Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The New Music 5

Slow week all around, it seems, although there is at least one CD that I am singling out as a pick of the week...

Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth: The Gallagher Bros. have been pretty absent from the music scene in the last few years, but they've returned rejuvenated, refreshed and with a pretty strong album that nobody will appreciate.

Why do I say that? Well, I was ready to dismiss the album myself until my player - which I unknowingly set on repeat - played the whole thing again and I started to hear some interesting things.

For starters, Noel is finally calling upon influences outside of The Beatles because you get the definite impression that the heavy-handed 'John and Paul reincarnated' vibe they've been giving off since 'Be Here Now' is being left behind in favour of focusing on what an Oasis album should sound like. Actually, that may be jumping the gun a bit since I've heard that all the band members contributed songs to 'DBTT', but whatever the case, I'm pretty sure I heard some Dylan mixed in there, as well as some Who and a few others I can't recall at the moment, and this is a pleasant and refreshing change.

They've also left behind their 'wall-of-sound' style - so prevalent on 'Morning Glory' and 'Be Here Now' - in favour of a more melodic soundscape, and this time 'round, when Noel and Liam trade off on the vocals you get the feeling that they're doing so because it's what's best for the song, not because they were at each others throats or Liam just decided not to show up one day.

There's little pretension here and a definite collaborative feel to 'DBTT' that you have to give the boys credit for. This is, plain and simple, a good rock'n'roll album and I'm glad I gave it a second chance.


The New DVD 5

Amazingly, there isn't a single DVD that I can track down as having come out this week that I would recommend or want.

Slow week, or what?

Since there's nothing new to recommend, I'm going to take this chance to mention an older DVD that I recently picked up that was money well spent...

Wings of Desire: This is one of Wim Wenders' all-time masterpiece's and one of my favourite films of all time. As luck would have it, a couple of weeks ago I ran across it just sitting there on the shelf at a chain store for about $10 less than regular retail so I snatched it up.

The disc is one of MGM's many and varied Special Editions which, if you know anything about MGM DVDs, could mean almost nothing for features and presentation or the proverbial kitchen sink. Fortunately, Wings of Desire is the latter with a commentary by director Wenders and star Peter Falk, deleted scenes with commentary, a documentary (not a featurette, a full-length doc), trailer and original advertising artwork. Roll all of that up with a nice video transfer and audio mix and you get a must-have DVD for your collection.

So there you go. Nothing brand-scorching-new to make the pick list this week, but a possible introduction to a great movie by a great filmmaker for some, and a reminder to those who know the movie and don't have it that this baby is out there and it has your name on it.

Next week, The Machinist and maybe a Star Trek movie if I'm pressed for content.


The New Comics 5

Well, I scrounged through the Diamond listings for this week and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't find a single book I plan to, or would like to, pick up on Wednesday.

I guess that makes this a light comic week for me. Maybe I'll catch up on some old stuff I have yet to read (no foolin', I got piles of the stuff).

I did hit the comic store today, however, and this is what I picked up...

Common Foe #1 (Desperado/Image Comics)
Ghostbusters #1 (88mph Studios)
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Vol.2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Teen Titans Go! #19 (DC Comics)
Star Wars: General Grievous #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
X-Men #169 (Marvel Comics)
JLA Classified #7 (DC Comics)


Ruminating on the X-Files Interview

I wasn't sure if I should post the interview I ran yesterday, but since I didn't have any other logical home for it, I fired it up on the blog, added some images to make it all purty and there it is. Originally, Inkworks had planned the series to come out sometime in May (a month which is nearly past), so I thought I sort of blew my timeliness on this one. Then I noticed that they had pushed their release date to June 1st and I figured it must be kizmet.

I've never done an interview with a card company before and have little to no knowledge of the industry or the product so I'm quite happy with how it turned out in the end. I know it's like talking to a wall to expect any feedback on it, but I figure I'll toss out the invite regardless. Stranger things have happened, right?

As far as my other interviews go, most of them are in transcription hell, that place where they sit on tape and look all foreboding and time-consuming. Still, David Fury, Bruce Campbell, Dean Haglund and Bear McCreary all did great interviews and I really want to get those up for people to see soemtime soon. I'm about a third of the way through Fury right now, so we'll see how that pans out. I've also started a distance education program to get a communications degree, so that might cut into my sit at the computer and transcribe tapes time.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Inkworks Makes X-Files Connections

On June 1st, Inkworks will be releasing their latest card set focusing on the conspiracy-laden television phenomenon, The X-Files. The new set will be a part of their Connections line of cards and will cover all nine seasons of the show, tying in characters and events thematically across the show's entire story arc.

I recently spoke to the folks at Inkworks about the new set and how it was put together...

MIKE JOZIC: The show has been off the air since 2002 and all nine seasons have been represented with a card series. I’m curious why you chose to do another X-Files card set?

INKWORKS: Although The X-Files has been off of the air for a few years, it still has a large, passionate fan base. Those fans regularly contact us and ask when they can expect the next new trading card set. The nine seasons of The X-Files have been represented in card sets, but no single set has covered all of the seasons. There have also been rumors of a new movie, which has renewed interest in The X-Files.

JOZIC: Can you describe what the ‘Connections’ line is for anyone who may not be familiar with the product?

