Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thanks to All My Readers

I'm starting to get a steady number of readers daily, and I really appreciate it. I enjoy writing just for the fun of it, but to know that I'm getting a regular amount of readers daily just makes me want to do it more.

I really love movies and dissecting them inside and out. Hopefully in the future I get to write a book, several, hehehe. I'm using this blog as practice, so all kinds of critiques are always helpful.

Please continue to leave comments, and even leave ideas for future articles if you've got them. Always check past articles. You never know what you might find you like.

I'm working on turning some of my posts into Podcasts. I even have a theme song picked out and all, just got to get on it.

Thank you all for reading.

Suggested readings for the movie fan:

Screenplay by Disney
Juno: The Shooting Script (Newmarket Shooting Scripts)
The celluloid closet: Homosexuality in the movies (Triangle classics)
Writing Television Sitcoms (revised)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fan Boys of the Universe - A Bumpy Start

After trials and tribulations, we finally meet:
the final volume of Wolverine and the X-Men, and Ed
I got a gig writing for a blog called Fan Boys of the Universe, a blog for gay geeks. Last week they gave me my first assignment and were going to mail me the DVD I was intended to review.

I was so excited. Not only did I get to write for them, they were sending me DVDs. That made me so happy. When my partner Mark found out, he kept asking me to request more DVDs, but I'm taking this gig day by day. Or day by gay.... hehehhe.

So they sent the DVD out on tuesday, Wolverine and the X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy, and I didn't recieve anything from them that week. It didn't help that Mark and I were enjoying our new Netflix subscription or that we purchased both Pokemon Season 1 and the Ultimate Watchmen Blu Ray boxset. It was payday, gimme a break.

I finally wrote to Chance - my contact to Fan Boys of the Universe - about the whereabouts of the DVD he sent me. Supposedly our neighbors, the car insurance place, signed for it and it was in their office... for 6 days!!! Can you believe that? Is it so hard to go next door and be like, oh I have your package?

So I got my DVD finally and reviewed it. Working on the article right now which should be posted over at their blog in the future. In the meantime, check out Fan Boys of the Universe. I linked it enough times, right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Movie Affect - How Does it Affect You?

Whenever my friend Brian tells me he's seen a movie that I plan to watch and haven't had a chance to, I immediately put my fingers to my lips and tell him to "shhhhhh." I don't want to hear his opinion yet, and it's not that I don't ever want to hear his opinion, it's that I don't want his opinion to affect my viewing experience.

We all do it. We all let outside forces affect how we watch the movies we watch. It's all right though. We can't help it. The people in charge of marketing a film makes it their job to affect how we view movies way before we sit in a theater, or pick up that DVD at the store. Sometimes we won't watch a film unless it's in the top ten that week. We assume that since so many people are watching it, that it must be good; or the other way around, that because no one is watching it, it must be really bad.

The people in charge of marketing watch a film and then try to figure out how to market said film to the lowest common denominator. And who can blame them? We live in such an ADD world; one of the most popular animated shows on TV is Family Guy. With that in mind, who could trust some of the trailers and posters that are released for movies? I'm not saying that all trailers and posters can be misleading, but sometimes we as an audience really let that sway our decisions on wether or not we should watch said movie.

I hate the preconceived notion that just because a movie has a low audience attendance, that it's a bad movie. To anyone who's seen The Star Wars Prequels, you know very well that a high attendance does not make a good film. The Bratz movie was pulled from theaters due to low attendance, but it's not a bad movie, especially if you're the demographic it was created for. I mean come on, it wasn't Gigli. A low attendance means just that, a low attendance. A movie cannot be judged if is not seen.

You want to know how to decide wether or not you should watch a movie? Check out the director. Are you a fan? Most likely you will have a good experience. Do you admire the writer? Check it out. You might find something you'll like. Just sit back and enjoy. Watch the movie. Don't let the movie watch you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse - New Supergirl Movie?

Now I was a little excited reading about this title on Amazon, especially when I saw that Kara Zo-rel was on the cover; Supergirl herself. I got more excited when I watched the trailer and realized that this movie was based on the origin story of Supergirl. I read those issues when they were released in graphic novel form. I even bought the hardcover copy of it. It was one of the best written Supergirl stories and really helped re-envision her into the modern DC world.

