Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I've had a pretty nutty day so I'm just going to leave it at that for today. The Episode III disc is out tomorrow so I'm sure I'll have something to say about that.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Not Sure How They Figure This...

You're...Saturn Girl!
You're Imra Ardeen, Saturn Girl!

Which Legionnaire are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I'm thinking it's because I chose telepathy as a power of choice. That and the fact that I clicked the box for Cosmic Boy when they asked who I wouldn't mind hanging out with.

Maybe I should go back and choose Kinetix.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Took Her to the Doctor and the Doctor Said...

Good news on the Kate front. I went to the hospital with her today where she saw a specialist who examined her X-Rays and determined that, while she did break her arm in two places, the alignment of the bones was such that surgery would not be necessary. I guess you kind of have to give Kate credit. When she makes a break, she breaks 'em nice and clean.

She'll be in a cast now for about a month and, according to Dr. Woo, it should heal nicely with no forseeable complications. I have to book an appointment to see him a week from now so he can check in on Kate and probably X-Ray her again. Hopefully it's all good news from here on out.

Actually being there and hearing the doctor speak directly to me and not having all the info filtered through in-laws and third parties did a great deal to diminish the stress and worry that I was experiencing over the last 24 hours. That, combined with seeing her in front of me (she slept at grandmas last night) chipper and talkative despite her injuries, brought the migraines to a mild hum and greatly reduced the tension levels at home.

Until the next crisis, I guess.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sick With Worry

I'm calling my wife at the end of my shift today to find out when she needs to be picked up from work when she tells me that my middle kid, Kate, has badly injured her arm at school. She had no further details, only that it might be broken and that Kate's grandmother was taking care of her at the hospital.

Now, to know Kate is to know a strong-willed, pig-headed little girl of 6 who comes pretty close to living up to the old cliché, "Danger is my middle name!" so we're not surprised by this turn of events, but you just can't help but be sick with worry if you're not there to talk to the doctors and see how she's doing first-hand.

When I got home tonight I found out that she had, indeed, broken something - two things, actually. Her elbow and wrist appear to be in pieces and the doctors informed my mother-in-law that they may have to do surgery if, after examining the x-rays, they decide it's not going to heal well by itself.


I've been with Kate through several traumas now, none quite as serious as this, so I know she's a trooper and, whatever the situation, she'll tough it out and come up smiling in the end. Still, knowing that doesn't do so much for the here and now.



Monday LinkBlog on Wednesday

I have a growing list of bookmarks and, for some reason, didn't post them up on Monday like I usually do. So, with that in mind, and the fact that I have to get ready for work soon, I figured I would do them all today and start fresh this coming Monday.

NPR had some interesting tidbits that I thought I would link to this week. For starters, The Beatles' 'Rubber Soul' celebrates its 40th anniversary this month and Art Silverman does a short piece about the tribute album "This Bird Has Flown" featuring audio clips from some of the new versions of the songs.

With all the hubbub, I've gone and picked up the album again and started listening to it this week. Songs like "You Won't See Me" and "In My Life" all remind me why this is one of my favourite Beatles albums of all time, and my favourite period of their careers. Not too experimental, but not too reminiscient of '50s rock, either. And don't get me wrong, I love 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and The White Album, but, IMHO, for pure sit down and listen to it value, 'Rubber Soul' and 'Revolver' are where it's at.

Sticking with the music links for a bit, I also found this Death Cab For Cutie concert on NPR. It's about an hour-and-a-half and the audio quality is very good. I've only previewed a bit of it but the performances sound solid and when I have the time, I'm sure this'll be a treat to listen to.

USA Today had an interesting article on how well DVDs have been doing this year. With so many industry people making comments in interviews and on the web that it's the DVDs where the studios are making their real money, and considering how poorly theatrical releases did this year, I think the fact that DVD sales rose by only 8% is a kind of sobering fact - especially since there have been more DVDs released this year than any other.

Anyway, it's all in the article, so if you're interested, go check it out.

While searching for an anniversary gift for Johnny Bacardi I ran across this great site focusing on comic strips based on the popular British adventure series, The Avengers. Most of it is bibliographical information on the many comic book versions of the series, but there are some full strips you can view if you search around - what fun!

If you've ever checked out DC's flash-animated Gotham Girls webisodes or seen Micah Green's video for "Family Circus" or watched an episode of The Venture Brothers than you know who Noodlesoup is. These guys are some of the best at what they do and I've loved just about everything I've seen from them. This week I ran across this article talking about how company founder, Jeff Nodelman, is leaving the company to pursue his own stuff. I thought it was an interesting read.

