28 Sep 2012

I'm Officially Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel Now

The weekend can't come too soon, apparently. Maybe someone will drive a car through a live reading of The Day the Earth Stood Still, as performed by the cast of Saved By the Bell. Or maybe Marvel will announce that the next X-Men film will star Doop. Or Peter Jackson will announce that The Battle of Five Armies will feature dinosaurs. Something, anything really, to raise my ire. My ire is far too low.

Until something interesting happens, here is some military test footage of a 9 kiloton (or small) nuclear device being detonated underwater, in a desperate attempt to destroy Aquaman once and for all.

Via Bad Astronomy.

You Know It's A Slow News Day When

I didn't post anything yesterday, which might become the norm for Thursdays, because my gods was it a slow news day. There was nothing that I found online that interested me in the slightest, let alone enough to actually write words about it. Except this. And I wasn't going to just post this. Except, today I will. Because apparently the news took an extra long weekend. So enjoy Buzz Lightyear Balloon Suit Man.

Let's be honest with ourselves. If any of us had a Buzz Lightyear Balloon Suit, we'd be happy.

Via Geekologie.

It Will Continue To Be Sunny In Philadelphia

I only got into Sunny this past summer, when I watched every season currently available on DVD in one long marathon of cussing, selfishness and degenerit comedy. And even though I've missed the so called Fat Mac year, I am looking forward to the new season premiering on Oct 11th. Though, I don't know about this new cast. Something just doesn't seem... right.

Via Uproxx.

[Opinion] - Why Loki Shouldn't Be In Any More Marvel Movies

Courtesy of Marvel/Disney
This week's release of The Avengers officially brings an end to Marvel's Phase 1. The culmination of years of introducing, establishing, and finally uniting these various heroes. But it also is the culmination of the journey of Loki, who in the course of two movies evolves from being a glorified sidekick with aspirations of power, to a vain, petty, cruel child (to paraphrase Odin), feverishly lashing out at the universe for his perceived slights. And in the end, he was dealt with.

Phase 2 is already well under way, and has been well designed to it's ultimate conclusion. And once again, we will have a villain evolve over the course of several films, in the form of Thanos. However, it has been confirmed that Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston, will be appearing in at least Thor: The Dark World. I feel this is a major misstep for the MCU. Despite not knowing the size of the role, or the part he'll play in events, I feel that bringing Loki back is the wrong move, and that any further additions made to the character will do more harm then good. Such has been the way of things in film, when a truly good villain is discovered. And so, it seems, will it be for the MCU.

Hit the jump, as I examine the mistakes of the past, and explore not only why he shouldn't be the villain, but why Loki should never appear in anymore Marvel films.

26 Sep 2012

The Cast Of Parks And Rec Humblebrags

I had never heard of humblebragging before, since I don't really inter the net like the kids nowadays. It seems to be when you brag about something by sounding negative or pessimistic. Or to put it another way, it's like how your underwear is constantly falling apart, because you have a large gentleman's companion.

Who better to explain this complex concept then the male cast of Parks and Rec. And Harris Wittels, writer on Parks and Rec, and author of the new book Humblebrags: the Art of False Modesty.

Which, I take it, counts as a humblebrag.

Via Uproxx.

Can You Afford Calvin and Hobbes?

Do you have several, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars? To spend? If so, then you might be in the market for a Calvin and Hobbes original art piece. The above piece, to be exact. Given to cartoonist Basil Basset by Bill Watterson in 1986, the work is going to be auctioned off in November.

For how much is anyones guess, though a non-Calvin and Hobbes related Watterson oil paining went for $13,000, and a watercolour sold for over $100,000 at the beginning of the year. This is a 13x9 original Sunday Strip piece of art. I'd personally sell several members of my family to own this thing. And I think that will be the mindset of most people bidding on it. So bring your big cheque book.

Via ComicsAlliance.

They Never Taught Me To Make A CV Like This When I Was In School

The above seven minute short film is an impressive, and ambitious, job application to Joss Whedon and the Marvel company by Adam Levermore, for the job of Production Designer for the forthcoming SHIELD series. According to the short, Levermore has done art design for BSG, Wil Wheaton, and most importantly, Serenity (shameless, but shiny), along with designing everything that isn't human in this very short, and did it all inside three weeks. The short also features music by BSG composer Bear McCreary (who should also be short listed for the series), Mythbuster Grant Imahara, and former Whedon co-hort Amber Benson.

Can I tell you, if I had to be this impressive in a job application, I'd be screwed. I don't even think my address is correct on my handwritten resume.

Via The Mary Sue.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 9, "The Ones You Love"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
The penultimate episode of Warehouse 13's fourth season (or 4.0, or whatever SyFy is going to be calling it) is filled with guest stars, revelations, and a cliffhanger. Some of these were done well, and some were not. But finally, I think we have an explanation for the plodding nature of this season: the writers clearly thought of the big reveal first, and worked their way backwards from there. Unfortunately, they didn't come up with enough material to fully fill that gap. So while this episode fared better then most this season, it wasn't better because of the rest of the season. It was very obvious that everything else was just getting us to this point.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that also use monkeys to tie relatives to cribs.

25 Sep 2012

Did Lego Just Make Man Of Steel Better? Probably Not, But There Might Be A Hulk Sequel

This post contains would could be a major spoiler (if by major, you mean, reveals who the villain is, which isn't so much of a spoiler) for Man of Steel, the upcoming, probably craptacular Superman film. For those that like to remain oblivious to the sorts of things that are usually revealed by IMDb cast lists, I'll put it after the jump.

But first, and wholly unrelated, Kevin Feige, producer and mastermind behind MCU, has revealed that he is open to making another Hulk film. Saying:
"Do I think Hulk can carry a movie and be as entertaining as he was in Avengers? I do believe that. I do believe he absolutely could. We certainly are not even going to attempt that until Avengers 2... So there's a lot of time to think about it."
This makes sense, and I was actually just talking to someone about this. Phase 2 of the MCU is set in stone. They've got their line up. Anything like a SHIELD movie (pretty much dead so long as the series gets picked up), Hawkeye or Black Widow focused films, or any Hulk sequels will have to wait until at least 2016. So it's not really news.

What is news is that one of the story lines Feige, who is now famous (at least in my mind) for getting a Guardians of the Galaxy movie into production, will not discount, is Planet Hulk, and World War Hulk. Said Feige:
"I don't think there's a lot that we couldn't do someday, as the cinematic universe continues to grow and expand and get as big as the comic book universe. 'Planet Hulk' is a cool story, 'World War Hulk' is a cool story."
For those not in the know, Planet Hulk featured Banner being exiled on a Gladiator-style planet, only to defeat all of it's warriors, and eventually rule as it's leader. World War Hulk featured Banner returning to Earth, with his alien minions in tow, seeking revenge on those that exiled him. Now, I know what you are saying. That all sounds perfectly insane. And it was. It was also fantastic, and one of the better Hulk story lines in years.

I say, if you're going to go big, go big. We've seen the Hulk grapple with his emotions twice already, and we've seen what he can do when he controls the beast. I say, give Hulk a challenge. And I for one see World War Hulk as a perfect storyline for Avengers 3, considering that was what everyone thought The Avengers was going to end up being.

