Friday, February 29, 2008

Video du Jour: Barnaby Jones

My mom was a huge influence on my genre tastes as a kid. She was and still is a huge mystery fan, and Barnaby Jones was one of our favorite shows. We even named our dog Barnaby after the Great Detective.

Buddy Ebsen will always be Barnaby Jones, not Jed Clampett, to me. And Lee Meriwether will always be Betty; not Catwoman. Julie Newmar is Catwoman.

Artist of the Day: Sean Galloway



I didn't fully appreciate the Humanoids Herculoids as a kid. See? I even got them confused with a publisher of European comics. (Thanks, Christopher Mills!)

What was wrong with me?

Via his DeviantArt gallery.

The Awesome List: animated Batman movie, Shannara comic, Burn Notice DVD, Jungle Girl movies, the JLA movie, and more.

Batman: Dark Knight



Warner Brothers is releasing a DVD cartoon on July 8 that bridges the gap between Batman Begins and Batman: Dark Knight, which comes out in theaters ten days later.

Turok review

If you're curious about the Indians vs. Dinosaurs cartoon I mentioned earlier, Mike Sterling can tell you all about it.

Shannara graphic novel

Publishers Weekly has an interview with Terry Brooks about the comicbookization of his fantasy series. He talks about a lot of stuff including why he decided to come back to the character of Jair Ohmsford from Wishsong:

"I’d done a short story called 'Indomitable' a few years back for a Legends collection, and it was an attempt to pick up on what happened with Jair Ohmsford, who was one of the two main characters in Wishsong of Shannara. He was just a boy in there, and I thought I’d grow him up a bit. After I finished it, it just seemed like there was more to do with Jair if I chose to do it. At that time, though, I was moving ahead with the stories and didn’t really want to spend any more time on that generation.... But when it came time to do the graphic novel, I thought, this really is a good place to pursue it."

The graphic novel Dark Wraith of Shannara comes out March 25.

Burn Notice Season One DVD



Looks like Burn Notice, the best new show last year, is coming to DVD. It's only a rumor for now, but c'mon. Of course it is. And shortly before Season Two begins this summer, no doubt.

Jungle Girls Gone Wild

I'm so getting this.

Justice League movie

I haven't said much about the Justice League movie during the writers strike because it all seemed like non-news. Of course the strike put the movie on hold; of course the movie's back on now that the writers are working again. Not exactly a scoop.

But in case it needs explicit confirmation: yes, the Justice League movie is still on and yes, it's still starring Megan Gale as Wonder Woman.

Addison back on Grey's Anatomy

Private Practice's post-strike hiatus has freed up Kate Walsh to return to Grey's Anatomy for an episode or two.

Nobody cares but me? Okay, then.

Friday Night Fights: Batman vs. the falcons

No, no. Not the Falcon. Although that would be cool too. See, in this story, Batman's trying to stop a married couple from murdering a government agent. Turns out, they've got a garden full of flowers that not only make you immortal; they also make you totally insane.

Unfortunately, Batman gets a whiff and when they sic their killer falcons on him, he's not sure if they're real or if he's hallucinating.



You'd better make up your mind quick, El Murciélago!



Fortunately, even killer birds are no match for Batman.



KNOCK OUT!

And to add insult to injury...



Ow-how-howww! Somebody call PETA!

Bahlactus ain't hallucinating.

Batman fights killer falcons in Detective Comics #395 by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Video du Jour: Perry Mason

My second favorite TV theme song of all time. You don't even need the visuals on this one. Just close your eyes, sit back, and enjoy.

Artist of the Day: Gene Gonzalez (again)



Back to Gene Gonzales again.

The Awesome List: Hercules, Wild West King Arthur, pirates, Picoult's Wonder Woman, more Bourne, Hulk toys, and more

Hercules and King Arthur of the Wild West



There's a new comics publisher in town called Radical Publishing. Their first two books are a dark, 300-esque vision of Hercules and a Western retelling of the King Arthur legend called Caliber. The art for both looks great and they're offering the first issue of each for only a buck. Definitely gonna have to try these out.

Pieces of Eight

Komikwerks has a new webcomic about pirates.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Technophobiac Sci-Fi has a review of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D starring Brendan Fraser.

Fast Ships, Black Sails

Night Shade books has a pirate anthology coming out later this year. Contributors include Michael Moorcock and Elizabeth Bear.

Defending Jodi Picoult



I don't know if it's the desire to give a best-selling novelist the benefit of the doubt or what, but it's in vogue lately in blogland to excuse Jodi Picoult for writing a lousy run on Wonder Woman. I'm honestly not trying to pick on Picoult here, because for all I know she's a very talented writer. She just wasn't the right one for Wonder Woman. And it's not because DC editorial tied her hands.

And I'm not trying to pick on Heidi Meeley either. She's the one who got me thinking about this again, but she's also just the latest to excuse Picoult's not understanding the character and put the blame on Amazons Attack. But a good couple of issues before she started having to work in the Amazons Attack story, Picoult was portraying Wonder Woman as a self-doubting, fish-out-of-water character. Yes, forcing a lame crossover idea on Picoult only made it worse, but let's not pretend that she would've been great for the series if only she'd been left to her own devices.

Fourth Bourne

Universal's contemplating another Bourne sequel.

Marvel Adventures: Super-Heroes

Marvel's Marvel Adventures line for kids are some of my favorite comics right now. They're not so stuck in trying to be all "epic" and "relevant," but are focusing more on just being big, fun, and adventurous. So, news of a new MA title showcasing "characters that don’t have their own book, or team-ups of characters that do" is welcome news indeed.

