Friday, August 31, 2007

I Miss John Carpenter


If "Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, and Halloween" was offered up as a clue on "Jeopardy", the answer, phrased as a question, would be: "What John Carpenter films have been disgracefully remade into substandard thrillers?" Ding! Ding!Ding!

The original Halloween, released in the late seventies, filmed on a shoestring and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance is still a major work in horror; it remains an icon of unrelenting suspense. Success, of course, brings imitation, and what followed were the
'stalk and slash' imitators, such as the "Friday The 13th" series, that confused the tension and style of the Carpenter's original with soft core porn and snuff film sensibilities.

Enter Rob Zombie.

Why anyone would want to remake this brilliant work of horror is astonishing to me. In one interview, Zombie claimed he wouldn't even touch the project if he didn't feel that he had a fresh and worthwhile approach to the material. Well, Mr. Zombie, I've seen the film and I'm still wondering what happened to all that worthwhile freshness.

Zombie has made a film without a protagonist. The film takes away the mystery and horror of the boogie man to instead give us an unbelievable sociopath created from an unbelievable home environment crafted of trailerpark cliches. Given what we see Michael is subjected to, he is almost made a sympathetic figure. Let me say that again. Michael Meyers. Sympathetic.

We get to watch him deteriorate in the mental hospital (of which he seems the only occupant). We watch him abandoned and dehumanized. Note to future film makers. Mental hospitals don't allow patients to engage in unhealthy behaviors. They don't let patients make creepy masks and wear them all day long. Not therapeutic.

With all the time spent on Michael and his gorefest, Zombie chose to minimize the character of Laurie Strode. Unfortunately, if the audience doesn't identify with and care about Laurie, the audience doesn't feel the horror of her predicament. We don't grip our popcorn boxes, urging her not to go across the street. We don't lean forward and hiss under our breath: "Run, Laurie..oh god..run."

Zombie has removed the elements of supernatural horror that made the original such a rush. He has abandoned characterization (at least for the supposed protagonists) in favor of one clumsy gore shot after another. As mentioned earlier, Zombie confuses character development with unbelievable stereotypes. He doesn't understand the word subtlety or nuance.

Strangely, there is a parade of familiar and unlikely faces throughout the film. Clint Howard (Clint Howard???!!! Ron's younger, rather quirky looking brother?), Dee Wallace (E.T.'s Mom), Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky), Mickey Dolenz (Circus Boy and former drummer for the Monkees), Udo Kier (Andy Warhol's Dracula) Sybil Danning (Howling II and a multitude of bad exploitation films during the seventies). Wait...did I mention Mickey Dolenz?

I usually don't see films that do not allow critics access before release. I usually don't see films that come out toward the end of August or the beginning of September. It takes a film like Halloween to remind me why. Don't see this motion picture. Do yourself a favor and rent the original. But wait for late October, when you can run it as a double bill on your DVD player, along with the likes of Night of the Living Dead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

CW l Reaper Promo

Okay, maybe I was too hard on Kevin Smith. This will probably be my new favorite show...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Can't Be Good, Can It?

All the sci-fi sites are reporting that Kevin Smith is going to direct an episode of Battlestar Galactica. Smith?? Of Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob? The horror.... Weirdly though, there seems to be some confusion about whether this will actually happen. IGN has the conflicting stories.... August 27, 2007 - Kevin Smith has been making quite a splash in television these days. Not only did Smith direct The CW's well received pilot for Reaper, but he was also the first director announced to do an episode of the spinoff of NBC's smash hit series Heroes; the upcoming Heroes: Origins. Now Smith will be heading to another cult genre show, with SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica. On Smith's website, Viewaskew.com, Smith says in an excerpt from an interview with AOL TV, that he's going to Vancouver to direct an episode of the acclaimed series. Smith says "I know that I'm going to go up and direct an episode of 'Battlestar Galactica,' which I'm kind of stoked about. It's cool, but it is scary because it is like, 'What the f***? I can't bring anything to that show.' That show is genius and they have a very distinctive visual style." If people are worried that Jay and Silent Bob will show up on Colonial One, or that Smith's trademark "non-style" will invade the show, not so he says. "You are safe as a kitten. If you go in there and say, 'I'm going to shoot everything in one big master shot,' they'll go, 'No you're not, because that is not what we do on Battlestar Galactica.' I guess it is more about performance-oriented stuff, but at the same time that cast is top notch. How do you f***ing direct Mary McDonnell?" Battlestar Galactica returns to SCI FI with a special event titled Razor that airs November 24th. Update: It seems Smith might not be directing an episode after all. On the SCI FI Channel's message boards, "MrsRon", a poster long known to be Battlestar producer Ron Moore's wife, has said Smith will no longer be directing an episode of the series due to a scheduling conflict. Late Update: We confirmed with Kevin Smith's publicist that he IS, in fact, directing an episode of Battlestar Galactica. Whatever scheduling conflict there was, seems to have been worked out. We have not, as of this time, been able to get a comment from SCI FI regarding the post from Ron Moore's wife that lead to the initial rumors he was not doing the episode. Confused yet? All I know is that Smith's style seems wildly incompatible with BSG, but what do I know? Many of the fan sites have positive responses to Smith directing a BSG episode and frankly, he probably can't do that much damage. They're also saying he's going to direct an episode of Heroes. What is the world coming to?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Me Me Me Meme....

