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Update: Comics-art "variant" covers have been added over at Blamarama.
Here's a thumbnail sneak peak:
Gravity was spectacular.
I saw the film two weeks ago, and whenever it's brought to mind by something I'm reading or a conversation I'm having I still feel an echo of the absolute sense of wonder I experienced in the theater.
Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock as a civilian mission specialist sent up to work on the Hubble Space Telescope and George Clooney as the veteran commander of her shuttle, demands to be seen not only on as big a screen as possible but in 3D. If you've heard me talk (or read me write) about 3D, you know that I rarely recommend it.
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John Oliver wasn't the only member of Comedy Central's late-night team giving
us process wonks a peek behind the curtain in the past couple of weeks. Stephen Colbert was interviewed by Paul Mercurio, who does warm-up for The Colbert Report, over nearly an hour on a variety of topics — but mostly about the Daft Punk fiasco. You can listen to the podcast free.
Screencap © 2013 Comedy Partners and Busboy Productions.
Daft Punk was scheduled to be on Colbert's show earlier this month but bowed out,
or was yanked, over misunderstandings and Viacom internal politics due to the mysterious French faux-robots' upcoming special appearance at last weekend's MTV Video Music Awards telecast.
Colbert devoted the episode on which they would have appeared to a slightly
fictional account of what happened along with a truly bizarre all-star video set to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (featuring Bryan Cranston, Jeff Bridges, the Rockettes, Stephen's animated alter ego Tek Jansen, Henry f---ing Kissinger...) and a last-minute performance by Robin Thicke doing his song of the summer "Blurred Lines".
Jon Stewart will return to The Daily Show next week following a summer sabbatical. He was in the Middle East directing a film called Rosewater. For the eight weeks out of twelve after Stewart's departure that The Daily Show was not on hiatus, writer/performer John Oliver stepped in to host in his stead.
Screencap © 2013 Comedy Partners and Busboy Productions.
If you don't already know that, you may not be interested in the Hulu video I'm sharing of John Oliver's appearance on Charlie Rose from Monday, Aug. 8th, just as John-with-an-h was starting his final week as Jon-without's substitute.
If you're disappointed in, or simply growing numb to, this summer's would-be blockbusters — The Lone Ranger, World War Z, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim — I have the solution: Joss Whedon's adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing.
You may be skeptical of a film that can be promoted as "from the director of The Avengers and based on the play by William Shakespeare" but Whedon's Much Ado is just that. And it's a delight.
Man of Steel photo © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment. Superman created by
Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and ® DC Comics. Text © 2013 Brian Saner Lamken.
Visit Blamarama for all five Pictogags in this set!
(Warning: Most are spoilery; some more so than others.)
Panel from Action Comics #1 © 1938 DC Comics. Script: Jerry Siegel.
Pencils, Inks, Letters: Joe Shuster. Colors: Unknown. Homage on
rollover © year of production DC Comics. Pencils, Painting:
Alex Ross. Superman and Lois Lane ® DC Comics.
I've been remiss in plugging it here, but Adventures in Comicology returned from its hijacking a couple of months ago — on Superman's birthday, in fact. Not February 29th, Julius Schwartz's reply to fans via lettercolumns, at least once used in a story. Nor the other birthdays given Kal-El and/or Clark Kent within the comics mythology. I mean the actual date that Superman debuted in Action Comics #1, April 18th.
How did I like Man of Steel?
The answer is... complicated. I'll be taking part in a roundtable discussion for Forces of Geek this week, helping me further hone my thoughts for a proper review. What follows now is bereft of spoilers.
Image from Man of Steel © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment. Superman ® DC Comics.
I went into the 12:01 a.m. screening last Thursday night with hope but very tempered excitement. So many movies are getting made from comics these days that I'm often asked how this or that compares to the source material — and even more often asked plainly if I enjoyed it, with my perspective of having liked and/or simply knowing about the comics implied. The whole nature of adaptations, especially those involving long-running characters that have been mined for film and TV repeatedly, is the subject of another post. But what's particularly relevant here is the fact that my opinions on such adaptations, when conflicted if not outright cranky, often get waved away with dismissals — not at all entirely inappropriate, I freely admit — that, well, this is a movie and, y'know, it's made for everybody rather than just fans with a prior relationship to the material and, look, blockbusters with serious actors aren't comics or cartoons.
Game of Thrones photo © 2013 Home Box Office.
Bran Stark TM George R.R. Martin. Kellogg’s logo ® and
Raisin Bran packaging © 2013 The Kellogg Company.
Possessin’ Bran parody © 2013 Brian Saner Lamken.
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A Song of Ice and Fire elements TM George R.R. Martin. The Rocky Horror Picture Show elements TM and © 1975 Twentieth Century Fox. Parody elements © 2013 Brian Saner Lamken.