Hulk toys

Remember that Comics Reporter post I liked so much? Here are some other, just-as-questionable, Hulk toys coming out at the same time.

March Theatrical Releases

Okay, March looks a lot better than February did.



March 7

10,000 B.C.: By all rights, this should be Beyond Awesome with all the cavegirls and ancient civilizations and sabretooth tigers and domesticated mammoths. But I'd be lying if I said that "From the Director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow" didn't make me nervous. Independence Day was a fun, but disposable movie and you couldn't have dragged me into The Day After Tomorrow with all the domesticated mammoths in the world.

The Bank Job: Jason Statham. Bank heist. '70s detectives and criminals. Government conspiracy. They got me.

Snow Angels (limited release): Kate Beckinsale is all I need to know about this movie, but the rest of it looks pretty good too. Olivia Thirlby is even cuter here than she was in Juno.

Okay. Yes. It's all about the girls with me on this one.

March 14

Doomsday: Speaking of Kate Beckinsale, I really thought that was her in the trailer for this. Makes me much less nervous about Rhona Mitra's taking over for Kate in the next Underworld film. And even though it's not Kate here, the Road Warrior/Escape from New York vibe is strong enough to make it my most anticipated movie of the month.

Horton Hears a Who: I'd about had it with big screen adaptations of Dr. Suess books, but going animated is a step in the right direction. I'm not convinced that they can pad it out to feature length without making it feel like padding, but it's one of my favorite Suess stories, so I'm willing to give it a try.

March 21

Drillbit Taylor: Owen Wilson was painfully unfunny at the Oscars, mostly because he wasn't even trying to be funny and that made me sad. He's one of my favorite comic actors and I'm worried about him. Not every movie of his is great, but this one written by Seth Rogen and Kristofor Brown, based on a concept by John Hughes, and produced by Judd Apatow has all the ingredients it needs to be hilarious.

March 28

Superhero Movie: I'm expecting very little from this, but it has Leslie Nielsen in it, so I'm guaranteed a laugh or two.

Flawless: Michael Caine. Bank heist. '60s detectives and criminals. No government conspiracy, but they still got me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Video du Jour: Hawaii Five-O theme

I want to do a series of World's Greatest TV Themes and this one's at the top of the list. I never enjoyed the show half as much as I grooved to that theme song.



I've alrady got a nice list going of other entries in this series, but I'm curious: what are your favorite TV themes?

Artist of the Day: David Finch



I'm not done linking to Gene Gonzalez and Victor Santos stuff, because those guys know what I like, but I figured that we should give someone else a chance if only for diversity's sake.

This one's from the collection of Matt Olsen.

The Awesome List: Dr. Syn, Eleventh Hour, Sheena stickers, Coraline movie, Atomic Robo, and Kill All Monsters!

Dr. Syn, Alias The Scarecrow



I've mentioned before how much I love scarecrows. I also love The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (No, not the movie version. Gag.) And I love dark, masked antiheroes with big guns. And I'm quite a big fan of adventure stories set in the 18th century.

So, when Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill started talking about a 1780's version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I saw that it included a dark, masked antihero in its ranks, I was curious to learn more. Imagine my excitement when I learned that though you can't really tell it in O'Neill's drawings, Dr. Syn is actually dressed like a scarecrow.

Now imagine how I feel that Disney is finally releasing their classic Dr. Syn TV series on DVD. I don't know if it's any good, but I aim to find out.

Eleventh Hour

Know who else I love? Rufus Sewell. Ever since Cold Comfort Farm and Dark City.

And now he's going to be in a TV show about a "special science advisor" to the government who saves the world from mad scientists every week with the help of a "feisty female bodyguard." It's like they're making TV just for me now.

Sheena stickers

I've experienced mixed results from Devil's Due's comics output, but man if I'm not excited about their new line of comics-related merchandise. I'm gettin' some of those Sheena stickers.

Coraline



Neil Gaiman's posted a teaser trailer for his next movie: a 3D adaptation of Coraline.

Atomic Robo

I've already told you how to get your hands on free Atomic Robo in May. What I didn't tell you is that that's just the beginning of new Atomic Robo adventures. According to the press release I got:

"Red 5 Comics is pleased to announce that starting this fall, Atomic Robo will return as a continuing series, with (co-creators Brian) Clevinger and (Scott) Wegener on-board for over twenty issues of Robo exploits over the next three years.

"'We couldn't be happier to be able to share more of Robo's adventures,' said Clevinger. 'I can promise more explosions and more punching, but the two are probably unrelated. Punching things until they explode is just bad strategy, even for a robot.'

"On the success of Robo, Wegener waxed, 'It was Mark Twain who said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." The first time I drew Robo in a pair of cargo pants and muddy combat boots it was instant BFFs. Thank God other people seem to like the idea too.'"

Kill All Monsters! gets it wrong

In Kill All Monsters!, Jason Copland and I have humanity building giant robots and mecha suits to fight giant monsters. Robotics expert Daniel Wilson explains why that's a bad idea. I hope he doesn't mind my stealing homaging some of his suggestions, because burrowing, explosives-laden suicide robots are exactly what the comics industry needs.

Princess of Thieves (2001)



I don’t know how I didn’t know about this. It’s Keira and Robin Hood: two great tastes that go great together. But I didn’t until it showed up on TNT or wherever TiVo snagged it from. And it’s really very good.

