Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; The Meteor Man; My Baby’s Daddy; House Party 3; The New Guy; American Hero; Double Take; Armageddon; Notes:  He got married for the first time when he was just sixteen years old and has nine (!) children. His recent defense of Bill Cosby probably won’t help his career …)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $6,881,022 (Worldwide: $8,267,379)

(Yeah, super bad. Pretty much horrible. The good news? I’m willing to bet most of that was for the cars and since the producer sold them to himself to use in the film I’m betting he got a nice write off there. That’s nice.)

#25 for the Car Racing genre

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(There is basically no analogy. It made about as much money as Grandview U.S.A. … the big peak in 1995 is also a bit weird, Red Rock West, which made around $2 million, but Box Office Mojo reports its widest release as 22 theaters, making its per theater average incredible. Probably false. The genre was big pre-1990 and has become huge in the last ten years with the Fast and the Furious franchise. Not surprisingly this came just as the genre was going into a slumber, maybe because of the recession? Wrecking ridiculous looking cars might not go over so well when people’s lives are falling apart.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/27): Redline has plenty of bad acting, laughable dialogue, and luxury cars.

(Good, I need some laughable dialogue. Bad acting is a boon. This is one of the worst reviewed films of all time, the 15th most reviews for a film with 0% on rotten tomatoes. This right here is basically the entire reason we are watching this film.)

Poster – Sklogline (B+)

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(This isn’t blowing any minds or anything, but it is astonishingly competent given the film. I like the bold red on black, it has one of the more interesting title fonts, and the spacing is good. The background cars seem a bit extraneous, but that’s pretty minor.)

Tagline(s) – Fear Nothing. Risk Everything. (B+)

(Again, astonishingly competent. Like the “nothing” and “everything” juxtaposition. The “fear” and “risk” highlights the racing and gambling aspects of the plot. Concise. Ratchet up the cleverness and uniqueness and we’d be looking at an A+.)

Keyword(s) – ferrari; Top Ten by BMeTric: 60.4 Redline (2007); 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007); 58.0 The Counsellor (2013); 53.1 Death Tunnel (2005); 49.6 The Smurfs 2 (2013); 48.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015); 44.8 American Dreamz (2006); 41.6 Mr. Deeds (2002); 39.4 Playing for Keeps (2012); 32.4 Georgia Rule (2007);

(Number one, number one! Alvin and the Chipmunks get a lot of play there, that smells a bit like product placement. I totally forgot about The Counsellor as well, which is a film we are unlikely to ever see.)

Notes – For the film, Sadek donated his Porsche Carrera GT (which costs over $400,000) to be destroyed in a spectacular crash scene. The mangled remains were on display at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. (Kind of gross. Truly the pinnacle of pre-subprime mortgage crash waste)

The comedian/actor Eddie Griffin destroyed a rare million-dollar Enzo Ferrari (which belonged to the film’s producer, Daniel Sadek) on Monday 3/26/07, when he crashed it into a barricade while promoting this movie. He was unhurt in the low-speed incident, at Irwindale Speedway, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. He was practicing for a celebrity charity racing event tied to this upcoming film, causing $300,000 damage to the car (including labor and parts). Sadek estimated that the car was worth $1.1 million, and said he was just happy that Griffin was unharmed. (Sounds like perhaps a guy who just loves cars soooo much … he’d bilk people out of money preying on trash investments. Blah)

The title “Redline” was one of the working titles of The Fast and the Furious (2001).

Prior to the demise of his company, Quick Loan Funding, Sadek was forced to sell off all his car collection, including those featured in the film. One of them, the crash damaged Enzo was acquired by Texan dealer, Matt Groner of Matthews Auto Sales. As the main tub was intact with no chassis straitening, the Enzo only needed new authentic parts bolted in, worth $91,000. The car has since found a new owner. (Well, a happy ending there …)

In the opening sequence of the film, a building with a sign that reads “Quick Loan Funding” can be seen. This was the name of writer/producer Daniel Sadek’s company at the time. (groooooosss)

Most of the rest of the notes are about cars

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Recap

Jamie

What?! Hansel and Gretel are all grows up and ready to take out some witches. Called to action in the town of Augsburg, it soon becomes clear that this isn’t just a case of missing children; a witch gathering is afoot and spells doom if it comes to fruition. Can Hansel and Gretel stop the witches’ dastardly plan before it’s too late? Find out in… Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters!

