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Monday, April 30, 2007

Me Mini Movie Reviews: Hot Fuzz

Synopsis from IMDB: Jealous colleagues conspire to get a top London cop (Simon Pegg) transferred to a small town and paired with a witless new partner (Nick Frost). On the beat, the pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents and events.

A friend and I, who both loved Shaun of the Dead, got out to see this tonight. First of all, watching this one was a lot of fun. While it’s an intentional send up of all those action flicks a lot of people (like me) love, it also holds its own as a straight up action movie. There are all kinds of references to action flicks that have come before (some I noticed – Lethal Weapon 1 & 2, Demolition Man, Hero and the Terror, He-Man, Desperado, Clint Eastwood Westerns, etc, and of course the ones they point out in the flick – Point Break and Bad Boys 2), and I had to smile when Nick Frost picks up Chuck Norris’ movie Silent Rage out of the bargain bin – and yes, I’ve seen that one too. I’m sure there were a lot more that I missed, and will have to watch this again when it comes to DVD to catch them all.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost hit all the marks with the comedy as well. Keep in mind, this isn’t a Will Ferrell kind of broad stupidity comedy, it’s more in line with the British dry wit and sarcasm, although there are certainly laugh out loud moments. Also, there are really two parts to the movie – the first two acts where Pegg gets transferred and slowly gets introduced to the various colorful townsfolk, and the last part that is an all out shoot ‘em up action flick.
It does a slow burn as it sets up the final act, but even though it drags every now and then, it’s a lot of fun getting there. Once the final act hits and the bullets start flying, the fun factor goes through the roof. For an action flick staged in a small British village, they manage to hit most of the cliché marks of Hollywood explosion blockbusters along with some clever twists on the genre. There are even some moments where you might want to look away if you’re squeamish.

If I had to say anything negative about it, I’d say it probably is a bit too long and could have been edited tighter to get to the third act quicker, but that’s a small matter. You get more of the odd townsfolk and Pegg/Frost interaction this way. The action does suffer a little from jump cut editing, but it is in no way as bad as The Bourne Supremacy. For the most part, you can easily see what’s going on.

As a fan of action movies (and I’ve seen a lot of them), I loved Hot Fuzz. Especially since it stood on its own as an action movie while doing a send up of the genre without falling into complete parody (like the bad Scary Movie franchise, for instance.) The laughs are my kind of humor as well. The combo of Wright, Pegg, & Frost, come in with a great second flick after the even better Shaun of the Dead. It’s a fun time at the theatre, so go see it while its still playing. And pick up Shaun too while you’re at it.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Actually worth theatre money.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hot Rod - Funny Stuff

There's a new teaser trailer out, via, for the movie Hot Rod, coming August 3/07.

When I read the synopsis for this back a few months ago, I thought I gotta see this. Plus it's got Isla Fisher in it, so that's worth watching anyway. Also stars Andy Samberg, Ian McShane, and Sissy Spacek.

Here's the synopsis: Self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Taylor is preparing for the jump of his life. Rod plans to clear fifteen buses in an attempt to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank's life-saving heart operation. He'll land the jump, get Frank better, and then fight him, hard.

The teaser trailer cracks me up - love the music its set to. You can download the teaser trailer here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This Would Fix The Cookie Problem...

This is the cover of the upcoming Wolverine #55 comic. I just like the art, so I'm posting it up. It'd make a nice poster for the front door too - scare off the enumerators and salesmen...

The Cookie Crumbles...

Time for a rant - remember (and it was pretty recent) when they use to sell cookie packages with the paper rows that basically folded down on each other? It was easy to get the cookies out with the package upright! Now what do they do? They use a plastic tray, and shrink wrap it. Why do they always mess with a good thing. When I want my English Ginger Snaps, I don't want to have to put the package horizontal, and then fight with some unbreakable shrink wrap to get to my cookies! It's stupid! What's next, opening a can of salmon to find it saran wrapped? Maybe jelly beans need to be individually coated in transparent stretchy seal too! After all, we wouldn't want to be able to get the very things we want without a 10 round fight with non bio-degradable packaging products. Let's fill up the landfill some more, why don't we. Pop cans, superfluous cookie package wrappings, and all those DVD's of An Inconvenient Truth that didn't sell are going to overflow the garbage trucks on their way to seagull-flock infested dumping grounds that will fill to mountainous proportions till the garbage blocks out the sun and we have to tunnel through a refuse stained post apocalyptic groundswell of doom until we get past Thunderdome and get a gallon of gas from Tina Turner to fuel my unkillable rebuilt Dodge so that I can go all Mad Max (and do it even better than Mel Gibson) on their asses! Then I will conquer the world and rule the remaining lugnuts and despicable despots of marketing miscues with an iron fist and there will be no more shrink wrapped cookie trays disguised in vertical packaging! We will have cookie sanity once again, or I will dispatch my pastry security officer, The Cookie Monster on the nitwits. And then I'll dispatch Elmo to let Oscar the Grouch loose on the barren wasteland and he will remove the garbage problem so that there will be peace in the world once again. And to think, it could all be avoided if they didn't mess with my Ginger Snap packaging. Morons...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

