Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I also have it on pretty good authority (from non-Marvel sources) who the new director will be. But I'm going to keep that to myself for now. Let's just say that if this director does it, me and every other X-Men fan will be thrilled! However, if it is true, we'll have to wait a little longer as the movie will not be ready in time for Memorial Day next year. They'd wait and be shooting for next Christmas instead. (And while Joss Whedon's name keeps popping up, that's not who I hear it is.)
Should be interesting to see how this one plays out...
Monday, May 30, 2005
NERDS now make Gumballs! And Dubbel Bubbel has teamed up with Atomic Warheads to put out four nice, new, sour flavors of gum - Lemon, Apple, Cherry and Berry!
And does anyone remember Alexander the Grape and Johnny Appletreats (or were they Appleseeds)? Mac mentioned these this weekend and I had all but erased their names from my memory until she said the magic words. I know Lemonheads and Atomic Fireballs are still around, but can you still get these?
Friday, May 27, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
I'm happy to inform all my readers that the one-of-a-kind Mighty Skullboy Army candy dish is now back in my possession. A fixture in my Marvel office until MacKenzie gave up sugar, the dish was put to good use in the Brevoort office until recently. Marvel's move to newer, classier offices prompted the editorial team to begin using a bigger and swankier, albeit inferior, candy dish in their upgraded digs. Rather than let Skullboy collect dust and wallow in obscurity, he is now back in action here in the confines of my new home office.
For those not in the know, The Mighty Skullboy Army is one of the funniest comics out there today. Written and drawn by Jacob Chabot, who also did the original design on the candy dish for a small fortune, MSA is a comic you should all be reading. Check out the website at http://www.beetlebugcomics.com/ for more info.
Jacob will be set up in Artists Alley at Wizard World Philadelphia next weekend , June 3-5, so please drop by and see him. Hopefully he'll have a new Skullboy mini comic on sale. Check it out!
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Crash - Really enjoyed this one. A little heavy-handed and in-your-face in certain places with the racism, but a well-crafted film with some wonderful twists and turns. I'm looking forward to more from Paul Haggis. Highly recommended.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith - I'll be posting a full review of this shortly. I liked it better than Episode 1 and 2, but it was not without its flaws. I have some bigger problems with it in the context of the Star Wars mythos as a whole, but it did connect all the dots rather nicely.
The King Arthur DVD - I read an interview with the director last summer out at Ralph's pool where he told people to skip the PG movie in theaters and wait for the unrated DVD. (I'm sure the producers loved that!) So I did. And I'm glad I did. I didn't think this was that bad at all. I was actually pretty impressed. Grest design, nice action, good acting.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars DVD - Simply awesome! Run out and buy this now! The amazing thing is that 75% of it is silent and you don't even notice as the animation tells the story so well!
Lethal Weapon - A classic. I love this movie more each time I see it. The dynamic between Riggs and Mertuagh is perfect. Still one of Mel Gibson's best performances.
The CSI Season Finale - Directed by Quentin Tarantino based on his story. I'm not a big CSI guy but though this was pretty good. Definitely had a lot of Tarantinio-isms and kept you guessing. I hope QT does more TV.
Depserate Housewives Season Finale - A little disappointing actually. Somewhat predictable, I thought. There were a few things that caught me off guard, but otherwise, it was kind of a let down as the season's wrap-up.
Lost and Alias - Still kick ass. I can't wait until the season finales tomorrow, even though I know their cliffhangers are going to leave me waiting through the whole summer for answers.
Monday, May 23, 2005
"Geoff Johns is leaving The Flash!" (Which turned out to be true.)
"Claremont fired from Uncanny! Greg Pak taking over!" (Which Claremont knows nothing about.)
"Art Adams and Geoff Johns on All Star Batman after Miller and Lee!" (Which Geoff denies.)
So all of a sudden it's "Jeph Loeb and Art Adams on normal Superman/Batman!"
Ah, rumors... With Wizard World Philly less than two weeks away, the comics' summer season has pretty much officially begun. As we move from con to con over the next three months you can be sure all kinds of bullshit like this is gonna keep popping up. And Rich Johnston's Lying In The Gutters even returns this afternoon.