Keira plays Gwen, the daughter of Robin Hood, who’s an old guy now though still very active. Mom Marian is long dead – maybe in childbirth; I don’t remember – and Rob has given Gwen’s care over to Friar Tuck who now runs an abbey or something. Gwen loves her dad, but resents that he’s never around. Rob doesn’t do so much stealing and giving anymore, but he’s still very busy supporting King Richard in the Crusades and running back to England on the occasional mission.

Robin’s latest mission involves protecting Richard’s bastard son Philip. Richard is dying and rather than hand the throne over to Prince John, he wants Philip to reign. Philip is half-French though and no one's ever seen him, so it's going to be a tough sell. Plus, of course, there are Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (deliciously played by Malcolm McDowell) who would love to see Philip dead.

Against her dad's orders, Gwen leaves the abbey, cuts her hair into a hot bob, dresses like a guy, and goes to work trying to protect Philip in her own way.

Let me get my one complaint out of the way, because I want to spend most of my time gushing. The fight choreography sucks in this movie. The sword fights aren't very exciting and the actors are all obviously pulling their punches trying not to hurt each other. It's high-school theatrical fighting at best. But other than that, Princess of Thieves is everything a Robin Hood movie should be. There's robbing from the rich, giving to the poor, sneaking into castles, confounding of authorities, lots of treachery by said authorities, an archery tournament, arrow-splitting, butt-kicking holy men, disguises, jail breaks, and ah! romance.

And don't think that it's all Keira either. It's definitely Gwen's story, but Rob and Will Scarlet never fade into the background like I kept expecting them to. They may be older, but they're never portrayed as anything less than a viable, deadly threat to Prince John's continued rule.

Philip is also an important character. Sort of the male Maid Marian to Gwen's Robin Hood. He's charmingly played by Stephen Moyer who reminded me a lot of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. And it's appropriate that I was reminded of teen romantic comedies, because there's definitely that quality about Princess of Thieves. Gwen is our heroine, Philip is the rich jock who also happens to be a nice guy, and there's even a geeky best friend whom Gwen either can't or doesn't want to see is completely in love with her. If that sounds like I'm suggesting it's a Bad Thing; you don't know me very well. I'm a sucker for a good, teen romantic comedy.

The following video contains spoilers, but'll give you a good idea of what you're in for in the movie. Except for the Michelle Branch part. There's no Michelle Branch in Princess of Thieves.



Four out of five Keira Knightleys.

(Hm. I just realized I should rate everything in Keira Knightleys.)

Video du Jour: Cowboy George

Remember that episode of The A-Team with Boy George? Seeing that Face Man wasn't into Culture Club was the final proof I needed that he was no replacement for Starbuck. Now, Mr. T and Mad Dog... they had taste.

Artist of the Day: Victor Santos (again)



Via his blog, where he's also got dandy drawings of Black Widow, Emma Frost, and Psylocke.

I've got tons of links for you, by the way, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Gettin' sleepy. Obviously, I still have tweaking to do with my new schedule.

Graphic Classics: FCBD

Sorry about the last couple of days. I'm changing my writing schedule around a bit and there are still a couple of bugs to get worked out.

I do have a review for you today though. It's just not here. But if you'll hop over to Blog@Newsarama you'll find me talking about the Free Comic Book Day edition of Graphic Classics, including stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mary Shelley.

Sometime in the next couple of days I'll follow it up with Gothic Classics, which has that Jane Austen story I was talking about.

Also: Keira Knightley in Princess of Thieves. Hoodalicious.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Video du Jour: Speaking of Grant...

I didn't know Grant as a kid, but if I had, this totally would've been us. Me in the orange; Grant in the black.



If you watched that whole thing, I'm very sorry. Blame Corbett. He showed it to me.

Artist of the Day: Grant Gould (again)



Yeah, I know I keep using some of the same artists over and over again. That's because I loooove them; I want to maaaarry them. (Via.)

Jumper (2008)



Well, that was lame.

An Entitled Prick with teleporting powers learns that he's just one in a long line of Entitled Pricks with teleporting powers who've been fighting against bigoted, teleporting-Entitled-Prick Haters since the Dark Ages. There's no basis or explanation given for why these two groups hate each other or even how the teleporters came into being. They just do and they just did and that's all there is to it. Live with it.

No one in this movie is likable or even very interesting, not even Entitled Prick Hater Samuel L. Jackson who -- except for a half-second moment at the very end of the movie -- never breaks out of pissed-off mode. The role is a waste of his talent.

The best part of the movie (i.e. the only reason I wasn't completely bored the whole time) is the jumping effect, but even that has it's problems. For example, one of the coolest uses of it is when a jumper is fighting the jumper-haters in the desert, jumps to London where he's nearly hit by a double-decker bus, then jumps back to the fight with the bus and makes the bus crash into the jumper-haters (I almost wrote "bad guys" instead of "jumper-haters," but really, they're all bad guys in this movie). It's an awesome trick until you realize that the double-decker bus was likely full of tourists who are now mangled corpses in the burning wreck of the former bus. And that's not the only time something like that happens. The Entitled Pricks take no one else into consideration except for themselves and maybe the girls they like.

Really miserable movie.

Two out of five Roman Colosseum teleport battles.

Video du Jour: Rose sings

I'm probably the last person in the world to have seen a Billie Piper video, but just in case I'm not...



Let's just say that I'm very glad she turned to acting.

