Monday, July 31, 2006


When I saw that the local theatre was showing Woody allen's newest flick I couldn't pass up the chance to see it. Their track record with movies like this isn't exactly excellent, they're usually gone by week's end.

Scoop, like Allen's last few films, seems much more an experiment in moviemaking and genre-bending than an actual film. Match Point being the only real success there. The plot is pretty thin and just downright goofy, much like Melinda and Melinda, but Allen can always infuse his brand of humor into anything he makes, so it is damn funny. Having a fantastic cast on board didn't hurt either. It was nice to see him avoid one of the major problems I've had with a lot of his films, and that's making himself the hero/love interest of the story. Thankfully that seems to have ended with Hollywood Ending, which I'll admit to loving the hell out of despite that nitpick. Scarlett Johansson makes a good foil for Allen's neurosis, and the two play off each other surprisingly well. It's kind of startling to see her go from sultry seductress in Match Point to such a plain jane type of character she plays here. Not bad, I assure you, it just shows the lady has some acting chops and does not need to rely on her looks. Hugh Jackman though is almost a waste here. He enhabits the character just fine but there's not much for him to do other than meet his marks. The real moments in the movie come from the Allen/Scarlett chemistry. It's very Monk-ish, routine but oh so hilarious. Speaking of wastes, Ian McShane serves less of a purpose than Jackman, in fact his involvement in the story could have easily been written out. Which leads me back to my point about experimenting. Allen made a ghost story and a muder mystery and wrapped it up in a comedy.

It's not a bad film, not at all. In fact if you've liked any of his fliks from the last several years I'd recommend it. It has a very Abbott & Costello feel to it, only without the slapstick. It's certainly funny, it just doesn't have the genre-defining feel to it that Match Point had. But, in all fairness, how many films like that can one man make during his career?

Oh, and interesting little side note: Allen has directed 41 films in 40 years. I've probably only seen 10 of those, but geez, is there any more productive director in Hollywood?


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some Tales, some Talent, some Aliens, some Roomates, a Boy Genius and Wolverine

Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius: Super Summer Spectacular

Yeah, these strips are basically "Marvelized" Calvin & Hobbes tales, but they're still amusing and often hilarious. I've enjoyed every collection they've released so far, and right now it's the only Sumerak i've been following. For some reason I dropped the Power Pack books he'd been writing, even though I was enjoying them. I think I was planning on buying the trades.

Wolverine: Origins #4

I (heart) Steve Dillon and Daniel Way. But, I've decided to drop this book for the sure-to-come hardcovers. This issue Cap and Wolvie go at it and it really is a hell of a brawl. I think Cap was slightly out of character, but I really don't give a crap, the whole MU is off it's rocker right now anyway. I still can't get over the use of the brown costume, definitely my favorite suite he's ever worn, I thought we'd seen the end of it for sure.My only problem with the issue? Who the heck is Hellion?

Tales of the TMNT #24

Wow, fantastic issue, mostly because of Hawthorne's excellent art. The plot's good too though, two "aliens" are uncovered amd begin wreaking havoc on the city. Tirns out it's only self defense and the duo unlock some interesting history of this world. I'd definitely like to see this story followed up on, but with this books history of that it might take a year or more.

Tales of Leonardo: Blind Sight #1

Case in point, this is a conclusion to a story I don't even remember. But, it's still a good one. Leo has lost his sight and begins pondering his purpose on Earth. The "What if? " nature had me scratching my head for a few minutes, but in the end it turns out to be an excellent tale. Can't wait for issue #2.

Archenemies #4

Well, while I really dug the first issue everything sort of whimpered out with the story. Nothing really gets resolved and the hero and villain learn to basically tolerate eachother. There's even a few dangling plotlines. And the art really suffered the last two issues, feeling very rushed. Probably not the worst first-eefort by a comic creator, but it never lived up to its concept.