Why?! Cue The Flintstone’s garbage disposal pterodactyl looking into the camera and declaring, “it’s a living.” Cause that’s what this is to Hansel & Gretel. They are employed as witch hunters and that is what they will goddamn do whether or not the local sheriff approves. This motivation doesn’t change much even when the witches’ scheme grows grander and scarier. They are simply looking to rescue some kids and take out some witches. As for the antagonists of the story (witches, if you hadn’t pick up on that yet), they’re motivations are more complex. They hope to perform a ritual known as the Blood Moon Sabbath where they sacrifice 12 children, take the heart of a white witch, and create powerful magic to make witches immune to fire (and thus immune to Hansel & Gretel’s skillz). In order to do this they must lure Hansel & Gretel to town and capture Gretel, as they are aware that [SPOILER ALERT] Gretel is actually a white witch herself! Oh my GAAAWWWWD:

How?! The first half of the film plays out pretty linearly. Hansel & Gretel are there to save the day and they run around killing witches and unveiling the secrets of the Blood Moon Sabbath. Just as they realize the role they play in the plan (after they find out that their mother was a uber white witch herself and so Gretel is as well), Gretel is kidnapped and Hansel must save her. Using their mother’s extra strong white magic power he creates super weapons that make it all but futile for any witch to oppose him… which is exactly what happens. Seriously, the climax is him just systematically mowing down a hundred witches who stand no chance. In the end Hansel & Gretel both survive and walk the Earth evermore hunting witches in numerous sequels to come… wait, they didn’t make like eight sequels to this a la Fast and the Furious? Oh well.

Who?! Planchet alert! This is one of the best Planchets we’ve had in awhile. He is so Planchet that if we had watched this film before The Three Musketeers the trope would be called a Walser. Ben Walser is a Hansel & Gretel superfan who is basically just dismissed and made fun by his heroes for the entire movie. Only at the end, when Hansel needs anyone he can find to help save Gretel, does he finally allow this lame weirdo to join in the fun. He is a Planchet. A Planchet is he.

Where?! It is very clearly set in Augsburg, which I can assume is in Germany since that’s the name of one of the oldest cities in the country. If I can’t assume that then we don’t know where it is since it’s never mentioned. Pretty typical “meh” setting you sometimes get with a fantasy film. C

When?! This is a solid F. There is no indication of time other than an implication that it is probably somewhere in the 1350-1650 range (when witch hunts were the rage)… belied by the fact that Hansel & Gretel carry advanced weaponry and even play a record on a record player at one point. But that’s steampunk for you… and steampunk is an F temporal setting type of genre.

Wow, I breezed through that. Now let’s get an idea of how BMT the film was. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? More like Hansel & Gretel: Niche Blunders! You’ll get it in a second. Hansel and Gretel are a steampunk set of buddy cops in the wild west of Grimm’s Germany … it was probably a better idea than that gives it credit for. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – There are bits and pieces throughout which are arguably the best the steampunk genre has to offer. Three Musketeers and Wild Wild West are two of the notorious examples of steampunk. Snow White and the Huntsman and Red Riding Hood are the same kind of dreary fairy tale film. This is better than all four of those. It is at times fun, Renner is very funny, the makeup and effects are great (even if the accompanying soundtrack isn’t my cup of tea), especially Edward the Troll, who I insist looks like a hulking Aaron Eckhart:Edward_by_the_springEven if you don’t quite see it I was so convinced when I was watching the film that I had to look it up on IMDb. Like “wait … maybe Aaron Eckhart did play Edward the Troll” … he didn’t. Great stuff.
  • The Bad – The storyline is a mess. More of a mess than you could ever really describe. The film is a comedy … and yet there is literally heads exploding left and right. There is a sex scene which is literally just there for the sake of a sex scene. There is a full blown rape scene. And if all of that doesn’t turn you off, then the third act should be enough to turn you off. It is weak.
  • The BMT – Huge BMT film. Easily in the 75th percentile and only because this film is so fun to watch in a perplexed fashion, and has enough to like that you’d probably grow to like it a bit more than you feel comfortable with (like a Underworld or Resident Evil, a real cult film). It has steampunk, it has the second best Planchet in BMT history, it rocks random sex scenes, ultra violence, and a heavy metal soundtrack. It has a ton to love and is real dumb to boot. This is what I meant by niche blunders, it goes wrong in all of the best BMT ways. It makes me proud to say this albatross of a film followed through so well. I’m looking at you now 10,000 BC, it is time to deliver.

