Saturday, May 31, 2014
If I can have one ranting old man tirade that I can rail against kids today, it's that they never had and can't appreciate the glory that was the Saturday Morning Cartoon. Sure, there is plenty of great animation being produced, but it is available anytime all the time. For years there have been animation centric channels like Cartoon Network or YTV or Teletoon, and now-a-days there is the technological wonder of DVR's, Netflix and streaming television shows vs waiting for appointment television. Hence, kids don't have to wait to watch episodes of Adventure Time or My Little Pony or Ultimate Spider-man or whatever they want.
When I was younger, the anticipation for new Saturday Morning Cartoons was probably secondary to only that feeling a greedy little kid has overwhelming them on Christmas Eve. I would wake up before sunrise, and sit in front of the teevee from 6am 'til noon. I would eat sugary cereal, I would watch the commercials for all the toys I wanted, and I would watch any cartoon that was being served up to me. The early morning hours was usually classic fare, the like of Top Cat or The Jetsons, interspersed with used car, guitar shop and butcher commercials from Buffalo, NY. In my era cartoons were mostly a mix-up of various commercials in disguise of a show, brainwashing us into wanting to go to the toy store to buy the latest G.I.Joe, Transformer, or He-Man action figure. I love cartoons so much, I would even watch a girl cartoon like Jem & the Holograms. I can still here the Jem theme song in my head when I think about it. I loved stuff ranging from Star Wars spin-off's Droids and Ewoks, bizarre seemingly Cthulhu inspired Inhumanoids, and I am just old enough to have caught the tail end of the DC Comics hero's in Super Friends / Super Powers. Then the morning would cap off with the glory that is Loony Tunes. It was a wonderful slothy time to be a kid.
On those times when I'm not working or busy or running errands on a Saturday, I try to take a break and watch a couple cartoons and eat some cereal on Saturday Mornings still. It doesn't happen every single week, my hectic schedule gets in the way of teevee watching, but lately I've watched some obscure 1970's, 80's and 90's stuff like Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, Fraggle Rock and Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. For something new, I can't get enough of the Regular Show, featuring The strange adventures of a blue jay and a raccoon working at a nature park. It's old school animation, with all the wonderful weirdness of Spongebob Squarepants, and is a bit more grounded then the over-the-top hallucinatory world of Adventure Time (it's sister series on Cartoon Network). The highest compliment that I could give it is that if I were a kid I would love watching it on Saturday Mornings, and this show passes that test with flying bizarre 1980's themed sci-fi wacky misadventure colours.
Friday, May 30, 2014
I'm pretty sure that I like (or maybe even love) every single bit of filmmaking that Wes Anderson has ever directed. There are plenty of filmmakers who I admire and hero worship, but only Wes Anderson (and Edgar Wright and JJ Abrams in their still young careers) get a flawless pass from me as his resume stand so far. I am rather confident in the thought that Wes Anderson's latest star-studded indie epic will keep his success streak safely intact.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, begins it's Mayfair run starting tonight (Friday May 30th) at 6:30pm. It has been highly requested and much anticipated by the Mayfair faithful (we appreciate the patience). It has Bill Murray in it...it'll be worth the delay...it's gonna' be great.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I instantly became a fan of Scarlett Johansson after her performance in 2001's Ghost World. A fairly impressive and diverse track record of movies followed, including the like of Lost in Translation, Spongebob Squarepants, The Prestige, Match Point, Her, and of course the batch of Marvel movies that she is in the midst of.
We have one of her latest efforts, the sexy sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, screening at the Mayfair starting on Friday night. I posted this info onto the Mayfair Facebook page, and a person commented with more then a lil' bit of snark that the movie doesn't seem very original. Elsewhere, I heard negative remarks that the movie wasjust a rip-off of the movie Species.
What people seem to forget is that nothing is original. Just because a sci-fi evil alien movie has a female,it doesn't mean that it was ripped off from that other sci-fi evil alien movie with a female lead. And, even if something gets inspiration from something else, it doesn't mean that it's bad. Quentin Tarantino doesn't have an original bone in his body. Everything he's ever done takes large amounts of rip-off inspiration from his favourite things. He seems to be doing ok for him self though.
