Friday, July 27, 2007
I can't see BoingBoing at work, so I'll just have to trust that this link works and that it takes you to some cool giant-monster belt buckles. I'll check it out for myself later at home.
Dust to Dust-Related
I don't understand the connection between Jesse James and Seacoast New Hampshire, but the SeacoastNH site is running a very cool feature called the Dingus Project that looks at as many movies about James as possible and reviews them for historical accuracy.
And speaking of Jesse James movies, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is going to hit both the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice's 75th anniversary film festival. (Also appearing at both festivals is Keira Knightley's new movie Atonement, which should matter greatly to you.)
Speaking of Keira reminds me about pirates, which reminds me that soon we'll all be able to smell like Jack Sparrow. As if that's a good thing.
One of my biggest disappointments with Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade was the lack of Marion Ravenwood. I really wanted to see that relationship continued from Raiders. Wish granted.
Dark Horse has also announced that with the new movie coming out, they'll be relaunching their line of Indiana Jones comics starting with an omnibus collecting their earlier Indy comics and eventually even reprinting Marvel's take. I gotta start saving some money.
I've been enjoying Guy Ritchie and Andy Diggle's Gamekeeper comic from Virgin enough that I quit buying the single issues and decided instead to buy the trade when it comes out. So it's pretty cool that Ritchie's turning it into a movie.
Not really Mystery-related, but it's Crime, so close enough: Boom!'s doing a comic based on the Godfather movies. That's pretty frickin' bold. It'll be interesting to see if they can pull it off, but they say that when they announce the writer "jaws will drop."
Another comics-film connection: Dreamworks has optioned a Courtney Crumrin movie. No word on if it'll be live action or animated. You have no idea how much I'm hoping for animated, especially if they can pull off Ted Naifeh's style.
And in other Important Horror Movie News: Johnny Depp will play Barnabas Collins in a Dark Shadows movie. It looks like he'll also be one of the producers.
Jeff Smith has released details about his next project, RASL. It'll be an over-sized scifi comic about "a thief -- an art thief -- who is known to the police as 'RASL,' because that's the tag he leaves whenever he steals a piece of art. He spray paints RASL on the wall in the spot where the art was." According to Smith, RASL has a suit that can "create thermal-magnetic disturbances through space-time and step between dimensions. So if you were a really rich person who wants to collect, say, a Mona Lisa, you could pay RASL, and he'll go to another dimension and steal the Mona Lisa for you!"
The downside is that "what happens when you go through these dimensional barriers -- these light barriers between dimensions and universes -- is that apparently it hurts a lot. I mean, it hurts so badly that it takes him days to recover. The pain is so bad that, for days, he drinks and gambles and smokes and eats rich foods and has whores and all that. But to get back, he has to do the exact opposite. He has to completely clean his body and mind and thoughts and almost reach a zen, centered perfectness to get back through the light. But then he comes back out and is in pain again and it all starts over." Sounds really good. I can't wait for it.
Looks like the bad guy from Heroes is going to play Spock in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.
And they're releasing the remastered/CGI-touched-up episodes of the original Star Trek series on DVD.
Writing is Hard
I like this quote from Hulk writer Greg Pak about letting artists interpret emotions themselves instead of trying to spell everything out exactly in the script: "For the most part, I'm trying to write for (illustrator) John (Romita, Jr.) using the same kind of language I'd use to direct an actor on a movie set. When working with an actor, I'd never say, 'Be sad.' Because that turns the actor into a puppet who's just trying to make the face you want and the soul of the scene dies. Instead, I'd say, 'Try not to cry.' Then the actor can just inhabit the character and the scene comes to life. Similarly, when writing for John, I try to describe actions rather than expressions. When the Hulk's gazing up at the fake Sentry that Reed's generated, I wrote, 'The Hulk continues stepping toward the light. Gazing upwards. Almost as if he's looking up towards an angel.' I don't describe the expression; instead I describe the circumstance so John can interpret the emotional content and get to the soul of the character on his own. John's a brilliant artist, which means that in the world of comics, he's a brilliant actor."
That's something I tried with Jason Copland on Kill All Monsters! and it resulted in some amazing, touching facial expressions and body language. You gotta have the right artist to pull it off -- one who knows how to make his characters act -- but Jason's totally that guy.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I should also mention that I'm on vacation next week. I don't know if the resort has Internet access. I suspect it does, but I'm not counting on it. So, I may go dark while I'm away or I may be here as usual. Stay tuned!
Just in case though, here are your August theatrical releases:
The Bourne Ultimatum: This is the series that gets the credit for giving us Casino Royale and making Bond cool again. No way I'm missing this.
