31 Aug 2012

Pond Life, Episodes 2-5

I completely misunderstood, apparently, the point of these webisodes. I thought they were a Pond specific look at the daily life of a companion when they aren't involved in TARDIS-related adventures. Like popping down to the post, and becoming convinced that the fellow behind the counter is an alien, or some such thing. You know, how the mundane existence we all are forced to live through is next to impossible to adjust to after you've seen wonder...

Turns out, no, they are just excuses for little jokes. And while I like jokes (big fan of jokes, me), part of me is a little disappointed that they didn't reach for something a big more... substantial. This isn't so much Pond Life, as it is Pond Punchlines.

Hit the jump for the remainder of the episodes, which lead quite nicely into tomorrow's episode. Additionally, Ood!

It Still Doesn't Work On Wood

An actual Sonic screwdriver, much like a working phaser, or a tricorder, is one of those things that nerds would love to wake up one morning, and find that some scientist has invented it. And while this product isn't actually sonic, and it's not at all a screwdriver, it still sounds really cool. So, I think the Doctor would approve.

Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley, inventors of this device, initially appeared on the UK version of Dragon's Den, and netted a £200,000 investment to create their Kymera Wand. The Wand is basically a universal remote, able to have 37 separate commands programmed for any devices that uses a remote. What makes it unique is that it uses motion to activate the command. So, pointing the Wand at the TV and moving it up might increase the volume, while flicking it to the side might cycle through channels.

After their appearance on Dragon's Den, the duo were approached by the BBC to make a licenced version of their device for Doctor Who fans, based on the current sonic design from the series. It makes a variety of sounds rom the series, as well as looking damned neat. It will be available this fall for around $100, or £60.

Chris Barnardo, with his creation
Via Daily Mail.

Doctor Who Goes To The Films

Very Hammer Films
Steven Moffat, in explaining why there won't be any two-parters this series, has said his aim was to make a short film with every episode. So that every Saturday, it was as if you were sitting down to watch a brand new movie, both in scope and (limited) budget. No small stories, is what he's saying.

And to bring home the point all the more, the BBC has released a movie style poster for each episode of this 2012 run. Which also means we have final confirmation on the episode titles for the 4th and 5th shows, The Power of Three, and The Angels Take Manhattan, respectively.

I've already said that this season feels like, instead of making direct references to the show's past, it homaging the past. Dinosaurs, the Wild West, the Angels (and Manhatten, regretably), and Daleks have all been on the show before. No idea about those cubes, though. Have to wait and see.

Hit the jump to see the rest.

[List] - The Best, and Worst, Of The Daleks

Courtesy of the BBC. All of them.
Doctor Who returns tomorrow, to start off the 50th anniversary celebrations. And you can't celebrate 50 years of Who without also celebrating 50 years of Daleks.

Featured in the second ever serial, and fifth ever episode of the show, their appearance and subsequent fame, known as Dalekmania, dramatically changed the direction of the show. Originally designed as a children's educational history programme, the addition of the Daleks marked the transition into full on science fiction.

Current showrunner Steven Moffat describes them thusly: "They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe." Which is true. Not only does the Doctor ward them off at the end of every encounter, the Daleks rarely come out of an encounter having accomplished their intention. Their greatest victory, the ultimate destruction of the Time Lords, happened off screen. Most tellingly, no Dalek has been responsible for a regeneration. Even the TARDIS herself can make a claim on that.

So, hit the jump to look back at the best serials, and the worst, featuring everybody's favourite mutants.

30 Aug 2012

[Review] The Newsroom, Season 1

It's a strange thing to have to say, but I'm not an Aaron Sorkin apologist. I genuinely like his work. I also genuinely see it's flaws. But I am more willing to overlook those flaws if it means I get to enjoy an hour each week of one of my favourite writers. Yes, he repeats himself, but so too do all writers. Stephen King has made a career of writing the same three books over and over again. Yes, his work is extremely biased, heavy handed and condescending, and his characters tend to speak in speeches rather in conversation. But that's his style, and we can no more criticize a writer for having a standard style then we can criticize an athlete for having a particular technique. All that matter is if they use their standards to create something enjoyable.

Is The Newsroom enjoyable? Yes, certainly. Is it good? That's a harder question.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which suddenly realised they are better then this.

At Least In Fringe's Future, Hatters Will Be Fully Employed

September 28th is the day Fringe returns, and I'm excited. A horrible future, ruled by Observers, Leonard Nemoy frozen in amber, trying to learn the definition to the word 'retired', everyone in old person make up. And, with the writers fully aware that these thirteen episodes are the absolute last, they can crank the crazy up to eleven. Up to eleven, people! This is a show that featured a man turning into a giant flying porcupine! They had an entire episode take place within an animated LSD dream scape! Peter Weller took his shirt off! All while trying to get renewed and draw in an audience. What will they come up with when they don't have to be responsible to anyone anymore?

This is going to be awesome.

Via Topless Robot.

A Small Price To Pay For The Man Who Invented The Future

A bit of background on this one. Nearly twenty years ago, the Tesla Science Centre formed with the goal of raising enough money to transform Nikola Tesla's former Shoreham lab into a museum about the inventor, something of which does not exist in the United States. Jane Alcorn, the president of the Centre, was concerned that the dream of the museum might never happen, as another developer had expressed interest in purchasing the property and turning it into... eghh, shops (a similar reality effected the once home of Michael Faraday in London, which I believe is now an ASDA, or some damned thing). New York State had pledged to pay for half of the purchase cost, should the Centre raise the other half. And in nearly twenty years, they didn't.

This is a crime. Nikola Tesla is perhaps the most important unknown person of the past two hundred years, and luckily, his name is becoming more and more familiar, and not just with people who think it's a brand of car. Aside from the fact that he was completely mad, he was also completely brilliant (and, asexual, for anyone looking for a idol in that department). He invented alternating current, radio, the spark plug, experimented with X-rays, and famously claimed to have invented death rays and (mythbusted) vibration-based weapons of mass destruction.

Enter Matthew Inman, cartoonist of The Oatmeal. He urged people to fund the project through IndieGoGo, to keep the lab available for the museum. They needed to raise $850,000. They've raised, with 31 days left in the campaign, $1.16 million.

That is half a million less then the Centre would need to buy the whole property outright, with no assistance from the State of New York. Internet, give yourself a slow clap on this one, you have done good. And there is still a month left in the fund raising. Head over to their page, and give what you can, as little as $3 even. I think I'll be aiming for the bumper sticker. That way, not only will motorists know my feelings about that villain Edison, but I'll have helped make something needed and necessary happen.

Donate here.

Via ComicsAlliance.

Pond Life Episode 1

I can't say I'm disappointed in this first episode of the bizarrely named Pond Life (because companions are of course analogise to midges and toads). It's short, less then a minute, and barely features the Ponds at all. But, we do get 50 solid seconds of the Doctor being ridiculous.

