Saturday, December 26, 2009

'The End of Time Itself'

Russell T. Davies is obviously given to hyperbole on occasion--especially when he is writing dialogue for the Ood (how do they articulate so well when their mouths are a bag o' wormy veins? Oh right, with that telepathic speaking ball. Handy.) So when we are warned that the danger the Doctor is facing in this 2 part final special means the final act of Time as well, it doesn't really hit home. I mean, the Doctor has saved the past, the present, the future, Earth, the universe, and reversed horrific events...well, time and time again. Plus we know that Matt Smith is the Doctor next year so obviously Time doesn't truly end (unless Matt Smith is some kind of younger Doctor, as in, the Doctor's exploits pre-Christopher Eccleston and Rose Tyler).

But when the Doctor sits at a cafe with Wilf, and explains why someone who is technically immortal, who can regenerate and be young again every time he is mortally wounded, actually feels terror and intense grief at the prophesy of his death, it's something completely new in this series. It's an earnestness, a simple statement of personal facts, that the Doctor does not often divulge. He explains that the regeneration is not always guaranteed, and then the doozie: that even when he does regenerate, it feels like death. Every. Single. Time. Some new man just walks away with his memories and skills and life. He, That Particular Incarnation of the Doctor, is gone forever.

In the face of Tennant's imminent departure, the poignancy of these admissions is for once backed up by the fact that we know this Doctor really will die soon. (Though I do predict a return of the half-human, half-Doctor Tennant clone who is hanging out in a parallel Earth with Rose Tyler in, say, a year and a half? maybe two? Once that NBC lawyer show Tennant is filming doesn't get picked up for its' back-nine episodes.) And who better to spill his guts to than Wilf? The father of the one companion who was actually an equal, a friend? The man who seems inextricably tied to his own personal timeline? An old man, with various lives of his own, experiences as a soldier and someone unique in the universe?

A man who might very well be a Timelord himself. Honestly, when Wilf went to his old private memento box, and unwrapped that ancient gun, I was positive it was gonna be that fob watch that hides a Timelord's persona within a human. I still feel that he IS a timelord in hiding (not knowing it himself obviously) which would explain the Doctor's comfort (and momentary suspicion) with him, his reemergence in the Doctor's life and ability to locate him so swiftly, his love of the sky and stars, his encouragement of Donna's adventures, and even Donna's own participation in the Doctor's life.

Think about it. If Wilf is a Timelord, that means Donna is part Timelord, part Human, which is exactly what she became in last series' finale. The Doctor thought that was the first time that has ever existed, and that it wasn't physically possible, hence his decision to wipe her memories. But what if that's what she already was! What if that was WHY the timelines bent to activate her as the DoctorDonna? What if she IS capable of sustaining the mind of a Timelord in the body of a human? That would mean she could come back. The DoctorDonna can return, and least as far as Part Two of The End of Time is concerned.

This episode was unlike any other Davies' Doctor Who episode I have seen, especially in the last two years. Like in The Waters of Mars, the Doctor was essentially alone throughout. I suppose Wilf became his companion by the end, but it seems more circumstance and fate than choice. More importantly, the Doctor seemed terrified throughout. Often he'd get scared, or see the danger in situations, the impossibility of evil machinations, but this time, alone, faced with his own 'inevitable' demise, he seemed thinner and more breakable. It was acted beautifully. I mean, Tennant brought this 900 year old, nigh omnipotent alien and Lord of Time, to the brink of tears at a Chiswick cafe, and it was entirely believable.

Not only was the Doctor more different than ever, but the Master, resurrected and somehow imbued with superpowers was a shock. Perhaps any Timelord could access that kind of temporary flight, lightning bolt wielding, human eating abilities, but it seems to cost whatever lifeforce he has in that particular body. And then it turns out the Master and the Doctor are not the only Timelords anymore. The episode opens with narration, and continues with it until about 2/3rds in, when we see the face of...a character/actor I probably should know if I was an old school Doctor Who fan who watched the (kinda cheesy and dated) series in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. But I'm not, I'm a 2005 series fan, and not ashamed of it. Still, it felt like seeing Leonard Nimoy in the Star Trek Movie, and I have some feeling (read it somewhere?) that the narrator is a Timelord named the Professor (seems appropriate). Suffice to say that he tells us today is the day that the Timelords return.

So somehow the Timwar get's un-time-locked, or the Master (or the Doctor) goes back in time and saves them and the entire planet of Gallifrey, or changes the universe, or something equally big. (The narrator said the Master was to have a time of enormous glory in the near future; guess that could be good or bad but I feel it hints at some redemption for the Master.) Definitely feels like the New Year's Day one will be a game changer.

Other highlights include: seeing the Master's old human wife Lucy from Season 3, and her defiance to his return. The producers somehow managing to make a trash dump into a scary, mountainous immortal warrior arena. The shot of the council of Timelords of Gallifrey. The TARDIS locking with a car alarm sound, and then the Doctor hiding the TARDIS a second out of sync (just like the Dalek's hid the Earth and the other 27 planets they stole last season--pretty cool to see how the Doctor learns and adapts as continues to grow older and see more and face more--and to sort of be a part of it, having seen and learned with him.)

As for disappointments, I'll just say that there was far far too little screen time for Donna for me. I understand that Wilf is the companion right now, and I definitely see how that works for the tenor of the show and Tennant's exit, but I hope to God that Part Two has a really heavy Donna storyline, where she remembers, and evolves and returns, at least for a little while, to her previous glory and personality. The other storyline I didn't love was every human on Earth turning into the Master (creepy) BUT I see it as the foil for the exact plot development I want; namely, both Wilf and Donna do not change. They are the only humans to stay the same.

Means they're Timelords, or half-Timelords, or at least very important and integral to the Tennant-Doctor's final story.

All in all, was one of the best Doctor Who episodes I've seen in a long time, and certainly one of the most different. Very glad Davies took some risks and changed things up for his final story, and I cannot wait for next week's continuation/conclusion.

