Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thor 2 -a quick review(no spoilers) (+playlist)


Some of you may have already seen this on YouTube or over on my Facebook page, but I've learned that there are a couple of people who only see my videos here.  I have fun doing these, even when Babie doesn't make an appearance, and always say I'm going to do more.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Remote Viewing - What I'm watching on TV.

If you weren't watching the CW program ARROW, last season you missed not only an exciting show, but one of the better comics related shows I've ever seen.  Based on the classic DC character GREEN ARROW, this makes some changes to the characters origin (at least as it was back in the Silver Age, since I have no clue what they have done with GA since the New (not any more) 52 began), the most obvious is that Oliver Queen is in his 20s in the show and much younger than the four-color version.

You aren't going to see any 'boxing glove' arrows or other things of that sort, but with a few explosive exceptions Ollie uses a pretty basic hunting arrow when confronting the bad guys in Starling City.  The Arrow, is never called that in the show, but is referred to by the city media and police as The Hood.  Like the early BATMAN of Gotham City the police view him as a violent vigilante and to be honest, unlike the Dark Knight, The Hood doesn't hesitate from actually taking a life when he feels it necessary.

Stephen Amell is good both as the spoiled Oliver Queen and as his more aggressive persona.  I don't know how much of the stunt work is actually done by Amell, but the scenes of him working in his gym and close-up scenes show that he is in very good physical shape and able to handle himself when a stuntman would be too obvious. The story allows him to change and grow as he begins to see himself as more than just the one to carry out his father's vengeance.  He actually does become a hero in many ways, with assistance from his bodyguard, John Diggle (played by David Ramsey), who can be just as competent, if a bit less violent than his boss.  The creators were smart in bringing in Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) a computer tech for Queen Industries to aide Oliver in her own fashion.

It will be interesting to see where the shows goes in its second season, having introduced several DCU characters in the first (Huntress, Deadshot & Deathstroke).  They have already announced that a version of Black Canary will be showing up and rumors of a FLASH appearing also have come out.  IMDB simply mentions 'Barry Allen' (Grant Gustin from GLEE and 90210) will be in two episodes.  We'll see if Barry gains his abilities in the show or already possesses them.

As you can see, I really enjoy the show and will try to have stuff about a few other programs that I'm currently watching.

Remote Viewing: SHARKNADO

This was originally going to be completed and posted a week or so after I saw the film, but I actually forgot I had begun a draft and had it here.  Hope you still enjoy it.

I had heard about this film probably a day or so before it was originally broadcast, but had just shrugged it off as another of those SyFy films that aren't worth the time to record or watch.  By the time I was getting ready for Comic-Con, it seemed that everybody was talking about it and even the Mainstream Media had to chime in.  In San Diego it was amazing how many people were talking about it and SyFy was taking advantage of the word-of-mouth by passing out postcards on the street promoting a sequel.  They were really clever by setting up a contest where folks could tweet in a suggested title for the film.



The film was instant 'cult classic' and if you've seen it you already know why.  It's fun with full of overacting, fake violence and laughable dialogue.  Pretty much all you need to be a success and start a franchise.

The basic plot (and it is really damn basic) is that a series of tornadoes over the Pacific Ocean off of California ('natch!) picks up the schools of man-eating sharks that coincidentally have come to the area.  Their first target happens to be the Santa Monica pier where hundreds of tourists suddenly find themselves chum.  Fortunately, a few folks are able to take shelter in a bar owned by Finley "Fin" Shepard (Ian Ziering), a former champion surfer a couple of co-workers and bar regular George (played with gusto by John Heard). Hard to believe that Heard, a one-time Emmy nominee, is reduced to this stuff, but everybody has got to pay the rent.  I also wonder if he only played George as drunk or was taking a few real drinks just to be able to get through the script until he met his fate.

