Friday, July 31, 2009

Ridley Scott Returns to Alien

Ridley Scott has signed on to do the Alien prequel, as executives move closer to resuscitating the franchise.

No word yet on a Sigourney cameo/casting, but one can hope.

Scott is currently filming (finished?) Robin Hood starring his ol' buddy Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and the lovely Matthew McFadyen.

In related news, two new horror movies open this week, and judging by trailers, clips and reviews, they both appear to be quality films of their genre, the first to come out since Drag Me To Hell. (Everyone knows by now that Esther's a middle-aged psycho dwarf. Lame.)

So go check out A Perfect Getaway, with Milla Jovovich (completely underrated, but a fantastic actress--just watch The Messenger) and Steve Zahn (hilarious and good at horror--see Joy Ride,) and The Collector starring Josh Stewart (who I will always like since his time as a rookie on Third Watch.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Does Emma Frost have a bun in the oven??

In this week's Fantastic Four, Issue #569, the final pages feature the (failed) wedding of Ben Grimm aka The Thing to some woman named Deborah Green whom I've never heard of.

Not the point.

One of the frames shows the interior of the reform synagogue where the nuptials are to take place (huzzay for Jewperheroes) filled to its kosher gills with fellow heroes come to pay their respects. We've got Avengers, we've got Spidey, we've got Daredevil and the two She-Hulks (and a Colonel Sanders lookalike) and in the background, standing up, we've got the ever sombre Cyclops aka Scott Summers and his ravishing consort Emma Frost, The White (currently Black) Queen.

If you look super hard, as I always do when there are masses of guest-starring capes, you will unmistakably notice that Emma's got a bit of a baby bump, with her right hand resting comfortably upon it. (I have taken a shoddy picture with my camera to edify you, sorry for the quality. Buy yourself the issue if you care so much.)

Now, I suppose this could be an artistic little screw up, justified with some excuse like it's her long cape or whatever. However, this artist seems to me a stickler for details, and furthermore Emma Frost would never be caught dead in public in an outfit that could conceivably make her look pregnant.

The likelier, and far, far more juicier, possibility is that Emma and Scott are expecting, a momentous feat that Scott and Jean Grey never accomplished. Also consider these further hints: Peter David's X-Factor has been, and is currently, engaged in a lengthy storyline set years in the future involving Ruby Summers, the ruby-quartz-skinned-optic-blast-shooting daughter of Scott Summers and Emma Frost.

In addition, most solicits, interviews and official hints have pointed to a reckoning between Scott and Emma about their relationship and the large amount of secrets each keeps from the other. Naturally a pregnancy would fairly terrify Emma, whose true love for Scott was a hard enough pill for her to swallow, and defensively, what with her shaky morals, she could easily telepathically control everyone around her to see her figure as completely normal (aka superhot.

And there you have it folks, a most convincing case if I may say so myself. You heard it here first.

I can only imagine the level of Emma's anxiety, considering both that most of the children she's come to love have died painful deaths, and perhaps more importantly that she'll have to stop hitting the sauce (and we all know how she loves that high-end stuff.)


Whedonverse has a very handy web page assembling all the current Twitters of Whedon show alum. Check it out.

I could do without his less talented extended family, who are everywhere these days, and some few of the stretches (the French praying-mantis teacher from season 2? really?) but so far today I'm enjoying Nathan Fillion.

He's handsome. He's a good actor. His sense of humor and timing is apparently completely natural. He's a little cheesy. In short he's one of those rarities of the world, and moreso in Hollywood; a decent guy with a good personality. I'm just a tiny bit in love. I'll get over it, don't

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

True Crud

I have no doubt that were Alan Ball to endeavour to create his own vampire show, with its own mythology, and original characters, it would be successful. He could still indulge his more lascivious fantasies, the way he indulged his neuroses in Six Feet Under, only with better writing and better acting. As it is, he decided to recreate the world of Charlaine Harris' endless series of tacky top-10 pharmacy-rack vampire romance books.

No doubt with Anna Paquin as the lead, quality acting was expected. I know for a fact that she can act, I've seen her do it effectively, yet for some reason the thin but earnest character of Sookie Stackhouse is just slightly out of her reach. Her actions, her delivery, her facial expressions display an unprecedented vacuity, an awkward neophyte trying to do southern and strong, a downright irritating display of bad timing, bad dialogue, and bad casting. Paired with the deep toned actor who plays Bill Compton, who is unconvincing as both the Southern Gentleman and the bloodthirsty monster between which he oscillates, and who either equally unfit for the role or else in an attempt to sync up with Paquin his talents devolved, the two together destroy whatever belief an eager watcher held in this shaky, semi-dark, certainly perverted cliche world.