Talent #1-2

But this, this is exceeded any expectations I had for it. The sole miracle survivor of a plane crash must help those who died with their unfinished business on Earth. Meanwhile the government and some religious sect is out to kill him. I remember it being touted as "Lost"-like, but I never made that connection, I assume it was only to try and bring in readers. Extremely well written with pretty good art, looks like Boom! Studios has another excellent product on its hands.

War of the Worlds: Second Wave #3-4

I've read a few complaints about the art, but it really hasn't bothered me that much. In four issues it's proven to be a better effort than Spielberg's film. After the group confronts an alien in the sewer they seek shelter at a farm house, only to find more survivors. When they make it to a nearby town, with even more, they find the natives are a bit hostile. I'm liking it so far, but I guess it's not for everyone.


Monday, July 17, 2006

TV, We Talk TV

So, Tom made up a list. His Top 10 Sitcoms. I haven't talked much TV lately, and it got my brain going about a list of my own. He says no animation, so I'm going with that as well. So here goes...

10. That 70's Show

Probably a head-scratcher for most of you, but I love it. Now, I didn't watch the final season, but the first seven years, for my money, are great. Two words: Red Forman.

9. Sports Night

I'm fairly certain this was the first TV DVD set I ever bought. I never got to see the show in its original airing, catching it only when Comedy Central picked it up. But from episode one I was hooked. I wish Sorkin had continued with this show instead of West Wing (sue me, I hate it, it bores the hell out of me). I don't think I found a show I loved as much until Scrubs and Arrested came along.

8. Wings

I think part of the appeal for this show, for me, was the brother's aspect. Their relationship is so off and on, especially during the first few seasons, that it's sometimes like watching pieces of my life. Only without the airplane. It also introduced the world to two people who finally seem to be getting their due as actors; Tony Shaloub and thomas Hayden Church. I will always wonder how the hell someone living up north manged to have that thick of a southern accent (Helen). Yeah, I know it's not really thick, but it's still there.

7. All in the Family

Much like Andy Griffith (which I'll get to soon), it lost something after about five years. Only here it wasn't a character it was the situation. When Mike and Gloria moved out of the house the show really lost what made it so great. Even then it had its moments. But, yeah, those first five years or so are just great television. Who could ever forget Sammy Davis planting one on lovable bigot Archie Bunker's cheek? It'll always be one of the funniest moments in TV history.

6. Soap

"I'm the piece of chelief." Future WKRP chief, Gordon Jump said that in one of the first episodes I remember watching. I think it was around the middle of season one. But, for me, it stands as one of the funniest deliveries of any line in any show ever (oddly, he has another one of those to his credit, as Tom pointed out: "As God as my witness I thought tureys could fly"). And that doesn't even touch on the insane, goofy brilliance that was Soap. Mocking the daytime dramas, the show got away with things that few comedies could. Murders, prison sentences, alien abductions, demon posession, the first openly gay (regular) character ever on American television, name it they did it. And somehow it worked.

5. Cheers

I remember when this show went off the air. I was only 14, but I still cried. It really was like saying goodbye to your friends of the last eleven years. It also produced the longest running character in TV history, Frasier Crane. And, as Tom also points out, it survived, no, thrived, even after a major casting change. Maybe one of the only shows to do so. Also, the episode where Sam loses his lucky bottle cap: maybe the greatest, tensest moment in any sitcom ever.

4. Arrested Development

Three years, 53 episodes. The funniest show since Seinfeld ended its run, it didn't get many (read: enough) episodes, so they had to make every one of them count. And they do. There isn't a single one that doesn't get me roaring with laughter.

3. Scrubs

This is a tough call. It's easily a top five on my list, I wasn't sure about top three. But here it is. And it deserves to be here. Very few shows have the ability to me me laugh and cry, but to be able to do it in a single episode, that takes some serious writing chops. I've admittedly fallen behind with watching the show in the last few years, mostly because of scheduling rotations, but the first three years are three of the best any show has ever had.