And naturally I think this is a prime Sequel territory. The problem with doing a prequel is it would be pre-combinatorial gang explosion (by the end of the first film their witch hunting posse was up to four people, I guarantee with me at the helm I’ll have that number up to twenty hilarious characters hanging around) so it is Hansel, Gretel, Planchet, and Edward the Troll globetrotting and witch hunting. I think what the series needed was a sense of the world, so let’s take them to China (dat sweet Chinese box office bucks too, oooo that is nice). I’m thinking Jackie Chan maybe as a Chinese witch hunter, and the investigation concerns a pair of ninja witches attempting to steal a McGuffin from the Forbidden City. Turns out the Imperial Guard has been systematically infiltrated by a coven and Hansel and Gretel have only mere days to stop the ninja-witches before they get the treasure and take control of the Chinese Kingdom. Hansel & Gretel 2: The Forbidden Coven. Honestly I could just dump Hansel and Gretel and go with Jackie Chan, sounds rad (natch).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Preview

Ooooooooooooooh boy. Guys… it’s happening. Every once in awhile we do a film that has been on our docket for so long that it seems like not doing it is a running joke. Not today! That’s right! We’re watching Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters! I remember when this came out. BMT was just a baby (with far fewer beautiful rules and regulation) and I was stoked to watch it. But the stars never seemed to align. Alas. But now with our punctuation cycle and trying to hit nine different punctuation marks it seemed primed that we would require the use of an ampersand. Welcome to the show Hansel & Gretel! If only your ill-conceived sequel wasn’t scrapped for 2016 it would have come sooner. I… can… not… wait. Let’s go!

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) – BMeTric: 27.1

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(For you hard-core fans out there you must just be screaming! What about all the Hall of Fame talk, Patrick, whereby films whose rating didn’t change in the face of increased votes are somehow special. Welp … amazingly this film is so overpoweringly average that it doesn’t really regress to the mean, it is already there the entire time! A BMeTric of 25 is about average too, and look at that plot. I kind of love it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hansel and Gretel, of the famous fairy tale, are now all grown up and seeking revenge for the murder of their parents by becoming bounty hunters, out to kill witches wherever they find them. Renner and Arterton are lost in the fireworks of this ridiculous movie, which is just another excuse to bring out big guns and pyrotechnics. (It’s never explained how this pair are packing such modern-day weapons.) Why does Hollywood want to destroy all of our childhood memories?

(I want to get lost in the fireworks! Bring the guns and the pyrotechnics. They also don’t explain where the witches came from Leonard. And whose fond childhood memories is about the nightmare that is Grimm’s fairytales? I have a lot of problems with this review, although I’m mostly joshing around here. I’m mostly bitter that Maltin yet again is stingy with his BOMB ratings, give the people what they want Leonard!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9246msCh7x4

(I’m getting a heavy Seventh Son vibe on this one. My favorite line from it is Renner saying “I don’t think we’re hunting witches.” Uh, what?… there are like 5000 witches in that trailer. I’m pretty sure you’re hunting witches.)

Directors – Tommy Wirkola – (Known For: Dead Snow; Dead Snow 2; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: Norwegian. Has a completed directing project called What Happened to Monday? starring Noomi Rapace, although there is very little information about it outside of variety stories from four years ago.)

Writers – Tommy Wirkola (written by) – (Known For: Dead Snow; Dead Snow 2; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: He is attached to a project called Irredeemable as the writer based on a comic book series, but hasn’t done anything major outside of the Dead Snow series in a while. Might have to check out Irredeemable, sounds interesting.)

Actors – Jeremy Renner – (Known For: Arrival; Captain America: Civil War; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Avengers Assemble; American Hustle; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Thor; The Hurt Locker; The Town; Wind River; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Bourne Legacy; 28 Weeks Later; S.W.A.T.; Lords of Dogtown; Kill the Messenger; North Country; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Senior Trip; A Little Trip to Heaven; Notes: I feel like I’ve heard a variety a weird things about Renner … but specifics escape me. His filmography is impressively lacking in BMT worthy movies. Renovated homes with fellow actor Kristoffer Winters.)

Gemma Arterton – (Known For: The Girl with All the Gifts; The Boat That Rocked; RocknRolla; Quantum of Solace; 100 Streets; Their Finest; The Voices; Byzantium; Tamara Drewe; Orpheline; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; Gemma Bovery; Song for Marion; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures; BMT: Runner Runner; Clash of the Titans; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; St. Trinian’s; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Notes:  British, burst onto the scene when she beat out 1500 other women for a role in Quantum of Solace. My favorite IMDb note: A lifelong fan of karaoke, Gemma once worked as a singer in a south London ‘gangster bar’ where she was frequently instructed to sing “My Heart Will Go On” whenever things got out of hand with the rowdy patrons. … I need to find that bar! I bet it is some posh bullshit.)

