"Okay. Here's the situation."
To a large swath of Generation X, it's danged near impossible to hear those words — in any context — and not feel the urge to reply "My parents went away on a week's vacation."
Screencap from "City of Crime" video © 1987 Universal Studios.
To a decidedly smaller swath, namely those of us who saw the 1987 movie Dragnet, a similar trigger is provided by an even simpler and more mundane phrase: "Excuse me."
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]
Wil Wheaton gave a delightful, spontaneous monologue on "why being a nerd is awesome" last month at the Calgary Comic Expo, in reply to a woman asking on behalf of her young daughter. He's using "nerd" interchangeably with "geek" as many do, although I tend to prefer the distinction of a geek as someone with an intense focus on a particular hobby or fandom (or constellation of same) and a nerd as someone who is a geek to a socially awkward extreme, that is, "nerd" as the overlap of "geek" and "dork". [4:14]
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 new, relevant 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.
Click to view larger on Blamarama!
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.
Also today on its Tumblr blog Hulu launched a bracketed March Madness showdown to determine "the greatest Star Trek character of all time". That's not so much a direct quote as it is a derogatory air-style quote, because while I appreciate that Hulu is just having some fun it's put up an awfully shallow field. Never mind that Q is the only adversary included — there are absences from the core cast of every series, including (or not) Uhura, Sulu, Chekhov, and McCoy, for crying out loud; I suspect that somebody somewhere is even upset that no-one from Enterprise appears.
So you can disregard that last post.
Cover to Bring on the Bad Guys: Origins of the Marvel
Comics Villains © 1976 Marvel Comics. Painting: John Romita.
I've placed the image above on the new site's home page along with an apologetic headline. The nefarious M and his minions, it seems, have returned to plague me.
The comics blog that I've been promising for so long is finally live.
Ladies and gentlemen... I'm proud to introduce Adventures in Comicology.
I don't have much there right now — not much that's visible, anyway. Older posts will be added slowly, in part so that people experiencing them for the first time don't get overwhelmed and in part just so that I can tinker in these early days without having to fiddle with hundreds of published posts after changing the template's width or color scheme or... something. I consider this, in software terms, an alpha test, with greater ballyhoo to be had when the site goes beta.
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.
Promo art © 2012 Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is by turns life-affirming, death-defying, and mystifying. It was one of my favorite movies of last year.
Quvenzhané Wallis, only 6 years old at the time of filming, is a complete natural as narrator and focal character Hushpuppy — the young resident of an isolated Louisiana bayou community known as the Bathtub.
If you have absolutely no tolerance for magical realism, then (a) you should skip the film and (2) I'm sorry. Otherwise, I highly recommend it despite things wandering a little too far off course towards the end. I'll pick up from there after the jump/photo with spoilers.
As great as the political satire on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is, sometimes the shows' finest comedy is wrung out of human-interest stories on the smallest scale.
Screencap © 2013 Comedy Partners.
On Monday Colbert led off with an installment of its occasional series The Enemy Within about some misplaced scallop gonads in Maine. It's a great mix of, on the one hand, making fun of these kinds of field pieces and, on the other, just letting the ridiculous nature of the incident speak for itself. You're guaranteed to laugh or the next post on this blog is free. [Warning: Scallop gonads, in case you missed that, but they're really just the macguffin.]
Photographs, trademarks, and other intellectual property are used
for the purposes of parody only. No infringement is intended or implied.
Text & Digital Manipulation: Brian Saner Lamken © 2013.
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Is Argo worth a watch? No doubt.
Was it worth an Oscar? Not given its competition, as far as I'm concerned, as I wrote at the end of my post-Oscars post last week. But the fact that Argo is merely one of my top five or so movies of 2012 rather than the number-one pick ain't bad. Some thoughts on it that include mild plot spoilers follow the graphic.
Argo DVD package art © 2013 Warner Home Video.
Maybe there was faint hope — if any, really — of uniting all six men who played James Bond in the cinematic Eon canon on stage last Sunday at the Oscars in honor of 007's half-century in film. All we got was a decent but not exceptional montage and Shirley Bassey singing the theme from Goldfinger, which for the first minute or so I remained unconvinced was not Maya Rudolph doing Shirley Bassey singing the theme from Goldfinger. The Internet, luckily, is here to soften the blow with heaps upon heaps of bloomin' Bondage.
The Bond movies' 50th anniversary actually fell last year — October 5th, to be precise, on the date that Sean Connery's debut as Bond in Eon Productions' adaptation of Ian Fleming's Dr. No hit screens five decades before. Here are seven links — not counting the self-serving ones — that (mostly) honor the Bond legacy, particularly in film.
What follows are some thoughts on nostalgia and how it blurs critical assessment — prompted by, of all things, yesterday's post on this year's Oscars show.
I'd like to preface them with a line from one of my favorite interviews — which just so happens to be one that my pal Stefan Blitz (now founder/editor-in-chief of Forces of Geek) and I conducted with comics writer Brian Michael Bendis back in 2001 for my magazine Comicology.
After stopping myself literally in the middle of referring to Stefan as a DVD "connoisseur" Stefan made my point for me by admitting that he owned the 1983 movie Krull.
"You know what's funny about that movie? I remember seeing that movie [at 15] with my mom and my brother, and sitting in the movie theater having my first realization that movies could suck."
I wasn't going to write about The 85th Annual Academy Awards.
Image ® & © 2013 AMPAS.
Really. Not outside of some comments on other blogs, anyway. And not because the producers tossed out the formal nomenclature and rebranded this year's show purely as "the Oscars". I'm not above a linguistic gotcha; this is simply not such a gotcha. I honestly expected to be too fatigued and just plain iffy about the telecast that I was happy thinking about not writing about it.
But last night's Oscars telecast, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, was so disappointing that I kind-of can't help myself.
As you might've heard, the Oscars are tonight.
The big show starts at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC — whose Go site has a complete list of nominees. If you're into seeing Oscar hopefuls, presenters, and other celebrities on the red carpet, you'll want to check those good ol' local listings.
James Bond celebrated his 50th anniversary on the silver screen last year. Dr. No hit theaters in 1962, based on the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name (sixth in the Bond series). It made Sean Connery a star, launched a slate of films that would cement Bond as a global icon for generations to come, and kicked off a spate of imitators capitalizing on the spy craze — some of which, like Get Smart and Mission: Impossible, became icons of a certain size in their own right.
Was Skyfall, now out on home video, a worthy way to commemorate Bond's golden jubilee?
Bully, a little stuffed bull who is (as Top Shelf's Chris Staros would say) my "friend thru comics," ran a DC subscription ad from 1972 the other day on his blog Comics Oughta Be Fun!.
Subscription ad from Batman #239 © 1972 DC Comics. Pencils: Carmine Infantino.
Inks: Dick Giordano [see below]. Letters: Gaspar Saladino. Script, Colors: Unknown.
It's part of the 365 Days of DC House Ads feature. Every year, Bully gifts readers with at least one nifty daily feature in addition to all the other great stuff he shares, and this latest is right in my nostalgia zone.
photo of Stan Musial from 1953 Bowman
trading card via Wikimedia Commons
Bob Costas was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday night. In one of the unaired, Web-only clips from their extended interview, Costas shared a nice anecdote about baseball great Stan Musial, who passed away on Jan. 19th at the age of 92. I find the story particularly appropriate to share on Jackie Robinson's birthday, as we celebrate not just No. 42 but those who accepted him.
Musial was a dream come true for both those who love seeing poetry in their statistics and those who love seeing the game played the right way.