Thursday, July 27, 2006

Of Chins & Fishbowls

So I read a rumour today that has me very excited. Bruce "The Chin" Campbell is being named around the internet as the fourth villian to appear in Spider-Man 3. And who will he be playing? Mysterio! Of course fans of Ultimate Spider-Man will know that Bruce has long been tipped to portray the special effects powered wrong-doer.

As an aside, the three confirmed villains are Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom. The first image of Venom was released at San Diego Comic Con. Rumours of who the fourth villian could be leaned havily on Black Cat, though I always suspected that it was going to be a "cameo villain", such as an opening action scene to get things going with a bang.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Eureka

It's a town that doesn't exist. It doesn't appear on any maps, and no-one ever talks about it outside of the white picket fences and idilic homes that make up this cosy little hide-away. At first glance it may look perfectly normal, but look closer.

Small town. Big secret.

Eureka is Sci-Fi Channels newest offering for the fall line-up, though it started last week, so perhaps that's a "late summer line-up". The channel that brought us the all-new BattleStar Galactica, StarGate SG-1 and... um ECW (?!?) brings us a new take on sci-fi in the form of a quirky drama.

Set in the town of Eureka the series follows Jack Carter, a US Marshal who accidentally ends up there after taking a wrong turn one dark and stormy night. Turns out the entire town in populated by genius' of various degrees (ba-dum pish!). Even a few of the kids are super smart, one can do theoretical physics in his head, so long as it's in chalk and on a horizonal surface. And the local garage mechanic is revealed to be an ex-Nasa shuttle engineer, a certified coroner and practicing preacher, all while working on an anti-gravity generator in his shed. Oh, and he's Miles Dyson from Terminator 2. No seriously. See for yourself.

Having seen the pilot and the second episode, I have high hopes for this series. It's hilariously funnny, without being silly. Jack, the Marshal-turned-town-sheriff has a moody house. Portable fission reactors are stored under the bed. The greatest animal to ever be hunted is a dog ("a local hazard"). The character reactions to situations are more than believable, especially Jacks reactions to all the crazy stuff that others take are the daily norm. You know the writers are on the mark when you listen to an explaination of something, think to yourself "Yeah, right. Like he's gonna believe that" only to hear Jack turn and say "Yeah, right. You expect be to believe that?"

The stories so far have been far less about sci-fi and more about the characters. Tech merely supports the location, and reinforces how this town is far from normal, but the core of the pilot and second episode lies in the interactions of the characters rather than any special effect plot device. Though the tech is definately present. There are better ways of identifying someone than DNA checks, and there is a form for "undeadening someone", because, you know... it happens that often in this town.

Speaking of forms, the show does a great job of creating a believable lived-in, super-secret town, and it's the little things that make this special. Jack has to sign forms to guarantee his silence once the others trust him enough to let him in on more of Eureka. In the pilot, the local diner is taking bets on where the next "anomaly" will hit. It's the little things that count.

Not so little is the additional advertising going into the series. Made In Eureka is a website showcasing some of the more important advances created in the town. Almost like viral advertising, but I always got the impression that viral adverts should be very subtle as to what they are actually for. This is linked from the Sci-Fi website. Not very viral, but still cool.

Also on the Sci-Fi.com website are some made-for-the-net webisodes. Interesting extra stories that show a care and desire to ensure the success of the series outside of just how well it does on tv.

I'm enjoying this show, and hope to see it continue for some time. Great acting, great writing, great effects when needed.

Oh, and you think I spoiled anything by telling you the town is full of super-genius'? Hehehe. Anyone can enter the small town of Eureka. The big secret goes deeper.

My Week Without Claire

Claire was in Turkey all last week. It's the single longest time we've spent apart since we started going out together. It's also the furthest apart we've been in all that time.

I thought it would kill me. But it didn't. I think it was good for us. Some time apart to be ourselves. Or at least I could be myself. Claire had to put up with family! I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I cleaned the house, though it's hard to tell already. I was a little bored and lonely at some times, but that's cause either I had work early in the morning, so I couldn't have anyone over, or I got out of work late and others had work early in the morning. Whatever. It was hardly a big deal.

And I got to catch up on some stuff I've been wanting to see. Which leads nicely into my next post...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Heroes

Heroes is a new NBC series about a group of people around the world that being to discover they have super-powers of some sort or another. They all think they are alone at first, and indeed, by the end of the episode, very few of them know there are others like them and none know what is causing this (then again, neither do we). One character evens asks her mom who her "real parents were". Hehehe...

And it's amazing.