INKWORKS: The Connections line of Inkworks trading cards is an ultra-premium line. Every card in the base set is printed on foil board and embossed, so each card looks and feels like a chase card that a collector might find in a regular product. The theme of the product is focused on the various connections between characters throughout the seasons. Our previous two Connections products (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Connections and Charmed: Connections) were both sell-outs.

JOZIC: What is the process for selecting the images that are used on the card faces?

INKWORKS: We first determine the important connections that we want to cover in the set then we look for images that best illustrate those connections.

JOZIC: How involved are FOX or 1013 in the design of the set?

INKWORKS: FOX has been closely involved with the development of the set. They approve every card in the set and sometimes make suggestions to help improve the product. Ten Thirteen is no longer operating, so they are not as closely represented on this project as they have been on other X-Files sets. However, our writer for The X-Files: Connections is a former employee of Ten Thirteen and has written for previous X-Files trading card sets.

JOZIC: How difficult was it to squeeze 9 seasons of a series into a 72-card set?

INKWORKS: In this case, we aren’t trying to just squeeze nine seasons into a set, but nine seasons of character relationships into the set. It isn’t easy, but we have to decide what images and relationships are the best fit with this type of product release.

JOZIC: What will be featured on the parallel card set and how will it compliment the base set?

INKWORKS: The design and images on parallel set will be identical to the base set except that the cards will be numbered differently, they will be much less plentiful (1 per pack) and the foil will have a different look.

JOZIC: What kinds of bonus cards have been designed for the set?

INKWORKS: The X-Files: Connections will have several levels of randomly inserted bonus cards including: Parallel cards, “Mulder’s Secret Files” (nine card foil puzzle), “Haunting Cases” (six cards featuring memorable characters and cases), Pieceworks® Cards (two cards that feature pieces of actual costumes worn on-screen during The X-Files), and autograph cards signed by stars of The X-Files.

JOZIC: How do you decide on the kinds of bonus cards to include with your card sets?

INKWORKS: In each card set we create, we try to put together bonus cards that fit with the subject matter and that we think will appeal to fans of the series. Usually, a few options naturally evolve as we develop the set.

JOZIC: In the past, what have been some of the best received features of your X-Files sets?

INKWORKS: Autographs and Pieceworks cards are always very popular, but I think fans of the series have also appreciated the fact that Inkworks has delivered extensive episodic coverage of The X-Files in our season product releases.

JOZIC: I have to admit I'm kind of intrigued by the Pieceworks cards. Can you delve a little bit into how they're created and how many of these cards will be appearing in the set?

INKWORKS: The studio has given us two costumes for The X-Files: Connections - Scully's shirt (worn by Gillian Anderson) and Mulder's shirt (worn by David Duchovny). They have been cut into pieces and those pieces are then imbedded into a trading card. There will be three different cards available in The X-Files: Connections including PW1 - Scully's shirt, PW2 - Mulder's shirt and PW1-A, which is a Gillian Anderson autographed version of the card featuring Scully's shirt.

JOZIC: How long does it take to put a card series like this together?

INKWORKS: That's a tough question to answer. On the one hand, it takes a few months to create the design, select the images and print the cards. On the other hand, it takes a long time to get to know the property, to develop the product concept and build the relationships that are necessary to make it all happen.

JOZIC: At the time I first queried you for the interview autograph cards were still to be announced. Do you have any word on who may be participating now?

INKWORKS: 11 Different Autograph Cards featuring Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully), Annabeth Gish (Agent Monica Reyes), Mimi Rogers (Agent Diana Fowley), Veronica Cartwright (Cassandra Spender), William B. Davis (Cigarette-Smoking Man), Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike), Dean Haglund (Richard ‘Ringo’ Langly), Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers), Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek), Chris Owens (Jeffrey Spender), and Nick Chinlund (Donnie Pfaster).

JOZIC: Seeing as how the set spans all 9 seasons, what was your criteria when looking for X-Files actors to participate with the autograph cards?

INKWORKS: We are collectors and fans ourselves, so we try to line up autograph cards that we'd like to collect and that we think fans of the show would appreciate.

JOZIC: How difficult is it to arrange something like the autograph cards - especially when a show is several years off the air?

INKWORKS: It can be a challenging task. Sometimes there are actors who are difficult to locate, sometimes they are busy with other projects and sometimes actors simply choose not to autograph.

JOZIC: What is your personal favourite feature of the X-Files: Connections set?

INKWORKS: While the Gillian Anderson autographed Pieceworks card will be, without question, the most sought after card in the set, the feature that I like most about The X-Files: Connections set is the fact that every card in the base set is printed on foil. When a collector opens a pack, it is like they've pulled a pack filled with bonus cards.

JOZIC: On your website, you mention that there will be three boxloaders and 1 case loader. For someone unfamiliar with the trading card lingo - like me - what would those be?

INKWORKS: A box loader card is a card that is inserted loose into a box. A case loader card is a card that is inserted loose into a case. "Loaders" are traditionally considered retailer incentives, but many collectors now buy sealed boxes and cases.

JOZIC: Are you supporting the set with any promo cards, and if so, where will they be appearing?

INKWORKS: Yes, there will be several promo cards for the set. They will be available at a variety of outlets including trading card retailers, from the Inkworks booth at trading card and comic shows and from the Inkworks website.

JOZIC: If and when the second X-Files film gets off the ground, will you guys be there with a card set to support it?

