Monthly Archives: October 2007

All Things Fun! Podcast – Episode Five


Episode 5: Ed vs. The Shape-Shifting Aliens

Ed Evans and his co-host Wes Hitchins, kick off this scary Horror themed show reading some listener feedback and presenting the new Listener Feedback Voicemail Number, then Glenn Walker, of ComicWidows.com fame returns and talks about Marvel Comics’ shape-shifting Skrulls. Listeners get their first chance to enter the new ATF Match Game Contest. And finally Wes rolls out his favorite Halloween/Horror themed games.

Air Date: October 30, 2007
Runtime: 50 minutes

Check it out here: http://www.allthingsfun.libsyn.com/

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The Heartbreak Kid and More

The Heartbreak Kid ~ I was unaware this was a remake of the 1972 classic until I saw the names Neil Simon and Bruce Jay Friedman in the credits – and I wish I hadn’t. If I had kept thinking this was just another Farrelly brothers cringe-fest I could have enjoyed it so much more rather than knowing they were destroying the memory of a great flick.

Now it’s not that Ben Stiller or the Brothers F don’t produce a good or amusing movie, it’s just that it pales considerably to the darker and more mature Simon comedy. And while I was suitably entertained, I couldn’t get behind Stiller’s character who comes off badly and lacking, well, character. Stiller is good as usual, but Michelle Monaghan and Malin Ackerman steal the show. This is definitely a guy’s chick flick, and worth the price of admission – as long as you haven’t seen the original.

Transformers ~ Now I’m a generation removed on this one. When the Transformers cartoon was on the air and the toys and comics were the rage, I was more concerned with stuff like college, work and yeah, girls. So I just like I just don’t get it when it comes to the robots who are ‘more than meets the eye.’ And I am definitely out of the loop with my younger friends who cried when they heard that Bumblebee would not be a Volkswagen. But I can live with that, they’ve all put up with my rants about why insert-any-superhero-movie-here sucks.

And so I walked into this one blind, not knowing the cast of characters, the backstory, anything really. It was all new and fresh, and bad. It’s really not that great, or sophisticated, a movie. And nearly not effort was put forth to differentiate one robot from another – I know I couldn’t. Perhaps a studied eye and someone well-versed in the mythos could, but not I. And this is a shame, considering how much was put into making the robots look realistic. They could have put the same detail into making them not look so alike.

There’s not all that much action, or serious robot-on-robot action sadly until the end, and that battle scene and chase scene is great – even though I didn’t know who was who. Great mecha action for fans of giant robots and kaiju eiga alike. Shia Le Bouf continues not to impress me and John Turturro was actually a surprise in this flick as a parody of a military baddie. Megan Fox is the highlight of the human cast, she’s definitely got a career ahead of her. All in all, fun eye candy for the last fifteen minutes, the rest fast forward through.

Down in the Valley ~ I have to say this has got one of the most impressive preview trailers I have seen in some time. The preview is definitely worth seeing. But once I got the film through Netflix… wow. Despite it having Ed Norton in the lead, one of my favorite actors, he overacts atrociously, and the film is just crap. Don’t see it. See the trailer below, and leave the rest to your imagination.

Heading Home ~ This is probably one of the earliest, if not the first, example of why sports heroes shouldn’t become actors. In this 1920 silent Babe Ruth plays himself in the ‘true life story’ of his early days. Quaint if inaccurate and amusing for the title cards that are written in weird colloquialisms of the time. Worth a watch if only to catch Ruth in his thin prime and to watch his facial expression unchanged throughout.

Hillary Clinton Woos Voters with French Fries

24 Hour Comics Day


What is a 24 hour comic?

The 24 hour comic challenge is for a cartoonist to completely create a 24 page comics story in 24 straight hours. A “24 hour comic” is any comics story you make while facing the challenge, even if you take more than 24 consecutively-awake hours to make the comic or if you end after 24 hours with a story that’s shorter than 24 pages. For more details on the challenge, click here.

Is this really the best way to make a great comic?

Probably not (although some really cool comics have been made this way), but that’s not the real goal. The goal is to have the experience of trying. It’s a creative exercise that can teach you a lot about what you’re capable of.

