Friday, August 28, 2009

Remote Viewing and other things

I finally had a chance to watch M Night Shyamalan's UNBREAKABLE with Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson. It seemed that every time I mentioned that I was into comics somebody would ask I had seen the film. Now it's easy to understand why, since it is part fanboy wish fulfillment and part letting an obsession control your life. Willis (as David Dunn)is very good, but Jackson (as Elijah Price) steals the film as victim of a disease which makes him highly subject to injury. The film does have a solid ending, but it does leave room for a sequel. Personally, I think it better to leave the fates of the characters up to the viewer's imagination. Recommended.

Anybody else watching TOP CHEF: LAS VEGAS not surprised at who was let go in the second episode? I thought she should have packed up her knives after the initial competition. Can't say I have chosen a fave, just yet, but I wonder how long both brothers will remain in the show. I do like both Hector & Kevin, so wouldn't mind either of them moving on.

Given how some competetors were upset by the 'bachelor/bachelorette' theme, I wonder if any feel quarms about shopping at Whole Food, given the boycott talk by some folks? I'm sure, since WF is a sponsor that nothing will be broadcast, but I'm sure something must have been said or considered behind the scenes. Personally, I don't know how well boycotts work in most cases. I've taken part in my share, but I think you have to pick your enemies. I don't shop at Whole Food anyway, so it would be a sham to announce I'm joing in.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Planet Terror International Trailer

I recorded this the otner night on Encore and finally had a chance to watch last night. OMG! Totally over the top, wish some great cameos by name stars. Make up and SFX are incredible.

Ya' gotta love a chick with a machine gun for a leg!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Popcorn For One & other business

First off, I've been told by the Joe Bob Briggs folks that they will soon start posting new reviews on their site. It's been almost two years since they last updated the page, so my last review was from around Thanksgiving of '07. They have about a half dozen already on hand and I have a couple more books that I never got around to. Keep an eye on the Joe Bob Briggs site and we'll see what happens.

On Friday, your friendly reviewer finished off most of his medium-sized combo while sitting through too many lame trailers. Now generally I love these, but they didn't strike me as something that would appeal to folks waiting for a Quentin Tarantino flick. To me the only one that had any interest was the one for THE WOLFMAN with Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro in the lead roles. Has that great Hammer film feel to it, so it may be worth checking out.

I had been waiting for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS since I caught the initial trailer before either STAR TREK or WOLVERINE. I hadn't heard anything prior to that so it was a nice surprise. I've been reading about it since and it has been impossible to miss the interviews that Brad Pitt and Tarantino, himself, have been doing the past few weeks. The additional trailers and 'word of mouth' have added to my interest and I was not disappointed.

This is pure Tarantino! How you feel about him as a screenwriter and director will already color your judgement of this movie. The man is always over the top and this film will not disappoint his fan base. It will certainly piss some folks off, but then Quentin wouldn't be doing his job if it didn't. Those who want reality or a historically accurate portrayal of WWII, are not going to be happy with this movie. Tarantino, especially in later portions of the film, plays extremely fast and loose with facts. For those who allow themselves to be swept along, they will be more than happy with the results.

Pitt plays Lt. Aldo Raine, an Army officer who recruits a group of Jewish-American soldiers (and a former member of the German army) to parachute behind German lines in occupied-France. There they set about murdering "Natsies" and spreading unease among the soldiers. Meanwhile, Allied command has discovered that much of the German high-command, including Hitler will be attending a movie premiere in Paris. The movie theatre where this will occur, just happens to be run by a Jewish woman (now passing as a non-Jew) who earlier escaped the murder of her entire family. She has her own plans for the event. Naturally, the movie culminates in all of the characters coming together in the theatre and the usual Tarantino ultra-violence breaks out.

Pitt is a lot of fun, but the best performances are from Melanie Laurant (as the Jewish theatre owner) and Christoph Waltz (as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa). Landa is known as the "Jew Hunter", having been sent to France to discover those members of the Jewish faith who have gone into hiding. This is a man who thoroughly enjoys his job. Waltz can be charming, funny and then very, scary the next moment. If he doesn't get the Best Supporting Actor nod this year there is something seriously wrong with the members of the Academy. I won't even attempt to mention the number of cameos in this movie, but it is fun seeing one in particular in a scene featuring the then Prime Minister of Great Britain. I highly recommend this movie, but do warn you that the director's well-known love of violence is on display throughout the film. Be warned!

