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Kick-Ass (2010)

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Apparently, Kick-Ass screened at BNAT this weekend and superlatives are flying on Twitter. Sounds like it delivers... something.

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The trailer looks interesting.

It's directed by Matthew Vaughn. I thought we had a thread for Vaughn's Layer Cake, but I don't see it. Here's a Link to his 2007 directed Stardust, in which many posters actually spelled De Niro's name right. ;)

We have no thread on the other semi-known comic-lover-turned-super-hero-with-no-powers film, Special, although in Special the main character actually thought he had powers, and here, apparently the main character knows he doesn't. Special was directed by Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore, starring Michael Rapaport. I quite liked that one as a simple art film. It wasn't a film that aimed to be greater than it was, and humble as it was, I found it quite enjoyable.

IMDB shows that this was based on a comic book "Kick-Ass." Is that right? I guess I'm getting old, I don't know any of these comic books anymore.

Also, Nicolas Cage is in this, I believe as a guy named "Big Daddy," though I don't see him in the trailer, do I?

IMDB also shows Mark Strong, and youngins' Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz, the latter of which was in 500 Days of Summer.

Edited by Persona

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Stef, did you miss the announcement? Nic Cage is to be in every film that opens from now on.

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OK, promising NOT to go on a rant here. BUT --

I am going to give Nicolas Cage the benefit of the doubt. He has had a bad few years, but when you go thru his filmography, there are some great, seriously GREAT pictures there. It blows my mind to think that Nic Cage was in: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (never saw it, was he any good?) BUT HOLD YOU HORSES PEOPLE cuz I promise there are some really good ones coming up -- Rumble Fish, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Wild at Heart, Leaving Las Vegas, 8MM, Adaptation, Lord of War, World Trade Center (didn't see, or at least I don't remember it, but IIRC I've heard good things from here and abroad), and Knowing (same thing, haven't seen it, plan on it based on comments that tell me not to expect much other than it ain't absolutely terrible).

And don't forget -- DON'T FORGET, I say!! -- the Wicker Man remake. ;)

I'm not sticking up for the guy. Much. OK, maybe I am. There's some decent stuff there! I think all those bad National Treasure or Mummy or Pirates of the Carib. or whatever they were (can't tell any of 'em apart), were why we think he's fallen off the deep end.

Edited by Persona

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Add this film to the list of movie titles that might cause some ultra-conservative Christian websites to wonder, "Um, should we even be mentioning the title here?"

Another recent example: Inglourious Basterds.

Looking back across the years, other titles that may have caused some embarrassment, I suppose, would be Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (more for the Brits than the Yanks), Octopussy and, oh, I dunno, maybe That Darn Cat (because we all know what the people who invented that title were REALLY thinking).

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One of my friends regularly reads the comic that this is based on, and whoa boy is it dark. Very cool story, though. It's also completely owned by the creator, which is cool. This might be one of those cases where the trailer doesn't really hint at how brutally R-rated this film is going to be.

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Jason, is the title of the comic the same as the film?

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One of my friends regularly reads the comic that this is based on, and whoa boy is it dark. Very cool story, though. It's also completely owned by the creator, which is cool. This might be one of those cases where the trailer doesn't really hint at how brutally R-rated this film is going to be.

This clip might provide a little more indication as to the film's overall tone.

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"Good call, baby doll!" LOL

OK this is actually starting to look interesting. Thanks, Opus.

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There are some other clips floating around the Intertubes that I believe were recorded at the last Comic-Con, including one of Hit Girl in action, and they're quite a bit more violent and foul-mouthed than the above clips. However, I'm not sure if they're represented the final film or if they were "work in progress" clips.

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The red-band trailer. (I.e., the trailer that, in the United States, can only be shown before movies that get an R rating from the MPAA.)

I must say, a part of me is getting a kick out of the fact that mainstream movies with titles like "Kick-Ass" and "Inglourious Basterds" are coming out these days, at a time when Christian movie-review sites have popped up everywhere to help families screen out objectionable content etc. Can they even MENTION these movies by name? (Presumably some sites can, and some sites can't.)