And I'm fine with that.

29 Aug 2012

Joss Whedon To Bring SHIELD To TV

You know what a good day looks like? Pretty much like this.

Because Joss Whedon, and the rest of the creative team behind Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, are returning to television. Here is the announcement:
ABC has ordered a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D, a live-action series from The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon, Marvel TV and ABC Studios. The project is based on Marvel's peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D (which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate) found in both the Marvel comic book and feature film universes, including the blockbuster 2012 movie The Avengers, in which S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to stop Thor's adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
S.H.I.E.L.D. will be written by Whedon, his bother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss Whedon also is set to direct the pilot, schedule permitting. Production on the pilot, which marks the first live-action Marvel TV project to get a green light, will start immediately. Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Tancharoen executive produce with Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb.
Let me be clear about a couple things included up there. First, Loeb's name is included just because he is head of Marvel TV development as a division of Marvel, not because he'll have his cold hand around this thing's throat, like he did with Smallville or Heroes.

Second, this is awesome. Like, completely, utterly, fantastically awesome. You know why? Oh, so many very nice reasons why. A, SHIELD is the perfect thing to set a TV show up around. Think 24, or Alias, or, and probably a better comparison, X-Files or Fringe. Spy espionage is a genre TV knows how to do, and how to do cheap, though it's not like this thing isn't going to have money thrown at it like Scrooge McDuck.

B, TV is where Whedon has done his best work. So, he's back in his element. Please, stock the writer's room with all your best former writers, and stock the cast with as many of your regulars as you can get away with. If Amy Acker isn't a lead cast member on this thing, a serious crime has been committed. Beyond that, think of the guest stars he could role out. Nathan Fillion is already a star on the same network, I can't see why Castle couldn't loan him out for a week. He could even play against type, and be a bad guy.

C, it allows the movie universe to grow and expand without having to fall back on the films for support. I expect Samuel L. Jackson to appear in the pilot, and maybe at the end of the season, but the Director doesn't have to be a presence. In the same way that we can see Stark Industries written on everything without every having to actually see Tony Stark on the show. More then that, the show will be able to tell stories the movies will never be able to make time for. I'm saying right now, at some point during it's run, we'll see a version of Secret Invasion. But Iron Man 3 will also be setting up AIM as a thing, having already introduced Hammer Industries. Roxxon exists, as A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To Thor's Hammer established, but hasn't been elaborated on.

D, everyone in the fandom is going to want Phil Coulson to be the star, and that includes me. Really, really includes me. BUT, imagine a world where Coulson isn't on the show. Titus Welliver, late of LOST, will be playing a SHIELD agent in the short film Item 47, and I imagine he was cast with this series in mind. Cobie Smulders only has one year left on How I Met Your Mother, and is already established, putting her in the perfect position to assume a lead role on the show by the time it appears a year from now.

E, this is just a stupidly good piece of news. Yes, it probably puts the nail in the coffin of a SHIELD film, but I'd rather have Whedon on TV then a one off, Bourne style film any day of the week.

In other news, FOX has already expressed a desire to cancel SHIELD. In responce, Whedon said this:

You don't see James Cameron wearing
a cowboy hat on the internet, do you?
Via Topless Robot.

A History Of Animation

Animation is my favourite medium. It always has been. Up until recently, it was the only way to achieve certain visions in TV and film. And actually, it still is the only way to achieve those things. CG is just another form of animation, the latest in a long line of advances that continues to innovate.

Animation is not for children, which is a terrible falsehood that Hollywood does now, and has often, believed in. But all you need to do is look at the output of Adult Swim, or Pixar, or a hundred other examples of cartoons, motion capture, and stop frame films that don't have children in mind.

PBS has released their Off Book segment exploring the evolution of the art. Watch it, and be happy for the rest of the day.

Via Uproxx.

Bill Nye Has A Message For Fools

There is a difference between being religious, and believing in biblical literalism. One is an opinion of moral beliefs, or a philosophical comfort system to ease the mind about the big questions. The other is believing that every detail and word of a thousands year old document is absolute truth, flying it the face of even the most basic scientific fact, easily refutable evidence and many times, those same moral beliefs that are others hold so dear.

While I personally believe that you don't need a book to tell you right from wrong, and that any philosophical system that purports to give you a definite answer on the greater questions of life, the universe and everything is perpetrating a fraud, and that science, a repeatable, evidence based systematic method, does provide actual answers, and often times uncovers more beauty and depth that actually exists then any fable could ever create.

Creationism is a horrid beast of ignorance. Luckily, it's not that big a problem outside of the United States. It exists, but rarely do you see entire news networks devoted to it. Faith is a private matter, it has to be if it is effecting a person on such a deep, personal level. I have no problem with people of any faith, so long as they don't push it in my face. In the same way that I don't flaunt my atheism (despite having written this post). Creationist flaunt their beliefs. They push it in everyone's face, and yell at us when we disagree with them. It is a terrible thing, and one that has far too much momentum in the US modern culture. That needs to stop.

You want to be a creationist, fine. You go right ahead, if that works for you. Just shut up about it.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 6, "Fractures"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal

This is what I've been saying. This is how you make an episode of TV. A strong story that supports all of the characters, in which each character has something to contribute and doesn't feel forced into the narrative, that furthers the over all arc while not making it the focus, and includes character development that doesn't feel hamfisted. It is, of course, a pipe dream to hope that the rest of the season will follow the example of the last two weeks, but at least it's picking up.

Hit the jump to read the review, which contains spoilers that have escaped for their own nefarious reasons.

28 Aug 2012

It Will Take You A Million Light Years From Home, But Will It Look As Good When You Have To Sub In A Red Brick For One You've Lost

It is a booming time to be in the small, painful to step on, toy brick business. The resurgence in popularity in Lego bricks among those adults that still very much like to play with toys, has created a growing industry of off brand groups making Lego compatible sets, unlike the old days, when all you had were those hateful Mega-blocks, which were just slightly off of the size of a Lego brick, so everything seemed fine until you were half way done building your castle, notice that one wall has all the structural integrity of a US State Senatorial candidate, and realise a fecking Mega-block ended up in the pile...

Any way, these side firms are snatching up the licenses for products you might not expect anyone to ever actually want. And for every Character Building Doctor Who (which, to my mind, equal or surpass any license Lego has ever had in terms of quality), you get a KRE-O Battleship set, which is a real thing, and a toy no one will ever want.

Add to this pile of mystery, Best-Lock Construction Toys Lego compatible Stargate SG-1 sets, made with all kinds of relevancy five years after the series went off air, and two years after the franchise itself ended with SGU. And, as if that wasn't bizarre enough, they are only available from Sears Canada, a store which has kind of prided itself in being irrelevant for a number of years. Seriously though, it seems like Sears is the only place they exist. They don't even appear on Best-Lock's website.