If you've never seen the show...well, then you probably didn't read this post, or at least didn't get to the end. However, I highly recommend it, but start with the 2005 season. Christopher Eccleston is quite different from Tennant, but I still fell in love with the show immediately, and also you should get to know Rose before you meet Tennant, and Martha Jones, and then Donna. Watch it as they made it. (It goes faster than you'd like.)

Happy day after Christmas! Long Live the Doctor.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Total Recall

I take back everything bad I said about the British, and their television programmers specifically. Turns out Doctor Who DID air today, and is currently materializing bit by kilobyte onto my very own USS Macbook!

No matter that everywhere I look online says it's airing December 25th. In approximately an hour I will be watching brand new David Tennant adventures, his final story, and the return (possibly demise according to internet speculation?) of Donna Noble.

Pretty good Christmas present for a Jew.

Russell T. Davies---despite some dips, you made a great thing here. Interested to see what Steven Moffat can do, but here's hoping you end your run on a high note. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to it.

Merry Christmas

While this Captain was born a Jew, he is often confused for a gentile.

And he's alright with that. Christ set a lot of good things in motion. So, yknow, thanks Baby J. And Happy Birthday.

This fine Friday work-less morning I am pleasantly surprised to find a number of Brooklyn businesses open. Currently I'm nursing a hot chocolate at a Connecticut Muffin and stealing their wireless to download things without a trace of shame. The typical Jew Christmas, apparently, involves Chinese Food and a movie. I have yet to find the best Chinese place in my new neighborhood, but I've got the watching things down to an art form.

Which brings me to my disappointment this morning when I realized the Doctor Who Christmas special 'The End Of Time" wasn't airing until tomorrow. What bollocks! If that's the way it's gonna be, call it a friggin Day-After-Christmas special. Here I thought the Brits were all anti-torture. But this was a cruel blow. I was already setting my clock to London time so as to anticipate the availability of the torrent.

But, hey, it's just another 24 hours, and waiting for Doctor Who to air is usually a matter of months. I'll get through it with my new British series--Misfits. A group of dysfunctional British teens who are all stuck doing court-mandated community service get stuck in a freak lightning storm and develop superpowers. The powers are fairly unoriginal--telepathy, time control, invisibility, pheromone control--but the characters are fresh and it's pretty well made so far (only seen the first two, but eager for the rest.)

I'm also revisiting a little Dollhouse, namely the unaired eps: Epitaph One and the original pilot (which I've never seen) in honor of its impending demise. I have to admit its really stepped up the quality, and as long as they don't have Eliza Dushku miming a head-ache ever ever ever ever ever again (watch The Alphabet Killer for a great example of her inability to act head pain) I think the last couple episodes will be fantastic (especially if Amy Acker comes back, as Epitaph One pretty much promised).

Regardless, the lack of new tv this past week or two is a bit annoying when you suddenly have a three day weekend and want to do a whole lot of nothing, but I've been rather good at wasting time in the past, so I just need to tap into those old habits.

Hope everyone has a beautiful and safe and fun holiday. Talk to you later this weekend about Doctor Who. :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Captain Is Back On Deck

My apologies, gentle geeky conservative faithful readers. It has been many months since my last post, and it turns out some of you still are clicking on whatever link brings you to this site on a daily basis. I am flattered and touched and moved and deeply perplexed (how many times can one read a fairly simple review of the comic where Stephanie Brown takes up the mantle of Batgirl?) Regardless I have felt the call back to STB this fine snow-covered Sunday morning.

I have moved to the city (Brooklyn) and got an actual job (Manhattan) and all of a sudden find myself to be, at least on the surface, a fully functioning, society-contributing, money-making cog in the machine (but a cool machine, like a ginormous Swatch or the Ghostbusters' ghost-trap-box thing.) Alright, explanation portion done, lets do a minimalist round-up of some of the pop/culture I've missed.

Star Trek: Finally saw the J.J.Abrams movie last night. Was never a Trekkie, wasn't even super interested in the movie, but heard good things so I checked it out. Not entirely sure whether it was amazingly well-written or if my biochemistry was somehow inexplicably altered for those couple hours, but I experienced about 8 intense, 10 minute long sobbing sessions throughout the movie. No joke. Was crying before the titles flashed across the scene, and by the time the end credits showed up I was just a red faced, dehydrated, human-shaped mound of snot sitting on a couch. Loved it. Haven't felt so much emotion since that whole birth thing.

Inglorious Basterds: Also saw yesterday. Am disappointed I was more effected by Star Trek, but I thought it was great nonetheless. Perfect amount of humor, gore wasn't nearly as ubiquitous or disquieting (or satisfying) as I anticipated, and even Brad Pitt grew on me after his first scene (though he definitely doesn't deserve first billing on this film.) The women were the best characters, and the "JewHunter" was amazing actor as well, though plotwise, the final third's developments still mystify me a bit. Solid though, and really well done. Would be ok with Quentin getting some awards for it.

Dollhouse: Ending. Shocker. Quality has absolutely improved though, I can't deny that. Summer Glau had a very strong two-part guest starrage (though, yet a-fucking-gain, she was an eccentric brilliant socially-inept hard-to-understand genius) and obviously Alan Tudyk is still solid. Unfortunately, Eliza has remained wooden and incapable of actual acting, and the writers still rest the majority of the story on her shoulders. This show should be about Victor instead! Enver Gojak (?-dont feel like looking it up) is unbelievable. Everyone else is flat and fairly uninteresting.

Blackest Night: Solid, and expectedly brutal. Dragging out waaay too long, also as expected. The next big crossover series are already being solicited, and me and my wallet are both getting rather tired. Do love having those promotional rings though ha.

