31 December 2010

1225 - Happy New Year

Yeah, got nothing.

Be safe, be happy.

Be.

Happy New Year!!!!

2011

26 December 2010

As River Song would say..."Spoilers"

  • The first four episodes have already been filmed while episodes five and six (a two-parter) were shot over the past month. The seventh episode, a cliffhanger finale until the second batch of six episodes in the Fall, begins shooting early in the new year.

  • Much of the trailer shows scenes from the Steven Moffat-penned opening two-parter set in the 60's in the United States. These include The Doctor in the White House, the various scenes in Monument Valley and shots of a bearded Doctor being held prisoner in Area 51. Seems like the legendary 'Men in Black' play a big part of the storyline here, as does Alex Kingston's Dr. River Song.

  • Various scenes show the main characters with tally marks on their skin. The various actors were spotted wearing these marks during filming in Utah so they definitely show up in the season premiere.

  • Shots of someone in a full astronaut suit, and River Song likely distracting someone with an eyeful of her naked body, are both said to be from the opening two-parter.

  • The Silence, the threat that caused the TARDIS explosion and the resulting cracks in the universe last season, will be a running thread throughout this season and are seen in the opening two-parter. Apparently it's a 'them', not an individual, and likely a race hereto unseen in the Who Universe. It's also been said that the truth about their "needs" and "physical forms" are what's sinister about them.

  • There's several shots from Neil Gaiman's episode (the third episode next season) set in an alien junkyard with a woman in an 18th century dress and hairstyle. Its been stated the woman in the junkyard, Idris, is someone the Doctor has met before onscreen who looks different now.

  • The TARDIS knock-off seen in "The Lodger" episode last season seems to have returned as there's a shot of River Song exploring it with a flashlight. There's also shots of a green-eyed Ood, Amy and Rory in some kind of dark spaceship corridors which are rumoured to be part of a TARDIS.

  • The third episode is also said to tie into the classic Second Doctor episode "The War Games" in which the various warriors from the history of not just our planet were brought together in a 'battle royale' of sorts. Shots early on in the trailer of three men dressed like Musketeers and a shot of Nazi soldiers are said to be from this episode and lend credence to that theory.

  • There's shots of small blond people in very creepy doll masks. These are all likely from the Mark Gatiss-penned fourth episode.

  • The Doctor apparently gets cloned in the fifth & sixth episode two-parter in a story that deals with an alien invasion.

  • It has been confirmed that Amy is "harbouring a big secret", and that the episode 7 finale will reveal the "true nature of his [The Doctor's] relationship with Amy Pond" says Moffat.

  • That ties in with rumours of a scene in the opening two-parter that Amy encounters a "future Doctor" (possibly the one with the beard) and learns from him something terrible that will happen to The Doctor in the future, something that River implores her to keep quiet.

24 December 2010

Books read in 2010

2010 was a personal best in how many books I read, up 5 from last years list. I read 20 in 2008, 15 in 2007, 16 in 2006. That's a 102 books I've read since I started keeping tabs. The funny part is I got probably as many unread sitting around the house.

I'm not setting any goals for 2011, but we'll see if I can get more read than this year, but I have a few tomes that surpass 1,000 pages, so that could cause some problems. But I like a challenge.

01. The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper
02. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
03. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
04. Bite Me by Christopher Moore
05. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
06. Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper
07. The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta
08. The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
09. Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
10. I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
11. Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
12. Drood by Dan Simmons
13. The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
14. Plan B by Jonathan Tropper
15. How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper
16. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
17. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
18. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson
19. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrson
20. Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
21. On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
22. The Night Angel Trilogy: Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks
23. The Night Angel Trilogy: Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks
24. The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks
25. Mr. Monster by Dan Wells
26. Hell by Robert Olen Butler
27. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
28. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Books: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (2009)


While not a train-wreck, The Lost Symbol proves once again that Dan Brown can throw a bunch of odd facts and some suppressed history into a big pot-boiler of novel and then say What if?

I sense this is the weakest entry in the Robert Langston series (the over uses of italics is perhaps this novels greatest sin) which started with Angels and Demons and followed by the mega-hit The Da Vinci Code. Generally, though, you have to take most of what is written here with a grain of salt. Brown paints Langston as a skeptic, yet the way the story is written, you get a sense that Dan Brown believes this stuff. And he does seem to take some glory in poking at our cultural boundries -religion, the secular world, both ancient and modern history are messy at best.

While the book was a huge bestseller last year, there was less attacks from the world of religion that propelled The Da Vinci Code to its popular world wide success. Which may be why the film version is still in development at Sony Pictures. The first film, while poorly reviewed, scored a worldwide $758 million gross, but Angels and Demons faired less (though, apparently, better reviewed) at the box office, taking in only $486 million (which is respectable, and somewhat on track for most sequels, who's percentages never reach the first film).

It looks like Brown himself will now write the screenplay for the film, and despite Imagine Entertainment will be producing the film version, don't count on Ron Howard returning as director (as The Dark Tower beckons), but the odds are Tom Hanks will return (but is not yet "officially" committed to it though).

22 December 2010

Mirror Boys



Don't Rain on My (Holiday) Parade III

So, after four (and maybe five) straight days of rain, things started looking up. Well sort of.
Woke up to hear rain still pounding down on the roof, water cascading down and hitting the concrete like marbles strewn from a childs hand. The weather service had been predicting that the storm due into today was going to be the strongest, with potential thunderstorms, lightening, and hard, cold rain.

But before it could come, the skies finally stopped this morning. The clouds broke apart in some areas of the big sky, and you could see blue patches trying to expand themselves. The mall started getting busy, as people who must've forgot Christmas was Saturday, came rolling in. And while the sun never did come out, what little heating that did happen must have helped what little disturbances were left in the sky and late this afternoon, the skies around the mall opened up and produced, as they say, a gully washer of downpours.

For a good hour or so, it rained and rained and rained. But there was no thunder, no lightening just cold, and wind driven rain.

The good news, it appears, this was the last hurrah's for the rain. By the time I left work at 4, the western sky was filled with brightly colored clouds, as the setting sun was casting glorious colors against the ironed tinted clouds.

As I drove west on Foothill, I looked into my rear view mirror to see a glorious rainbow. Too bad I was driving, it would've made a great picture. Or a video, as my friend Wayne Webb made this afternoon when he saw a double rainbow over the eastern sky of LA. From his apartment in West Hollywood, he pointed his mobile phone and photographed it. And made fun of the cry baby guy who filmed a double rainbow that flew across Youtube so many months ago. This is what I love about Wayne. He's a great actor who deserves to be working on TV or film.

