December 20, 2008

MAN-MADE: Alaska's Extreme Machines


The National Geographic Channel project is in the can. I don't have an air date yet, as soon as I do I'll let ya know.
I watched the final cut yesterday, with all of the graphic elements, animations, and the final music tracks. It looks pretty good.

Two shout-outs:
First to the Executive Producer, David Huntley, who gave me an opportunity to stretch my creative muscles and let me do some writing on the show (and I got credit!).
And second to James LaPlante and the crew at Sputnik Animation in Portland, Maine. They put in extra hours and had to survive the recent ice storm (that knocked out power at their offices) to get us our animations in time to deliver the show.

OK, check your TV listings for Man-Made: Alaska's Extreme Machines!

Nat Geo: Man-Made
Sputnik Animation

December 19, 2008

Majel Barrett Roddenberry - Dies at age 76



Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and an actress whose longtime association with the "Star Trek" franchise included playing Nurse Christine Chapel in the original series, died early Thursday morning. She was 76.

Roddenberry died at her home in Bel-Air after a battle with leukemia, said family spokesman Sean Rossall.


LA Times Obit

November 28, 2008

RED HULK



Hulk, Vol. 1: Red Hulk (Hardcover)
by Jeff Loeb (Author) and Ed McGuiness (Illustrator)

Just read Red Hulk and it's a pretty darn good, light, breezy, slam-bang, gee-whiz comic book. Playing like a sci-fi monster movie-murder mystery, it doesn't get bogged down by a lot of exposition or deep thinking, and gets right to the Hulk-Smash action.

This is the kind of comic I like the most - lots of action, great character interaction, artwork that fits the story, and enough dangling plot lines to bring you back for the next issue. And as a mystery there are twists and turns and a resolution of sorts by the end of chapter six. But this is no The Long Halloween, it's much less weighty and much less gloomy.

While I prefer the Loeb/Sale DC books (Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons), Loeb & McGuiness teamed up for a great Superman/Batman run. And I think that McGuiness' bombastic art style is good match for the Hulk.

A long time fan of titles like Justice League of America, Brave and the Bold, Avengers (New & Mighty), I enjoy a good team-up book, or a book that brings together multiple solo heroes. In RED HULK we get not only the Hulk, but She-Hulk, Iron Man, Namor and a great Thor vs. Red Hulk battle. The author also uses major Hulk supporting cast members like Rick Jones, Thunderbolt Ross and Doc Samson to help flesh out the story and set up multiple red herrings to steer the reader through the big mystery.

RED HULK spins right out of "World War Hulk" (which I did not invest in) and makes reference to events in "Civil War", but doesn't get tangled up in "Secret Invasion". If you didn't read World War Hulk that's ok. Loeb gets you up to speed quickly and makes this new story arc accessible to first time Hulk readers.

And here's an observation: Watch for a classic Avengers reunion in the near future. Iron Man is still here, Hulk is back, Thor is back, and there's a new Captain America. Toss in Hank Pym and the Wasp and you're kicking it old school, Lee & Kirby style. Just sayin'...

I would recommend RED HULK to any Marvel fan, Hulk fans or anyone whose interest was piqued by the recent Hulk movie, you won't be disappointed. Again, I liked it a lot, but since I had hoped for more content I'll give it a B.

Hulk at Marvel.com
Red Hulk at Amazon.com
Jeff Loeb at Wikipedia.com
Ed McGuiness at Wikipedia.com

November 26, 2008

UP NEXT AT MHP



Can't really talk about much right now but we're working on a new show for the Discovery Channel. We're knee deep in it already and we have a camera crew en route to a remote location as we speak. Well, as I blog...

If you just can't stand it, and need to know more, e-mail me. You will have to sign papers, give blood, etc.

November 23, 2008

MIGHTY MUGGS and ME


Some of you know about my obsession with Hasbro's Mighty Muggs collectibles. Well these little guys are my latest geek-must-have.

For my birthday Ryan gave me a birthday card with an awesome surprise inside... me as a Mighty Mugg! Check it out:



HASBRO MIGHTY MUGGS

November 22, 2008

R.I.P. ELI STONE & PUSHING DAISIES

ABC will not be ordering anymore episodes of "Eli Stone" or "Pushing Daisies" beyond the current 13 episode agreement. It's a dark week indeed for the pie-maker and the philosopher.