Also stars Peter Stormare – (I know his from the smash hit Prison Break … but real people would know him from things like Fargo, Minority Report, and most importantly Armageddon. His BMT library is impressive, but we’ve only seen him in The Tuxedo)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $55,703,475 (Worldwide: $226,349,749)

(Kind of a weird smash hit. The formula I’ve always heard it double the budget and use 50% of domestic and 25% of foreign and you’ll be close (don’t quote me on any of that though). So $25 + $113 = $130 million ish versus a $100 break even. They made money … why did this film always seem like a disaster then and why did the director never get another shot?)

#34 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Right below the classic Knight’s Tale. The plot is super weird. The number of theaters taking in films like this was so consistent from the 90s and then all of a sudden the money starts to tumble until, boom, the genre collapses. I kind of assume it has to do with the cost of such a production. Period pieces need costumes, and locations need to be dressed, etc. etc. Maybe making a comeback with Tarzan and King Kong though? Plausible.)

#49 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Just below Sklog childhood classic Willow! Gods of Egypt and Warcraft are recent additions to the genre and BMT. With Harry Potter and more fantastic Marvel movies coming out this genre is on the rise it would seem, although it seems nisely settled at a nice level that looked like a cool $100 million was in reach for most releases. Are the Icarus, flying too close to the sun on their wings of Fantasy Live Action films? We’ll see.)

#4 for the Witch genre

(I’m not going to give the plot because it is useless. I wanted to mainly point out that this being #4 on a genre list means this isn’t a real genre. Other shocks: It is just below the Bewitched remake starring Will Ferrell and only a shade above Hocus Pocus. Take a deep breath, that’s the smell of a non-genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (19/130): Alternately bloody and silly, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters fails as both a fantasy adventure and as a parody of same.

(Ha. I kind of love when reviewers get all weird about violence in films like this. I mean, it makes sense, I think a lot of people would expect this to be a little more comedy than action. But for a movie described on wikipedia as an American-German dark fantasy action horror comedy film I’m sure I’ll get what I’m expecting … which is the Applebee’s menu of movies (Mike Lombardi fans know what I’m talking about, that menu that has so much stuff you know none of it could possibly be good, boom roasted).)

Poster – Jamie & Patrick: Sklog Hunters (C-)

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(I like the bold red color splashed on the rest of the neutral backdrop and I love the original font. Dutch angle is a mistake and the characters are way too prominent. Takes away from the other artistic aspects and ruins it. Also, there is an alternate poster that Patrick figured out was a perfect play on a Rorschach inkblot. To this day I don’t think anyone else has made the connection. In a day where it seems everything has already been done or said on the internet this still is a totally original thought by The Sklogs. You’re welcome.)

Tagline(s) – Classic Tale New Twist (C-)

(Ehhhhh, kinda fits with my criteria. Short, got some cadence and cleverness, and gives a slight hint at a plot. However, it’s getting a bit meta for me… like just acknowledging that this is a classic tale and now they are witch hunters. Not loving it.)

Keyword(s) – bounty hunter; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.5 Barb Wire (1996); 68.3 Jonah Hex (2010); 65.3 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 61.3 Ghost Rider (2007); 53.0 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 49.9 Suburban Commando (1991); 48.6 One for the Money (2012); 47.8 The Bounty Hunter (I) (2010); 42.5 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.3 Identity Thief (2013);

(Oooooooo, can’t wait to see Jason Goes to Hell. Why would this be on the bounty hunter list. So many questions! Solid list top to bottom, but wouldn’t really work for a marathon, too similar across the board, all action, no genre mix … I was going to say, what about those romantic bounty hunter movies, but that is literally what One for the Money and the Bounty Hunter are, blah.)

Notes – Hansel is diabetic, as a result of his experience in the gingerbread house as a child. In the original script, Gretel was also supposed to have an eating disorder, as a result of the same trauma, but this was not included in the movie. (Ugh, just the worst. It is like something I would write and think was very clever in high school … no offense)

Originally scheduled for release in March 2012, the movie was delayed for ten months to accommodate Jeremy Renner’s appearances in Avengers Assemble (2012) and The Bourne Legacy (2012), and to give director Tommy Wirkola time to shoot a post-credits scene. (That super sweet after credits scene. Kind of nuts to think this was released basically just after The Avengers …. It feels like this came out so long ago)

Director Tommy Wirkola got the idea to create the film, based on the adult lives of Hansel and Gretel in 2007, while at film school in Australia. After being discovered by Gary Sanchez Productions, Wirkola pitched the idea at a meeting with Paramount Pictures and won a contract. (Will Ferrell why? You could have stopped this).