Anyways, those weather wizards are saying the rain is done for now, though the say there is a chance for more on Sunday. A lot of areas picked up nearly half to three quarters of rain for the entire year! And the moutains picked up a ton of snow. All of this, while a pain in the ass to deal with, will help alleviate the drought we have in SoCal. All that rain and especially the snow, will run off into the reservoirs and give us a leg up. While we are in a La Niña weather pattern, I'm hoping as winter finally takes hold here, this is not the last of the rain.

20 December 2010

Don't Rain On My (Holiday) Parade, part II

It rained all day Saturday, all day Sunday and all day today.

Another weather system is due in tomorrow into Wednesday that promises another day of rain, but with potential thunder storms as well. Nearly an inch of rain fell at LAX today, which was a record, while other areas around the region were recording rain well above an inch to 2 1/2.

The rain is great, I mean its not snow so I'm happy about that. But it is a bit overkill. Still, it's been five, nearly six years, since Southern California has had this much rain in a weeks period. It could be the same length before it happens again, so grin and bear it I guess.

Speaking of the Bears, looks like my home team the Chicago Bears won their division tonight with a commanding win over the Vikings. Go Da Bears!

Anyways, beyond the rain, not much is going on. I could go on about Borders, but I just don't seem to have the energy to go further into their psycho drama. In some ways, I will be grateful when this company goes under. But, I guess, until then, I will kill myself trying to make it work. Good work ethic, but I'm unsure if I can ever capitalize on them when I move on from Borders.

Anyways, Monday is done. Only four days until Christmas. Wonder what Santa is bringing me (hey, how about a new job?).


18 December 2010

Don't Rain On My (Holiday) Parade

The weather has been odd all over the States (WGN weatherman Tom Skilling said 47 states had snow on the ground as of yesterday), which is fine in January when the Christmas season has passed. Now, on the last weekend before Christmas, the weather has gotten snotty. And that does not help for my Borders, which is in an outside mall.
Last weekend, the weather Gods gave us a bright days, full of warmth (some areas had records broken for this time of the year) and remembrance of summer days that make SolCal appealing to many.
The opposite has come this weekend. The rain (somewhat) started Thursday (after a Wednesday that produced a few morning showers and then a cloudy day). Friday and today have given us mostly rain, with a few minutes between drops. Like I said, this should've happened last weekend, and not now. The rain, btw, is suppose to be with us through Wednesday, and its not until Friday that sun shopuld make its full appearance again.
Yikes. With a struggling economy and with Borders hitting the the financial tipping point in the last few weeks, this rain is as unwelcome as a Christmas Fruit Cake. I'm sure the malls are doing good business around here, but I wonder how Victoria Garden is doing, with everything outside?
Still, I was in Kohls this afternoon, and while the line for the register was long, the store looked pretty empty.
This weather pattern resembles El Niño (often nicknamed the Pineapple Express, because these storms usually start near Hawaii and follow a path directly into Southern California) than the sister pattern La Niña (usually drier and warm winter) the weather people think we are currently in.
Still, while rain is always better here, I just wished it stayed away this weekend (really, in all areas of the States). All retail stores need great weather on this final weekend of the Christmas buying season.
Sigh.

12 December 2010

Lighting the Season



Sunday's Warmth

I woke up with a headache at around 6.05 this morning. It's one of those where every move I made in bed, just made it worse. I got up, took my morning pee and ibuprofen. I climbed back into bed, but I could not fall back asleep. Mostly because I could not get comfortable and every time I moved, Thor kept pounding the inside of my skull.

We also have some birds, they look very parrot like, who migrate through here every December. They are very, very noisy and travel in huge groups. They kept me awake when I could not settle down due to the headache.

I finally rolled out of bed at about 10, feeling somewhat better. The headache was pretty well under control by then. I made some coffee -which is new thing since I discovered Coffeemate covers the bitter taste of the stuff.

I sat in the living room, with the sun pouring in, and really started into The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. It was nice, really. With today's warmth -potentially hitting record highs - it was great to open the front door and let in the rays that are a pain in the summer time. I also called my mom, and teased her about the warm weather here, while Chicago was under a Winter Storm Warning, with blowing snow and temps that will dip to about 12 today (and going below zero overnight).

Yes, there are advantages of living here, as I no longer miss the cold and the snow. Nope, do not miss it at all. And I pray, I'll never have to live in a place that has those cold temps again. Its not to say I miss my family and friends in Chicago. Nope, I miss Andrew and Dave, Marc and Brad and my siblings and parents, but its the cold that keeps me here.

So, I washed the kitchen floor and did laundry as well. I'm putting the flannel sheets on today, despite the heat. By Thursday, the temps will be about 20 degrees colder than now, so that means the overnights will get chilly -and I sleep with the window open a bit as well.

Stil;l, hard to get into the Christmas shopping spirit when its 80 plus degrees and the sun is shinning down on you wondering if the beach would be in your future instead of the mall.

Its so hard living here, know what I mean?

LOL

11 December 2010

Books: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (2010)


There is some irony, I think, that as I finished Full Dark, No Stars I heard about the suicide of Mark Madoff, the son of Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff. More on this at end.
The four novellas that are part of this book are brimmed with “what people might do, and how they might behave, under dire circumstances” as King wrote in his Afterword.

The first entry (and the longest), 1922, is a historical tale about a man who kills his wife and hides her in a well. As Wilfred James writes in 1930 about what he did eight years earlier, we see a man who thought he could get away with something, unaware of the collateral damage he would eventually cause. And as guilt and mere coincidence begin to eat at him, he tries even harder to prevent the anyone from finding out what he did. And it is a King story, and we know that his dead never stay dead.

Big Driver tells is a story about a semi-successful crime novelist who is lured to a town for a literary event. Later, as she takes the short cut recommended to her, Tess encounters a rapist and a murderer. While she survives, she realizes that she cannot tell people what happened (for various reasons) and so she plots revenge. But to do what she feels needed, she’ll need to step down and become close to what the rapist is, and the person who sent her there to be raped. But justice can be a harsh mistress, and Tess wonders if becoming a vigilant is what her destiny was about.

Fair Extension is a sort of Twilight Zone-ish tale on the old standby of “beware of what you wish for.” Dave Streeter has cancer, and his encounter with a mysterious man who claims he can extend his life (but not cure him), sets in motion events that change the fabric of his life and his best friends one as well.