While I'm talking about the subject of violence, I also should mention that among my comic picks this week were WALKING DEAD #64 and VIKING #3, both published by Image. Robert Kirkman's WD continues to be one of the best books currently being written. This issue is especially disturbing, though if you are already reading the book there won't be anything to really shock you. Even when the undead don't make an appearance, it is easy to see how the changes they have created on society effect even those not in immediate danger. VIKING is a bold move by Image. Here is a book in a larger than normal format, yet in full color and priced at less than many titles from the Big Two. No superheroes, but just a tale of individuals living in a savage time where groups made their own laws and death was all to close every day. The art by Nic Klein continues to improve, though his coloring can be a bit dark in places. Writer Ivan Brandon, still doesn't make his transitions immediately easy to follow, so this is a book you may have to read twice to get the impact. Not a whole bunch of likable characters, but it is possible to understand why even the 'good guys' do what they do, sometimes with glee.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World of Warcraft: Horde Zeppelin

Just to piss off some of you! LOL!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Four-color Fiend: PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS by Derf

Punk Rock & Trailer Parks

Okay, I’ll admit that this isn’t exactly one of those books that I’d normally pick up. I have been out of high school over forty years and my interest in ‘punk’ probably lasted only a couple of years during the late ‘70s. Even then I probably only had a few compilation albums or cassettes I bought, while attending college back in Connecticut. Those are long gone and I don’t even remember listening to them once I graduated. I also don’t recall ever seeing any work by the artist “Derf”, although it is possible I may have seen samples or a cover someplace. However, I have read reviews of the book by several folks, whose opinions I trust, so when I saw the TPB at San Diego, for about 50% off I figured I would give it a try. I’ glad I did.

The self-named “The Baron” is a tall, geeky high school senior growing up in Akron, OH in the late 70s. Like many of his contemporaries he is going through hard times, being picked on both for his appearance, non-violent personality and just being a band “nerd”. He lives in a local trailer park, being raised by his uncle, a retired union organizer, who lost his driver’s license so much now go to the bar on his riding mower. The Baron, loves the then emerging ‘punk rock’ scene and believes he is destined to be a part of it. Getting a job in the local club, as bouncer and general clean up guy he finds himself in close contact with a number of the bands and individuals who are helping to make punk the driving force it would be for several years. Bands such as The Clash, The Ramones, The Plasmatics (specifically singer Wendy O. Williams) and others appear briefly and interact with The Baron, often giving him advice or just making his life more interesting. There is a great sequence with the late, rock critic Lester Bangs that shows a lot of respect for him and demonstrates just what a good writer Derf can be. The book ends with a page memorializing some of the real life personalities who appear in the story, who are no longer with us. It’s sad to realize how many of these very creative folks died at such a young age.

Certainly NOT a book for kids or those offended by language, sexual situations or violence, I still have to recommend the book for those with a sense of humor. You would not have had to have much or any experience with ‘sex & drugs & rock ‘n roll’ but it couldn’t hurt! One of the best TPB’s I’ve read this year!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Inglourious Basterds - Movie Review

These guys are the best at what they do! Always fun always spot on...unless I don't agree.

Check them out on YouTube and subscribe. I'm adding a link over on the side.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Four-color Fiend: Reviews with SPOILERS (I give all kinds of stuff away!)

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS has finally ended, months after the main FC series did and after the 'surprise' returns of Bart Allen (Kid Flash/Impulse) and Conner Kent (Superboy) have already been given away in other titles. Up until this issue, which shipped way late, I was willing to allow Geoff Johns some leeway, even though I had had a bad feeling about how it would end from the second issue. What a surprise to discover that not only had I been right, but that Johns had even made it worse by breaking the fourth wall. Bad enough that this alternate Earth Superboy finally gets his wish and returns to his home, but he is confronted by his parents with the fact that they have been reading about him in FINAL CRISIS. The last couple of pages are an additional slap in the face, with S-prime bullying his parents, implying that Lori, the girl he supposedly loved was physically harmed (perhaps killed) and speaking to the 'reader'. Is the character really that "popular" with fans or writers at DC that he couldn't be killed or de-powered? Artwise, I have no complaints, since George Perez did his usual amazing job of making literally hundreds of characters all individuals. Sad, that his craftsmanship was wasted on this forgettable non-event.