Becoming Jane: One of my favorite mystery series is Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries, so I've learned a bit about her life that way and I'm interested in seeing it played out on film. Even if there aren't any gruesome murders and dashing rogues.
Stardust: Even though I love Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, I've never read the story this is based on. It just keeps getting pushed down on my list of things to do. Which is exactly why they make movies out of books in the first place.
War: I'm not expecting much in the way of story, but Jason Statham vs. Jet Li sounds a formula for success.
Mr. Bean's Holiday: Dude. It's Mr. Bean.
Halloween: I'm not usually the first in line for horror-remakes, but Rob Zombie has my curiosity up for this one.
Balls of Fury: Oh my God, this looks funny.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Dude changed his middle name to Megatron.
Dust to Dust-Related
This looks like old news, but apparently Barry Upton and Sam Snape are writing a Jesse James musical.
Today would've been Alexandre Dumas' 205th birthday. Happy Musketeer Day!
When I first heard about Dynamite's doing a Zorro comic, I had mixed feelings. A Zorro comic should be cool, but I was never able to get into Topps' attempt at it (though they did have some awesome covers). Of course, Topps didn't have Matt Wagner writing it.
If you're having a hard time picturing Seth Rogen as Green Hornet you might like this short, fan film version better. It was made by French guys, but it's in English. (Thanks to Kevin Melrose for the link.)
Writer Carl Ellsworth and director D.J. Caruso, aka the guys responsible for Disturbia, have been hired to also write and direct the Y: The Last Man movie.
Today is also Lynda Carter's birthday. According to Wikipedia, she's 56. Happy Birthday, Wonder Woman!
Monday, July 23, 2007
The Night the Giant Robot Almost Ate Christmas, Wonder Woman's invisible canoe, and a possible Jack Sparrow cartoon
I found an entire blog devoted to giant monsters: Giant Monsters Attack! It covers comics, movies, video games... the works. Super cool.
The Night the Giant Robot
Dust to Dust-Related
Download and watch Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter for free! I keep meaning to TiVo that one.
Everyone's wondering what Disney's going to do to fill the Pirates of the Caribbean-shaped hole in their line. First there was the 20,000 Leagues speculation; now the rumors are around a PotC cartoon about young Jack Sparrow. I'm up for both.
Happy Marlowe Day! Raymond Chandler would've been 119 today.
The invention of a see-through canoe probably qualifies more for Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me, but I found it via Daily Boater's comparing it to Wonder Woman's invisible plane, so there you go. I grew up canoeing, so I think this is very cool. I've never priced canoes, but the $1500 price tag doesn't even sound unreasonable to me.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Steve Bissette continues his look at giant monsters.
He also talks about DC's GIs-versus-dinosaurs comics that are collected in Showcase Presents: The War that Time Forgot. I started reading them myself, but was disappointed that instead of a continuing storyline about soldiers stranded on an island of dinosaurs, most of the stories are self-contained (except for an occasional one that takes two or three issues to complete) and feature new characters in every tale. It's still a cool idea, but I was hoping to get to know the soldiers better than the format allows.
Chris Sims convinces me to read Marvel MegaMorphs, about Marvel superheroes who pilot giant-robot versions of themselves.
Forget Transformers. How'sabout a life-sized Gundam giant robot figure?
Blogarama has a preview of Josh Cotter's giant-robot-featuring contribution to the Indie Spinner Rack anthology. Cotter's very cool Skyscrapers of the Midwest series frequently features giant robots, so this is no surprise. That doesn't make it any less welcome though.
Dust to Dust-Related
Looks like I missed TiVoing Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda in Jesse James on Fox Movie Channel this morning, but they're rerunning it on August 24th. Now if I can just remember...
This is only a rumor as far as I can tell, but everyone else is talking about it so I might as well mention that Knocked Up star Seth Rogen may be writing and starring in a Green Hornet movie.
You'll have to click on the link to get the full skinny, but the Sci Fi Channel's got some details about the second season of Jericho. Like how they're going to squeeze 22 planned episodes into the 7 that CBS ordered and how the plot will be intentionally reminiscent of events in Iraq.
In the comments to my post on Erle Stanley Gardner's birthday, Rupert from The Book Garden mentions that he's building a Squidoo list of Perry Mason novels. Quite an undertaking and very useful information considering the huge number of them that Gardner wrote.