Under the Skin, from the director of the excellent Sexy Beast, has its Mayfair premiere on Friday May 30th at 8:45pm. Even though it isn't the first, and won't be the last spin on an alien invasion tale, I am very excited to check it out.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Marvel released a couple of preview pages from the upcoming New Avengers Annual #1. The book showcases a Doctor Strange adventure, illustrated by my terribly talented friend Marco Rudy. Rumour has it that the powers-that-be are trying to get the good doctor of the mystic arts front and centre in geeks sightlines with plans of having him star in an upcoming solo Marvel movie. The issue hits comic store shelves and the digital world on June 25th.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The best movie geek related aspect to all this Twitter/Instagram / Facebook stuff is that people making movies important to geeks make use of it. Your JJ Abrams', Edgar Wright's, Joss Whedon's and now it looks like Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, all make use of the interweb to communicate with and tease the fans with info.
So, here we have a veterinary patch from an employee of Jurassic World. The picture was put onto Twitter by the director. It's the perfect kind of look behind the curtain that I love. I don't want to know what dinosaurs are in the movie yet, I don't want the ending spoiled, but seeing a patch like this gets me for excited at what is to come.
I've clearly learned nothing from Michael Chrichton's cautionary don't mess with nature sci-fi tale, 'cause if there was an option to bring back dinosaurs, I would vote yes. If they said that we are inexplicably going to recreate a bunch of the most dangerous and ferocious ones along with the tame easy to handle ones...I would still vote yes. I feel the same about dinosaur movies. I don't care if they're good or bad, as long as there's a dinosaur in it I am all in. I hope that the long delayed fourth Jurassic film makes a truck-load of money and instigates an onslaught of dino-sequels.
Monday, May 26, 2014
There can be absolutely wrong with a comic book called Captain Action Cat: The Timestream Catastrophe. Nothing! The funny animal sci-fi super-pet cross-over epic comes from Tiny Titans masterminds Art Baltazar and Franco. It's a great book for kids, or for grown-up kids who maybe should be reading something more mature with less pictures in it, but think heroic cats are cool.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Sad to hear of the cancellation of All Star Western. I've been reading writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's take on the classic DC Comics western since they brought the character back in Jonah Hex #1 in 2005. They've showcased an deep pool of artistic talent over the years, survived a universe reboot, and had Jonah run up against historical characters, ghosts,and even Superman. I hope that the DC powers that be find another place for Jonah Hex stories sooner or later. DC aren't letting the writers go though, Gray and Palmiotti will return in the fun and intriguing sounding Star Spangled War Stories featuring GI Zombie.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Josh Rodgers, a talented comic creator that I met while in Halifax earlier this year, has a new website to showcase his wares. If you like fun sci-fi and gory horror, B-movies, EC Comics, or you enjoy stuff like Zomkeys, I'm sure you can find something you'll enjoy over at Mushface Comics.
Friday, May 23, 2014
I'm sure there is some form of NHL playoff action going on tomorrow night. I lose major Canadian citizen points by once again having little to no knowledge as to anything happening in the world of hockey. I know that Montreal is still in the running,'cause I continue to be glad that my Montreal residing friends haven't been killed in Mad Max-ian caliber hockey riots that happen when the Habs win or lose. Otherwise, I am in the dark to the ways of these strange ice skating / face punching ways.
Much more important than Hockey Night in Canada though, Saturday May 24 is Roller Derby Night in Ottawa!
It's a double header night of derby action in Kanata (which is technically Ottawa) with an inter-league bout as the Riot Squad battle the Prime Sinisters. Round 2 will feature the Vixens squaring off against the Roc City RocStars from the far off land of Rochester NY.