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The New York Times says some people are shocked -- shocked! -- that there is a red-band trailer for this film, in which children are shown swearing. Actually, no, wait, they're shocked -- shocked! -- that the film itself exists in the first place.

Glenn Kenny responds: "This non-issue gets my Jake LaMotta 'I Putchyazs Boat In Da Ring' Award; that is, I think both sides are full of it and oughtta drop dead. The makers and promoters of Kick-Ass who think it's so edgy to create a potty-mouthed homicidal 'Hit Girl' and the official concern trolls and their 'what about the children' posturings."

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I'm inclined to agree with Kenny. Kids swearing in movies isn't anything new--see The Squid and the Whale or even Stand by Me. (Was there outrage over either of those? Or is it only a problem when girls are doing the cussin'?) As far as the ease of getting red-bands go--well, the studio's right. Plenty of people (based solely by the G-rated trailer) could go in expecting one kind of movie and wind up with something very different. (Of course, when the movie in question is titled Kick-Ass, they kind of deserve it. :P )

Of course, unlike Kenny, I'm kind of looking forward to this movie. Cage looks like he's having fun, for one thing.

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NBooth wrote:

: I'm inclined to agree with Kenny. Kids swearing in movies isn't anything new--see The Squid and the Whale or even Stand by Me. (Was there outrage over either of those? Or is it only a problem when girls are doing the cussin'?)

Kenny also cites the once-controversial example of Paper Moon (1973), which apparently featured some swearing on 9-year-old Tatum O'Neal's part (and she won an Oscar for it!). And that was the same year in which 13-year-old Linda Blair said and did all sorts of unspeakable things in The Exorcist.

I don't remember any particular controversy over Stand By Me, though I do remember a few people remarking (rightly or wrongly) that boys didn't really cuss quite THAT profusely in the late '50s or early '60s. FWIW, the film was rated R in the U.S. for its profanity (it only takes two f-words to get an R rating, and that movie had a LOT more than two), but it was rated PG here in B.C., so I had no trouble at all seeing it in a theatre when I was 16. (But then, when I tried to rent it on VHS a few months later, the clerk at the store pointed to the American rating on the back and said I was too young for the film. Thank goodness we now have a Canadian video rating system.)

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The New York Times says some people are shocked -- shocked! -- that there is a red-band trailer for this film, in which children are shown swearing. Actually, no, wait, they're shocked -- shocked! -- that the film itself exists in the first place.

Huh? This is what the third paragraph of the article says:

A trailer for the forthcoming film “Kick-Ass” that depicts the girl wielding a gun and using highly, highly profane language is igniting debate about how Hollywood advertises its R-rated films on the Web.

So the article is about "how Hollywood advertises" its "R-rated films on the Web."

It's not about the fact that "there is a red-band trailer for this film," nor is it about a trailer "in which children are shown swearing," nor is it about the fact that "the film itself exists in the first place."

Oh wait, there it is in paragraph 15 -- "Ms. Minow said. She is also upset that the movie showcases a child engaging in such behavior in the first place" -- but then, a few short sentences later, we're back to who accesses R-rated trailers, and where they access them: "We devote enormous resources to making certain that kids don’t encounter these trailers,” said Marilyn Gordon, the organization’s senior vice president for advertising. “That said, we can’t scrub the entire Internet.”

So what is the issue here? I'd argue, as the article does, that the issue is access to red-band trailers, not whether someone is shocked over the film's very existence, or the very existence of a red-band trailer for the film.

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Christian wrote:

: So what is the issue here? I'd argue, as the article does, that the issue is access to red-band trailers, not whether someone is shocked over the film's very existence, or the very existence of a red-band trailer for the film.

Slippery slopes, Christian. Slippery slopes. As you note, it's right there in the paragraph where "Movie Mom" says it bothers her that the movie features such content in the first place. Give an inch, and they'll take a mile.

Of course, the controversy over "red-band trailers" -- a uniquely American phenomenon -- is rendered kind of ridiculous by the fact that so-called "international trailers" often feature much of the same content, and without being preceded by bands of red, green or any other colour.