INKWORKS: I'm sure that Inkworks would be interested in the license to produce trading cards featuring an X-Files movie.

JOZIC: Supposing the second X-Files movie doesn't happen, would this likely be the last X-Files trading card set, or do you think you'd try another one sometime in the future anyways?

INKWORKS: We don't have any X-Files products on our schedule at this time, but that doesn't mean that there won't be another one at some point in the future.

JOZIC: If I can ask a more business-centred question, the '90s was kind of a crazy time for collectables like comic books and trading cards, with everybody getting in on the action and doing more harm than good. In the last few years comic books have more-or-less levelled off – no longer on life-support but breathing naturally, you could say. How is the trading card business these days?

INKWORKS: The trading card industry is strong. The increased presence of the Internet, email and on-line services such as eBay and virtual retailers have changed the nature of the business, but the industry itself is as strong as ever. In fact, collectors have more access to products and information than ever before. For example, we are able to post information on our website and see collectors discussing it on message boards within minutes.

JOZIC: If there's anything else coming up for Inkworks that you'd like to plug, feel free to mention it here...

INKWORKS: Look for other new products from Inkworks including The Sopranos: Season One.


X Marks the Spot

Here's another link I've been meaning to post regarding the new X-Men movie's director, Matthew Vaughn and his intentions for the film.

It's a pretty good little Q&A considering its source. I've never loved About.com's entertainment coverage and it was a nice change to see something that resembled actual coverage. It's a short piece overall, but the way it's structured they get a lot of info out in a short span of time.

Now if we could just do something about Kelsey Grammer being cast as The Beast...


Russell & Kindzierski Doing Operatic Works

This is no news to anyone who has been inside a comic shop in the last ten years, but a couple of weeks ago Canada's CBC shone some light on Winnipeg based colourist Lovern Kindzierski regarding his work with the inimitable P. Craig Russell.

It's short, sure, but a link I've been meaning to get off my list for a couple of weeks now.


Interman Moves to New Line

I know everyone and their dog has already linked to one story or another regarding the forward momentum gained by the adaptation of Jeff Parker's fabulous GN The Interman, but I haven't so I'm doing it now. Jeff's a great guy and a heck of a talent deserving of any attention he gets, so one more link about his Hollywood shenanigans shouldn't be a problem.

And if you haven't checked out The Interman for yourself, do yourself a favour and do! It's at your local comic shop, in your libraries and waiting for you to jump on the Van Meach bandwagon. More info on the book and creator can be found here.


The Cure Loses Two Members

Reuters reports that two veteran members of The Cure have been kicked out of the band by frontman, Robert Smith.

I know it's not like they found the cure for cancer or anything, but I loved the band back in the late '80s and early '90s where Bamonte and O'Donnell were pretty much fixtures in the lineup.


"I remember Dean Moriarty"

This was an interesting little tidbit that I ran across in my morning news trawl. Apparently, a previously unpublished manuscript by Beat writer Jack Kerouac was discovered in a warehouse somewhere. It was shelved by the publisher at the writer's request and was forgotten for 50 years.

Shame he won't see a penny of it.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm surrounded!

In 5.1 Dolby Digital, that is.

A couple of days ago the wife and I picked up our first Home Theatre system. Although I wasn't 100% sold on it on the first day, a couple of days of tinkering with it and testing out all my favourite DVDs, TV shows and CDs on it have left me a very, very happy man.

I have to say it was well-timed since we're going to be watching the Star Wars saga in its entirety this week or the next, and it needs to be said that my concert DVDs have taken on a whole new dimension.

Heck, even the THX promo is something I no longer skip over just to hear the whooshing hum skip all over the room.

I've gone from one of those people who never cared about the specifications on DVDs except for 1) does it have bonus features and 2) is it widescreen, to being that guy who's all over those little boxes at the bottom of the case telling you what audio mixes are available and whether or not it'll make you a grilled cheese sandwich...you know what I'm talking about.

Anyways, I'm off to watch something on the new system. TTYL!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The New Comics 4

I'm feeling pretty uninspired on the comic book front these days. I just don't seem to be running into any new books that are catching my interest and the 'old familiar' ones are kind of boring me and seem to be gradually slipping away. This was tempered briefly by the discovery of a few new books, like Enrico Casarosa's Mia, but they are so slow in coming out that I don't get my regular fix.

I'm willing to take suggestions if anyone has any.

Anyway, in light of my plight, I'm just going to do a list of things I've got my eye on for the week and then split...

COMMON FOE #1 (OF 4) from Image Comics & Desperado Publishing
ROGUE #11 from Marvel Comics

I thought Common Foe was coming out last week, so it's nice to see it this week. Considering it is a creator-owned Giffen project, they have a tendency to disappear without notice.

As for Rogue, another fill-in artist (although I do actually like Derec Aucoin) which is a bummer. The question I have...Is Moline jumping ship, and if so, where to!?! And is this a resolicitation? The Marvel site has this listed for the 18th of May.

So that's it in a nutshell. I'll be back next week with some - hopefully - cheerier commentary on the New Comics!


The New DVD 4

I'm all about DVD Season sets this week, and all of them animated...