With so much junk cluttering the airwaves, on both cable and broadcast, you'd think that the alphabet would stick with quality programming. I mean c'mon - they're keeping "Private Practice" and bringing back "According to Jim"!!!





SAVE PUSHING DAISIES

SAVE ELI STONE

Save 'em both!

November 8, 2008

STILL TRUCKIN' at MHP


We continue to inch forward toward completion of the Nat Geo project. The show will fall under their anthology banner "Man Made". Here's a link to The National Geographic Channel site so you can check it out.

National Geographic Channel: MAN-MADE

November 5, 2008

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: WOW!


That's right. There's a new sheriff in town.

How amazing and awesome it is to live in a country like ours with free elections!
And even MORE amazing that we, the United States of America, have elected a black man to be our president!
We are moving forward folks. Slowly but surely the U.S. is moving forward.

Now don't get all crazy over the photo, or try to read something into it. It's just then Senator Obama having some fun in Metropolis, Illinois after one of his town hall meetings. Ya know, Superman? Metropolis? Ha!


God Bless America!

October 26, 2008

Still Working: MHP



Sorry so long between posts!
I am still working at Moore Huntley Prod. down in Sudbury, MA. We're delivering a fine cut of "Alaska's Extreme Machines" to Nat. Geo. this week. I continue to do research, fact checking, phone calling, annotating, etc.

October 14, 2008

"RED 5" Massabesic District Fall Camporee

Patch designs...


Fun with Troopers...




Lord Vader and Jabba the Hutt too.


Closing flags, prize winners...


... and staff members.


And me, in my Venturing uniform. See Tef, just a another form of geekdom!

October 13, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

Spent the weekend with some friends from the 501st. As soon as I have the photos cropped I'll post 'em.
We had our Boy Scout Fall Camporee over the weekend. It was a Star Wars theme (from yours truly) and we had spectacular weather for running around in the woods with lightsabers and the Dark Lord himself.

Here are a couple of photo albums to look at...

The 501st
One of our volunteers took these.

October 3, 2008

BACK TO WORK


I'm headed back to Moore Huntley next week for about a month of work. I'll be doing research, show shutdown, etc. for their upcoming National Geographic Channel show "Extreme Machines".

Vacation was fun but it's good to get back to work, YAY!!!

NatGeo
MHP

September 28, 2008

PAUL NEWMAN 1925 - 2008


The passing of Paul Newman is sad but not unexpected. He had been ill for quite some time and was reported to have returned to his home in Connecticut some months ago in preparation for his passing away after a battle with cancer at age 83.

I first "met" Newman in 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Then again in The Sting (1973) followed by The Towering Inferno (1974). I went on to discover other great films and performances on video & dvd, including Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Winning (1969).


To a younger generation he will be remembered for his charitable work; Hole in the Wall Camps, his salad dressing; Newman's Own Brands, auto racing; Newman/Hass Racing and his voice work in Pixar's Cars (2006).


Variety
IMDb
Hole in the Wall Camps
Newman/Haas

September 23, 2008

MY EMMY PICKS: THE DAY AFTER, THE DAY AFTER


Nerds! My lovely wife Lisa kicked my butt in our annual Emmy picks competition. With a score of 15 to 12, Lisa gets bragging rights and does the "I Beat You" dance to the embarrassment of the Academy.

That's OK honey, I'll see you at the Oscars.

September 22, 2008

MY EMMY PICKS: THE DAY AFTER


BRYAN CRANSTON?!?! Seriously? Well, I didn't see that coming.
Alec Baldwin beating out Steve Carell? Yeah, I can understand that. "30 Rock" is hilarious and Baldwin & Fey are a great comedy duo.

But no way I thought that Jon Hamm would lose to AMC mate Cranston. I watched "Breaking Bad" and think it's a really good show, but "Mad Men" is certainly a superior production and Jon Hamm's performance as Don Draper is intense, complex, moody and sometimes scary.