Who came up with the concept of 24 hour comic?

A cartoonist namd Scott McCloud. Scott is the leading theoretician in the comics field, a position he achieved with the release of Understanding Comics, an analysis of the comics form in the comics form. Head on over to www.ScottMcCloud.com to learn more about Scott and his insights.

How many 24 hour comics have been done?

Over 1000 people have taken the challenge so far.

Who is the youngest person to have drawn a 24 hour comic?

Duncan Lowell, who took the challenge at age seven during the first 24 Hour Comics Day in 2004.

What is 24 Hour Comics Day?

It’s a celebration of creation of 24 hour comics. The first day was held in 2004, and a second is scheduled for 2005. This is a day when people are encouraged to create 24 hour comics. Some folks gather at the official event sites to work on comics side by side, while other folks work on their stories at home alone or in private gatherings. Many of the official event sites are open for the public to come and watch the effort.

So, if I want to do a 24 hour comic, I have to do it on 24 Hour Comics Day?

No! Hundreds of folks did 24 hour comics before there ever was a 24 Hour Comics Day! Whenever you feel moved to do one and have 24 hours to spend, do it. The “Day” is just a good time for doing them in groups. Also, many people who have always wanted to do a 24 hour comic find it’s good to have that one scheduled day to keep them from just putting it off.

My friend and I want to work on a 24 hour comic together…

No, you don’t. If you and a friend do a comic together, that’s not a 24 hour comic. A 24 hour comic is one person’s work, making it more of a marathon effort. But… so what?! If you and a friend want to spend 24 straight hours together collaborating on a comic, great! Do it! In fact, many of the 24 Hour Comics Day event sites have folks working on collaborative comics, as well as other people doing their own thing in an atmmosphere of creativity.

Where can I go to read 24 hour comics?

Lots of folks post their 24 hour comics on their websites. And there are now books collecting some fine examples of 24 hour comics.

Mighty Avengers #5 Reviewed


“The Astonishing Ant-Man Cover” – my comic book review of Mighty Avengers #5, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho, is now online at Avengers Forever.

The battle against the Ultron Interface continues, Sentry gets mad and Ares takes charge – check out my review here.

Enjoy!

And if you’d like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here. Thanks!

Deborah Kerr Dead at 86


From the International Herald Tribune:

By Richard Severo, Published: October 18, 2007

Deborah Kerr, a versatile actress who long projected the quintessential image of the proper, tea-sipping Englishwoman but who was also indelible in one of the most sexually provocative scenes of the 1950’s, with Burt Lancaster in “From Here to Eternity,” died on Tuesday in Suffolk, England. She was 86.

Her death was announced to The Associated Press by her agent, Anne Hutton. She had Parkinson’s disease.

Miss Kerr was nominated for six Academy awards, without winning any, over more than four decades as a major Hollywood movie star. She finally received an honorary Oscar for her lifetime of work in 1994. Mostly in retirement since the mid-1980’s, she lived for many years in Switzerland, with her husband, Peter Viertel, the novelist and screenwriter.

The lovemaking on the beach in Hawaii with Lancaster, viewed with both of them in wet swimsuits as the tide came in, was hardly what anyone expected of Deborah Kerr at that point in her career. Along with Greer Garson and Jean Simmons, she was one of three leading ladies Americans thought of as typically British, and decidedly refined and upper-class. More than once she was referred to by directors, producers and newspapers as the “British virgin.”

Time magazine, in a 1947 feature article, predicted she would be one of the great movie stars because “while she could act like Ingrid Bergman, she was really a kind of converted Greer Garson, womanly enough to show up nicely in those womanly roles.”

Throughout her career, Miss Kerr worked at being unpredictable. She was believable as a steadfast nun in Black Narcissus; as the love-hungry wife of an empty-headed army captain stationed at Pearl Harbor in “From Here to Eternity”; as a headmaster’s spouse who sleeps with an 18-year-old student to prove to him that he is a man in “Tea and Sympathy”; as a spunky schoolmarm not afraid to joust and dance with the King of Siam in “The King and I”; as a Salvation Army lass in “Major Barbara”; and even as Portia, the Roman matron married to Brutus, in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

She could be virginal, ethereal, gossamer and fragile, or earthy, spicy and suggestive, and sometimes she managed to display all her skills at the same time.