Artist of the Day: Jeff Jones



Sometimes, a landscape can tell as exciting an adventure as any picture of a spaceman fighting aliens. More often, actually, because landscapes are full of possibilities that a concrete action shot doesn't have. The action shot is what it is. It tells the story it's telling and that's it.

The right landscape though can tell an infinite number of stories. As is the case with this woodland cottage painting by Jeff Jones. (Via.)

The Awesome List: Guardians of the Galaxy, Mr. T, Where the Wild Things Are, the Man with No Name, trailer for Shyamalan's new film, and more

Guardians of the Galaxy



I've never been fond of Marvel's science fiction comics until this whole Annihilation thing. Their scifi stuff has always been too "cosmic" and mystical. Too caught up in exploring the Mysteries of the Universe. Annihilation though is all space opera and robot wars and infiltrating impenetrable fortresses and secret labs hidden in suns. It's awesome.

So, I'm glad that it's going to continue in an ongoing series. And that it's going to include the "new," steampunk Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon. I'd forgotten that the original Guardians of the Galaxy took place in an alternate future, so that doesn't bode well for Yondu's making an appearance in this version, but according to this interview, "during the first arc, we get two extra (and big surprise) additions to the mainstay." And -- just to tease me -- they mention Yondu as a possibility. Of course, they also mention Mr. Rogers and Alf. Can't wait to see who it really is.

What could be better than a new Mr. T comic?

One lettered in Comics Sans, that's what!

Oscar night is almost here

Amaze your pool by having actually seen the nominees for Best Animated Short.

You win some; you lose some

I'm disappointed that Josh Ortega's Necromancer isn't one of the new series to come out of Top Cow's "Pilot Season" event. But I'm very glad that Josh Fialkov's Cyblade is. Josh turned a comic about a Psylocke rip-off into a very cool spy story.

Where the Wild Things Are



Catwoman writer Will Pfeifer's day job is the movie critic for The Rockford Register Star. He's got some concerns about the live-action version of Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. That picture there makes me feel really good about the movie, so hopefully the rumors causing Pfeifer to worry are untrue.

Man with No Name comics

Dynamite's series based on the classic Clint Eastwood character picks up where The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly left off.

I like reading The Comics Reporter for its thoughtful insights into the comics industry

But sometimes, Tom Spurgeon just makes me laugh.

M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening

I've enjoyed all of Shyamalan's stuff more than the average person, but there's a part of me that's still wanting to recapture the experiences of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. I'd love for this to be it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Broken Trail (2006)



I don't remember where I heard about Broken Trail, but I definitely know why I wanted to watch it: Robert Duvall; Western.

Thomas Hayden Church is becoming one of my favorite actors too. He was great in Sideways and actually made me care about the Sandman. He's not a pretty man, but he's a brilliant actor and he's perfect for the role he plays here.

Tom Harte left home as a kid and his mother -- the widow of a wealthy rancher -- never forgave him. Now Tom's a directionless, middle-aged man working as a hired hand. When the movie opens, we find him castrating and branding cattle. Or rather, Robert Duvall finds him doing that. Duvall plays Tom's uncle, the brother of Tom's mother, who's come to tell Tom that his mom's dead and that she willed the ranch to Duvall.

Duvall's got a plan though and it includes helping Tom get on his feet. They buy a herd of horses and head off cross country to sell them for a nice profit. The rest of the movie is essentially the story of the horse drive, but with an important twist. Along the way Tom and his uncle meet a man who's transporting five Chinese women from San Fransisco to a gold-mining town where they're to be turned into prostitutes. I won't go into detail about how it happens, but Tom and his Uncle Prentice wind up with custody of the girls and what the movie is really about is how the girls change them and how they change each other.

It's a beautiful story and like I said, Church is perfect as Tom. He starts off as a sad, serious man who's never found his role in the world and it's a joyous thing watching him start to figure that out.

Robert Duvall is Robert Duvall and watching him act is like eating chocolate chip cookies. No matter how often you do it, it's still fun and somehow comforting.

Chris Mulkey is chillingly evil as the man hired to relieve Church and Duvall of their new charges. Hell, everyone in this mini-series is top notch.

And the scenery is gorgeous and the sets are painstakingly realistic. It's an absorbing, uplifting, and fascinating mini-series. There's even a shoot-out or three. I can't think of a single flaw.

Five out of five horse stampedes.

Video du Jour: Turok: Son of Stone

Indians vs. dinosaurs.



You better believe I just added this to my Netflix queue.

Artist of the Day: Michael Bair



Via.

The Awesome List: Tarzan comics, Atomic Robo, Cloverfield and Indiana Jones toys

Free Tarzan comics



The Jesse Marsh site has tons of free Jesse Marsh Tarzan comics archived for your browsing and reading pleasure.

Atomic Robo rules

There's a double-meaning in that title. Yes, Atomic Robo does indeed rule. And the reason is because its creators have set some rules for themselves. Rules of Awesomeness, that is.

Cloverfield toy

This is old news now, but in case you haven't seen it, Hasbro's released a picture of its Cloverfield monster toy. I'm still scratching my head over the price tag.

Indy toys



Speaking of Hasbro, they've also revealed a lot of new Indiana Jones stuff. They've got little action figures, big action figures, classic action figures, miniature figures, Mighty Muggs, playsets and vehicles, die-cast vehicles, and lots lots more.

It's a bad time to be an Indy fan if you're broke.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You're dangerous. You don't know what you want.