Doctor Who: Waters of Mars was pretty solid. Far far better than The Next Doctor and the one with the Bionic Woman actress (who is basically Britain's Eliza Dushku.) However, could not be more excited for the Xmas day special, followed by the New Years final David Tennant episode. Catherine Tate returns!! My favorite companion. Hope she gets some real screen time, and that the DoctorDonna comes back to the Universe. Not as excited for Matt Smith but definitely interested (especially for whichever episode Alex Kingston shows up in.)

Bat-books: Kinda boring at the moment, to be honest. Love that Red Robin has his own title, identity and mission (Tim Drake's my favorite hero, if you've never read this blog before) but Yost has been trying too hard to make the stories as intricate and batman-detective-y as possible. I want some more emotion, some more personal stuff. Also the occasional closure would be lovely. As for the other titles, you'd think Dick Grayson as Batman and Damien Psycho Wayne as Robin would be full of writing opportunities, such a major (and temporary) shake up of the most established title in comic books, and yet they seem to be doing the same crap; gang wars, super-villain blowing up Arkham Asylum and using all lesser villains as an army against Batman & Gotham (Tony Daniel is very overrated) and freaky Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely collaborations (Red Hood and Scarlet blew, R.I.P. and Final Crisis blew and were seriously disturbing, and yet they've given him the "Return of Bruce Wayne" storyline. Rather pissed about it.)

(500) Days of Summer: Lovely. Thought it would be boring/formulaic. Wasn't. Very glad Joseph Gordon-Levitt was main character. Love him. he always picks great stuff (BrickBrickBrickBrickBrick) and is about time he got some awards. Also I'm rather sick to death of the whole I'm-A-Deschanel-Look-How-Cute-And-Eccentric-I-Am.

30 Rock: Not what it used to be. Tina Fey is overexposed and has like zero warmth. Actually like Parks and Recreation more. (Hunting episode was great.)

X-Men: Still not sure about all this Utopia/Nation X thing. Matt Fraction is completely great on Iron Man and then nearly intolerable at times on X-Men. X-Necrosha, completely by surprise, is far more satisfying so far. But one things true in all X-titles: I miss Storm. They've got every mutant every written, basically, at their disposal, living on the same island, and they just use the same characters over and over. Know you can't squeeze every one in, but pick some new shit. I mean, Dazzler? Really? X-Factor's pretty solid, and outside that whole San-Fran shiny world, but unfortunately still feels a bit slow. The forced noir thing drags it down, but i'll admit, I've waited many years to see Rictor and Shatterstar get together (even tracked down the couple old issues of X-Force years ago where a writer occasionally described them as "more than just friends") so I could do with some more storyline for them (plus isn't Shattybuns the son of Longshot and Dazzler? That would be a nice loose end to confront.) Also Jubilee is coming back! Huzzah!

Merlin: Though frustratingly formulaic, I really like this show, and it's somehow gotten better. Absolutely ready for a change in the status quo, but there's something very comforting about this weekly British myth-bastardizing show...and it's not just watching Giles with a crown.

Obama: Kind of checked out of the whole following-politics-closely thing in past months. (Not just cause I can't listen to Rush during work hours, but cause it was painful to read Drudge Report every day.) However, I am getting back into it, because it is a whole lotta fun to watch Obama stepping on his toes and deteriorating. (Im talking pre-empting Charlie Brown Xmas, predicting bankrupt govt if Obamacare doesn't pass, expensive date nights, bowing to every dictator/king he finds, angry unpopular speech at Copenhagen while Chavez gets standing O...funny shit.)

Dexter: Pretty fucking disturbed by the finale. Not as crazy about this season as everyone else--thought the Lithgow thing was drawn out, not so interesting, though definitely creepy, and ending was just horrible. Don't think it was necessary to the evolution of the show, don't think it was fair/cool to the audience (or Julie Benz) and actually makes Dexter look like a huge chump (all he did this season was fuck things up every week.) Obviously not a feel-good family drama, but does it absolutely have to be so brutal? Actually made me have trouble going to sleep, which is a first.

Can't think of anything else at the moment, except for the last book I read which was completely fantastic. Called To Rule The Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World by Arthur Hermann. Highly recommend it. Learned so much cool information, great stories, incredibly well written. Going back to fiction now, but still navy/nautical Napoleonic times; a series in fact recommended by Herman at the back of the book for people who have already read Patrick O'Brian and CS Forester at least twice each (guilty) by Richard Woodman. Will let you know.

Hopefully I'll be back soon. But either way, thanks for typing me into your url bar for all those weeks of nothing. Have a lovely Sunday.

-Captain Elias

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Batgirl Makeover

Here I thought Stephanie, after getting a firm tongue-lashing (get your mind out of the gutter) from Oracle, would take up the traditional role and don the thigh high yellow high-heels, the yellow Bat sign, and the yellow gloves. But this promo looks much more hardcore.

The thing with the showing the hair always seems to me to be an identity reveal, but have it your way superheroes. Point of interest: looks like she's beating on those Mutant punks from The Dark Knight Returns. Maybe this is just a future panel? Either way those dudes deserve the punishment. "Slice and dice, man"? Ugh. Gave me chills.

Also recently heard that Geoff Johns and his new good right arm Francis Manapul are leaving Adventure Comics after 6 issues. Pretty pissed off. The whole beauty of Connor returning and reuniting and fighting was centered on the fact that Johns was running the show and you could trust him. Now he's going to be doing more Flash stories instead, and slowly killing the Rogues. Flash Rebirth has quite honestly had more of a Morrison stink to it than Johns' crisp plots, so I say, save it for the big screen movie script Geoff, and stick to Superboy. (Plus 6 issues is nothing.)

If only he called me before he made these decisions. Also Dan Didio needs to be deposed already.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Batman vs. Robin

The next issue of Red Robin apparently features some conflict between Red Robin himself and the new Batman. In the exact words of Chris Yost's twitter, "Man, I hope they don't fight."

(See more at The Source.)