As much as we say we can't stand the gossip and speculation, who are we kidding? You know we love it! :)
Sunday, May 22, 2005
My favorite event... Bobbing for Buffalo Wings! They fill a kiddie pool with blue chesse dressing and toss in wings so you can dunk in and grab them with your teeth. Count me in!
Friday, May 20, 2005
Anyone that knows me is well aware of the fact that I'm not a gamer. I don't own any consoles and don't play online games. I have enough to do with my time as is and a PS2 or XBox would end my social life. Don't ever think of challenging me at Dig Dug though!
However, that may all change when the Ulitmate Spider-Man game comes out. Brian Bendis wrote it with Mark Bagley on designs and it tells a story in USM continuity that you will not get in the comics. I had a chance to play a demo in San Diego last summer and it was awesome then! It really is the comic book brought to life. That was 10 months ago and I hear it's even better now! Bendis just got back from E3 where it won an award for best game. He also sent over this pic of the booth...
Updated: I also just found out they even use Chris Eliopoulos' actual USM lettering fonts in the game to complete the experience!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
We get in and grab our seats and are chatting when all of a sudden my bud is like, "Wait a sec... 'And also with you'?! That's not the right reply. You said "May The Force Be With You" , not "Peace Be With You"!"
So yes, it seems that his wife has been spending a little too much time in church and not enough time with the Jedi.
Now all you ladies married to Star Wars fans take note, it's proper etiquette (and common knowledge) that you respond to "May The Force Be With You" with a simple "May The Force Be With You" back.
Not that I ever say that at home or anything...
And not just comic geeks... Star Wars geeks!
Hit the 12:01 show of Revenge of the Sith last night with some of the Marvel crew. Here's me and Randy "The Gent" Gentile showing off our matching evening wear. And no, we didn't call each other to coordinate...
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
You can see the teaser trailer for next year's Davinci Code movie here.
The Batman Begins site has put up the new TV spot that has Gary's Oldman's Commisoner Gordon actually speak. They also have up the first two minutes of the 10 minute clip from the film that they're going to show during Smallville tonight. Here's the link.
And don't forget that Quentin Tatantino is directing tomorrow's CSI finale!
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
As if the Tenjo Tenge manga wasn't already making enough waves here in the States, wait until these new toys hit over here. Check out the upper left hand corner of this ad. I'm sure this is what every mother wants their kid to have, a figure with "bouncing breast action".
Personally, I'd take that over kung-fu grip anyday!
Monday, May 16, 2005
Astonishing X-Men 10
Gotham Central 31
Green Lantern Rebirth 6
Ultimate FF 18
Adam Strange 8
Daredevil Redemption 4
Damn Nation 3
Desolation Jones 1
Battle Hymn 2
Conan JoG 2
Blade of the Immortal 101
Lex Luthor 3
Super Manga Blast 51
Y: The Last Man 33
Action 826 - 827
Adventures of Superman 639
Star Wars 23
Mary Jane 3
Rising Stars VOD 1
Ultimate Spider-Man 77
Power Pack 2
Shining Knight 2
Usagi Yojimbo 83
Villains United 1
Wonder Woman 215-216
Punisher The Cell 1
Marvel Team-Up 8
Full Metall Alchemist 1
Nodame Cantible 1
But I still can't find Dr. Slump 1!
"Drink the Kool-Aid. Wear blinders. Cover your ears. Because that's
the only way you can totally enjoy Revenge of the Sith -- the final
and most futile attempt from skilled producer, clumsy director and
tin-eared writer George Lucas to create a prequel trilogy to match the
myth-making spirit of the original Star Wars saga he unleashed
twenty-eight years ago."
Ouch! This one just pisses me off.
Me? I'm going in with blinders on!
""Revenge of the Sith" is the best of the four episodes George Lucas has directed. That's right: it's better than "Star Wars"!"
Now this is raising expectations to levels I'm uncomfortable with.
This was one film I had no intention of ever seeing. I even got an advanced screener copy last year and it has been sitting here waiting to be taped over. But it was on HBO the other day and Mutsumi started watching it, so who was I to tell her to stop. I guess my fake vomiting after seeing ten minutes didn't clue her in to my opinion of it. It's a bunch pretty people phoning in terrible acting performaces in a poorly written coming-of-age/love story. It hits all three Cs: cheesy, cliche and contrived.