Sfgirl tagged me with a meme and for once, I didn't procrastinate too much and got it done. I've posted it on my Spare Parts blog because I'm going to try to keep my personal posts separate from my fantasy/sci-fi posts from now on. So if you like meme's-- head on over. Oh, and I need to throw in one more quick link. If any of you have been following the hoopla on J.J. Abrams forthcoming movie 1-18-08, you might already know that I have an old post that's still getting comments everyday on this topic. It's up to 81 comments-- and this is on a subject no one knows anything about. The link is HERE if anyone is curious. As an added note, I stopped allowing anonymous comments on the blog due solely to that post. It's too easy to be insulting when you can hide behind the cloak of anonymity and it's surprising how emotional people can get while giving an opinion on what a movie might be about!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

First Guest Review

S.M.D. is my first guest reviewer on my new blog, Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Reviews. Cruise on over and see what he has to say about Spin State by Chris Moriarty. I'm still waiting on some ARC's to start arriving, but I'll let you all know when I have books for review up for grabs. I'm currently reading Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell, who sent me a review copy of the book. I was thinking that, since I got it for free, I would pay it forward and send it on when I'm done to someone who'd like to read and review it on their blog. It's a good read for sci-fi fans so keep it in mind. I'll probably have the review up in a couple of days.... If anyone has a favorite book they'd like recommend or any thoughts on any new books out there and you'd like to feature it on the review blog, let me know.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up - trailer

Paul Giamatti as a hit man? Lots of gratuitous violence? Looks like fun....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Name of the Truth

Sandstorm Reviews is a blog I just discovered and found some very funny parodies of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. This particular parody merges Goodkind's story with Patrick Rothfuss' new book, The Name of the Wind for some searing satire that should appeal to anyone who feels they've put in too much time on the never-ending saga of Goodkind's.
'My name is Richard, pronounced nearly the same as “Dick.” I have had more names than any man has a right to. My mother used to call me her Special Little Trouper. It made me feel warm inside. My father often referred to me as Mistake. Honestly, I’m not really sure what that one meant. I have been called Richard the Great, Richard the Terrible, Richard the Cruel, Mein Fuhrer, Eater of Cats, and Bringer of Death. I have earned those names. I have been called many other things. Most of them, however, were slanderous lies. I have rescued a princess from being almost-raped by a Namble, decapitated kings, appropriated an empire, and learned magic without any formal training. You may have heard of me. ________ You have to understand, I grew up Enema Rahl. If you’re not familiar, the Enema Rahl are troupes that travel town to town preaching the virtues of objectivism to the simple backwater fools who lack the refinement of the morally enlightened. Charged by out patron, Lord Tori Greatfellow, we roamed the countryside, educating the ignorant. Giving them the knowledge necessary to choose how to live a proper way of life. Our way of life. My parents were both Enema Rahl. Because of this, the only schooling I had received, was those same teachings that was our mission to spread. All a man needs really. It was an average childhood, and I was an average boy. I did have other teachers. Those with proper moral clarity often traveled with the troupe, it being safer than on taking to the road alone. Strangely most of them seemed not to like me, and quickly left our company, opting instead to travel with ignorant savages spouting their heretical jibber-jabber. One summer we had a Boundary Warden rogue wanderer named Chase travel with our troupe. To occupy idle hours he would teach me basic woodscraft. The first week of his stay was focused on foraging skills. We would walk through the forest nights after the troupe had set up camp, and he’d point out which plants were safe for consumption and which were not. After having poisoned my self near enough fifty times, we came to the conclusion that foraging just wasn’t my forte. The next week he began to teach me to set snares to catch rabbits instead. Encouraged that I had managed to poison myself only four times in that next week, we made this the primary focus of my study. He taught me other things out in the forests too. Chase was a gentle man, for the most part at least. But his hand were heavily calloused, which sometimes made his touch abrasive to my pale, tender skin.......
If you want to see how the rest of this ends you must go HERE and you must click on Alice's link to Goodkind Parodies.