2. The Andy Griffith Show

Even the episodes without Barney, after the show went to color, have the occasional laugh. But, for the first five years Andy and Don are arguably the greatest comedy duo ever on television. It boasts some of the greatest, funniest TV moments of all time (Barney pretending to be a mannequin, Barney reciting the preamble, any damn time he locked himself in the cell, teaching Otis how to drive...), and the list of spin-offs as well as the number of careers it launched is just astounding.

1. Seinfeld

It's simply the funniest show ever on television. Has any show EVER influenced culture as much as this one? Certainly no half hour comedy ever has. I can watch any episode and laugh, I don't think any other sitcom can do that. Not much I can say beyond that.

Yeah, there are probably a few that deserve mention, and there are definitely some that I haven't seen enough episodes to get them on the list. But, hey, that's where it stands.

And if I'd included animated programs? Well, that's be a different list altogether. Futurama, the Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, ATHF, Venture Bros. They might have knocked a few out of the top ten.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Comics...Lots and Lotsa Comics

Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk #2

This came out a while back, and still no sign of #3. I love Yu's art, and I'm surprisingly intrigued by the story. I think Lindeloff really gives a sense of sporadicness (is that a word?) to the Banner/Hulk transformation. I love Hulk's inner thoughts, and I got a kick out of the nod to Bill Bixby. Also digging the mystical approach to the Hulk/Banner entity. Hopefully we'll get a new issue here soon.

Jonah Hex #9

Hex hires some men to find him for a woman that thinks he murdered her daughter, then they let him go...If that confuses the hell out of you then welcome to the club. The art is almost unbearable and the plot really doesn't make any sense until the end of the story. That's not always a bad thing, but here it just gave me a headache. Guess they can't all be winners, but if the next issue doesn't impress I'll likely drop the book.

The Flash #1

Well, since I didn't follow Crisis, I have no effing clue what is going on here. That's about the best way I can put it. I did like the art though.

All-Star Superman #4

These need to be coming out faster! Easily the greatest superhero book on the stands right now, Morrison taps into what used to make Supes comics so enjoyable (or so I'm told, I've never read one before 1980) and he makes Jimmy Olsen a character that you can really enjoy. AND he adds a little 90's flavor to the book, with great success. Seeing Olsen as Doomsday, one of the greatest things I've ever sen in a comic. Then seeing him go toe-to-toe with his idol? Priceless. Oh, and it's drawn by the always-excellent Frank Quitely.

Justice #6

I think I'm done with this book as a monthly. I can't remember what happens because the span between issues is so big, though I'm still enjoying it, I just get tired of rereading the last issue. Seeing Red Tornado strewn about in so many parts was gruesome, even if he is a robot, and the last image of Flash unable to stop running was haunting, as was Hal's discussion with his power ring. Shazam throwing Supes into the son kicked ass, but I wasn't impressed with the Bats/Wonder Woman stuff.

Y, the Last Man #47

The secret origin of Dr. Mann. I read this series would be coming to an end here soon, which means the group may be reaching the last leg of their little journey. As much as I do like the book, I'm glad. Vaughan has a bad abit of stretching everything out to an insane degree. This issue was good, it's about time we got to see a different side of the Doc, and the guest pencils by Sudzuku were excellent.

Tales of the TMNT #22-23

#22: The Turtles team up with Hatori (an old friend I guess) to take down his father's evil company. #23: The Turtles rescue Leatherhead from a prison in space and find out a startling secret about their origin. The Hatori issue was a good but forgettable read, but the Leatherhead issue really stands out as one of the best of the series so far. Hell it's one of the few issues that really addresses any real changes to the mythos of the Turtles.

TMNT #27-28

Mostly these two issues deal with Mikey escaping from prison only to be captured by another group of people (in space, of course) and Leo fighting in the Battle Nexus. Oh, and the return of Shredder...kind of. There;s really nothing I can say about this book that I haven't already. It's consistently excellent, Laird is determined to keep the Turtles moving forward, and the art is great. I did notice a logo change for #28, which I thought was odd, especially since it isn't really addressed in the letters/editorial page. I just hope we get to see the boys back together this year, it's been awhile since Mikey's seen his brothers.