Despite portraying brother and sister of close ages, Jeremy Renner (Hansel) is actually fifteen years older than Gemma Arterton (Gretel). (Ugh, classic Hollywood)

The movie’s cast featured two former Bond Girls,Famke Janssen from GoldenEye (1995) and Gemma Arterton from Quantum of Solace (2008), where the movies were made and released around thirteen years apart in the James Bond film franchise. (ooooo fun fact)

In an interview with Famke Janssen at Cannes 2011, she stated that she took the role as the head witch in this movie because she had to pay off her mortgage. Janssen has stated multiple times that since 2007, she was prepping her writing/directorial debut with Bringing Up Bobby (2011), where funding and distribution had gone through hard times, partly due to the 2008 economic crisis. She also had not done much acting in that period of time. (ha, get yo money Famke)

The text of the newspaper clippings, used in the opening credits, is from Alexander Roberts’ 1616 “A Treatise on Witchcraft.” (We will end with that ultra-fun fact)

RoboCop 3 Recap

Jamie

Trying to catch up. No probs. Just gonna kick the shit out of this email just like RoboCop does with the bad guys. Woooooo.

What?! RoboCop is back and looking good. Almost as if a totally new actor took over the role. OmniCorp is trying to clear Detroit to make way for Delta City (still), but has to move all the poor people out before it can happen. Can our beloved cyborg hero stop the unjust evictions before the entire city is left as rubble? RoboCop 3!

Why?! As always OmniCorp is trying to build Delta City. This time though there is added motivation as OmniCorp is in deep shit and is getting bought out by a Japanese company. The merger will save the company from complete collapse, but hinges on OCP clearing out Detroit in time to start construction on Delta City. RoboCop’s motivation changed this time… jk! Still the same: Chew bubblegum. Run out of bubble gum. Kick ass. Also, he wants some sweet, sweet retribution for the unfortunate death of his partner, Nancy Allen, who really didn’t want to be in this film (but still wanted to get paid for filming a death scene).

How?! Since OCP has proven to be super inept at building all but one crime fighting cyborg they are just using a group of British(?) mercenaries to clear the city. Unfortunately a band of rebels are making their lives a living hell. They also make a terrible mistake by killing RoboCop’s partner, which leads him to join the rebels in their fight. In the end it’s OCP on one side and the police and rebels on the other. Guess who wins? You’re right! The one with the cyborg killing machine with a shiny new jetpack (a.k.a. shiny new action figure accessory). In the end RoboCop defeats OCP (and a random Japanese cyborg that is 5000x better than RoboCop but still loses) and the city is given independence by the Japanese company. It really wraps up the whole saga in a neat little bow.

Who?! While he wasn’t really comic relief, Bradley Whitford makes an appearance as an OCP executive. Clearly he was honing his Eric Gordon character for Billy Madison because he basically plays the same person. He was the best. In fact, there are a lot of things you can say about RoboCop 3 but it has a pretty dope TV actor cast.

Where?! How many times do we have to say it. RoboCop is Detroit. Detroit is RoboCop. Shouldn’t even have called it Delta City in the film. It’s RoboCop City. Because he owns it. A-

When?! As noted for RoboCop 2, the creator of RoboCop has continually said that the year is the “near future” for the first film and true to form the sequels also seemed to take this approach. Very little about the year the film takes place is provided. We know from the first two that this is in the general vicinity of the late 80’s and early 90’s. More fun is the fact that RoboCop 3 represents the first of the year’s random Xmas films! Yay! This film very clearly takes place around Christmas. Not only are there Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE, but the parents of one of the characters are killed at the beginning of the film and their day of death is shown as December 7th. Perhaps with a very close watch a year could be gleaned like in the first one, but I couldn’t find it. Despite that, this is probably my favorite temporal setting of the three films. C+

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! RoboCop 3? More like RoboCrap-py!!!! (Wow, that just falls right out of it huh?). I watched both RoboCop and RoboCop 2 on a ten hour flight to Vegas (just as the director intended the movie to be consumed, via iPad). Would my gamble of watching the third on the return flight instead of sleeping pay off? Nope, busted. Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Woof. I’m surprised by how much Robert John Burke looked like Peter Weller once the mask was on. I was happy to see the returning actors as well. This series isn’t something to scoff at, it could have been serious business if it was handled properly.
  • The Bad – Basically everything. The story makes little sense. None of the characters are particularly believable or motivations made clear. The finale is horrible, ditching the bread-and-butter practical effects for a special effect ending that just looks like garbage. RoboCop comes across as much less likeable in this installment. Less robotic somehow.
  • The BMT – This one, yes. For sure. I can kind of see why it is reviled. I would probably put it around 40. If there were more sequels I bet that is where it ends up to be honest. Being the only really bad installment of an iconic series has its downsides.

