Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spirit Worries

The more I see of Frank, and the more I hear about this film, the more I worry. I experience a slight, uncomfortable tightening of the sphincter while listening to Miller talk about this project.



Form your own opinions. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Later!

mike

Friday, March 28, 2008

Indy Fans, Check This Out



I don't think I've blogged about this article that Vanity Fair ran last month (or was it 2 months ago) and I ran across the online version of it sitting in my bookmark folder so I clearly intended to. Anyway, I figured I should post it, have one less bookmark to worry about and bring joy to those Indy fans who have yet to see this piece (in its entirety) with the accompanying Annie Liebowitz photos.

Later!

mike

Foo Fighters Setlist 03/27/08

1. Let It Die
2. Pretender
3. Times Like These
4. Breakout
5. Learn to Fly
6. Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup’s Running
7. This Is a Call
8. The One
9. Stacked Actors with a long drum solo from Taylor Hawkins

Acoustic Set on Smaller Stage In-the-Round

10. Skin & Bones
11. Marigold
12. My Hero
13. Cold Day in the Sun (ft. Taylor Hawkins on drums & vocals)
14. But, Honestly
15. Everlong

End Acoustic Set

16. Monkey Wrench
17. All My Life

Encore

18. Big Me (feat. Jessy Green)
19. Long Road to Ruin
20. Best of You

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Watching the Foos



I'll be hitting the Foo Fighters concert tonight with my brother and his new beaux. I'll post some comments on it later tonight, perhaps.

Later!

mike

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Plissken by Watson


Who would have thunk it. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken by Andi Watson. Not only was it an unexpected thing to run across, but it's also awesome to behold. Go check out Andi's sites and books.

Later!

mike

Friday, March 21, 2008

Nearly Thwarted by the Six Feet Under Packaging

A couple of weeks ago I bought the first season of Six Feet Under at the local Wal-Mart for a mere $18. I finally got around to opening it up tonight and found it to be a frustrating and complicated ordeal. I mean, I've heard of gimmicky packaging before but HBO must have broken out their rocket scientists to develop this one.

I couldn't find a picture of it online, so I'll have to see if I can take one myself and slap it up on the blog for those of you who do not know of what I speak.

Essentially, the set is packaged in such a way as to recall a casket, I believe, and sits horizontal with a base and a lid. The lid is supposed to flip upwards and, as it opens, lifts the DVD case out of the box revealing all the HBO goodness inside. You then remove the DVDs (packaged in the same book-like flip-open case that anything not in a thinpak is generally sold in), watch the discs you want and, if you're smart, do not replace them in the 'casket'. Just keep them open and free, it'll be much easier for the next time you want to watch them. Once you've watched the whole series and featurettes, then you put it away until the next time you wanna wrassle with the absurd thing. Beyond wrecking the packaging, opening and closing the thing is just a pain in the ass. It's a good thing the show's so good otherwise I (and, I'm sure, many others) wouldn't even bother with the thing.

Not much of a post, I know, but something that really irritated me when it took me 30 or so minutes to figure the damn thing out (that includes the time I spent surfing the internet looking for images of an opened case for clues).

Later!

mike

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Early Thoughts on Southland Tales

Now, I've been waiting for this movie for some time (many of us who watched and loved Donnie Darko have been) and I have to say that after months and months of watching it get beat up by the media and go through recutting and release dates being pushed back and none of my local cineplexes running the film, the DVD has foinally arrived to mixed response. In some ways the movie is exactly what I expected and so many ways it is very much not. The trademarked Richard Kellyisms are all there (the satire, the sci-fi, the high-concept, ensemble cast and the socio-political commentary) but they are organized in such a way as to make the film almost totally impenetrable. I read the three graphic novels that comprise the prequel trilogy and still had a hard time following certain sequences. Sure, it sort of comes together in the end in a somewhat understandable manner, but on the whole it feels like the movie fails in paying off the 144 minute running time.

I knew going in that I would have to do some work on my own, that I would have to read the prequel trilogy and hit the website and dig through additional sources to fully appreciate the movie, but on a basic sit down and watch a show for a couple of hours level, Southland alienates the viewer almost from the outset with its wealth of backstory that you're never really given a glimpse of, the awkward dialogue being delivered by Dwayne Johnson and Sarah Michelle Geller, and the often improvisational nature of Kelly's shooting style (I don't know how much of it was improved, but seeing as how half the cast are ex-SNL alumn, I'm thinking a bunch).

Is there method to the madness? Perhaps. Is this gleanable upon a single viewing? Certainly not.

I want to like this movie, and I'm willing to put the work into it to see where it takes me as a viewer and as someone who appreciated the technical side of filmmaking, but I'm not reccomending this one for everyone. Unless you're already a Kelly fan, this may not be appropos for you.

More on this story as it develops.

Later!

mike

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stargate Defective Disc Blues Cured

I picked up Stargate: Atlantis Season 1 many months ago and watched a couple of episodes before putting it back on the shelf. It's not that I didn't like the show, I just got it for a really good price and I had seen the entire first season so I wasn't in any hurry to revisit the show. I checked out a few of the commentaries and features and there you go.

Fast forward a few months and a friend from work asks me to borrow the discs. No problem because I'm not watching them, so I give them to her and everything is business as usual. Then I get a call from her a bit later telling me that disc 5 is the same as disc 1. They're labelled properly, but the actual information on them is identical. Having no receipt, and being many months from the purchase date I was worried that I would not be able to get an exchange or satisfaction of any sort.