Spreading the Good Word

I'm not particularly religious, but I am fascinated by religious themes. TNT has a show on called Saving Grace that started several weeks ago and I finally watched the pilot episode. (Did I mention I'm a procrastinator?) TV shows with religious content are nothing new, Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel are the one's that immediately come to my mind. But I never watched those shows; they just seemed too saccharine. And I think I have a similar attitude to most people when it comes to religion: You can believe whatever you want, just don't push it on me. So, despite my fascination with how religion is dealt with in an entertainment venue, it still takes something extra for me to watch a show that takes for granted the existence of a Christian God. The something extra in Saving Grace is Holly Hunter. I've liked Holly Hunter ever since I saw her in Steven Spielberg's overly drawn out movie Always, which coincidentally stars Richard Dreyfuss as a guardian angel. Hunter has this great Southern drawl and a way of talking out the side of her mouth that makes her instantly engaging. She takes on unconventional roles, such as a cop-turned-baby snatcher in Raising Arizona and established herself as a solid movie star after winning an Academy Award for The Piano. She's not the first movie star to go to the small screen for a TV show, though it is still somewhat rare. And there's no denying, at least in my mind, that her presence lends credibility to the show. The basic premise really isn't anything new. Hunter's character, Grace Hanadarko, is a hard drinking cop who is definitely living life on the edge. She sleeps with pretty much any man who walks in the room, has a bad attitude and does whatever strikes her fancy at any given moment-- including flashing her elderly neighbor. In the pilot episode Grace is working on a kidnapping (and presumed murder) case involving a little girl. The stress of the case takes a toll on Grace and she, using her normal outlet, goes to a bar and gets falling down drunk after work. Driving home from the bar, weaving all over the road in her Porsche, she plows into a man walking along the road and kills him. After frantically trying to resuscitate the man she quietly, desperately pleads Dear God, help me. And in steps Earl (Leon Rippy): Saving Grace's grumpy, tobacco-chewing angel. The show didn't lose me with Earl, though it could have. Cranky angels are nothing new. John Travolta even played the Archangel Michael, in the forgettable movie Michael, as a butt-scratching, alcohol swilling creep. I can only assume that film and TV writers think a disheveled angel will be more accessible to viewers and that probably is the case. But for me, I think it would be more intriguing if an angel were played as more aloof. Dress the guy up in a suit, looking disdainful of the world around him and then you got my interest. But I digress. Earl casually steps into Grace's life with the words, what'cha need? and thus begins Grace's trip down the rabbit hole. Like anyone would, Grace questions her sanity when Earl reveals he is her "last chance" angel and whisks her off to the Grand Canyon to jar her into believing. Thinking at first the whole thing was a dream, Grace is forced to reconsider the experience when she finds blood on her shirt and red dirt in her boots. I haven't gotten far enough into the series to decided if I think it's hackneyed or not. Some of the elements obviously are, but in a way they have to be. We have to believe in God in order for Grace to be saved from the road to Hell she's on. And obviously Grace has to be a sinner-- with a good soul of course-- to have something to save her from. But I don't know..... What saves (no pun intended) the show right from the start is the cast. Holly Hunter is an excellent actress and her character is much deeper because of it. Grace could be a one-dimensional stereotype very easily but Hunter has an edge to her that keeps Grace on the fine line between vulnerability and hardness. I also like Laura San Giacomo as Grace's friend Rhetta, who accepts Grace's wildness but worries about her too. Still, the main point of this post is to look at the religious aspect of the show. I don't know if the point is to push religion onto the viewers or to simply capitalize on the fact that 90% of all people believe in a God of some sort. Probably the latter. But when the inevitable scenes come that speak of "God's Love" and show Earl blanketing Grace with his wings so she can feel the force of it (to which she replies Oh that is so much better than sex...) I can't help but resist the not-so-subtle image of the angel's wings and the glowing light that represents the feeling of being suffused with God's Love. I will give them credit for one thing though. They don't over-do the question-and-answer session that inevitably appears in shows like this. When asked the age-old question about why God allows suffering and doesn't show himself etc. etc., the short answer Earl gives Grace is but then there'd be no room for faith. Yes, it's the predictable answer, but it's short, sweet, to-the-point and allows the show to move forward without getting too mired down in theology. But I wonder if that can be avoided for very long? I remember watching The West Wing for the first season and liking it. But once the show became successful, and smug, it appeared to feel it could push a political agenda and it lost me. So I'm wondering if Grace can possibly exist without seeming to push Christianity on its viewers. So for now, I'll stick with it because I like Hunter and I'm interested enough to see what happens to Grace. But I wonder if her character, and the show, can walk the knife's edge for very long; or if they'll even try.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Soooo Excited!