And now, after the jump, some Superman news that might not actually be that exciting.

The Details Is Messed Up

Apparently, this is a comedy. You wouldn't know it from the trailer. I knew The Details was meant to be a comedy going in, and it looks like the farthest thing from. What it looks like is a dark psychotic trip, like a mirror universe Coen brothers film, as envisioned by Tim Burton's prostate. Which, in this alternate universe, designs films. Apparently.

OK, so the metaphor might have gotten away from me. But aside from the single raccoon, and the piano, there isn't anything that screams comedy in this trailer. Not that it doesn't look good. It's just that I expect the film to end with Tobey Maguire blankly wandering down the street, with the heads of his cast mates bundled in this left hand.

Actually, I would see that film.

Mike And The Bots Never Went So Far As To Put Words In The Crappy Movie's Mouths

I've only just recently become acquainted with Bad Lip Reading, and I'm hooked. Their political stuff is good, but their movie stuff is terrific. I don't know if the human brain just sees the lips moving like the words, or if someone over at their offices slowly scans through each scene, until they find the perfect match. Whatever their method, it is a certain kind of genius. This newest video, tackling the horrible Hunger Games movie, isn't as good as their previous video for Twilight, but it's pretty damned close.

Via Topless Robot.

[Review] - Dredd

Courtesy of Reliance Entertainment

There is a meeting that will be happening soon, if not already, at Warner Bros., concerning the direction of the next Batman film. The essence of this meeting will boil down to: do they attempt to replicate the tone of the Nolan films, or go off in a wildly different direction. Do you increase the scope of the films, as the Dark Knight Rises did (and, I personally felt they failed at), or do they keep it tight? Do they rehash the origin story (NO), or expand the Bat family?

After watching Dredd, I feel this is the answer, and the direction comic book movies need to generally move in. With the success of the Avengers, the trend is going to move towards bigger, louder and more, because Hollywood doesn't understand that what made that movie successful was a well developed human drama amongst the explosions. Dredd heads determinately in the opposite direction, a perfect corollary to the summer's other hero offerings.

It's loud, yes. It's bloody, very yes. But it is also compact, almost intimate, and great fun to watch.

Hit the jump to read the review, which contains spoilers devoted to maintaining justice.

24 Sep 2012

I Suspect Eventually, This Will Suck

Images courtesy of Warner Bros.

To say I love the Looney Tunes is like saying I'm rather fond of food. Or water. Or breathing. It's an understatement. I think most reasonable people would feel the same way. The Looney Tunes are like the Marx Brothers, or Dickens: the ideal that everyone afterwards strives to replicate, but can never match.

So news that former SNL cast member, and Marcel the Shell author Jenny Slate has been tapped by Warner Bros to write a new Looney Tunes movie should be good news. Except it's not. Despite what others around the ol' internet might think, this is a very bad idea. And not just because Seth Grahame-Smith is (inexplicably, and worryingly) producing the film.

It's a bad idea for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because the film is being described as a live action/CGI hybrid. Now, CG was used in Looney Tunes Back In Action, the last time Bugs and the gang appeared on scene. But it was used to augment and enhance the basic 2D models of the characters. I assume, because the current thinking in Hollywood is that traditional hand drawn animation is the cinematic equivalent of VD, and shun it accordingly, that the models they'll be using for the new film will be similar to those they used in the Tweety Bird and Road Runner shorts seen last year before the movies Cats and Dogs 2, Yogi Bear, Happy Feet 2 and Journey 2. For those that missed them, the results looked like this.

That is... terrible. I'm sorry, but it is. It's very good looking CG, but it just isn't the Looney Tunes. This is:

After the jump, I continue to explain why this isn't good news.

I've also included one of Jenny Slate's Marcel the Shell shorts, two of the new, CG rendered Road Runner shorts, so you can see what the new film will probably look like; a terrific example from Back In Action of how CG and hand drawn animation can be combined (and how the Tunes can be effectively used in a film), and then a couple classic shorts, to remind you of why you love these characters to begin with.

Looking For Ruggedly Handsome Actor For Very Meta Guest Role; Must Wear Tight Pants

Courtesy of ABC Studios
Last spring, when Adam Baldwin guest starred on Castle, there was an interview done with him and Nathan Fillion, which I cannot find the video of for the life of me, in which Fillion revealed he had been pitching an idea for an episode to the writers for year. The former star of a science fiction western is found dead, and the suspect are all his former cast mates on the short lives but much beloved show. The cast of Firefly would, of course, play the roles of the suspects. He then gave Baldwin shit for ruining his plan. At the time, it was a funny joke, and a fun story, that shows how much these actors really did love the show as much or more then we do.

And Fillion kind of got his wish. Because Castle, whose season 5 begins tonight at 10, is looking for an actor to play Fillion. Or, reasonably close. On the heels of the 10th anniversary of the original broadcast of Firefly (seven hells, I need to sit down...), the show will feature an episode in which an actor, famous for playing the role of Captain Max Richards on Nebula 9, hasn't been able to get over the popularity of the failed show, and turns to booze and, since it's Castle, either ends up dead, or a suspect when somebody else does. So, on the whole, more like Galaxy Quest then Fillion's autobiography.

One can only assume that the references won't end there. I suspect that one of two of Fillion's former colleague will show up in the episode, but can I cross my fingers and hope really, very hard to the TV geek gods that Joss Whedon himself puts in an appearance.

He's worked with them before, on something or other. Recent, I think it was. The name escapes me...

Via The Mary Sue.

President Bartlett Is Turning Into Clinton, He's Supporting So Many Post Presidential Causes

A while back, some of the cast of The West Wing reunited on Funny or Die, to promote a campaign to get Americans walking. Because they did a little bit of that on the show. That video was hilarious, and made a certain kind of sense.

This does not. The fact that every (non-Dule Hill, Rob Lowe or dead) cast member stars in it is one thing, but that it is a campaign ad, for a non-partisan State Supreme Court judge is just flat out crazy. I don't care if the candidate is a relative of a cast member, you do not reassemble one of the best ensemble casts in TV history to get your sister elected. No one does that. No one can do that. They wouldn't have done it for Obama.

On the other hand, I love this video for three reasons. First, obviously, look at the damned thing. Every second of it is fantastic. Second, this need to become the way we advertise everything: the cast of the West Wing hocks it. And not just exercise initiatives and elections, I mean everything. Dove soap, industrial waste management, the NHL lockout updates, FOX's Tuesday night comedy line up. Everything should feature the cast of the West Wing. Because it is awesome, and they are obviously all very available.

And third, it proves, if only briefly, that Janel Moloney is still alive. I always thought it was strange that after the show ended, she just disappeared. Everyone else went off on other shows (which, except for the absent Hill, were all cancelled, but hey...), but nothing for Janel. And she was talented. Donna is one of my favourite characters from those early years, years I have great affection for.

