Hot Apollo

Toronto's Shiniest Rock-and-Roll Band

Tom Tingles

Alright. I know I've always said that Andrew Garfield was my favourite Spidey, and I still think he was a fresh breeze of cavalier air after the somewhat dour Tobey Maguire, who still wasn't really bad at his take, but "Far From Home" convinced me to join everyone else in 2016 and accept that Tom Holland is god tier Spidey. And that's even with my soft spot for the Ultimate Peter Garfield reminded me of. Tom even nails the aspects of that version. It's not really news to anyone but me. In some ways, it's not even news to me. But Tommy's a wondrous distillation of some kind of Platonic Spider-Ideal.

And the movie as a whole is my favourite Spider-Man film. Even its mix of high school jinks and rangy adventure brings to my mind the Ultimate comics that elevated

the character to new heights in my young mutant heart. Also, while I'm somewhat ambivalent about the direction of the credits scene, the character who steered it was a welcome surprise of the grandest order.

The fact that Mysterio's presented as a fusion of my two favourite Avengers doesn't hurt either.

Bonus Question!

Mysterio's described as a mix of Iron Man and Thor, just like Sigurd Stark, the Iron Hammer of the Infinity Warps event. Who wins?

Mysterio's extra stylish in the movie, but he's still just a trickster. Not even a trickster god. Iron Hammer's

got divine science magic. And a hammer. So . . .


Ragnarok and Whale

I'd basically forgotten that I'd put a hold on this book from my library app. It was "The Wolf in the Whale", and I was intrigued by its mixture of Inuit history and Norse mythology. I don't recall if I knew that it was by a familiar author when I reserved it, but when it came up for me, I looked at her name and remembered my middling experience with her previous writings about Greek gods in modern times, another concept  I love. I thought I'd give her a chance on this one, though I didn't have any certainty about finishing the book. But it grabbed me somehow. I think I might have been more liable to bounce off the previous books because of the fairly clinical disposition of the narrator, but "Wolf" is seen through a more earnest and open lens. Somehow, that's enough to make it resonate more when all else is relatively equal. This novel's getting devoured.

Bonus Question!

Best whale song?

"So Long and Thanks for All the Fish".

Putting the Camp in Camp Half-Blood

I didn't even know that there was a Percy Jackson musical till I saw a poster on the subway a few weeks ago that announced its one-week engagement in Toronto. I decided on the spot that I basically had to give it a look.

And hey. It was a time. It almost felt as though it was made by people who just got thrown together and wrote the whole thing in order because it really got progressively better as it went on. Everything got tighter and more decisive, but it never dropped that bathetic whimsy, which so heavily defined the books. Honestly, I'd put it around the level of the movies, but its strengths and flaws were wildly different. Still. A good time. And the kind of thing I basically had to do.

Bonus Question!

Movie Grover versus musical Grover!

Each was a divergent take on the character, but musical Grover felt closer to Ned from "Spider-Man: Homecoming" with an undercut, and that did a lot to endear him to me.

Grimly Phoenix

Just saw "Dark Phoenix". Can't understand the hate. It was a fun X-Men film filled with classic X-Men nonsense. Like "Apocalypse". On a tonal level, I did prefer "Apocalypse", but that's  because it was more uplifting, and my own tastes might have liked that to be the end point. But I'm also the guy who used to end the Ziggy Stardust album on "Suffragette City" because "Suicide" seemed too dour to end on, and now that's one of my favourite songs.

But it's pretty rare for a dude to get a second chance at seeing his vision through without interference, and that's what Kinberg got for this after the complications of "Last Stand". He rose from the ashes of that and made his Phoenix play here.

I will say that the X-Men uniform popped better onscreen than I expected, though I still would have preferred the wilder costumes that were teased at the end of "Apocalypse". What else popped? Mystique's hair. That  coif was radical. It could have come from a bottle called "Radical Red". Pure comic book colour. Cheers for that. And cheers to Kinberg for managing to convince her to come back for endless hours of makeup application.

And I realise now that Tye Sheridan might have won the casting call in large part by virtue of his mouth. That blind pout is pure Cyclops. I loved Marsden in the old movies, but he might have almost been too stylish for the role. He might have made me like Scott more than I should have. But Tye's performance is incredibly honest.

Also. At one point, the X-Men are antagonised by the Mutant Control Unit or whatever, with big letters on their outfits that read "MCU", which seems appropriate after all the legal issues between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox's X-Men franchise.

And the ending reminded me of the epilogue to "Dark Knight Rises", which mainly had the effect of making me want to watch a conversation between Xavier and Michael Caine. It doesn't even have to be with Alfred. Any Michael Caine.

Bonus Question!

How was the last season of "Jessica Jones"?

