Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Nathan Fillion Series

Normally my headings are something clever. Something I put a lot of thought into. I could have used "Mal Hits The Road", or "Firefly Gets New Horsepower", but I didn't like either. Instead, I got straight to the point.

Drive, according to TV.com "follows the lives of a group of Americans racing each other in a sinister and possibly mortal cross-country race. Each has a special reason to compete - and each must win."

Sounds interesting? Yeah. Not very. In fact, if Nathan Fillion wasn't involved, I would have forgotten it even existed already. The fact that Tim Minear is creator and executive producer helps too. In case you're not aware, Tim was one of the guys that gave us the short lived, but hugely popular Firefly series, along with Joss "Is My Master Now" Whedon.

The premise of the show sounds far too close to the madcap comedy movie Rat Race. Everyone racing across the continent to get to some far-off finish line. But they don't even know where the finish line is!?! To illustrate the point, Nathan played a little game at a recent convention. He gave two con attendees half of his boarding pass each and told them to find a specific dealer in the dealer's room, but no information about where that dealer may be. He texted the dealer from his mobile phone and informed him to give the first person to show up with half his boarding pass a free book.

I'm looking forward to seeing this, but only because of the main actor and creators previous track record. I'll post my verdict on the actual series once I've seen it. For now, get excited. Or not.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Assistance Required

Does anyone know if you can do static pages on Blogger? I want to do stuff that won't immediately appear on the blog, but that I can link to from the sidebar or with in a post. Mainly I want it for doing short stories, or so that only the first few paragraphs of a particularly long post will show up, and you can click on if you're interested.

As always, any help is appreciated.

Are You Watching Closely?

Last night Claire and myself went over to hang out at Noels place for a few hours. With nothing much to do for the evening, we decided to watch "The Prestige", which Hazel had picked up on DVD. I love the movie, having had the extreme pleasure of seeing it in a crowded cinema, and was happy to watch it again, knowing the outcome and watching for clues.

About half and hour in I realised I was the only one in the room who had seen it! Noel, Hazel and Claire all missed it in the cinema. I was the only one aware of how it all fell together.

So we all sat in silence and took in the master storytelling, the crisp cinematography and the stunning acting. We enjoyed the twists and turns, the jumps back and forth between characters reading about characters reading diary's, the shifts in loyalties and friendships, the pledge, the turn and the prestige.

Maybe it was the fact that I was so wrapped up in the story when I saw it the first time, or maybe that I hadn't heard anything about the movie before seeing it; maybe it was that I foolishly didn't expect there to be a twist, or that when we got one, I thought that was it, but whatever it was, when I first saw "The Prestige", I didn't see the ending coming at all. Last night, the others had the big reveal twigged from the start! I'm not going to clarify what that is here, that would be ridiculous. Just watch the damned movie if you haven't already. It's great fun, even if you get nothing else from it. I will say that if, like the others last night, you do figure it all out early on, then the movie can still be eminently enjoyable. It graduates from "What's going to happen?" to "How is it going to happen?" and both are equally as entertaining to see play out.

I loved seeing the movie a second time. All the little threads from throughout the story reveal themselves far more clearly.

We have also decided that Christopher Nolan should be hired to bring the joy of Dirk Gently to the silver screen. Admittedly, the humour of the series isn't what Chris is known for, but who better than the man that gave us Memento and The Prestige to direct the twists and turns of Dirks adventures??

While "researching" (thank you Wikipedia) about Nolan and Gently I discovered that Nolan is bringing the old British series "The Prisoner" to the big screen and the wonderful BBC have commissioned a radio play of Dirk Gently to be broadcast as three series of six episodes each, the first airing in October of this very year! Better yet, a guy named Dirk Mags is in charge, and I've heard his radio plays of "Batman: Knightfall" and "Superman: Doomsday and Beyond". I have every faith that these new radio plays will rock as much as his other work.

I am so happy right now, nothing could ruin this day... what's that?? Essays, you say? Nope. Sorry. Won't work. I'll do them tomorrow. No money? Meh. I'll survive. Nothing good in the cinema? I have DVDs. I have to wait seven months to hear the radio plays? Ok. Shut up now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

TMNT

I needn't tell you that I'm looking forward to the new movie. I've always been a fan of the lean, green, fighting machines. I own all three of the live action movies on DVD!! How many of you out there can say that, huh?!? Ok. How many of you out there would actually admit to that? Yeah. Thought not.