But, congratulations to Cranston just the same. He had been passed over three times before ("Malcolm in the Middle"), so it's good to see him finally recognized.

Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad

September 21, 2008

MY EMMY PICKS


Before the festivities begin I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring with my some of my own Emmy picks...

Lead Actor in a Comedy: Steve Carell
Lead Actor in a Drama: Jon Hamm
Lead Actor in a Miniseries: Paul Giamatti

Lead Actress in a Comedy: America Ferrera
Lead Actress in a Drama: Glenn Close
Lead Actress in a Miniseries: Laura Linney

Outstanding Host for a Reality Program: Jeff Probst

Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men
Outstanding Miniseries: John Adams

Outstanding Reality Program: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race

Ok, that's it, check the results at the official Primetime Emmy Awards site.

September 12, 2008

PRIMEVAL: BBC Guilty Pleasure


Doctor Who, Torchwood, Life on Mars – The BBC knows how to serve up the sci-fi fantasy, time travel series and make it witty, campy and good fun. So it’s no surprise that this latest offering from BBC America (on Saturday nights at 9, Eastern) is another good diversion from across the pond.

Primeval was created by Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines, who created the Walking with Dinosaurs series. It follows a team of five scientists investigating the appearance of temporal anomalies across England that release prehistoric and futuristic creatures, into the present.

As with a lot of sci-fi fare the writing is sometimes middling, certainly not as good as LOST but a lot better than Land of the Lost. The acting for the most part is good, especially considering the amount of green screen work they have to do. The cast is filled with the usual sexy Gaelic cross section of England, and the accents add to the cool factor for us Yanks. And with the Time twisty plotlines, shocking reveals and plenty of monster-of-the-week action, I’ll keep watching and not feel the least bit guilty.

Currently Series One is airing, with Series Two to air later this year. The show is good enough to have garnered a third season order. Series One & Two will be available on DVD soon.

Primeval Official

September 8, 2008

"FRINGE": J.J. ABRAMS on FOX


Yes J.J., I accept the cup and drink the fanboy Kool-Aid. Never got into "Felicity" but I jumped feet first into "Alias". Couldn't back "What About Brian", but "LOST"? Oh, yeah, that show is just ridiculous! "Cloverfield"? You need only read my review (click here). "MI3", yup I thought it was great and made me think they should have come to you to re-launch the TV franchise. And a little thing called "Star Trek"? C'mon, you cast Simon Pegg as Scotty and in a stroke of genius you nabbed Zachary Quinto for the role of Spock. Talk about separated at birth, that guy was born for the part.
And now as you continue your dominance of broadcast television you bring us "Fringe", a return to the spooky, scary, sci-fi meets CSI world of shows like "The X-files" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".

Having read interviews with Abrams and his producing/writing partners Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman I'm very excited to have yet another show to clog the DVR this fall. Also comforting is the positive buzz surrounding the show, and advance praise from those that have seen the pilot episode.

So far Abram's sci-fi actioners have been hits for ABC (LOST & Alias), but what about FOX? They have a pretty crappy track record when it comes to shows that fans and critics love but don't perform to their expectations right out of the gate or continue to meet their un-realistic expectations. Remember "Firefly", "Wonderfalls" or "Arrested Development"?

So while I am loath to fully embrace the latest and greatest from Abrams just to have the rug yanked from under me half way through the season, I will say pass the pitcher please.

FRINGE: Official
FRINGE: Fan Site
FRINGE: Reviews

September 5, 2008

"GHOSTBUSTERS III": yeah, but will it be funny?


Who ya gonna call? Apparently the original Ghostbusters that's who. As reported yesterday, Sony Studios is working on a new movie to feature the original cast.

I want to believe that getting the band back together is a good idea, but I have my doubts. Have fans been clamoring for a reunion tour? Does Bill Murray need the paycheck? Is the studio in financial difficulty and willing to cling to any life raft?
I'm going out a limb here and saying no to all of the above.



The Hollywood Reporter
Ghostbuster Fans

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

September 3, 2008

BILL MELENDEZ: Peanuts Animator, dead at 91


Yet more sad news in the entertainment world, Bill Melendez, long time Peanuts animator has died.