There are fours sets available. The picture above is included on the SG-1 Earth set, though it depicts what is included in the SG-1 vs. Jaffa set, so I expect that to be an error, and have no idea what the SG-1 Earth set includes (my guess would be the Gate room, though). Also available are a scaled down model of the Daedalus, and a mini set called Guilder Attack, which includes a single guilder and a couple camo-soldiers.

Despite the fact that nothing about this makes any sort of damned sense, I have ordered myself an SG-1 Earth (sight unseen) and a SG-1 vs Jaffa set, and expect them to arrive later this week, if I don't get a message from Sears informing me rather politely that these do not, in fact, actually exist. Once they arrive, you can look forward to my first, and possibly only, toy review. That should be something...

Oh, and to take things up one additional level of crazy, they have a single Terminator set too, featuring Hunter-Killers, T-800's and resistance fighters. Yeah.

Via Topless Robot.

Seth Green Likes Star Wars A Little Too Much

There is a point in every... thing, where the popularity of the thing forces it one of two ways. One, it can continue to take itself seriously despite a decline in quality, leading to the ruination of the thing. Or, it can embrace the idea that it was taking itself too seriously, make fun of itself, and maybe get enough points that it can circle back around and take itself seriously again.

Examples, you say? OK. Indiana Jones for the former, with each instalment getting sillier and sillier, but taking itself pretty seriously the entire time. And I'd say, the character of Sherlock Holmes for the latter. It went through that period where the best stuff coming out with the character were movies like Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, until eventually you cycle back around to the current environment of the BBC's Sherlock and Guy Richie's films.

Star Wars exists in both worlds simultaneously. The prequels were the former, as I expect, will the live action series they keep promising but will probably never happen. So too are the novels, the games, the whole expanded universe. The latter is the stuff that George Lucas tends not to have a hand in directly. The Clone Wars series. The Robot Chicken Specials. And now, something called Detour, a CG series from Robot Chicken's Stoopid Monkey. It is hard to tell if there is a narrative, or if it's a series of Robot Chicken style sketches. It's also hard to tell, because characters from the prequels and the Holy Trilogy are present, some are old, and some are young. It mostly looks to be set New Hopeish.

But Seth McFarlane plays the Emperor, and that's all I need to know.

Via Topless Robot.

Continuum Gets Another Year

Courtesy of Shaw Media
Good news, everyone. By everyone, I of course mean, the million or so viewers that made Continuum Showcase's most successful original series to date. The network, already flush after the success of Lost Girl, have renewed the sci-fi series that saw Rachel Nichols thrown 70 years into the past to stop a terrorist group from changing the future, for a second series of 10 episodes, matching the first year's run.

The second season is expected to air in the spring. Also, rumour has it that a major US network has picked up the broadcast right, and will air them in the spring along with season two, as one long series. I would have guessed Sy-Fy, expect the rumours clearly state "major US network", not patchwork incompetents.

I thoroughly enjoyed season one, was excited about what they did with the concept, appreciated that they tried to steer clear on time travel cliches, or at least averted those tropes they did fall into, and am looking forward to season two.

Via Gateworld.

[Review] Breaking Bad, Season 5 Episode 7, "Say My Name"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
When Walt says "everybody wins", he doesn't mean everybody else.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that acted rashly, and will come to regret it.

27 Aug 2012

Bow, Wedding, and Rat

Rule one: Steven Moffat lies.
Rule two: when telling us important information, he will be as cryptic and unhelpful as possible.
Rule three: I'm alright with that.

And so, with Doctor Who returning at the end of this week, we can turn our attentions to his other piece of beauty, series 3 of Sherlock. What with principle photography out of the way on the Hobbit, one might assume that the film's stars, Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug, the Necromancer) will be returning to their roles of Watson and Holmes respectively, and soon.

And what awaits the duo this series, other then an expected resurrection? Says Moffat:
"Bow, Wedding, and Rat"
While this seems horribly unhelpful, remember that before last series, his clue was "Woman, Hound, Fall." So, in retrospect, quite obvious. Den of Geek has a good pile of guesses as to what "Bow, Wedding, and Rat" mean, and I suggest you check it out. I, for one, agree that "Bow" probably means His Last Bow, the only Holmes story never told from Watson's perspective (or Holmes' either), though I'd want to know if Moffat pronounced it bow, as in "take a...", or bow, as in "... and arrow".

"Wedding", I would hope to mean the introduction of Mary, Watson's canonal wife. Since Sherlock's reappearance in the stories was years after his 'death', I expect the show to do the same. And what better way for Watson to have moved on with his post-Holmes life, then to end his already humourously highlighted bachelor days, and settle down with a safe, secure woman who maybe pales a little in comparison once Holmes returns. Or alternatively, not. I thought that the Guy Richie version of Mary was strong enough to warrant a promotion to the female lead in the third of that series if they make it, I can't see why Moffat and Gatiss can't outdo him, as they have in every other respect.

I have no idea what "Rat" means, except that an adaption of my favourite Holmes story, The Speckled Band, won't be forth coming this series. Whatever they mean, if last year is any indication, they are at least in order, and that "Rat" has some very big shoes to fill in the "grand finale" department.

Via Den of Geek.

[Review] - Hit and Run

Courtesy of Open Road Films
It's a brilliant plan: say you're an actor, tired of getting cast in nothing but terrible romantic or buddy comedies, and you want to be in something with a touch of substance, but also is a lot of fun. If you've got the resources, and you've got enough friends, why not just make the movie yourself?

Such was the path that real life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell took to bring Hit and Run (originally titled the much more relevant Outrun) to the screen. It's marketed as a romantic comedy, but much like the title change, it just goes to show that marketing is very rarely right about how they describe something unconventional. I would describe it as a crime-character study, or a road-caper, but neither of those really works either. The only thing that describes it well is to say that it is very Elmore Leonard-esque, so much so that I assumed it was an adaption until the credits rolled.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that have been hiding for years under an assumed name.

Jerry Nelson, One Of The Original Muppeteers, Has Died.

Dammit to hell...

If Disney Animation has the Nine Old Men, then the Muppets had the Five First Voices; the men who did voices right from the start. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson. Before replacements, or backups, or proteges, these were the guys that gave life to a collection of characters as wonderful and insane and hilarious as the world has known. And now there is one less.

Jerry Nelson, was the original voice of Muppets Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Fozzie's Mom, Camillia, J.P. Grosse, Lew Zealand, Pops the Doorman, Uncle Deadly and perhaps most prominently, Robin the Frog, Kermit's Nephew. On the Street, he performed Count von Count, The Amazing Mumford, Harry Monster and the Two Headed Monster. And on Fraggle Rock, he was Gobo, Pa Gorg, and the Trash Heap, and the only one of the original Muppet performers to work full time on the Rock. He was the original voice of Statler, and returned to the role after frequent partner Richard Hunt's death, and originated the role of Snuffleupagus. He also often played the role of 'announcer' on the various shows. And, for those that remember it fondly, he voiced Emmett Otter in that character's Christmas special.