Actually, the best thing about this video: no Jimmy Smits.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - Doctor Who, Series 7 Episode 4, "The Power Of Three"

Courtesy of the BBC

Well that was... nice. It was really rather pleasant. A good old fashioned Doctor Who in so many ways. An alien invasion, a Stewart at his side, and the world in the balance. It felt like going home again. And in a series of film-sized plots, easily the most subdued episode this series. The slow invasion gave us ample room to focus on the Ponds, and for the first time this series they weren't useless, or pointless. It wasn't Doctor-lite, but it was certain companion focused, and awarded us a couple moments of sheer heart-warming goodness.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains seemingly inert spoilers, that will suddenly awaken, and harm you.

21 Sep 2012

If You Haven't Read A Dance With Dragons, Don't Watch This

Or go ahead, I don't care. You're your own person, and are free to make whatever decision, good or bad, you want with your life. Though, major spoilers abound for A Storm of Swords, or season three of Game of Thrones, if you only watch the show. You illiterate ape.

As a completely unrelated aside, I had a chance to see Alastair Forbes, the first guy in the video (holding up the book) at Second City in the spring, in Live Wrong And Prosper. He's very funny. That's... it, really.

No, I Didn't Really Need To See Alan Rickman Naked, But Thank You Anyway

I'm conflicted about this trailer. On the one hand, this remake of the '66 Michael Caine film Gambit is written by the Coen Bros. On the other hand, it is not directed by them. But maybe it having their words is enough to elevate it above the standard fair. On the other hand, the Coen's last remake, the Ladykillers, is easily one of their weakest films. But, this film does star Alan Rickman and Colin Firth. On the other hand, whatever accent Cameron Diaz is trying to affect is not working out for her at all.

Maybe it's just the way the trailer is cut, to make it look like such a pedestrian comedy, complete with nondescript voice over, and editing together of various scenes to create new dialogue and reaction shots... Add to that the Coen version of the script was written in 2003, and it has bounced from director to director, none of which seemed to want to give it any attention. I hope for the best, but I'm preparing for this to be just another drop in the comedy-caper bucket.

Perhaps we could try not remaking films for a while?

The Inspector Encounters His Arch Nemesis: Tenses

Here is the second episode of the totally not based on Inspector Spacetime, Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveller Who Can Also Travel Through Time. I really have nothing to say, other then Boyish the Extraordinary is the greatest name for a villain, ever.

I don't know what will be better: if he turns out to be really old and mundane, or some sort of superbaby...

Via The Mary Sue.

[List] - 6 TV Shows That Could Have Ended Sooner

Of 43 new network TV shows that premiered last year, only 14 were renewed for second seasons. Two thirds of new TV couldn't make it past a year. Maybe they were too good to last. Maybe they never should have made it past a pilot. Or maybe they were just trying too hard. The 14 that did last now have a terrible job ahead of them: proving they were worthy of renewal. Because not every show that gets renewed deserves a place on the schedule. Some are too dumb. Some are Glee. And some have outstayed their welcome.

You'll note that the title of this article is Shows That Could Have Ended. Not should. Should is easy. Should is the US Office back when Jim and Pam got married. Should is CSI when the William Peterson left. Should is the Simpsons ending in season 8, when it was still the smartest show on TV. Should have ended is the easiest thing in the world. Could have ended is harder. I'm thinking about those shows that, as they exist, with no changes, you can stop watching at a point, say on DVD, and feel better about the show then when it actually ended. Not feel cheated. And not have to watch a good thing go to waste.

Hit the jump for the list, which is by no means exhaustive, and admittedly post 2000. If you have suggestions, I'm happy to hear them. Oh, and to say that it contains spoilers should be redundant.

20 Sep 2012

Tonight At 9:30, Meet Your Meat

Parks And Recreation returns tonight, for season five. Just in case you forgot. If you did, shame on you. If you didn't care when Parks returns, get out.

Can I just say how much I like Rob Lowe on this show. I'm glad they found something for him to do on the show, and were able to keep him around. As much love as I give Ron Swanson, Lowe kills it with his hyper, somewhat manic Chris. He has the second best reactions on this show.

Why The Hobbit? Because I Am Scared, And He Gives Me Courage

Turns out, that trailer for the Hobbit I posted eariler wasn't all the New Line had up their sleeves. App users could choose which of five endings (the standard release featuring the dwarves being crushed by a dead troll-thing) they could watch, exclusively. So exclusive, that they are all available now on YouTube, as seen above.

Yet more Gollum, and much more dwarves, and perhaps the footage I've seen so far that most makes my heart happy: the wagers. These films, more then anything else, need to establish a deep, powerful friendship between Gandalf and Bilbo, and this seen, and the quote I've put in the title, suggest to me that I've got nothing the worry about.

It has been pointed out that the Hobbit looks far funnier then Lord of the Rings, which is in line with a book that was originally written for children. but more then that, the world it takes place in is a less serious one. Don't forget, Lord of the Rings is a war movie, with a flaming eye watching everything that happens. The Hobbit is more of a road film. Not that there aren't serious things that happen: the orc battle and the wargs look about right in colour and tone. But people in the time of the Hobbit don't have a reason not to be cheerful.

I expect the tone of the three films to progressively become more serious, as the first film will largely be walking. The second will darken, with the introduction of the dragon, and the third, with the outbreak of the War of Five Armies, will be closer in tone to the LotR trilogy. I would expect.

Sure, It Looks Cool, But Will You Still Like It As Much After It Murders Your Entire Family?

This is a full size Dalek replica, made from the original casts the BBC uses to construct the Dalek costumes for the show. Firebox is selling these replicas for $5700. But unfortunately, according to the disclaimer, it is solid, and cannot be opened and worn, like those on the show.

To put that price in perspective, it's about the same as a high quality sex doll (not safe for work, that link. At all), or a rigorously used 2003 Infiniti G. One of which can drive you to work and back, and the other which you can do incredibly filthy things to. Or, you can take the bus, be lonely, and own a Dalek.

I think you know which is the smart purchase.

Via Geekologie.

The Hobbit Looks Awesome

Really, really awesome. At last, we have a plot centric trailer for the first Hobbit film, and boy howdy does it deliver. The dwarves, the trolls, the extended battles with the orcs. It all looks just beautifully done, and while we are all expecting these films to be as good as Lord of the Rings, this is our first evidence that they may well be better.

Even with the extended footage of Gollum, who anyone not having read the book might be surprised to learn only appears in one chapter (scene), this is a strong trailer. It even contains footage of wizard Radagast, played by former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy. Though, there is no footage at all of Christopher Lee as Sauruman, or of the White Council as a whole, which pretty much confirms that the Council won't appear until the second film, and the first will be about bringing them together.

Hit the jump to see new pictures of the cast, including a better, Hobo inspired look at the Brown Wizard.

19 Sep 2012

Sherlock Cluedo Must Be Mine

Fun fact about me: I own every edition of North American Clue from the 1960 edition onwards, including the majority of the variants, except the Harry Potter version (I hate Harry Potter. It started out as an aggressive disinterest that has grown courtesy of everyone over the last decade telling me I should give it another go). I love the game, and the obsessive completionist in me insists on purchasing any version I see, including the travel editions, card games, and book series (do you even need to ask if I own the film).