Melendez, the only animator permitted by Charles M. Schulz to work with the Peanuts characters, earned eight Emmy Awards, 17 Emmy nominations, one Oscar nomination and two Peabody Awards. He began his career at Disney and Warner Bros., working on classic characters at those studios, and spent more than 70 years in the entertainment industry.



The Hollywood Reporter
Bill Melendez Productions

September 2, 2008

"In A World..." DON LaFONTAINE: dead at 68


Don LaFontaine, the voice of the movie trailer died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from complications in the treatment of an ongoing illness.

What a loss to the entertainment world. Don's signature voice has accompanied some of the greatest films in history. He began his career in the early sixties and was still working today.



Don LaFontaine .Com
The Hollywood Reporter Article
AP Photo by DAMIAIN DOVARGANES

August 27, 2008

SUPERMAN: DARK SIDE or DARKSEID?


I thought I would chime in on the scrapping of “The Man of Steel” and the darkening of the big blue Boy Scout. As reported by Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and everyone else, it looks like Warner Bros. is giving up on Brian Singer’s follow-up to “Superman Returns” in favor of giving Clark Kent and company the “Dark Knight” treatment.

Like many Supes fans I don’t think making him a darker character is the answer to the franchises woes. I watched “Superman Returns” yesterday and I could see past my initial reaction to the film (loved it), and separate the wheat from the chaff.
Brian Singer’s homage to the Richard Donner vision was too long by at least 30 minutes. It lacked urgency and pacing. As a film school instructor told me once it ‘made a meal of every scene’ when it should have been taking small bites.
All the beats were there, all the elements of a great story were right there, and I could clearly see the direction Singer was going in and his reverence for the Donner films was obvious, but…

Now I’m sure you all are saying: ‘OK smart guy, what would you do?”

Well, I certainly would not make Superman ‘dark’. He is not a dark character; he’s an example of all that is good and right with America. He is a hero that sets the example for all other heroes (of the DC universe) to live up to. He does not lie, he does not cheat, he unabashedly waves the flag, and he strives to be a better human being, even though he’s not an American or even a human being for that matter.
Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman’s story is the story of the American dream. An immigrant from a distant land, Clark is adopted by America (folded into our melting pot) and given the chance to become something (someone) better and to succeed despite his differences.

You know, ‘Truth, justice, the American way’, remember?

So, again, what would I do? Well, we’ll need at least three elements to darken the Superman universe, Red Kryptonite, Doomsday and Darkseid.

Episode 1:
Red-k is the Kryptonian element that has the ability to change Superman’s personality and/or his powers. Unlike green-k which kills him, red-k can have multiple, unpredictable effects on Superman. Classic villain and Superman nemesis, Lex Luthor hires the world’s leading chemist to synthesize red-k and exposes Superman. While Kal/Clark experiences all manner of unpredictable personal and professional calamities, Earth sees the arrival of a threat like no other it’s ever seen, another strange visitor with abilities beyond those of mortal man - Doomsday!

Episode 2:
Doomsday comes from Superman’s home world of Krypton. Created to be the ultimate hunter/killer and having escaped Krypton before it’s destruction and the birth of Kal-El. Doomsday travels the universe for hundreds of thousands of years (even encountering Green Lantern) before arriving on Earth and battling a fledgling Justice League. Finally hunting down his fellow Kryptonian in Metropolis, Doomsday and Superman meet in the ultimate showdown where Superman does the unthinkable and sacrifices himself to kill Doomsday and save Earth. Earth is left in shock, mourning and defenseless, opening the door for an invasion…

Episode 3:
Superman needs an adversary that is as bad as Supes is good, a villain that is a clear and frightening threat to planet Earth. We need a character that is the moral opposite of Clark Kent… We need Darkseid.
With the death of Superman, the door is left open for Darkseid and his minions from the planet Apokolips to invade Earth for colonization. Darkseid lays waste to Earth and enslaves its inhabitants. Meanwhile an underground guerilla faction, led by Lois Lane, secretly move Superman’s body to the Fortress of Solitude where they are able to resurrect the Man of Steel and spread the news of Superman’s return. Earth’s human population rises up against Apokolips, and Superman defeats Darkseid.