Batman: Animated Series Vol. 3: 28 episodes of one of the best animated series of all time featuring one of the best adventure characters of all time and all in a nicely packaged DVD season set - I'm not seeing any negative points here, are you? And if that isn't enough for ya, the set also features commentary on three epiosdes by series creator Bruce Timm, producer/director Boyd Kirkland, writer Paul Dini and composer Shirley Walker (her first time in the commentary track, I believe).

Sure there could be more features (I still remember when I went through every commentary on my Futurama Season 1), and a more extensive look at the creation and process of making these cartoons would satisfy the animation buff in me, but what they've included is good and I'm really looking forward to picking this one up.

Samurai Jack - Season 2: I think I've waited for this almost as long as I waited for Stargate SG-1 Season 2. This set is a looooong time coming and, while I don't know what the hold-up was, I'm glad to finally see it hitting the store shelves.

I loved this series from the first time I saw it. It had a style, energy and humour that was different from anything that Tartakovsky had done before it and, has had an impact on everything he's done since, like the new Clone Wars stories he just did for George Lucas.

I can't find any bonus feature listings for the set and I will be very disappointed if there isn't at least one commentary track or featurette, but I'm still going to put my cash down for this baby the next time I'm in a video shop.

Super Friends - Season 2: Honourable mention this week goes to the Super Friends Season 2 set. I'd only shell out for this one if the price is right, but after watching some of my kids episodes on DVD, it kind of got the nostalgia flowing and I now have a whole new soft spot for this series.

No word on features that I can find (not that I looked really hard, or anything) but the individual discs they released had audio intros by the producer, or something like that, so I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was included with the set.

'Til next week!


The New Music 4

Just a short trip through the New Music this week.

Gorillaz - Demon Days: The softmore album from the animated rock/hip-hop/pop group Gorillaz is no less a surprise than their first album. Instead of giving listeners more of the same, they trade in the eclecticism for a smoother, more melodic offering which has the sound of maturity to it. I seem to recall one of the band members saying that Noodle had more to do with the structure of the album than anyone else and, whether this is true or not, it feels like there's a singular force behind it all driving the songs. I'm not 100% sold on every song on 'Demon Days', but the good far outweighs the bad and just gets better the more you listen to it.

Audioslave - Out of Exile: I don't actually own the first Audioslave album but I know a few people who do and have heard it on many occasions. I liked what I heard and it is based on that liking of their debut effort that I give them a mention here for the second album, 'Out of Exile'. I haven't heard a single track off of it yet but Cornell usually takes a few albums to settle in before he decides to take quantum leaps with his songwriting, so I'm willing to bet this one is more of the same, but a good kind of same, you know? If I have the time and the inspiration, I'll probably be checking this one out in the near future.

Missed This One Dept.

Angel: Live Fast, Die Never - Music from TV Series: Last week I said that there were no new albums worth mentioning but I was wrong. Really wrong, as a matter of fact. It took many years for this compilation to see the light of day, but now you can have a sampling of the official score of the show created by series composer, Robert Kral.

It looks like a nice sampling of tracks as well as including 3 songs performed by cast members (from their Karaoke performances, of course), a newly recorded version of the theme song and some other non-music goodies like an intro by Joss Whedon and some pics.

Now that I've remembered this one is out there, it may give 'Demon Days' a run for its money as the CD to buy this week.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Indy Returns in 2007

Not to movie screens (in case you thought I had some tidbit of news you didn't) but to next gen video game consoles. As a big Indy fan, this is great news. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb were both great games and I am really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Reviews of the Sith

That title is a little misleading because I'm not actually going to review the new Star Wars film (although, for the record, I'm happy with it), but I did want to say how cool it is that every blog I visit regularly has yet to comment on the movie. Sin City was everywhere on the blogosphere within minutes of hitting cineplexes across the continent. I mean, this is the kind of thing that usually mobilizes pros and fans to say their piece (and with this new prequel trilogy it's generally to complain how much they suck), and I kind of expected at least Will Pfeiffer to have something up being a film critic and everything.

Still, I'm happy to see that Frank Gorshin's death has more face time than Episode III meaning that maybe, for the first time in years, people are finally treating a Star Wars movie as just that - a movie.

By the way, I've been mad busy this week and last so the Blogging is suffering a bit. My daughter has a Feis for her Irish Dance which I'm volunteering at, plus we're doing the spring changeover at my place and my wife is finishing up her master's thesis, so logging on and posting has been bumped down a few notches on the priority list.

Next week should see a return to the usual nonsense.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The New Comics 3

Another slow week for comics (at least on my pull list)...

THE GOON #12: I haven't bought a lot of issues of The Goon but I have been considering picking it up again, especially now that Powell is interested in exploring continuing, multi-issue storylines. It would also be appropriate since I'm really turning away from the super-hero set of late and just looking for some fun and interesting reading.

Check out a preview for the issue here.

JLA: CLASSIFIED #7: Giffen...DeMatteis...Maguire...Need I say more? Some people are not comfortable with this book since it just might possibly exist within their precious DC continuity, but not being bound by such ridiculous limitations, I am having a ball reading the final adventure of the 'Bwa-ha-ha' Justice League. Sales on the book are strong and it looks like Giffen and DeMatteis are going to leave their particular corner of the DCU with their fans wanting more. A far better way to go than simply overstaying your welcome.

Looking forward to their Defenders.

The New Music 3

Believe it or not, after going through the list of CDs coming out this week, I have no picks to speak of. Heck, I don't even have any 'maybe I'd pick it up' entries.