Starting tonight, I'm not reading anything online that has either "Harry Potter" or "HP" in the text. Hewlett Packard news will just have to wait until I'm caught up. But before I go dark on the Harry news, I've got to share this press release that a friend forwarded to me. It's from a grief counselor offering "to speak with parents and children, as well as the media, on how to cope with feelings of grief and loss" once the series concludes. "This could have a serious impact on children, millions of whom have grown up reading, watching and profoundly enjoying the characters and storylines of the Harry Potter series." Maybe I'm a heartless bastard, but really?
This is even more rumor than the Green Hornet story, but the Disney Blog is reporting conversations about Disney's remaking 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, possibly with "a certain captain from the Pirates franchise" as Nemo. That last bit sounds like wishful thinking more than informed speculation to me, but I don't have the contacts that the Disney Blog does, so don't listen to me.
That's Fit has links to some cool Wonder Woman gear for women. It's all under item number four in their "five ways to emblazon yourself with a message of strength."
Ramon Perez (Butternutsquash) has a fantastic post where he's drawn all the characters from the classic Alpha Flight team. Made me homesick it did.
Writing is Hard
One of the Three Golden Rules of Writing is "show, don't tell," but Writer Unboxed read a review of Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo that made them wonder how strictly the rule should be followed. After all, "does the description of 'a little man with no compassion or concern for others' really hurt him? It helps the reader develop an instantaneous feeling about the character so the story can move forward, after all. Is that always bad? Did (Leven Thumps author Obert) Skye need to develop a sequence showing the character acting like an a-hole?" Good question. I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this one.
Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me
This post on the Simpsons Movie promotional donuts made me very hungry. I gotta find a 7-11.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm not saying that Batman would never say, "I was here the whole time, in case you rookies couldn't hack it," but it felt off. Or maybe it was the idea that Batman could actually sit patiently and watch a couple of young superheroes prove themselves without just stepping in himself and taking over.
The really strange line though was Kobra, not usually a great humorist that guy, telling Green Arrow, "I sssaid you hit like a girl." The joking made for interesting juxtaposition with his seemingly un-ironic hiss-talking, but it's still weird.
But, like I said, I'm liking it. I like the flashbacks that track Black Canary and Green Arrow's relationship, and I like the adventures of Sin trying to fit in with other kids. But I especially like that Black Canary's taking her time and thinking through Green Arrow's proposal. Even though we already know what her answer will be, it's good that she's mulling it over first. 'Cause honestly, Green Arrow's not good enough for her.
Not that anyone is or that marriage is about finding someone who "deserves" you, but Green Arrow's history with Black Canary is especially troubled. And that sounds odd for me to say since I became a Black Canary fan through Green Arrow.
I was a huge Robin Hood fan as a kid (still am), so it was a pretty easy transition for me to start digging Green Arrow once I heard of him. Then when I eventually discovered the "Hard Traveling Heroes" stories with him and Green Lantern, I was smitten by his dedication to the Little Guy and social justice issues. Before long, I was not only collecting his appearances in comics, but those of his "family" too: Speedy/Arsenal and Black Canary.
I eventually got tired of Arsenal. Too much baggage; too big a chip on his shoulder. But Black Canary I liked. I didn't think about it in these terms back then, but I think the reason I dug her was that she was an interesting combination of Wonder Woman's confidence and Rogue's neediness, both traits that I find attractive in a cognitively dissonant sort of way.
In her earliest appearances in Flash Comics, she was a femme fatale: bold, confident, and deadly. She was initially a guest-star in Johnny Thunder stories and since he was a doof, she got to be the hero. Eventually though she got to star in her own stories, but she was still the confident hero. In her secret identity as Dinah Drake, she ran a flower shop and pretended to be as mild-mannered as Clark Kent, but that was a disguise. In reality, she always saved the day for Larry Lance, a private eye who frequently ran his business out of her shop.
She got to be popular enough that she joined the Justice Society of America, but that unfortunately meant that she had to play second-string to more powerful (more male?) heroes like Green Lantern and the Flash. It's nice to see her participating in such a prominent team, but I much preferred seeing her solo in her own adventures. It's too bad that Flash Comics was cancelled shortly after she started appearing in the JSA's All-Star Comics.
She stayed with the JSA for three years until All-Star was cancelled and was mostly unheard from again until the JSA started appearing in yearly Justice League of America events. During that time we learn that Dinah and Larry got married. When Larry is killed during one of the team-ups, Black Canary decides to avoid memories of him by leaving the JSA (and Earth-2 where the JSA lives) and join the JLA on Earth-1. That's where she meets Green Arrow.