Finally, A Good Marriage is about a wife who accidentally discovers the man she’s been married to for the last 27 years is a serial killer known Beadie. Like Tess, Darcy is confronted with more social issues than justice -in the court of 24 hour news channels and folks who live and die by them - she thinks that people will have to assume she knew her husband was a killer, if only because she was married to him for so long. Her resolution is shocking, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do.

King said these were “harsh” tales, and ones difficult to write. But while he gets criticism for being prolific and (at times) formulaic, he has become a better writer over the years. I’ve been reading him for 30 years, and his return to more darkness is as welcome as last years huge novel Under the Dome. He has grown as a writer, and his tales about “what people might do, and how they might behave, under dire circumstances” reverberates more everyday.

Such as with Mark Madoff. Two years to the day he and his brother turned his father in, obviously convinced that the world will never accept that he knew nothing of his fathers schemes, the oldest Madoff child decided he could do nothing more. His act, while tragic, was one of someone caught in the middle of a nightmare he could not get out of. The irony is, maybe, while money makes the world go around, it never comes without a price. It can cover the bad times, it can give you things, but the collateral damage it can sometimes cause, forces people to make choices that are a dire, and in Mark Madoff's case, permanent.

06 December 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is based on the huge best selling Independent Reading books by Jeff Kinney, over the weekend. It's a cute movie, with some fine performances.
But I had not realized how much of a douche bag the Greg Heffley character was, though. I mean, the actor playing him, Zachary Gordon was good, funny and well directed, but he makes Greg a real creep, and an ego maniac.
Everything is about him, and his fear of being uncool. Granted, this emotion is everyone's nightmare, from 11 year-olds to adults, but I felt that the kid went way over the top, being almost cruel to his friend Rowley (the whole safety patrol sequence with the kids). It seemed, to me, that they made him the most unlikeable character in the film (which is not the case of the source material), when he should have been the most. I mean, they make Rodrick -Greg's older brother (played by the adorkable Devon Bostick) - much more likable.
Which is odd in these type of movies.
Its a mixed bag, really. It works with the supporting charatcers (even though Rachel Harris and Steve Zahn are wasted here) and actors. But ultimately the film falters under the way the film portrays Greg.
A sequel is due in 2011. Let's hope they get Greg to be more fun to be with this time.

24 November 2010

It's You Hollywood something on Thanksgiving Eve

As everyone heads off for Turkey Day 2010, here are few giblets to ponder from the land of The Hollywood.

While it's still nearly a year away from beginning production, casting has begun for Ghostbusters 3. Early rumors are circulating that Anna Faris (Pushing Daises) and SNL stars Will Forte and Bill Hader are up for roles.

Christian Bale confirms that with The Dark Knight Rises, it will be his final time playing Batman. That, honestly, is no big surprise.

Howard Shore, who won Oscars for his music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has confirmed he'll score both parts of The Hobbit.

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski will now helm the Johnny Depp lead The Lone Ranger for Disney.

Expect the prequel to The Thing to be released for Halloween 2011.

Miranda Otto has joined the cast of the pilot Locke & Key, based on the graphic novel series by Joe Hill, for FOX.

22 November 2010

Warner Bros. is about to reboot Buffy -without Joss Whedon

So, Warner Bros. has announced plans to reboot the Buffy The Vampire Slayer film -without Joss Whedon as the writer. As Giles would say, "the Earth is doomed."

Who is Whit Anderson, the lady hired to write the new script? Apparently, as a fan, she used to watch the old show. It appears this show might have inspired her to become a writer. Thus, with this, every slash/fan writer across the universe might be hoping they too might get a chance to come over the real world of the Hollywood Dream. As Charles Roven, who was a producer on Batman Begins, said: "There is an active fan base awaiting this characters return."

So, Comic Book Guy, here's to you.

Here's what Wedon had to say:

"This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths-just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, "Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER." Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, "I'll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!" Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you."

21 November 2010

Trailer Trash

Saw part one of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Its a good film, dark and adult as the novel its based upon. The performances are uniformly good, as the three main actors, Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grit and Emma Watson have become wonderful actors.
But, the part I want to talk about are the trailers. While I realize I'm not the demographic for the Yogi Bear film, it still looks horrible, dumb and insulting. I feel sorry for the actors - even B type ones presented here - who have to do these films to make money. I will certainly skip this one.
There was one for the next Chronicles of the Narnia (and since I've yet to see the other ones, I'll skipping this one as well). The picture looks good, heavy CGI laden and what not. It just does not get my desire to see it, though.
Green Hornet looks good, with a heavy dose of explosions and CGI. Too bad I find Seth Rogen to be such an unappealing actor. I'm tired of the man-child stories, and this movie sort of continues this horrible trend in film. Then there is Cameron Diaz, who next to Tom Cruise, is just one hell of a bad actor. Then the trailer shows just shot after shot of explosions and destruction, and fight sequences stolen right out of the Charlie's Angel franchise and Zack Snyder. The raping of my childhood continues. Skip it, another words.
Green Lantern. Beyond Ryan Reynolds (and his hot body), the film looks dumb. But it may be the one film I might consider seeing. But I highly doubt that, as I've yet to see Iron Man 2.
Tron: Legacy is perhaps the only film I want to see out of this batch. I liked the 1982 original -and I remember seeing in theaters when it came out, which was 28 years ago! I do hope its good, and I think Disney knows they have to make a film that appeals to the audience who saw and loved the original and a generation who has never seen it -I'm hoping for a Blu-ray version soon. Sure its effects heavy, as was the original. Still, there was a story to the first one. I'm hoping there is one here as well.
I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember. Which just shows how unforgetful these movies have become. Or I'm just older, wiser and able to make better choices in the films I see and not be taken in by CGI effects and rememberances of things past.

20 November 2010

Books: Hell by Robert Olen Butler (2009)


If you ever wondered who ended up in Hell, well in Robert Olen Butler’s novel, just about everyone -including some who are still around today.

We meet Hatcher McCord, who was once a prominent new caster who ends up in Hell, well, reading the news. And in this version of the damned, how you led your life (whether you were good or evil) does not matter. It’s all, it seems, the personal hell we put ourselves through while we thought we were alive. But through the grapevine, well, Dante’s girlfriend Beatrice, Hatcher hears of way to escape Hell, and thus the clutches of Satan (who appears to have a boat load of daddy issues). So the former live newscasters begins a journey to find the back door out of the underworld, all while trying to figure out his feelings for his ex-wives, and Anne Boylen -who does some the oddest things with her severed head, things that Hatcher could, or would never dream of.