This doesn't quite fit in The Awesome List, so I'm giving it a post of it's own. The craft of writing fascinates me and I'm always interested in articles and quotes about how to do it better.

One of my pet subjects is how writing isn't a participatory endeavor. Some fans want it to be and clamor loudly on message boards and blogs about how they want writers to listen to them and tell the stories they want to hear. Essentially, they want to write their favorite shows and books themselves.

But writers shouldn't write for the fans. Fans don't know what they want. The Grey's Anatomy writers know it, Sam Raimi knows it, and now it's clear that Doctor Who producer Russell T. Davies knows it too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Artist of the Day: Autumn Rain Turkel



From his website.

The Awesome List: Wonder Woman stuff, Mary Marvel vs. Supergirl, and Black Canary Barbie

Experience the Wonder



Experience the Wonder, a new website dedicated to displaying Wonder Woman merchandise, went live yesterday. It's a lot of fun to browse, because they've got everything from key chains to candy canes.

Seriously. Wonder Woman candy canes. And there's more stuff coming.

Mary Marvel vs. Supergirl!

Grant Morrison talks about the upcoming Final Crisis mini-series here. I wasn't sure I was interested in reading it until I got to this part:

Q: Who are some of the other major players, beyond the New Gods and some of the other characters you’ve mentioned?

A: Superman and Batman, obviously, are going to be a big deal. Wonder Woman is a big deal. The Question. Frankenstein. Mary Marvel… we’re going to take what’s been happening to Mary Marvel beyond all acceptable limits. I think fanboys should enjoy that one. There’s going to be a big definitive battle between Supergirl and Mary Marvel. Some seriously badass super-animals…

Wonder Woman's costume isn't as iconic as you might think.

I mean, when people think that this person is dressed as Wonder Woman, they obviously haven't seen so much as an episode of the TV show, much less eaten a Wonder Woman candy cane.

Because I wasn't enough of a girl already.

Now I have to buy a Barbie doll. The one on the left, naturally.

Concerning spoilers

In the comments on this post, a reader and I got to talking about spoilers and I realized I had more to say about the topic than I could do justice in a comment.

The reader (I wish I could put at least a name to him/her, but I respect Internet anonymity as long as it's as polite and insightful as this person is) expressed her/his desire to go into Indy and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as cold and spoiler-free as possible. I know the feeling.

When The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980 I was so excited to see the next Star Wars movie that I wanted to know everything about it as quickly as I possibly could. I read at least the comics adaptation and possibly the novelization before I ever saw the movie, so I knew the entire story before I ever set foot in the theater. I knew that the little, green pest in the swamp was the great Jedi Master Yoda, and I knew that Vader at least claimed to be Luke's dad (though I didn't completely believe him until Yoda confirmed it in Return of the Jedi).

I also knew that the movie ended on a cliffhanger, but that didn't make the end of Empire any easier for me to take. It was a long three years until Jedi came out and I could find out what happened to Han.

Empire is my favorite Star Wars movie now, but at the time I hated it. Not "hated" the way a lot of fans hate the prequels, but hated it as in I didn't like it nearly as much as I had liked Star Wars, which I had gone into completely cold (and which didn't leave me hanging the way Empire did). I decided that when Jedi came out, I was going to know a lot less about it than I had Empire.

That was a lot easier in the mid-'80s than it is today what with the Internet and all. Heck, even by the early '90s it was getting difficult. I'm watching T2 again right now and remembering all the interviews Schwarzenegger gave before that movie in which he revealed that he was playing the good guy this time around. That absolutely spoils the first 30 minutes of the movie where Cameron (albeit half-heartedly) tries to keep the identity of the good guy a secret.

Then there are trailers like the ones for Double Jeopardy and The Italian Job where they just tell you the entire movie -- including the end -- in three minutes. I just re-watched the Italian Job trailer and it still pisses me off.

How much info to seek out before I see a movie or read a comic is a hard call to make and I don't always know where to draw the line. I'd always love most to go into a story completely cold, but there are some spoilers that make me more excited to see a movie, not less.

I got some complaints when I posted links and an image for possible designs of the Cloverfield monster before the movie came out. At least two of the links were obviously bogus and the other two, as far as I was concerned, were just rumors, but some folks didn't want to know even about the rumors and I respect that. The image I posted turned out to be as false as I'd suspected it to be, but I distressed some readers because they thought I'd ruined a big part of the movie for them and I apologize for that.

I thought maybe I'd done it again by posting that Indiana Jones still with Marion Ravenwood in it. Even though it was fairly widely publicized when Karen Allen was cast, there are folks who didn't know that Marion was back for this movie and I may have spoiled something by sharing that image, even though it's an image that the studio wanted released to promote the movie.

And now that I'm talking about it, I've done it again for people who missed those previous posts.

Here's where I try to draw the line on this blog. Although I don't want to push away any readers, ultimately I've got to write about stuff that interests me or I'll be second guessing myself all day long. (More about that philosophy and how it pertains to fiction-writing later.) So when it comes to spoilers, I'll never knowingly give away a major plot point or surprise on this blog. I will however share things that get me more excited to see or read something, even if that means I'm no longer going into it cold.

Knowing that not everyone feels that way though, I'll also try to do a better job about putting potentially spoilery images behind cuts. In my excitement to share something cool, I might forget that occasionally, but I'll try. Hopefully that'll work for everybody.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Video du Jour: The Greatest Love Song of All Time

Happy Valentine's Day again!

