Saturday, January 14, 2012

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I love movies, however, I thought 2011 was a rather weak year for them. Granted I enjoyed many of them, and I've yet to see a few of them. I'm still waiting on a few to get released on DVD like Drive, Hugo, Tintin, and so forth. I'm sure I'll enjoy a few more movies from 2011 before it's over and done with.

This year, 2012, is already shaping up like it's going to be a very good one for movie goers, and some I'm already excited about watching. Of course it doesn't get really geared up until around May or so, that's when they come out with the summer blockbusters. But no matter what your taste in films, it seems like this year there's a bit of something for everyone. There are sequels galore like Men In Black 3, Bourne Legacy, a new James Bond film, Ghost Rider 2, a new Ice Age, Wolverine 2, Underworld 4, G.I. Joe 2, and so forth. Some of these sequels, like Bourne Legacy, I think will be pretty exciting. There will also be reboots and remakes as well, for those that enjoy those. Of the remakes, which I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of, I am interested to see what they might do with Logan's Run. I think the original film is more than fine so I see reason for a remake. My only interest in the newer film would be to see if they keep the story closer to the Nolan book, but being a SF fan, I'm just excited to see what they'll do with the film in general as well. We'll see.

There will be new 3-D editions of older films. Again I'm not a fan of this process. I wear glasses, I don't need to wear another pair of glasses, thank you. But if you are just dying to re-watch your favorite film in 3-D they'll be releasing the Disney Beauty and the Beast in 3D, which actually the original film hinted at the 3-D process in a few of the digital shots in the film. I see no need to see the full film, however, in the 3D process. It's a good film though. There's also a Star Wars, Phantom Menace 3D film, that way Star War geeks can break out their Storm Trooper uniforms and stand in line ONE MORE FREAKIN' TIME.

Here's a few 2012 movies I'm looking forward to, I hope they turn out well.

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I guess the first thing that piques my interest is scheduled to arrive on March 9th by Disney. It's the John Carter movie based on the Edgar Rice Bourroughs character. I really hope Disney gets this right, as there are other books from this series that they could make into more sequels if the movie succeeds.

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The Avengers film taken from the Marvel comic characters (which in now a part of Disney) will open in May. Superhero films have become a mainstay for summer blockbuster entertainment, and when you include Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, and so forth, it's already got fandom written all over it. Disney would have to screw up bad to mess this one up. I'm hoping for the best. This is one of those larger-than-life films that I might try and make it to the cinema to see.

Dark Shadows taken from the 60's horror soap opera opens in May too. What a way to begin summer. I don't know much about the film other than it stars Johnny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton. Burton is a good director, not that I've liked everything he's directed, but at least I expect him to nail the atmosphere.

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Brave is the new Pixar film. It will star a female Scottish princess character, Merida. She must used her archer skills and bravery to break a curse that plagues her land. I'm sure they'll use the Scottish history, environment, and folklore to weave a good tale. It's slated for a June release.

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Prometheus--a prequel to the Alien franchise, or something like that. But this is by the original director of the first Alien film, Ridley Scott. That in itself already has high hopes. From what I've read, it's tangential related to the Alien films, which I presume isn't exactly an Alien origin story per se. So there's this mystery surrounding this film, but hey, it's sci-fi, I'm a sci-fi fan, I'm excited.
It arrives in theaters in June.

In July there will be The Dark Knight Rises taken from the DC comics Batman franchise directed by Christopher Nolan. He directed "Batman Begins" back in 2007, but now Nolan has become synonymous with the franchise to a legion of fans. While it seems as though he tries to shirk comic book convention at every opportunity, he has regardless crafted a "reality" based mythology all his own, one that he seems wholly intent on bringing to a close with this third film.

Set 8 years after the events of "The Dark Knight," Gotham City looks to be in the midst of a massive upheaval. We know little of the enigmatic Bane (Tom Hardy), only that he aims to destroy Gotham, as well as its caped crusader. Toss in what looks to be a more socially-conscious iteration of Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) and you've got the makings of what could be a truly epic conclusion to this interpretation of the Batman mythos. It's obvious that Nolan wants to bring a definitive end to Batman's story with this film, but the most looming question in my mind, however, is how definitive that end will be? Will Nolan go so far as to actually kill Bruce Wayne? I honestly wouldn't be surprised at all, but I can't wait to find out.

Looper arrives in September, and is another sci-fi film. Loopers are hitmen. They take contracts from the mob to kill targets sent from the future. However, when one Looper (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) recognizes his future self as one of his targets, he hesitates and decides to try and save himself instead of fulfilling the contract.

Looper tackles the tricky subject of time travel, but early reports have this thing pegged as one of the few films that does some new and interesting things with an admittedly tired sub-genre. Also, the cast ain't half bad, either, with Gordon-Levitt joined by Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Garret Dillahunt.

