Damn, it feels good to address the Geek Nation again.
Finally, I can grab some time to write a catch up blog. This is something I keep intending to get better at doing regularly, but then get overtaken by other events.
A lot has happened since the last blog, we’re steeped in the middle of the summer blockbuster season, and this year seems to be the best and busiest we’ve had for a long time. For an ongoing account of what I’ve seen so far, check out the features section for my reviews. I still need to write up the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which I saw last night.
Of course, it’s not only the blogs that have been sliding - Cult Corner has been languishing in limbo as well - and that’s one of my favourite parts of the site to write. Part of my reluctance and hesitation to add to Cult Corner was my Starburst Magazine column. Until Future Imperfect bedded down and settled, I couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t going to be a conflict or a repetition of the same material. Fortunately, the material I cover there is different from the cult, fondly loved, strange and downright weird films that hide in the Corner. So, I’m pleased to announce that I will in fact be adding to that feature very, very soon. Hopefully over the next couple of days and let’s start off big. Let’s go with the ORIGINAL War of the Worlds from 1953.
While we’re on the subject of Future Imperfect, that really has taken on a life of its own. The third column was published at www.starburstmagazine.com this past Thursday and is my overview of the cinematic history of Captain America, all the way from his humble beginnings at Timely Comics, before they became Marvel - through a 15 chapter movie serial which I have in my collection, to various other screen incarnations. For a couple of weeks, I was watching nothing BUT Captain America.
The same happened with the next column which will be hitting your computers on August 14, where I cover the Rise and Fall of the Planet of the Apes. For research, I watched ALL the movies all over again and although I’m very familiar with them, I saw them collectively with a new perspective - one I hadn’t thought of previously. But, if you want to know more, you’re going to have to wait a few weeks and catch the full article online. I’m proud to be able to tell you that I’m seeing a great run ahead with Starburst. I have pitched my ideas for Future Imperfect columns through to the end of the year and they’ve all been accepted.
Rumour control time - I’ve heard that GoreZone or GZ magazine is attempting a comeback after disappearing from existence after the January issue. I’ve been approached by a few readers asking what’s going on, but in all truth other than what I’ve read from the publisher on his Facebook page, I know nothing. We haven’t spoken since March, and I am not involved with the magazine or its rebirth in any capacity. But I wish Bryn Hammond and his new team well and hope that the magazine can rediscover its original direction as a horror magazine. It would be great to see it rise, phoenix-like and cover the indie horror scene that others can’t or won’t touch. The independents need a voice and that’s what GoreZone at its best, two or three years ago, provided.
Speaking of magazines losing their way - what the hell’s going on at DC?
The first I heard of their audacious plan was at the Starburst launch a few weeks ago, and I’ve been reading up on their grand plan since and to be honest... I’m not happy. At all.
For those of you who don’t know, DC Comics are planning a reboot of ALL of their titles. They are wiping out the continuity of their entire universe and taking everything back to a first issue. That’s 75 years of comics and pop culture history that no longer exists. I’m pissed because I’ve been around for two thirds of it.
So, come late August, Jor-El will put young Kal-El in a spaceship and launch him to Earth just before the destruction of Krypton for the first time. Thomas & Martha Wayne will be killed in a street crime, leaving their only child Bruce to become a dark vigilante in Gotham City. Diana will leave her Amazon race and assume the role of Wonder Woman, Barry Allen will get doused in chemicals and find he now has super speed becoming The Flash and one of the Green Lantern Corps will crash on Earth and change Hal Jordan’s life and values. All for the first time?
Come the end of August, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Two Face, Sinestro, Brainiac and all the other super villains will yet have turned to their evil ways? I call bullshit on the whole plan.
To justify this bizarre stunt (I really can’t call it anything else) DC have even put together a promotional video where they state that they’re doing this to attract new readers, and give them a clear "jump in" point. Again, I call bullshit.
DC Comics aren’t inaccessible to new readers because of a long and involved history and back story. DC Comics are inaccessible because of their current marketing techniques. Pure and simple. It’s their own strategy that is the problem here.
Several years ago, they decided to "clean up" various parts of their ongoing continuity with a groundbreaking multi title event called Crisis on Infinite Earths. The intention was to dispense with certain characters and make their whole universe a little neater and easier to follow by dispensing of various alternate universes they’d created over the years. The story comprised all characters, all titles with a separate "Crisis" comic providing the main thrust of the story. It was a huge success even more so when gathered together into a trade paperback or graphic novel.
Smelling money, DC have been introducing these "events" annually ever since. They involve every title and to get the whole story, the reader has to buy titles they wouldn’t normally be reading. These events extend for months, linking all titles. Now, who REALLY wants to buy the entire range of DC comics for that period of time? (Hell, who can afford to?) And what new reader is going to try out a title in the middle of a long, ongoing saga with no end in sight? Do away with these long arcs and new readers will come. They always have.
I’m sore that the Blackest Night, Brightest Day saga that I’m reading at the moment in expensive hardback volumes will suddenly be moot before I’ve even bought the final book, due in September.
On the plus side, Marvel must be overjoyed.
Obviously, I’ve been watching some DVDs other than for research, but the one that made the biggest impression on me was bought on a whim. (Nothing new there, then)
I had heard of this movie called 127 Hours, but really didn’t think anything more about it. Oscar contention, yadda, yadda. Guy stuck in rocks or something for 127 hours. How interesting can it be - right? Then, on a day off from work, I noticed it on sale and felt compelled to investigate.
It’s based on a true story about an extreme sports enthusiast who goes exploring a canyon without telling anybody where he’s going. He slips and falls, followed down a narrow fissure by a boulder - which traps his hand. The film is about his struggle to survive, the choices he has to make and the spiritual change he undergoes as a result of the experience.
Not really my usual kind of thing, and star James Franco seemed to me to be a weak point in the Spider-Man movies having all the warmth and personality of a trout and the acting ability of a two by four.
I was wrong. It’s that simple. 127 Hours is one the of the best films I’ve seen in a long time and certainly one of the best photographed I’ve ever seen.
The scenes where Franco’s character is cycling in and around the canyon are breathtaking and exhilarating. It’s the kind of footage they show in electrical stores when they want you to buy a HD TV. Fast moving, tightly edited and with a crystal clarity that draws the eye, compelling you not to look away even for a second. The sharpness of the images is stunning, both when Franco is cycling and when he takes a leap into an underground lake.
Franco’s performance is such in this that I have to re evaluate his talents as an actor, because it’s difficult for any performer to carry an entire movie by himself - but he pulls it off here. Want to know more? Check it out at Amazon
It’s also worth mentioning that the music score is perfect. Just perfect. In fact, perfect to the extent that I sought out the CD to add it to my collection and it’s playing as I write this.
Finally - a sight I saw on a lunch break this past week and caught on my Blackberry.
I’m lucky enough to work in a town which has a real, genuine medieval castle. Tourists pay hundreds to come and visit this town and see Caernarfon castle, which I have direct line of sight of from my second floor office. This past Thursday, the castle had an interesting addition, which seemed to have gone unnoticed by most locals.
I don’t know if the Doctor Who crew are filming locally, or if the TARDIS is making a whistle stop tour of attractions as a publicity stunt.... or whether it just landed there.
But seeing it made my day.
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