Tim and Dick have actually physically clashed before, in the anticlimactic and looong storyline The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, though it wasn't completely in earnest. Mostly they were having a philosophical debate about life and death, bringing back lost loved ones, and Tim's grief and desperation. Still, it seemed as if Tim held his own, especially earlier in that story when the Batcave was overwhelmed by a tsunami of ninjas. (And even Dick admits he's the better detective.)

Then in Battle for the Cowl, which saw Dick emerge as the new Batman (shocker), Tim donned the Cape an' da Cowl for a brief moment to confront Jason Todd's psychotic gun-totin' 'Punisher'-like Batman. He got stabbed in the chest pretty quickly there though. And he's even been trounced by Damian. But in those instances, I completely blame the writers. (Morrison and Daniel.)And it seems to me that Yost is portraying Tim these days as letting go of the reserves that he has held as sacred during his superhero career. Who knows what his limits could be now.

I'm pretty excited for the issue, and I'll miss Ramon Bachs whose artwork I thought was right on key for the first 4 issues. It's my favorite title currently, along with Adventure Comics, and I'm doubly excited for when Connor and Tim reunite. Speaking of Adventure Comics, here's a newly released cover of AC #5, in which a Black Lantern Alexander Luthor (from Infinite Crisis) holds a dead-looking Superboy Prime in his Anti-monitor suit, a la the Superman holding Supergirl pose circa Crisis on Infinite Earths (phew). I'm a bit doubtful of the return of Superboy Prime, yet again, but he's a good foil for Superboy I suppose, and as long as its Geoff Johns at the helm, there's hope.

Check out the DC blog The Source for more choice previews...for instance they've got a bunch of new Titans pages up there, and it looks like they may have found a solid writer finally.

Long Live Red Robin.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fall TV Preview

As leaves start falling and real jobs with full hours on Friday begin to slowly crash down upon us, there is a small upside. Those favorite shows that you're generally too tired too watch, and too pissed off with commercials to sit through, so you TiVo them or download them later or just realize you don't care enough, are returning. Whether or not you watch them, it gives the sense of time moving forward; premieres means summer is over, sweeps mean Christmas time is coming on, mid-season finales mean you're half-way back to summer, and a second batch of sweeps means some crazy guest star crap will happen and then boom, the summer movie deluge of 2010 begins.

Here are a couple upcoming all-new shows that look good. There aren't many, since executives seem to think there's still a desire for four different new medical dramas, but there are a few.

Glee: By far the most hyped, with the pilot having been leaked/released months and months ago, then recut into three different "Director's" versions, and aired three weeks in a row. You'd think it would be overkill, but its actually been some pretty good marketing. The music numbers are emotional and exciting--'Rehab' was amazing, clips that show 'Gold Digger' and 'Somebody to Love' are chilling--and worth watching for. Even the background music is fantastic (that bum-bum-bum noir bridge is hauntingly lovely.) But surprisingly the acting is stellar too. The main guy is sweet, earnest, endearing, the kids are all believable despite being equal opportunity stereotypes, and Jane Lynch is...well, Jane Lynch. I'd watch anything with her in it...and I have. Looking forward to seeing if this show can keep up its steam, or if its just an extended TV movie kind of thing.

Community: Looks like it could have a few good laughs, but I'm getting rather tired of the Office-like situational awkward comedies. Parks & Recreation seems like enough...if Community does well, they should just pick one and look for something more original. Joel McHale was pretty funny on The Soup though, and supposedly Danny Glover is in it. Bonus.

Eastwick: I'm at least going to watch the pilot of this. I know the story, I know the ending, I know what happens in the sequels, and I don't like the story, ending, or sequels. But the cast is a bit alluring---I have a soft spot for Rebecca Romijn (probably cause she was a cool Mystique), and while Lindsay Price has something irritating about her, the third woman was in Veronica Mars' second season, and that's enough for me. Also it's about hot women with magic powers and I'm gay, so we're naturally gonna give each other a chance. (Practical Magic is still one of my favorites.)

Bored to Death: Haven't seen a trailer for this, but c'mon. Jonathan Ames as writer? The guys a genius. Jason Schwartzman as the lead? The guy's a genius...well, he's generally pitch perfect and sure knows how to pick a script. Schwartzman plays a fictional (slightly) version of Jonathan Ames (same name), but all of Ames' best work is entirely about himself, with a huge load of humor. (Wake Up, Sir!) Also Zach Galifinakis is in it, and he can be pretty good (especially in the Fiona Apple music video Not About Love.) If you ever meet Zach, be sure to mention his time on Tru Calling with Ms. Dushku. I'm pretty sure he's most proud of that work.

I'm pretty sure those are the only ones I'm at all interested in, except for whatever Lauren Graham vehicle they've got in the works, but that's probably a midseason deal. Still, other than Glee, it seems like yet another tepid uninspiring lineup of new shows. Granted I am a total amateur, but it doesn't seem all that hard to come up with some completely new engrossing ideas. Maybe they should start finding network executives from completely different actual writers, or just someone who has some balls not to do reality, sitcom, medical drama and cop procedural.

As for returning shows there's Fringe (which redeemed a slow season with a cool finale), Dollhouse (which I hate but still have to watch cause it's Whedon and Jamie Bamber will be in the premiere), House (which also had an interesting finale--nuthouse--and a cool promo-see below), HIMYM (which is always good for a laugh), Castle (which is awesome cause Nathan Fillion is uber-Awesome), The Office (mostly just for Pam and Jim's wedding), Dexter (cause I kinda like freaking myself out, and Julie Benz was on Buffy), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (cause it makes me snort), The Simpsons (cause it's the Simpsons) and maybe Family Guy (if the Rush Limbaugh episode is this year.)

Other possibilities include Heroes (if they get completely new, and good, writers, and the rumor of Claire's lesbian kiss gimmick is a fake), Lie to Me (if Riley from Buffy joins the cast), and 30 Rock (if they stop with the shameless guest stars and get back to writing something funny.) Also might tune into Gossip Girl, if it's true that Chuck Bass makes out with a dude.

