Friday, February 29, 2008

The Original Creature Passes

Ben Chapman 1928-2008

Thanks to Sam for hipping me to this.

Ultimates 3 #2 Reviewed

"Second Chances" - my comic book review of the Ultimates 3 #2, by Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira, is now online at Avengers Forever.

I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong… Ultimates 3 is not a very good comic book series - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

And if you'd like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2008 Oscar Predictions

No long-winded explanations, no dancing around the subject, no bullshit – just my predictions. Here we go:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)

Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Achievement in art direction
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Achievement in cinematography
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne

Achievement in directing
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy

Best documentary feature
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins

Best documentary short subject
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse

Best foreign language film of the year
"12" Russia

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best motion picture of the year
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best animated short film
"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood

Adapted screenplay
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Original screenplay
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody

Catch up with next week to see how close I was...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Avengers #38 Reviewed

"Love in the Age of Skrull" - my comic book review of the New Avengers #38, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, is now online at Avengers Forever.

The creative team from Alias return for this latest drastic change in the life of Jessica Jones as her marriage to Luke Cage reaches the breaking point, all that and a new headquarters for the New Avengers - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

And if you'd like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here.


Friday, February 15, 2008

American Idol Fixed?

Turns out that Irish super-talent Carly Smithson (seen on "American Idol" above) is an also-ran, really former MCA recording artist Carly Hennessy. Isn't the point of "American Idol" to be discovered and get a record deal? Not to have had one and blown it? Full story is here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Steve Gerber 1947-2008

Steve Gerber passed away yesterday. This is truly a sad sad time for the comics industry as one of its great innovators has died.

Gerber was probably best known for co-creating Howard the Duck, a character despite attempted butchery for the silver screen by George Lucas, was one of the most original concepts in decades. My first exposure to Howard was an issue of his series where an armored Howard became 'Iron Duck' and battled a seriously demented baddie named Dr. Bong who would club himself in his bell-shaped helmet with a bong-shaped to make loud headache-causing booms. Then I cam across Stephen King's "The Stand," where King described the reluctant hero as ridiculous and reason comics had gone to hell. It wasn't until later I realized what a brilliant, subtle and hilarious satire on our world Howard the Duck really was. Gerber was/is a genius.

Steve Gerber wrote many comics and characters over the years, including for Marvel Comics - Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, Simon Garth the Zombie, Shanna the She-Devil, Son of Satan, Daredevil, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the rock band Kiss.

Far and above, for me at least, was his work on the Defenders, Marvel's premiere non-team. His run on that title was among the wildest, off-the-wall and coolest I've ever read in any comic. Gerber made the Defenders different, he made them demented, he made them cool. Among his concepts for the title were the additions of Luke Cage and the Red Guardian, the unbelievable Headmen, Korvac, Valkyrie's husband Jack Norris and the infamous Elf with a Gun. These were some of the most fun comics to read, ever.

Steve Gerber also did work for the independents with Destroyer Duck, Exiles and Stewart the Rat. His DC Comics work includes the amazing revival of Mister Miracle with late artist Marshall Rogers, and also work on Doctor Fate as a back-up in The Flash.

He also worked extensively in animation, winning an Emmy for his work on "The New Batman/Superman Adventures," and was also involved in other eries like "Dungeons & Dragons," "Transformers," "GI Joe" and "Thundarr the Barbarian."

Gerber recently returned to DC to work on the new Doctor Fate mini-series in Countdown to Mystery. It's probably one of the finest things on the shelves right now. He passed while in the process of writing this one. He will be missed. By me. By many. Rest in peace, man.

Roy Scheider 1932-2008

After an illness of a few years, Roy Scheider passed away today. He was probably best known for his roles in Jaws (above), All That Jazz and The French Connection. He'll be missed.

Friday, February 08, 2008

20,000 Leagues Under Turok

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ~ The 1952 Disney version is by far the best and most entertaining of this Jules Verne classic. I love the classic Disney opening with the book opening just like their animated films, even though this was their first live action film. Seeing Kirk Douglas sing “Whale of a Tale” is worth watching all by itself. Douglas and James Mason as Captain Nemo make this one rock. It does swerve into True Life Adventure territory from time to time and gets preachy in some places (as in the book) but this is still one of the best. I love Douglas’ comment about Peter Lorre’s eyes looking like soft-boiled eggs. One note about the closed-captioning on TCM however – it’s very streamlined, changing the dialogue slightly for time, and it didn’t make me very happy. Otherwise this is a great flick.

The Enchanted Cottage ~ Perhaps one of the greatest love stories ever filmed, this 1944 remake was originally written by Arthur Pinero to give hope and inspiration to soldiers who had been wounded in the first World War. It’s a magical film, and I watch it every time it airs. Heartily recommended.

The 3 Worlds of Gulliver ~ Despite the fact that they are missing at least one if not more worlds that Gulliver visited this is still a pretty entertaining flick. The highlights include a wonderful score by Bernard Herrmann and not enough effects by Ray Harryhausen. Enjoyable for kids for than adults.