Artist of the Day: Bruce Timm

Via.

The Awesome List: Indy trailer, trying to be Wonder Woman, Justice Heroes League, and free Atomic Robo

And here it is.



Watch it here.

Trying to be Wonder Woman

Whenever I'm looking around for Wonder Woman stuff on the Internet, about two thirds of it is actually about the comic book character. The other third is women who use Wonder Woman as a term for women who "have it all" and "make it work." They're trying to balance the career, the kids; all that jazz.

I might get myself into trouble here and I certainly welcome feedback on what I'm about to say, but I think it's sad for a couple of different reasons that Wonder Woman is used that way. First, I think it's sad that career women with families (there's probably a better term, but hopefully you know what I mean) feel like they're the ones who have to make it work. Isn't it horribly outdated to think that only the wife has to balance her career goals with children? Where are the husbands while their wives are comparing themselves to a superheroic ideal?

Secondly, it's sad because Wonder Woman isn't a career woman with a family. She not only doesn't have kids; she's not even in a serious relationship where she has to balance someone else's needs with her own. She's a beautiful role model for women who need to have more confidence in themselves, but she's got it frickin' easy when it comes to "having it all."

Having said all that, Susanne Middelberg has a great photography gallery that includes photos of models dressed as Wonder Woman and the Flash trying to live everyday lives. I like it because it includes Dads, who ought to be just as harried and frantic as their wives.

It's all very tasteful and artistic, but I still feel like I should mention that there are naked people in the link.

Coolest superhero toys ever?



The Justice Heroes League! When do we get the comic series?

Free Atomic Robo

If I've done my job at all, I've got a couple of you curious about reading Red 5's Atomic Robo. And if your local comics shoppe is any good, you'll be able to get a free copy on May 3rd.

Do you have time for a cute kid story?

What if it's dinosaur-related?

My son's Kindergarten teacher has obviously been teaching the class about Martin Luther King, Jr. He came home yesterday with a poster he'd made with a silhouette of himself and his own "I Have a Dream" statement printed at the bottom. My first thought was that it was pretty bold of the teacher to compare Kindergarten kids to MLK. But my second -- and lasting -- thought is that it's very cool that she's not only exposing them to King's dream, but also encourging them to form and communicate dreams of their own.

David may have gotten the point better than the kid who said, "I have a dream of a new video game," but not as well as his immigrant classmate who dreams of a world without hunger.

David's response is completely David though: "I have a dream that birds and lizards stay dinosaurs forever and carnivores didn't eat herbivores."

Preach it, Son.

Sunshine (2007)



It'll probably help you know what you're getting into with Sunshine if you know that there's a commentary track on the DVD with the movie's scientific advisor Dr. Brian Cox. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know, then an anecdote Cox tells early on will. He talks about a conversation he had with director Danny Boyle where Boyle admits that if he could've made a $50 million documentary of Cox talking about the sun, he would have. But for $50 million, people want some action, so Boyle sacrificed a few scientific accuracies for a more exciting plot. I wish he would've sacrificed more.

Sunshine isn't a bad movie by any means, but it's got that slow, quiet feel like 2001 or the first part of Alien. Lots of long shots of the ship in flight and astronauts working with only the hum of the engines for soundtrack. And honestly, I'm okay with that, it's just not what I was hoping for. If it's meant to build tension, it fails, but I don't really think that's what Boyle's up to. It feels more like he's just establishing setting and showing us how lonely and isolated the astronauts are. Not because it's scarier that way, but just because it's more realistic.

Like Alien, Sunshine does pick up towards the end, but its vaguely defined threat isn't nearly as interesting as a giant, acid-bleeding, man-eating monster. And like 2001, I got the feeling that the climax was a lot more in love with itself than I was. I wish it had been more like Alien and less like 2001. But then, I've never liked 2001. (There, I've said it.)

Sunshine is a gorgeous movie and it's brilliantly acted. Cillian Murphy is fascinating to watch as always and Chris Evans does a damn fine job as a team member who puts the mission before all other considerations. When the mission is re-igniting the sun and saving all life on Earth, I can forgive him for that, but he still comes across as the buttholish villain to Murphy's wishy washy hero. That's all intentional though and it reveals the writing on Sunshine to be really smart. I liked Murphy; I agreed with Evans. It's an interesting situation to be in as a viewer and the coolest thing about the movie.

Michelle Yeoh is also awesome as the botanist in charge of maintaining the garden that supplies the ship's oxygen. Without having to explain it in dialogue you know exactly how she feels about her job, her plants, and her co-workers. Hell, everyone in the cast does a great job. Had I been more in the mood for a pensive movie about weighty subjects like duty, responsibility, heroism, obsession, and sanity, I would've liked it more. Unfortunately, I wanted a better defined threat and a less self-important ending.

Three out of five Manhattan-sized bombs.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Would you be my Valentine?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Video du Jour: I Need a Hero

And he's gotta be fresh from the fight.

Well, maybe not that fresh.

Art of the Day: Peanuts Flight



Found in a message board signature here. I searched, but couldn't tell who drew it.

The Awesome List: Jungle Girls and Giant Apes, new Star Wars movie, Doctor Who, Hellboy, Lost news, Jericho comics, Terminator stuff, and more

Kala & Go–Go



I can't tell much about 5-Color Comics from their website, MySpace page, or even their mention in Rich Johnston's column, but I'm pretty sure that all I need to know is in that picture right there. Also, some damn fine comics creators are involved.