One Down...

Alright! Go 'Nucks! Vancouver wins game 7, 4-1, sending Dallas home. It really was a 2-1 game though with the last two goals into an empty net. And it was a good game too. Roberto Luongo made the series winning save there in the third period on a point blank shot, and the Canucks managed to hold on from there.

I still think Vancouver is extremely lucky to be going to the next round. Marty Turco stood on his head for the Stars, but they couldn't score to give him any help. Not to mention the unbelievable parade of penalties given out by the refs that led to the Stars spending a pretty big chunk of the second and third periods shorthanded. I feel sorry for Turco - the way he played and kept his team in it should have been rewarded.

But on to the second round. Vancouver and Ottawa are both still alive - come on guys, let's have an all Canadian final!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Table For One, Please

I’ve blogged about this before, but this Bridezillas show on Slice (formerly Life) network is quite the thing to watch. It’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away. These women losing complete focus on the whole point of getting married while they obsess about the smallest details and make everyone around them miserable too. And let’s not forget the money being thrown around. Holy triple mortgage, Batman. This one couple on the show spent $120,000!!!!

It’s like an hour long commercial for never getting married, I tell you. I realize that it’s probably edited to show the worst of these women (I mean, what kind of ratings is a show called “Calm and Collected Bride To Be” going to get?), but edited or not, these women are acting like this and saying these things at some point. Gotta wonder about the saneness of these guys too – run, men, run! Under these battle conditions, you’re getting to see the real person you’re about to marry, and in these cases, it’s not pretty. Why would anyone go through with it?

I wonder why anyone would allow cameras in and a show to portray them is such a fashion. Of course, then the cynic in me points out they must be getting paid for the effort and probably overacting too. Still, what if they’re not? Oh, the horror…Oh, the humanity!

XP Not Dead Yet

TrustedReviews - Dell Begins Re-selling PCs With XP

How 'bout that? Due to customer suggestions, Dell is giving customers the option to buy Windows XP instead of Vista on their computers. No kidding, who would want Vista? Dell will even preload Linux on their machines too.

Wouldn't that be funny if Vista bombs, consumers revolt, and even with Microsofts best efforts to force Vista down our throats, people say they don't want it? That would be so cool...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What Will Get Your Movie Dollars?

Summer 2007 Blockbuster Preview!

With May only two weeks or so away, CinemaBlend has a handy rundown of all the mega blockbusters coming over the next few months. May is obviously the most loaded with Blockbuster movie material, with Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, and Pirates 3 all coming out in May. Gonna be a log jam at the cineplex.

I remember the summer of 2003 was like sequlitis, but it was nothing compared to this coming summer. Not a lot of originality coming during blockbuster season this year.

So, looking through the list, I thought I should break down what I'm looking at for burning the movie bucks...

I'll Pay To See In Theatres:

1. Spiderman 3. 2 was better than 1, and this looks even better than 2. Going to show us what X-Men 3 should have been quality wise when you do a comic book movie trilogy.

2. Die Hard 4. Come on, I grew up on these movies. It's John McClane! Yippie-Ki-Yay, I'm there for this, even in spite of a bad director and Justin Long.

3. Transformers. This was going to be on the bubble until I saw some recent TV trailer spots for the movie. This is SO the kind of movie to see on the BIG SCREEN! Big robots blowing a lot of things up really good. Directed by blow up master, Michael Bay. Just sit back and enjoy the vehicular carnage.