So, when I discovered an officially licensed and purchasable (important that bit) Sherlock edition, available here for the utterly reasonable price of 30 pounds, I knew only a single truth: I must have it, and it will be mine.

From the box art, this thing is fantastic. Holmes should, of course, be Plum, and Watson Mustard. My only complaint is they should have went with series regular Molly as Scarlett, rather then one off character Adler. I wonder what the locations are. Baker St, and the morgue, obviously. Weapons? I wonder...

Damn, I'm shaking over this thing.

Via The Mary Sue.

Making The World Of Game Of Thrones

It's videos like this that really make shows like Game of Thrones impressive. I had no idea that the hand wasn't really just a mountain they found in Iceland. Nor did I know that the White Walker's horse was CG. I figured they just painted a real horse green in places, and filled in the gaps.

So enjoy this display of CG inventiveness. If you haven't seen season two of Game of Thrones, spoiler warning before you watch this, and if you have, lets all remember, there is only eight months left until the show returns.

Seven hells...

Via Topless Robot.

Holy Shit, It's The Fraggles

I've never heard of Ben Folds Five. Nor do I know why Chris Hardwick, Anna Kendrick and Rob Corddry are in this music video. But none of that matters, because it has the Fraggles! All of them. Even Uncle Travelling Matt!

I have no more words... Fraggles!

Via Topless Robot.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 8, "Second Chance"

[Author's note: I am currently sick, and could barely watch the episode, let alone write a full review. I've made some comments on it, but it's not a full review, as such.]

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
Congratulations Artie, you win the progressively stupid award. It not only took a room of other characters, pointing out in detail everything you, and we, already know, but also pointing out that the Brotherhood might just be the evil you've been worried about, instead of your bad dream. A misdirect? A fatal setup? Or the last step, in episode eight of a ten episode run, finally getting us off this endless cycle of repetition, and let us move on.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that don't want to hurt anyone, but can't stop punching people in the face.

18 Sep 2012

In Another Universe, James Cameron Might Have Ruined My Life

My opinion of James Cameron isn't new. What is new is the recent, apparently unsolicited, and a little suspect, revelation by James Cameron that he was interested in, and missed buying by a few hours, the rights to my favourite film, Jurassic Park. Cameron claims that his vision was a straight up horror flick, with dinosaurs being true movie monsters. Says Cameron:
“But when I saw the film, I realised that I was not the right person to make the film, he was. Because he made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been Aliens with dinosaurs, and that wouldn’t have been fair. Dinosaurs are for 8-year-olds. We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs and they should not have been excluded for that. His sensibility was right for that film, I’d have gone further, nastier, much nastier.”
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I agree with James Cameron. His Jurassic Park would have been terrible, and not only because he would have lazily shunted the animals into the villainous monster category like everyone else. He, not having the connections at ILM, and not being that warm and inclusive of a director, would not have been presented by his crew unsolicited test footage of the CG T-Rex running.

Which means that Jurassic Park would not have been the first film to use substantial digitally created shots to create the dinosaurs, sparking the largest shift in movie making techniques since sound. It probably would have ended up a high budget early nighties horror flick, largely forgotten by modern viewers instead of a contemporary classic.

But beyond that, who asked him? When did he make these comments? To what end does this serve? Did Cameron look online and notice no one was talking about his absurd, Lucas-like sequel and prequel aspirations for Avatar? In fact, according to The Making of Jurassic Park (Ballentine, '93), Cameron wasn't even on the radar during the bidding war. Setting aside the gentleman's agreement between Spielberg and Crichton that had existed for sometime, the top four offers on the film rights were from 20th Century, for Joe Dante (Gremlins, and ultimately made Matinee, a fabulous film); Warner Bros, for Tim Burton (Batman, and ultimately it's sequel); TriStar, for Richard Donner (Superman '79, and ultimately Lethal Weapon 3); and Universal for Spielberg. And Crichton made the final decision, based on the agreement he had already made. So, despite no one other then Spielberg having a chance, any of those other guys were easily ahead in line on the day, Mr. Cameron.

You can keep your "missed it by that much" stories to yourself, thank you very much.

Via the Mary Sue.

Coulson Has A Very Important Message For You

I'm a sucker for those Keep Calm signs. Not so much for the parodies, or the knockoffs: I appreciate them, but I wouldn't hang them in my house, or bumpersticker them to my car.

This one, I might wear, though. From We Love Fine comes a T-shirt design that captures the tranquillity of Coulson, the power of a simple slogan and GODDAMMIT JOSS WHEDON CAST CLARK GREGG IN SHIELD ALREADY...

I suppose that wasn't really what the shirt was going for, was it?

Via welovefine.

Parks And Rec Is Funny, Filthy

In preparation of Parks and Rec's return on Thursday night, here is the full seventeen minute long blooper reel from the season four DVD.  It is equally hilarious and dirty, the latter mostly down to Chris Pratt and his filthy improv. I've always noticed that Nick Offerman is rarely the one to go off script, and is rarely the one to flub his lines. But when someone else causes him to break character, he breaks hard.

Speaking of breaking, followed by an adjective, Breaking Bad co-star Jonathan Banks, who plays Mike Ehrmentraut, has been cast as Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott)'s father, who was apparently cast after the writers decided that the character would "act like Mike Ehrmentraut". So they went out and got them a Mike Ehrmentraut.

I doubt the story line will cause them to cross over, but is it too much to ask for one scene of Ron vs Mike? Is it, Parks writers?

Via Uproxx and /Film.

[Review] - Ruby Sparks

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
There is an existential question at the heart of Ruby Sparks that the movie isn't interested in answering. In fact, the movie isn't interested in much of anything. For much of it's 104 minute run time, there is very little that actually happens, beyond the hook. It seems more interested in just watching as the mundane happens, rather then try anything daring with the subject matter. So, except for some mad cappery at the beginning, and a dark climax, Ruby Sparks simply exists.

Which, considering the subject matter, might well be the most profound thing said on film this year.

Hit the jump for the review, which dreamt about spoilers, that then actually happened.

17 Sep 2012

What Is It With Al Pacino And Dancing With Women?

Here is the trailer for Stand Up Guys, the story of a criminal (Al Pacino) released from prison after twenty eight years, who reconnects with his old friends (Christopher Walkin and Alan Arkin) for a night of crime and debauchery before he is expected to be killed by his former mob boss.

Pacino hasn't exactly had the greatest run of luck of late, but Walkin and Arkin have, so it's a toss up as to which way this movie will go. The trailer looks equally funny and poinent, so I'll reserve a gut instinct opinion for now.

Craig Ferguson Talks To An Astronaut About The Important Things: Farting

I'm not at all over the whole hockey thing, so the rest of today isn't going to be big on on effort, by me. So here is an interview Craig Ferguson did last week with Astronaut Mike Massimino. Aside from being a frequent guest on the show, Massimino flew two shuttle missions, including the final Hubble repair mission on board the Atlantis, and is officially recognized as the first person to Twitter from space.