Olen’s novel, a sort of homage to Dante’s Inferno (and who is, damned it seems, to write Inferno over and over again), we have many cameos of famous people, like J. Edgar Hoover (who says he is in Hell because "I was needed. Can you imagine how many Communists there are down here?"), Dick Cheney, George W. Bush (who is confused and thinks he’s in Heaven), William Shakespeare (who’s weeping for quill and ink because "his hard drive keeps crashing and he loses his plays"), Virgil, Jerry Seinfeld, Christopher Hitchens, and Mother Teresa.

It is at times funny, even as it tries to explore the darker side of humanity. But Olen does take his time getting the novel going to where it suppose to go, and at a scant 232 pages, that’s pretty bad. Still, a worthy read, with a great wordsmith (cause I thought the Hitchens spot was awfully clever).

08 November 2010

Books: Mr. Monster by Dan Wells (2010)


In this continuation, John Wayne Cleaver is still fighting the urge not to hurt people, not to kill. It's been nearly six months since the events of I Am Not A Serial Killer, and his town of Clayton County appears to be relaxing its fear, hoping the horrible events of last winter are finished. Of course, the truth of the matter is the Clayton Killer was a supernatural force, a demon. And John had killed it.

But John, tasting the power of death now believes the "only monster left is me- the dark side of me I call Mr. Monster." While John, who narrates, does not hear voices in his head, or suffer multiple personalities, he none the less thinks there is something there, a dark force existing in his body.

The Mr. Monster.

And he continues to keep to his rules, so that he doesn’t let the evil that is Mr. Monster, even at the potential costs to his mom, aunt and sister. And, his growing (and sometimes, disturbing) infatuation with neighbor girl Brooke.

But things appear to begin again, when dead bodies start popping up around town. The police have little clue, but sense that the Clayton Killer maybe back. But since John knows that demon is dead, he begins to suspect that another demon is out there, killing women. Soon John becomes convinced that this new killer is sending a message, a message that only he can understand.

This second book in what is starting out to be a very interesting series, is much better than the first, and Wells packs a lot of info into such a relatively short book (287pages), that you can't help but keep turning the pages. And like the first one, Mr. Monster has some quite disturbing and graphic descriptions, once again making me wonder why this book would be classified as Young Adult (though my company has them in the Mystery/Suspense section).

As noted in the first review back in June, the crossing of Dexter book series and Stephen King is interesting. The demons that John has encountered so far seem to emulate real human serial killers, at least in their mind set. This element keeps the two books from falling into some sort of parody of those two genres. Plus, Wells has created a fairly original and unique voice in John Cleaver.

There is a third book coming, and it appears John may have found an outlet for his Mr. Monster, as there appears to be many demons haunting the Earth.

06 November 2010

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)


In the final volume of The Night Angel Trilogy, author Brent Weeks often violent, Tolkien style series comes together fittingly, but is rather over-long, and drags in many places.

The World Building that goes into these fantasy series can be daunting, and some authors get lost in their world, producing pages after pages of things that seem important, yet are nothing but filler. Still, I’m guessing Weeks will eventually return to this Universe, and that might be his purpose for filling out this series to nearly 700 pages in this final voulume.

There is some interesting stuff here, like the character of Dorian who seemed such a minor character in volume one, who in this final one becomes very integral to the conclusion -its interesting to see a “hero,” motivated by the desire to bring peace, who ends up committing countless acts of horror himself, all in the service of the ending another horror.

But after spending nearly 700 pages setting up the finale, it ends rather abruptly, with all the loose ends coming together rather neatly. It’s a good series, one that I recommend, but it reminds me why I read so little of this genre anymore: I’ve read most of them in the 1980s.

It may not be fair to compare him to Stephen R. Donaldson or Terry Brooks. The genre is rather limited, and it does need fresh ideas to make it worth reading, but when you’ve read as much as I have, you still can be disappointed by a story, even if it is well written.


Bond 23 set for November 2012; will it star Daniel Craig?

It appears that with MGM finally agreeing to go into bankruptcy (declaring bankruptcy instantly gives MGM a stellar credit rating), it now can go back into producing films. One of its biggest franchise, James Bond, is coming back, and plans are to have the next Bond film in theaters by November 2012. As is, the studio will retain 50% of the rights to that next film, while an equal partner will cover all the production costs (which could benefit many studios, as this could be Paramount, Universal, Sony, Disney or even Spyglass Entertainment -who’s management has took over the studio). Still, further Bond sequels will be fully owned and funded by MGM itself, even though most of the profits goes EON Films, who holds the copyright to the Bond films. And right now, their ambition is return a Bond film to the screen every two years starting with the 2012 release.

One big question hangs in the air is whether Daniel Craig will reprise his role in the next film. While signed on for three Bond films, with an option for a fourth, Craig moved forward with his career when it appeared the financial issues with MGM would not be solved soon. Thus, he committed to all three installments of the Millennium Trilogy, with the first film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, currently filming. There is also a potential sequel to next summers Aliens & Cowboys that could film in 2012. Will MGM/EON continue with Craig as Bond, or will this lead to a seventh actor to take on the role of the superspy?

01 November 2010

Halloween 2010

Spent Halloween with JayTee, Adam and PeeKay. We had snacks, chicken dinner with mashed potato’s and watched two films, one being the 2006 film The Descent. The other was 2007's The Mist.

Kind of liked The Descent, though its not my typical genre of choice, as its gory (yet filming in low light helped conceal the blood spouting around). Its slow to start, and wondered if the beginning (the prologue if you will) would dovetail with the ending. Cause, usually there are certain aspects of characters that will be revisited later. While, to a point this did happen, I was unsatisfied with the way it was handled. Fore me, the biggest issue was keeping the characters straight. While I appreciate them casting all females in the roles (something unique for a genre such as this), I sat through the film trying to remember who they were. You eventually don’t care and it becomes a guessing game of who will survive, even as you felt they were trying to give the cast some sort of dimension, but you sort also felt that the actresses were unable to capitalize on that.

Then, sadly, the director relies on too many horror cliches such as people jumping into scenes and accidentally scaring their friend. And the scene where Juno accidentally injures Beth is totally dumb, as no one would do what Beth did.

The one thing I did like, was the ending. Yes, its depressing, yes its hopeless, but not every film needs, or should have a happy ending. My understanding, however, indicates I saw the British edition of the film, not the American. Apparently we here in the colonies cannot deal with unhappy endings.