Taking a cue from Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter here's an interesting link to a contract that Dave Sim received from DC Comics regarding doing some work for Bill Willingham's Fables. He makes some notes in the margins and drafts a response for DC's legal dept. I got a kick out of some of the things Dave pointed out and the last paragraph where he explains that he never promised Willingham that he would do it 100% for sure but that he would negotiate in good faith with DC made me chuckle.

Here's an odd little interview with Identity Crisis writer, Brad Meltzer.

Here's a Chicago Sun-Times article on the carpet bombing of the Smurf village which I'm sure you've all heard of by now. I admire UNICEF for what they're trying to do, but I can't deny the weirdness of the direction they chose for the campaign.

Indie creator, Adrian Tomine, has edited a Manga collection featuring the work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi. He talks about it here in an article by The Village Voice.

The Book Standard talks to writer/artist, Charles Burns about his GN, Black Hole.

I mentioned the new Conan: Red Nails animated feature before on the blog, but ICv2 has this bit on some of the confirmed casting for the film now that it is officially out of the design phase of production.

Not to ignore the gaming world, popular anime, Samurai Champloo, will be making its way to PS2's in 2006, which is great news except that I own an XBOX (not to even mention that many of us are still waiting for one of the Cowboy Bebop games to make the long trip over to North America).

I should also mention that Jeff Smith's Bone will become a video game courtesy of Telltale Games. More info on the game, based on the "Out From Boneville" storyline can be found here.

And with that, I'm all tuckered out for the day. Hope there was something interesting for everyone, there. I'll catch you all later!


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rhythm of the 'Scape

With Dead Like Me almost finished its run on Movie Central and most of my other shows currently on hiatus I've recently started watching Farscape again from the first episode. I've seen all of the S1 episodes before but I wanted to do a kind of refresher before I got into S2 (of which I haven't seen everything) and beyond.

I remember not caring too much for the earlier stories since they all seemed to suffer from what I call Pilotitis but things sort of loosened up when they got to something like the seventh episode and they started finding their stride. Now, watching them again they seem more entertaining than I remember. I'm thinking that it has something to do with the fact that I'm more familiar with the rhythms of the storytelling and the characters.

Anyway, I'm hoping I don't get sidetracked like I did with DS9 (which I will get back to) since I'm looking forward to seeing The Peacekeeper Wars mini-series which served as the series finale. We'll see how it goes.


Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm Now a Man With a Screaming Brain

Paty Cockrum, in what appears to be her usual juvenile style, writes a sloppy retraction apologizing for calling Joe Quesada anti-semitic (not apologizing to anyoine else, mind you) amd qualifying that her husband, Dave Cockrum, does not, in fact, read her column and probably wouldn't approve if he did.



Saturday, October 22, 2005

Enough With the Screaming

I was recently directed to check out Paty Cockrum's column over at Scream If You Want It and, based on what I'd heard they were about, my curiosity was piqued. After reading the first four of them not too long ago I have to say that not only was I unimpressed with the overall format and content, but I was kind of taken aback by the intense hostility and tabloid professionalism being employed by Mrs. Cockrum.

In her columns she talks about working for Marvel in its 'creative heyday' during the 1970s with guys like Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, herself, her husband and others. She then goes on to 'chronicle' the downward spiral which occured under the reign of Jim Shooter as EIC and then Bob Harras, and details how things went from the Camelot of creativity to the seventh ring of hell.

I have no problem with people airing their frustrations with other people, online or otherwise, but this blatant waving of Marvel's dirty laundry as if it was a some sort of flag is just lacking in class and taste. And calling Grant Morrison and Mark Millar anti-semitic because they changed the character of Magneto recently from what Chris Claremont had originally envisioned him as is irresponsible and inflammatory (not that Grant or Mark will ). Sure, Chris was largely responsible for the rise of The Uncanny X-Men as the book to read and set the stage for much of Marvel's publishing decisions since, but what Paty hasn't noticed is that Chris' writing of late has been pretty terrible. Whatever manipulations may be going on in the background, Chris was removed from the book back when he had overstayed his welcome, and when he was brought back with a big huzzah, he couldn't keep anyone's interest.

She also complains that Marvel is unprofessional for cancelling Excalibur in the middle of a storyline and blames this on Marvel's hate-on for Claremont and their racist conceptualization of Magneto. In order to wrest the master of magnetism away from Claremont they had to unceremoniously cancel his book before he finished doing what he was doing. Yeah, that never happens in the comic industry.