She's not my favourite character of the Netflix Defenders, but for some reason, her show always goes down smoothest.

Forgetful Detecting

I kept forgetting Bill Nighy was in "Detective Pikachu" before I finally saw it. But he is. And it was.

Awesome. It was awesome.

I'd heard people say that it was weak outside of seeing live Pokemon, but I might tend towards the inverse. It was a fun adventure film outside of the visuals, which are never my main draw to a movie. The Pokemon looked good, but they didn't seem miraculously realistic. They just had an overall design that brought their level of detail up, but I'd still say Jar-Jar and company looked more natural in a real world than anything here. That's no knock against the film. I liked how it maintained a bit of the cartoony feel of the franchise, but my experience was at odds with a lot of what I'd heard about the film.

Anyway, it's a fun time. And the ending was an adorable surprise.

Best Eevee?

Sylveon. Because fairies.


Nice and Accurate

I just watched "Good Omens", and I've got to say that Crowley is the best example since Alan Rickman's Snape of the ability of an adapted character's entire aesthetic to transcend that of the source material so wonderfully. Dude feels like an underworldly Ziggy Stardust. The book did not set my expectations for that.

Also, it's just good, man. And still true. I don't have any issue with the "American Gods" show, but it didn't do for me what the book did. Along with "Good Omens", I could probably fit it near the top of my favourites. The television series felt too different for my own tastes. But "Good Omens" recreated the novel's feel brilliantly, and I've got to cheer for that.

Bonus Question!

Best omen?

I don't know. Red skies at night? At least if you're a sailor.


Batadict Cumberbat

Been hearing about this Batman casting. I don’t need to tell you that Pattinson’ll be fine. Everyone basically knows. Putting aside my personal affection for the Twilight franchise, I can still say he’s a skillful actor beyond the confines of that role he harbours open distaste for. But at least it gives clear precedent for his portrayal of a moody nocturnal rich dude. With bat symbolism.

Anyway, if that doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I’ve got another suggestion inspired by hearing that one of the villains for the film is supposed to be the Penguin.

Benedict Cumberbatch! Another tall dude with dark hair who looks as though he could come from money. Maybe he doesn’t quite have the chin for it? But whatever. Really, I just want to hear him pronounce “penguin” again. That was a highlight of that Madagascar film he was in.

He needs a name though. We just had Batfleck, and people are trying to decide on one for Robert. I’ve heard “Robert Batinson” and “Robat Pattinson” at least. Maybe “Batadict Cumberbatch” or “Benedict Cumberbatman”? We can work on it.

Bonus Question!

Best penguin?

Probably Memphis. He’s an incarnation of Elvis played by Hugh Jackman. That’s a potent mix.

Dirty Rocking Scoundrels

I just saw "The Hustle", which turned out to be a remake of "Bedtime Story", which I haven't seen, and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", which I loved. But I just discovered that "Scoundrels" got Steve Martin and Mikey Caine after a proposition to et Bowie and Jagger fell through, and now I want that nonexistent film hard. We could have had the cinematic equivalent of their "Dancing in the Streets" cover! Eh. Lass.

Bonus Question!

Mick Jagger the street fighting man or Mick Jagger who dances in the street? Place of battle is the street.

Well, one might expect the guy who's known for fighting in streets to win a fight in a street, but there were some pretty impressive kicks in that other video. Although they might've come from David Bowie.



Spring Beaching

I saw "The Beach Bum". It was basically like watching a whole movie about Sam Rockwell's Zaphod Beeblebrox soundtracked by turning on a classic rock station at random. Which is to say . . . It was alright for me.

Directed by the dude who did "Spring Breakers". I don't leave movies early often, but when I realised that it wouldn't stop being a series of disconnected scenes with little salient dialogue, I ran across town to see the G.I. Joe sequel instead. Which was delightful. With The Rock.

Bonus Question!

Best Beach Boy?

In high school, my default answer was Dennis, but I haven't examined that since.

Spoils of Infinity War

“Endgame” just came out. “Game of Thrones” is ramping up to its finale. Talk about spoilers and the ethics thereof has not been more prevalent in recent memory.

Now, I remember hearing about some study a few years ago where scientists claimed to prove that spoilers can enhance the consumption of a story because humans subconsciously enjoy putting together a puzzle when they know the end result. Which is fine for some people.

But in recent weeks, I’ve heard that study cited far too much by all sorts of people who hold it up to be some sort of universal truth. But humanity’s not a hive mind, and it’s insane to claim that someone who avoids spoilers actually just doesn’t know that they secretly want them.

I’m not the most fervent opponent of spoilers. Its a personal decision. Like everything, people bear some responsibility for avoiding what they don’t want in their lives, but they also have the right to be annoyed at those who ruin their fun. People generally understand themselves enough to know what they want, and no study is going to trump individual taste. It’s not like vaccination. That stuff doesn’t care if you like needles. It’ll help you anyway. Not the same deal here.