As much as I'm not a fan of Twitter, I want to take a moment, as should you, to recognize that in 1912, radio was available, but limited to ships at sea (and only mandated after the sinking of the Titantic). Telegraphs were still widly used, and while some experimental use of airplanes to carry mail over long distances was being attempted, the majority of mail was carried by train, and could take weeks to travel from one side of the United States to the other, depending on schedules and delays.

One hundred years later, we can communicated near-instantly with people... in space (I know, I know, it's not really space, just near Earth orbit. The point remains the same).

I wonder what kind of wi-fi connection they've got up there.

Even When There Is No Hockey, The Leafs Will Suck

AP /Mary Altaffer

I don't usually talk about sports. Mostly, because I'm not a fan of sports. I don't know that much about the rules of various sports, and except for a very brief spell in youth baseball (during which I got hit by a pitch from my own team), I don't play sports. Everybody has a blind spot, and sports are mine.

Except hockey. Hockey is great. As far as I'm concerned, a sport isn't a sport unless it's on ice, and at least one person carries a massive stick.

And now there isn't hockey. Not NHL hockey. Not this year. Sure, they might reach a deal mid season, but if they couldn't reach a deal by now, chances are neither side will be desperate to in the coming weeks. Everyone backs away from the table, bitter and angry, and one side doesn't have the ice to take that level of aggression out on anymore. So yeah, good bye 2012/2013 season.

This is the fourth work stoppage in the NHL since 1992, and the third under NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a [editorial comment] miserable little weasel of a [/editorial comment] human being, with no respect for the game, only a blind adherence to profit margins.

Hit the jump for the rest of, what quickly became, a rant about this lockout, the NHL, and Bettman.

[Review] - Doctor Who, Series 7 Episode 3, "A Town Called Mercy"

Courtesy of the BBC

My first thought was this episode would make a nice comparison to the horrendous Daleks of Manhattan. That two parter, marking what I believe to be the worst Dalek story ever, is a prime example of a writer not doing his homework. The depictions of Depression era New York were very European, or rather, those of someone who wasn't taught it in school, and was working off more an idea of a concept rather then a foundation of knowledge.

This episode doesn't have that problem, and it's very simply why: despite the Western being the first truly American genre, it has a well established set of tropes that make a Western very hard to screw up, if you follow the basic formula. This episode follows that basic formula to a tee. It's a foundation of knowledge that works to the advantage of the writer, and no matter what story is actually told within that framework, it can be seen as successful.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers guilty of horrible atrocities.

14 Sep 2012

Guess Who

There is Doctor Who Monoploy. There is Doctor Who Scene-it. There are Doctor Who Lego-like toys, and Doctor Who themed chess sets. So why, in the name of all that is holy, can't I buy an official version of Doctor Who Guess Who? Do the kids these days just not like playing games of deduction?

Is that why Battleship had to feature aliens instead of being a tense Cold War drama about two decorated military commanders slowly destroying each other? Is this why Mastermind doesn't seem to be a thing anymore? Are people too lazy to make systematic deductions for fun?

Screw it, this weekend, I'm making one of these. And mine will include classic Who characters.

Via the Mary Sue.

The Oranges Are Awkward

The Oranges is a film in which an older man has an affair with the younger daughter of his neighbour. That their affair is not a secret isn't so much the twist, as the older man in question is former Fry and Laurie/Black Adder/House star Hugh Laurie.

In fact, the movie is packed with comedic talent. Allison Janney, Oliver Platt, Catherine Keener. It's like someone looked at the big long list of comedians who rarely get starring roles, and hired them all. Even the 'kids' are an impressive collection, with the O.C's Adam Brody, and Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat. Leeighton Meester is going to have to do some heavy lifting to keep up with this group.

It's great to see Janney headline a film, as she is one of the more under utilised actresses. But it's even better seeing Laurie return to comedy after his near decade doing comedy-light on House. Shame he's using his American accent though. Suppose it's too much to ask Americans to accept so soon, that their favourite TV doctor is in fact a foppish Brit.

The Hobbit Might End Sooner Than We Thought

Courtesy of New Line
A while back, a banner image laying out the plot of the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, appeared. It confirmed what I thought at the time, that the film would end with the dwarves packed into barrels, heading for Laketown. Then came the news that the film would be split into three rather then two. I still believed that the barrels would be the logical breaking point, and that enough content remained to fill in the remaining films. But perhaps New Line disagrees, as they have released the image, with the end cut off.

It now ends with the attack of the Wargs, and the coming of eagles. Which, if true, would start the second film, the Desolation of Smaug, with Biblo awaking in the eagle's nest, and continuing on through Mirkwood, the attacks of the spiders, and eventual capture by the elves. Which also probably means the men of Laketown won't appear until halfway through the second film.

While the eagles seems like a good place to break it, my worry is that Smaug's role will either be condensed (as the attack by Smaug and the courage of the Bard is certainly the only place to end the second film), or we're in for another very long film, something I do not want. As I said, my one hope in making the Hobbit three films would be that they would be shorter then Lord of the Rings.

I've no issue with sitting for three and half hours at home, but not in a theatre thank you very much.

Via The Mary Sue.

[List] - SHIELD Series Casting Suggestions

So, we now live in a world where Joss Whedon's next TV show will be about SHIELD. Fantastic. Something else for me to get leg-numbingly excited about over the next year. Whedon himself has said that the show's development is well along, and a full cast of characters has been decided. Saying:
"It’s new characters. It needs to be its own thing. It needs to be adjacent [to the Marvel Cinematic Universe] but you don’t want to do a show where you’re constantly going, ‘Iron Man just left, but he was totally here a minute ago.’ You want them to do their own thing."
He goes on to say that SHIELD isn't a bunch of superheroes, they are regular folk who live in a world with superheroes. which means, they have to try twice as hard to be half as strong. This makes sense, for budgetary reasons, and for logistical ones. The show obviously can't have Iron Man appearing every sweeps period, and it can't have new characters flying off, punching aliens in the face every week. It's needs to be more compact.

What will the show look like? Well, we can make some educated guesses. First, it will be an ensemble, because everything Whedon has done up to this point has been so. He likes big casts, and putting them in big universes. And nothing screams bigger then the government agency overseeing all superheroics in the Marvel universe. This show is going to have a lot of characters, regular and recurring. Second, it'll be funny and serious in equal measure. Characters will not conform to pigeon holed archetypes (despite evidence to the contray), and will seem... human. Flawed, funny, merciful, bastards.
Knowing these things won't stop me from making some unsolicited casting suggestions (read: wild ass guesses), based on what already exists, and what we know of Joss.

Hit the jump to see my list of who I think will, and who I'd like to see, turn up on SHIELD.

13 Sep 2012

Marvel Movie News Roundup

Courtesy of Marvel
A lot has been happening behind the scenes of the various Marvel Cinematic Universe films currently in production. So, lets dig in.

Iron Man 3: Chinese actor Xueqi Wang has reportedly been cast as Chen Lu in this third film of the series. In the comics, Lu became the Radioactive Man, an agent of the Mandarin. However, an obscure bit of the character's history also has him working beside Ant-man, and now speculation exists that Wang's seemingly late in the day casting might point to his role consisting more of a cameo, setting up Edgar Wright's Ant Man film, which would logically be the next first film to come out of the MCU.