Miss Kerr made “From Here to Eternity” even though Harry Cohn, chief of Columbia Pictures in that era, had wanted Joan Crawford in the part and had to be persuaded to accept Miss Kerr. She regarded the role as the high point in her climb to stardom in the United States, and it yielded her second Academy Award nomination.

Another high point came in 1956, when she was given the film role that Gertrude Lawrence had played on the stage in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I.” She played opposite Yul Brynner, who recreated his stage performance as the strutting king in the film.

Bosley Crowther, reviewing the movie version for The New York Times, praised “her beauty, her spirit and her English style.” Her singing for classics numbers like “Getting to Know You” was dubbed by the offscreen voice of many Hollywood stars of the time, Marni Nixon. But her acting needed no assistance; she was nominated for another Academy Award.

She also received Oscar nominations for “Edward, My Son” (released in 1949), “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” (1957); “Separate Tables” (1958); and “The Sundowners” (1960). Other notable roles came in “Major Barbara” (1941, her first credited film role); “Julius Caesar” (1953); and “Tea and Sympathy” (1956), based on the Robert Anderson play.

Miss Kerr was applauded in the Broadway stage production of the play as well. After Brooks Atkinson of The Times saw the original production, he wrote that Miss Kerr had “the initial advantage of being extremely beautiful, but she adds to her beauty the luminous perception who is aware of everything that is happening all around her and expresses it in effortless style.”

Miss Kerr struggled against being pigeonholed by the public as somehow representing the British upper class, and was said to have instructed friends to tell anyone who asked that she preferred cold roast beef sandwiches and beer to champagne and caviar any day. But she is also quoted in a 1977 biography by Eric Braun as saying that “the camera always seems to find an innate gentility in me.”

Deborah Jane Kerr Trimmer was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, on Sept. 30, 1921, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Kerr Trimmer. Her father, who was called Jack, was an architect and civil engineer who had been wounded in World War I and who died when Deborah was in her early teens.

Her aunt, Phyllis Smale, had a school of drama and insisted that Deobrah and her younger brother take lessons in acting, ballet and singing. Deborah was attracted to the ballet but concluded that she was too tall, at 5 feet 6 inches. She began her acting career by playing small parts with a group that performed Shakespeare’s plays in the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park, London.

She got her first movie contract in 1939 after Gabriel Pascal, the producer and director, spotted her in a restaurant.

During the war, she read children’s stories on BBC radio. She made movies, too, among them “Penn of Pennsylvania,” “The Day Will Dawn,” and “The Avengers.”

By 1945, she was much sought after by British filmmakers and was cast opposite Robert Donat in “Perfect Strangers.” Her career was further enhanced when she appeared as a nun in “Black Narcissus” in 1947. However, after the movie was released in the United States, it was called “an affront to religion and religious life” by the National Legion of Decency.

Miss Kerr was married to Anthony Bartley, an Englishman who had been a decorated fighter pilot during World War II, for 13 years. They were separated in 1959 and their divorce became final the next year. They had two children, Melanie and Francesca. In 1969, she married Peter Viertel, who survives her, along with her daughters and three grandchildren, according to The Associated Press.

Joey Bishop Dead at 89


From the AP:

By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES – Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, has died at 89.

He was the group’s last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998.

Bishop died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, publicist and longtime friend Warren Cowan said Thursday.

The Rat Pack became a show business sensation in the early 1960s, appearing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

Reviewers often claimed that Bishop played a minor role, but Sinatra knew otherwise. He termed the comedian “the Hub of the Big Wheel,” with Bishop coming up with some of the best one-liners and beginning many jokes with his favorite phrase, “Son of a gun!”

The quintet lived it up whenever members were free of their own commitments. They appeared together in such films as “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Sergeants 3” and proudly gave honorary membership to a certain fun-loving politician from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, at whose inauguration gala Bishop served as master of ceremonies.