Maybe next week will be better. I think there's an Angel soundtrack coming out, or something.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saturday Night's All Right For Posting

I thought I was going to get a more substantial post out of today, but I'll take what I can get.

I spent most of the evening brainstorming some new projects with the wife who has taken an interest in my, hopefully, upcoming film output. We've always wanted to write something together and we found just the vehicle (there's a pun there, but I won't get into it). The story is called 'End of the Affair' and it will be a humourous short about a woman and her car.

I was also at a local used bookstore today and I turned down a copy of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. It was a good price, but just not good enough for the condition it was in. I've never actually read the story but I've heard nothing but good things about it, and not all of it from Steve Niles. I'm still kicking myself a little for not grabbing it, but I'm sure I'll get around to it at some point.

There's more stuff to talk about but I'm off to my brothers place to watch some Futurama. he introduced me to Family Guy so we're working an even exchange, I think.


Friday, May 13, 2005

Nice 'Demon Days' Review

I'm trying to stay away from the 'just links' posts these days, but I really liked this review of the new Gorillaz CD, 'Demon Days'. It's more substantial than the average blurb review and the writer obviously gave some thought to the piece and the album. Check it out if you're curious.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

State of the Blog

Well, if you actually follow this blog in any capacity, you may have noticed that I haven't posted here in the last couple of days. I've actually been a bit busy, to be perfectly honest, doing some interviews and just working in general.

Yesterday I did an interview with Dean Haglund of Lone Gunmen fame which went really well. We talked for about an hour-and-a-half and covered a lot of ground. I was surprised by how much material I got, but also pleased.

I've also been transcribing my David Fury interview from a ways back. Everybody who has followed the Buffy Post Mortem on Meanwhile... proper have been waiting for this one from the very beginning. I've finally given myself the kick in the ass to sit down and transcribe the hour-long interview and get it posted. As far as Buffy and Angel fans go, it should be pretty big.

Last, but not least, I interviewed Bruce Campbell this afternoon. We got in about 40 minutes of conversation before he had to run to his next call (I think I was one of many calls today) but we covered his new flick and comic, Man With the Screaming Brain, pretty thoroughly.

I also got permission to do that short film from the creator this week and there'll be more on that soon.

Oh yeah, I'm also going to watch Sloan tonight (they're playing live at the University bar tonight) so I'll post something on that concert later as well. This weekend will probably be a big update period, which is a little backwards, but whatever works, right?

'Til next time...


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The New Comics 2

Here are my selections for books shipping the week of May 11, 2005...

MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN #1: I've been looking forward to this adaptation for a while now. This mini is more of a Director's Cut of the film than a direct adaptation since it 'corrects' a lot of things the production had to compromise in order to get the movie made. Night shots, for example, which were a problem for the film, will not be for the comic and we will get to see the story as it was meant to be. Heck, for some of us, it's getting to see the story at all since Bruce is only screening it at signings for his new book, "How to Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way".

BATMAN STRIKES #9: Almost a year in for the new Batman animated title and I think we've seen the Joker about 4 times, with the Penguin being the next most-used villain (or is that on the TV show, they're starting to blur together). Still, considering this is Batman's third year in the crime-fighting gig, it would make sense that he didn't have a full-fledged rogue's gallery just yet. And these are one-shot stories, not the 11 part multi-title crossovers you get in the mainstream DCU, so it takes a lot more to get tired of the characters here than it does over there.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying the series as each subsequent issue gets a little bit better than the one previous. Bill Matheny is finding his voice and those of the characters nicely and Christopher Jones (from the get-go, really) was the perfect choice to draw this title and continues to be so.

Until next week!


Monday, May 09, 2005

The New Music 2

Another week, another list of CDs coming out and things I'm looking forward to...

Weezer - Make Believe: Here's another fine effort from geek rockers, Weezer. On a first time run-through I found that "Make Believe" is a little more melodic than the Weezer I'm accustomed to, but there's nothing there that really breaks any new ground or shakes up the status quo. Then again, when has Weezer ever been about shaking up the status quo?

This is about as good a Weezer album as you're going to get - one of the best I've heard, I'd say, since the blue album. 10 solid rock and roll songs with catchy hooks, nice guitar solos and frank vocals and lyrics. Weezer fans should really enjoy this one and the casual shopper has nothing to fear from picking up "Make Believe" as an impulse buy.

Dave Matthews Band - Stand Up: I haven't given this album a total sit down and listen yet, but first impressions leave me thinking that Stand Up owes more to Dave Matthews' solo effort, Some Devil, than it does to its predecessor, Busted Stuff. The tone of the album is a bit quieter, the arrangements are little simpler, and things feel pretty scaled back overall.

I'm glad they switched it up a bit for this album because the same thing all the time is not always a good thing, and Stand Up is a nice shift in style reminiscient of Between These Crowded Streets (which followed Crash with a more organic, live, jazzy feel).

Fans of Matthews will likely embrace and love this album and I can't blame them. The songs may be more somber but they're no less engaging or catchy. Matthews' sharp songwriting is in good form and the album, overall, is very rewarding.

Sloan - A Sides Win: I know I've mentioned this disc before, but seeing as you yanks are getting it a week later than us up here in Canada, I figured I'd cheat a little and mention it again, officially, in The New Music.

