Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My Gift to you: The best Christmas 5 Second Films of 2010 and 2009. Enjoy!

Worst Toy Ever

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Movie Review: Tron: Legacy

Set decades after the original Tron, Tron: Legacy is the story of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) -- a brilliant slacker/prankster content to live off of the inheritance of his missing father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). But when Sam becomes trapped in the virtual world of The Grid, he must survive the trials of the games and escape the wrath of the tyrannical Clu (also Jeff Bridges).

There are a few logical leaps in the story, but nothing so gaping that it takes away from the film. I managed to watch the original Tron for the first time the week before legacy opened, and if there one that I wanted from Legacy is for it to be a bit... well... goofier. Kevin Flynn is a outlaw tech hippie turned Zen dude, and he brings a much needed levity to some of the heavier moments in the film.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back-Issue Alphabet: D is for Detective Comics #665 (1993)

Detective Comics #665 (Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, Dick Giordano)

First off, the cover: Wow. This is precisely what I was hoping for when I was yanking random books out of the bin. Completely screw-ball covers like this. The central focus of the cover is Batman’s cackling visage. He is just so totally pumped to be beating these thugs senseless with a board with nails in it. And this is Batman; He has a jet shaped like a bat, boomerangs shaped like bats, and a robot dinosaur back in the Batcave. When he’s beating a guy with a board with nails in it, it’s simply to inflict indignity. And look at his ears. They’re twice as tall as the rest of his head.He can’t even close the roof of the Batmobile with these things up. So he either has to detach them when he drives or just drive with the top down and have the ears covered with bugs by the time he gets home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Comic Review: Fused: Canned Heat

 Fused: Canned Heat (Steve Niles, Paul Lee, Brad Rader, Ben Templesmith)

Steve Niles is a comic book writer with a tenacity that I find infinitely admirable. His most popular work to date is 30 Days of Night, which was a movie pitch that failed, then a comic book pitch that failed, then a comic that he and artist Ben Templesmith made for IDW for free in 2002. The book was a critical and commercial success, and then movie studios took notice. In 2007 the 30 Days of Night film debuted, and Niles has continued to be a successful writer.

However, you won’t find Fused: Canned Heat on Niles’ list of writing achievements (or on his website). Finding this trade for $1 should have been a good warning sign, but I picked it from the bargain bin hoping to find a hidden gem. Unfortunately, Fused was more like finding gum under a bus seat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Emo Harry Potter got you down? Then you need an injection of good old fashion Christian optimism in Michael Apted’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third film in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) are former Narnian royalty living out World War 2 with their intolerable cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). Eustace has a penchant for collecting insects, terrible social skills, is a meticulous note keeper, and has impeccable hygiene; all symptoms of a burgeoning serial killer. But before Eustace can preserve Lucy and Edmund in formaldehyde, the trio is whisked away to Narnia via a magical painting. They reunite with Prince Caspian (now King of Narnia) and set off into the Eastern Sea to investigate the disappearances of the seven Lords of Narnia. Along the way there are dragons, magic swords, sea serpents, magic spells and a Very Important Lesson is learned by all. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back-Issue Alphabet: C is for Catwoman #1

Catwoman #1 (1993) (Jo Duffy, Jim Balent, Dick Giordano)

Back in the 90s, when a comic book villain became popular enough he would grow a conscience and be awarded his own ongoing series. Over at Marvel we had Deadpool and Venom, and at the DC end of the spectrum we had Catwoman!

When I pulled Catwoman #1 out of the long box, two things caught my eye and set off great big whoop-whoop warning signals: The cover is embossed (a hallmark of terrible 90s gimmickry) and the art was by Jim Balent. Now, my only exposure to Jim Balent is through the annotations of Tarot provided by the one and only Chris Sims’ Invincible Super-Blog (warning: his Tarot annotations not for kids... or anyone, really). So you can imagine that I was fairly nervous as to what would be contained inside Catwoman #1. Even with DC’s mainstream titles being fully safe-for-work, I was prepared for some monumentally bad artwork. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Webcomics You Should Read: Dr McNinja

I love webcomics. I love that they are free to peruse. I love that they are creator owned. I love that they aren't shackled by publishers or by distribution. If you've got a zany idea and a website, you suddenly have a webcomic.