Doors open at 5:00pm. Tickets are a mere $10 bucks. For more info, check out the Rideau Valley Roller Girls site.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
There was much excitement on the Mayfair Theatre corners of the Facebook and Twitter universes at the announcement today that we'll be screening what was once known as the Indiana Jones Trilogy on Saturday June 14th. Now-a-days, whenever one mentions Indiana Jones now-a-days, the first thing that many people seem to do is start ranting about how much they hate the fourth film. Some associate The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with the same anger and displeasure that one might for falling down the stairs or watching a puppy getting beaten.
Crystal Skull is often my go to example at the subjective manner of cinema. I don't really listen to what film critics say put much stock in awards. Sometimes movies I like happen to be critically acclaimed and win awards, but just as often there are movies I like that receive a single star rating and aren't allowed within miles of an awards ceremony. Army of Darkness got the lowest rating possible from The Ottawa Citizen, and somehow didn't get a single Oscar nomination, and yet I love it with all of my heart.
Back in 2008, one of my best friends and I went to see Speed Racer, and a couple days later went to s Crystal Skull. As the credits rolled on Speed Racer, I pretended to type out a letter to the Wachowski's to ask them to please stop making movies. My friend on the other hand thought it was cartoony filmmaking brilliance. A few days later we went to see Crystal Skull, which I watched for 2 hours in a state of childlike joy and wonder. My friend was not as impressed. Neither of us were incorrect in our opinion, and that's why I think critics and awards organizations can't really be trusted.
Many hold the original Indy Trilogy on a pedestal, thinking that thy are all filmmaking perfection. Seemingly they have forgotten that Temple of Doom got a truck-load of negativity driven towards it for the musical number, for the voodoo, for Willie Scott, and for Short Round. It's like how Star Wars geeks praise the original Star Wars Trilogy as sci-fi fantasy cinematic perfection, conveniently forgetting stuff like the highly besmirched Ewoks. In conclusion: I liked Crystal Skull and Ewoks and I don't care who knows it!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The highly anticipated, much delayed, Grant Morrison written DC epic Multiversity finally has a release date of August 20th. I didn't think I could have a higher level of impatient anticipation for this book to finally see the light of day, until this cover for the first issue. Amongst alternate universe versions of Superman, Captain Marvel and Green Lantern, there stands none other than Captain Carrot! Leave it to the brilliant madness of Grant Morrison to include an obscure funny animals super hero from the early 1980's into the mix. The complete 20 issues of Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, and the Oz Wonderland War 3 issue mini-series that followed are some of my most favourite comics of my youth. I look forward to reading what my favourite writer has in store for these characters in their modern day reimagining.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
On top of thoroughly enjoying Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I also got to sit in wonder of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer last night. Please do not think less of me if I tell you that the moving pictures image of a gun wielding raccoon riding on the shoulders of his tree-man best friend in the midst of battle got me a little choked up. Unlss this trailer to movie ration is the greatest misdirect in the history of cinema, I can't imagine how this thing is not going to end up being one of my favourite movies of all time.
Monday, May 19, 2014
I hate going to the multiplex. I know that hate is a strong word, but every time I break down and go to one, I have a sub-par movie going experience. Tonight's experience was sadly no different than the multiplex norm of poor presentation.
No staff member closed the door into the theatre, leaving a glow of light on the lower left hand side of the screen for the first portion of the film. I could hear employees talking outside in the hall. The walls are thin enough that I could hear Godzilla wreaking havoc in the theatre next door. And, despite listings on their site making no reference to this, our movie was only in 3D. My friends and I all hate 3D. I could go on. Luckily, I used free reward points off my credit card to see the movie,or I would have been really upset.
Here's the good news, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was so spectacular, that it made up for all my cinematic experience whining and complaints. Marvel has turned the super-hero genre upside down by successfully presenting a movie starring a guy in a goofy patriotic costume that is as good as any political military espionage thriller the like of The Manchurian Candidate or Hunt For Red October with double the action of a Bourne movie (without the shakey camera). The actors excel, the twists and turns kept me surprised, plus it has Robert Redford and a guy in a cool jet-pack with giant metallic wings. And Scarlett Johansson...I think her Black Widow might just be the best female action hero since Ripley.