While I'm no great fan of greatest hits compilations, Sloan's "A Sides Win" is a solid collection of all the singles released by the band since their inception almost 15 years ago. From their grunge inspired debut single, "Underwhelmed", to the exclusive 'made for the compilation' track, "All Used Up", everything you need to know about the band is right here. The 16 tracks on the disc comprise most of Sloan's strongest material but are totally representative of the rest of their catalogue. If you enjoy what you hear here, I highly recommend you check out some of their proper albums.

I should also mention the absolutely fabulous DVD that is included with the CD which features 14 music videos covering the singles releases, rare TV performances and behind-the-scenes footage, and some extras that are just as fun to browse through as the rest of the disc.

Until next week...


The New DVD 2

Courtesy of Video ETA, as well as my personal tastes and professional curiosity, here are the DVD releases coming this Tuesday...

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: This is probably the DVD I'm most likely to buy this week seeing as I'm a bit of a Wes Anderson fan. It's not the best film in Anderson's ouvre, and it lacks somewhat for the absence of Luke Wilson, but it still holds up compared to many of the films that hit theatres last year (anyone wanna talk Stepford Wives, meet me in back). The features look satisfactory with commentary and interviews with cast and crew, and I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the ten David Bowie songs performed by Brazilian recording artist Seu Jorge
and the interview with composer, and Devo member, Mark Mothersbaugh.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers: I caught this made for cable movie when it originally came out on Movie Central (the Canadian equivalent to HBO) and while I found it somewhat unbalanced as a biopic, I found it to be an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

The film basically tells the story of Peter Sellers' life through the eyes of Peter Sellers as played by Geoffrey Rush, who does an admirable job in the role. I was really happy that they managed to convey how difficult a man Sellers was, but also made you sympathise with him as he encounteres various hurdles in his life and career. A portrait of Peter Sellers is not a pretty one, but it's damn interesting when you get into it.

Feature-wise, I don't believe this disc will have any making it one I likely won't purchase despite having really enjoyed it. No features, to my mind, is the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned, and I'm genuinely surprised whenever I encounter it (unless it's a budget priced disc - that's a whole different ball of wax).

Update: I checked this one out at the local Wal-Mart and it is not a featureless disc. There are several audio commentaries and, believe, a making of featurette. Just thought I should set the record straight since it is now a semi-desirable contender for ownership.

Assault on Precinct 13: This remake of the 1976 John Carpenter film of the same name was in and out of theatres so fast that it left heads spinning. From reviews I've read then and some I've seen recently, I can say that my expectations for this movie are beyond low. Like, less expectation to perform than House of Wax low.

I only mention it here because this might be a future guilty pleasure rental if I'm ever in the need for a shoot-em-up action flick. And really, it's got Ethan Hawke, Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bello...there's enough there to warrant a minimal investment of time and money.

Kim Possible the Movie - So the Drama: Kim Possible was one of the cartoons I turned to when I was having problems with the direction some of the DC/WB animated properties were going. It's a really well done 'toon with a great voice cast including Christy Romano (Cadet Kelly), Will Freidle (Batman Beyond), Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons), Gary Cole (Office Space) and many others.

This particular release is an extended version of the movie that appeared on the Disney Channel (Family Channel above the 49th) last month which was supposed to serve as a series finale for the show and is a pretty satisfying little animated flick to boot. The story manages to tie up some loose ends, add some character growth, throw in a twist or two and just flat-out entertain which it succeeds in doing in all respects.

Having seen the broadcast version I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what else they've worked into the movie, and I'm also looking forward to getting into some of the bonus features on the disc (deleted scenes and an as yet unaired episode of the series).

A quick peek at the releases for next week look promising. My early picks would include Team America and Scrubs Season 1, so check back in 7 for some comments on those and more.


I Do Propose...

Well, I sent off another query to the writer/artist regarding the short film I want to make this summer based on his story. I'm hoping that the non-reply from the last one was simply a matter of the mail getting lost or something like that.

While I won't name names just yet, I will say that the story fits all the criteria that I am looking for:

1) It's not my story - I think my last film, Dead End, suffered from a lack of skill and experience directorially. The script was actually pretty good and had I executed things more successfully, I think I would have been happier with the end product. As a result, I am/was looking for a story that wasn't mine, and was good enough to carry itself for 10 or 15 minutes, so that I could focus more on the directing and producing end of things.

2) 3 characters, 2 speaking roles - In no budget filmmaking, less isn't always more, but it sure as hell is easier to organize. Less actors to hunt down that will give of their time freely (and quite literally so) is a good thing.

3) Not too many locations to worry about - A quick count in my head gets me about 3 locations which, again, helps out in the long run. The fewer locations you have to secure, the less headache you have. Also fewer set-ups!

4) It speaks to me on some level - It's a relationship story which I am always a sucker for and it has some depth to it, which is great. It struck a chord with me from the first time I read it and I distinctly remember thinking, "that would make a cool short film."

'Nuff said.

I'll keep you posted on how the whole thing turns out. If I get the go-ahead, I will start 'pre-production' on the film and likely keep a production diary here on the blog (my plan here is two-fold, you see). If not, I'll have to think of something else to do.


It's Millar Time

I caught this link over at Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter. It's a nice interview with comic writer and man about Glasgow, Mark Millar. It's not a Journal-length piece or anything and it won't change your life, but it's better than anything you'll see in Wizard.