We don’t need a dark Superman. But we can have a dark Superman movie. Superman is not Batman; he is the opposite of Batman. Superman is the light that leads us out of the darkness; a beacon of hope when all hope is lost.

Supermanica
Superman/Doomsday DVD
DC Database Project
MTV Splashpage

August 20, 2008

VERONICA MARS: The Movie?


Michael Ausiello - over at Entertainment Weekly – reported yesterday that “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas & star Kristen Bell are discussing bringing Veronica to the big screen.
So that’s what all the giggling and little-girl squealing was all about yesterday. Every fan boy & girl must have let out a simultaneous whoop of delight when they read the news.

I’m a fan too and I think a movie would be great. But what I think would be greater is a series of television movies or direct to DVD releases, it’s working great for “Futurama”.

Is this going to happen real soon? Nah. Thomas is currently working on two new series and Bell is at work on “Heroes” and a blossoming film career.
Will it happen? Oh I’m sure. If the creator and star are on board, then a studio is soon to follow. Why I am I so sure? Just a little ol’ show called “Firefly” that’s why.

From my previous VM blog entry:
Starring Kristin Bell (Heroes) as the title character, this show is a lively mix of Nancy Drew mystery solving, Buffy girl power (Veronica even has her own Scooby Gang) and a dash of West Side Story. The writing is sharp and witty, plenty of pop culture references, banter and burns. It is a very neo-noir storytelling style. (And I dig the noir.)

The Ausiello Files @ EW.com
Neptune Rising VM Fansite
Veronica Mars Official Website

August 19, 2008

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR


No, not Christmas. And no, not Back-To-School... It's the return of the Fall Television Season!!!
Ranking right up there with the Summer Movie Season, Fall TV makes me tingly all over (umm... maybe not actually tingly) as I wait not so patiently for the new TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly preview issues.
Television took its lumps with the writer's strike, but it appears to be rebounding quite nicely. Many returning favorites like House, Pushing Daisies, Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock and new fare; Kath & Kim, Dollhouse and Eleventh Hour are giving me hope for long hours in front of the High Def with Maddy and a warm bottle.

Follow this link to TV Guide's online Fall Preview

August 16, 2008

REMEMBER WHEN 2: “The Wild Wild West”


Here we go again, into the way back machine and stopping off at my parents’ living room and the TV in the corner (Different TV now but in the same location!). It’s 4:00 PM on a weekday and one of the greatest genre crossovers is on. That would be “The Wild Wild West” starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. “WWW” is a sci-fi western of the highest camp value (and I mean that in a good way), crime solving tech., Bond-like gadgets, steampunk science and good old fashioned six guns and cowboys all come together in a blend of cheesy goodness. There were guest stars galore, hot babes and crazy sets and wacky inventions too.

Robert Conrad was the chiseled-chin super-hero, complete with ridiculously tight pants, and abs of steel. He was the ladies man, the muscle of this secret service duo, and the star of the series.

Ross Martin, the better actor, was relegated to the brainy side-kick roll due, I’m sure, to his less than movie star good looks. But his roll was key to the appeal of this show. His chararcter – Artemus Gordon – was the Q to Jim West’s James Bond. Gordon, a master of disguise, was also the comic relief to West’s straight man.

Favorite villain? Oh come on, it’s got to be Dr. Miguelito Loveless. The maniacal, diminutive, evil genius played by Michael Dunn. His humor, womanizing and twisted genius made him a memorable villain and a character you loved to see over and over again. It’s interesting to note that over four seasons he only appeared in 10 episodes.

Here’s a video of the opening credits…



Two truly awesome attempts to revive this hybrid genre came in 1993 and then again in 1995. First “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” starring Bruce Campbell & Christian Clemenson. This show came from Carlton Cuse (LOST) and Jeffery Boam (Lethal Weapon 3) and lasted for 27 episodes on Fox. LOVE THIS SHOW!!!
The second series, “Legend” starred Richard Dean Anderson and John Delancie, was produced by Michael Piller (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Bill Dial (Sliders). It aired for 12 episodes on UPN. WE NEED A DVD RELEASE!!!