According to a recent survey, there are currently infinity-zillion webcomics in existence, with about 1000 of them updated regularly and about 100 of those worth any of your time. I don't want to stop you from slogging through the mire of the thousands of webcomics in existence; half the fun of webcomics is finding one that speaks to your taste. Rather, I want to highlight my favourites and let you judge them, and then judge me for liking some of the stupider ones. Way to judge me, guys. Thanks.

Today we will be looking at a ninja who is also a doctor. Or is he a doctor who is also a ninja? Gorillas and gentlemen, I present to you, one Dr McNinja.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Making a movie in two parts is tricky because even though you have a perfectly logical place to put your first act (beginning of first movie) and third act (ending of second movie... duh) your second act is inevitably chopped off in an awkward place. Some movies do it well (Empire Strikes Back), some movies do it poorly (Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 falls somewhere in the “poorly” spectrum. At least they had the decency to put “Part 1” in the title. I remember the fury that came from the audience at the ending of The Matrix Reloaded and Dead Man’s Chest. With HPDH-P1 (yes, sounds like some sort of flu strain, but I’m not spelling out the whole movie title anymore than I need to, nya) we knew the cut-off ending was coming but the second act still felt like it was cut in half with a rusty saw and left writhing on screen like an unprofessionally severed, but still anesthetized, appendage: not as painful as it could have been, but still messy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back-Issue Alphabet: B is for Batman: Turning Points #5

Back-Issue Alphabet; B is for Batman: Turning Points #5 (2000) (Greg Rucka, Paul Pope)

At a glance, the cover isn’t very remarkable. It’s Batman and Commissioner Gorden standing on a rooftop and looking out into the city. However, upon closer inspection we see that they’re smiling as they gaze out into the night. That’s our first clue that this issue is a bit different from a lot of Batman stories. Just what are they smirking at? I bet some extremely rich guy on the adjacent rooftop slipped on a banana peel and landed on a pie. That always cracks me up.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movie Review: Tangled

Tangled is Disney’s take on the story of Rapunzel, the classic fairy tale of the girl with super long hair who is locked away in a tower for reasons I can’t be bothered to look up on Wikipedia. It’s a medieval fairy tale, so I’m assuming somebody gets horribly slaughtered and children are taught a good lesson. Leaving the grim world of classic literature behind, In Disney’s Tangled Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is a princess who’s hair can magically restore youth and heal wounds, but loses this property when cut. As a baby, she’s stolen by the sinister Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) who uses Rapunzel to maintain her immortality. Rapunzel is warned about the (exaggerated) dangers of the outside world, but longs to venture outside her tower to see the strange lights that fill the sky every year on her birthday. She finally gets this opportunity when the dashing thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) encounters her tower while escaping from a horse. Not on a horse, from a horse. If that notion alone has you intrigued, then Tangled is right up your alley. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Back-Issue Alphabet - A is for “Action Comics #607”

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a treasure trove of old comics at Edmonton’s Pop Culture Fair. I had been toying with the idea of reviewing random single issues for a while, but couldn’t quite think up a system for it. It finally hit me when I found one seller that had boxes upon boxes of comics for sale sorted alphabetically. From there, I decided to randomly pick one from each letter of the alphabet to review for my blog. 

I’m going to read these books with the notion that I had pulled them from the stands the day they hit comic books stores, and determine if they would persuade me to continue buying the series (or seek it out in trade). The criteria that I’ll be judging each issue on are it’s cover, story value, artwork, and new reader compatibility.

The plan right now is to make this a weekly series, updating on Mondays. Also I reserve the right to change the name of this series of posts from “The Back-Issue Alphabet” to something better if I can think it.

Anyhoodles, let’s get on to to the first installment, starting with the letter A.