I've already heard back from two three publishers regarding doing reviews on this blog and they're going to be sending me books! Both All of the publishers have great titles and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes, but one is an especially big name and they've agreed to send me books on a trial basis- which means I need to get reviews up on those books. No, what that really means is I'm going to need help. So to all of you who said you'd like to review books for this blog, get ready! I'll keep you posted. Thanks you guys for all the feedback on that last post. I really appreciate it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Want to do More

Maybe it's because summer is over (and the kids are back in school) but I'm starting to feel a little more motivated where the blog is concerned. I've often mentioned how making this a sci-fi blog has pigeonholed me a bit but now I'm beginning to think it can be useful. How you ask? I've noticed that big companies are starting to realize that blogs have marketing potential. I occasionally get email from the promotional departments of different TV networks and sci-fi oriented publications. I've also been lucky enough to be approached by new authors now and then and asked to read and review their books. So, I'm thinking of how I can use this to make this blog more interesting to the reader and maybe get some more involvement from the people who come here now and then. If any of you have been to Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, then you are aware that there are blogs out there that do regular giveaways. I would looooove to do this. So much so that I have started contacting publishers to see if that would be possible. And the cool thing about blogs like Pat's is that it proves you don't have to suck up to the publishers to get giveaway copies of books. Pat regularly does reviews of books and he gives his honest opinion. He tells you what he likes and what he doesn't like and it doesn't seem to affect his ability to get books. I like that. But I do want to ask you guys something. The fact is that I probably will need to do regular book reviews to get the free copies. I have no problem with that but I doubt I will have the time to read and review everything. What I am hoping to do is have some readers volunteer to help me out. I would send you a copy of whatever the publisher sends me and have you review it here on my site-- or perhaps another site I set up for that purpose. As you know I already have a few contributors here, so obviously they would get first shot at anything coming in. But I'd like to leave the door open for guest contributors as well. This is all open to speculation right now. I need to see if I can get some interest from some sci-fi publishers and I'm also betting that anything I get in the near future will most likely be new, untried authors. And I don't want to turn this site into a just a publicity machine for anyone, but I think I could find a balance between regular content, reviews and giveaways. But still, I'd like to try it out. So, tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Race & Gender in Fiction