The Wild Wild West @ Wikipedia.com
The Ultimate Brisco County, Jr. Guidebook
Legend @ Wikipedia.com

August 15, 2008

REMEMBER WHEN: "Battle of the Planets"


Lisa forwarded a fun e-mail to me today, it was about childhood in the black and white TV era and it got me to thinking about other shows from my youth that I really enjoyed. I remember going home after school (with my best friend Chuck) while in Jr. High and watching "Battle of the Planets". I think it was on at 3:30 in the afternoon, but I can't remember if it was on WTEN (10), WNYT (13) or WRGB (6).

Anyway, this blast from the past always puts a smile on my face. And to think we got the watered down, anglo-sized version of the show, imagine how much better it could have been if we got the original Japanese run.

For those of you born in the 90's this was our version of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers". Five teens, each with his own color and special vehicle to drive, would be able to combine them into the Phoenix, a very kick-ass space ship. They would defend the earth against all manner of beasty sent to destroy our planet by the evil Zoltar. One of those major changes to clean up this show for American audiences was the fact that Zoltar was transgender! Oh those crazy Japanese!

OK, watch this clip of the series opener as I remember it, and take a little trip into the past...



BotP @ Wikipedia

PRESTO-CHANGO: New Release Date For Harry


Warner Bros. has moved the release date of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from Nov. 21 to July 17.

Read More @ THR.com

August 14, 2008

August 12, 2008

MADDY IS HERE!


Sorry not to have posted in a while but we've been busy. Please welcome Madelyn Elizabeth, the latest production from Allen & Lisa.

Born on August 8th, 3:04 PM at a very healthy 8 pounds, 4 ounces & 21.5 inches. There was plenty of drama and action - Cord Prolapse! Emergency C-Section! Whoa, put the Gooey Oompa Loompa back in! Dad cuts the cord!
There was some comedy too - me dressed in scrubs and mask, fumbling for a camera to take the first picture (used my cell phone), and poor Lisa numbed up and loopy from all manner of drugs just along for the ride.

And now the whirl wind has swept us away from the hospital to the comforts of home. Our dog Jack is not sure what to make of the newcomer, but he's being good. Sniffing, whining, running in circles, jumping on everyone, following us (and Maddy) everywhere we go. The cat is pretty unfazed by the whole affair.

Our first night was uneventful and unpredictable. Just when we thought Maddy was on a feeding schedule, she shook things up with a two hour nap, snarfing down a bottle and then zonking out for four hours, up again for a bottle and out again for another four hours. Which leads us to this post.

OK, keep those cards and letters coming, and join us for the next episode of "Maddy The Jungle Girl" or "The Naked Maddy Band" or how about...

August 5, 2008

"TRINITY": The Little Film That Did!


The indie feature I worked on in February - "Trinity" - placed third in the Drama category at the Indie Gathering Film Festival.
Congratulations to Kathy & Jaime at Partners in Krime Productions (Philadelphia, PA)! And congratulations to the cast and crew who helped put this project together. Hey, how's that medal look?



Trinity
The Indie Gathering

August 4, 2008

"HEROES: Villains" Season 3 on 9.22.08



I was afraid after last season's lack luster storytelling that the series was done for.
But have no fear, it looks like Tim Kring and crew have things under control.

Heroes on NBC

August 2, 2008

Page to Screen: “BANGKOK 8”



Ever read a book and say – ‘Gee, this would be a great movie.’

Well John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 is one of those books. Published in 2003, I just read the trade paperback edition and thought it was great. It is fast paced, great characters, dark humor and a Buddhist wit I did not expect. Set in Thailand and involving the corrupt Thai police force, a fish-out-of-water FBI agent, illegal jade trading and a Buddhist "arhat" detective hero, this book really delivers.

And it was no surprise to discover that Millennium Films (“Rambo”) has already optioned the property and has it in development. There are two other books in the series, Bangkok Tattoo & Bangkok Haunts, so we can expect a film series too if the first one does well enough at the box office.

OK, get to the library or your local Barnes and Noble and pick up this great read before your summer vacation is over.

Bangkok 8 @ Random House

August 1, 2008

“MAMMA MIA!”: Light Summer Fun


Who knew ABBA would write a Broadway hit? (I know, they had help.)