Nonetheless, as it is my shameful duty to admit, I have still continued to watch. (Except for the opening credits, which I have to mute or fast forward or both, so creepy and stomach-turning they are.) The first season, despite the aforementioned acting and the showrunners' obvious fetish with sex and pain and that whole completely overdone 'adult' theme genre, could at least boast a plot, and even a fairly solid mystery that spanned all 12 episodes and was concluded with some satisfaction. This year, however, basically nothing has happened in the first 6 episodes that we didn't either already know at the end of last year, or in the 2nd premiere, or could easily anticipate. The cliffhangers are paltry, the slight mysteries grow tedious and drag on, and every character displays a stupidity and weakness that rather than making them human and dynamic, simply makes them irritating. Plus the sex and violence have fairly tripled, with all the black eyed orgies and half-beast/half-BSG guest stars running around, which is an obvious sign that somehow, despite only one season of shaky work, True Blood has jumped the shark (and possibly fed off it, and made out with its dead remains.)

That Anna Paquin actually got a Golden Globule for Best Actress is laughable, and either a public joke and insult, or else a head-shaking sign of how stupid award boards are. The only decent actor on the show is her brother, the handsome but consistently very stupid Jason, who, though obviously a capable actor, is nothing more than a foil in which Ball can rail against the manipulation and hidden cruelty of organized religion.

Six hours is not only six hours of your life you can't get back, but it's half of an entire season, a season already shorter by half to most of us who are used to tv seasons lasting 22 eps. Fans (and I don't count myself among them in this case) waited a year for this show to resume, and HBO no doubt forked over a truckload of money, but like many weak shows the quality has only decreased.

The most disturbing news of all, as was reported from San Diego Comic Con, is that this year will also see the release of an actual TruBlood beverage (in the show it's an alternative synthetic blood for the recently outed vampires.) Rather than risk coagulation, our real life beverage is in the form of a 'blood-red orange soda'. All that's left is to get the Count from Sesame Street to help with the advertising.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Glimpse at the new Doctor Who

Courtesy of, we have some pictures taken at the set of the new series of Doctor Who, starring Matt Smith.

Not completely sure what his companion is wearing, but she's pretty. As for Smith, well we already knew he was handsome. But can he pull of the skinny bow tie? Is it a age/youth kind of merge attempt, him being the youngest actor to play the Doctor, while the Doctor is several hundred (?) years old by now?

Also taken on this day of filming were pictures that confirm Alex Kingston's return as River Song.

I wasn't a big fan of the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead 2-parter last series, in fact I found it downright lame, but the only interesting part was her character (name aside.) We know she was the Doctor's lover, possibly love of his lives, we know how her own life ends, and we know when she met David Tennant's Doctor she remarked on how young he was.

Therefore Matt Smith's Doc can't be the one she had her long love affair with, since he's even younger. Still, all this time traveling, and knowing when people you love are going to die is certainly rich, plot wise. I wonder if it has some connection to Gillian Anderson starring as Rani.

In related Doctor Who news, and in a glorious geekdom overlap, at San Diego Comic Con Russel T. Davies and David Tennant had a panel. In it Tennant claims " I love Firefly, I love Serenity. They're excellent." followed by a particularly effeminate supportive clap by Davies. He goes on to speculate on the origin of his own Doctor's long brown coat.

Go here for the video.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tasty DC Solicits

For those of us who wouldn't travel to the Left Coast if gold started growing in their deserts, the internet is the only place to follow the news and releases of the San Diego Comic Con. It seems to grow bigger every year, and the publishers have responded accordingly, with DC in particular releasing a whole series of upcoming covers, particularly concerning the tragic yet resourceful extended Bat family.

By order of personal favoritism, we first have an issue of Red Robin, with Tim Drake allying himself (albeit with less subservience than this cover implies, no doubt) to the dread Ra's al Ghul, who I've noticed has become slightly less of an albino since he obtained that new body. It mirrors the Marvel consistency of Loki's apparent hermaphroditism. So far I'm loving the covers, I'm loving the book, and I'm most looking forward to his reunion with Connor/KonEl/Superboy.

Next we have The Outsiders, delving even deeper into Batman's rogues gallery by going up against Killer Croc after crossing swords with Ra's in the previous storyline. So far most of the characters have proven interesting and surprising (especially Roy Raymond Jr/Owlman) with the exception of Geo Force, who is pompous and kinda nasty and rather boring.

This next cover has Batman (Dick Grayson) fighting what seems to be the new Red Hood, or whatever Mr. Morrison is calling his new villainous duo, a kind of Batman and Robin with hand guns it seems. It's a better look for Batman and Robin than Frank Quitely, in my opinion, but whoever is drawing is irrelevant--the writing needs to step up and save this title, before it brings down the entire Batman Reborn event with its creepy circus freaks and self-importance.