I read a post today at author David Anthony Durham's website about "Being a Color Blind Reader" and I thought it was a great, thought provoking post. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I read a book I don't often think about the author's race and how it might influence their work. I have noticed how gender can make a tremendous difference in how something is written, especially with the proliferation of "chick lit" that has hit the shelves recently. But Durham makes the point that people will often claim to be "color blind" when, in fact, they are not. I can see how people might think they can back up the claim that they are "color blind," especially when you take into consideration that very often we read books without knowing the race of the author unless there is a picture on the back cover. But if you have any perceptions at all I would think you could pick up on things in different cultural contexts as you read the story. But does it matter? I suppose that's the question isn't it? The only way for me to answer that question is to go at it from another perspective. As a woman and an aspiring writer I would like to think that my gender wouldn't have a bearing on how well my book sold. After all, it should sell on the merits of the writing shouldn't it? But I know that may very well not be the case. If I were looking for a career in the "chick lit" market my gender would be an advantage. But since I don't want to pigeonholed in that particular genre, especially since I don't believe it will be long-lived, I need to be aware of the fact that my picture and my name on the cover of a book may affect how it sells. I know it will because I have chosen to buy-- or not buy-- books in the past if it seems as if the story may have an overly feminine or romantic slant; Just as I know other women will buy books specifically for the romance angle. Am I making any sense? I guess what I am saying is that I know my name can be a marketing tool or a handicap depending on the audience I am going for. And I suppose we could look at race the same way. I know there is a section in the bookstore that is labeled "African American Literature" (as Durham also mentions in his post) and I can't help but wonder if that is a good or bad thing. I almost don't feel qualified to comment on that because I am not African American-- but being qualified to comment on something has never stopped me before-- so here goes. First, I think the additional promotion/recognition that comes from being featured in the African American section can be a good thing if it is in addition to be featured in whatever genre section it belongs to. If, however, it is somehow segregated (pun intended) into that section and not given the wider promotion it deserves then it does the book and the author an injustice. And not being a published author myself I can't help but wonder if an author is given the option to be promoted in this way or if it's a judgment call made only by the publisher. If I were singled out by being a female author without due credit to the book's other merits I don't think I would like it much, but I may be alone in feeling that way. So where am going with this? I'm not really sure. It's just that Durham's post made me think, which is a good thing. I made me wonder how cognizant I am about the gender/race of an author I might be reading or if it factors into my buying decisions. And should it? And it also makes me think about the wider implications as I try to forge ahead into a writing career. Do I write through the narrow lens of a white woman or do I try encompass more? Obviously what I write will reflect my life experience but I can't only write about women like myself, that would get incredibly boring. But how do I make sure that what I write takes into consideration that there are other people in the world who would like to be represented in a way that isn't totally cliche? Again, I'm not sure. I can't write in a way that's unnatural to me or be fettered by the expectations of others. Yet at the same time the characters in my stories need to be as varied as the world we live in and hopefully as realistic. And if I'm being honest I can't be a gender blind or race blind reader. I think it's impossible to be so because any book comes with a voice. A voice that speaks of race, gender, sexuality, religion and any number of things that are important to the speaker. I feel it is my job as the reader to listen to the voice and make sure it is heard and appreciated-- even if I don't always share the same opinion. For an additional post on this topic check out Remy's post at The Fantasy Review

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Voltron

A lot of people have been speculating that 1-18-08 is a new Voltron movie. I wonder if this news will put an end to the speculation or add fuel to the fire?? VOLTRON is moving forward with producer Mark Gordon and New Regency SOURCE VARIETY New Regency is ready to assemble its own giant robot movie. The 20th Century Fox-based production entity has partnered with the Mark Gordon Co. to adapt "Voltron: Defender of the Universe" into a possible franchise. Producer Mark Gordon has been developing the pic, based on the popular 1980s Japanese animated TV series, comicbooks and toy line, for some time with Justin Marks penning the script. But interest in the property hit a high after "Transformers" turned into a box office juggernaut, raking in nearly $300 million to date. Marks' take is described as a post-apocalyptic tale of survival set in New York City and Mexico. In the animated series, five Galaxy Alliance pilots control vehicles shaped like lions that combine and form the massive sword-wielding Voltron robot in order to battle an evil menace. Gordon is producing with Lawrence Inglee and Jordan Wynn shepherding the project at the Mark Gordon Co. Mark Costa and Ford Oelman are executive producers. Marks has become a go-to guy in Hollywood for comicbook, videogame and toy based adaptations. He is adapting "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" for Joel Silver at Warner Bros., as well as the Green Arrow pic "Supermax," also at the studio. Marks also has "Street Fighter" in the works at Hyde Park and Fox.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bourne to Live Up to the Hype