There's a huge gap in my collection right there, so I don't know what Black Canary and Green Arrow were like back then, but the sense that I get is that she was sad a lot (though I may have formed that impression after reading retcon tales, so take it for what it's worth). So -- at least in my perception -- she went from being this very confident character to being this emotionally vulnerable character and it was during this time of vulnerability that she started her relationship with Green Arrow. Not that he took advantage of her. I don't know that. But even if she was completely into him, it's not the healthiest way for a relationship to begin.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths merged the two Earths into one, DC explained that there were actually two Black Canaries. Dinah Drake Lance was a member of the JSA and her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance was in the JLA and had the relationship with Green Arrow. Eventually though, both Dinah Laurel and Green Arrow quit the JLA and moved to Seattle from which Mike Grell launched the Green Arrow ongoing.
I don't have many issues of Grell's GA, but it's common knowledge that he really put Black Canary through the ringer. She was tortured and as a result lost her Canary Cry superpower and her ability to have children. Green Arrow stole money from her florist shop and the final straw was when she caught him in a kiss with her shop assistant. Fans have hugely differing opinions about that kiss and who was at fault, but based on what I've heard (not having tracked down the issue for myself yet), Green Arrow wasn't as much of a lech as he later got a reputation for.
But he did get the reputation and it eventually came to be accepted by Green Arrow writers after Grell. As Black Canary was climbing out of her funk and becoming a cool, confident character again in Birds of Prey and JSA, Green Arrow seemed to be slowly winning her back under the writing of Kevin Smith and Brad Meltzer, but there was a general acknowledment that he'd screwed up at some point in the past and needed to regain Black Canary's trust.
And I was okay with that. Especially since I hadn't read the actual kissing scene back in the day, but also: even if he was more innocent than his reputation deserved, he wouldn't be the first guy to accept responsibility for something he didn't do just to give in and let the fight blow over. I was rooting for Green Arrow and Black Canary to get back together again. They didn't have a perfect relationship, but it felt like a real relationship and I wanted to see it continue. Until Judd Winick ruined it anyway.
Winick took over the Green Arrow series after Brad Meltzer and in his second story arc he had Green Arrow, who was supposedly still trying to woo Black Canary and prove his trustworthiness, fall for a completely new character and do things with her that in no way allowed room for a misunderstanding or any innocence on his part. At that point, I lost interest in him, threw my allegiance completely over to Black Canary who was apparently right about him all along, and dropped the Green Arrow series.
So, here's what I like about Black Canary. Wonder Woman is the ideal, confident woman. Rogue is the poster-girl for "damaged and vulnerable." Both are attractive in those ways, but Black Canary is a mixture of both, sometimes all at once, and that makes her real. She's one of the most real, complex women I've ever read about and that's why I love that DC and Tony Bedard are giving her some time to think over Green Arrow's proposal. It's what a real woman in her position should do. I don't know that she should accept, but I certainly buy that she would. I'd also buy that she wouldn't, if that was the direction DC wanted to take her. Where the heart and all her history with Green Arrow are concerned though, it makes sense that she might be willing to take a chance that he really has changed. And I'm excited to learn along with her if her taking that chance will pay off.
Except that after the wedding, Judd Winick will be her primary writer and that makes me exceedingly nervous.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Yesterday I liked to some speculation that Brad Pitt's Jesse James movie may have some problems. Today I have a link with a more positive outlook (you have to scroll down a bit), even predicting a Best Picture Oscar win. Which makes me think that the real problem is that some folks are hoping for Young Guns when the movie is probably more Legends of the Fall.
Not to leave "Machine Gun" Kelly out of things, today is the anniversary of both his birth (in 1895) and his death (in 1954). Happy Birthday, George. RIP.
I've been thinking about how I eventually want to decorate my office. Disney and More has the answer: tiki-fy it!
My buddy Joe forwarded to me a newsletter from Jasper Fforde, an author I'd never heard of, but really want to check out now. The "Thursday Next" series sounds bizarre and funny with titles like The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, and the latest one: First Among Sequels . According to the newsletter, "The latest Next adventure takes place fourteen years after Something Rotten ends, with Thursday running disbanded SpecOps divisions from behind the front of Swindon's Acme Carpets. Not only can you have Dickens, Werewolf and mammoth problems expertly dealt with, but you can also buy an exceptional woolen carpet at a discount price which includes underlay and fitting."
With so many books going on my To Read list, it's nice to be able to take one off every now and then. In Secret Service connects "mysteries concerning the abdication of King Edward VIII, WWII and the death of Princess Diana" all by way of a secret letter written by Ian Fleming. Sounds good, right? According to Bookgasm, not so much: "Though not incompetent, (author Mitch) Silver’s novel is an all-too-fractured mess and a jumble of ideas, with an action heroine as unappealing as she is unlikely." How disappointing.