On top of it's awesome and entertaining filmmaking achievements, the movie is also filled with a truck load of fun easter eggs, character name drops and inside geeky references that will make any loyal comic geek sit up and take notice. As it stands now, Captain America III is going head-to-head against Batman / Superman in 2016. I think Warner Bros might want to reconsider this strategy and concede a loss and move back its release date. 'Cause I'm a giant DC Comics fan, but my movie going heart belongs to Marvel.
Thank you Cap, for rescuing what otherwise would have been another underwhelming night at the multiplex.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Have you contributed to the Strangebeard fundraising campaign on Kickstarter yet? You have? Good for you! You are helping the world become a better place by bringing awesome kid-friendly comic books into papery existence. You haven't yet? Well,what are you waiting for?! You can help out the cause for as little as one dollar, and in return get a digital comic book-y reward. For a higher contribution, you can get paper comics or original art. The endeavour is going very well, and it looks like the undertaking will be a rand success. Let's make sure it is though. Go check out the Strangebeard Kickstarter right now!
Saturday, May 17, 2014
The new Star Wars movie is filming right now at Pinewood Studios in the UK. I want to go to there. Often the anticipation of a movie beats out the quality of the movie, but I do enjoy the months and years of contemplation and hope and rumour and speculation leading up to an epic franchise motion picture. I think Disney has done a spectacular job with their acquisitions of The Muppets, Marvel and Pixar, and I have high hopes for their handling of the Star Wars universe as well. Living in a world with more Star Wars on the horizon is a good thing. I will be counting down the days until a 20th Century Fox-less drum-roll of a Star Wars arrives at the end of 2015.
Friday, May 16, 2014
This may sound like the sad geeky ramblings of a basement dwelling mad-man, but that fact that the Marvel powers-that-be are making use of painted artwork for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie poster makes me happy to be alive. It's nice that someone is finally listening to the voices of the fans when it comes to ugly photoshopped posters vs the beauty of traditional painted work. I hope this marks the start of a trend.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
A lot of teevee shows needs a few episodes before the writers and actors and everyone find their feet and things settle into some good storytelling. Being a geek related show, it not so surprising that a certain brand of geek attacked the show with negative critiques as soon as its first episode aired. I have a more laid back approach to my entertainment intake...if I don't like a teevee show, I'll stop watching it.
Although I didn't think that the early episodes of SHIELD ranked amongst the greatest television of all time, it also didn't fill me with furious anger. I trusted in Joss and his gang, and I had a feeling that the show was marching towards something big. It was indeed. The last half dozen of so episodes of season one marched along at a ferocious pace. There were a couple of dramatic twists or comic book source material reveals that overwhelmed me with comic book aficionado joy.
Even though watching SHIELD played spoiler towards certain aspects of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which I have yet to see), I was happy to see certain Marvel Cinematic Universe dramatic reveals happen via my SHIELD watching. In one season alone they've introduced a whole bunch of Marvel Comics characters who were unseen in the live action realm up to this point, have had big screen character guests, and geek royalty Patton Oswalt even shows up as a SHIELD agent. They even referenced Alpha Flight!
In my wildest childhood comic book geek dreams, I would never have imagined that not only a SHIELD ongoing teevee series were possible, but that it would also interact with a whole bunch of epic big screen Marvel adventures. When I was a kid, the best we had was stuff like a Hulk / Daredevil teevee movie and Superman IV. What we have now is much, much better. I look forward to SHIELD season 2.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Mirror Comics publisher Dominic Bercier and my Zomkeys partner in crime Barb Felix will be on hand at the SuperFan ComicCon this upcoming long weekend in Toronto - May 17, 18 and 19. If you are in Toronto over the weekend, drop in and buy awesome comic books from these fine friends of mine.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I have been a fan of comic artist and writing genius Sam Kieth forever. Or if not forever, at least since his co-creation of The Sandman, and his Aliens and Marvel Comics presents work of the early 1990's. And of course, his bizarre and beloved work on The Maxx, which even when I wasn't quite sure what the hell was going on, I still loved dearly. A rare Maxx action figure and an audio-cassette radio-play read-along version of the first few issues of The Maxx are two of my prized possessions.