Looking at that list, and seeing so many of my favourite characters, it's a startling reminder of what these men accomplished, and how honestly good they were at what they did. So much came from so few, and though the men may not remain, their characters have taken on a life of their own, and have ensured their legacy.

Though he stopped performing his Muppet characters in 2004, Jerry kept up his Sesame Street characters right up to his death last Friday, from complications from cancer.

The above video is Nelson performing When The River Meets The Sea at Jim Henson's Memorial in 1990.

Hit the jump for a collection of Nelson's work. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I've got something in my eye.

Neil Armstrong Has Died

There isn't really a need for an explanation as to who this man was, or what he did. Or that he was a hero, for making the journey in the first place. That he was the first is significant, but not all. He is equalled by those that came after him, and by those that his actions inspired. That he stepped back, out of focus and let the moment be his statement was noble and a better thing then most would do.
It is hard sometimes, especially these days when NASA is seeing massive cuts to important programs despite there not being a logical reason to do so, to remember that there was a time not long ago when the entire world - not a country, or a people, but the entire world, was inspired by a single event. That an accomplishment changed us on a human level. That as a species we were elevated to something else. It is our shame and our doom if we squander that.

Neil Armstrong wasn't an American hero. He was a human hero.

24 Aug 2012

Hello, Q

My bad. You see, I didn't see Total Recall when it came out because if I wanted to waste ten bucks and two hours of my life, I'd flush dimes down the toilet. So, I didn't see the new, full length and plot revealing trailer for James Bond's newest adventure, Skyfall.

And somehow, I completely missed it on the internet. Thinking back now, that must have been the week I was on vacation. Well, bully for me...

From the looks of the trailer, this might be a return to form for 007. With huge action sequences, ridiculously superhuman stunts, banter between agent and quartermaster, and an over the top villain, this might conform more to the idea of a Bond movie then either Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Whether this is a good thing or not, we'll have to wait and see.

Who Are The Ponds When They're At Home

At two and a half series, the time the Ponds have spent in the TARDIS isn't ground breaking. In fact, it's practically average. But never before on the show has a relationship been so thoroughly represented, analysed and evolved as Amy and Rory. Not even the Doctor, with the obvious exception of the TARDIS herself, has had a relationship that has seemed so honest and natural as the one between the Ponds.

So, it is only natural that as they prepare to depart, they would get some extra attention. Cue the original webseries, premiering on YouTube on Monday, following the slower moments between the Ponds when they aren't travelling with the Doctor, which also separates them into another class of companion (which I believe only Tegan, Sarah Jane, and Martha belong to) that have stopped travelling with the Doctor, and then taken up with him again.

The webseries will run the lengh of this half of series seven, and dovetail nicely into the premier episode, Asylum of the Daleks.

Via Topless Robot.

The Tragically Hip Are Streets Ahead

The Tragically Hip are something of a Canadian institution, having spent the last thirty years cementing their place as one of the premier Canadian rock groups. Their music is some of the best you'll find, from any period, and if you catch them live, there is an excellent chance lead singer, Gord Downie, will just start going on about whales for an extended period of time.

Communityis a ridicouslously funny comedy on NBC, which the network hates the living bejesus out of, having fired the creator and moved it to the Friday night death slot for their upcoming fourth season.

What do these two things have in common? On the surface, nothing. But the Hip realese their new album, Now For Plan A, on October 2nd, and have released their new single in anticipation of the release. The single's name?

Streets Ahead.

Until I have confirmation that this wasn't intentional, I'm going to assume that at least one of the band mates is a Communityfan. And my respect for the band just increased.

[List] - Justice League Film Part 2: 8 DC Teams I'd Rather They Made A Film About

Part 1, which of the various Justice Leagues should they make a film about, can be read here.

DC Comics' film division just can't get their act together. While Marvel is hiring directors for a movie that will feature a walking tree and a gun totting raccoon, DC is reduced to a lack luster conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy, a depressing, rather then awe inspiring, teaser for Man of Steel, which on the surface sounds like a tired retread of the same material every Superman movie goes over, and despite suggestions that Barry Sonnenfeld wanted to make a film of the Metal Men, a promise that until a Justice League movies arrives in 2015, DC will produce no other films. Which happily means no Green Lantern sequel, but also means no other films based on DC properties.

Films that could be based on any of the following groups, none of which are as high profile as the Justice League, and none of which contain heavy hitters like Batman or Superman. But each of which could make just as entertaining, and interesting a film, and not get bogged down in trying to cram as many pop culture icons down our throats at once. And would probably be cheaper to make.

Hit the jump for those teams I'd rather see on screen before the Justice League.

23 Aug 2012

I Can Assure You, That Was Not A Very Good Ron

Amy Poehler isn't the best part of Parks and Rec. She isn't even the funniest part of the show. But she is the heart of the program, which goes to prove Joss Whedon's belief that comedy is the hard one, and if you can do it, then drama is nothing.

However, where she excels better then any of the rest of the cast is Leslie's 'unintentional' making an ass of herself. And how better to illustrate this, then with a collection of Leslie's attempts at doing accents and impressions, something that she, Leslie, is incapable of doing.

Except her Tom is amazingly spot on.

Via Warming Glow.

Marvel News, In Brief

Courtesy of Marvel.
- Thor: The Dark World (really, Marvel, no one pitched you The Dark Realm? Come on...) has pretty much nailed down it's cast. Chris Hemsworth, of course, will be returning, along with Natlie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Jamie Alexander, Idris Elba, and Stellen Skarsgaard. New to the cast will be Christopher Eccleston, Zachery Levi, and Alice Krige. No official word on the return of Anthony Hopkins as Odin, though I would expect unless his absence is part of the plot, that will happen, or Rene Russo as Thor's mom.
Confirmed yesterday was Kat Dennings, who will reprise the role of Darcy, this time complete with a lat name, Lewis. Dennings stole the show last time around, and co-opted a few of the funnier lines originally meant for Portman. Her role will be increased, apparently, and will be worked around her filming of the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, though really who would notice if they just shut that show down?

- Captain America: The Winter Solider is looking for a love interest, and has it narrowed down to three actress. Normally, I wouldn't give a damn until they actually picked one, but I needed something to pad out the post. Anna Kendrick, Felicity Jones, and Imogen Poots are all up for the role of Sharon Carter, descendant of Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell. The role of Sharon was thought to have already been cast in the first movie, as the unnamed SHIELD agent played by Amanda Righetti who appeared in the movie's final moments. Guess not. Of the three choices, my preference is for Felicity Jones, if only because she is naturally British, bares something of a resemblance to Atwell, and I haven't seen Poots perform in anything.

One of these ladies will join Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony Macke in a film that, because of the time jump, will see almost none of the original cast return.