Bonus Question!

Best needle?


Avengers 4-Ever After

Restlessness lost! I was worried about being able to sit through the running time of "Endgame" despite fervent desire to see it,  which drove me further to see it with company in an extra effort to fight off that discomfort. But I probably would have managed without that. Honestly, the pacing might have suited me more than that of "Infinity War" despite the increased length.

Another mild surprise?

I liked the quantum suits more than I thought I would when the Avengers actually put them on. The colour palette still isn't my favourite, but it lent a bit of a Japanese super squad effect to things. Like Power Rangers or Voltron. That kind of thing. It mitigated the loss of those diverse costumes with more inherent appeal.

And Rob Downey basically felt like Ian Malcolm for the first 15 minutes, which hit me with a bit of desire to see Stark hang with the Grandmaster. Though even when the first "Iron Man" came out, I felt a sort of affinity between Jeff and Downey. Anyway.

Also, isn't this around the 3rd anniversary of that comic  where Cap first hailed Hydra? It was amusing to hear that line cheered in the movie after its harsh decrial in the books.

Ultimately? Ridiculous. But not ridicilulous like the Ultimate universe's analogous chapter ender Ultimatum, which was a whole other kind of ridiculousness. This was far more satisfying, in part because it still left a full world that allows for all sorts of future stories to be told. After Ultimatum, that universe felt slightly like the first bit of "Endgame" where the whole world was depressed after the snap. People say the movie's take a lot from Ultimate Marvel, but regardless of that claim's truth, they're better at wiping the slate clean. For one thing, they actually clean it instead of smashing it to bits.

And hey. The longest paragraph of my "Endgame" post was only tangentially related to the film. Seems on brand.

Also! In being a saga ender with an expressive green giant, a bunch of time travel in sevice of fixing a broken world, and a notably attractive character that got fat and lazy, "Endgame" really reminded me of "Shrek Forever After". And because "Endgame" had a mellow Kinks song in it, I was also reminded of my friend's insistence on listening to his favourite "Waterloo Sunset" in the car as he drove me from the Shrek movie. I was also listening to a lot of Kinks before I went to see "Endgame", but it wasn't the mellow stuff.

Bonus Question!

Best Hawkeye moment?

Jeremy Renner has his own kind of endearing charm, but it's not that of comic book  Clint Barton. That's fine, but Jer's "totally awesome" line felt like the closest thing to the Hawkeye of the page.

With the possible exception of pictures of young Jeremy Renner.


Hella Boys

So. New Hellboy movie.

Here's the thing. Guillermo del Toro has inimitable charm, and the same can be said for Ron Perlman. Though the films they made together largely predated the modern superhero movie landscape and its fairly consistent ability to distill the outlandish glories of its source material into quality cinema, they were well made, well performed, and filled with the eccentric warmth of their director. It's hard not to want more of that.

But if you put that aside, 2019's "Hellboy" is a fun romp too.  Some of the marketing made it seem overly grom, which probably would have made me miss the Guillermo works, but honestly, the actual film didn't feel too different in overall tone from the previous stuff. The biggest difference was probably the preponderance of hard rock in the soundtrack, which seems like something Guill wouldn't do too much, but I don't actually remember. I walked in slightly late, but the first scene I saw was some sort of masked wrestling match, and professional wrestling is probably a good point of comparison for the film's feel. Machismo, hard rock, and a kind of endearing ridiculousness leavened by an implicit absence of self-seriousness.

Bonus Question!

Best boy from Hell?

Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan!

Not actually the son of Satan! But still the son of one of many demons who claim that name in the Marvel universe! Also probably has a portal to Hell in his kitchen or something! Also called Hellstorm!



Just saw "Shazam". It's a movie about a child mind in an adult body with sparkly power. I couldn't miss it.

Also, it followed "Spider-Man 2" in the classic superhero movie tradition of having a villain who looks like a dude in Matrix cosplay.

One other thing. The combination of the marketing slogan "Just Say The Word" in combination with the throwback 80s feel makes me think of Phil Collins's "Sussudio", and I don't know if that was intentional. In any case, it's my head canon theme song for the movie.


Bonus Question!

Are Redditors in Reddit's Star Wars section Jeditors?

Mottled Up

I didn't know that they actually put that Motley Crue movie into production until the weekend of its release. The guy who told me about it was this dude who'd booked some shows for me in the past, and he actually looked like the movie's Nikki Sixx.