Thor: The Dark World: Rumours are that Doctor Strange will be making a cameo in the currently filming sequel. Whether this will be an in-film cameo, like Hawkeye's appearance in the first Thor, or a stinger cameo like Nick Fury's appearance in Iron Man is unknown, as is the Doc's involvement at all. It is also rumoured that Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen is favoured by Marvel for the role. [Updated: Marvel has confirmed that they are interested in Strange appearing in Thor: The Dark World. They have also confirmed they do not want Viggo for the role.]

On this, I have several comments. First, of all the films for Strange to be introduced in, Thor certainly makes the most sense, having the closest thing to magic the MCU has to offer. It certainly would seem out of place in a Captain America film. And the first Thor did feature a cameo, in Odin's vault, of the Orb of Agamotto. The orb was one of the many 'mystical' devices that gave Strange his power. Perhaps the vault gets plundered in the sequel, with some items finding their way to Earth?

Second, the timing makes little sense. All the Marvel movies for between now and 2015 have been announced. Another Thor, Iron Man, and Cap, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-man preceding the Avengers 2. Strange, and any actors cast, would have to wait until Marvel Phase 3, at least four years from now, before he got his own film. Why not hold off and use Strange in Thor 3?

Finally, while I myself favour David Duchovny for the role, Mortensen is at least in the age bracket I envision for the characters, and the MCU as a whole (no younglings). Clearly, this would be Marvel's first step in attempting to replace Robert Downey Jr., after his inevitable departure. But what level of enthusiasm would Mortensen bring to his career with Marvel? He seems like a dour fellow. In many ways, he reminds me of Christopher Eccelston, who will also be appearing in Thor 2.

Hit the jump for pictures from the set of Thor: The Dark World, and Joss Whedon's thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy, and his role in general in the MCU.

Billy Crystal Provides Parental Guidance

Outside of Hocus Pocus, I've never been a Bette Midler fan. But in the eighties, Billy Crystal was the man. When Harry Met Sally, still the only romantic comedy I can sit through (probably because it pretty much invented the genre), City Slickers, Throw Mama From The Train. The man was funny. Less so with his nighties offering, and since the turn of the millennium, largely nothing on screen (though 700 Sundays and Monsters Inc are highlights of this dark age). Despite this, even his presence couldn't get me to watch the Oscars last year, but I might see Parental Guidance.

Yes, the jokes are ones you see coming, and they probably spent most of them in this trailer. And the trailer has the feel to it of something that has a great emotional understanding at the heart of it's third act. But help me, Crystal still makes me laugh.

Catwoman Returns To Humanish Proportions

Courtesy of DC Comics

You might remember hearing something about this a while back. DC Comics, in an effort to remain completely inaccessible or understandable to new readers, would be taking all their titles to 0 for one month, providing back stories that would fill how characters got from the old DCU to the New52 (though, I thought the whole point of the New52 was so readers wouldn't have to know anything about the old DCU...).

When they announced this, they previewed the left most image for the cover of Catwoman. It met some resistance. Partly because it was exploitative cheesecake. Partly because it is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with women being objectified in comics. And partly because it was an insultingly terrible image. The internet bellowed, and in a move that shocks me, DC actually listened. They realised they had made an error, and fixed it, by having original artist Guillem March redraw the cover, seen on the right.

Selina Kyle is now positioned in a way that allowed her to continue using her spine, her buttocks have been downsized to less 'emergency floatation device' sizes, and her limbs and neck are bending in ways that limbs and necks usually bend in. Also, March recognised that a bit of cleavage isn't always necessary. Generally, she looks more human like, and less 'conceptual image a 13 year old has of women' like.

Or at least, as human as women in comics look at the best of times.

Via Uproxx.

In Which The Author Again Realises That He Is Old, And Will Eventually Die One Day

Earlier this week, I mentioned that Batman: The Animated Series had turned twenty. I then afterwards loitered outside of my local tobacconists, listening to some pop musics and hastled some squares. Or, I tried. My knee was acting kind of buggy, and it was damp out, so I stayed in and caught up on my correspondence. The price of stamps these days!

Anyway, I would be remiss in my duties as an unpublished author on an unread blog, amongst the legions that also reports on television, film, science, dinosaurs, and the British, if I failed to mark the anniversary of the other influential animated series to come out of the Warner's animation department in the early 90's.

19 years ago today, Animaniacs began.

It's been years since I've watched an episode, and I had forgotten how much I love this show. It's as close to the attitude of the original Looney Tunes as we've ever got. The sheer intelligence of the show, most likely a product of the fact that the Simpsons was the most intelligent show on TV at the time, is baffling. Just look at the opening credits. There are references in there, to pay-or-play contracts, and Bill Clinton, that just shouldn't exist. There is no evidence to suggest how this show ever happened, and yet it did. And for five years, and two spin offs. How? How I ask you?

It doesn't matter. All that matters is that it did, and we're all the better for it.

12 Sep 2012

"You Got Some Time In My Space!" "You Got Some Space In My Time!"

The headline has nothing to do with this video, which is the first episode of the Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveller Who Can Also Travel Through Time which is totally not the Community Doctor Who parody, Inspector Spacetime. Really, it's not. To say otherwise would be a filthy lie, and probably grounds for a lawsuit of some kind.

It's alright I guess. It's much more of a Doctor Who parody then how Community has ever portrayed it, complete with not-Pond, but nothing to get giggly over. The best part was the BTV ident at the top of the episode. I will say, for an unauthorised web series, it has impressive CG.

Via Topless Robot.

Ron Swanson Is A Fan Of Food

Here is a collection of clips of Ron Swanson, talking about food. Whoever mixed this apparently thought they were making a rap video, as they added in a beat, and scratches the lines from time to time, and for some reason, a lot of terrible photoshop video editting. It is distracting, but does not take away from the over all quality of Ron Swanson, talking about food. Though, I have to say, to miss turf and turf is a crime. Also, his overall feelings on breakfast food. So, I included an extra clip below.


Via Uproxx.

The Girl Makes The Guy Look Down Right Bastardly

Here is the full trailer for HBO Film's The Girl. The first of two Alfred Hitchcock bio pics coming out, this one is based on the recollections of Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller), of her time and career with the famed director, here played by the always reliable (if not always well utilized) Toby Jones.

The trailer certainly doesn't paint Hitch in a good light, which might be accurate, I don't know. I know, when it came to his leading ladies, he was a certain kind of obsessive. Everyone certainly looks the part, though, and I quite enjoyed HBO's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers some years back, and like all good cinephiles, I'm a big fan of the films of Hitchcock. So, I'll give The Girl a chance.

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 7, "Endless Wonder"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
After a week off, Warehouse 13 has returned, but in what condition. Things were looking up for this season when we left, and this week saw, what at first appeared to be a single focus story. A good old fashioned what dunnit. Until about half way through, when bigger ideas took hold, and pushed the episode in a different direction all together. And then to top it all off, an old friend stopped by.