Anyway, Fin and Co. make their way to his ex-wife's home to protect both her and his daughter.  The fact that neither wants to see him or want his protection is something you can foresee from early on, but you also know that by about halfway through this adventure they will be a bit more grateful that he showed up.  I'm not going to give anything else away, since you can probably figure things out for yourself from just the trailer and from having seen any film of this type the past twenty years.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Last San Diego Comic Con Review


No, this was not the last San Diego Comic Con and it may not be the last I attend.  It is however probably the last review of the Con to be posted, since other folks are more on the ball and able to get these things up within a few days.  Last week was crazy at work and other things happened so the review I had been planning was put on the back-burner. It's certainly not going to be as long or as in depth as most of the reviews you've already seen, heard or read online. Also, if you are looking for breaking news you should have already read that stuff on The Beat  and Bleeding Cool .  Heidi and Rich are much better at keeping up with stuff than I am or ever was, even in the day when I knew a lot of folks actually working in the industry.

To be truthful I probably spent less time at this Con, at least in the convention center, than ever before, especially given that I was there for four days. My main goal this year was to catch up with some folks I haven't seen in a while and to spend evenings with Kristina, Sarah & Dan. While it would have been nice to meet up with some other people who were in attendance the chief folks I wanted to see were The Tony Isabella, Bob Ingersoll, Randy Renaldo and anyone I knew from Capa-Alpha.  I was fortunate to meet up with all three of those guys, as well as speaking for a few minutes with Jeff Gelb (who I met through K-a).

I didn't see any movie or TV stars, at least nobody I recognized.  First off, I wasn't going to spend hours standing in line for Hall H or Ballroom 20 and those celebs on the floor were generally surrounded by either fans or security folks. Seeing Neil Gaiman and Leonard Maltin on a couple of panels was cool, but those were probably the only folks who might be known outside of fan circles.  I was introduced to Jerry Ordway, which I thought was pretty cool.

I attended over a half-dozen or so panels, including Mark Evanier's annual QUICK DRAW, with regulars Sergio Aragones and Scott Shaw.  The third artist this year was Neal Adams who showed he really could get something down on paper in less than a few months.  Peter David played along, which has become a pretty regular event and he was joined this year by the aforementioned Leonald Maltin and British television personality, Jonathan Ross.  I thought they were all good sports and the surprise appearances of both Maltin & Ross certainly got the crowd even more enthusiastic.

I also caught several other of Mark's panels, including the Spotlight on Tony Isabella, where Tony received a well-earned Inkpot award; "That '70s Panel" with Marvel & DC writers of the '70s; both the Joe Kubert & Jack Kirby tributes and Superman: The Julius Schwartz Era.


Among the non-Evanier panels I hit was "The Monsters of Alternative Comics" with Ted Rall, Keith Knight, Shannon Wheeler and Steven Notley. Nice discussion of politics, how these guys get their stuff out there and a cool slide show running behind them with photos of them at work, panels from their comics and pictures of classic horror movie monsters.

Somehow I was able to sneak into the end of the line to catch a few episodes of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, which featured the Squadron Supreme character, Hyperion.  Looks like fun, with some good voice work, plus I'm glad that the Falcon is a member at this point.

I went to other things and walked the hall for hours.  Lots of really nice cos-players, both male & female, many who obviously worked a long time on their outfits and some that appeared to have hit Costume City a few days prior to showing up. It stood out that there were less Batmen and I didn't see a single Klingon (OTS or feature film/TNG version), but the place was packed with Wonder Women and Supergirls.

Outside the con a popular location was the huge ENDER'S GAME tent, the news down there the fact that the LGBTG activists weren't making a big deal of the thing.  They were low key and using it as a teachable moment and a chance to speak to folks about the issues.  On the other hand, the well-known yellow & black signs of the 'Christian'' "You're going to Hell" picketers were present across from the center, and on Wednesday night they even had a van with loud-speaker proclaiming the same message traveling through the Gaslamp District.  Pretty sure they had come down the weekend before for "Gay Pride" and had stuck around to save the rest of us sinners. :-)

One cool presence throughout the convention was the Despicable Me 'minion' blimp that flew overhead everyday.  A few days we had some pretty heavy marine layer hanging over the city, so the blimp was pretty low which made it even more noticeable.