Very funny, and well acted with a very likeable cast. The writing is excellent. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire last twenty minutes. The whole thing reminds me of Rising Stars, the 24 part comic by Babylon 5 creator, J. Michael Straczynski. In fact, I thought it was based on the comic, but all the people with powers are different ages, so that throws that out.

There is one Japanese character who is convinced he can break the space/time continuity, and explains everything in Star Trek or comics references. At one point he's explaining to his friend how time is thought of as a line, but is actually more like a circle. When his pal asks him where he learnt this he replies "X-Men number 143, when Kitty Pride time travels". I almost exploded on the spot. I was rocking with laughter.

I hope this show proves to be as good as the pilot. The trailer has at least one more character in it that doesn't appear in the pilot, a mind-reading cop played by the pilot from Lost, Greg Grunberg.

In fact, now that I think of it, this could be my "Lost". I never really got into Lost myself, but this looks far more like my kinda thing.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Superman Saves Summer

Ok, ok. Maybe that's a bit unfair. Pirates of the Caribbean was stunning, and really lived up to the title of "summer blockbuster hit". Mission Impossible 3 was great too, and opened the summer on a high note. X-Men 3 sucked. Which brings me to tonight.

I've just gotten back from seeing Superman Returns, a movie I've been raving about long before I started this blog, and numerous times since. So now that I've seen it, does it really live up to the hype that I've let myself be sucked into? Was it worth waiting to see in the cinema when I could have downloaded it if I wished two weeks ago? As a Marvel fanboy, can I admit to myself that a DC character that I'm none too fond of could kick the crap out of Marvels primary offering this year? Will I go see it again in the cinema? Will I buy it on DVD? And did I actually attend the screening in my Superman hoodie, like the good hyped-up fanboy we all know I am?

Well, you may be happy to know that the answer to the entire set of questions in the last paragraph is a resounding, "YES!"

The movie, not to exaggerate anything, was nigh on perfect. If I was to critisise anything in the film, it would be a few of the CGI effects. Luthors boat in particular was iffy at times. Never bad, mind you. Just a little too obvious that it was an effect, rather than a model or, in an ideal "we don't care about money or the lives of our stunt performers" world, an actual boat in an actual crazy storm. But that's it. Seriously.

Everything else: Perfect! A beautiful opening shot, oddly reminicsent of the shot from the opening of X-Men: The Movie, but instead of travelling through a genetic strand, we're left travelling across a vast cosmos, filled with wonderous beauty. The fact that this opening is still so clearly engraved in my mind dispite an onslaught of imagery for two and a half more hours indicates that it was indeed "awe-inspiring".

The story telling was touching. I loved the moments between Clark and Martha. They aptly set the stage for an unexpected rollercoaster of emotions in what turned out to be a very emotionally-charged movie. Bryan Singer once again proves that a huge action flick can have depth, emotion and an all-round gentler side. He's my hero.

Ok. The action. Stunning. Incredible. Cinematic. Gut-wrenching at times, always spectacular. Some of the set pieces brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes because they were so freaking comic fanboy perfect, and sometimes because... well... for other reasons. I'd spoil stuff if I went into detail, so just accept that they're awesome too, just in an "Inigo Montoya getting a rapier to the gut" kinda way. You know, like where you get all worried, but you know the hero will win out in the end. Right? Because Bryan Singer would never kill off a major character from a comic series... oh crap.

Also, this is the first time that I've actually felt like I was watching "Superman". In this movie, we get to see Kal-El do truely super things, like zipping around the world at "near light speed", saving thousands of people, from things as big as major disasters and as small as corner shop robberies. And we get to see him do even more crazy super things in the big action sequence involving all of Metropolis, that I'm not going to go into here as I'd just spoil huge chunks of movie by geeking out over every detail.

Christopher Reeve will always be remembered for teaching us that a man could fly. Bryan Singer has taught us that a man can be Super.

Dialogue was great. Never forced, even when it was refering to the original movies. Well delivered, with conviction and class. Even the kid does good.

Which brings me to the cast themselves and the representations of the characters they protray. Spacey as Luthor was great, even from the trailers. He was the perfect balance of genius, madman and cold-hearted villain. His cronies were fun to watch, never veering into the dangerous waters of incompetance, but still present mostly for comic relief.

Brandon Routh. This guy took some getting used to over the last few months, but DC and Warner Bros. did a good job of getting me used to seeing him in costume, without having me get sick of seeing him in costume. Also, dispite the fact that I had indeed seen the costume, seeing it in the movie for the first time was still a thrill. Anyway, I love Routh. He makes a great Kal-El and Clark Kent. It was a great touch introducing us to him as Clark first. It reinforced the idea that he was Clark with the Superman alter-ego, rather than the other way around.