- Finally, and most excitingly, Marvel is apparently interested in James Gunn, the second man after Joss Whedon to give Nathan Fillion a starring role, director of Slither, Super, and creative director on the game Lollipop Chainsaw, for the director's seat on Guardians of the Galaxy.

They could not make a better choice. Yes, he's never done sci-fi, like proper Star Trek style science fiction, before, but he has the style and the attitude to make Guardians both completely insane, and tremendously fun. And once again, I've got to give to Marvel for not giving these movies to big names, but to smaller, mostly genre indulgent directors with unique styles.

Via Den of Geek, Virgin Media, and Topless Robot.

Cloudy, With A Chance Of Revenge!

I am not ashamed to admit one of my favourite recent animated movies was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. It was absurdity at it's finest. The odd-ball humour, the fine voice work, the gleefully unrealistic animation. Steve. It was a treat, from beginning to end.

The voice cast of the sequel, Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers (my title is better), has been announced, and it's more of the same. Bill Hader, who deserves more starring roles in any sort of film, will return as Flint, and be joined by Anna Faris, James Caan and Neil Patrick Harris, all reprising their original roles. New to the cast are Terry Crews, taking over the role of Earl from Mr. T, Will Forte playing Flint's new boss, inventor Chester V (whom I'm betting is the bad guy), and Flight of the Conchords/Daily Show actress Kristen Schaal as an intelligent orangutan named Barb. A possible love interest for Steve, me thinks?

The only downside to all this? No sign of Bruce Campbell anywhere. I know, the role of the Mayor probably has no place in the sequel, but the lack of Campbell in anything is sad, and worth noting.

I will now list every film and television series set for release that does not feature Bruce Campbell:

Everything that isn't Burn Notice.
Something called Tar.


Via Den of Geek.

Doctor Who Returns

According to the BBC, it's American cousin, and the Canadian Space channel, the new series of Doctor Who will commence on September the 1st. Startling to think that, with all the adverts and trailers for the new series released of late, that it is only now, less then two weeks away, that the premier date has been officially announced. And it's simulcasting for the entirety of North America with the British (trust me, to Canadians, compared to a few years ago, that is a very big deal)!

The first five episodes will air throughout the month of September, at which point the show will remove itself until Christmas. And speaking of Christmas, if you hit the jump, you can find all new set pictures from the Christmas special, which does indeed appear to be set during the Victorian times (Does this mean two Victorian romps for the Doctor, considering Mark Gatiss' spring episode?). It also pretty much confirms that the new, as of yet officially unnamed companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will be from the past. Which takes some of the sting off of her being yet another young female girl.

22 Aug 2012

Bluegrass Makes Rap Listenable

I'm not really into popular music. Or rather, I am. Just music that was popular thirty, no forty. Wait... '72 to '82, '82 to '92... Jesus, almost fifty years ago.  But, I love me some bluegrass. Once that stuff starts up, if you don't start tapping you foot and bobbing your head, then you have no joy inside.

Because today's news cycle is a dry as the tip of your elbow, here is Hugo's bluegrass take on 99 Problems, which wikipedia tells me is a rap song, which I have never heard.

I will say, if rap continues to blend itself with bluegrass, I might just start to listen. After all, Ganstagrass is responsible for the best TV show theme song on TV today, which you can listen to after the jump.

Men Can't Have More Sex Then Women, According To Math

This picture is unrelated to anything, and yet
can be used for anything. It's like a mobius strip.
With bacon.
I don't know if everyone is just taking a personal moment to get over Phyllis Diller dying or what, but there is nothing interesting at all out there today. So, I have given you a picture that is both interesting and arousing, and I'm giving you a link to an article which proves that every single one of those articles that say men have a higher average number of sexual partners then women is mathematically impossible.


Via Cracked.

Rex Gets His Moment

I'm a big fan of actor Wallace Shawn. Of course, Princess Bride, but also his understated work in My Dinner With Andre, his overstated work during the last season of Eureka, playing the Canadian Prime Minister in Canadian Bacon, and of course, his voice work as Rex in the Toy Story movies.

Now, I've felt something of the shaft from Pixar, releasing the Toy Story shorts attached to movies I will never see, in much the same way that Warner Bros attached those new Coyote and Road Runner shorts with utter crap a couple years ago.

But I like that Rex gets to be the focus for once. Also, he wears a Berserker Helm now. Berserker Helm's are cool.

The rest of the above short will be released with Finding Nemo 3D, whenever that is.

Via The Mary Sue.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 5, "No Pain, No Gain"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
 Suddenly, it all makes sense. A perfectly logical, valid explanation as to why the Leafs do now, and forever will, suck. An artifact is making them be terrible. It's all so clear... Please, no one find it, and stop it from doing what it's doing.

Well played, Warehouse 13. After the misery that was last week's episode, you seduce me back into your good graces with a hockey themed episode. More then that though, a hockey themed episode with a coherent, well plotted A-story, and interesting, if not terribly meaty B-stories. Well played indeed.

Hit the jump for the review, which wished really hard and got it's self some spoilers.

21 Aug 2012

We're In There, Somewhere...

You know how sometimes you can get worked up about stuff. Like how much NBC couldn't program a TV schedule if they had a rabid badger in their trousers. Or how listening to more then thirty seconds of cable news makes you want to shove a Philips head screwdriver into your navel to see which hurts more.

And then you remember that the universe is expanding, and has been since the moment it exploded into being, fourteen and a half billion years ago, and that none of that stuff above matters once you're four kilometres above the ground, let alone 164 thousand light years in any direction. That galaxies spiral and plummet, and collide, while stars burn out and planets just keep spinning and spinning...

The above video was created at Harvard using something called Arepo, which I would look up, but I'm feeling rather absurd right now, and shouldn't probably do anything too strenuous. It depicts 9 billion years of the universe, starting at four and ending at now. To put that in perspective, that's about twice as old as the planet Earth, thirty two thousand times as old as humanity, and so very long it makes NBC look absolutely insignificant.

Though, someone needs to put that video to horns and strings ASAP. Of course, in the universe, there is more silence then not, so maybe it's fine the way it is.

Via The Mary Sue.

Watch This Now

Because if it's even still here by the time this goes up, it won't be for very long. Don't bookmark it and come back later, because all that will be left will be sadness and regret.

Do you understand? SADNESS AND REGRET!

"Thursday Night Done Right" Is Now An Awkward Half Hour Block On Both Thursday And Friday

I've largely given up on American network television. It is a rare exception that gets me excited anymore, let alone that draws me in and keeps me coming back week after week. I think I'm down to three, and after this year, who knows. Fringe ends with a 13 episode run this fall, Community sure as hell won't get a fifth season pick up unless it follows Cougar Town to TBS (which consider the connections those shows share, would be oddly beautiful), and who knows how long NBC will forget that they have the best comedy on TV right now, with Parks and Recreation. I know, it's in a pretty close race with Community, but all the pop culture awareness that will probably not age well cannot overcome the pure masculine power of Ron Swanson.