I am a little disappointed to see that Supergirl's role in the movie feels greatly downplayed. As is Wonder Woman's who plays a huge role in the graphic novel as well.

Now I'm all one for adaptations being separate from their source material, but this story is Supergirl's story and it seems that only Batman and Superman will get top billing. No doubt I will view this movie but unless Supergirl is more than just a cameo, I won't be along for the purchasing ride.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nightlite - A Twilight Parody Novel

Nightlight: A Parody
Harvard Lampoon takes
a bite out of Twilight

Vampires Suck is coming to theaters soon. This Wednesday to be exact. But parody comes in more forms than just film. At your local Borders, Barnes and Noble, or at, you can pick up a copy of Nightlight, a novel that spoofs The Twilight Saga.

Written by the Harvard Lampoon crew, the story is all too familiar: Our heroine, Belle Goose, feels that outsider classmate, Edwart is a vampire. There's no real evidence to support her theory other than the fact that she wants him to be. In reality, Edwart seems to be just a High School boy who loves video games too much. There are vampires in this novel though too, and clever stabs at Twilight author Stephenie Meyers' writing style. 

Nightlight is written for both the fan and non-fan of Twilight in mind and is a billion times more clever than recent parody films that have been released as of recently. 

So pick this up if you want to skip Vampires Suck. Or go and watch Vampires Suck. If you hate it, pick this up.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pokemon: Black and White - New Pokemon Show and Game

It's really hard for me to watch anime nowadays. Kids don't know how hard it was for anime fans back then. Back in the 80s and early 90s, I literally had to hunt for titles. Even American releases like Voltron, Robotech and Starblazers were hard to find, and if I could find it, it was usually around 29.99 for one VHS copy. Remember VHS kids?

Also, there wasn't a lot of variety back then. We had no Funimation doing our releases. We had ADV, Animeigo and Streamline/Harmony Gold. It didn't help that most of the titles tended to be more towards the adult side. You kids have it so easy.

When anime became more mainstream, I was a little though. It was now much easier to get titles, but that was mostly because anime was now marketed towards little kids. Shows like the heavily edited down Sailor Moon, Yugi-Oh! and Pokemon helped paved the way for anime in America currently.

Pokemon hasn't had a new title for a while, but a huge comeback is right around the corner. Two new game releases are coming soon to the states. The two releases are Pokemon Black and Pokemon White. Both for the DS. The accompanying anime series is called Pokemon: Best Wishes, or at least that's what it's called in Japan. I'm pretty sure they might change it for it's American release. Here's a preview from Japan of the new show.

Looks cute to me, though I don't consider myself a Pokemon fan. I do like Jiggly Puff though. I'm a singer ;-)

Git It! Git It!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Speculation: Nicole Scherzinger in Wicked?

After performing in Rent directed by Neil Patrick Harris, Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger surprised many with her portrayal of Maureen Prescot. The role of Maureen is usually reserved for Broadway belters like Eden Espinosa and Glee's Idina Menzel, who originated the part on stage and reprised it for the film version.

I for one was not surprised at the level that Nicole performed. Before leading the Pussycat Dolls, she did various theater projects - like performed in Cabaret - and fronted the reality show girl group Eden's Crush. This chick has the vocal chops people.

With Wicked the movie coming into fruition, many had hoped that Idina Menzel would play Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, another part she originated on stage. Many speculated that studio executives would find her too old for the part so Wicked fans started championing Lea Michelle, who plays Idina Menzels' daughter in Glee and has a striking resemblance to Idina, both physically, vocally and other things: They're both Broadway Singers. Lea also sang the show's Act 1 ender, "Defying Gravity" in an episode.

It looks like Nicole might be a good choice to play Elphaba as well. With the new Pussycat Dolls line-up, she might find herself too busy to film a movie musical, but she would be the easiest choice when Studio Executives are concerned. Nicole headlining Wicked would mean bringing in a new audience who probably know nothing about theater, but they love Nicole so they would naturally watch the movie. Nicole in Wicked might also alienate the fans of the stage version, but not enough to keep them away from the movie theaters.