Tomorrow (maybe): more comics!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Bought a New TV

Which required the complete re-arrangement of my room, which only took three or four days to do, so I have no excuse for the last seven days of non-posting. Except for the working two jobs thing. I am enjoying my now-massive 32 inch TV/computer monitor though. The words I'm typing righ are bigger than my head.

Not really, but damn this thing is huge.

Okay, so, yes, I saw Superman. Yes I loved it. No, I don't understand what the hell is wrong with the rest of the country. No I haven't see Pirates, and I'm kind of pissed and the gawd-awful amount of money it's made. No Bruckheimer-produced picture should be that damn huge. But, hey, Jack Sparrow kicks ass, does he not?

Other movies I've watched:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

I remember the stage play fondly. I never saw it performed by anyone other than a local theatre group, but I loved it. I liked the movie, but it just left so much out. Great performances by all, I could have done without the "wacky" chase scene. Buster Keaton was good, not great, in his last movie role. He definitely could have used more screen time. Gotta love Zero though, I bet he killed the role live.

The Family Stone

I still cannot explain my hatred of Mrs Matthew Broderick, but she's at least tolerable in her performance here. Sometimes even good, like the scene where she gets plastered at a local bar. As far as "screwy" family comedies go, it's actually a great movie. Smart, funny, and the plot only has a few mild annoyances. Diane Keaton and Craig T Nelson give stellar performaces as the heads of this screwed up bunch of people. Hell the whole cast is good, including Claire Daines. It's not The Royal Tennanbaums, not even close, but from beginning to end it's an enjoyable film.

Chicken Little

I was fully prepared to hate this film. A non-Pixar CGI Disney flik? Probably crap. Nope. Hand it to the house of Mouse, they were finally able to produce a great, in-house (well, I guess it's all in-house now, huh?) animated flik, the first (good) one since Lilo & Stich I think. The voice cast is excellent (Zach Braff and Steve Zahn are hilarious) , even the annoying Joan Cusak is lovable as the ugly duckling, Abby. Not to mention bit players like Don Knotts' Mayor Turkey Lurky (maybe his last performance? have to check on that) and surprise appearences by Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard, Adam West and Patrick Warburton. But, above all else, Fish Out of Water steals the movie. Easily the best character brought to life since the aforementioned Stitch.

Daltry Calhoun

Props to Johnny Knoxville. He's managed to shake up his acting career, doing idiotic films like The Dukes of Hazard as well as little indy pictures like this and Grand Theft Parsons. Here he's easily the best thing in the movie. He plays loser-turned-millionaire-turned-loser Daltry Calhoun, who's just learned he has a 14 yr old daughter, one who's mother is dying. The movie stumbles in a few places, but where the script fails the cast usually saves the day. Juliette Lewis surprised the hell out of me, as did newcomer Sophie Traub. I wish Knoxville would stick to films like this that actually show off his acting chops, as opposed to the dumber-than-dirt films he winds up in. Yes I think Johnny Knoxville can act, laugh away.


Well, I didn't hate it as much as Tom did. Hell, I kind of liked it. But, it's got plenty of flaws. Two rather glaring ones: Anne Hathaway and Glenn Close. I like both of them, I do, but the suck, suck, suck-didly-uck as voice overs, so does Belushi. The CGI isn't great. It really isn't even good. But it's watchable. And the plot? Yeah I figured it out from the get-go. And I mean that as soon as the bad guy reared his cute little head, I figured the damn movie out. Yeah, yeah, how smart am I to have figured out a movie geared to five year olds? On the flip side, there's Patrick Warburton. He's the best. There's no arguing it, he is. Also, Xzbit does a good job, and David Ogden Stiers is great, but they're performances are too brief. The squirrel is funny as hell too. Not a bad movie, just not a great one.