Sam Kieth's reunion with the Aliens comic book universe is as great as one might hope. If you are a fan of the Aliens movies, but have never checked out a comic version of the mythology, this novella sized story is a great first step into the expanded universe mythology. If you are a fan of Sam Kieth, then I'm sure you don't need any further pressure from me to read Aliens: Inhuman Condition.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Truth is stranger than fiction is a constant recurrence in our world, and it is always the theme of my favourite documentaries. Imagine a story where the hoarded belongings of a quiet, unassuming nanny are purchased at an auction, and that those items end up revealing one of the greatest photographers of all time. If that wasn't enough, then throw in conflicting back-stories of her origins, and a couple of rather dark twists and turns. All of which would never have been learned if the contents of a storage locker had been tossed away. Amazing, but true.
Finding Vivian Maier is compelling and fascinating stuff, we're screening it at the Mayfair tonight and Tuesday May 13 at 6:45pm.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
We hopped the bus from central Ottawa out to the EY Centre to attend the third and final day of the Ottawa Comiccon. My favourite part of a Comiccon invading a city is the costumed fans, and how their wardrobe must confuse people who know not that a comic book convention has invaded their city. On our bus there was a Ghostbuster, Mario, Luigi, Captain Marvel, Kaylee from Firefly, and some anime influenced costumes of unknown origin to me. It must be quite the interesting and confusing sight for non-geek city residents.
Working the comic con floor and attempting to get one's comics into peoples hands makes for an exhaustive weekend. It was an excellent weekend though, and Zomkeys was all sold-out well before the con came to a wrap. On top of that, a number of folks came around the table asking for copies after they were all gone. A fine ego boost all in all. Plus, I found a Buckaroo Banzai movie adaptation comic, and my pal Marco Rudy whipped up a quick Liberty Belle sketch for my sketch-book collection.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
It was a long, slightly exhaustive, over-crowded, but none-the-less rewarding and worth-while day at the Ottawa Comiccon. I'm pretty jaded about a lot of aspects of the modern comic con experience, but it's always great to see comic pro pals, geek friends in attendance, and to get copies of Zomkeys into more readers hands. My girlfriend got to hang out with friends in artist alley and was resident multitasking knitting booth-babe. I'm just sad that I missed out on Robert Englund dropping by the table yesterday, and Ray Park performing a live and in person Darth Maul lightsaber routine. Star Wars enthusiasts must have been dropping in the isles as their hearts exploded from nerdy joy overload.
Friday, May 09, 2014
Sometimes doing freelance tech gigs can be boring and corporate in nature. Sometimes though, you get to work with dinosaurs! This fella was one of the stars of the show at a performance at the kids fest here in town, which premiered today. He brought joy and terror to all the kids in attendance. I have clearly learned nothing from the lessons of Jurassic Park, 'cause I would be totally fine if cloned dinosaurs walked the earth.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Went to see Million Dollar Arm tonight. A - It was free. B - My girlfriend and I have a love for Jon Hamm that outweighs our hatred of the multiplex. Whether it be the Blu Ray logo bouncing around on the screen pre-movie, or lights going on and off at the wrong time, showcasing the lack of employees and disregard for quality presentation. Or that patrons at multiplexes have a tendency to talk aloud, walk around with their cel phones in flash-light mode, or checking out stuff on a tablet while the movie is playing. Million Dollar Arm was yet another good baseball movie. I don't really have any affection for baseball, but baseball movies always seem to grab my attention and appreciation. I'm certainly glad that it was a free screening though, 'cause if I had paid for a screening in such horrible surroundings, I would have been really pissed.