Anyway, I stumbled (quite literally!) onto this just this just now. It's a small featurette on the upcoming CG movie, and it looks better and better. Sarah Michelle Gellar sounds nice as April O'Neill, and I don't even recognise Chris Evans as Casey Jones. Entertainment News International did a huge thing on the cast and primary crew of the movie recently, and if you scroll down to the voices of the Turtles themselves, you'll be hard pressed to identify any of the actors just by name. Some of their work is recognisable, but that's about it. All great casting choices though, from what I've seen and heard so far!!

Enjoy the featurette if you're interested. If you already have you mind set on seeing this, you might not want to watch it, and that's cool. There are no plot spoilers, but it does show a good bit of action. On the other hand, if you're not yet sure about the new look and style, then this should help you decide. It makes me want to see it even more, but equally I can see that if you're looking for something closer to the classic cartoon, then this might not be what you're after.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Moo! Moo I Tell You!

Way back when I started this blog thing, I developed a nasty (some might say, "stalker-like") habit of copying Cian. He started a blog, I started a blog. He got a Flickr account, I got a Flickr account. Well, that's it really. But they happened close together...

Anyway, I realised about a week ago that I hadn't done anything to copy him recently, so I started thinking. Move to Dublin? Nah. Too many toys to move house now. Grow some facial hair? Tried it. Didn't work. I'll post the results soon enough. Work in the computer industry? Eh. No. Start taking lots of really cool, quality photos? That would require talent, time, effort and drive. I suffer from a chronic lack of all of these things.

What ever could I do?

And then I remembered Cian showing me these! Moo Cards. He had gotten a set and showed me them. They were really nice. Granted, he had great images to start with, but the cards were so cute, and I really wanted them. Plus, they accept PayPal, and I had some credit in my account, so it wasn't even going to cost me anything (hush, I'm trying to justify to myself buying these when I can't afford to eat! Be quiet)!

Anyway, long story short, with the blessing and help of Claire I picked ten images out of the 500 plus photos I have up on my Flickr account to turn into Moo cards and sent off the order through the wonder of digital transfer systems.

They arrived back today through the slightly less wonderful snail-mail postal services. They came out really cool, as you can see. I have more up on Flickr. If you would like me to send you one, send me a message, either through this blog, my Flickr account, or if you know my email address, use that!! I can't guarantee I'll get it to you immediately. I can't afford food, so stamps are kinda low on the priority scale right now!

Anyway. That's it for now. Later!

More Pictures, More Updates

I posted a bunch of new photos on Flickr today, but also played with some of the new additions to the site that they have introduced since last I tried tampering with my sets and layout.

New photos include food, friends and funny stuff. And I have two Collections now as well, Toys and BBQ, making use of the brand new feature.

Flickr continues to prove it's awesomeness, and I still love it. It's already been worth ever cent I spent on it, and I have another year to go before I have to renew it, so that's great!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

1941-2007?

When comic stores opened across America on Wednesday, the 7th of March, readers were unaware of the shocking moment they were about to bare witness too. Too often in comics, due to their nature, fanbase and the necessity to print weeks in advance to ensure delivery, secrets get out. Rarely are readers thrown an unexpected twist.

But this Wednesday was to be different. While all the focus was on Spider-Man Back In Black, or the brand new line-up for the Fantastic Four, no-one was watching Captain America. Why would they? At the end of Civil War he was remanded into custody on his own decision. His mask was in the hands of Punisher, and Steve Rogers, the man best know as the symbol of Truth, Justice and the American Way in Marvel comics, was under lock and key.

No-one saw this coming. There were no rumours. There were no leaks. There was just shock. In Issue 25 of the current run of Captain America, Steve Rogers received four gunshots to the torso that ultimately proved fatal.
The reaction has been incredible. CNN have done a piece on it, interviewing Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada, among others. Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, aged 93 years, has stated that he is shocked, and feels that Steve is needed more now than ever before.

Before reading the issue in question, I had my theories. It could have been ex-head of SHIELD, the now rogue Nick Fury and an LMD (Life Model Decoy). It could be a clone, a hologram, a trick to put Steve under-ground. And it still might be. When I read the issue and confirmed it for myself, I texted a few people I thought might have interesting opinions on the issue. Unanimously, the verdict from all (and I texted quite a few people) was, "meh. He'll be back within six months". And while I might argue the limited time-span, I can't argue the inevitability. That's why there's a question mark in this posts title!