4. The Simpsons Movie. Just because if its any good, everybody's going to be talking about it. And who doesn't want to see Homer on a 50 foot theatre screen?

On The Bubble

1. The Bourne Ultimatum. If I read a review that indicates they've lost the nausea inducing shaky cam from the 2nd one, I'll pay theatre money to see it. If not, we're looking at rental.

2. Pirates 3. Loved the first one. Second one sucked. Third one is rumored to be coming in at 3 hours long. It better be good at that rate. I don't think I'll be too broke up if I miss it and wait for rental.

3. Knocked Up. From the people who brought you the 40 Year Old Virgin. The trailer is actually funny, and when I finally got around to seeing Virgin on DVD recently, I couldn't stop laughing. Funniest movie I've seen in a long time. So if I'm in the mood for a comedy when this comes out, I may very well go see it.

4. Rush Hour 3. Depends on when I see a full trailer. The teaser was just plain bloody awful, and after Ratner ruined my favorite X-Men franchise, I don't really want to put money towards one of his flicks, or Chris Tucker for that matter. But there is Jackie Chan, and I did enjoy the first two, so I might go if I wind up going with someone else who wants to see it. Probably rental though.

Wait For DVD

1. Shrek. On my own, I can't see paying theatre money for an animated feature (ok, an animated feature without Homer), even if its as good as the Shrek movies. I can easily wait for rental on this one, though.

2. Ocean's Thirteen. Looks to be quite entertaining from the trailers, but still looks like a solid rental.

3. Fantastic Four 2. Having just recently seen the first one on The Movie Network (and kind of enjoyed it for what it was), I can't see paying theatre money for it. Especially after news came out today that they made Galactus a ridiculous Giant Cloud voice by Laurence Fishburne! What?!?! We're looking at barely rental territory here.

4. Everything else...

...That is until the movie Shoot 'Em Up comes out in September. Clive Owen and Monica Belluci in an action thriller called Shoot 'Em Up? Oh yeah, I'll be in the theatre for that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's a Canadian Game...

Well, Ottawa and Vancouver both won to take 3-1 leads in their respective series. Also, Calgary won their game to crawl back into the series against Detroit, down 2 games to 1. Jarome Iginla finally scored a goal - the game winner. 'Bout time he woke up for Calgary...

The Ottawa-Pittsburgh series is great hockey, as I posted before. I'm a little torn on the one. On one hand, I always want a Canadian team to win, but I also like cheering for the underdog Penguins with Sid the Kid, Gary Roberts, and goalie Fleury. I think Ottawa's gonna take the series though, so go Canada!

Tales of the Stranger: Episode 10, Part 1

So I had an idea for a 3 part story with the Stranger, and I think I finally got it figured. It’s another set in the ‘prequel’ In Between Years. You can jump in here for these three stories even if you haven’t read any of the others, as you don’t really need to have read the others to get the gist of it. I do reference something in episode 5, but it’ll be explained, so don’t worry about continuity. It’s a little different in that it’s kind of a song fic (very popular in fan fiction, not so much anywhere else). Sort of. There are lyrics to a different song in each story, with the title of each coming from the song that pertains to the story. The song and album are listed at the end of the story for those curious. So, enjoy if you can, comments of any kind – good, bad, or ugly – are welcome…

Miracle by Eaglewing

It's a fairytale so tragic; There's no prince to break the spell
I don't believe in magic; But for you I will, yeah, for you I will
If I'm a fool, I'll be a fool; Darlin' for you…

I'm countin' on a miracle
Baby, I'm countin' on a miracle
Darlin', I'm countin' on a miracle
To come through…

It was a big city, too big to care for all of its denizens and miscreants. Sure, the main drags and tall shiny office buildings glorifying the corporate suits that ran it all were well taken care of. But there were corners that weren’t; corners that didn’t want to be looked at and the money men didn’t want to see. At election time, they said the words, promised to throw money in that direction to ‘clean it up’, but once the back room power plays and hand shake deals were made and the betrayal of democracy had been shuffled through city hall once again, the promises were soon forgotten. Money could be spent in better ways, and the less said about the dark city corners, the better. No one ever went there anyway. No one that counted.