I've been debating whether or not to review the latest issue of Wonder Woman (#10), but now I don't have to. Mad Thinker Scott's done it for me: "And the worst was that in the middle of a life-and-death fight, WW spots a billboard with the slogan 'Live life!' She thinks to herself how insipid the phrase is, but then apparently adopts it as her mission statement and has (a) transformative moment."
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Seeing as how I'm writing a comic about giant monsters and giant robots, I figured it would be good to add a category specifically about those things.
I didn't know that comics artist Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing, Tyrant) has a blog, but he does. And I found it because he's talking about giant monsters. And pretty darn thoroughly too.
Really nice gallery of giant monsters (and some robots too). Thanks to SF Signal for the link.
Another giant monster comic is going to beat Kill All Monsters! to stores and I'm way looking forward to reading it. Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman are doing Monster Attack Network coming out this week from Ait/PlanetLar. My Newsarama cohort Graeme McMillan has the review and my Newsarama boss JK Parkin has the interview with Marc (and some art).
You've probably heard about the Iraqi badgers by now, but the Guerilla News Network has the best take on it with this headline: Giant badgers terrorise Iraqi port city. The article's just as entertaining.
Here's pretty much everything you can hope to know at present about JJ Abrams' alleged giant monster movie.
If you're planning a trip to Japan (or live there already), be sure to check out the giant robot ride in Fujiyoshida.
Dust to Dust Related
And as long as I'm posting links about one project, why not about the other? You did know there's a Jesse James movie in the works, right? There's some concern that it's not being promoted very well and that maybe it's too long, but it stars Brad Pitt, so I suspect it'll do all right.
The first volume of the Young Indiana Jones DVDs comes out October 13th.
I agree with Digital Femme that Adam Warren needs a Shang Chi comic. Actually, I just need one (in addition to Heroes for Hire), but I think Adam Warren would do a very nice job at making one for me.
This may not really be Mystery, but I don't know where else to put it. Joe Mathlete's got another chapter up of his faux thriller, The Grone Protocol. This paragraph had me laughing so hard that I couldn't frickin' breathe: "Barry Peterson walked through the lobby like he was holding a pickle between his buttcheeks that he would have to eat if it fell on the floor. He was wearing a shirt, pants, and shoes, just like his favorite actor Ray Romano, who often wore shirt, pants, and shoes on his television program. Standing just over six feet tall with blue eyes, wavy blonde hair, and one of those chins that looks like a butt, he was a very handsome specimen of a man. According to a lot of ladies and stuff, I mean... I don't really, y'know, notice stuff like that about dudes. Anyway, chicks seem to dig him."
Today is the birthday of Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason. He would have been 118.
The X-Files movie has a script. Almost.
Steve Niles is writing a mini-series for the Sci Fi Channel. It's about "a space-shuttle pilot who becomes trapped on a newly discovered planet. After teaching the locals to use weapons and defend themselves, he becomes the leader of the planet and must eventually choose between his native society and his adopted one when a group of humans arrive to rescue him 10 years later."
The link to the Spiderwick trailer is longer than the last Harry Potter novel, so I'll send you instead to Geek Monthly's link to the link.
Kalinara does some thinking about Wonder Woman and wonders (pun intended) if writing her as a female Prince Charles might not be a bad idea.
Monday, July 16, 2007
But in an ironic, dysfunctional way, so is its opposite: neediness.
Off and on throughout my pre-married life I found myself unbelievably attracted to some really needy women. Sometimes it was emotional neediness, sometimes there was something even more seriously wrong in her life, but I kept falling for these women with major problems that needed fixing.
Looking back on it, it's easy to see what the attraction was. I wanted to be the Knight in Shining Armor that rode in and fixed everything. Of course I never could, but man, the idea was addictive. Ever since I've figured that out, I've never criticized women who always seem to fall for Bad Boys. Most people want to be able to be the hero and fix someone. At its root, its a symptom of poor self-esteem (we get to ignore our own problems in order to work on someone else's, plus there's always the remote possibility of an esteem-building success), but it would be awfully hypocritical of me to point fingers at women who do it when I've been guilty so often myself.
And if I'm honest, the desire to fix broken people is still there. It's just hidden by the fact that I married a well-adjusted woman who doesn't need fixing. But I think about my attraction to Rogue and realize that I'm still susceptible.
Rogue is sometimes portrayed as a voluptuous hottie, but not always, and that's not what I dig about her. What attracts me to her is how broken she is; how needy. How opposite she is from Wonder Woman. She's a vivacious, physical woman, but she can't touch anyone. She's tragic. And I love that she's tragic.