Bosworth is a very different Lois. She's great. I loved watching her on-screen, but off all the characters carried over from the original movies, Lois is changed the most. That said, they are changes for the better, required by changes in the times we live in. Kidders Lois may have been tough-nosed and strong-willed in the original, but I don't think she'd come across as well today. There was something fake about her. Like it was just a male character portrayed by a female actress. Bosworth plays Lois as a hard-edged reporter who has also become a mom, and with that, her priorities have somewhat changed. Still doesn't stop her getting into trouble though.

Bryan Singer must love James Marsden. After casting him as Cyclops in X-Men, he's in Superman Returns as Perry Whites nephew, Lois' fianceƩ as well as the father of Lois' son, Jason. Richard White is thankfully treated better than Cyclops was in X-Men 3. By that I mean he isn't killed in the first 15 minutes. Kidding. In fact, Richard is a great character, and one I hope to see again in later movies. Marsden is great as always, and pulls off all the emotions his character is forced through with flare. I only wish he got a chance to shine like this as Cyclops.

Frank Langella as Perry White, Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen and Tristan Lake Leabu as Lois' son Jason all put in sterling performances. Sam as Jimmy was a particular joy to watch, capturing all the boyish enthusiasm of the character. Tristan was incredible as Jason, particularly when he meets Kal-El face to face for the first time. Arg! Have to be careful of spoilers.

Anyway. That's my review of Superman Returns. Going by my tried and trusted rating system, this rates as a "Will buy the Special Edition DVD version on day of release", the highest honour I can give. Some time soon, I'll put up the full list of this rating system.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Poster And Teaser

I've been a busy boy again! Not only do I have a poster for the video diary to show you, but I even have a teaser to wet your appetite too! Enjoy. Click on the poster to see a bigger, clearer version. Also, feel free to comment on both poster and clip.


Teaser clip: Cat vrs Dog

Edit: I just realised that I haven't put audio on the clip yet, so I'm just gonna pop some place-holder music over it for the time being. It'll be up soon. It's up, but remember, the music is just a place-holder. It's from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I'm Back

Wow! What a weekend. Bonfires, comedy troupes, Beer Pong, music, burgers, pancakes, late nights, later mornings, rain, cat, dogs and drunk humans. It had it all. Some highlights included:

  • The picture to the left here.


  • Flames arcing 15 feet up into the sky from a stack of sticks and stuff 8 feet high!


  • The food. The lovely, lovely food. So much meat!


  • The awesome performance of the truely great Snatch comedy group. They were incredible, and kept us laughing even after the show. I was very glad to see them really get into the groove of things after the show and mix well with the crowd. Joining in, and even winning a few rounds of Beer Pong (or Saliva Ball as it grew to be know... don't ask) and adding their own art to the wall. Great.


  • And of course far too much more to mention them all here. But you'll get a bit of everything from the video diary I'm putting together. I'll post highlights here once it's done.

    I'm tired now. And I have so many pictures to post to Flickr. More later!

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    It's Coming!

    Yes, that's right. The 6th Annual Templemore BBQ is happening this weekend. In fact, as the clock has long since ticked past midnight, it begins later this very day! And to get you excited, here's a brief teaser!

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Gwarrr!


    Well, I'm just back from the screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

    What can I say?... Um...

    Awesome, crazy, fun, hilarious, over-the-top, action-packed, emotional (just a smidge), rip-roaring adventure that captured everything I love about the cinema.

    Some of the action scenes were a little crazy, but I loved them more for that. At times, the writers just seemed to let loose and do a completely over-blown actioner, throwing sense, logic, reason and reality to the four winds. And they were awesome.

    The one thing I did find a little heavy-handed was the continuous reference to events from the first movie. Almost every fun action piece, odd "Jack-ism", unbelievable story or cool moment from the first was either mentioned again or just redone. Most, if not all of them were great by themselves, adding a sense of real-world anecdote recalling to the whole thing, but all of them together just seemed a few too many. I'd imagine that most people going to see this movie had seen the first, so reminding us of events from the first at such a regular pace was unneccessary. Meh. A minor quibble.

    If you loved the first one, you'll love this one. If you enjoyed the first, you'll enjoy this one. If, through some sort of misfunctioning brain abnormality you hated the first one, then avoid this. It will not change your view of the franchise.