MS MARVEL #42 has Carol Danvers killed again by the current Ms Marvel (the villainous Moonstone in disquise). Don't worry, she apparently gets better again on the last page.

Since I have been you picking up DARK AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS, MIGHTY AVENGERS, SECRET WARRIORS and several other DR related books, I'm going to go out on a limp here and guess that none of the "Dark Avengers" are going to actually die by the end of this whole thing, since that would mean they couldn't come back in the next event. My hope is that Norman Osborne reverts to the Green Goblin again in the next couple of months and things wrap up. It seems that the whole DARK REIGN story line has been going on for much too long. Not that all of the titles I mentioned (and some other tie-ins) have been bad, it just seems that all this right on top of SECRET INVASION has really not allowed for some of the 'heroes' do move on. It almost appears that since CIVIL WAR many are just running in place from one (pardon the expression) crisis to the next. Of course, the same can be said for the DCU for the past several years, so fair is fair I guess. I wonder it all this is leading up to one of my occasional "THE HELL WITH ALL THIS CRAP" decisions and I just stop collecting. Stay tuned!

Of course, if we look at some of the books not produced by the Big Two, there are still some bright lights and I'd hate to stop getting those. If I have time this coming week I'll try to mention some of those. I may also try to briefly mention some of the freebies and other stuff I picked up last weekend at Comic-con.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A bit more of San Diego, pt. 2

I don't have as much patience to stand in line as I used to, so I tended to skip a lot of events that involved hanging around in the halls for an hour or so. The one event I was willing to stand for was the RiffTrax 'live' show, but due to a late dinner and being caught at the train-crossing the line was closed when I finally arrived. This makes two years in a row I have missed out on seeing the guys who once did Mystery Science Theatre 3000. I guess there is always next year, if I plan ahead.

It was good seeing some former Capa-Alpha folks and meeting others I had not met before. Always odd sitting around with Mark Verheiden when he is talking about the shows he is writing, since I don't watch a single one. Still fun hearing him trying not to give anything away to those who do ask. He is always working on some other projects that he can't reveal, so those always come as a surprise.

Hard to believe that Bob Ingersoll has retired from his civil service job. He remains one of the better story-tellers and can be a pretty brutal critic. Jeff Gelb remains an optimist, so he is another fun breakfast partner. I do feel badly about not making an attempt to meet up with Paul Storrie, since he is another great guy. Yet, another reason to start planning already for next year.

Did I mention last time how the guys doing security at some booths can be major A**holes? Or that somebody should tell the con staffers that they might learn where lines start or end? I know I'm not the only person who missed out on a signing, panel or give-away due to being directed incorrectly.

There actually didn't seem to be quite as many booth-babes as there have been in the past. Even those who were there actually seemed to be wearing a bit more clothes. In fact, it appeared that the fangirls and cosplayers were wearing less! A quick check of YouTube will certainly give you an idea of those in and 'out' of costume. Btw, did anybody happen to see the amazing SILK SPECTRE on Saturday evening? Certainly turned a number of heads not only at the con, but at the Grand Hyatt!

Speaking of our hotel, I don't think I'd mind staying there again. Dan and I had a nice room with a great view and were within short walking distance of both the convention center and the seaport restaurants. I might not use the valet parking though, since it was over $30 a day, with no discount for guests. Also, Dan learned his lesson about ordering Room Service. It was over thirty dollars for a chicken sandwich!

Mark Evanier's annual Quick Draw Challenge with Sergion Aragones & Scott Shaw! was fun as usual. Loved seeing Stan "The Man" Lee on the SuperHero Squard panel. The toyline looks sharp and the cartoon itself (they showed several segments) is delightful. They will be using all of the Marvel heroes and the show has a light, fun style.

Better late then never I suppose, huh? Bye for now!