Unhappy endings continued with The Mist, based on the Stephen Kind novella published way back in 1980. While it is a horror movie, a monster movie and a psychological thriller, at its core is typical Stephen King: what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances (it also harkens back to the old Twilight Zone tale Monsters Are Due on Maple Street and William Golding’s classic novel The Lord of the Flies). The performances are solid, if not at times, stereotypical. The direction, under Frank Darabont (who also adapted King’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile), is well crafted with few horror cliches. The CGI work is good, and while gory (we watched it in Black & White, which according to PeeKay was the way Darabont wanted to be), it never really get gratuitous.

Now the ending, which was changed from the novella, is very depressing. King was fine with the way Darabont altered it, admitting it was better than his, and excited because it would be unsettling for the studio brass. Still the film was originally released for the Thanksgiving weekend crowd in 2007, and does not strike as fun, holiday picture with its new ending.

And it was fun to see what actor had worked with Darabont before, with William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Brian Libby, who all appeared in Darabont's previous King adaptations (DeMunn would also appear in another King story, The Storm of the Century).

22 October 2010

Passages


Weeks pass like waiters in a restaurant for me. It seems yesterday was Monday, and now its Friday. Another week gone. Poof.

I'm glad, and blessed, that I have a job. I have a job that keeps my ass busy from punch in to punch out with little downtime. Their checks that they pay me bi-weekly have not gone rubber and it pays for the cookies I eat too much of. All should be good. Right?

But I feel I've missed the bus, or am just missing something. I sense I should be looking out the window, or pushing aside a stubborn rock, because there's got to be something more exciting than this. Sure, I know if I was busy, I would bemoan the freedom that I currently have. When I filmed Judas Kiss, I had little time to read, or cruise the silly internet. Yet, I enjoyed myself.

And I would hate not to be able to read. I buy so many books, that the only way I can read them all, it start giving up somethings. And I've been thinking that it might have to be the most sacred thing in almost everyone's house: the TeeVee.

I already have cut my viewing habits down, and if the proliferation of reality TV gets worse, than I may just unplug the cable (besides, I can watch almost anything, with the exception of LIVE TV, on my computer).

I've lost interest in most shows, mostly because they're predictable and no longer stimulate my brain. Like reading, I think TeeVee should have a lasting effect. But I'll admit, good books are hard to find as well.

I'm all for reading pop lit. I read Stephen King, John Grisham and fantasy books. But I also want to read books that make me feel human, and maybe a little smarter. Authors like James Patterson, and his popularity (and really, your not fooling anyone with your books now. Since I figured out you don't write half the shit that goes out with your name -and the names of other authors - on it. Seriously, James, no one can produce 17 novels in three years) makes me shudder. Still, if you like him, read him. All I ask is that every once in a while, break out of the prediticable and read something that does not have the font size of a typical large print book, with one page chapters.

And the dialogue and the prose. Oh. My. Gosh.

I mean, I understand how Nora Roberts pushes out 6 books a year, because its mostly all dialogue with very little prose. Patterson's stuff is just horrendous and stale and boring. Which maybe the greatest sin of all; producing one boring psycho killer story line after another.

I need adventure and I need a love to share it with. I need someone to settle for me. But I also need to read all those damn books I buy.

Should I say goodbye to TeeVee?

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: The Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks


In book two of the Night Angel Trilogy, we see Kylar becoming a sort of superhero. He has sworn off wetboy activity, settling into a cobbled together life with Elene and his master's daughter, Uly, in another town. But old habits die hard, and Kylar can't escape his true calling as the Night Angel. He ends up protrolling the town at night, mostly at first to keep up his skills, but eventually running into bad guys, gangs, who roam around the town hurting people who find themselves out alone at night. In his attempt to further shed the skin of killer, Kylar sells the sword that is his symbol as the Night Angel after much deliberation (and encouragement) from Elene. Of course, as soon as Kylar gives up this last symbolic element of his past is when his past comes back looking for some help.

The second book in the trilogy is more about Kylar -who he is, what he wants to be. The yearns to live a normal life with Elene, yet he can’t resist the assassin that exists within him. Which, at times, is the one draw back to the second book. Author Weeks spends the first 200 hundred pages with Kylar bemoaning his situation.

It was all so Emo.

Still, the book is paced faster than the first, even though once again, characters are hard to follow because they come and go with no idea why their presence is required. Weeks does fairly well with propelling the story forward, and I sense that you could have probably read this book without picking up the first one. I mean, its okay to spend the beginning of a second book - chapter or two - recapping the events of first, but Weeks does go out of his way to explain every aspect of that first book through out the second.

There is a bit more humor here, as Kylar becomes a bit more human, but like the first tale, the blood and violence flows like a faucet stuck open. Life, in this universe, seems so very cheap.

18 October 2010

The Dullness Parade


Really, I have nothing to say.

And I guess that's a little sad. My life, in some ways, is like a race car going around the same track, at the same speed, never really going anywhere and never seeing then scenery change.

I know, at the end of the day, it is only I that can change this rut I've gotten stuck in for the last 2 decades. But like any lost soul, I cannot figure out how to go about it. As someone once said, life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what your going to get. But that little ditty, however, does not apply to me. Life, for me, is like dryer, going around and around and blowing a lot of hot air. Sure the clothes get dry, but there's not big surprise waiting for me when I open the door.

The weather has proved interesting since fall began late last month. The first weekend and then first full week of fall brought a heatwave. Then some minor cool weather, then a minor warm up and now another blast of cool, rainy weather. The weather, in some respects, is closer to our January/February than October. The temps in the afternoon have gotten into the upper 60's, so despite the mist/rain we've had since Saturday, its still rather pleasant outside.

Speaking of Saturday, my friends and I went to Disneyland and Disneys California Adventure. Over at DCA, they've got this set up for the sequel to their 1982 hit movie TRON. Called TRON Legacy, the film (opening December 17) is set nearly 30 years after the first one. So, over in the Hollywood backlot, DCA has set up this 80s retro area. I mean, really 80s retro. Imagine, cause that's all I can do, Studio 54 moved to the Happiest Place on Earth and take out all the fun. And there you will have ElecTRONica. It has a DJ's playing, not 80s music as I think they should, but modern stuff from Lady Gaga and Madonna (not old Madonna, BTW). They have a bar where you can order beer and other alcholic drinks (and where's the fun in looking at the hottie boys, and some 12 year-old runs by screaming for mommy?).