But September approaches, and those comedies are gearing up to return, and bring with them news of what to expect. Last season, Community started with a musical number which seemed like it was prophesying the entire season, but ended up just being full of shit. This season, airing on Fridays, and the first not under the control of creator of Dan Harmon, will begin with a guest appearance by genre icon Malcolm McDowell. We'll be in at least two episodes, playing history professor Cornwallis. Also appearing this season is Little Britain star Matt Lucas. Which is all well and good, but could they please, just once more before it's cancelled, have John Oliver return as Professor Duncan? Please. Surely Jon Stewart can give Oliver a week off.

Back over on  Thursdays, Xena star Lucy Lawless will guest as a single mother, and possible love interest for our dear Mr. Swanson. She will not be named Tammy. Though, it seems like romance was inevitable between these two, since this multiple episode arc is the result of her being unable to play Tammy 1 last season. I for one, am glad of this. Considering the way Tammy 1 was developed, and how marvellously she was played by Patricia Clarkson, I don't think that character would have been a good fit for Lawless. Her roles on Xena, Battlestar, and Spartacus show us that she demands a much more powerful, rugged sort of character. Someone who could go toe to toe with a Swanson.

Let's just hope she meets his high standards.

Via The Mary Sue, and again.

[Review] - Breaking Bad, Season 5 Episode 6, "Buyout"

Courtesy of Sony Television
Strange as it may seem, but after watching this episode, I came away with the feeling that it was as close to a filler episode as Breaking Bad gets. Certainly, things happened. But the bulk of the episode was concerned more with wrapping up last week's doings, or getting ready for next week. What was left was a series of character moments, and what I took away as the final pronouncement on a character's fate. There great scenes, certainly, powerful ones even. But the episode itself didn't seem to fill any specific void in the narrative. It's just the beginning of the end.

Hit the jump for the review, who has agreed to keep the spoilers employed, despite the fact they shot a child in the head.

20 Aug 2012

So, Does His Sister Still Want To Have The Sex With His?

Showtime has released the first good look at Dexter Season 7, and yep, it pretty much what you'd expect consider where things left off. They'll try the 'Dexter lies' story for a while, then the 'Dexter comes clean, but still lies' for a while after that before he finally sucks it up and tells Deb the truth. And hilarity, I presume, will ensue.

A lot of people rag on Dexter, having never lived up to the promise of the first two seasons. Personally, I've enjoyed it all along, though less so in places, and I thought that last year was a definitely improvement over year five, though I called the big villain reveal after his second appearance. This season looks to actually be doing something with Dexter as a character, which we haven't really season since season 2, and not so strangely, references to the Bay Harbour Butcher abound. And, I'm glad they'll be doing something with the intern story line that seemed to go nowhere last year.

I've felt for a while that the show needs to do something extreme, like out Dexter and have him go on the run, or something to disrupt the status quo that had been a weight around their necks for far too long. Killing Rita was close, but they bungled the landing. Maybe letting Deb in on things is what the doctor ordered.

Or maybe it won't amount to anything.

Game Of Thrones Finds It's King Beyond The Wall

Via Wikipedia
Ciaran Hinds, who has previously played Caeser in Rome, Bland in Tinker, Tailor, Soilder, Spy, Tardos Mors in John Carter, Reiss in Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life, and most recently doing a damned good Bill Clinton impression in the incredibly shitty Political Animals, has been cast as Mance Rayder for season three of Game of Thrones.

Full disclosure: while some people love Mance, I was never taken with him. He never gripped me as a character, and I thought was poorly, or under, used, past his introduction. And Hinds, while very talented, has a tendency to appear in god awful productions, which taints my opinion of him slightly.

So on the whole, an actor I'm ambivalent about will be playing a character I feel nothing for. Cheers.

Via Topless Robot.

Seven Psychopaths Stand To Sicken Several Cinemas

In Bruges was, to be quick about it, utterly fantastic. Aside from getting a whole other group of people interested in Belgian architecture, it was to that point the most interesting thing Colin Ferrell had done as an actor. Wait, I think since as well. Yeah, since as well.

So, to say I'm looking forward to director  Martin McDonagh's new film, Seven Pyschopaths, is an understatement. Especially with a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and, once again, Colin Ferrell.

Though, none of them seem particularily pyschopathic to me...

[Review] - Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed, a fictional story based on an actual classified ad, is a movie that has no idea what it wants to be. Throughout the film, people are asked, "what is your mission", or why are they going back in time. The film could stand to answer that question itself, as it manoeuvres it's way through comedy, drama, spy thriller, back to comedy and romance. It is as undefinable as life itself, and ends just as strangely. Which is why, despite the fact that I never knew what the movie was trying to tell me, or why I should care about these characters, I left the theatre having really enjoyed it.

Hit the jump for the review, which contained spoilers, which were then erased from existence.

17 Aug 2012

Robot Chicken Isn't Really Chicken, It's An Evil Plot By Lex Luthor To Replace Chicken After He Was Killed By Doomsday

DC can't get off their asses to make a decent, non-Batman related movie, but they are more then adept at making good television. Or, in this case, giving Seth Green the go ahead to making a DC themed episode of Robot Chicken, which is fantastic, because the sketches I often find myself laughing the hardest at on Robot Chicken on their ones where the DC characters are assholes.

Via Topless Robot.

One Ring To Find Them All Under The Sofa After You Dig Through Your Lego Box For An Hour, And In The Darkness Bind Them

Everything about this game looks excellent, except one thing: Gollum looks like a lemur. Or a hairless squirrel. Or an albino monkey. Or a yeti cub. Or the late night manager of a freeway McDonalds. Or Ron Paul. Or Iggy Pop. Or the worst mascot ever for a Children's Hospital. Or Matt Frewer in Watchmen. Or...

Nope, I'm out.

A Completely Baseless But Wonderful Guardians Of The Galaxy Rumour

Image by SebastianVonBuchwald on DeviateArt
I am thrilled to being able to start posting stuff about Guardians of the Galaxy. To my mind, it's the most exciting thing Marvel has planned over the next four years, outside of Joss Whedon possibly returning to TV. Why? Because it's entirely new, and completely a shot in the dark. There is no expectation that it will be successful, and is proof positive that Marvel is serious about taking chances, and not playing it safe. If Marvel wee using DC's playbook, they'd just make an endless number of Iron Man films. You don't see DC stepping up with a Legion movie, do you?

Back before Comic-con, I think, it was reported that the broad strokes plan for Guardians and Avengers 2 would feature a character that would come back through time (Guardians would take place in the future) to warn the Avengers of Thanos' attack. New information, as reported by The Grid, says the the plot of  Guardians will follow a US Air force pilot who ends up in space, in the middle of a war, on the run with a team of convicts. While it is entirely possible that The Grid just rewatched Farscape, there is a second possibility: that Marvel will introduce Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel, as the lead for Guardians of the Galaxy.