This is just all speculation of course, but if Idina and Lea don't want to do the Wicked movie, Nicole looks up for the part. She'll just have to get rid of the skimpy Pussycat Dolls outfits and get used to wearing green skin, a black frock and a big ole' black pointy hat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Live Action Scooby Doo Movie

Warner Bros. is really getting on the ball when it comes to Scooby Doo. Not only has a new series premiered, but a new live action movie based on the series is set to be released later on this year. I saw the re-boot movie at Comic Con last year and even met some of the cast. Very nice people. They sat right in front of me.

This new movie is a sequel to Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins, which brings back the young new cast playing The Scooby Gang.

Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster is set to premiere on Cartoon Network with a blu ray/DVD release in early 2011.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated - Do the Doo

The Scooby Gang is back, and boy are they better than ever. Please excuse my cliched statement, but there's no other way around it. The Scooby Gang is back, new and improved.

The original series, made in the 70s, had a very simple formula. The Scooby Gang, comprised of character archetypes, would ride around in their mystery machine, go to a scary place, and have to convince Shaggy and Scooby to aide with the mystery solving with the help of the promise of Scooby Snacks. The gang would spilt up, Velma would find clues, Daphne would always open the wrong door, or get kidnapped, and Fred would come up with a plan to catch the supernatural culprit, Shaggy and Scooby would be funny.

Over the years, the formula had been retooled, or abandoned all together. Sometimes only Scooby and Shaggy have made an appearance with the occasional inclusion of Scrappy Doo. I actually like Scrappy Doo.

Recently there was the hit live action movie, it's sequel and the prequel (which included a brunette Fred and an Asian-American Velma) along with the newest animated incarnations, What's New Scooby Doo and Shaggy and Scooby Doo Get a Clue.

I thought the live action movies were funny and well written, and Miss Sarah Michelle Gellar played Daphne in two of them so I kinda' had to watch them. What's New Scooby Doo was also cute, but I felt more could've been done with the Scooby Doo formula, especially when the re-tooled animated series came out afterward.

Now we've got Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated. A new series airing on Cartoon Network. The new series focuses more on our beloved Scooby Gang as people rather than caricatures. What used to be hinted at in the original series when it came to character relationships, is now push to the forefront. Daphne makes it really obvious about her affections for Fred; Shaggy and Velma have a few suprises of their own.

The voice work in this show is excellent, as is most productions from Hanna Barbara. Fact's of Life's Mindy Cohn, who played Velma in What's New Scooby Doo, reprises her role here as our favorite girl geek. The legendary Frank Welker does his double duty as Scooby Doo and Fred Jones. Fan favorite Grey DeLisle voices Daphne flawlessly. I almost thought she was the original voice actor Heather North. I was most impresses with Mathew Lillard's Shaggy. Being cast as Shaggy in two of the live action movies, he was a highlight in that he really just let himself get absorbed into the part. This man IS Shaggy. Aside from original voice actor Casey Kasem of course, who's voice also makes it into this series as Shaggy's father. Also includes celebrity voices Vivica A. Fox and Patrick Warburton.

I've only seen the first episode, but I am already excited for the rest of this new series. Aside from the drama our classic characters are having with each other, they're going to have to solve a huge mystery that is too big for just one episode. The show now has some continuity in it that was missing in previous incarnations.

This is definitely a show I will be watching weekly along with my regular viewings of Glee and Desperate Housewives.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New X-Men Film in the Works for 2011 - A Return to Basics?

A new X-Men film is in the works for 2011 with an impressive rumored cast. Alice Eve will play Emma Frost with James McAvoy as Professor X. This film will be a prequel and will take place before the events established before the original three movies and probably after the events in Wolverine.

The first two X-Men films were instant classics and very ground breaking when it came to comic book films. The focus on these characters was amazing. These were people we were dealing with who just happen to have powers. Their struggle for mutant rights at the fore front mirrored the rights minorities had to fight for, most importantly gay rights. It didn't hurt that openly gay director Bryan Singer was helming these first two films. Many scenes mirrored that of experiences that the gay community are all too familiar with: Wolverine getting told to leave a bar because they don't want his kind there, Iceman's "coming out" scene with his family, the constant defending oneself against prejudice. These first two films were very multi-layered and very powerful.