I mean, it's one thing to publicly point out how much you dislike someone and how they conduct themselves personally or professionally, but it's another thing when you go out of your way to repeatedly slam an individual with all the creativity and tact of a rowdy 9 year-old on the school playground. This is worse than a tabloid mentality because she doesn't even have the wherewithal to link to any of the forums or articles she discusses, essentially making her 'points' akin to hearsay.

And that's mostly what I have to say about that.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Elektra Lives Again!

I'm sure Frank Miller will never forgive me for attaching one of his titles to a post about the film version of his assassin extraordinaire, but it was just too good not to use it.

What it refers to is the brand-spanking-new Director's Cut of the film that was released on DVD yesterday that I only found out about today while reading through my daily news.

As some of you may know, I was so impressed by what had been done to improve Daredevil with the Director's Cut that I am one of the few people on the planet who not only went to see Elektra while it was still in theatres, but also bought the DVD (albeit sverely discounted) to set next to DD on my overcrowded movie shelf. I mean, in its defence, I believe that Elektra is truly a stronger movie than the theatrical cut of DD ever was (which to many is not saying much) and despite its many flaws it still remains an entertaining little picture for me.

Now, one of my greatest pleasures is to sit down with the DVD of a flawed movie that I enjoy and listening to the director chat about the movie that could have been, thye mistakes that were made and whatever else he or she wants to talk about. Many a movie has been redeemed for me through this very process so it was terribly disappointing that the Elektra DVD had no commentary to speak of and only a few brief featurettes on the making of the film.

I refused to purchase the movie when it first came out on those grounds, and with the expectation (hope?) that, like its predecessor, an expanded Director's Cut would follow in a matter of months. I knew that the movie absolutely bombed in theatres so I was skeptical that 20th Century Fox would support such a move, but seeing as most movies only make money once they hit DVD these days anyway, I held out for the better set whether it came or not (and just for the record I did break down a few weeks ago and bought a reasonably priced previously viewed copy of the first release - it was under $10 CAN).

Anyway, to try and make a long story shorter, FOX surprises me by firing this baby out onto the market and, according to Rob Bowman, this is the way he would rather see the movie presented, given a choice and with the material they had. The cut on this set is unrated (they added some of the more intense fight scenes back in) and apparently moodier than the one some of us saw in theatres. As Bowman states in the interview I linked to above, music cues have been changed, colour has been reworked and the sound mix has been totally redone for this release. Something like 14 weeks was spent 'restoring' the movie but, unlike the DD Director's Cut, Elektra has very little footage added to the new release. Mark Steven Johnson added, like, 30 minutes to Daredevil and it drastically changed the movie from a piece of crap to a pretty good Daredevil movie. As much as I enjoyed Elektra's theatrical cut, I would've liked to have seen something that, story-wise, was a little more rounded out.

Still, there are a lot of bonus features to dig into with this one including a commentary track by Bowman and a few documentaries so I'll probably be picking this one up despite some of the bad reviews I've been reading about it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Spielberg Bugs Me

Hey there...

For those of you who know me, you're already aware of my falling out with Steven Spielberg. How I saw a once brilliant fimmaker get a little too self-absorbed and a little too 'political' to really say or show anything of any importance to me anymore, and how everything he's made since Amistad has just stank of someone who thinks they're more visionary than they are.

The reason I bring it up is because I've recently been in a position to watch some behind the scenes stuff on a few Spielberg projects and I've kind of managed to really put my finger on one of the things about the guy that bugs me so much. He has this annoying tendency to say "I" a lot when talking about other people's stuff. Like the way he talks about E.T., or Taken or even War of the Worlds. He always talks about the scripts, themes and ideas as if he was the guy who came up with it all in the first place. I mean, I'm the first one to acknowledge that film is a very collaborative medium and that the director has a big part in how the story gets told, but when he claims a sort of blanket ownership on the project because of it, let's just say that I think Matt Stone and Trey Parker had his and George Lucas' characters right when they spoofed them on South Park.

And speaking of George, I've recently had the opportunity to see some DVD features focusing on his work and I have to say that for all the stuff he changes, and for all the people he pisses off, I still respect him more as a filmmaker and a storyteller than Spielberg.

And bear in mind that these aren't just the random ravings of a film nut. I used to love Spielberg's stuff - heck, I still hold Jaws in the highest esteem and I'm the biggest Indy nut you'll come across in these here parts. Empire of the Sun was an amazing picture and E.T. (the original one, not the bastardized cell phone edition) still makes me cry every freakin' time I see it. Lately, though...anyone wanna watch A.I. again? Maybe some Minority Report?