One of the uncounted was Bobby. Born Robert Sullivan, but only his Momma called him Robert. On the street, he was just Bobby. To the gang bangers, the drug runners, the pimps, and the women of the night, he was just Bobby. A white boy in a part of town where that was a sin, he had to grow up tough. And he did, but with no way out he did what came natural to those who had come before and fell in with a gang that would have him. He wasn’t sold on the idea, but his one true friend from before a time when it was only the colors that mattered went and did what was natural, joining the Two-Two Boys and so Bobby followed suit. Someone had to look out for Tiny. Little Tino Martinez when he was a kid somehow changed to Tiny along the way and it stuck. Bobby and Tiny were inseparable, all the way up, and now spent their days marking the landscapes in graffiti colors and running the products of the boss’s deals around town, along with whatever other crimes and misdemeanors went with the territory. Bobby knew it was drugs, but Tiny said it didn’t matter – it was all they had and all they could do anyway. Bobby wasn’t so sure, but it was the truth for now, and ends had to be met.

One of those ends had led him to finding Jamie, a beautiful girl, tender and tough, and they had done more than hit it off right away. Kindred spirits, they both wanted a way out, and being with her had him thinking there just might be a way. If he was strong enough, and for some unknown reason she believed he was, maybe he could fight his way out of this dark corner of town and take her with him to a brighter freedom together. He told himself it was a pipe dream, and it probably was, but it was funny what someone believing in you could do. It wouldn’t be easy to get out, ‘cause old habits die hard – but they do die, just like everything else.

Bobby was thinking these thoughts and more on his way home when Tiny caught up to him.

“Hey Bobby, hol’ up a sec!” yelled Tiny, as he ran hard to catch up.

“What’s up Tiny? I’m headed home…”

“It’s comin’ loose, man. We’re getting all the Two-Two Boys together tonight, go blow some holes in those no good GD’s before they gun us on our turf. Boss wants us all locked and loaded. We’re gonna bust some caps in ‘em while they sleep tonight. You gotta come with me, man, I’m headed to meet now.”

Bobby let out a long breath at the news. The Gangster Disciples had been pushing the Two-Two Boy’s turf and he knew it would come to war. He could somehow tell himself the drug running and occasional violence wasn’t that bad and that maybe he’d get out alive if he were smart, unlike many that hadn’t made it before and died young. But a gang war over turf was going to be bloody. This wasn’t just selling illegal products across town, this was death, and it was going to be up close and personal. Bobby didn’t want to die yet – not like that.

“Listen Tiny, we don’t want that. Hitting the GD’s on their turf is nuts! We could get slaughtered. They’re pushing in, they’ll know this is our next step, and they’ll be ready. It’s suicide. No way Tiny, we don’t want this.”

“But come on, man, are we Two-Two’s or what? We gotta represent! We’re not gonna just lay down and let the GD’s walk over us! No way! We gotta fight ‘em, show ‘em who’s kicking who’s ass!”

“No Tiny, its war and its death. Just turn off your cell, say we didn’t know about the meet, we don’t have to go.”

“Bobby, man, you’re always trying to slide by. We’s brothers, always had each other’s back, and the Two-Two Boys are family. My family. Our family. We stand together, man. Don’t you wuss out on me, not now, when its war. Family is family, and the Boys are family. And you and me, we’s thicker than family. This ain’t much, but these streets is our home, and you gotta fight for your home and your boys. So, are we’s brothers, or what?!”

Bobby let out another long breath. Somebody had to look after Tiny. He couldn’t see anything more than the way things were, and he believed he had a family in the gang. And to a point, he was right. They covered each other’s backs, but the gang also put those backs into danger in the first place. Bobby wanted out, but he wasn’t going to let Tiny down. He shook his head, feeling a wave of regretful premonition.

“Alright man, but I gotta go home and get my gear. All my best hardware is back there. When’s the meet and the hit?”

Tiny smiled in relief. “I knew you wouldn’t wimp out, man. Meet’s now till later, when we’re together we’re gonna go hit them GD’s at 2. It’ll be dark, they’ll be sleepin’, it’ll be easy, give’em what they got comin’!”

“Ok, Tiny, go on ahead. But don’t you go to the hit until I’m there, ok? You hear me? I’ll bring the goods. We’ll watch each other’s backs, we’ll be alright.”