Lastly, a cover for what I believe is an Arkham Asylum side series, which I probably won't pick up, but worth posting cause it's a cool freaking cover. The jigsaw thing has been done, sure (most recently in Buffy, in a Georges Jeanty cover--which rarely holds a candle to Jo Chen) but the idea of an overlapping Scarecrow and Joker is doubly freaky. Well done.

Planetary Returns

It's been so long since the last issue was released I quite forgot that a final one was still in the works. For that matter, as I recall, the story had a fairly decent sort of closure. The Four were outmaneuvered and ended, the threatening other-world was out-threatened, and Elijah Snow was driving his miraculous space/timeship into The Bleed, with joy at the impending archeology.

Nonetheless, do not think me dismayed. Shocked perhaps, but in a very pleasant way. Planetary is one of the best comics ever in my opinion, certainly the best Warren Ellis stories I've ever read, and the art of John Cassady is the most beautiful, stirring, original art in the entire medium.

Not only is it wonderful story on its own, but it examines the entire mythos and trends of superhero comics, disregarding the differences in universes, and paying homage to that one big world that so many of us dearly love.

Here is the newly release stunning cover, with an older page sample posted on Ellis' blog way back in April:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Joss Whe-done?

Discreetly disregarding the immense time gap between posts, Captain Elias returns to faithfully and objectively bring Joss Whedon down a peg or four (even Oscar de la Rente goes to Anna Wintour for the harsh truth.)


The second season renewal of this flat, awkward, contrived sci/fi joke remains one of the most astonishing, and embarrasing, media moves of the year. Perhaps in an attempt to make up for the previous and wholly undeserved Whedon-show cancellations (Firefly had several seasons of gold left, and Angel at least a couple more) Fox chose to be merciful with this Dushku-driven shlockfest simply because it has the name Whedon and a hot girl on its promos. (God knows it wasn't the ratings that convinced them.)

The release of the unaired 13th episode, Epitaph One, confirms all the negative impressions from the first 12, the main one being that Eliza Dushku is not a gifted actress. On Buffy she grew into her role as Faith (one of the few sub-par actors ever to grace that remarkable show, along with whatever valley girl actress played Glory), no doubt because her character was simple and consistent. Touting her unacknowledged talents, Whedon developed Dollhouse as a vehicle to showcase her depth, giving her an endless array of personalities to inhabit, including the central vapid Echo persona, a blank, ignorant Doll. Even that is not portrayed convincingly.

The other main impression is that nepotism does not breed good writing. Aside from the convoluted unoriginal premise (The Pretender was more watchable) the numerous episodes penned by Joss Whedon's younger brothers and one of their wives are watered-down ghosts of a formulaic Joss. It seems, inevitably, that all the cries of 'Genius!' have penetrated Joss' psychology, and his trademark witty banter suffuses the uninteresting plots, making the thin and unendearing characters not only unlikeable, but intensely irritating. (In Topher's case, I would welcome the overused main-character-death-as-plot device with great joy.)

The post-apocalyptic future episode, Epitaph One, confirms that the moral grey area that everycharacter inhabits will in fact lead to the fall of mankind. Now knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the opportunistic dangerous exploits of the Dollhouse will lead to disaster, what possible reason is there to watch the second season? The downward spiral of life is not nearly as enticing to fandom as Whedon may believe, and even in Buffy and Angel's darkest days (seasons 6 and 4, respectively) the theme of redemption was ever-present and enough to keep you watching. Dollhouse has nothing redeeming.

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog:

Nepotism on parade continues as the Whedon family's lauded web series gains an Emmy nomination. It seems the category was created solely to honor this trite little musical and its advancement of the marketability of web series. Honestly, how do they justify the inclusion of "Outstanding Special Class Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program" to the list of awards? It's enough to make you question the noble and impartial methods of award selections.

Buffy Comics:

Even these have grown flat, and no one rejoiced more at the continuation of Buffy canon in comic form than I. From vampires-as-reality-tv-stars to stuffed-animal-Vampy-Cats, interesting premises and time tested characters are reduced to a series of hardly gripping cheap cliffhangers.

The Cabin in the Woods:

This project I still have some hope for. Billed as the horror movie to end all horror movies, "literally", the ingenuity Whedon is known for might actually return in this long-hyped film. The acting chops of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford may ensure that whatever the quality of the script may be, some characters may hold your interest for an hour and a half. The other casting choices, mostly of up-and-coming young hollywood blorks, is less confidence inspiring (with Franz Kafka, Topher from Dollhouse, being the worst of these.) However the newly released promo posters give the sense that the impending subversion of horror movie tropes (Scream anyone?) is fresh enough to have some merit. And a sense of humor in horror movies, though a delicate and difficult balance to srike, is certainly worth praise. Have a look for yourself:

To summarize, my once unshakeable faith and devotion to all things Whedon has been severely shaken in past years, but it is not impossible that he might regain his most stalwart advocate's appreciation.