Next up was X-Men: The Last Stand; the last X-Men film in 2006. No doubt it left some fans disappointed: A new director took charge and that came with new directions that fans of the first two movies were not too sure of. Contract negotiations with the actors affected how the characters interacted; sometimes it was for the best, sometimes for the worse. The Phoenix Storyline, epic in the comics and the animated series, was now a B story to the film, taking a backseat to the Gifted storyline involving a cure for mutants. The action scenes took over and it was hard to differentiate this movie from any other typical super hero film. It wasn't completely hopeless though. Halle Barry as Storm finally got to shine and I felt Storm was finally Storm. Ellen Page (who would later play the title character in Juno) was introduced as Kitty Pryde and became an instant fan favorite.

The Wolverine spin-off was a few steps in the right direction - it didn't hurt that Hugh Jackman was naked for a nice part of it - and introduced some characters that X-Men fans have been wanting to see in the film franchise for awhile now. In this one movie we get Deadpool, Gambit AND Emma Frost. It's success meant that more X-type movies could be made.

Aside from the new X-Men movie in 2011, Wolverine might be getting a sequel with Deadpool getting his own spin-off too. For now, X-Men: First Class is next for our favorite mutants. A lot of new cast members playing younger versions of established characters, so no Halle Barry or Ellen Page sadly, but I hope it means more of a return to the character driven action of Bryan Singer's first two X-Men films.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

X-Men and Watchmen Motion Comics: Comic Books on the Move

 I really love Motion Comics. They remind me of old Hanna Barbera and Filmation cartoons from the 60s, but better written. With the Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Motion Comic making it's way onto DVD, and hopefully onto Blu Ray, I got to re-watching the Watchmen Motion Comic.

The Watchmen Motion Comic was originally released on iTunes in anticipation of the upcoming Zack Snyder film version of the famous graphic novel. I grew up with the knowledge of how legendary this comic book mini-series was. I was also aware of how many times it was been attempted to be put into film. This was not just a comic book in my eyes, this was a piece of multi-layered literature that my teenage mind could never have wrapped it's tiny head around. At the time I was still going through my New Kids on the Block and Jem periods. Truly Outrageous!

When the Watchmen Motion Comic was released on DVD, I figured it would a nice introduction to this world that Alan Moore had created. Of course he also had the help of Dave Gibbons and John Higgins doing the amazing artwork.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this release. I never read the book, and the movie was weeks away from opening. I popped the DVD into my widescreen television, and I was transported into another world. The words of Alan Moore, read by  Tom Stechschulte, who does all the voices in this piece. He's a really good narrator that holds your attention. Once he gets into reading for the characters, even the females, he's flawless. This man can act.

The "motion" part of this production is highly impressive. Sometimes CGI assistant is used. CGI usually has a tendency to detract, but in this case, it only adds to the visual presentation. The animation is limited as can be expected, but so much movement is added into these comic book panels, that one can almost forget that it's a Motion Comic. Almost. The word balloons can still be found littering the presentation and can be distracting at times.

The music is sad and haunting. It really compliments the story and gives the narrative a sense of dramatic urgency and nostalgia. The production as a whole is like looking back into a past that's not your own, but not all too unfamiliar as well. If you want to experience a cinematic version of the graphic novel, then this really is the best way to go.

So as DC had Watchmen the Motion Comic, Marvel had to produce their own. Thus comes the Motion Comic version of the "Gifted" story arc of Astonishing X-Men, helmed by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Astonishing X-Men takes the Motion Comic idea a few hundred steps further than Watchmen. Not only are the word balloons gone and the mouths move with the dialogue, but it's also cast with many awesome voice actors doing individual characters. The voices really fit in with these well known characters. Big kudos to this cast.

The plot involves The X-Men re-teaming themselves with Emma Frost now into their fold and Kitty Pryde as a main character. Kitty has been said to be Joss' inspiration for Buffy. Check out the first episode right here:

There's so much more on the DVD obviously. More comic book studios should really do this. Motion Comics are a good introduction to this world of comic books, and if not that, it's a different way of discovering a good story.

Astonishing X-Men - Gifted (Marvel Knights)
Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (+ BD-Live) [Blu-ray]