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And then in December they round out the year with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (part 1 of the story). As Ringers already know, this is the prequel story to Lord of the Rings, where Bilbo is a young hobbit, and his exploits. Peter Jackson again directs and takes us back to Middle Earth.

Quentin Tarantino also has a film set to arrive in December called Django Unchained.
Now he's making a film that might be his most controversial yet as he tackles the subject of Civil War-era slavery. I know there's a previous Django film, which I haven't seen. I think it's a spaghetti western type of films similar to Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name films. Beyond that, I don't know much. But I'm always curious to see Tarantino's new projects.

There's also a zombie film slated for December called World War Z. I know a bit about the novel it was taken from, and there are hordes of zombie fans so that might be interesting. Plus there are a lot of other films on the horizon for 2012, so it should be a fun year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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Miscellanea and whatever.

I woke up early today, which is weird because I went to bed late last night, but whatever. I ran across a weird website this morning called book porn, well maybe the site isn't as weird as the name of the site. I've always been interested in books whether they are comics, coffee table, fiction, non fiction, or whatever. I also like interiors, and how people fix their home, how they display things, interior design, and so forth. This site is about books and the interiors that house them, be it a personal library or actual library. Check it out here: book porn.

I also got up today and started watching the Syfy Channel's Face Off, which is another reality show this one showcasing special effect artist, body painting, creating aliens, and so forth. It's fairly formulaic in its formatting, but it's also sort of interesting to see a behind the scene on how that's done. I just like to see how art is done whether it's watching someone like Bill Alexander or Bob Ross paint or whoever. I find it interesting. There's was another show on the Bravo Channel called Work of Art. It more broad in its concept, not just dealing with fantasy art, and I found it interesting as well, but whatever...

I went to the dentist the other day. I really think we need to rename that: modern torture that you pay for. Yeah, that makes sense to me, otherwise it does not. I feel like I have horrible teeth, and I'm always putting money into my mouth. Not only do I have to wear glasses, but bad teeth as well. Sometimes life sucks. They both cost me more money than I want to pay, but whatever, right...

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I've been reading a few of these FF, as they are now known. The FF stands for Future Foundation, which I didn't know. I knew it as the old comic book, Fantastic Four. I'm out of the loop, where was my memo? What's interesting is Hickman and crew have taken all this past mythos that Kirby created and are using it all at the moment: they've got Dr. Doom, Diablo, Mole Man, The Inhumans, Namor, the Watcher, Spider-Man, and bunch of other characters in it. It sort of is a universe in itself. It sort of on a grand scale like maybe Green Lantern Corp. Heck, I didn't even know that Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch had died, and I didn't know that Reed and Susan Storm had a little girl. So a lot of this is new to me. At any rate, they're pretty neat, large in scale, grandiose, cosmic, and I bet Jack Kirby would be proud with what they are doing with it. I say Kirby over Stan Lee, as I just think of FF as being more a Kirby creation than Lee. I'll give Lee Spider-Man, that seems more him, his style, and his creation. But Kirby is more FF, Thor, and Captain America to me, but whatever.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

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When buying comics, for me, the best way to go is wait for a sale or sometimes comb thru what I refer to as the cheapy box. That's generally a box reserved down at the local comic store of comics that haven't sold and get stuck in it hoping to sell off some inventory that didn't sell or was over ordered. Either way the comic customer wins--for one, they're cheaper, generally at least half off, and two, you can buy more for your dollar, and three, you might pick up something that you otherwise might have either overlooked or not even have known about. Which leads me to finding the Rocketeer Adventures book and the Mystery Men book, which came out last summer. Both books flew under my radar, which doesn't surprise me as I just don't keep up with newly released comics anymore. I'm the same way about movies and buying DVDs--I'll get around to them when I can, and if I wait, I usually can find a DVD at a bargain, which is how I picked up the James Cameron movie, Avatar, in a pawn shop for a buck, as well as The Godfather and The Godfather II, among others.

The Rocketeer Adventures comic is a spinoff from the old Dave Stevens title, The Rocketeer and The Rocketeer's New York Adventure, which eventually was turned into a movie by Disney. But the new series has different artist and writers, as Stevens died a while back. If you enjoyed the original or the Disney movie, you'd probably enjoy these. They contain around three stories, and issue #2 (the one I picked up), has a story in it by Darwyne Cooke and a couple of pin-ups by Geof Darrow. It's good stuff, and I enjoy the era that his series was set in.

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Mystery Men is also set about in the same era as the Rocketeer series, the Great Depression culminating up to WWII. It's pulp-era characters are set within the Marvel Universe, however, I haven't encountered any of the Marvel characters in it yet,while reading it, but they mentioned The Daily Bugle within the storyline. At any rate, it starts out with action and the exploits of Dennis Piper, known as The Operative. He's a cat burglar and jewel thief, beyond that, his motifs aren't clearly known. We meet his girlfriend, and then a shady character that sort of looks like a mummy, called The General. The General has dealings with another mystic demonic entity known only as Nox. There is a lot of mystery around all the characters and their motifs. Add to that the setting is NYC of the early 30's, a corrupt police force, a murder, a Dashiell Hammett Continental Ops noir flavor, a woman that's known as The Aviatrix, a ghost-like hero known as The Revenant, throw in a fedora, speakeasies, dirigibles, a little Spirit, and a little Green Hornet, shaken, not stirred. Needless-to-say, my kind of book. I'd really recommend this to those that enjoy pulp-inspired comics.