Here I will go Sequel. They tried and failed to do the remake. Time to go RoboCop 4. Let’s cast, yes the 69 year-old retired PhD, Peter Weller again as the now old RoboCop. Of course he ages! He has a human … face or whatever. He’s too old for this shit, but when Detroit comes under fire by a series of, what appears to be, terrorist attacks, the officers of the Metro West go into the basement and dust off the, now, behind the times relic. Recruiting youthful hackers from a rambunctious gang they retrofit RoboCop with some new toys, and soon he is fit as a fiddle, directive free, and ready to kick some terrorist ass. Can the obsolete become cutting edge? Could the remnants of OmniCorp, scattered to the wind oh so long ago, somehow be connected to this new attack on old Detroit? Can RoboCop find … love? RoboCop 4 (no subtitle, get out of here!), coming next June!

I would watch it. Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

RoboCop 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! RoboCop is back, Jack! And ready to attack the smack that’s taking over the streets. That’s right! There’s a new drug in town, Nuke, and while the (non-cyborg) police are on strike, no one’s there to stop its rise. OmniCorps aims to use the crisis to launch Delta City with a updated version of RoboCop to patrol the streets. Just hope RoboCop 2 isn’t some insane cyborg killing machine (hint: he is). RoboCop 2!

Why?! The entire aim of the film is for OmniCorp to gain control of Detroit and built Delta City. It’s funny because that’s basically the motivation of all the RoboCop films. They can’t seem to get the goddamned city built. RoboCop’s motivation is the same as well: Kick ass. Take names. Not necessarily in that order.

How?! In the original RoboCop OmmiCorp signed a contract with Detroit to take over the police department and privatize it. Turns out that contract had a clause whereby OminCorp could foreclose on the entire city if it defaulted on the contract. Uh oh! So OmniCorp’s entire plan is to undermine Detroit’s credit, wait for the city to default, stop paying the cops, allow crime to run rampant while they’re on strike, and call it a loss to justify knocking it all down to build Delta City. And the plan would have worked too if it wasn’t for that damned RoboCop. Seriously. They needed more RoboCops to patrol the streets of their shiny new city but couldn’t figure out the secret sauce that made the first one work so well. This time around they try using a newly captured Nuke kingpin as the brain for the robot and feeding his addiction as a means of control. Not a great idea as it goes beserk at the sight of Nuke and RoboCop has to save everyone (obvs). Unfortunately, they decided not to write in how RoboCop beating up a robot in any way solves the city’s financial crisis. We can only presume OmniCorp still ended up owning the city after everyone stopped high fiving and the credits rolled.

Who?! No true Planchet here, but I want to give a shout out to Belinda Bauer, an Australian actress with an unknowable accent. I really couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be American in this film or what. It was one of the worst (read: best) accents we’ve had in a while. Also Willard E. Pugh consumed any and all scenery as the bonkers Mayor of Detroit. Enjoy:

Where?! Detroit, duh. It’s fucking RoboCop. There’s a reason the city is going to have a statue dedicated to him (if the artist ever finishes making it). It’s really the only thing they didn’t mess up with the sequels and remake. In this world there is nothing that can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and RoboCop being set in Detroit. A-.

When?! According to the writer it is set in the “near future” but there is a clear January 1986 calendar in the precinct. There is some evidence presented online about it being set in 2044, but it’s from the book so noncanonical. I prefer the calendar. The month being January also lines up with the fact that the scientists are seen celebrating New Years in the three month span during which RoboCop is built. Why bring up the first film? Because at the Delta City presentation at the end of the second film the president of OCP says that “about a year ago we gave you RoboCop.” From that perspective we can presume that it’s either late 1986 or early 1987. Not incredibly specific but we got something. C-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! RoboCop 2? More like RoboSlop! Boo! (ohhhhh yeah). We watched the sequel to one of my favorite movies (with some of the best practical effects in the biz), could it hold up to such praise? Nope! Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Their hearts are in the right place. They tried to make a good follow up. To an extent the story is solid, and it does an okay job of taking a new subject (drugs) and running with it. And the practical effects seem pretty okay.
  • The Bad – The villains are not good enough to carry what is a ludicrous story. In the first the villains are just bad people. They fill that supervillain mold from Cobra but also in an interesting manner (with Kurtwood Smith looking as natural in a suit in OmniCorp headquarters as in a trenchcoat blowing Peter Weller’s hand off). In the second, Cain is just kind of a weirdo. They had an interesting villain (Gabriel Damon) in a pre-teen psycho, but waste him in an overly sentimental and brief stint at the top. The entire middle makes you wonder “what is the point?” after much is made of rewriting RoboCop’s directives, only to have him reverse the damage in a matter of seconds.
  • The BMT – Naw. At best it is borderline. As I said, the film isn’t terrible. Just heavy handed, with bad villains, and a precursor too good to live up to. It is interesting to read stuff about the series. It does seem like they were desperate to make RoboCop a franchise. Just never really came together properly.