Do not waste your time!
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
You know what? I couldn’t do it. Nope. And I felt really bad about it. I’d let myself down.
You see, in sixth or seventh grade, whenever it was the song first debuted, you weren’t cool if you couldn’t name everyone who sang on the track. This was a time when the coolest kid in school was the kid who knew the names of the most bands. And I don’t know why, but for me, I remember clearly that this status quo came into being in fifth grade. We all had those blue binder notebooks and tried to scribble the logos of as many band names as we could on them in blue ballpoint pen. The most common ones at school at that time were VH (for Halen, of course), AC/DC, Styx, Asia and Pink Floyd. But the kids with older siblings were always the ones with newer and hipper logos on their notebooks as they got their music information faster. This was technically cheating, but was accepted. So we searched where we could for band names and logos. And the one logo moment I most clearly recall was one day in the front of the lunch line. We were showing off our notebooks and mine was getting some hype as I had all kinds of band names from I don’t know where. Just then John Roberts walked over, looked down at my notebook, and took the wind out of my sails with one question: “Can you name five songs Black Sabbath sings?”
I looked down at my notebook knowing I was in trouble.
Yup, there was the Black Sabbath logo on my notebook.
Nope, I didn’t know a single Sabbath song at that point in my life.
So I reacted as any 12 year old kid would when cornered, I tried to turn it back on John. “No. But can you?”, I shot back with as much bluster as I could. And what did John do? He proceeded to name five songs and kept going. I had to ask him to stop. See, John was one of those kids with an older brother, a brother very much into music. John sealed his coolness right then and there as the lunch ladies hooked us up with Sloppy Joes and Jello. I looked like a chump.
And that’s the day the rules of the game changed. From that day forward, any band you wrote on your notebook… you had to be able to name at least five songs they could sing. We had taken things to the next level.
We Are The World up the ante even more.
Yes, it was only one song, but it was a popular song, and you had to name every voice that appeared on the song as they came on. What’s more, there was a video to go with it, so you had to know what each and every singer looked liked and name them all as they came on screen. (Wait a minute, was Dan Akroyd in that video?)
And I could do it. I could name every single voice and every single face, backwards and forwards. As sad as that sounds, it was the coolest thing a kid could do at that time... for all of a week. (Or did I just grow up in a lame town?)
But I can’t anymore. I know the lyrics but not the voices. Does that mean I’m no longer cool?
Some are still easy. Michael Jackson. Bruce Springsteen. Bob Dylan. Stevie Wonder. Steve Perry. Cyndi Lauper. I even got Willie Nelson. But who else was big in the 80s’ that contributed? I’ve been racking my brain out thinking back on the song trying to put my finger on the voices I know I know.
When was the last time you heard the We Are The World song? Can you name all the artists? Try it. Seriously, next time you hear the song, listen to it and try to identify everyone by voice alone. It’s harder then it sounds.
That’s all I really have to say on the subject. I have to go see if it’s available on iTunes now.
So we went birdwatching.
Now I'll pause for a second so that can sink in...
Yes, I went birdwatching.
And you know what, it was pretty fun. We hopped in a boat and headed out into the mysterious Caroni Swamp in Trinidad. Along the way we saw a silky anteater, boa constrictors, tree crabs and a whole mess of different birds - eggrets and herons and wrens and things.
However, the main focus of the trip was to get a look at the Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad, the only place in the world that it lives. Everyday, before sunrise, flocks of these Ibises head out from the swamps in search of food, then around sunset, they flock back in to roost. As it was nesting season, they weren't out in full force, but we did manage to see a few. These birds are the reddest creatures I have ever seen. They are so red it hurts your eyes. They really are beautiful. And Caroni Swamp is the only place you can see them. Yes, there are a few in captivity but they quickly wither to a pinkish color when they are not out in the wild.
There are 465 native speicies of birds to Trinidad. Many of the tourists who travel there are birdwatchers. Seeing the Scarlet Ibis gave me a little more appreciation of their hobby.