It was odd. Truly odd.

They've also set up a retro arcade area called FLYNNS, a near replica of the one featured in the original film. It has brick walls, and every 80's video game you can remember. But I did not go to DL to video games. So after a drink, we went to the Tower of Terror.

Then, I got a headache on Sunday. Sadly, while my system has soured on beer, I think I got it because I did not eat enough. I had a hotdog at like 6pm, and was starving by the time we left DL at midnight. I did not eat anything and woke up at 5 with a pounding headache.

Spent yesterday relaxing, and got to read more of my book, as the headache finally faded at around noon.

Today, I had to make the donuts, and another same-old work week began.

Meh.Justify Full

03 October 2010

Books: The Night Angel Trilogy: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)


Azoth is an orphan who lives in the Warrens of Cenaria City. He and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl, are members of the Black Dragon guild. They make their living stealing money to buy food and pay their guild dues to Rat, the Guild Fist, an enforcer who beats anyone who doesn't pay.
One day Jarl shows Azoth a secret stash of coins that he had been saving for four years. Jarl gives the coins to Azoth so that he can apprentice to Durzo Blint, the best wetboy (assassin) in the city.

Meanwhile, a traveling mage, Solon Tofusin, arrives at the Gyre estate. He is on a mission from the prophet Dorian to help Lord Gyre. He finds that Duke Gyre has gone to Screaming Winds, but before he can head there he finds out the Duke’s son, Logan, has also been named Lord Gyre. Impressed with the boy, Tofusin stays with Logan. Azoth begins his training under Blint, which takes years. Given a new name, Kylar Stern, Azoth begins to become an assassin. But prophecy and his past is something Azoth cannot escape and he must decide if life is as empty as Durzo says it is, or can it be worth fighting for?

I approached this fantasy series with some apprehension, if only because they genre has little to offer in the way being different from the rest. Its well written, and Weeks tries to step away from the predictable, but he also creates antiheroes that makes you struggle to even like. Azoth, or Kylar, is such a character. He has some humanity in him, but it comes in the form of love. Here, in this world, love is treated, rather predicably, as a weakness. But this world, sadly, seems to lack any human emotion at all. We watch on the TV news where pundits say how human life is nothing to certain groups of people. Here, in Weeks novel, he has created a very unhappy, very dangerous, and at times, depressing universe. You feel for them, but it does take an effort.

Like any novel, there are some downfalls. Weeks introduces characters that seem to have no significance and are brought in and then dropped without any warning. Eventually, everything falls into place, but it forces the reader to really keep track of all the characters. This also leads to some convenient plot twists and poor explanations as to why they occurred. Still, I’m hoping with the next two books, Weeks tries to explore this more.

Overall, it’s a good read. And much like Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series from 20 plus years ago, you have to accept that hero of this series is flawed, and unlikable. But you know, I think, in the end, he’ll win.

29 September 2010

Work rumblings

It's become rather apparent to me that my book company really has no idea how to save itself. Yesterday, our latest District Manager was let go (along with, it seems, at least 3 or 4 other DM's within the 508 region -Southern and Northern, including Hawaii were let go as well). Officially, all were terminated due to "performance issues," the business catch phrase of the old Hollywood standard of "creative differences."

Of course, this usually happens when the they replace the Regional Vice Presidfents, which occurred almost 2 months ago. I'm not sure if this happens in other jobs, other retail outlets, but Borders has tendency to restructure their DM's when the RVP's get the boot. When Mike Steele was let go, I knew -and said the very day he was fired - that our DM's fate was sealed. That Art would be gone before Christmas. Thus, it happened yesterday.

A new DM has apparently aready been selected, which gives me the idea this was long in the planning stages. The new RVP for this region apparently had no say in the matter.

Still, we'll get a new DM who will probably be one of those guys who is an expert in turning companies around. Which means, of course, an office manager. A guy who will cut hours and demand higher expectations. The problem is, this guy will be given a 2 week intense download of Borders policy and will parrot all of Borders ennui when it comes to sales, without understanding that the core problems that has brought Borders to this point: strong leadership with managers who has unique visions and who can think outside the box (which a lame phrase, but does apply here).

This will also be the holiday season of the eReaders. And Borders will have a large selection to offer, from expensive to, well, cheap (7 versions at my last count, including 2 versions of our Kobo reader, one that is wireless and one that needs to hooked up to your computer). My greatest fear right now (beyond a bunch of returns because they don't work) is that we'll not have enough of the devices to go around. They've already said, quietly I might add, that not all eReaders will be avaialable in all stores. I find this troubling in many ways, mostly because we are a struggling retailer. Borders is stepping up its promotion on these devices, and if a customer can't get what they want...well, I just don't think we need another reason for them to go to B&N or Amazon.

At the end of the day, nothing will change with new RVP or a DM. Same old song, just new people singing the words. Oh, and all the GM's Art hired over the last few months, the ones who are essentially useless and unproductive, you can bet your days are now numbered.

22 September 2010

Welcome back GLEE


Harry Shum, Jr.

Chord Overstreet

19 September 2010

Slouching towards Washington

Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino and Sharon Angle are just a small list of folks who are using fear of another attack from terrorist and social issues to drive them to the top of the political heap. I don't think there is anything wrong with being a fiscal conservative, and you can also be a bit conservative when it comes to social issues, but to base your entire campaign on social issues is going to lead to further dividing America.

See, America has become a huge, very neurotic basketcase, gleefully rolling around in a great vat of xenophobia, fascist politics, and by doing so, created an alarmingly large social divide. This, I think, has happened since 9/11. Except, it should not be this way. Because the American's noted above have forgotten what those terroists real goal was all along. “Terrorism” is about instilling terror, as the name is defined, leading to social, economic, and political disorder in the target nation. We should have been better than this, but because we failed to take the higher ground here, we let in the radical Right, and thus gave the terroist a victory.

And what have we accomplished for ourselves? The goal -as I assume was once thought - was to make Iraq and Afghanistan more like us, but sadly, we’ve become much more like them. We've invovlved ourselves in an utterly pointless war at the cost of over a trillion dollars, thus bankrupting (not to mention demoralizing) this great nation. So, what is left? The only thing I see is we're fighting over the scraps of a once-mighty economy in the shadow of an external threat that is, for the most part, in our heads.