I particularly like Mark's comments about 'selling out'. It's what we all know and think, but sometimes it's nice to have someone in his position reiterate it for us.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Tom Waits Not For Sale

I ran across this little audio article on NPR which may be of interest to fans of Tom Waits. Basically, he's not very happy with anyone trying to cash in on his image and I can't really blame him. He's got such a unique delivery/style that when you hire a sound-alike for a guy like Waits, I think he has a valid complaint that it may damage his credibility with his fans.

And while on the topic of using music in ads, I heard a pretty decent web doc on BBC1 on precisely that subject which you may want to check out. They talk about primarily British artists, but there's nothing wrong with that, right?


Friday, May 06, 2005

Looking for Approval

A couple of weeks ago I sent off an e-mail to someone who had written and drawn an e-comic that I really liked and wanted to make a short film out of. As you may, or may not, know I made a short, no-budget DV film last year and I've been hankering to try my hand at another. So, I sent an e-mail to ask the creator for his permission to do the project because, even though I could technically do it without his official OK (it's not like anyone would ever see it), I kind of wanted a stamp of approval on at least attempting to commit this story to DV.

Still no word, though. Maybe I'll send off another message and see if it nets better results.

In other diheartening news, I have yet to find a home for an interview I did last month with the Inkworks people regarding their latest X-Files Connections card set. I was hoping to get it into some X-Files related forum, but it looks like I'll probably be running that one on the ol' Blog.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Sloan: A Sides Win (singles 1992-2005): I can't believe I forgot to mention this disc in my New CD Roundup a few posts back. One of my favourite rock bands, Sloan, have just released a great singles collection (May 3rd) and is, in my opinion, a really nice cross section of their 10+ year career in music.

I wasn't actually going to buy this disc myself, seeing as I already own the Sloan catalogue, until I found out that they were including a DVD with the CD that includes all 14 videos, plus a documentary, some TV appearances, live stuff and extras.

And, like any good hits collection, there are also two new tracks ('All Used Up' and 'Try to Make It') to whet completists appetites.

For $16 smackers (CAN) I couldn't turn this down and neither should you.


Genius of Kraft

I have to say hats off to the engineers who designed the packaging for Canada's favourite Macaroni and Cheese, Kraft Dinner.

If you've ever made a box of Macaroni and Cheese, you know that it's basically a box full of dry macaroni with a bag for the cheese powder inside. Well, I don't know about anybody else's cheese powder bags, but the folks at Kraft were certainly thinking about morons like me who would dump the box, in its entirety, into a pot of boiling water without pulling the bag out.

Anyway, I managed to rescue the bag and expected a wet, glommy mess inside but, to my surprise, no H2O managed to penetrate in to mess up the cheese. Lunch was saved!

Thanks Kraft!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Smallville Glimpses What Could Have Been

A little while ago I wrote a rant searching for the reasons why Smallville sucks so bad. I mean, it has some good writers working on it, some talented directors shooting it, and has proven in the past that it can have truly great episodes when they try. For some reason, though, they choose to produce a melodramatic, cornball teen soap-opera that kills the essence of of what makes these characters interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, they had one of those cool episodes, though, and I thought it was worth mentioning. I was watching the episode, 'Onyx', which starts off really cheesy (Lex gets split in two with one Lex being good and one being evil) but manages to drag itself out from under its own weight to showcase some really great Superman moments.

Also some nice use of Chloe of late. I wish she'd just toss Lana in a dumpster one week and be Clark's exclusive girl Friday. Millar...Gough...You paying attention?

Anyway, back to the story.

Naturally, evil Lex manages to take over and we get a glimpse of the character that we know he will eventually come to be. If you get past the crappy scene he shares with Lana in the second act (I almost gave up around this point), you get to see Lex discover Clark's secret, get a kryptonite ring, violate Clark's sanctuary, offer Clark a position at his side to take over the world...and we get that moment that we, as viewers, ache for in this show; Lex standing across from Clark, his kryptonite ring slowing young Supes down but not putting him out and he hisses at Lex, "I'll never join you!" Classic drama, punchy dialogue and then Lex goes full-on bad-guy on the Kents and caps the scene off by saying, "You were right about me all along, Mr. Kent. I am the villain of the story."

I think I actually whooped after I heard that. It was good television.

Surprisingly it didn't end up sucking as everything was wrapping up either (usually a creative sinkhole for this show). Michael Rosenbaum did a really nice job of portraying a post-bifurcated Lex, and played up the duality and conflict the character would be feeling after everything he had been through. You also never know for sure how much he remembers about his time in splitsville, so you're left with that 'ooooo' feeling that you love to go out of a story on.

Still, somehow I just know the next episode is going to suck. I think it was a prom episode, or something.



Monday, May 02, 2005

The New DVD

Well, since there was only one comic book to cover, I figure I might as well do the DVD list as well.

So, to be released May 3rd, 2005 and of possible interest are...

Star Trek: Enterprise Season 1: Much too rich for my blood (as all the Star Trek DVD collections are), but if I had the c note to spend on this set I probably would. Season 1 had some good moments, particularly the pilot, "Broken Bow" (accompanied by a commentary in this set - yay!), which really gave me a lot of hope that this prequel series would be a success. Time and poor management by executive producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman showed us otherwise.