Yikes. Seems like it's about time to get a TiVo. Or maybe just more discerning taste.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Horror Movie Update(s)

Bloody Disgusting has a review of The Descent Part 2, and it's a pretty good one. Apparently the follow-up is not as intense, as it would probably be impossible to recreate the tone Neil Marshall hit in the first one, but is still very watchable. The return of Juno is confirmed (huzzah!) and a third act twist is promised. I've been waiting for awhile, and, thanks to Bloody Disgusting, I will adjust my expectations before finally viewing it. Release date is December 4th (in the UK at least) but I'm hoping it shows up online before that.

In other news, Mother's Day is being remade with Rebecca De Mornay, a new Halloween movie has already been green-lit (in 3D), despite Final Destination kicking Michael Myers' box office butt, a Dorian Gray horror movie is in production, with Colin Firth, and the Spaniards have made a sequel to REC, even though I'm pretty sure everyone died horribly in the first one. Also, it's been announced that a sequel to 30 Days of Night is in the works, but not with Melissa George as Stella, so it seems pretty pointless to me. The first one was fantastic. And in more comic book horror movie news, Guy Ritchie is set to direct Lobo, with Jason Statham as the nose-pierced violent main character. Comic by comic has a cool mockup of what he'll look like.

My next horror viewing will be The Shortcut, which stars the daughter from The Riches, Surrey (sp?) from 30 Rock, and James Franco's little bro, who is probably just as hot. Tagline says it's about brothers who discover a mysterious shortcut in their town, but some preview pics show it's more of a slasher, with some old guy in chains. Probably shouldn't even give it a shot, being direct to dvd and all, but it's difficult to resist a good new prerelease torrent. Plus it keeps me away from the cam versions of the big budget ones, and helps me wait for Jennifer's Body. (But not for Sorority Row....I swear.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sweet Cersei Mercy

None other than Lena Headey has been cast in the role of Cersei Lannister in the upcoming HBO adaptation of the novel Game of Thrones.

Headey, known for her role as Sarah Connor in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, has also starred alongside Jennifer Ehle (who has been cast as Lady Catelyn Stark, Cersei's moral and political opposite) as her lover in Possession.

In Game of Thrones however she will be lover to her brother (urgh) Jamie Lannister, played by the gorgeous, charming, gorgeous, underused, gorgeous Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. And just plain brother to Peter Dinklage's cunning dwarf, Tyrion Lannister.

Headey is the latest bigwig actor addition to the cast of what is a semi-rich fantasy story that goes horribly horribly down hill after the first two installments, not that HBO is much concerned with plot (True Blood.) The execs much prefer a series that has many opportunities for violence and sex and violent sex (True Blood.)

As for her costars from The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Summer Glau is joining Dollhouse, at least temporarily (small favor), Thomas Dekker is fast becoming the male equivalent of a scream queen (respect), and Brian Austin Green is playing villain Metallo in the immortal Smallville series. Kinda seems like the guys are doing better work.

Mostly I'm looking forward to seeing Lena as a blonde. (All Lannister's are blonde...their inbreeding assures this.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Audience Participation

So I've been sitting on this definitive horror movie guide for several months now, and instead of typing it up and posting it, it just keeps growing with every illegal download perpetrated by my computer (there's a horror-fan-Mac-ghost who does so without my knowledge.) I just can't seem to figure out what to do---sit on it and keep it exclusively for STB? Or knock it into parts, and give it to some bigger site of fanship, like Forces of Geek or something? A couple comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Don't know if my diverse and massive following is as into horror as I can be on occasion. (There's a couple thrillers thrown into the list, and even an occasional romantic comedy that merits a genre change.)

Otherwise, here's a little Captain Elias update:
Reading: Kirith Kirin (for 5th time...better than I remembered)
Writing: List of new comics to get this week (very very short, for once)
Watching: US Open (when it starts airing at 11am...looking forward to Nadal and Clijsters)
Downloading: Warehouse 13 (yeah, I'm definitely a fan. And not the only one, it keeps breaking Syfy rating records)

In the worlds of comics, tv, Whedon, etc. there's plenty of news, but none I'm terribly interested in for the moment. So to make a half-assed post more like a two-thirds-assed post, here's a pic posted on the always entertaining Comic by Comic, related to the the new Disney buyout of Marvel.

Have a good one boys and girls.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ingergalactic Planetary

A new, extended preview of the upcoming Planetary issue is available on Wildstorm's blog The Bleed. Pretty damn jazzed to see Elijah Snow, Jakita and Drums back in action. Feels like it's been forever since I read them take down The Four. The characters are awesome, it's Warren Ellis doing his best work, and no one does conceptual mind-bending beauty like John Cassady.

Due in October. Pick it up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Choice DC/Blackest Night Previews

First up, Blackest Night: Superman, which, so far, has been the most horror-like issue of the event. The dark coloring, the pace, the quiet, the unnoticed and increasingly violent murders in the town of Smallville, the helplessness of Superman and's all rather chilling. Apparently in the next issue Psycho Pirate shows up, though I'm not sure why. Kal-L and Lois from Earth 2 seem like plenty of trouble to me, especially if Pa Kent is gonna be resurrected.

They just better not kill Krypto (or Ma, for that matter.)

Continuing the Superboy trajectory, here's some art from Adventure Comics #2. Cannot wait to see Connor and Cassie reunite. I think this title just may be the best thing in either comic universe out there right now. It's Johns in full nostalgic and original glory, with a character he crafted and understands, and an independent purpose and goal for the title. And this Francis Manapul guy is frakkin fantastic. (He even makes Cassie's red-shirt costume thing look focusing on the sweet ass hair.) God I love Superboy, so glad he's back, and even more excited for his reunion with Tim Drake than with Cassie. But I'll wait.