I'm going to start reading Iron Man comics

People keep telling me that before he was Marvel's greatest villain, Iron Man was the star of a pretty cool spy comic. I'm on the verge of checking that out for myself, but in the meantime, Matt Fraction's taking a stab at the character and I know he can write an awesome spy story.

Clone Wars cartoon to hit theaters before TV

And here's the trailer.

Doctor Who is Destro

The G.I. Joe movie just got a lot more interesting.


Speaking of Doctor Who

I was just wondering what Pia Guerra's next project after Y: The Last Man would be. I could hug IDW's Editor in Chief Chris Ryall right now.

Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis

The name pretty much speaks for itself, really.

Hellboy stuff



PVC characters, a mug, and action figures.

Lost plans

Carlton Cuse talks about how the rest of the season will go now that the strike's over:

"Damon [Lindelof] and I are going to try to make five more episodes before the end of May, which is ambitious. But we've found ourselves in a situation where we had eight episodes of story planned, and we're going to try to fit that into five hours of the show. Even though it's going to be very hard to execute, we felt like any less would be doing a disservice to the story we had planned. We really want to give the fans the best possible experience and ending... to Season 4."

Much, much more at the link.

Also, those five episodes will air after new episodes of Grey's Anatomy, meaning that ABC now totally owns Thursday night.

Jericho graphic novel

I must be living right or something.


Terminator 4

I've been ignoring news about new Terminator movies, because frankly I lost interest in the franchise when Linda Hamilton stopped being part of it. But... I wanna check out The Sarah Conner Chronicles and before I watch my TiVoed episodes I want to rewatch the movies. I'm also going to finally see T3, which I've never seen before, but have been told is sort of necessary viewing before watching the TV show.

I say all that to say that now that I'm immersing myself in that world again, I'm interested in the new movie sequels, especially with Christian Bale playing John Conner in them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Artist of the Day: Gene Gonzalez (again)



From his blog.

Man, I can't wait for Perils on Planet X.

The Awesome List: Hitchcock mashups, 30 Days of Night contest, T-Rex vs. Kitty, Lolthulhu, Reptisaurus, weekly Wonder Woman, and more

I know what I'm buying at the grocery store tonight.



Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue featuring reshoots of Hitchcock movies with modern stars.

Curious about Spiderwick again

My interest in The Spiderwick Chronicles was slipping, but Neil Gaiman and family give it a thumbs up and that's a high recommendation even when the review is simply, "I really enjoyed (it)."

30 Days of Night movie contest

Win a buttload of stuff related to the 30 Days of Night movie.

From the "I Wish I'd Thought of That" Dept.

T-Rex vs. Kitty! And don't bet too quickly on the dinosaur.

Lolthulhu



UR Soul. I Has It.

Obedience

Bookgasm's on a roll lately with adding stuff to my Wish List. The latest is Will Lavender's Obedience, a thriller about a college professor who challenges students to unravel clues in order to save a girl who may or may not be hypothetical.

Indy trailer update

Someone commented here that the Indy trailer "will be broadcast Feb. 14 on Good Morning America, sometime between 8-9 am. It will then be available online at the official site." The press release is also up at IndianaJones.com again (if it ever went away).

Jericho cast appearance update

Got an email with the following update about the cast members who'll be appearing at the Los Angeles Comicbook and Science Fiction Convention this Sunday:

"Appearing on the CBS-TV Jericho panel at 2:00 P.M. will be stars Esai Morales (joining the series in season two as Major Beck), Kenneth Mitchell (Eric Green), Brad Beyer (Stanley Richmond), Alicia Coppola (Mimi Clark), Jonathan E. Steinberg (Co-Creator of Jericho), Executive Producer Carol Barbee, Co-Executive Producers Karim Zreik and Dan Shotz. At 1:00 P.M. there will be a advance screening of the next week's episode of Jericho."

So, no Skeet, but not a bad lineup at all. Especially with Stanley and Mimi. I love those kids.

Reptisaurus

Someone's making a movie out of an old Charlton comic about a giant monster. It doesn't sound very good.

Of course I'm going to see it.

Weekly Wonder Woman comic

Not really, but almost. DC's announced that their next attempt at a weekly comic will be called Trinity and will feature Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.

This one bodes well for me, I think. I enjoyed 52, but would've liked it more if it had featured more heavily characters I already cared about. Countdown should've had a leg up on 52 in that regard by co-starring Mary Marvel, but as everyone has pointed out, it's too tied into 600 other series to be enjoyable on its own. I've taken to skimming through issues at the store and only buying them if there seems to be development in the Mary Marvel plot.

Trinity promises to fix both of those things by a) featuring Wonder Woman, and b) not being tied to other events in the DC Universe.

Monday, February 11, 2008

YouTube du Jour: Wonder Woman vs. Rubber Band Man

Lynda Carter on The Muppet Show. What more do you need to know?

Artist of the Day: Bob Oksner

This and other Mary Marvel Awesomeness found at Gorilla Daze.

The Awesome List: Indiana Jones, Giant Monsters, Albert Einstein’s secret doomsday device, and the Return of TV



Indy's hat and jacket

IndianaJones.com has a new featurette about Indy's iconic look and trying to recreate it for the new movie.

Indy's trailer

Apparently, the teaser trailer for Indy and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be attached to The Spiderwick Chronicles when it hits theaters on Thursday. I also saw something on IndianaJones.com earlier today about the trailer's TV and 'net debuts, but I can't find it now. Either I've gone stupid (entirely possible) or the info was released prematurely or is being changed. I'll let you know which once I know.