Hit the jump to read the review, which contains spoilers that secretly changed time, for the better.

11 Sep 2012

Life After Fringe

[Update: For my review of season 5, and the finale An Enemy of Fate, go here.]

No matter what happens to Peter, Walter, and Olivia in the final season of Fringe, producer J.J. Abrams and showrunner J.H. Wyman will remain at FOX for at least a pilot episode longer. They've successfully pitched a new series to the network, described thusly:
[The untitled series is] an action-packed buddy cop show, set in the near future, when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids.
Yes, that is a very vague description. And yes, on the surface it does sound an awful lot like Caves of Steel by Issac Asimov. And no, I don't have a third thing.

But I do have to applaud FOX, as I've said before. Despite Fringe never bringing in a huge audience, they kept the show on air for five years, and have now turned around and said to the people involved "good job, lets try it again." There was a time (the past mostly, extending up to nowish) where I have given FOX a hard time for their treatment of science fiction series (one series more then others), but I also have to admit they are the only one of the major American networks to give science fiction any sort of chance. NBC dabbles, and ABC likes to think LOST made it special, but FOX is the only network to consistently order multiple sci-fi based series nearly every year.

And then cancel them (see, there I go again).

Via Deadline.

Star Trek 2 Gets A Title

Courtesy of Paramount

The movie thus far known as Star Trek 2, the follow up to J.J. Abrams' frankly amazing relaunch of the Star Trek franchise, has a name. And it might not be what you expect. The new film, expected to see a release next May, is officially known as Star Trek Into Darkness.

What's interesting is the lack of colon, which usually separates the title and subtitle. Which makes it the first Star Trek movie to have a full title other then just Star Trek, and the first movie outside of the Die Hard franchise to incorporate it's title into some kind of stealth pun. While the writers have been saying since the release of the original that they wanted space itself to be something of a villain in this feature, this title gives us the first good look at exactly how dark things might get.

Let just hope it doesn't get too dark. Star Trek, above all else, has always been about optimism. It doesn't need a dark, gritty remake. That'd be going a little too Deep Space Nine for these films.

Via Den of Geek.

Heavy Metal Comes To TV

I love anthology shows. Twilight Zone (both versions), Outer Limits (both versions), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tales from the Crypt, the list goes on. Aside from the fact that some truly classic stories, and some truly gifted writers have come out of anthology series, I love the freedom of the format. Different casts, different writers. Self contained stories that introduce and resolve themselves inside each episode. No reliance on continuity. And if you don't like an episode one week, tune in the next and it's something completely different. It's short story work on television, how's that not fun?

So, I'm kind of stoked that the French have adapted Heavy Metal into a series. Described thusly:
In the lineage of fantastic series such as Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, Metal Hurlant Chronicles is the adaptation of the world renowned magazine of the same name. Discover the live versions of these exceptional comics by the writers of X MEN , BATMAN , SPIDERMAN , IRON MAN , GI JOE , STAR WARS , SUPERMAN, BLADE etc. Fitted for the international market, each episode is 26 minutes long and is composed of one story involving Action, Heroic Fantasy [and] Science Fiction in English, directed by Guillaume Lubrano.
That description reads to me like Tales From The Crypt, where each episode was an adaptation of a classic story from the comics. And I'm fine with that. I'm also fine with the trailer, which looks like it uses a lot of 300 style green screens, and very polished visuals, almost cartoonishly so. Which could be a result of a smaller budget, or it could be intentional. I'm actually fine with the show taking itself a little less seriously. Heavy Metal, aside from the gratuitous sex, violence and over the top science fiction elements (all present in the trailer), has never been the biggest stickler for gravitas.

The series apparently marks appearances by genre regulars like James Marsters, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Ryan, and who appears to be Kelly Brook. I hope this finds international distribution. At the very least, it will air in England.

And that, at least, is something.

Via ComicsAlliance.

[Review] Best-Lock Stargate SG-1 Toys

A couple weeks ago, I told you about the Lego knockoff - I mean compatible - Stargate SG-1 sets, available only from Sears Canada, for reasons that remain their own. I also promised that I would buy these sets, and review them for the curious audience. And boy... was that money spent. The mixture of curiosity and excitement over the absurdity of the sets quickly abated over the weekend, as the sets arrived and I set about building them.

Let me be clear: I have bought a lot of stuff over the years, whose purchase could reasonably be called questionable. But these sets are clear winners. I felt I had to, if only to confirm that they did in fact exist, and weren't some elaborate, grossly misinterpreted joke on both Stargate fans, and Sears customers. But now, I'm left with a pile of subpar building bricks I don't want mingling with my real Lego, wondering if it was all worth it.

Hit the jump for my complete review, complete with pictures taken by me. Please excuse the general crappiness of the pictures, as I loath photography, and as such have an extraordinarily terrible camera.

10 Sep 2012

A Thing That Probably Won't Happen. And If It Does, Will Probably Suck

Courtesy of Warner Bros
Regular readers will note... Ahahaha, I couldn't even get through that. Hello, random hobo using this site at the public library as quick cover while you actually watch grotesque pornography.

Anyway, you might have noticed I have given zero coverage to the new CW program, Arrow. And you might think this strange. It's an adaption of the Green Arrow character, my favourite hero from the DC universe. And it has recently cast John Barrowman, late of Torchwood, which considering my affection for Doctor Who might have been of interest. And yet, nothing. Why, you scream at the screen as the library's monitoring system shuts down your deviations, leaving you only with this site as cold comfort for your wine and cigarette butt-addled mind. Why, you may also ask, no Arrow coverage?

It's because I have no faith in the series. None. If I ever watch it, it will be well into the run, letting review and consensus and wild internet yelly time wash over me. I'm not going to invest interest in a show that has already done nothing to make me think this is going to work out. They've changed the title to Arrow, because it's not easy being green? They've introduced a character that has a similar name to the long time love interest of the Green Arrow, the Black Canary (whom I expect this show to call just Canray) but it isn't really her. Or it is, or something. They've cast a Bat-family character to appear on the show, despite the only connection between her and Green Arrow is that she was in the Birds of Prey with Black Canary, who see the previous comment. And, and I cannot stress this enough, Smallville was terrible.

Soul crushingly terrible. And yes, I know, it's from different creators, and different writers, but Smallville already ruined Green Arrow once (or more accurately, ruined Batman by calling him Green Arrow). And it's still the CW. They make a certain kind of show, for a certain audience. A more female based, more teenage aged audience. Things tend to lean to the melodramatic, relationship drama, low budget for superheroes end of things. With less then stellar writing, and even worse acting. They make shows starring pretty people who are sad, and then happy, and then end with popular music. It's a formula that works for them. It also makes for some pretty bad TV.

Which is why it is sad that they have ordered a Wonder Woman script, titled Amazon (CALL IT WHAT IT IS!) that will "focus on Wonder Woman as a young budding superhero, rather than a fully formed defender of liberty." Which I read to mean, Wonder Woman in the 17-21 age bracket, possibly posing as a college student or some stupid thing like that. And she'll probably be wearing pants. Or not. Steven Trevor will undoubtedly be a professor's TA or something equally stupid.