But I'm sure the birdwatchers still make fun of us comic geeks.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
One of the things we found interesting when we went out to a bar here and ordered drinks was that they wrapped one of the bottles in a cute napkin and put in a straw. Not sure what it was for, we unwrapped it, took out the straw and started drinking. But then we noticed something, all the women were drinking their beers from straws! So we asked about it and were told that here in Trinidad, most women drink their beers from straws and that's why they are served that way.
Sexism in serving alcohol?
The big news in Trinidad last week was not my arrival on the island, but that Michael Bolton was performing a sold out show there. Yes, he with his once-flowing locks/mullet is still popular, it seems.
So Mutsumi and I are out for our anniversary last Friday and get pretty hammered down in St. James, which is something like I guess what Bourbon St. in New Orleans is. It's where everyone goes to party. People are drinking and dancing in the streets. (I'll have the full report on that night and pics soon.) But anyway, we stay until 1ish, then head back to the hotel. Feeling up for one more drink, we hit the hotel's Carnival Bar (Contrary to popular belief, Carnival started in Trinidad, not Brazil.), only to learn we had just missed Michael Bolton, who was staying at the Hilton. Not that I have any great desire to meet the guy, but it would've been pretty funny to have a picture of him and me in Trinidad, I thought.
I'll digress a bit here, but you see, Michael B. used to own a restaurant in Fairfield, CT where I grew up. This was at the height of his popularlity and it was a pretty big deal. I can't remember the name of the place now, but a bucnh of my friends worked there and everyone said that Michael was a prick so I never really cared for the man or his music.
Anyway, it seems he's still a prick as the bartender and waiters at the Carival Bar seemed to be pretty down the guy and were bitching about him. They were joking and laughing that it would be funny to pull a prank on him and let his room number slip. Turns out it was the room right above mine. So in my drunken stupor, I told them I had an idea.
Originally I was going to post the hotel phone number and Bolton's room number on Millar's boards and ask people to crank call him, but I was sober enough to realize this was a bad idea as strangers could then call me too. So what I did was send out an e-mail with that info to a bunch of friends asking them to do it. I went to bed thinking this was going to be hilarious.
Then I woke up the next morning with one of those "Oh, why the hell did I do that?!" thoughts in my head. I felt stupid and figured everyone would just ignore my sloshed call to arms to screw with Michael. But they didn't.
It turns out a number of people did call him. And they left messages. Funny messages. I started reading what they had done and cracked up. My favorite message, left by a friend and colorist who shall remain nameless, was the entire Pat O'Brien sex tape. I now have this vision in my head of Michael Bolton, who still has long hair in my mind as it's funnier that way, sitting there in his room with the phone reciever held to his ear, listening to this man's voice telling him, "You're so hot... I want you so bad...", with this confused look on his face. It cracks me up every time.
Ah, the stupid things we do to make ourselves laugh.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Mutsumi and I've been looking for some good local food and saw that this dude in the gift shop was holding a bag from "Tobago's Best BBQ". So I walked over and struck up a conversation with him that went something like this:
Me: Hey, Tobabgo's Best BBQ! I've heard the barbeque down here is fantastic. Is that place any good?
Him: Yeah, man, it's good on de island. But this place be okay.
Him: But it's rather greasy and fatty. That's all good for me though.
(He pauses again as he checks me up and down. He smiles as he looks back at me.)
Him: But that may not be so good for you.
Anyway, I'm in an internet cafe place now and can post a few things, but when I get back to Trinidad tomorrow, I'll set up my laptop and regale you with the posts and notes I've been keeping along the way. Tales of Michael Bolton, facts about KFC, random ramblimgs about 80s' pop... it's all coming!
Friday, May 06, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I thought the first thing they teach you in cameraman school is don't ever zoom in on the chubby guy?!
Somewhere in Connecticut my brother is reading this and cracking himself up with an "I bet they needed a wide angle lense for that shot!" joke.
Our second TV appearence of the day...
They say the camera adds ten pounds, but in this shot I look about twice the size of our host all the way on the left there.
This interview actually went really well and we got to bullshit about comics for about an hour!
Philip Julien and I went on air bright and early this morning to promote the Heroes Foundation, a local non-profit organization here whose mission it is to provide a source of inspiration for the youth of Trinidad and Tobago by fostering an appreciation of local achievers and the concept of heroism. The Foundation is sponsoring a convention this week and invited me down to meet local artists and to speak and inspire the children here about pursuing careers in art and writing.