Giant Robots are stupid.

According to TechRepublic.

Oh, wait. No, they're not.

Says Jeremiah Tolbert.

Three Days to Never

According to Bookgasm, Tim Powers' Three Days to Never contains all of my favorite things: "hidden histories ... spirits, spies, talking disembodied heads, dybbuks, time travel, Charlie Chaplin’s quest for magical power, Albert Einstein’s secret doomsday device, and about a million other awesome things." So totally sold.

Welcome back, TV.

With the WGA strike all but officially over, TV Guide has a new strike chart up predicting when we'll start seeing new episodes of our favorite shows. Here are the ones that interest me:

Battlestar Galactica: Returns April 4 with first half of 20-episode final season. Production on second half could start as early as March. Airdate for those TBD.

The Big Bang Theory: Expected to shoot 5 to 7 new episodes to air in April/May.

Burn Notice: Production on Season 2 expected to get underway in late April. New episodes could start airing as early as July.

Chuck: No new episodes until fall.

Grey's Anatomy: Expected to shoot 4 to 7 new episodes to air in April/May

House: Expected to shoot 4 to 6 new episodes to air in April/May.

Jericho: Seven episodes remain. No additional episodes expected for this season.

Lost: Six pre-strike episodes remain. Six additional episodes could air this season.

Men in Trees: Eleven pre-strike episodes remain. No additional episodes expected this season.

The Office: Expected to shoot 5 to 10 new episodes to air in April/May.

Private Practice: Slim chance it could return with 4 or 5 new episodes this season. Either way, it'll be back in the fall.

Pushing Daisies: No new episodes until fall.

Scrubs: Four pre-strike episodes remain. Four additional episodes will likely be shot; unclear whether they'll air on NBC or go straight to DVD.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Five pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD.

Black Sheep (2006)



When a movie starts out with a premise as ludicrous as "man-eating sheep," you can only hope it'll be able to live up to it. Black Sheep totally does.

After a traumatic childhood experience involving his brother Angus and a favorite sheep, Henry Oldfield now has an intense fear of the fluffy little animals. It's so baaaaad that he decides to sell his half of the family sheep farm to Angus, but what sucks is that he's got to go back to the place to collect his check and get the closure his therapist says he needs.

What also sucks is that he shows up about the same time as a couple of ecoterrorists named Grant and Experience who are there to sabotage/expose the genetic experimentation that Angus is conducting on his animals. One thing leads to another and one of the failed experiments gets loose and starts biting man and sheep alike. Infected sheep become blood-thirsty manhunters. Infected humans become weresheep. Everyone else has to run for their lives. It's all very, very cool. I mean, any movie that can make you uneasy at the sight of a sheep standing on a frickin' hill is okay with me.

It's a very bloody, grotesque movie, but even though the effects were done by Weta, there's such an over-the-top, B-movie quality to them that you can't help but chuckle. Like when one victim tries to fend off a sheep with his own severed leg.

The movie's funny in other ways too. There are hippies to make fun of, Henry's awkwardness around Experience, Angus' excessive buttholery, and of course the general stupidity of the concept. And the jokes and gore are all in service to a nice, fast-moving plot that never bores. If you dug House and especially Tremors, you've gotta see Black Sheep.

Four out of five Golden Shears awards.

Friday, February 08, 2008

YouTube du Jour: "If You Can Find Them..."

They are Lost, you know.

Artist of the Day: Euan Mactavish



From his blog.

The Awesome List: Bond poster, politics, Jason Statham, Hawkman, and the New New KITT

Quantum of Solace poster



Larry Young for President

I really don't plan on talking politics here, but this quote from comics publisher Larry Young is too good not to share:

"If I got installed President, I'd send out ambassadors to every country in the world and, at the same time, have them deliver the same message to the governments they spoke to: 'Holy shit, we are REALLY sorry for all of that crap we've done since, oh, let's call it 1990 for easy figuring, and if you could just give us a little time to sweep up our shit, we'd sure appreciate it. We've got the bomb, and all, and we'll still fuck your shit up if you look at us funny, but all of that other crap was bad form and like I said, we apologize. Go back to what you were doing, and we're going to get our shit together and we'll see you next year. In the meantime, enjoy this Lynyrd Skynyrd song we're broadcasting from all our spy satellites, and we'll see you in 2009. Our bad.'"

Jason Statham for Superhero

As long as I'm quoting people, here's an awesome one from Jason Statham who would really like to play a superhero:

"I’m trying to think of what would be a good comic book character for me to play. You know, there’s talk of them redoing The Crow. That was a good movie with Brandon Lee, although that was years ago. So if that one comes my way, bang! You know, there’s so many comic book movies out there and most of the time there’s only a handful of people who can do them any justice. Hopefully, they’ll come my way for one of them."

Hawkman on The Batman

I'm not a big Hawkman fan or anything, but dang he looks cool. And he'll be even cooler voiced by John Doggett.




The New New KITT

Will Arnett (Gob from Arrested Development) will no longer be the voice of KITT in the new Knight Rider series. Due to a conflict of interests between his spokesperson duties for GMC and the Ford-sponsored TV show, he's stepped down from the role and is being replaced by Val Kilmer.

I get what the producers are doing with the Mustang and the rough voices, and I'll probably like the show more that way, but I sort of miss the sleeker car with the British accent.

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