The Rat Pack faded after Kennedy’s assassination, but the late 1990s brought a renaissance, with the group depicted in an HBO movie and portrayed by imitators in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The movie “Ocean’s Eleven” was even remade in 2003 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

Bishop defended his fellow performers’ rowdy reputations in a 1998 interview.

“Are we remembered as being drunk and chasing broads?” he asked. “I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag. And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase ’em away.”

Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred in two TV series, both called “The Joey Bishop Show.”

The first, an NBC sitcom, got off to a rocky start in 1961. Critical and audience response was generally negative, and the second season brought a change in format. The third season brought a change in network, with the show moving to ABC, but nothing seemed to help and it was canceled in 1965.

In the first series, Bishop played a TV talk show host.

Then, he really became a TV talk show host. His program was started by ABC in 1967 as a challenge to Johnny Carson’s immensely popular “The Tonight Show.”

Like Carson, Bishop sat behind a desk and bantered with a sidekick, TV newcomer Regis Philbin. But despite an impressive guest list and outrageous stunts, Bishop couldn’t dent Carson’s ratings, and “The Joey Bishop Show” was canceled after two seasons.

Bishop then became a familiar guest figure in TV variety shows and as sub for vacationing talk show hosts, filling in for Carson 205 times.

He also played character roles in such movies as “The Naked and the Dead” (“I played both roles”), “Onion-head,” “Johnny Cool,” “Texas Across the River,” “Who’s Minding the Mint?” “Valley of the Dolls” and “The Delta Force.”

His comedic schooling came from vaudeville, burlesque and nightclubs.

Skipping his last high school semester in Philadelphia, he formed a music and comedy act with two other boys, and they played clubs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They called themselves the Bishop Brothers, borrowing the name from their driver, Glenn Bishop.

Joseph Abraham Gottlieb would eventually adopt Joey Bishop as his stage name.

When his partners got drafted, Bishop went to work as a single, playing his first solo date in Cleveland at the well-named El Dumpo.

During these early years he developed his style: laid-back drollery, with surprise throwaway lines.

After 3 1/2 years in the Army, Bishop resumed his career in 1945. Within five years he was earning $1,000 a week at New York’s Latin Quarter. Sinatra saw him there one night and hired him as opening act.

While most members of the Sinatra entourage treated the great man gingerly, Bishop had no inhibitions. He would tell audiences that the group’s leader hadn’t ignored him: “He spoke to me backstage; he told me `Get out of the way.'”

When Sinatra almost drowned filming a movie scene in Hawaii, Bishop wired him: “I thought you could walk on water.”

Born in New York’s borough of the Bronx, Bishop was the youngest of five children of two immigrants from Eastern Europe.

When he was 3 months old the family moved to South Philadelphia, where he attended public schools. He recalled being an indifferent student, once remarking, “In kindergarten, I flunked sand pile.”

In 1941 Bishop married Sylvia Ruzga and, despite the rigors of a show business career, the marriage survived until her death in 1999.

Bishop, who had one son, Larry, spent his retirement years on the upscale Lido Isle in Southern California’s Newport Bay.

New Avengers #35 Reviewed


“Poor, Poor Tigra” – my comic book review of New Avengers #35, by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Yu, is now online at Avengers Forever.

The Hood makes his plans known and Tigra takes the brunt of his first attack, check out my review here.

Enjoy!

And if you’d like to make a donation to help keep the Avengers Forever website as mighty as ever, click here. Thanks!

National Lacrosse League Cancels 2008 Season

From the Baltimore Sun:

Players’ Association rejects league’s last collective bargaining agreement proposal

The Associated Press
12:37 PM EDT, October 16, 2007

NEW YORK – The National Lacrosse League canceled its 2008 season after failing to reach a labor agreement with the union.

The executive committee of the Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association rejected the last collective bargaining agreement proposal, the NLL said today.

“The plan is to take the season off and try to get with the union and negotiate a deal that works for both parties and get back playing in ’09,” NLL commissioner Jim Jennings said.

The 14-team league was scheduled to open the season Dec. 27.

“It’s devastating,” Jennings said. “We’re in a position right now where we’re just starting to build momentum with our fan base, our teams, with television and sponsors over the last four, five years. We’re not the NHL, not the NBA. This is going to cause a lot of pain to a lot of people.”