Turok: Son of Stone ~ Turok first began as a Dell Comics hero back in 1954, and began a rocky (pun unintended) journey through several other comics companies, like Gold Key, and later Valiant and Acclaim. The character has long achieved cult status eventually leading the property to become a video game and now, a direct-to-DVD movie. Always a reliable formula, Turok was a Native American warrior who stumbles upon a land inhabited by dinosaurs, hilarity ensues. Yes, Turok is a great character and it’s a shame that he’s pretty much wasted here. The animation is much the same simple stuff seen in the recent Marvel DVD features, no frills stuff. About all I can recommend here is the excellent score by James Venable which is superb.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"Smallville"'s Black Canary

After much hoopla and uber-promotion, the Black Canary has debuted tonight on the CW’s "Smallville" series. This isn’t the Canary’s first foray into live-action television as she first appeared in NBC’c horrid "Legends of the Super-Heroes" back in the 1970s and most recently in "Birds of Prey". Here on "Smallville," her appearance marks the long-awaited return of Green Arrow. All in all it was a great episode with some very cool superhero action and fairly good effects, however watered down by the gruesome soap opera aspect that the series has taken on. As a not-so-regular viewer (basically only when comic book concepts show up) I have to say that this aspect has gotten not only worse, but campier. Whereas last season I was on board for most of the Green Arrow episodes, and enjoyed the antics of Clark, Lana, Lex and Lois – as of this one… not so much. It’s Superman, guys, just let him be Superman. There’s enough soap opera in that paradigm already.

Royally Bummed

The Royal Tenenbaums ~ When I first saw this I thought it was a joke, a good joke, mind you but still a joke. The schedule grid for Comedy Central was wrong, saying this was actually “MadTV” – and the way this film begins, with storybook narration of the childhoods of the main characters, and its humor – it could very well have been a “MadTV” skit. However when the star power showed up it became evident it wasn’t a skit but the real movie. Now don’t get me wrong, it was funny and entertaining and promising – but only while this introduction continued. Once the movie actually started, it all went in the toilet for me. What a shame, it had such potential.

"Fatal Seduction" 2-20-2008

"Fatal Seduction" 2-20-2008


Butch Cordova and Mrs. Miller in


Wednesday, February 20th
11:00 PM showtime -- sharp!
@ Bob & Barbara's
1509 South Street
Philadelphia, PA
Info: (215) 545-4511
$1.99 cover


Harridan, novelty singer, and toilet sex advocate, Mrs. Miller, is pumped up for a chance to get In Bed With Butch. DUTV gay talk show host, and all around stud Butch Cordora, has no idea what's awaiting him when Mrs. Miller shows up for her interview-ready for a roll in the hay!

Join Mrs. Miller and her ratpack of dead and dying celebs such as Charles Nelson Riley, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dom De Luise and Petula Clark as they try to stop Queen of Mean Baroness Leona Helmsley from booting out Butch and replacing him with anti-gay hatemonger Dr. Laura!

But even Leona has skeletons in her closet with a rumored unsavory relationship with her dog, Trouble, and everything goes haywire when Sen. Larry Craig mixes business with pleasure!

The stakes are high when people stand to lose money or their livelihood. Never underestimate the power of attraction and pure lust when a casual interview turns bad in-FATAL SEDUCTION!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

... So Where's Witchblade?

Our cable system just recently added the Independent Film Channel to its selection. Besides all the terrific flicks, IFC also broadcasts the anime version of "Witchblade."

I was pretty excited about this as I had heard good things about this Japanese adaptation of the Marc Silvestri comic series. As a rule I don't like much anime, except when I know the source material and then it's not bad. I was hoping that would be the case here.

Of course this is almost a whole new thing, a new woman, a new situation, but same old Witchblade, so essentially the same concept. There's a rocking opening theme "XTC" by Psychic Killer (not included in the above clip) and the opening sequence is terrific. Unfortunately, that's all the Witchblade we get.

I've seen two episodes so far, and no Witchblade. Lots of folks talking about it, and even kewl-looking baddies who are after it - but the heroine never shows up. I'm giving it one more shot then giving up.

Spectacular Spider-Man

Coming in March to the CW on Saturday morning we have the new animated adventures of out favorite wall-crawler, "The Spectacular Spider-Man." It should be noted that, much to Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada's sinister glee, this Peter Parker will be a young Spider-Man, and decidedly unmarried.

I wonder if we'll see Mephisto in this series?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mighty Avengers #8 Reviewed

"Big Carnage" - my comic book review of the Mighty Avengers #8, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, is now online at Avengers Forever.

The Mighty Avengers contend with a 'Venom bomb' dropped on New York City... as always, never as good as it sounds, or is it? - check out my review here:


If you want to discuss this review, this issue or anything Avengers, please check out the Avengers Forever Forum.

And if you'd like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here.