Lisa:
Overall, nice light summer fun. Having never seen the Broadway show I have no comparison. Makes you want to visit Greece - love the blue, blue water.
Favorite Daddies were Colin Firth (Harry) and Stellan SkarsgÄrd (Bill). Didn't like Pierce Bronson's singing at all.
Meryl Streep did a good job. Her girlfriend sidekicks were better than Sophie’s who seemed an afterthought. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her hubby to be were both well played/sung.
Should have used the Greek Chorus more.

Allen:
After a weird and slow opening there were some real good moments, and songs, but it felt off kilter, never really getting it’s footing.
Some Hollywood folks should not be looking to “tread the boards” anytime soon. Bravo for trying to sing and dance, but man, ya gotta know when to say when!
There was a lot of overacting, over emoting, over-gesturing; like someone forgot to tell the director (and cast) that they were making a movie, not a play, the camera is intimate and can exaggerate even the slightest movement.
I completely agree with Lisa about the Greek Chorus. This could have been a great plot device, but was given two small scenes and then kind of forgotten as the show went on.
The best thing I came away from the movie with was a desire to see the Broadway show.

So a combined score from the tag team reviewers will be (drum roll please)… B-

Mamma Mia! – Film
Mamma Mia! – Stage

July 31, 2008

“BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHT”: Now on DVD


Here is the latest spin on “The Batman” myth, brought to us by the team that gave us “Batman: The Animated Series”. We even get Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman, he is the voice of this generation’s animated Batman, still pitch perfect.

Told in six chapters, all done in Japanese anime, they are linked together telling the middle chapter of year one, between “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”.

There are some heavy hitters involved in this project too…
“Have I Got a Story for You” – Oscar nom Josh Olson recounts Batman sightings by a group of youngsters leaving them with their own take on the Dark Knight. This one is a lot like “Legends of the Dark Knight” from around season 3 or 4 of the Animated Series.

“Crossfire” – Novelist Greg Rucka gives us the police-eye view. Gotham’s finest have to get over their mistrust of Batman, while caught between the Russian and Maroney.

“Field Test” - WayneTech arsenal from Lucius Fox, and the Batman must decide what he’s willing to do to win the fight..

The final three chapters is where it really gets going, better stories, animation, action…
“In Darkness Dwells”, - Batman takes on “Killer Croc”, after the Scarecrow and his fear toxin make an appearance. Written by David S. Goyer, co-screenwriter of “Batman Begins.”

“Working Through Pain” - Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello gives us a flash back of Bruce Wayne’s training. Showing how a mysterious woman helps him ignore the pain of his injuries, but there’s a lesson to be learned.

“Deadshot” - Emmy Award-winner Alan Burnett wraps it all up with Batman taking down Deadshot, gun for hire.

I think I would have preferred my animation old-school American. But like I said, the second half is really good so I’ll give the entire project a B.

Like your Batman animated?
Batman Gotham Knight
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman Beyond
The Batman

July 29, 2008

X-files is for X-philes only


If you were a fan of the series when it originally aired you will appreciate the film. If not, hmm… maybe wait to rent it. I was a fan from day one and was very excited to see Mulder and Scully back in action. And Mulder and Scully are great to watch again, but the film is a slow-paced, disconnected mess.

Without the mythology (Mulder’s UFO obsession, the dark gov’t conspiracy) storyline to anchor “The X-Files: I Want to Believe”, we get nothing more then a 104 minute episode, which we might have seen in season 3 or 4. Even if they didn’t watch the X-files when it was on, audiences know about the UFO stuff from just the hype and publicity surrounding it. And those that did watch know that Mulder’s obsession was the pivot point of the whole show. [sigh]

Highlights for those of you that do go; Amanda Peet (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”), perky and doe-eyed as ever as the FBI agent who brings Mulder in from the cold. And Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner, that’s right “Pimp My Ride” Xzibit, who turns in a believable performance also an FBI agent.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson slip effortlessly into the roles that made them stars. It’s a lot of fun to have them together again, believer and skeptic, bearing the emotional scars of their battle against black oil, super soldiers and the Cigarette Smoking Man.
It’s perhaps the weight of these performances, the character's emotional baggage and nine years of mythology that bring the entire picture to a near halt before it’s even half over.