I had this problem before with my Ultimate Superman set, and Warners was nothing if not accomodating, so I hit the internet hoping to find a customer service line for MGM to contact. I discovered that this was a common problem, got a number and was raring to go. I still thought of calling the local London Drugs where I purchased the set just in case, possibly saving me some time and effort in getting the thing replaced.

Well, I just got off the phone with the salesman and he was aware of the problem and had no issues with me coming in and exchanging it there. Not too shabby.

I'll be heading over there later today and hopefully have the whole thing resolved quickly.

Later!

mike

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Comic Haul Redux

I never got to finish the previous Comic Haul and I've picked up even more comics since then, so I'm going to try and get some of those out of the way, review-wise.

The Umbrella Academy #4-6: I really enjoyed this series and was happy to finally catch up with the issues that I had missed. Gerard Way came out of nowhere and surprised everybody with how entertaining and just plain great the story was and Gabriel Ba's artwork is beyond compare. I don't think I would go so far as to call these characters the heroes of the 21st century as Grant Morrison does on the cover blurb, but they're certainly more interesting than most of the claptrap currently out there on the stands.

I'll also add a bit of a post script and say that since picking up this book I've also come to enjoy Way's band, My Chemical Romance. The main point in referring to that here is to emphasise that, although there are some definite stylistic similarities (a la the James Jean covers and the murky, theatrical, gothic vibe that it shares with The Black Parade), this comic book exists wholly outside of My Chemical Romance's rock'n'roll world. This is not some tie-in book like a KISS comic and, so far, there have been no coy references to ideas MCR presents in their music and vice versa. I think that is a definite strength of this series, especially in its first arc, and a well thought out choice on Way's part. I think I wouldn't mind it so much the second time around, but I'm not clamoring for it, either.

Anyway, check this book out.

Youngblood #1: One of the greatest things to happen to the Image super-hero universe was to have Alan Moore come down from on high to take over the writing chores on WildC.A.T.s and than to have that effort followed by the ever-capable Joe Casey. They brought something to the Imageverse that it hadn't really seen before in any long-term sort of capacity on one of its bigger books - a real writer. Both of these guys gave some street cred to these upstart third-generation X-Men clones and started a trend that continues to this day, sometimes successful, sometimes not-so-successful.

A little ironic then that Casey's previous work manages to overshadow his current debut on a new Youngblood series for upstart comic guy, Rob Liefeld. I picked this first issue up hoping to have something fresh and dynamic, political and fun, but there are just a lot of recycled ideas here, unfortunately. Some of them we've seen Casey implement before on other team books like the aforementioned Wildcats, others just seem overdone and clich├ęd, none moreso than the super-hero as celebrity set-up. Casey tries to give it some colour by adding the reality TV show into it, but that was just seen over in Civil War with the New Warriors and the team as a government-sponsored and created entity who exist to be more of a PR stunt than protectors of freedom was done over in The American Way a couple of years ago.

And that's just before dragging Peter Milligan's X-Force into the mix.

What can I say, I was disappointed. I think my feelings mirror those of the main character, Shaft, who seems equally unconvinced that this story and team are going anywhere. When he was playing in Jim Lee's sandbox, Casey gave us something we could chew on, but here we're just seeing more of the same old same old.

There's a very good chance I will not bother with issue 2.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #48-49: I don't know if I have anything more to say about this series other than I miss Pascual Ferry. Carey's writing stays sharp, the stories stay interesting and I'm willing to give Mark Brooks a chance before officially bitching and moaning for Ferry to return to the title instead of moonlighting over with Orson Scott Card on that ol' Iron Man book.

I have numbers 49 and 50 on the read pile so expect to see more UFF in future Comic Hauls.

Legion of Super-Heroes #37-39: The last time I bought a Legion #37 Giffen and the Bierbaums were writing it, Jason Pearson was drawing it and they blew up the Earth.

This is a little less grand but still more entertaining than I ever thought it could be, especially with Jim Shooter on writing chores.

So often the companies will bring back the old guard to try and revive that ol' '70s or '80s magic, and so often it fails miserably. Claremont's multiple returns to the X-Men, Wolfman's recent run on Teen Titans, and I'm sure if I hit a Google search I could drum up a few more. My point is, Shooter being back on Legion had disaster written all over it for me, but it's actually a pretty good read. It's very entry level, as far as Legion stories go, but I'm going to stick around and see where this all leads. The characters intrigue me, the art by Francis Manapul is nice to look at, and it does feel good to be picking up this book again after sooooo long a hiatus.

If you were ever a Legion fan, try an issue or two of this. You may not be disappointed.

The Spirit #11-12: I'm still trying to get a handle on this book. I love Darwyn to itty-bitty pieces, and think Will Eisner's Spirit stories are some of the best comics ever produced, so I'm confused as to why this series doesn't fire on all cylinders for me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but maybe I'm reading it wrong. Maybe I'm hanging on to Will tighter than I think I am which colours what Darwyn is trying to do.

I think after I get through 13 and 14 I'll have a better opinion, just because I'll see how someone else would have done it.

Still, each issue is a dream to look at, particularly those title pages.

Welp, that's it for tonight. More when I have time.

Later!

mike

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Never Thought I'd See the Day

Despite being a popular film series, the Indiana Jones merchandising machine has never been on the same level as the Star Wars one. Indy collectables, comics, and toys just haven't had the same market penetration due either to lack of effort or interest by all parties involved.

But then I ran across this today:



Warms the heart it does. When you get Lego sets based on you, you've finally made it into the mass market. Add to this the Lego Indy game that's coming out, the revolutionary new Indy game from LucasArts, and the new comics from Dark Horse and you've got a movie/franchise that's finally getting its due and fans who, I'm sure, will be thrilled to have some merchandise to hunt down and legos to build.

Later!

mike