Didn't think so.

That's my rant for the day. Oh, and before I forget, I just finished Bringing Out the Dead and it was a very pleasant surprise. I hope to talk about it a bit more later.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Hard Day's Addendum

It just occured to me that when I originally saw A Hard Day's Night on videocassette, lo those many years ago, there was a short little musical montage put to the ninth track of the album entitled, 'I'll Cry Instead'. When I watched it on the snazzy 'new' DVD it starts as, I assume, it did in theatres at the time with the "Strummmm!" and then the scene of the boys running away from the girls.

The montage was probably added as an intro of sorts for the cassette version, although I'm not too clear on why it would be needed. Maybe viewers in the '80s weren't accustomed to just jumping into a movie like that. Still, I miss it now that I'm watching it without which is typical of me, I guess.

I'll probably do some digging to see if I can figure out the whys and wherefores of the siuation. If anyone out there happens to know the answer, I welcome the input.

That's it for me.


Update: I guess it didn't take very much digging after all! Beatles historian and DVD producer, Martin Lewis, answered this very question in a USA Today Talk Today column:

Roanoke, VA: Why wasn't the "I'll Cry Instead" intro included?

Martin Lewis: I'll Cry Instead was a 1982 creation that was devised as a marketing tool to help launch the theatrical reissue of the film by Universal Pictures. It was never a part of the original film, and the director Richard Lester detested it, as did I. I felt that my job as producer of the DVD edition of the film was to faithfully honor the work of the filmmakers as they intended it in 1964.

Ask and ye shall receive. Mystery solved, everyone can go home now.


Looming Large in My Legend

I'm watching the tail end of A Hard Day's Night as I type up this post. It's at the concert part where The Beatles do a medley of all the songs from the film and close it out with 'She Loves You', a song I'm not very fond of listening to normally, but kind of enjoy here. It's been years since I've seen the film and, until now, I've only remembered it in these little non-linear chunks of gags and music. Not all that different from the movie itself, actually.

Anyway, it's a really entertaining little bit of cinema and stands up pretty well considering it's about 40 years old. I'm so used to listening to The Beatles that I forget what it's like to actually watch them do what they do. There's a really fun energy and sense of humour to the group that doesn't come out, necessarily, in the songs. It adds that little extra bit of dimension to the music, the mythos, the magic.

I should also mention that the DVD is a nice little package as well featuring 2 discs jam-packed with featurettes spotlighting the folks who made the film, including director Richard Lester, in nice well-rounded interview bits. The music being mixed in 5.1 surround is also pretty sweet, now that I think about it.

If you like The Beatles, I would recommend seeking this set out to rent, borrow or purchase. It's well worth the time and effort.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh, a Pirate's Life For Me

I finally managed to procure for myself a copy of the second episode of Night Stalker, also known as 'The Five People You Meet in Hell'. If you caught the sad story in my earlier post on the subject, I accidentally fell asleep last week while waiting for the show to start and missed the damn thing. I was 10 freakin' minutes away from air time but my body just couldn't take the strain, so me and my cat just conked out on the couch for a while.

Anyway, taking a cursory glance at the episode since 'acquiring' it, I'm pleased to see that Rob Bowman was the director since I am a big fan of his style. His X-Files were some of the best looking of the series and, love it or hate it, the X-Files movie looked pretty darn smart. Thomas Schnauz, another 1013 alumni was the writer for the episode and it looks like writing god Darin Morgan is one of the producers on the show which may mean an episode or two from him in the near future. heck, if Morgan is writing it, I'll wait however long it takes.

Lastly, it was also interesting to note that the new theme song for the series was written by composer Philip Glass which, I think, fits the show perfectly.

Oh, and by the way, the pilot episode with the different ending was, in fact, better than the one aired. Better mood and a nicer 'out' for the story, overall.

Now I'm off to watch the show.


Monday, October 10, 2005


Hey, folks...

Just got back from another road trip to Calgary. We went down there, once again, for my daughter's Irish Dance club and that, combined with work, has sort of taken up my whole weekend. Well, that and Thanksgiving.

I'm actually heading off to meet the Sandman right now, but I wanted to post something before I hit the hay since it's been, like, four days since I've put anything up here.