Glad I paid the matinee price, and here's hoping that we see the truth revealed on December 21, 2012. I give “The X-files: I Want to Believe” a C.

July 28, 2008

I KNOW ONE OF THE PRODUCERS...

"I Want to Work for Diddy" is a new reality competition show on VH1. I went to the Maine Media Workshops with one of the Producers, Tommy (T.Popps) Popps.



"I Want to Work for Diddy" Premieres Monday, August 4th at 9p on VH1.

See the Trailer here.

July 23, 2008

Cable Nets Bring The Summer TV Heat


Just when you thought television was dead...

TNT brings back "The Closer" (season 4) & "Saving Grace" (season 2). I've been with Deputy Chief Johnson from the beginning and this show is great; great lead, great cast, great writing. Although I almost gave up on Grace and her slide through sin and deprivation, this show managed to raise it's own level of standards and provided the faithful with some choice story lines and great production values. The second season premiere was just awesome and I can't wait to see what's up next.

AMC will air season two of "Mad Men" starting on Sunday night. I missed season one and had to get caught up with last Sunday's marathon viewing. Wow - what a smart, funny, stylish, sexy show, it's programmed in the DVR now.

USA's summer season brings us the returns of "Monk" (season 7), "Psych" (season 3) and "Burn Notice" (season 2) all three of these programs are must see. Lisa and I carve out a two-hour block every week to catch Shawn, Gus and Mr. Monk. "Burn Notice", in its second season, is a fast-paced, smart-mouthed, spy fantasy, at times charming and witty and at others hard-edged & action-packed.

BRAVO brings back "Project Runway" (season 5) with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. This show is the model from which all reality-competition series should be made. It's smart, funny, well edited and always gives you some cat fighting to liven things up. With the exception of Emmy fave The Amazing Race this is probably the best reality-competition series on the air. Seriously, I could care less about fashion design, but this show is great television.

ABC provides some mindless fun that you just want to pop open a cold one too, with their rookie phenom: "Wipeout". Like According to Jim, "Wipeout" is so dumb it's funny! If you are a fan of MXC on Spike then "Wipeout" is for you. Ridiculous human beings vs. the ridiculous, cartoon-like mouse trap obstacle course. Big Balls anyone?

The Closer
Saving Grace
Mad Men
Monk
Psych
Burn Notice
Project Runway
Wipeout

"TOUGHER IN ALASKA": The Daily Show!


Geo Beach, esteemed host of “Tougher in Alaska” on HISTORY, will be appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” this Thursday night.

Comedy Central, 11 pm, Thursday, 7/24.

THE DAILY SHOW

Tune in if you can!

July 19, 2008

“THE DARK KNIGHT”: WOW!!!


There should be no doubt about who the summer box office champ is now. Iron Man and Indiana Jones take a back seat to Gothams’ own; Batman.

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a relentless, psychological, crime thriller starring Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger just to name a few. This film could have easily been a contemporary, straight-forward crime story, it just happens to have Batman and the Joker in it. Nolan starts the movie with a bang, steps on the gas (and your throat) until the closing credits, finally letting you up after 152 minutes to take a breath.

Ryan and I went to the midnight showing at our local IMAX theater and seeing the Joker that big is scary! Heath Ledger is deserving of another Oscar nom for his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime. You know it’s him behind the makeup, but you never once think of the actor, you only think: Jeez this Joker guy is one sick son of a ….
Yeah, he’s that good. And in a film with an ensemble cast this large, this talented and this lauded, that’s saying something. Nolan does a brilliant job of maintaining the balance between the characters, their stories and their screen time.

I’m going back today to see it again (on IMAX) and will probably have more praises to sing. I’ll be calling LA Filmcutter too and just completely geek out! And I’m not exaggerating by giving this movie an A+, it is just the best you’ll see this summer.
OK now run, don’t walk, to a theater near you and immerse yourselves in “The Dark Knight” which is deserving of all the praise and hype it has received.

"Dark Knight" breaks preview record
Dark Knight Unofficial Movie Blog