I got over my nerves pretty quickly and the half hour talk show went well. I just tried to ignore the cameras and pretend I was on a panel at a con speaking to comic fans. Easy as pie!
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Not much to report though. We're here. Flight was cool. Hotel is nice. It's hot as hell.
So we get on the plane and take off. It was a little bumpy at first but smoothed out quickly. They served us drinks and we found out that although we needed our passports and are travelling to a foreign country, Continental does not consider this an "international flight". We ended up shelling out five bucks a pop for Bloody Marys. Oh, well...
Then we get settled in and the stewardess comes on the speakers. "Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to announce today's featured video presentation will be the blockbuster action hit... ELEKTRA!" Arrrggghh!! No! Of all the luck...
I read the Star Wars articles in Time and Wired instead. Great stuff! Episode III is going to kick so much ass! Remember, it's Cebulski guaranteed!
I slept a few hours but woke up for dinner service. Yes, they still serve food on some planes, I guess. I was surprised as well. And I have to say, it was one of the best meals I've ever had on a flight! It was a sliced BBQ pork sandwich with manchego or gruyere and it was really damn good! And instead of ketchup or mayo, they gave us Cholula hot sauce in the little packs. Awesome! I even complimented the stewardess on her culinary skills.
We landed. The guy at Immigration was a dick and Customs took forever. We eventually made it to the hotel and had a light dinner. We hit the Carnivale Bar for cocktails and tried a selection of local beers. I prefered Stag and Carib, both lighter beers but both $1.50 U.S. each. You can't beat that! Mutsumi had a Trini Cosmo which was rather potent.
Now it's off to bed. I haven't been up before 8AM in years. This should be fun...
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
My mom came into to pick up Lotto and Clyde as Mutsumi and I are heading to Trinidad tomorrow. She surprised us with an early anniversary gift, a cool Kosta Boda vase with tulips, Mutsumi's favorite flowers. We'll be celebrating eight years together this Friday, May 6th.
Thanks, Mom! Now I've got to do something special to one up you though!
The general gist of the story is that due to rapid cloning and in vitro births, before you get romantically involved with someone, you have to be screened to make sure you don't share any similar DNA. If you do, no relationship, no love. You're forbidden from seeing each other. If you do choose to secretly date or procreate, you've broken the law, You're in violation of Code 46. So there are lots of cool angles that could've been played up in the film about forbidden love, following your heart, and getting what you truly want. Well, they tried to make something out of this, but ultimately failed.
What happens is that basically Tim Robbins is an investigator trying to track down a criminal who is forging fake travel documents. He has taken an empathy virus so he can read people's minds to a limited extent. (Another cool idea they did not really use to their advantage.) He finds out that Samantha Morton's character did it, but he falls in love with her and does not turn her in. Instead they have a one night stand, he collars the wrong guy and lets her go free. Then, in a nutshell, he eventually discovers that Samantha Morton is a clone of his mother (wha...huh?) and that she's pregnant with his baby and they've violated Code 46. They try and escape to "the outside" but are eventually caught. He has his memories of her erased and she's exiled into the desert. Yes, there's a little more to it than this, but the above summary is all you need to know. Oh, and it all takes place in Shanghai, which is an enclosed city to keep the bad poor folk out.
The movie is SLOW. Bo-ring! It moves at a snail's pace as we watch these two make goo-goo eyes at each other, talk in this weird dialect of all the romance languages jumbled together with Chinese, and "supposedly" fall in love. Their acting left me unconvinced. Yes, it has its moments, but they are few and far between. Tim Robbins is great, very loose and cool, but that's when he's alone. When he's in scenes with her he becomes totally unlikeable. But the movie's biggest problem is Samantha Morton. Yes, she's a great actress, and yes, she looks good in interviews and appearences. So why the hell does she look so hideous in every movie I've seen her in? They cut off her hair and try to make her look as god awful as can be. As the lead of the film and main love interest, she looks so bad you have absolutely no attraction to her. You can't sympathize with her. You can't feel for her. You really just want them to catch her and lock her up so you don't have to see her again. Please, someone put this woman in a role where she can live up to her potential!