A quick rundown of my nights: Wednesday was La Puerta, in the Gaslamp, where we hit for 'Happy Hour' margaritas and Mexican food; Thursday night, after getting my first tattoo, we went to Hodad's a local burger & brew chain which was pretty good, but I'd stay out of the restrooms until after dinner (if you know what I mean) and Friday we drove to Darband/Fifth Avenue Grill for some really good Persian/Iranian eats.  Saturday Donna drove down and we had a nice home-cooked Italian dinner with plenty of wine.

There were other things I saw and enjoyed, but those were the highlights.  I say every year that this will be my last, but I have a feeling (considering that the girl's place is so convenient) that I just might make it down for another day or two next July.  Hope to see more of you down there!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Popcorn for One: Star Trek: Into Darkness review (few spoilers)

I don't want to give much away, since the revelation of one thing sets up a series of events.  All I'll say is that according to the writers of the screenplay the main villain of the story (played with nice intensity by Benedict Cumberbatch) was not originally planned to be a known character.  Of course, IMDB.com gives the whole thing away with its list of cast/characters , but I'll still refrain from doing so here.

The film starts out with a great chase sequence with Kirk & Bones ("Great, you just stunned our ride!"), followed by a dramatic scene with Spock.  You'd think that would be hard to top but it really does set up some events that come back to be resolved later in the film. All the major bridge/command crew introduced in the first film have returned, with some nice comic moments for just about everyone.  There have been some complaints from fans about Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) being played for laughs more than their original characters were, but I really think it works and both actors do a great job, especially the brilliant Pegg who steals just about every scene in which he's in.  Karl Urban (as Bones) really does an amazing job capturing the spirit and attitude that made the original Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) such a favorite.  Of all the characters, he seems to have stepped out of the original series intact.

Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) have grown since the first film, but the tension between their personalities and idea of duty continues.  The scene towards the end of the film, that could be seen as a flip of one from an earlier film, works because by that point the characters have arrived at a mutual respect and friendship.

The film could be interpreted as a re-imagining of an earlier ST movie, but there are more things going on and the movie works on all levels for me.  I think the great thing is that you don't have to be a ST geek to enjoy the movie, but things were tossed in for fans of the show that add to their entertainment.  Nice to see Bruce Greenwood return as Admiral Pike and Peter Weller is perfect as Admiral Marcus.  Again, there are twists and surprises I don't want to give away, but I'm happy that the trailers for the film don't give everything away while still showing many of the major scenes to ramp up excitement.

I'll be curious how you folks react to the reintroduction of Klingons and Tribbles.  One of these have a new look and I'm sure that cos-players are already gearing up to include that look for up-coming cons.  (Hope the Tribbles reveal didn't ruin the movie for anyone!)

Wasn't overwhelmed by some of the trailers shown before the feature, although the more I see of MAN OF STEEL the better I feel about where they are going with the characters.  The opposite for WORLD WAR Z, which could be any other zombie movie, as it doesn't reflect the best-selling novel from which it takes little more than a title.  Have little interest in seeing it on the big screen.  Not sure about ELYSIUM with Matt Damon & Jodi Foster as long lost lovers who discover...what?  it's not?  Oh, it's a SF film taking place in a future where civilization is split between halves & have-nots.  It takes place in 2014.  OK,  maybe later than that.  Nothing special except for the two stars as far as I can tell. 

That's it for me. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Popcorn For One: IRON MAN 3 review (SPOILERS)

Was it up to the level of THE AVENGERS? No. Was it better (much better) than IRON MAN 2? By far and more.  Let's go into some of the details with a few SPOILERS:

Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are all back in their roles, possibly for the last time.  Tony is now having some anxiety issues stemming from his actions with the Avengers in New York.  He tries to cover them with his usual smart-aleck and assured attitude, but Pepper knows that something is wrong.  Meanwhile, a terrorist known only as The Mandarin has been attacking various American targets abroad and now in the U.S. When Stark announces his intention to hunt him down his own home is attacked and destroyed. 

Unfortunately, Stark's latest version of the IM suit has not been completely tested and it is further damaged during an attempt to battle the Mandarin's forces.  Without his equipment and miles from home he finds he has to improvise until he can return to action.