Personally, I am grateful for the fact that American websites no longer insist that I have an American driver's license in order to watch red-band trailers. Treating foreigners and those who don't drive as though they were children was never a particularly good strategy.

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I grant you that it may be a slippery slope, but I don't think the concern about distribution of red-band trailers is something of no concern to many of us on the board (could just be me). Going beyond the scope of the article, I find myself fretting a bit as my daughters get older, and as anywhere/anytime content delivery becomes a reality thanks to mobile devices of all sorts. The ubiquity of red-band trailers is a manifestation of this. I'm not sure what the answer might be as a parent about how to control my kids' intake of objectionable content. I don't want to throw my hands up just yet.

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This Comic Book Resources blogger has some...interesting views on the film.

Committed: Kick-Ass and Why Violence is a Feminist Issue

Men are still more successful in many industries, and the changes in the status quo have created a number of social areas in which men (often unconsciously) will strive to use language and aggressive behavior to make women feel excluded, seeking to maintain their position as the top dogs. Little girls can grow up feeling intimidated by this kind of masculine posturing, or you can teach your daughters to recognize that swear words are simply words and that when men watch gratuitous violence, it’s simply entertainment and not real. There is every reason in the world that these previously “intimidating” aspects of the male world will feel as comfortable and normal to her as they do to your sons. The only thing that might make her feel uncomfortable and threatened in these situations is programming, not biology, and as a parent, you have choices about that. By all means acknowledge the differences between the sexes (and between all human beings), but let women become comfortable with traditionally masculine behavior, so that there won’t be areas of the world which they feel excluded from.

Seeing Romita’s dynamic action sequences brought to life was a blast, the film perfectly echoes his energy and electricity. Obviously the boldest example of this is in Hit Girl, who is the most disturbing character in a story filled with disturbing characters. Thankfully the filmmakers didn’t wimp out and water down the role she plays in rescuing big strong men and violently murdering psychopaths. Hit-Girl is an angel, (one of those vengeful, scary ones from the bible.)

Let’s not dwell on the plot. If you read the comic books, you know the story. The changes that the film makers choose are minimal and necessary. I’m not going to ruin the surprises for you by going over them here, just go see it (and take the kids). It’s a good film.
(emphasis added)

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Interesting, indeed. I'm not convinced that letting a girl, rather than a boy, cut the legs off a villain is itself a feminist statement (for instance, I can imagine it being played so that the expected response is "har har you got beat up by a gurl" where the girl functions just as a tool for one male to humiliate another and its effect is still based in presumed female inferiority). And I'm certain that lots of parents will most certainly not bring the kids. But, all that said, I kinda like that reading. I guess we'll see when it comes out.

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NBooth wrote:

: And I'm certain that lots of parents will most certainly not bring the kids.

Well, I should certainly HOPE not. The film IS rated R "for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children," after all.

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One star from Ebert (this could possibly be considered a spoiler, I guess):

Shall I have feelings, or should I pretend to be cool? Will I seem hopelessly square if I find “Kick-Ass” morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point? Let's say you're a big fan of the original comic book, and you think the movie does it justice. You know what? You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in. A movie camera makes a record of whatever is placed in front of it, and in this case, it shows deadly carnage dished out by an 11-year-old girl, after which an adult man brutally hammers her to within an inch of her life. Blood everywhere. Now tell me all about the context.

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R

Laughed my c*nt off.

Oh wait.

*adds R-rating to post*

I thought this was both a very very funny film and also quite poignant. Vaughan did a really good job of layering the film so that the situation felt really disturbing (a child trained as a deadly killer by a man whose version of reality is seriously disturbed by his obsession with comic books and desire for peronal vengeance), and yet he pulled you back from that into the absurdity of it all. The fight scenes played in the same way too - for laughs but also were at times disturbing and realistic enough to really drive home how nasty it all was.

As much as I hate Nicholas Cage, I do believe the man deserved an oscar for Con Air and he has completely topped himself in this. Really comic, very disturbed portrayal, but again he was able to control it so that it was just barely on the right side of manic so that we retained our sympathy for him. Barely. It's worth going to see for Cage alone. Really top notch comic performance.

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