Another reason to rejoice at Superboy's return, is his return to the Teen Titans, which will hopefully, somehow, make that title get back to when it was great (mostly under Johns). Lately, it's been horrible...mostly when McKeever took over, and then killed and crippled the genius twins by a crazy dog from ancient Greece. It just got worse from there. The new team Wonder Girl has assembled is boring and lame and whiny, and they just killed the one member who I had grown fond of (Kid Devil.) Still, with Superboy AND Kid Flash back in action, it could really return to its former glory. And this newest preview cover shows at least an interesting storyline, with Ravager and her evil sociopathic manipulative father reunite to fend off some Black Lanterns.

Lastly, a couple pages from Blackest Night: Batman, which was better than I expected. I'm most interested to see Tim's journey, and how it plays it for him to face his dead parents. (The fact that they're intelligent when reanimated is a big plus, and it is worth paying attention to how Jack and Janet Drake interact; they were having marital troubles they overcame right when Janet was killed, and Jack lived for years without her, even going so far as to remarry.) The posse of reanimated Bat-villains is less interesting. A couple of them I don't even seem to know, though I guess that's a good sign, meaning Bat-writers are less eager to kill their characters (like Titans writers) than reuse them. Ventriloquist and his Scarface Black Lantern construct is cool though, and Blockbuster is ripe with drama (since Dick Grayson is almost directly responsible for him being dead.) Anyway, I'm definitely checking it out--Deadman is pretty cool, and even Damian (God help me) is growing on me.

Us Open Begins Today!

And I'm making the official Captain Elias prediction for 2009 champion right here:

Andy Roddick

Since Wimbledon he hasn't had the greatest/most active summer, but by gods, what a Wimbledon it was. Taking Federer to (+)5 sets, and doing it in such form. I don't know if it was marriage or hunger or the right coach, but the guy has matured. He plays like a pro these days, a smart, fit, talented one.

I'm guessing his biggest competition will be Fed and Murray (Nadal ain't 100% yet), in which case he'll make Murray look like the young douche he is, and he'll be very eager for a Fed rematch.

Still, the men's draw is so deep that you can't really count anyone out. Which makes it so fun to watch.

In related news, Roddick is a daily twitter-er (which I follow), and he is in the news for his response to the new US Open regulations about Twitter. They seem pretty general, mostly about 'on-court' uses or insider information. But Roddick appropriately labeled the attempt at editing them as 'lame' and that the person who used twitter for revealing secret/preemptive information would be a pretty big 'moron.'

We love you Andy. Kick some ass. Oh, and Happy Birthday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We Crave Your Hearts and Your Demise

Blackest Night started pretty strong, but after just a couple months has seemed to slow down considerably. Not much happened in the 2nd issue of the main title, and all the miniseries' have just had their first issue...meaning it was mostly a lot of resurrections, bloody murders, and "what are those black rings?" questions.

The latest installment to come out was Blackest Night: Titans, in which we verify that the Black Lanterns have a major grudge with any superhero that bears the name Hawk. First Hawkman and Hawkgirl met a gruesome fate at a moment of true love, now Hawk of Hawk and Dove is in the process of getting her heart ripped out, by none other than her predecessor Hank Hall. This incarnation of Hawk, Holly Granger (whose sister Dawn is Dove,) was either created or just mostly written by Geoff Johns, so I suppose he has the liberty to kill her as he'd like. (Not that he's writing about the Titans anymore.) And Dove's fight with Hank Hall was pretty sweet, until the end. Still, there's something harsh about a sister helplessly watching her sister get murdered, and it seems to recall the fate of Don Hall in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In the solicitations of future Blackest Night covers, it was shown that the main lineup of heroes who can fight back against the (Un)Dead Lanterns are Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Tora Olafsdotter (Ice), Oliver Queen, Diana Prince, Clark Kent, Connor Kent and Bart Allen. I understand that these are the characters who have died and come back (and if you believe Raven from Johns' run on Teen Titans, it all started when Superman came back. He opened the 'Door between Life and Death.')

But others have died and returned. Where's Jason Todd in all this? Donna Troy? Donna's about to face her dead baby son, which would be the first resurrected infant we've seen so far, so maybe that's a specific plan to get her out of the way, in the same way Hawkman and Hawkgirl (notorious reincarnates) were dealt with. Didn't Captain Marvel die of cancer then turn up again? Even Cassandra Cain and Metamorpho have technically died a few times, but they were more revived than resurrected (God love CPR.)

It seems to me like Donna Troy's the big one. She's kinda the Jean Grey of the DC Universe, she's been gone and back so many times. Not to mention she's a heavy-hitter, a big wig in the superhero community, a Titan and universe-saver, Wonder Woman's sister (or something), and with magical powers of the Gods. Seems like a big threat to Nekron and Black Hand and the other belligerent corpses. Here's hoping she doesn't bite the big one yet again. (No one's got a costume as cool as hers. Wonder Girl could take a BIG hint there.)

Questions? Comments? Predictions? Who is going to lead the resistance? Johns seems to favor Green Lantern and Flash so far, but will that last the whole series? Will Jason Todd make an appearance (maybe in Blackest Night: Batman)? Is Pa Kent gonna get a black ring? Will Geoff Johns ever wake up gay and call me? Answers are needed people, and they're cheaper than $3.99 a pop.

Friday, August 28, 2009

They Killed Eddie Bloombergl! Those Unoriginal Bastards

In the latest issue of Teen Titans, the last bad episode in a spectacularly bad arc, yet another Teen Titan died.

No superhero team, in either universe, has had so many deaths, some of which have been incredibly stupid (Terra buried in rubble, Aquagirl drowned), They've also had the most roster changes I've ever experienced. The revived Titans (courtesy of Geoff Johns, naturally) was successful because of the characters that made up the core; Robin, Superboy and Wonder Girl (and Kid Flash.) Robin moved on to more personal matters, Superboy bit the big one (but is back), Kid Flash was beaten to death (but is back) and WG was left to mind the store.