I used to like Gambit when he was just flirting with Rogue and she wasn't having any of it. I thought he was charming as hell when she could see through him and had her defenses up. I hated it though when they actually started falling for each other. Part of that's the Sam and Diane Syndrome, but a big part of it was that I lost the fantasy that Rogue was still available for fixing. Yeah, I fantasized about being able to fix a fictional character. The Need to Fix is strong in this one.
Rogue's a dangerous character precisely because the tragedy of her story is such an integral part of who she is. Or, at least who she always has been. It seems like most writers have equated curing her to getting Gilligan off the island or letting Galactica find Earth. Once you do that, do you still have a story? I think maybe you do, it's just a different story from the one you had before.
I wonder how important Rogue's inability to touch needs to be. I think she could be completely cured and still be an interesting character. Not only has her mutation dominated the stories told about her; it's also dominated her personality. If she loses that aspect of herself, who is she really? Maybe it's just me, but I think that a thoughtful, planned exploration of that question would be a fascinating story to read. And once she's figured that out about herself, she's "fixed" and has a new status quo.
Not that she'd be perfect. Not that she'd be Wonder Woman. But she'd be a few steps closer on the journey rather than stalled at the beginning, which is where she's been since her introduction. Personally, I'm ready to see her move on to the next stage of her life. And I don't even care that I'm not the one helping her do it.
I thought the first couple of Potter films were charming and interesting, but nothing that would inspire me to join the obsessive ranks of Potter fandom. My wife likes the books and she has good taste, so I've always assumed that I'd want to eventually read the series, but I haven't been in a rush to do it. After all, I figured, I might as well see the movies first so that I can enjoy them for what they are instead of comparing them to the books.
When the Prisoner of Azkaban movie came out, I thought it was a lot cooler than the first two, but then I don't usually enjoy Chris Columbus films, so that was no big surprise. I liked how Azkaban grounded Hogwarts and turned it into a real place. I also liked Sirius Black and Professor Lupin. And the Dementors were cool and the time travel angle was well played.
I didn't care so much for Goblet of Fire. I'd heard that the series took a darker turn and thought I was prepared for it, but it hurt to watch Ron grow so sullen and all of them get their hearts broken. Because of that, I was a bit nervous about seeing The Order of the Phoenix. I wasn't sure if I wanted to follow the series into deeper darkness, but I'm too much a fan of pop culture to be able to jump out now.
The Order of the Phoenix certainly is a darker movie, but it's also the most complex plotwise and made me think, "Holy crap, there's a lot going on here." That might also be due to my having been spoiled on the Big Event from Half-Blood Prince so that I'm really anxious to experience it for myself and form my own opinion about it. At any rate, for the first time I'm truly intrigued by the mythos and want to know what's going to happen next. Actually, "intrigued" is an understatement. I'm drawn in. I'm compelled. I'm captivated by Harry's world and want to explore it more right now.
I don't want to wait for the rest of the movies. As soon as I finish The Fencing Master, I'm starting The Sorceror's Stone and reading straight through to the end of the series. It's going to be nasty trying to avoid spoilers for the next year or however long it takes me to finish (I'm a slow, lazy reader), but that's what I get for coming late to the party.
So, yeah. I liked the movie.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name" character is getting his own comic book series. I've been itching for a good Western comic, so I'll be giving it a look.
The absolutely least interesting part of the Dracula story for me is his origin, so a Dracula Year Zero movie sounds like a really awful idea to me. Until you tell me that Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) is directing it.
I'm not really confident about sticking this under "Horror," but since the very funny Doug Jones plays Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies, I'll tell you here about his blog.
Kerwin Mathews, the guy who played Sinbad in The 7th Voyage of, died July 5th. He was 81.
Movie studios are looking for the next Harry Potter success. So of course they're snatching up the rights to any book series that remotely features wizards and spells. I guess as long as you're looking to rip off the Potter movies, you might as well go to the Potter rip-off books, but I'm thinking that this is going to get old real fast.
I'm a nerd for historical movies and I've wanted to see one for a while that covers the period between cave men and the first civilizations. Prayer answered. And it looks good too.
Make your own Dalek cupcakes. (Thanks for the link, Kelly Sue!)
10 Reasons Why John McClane is More Badass than Optimus Prime.
Smallville watchers, meet your Supergirl.
Writing is Apparently Not That Hard
At least, Joe Mathlete makes it look easy with this excerpt from a fictional book (as in, it doesn't actually exist) that I would totally buy. I want to give you a best line, but the whole damn thing's awesome, so I'll just feed you the first in order to entice you to reading the whole thing: "Jameson P. Greeley sipped his glass of milk through a straw, savoring each drop like a kitten would vodka, if the kitten were an alcoholic and/or Russian."
Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me
I thought Meredith's half-sister Lizzie was completely charming in her Grey's Anatomy appearances. Apparently I was in the minority because focus groups didn't like her. Fortunately, the show's producers told the focus groups what to do with themselves and made her a regular character. Just one of the many reasons I love the creators of that show.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Couple of things you might be interested in though, as far as those sites are concerned. I did an interview with comics writer/inker Jimmy Palmiotti for CWN. He's one of the creators of the Painkiller Jane comic that's now become a TV series at the Sci Fi Channel, and he also wrote tomorrow night's episode (titled "The League") of the show. So, we talked about that and a ton of other stuff. Fun interview.
If you're into adventure comics at all, I wrote a review of Graphic Classics, Vol. 13: Rafael Sabatini for Newsarama. There's even some art from it for you to look at.
What else? I've deliberately spared you my thoughts on the Fantastic Four movie, but no longer. Like I said, I'm feeling lazy and this'll be easy to write about, if not particularly insightful.
My hopes for it went from "high" after seeing the trailers to "dashed" after hearing the initial reviews and learning how Galactus was going to be portrayed. Even with dashed hopes though, I still managed to end up disappointed thanks to several factors. Like the movie's heroes not contributing to the resolution of the plot in any meaningful way. Or Doctor Doom's squeaky-voiced reappearance, the incredibly annoying general, and the general's inexplicable desire to let Doom do whatever the hell he wanted even though he didn't help out the least little bit. "You're not producing results, Dr. Richards, so we're bringing in Doom. No, he's not going to actually help or even appear in any scenes with you. He's just going to disappear for a while until he needs access to a deadly weapon that he shouldn't be allowed in the same country with and we're going to let him have it out of gratitude for his -- I dunno -- just hanging around, I guess."
And, oh yeah, Jessica Alba's generally looking creepy.
If you want to make Sue Storm Latina, make her Latina. I don't care. You can even make her a Latina who dyes her hair blonde. That's cool too. But they went way out of their way to hide her ethnicity with those unnaturally blue eyes and it didn't work. It makes Sue look either fake or really ashamed of her heritage. I mean, they didn't try to make up Michael Clarke Duncan to look white in Daredevil, so why is Sue Storm any different? (And don't tell me it was because the actor who plays her brother is white. There's all sorts of ways around that.)
But I could have overlooked all of that for a shot of something that looked like this. Actually, I'd have even settled for this. (Thanks to Jamie Baker for those.)
But, no. We got the freakin' Weather Channel.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
As Bookgasm says, "Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai doesn’t just publish great crime fiction – he writes it." Actually, I haven't read any of it yet, so I'm taking their word for it on the "great" part, but the set up to both of his books (so far) certainly sound great. In Little Girl Lost, "John Blake, an NYU dropout turned PI, is stunned to learn that his high school girlfriend, Miranda, who he thought went to medical school and then on to lead a tame life in the Midwest, actually became a stripper. Even more shocking—she's been murdered."
In the sequel, Songs of Innocence, Blake gets involved with another girl with a seedy occupation, and she winds up dead. According to Bookgasm, "it looks like a suicide, but Blake knows better. Her mother doesn’t believe she offed herself, either, and she wants Blake to look into it. He refuses to take her money, referring her to someone else, but only so he can follow leads without her meddling." Maybe it's the great reviews about the writing style; maybe it's that Blake sounds like just the kind of pathetic hero I'd like to see catch a break, but I'm looking forward to checking this series out.
My favorite ghost story is A Christmas Carol and I'm always excited to hear about a new version of it. And I'd expect to be extra excited to hear that Disney is doing an animated feature based on it. I already watch Mickey's Christmas Carol every December as part of a massive Christmas Carol marathon and I'm willing to add another version to the list. Unfortunately, it's going to be a Robert Zemeckis-directed, motion-capture, CGI movie like The Polar Express. Even more unfortunately, it's going to star Jim Carrey as Scrooge and all the ghosts. The only way this could work is for Carrey to pull off the acting job of his life and give each character distinctive personalities rather than play them as the goofy caricatures that I expect he will. And even then Zemeckis is going to have to work equally as hard to have the characters not be as creepy as the ones in The Polar Express.
The teaser trailer that ran before Transformers for the J.J. Abrams movie is causing quite a stir. IMDB isn't at all helpful, revealing only that the fake working title is Cloverfield. A couple of websites have sprung up that folks thought might be related to it, but Abrams denies that, saying that the real movie site is 1-18-08.com.