This is thrilling. Why? Well, it'll be the first time one of Marvel's big female characters gets to headline a movie. And, it could be the thing that props open the door to allow other female characters a chance to shine in the MCU. It's well overdue. And it makes perfect sense. In the comics, Danvers was recently promoted from Ms. Marvel to full on Captain Marvel, something that Marvel itself is making no secret of. And, the one thing that Guardians lacked was a human character to act as an audience surrogate.

My bet? Unless they do something in Thor: The Dark World to set it up, they'll use Loki's attack as the basis. An air force jet went through the space hole while it was open, and was left behind when it closed. She was immediately picked up by the Guardians, who were about to lead their own attack on the Chitauri, or something like that.

Back in May, I suggested Justified's Joelle Carter for the role, and I stand by that. I think she's make a kick ass Captain Marvel, and is an immensely talented actress. But even is Marvel wanted to go with someone more high profile, think of the possible casting choices. Charlize Theron comes to mind immediately. So long as they stay away from Jessica Biel and her ilk, and hire someone who can stand toe to toe with Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, and not somebody who is simply going to look good in the outfit. Considering Marvel's hiring practises in the past, and the fact that Joss Whedon is exerting a certain amount of directional control over the whole farm now, I think we'll be fine.

Exciting times...

Via Topless Robot.

[Opinion] - Avengers vs. The Dark Knight Rises

My reviews can be found here, and here

Back in May, after the Avengers surprised everybody by breaking records and dominating the box office, Joss Whedon was asked what he thought about Dark Knight Rises. His answer was as diplomatic as it was accurate. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, that neither film existed because of the other, and there was more then enough room for them both to exist. He also assured the interviewer that he'd be buying a DKR ticket even if Avengers had flopped.

These aren't easy movies to compare. In fact, they probably shouldn't be. But it wasn't meant to be like this. Nolan's Batman trilogy was meant to dominate as Dark Knight had, and Marvel's standard two films a year were to each do respectable, if not remarkable, business. But then the world at large realised what many of us have know for a long time: Joss Whedon is brilliant. And then the world realised what the rest of us have feared for a while: Christopher Nolan can over extended himself.

Now here, at the end of August, we can looking back at both, and try to figure out what made the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a money sponge, and what made Dark Knight Rises fall apart.

Hit the jump for my thoughts.

16 Aug 2012

New Doctor Who Pictures

The BBC has released several new photos from the first batch of episodes of series seven of Doctor Who, starting with the promo poster for the premier, Asylum of the Daleks. It has a kind of Hammer Studios vibe to it, though the image itself is very indicative of last year's reflections in the astronaut. Maybe next year, the BBC marketing department can think of something else other then a reflection, to base their publicity on.

Hit the jump for some of the photos, or here to see them all.

Thor Gets Bad, And Daredevil Moves On

Courtesy of Paramount
Alice Krige, perhaps best known as the Borg Queen, and thus undermining the entire point of the collective consciousness, has been cast as the elf queen Alfyse in Thor: The Dark World. The queen is either the cohort of, successor to, or prisoner of, Malekith, who will be played by Christopher Eccleston.

Her casting should be the last major role waiting to be filled for the film, which starts filming next month. According to her, she will be barely recognisable, which brings to mind Colm Feore's role as Laufey in the first one. At least they're sticking with makeup rather then going motion capture. I always prefer seeing the practical to the CG.

Additionally, last week I think, I mentioned that Marvel might let Fox keep the rights to Daredevil, which were expiring soon, remain at Fox for free, in exchange for the rights to Galactus back. Well, it looks like Fox took a big old "oh, sorry we were on a plane and didn't get you message" sized turd on that plan, and have allowed Daredevil to return to Marvel in exchange for nothing. So, I guess they can scrap that Guardian of the Galaxy sequel idea. Which means Matt Murdock is now able to appear in the MCU. Except, no one wants him in the MCU. Anywhere near it actually.

Hit the jump for my idea of how they should put Matt Murdock to use, where he would be best served, and how I could justify changing the banner picture to Joss Whedon in a cowboy hat.

A Movie 65 Million Years In The Making, Twenty Years Later

Courtesy of Universal

The 3D re release of Jurassic Park has been moved up from July to April of next year, to celebrate the film's twentieth anniversary. Also announced was that Raiders of the Lost Ark will be released in IMAX this month, in anticipation of that film series being released on blu-ray in September.

Personally, I'd love to see these two announcements switch. Because as it stands, and as much as I've love to see Jurassic Park on the big screen again, I won't see a movie in 3D. I just won't. I saw several when they first introduced the technology, the last of which was Coraline, and I saw the last Underworld movie in 3D because none of my local cinetoriums were playing a 2D version.

And I hate it. Aside form the fact that it adds nothing to the movie watching experience other then five bucks on my ticket price, it is distracting, uncomfortable, and a vulgar and insulting way for the studios to say "we don't care about the quality of the film, we just want your money". If you're going to be that obvious, just remake Total Recall and give Katy Perry her own... wait...

For those that are interested, Jurassic Park 3D comes out April 5th, which isn't the anniversary of the initial release (that would be June 11th), it's just an arbitrary day.

Via The Mary Sue.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 4, "There's Always a Downside"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal

So help me gods, if I hear Brent Spiner say the word 'evil' one more time, I'm going to punch someone in the throat. The writers of Warehouse 13 have gone off their subtly meds, and have decided that beating us over the head with information, over and over again, is an acceptable form of television. Same goes for that black and white footage of Claudia stabbing Artie. We saw it once. At best, before the finale, where I'm certain all will be revealed, we needed to see it once again. Not a couple times every gorram episode.

This should have been the sort of episode I can point to and say, "this is where the formula works, and because they've got enough team members, they can do multiple stories now." Instead, I can point at an episode like this and say "this is where it completely went off the rails, and apparently the people running this thing can't come up with enough material to fill one story line, let alone three consecutive ones."

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that drive viewers to a maddening rage.

15 Aug 2012

Red Dwarf Tries Again

To many, Red Dwarf will always be the other British science fiction series, though obviously it can't be compared to Doctor Who. They are completely different beasts. Red Dwarf is a sitcom style, live audience comedy. It'd be like comparing Deep Space Nine to... have the Americans never done a half hour sci-fi comedy show? I guess, Better Off Ted?

The only way they can be compared is they both refuse to die, as Red Dwarf returns to Dave for series 10, which should go a long way to helping us forget that series nine ever happened.

Via Topless Robot.

Jeremy Renner Thought Hawkeye Got Screwed In The Avengers. He Must Also Think The Sky Is Blue, And That The Leafs Suck

Courtesy of Marvel/Disney
While doing press for The Bourne Legacy, Jeremy Renner was asked about his turn as Clint Barton in The Avengers, and said this surprisingly honest thing:
"At the end of the day, 90% of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. I’m literally in there for two minutes... I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. So yeah, fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No."
He is also very quick to point out that he understood why it had to be that way, that writer/director/man-beard Joss Whedon had to make concessions to characters, to tell the story well. And that he enjoyed the film, and looks forward to Avengers 2, where he might get an elevated role.