Hmmmm. Tough to figure out games when I usually do sequels and prequels … this movie already has both. I think I’m going to make up a new game. This I’m going to call Sklog-light. It is something from the movie just watched which perfectly exemplifies something from my recap. This time I’ll flesh out something in the recap which perhaps was not expounded upon enough: RoboCop 2 is heavy-handed. At the end of the film OmniCorp is presenting RoboCop 2 (the evil Cain as a cyborg monster) and we catch a nice glimpse of their new flags:

ocp-nazi

… snazzy. Those couldn’t possibly be alluding to anything. They probably aren’t a crazy Godwin’s Law directly in the viewer’s face. We get it RoboCop 2 writers … OmniCorp is a fascist corporate-government hybrid. Could have toned down the flag. I assume Hitler existed in the RoboCop universe. For a company who seems obsessed with public relations this seems … like a snafu.

I got a whole other recap to write! Plus we are a bit behind. So I’ll leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

RoboCop 3 Preview

Jeez, these squeakuels are long. Almost as bad as a book cycle. JK, book cycles are the worst. Anyway, this week we move onto the Action entry of the cycle and it seemed fitting that we would hit one of the worst reviewed action sequels of all time. That’s right, we’re not only watching RoboCop 2 but the much abhorred follow-up RoboCop 3! Another two-for-one this week. The first one is a classic satire of capitalism, so I can’t wait to see how RoboCop three shits all over that. Let’s go!

RoboCop 3 (1993) – BMeTric: 77.3

robocop3_bmet

robocop3_rv

(Oh snap. Yeah, this is supposed to be a terrible film. Juxtaposing this with Robocop 2 it is kind of nuts the start difference. Basically this is half as popular, but a whopping 1.7 IMDb lower! A sub-4.0 for a movie this old is definitely a big worst-of-all-time kind of contender.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – When the evil corporation OCP uses a policelike group to force impoverished Detroit citizens out of their homes, RoboCop (Burke) leaves the force and joins the rebellion. The script (by Frank Miller and the director) is smug but crude; though it lacks the first sequel’s violence, it’s also short on spectacle. Filmed in 1991.

(Maltin … are you for reals? You liked RoboCop 3 more than 2? Very interesting. (1) Awesome semi-colon work. (2) The fun facts flying in from Maltin, filmed in 1991? Very good. Too bad it all sounds like you could distill this review into one word: boring)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOdELisKpP4

(“I thought your damned ninja was supposed to take care of RoboCop for me” Oh God. Yeah, you can see how this guy went off the rails. It is kind of amazing that that is a Frank Miller plot right there. I really don’t see how that trailer made a movie that Leonard Maltin liked more than RoboCop 2. I can’t really see it.)

Directors – Fred Dekker – (Known For: The Monster Squad; Night of the Creeps; BMT: RoboCop 3; Notes: An avid comic book fan, monster movie buff, and film nerd as described on his IMDb. He went to college with Shane Black and is now involved in his new Predator remake. He only ever directed movies he wrote and this was his last.)

Writers – Edward Neumeier (characters) – (Known For: Starship Troopers; RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); Starship Troopers 3: Marauder; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; RoboCop 2; Notes: Basically all of his credits are based on the original RoboCop (which is is credited for characters in all but the first) and Starship Troopers (which he was very much involved with, he even directed the third). It appears that he declined the vice-presidency of Universal to make RoboCop and that is how he met Verhoeven and got involved with Starship Troopers.)

Michael Miner (characters) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: For a guy who wrote RoboCop and directed Lawnmower Man 2 and Anacondas 2 this guy has nothing about him! I found this variety article about him making a movie names Marathon … yeah that movie never got made.)

Frank Miller (story & screenplay) – (Known For: 300; Sin City; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; 300: Rise of an Empire; BMT: RoboCop 3; Elektra; The Spirit; RoboCop 2; Notes: Most well known as a comic book writer it kind of shocks me he wrote a movie so long ago. He wrote this guy in 1993 and then nothing else until 2005 over ten years later. But he killed it in comics. This movie is closer to his script, which is a plus.)

Fred Dekker (screenplay) – (Known For: The Monster Squad; House; Night of the Creeps; Ricochet; BMT: RoboCop 3; House II: The Second Story; Teen Agent; Notes: Besides what was written above there isn’t too much to say about this guy unfortunately.)