She didn't do so hot. Mostly she pouted, argued with Ravager (her one good teammate) till she drove her away, assembled some B-list candy-ass teen heroes to fill the ranks, and donned a new and pretty retarded costume. Now, in the last issue before Connor and Bart come back to the fold, (why couldn't they have done it an issue earlier and saved the day?) she lets one of her closest friends and allies die during a lame prison outbreak.

To be honest, at first I wasn't really into Eddie Bloomberg, Kid Devil (then Red Devil) at all. He seemed like an overly quippy useless addition to the team. But he completely grew on me. His backstories were rather cool, his earnestness never waned despite being rebuffed by people he thought friends and heroes (Blue Devil, Zatara, Ravager), and his powers and skill grew as well. In the end he had lost his powers, but he stuck around the Titans tower, helping with the fight.

His death is rather insulting. As opposed to thinking up something remotely original, they had a villain whose power was an uncontrollable nuclear reaction, about to uncontrollably detonate and destroy the city. So Eddie pops him in the jet and flies into space with him, not ejecting because he doesn't want to risk the jet turning around (the Titans jet doesn't have autopilot suddenly?) and they blow up together.

The other Titans are hardly phased by it. They go through the motions of grief, have a funeral, contemplate quitting, but ultimately use it as a lesson for heroism and teamwork, and they cheer each other up. Pointless, since Superboy and Kid Flash are back now, and the team will re-form around them now. Static hasn't lived up to the hype, Aquagirl is redundant with Cassie around, Blue Beetle is in my opinion tepid, Miss Martian underused, and Bombshell's rebellious belligerence is boring and flat.

I've enjoyed Bryan Q. Miller before--Batgirl, even old Teen Titans issues--but this latest run has been embarrassingly bad. He should have lunch with Matt Fraction and discuss how easy it is to destroy a team hero book. For his part, I believe Fraction has some evil twin, because it seems impossible that the guy writing Iron Man these days is responsible for X-Men/Dark Avengers Utopia, which has been increasingly horrible, exponentially lame, massively stupid in plot developments and characterization, and even pretty bad when it comes to the artwork.

These titles have a built in audience, one that it's not so hard to displease. How about you find some writers who don't piss all over the people who came before them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Penguin Classic Graphic Covers

Apparently Penguin is publishing a Classic series with famous graphic novel and comic artists doing the covers. Check the gallery out on flickr, its pretty damn cool. But here's an example for you (and coincidentally, one of my favorite books ever.)

And we've also got Chris Ware doing Candide.

Hat Tip Jason Thibault

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blackest Night: Titans Preview

The Blackest Night: Titans miniseries begins soon, and it should be pretty good. Mostly cause the Titans have one of the highest amounts of dead former members. It looks like the series will combine the currently separate titles/teams Teen Titans and Titans, so that the supporting cast will be lengthy (both in terms of heroes and Black Lanterns.)

The central Black Lantern figure, based on the cover, seems to be Terra, that manipulative, oversexualized (she was sleeping with Deathstroke) attempted murderer who Beast Boy never got over. Aside from that it seems Hawk and Dove will be attacked by old Hawk, Donna Troy will have to deal with her long-dead husband and son, and Superboy and Kid Flash will be pursued heavily by the Black Lantern's for their unique death + resurrection personal history.

That's a lot of strong material. Check out the full preview at IGN.

Kids in the Hall Return(s)

The Kids in the Hall are back. Instead of doing a sketch comedy show, they're reuniting in the form of an eight part 'comic murder mystery' titled Death Comes to Town.

Check out the full article on Twitch.

I'm pretty excited. Have a feeling they got the idea from that Reno911 murder mystery episode, which one of the Kids in the Hall was in. Haven't really seen Mark McKinnon much since Slings & Arrows, but I bet he's still a fantastic writer. On occasion, Canadian television can be fantastic.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gilmore Girls

Had a flash of nostalgia when I found reruns of GG on TV yesterday. Watched the episode where Lorelai graduates from business school (and Rory goes to NYC to see Jess, who I always had a crush on, till he joined Heroes) and there was a guest star on the show: none other than Seth MacFarlane! Makes me wonder if he made any GG jokes on Family Guy.

The revisitation of the show also made me remember of one of the best scenes they made, around the end of the show; tightly written as usual, but fast-paced, interestingly shot, and emotional. The good stuff starts at around 5:00 if you wanna skip, but goes fast.

Ingolorious Basterds

Debbie Schlussel calls it the Movie of the Year. That's saying something, coming from her. Haven't seen it yet, but have every intention of doing so.

In the meantime, check out Quentin Tarantino's 20 favorite films that have been made since he became a director. Decent list, but I couldn't stop watching the Death Proof clips at the I want to watch it again. (Death Proof, not the 20 favorites.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dollhouse's Second Season

The fumbling, flat, and inexplicably critically acclaimed Joss Whedon show, Dollhouse, is set to return this fall. As previously reported, the new season is loaded with guest stars, including Whedon alumnus Alexis Denisof (and possibly Summer Glau) and Battlestar Captain Jamie Bamber.

The newest guest star announced is Oscar winner Keith Carradine, who is currently reprising his role as FBI Serial Killer Hunter, and Deb's ex-boyfriend, on Dexter. The guy is stellar, but acting chops don't mean much if the script still sucks.

Check out a new promo shot of Dollhouse. And pray that they are truly going for something original. The first few episodes, which everyone glosses over since they were admitted to be weak by the creators and actors, were truly horrible, and the rest, while more deftly made, were still unendearing and tepid. If they continue on the formulaic route, they will invariably suffer the same fate as the show whose renewal slot they were given, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And, yeah, Eliza Dushku is nice to look at, but I hope in between Uganda trips and deluxe sushi meals with Rick Fox (barf) she took some acting lessons.

So are you tuning in out of true affection, or Whedon loyalty? That is to say, are you a witless blind zombie or just much much smarter than me?