I love the steampunk, and Jay Lake's novel Mainspring about the world's being run by a gigantic clockwork that's about to run down is just begging to be made into a movie that I want to see on opening night.
This is rumor, but The Disney Blog is linking to supposed details about an upgraded film for Disney-MGM's Star Tours attraction. TDB's John Frost says he's also "hearing rumblings of improved relations between George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company" and speculates that that could possibly mean a whole Star Wars land at the Disney-MGM park. How cool would that be?
Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me
Besides A Christmas Carol, my two favorite Christmas movies are Ernest Saves Christmas and White Christmas. A while back, I heard about a theatrical version of White Christmas and wondered what force on Earth could possibly make me go see a version of it that didn't have Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen (not to mention Irving Berlin) to carry me through my annual anger over Betty Haynes' knee-jerk rejection of Bob Wallace. Mark Evanier let his curiosity get the better of him and paid the price. For which I'm thankful, because now my curiosity is sated too without my having had to endure it myself.
Monday, July 09, 2007
I saw a few movies over the last week. I probably won't do full reviews of them, but the quick rundown is:
Ratatouille: Awesome. Funny and meaningful. Brad Bird retains his perfect record. I saw this one one-and-a-half times because David got freaked out the first time and needed to leave. He empathizes with animals and can't really handle when people are mean to them in movies. The second time I saw it though I was watching the other kids in the audience during the intense parts and no one seemed to be affected, so likely it's just an idiosyncracy of David's.
Live Free or Die Hard: Also awesome. Everything you want in a Die Hard movie, including quick, unobtrusive references to the first film. Lowering the rating to PG-13 didn't hurt it at all, though the trick they played to get the "Yipee Kai Yay" part past the MPAA won't work again if they do another one.
Transformers: There are movies that Michael Bay really shouldn't do, like Pearl Harbor. But Transformers? He was made for that. Nice mix of focus between the human ensemble and the robots. John Turturro not only stole all the scenes he was in; he ran away with them while giggling gleefully. My only complaint is that the final battle was so long that I actually got bored with it. And there were some big plot holes in order to give the less powerful characters a reason to stay on screen. Not one I'd buy, but lots of fun.
The best part of the long weekend was that we added a new member to our family yesterday. He's a bearded dragon and David's named him Qui-Gon. He's a cute little thing now, but in a year or so he's going to look like this. He'll still be cute, just not so little. But for now...
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Really good show. Jeffrey Donovan has a ton of charisma and makes a fascinating lead as newly ex-CIA agent Mike Westin. He's a good-looking guy, but unconventional enough to be interesting. And he's got this smarmy kind of delivery that makes him funny and quickly likable. In that way, having Bruce Campbell in the supporting cast as another ex-CIA man is a great match. They play well together with neither upstaging the other.
It's also nice to see Gabrielle Anwar again. I had a crush on her back when she played Queen Anne in the Disney version of The Three Musketeers. Here, she's Mike's ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenanne, a former IRA member who's got a nasty violent streak, but also obviously cares about Mike. She'll be as fun to watch as Donovan and Campbell.
The only character I didn't care for was Mike's mom, played by Sharon Gless. We used to watch a lot of Cagney & Lacey when I was growing up, so it's great to see her again, but the character is a stereotypical, nagging mom. Maybe Gless can do something with her as we go along. This was just the pilot episode after all. And I do like what her character brings out in Mike. He tries hard not to have anything to do with her, but he can't help but worry about her. It adds a sweet element to him that makes him even more endearing.
The plot was good too. The meta plot involves Mike's trying to figure out why he's been blacklisted from the CIA and is now being followed around now by the FBI. There's some danger in a plot like that because it could take over the whole show, but the characters are all strong enough and -- if the pilot's a good example -- the weekly plots should be good enough to carry the show just fine whether or not Mike ever solves the larger mystery.
One of my favorite spooks is the Headless Horseman, so TiVo snagged an old episode of Murder, She Wrote that featured a Headless Horseman plot. Watched that last night too.
I was never a big fan of that show, but it was fun to watch and try to guess the murderer. I had it figured out about five minutes in, which reminded me why I was never a fan, but as a nostalgic experience, I had a good time. The nerdy dude from Riptide (now that was a good '80s show) played the Ichabod Crane character and Greg Brady played an unconvincing hoodlum/ladies' man a la Brom Van Brunt. Ubiquitous '80s TV guest-stars Doug McClure and Judy Landers played the sheriff and a tavern waitress. And Dr. Stanley Riverside II from Trapper John was the town dentist. Good times.