At about the three-quarter point in the film everything takes a pretty dramatic turn when we discover that The Mandarin (played in all his facits by the wonderful Ben Kingsley) is not who or what we thought he was, but actually a front for the actual villain.  Guy Pearce, plays Aldrich Killian, a scientist who had once been humiliated by Stark and now seeks revenge, while also putting himself into a position to increase his own wealth and power by whatever means.  Pearce, has changed more than his physical appearance and is also using a former lover of Stark's to entrap him.

A lot of folks are upset by the change in The Mandarin, from the way he has always been portrayed in the comics.  Not only does he not possess the rings of power that made him all but equal to Iron Man, but it turns out that he is a fake in more ways than one.  I was surprised, as everyone was, by this turn of events, but Kingsley was so good (as both the Mandarin and his true identity) that I forgave the deception.  The film-makers go for a political message about the public's need for a 'bad guy' to hate and the government's use of them for their own purposes.

I'm giving the film a 3.5 stars.  Also, while not a huge moment I do recommend you stay through the credits.  First off, the end credits are really nicely done with a sort of '70s feel to them.  Then there is a moment were we see to whom Tony has been telling the story in flashback since the beginning.  Funny bit with another Marvel character.  The movie has my recommendation.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Doctor Who - new season so far

Only three episodes into the new season (not counting the Christmas episode which re-introduced Clara) and I'm enjoying it for the most part. While I like Jenna-Louise Coleman in the role of Clara (Oswin) Oswald, I don't feel the immediate affection for her that I did for Amy Pond after only her initial appearance.  Maybe it was because Amy's first meeting with the Doctor as a child, and you just knew they were fated to finally be together (not in the way that the previous incarnation & Rose were, of course). It may be because the back story for Clara is not being completely revealed at this point.  After all, The Doctor has already met her twice and in both instances things went badly. (Didn't want to toss in a spoiler, just in case.)

While the first episode, involving the Internet and wireless technology was very good, I found the second (involving a soul-devouring creature) not as strong as it might have been.  As I believe I've said before, the opening and end sequences were solid, but it seemed as if the story was padded and the show is only about 40+ minutes, plus commercials.  It was like, "We've introduced the little girl and we know DW & Clara will rescue her, but what do we do for the next half-hour?"  A bit too much Star Wars bar scene, if you know what I mean.

The most recent episode, as of 4/13, was a really great story and brought back the classic Ice Warriors as the villain.  Taking place almost completely in the rather claustrophobic interior of a Cold-War era Russian
submarine.  Adding to the natural tension of stopping the menace and possible nuclear war, was the great David Warner in the role of a Russian scientist who had discovered the warrior encased in ice. A nice touch is the off-handed manner in which Clara discovers another wonderful thing about the TARDIS and why the Doctor seems able to communicate wherever he goes.  I don't know about other folks, but this sort of episode reminded me of older DW episodes where the Doctor and his companion are discovered in a place were they should not be. The Tom Baker Doctor always seemed to be popping up in the wrong place at awkward times and I was half-waiting for the Doctor to ask the Russian captain if he wanted a jelly baby.

Well, the up-coming episode HIDE, looks like a good old-fashion scary one and the folks who do the show certainly have proven they can do scary pretty darn well. I'm looking forward to it.

By the way, anyone else enjoying the DOCTOR WHO: REVISITED episodes on BBCAmerica?  Love seeing the interviews with past Doctors, companions and other cast & crew who watched the show and later became involved with it.  It's also the first time I've complete stories that the first three Doctors appeared in.  You really can see both the character and the show evolve over time (pardon the expression).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I think I have mentioned before, and even did a video, talking about dropping out of comics collecting.  I still love comics, but financially and interest-wise I just wasn't finding them worth it.  I would hit the shop every couple of weeks for my subscriptions and immediately catalog them when I brought them home.  Then, except for a couple of titles I would find that the rest would be unread for a couple of months.  If I wasn't that interested, what was the point.

I'm currently using the Comixology  and Dark Horse apps to keep up with what is coming out and grabbing some freebies along the way.

Marvel doesn't seem to be putting out as many previews as DC, which has a regular weekly one.  I'm finding that there really doesn't seem to be much in the new and continuing titles that catches my interest.  Nothing that would get me back into the shops anyway.  If I have a chance I may check out a shop on or near "Free Comic Book Day" to not only pick up any goodies, but maybe check out some of the other titles on the shelf to see if they still interest me.