“You know it, Bobby. See you later, man – don’t be late!” And with that Tiny ran off to meet up with his fellow brothers. Bobby grimaced, wished he were a thousand miles away, and headed home. Tonight wouldn’t go well, he knew it in his gut, but it was part of the territory, and some things had to be protected. Then he thought of Jamie. She wasn’t going to be happy, not at all. But you don’t let an old friend down, no matter what, and she might not get that, but Tiny was the only other friend he’d ever had and the streets were their blood and that went way back and was hard to separate. Not to mention, he owed him. If he had to die in a war to keep Tiny alive, he would. But he was getting tired. All he really wanted was a tank of gas and four on the floor, a highway to the horizon, and Jamie by his side. Was he strong enough for that? He shook his head; he didn’t know. All he knew was that it was going to be a bad night, and he was going to need a miracle to see it through. It was the only chance he had…

There ain't no storybook story; There's no never-ending song
Our happily ever after Darlin'; Forever come and gone
Yeah, I'm movin' on; If I'm gonna believe,
I'll put my faith; Darlin' in you…

I'm countin' on a miracle
Baby, I'm countin' on a miracle
Darlin', I'm countin' on a miracle
To come through…

The doors to the dimly lit and near empty diner burst open as a young woman came through them fast. She yelled out to somebody in the back. “Big Mike! You gotta come out here, you gotta do something! They’re going to do it tonight! Please, you gotta help me, help Bobby!”

The cook, a middle aged black man of mountainous proportions made of battle hardened muscle, strode out of the kitchen to see what the fuss was about. “Calm down, Jamie, calm down. What’s this about tonight?”

The panic stricken young woman leaned on the counter, out of breath. “I heard it from Gina down the way. The Two-Two’s are going after the GD’s tonight. It’s going to be a war. They’re pulling in all their crews. That means Bobby too, cause Tiny will make him go. I just know it. We gotta do something!”

Big Mike just shook his head, “What do you want me to do, girl? Sure, I got a rep ‘round these streets, but you know the police don’t care about us down here, and I can’t stop a war by myself. There ain’t nothing I can do. I’ll be lucky if I can get a hold of my sister’s kid and keep him out of it. It’s just the way things are down here, and you know that.”

“But it’s not right! They’re going to die, and for what?! Turf? Drugs? Money? The colors on their backs?” She paused for a second, pulling in a breath, then sitting down on one of the counter stools. With a pained expression on her face, she looked back up at Mike. “What am I going to do? What can I do? I can’t lose Bobby…”

“Listen girl, there’s only but one thing you can do. Go find that boy of yours and just flat out lay it on the line. Let him know what’s what, and what’s important to you and why. Maybe you can keep him with you tonight – give him a choice to make. Sometimes you gotta fight for what you want. Right now though, I gotta go call my sis. Where’s the meet?”

“The usual, crackhouse on 22nd Street. The hit’ll be late, when they take the crews over the line at 41st. Good luck, Mike, I gotta go find Bobby. He’ll probably be heading home to get his guns. Maybe I’ll find him there…”

Jamie got up and headed back out into the blue hazed dusk of the oncoming night. Before the door was even closed, something moved out of the dark corner booth at the back. A man, lean and mean, emerged from the shadows, dropping several bills on the counter before heading for the exit. He pulled his cowboy hat on low as he hit the door, keeping the quickly retreating young girl in his sight.

In the stillness of the night air, nobody heard him whisper, “I know Sonny, I know. They never learn, but I’ll do what I can…”

To Be Continued…

Lyrics from the song:
“Countin’ On A Miracle”, written by Bruce Springsteen
Album: The Rising

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Good Hockey...

Here we go. Third period of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh game. If you're a hockey fan, this is the series to be watching. Fantastic back and forth pace with great talent on both sides. This is hockey that is fun to watch, not the New Jersey style snore fest.

It's tied at one, with a period to go...

The Tooth Is Out There...

Got the pain in the jaw tooth pulled today. Went well, as these things can I suppose. After a shot or two of freezing, dentist got in there to push and pull it back and forth to loosen it before the yank out, and I grunted in some pain at the one push. He stopped and was gonna give me some more freezing, but I wouldn't have it. I knew he had to be close, and what do I want with another needle at that point? So I just said "I'm fine. Keep going. Keep. Going." So he did, and out it came. That's a relief. Once it heals up a bit, hopefully I can drink cold water again.