The good news is, it's being written by Allan Heinberg, a writer on books like Young Avengers, Teen Titans, and briefly Wonder Woman, as well as TV shows like Sex and the City, The O.C. and Party of Five. So, we'd probably be the right guy for the job. Except I'd rather see Keri Russell in an adaptation of Brian Azzarello's most recent run on Wonder Woman, then have Diana turned into fodder for yet another late teens relationship drama.

Warner Bros, which owns DC Comics, also owns the CW. So, the company's properties ending up there makes as much sense as Marvel's ending up on ABC. And the CW certainly is willing to give DC properties more of a chance then anyone else, having made three (Smallville, Birds of Prey, Arrow) into series, and ordering pilots on a couple others. I just wish they didn't have such a narrow mandate. And, you know, made better TV.

Could be worse, though. It could be on NBC.

Via Den of Geek.

In Which The Author Realises That He Is Old

I'm not a vain man. Someone as disgruntled as myself has no time for vanity. But do you know the very worst thing about working with children, of any age bracket? The constant reminder that you are old. Every year, a new batch of children the same age, and yet every year, the remind gets louder and louder. I thought it was bad when they weren't alive for the theatrical release of Jurassic Park. Then Toy Story. It's gotten to the point where children I encounter on a daily basis have seen the Harry Potter movies, but never read the books.

It's not just kids. It's time itself. 20 years ago last Wednesday, Batman: The Animated Series premiered on FOX.

20 years. I need to sit down.

Besides being in the top three of best animated series ever, BtAS holds the distinction of being the best version of Batman, ever. Period. I'm going out on a limb, and saying better even then the comics that inspired it. I know I'd rather sit down and watch a couple episodes (which I blissfully own on DVD, and so should all of you) then read the majority of the comics.

Born of the Batmania that followed the release of the Michael Keaton/Tim Burton Batman films of the early nineties, thankfully the popularity of the character was the only thing that carried over (besides the theme music and the unfortunate design of the Penguin). The series quickly set up it's own world, and wonderfully (and somewhat uniquely) never gave an origin episode for the Dark Knight. The series starts mid stream, and you know what? You don't need one. Because everything you need to know about Batman is explained wordlessly in the opening sequence, which easily places in the top three of title sequences on TV, ever. Not just cartoons, all of TV. It is simply a masterpiece. Seriously, it never even says the title of the show. It shows you the show, inside a minute. For a fantastic analysis of the opening, read this.

And Bruce Timm and Paul Dini's take on the character would have far reaching influences. Besides providing us the definitive version of Batman, it also gave us the very best actor to ever play Batman, the very best actor to ever play the Joker, the best Batman movie (until Batman Begins came along) and birthed an entire universe that stretched from that somewhat bizarre beginning in 1992 with On Leather Wings, to the Superman Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and culminated in the almost fiendishly magnificent Justice League series. Add to that creating characters like Harley Quinn, which have went on to permeate every other version of the DCU, to an art style that is simple, and iconic. And continues to be an influence on the DC collective, from the direct-to-video films, to the video games, and the comics.

So, happy birthday Batman. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go sit in the corner and weep, while memories of the past slip into oblivion...

Via ComicsAlliance.

Read, For Free, The Dredd Prequel Comic

Dredd, opening next weekend, is the second adaptation of the character Judge Dredd, from the British comics series 2000AD. The first adaptation, starring Sylvester Stallone, can be at best described as a "loose adaptation", and at worst, "absolute crap". Since I've yet to see the new version, starring Star Trek's Karl Urban and Game of Thrones' Lena Headey, I can't speak to it's quality. But it looks, at least, like the makers actually read an issue of the book before starting production (actually, Urban, the force behind getting the film made, specifically wanted to make it as faithful as possible, because of the crappiness of the former film).

And now, for free, we can find out everything we need to know about Dredd before going into the film. I'm not usually big on comic book prequels, as their qualities vary. But seven hells, this one is free, so why not give it a read.

Via Comics Alliance.

[Review] - Doctor Who, Series 7 Episode 2, "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship"

Courtesy of the BBC
Is it wrong that I feel you can just ignore the existence of last week's episode, and pretend that this is the series seven premier? Because nothing carries over. As I said last week, the Pond's troubles were self contained contrived drama. This episode sees the Doctor return to them after an extended time apart, and really kicks things off with a bang. Except for whatever the implications are with Oswin, and far future dealings with the Daleks, I think Asylum was largely a bottle episode, and one I'm content to throw into the ocean.

Because this week there were dinosaurs! On a spaceship! With cheeky robots, and the janitor from Harry Potter!

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which were saved from extinction by an ancient and compassionate race.

7 Sep 2012

Star Trek Turns 46

You cannot deny, Star Trek is one of the most influential television shows ever, if not them most influential television show ever. Ask any engineer, astronomer, physicist or scientist working in or around space, and chances are the reason they got into that line of work was because of Star Trek.

The technologies that exist today because of the show, no matter their level of cultural integration (cellphones, air-compression subdermal injectors, international translators) are staggering. Staggering enough that there is an entire show devoted to it on Discovery. Even the X Prize has settled on McCoy's medical tricorder as it's next great innovation. The show has become fully integrated into the modern culture, to the point that words like 'phaser', 'warp speed', 'beam me up' and 'klingon' are used by everyone, whether they've watched the show or not. And, how many philosophy majors first heard of logic via Spock? I know I did (heard of logic, not have a major in philosophy - I'm not that foolish).

Well, today, the show celebrates it's 46th anniversary. To celebrate the show that gave us William Shatner, Leonard Nemoy and (bizarrely more popular now then ever before) George Takei, I'm going to spare you the five thousand words on how the show influenced my life, and give you bloopers.

Because actors falling over is funny as all get out.

Craig Remains Bond, James Bond

Despite the financial difficulties they faced, and the seemingly endless delays, Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film arrives in October, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the franchise. And, until now, it might have been the last to star Daniel Craig. Not any longer, as Craig has extended his contract to include two more films, bringing him up to Bond 25.

The assumption is, there will be a new Bond film every two years from this point out. I think that's a bit much, for both the franchise and the actors, but we'll use it as the minimum value. At this rate, Craig will be at least 48 years old when he (presumably) exits the role. That's only three years older then when Roger Moore made his first appearance as Bond.

The others compare thusly: Connery was 53, Moore was 57, Dalton was 42, and Brosnan was 49 when they exited the series. Honestly, so long as they are able to keep up with the action (which Moore wasn't really able to, by the time he made A View to A Kill), their ages shouldn't really matter.
Via Den of Geek.

Watch The Doctor And Amy Pond Have A Drug Induced Fit Of Some Kind

I think this video makes it very clear why Matt Smith and Karen Gillian became such good friends while working on Doctor Who together: at least one of them has access to some very powerful drugs (my bet would be Smith, but it also seems a bit too obvious). How else would you explain their rendition of the Doctor Who theme, complete with what can only be described as "movements". I think someone needs to sit them down, and watch them until they stop "seeing the vortex".
Via Topless Robot.
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