I am on a roll. I made it out to see The Bourne Ultimatum yesterday, and I think that means I've made it to 3 movies this summer. I'm on fire. And am I glad I made it to this one. This is the first movie (of the whopping 3) that I've gone to this summer that I have no hesitation in saying was great. The Bourne movies aren't super complicated, though it can seem that way when you have all the cat and mouse games going in between Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and the various CIA operatives and assassins that populate these films. When you get right down to it, this is a pretty simple film. If you have seen the previous Bourne movies then you already know the basic plot: Jason Bourne is one deadly amnesiac. Okay, maybe I'm oversimplifying things. But I guess that's one of the things I liked about this particular movie; it's intelligent without trying to throw in too much. It alternates between heavy duty action sequences and essential plot-moving dialogue at a virtually flawless pace. The jittery camera work that was distracting in the second film seems more contained in this one and mostly at the beginning. If you have read the Bourne books by Robert Ludlum you might expect to have some idea of what this movie is about, but it's only loosely based on Ludlum's books anymore. That really bothered me in the second film because I felt the deviations were unnecessary. But in this third installment it isn't as much of a factor. In fact, this one seems to back to the basics of the book insofar as Jason Bourne is again focused on finding out who he really is. Picking up directly where the second movie, The Bourne Supremacy, left off, Bourne is thrown directly back into action. After stumbling across an article in The Guardian, a British newspaper that names him personally as a CIA operative and hints at knowledge of Bourne's past, he immediately sets out to find the journalist, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), who wrote the article--one of a series that promises more information. Naturally the CIA is already aware of the article and they assume that Jason Bourne is feeding Ross information. Once Bourne tracks down Ross he immediately notices the CIA surveillance but chances a confrontation in order to find out what Ross knows. I don't want to give away too much information at this point because I am truly hoping most of you get the chance to see this movie. And what passes from this point is predictable in that we know Jason Bourne is going to be fighting off the CIA and their assassins. We know we're going to see spectacular fight scenes and some pretty great car chases. But what you don't know is that the movie shows a more vulnerable side to Bourne's character. Sure, in the first film we saw Bourne in a vulnerable situation: not knowing his identity or anything about his past. But in this one Bourne has an idea of who he was and he's struggling to make peace with it. He's getting flashbacks of memory that are unsettling and there are moments in which he seems truly disturbed by what he is capable of. I also feel that perhaps the latest James Bond movie, Casino Royale, influenced the tone of this film a bit. There are similar moments in both films in which we see a man's struggle with the aftermath of what he has been forced to do. But I still feel that The Bourne Ultimatum is a better movie for taking some cues from Casino Royale. But Jason Bourne is not Bond-- and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I think Matt Damon is excellent in the role. He brings great intensity to the part and I think he is very credible. He seems like a guy who could be that tough, that smart and at the same time, that uncertain. The stunts are also very satisfying. I loved that they were big and fast paced without going over the top in the way the stunts did in Live Free or Die Hard- a fun, but very unrealistic movie. Granted, there are stunt sequences in which you're pretty sure any normal human would be completely obliterated. But in movie terms it was realistic enough to keep you involved and gripping your seat. So if you guys get lucky enough to make it out to 3 movies this summer, try to add The Bourne Ultimatum to the list. It definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Good Stuff

This is kind of a random post, but I found some good stuff as I was cruising the blogosphere today and I thought I should pass it on to you. First, Fantasy Book Critic is giving away a FULL SET of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan novels. That's a deal if ever I saw one. Check out his whole site while you're there too, he usually has more than one giveaway going on at one time. Sci-fi Chick has an excellent post about the new Sci-fi Channel series Tin Man. I didn't even know this series was in delvelopment and it has Neal McDonough, Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming! You should definitely check it out. I also poached a fun quiz from Sfgirl that lets you find out what your patronus would be. Obviously I'm an Eagle. Go HERE to take the quiz for yourself. I would also highly recommend going to Sfgirl's site and check out her expanded post on the subject of the patronus as well as a great post on Ursula K. LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea and its movie adaptation. And finally, a Stardust trailer for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Just the Idea of This Scares the Bejeesus Out of Me

Abrams Wooing Cruise For Trek XI? IGN Movies reported that J.J. Abrams, who is directing the next Star Trek film, would like to bring on his Mission: Impossible III star Tom Cruise for a cameo appearance as Capt. Christopher Pike, according to a "trusted source." Pike was the first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise and Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) commanding officer prior to Capt. Kirk (William Shatner), which would fit with the reported flashback storyline in the upcoming film. The character was played by Jeffrey Hunter in the original 1966 Star Trek TV pilot, "The Cage," which was later edited into the two-part episode, "The Menagerie." There have been previous reports of Cruise's involvement in the project, which were denied by his spokesman, Arnold Robinson, last fall. At the time, it was thought that Cruise's public falling-out with Paramount head Sumner Redstone, who controls the rights to the Trek franchise, would prevent him from working with the studio again in the near future. But tensions between the two have cooled off lately, and, according to IGN's source, the cameo role would be seen as a favor to Abrams and not to Paramount.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