So, as I pretty much spent the rest of the day taking it easy, swapping a couple gauzes in and out, I watched some hockey, some TV, and the movie The Prestige. Good movie that one. Keeps you interested right through to the end with excellent performances from Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman showing the high cost of those character's obsession and rivalry. I'm surprised it didn't have any Oscar noms. I thought it was better than best picture winner The Departed.

Then I threw in a DVD of season 3 of The Rockford Files. Can't go wrong with some Rockford to end the day...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Redline Bomb

Well, on a very crowded 'dump the movies we think will suck' kind of opening weekend, the movie Redline comes in 11th at the box office. How bad must this flick be? I know the Myspace page for advertising was just awful when I happened to look at it a couple months ago, as was the trailer they had there. Really didn't make one want to see the movie. The new trailer over at Quicktime is better, and almost makes this seem like it might be a half interesting brainless action car flick. Maybe on DVD. Maybe.

But look at the box office. With a budget at 26 million, it made only 4 million on opening weekend. It'll go down from there. Add that to the fact that Eddie Griffin accidentally totaled the producer's exotic car at a promo junket, and this looks like one costly venture. Unless it was somebody's idea of a tax write-off, then it worked out great...

You can download the Quicktime trailer here, if you really want to see it for some reason...

Me Mini Movie Reviews: 300

Finally got out to see this with a friend tonight. First time back in a theatre in a long while, but we both wanted to see this, and we both ended up liking it. She really liked the unique look of the movie, as did I, and I thought it was well-done story telling and drama as well. And let's not forget, some fantastic one-liners.

The movie is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, which took it's story from the historical events at the battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans stood against the massive armies of the Persian empire. If you know your history, you know how it ends, but I won't say it here just in case you haven't seen it and don't want to know. The director, Zack Snyder, took his visual cues from the graphic novel, much like Robert Rodriguez did with Frank Miller's Sin City. Snyder does a great job here visually - the cinematography and distinct look of the film is pulled off seamlessly, considering most of this was shot on green screen. As good as Sin City was, there were spots where you could tell it was done on green screen (depth perception a little off), but here it's been taken a step further and I didn't have my usual "CGI moment" where I'm taken out of the story 'cause my brain tells me what I'm seeing is fake. The look of it is just amazing.

The actors all do well, with Gerard Butler leading the way as King Leonidas. He fearlessly leads and inspires his small army of well-trained Spartan warriors. They know the odds point to what could be a futile outcome, but they believe in their cause, in the King's cause. Not to mention death on the battlefield is the ultimate glory for these Spartan Warriors. As one states, they are looking for someone who might equal them in a fight. And fight they do - the battle scenes are a visceral thing, as these Spartans take no prisoners. The fighting "phalanx" maneuver is something to behold in its machine like, deadly efficient, symmetry. But the thing I loved about it, was that the King himself wasn't just sending his men to fight, wasn't just in the back somewhere fighting with them - no, he was at the very front commanding, leading, and fighting. I'll bet current politicians wouldn't be so quick to start wars if they were to do the same thing themselves.

Speaking of politicians, there's a squirrelly one in Sparta too. The Queen - well played with a quiet intensity by Lena Headey - has to put up with him and the mystic influenced Council as she tries to rally support to send the full Greek army to her husband's aide. Lena Headey does great in the role of the Queen who is just as powerful and unyielding as her husband the King, fighting a battle on a different kind of turf. It is shown that these two are equals in every sense, and love each other, but know that freedom is worth fighting for, as it is the Queen who inspires Leonidas to break with tradition to fight for what is right - even though they both know the cost. As a side note, after seeing her in this, I have slightly higher hopes for her pulling off the role of Sarah Conner in the upcoming TV series, The Sarah Conner Chronicles spin-off of the Terminator movies.

I thought it was a great movie, and certainly justified its spot near the top of my 2007 anticipated movie list. Fantastic visuals, good acting, and a compelling (if at times over the top) story combine for a kick ass movie experience.

Verdict: Recommended.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

'Nucks Win!

YES! Henrik Sedin just scored for the Vancouver Canucks to beat the Dallas Stars in game one. And this was with less than 2 minutes left of the 7th period. A long game, but a good finish. Both Canadian teams won their games one. Perfect, now I can go to bed...

Some Movie Notes...