Monday, January 02, 2012

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On New Year's Eve I didn't do a heck of a lot. I took it easy just pecking around on the computer, and I finally got up and decided to get out and run by a pawn shop just to see if there was anything I could find. I bought a DVD of Comanche Moon for two bucks, which is an early adventure in the Lonesome Dove saga. I remember parts of it, but was too busy with work at the time it aired to fully get into it, so it's good to add it to my western collection.

I went by Hobby Lobby here on a lark after that, just to look around mostly. I was curious what models they had there and just to see if they had anything on sale. It's the first time I'd been in the store in this town. When I lived in West Texas there was one right around the corner from me, and I'd go in it from time to time. I looked at the models, but golly I can't believe how they've gone up. I saw a AMT (I believe it was) model of the old style Batman mobile, with Batman and Robin inside driving it. It cost around $27. I could believe that price. I also saw one of those Captain America and Incredible Hulk models, but they were around the same price point. Man, inflation is something. I remember over the holidays my brother and I was watching some historical program and they were talking about some guy back in the 1940's or so making around fifty cents per hour, and average income was around $1000. to $1500. per year. It's weird to think about how times have changed in that regard.

At any rate, I didn't know what I wanted to watch once I got home. I made some leftovers from Christmas, which was still delicious, and decided to see if there was anything on computer I'd want to watch. I went over to Hulu.com and found that they had several episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to watch, so decided to give that a whirl. I watched the one called Monster A Go Go. It was a pretty darn cheesy 50's SF movie, but then that makes it all the more better to heckle. After I watched it, and to be honest, slept thru some of it, I noticed they also had a documentary on it that I'd wanted to see for some time. It's about the Scottish comic writer Grant Morrison. I'd read and enjoyed many of the series he's written like Animal Man, The Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, among a few others. He's a weird bloke for sure, you can pick that up through his writing style and from some of the fan press and back pages in some of those comics. He's interested in such odd things as conspiracy theories, nano-technology, aliens, sex, drugs, & rock and roll and all sort of weird, fringe stuff, and he channels that through his books. The documentary, Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods is still available for a free streaming over at Hulu if you're interested in giving it a watch as are the MST3K episodes.

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Sunday I watched a bit of the Houston Texan game, and read a bit. My brother gave me a graphic novel by the Canadian cartoonist, Seth. He started out doing these seemingly auto-bio comics called Palookaville And he's gone on to do some other books. His current ongoing series is called Clyde Fans, and the book my brother gave me over Christmas is a sequel to his Wimbledon Green book, which is a fiction character that is a tremendous comic fan and collector. I started reading the new book, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonist or The G.N.B. Double C is a sequel to the Wimbledon Green book in that gives a little bit more insight into some of the cartoonist that Wimbledon Green and other comic fans enjoyed collecting. Most of the storytelling is fictional in nature, but reminds me of some of the oddball comics from my childhood like Herbie, Hot Stuff or newsprint comic strips. Sometimes Seth will include some real comics or creators in his story as well like Peanuts or Doug Wright's little Nipper, but overall I think both books are sort of a nostalgic look back at comics and the remembrances of our youth.

Thinking back about the past year of 2011, I didn't read a huge amount of comics, but have enjoyed some of them. I read a few of the New DC books, like Batman, Detective, Superman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and for the most part they were fun. I don't know how "new" they are as Animal Man still has these animal powers that he uses and still has the same family. Batman has updated and gone more high tech, but really it's just a new writer's spin on things, buy hey, if you enjoy the DC universe, you'd probably enjoy them. I read the Daniel Clowes books, The Death-Ray, Mr. Wonderful, and Wilson. I'm a big fan of his, and enjoy them to various degrees. I think the two best books I read this year though was Peter Kuper's Stop Forgetting To Remember and Chester Brown's book, Paying For It.

Sunday I listened to the part one podcast the iFanboy.com best of 2011. They chatted about their favorite movies and television from 2011. This week in part two of the podcast, they discuss their favorite books, games, music, and comics, which I see is already up for downloading, so that should be interesting. I also watched some of AMC's Hell On Wheels marathon they were showing, while also keeping track of the Cowboy game.

I ran across another web site's best of comics from 2011, if you're interested in giving it a look, check it out: here.

Oh, and I was going to post this link on some cool books I found before Christmas, so I'll post it now. There are a bunch of cool comics, graphic novels, sketch books, and just all around stuff on there. Check it out, it's an interesting list. I gotta get up and snap into action.