Look at Colossus. Awesome death that held incredible meaning. Left for five years, and brought back. Captain Americas' boy sidekick, Bucky. Dead, dead, dead, until he returned as the Winter Soldier. Superman. Okay, we all knew that one was temporary. Not a chance they were going to off the Big Blue Boyscout. And don't get me started on Jean Grey!! Or any number of the X-Men. Wolverine and Cyclops are as bad. And Magneto?!? I remember someone once joking that his secondary mutation was an uncanny ability to die, but find the loophole to bring him back. Copies, fakes and "I got better" have all been used.

So why write about it? Why talk about something that even I have to agree will be thought of as "Hey, remember that time they actually tried to kill Captain America? Fun times, fun times..." Well, it's all in the telling.

Ed Brubaker has written a powerful tale of honour and glory, mixed through the mud of blood and sorrow. Discovery and loss, love and pain. He tells it with passion and grace. Even when I knew what was coming, turning the page and seeing it was still a shock. It was, pardon the expression, well executed. Steve's reaction was pure Steve. And I could feel the power of the moment coming off the page, especially as he began to slip away. Remember, I'm a bit of a fan of Captain America, so seeing this really hit me.

Of course, it's not all Eds work. The art of Steve Epting is fantastic. I haven't heard his name much before, but he really does this story justice. From the opening black'n'white to the closing, final image, he shows what he's made of.

So that's it. He's gone. And I have to admit, the Marvel Universe suddenly got just a little darker, a little scarier than it was yesterday. But I think Alan Moore said it best in the pages of Top Ten. I have to paraphrase, as the original text referred to a female, but here goes:

Eulogy for a Hero.

As we gather to remember the hero so nobly giving of his life so that others might live, merciful Lord, accept this, our brother, into thy bosom until such time as, in thy infinite wisdom, he may be cloned, reincarnated, or otherwise revived.
This we ask, in thy name.
Amen.

Steve Rogers 1941-2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Comics Wizard

So I popped into town today and nabbed the newest issue of Wizard. I get it every month, or at least every month my local comic store gets it in. Usually I leaf through the pages, stopping occasionally to stare at the pretty pictures. All in all, I "read" the magazine in a half hour or so.

But this issue has tonnes of interesting tid-bits!! It's just full of useful information. Pity none of it counts towards my college degree.

I've been excited about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie since they put up the first teaser trailer. Actually, I've been interested in it since long before that. Since the first rumours of a John Woo, CG movie were circulating. That's a while ago. Anyway, Wizard revealed some of the cast I had never thought to look up! Sarah Michelle Gellar as April O'Neill, which helps explain why she's a kick ass ninja herself now! Fantastic Fours Chris Evans (not the ginger one!) has been perfectly matched to the voice of Casey Jones. Nice. And Patrick "Professor Charles Jean-Luc Xavier Picard" Stewart will lend his distinctive voice talents to the main villain of the piece, Max Winters. I had already heard that Mako, voice of Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender as well as tonnes of other roles, had recorded his dialog for the Turtles sensei, Splinter. He passed away just days after they made the announcement of his involvement.

This next bit of news is for my good friend, Sharon. I would say that she'll be shocked to read this, but I texted her about it as soon as I found out, so reading it here will be nothing new. New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult is taking the helm of the Wonder Woman comic. Yeah, ok. I've never read anything by her, but Sharon swears by her, so she must be good. I trust her choice of authors, because she's the one who told me to read "Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, and that's awesome.

Ian McShane, of Deadwood and Lovejoy fame will be voicing Captain Hook in the third outing for the Shrek series. That's far more exciting than Justin Timberlake as Prince Artie.

Sounds like Marvel is taking things to a new level in the aftermath of Civil War. Wizard lists 50 ways that these events have forever changed the face of Marvel comics. And these aren't insignificant trivialities to take up a few pages. All 50 are important changes, and if Marvel live up to the potential, it could change the way their universe is written. That's a big "if" though.

There is lots more cool stuff in the magazine. It makes an interesting change from just "all the pretty pictures".

Suprize!

I have found the coolest website of the week just now, and contributed to it as well. Digital Doodle is a wonderful site with a simple idea. Draw anything on the doodle-board and have it included in the vast collection. There is a "Hot Topic" kind of thing on the side that you can do, but you're not forced to. That's my entry for "Aliens" right there on the side.

And before anyone comments that I misspelled "Surprise" (I know you're out there, Mark), he's an alien, and doesn't speak our language, so it's a poor attempt at illustrating that. Be grateful, I was going to use "Supplies!!"

Contribute a doodle and I'll be happy to vote on it, and please vote on mine too!

As a matter of fact, while we're on this subject, that's the rough style of art I'm going for in my upcoming webcomic. A stick-figure with more detailed head and hands. You like?!?