    Oh, and a word of warning. This does indeed pull an "Empire Strikes Back", a "Two Towers", a "The ending is just the begining" style closing. But what an ending it is. And stay for after the credits! It's worth it. Sorta.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Happy 4th of July

    Celebrate American Independance Day with tonnes of explosions over New York city. Sweet.

    Anyway. Happy ID4. In celebration, I'm going to go watch that shinning example of Independance Day, Independance Day. Aliens are awesome.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Friendship

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    Do Not Ignore Me

    I realise people can have serious problems brought on by clinical conditions that require professional treatment. I realise that such people can suffer from moments, either brief or extended that cause them to act in ways that they may not ordinarily act. I realise that sometimes it's best to stay quiet and away in order to not hurt your friends, either intentionally or otherwise. And I realise that I am not qualified to speak about how someone like that can think or feel, esecially as I personally have never been in that position.

    However. I want to say this. I am a friend. I'd like to think that people have a level of understanding, even at the lowest point, that makes them realise that there are others out there that are worried for them, thinking of them and willing to listen if that will help. I am a friend. I would like to think that someone in a situation where they are very upset or depressed would not simply ignore everyone that attempts to get in contact with them just to make others worried, or see how long people will continue to call without getting an answer.

    But I will not fucking be ignored. You will not ruin my time. And as such, this is my manifesto to all my friends. In a way, it begins right now. But mostly, it begins when I actually start college.

    This year I go back to college to complete my final year. I will not screw this one up. And I will not let anyone else screw me up. If you are pissed off at something or someone, do not come to me. I don't care. If you want to whinge and whine about how much life/jobs/friends/college/whatever is sucking, do not come to me. I will not listen. I you believe yourself to be the centre of the universe, do not come near me. I will put you in your tiny, insignificant place.

    If, however, someone has hurt you, I will be there. You are my friend. I will offer you an ear and a shoulder, as required. If you are bored, you can text me. I'll either text back and entertain you, or invite you over if I am free. I am your friend. If you just want to chat about what was on TV this week, what's in the cinema, the latest web-comics, whatever, text me. If I'm not working hard on college stuff, I'd love to have you anchor me to something resembling a social life. You are special and I don't want to loose that. If you haven't heard from me in a while and are worried enough to want to know that I'm alright, call me. Even with all that work, I'll appreciate knowing someone's still thinking of me. I need friends too. If someone you love passes away, please, please call me. I have been there. More times in the past year than I'd like, but I survived, and I'll be there to help you survive too. We all need shoulders to cry on. If you hear I am having a hard time, call me. I might need a shoulder to cry on too.

    I am fed up of hearing people who have a perfectly fine life bitch and moan about how bad it is. I am sick of seeing people who I know have a life far better than millions of others on this planet become so self-centered that they think everyone else has a better life than them. Life is not made up of things like jobs or possessions. Life isn't even about relationships. Life is friends. It is living to see them each day. It is knowing that, even when everything else seems to be going wrong, there is someone that doesn't care about that. That likes you for just you. As a friend. As someone that you bring joy into their life.

    I am not stupid. I realise I am writing this as someone who is in a relationship. But even that is built on friendship. I have a job that sucks. But I have friends that don't. I have to go back to college to work very hard at my final year. But I have friends that will be there for me. I won't have enough free cash to buy any Marvel Legends that come out between this September and May of next year. But I have friends that will comfort me when the only figure of Blink sells out in Smyths and I couldn't get her. I have friends. I love them and cherish them. They are my life.

    I am not so forgetful. I know I have not always lived up to what I am declaring here. I know I have had days where all I wanted to do was complain, or days where I locked myself away to escape the world. I know that some days I get home and I am moody and quiet and nothing can go right for me. But it never lasts. I can not hold grudges. I can not stay angry at friends, regardless of circumstance. I always know that my friends will cheer me up. Even when I feel I want to stay angry longer, I know it's a lost cause. I have friends that will not let me.

    There it is. You can either be my friend and stay the fuck away from me, or you can just be my friend. At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make. But trust me, if you make the wrong one, if you start making my life more difficult that I need next year, I will tell you in no uncertain terms what I think of your attitude.

    And I will not be ignored. If you want to leave a comment, feel free. If you want to speak to me in person about this, feel free. I agree with everything I have written. I started in anger, but actually typing this has given me more time to think about what I'm saying, and it is how I feel. Right now, all I have to say to close this matter is a little bunny saying

    Overheard In

    ... Roches Stores:

    Fellow employee talking to a friend of mine:
    "I hear Marvel are making a new movie about an undead biker guy called Knight Rider."

    I'm sure he was actually referring to Ghost Rider. I hope.