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Kind-of based on a true story. A man goes slightly mad and attempts to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House, killing Nixon. I hate a lot of actors. I know I do. And I hate Sean Penn. Mostly because I hate people who try to use they're celebrity to influence the way they're fans think. Can't I just enjoy you as an actor? Do I really have to turn on the news and see you acting like an ass. Even if you're a justified ass. So, yeah, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, all of you shut the hell up and just act dammit. If you want to be in politics, be in politics. The Terminator can do it, I'd bet you could too. So, anyway...This is easily the greatest performance Penn has ever given. He's able to do something so few people can here. He takes a man, a crazy man, and makes him sane. I want Sam to succeed. I want him to win back his ex, I want him to start his business and be profitable, but most of all I want him to fly that damn plane into the White House. Seriously. By the end of the movie i was hoping he would succeed. Crazy? Yes. That just how brilliant his acting is here. Yeah, the rest of the cast is good too, but Penn got robbed, this should've gotten him at least a nod, if not a win.

George Lucas in Love

When a handful of student filmmakers can take a small budget and produce a film better than the last three Star Wars fliks combined, and have it last under ten minutes, you know you're doing something wrong. I can see why this got all the buzz it did, it's friggin brilliant.

X-Men: Darktide

Ditto, except without the buzz. This came packed with some minimates at Target and it beats the pants off X3. Seriously.

Hollywood North

Hey, look, it's Matthew Modine. This is a mostly forgettable flik about Canada becoming the next Hollywood. A guy sets out to make a film out of a classic Canadian novel, but the investors want American actors, who in turn want to rewrite the script, making it unrecognizable. This might as well say "based on a true story" at the opening. Deborah Kara Unger is the single best part of the film. Well, unless you count Jennifer Tilly's breasts. I did, there's two of them, and they're great.


When the best part of your movie is the cgi-heavy scene where you duplicate a videogame, you're not doing so good. This movie both sucks and blows. If it sucked any harder it would be a fucking black hole. Do not watch it, I have saved you the trouble of wanting to gouge out your eyes with rusty nails. Seriously, there's not even any nudity to save the day.

Beyond the Sea

Lex Luthor re-enact the life of Bobby Darin, Lois Lane plays his wife. Decent flik, I'm just oh so tired of the biopics.


Kiera Knightly plays Domino, a woman for which things seem to just fall into place. Micky Rourke plays Cable, mysterious man from the future, out to save the world.Edgar Ramirez plays....Rictor? Sure, why not! It's the X-men spin0ff you just don't want to miss!

Kidding aside, good movie. Not Man on Fire, but good nonetheless.

I watched some TV shows too:

Tripping the Rift: Season One

Futurama it ain't, but it'll do until we get thos new episodes and movies. I could do without some of the more perverse humour the show inflicts, but I suffered through it because Darth Bobo is the greatest TV character since Bender.

Soap: Season Three

You could say this was the season they jumped the shark, but I like to think that happened in the very first episode. Burt Campbell is one of the greatest TV characters of all time. Seriously, I rank him right up there with Barney Fife. His stoooooopid, goofy antics never fail to get a laugh from me. The only thing missing from the season was, of course, Benson, who'd gotten his own show. But he does stop by for a few episodes. Only one season left to go. Oddly enough I've never seen a single episode of season 4. so nobody spoil it for me dammit! also, I've got a major crush on the actress that played Corrinne, Diana Canova.

Wings: Season 1&2

It irks the hell out of me that Tony shaloub is shown as being a main cast member. He didn't sign on until Season 3 I think, though he did make one guest spot on the show in Season 2. He's even mentioned on the back cover as Antonio the cab driver. Grrr. That aside, I love this show. It's hands down one of my all time favorite sitcoms. I hope they keep the sets coming, I'd really like to have all these episodes. It's just great, great television.

Tomorrow: comics.!