Actors – Nancy Allen – (Known For: Carrie; RoboCop; Out of Sight; Dressed to Kill; The Last Detail; Blow Out; The Philadelphia Experiment; Strange Invaders; I Wanna Hold Your Hand; BMT: RoboCop 3; Poltergeist III; RoboCop 2; 1941; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1981 for Worst Actress for Dressed to Kill. Her first film role was in Stephen King’s Carrie directed by Brian De Palma. She would marry De Palma three years later, and then divorce five years after that. During their marriage she exclusively appeared in his films, and supposedly their divorce interfered quite substantially with her career (although it didn’t stop her from landing and nailed this role in the RoboCop franchise).)

Robert John Burke – (Known For: Tombstone; Limitless; 2 Guns; True Story; Munich; Safe; Cop Land; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; Connie and Carla; Heaven & Earth; Brooklyn’s Finest; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Rambling Rose; Ned Rifle; A Far Off Place; The Chosen; The Unbelievable Truth; Flirt; Simple Men; First Love, Last Rites; BMT: RoboCop 3; Fast Track; Fled; Thinner; Hide and Seek; If Lucy Fell; State Property; The Oh in Ohio; Miracle at St. Anna; Notes:  I personally know him as Ed Tucker from IA in Law and Order SVU. He’s been mostly a television actor (Chuck Bass’ father in Gossip Girl what what?!) despite having quite an extensive feature filmography.)

Also stars John Castle – (A ton of television work, including a 2007 episode of Midsomer Murder. I eat Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders for breakfast, so I cannot wait to watch that episode.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $10,696,210 (N/A)

($22 million budget! My God. At least it was less than the previous film. No wonder it looks terrible though. And yeah, huge bomb. Orion was going under as this film was shot so there is a whiff of desperate throw-anything-at-the-wall IP chasing surrounding this film. Like with De Laurentiis it did not work.)

#36 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(And while RoboCop 2 came right at the beginning of what I will call the Terminator 2 peak in this genre, this came as it unceremoniously died. Number 36 puts it right around Deadly Friend! Extremely unimpressive stuff.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/30): No consensus yet.

(Hooray, I secretly love making consensuses: Downscaling the gore along with the budget, RoboCop 3 tries for a more family friendly affair. Losing the brilliant satire of the original (and gaining some good old fashioned Japan bashing), this is little more than a mindless actioner marking the end of a promising franchise. This paints a more expected picture of the franchise. The reviews of the time seemed to forgive the second film, but declare this the end of the RoboCops.)

Poster – RoboSklog 3 (D) 

robocop_three_ver2

(I initially liked this poster. Then I looked at it some more. First, the double RoboCop. Second the weird white halo around RoboCop. Then the ghostly city in the background. And finally the dreary dark blue coloring. And I realized it … I actually hated this poster.)

Tagline(s) – Chaos… Corruption… Civil War… (B+)

(Short. Sweet alliteration. Simple. Probably too simple to be an A, I don’t really know why this would be the plot of RoboCop 3, but I still like it.)

Keyword(s) – ninja; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.0 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 79.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 77.3 RoboCop 3 (1993); 70.1 The Master of Disguise (2002); 69.4 Elektra (2005); 64.1 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 62.1 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987); 59.5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 58.1 Tekken (2010); 57.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000);

(Wait wait wait ………. The fourth police academy movie has a ninja in it? Yes please. We do need to do the second Mortal Kombat for BMT. We saw it in theaters (!) when we were young, but it deserves a preview and full recap as adult bad movie connoisseurs.)

Notes – Was filmed in 1991, but was not released until end of 1993 due to production company Orion going bankrupt. (The is like the fourth movie we’ve watched in the last 6 months made by a production company going bankrupt)

Peter Weller refused to reprise his Robocop role due to scheduling conflicts with Naked Lunch (1991). (Good choice)

Filmed in Atlanta, most of the abandoned buildings seen in the film were slated for demolition to make way for facilities for the 1996 Olympics. (huh, that is kind of amazing actually)

The RoboCop suit worn in the movie was originally built for RoboCop 2 (1990). Since Robert John Burke is taller than Peter Weller, he complained that wearing it was painful after a short time.

Nancy Allen (Ofc. Ann Lewis), Robert DoQui (Sgt. Reed), Felton Perry (OCP’s Johnson), Mario Machado (Newsanchor Casey Wong) and Angie Bolling (Murphy’s wife) are the only actors to appear in all three RoboCop movies. (Good stuff, Allen had huge roles in all three, pretty impressive)

Unlike the first two movies, this one did not receive a novelization. (too bad, maybe someone can poke Frank Miller for a sweet graphic novelization)