In slightly related news, Felicia Day's web-series The Guild is returning for a third season. I'm not the biggest fan of the series, though I've liked Felicia since she was Vi in Buffy Season 7, nor the biggest fan of techno-y pop, but this promo music video is well-made, funny, and her voice is fantastic:

Superheroes of Sharia

A Muslim superhero group, published for years as a cartoon strip, is going international in the form of Saturday morning animation. (Watch out for IEDs, Power Rangers.) The group of heroes, who adhere to Sharia Law (that is, sodomy equals execution, adultery equals execution, dissent equals execution, and men can divorce their subhuman wives via text-message....and then execute them) are called The 99, because Allah apparently has/had 99 attributes, so each hero is gifted with a corresponding power.

My favorite description of one of the heroes is Dar The Afflicter, an American who became a paraplegic after a drunk driving accident, and now has the ability to affect nerve endings with his mind and inflict indescribable pain. 'Cause that's what real heroes do! Torture.

The others are half-normal, half-not. You've got your powerhouses, and fliers, and talented engineers. But then you've got a girl whose mind is a GPS and can track enemies, a super-hearer who can listen in on your phone conversations, and one who can "see the light of truth in others and allow them or force them to see it in themselves." Not freaky at all.

The creator, Dr. Naif al-Mutawi, was inspired by visiting with Muslim victims of torture under Saddam Hussein recovering in a New York hospital. He was turned off by the current children trends of sticker books with phrases like 'Let me die a martyr' or that TV bunny they have that encourages kids to kill Jews and go to paradise. Sounds noble enough, but passing Saudi censors due to financial support makes me slightly doubtful.

Dr. al-Mutawa decries the international appeal of the group by saying: “It is based on attributes such as generosity and mercy. These are not things that Islam has a monopoly over.” No, nor even the slightest historical example of.

The show is coming to British television soon, produced by Endemol, a Dutch company that produced and promoted Big Brother, with the mission 'to instill old-fashioned Islamic values in Christian, Jewish, and atheist children.' Just goes to show that when someone says they're working to counter some kind of agitprop effects (in this case jihadist) it just means they're doing their own agitprop campaign (in this case actually jihadist).

As I recall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and Science Court were never attempting to instill anything in me, except the desire to sit through the commercials. The attempt to impact and form a child's mind is a heinous, deplorable, creepy-ass endeavour, and should be forcefully opposed. Unfortunately, it most likely won't be.

Talks with DC and Marvel are apparently underway to feature The 99 in crossovers, echoing the new Obama illustration of civilizations as allies (he's so original.) I can imagine exactly what Batman would have to say to them, but it would never happen. I'm most interested in how Pigman would react. There's a fight scene I'd love to read. (Marvel has a national Chinese superteam already, with one man who can call on the strength of the entire population...strength in numbers, typical.)

The 99 is just a name, however, as it is forbidden to actually depict all of Allah's attributes. Or else you might be executed. Or, if you're lucky, Dar the Afflicter will give you a little taste of searing agony. Avengers Assemble.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Feast for Crows

I've finished the fourth and final (as yet published) book in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and somewhere along the way I came to the conclusion that it sucked.

The third and fourth plodded along without an end. The characters I actually liked (Arya and Jon) were given less and less facetime, and practically buried in misery and betrayal. The characters I liked second best were brutally murdered. The characters I liked least took over the story for no foreseeable purpose.

The date of release for the next installment, Dance with Dragons, keeps being pushed back. George R.R. Martin claims he spends years writing each book, which is noticeable in the reading of them, and my belief is even he lost interest in the world. Thousands of pages with few redeemable or enjoyable moments can dry up even the most creative mind.

I can only hope the HBO show gets canceled before its' fourth season. And chances are Martin will die with the series unfinished, which would not be the greatest tragedy.

I'll probably read the next one, whenever it comes out, merely to find out what happens to those characters I actually care about, but I won't enjoy it. Perhaps I'll simply wait for the wikipedia entry to be posted.

Now I need to find a truly good book, perhaps a superior fantasy, to flush the bad taste out of my mouth. In case you're from Rio Linda or Port St. Lucie, I don't recommend this series.

Hottest Comic Book Writer

He's also the most successful these days, certainly in the DC Universe. I give you Geoff Johns. (Follow him on Twitter...he talks about his neighbor's kids a lot, and sneaking them ice cream. Pretty sweet. Also makes it sound like he lives alone. And reads comics. And writes comics....please call me.)

Conservative Celebrities (Yes, they actually exist.)

A Rule 5 Sunday Special

Sarah Michelle Gellar:

She might not be a complete and total conservative, but a self-identified Republican, but I still love her madly. And her baby's due....really really soon by the looks of it.

Emma Caulfield:

Yet another Whedon alum revealed to be a 'hardcore republican.' Explains why she hasn't had many big roles since Buffy and Darkness Falls. Check out her indie movie TiMER and her new webcomic Contropussy.

Jim Caviezel:

Catholic digest has an interview with the actor in which he speaks out against abortion, talks about prayer, The Stoning of Sooraya M., adoption and playing Jesus. That might have been the role that got him blacklisted, but I always loved his Count of Monte Cristo. (Nothing beats Dumas, sorry Bible.)

Angie Harmon:

Knew it. Sweet ass hot chick, with a footballer hubby. Wish they wouldn't keep canceling their shows.

Heather Locklear:

Proves that old wives' tale, the one about how conservative women never age. Or wait, maybe I just made that up, because she never freakin' ages. Heard she's guesting on the new Melrose Place remake.

Pete Sampras:

You can't get a much better example of humanity than Mr. Pistol Pete. Generally, if he believes it, so should you. The guy is the best player ever (keep your Nadals and Federers, thank you very much), the classiest sportsman, the most articulate privacy-lover, and he married a beautiful blonde (and probably convinced her to go conservative too.) God bless Pete.