But yeah. Crue was one of my favourite bands around 2006. I read "The Dirt". I read Tommy Lee's book too. Around that time, there was all sorts of talk about a feature film adaptation of the Crue biography with Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken in the roles of David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne. Tommy Lee wanted Johnny Depp to play him because he apparently thought they were quite alike, but the general consensus was Ashton Kutcher. Obviously, Ash basically looked like a somewhat more built Tommy. The dude in this movie looked like a skinnier Ashton. It worked. 

But yeah. It was basically what it should have been. I still would have liked to see those wild casting choices from 2006. Val's basically circled back around to the point where he could convincingly play a dissipated Diamond Dave. For those 2 seconds or whatever.

And if I hadn't heard about it from that dude at the beginning of the day, I would have learned by evening from my band.

But it's still not my favourite movie based around the music of Motley Crue. That honour goes to "Hot Tub Time Machine".


Bonus Question!

Best weird casting for a rock star?

I saw "Walk Hard" after I'd already watched "Darjeeling Limited". I remember sitting beside this girl I liked during "Darjeeling" and noting Jason Schwartzman's resemblance in a scene to Ringo Starr. She mumbled agreement.

I later watched "Walk Hard", which featured deliberately miscast Beatles in one scene, but Jason Schwartzman's Ringo seemed out of place because he  actually looked like a natural fit.

Alien Slaying

I finally saw "Captain Marvel", and I really just want to say that I loved the look of the Skrulls. For real. They reminded me of random villains from "Buffy", which totally feels appropriate for an emotionally oblique blond heroine in the 90s.

Also, these movie versions do a good job of looking distinct from Thanos, who's always basically looked like a Skrull with a purple tan and an Infinity Gauntlet full of protein powder.

Bonus Question!

Best flavour of protein powder?

I've been swearing by maple syrup pancake, but the new Reese's peanut butter cup kind intrigues me. Can anyone attest to it?

Aladdin Stained

I don't really know why people are so down on Will Smith's genie. He'll be fine.

Actually, what he'll be is Will Smith. Blue skin, which would look like that on anyone, won't change anyone's opinions of him. Personally, I tend to enjoy his antics, and he did a pretty good job of breaking out of my head casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan for Deadshot. He's not a perfect fit for everything, but at the very least, his roles don't suffer by comparisons to other actors. He'll never fall into anyone's shadow because he's at the level where he doesn't even live under the same sun that creates other people's shadows in the first place. He's like Robin Williams in the fact that he has his own orbit, which is important when you're replacing such a prestigious dude. In light of the fact that the new "Lion King" guys brought back James Earl Jones to record his lines again because they didn't think that a replacement for that iconic voice would be accepted , I'm inclined to think Robin Williams's death was the only thing that prevented his inclusion in the "Aladdin" remake from being discussed. With his absence from the world, getting a star who's ebulliently charming in a unique way that's not comparable to Robin seems like the best call.

I'm probably not going to see "The Lion King" because it replaces the original's heightened cartoonish aesthetic with a level of realism I don't personally care for, but it'll be fine. But I am actually feeling some excitement for "Aladdin".

Bonus Question!

Best blue humanoid?




So. Pretty excited for "Shazam".

Before this, I was aware of Zach Levi's history in the Thor movies with the character of Fandral. I didn't realise that he was also Flynn in the Tangled franchise. Still doing it in the ongoing series and Kingdom Hearts even. Which means that he's played two fantastical characters inspired by Errol Flynn? That speaks well of the dude to my mind. Now I want to see his Shaz even more.

Bonus Question!

"Tangled" versus "Frozen"?

Both are good, but I was more receptive to "Tangled" at the time. Flynn was probably a big part of that. But I think Elsa's become my favourite princess since. We'll see how I feel when the sequel arrives. Also, hey! Disney cartoon  with a theatrical sequel! Yay!


Flaws Fake and Factual

I often see people ascribe the attitudes of fictional characters to their creators. Sometimes a figure in a story will say something objectionable and the author will get accused of endorsing it.

I've made the opposite mistake. I remember reading a novel in which a kid was rebuked by some stern older dude for his interest in rock-and-roll guitar. I just assumed that it was just to display the contrast between the kid's impulsiveness and the older man's fixation on order. After I'd finished the book, I learned more about the writer, who apparently does think that guitar music is for savages. And not in that Sebastian Bach kind of way. Which, whatever. But apparently that writer is a bad dude in a lot of gross ways. I still liked the book though. But I was midway through a trilogy his wife wrote when I learned these things, and their shared beliefs about some things started to seem more blatantly expressed there. But that book was partially inspired by one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, which kept it from falling too far. Although there was another novel inspired by the same play that I liked less, and it seemed to be written by a more decent person. So whatever.

Bonus Question!

For a while, I've been vaguely wondering if I ever saw the second Spy Kids movie. I watched it recently and discovered that I hadn't. There we go. On to the next one!

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.