The Tea Party's goals are supposedly about taking back America. The problem is, I don't see what from. These people, while probably well meaning in some regards, wrap themselves in the American flag, claiming they are patriots with roots that go back to the Founding Fathers (as flawed as they were, being slave owners and all). However, much like the Catholic Church I was brought up in, when you poke around their history, when you show their logic has no merits, when you shine the light of truth into the dark corners of their reality, they become nothing more than bullies trying to protect what they’re not really losing. But I fear the Republicans and the Tea Party people want to bait and switch the people of USA into electing a leader -whether it be Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney - who can easily manipulate the less educated into thinking that it does not take brains to run this country, just some good all know-how taken from a Martha Stewart magazine article or a pretend world of the 1950s where black people knew their place, where the homosexuals where deep in the closet, and where the reality never even came through your TeeVee.

And even if you believe that politics is merely a pendulum, swinging from conservative to liberal every few years, it does not erase the fact that making up lies is what conservatives are truly about.

So, where do we stand then? How do you decide who is good for America? Well, first off, we no longer decide who is good for all, we only decide who is good for me. We've let this schism between us grow because, in truth, we're all selfish pricks. We've let people become poweful polictical leaders based on the theory that Americas social system should run only on black and white thoughts. But as much as the Right wants to make that way, being all right and wrong, it can never be. The world runs like a toy Top - and it has a set of simple rules: it spins until it runs out of energy, but it will never stop in the same place twice. The real world runs much the same way. And no matter how you try to control it, you can’t make everyone see the same thing.

Right now, we've let these people and their fear of certain social issues drain the energy out of what should be the most important issue in November midterm elections and the the 2012 presidential race: our wrecked economy. Sure the Tea Party is concerned with that, but right now they're biggest issues seem to be letting the gays get married, harrassing anyone who does not believe in religion and letting in people who think that any government to the left of a certain point simply should not be allowed to exist in America.

Thus we would ask ourselves whether we still have a democracy if one party reserves the right, like guerrilla warlords, to destabilize any duly elected government that doesn’t meet its criteria of acceptability.

These are the simple goals of people like Christine O’Donnell, who has once ascertained that she was a Satanist. Theoretically then, this should have the Christian Right fleeing from her campaign. But since she is supported by wack-a-doodle Sarah Palin, they simply chose to ignore her history because it suits their political agenda. Which simply translates to the Christians that their politics mean more to them than their god.

Then there is Paladino, who has a very public record of sending a series of emails and mailers that were pretty offensive (Paladino is also the guy who thinks that poor people should be placed in renovated prisons where they can be taught about personal hygiene). But instead of fleeing from that, as a conservative Christian should do, he was able to lock the republican nomination for governor of the nation’s third most populous state from them by running on a “family values” platform.

Had this happened on the democratic side of the ticket, the Right would have attacked it. But what do we get from them, what does FOX News have to say about it?

Nothing. All we get from them is the chirping sounds of crickets. Because, as per usual, the conservatives are the party of do as I say, not as I do.

And there is the so-called libertarians, who just use the word "when you want to say 'conservative' but need an extra syllable," as someone noted. As it was pointed out to me, libertarianism is "basically been practiced largely by selfish people who despise taxes and claim to hate government involvement in their lives . . . until it’s time to get some free shit from that government for themselves, and then you better fucking believe they want what they feel is their due and will scream bloody murder if they don’t get it."

To me then, is not a “libertarian” nothing more than a republican who is ashamed to admit it?

I also believe fascism has come to America, we see it everyday in the form of the Tea Party, with people who've wrapped themselves in the flag, who are carrying a cross, who are sitting in a lawn chair and who believe anything Sarah Palin says is the God's truth. More so than anything, I believe these people are most dangerous to the United States than letting gays marry. They are the ones who will wipe their asses with the Constitution.

In the end, these Tea Party people can help the democrats -even if a majority of them are as useful as teats on a bull, as my mom would say. I think between today and the November midterms, we'll see what the Tea Party truly is: a bunch of radical, bigoted folks who don't know the difference between their ass and a hole in the ground.

For the democrats, they need to make this economy start to move and stop diddling with theselves. And that being an intellectual does not equate to being Anti-American.

18 September 2010

Books: On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (1987)


Tim Powers is a great fantasy writer and probably a very underrated author. Like Charles de Lint, his fantasy novels are set in the real world, only in a world where magic still exists. On Stranger Tides is well researched historical novel about pirates, creepy voodoo, adventure, romance, magic and the search for the Fountain of Youth. It is the story of John Chandagnac, an itinerant puppeteer on a journey to the Caribbean to confront the uncle who cheated his father out of the family fortune. Things get complicated, however, when his ship is captured by pirates and he finds himself made an unwilling member of their crew. As he comes to fully inhabit the world of the pirates, he encounters the terrible powers which still hold sway in the untamed New World. All the while, he must find a way to save the woman he loves from a hideous fate.

Powers novel, released back in 1987, is sort of homage to Disneyland’s Pirates of the Carribean ride. The author grew up in Anaheim and spent his time at the theme park. But while its inspired by it, the novel becomes complex and at times, weighed down in too much ennui.

I remember when this novel was originally published, but I sort of passed it over. It was out of print for a number of years and since now published by small publisher Babbage Press, this novel is being loosely adapted in Pirates of the Carribean 4, which will be released in the summer of 2011. To be honest, that was the reason I finally ordered the book. I wanted to see what the book was about and how much Disney will change the premise to fit its franchise, I mean its full of voodoo, zombies, blood, gore, and bazaar fantasies on the part of one of the bad guys. So expect a lot of toning down of this stuff. Also, Disney is adding new characters to the film that will not appear in the book.

As a whole, I liked the book, but will admit it was a bit laborious to get through. Powers writing is strong and he writes, at times, in great detail. Some of which is rather pointless and difficult.

It’s worth the read, though. And it should be an interesting counterpoint to Disney’s fourth film in their Pirates of the Carribean franchise. If anything, it might introduce Tim Powers to a whole slew on new fans who will take up his work.

Books: Fat Vampire by Adam Rex (2010)


There is much to like in Fat Vampire - a tale about Doug Lee who is attacked by a desperate vampire, and finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night.

But sadly, after the this set up, the book becomes dull and rather pointless. Author Adam Rex had a great chance to create a thought-provoking tale that takes on teen angst, sexuality, identity, love, and undead, but the premise sinks under very unlikable characters, including its lead, Doug. There is a point at which having an antihero the center of the story becomes more of bad thing, you know.