I haven't seen my current schedule for that weekend, but if things hold true I will probably be working.  For some odd reason known only to the Library Gods, I have been scheduled to work on FCBD for each of the past five years.  Not really worth using a vacation day (which I am doing to attend San Diego on Friday, with my one-day pass this year), but it is annoying that I can't seem to get my hands on some of those great goodies.  Of course, I notice that some of the publishers will distribute either copies of the FCBD books or limited-edition 'convention' copies that reprint the same material with a new cover.

Sorry for the 'feeling sorry for myself' sound of this post.  I do miss comics and going to the shop, but thanks to those apps, rereading some of my collection and our Library's graphic novel/manga collection I haven't had to go completely cold turkey.  See you in the funny papers!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Remote Viewing - THE WALKING DEAD & DOCTOR WHO

The nice thing about having Monday morning off is that I can catch up on some shows I've taped, that Donna doesn't care about. Those are pretty much any fantasy/horror related stuff.

I'll try not to give away any spoilers here, but I expect at this point anyone who watches the shows has probably already seen them.  By the way, Rosebud was Kane's childhood sled, so you can skip that old B&W movie.

THE WALKING DEAD ended a pretty decent season with the death of several characters.  Personally, I doubt many folks will mourn the death of one of them, as she had to be the most annoying b**** on the show.  Of course she only got that spotlight after an even bigger annoying b**** died off earlier.  If fans had been expecting the battle at the prison we got to see in the comic, well they were certainly disappointed.  The folks behind the show decided they needed to give the b**** a goodbye scene, so that dragged things out for minutes longer than necessary.  Also, if everyone thought AMC was doing us a favor by making the season finale longer I'm sure they were delighted that it was extended so the network could plug MAD MEN every ten minutes.  Maybe I'm in the minority, but I have never had any interest in that show, maybe because I grew up in that era and the folks in the program sure as hell don't act like anyone I knew.  The promos for the show always made it look like an extended MAD Magazine spoof of Madison Avenue, drained of humor.  Call me shallow.

All that aside I actually enjoyed the episode, as it did have some surprises and set up some tensions going into the next season.  Great walker stomping and if anyone still had doubts about The Governor, this proved that the guy is completely bonkers.  Also, there is an incident involving Carl which brings the character more in line with the kid as portrayed in the comic.  His confrontation with his father brings home the fact that he is no longer the whiny "Carl stay in the house!" kid from the first season.  Now we just have to wait until October to see how these things come together.



The DOCTOR WHO season premiere was a great beginning for a season that will celebrate the Doctor's fifty years as an icon.  Most American's probably didn't get introduced to the Time Lord until the '70s with the Third Doctor (portrayed by Jon Pertwee), unless they had caught the two DW films made earlier featuring Peter Cushing in the role.  While the Doctor in those films does have a time traveling machine he is a human scientist.  The current Doctor (the 11th) is portrayed again by Matt Smith, who initially seemed too young for the role when I first saw him but quickly won me over in the initial episode in which he appeared.  We have seen this incarnation of the Doctor die and comeback, spend time with his once & future wife and see his companions choose a fate that drove him to travel back in time and stay away from playing the hero.  The first episode of this season picks up in a way from the Christmas special which introduced (re-introduced?) his newest companion, Clara "Oswin" Oswald.  Clara is 'the girl who died twice' and at this time (pardon the expression) is still very much a mystery to both The Doctor and to us.

The first show involves the Internet and specifically Wi-Fi, which is being used by someone/something to capture the 'souls' of people all over the world.  For the modern day Clara this is her first meeting with the Time Lord and his wonderful 'bigger on the inside' machine the TARDIS. (Oh, look it up!)  It appears, from trailers, that this season will have the thread of discovering more about Clara and why she seems to come back into the Doctor's life on different planets and different times.  Hints are also being dropped online about some of the things and characters returning for this special celebration.  Will the Doctor meet himself?  Well, he has done so in the past, so why not?

That wraps it up for me for the time (hee hee) being.  Peace out!