I think when you've got a dozen main characters, there are going to be losses. Whedon knows this, he had to make the same tough choices when it came to his beloved Serenity crew (Shepherd Book, Inara, Wash, Zoe, basically anyone that wasn't Mal or River). But Whedon is also very good at making things count. So, yes, Hawkeye wasn't in the film very much, and that was a weakness of the film. But other characters got larger roles (Loki, Coulson), or better roles (Black Widow, Bruce Banner) because of that sacrifice, and maybe next time, someone else can take a back seat and let Renner show what he can do.

Either that, or he can hilariously become the butt monkey of the MCU, being the guy who gets brainwashed every time an alien invades Earth. Whedon could make that work.

Via Den of Geek.

12 Takes The Slow Path

Courtesy of CBS
It seemed like it would make sense, if things had went that way. Doctor Who celebrates 50 years next year, and during many of those, it was an active television series. It's matched only by James Bond and Coronation Street, and Hockey Night In Canada, and probably a few others, but they don't matter. So, when people started to speculate when Matt Smith would be leaving the show (approximately five minutes after he signed on), at the conclusion of the seventh series, at the end of the 50th. Go out with a regeneration, and all that.

Except Steven Moffat, who is still involved with producing the currently filming seventh series, and is working with Mark Gatiss on the next series of Sherlock, getting ready for whenever Peter Jackson releases the stars back to merry old, has been pitching series eight to the BBC, and has made it clear that Matt Smith will be it's star. And what's more, since it's Moffat doing the pitching, that means Moffat will be returning as well. Don't pack your office up so fast, Mr. Toby Whithouse.

This is good news. It would be just as good of news if Smith had announced he was leaving. It would have been sadder, for sure, and possibly more citrus flavoured, but still good news. Because it means that Who continues. Through black days, and technicolour days, through rough patches and brilliant bits. Through Six and Seven, and Russell T. Davies, the show continues. I seen it at it's worst, and I've seen it at it's best, and nothing that's been around for half a century can be either exclusively. And I'm still excited to see more.

Via Topless Robot.

[Review] - The Bourne Legacy

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Bourne Legacy is an odd duck, being the first movie of it's own anticipated series, and the fourth entry in an existing series. Due to this, it has to serve several masters. It has to establish itself as a story, with fresh characters, that can support their own film. At the same time, it has to integrate itself into a preexisting world, in a way that doesn't feel shoehorned. Extensive use of footage from The Bourne Ultimatum in the first act, and the return of many of those actors, in what amounts to cameo level appearances, in fresh footage manage to make the latter happen, while a slow burn approach, and what ends up being a paper thing plot takes care of the former.

If nothing else, for the first time since the original, the movie title makes sense.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that have been enhanced through science.

14 Aug 2012

A Thing That Probably Won't Happen, But Might

Courtesy of Starz
For those that missed it, Party Down was a Starz series that ran for two seasons in 2009/2010. It was a single camera comedy from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, and producer Paul Rudd (who was attached to co-star along with post-Daily Show, pre-Office Steve Carrell). It starred Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott (Parks and Rec), Jane Lynch (Best in Show), Megan Mullally (Parks and Rec), and Ken Marino (Children's Hospital).

Following the disgruntled employees of an LA catering firm, the show was hysterical, but never caught on until after it was cancelled, by which time most of the cast had moved on to other things, a lot of them Parks and Recreation. It also featured guest appearances from just about everybody who worked on Veronica Mars. If you haven't seen it, find it on DVD like I did and be prepared to watch twenty of the funniest episodes of recent TV comedy.

Rob Thomas has a bad time of getting his show's cancelled, and wanting to make movies of them. He and Kristen Bell have been going on forever about a Mars movie, which I think we can all agree is never going to happen. So to with Party Down, with one exception: the cast wants this to happen. Like, really like. They loved this show. Read the Complete Oral History of the show, and you'll see. The cast liked this show more then the viewers, more then the studio, more then many of their own loved ones.

And according to Megan Mullally, the movie has been financed. Apparently, they are aiming to have everything ready to go for next spring, when everyone goes on TV break. While I feel the series was exceptionally well down, and concluded both naturally and fulfillingly, and am more partial to short runs myself anyway, and I worry that the show's format and style might not translate well to larger feature format, if this did actually happen, I would have ticket one from my local cinetorium.

Via Warming Glow.

Ron Swanson = Unstoppable Force AND Immovable Object

OK, if these promos had been released two weeks ago, there is a chance that I might have considered being interested in the Olympics. Though not really. I'll say again: absence of ice makes things less interesting.

Presence of Ron Swanson, on the other hand, makes things infinitely more entertaining. And unlike Game of Thrones, we don't have to wait the lion's share of a year until he and his perfectly sharped facial hair returns to our screens. Seven hells, we barely have to wait a month.

Hit the jump for the second promo, and remember, Parks and Recreation returns on Sept 20th.

How Should Superheroes Be Drawn

Mike Henry as Tarzan
 Andrew Wheeler has a fascinating essay over at ComicsAlliance about the body types of superheroes in modern comics, compared with what is realistically the only viable comparison from the real world: Olympic athletes. He asked four working comics artists to rank eight heroes, four men and four women, in terms of how they thought their bodies should be drawn, and which Olympians those characters are comparable to. I recommend to head over and check out the results.

I don't think it's a secret that the way heroes are drawn is a big deal in comics, considering it is a visual medium. Like video games, the industry is constantly under attack for propagating negative body images and over sexualising women, and I agree with a lot of those arguments. I do think that the blame cannot be focused on comics and video games alone, and that it is a larger cultural issue, and is one that shifts with the times. In the fifties, Sean Connery was a Mr. Universe contender. In the seventies, they looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the eighties, an action hero looked like Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone. Now they look like Colin Farrell, or Jake Gyllenhaal.

In comics, heroes started out looking, well normal. Practically pudgy in some cases. In the nineties, during the Dark Ages, and through the influence of people like Frank Miller, Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, the men all started to look like the Hulk, and the women all like the most desperate sort of strippers. And this hasn't changed much since then. You'd think with the rise of 'smart is the new sexy', and the svelte look of our cinematic heroes, that the capes and cowls would get toned down to human proportions. And while the men aren't as exaggerated quiet as much as before, the women still end up looking like Catwoman #0 more often then not. And video games it seems are just now entering 1993, in terms of pure physical extremism, now that the technology is advanced enough to create these images that the developers were looking at in the pages of Youngblood, back when they were kids.

I do believe a shift is needed, and I don't think it's coming anytime soon. Anyway, head over to ComicsAllaince, and give Wheeler's stuff a read.

Via ComicsAlliance.
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