It should be noted that it does look as if there are a decent number of features included that go beyond the EPK-style interviews and hype that you usually see included with DVDs. In fact, glancing at the list over on Amazon, I think Enterprise Season 1 may just outdo any of the previous Trek collections as far as features go. I'm sure they were planning DVD material as they shot the series, but when you're forking over $100 for some round pieces of plastic, that's always good to hear.

Spaceballs Special Edition: Pure guilty pleasure and probably Mel Brooks' last truly funny movie. MGM is obviously rolling this one out to cash in on the Episode III buzz, but if it means a decent movie is getting the Special Edition treatment (and a real Special Edition treatment) then I can't complain.

If you haven't seen Spaceballs, it's a pretty successful spoof of the Star Wars films starring Bill Pullman as the Han Soloesque Lone Star, John Candy as the wookie-like Mawg, and Rick Moranis as the evil and bumbling Dark Helmet. It's a fun show with some decent gags and MGM seems to have added a decent amount of material to the already existing Spaceballs bonus features, so if you're a fan, I'd be there to pick this one up.

Non-connoisseurs pay heed! There is a budget version available that has pared down features, but does still include an audio commentary with Brooks, so if you're not a real fan but want it in your collection, I urge you to seek that one out.

That's it for DVDs this week. Next week we celebrate life and death with two new releases, HBO's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Until then...


The New Comics

I had a bit of fun doing the music post, so I figured I'd try it with the comic books as well. If it continues to be fun, maybe DVD's will follow.

Looking at the Diamond Shipping List for this week, these are the books I wil likely be hunting down...

ROGUE #10 - I practically ignored this book (and why wouldn't I?) until issue #7 came along and Tony Bedard and Karl Moline jumped on board. Bottom line is I would love Karl Moline's work on any title, and this is really no exception. I only hope it doesn't get cancelled with #12 as the rumours seem to imply it will. Writer Tony Bedard claims that it's still up in the air, so here's hoping he can pull this arc off successfully enough to save this book from the axe.

Woo...only one book I'm looking to pick up this week, so it looks like I'll have a little extra moolah left over to buy some other fun stuff.


The New Music

Received my All Music Guide Newsletter again informing me of tomorrow's CD releases. A quick once over gives me a few ideas of some things that might be worth checking out...

The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday: This band was dubbed one of the top 20 greatest bands you weren't listening to last year by Spin magazine, and I've always meant to check them out since reading that. The few bits that I've heard don't really distinguish them as being the second coming or anything (in fact, they sort of sound like a punkier, drunker Men at Work), but after getting my hands on some full tracks I may change my mind. Probably won't buy it outright, but I'll put the feelers out on this one.

Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth: Reznor and gang are back and it's been a while since I've bought one of his albums. We had a parting of ways some time back due to everything he was putting out started sounding the same to me. It wasn't bad music, just not what I expected from NIN. Anyways, I've had a little distance from them and I think it might be time to test the waters once again. From what I hear this album isn't exactly a trailblazer either, but I've been gone long enough not to notice.

Aimee Mann - The Forgotten Arm: I've always been a quiet admirer of Aimee Mann. The urge has never struck me strong enough to actually go out and buy one of her albums, but I've taken them out of the library and given them a listen to. She has the same sort of approach to her music as her husband has to his, and as a fan of Mr. Penn, I can say that it appeals to me when I hear that sensibility on her tracks. The bits I've sampled off of 'The Forgotten Arm' actually sound pretty strong, and I may just take the leap with this particular release.

John Williams - Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: I'm a film score nut and what collection would be complete without the Star Wars soundtracks? The trailers for the film make this flick look pretty damn operatic, so I'm hoping Williams score reflects that. With any luck, we'll also see the return of some familiar themes. Williams really impressed me with how he managed to create two entirely brand new Star Wars scores without giving up more than a hint of the music we've come to know and love, so I hope this one is an all out orgy/celebration of the two trilogies coming together.

Update: By the by, I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of the OST and all I can say is (in my best James Earl Jones baritone)..."Impressive."

They Might Be Giants - A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants: I'm not a fan of greatest hits albums, but it's nice to see TMBG's presence on the racks again. These guys never fail to disappoint. This collection also distinguishes itself by including their Malcolm in the Middle theme (previously unavailable on disc, if I'm not mistaken), "Boss of Me" as well as the "Dr. Evil" theme from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Tullycraft - Disenchanted Hearts Unite: Okay, I admit it. The sentamentalist in me saw the title for Tullycraft's new album and said, "hmmm, sounds like it might be right up your ally, self." I've never heard anything from these guys before this, but what I've heard I kind of like. There's a quality to them that's reminiscient of Stars only less refined. It seems like a nice collection of poppy, hooky, earnest stuff. I'll check this out in one form or another, for sure.

That's all for now.



Sunday, May 01, 2005


Hey everybody...

I just thought I should come on and apologise for not posting anything in the last couple of days. I don't know if anyone is actually out there anticipating anything out of me, but, just in case, I'm sorry for the lack of new material.

Basically I've been filling my brain with pop culturey goodness, reading my eyes off and watching flicks, not to mention ghosting on an article for the wife which is actually paid work, so I'm kind of giving it the priority right now.

Anyway, I should be up and about come Monday, so we'll see you then.