So no, I don't recommend this movie. Don't even bother to watch it on cable.
SWALLOW is available from IDW for $16.99. It's worth every penny!
Sounds like this guy's smarter than all of us.
My favorite quote: "Some girls say it's weird that he's still here, but the bottom line is they all want him."
Oh, how I longed to hear that as I struggled to get my degree.
You know what bothers me most though? They're refering to him as the "real world Van Wilder". Doesn't anyone remember Bluto from Animal House? Kids these days...
Monday, May 02, 2005
Check out Japander here!
It's comphrensive as hell and has most of my old favorites - Sly Stallone hawking ham, Dennis Hopper pushing bubble bath and Arnold with Rie Miyazawa selling energy drinks. The only one they're missing is Charles Barkley's Buta Kimchi Super Cup ad, but I think I still have it on tape somewhere.
I was really thrilled to find out that they had all the Harrison Ford Kirin Beer ads.
Click here to see Han Solo tossing down some cold ones!
Yes, watching AVP made me want to go back and check out the original Alien. And you know what? It's still awesome!
I actually watched it with Ridley Scott's 1999 commentary track this time and it was amazing. Some commentaries are such bullshit with the actors and director just talking and laughing about what a good time they had on the set, but Ridley was so informative. I learned so much about this film as he gives you insight on everything from the script to the casting to the production design to the special effects to Giger to the minatures. As it was only his second film, I never realized how low budget Alien was because to this day it still does not look it all. Even he says that it's a testament to how much pride and care the cast and crew put into every aspect of the movie. It was really just fascinating. Highly recommended!
There was one point where Ridley was talking about how one day he really wants to go back and make Alien 5 or 6. I found myself shouting "Then why don't you?! Please!!" at the screen.
Wait, she gets paid to attend parties in Japan? Maybe I've found my new calling? Hell, I'd do it for free Asahi Super Dry and sake!
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The New West 1
Lullaby 1 and 2
The Imaginaries 1
Shaolin Cowboy 2
Legion of Superheroes 5
The Pact 1
The Losers 23
Hunter Killer 2
New Avengers guest starring the FF military special
Phoenix Endsong 5
Easy Way 1
I didn't hate it. I actually kind of enjoyed it.
Let me start by saying I went into this film with the lowest of expectations. Most people I know flat out detested it. They warned me from going when it was in theaters. Then they laughed their asses off when I bought the DVD. But as a huge Aliens fan and Predator buff, I had to see it. So I popped it in last night and was pleasantly surprised.
Yes, the overall story was paper thin and even though they say they had the strictest respect for both properties, I do question some of the continuity. I remember McKee saying something about how so many directors end up sacrificing story just so they can include some cool visuals. I felt that this movie did have a lot of that and suffered some for it. Things could have made a little more sense if the director hadn't been there going "Yeah, that makes sense but wouldn't it look so much cooler if we just did this instead?"
The Aliens looked cool and the Predators were just bad ass, and that's pretty much what this movie was supposed to be about, right? I thougth they did a great job with all the costumes and creature effects, especially with the Predators. The one thing that irked me a little was that I felt that first big main fight between the Alien and Predator was hard to follow. They could have shot or cut it better to make it more clear. The negative influence of the MTV school of quick cuts strikes again. But all and all I was like a kid again whenever they were on screen.
One thing that really impressed me was the production design. The way they built and designed the alien temple was pretty damn hot. All the markings and statues and hieroglyphics with the Alien and Predator designs them carved in... they did their homework there. It was a great film to look at! I felt the pacing really worked too. They built it up and then pulled you into that maze and kept you interested as you followed the twists and turns.
I've heard all kinds of complaints about the acting. I didn't find it all that bad. The lead, Sanaa Lathan, did a pretty good job for her first role in a major motion picture, I thought. No complaints from me. Yes, some of the minor roles could have been better cast, but the humans really weren't the stars of the flick anyway.
All in all, I would recommend this to any Aliens or Predator or sci-fi fan. However, I'd also recommend watching it with the mind that it's a standalone adventure set outside of continuity, like an alternate reality story. It's worth the rental for the designs and visuals alone.