-- A good interview here with Todd Robinson, the writer/director of the upcoming movie Lonely Hearts. It looks like a period crime thriller of the true case of the '50 Lonely Hearts killers. The interesting thing, is that the detective that John Travolta plays is based on Todd Robinson's Grandfather - the actual detective who worked the case. I was interested just based on the trailer, but this makes it even more intriguing knowing the true life backgrounds.

-- A pic of the armor has surfaced for next years Iron Man movie. Take a look here. Looks cumbersome on first look, but will have to wait and see how it plays on screen. I'm not a huge Iron Man fan or knowledgable on that particular comic book character (from what I can figure, he's been turned into the Marvel Universe's resident jerk after the big Civil War event - but he was an interesting character before that), however, I am really digging the cast they have assembled for this. Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, and Gwyneth Paltrow could bring this up to X-Men and Spiderman levels of comic book movies.

-- It looks like Kurt Sutter is on board to write the script for perpetual "coming soon" Punisher 2 movie. I don't know much about Sutter, but apparently he's a writer on the highly rated TV show The Shield, so that bodes very well for what he might come up with for The Punisher sequel. Anyone who's read my blog knows I am a big fan of The Punisher comics as written by Garth Ennis. I hope they get more of that tone of character in the sequel than they did in the first one. Don't get me wrong, I actually like the first movie, but thought they didn't go deep enough into the complexity of the character Frank Castle, aka The Punisher. Still, it was a good movie considering the tight budget. However, as far as tight budget movies go, they could take a lesson from Joss Whedon with Serenity. Both Punisher and Serenity had similar 40 million budgets, but I think Whedon shows a lot more bang for the buck up on the screen.

-- Brendan Fraser will return for The Mummy 3, but Rachel Weisz will not. Fraser inked a reportedly rich deal to do it, and will star alongside Jet Li, who'll play the vilian. Sounds like Die Hard 3 syndrome - hero returns, but no Bonnie Bedalia. Will it be any good?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Playoff Hockey Is Here!

Tonight kicks off the 2007 NHL playoffs. The quest for the Stanley Cup. And probably another year of the Cup going to some non hockey town that nobody cares about. (Tampa Bay?! Carolina?! Really now...)

Some good hockey though out of the gates: Ottawa beat Pittsburgh 6-3, although Crosby did notch his first playoff goal. Fleury got pulled though, so that could be tough for Pens fans. Then there's the better game to watch - Nashville vs San Jose. As I write this, they are tied at 4 and in the second period of overtime. Nashville tied it with less than a minute to go in the game, and now the next goal wins the game. Elsewhere, Dallas and Vancouver are going at it (Go 'Nucks!), and Minnesota and Anaheim start their series as well (snore).

Of course, I'm cheering for any Canadian team to win, but either way, the first round is always a good time to be hockey fan. Plus I get to watch teams other than the usual Toronto and Calgary that CBC shows. It's about the only time of year I need the picture-in-picture on my TV :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You Can't Handle The Tooth!

Did the dentist consult…looks like I’m gonna kiss a tooth goodbye and good riddance. Nothing like ‘fixing’ a cavity by filling it, then having more pain than you did before. Time for it to go, next week. And that would be enough hassle for normal folk, but when you have to align your kidney transplant meds along with the antibiotic meds they want to give you, its more of a headache. I have to be my own pharmacist. And then, of course, it’s Easter Monday and the doc’s office is closed. Yippy-Ki-Yay ----

Anyway, did that and not much else today, just rested after a busy few days. However, inspiration did hit and I knocked out the first of a new 3 part Stranger story that’s been buzzing around the headspace. Think I got it dialed in, so now I just have to write the other 2 parts. Funny thing about writing, once you start you want to keep going and get it right. As long as you don’t run into the famous writers block, its fun. Maybe someday, it’ll even be good too :)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Here and There...

Nothin' much of note here...been drawing a blank on blog posts lately, plus got some stuff to do here in life to take care of, hence the sporadic blogging...

One thing of note - the NY Islanders won their game against NJ in a shootout. That means they're in the playoffs and the Toronto Maple Laughs are out. What a shock. Note to Toronto - playing just barely good enough to get into the playoffs doesn't mean you're going to. I still think this is a good thing for the Leafs. If they had made it in, it would have been status quo and no need for change - they would have made the playoff gate money, gone out in the 1st or 2nd round, and management would have been happy. Now that they missed for 2 years, heads might roll. Start with the GM...