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
I'll be at the Ottawa Comiccon this weekend (it runs from May 9th - 11th), hanging out with my geeky friends and selling copies of Zomkeys. Bruce Campbell will be there too, and very likely a bunch of people dressed as characters from Adventure Time and in anime costumes from stuff that I'm not familiar with.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
The new cult movie phenomenon that is Fateful Findings soon makes it's grand return to the Mayfair. I have seen Fateful Findings, I can't exactly tell you what happened in Fateful Findings though. Not because I want to refrain from spoiler-ing anything for you, but because I have no idea what the hell was going on in this movie. I can piece together some rough brush-strokes of a plot, but it's so bizarre I don't know how or why they are all mashed up together into one script and movie. There are supernatural aspects, there's some weird romance stuff, there's a big conspiracy theory, and there's a rather gruesome ending that I think qualifies as a twist. Not sure. There's also a lot of shots of shoes, a guy typing on laptop's that aren't turned on, and some ghosts...I think.
Fateful Findings is the new contender that gives The Room a challenging run at the title of worst film. For all of its faults, it's a hell of a lot of fun to see with a crowd, despite of its terrible over-all nature. Which, of course, you can partake in on Friday May 9th at 11:30pm at the Mayfair Theatre.
Monday, May 05, 2014
Do you love awesome comic books? Of course you do. If you don't love awesome comic books, I frankly have no idea how we can be friends, or why you might be perusing this blog. So, click on over to the Kickstarter for my friend (and Zomkeys cover artist) Kelly Tindall's comic book Strangebeard. You can be rewarded comic book-y goodness for as little as a one dollar contribution! Excellent comics from talented folks deserve support!
Sunday, May 04, 2014
Some people are not collector's...they don't get it. I'm far from a hoarder, and I don't buy anywhere near the toys and stuff that I used to, but I still have a collector's vibe running through my veins. One geeky addiction that can be spotted on display throughout my apartment is my love of vinyl art toys, specifically stuff from Kid Robot. There was a sale at Lost Marbles, which of course means that I had to buy some more vinyl toys. Luckily my girlfriend supports this habit instead of shunning and judging it, and we walked away with a new armful of blind-boxed treasures. I managed to get three new Marvel Labbit toys without getting any doubles (I often have bad luck with doubles). My favourite is the Cap Labbit...I want more Labbits...do feel free to buy some for me, I will give them place of honour on a nice shelf in a good home.
Saturday, May 03, 2014
Friday, May 02, 2014
Happy Free Comic Book Day eve! Tomorrow is my favourite holiday of the year. Drop by your favourite comic book store and get some greatcomic books for the very reasonable price of free. If you aren't a reader of the wonderful world of comic books, seek out a store and pick up some great samples to take that first step into a brave new world.
The twelfth annual Free Comic Book Day acts as a thank you to the fans, a promotion to get new readers into stores, and a way to spread publicity to something that means so much to a comic geek like me. This year there are offerings with familiar comic book icons the like of Archie, The Tick, The Smurfs, Judge Dredd, Teen Titans and Guardians of the Galaxy. There are also a myriad of other pop culture mainstays appearing in comic book form like The Simpsons, Adventure Time, Spongebob, Mega Man and Avatar. They've done a great job at compiling a diverse selection of indie, mainstream, kid friendly, adult stuff, and all kinds of different genres.
So, get up Saturday morning and go get yourself some free comics and support the lovely comic book store folks and pick up something there in exchange for monies while you're there too.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
The Muppets are my earliest memory, not one of my earliest memories, but my very first one ever in my whole life. I have a distinct memory of loving Kermit and being afraid of Sweetums and the other big guys. I love Muppets Babies, Muppets Tonight, Fraggle Rock, all the movies that they're in...I wish that The Muppet Show would re-boot itself onto teevee. I have a Kermit tattoo on my arm.
I am very excited to see their latest theatrical effort, Muppets Most Wanted. Supposedly the powers that be at Disney are concerned 'cause it didn't make a ton of money. I'm a bit angry at the family friendly movie going audience for supporting the Alvin and the Chipmunks trilogy to well over a billion dollars in ticket sales, but not showing similar love to The Muppets franchise. Hopefully the $70 million that it has made so far (off a $50 million budget) might convince Disney that there is indeed a smaller but still supportive audience out there. Mayhaps an audience might more easily support Kermit and company on the small screen.
Muppets Most Wanted screens at the Mayfair on Saturday May 3rd and Sunday May 4th at 1:30pm and 3:45pm.