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Here we go with a good old link-blogging post for the first time in too long.
I know it's been making the rounds at, uh, warp speed the past few days, but Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy in Audi's "The Challenge" has at least one moment too priceless not to keep sharing. Note: It is a commercial, so if you have a hard policy against watching such things there's your warning. [2:44; via lots of folks]
I found Iron Man 3 a fine kickoff to what Marvel Studios is calling Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase One having culminated in the assemblage of nearly every superhero thus far introduced to the MCU in 2012's The Avengers.
Photo © 2013 Marvel Studios.
Given that it builds on what's come before, in terms of the audience's familiarity with the characters and their milieu, Iron Man 3 isn't the best entry point to the series. If you've seen and enjoyed the previous installments, however, Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in particular, you'll enjoy this one.
For sure it's better than 2010's Iron Man 2, although I found some of that movie's flaws revisited in fleeting moments; the way in which it gets to jump straight into its world without having to set up an origin story might even make it more fun than 2008's Iron Man 1. In that (and some aspects of the plot as well) it's not unlike a James Bond film, a parallel driven home by the closing title sequence and one made explicit too in interviews with co-writer/director Shane Black.
So there's a quickie assessment. I'll add some spoiler commentary after the next graphic. Join me below if/when you've seen Iron Man 3 or just don't care!
I'd hoped to have a different post up here for what has become the annual observance of Star Wars Day — May the 4th (as in, "... be with you"). That ain't happenin', so you get an enhanced repeat instead.
Boba Fett ® and image © year of creation Lucasfilm Ltd.
My younger friends think Boba Fett's a chump for dying (or not) in the Sarlacc pit. And I get that much of the mystery around Fett was ruined by seeing him as a kid in the prequels; same with Darth Vader, frankly. To my generation, though, the prequels aren't real Star Wars and Return of the Jedi barely counts itself. When all we knew of Boba Fett was what you see in the photo above, faithfully reproduced in a kick-ass 12" Kenner action figure, I promise you: Boba Fett was awesome.
Pencils & Inks: Paul Smith. Colors: Christina Strain. Art from
cover to X-Men: Kitty Pryde — Shadow & Flame #1 © 2005 Marvel
Characters. Kitty Pryde and Lockheed TM Marvel Characters.
Targaryens created by and name TM George R.R. Martin. Kitty
Pryde created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Lockheed
created by Claremont and Smith. Text © 2013 Brian Saner Lamken.
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It seems like just yesterday that I was reading Roger Ebert's "Leave of Presence" post, referencing the discovery of more cancer in his body — this, after he'd endured so much — and his promise to write about what he could, when he could, during treatment.
In fact, as I type these words, it was just yesterday.
Then I headed over to Mark Evanier's blog News from ME. After reading Mark's obit of Archie writer George Gladir, I refreshed the page and discovered his brief note on Ebert's passing. I said, out loud to nobody but myself and the computer screen, "Oh, crap." Ebert's open letter, noting the 46th anniversary this week of his employment at The Chicago Sun-Times and looking ahead to an expansion of rogerebert.com and other ventures, hadn't sounded like the words of a man who expected to leave this world days later.
Nana from Disney’s Peter Pan © 1953 Disney.
Batman from Filmation’s The New Adventures of Batman © 1977 DC.
Pictogag created 2013 by Brian Saner Lamken.
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Dick Tracy created by Chester Gould and ® The Tribune Company.
Text/Design: Brian Saner Lamken © 2013. Click to view larger at Blamarama!
More years ago than feels possible I drew up a cartoon like this for a Hillel seder at Oberlin. I've yet to come across it in my files but with today's technology I was able to rebuild the thing better, faster, and stronger.
Not that I'm about to draw a whole strip, but I kind-of want to read this.
Hulu began streaming every season of all five live-action incarnations of Star Trek on demand today. The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise are available to view free via those links through March 31st.
I'm not sure what I can say about Celeste and Jesse Forever without giving too much away.
Celeste and Jesse, played by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, are best friends since college who married and then amicably separated while remaining buds. The entire plot revolves around whether they reunite and/or how they cope with drifting apart.
If I tell you Forever is a comfort film — not that I'm doing so — you'd probably guess that there's a happy ending. If I tell you that Forever should only be viewed if you can handle relationships going south — not that I'm doing so — you'd probably guess that there isn't. If I tell you that Forever is good enough to withstand either the cliché of the happy ending or the bummer of the alternative, well, I'd be speaking untruth, albeit not of great magnitude; Celeste and Jesse Forever is good, just not quite good enough for me to honestly say I enjoyed [whatever happened].
Spoilers after the poster, then!
Poster © 2012 Sony Pictures Classics.