Oh, and Grindhouse came out on the weekend to the tune of 4th place at the box office, a low 11.5 million, and divided reviews. I haven't seen it yet, but it seems most everyone agrees that Rodriguez's half is a great wild ride, but Tarantino's half is where people are coldy divided. Some think it's brilliant, and some think it was so boring. It's apparently not a steady action piece - it's more of a slow burn talky thinker ending with a slam bang car chase. If you've seen QT's inspiration for Death Proof - which was Vanishing Point (and I have seen it) - then it starts to make some sense. But with all Tarantino's movies, they tend to be love it or hate it flicks and the more you know about the obscure movies he references, the better you'll like it. Maybe I can get out on cheapy Tuesdays and see this 3 hour movie marathon...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Just found out about and started reading the new comic series Criminal, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips. How did I not know about this? It's right up my alley...

It's really a noir tale told from the point of view of Leo - a career pickpocket who is a mastermind of planning jobs (heists and the like). He has a set of rules that he follows, but events spiral to a point of drawing him in to a high dollar heist against his better judgement. On top of all this, he's regarded as a coward by those that would draw him into this job, which is a nice twist to the usual anti-hero protaganist of these types of tales. There's also a colorful cast of characters including a bartender, an ex-junkie with a heart, a epileptic con man, and crooked cops.

The writing style - gritty and real - is fantastic. The art then pulls it together with shadowy details that capture the noir feel.

Really its like reading a movie. Like an old noir film. Brubaker even does a writeup of one of his favorite noir films - the classic Out of the Past - at the end of issue 2. And that's another thing that sets this series apart. Most comics feel like you can blow through reading them in 3 minutes. This one packs in quite a bit of written word and wonderful art and then has an extra backup story in issue 1 and the aforementioned movie writeup in issue 2.

I'm only 2 issues in of a 5 issue first story arc, but so far its worth the read.

You can download a "trailer" for Criminal here. It's unique in that its not just a few first pages of the book, but a series of comic panels from the books put together like a movie trailer - a voice over narration to read, while getting quick clips and quips from throughout the story. First time I've seen something like that, but it really works well. You can easily envision this as a movie.

You can also find an interview with creator Ed Brubaker here.

EDIT: Ok, just finished the 5 issue first arc. Great story, pure noir. Apparently, the next story arc starts in May, so I'm looking forward to more. I can only imagine somebody is going to option this for a movie at some point. A character driven heist / revenge flick. Is he really a coward? Is it fear or intelligence that keeps him walking away? What happens when you break your own rules?

And the best part of the issues is the extra bits at the end with the author riffing on his fave books and movies of old and the process of writing as well. It's like getting a DVD commentary or something with a comic book.

Highly recommended read if you're into noir. Apparently there is a trade paperback collecting these 5 issues coming out May 16. Worth picking up.

Play Ball!

MLB on Yahoo! Sports - News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games

So, baseball season has started again. Yay! And the Blue Jays won their first game! I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Being in the same division as filthy rich New York and Boston doesn't bode well. Especially when your GM spends 18 million on a two year contract for Frank Thomas. Pitching? Who needs pitching? Halladay is enough, right?

While I'm a die hard hockey loving Canadian, there's just something I really enjoy about watching ballgames. It's a great game, filled with tradition, and classic personalities. Of course, I'm ignoring the insane salaries, the do little right Commish, and the Barry Bonds mess. (No way should he be passing Aaron's record. It just isn't right.)

I was a fan when I was younger (and the Jays won back to back World Series - still remember watching the TV when Joe Carter hit that home run), but then I soured on it with that strike that cancelled a season and basically finished off the Montreal Expos. Then I came back to the game when I got my own place and found myself watching games on the weekends. Then through the dialysis years, when I just didn't have energy for anything, I found it really relaxing to watch ballgames and to follow it, pitch by pitch. That's when I became something of a Mets fan in that I just liked watching their games. They had the best announcers too. Funny, lively, and informative. Even when the Mets stunk, which was still fun to watch.

Anyway, another fun season ahead of possibilites, of hopefully another year the Yankess don't win the Series, of boring Jays announcers, and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Batter up!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tarantino & Rodriguez Interview

Interesting interview from ABC news with Tarantino and Rodriguez here. Some interesting stuff about the new Grindhouse movie, their influences and friendship, and their movie making experiences. It's a long read, but some good stuff for fans...