Is there any way to work Santa, The Phantom of the Opera, Blade, Dave White, and my mom into a witty header? Part One.

Okay boys and girls, we’re going to cover a lot today so try and keep up. First, here’s the Christmas haul report: gift certificates, cash, clothes, candy, Family Guy DVD set, a framed Sopranos poster, and a Spiderman mug set. I wrote a goofy little story for my family with lots of inside jokes that went over well on Christmas Eve. No, I won’t post it.

THE PHANTOM MENACE

A confession: I’m a theater and choir geek from way back. I was in high school at the peak of the mega musicals (Phantom, Les Miz, Cats, Miss Saigon) and I remember at every party and friend’s house at least once we’d all end up around the piano singing showtunes. I’ve seen a good share of Broadway shows and finally got to see Phantom a few years ago with my family in Toronto. Paul Stanley of Kiss was playing the Phantom role, it was amazing. So when the movie version finally came around, I was quickly in line to see it. And I was blown away. While most of it is a straight filmed version of the musical there are scenes at the very beginning and at the end that were cool on stage but were spectacular when done on film.

During the overture as the chandelier lights up and the opera house is brought back to its former glory through a series of wonderful morphing shots I got chills. And at the end, the burning of the opera house was much more bombastic than it could have been on stage. Other than enjoying all of the songs again, my biggest joy of the movie was being able to follow the story more clearly. Because the stage show uses a fairly minimal set it’s hard to tell where and when many of the scenes are taking place. Not so in the movie.

I only have too complaints. The Phantom’s voice was kind of weak in the first half as was his character and they made the Phantom’s bed look like something from a Vegas honeymoon sweet. Other than that, I give this movoe five masks.

ONCE BITTEN THRICE SHY

I’ve seen the future of Lunchbox Hero and his name is Ryan Reynolds. From his role on my guilty pleasure show Two Guys, a girl, and a Pizza Place, to his stint as eternal student Van Wilder, I’ve always thought Reynolds had the pop culture savy and naive, yet snarky, attitude needed to pull off my lead series character Kenny Shepard. His role as Hannibal King in Blade:Trinity kicked this all up to the Nth degree. This was by far my favorite Blade movie and one of my favorite superhero movies. I’m a sucker for a superhero movie, good or bad. While I enjoyed Spiderman and The X-Men like everyone else, I also love Daredevil, Spawn and The Punisher (the new one, not the 80’s Dolph Lundgren stinker—nobody liked that). I also think the 1989 Batman movie is one of the best superhero movies ever made, though I’m giddy with anticipation over Batman Begins.

Anyway, back to Blade. This one was solid action and humor. They knew just how far to push the horror elements without letting the gross take over like it did in the second one. But the real highlight of this movie is Reynolds and Jessica Biel as Whistler’s daughter Abigail. Yowza. For an action movie set in that ever popular “not to distant future” it’s a bonus that we get to see a cool sword fight and some sweet archery. And Parker Posy as a sexy vampire leader only made the movie more enjoyable. Good stuff.

To be continued…

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