So, anyway, a Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and I'll hopefully be back online tomorrow with something more interesting to say.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sleeping Beauty

Argh! Thanks to the new job and having to start work at 7 a.m. all this week I've been so wasted that I fell asleep 5 minutes before The Night Stalker's second episode aired. I woke up 20 minutes into the show feeling like an absolute heel. I even considered programming the VCR but decided against it at the last minute, thinking that surely I'll stay awake for the few minutes it'll take for the show to start.

And I'd heard that this episode was supposed to kick ass.


The perfect capper to a difficult week. I'm really bummed out, now.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Browncoats Should Be Pleased

According to SciFi Wire Joss Whedon's Serenity snagged the #2 spot at the box-office this weekend. Not bad for an upstart little TV show turned feature film. Unfortunately, it looks like it only pulled in $10 million in its first three days, which is something of a disappointment, but I think this flick has sleeper written all over it. Just like the TV show, as a matter of fact.

My Serenity review is still forthcoming. Early buzz is I liked it, but not my favourite movie so far this year.

'Til next time...


Monday, October 03, 2005

Shiny Happy People

Mark Evanier posted a link to this wonderful little bit of trailer remixing on his blog the other day, and I thought it was so great I figured I would link to it as well.

It's amazing how a little creative editing and a change of music will turn one of the most chilling movies I've ever seen into a dramedy.

Oh, and this is pretty much it for the Monday LinkBlog, too.



Smallville's Big Premiere

I was going to do a new season TV roundup at some point, but since I've already said a few words about The Night Stalker and I'm watching the 5th Season opener for The WB's Smallville right now I figured I'd post some comments on it.

Executive Producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar promised that this season would give viewers everything they've ever wanted to see but since I know that Lana is, once again, a regular cast member and was not, as I would have hoped, devoured by weaponized penguins in the premiere, I take this 'promise' with a pound of salt. All the characters pretty much pick up where they left off last season in the wake of yet another meteor shower: Clark and Chloe are at the North Pole setting up the Fortress of Solitude, Lex is now the bad guy, another Kent family member ends up in the hospital and two Kryptonians have arrived from beyond to raise heck.


I naively thought that we might see something different from the show this year but it looks like more of the same seems to be in order for for the next 20 odd episodes to come. The melodrama will continue to be laid on pretty thick, Clark and Lex will still be arguing about whether or not they're being honest with each other, Lana will look perplexed and wander through the series seemingly with purpose, people will be in and out of the most poorly lit hispital on television because it's one of their biggest standing sets and they'll continue to shamelessly rip-off Donner's Superman because they can't work out their own spin on the whole mythos.

The one thing I was happy with was Chloe (who is pretty much my favourite character). I'm happy to see her character finally reveal to Clark that she knows his secret and has for some time. Since the beginning of the series their scenes together have been, by far, the only good thing on the show, as far as I'm concerned and this new aspect of their friendship may be enough to keep me watching for a few episodes.

Overall, I still think Smallville is one of the biggest disappointments on television for three years running with all likelihood of making it four. How it stays on year after year while other more brilliant shows languish, I'll never know. Why I bother to keep tabs on it after being repeatedly burned, I have only myself to blame.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Different Night Stalkers

I just discovered yesterday that the Night Stalker that I watched on ABC Thursday night was, in fact, the second of two pilots. The original version was distributed as a screener to media and executives (I would assume) and featured some slightly different scenes than the one that aired.

I saw the original ending from the unaired version and I have to say liked it much better than the 'snappy chatter' version that was released to the public. In my earlier post, I intimated that I wasns't entirely happy with what I saw, and now I'm beginning to wonder if my complaints about the show would be addressed by this other version.

Considering past experiences with these things, I think they will.

I'll post more on this when I see the unaired pilot in its entirety.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mercurial Thoughts

I just stumbled across this Portland Mercury piece which takes some time to spotlight 4 of the creators that will be hanging out at the Stumptown Comics Fest (starting today for anyone who may be in the area and reading these far off musings). Mercury writers Erik Henriksen and Christine Blystone review Aaron Renier's Spiral-Bound, Jeff Parker's The Interman and Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett's Heartbreakers Meet Boilerplate.

It comes as no surprise that The Interman went over well, and I'm unfamiliar with Renier's work, but I was slightly taken aback by the harsh critique for Heartbreakers Meet Boilerplate. I've yet to read it for myself (putting my own criticism in question, I suppose), but what I've heard about the book has generally been positive, and from what I've seen of it online, it looks real purty.

I guess one man's Picasso is another man's mad scribblings.

I don't know if that last bit came out right.

Anyway, click on through the links if you're curious. I'm outta here.