They All Want to be Bond

Mission Impossible, The Bourne Identity, Ronin, La Femme Nikita. What do they all have in common? Yes, they could all qualify as espionage thrillers, but really, I think they all aspire to be a James Bond movie. When I think of spy thrillers I pretty much put everything into two categories: Bond and everything else. What got me thinking about this was two things, the release of The Bourne Ultimatum and the new TV show Burn Notice. I haven't seen The Bourne Ultimatum yet though it is getting very good reviews, which is great. I loved the first Bourne movie, The Bourne Identity, though the second of the series, The Bourne Supremacy, was less to my liking both for its deviation from the book and its jittery film style. Having read all of Robert Ludlum's Bourne books I know this third installment will have to have major deviations from the book to be consistent with the previous films, but I still have hope that it will be worth watching. Now, maybe I'm wrong in asserting that Ludlum was using James Bond as inspiration when he wrote the Bourne series. But somehow I think Bond must have been a significant influence. Ian Flemming really started something when he wrote Casino Royale. He made it seem incredibly cool to be a spy, no doubt inspiring countless reckless young men to seek out a career of covert government service (with very little success I'm sure). And Ludlum had to have been a fan of Flemming don't you think? To write such a character as Jason Bourne? No, Bourne doesn't start out as a good guy but somehow losing his memory brings out the conscience of the man thus putting him on a road of cat and mouse with our government and foreign bad guys. See? In the end he becomes a very Bondian character with his fighting skills and his ability to ferret out government secrets. Again, maybe I'm wrong, but as much as I like the Bourne movies, I still feel as if I am watching something very much like a Bond film. Burn Notice on the other hand is kind of like a comedic version of James Bond, though it doesn't go nearly as over the top as the Austin Powers franchise. I gotta admit, I really like Burn Notice. I became a fan of Jeffrey Donovan when the series Touching Evil was on and I still like him a lot. And let's be honest, anything that brings Bruce Campbell back to television has got to be a good thing. Burn Notice follows the story of former spy, Michael Weston, who was fired or "burned" as they call it in his particular industry. Weston still wants to be a spy however and using the skills he's gleaned over the years as a covert operative he methodically tries to find out who "burned" him-- and make a living at the same time. Burn Notice is kind of like Bond Lite to me. It's meant to be lighter, more comedic show, which I love. But it has all the things we like to see in a Bond movie. He outsmarts the bad guys and the other government spooks and uses a pretty wide variety of gadgets-- though nothing as high tech as what we're used to seeing in James Bond's Aston Martin. But you see where I'm going with this don't you? James Bond is the man, especially when he's being played by Daniel Craig. But without a weekly series featuring Bond, we only get our fix every couple of years or so. Therefore we look to characters like Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt or even Michael Weston to fill the void. But there is a void isn't there? I mean, there are a lot of good espionage thrillers out there. Tom Clancy created a great character with Jack Ryan and Ronin will always be one of my favorite movies. But when it comes to watching a spy movie, I think Bond will always be my first choice.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bored Bored Bored Bored Bored

I don't know what's going on, but there seems to be a general summer malaise going on. I know I am not the only blogger to feel it or comment on it though I don't think any of us have any idea why we're all feeling so blah these days. Speaking for myself I think I am ready for the kids to go back to school. I love my kids but I can only take so much togetherness before I want to pull my hair out. So as I sit here tying desperately to think of some kind of post to put up, I've been wondering what it would take to get my interest these days. I mean what do you suppose it would take to get every one's attention right now? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm???? Let's see, how about ....... World Peace Bwaaaahhahahahahahahahahah!!!! Yeah right. That will happen. Let's move on. Catching Osama How nice would that be? Granted, we'd probably still flounder around in Iraq, but it would be that much harder to justify. Paris Hilton Disappears Without a Trace Wishful thinking, I know. Tom Cruise Finally Comes Out of the Closet Would we really be that surprised? Food I Like to Eat No Longer Has Calories About as realistic as world peace, but a lot more fun. The Pharmaceutical Companies Stop Pimping Drugs on Television I really don't need to see anymore Viagra ads, do you? Democrats and Republicans Agree on Something I may start laughing again. Someone Explains the Whole Posh and Becks Thing Seriously, why are these people famous? Hugh Jackman Professes his Undying Love to Me Okay, I'm the only one who would find this interesting, but hey, it's my list. Cure for Cancer Found Now that would freak out the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't it? J.J. Abrams Explains What 1-18-08 is About Already Though I would lose a lot of blog traffic if he did. I Think of a Real Post for This Blog Now I'm really dreaming. So what would it take to get your attention?