And it could have been a great parody on the whole vampire genre that has gone through the young adult section since Twilight. And given its great cover, you sort of expect it was. But its really a mess, and misleading. And what’s with the gay villain? And why does another teen vampire in the novel, Victor, need to concoct the story that the vampire who created him was a female and not a male?

As I said, there is not one redeeming good thing about Doug, and you can’t help but think he is one big douche bag. If that was the point of Rex’s novel, to say all teenagers are that way, then I missed the point. At little over 300 pages, Fat Vampire is a tortuous read.

I don’t hate the novel, but I clearly see a missed opportunity to create a fairly decent parody on the trendy vampire genre of late. Clearly, even his publishers saw the flaw of the novel, by creating a fairly unique cover.

09 September 2010

Thursday


Tomorrow finishes my first week back at work after my three week film shoot up in beautiful city of Seattle. Judas Kiss wrapped principle photography at 4am Sunday. It was, perhaps, the best time I've ever had. Sure it was hard -12 hour days, six days a week (and the final week of overnights) - but I cannot say when I've so much fun.

Since the film is set on at a school, we filmed on location at the University Of Washington, a sprawling campus that was equally impressive in size as well as beauty. The weather, which started hot and humid for the first four days, turned pleasant for the remainder of the shoot. The legendary clouds, rain and cool weather near materialized. Well, we did have clouds, and some lite rain, but nothing that might want me to move away to sunnier, warmer climates. Oh sure, those three weeks should not be used as a barometer, but it sure was a pretty place. I could, maybe, see myself living up there when California finally gets too rich for me.

Since being back, I've dived back into work at Borders. It's one place, sadly, that stays the same. It's continued focus on the wrong things will doom it. But I don't care anymore. My plans are to be out of there before Christmas. And while I know I've said that before (what's that sound, maybe a broken record?), but I have the confidence to say that I will not be there this holiday season (so listen up, the Gods of Good Fortune).

I've posted pics over at my Facebook page on Seattle and Judas Kiss (judaskissmovie.com). If you go there, please sign up on the Judas Kiss fan page as well. If you do, you can see where the film is as post-production ramps up.

One of things that location filming causes is a lack of TV viewing. The long hours prevent you from enjoying such things. As a matter of fact, this past Saturday (when I watched the Notre Dame football game with Richard Harmon) was the first time in three weeks I had watched any TV. Found out I did not miss it. But it was August. Nothing is on in August.

LOL.

The weekend ahead brings me back to my usual routine, but one now filled with a purpose. I hope I can live up to them. But only time and fate will tell.

Y'know.

06 September 2010

Judas Kiss stars (and me)

Timo Descamps


Richard Harmon
Charlie David
Brent Corrigan

24 August 2010

What's new

Nothing, really. Filming continues on Judas Kiss (judaskissmovie.com). We're near the hump point in the film, and everyday is an adventure. The weather continues to be nice, and the work hard, but satisfying. Borders can suck my right ball if they think I'll be there any much longer. This is the life.

I would ask anyone who comes here to go over to Facebook and join the Judas Kiss Fan Page. It's updated daily. We need every fan we can get.

21 August 2010

Judas Kiss update

Judas Kiss (judaskissmovie.com) continues filming, as we conclude our first full week of production. With two more to go, we are gathering steam to make sure we get our shots needed, plus finish on time. Today is another long shift, but its still fun and enlightening. Makes it hard when you go to bed at 3 am and is awake by 7, but I can sleep when I get back to work on September 5!

We have a great cast led by Charlie David, Richard Harmon, Timo Decamps and Brent Corrigan. A great supporting cast and brilliant production team led by our director JT Tepnapa and producer Carlos Pedraza.

Join the the Judas Kiss fan page over at Facebook to keep an eye on what is happening here at the University of Washington in the great city of Seattle.

18 August 2010

Judas Kiss is filming

So, up in Seattle filming Judas Kiss (judaskissmovie.com). The weather has been warm, but the production itself has had little or no problems. We've wrapped early each of the four days, which is good considering we can film up to 12 hours. The cast has been great, Richard Harmon, Timo Decamps, Brent Corrigan and Charlie David are perfect. Julia Morizawa shines as always. Julian LaBanc (of GossipBoy web site) was wonderful. Dave Berry, our DP, is a man with an Oscar in his future.

Our director, JT Tepnapa, is having the time of his life, and it shows in the way he's handled his actors.

We've done two location shoots, one at a music studio and another at a house overlooking over Puget Sound. Now that place was gorgeous, and awe inspiring. For the rest of the week, we're at the University of Washington (where we are based), also known as U Dub,

06 August 2010

V casts their Diana and guess who's playing her?

At last months San Diego Comic-Con, show runner Scott Rosenbaum hinted that the mother of Anna, leader of the Visitors on ABC’s remake of V would be appearing. Who would be playing the recurring role was not mentioned, however TV Guide has confirmed that the role of Diana will be played by none other than Jane Badler, who played Diana, the villainous leader of the aliens out to suck the water off the Earth, back in the NBC version. So, while her character name will remain the same, the question is, will this Diana have any link to the other Diana, or have they transplanted the character and just given her a new history?

Badler, who made a career out of playing villains, has spent the last 20 years living in Australia -where the revived Mission: Impossible TV series was filmed from 1988 to 90 - married to businessman Stephen Hains. They have two sons, Sam and Harry. For the last 4 months, she’s been on the Australian soap opera Neighbours, playing another villain, Diana Marshall.

05 August 2010

Is the long-delayed Star Wars TV series dead?

Airlock Alpha confirms the long gestating (announced way back in 2005) Star Wars TV may never see the light of day. George Lucas himself told fans at a recent screening of The Empire Strikes Back that the “live action TV show is kind of on hold because we have scripts, but we don't know how to do them. They [the episodes] literally are Star Wars, only we're going to have to try to do them at a 10th of the cost. And it's a huge challenge, a lot bigger than what we thought it was gonna be."

While the premise has shifted over the years -it started as a sort of day in life of Boba Fett, with the series set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, which then was dropped but seems have picked up steam again thanks to the Cartoon Networks Clone Wars animated series the show itself would be "much darker, much grittier, and it's much more character-based" than the original movies.

Of course, being Lucas, everything has to be big. And sometimes, as seen in the later trilogy, big did not mean better. Star Wars works, like most TV shows and movies, when the bigness, the set pieces, are toned down, thus allowing the story and the character to take center stage and not the CGI effects.

04 August 2010

Horror-scope

Plucked this off my FB page:

"According to his Zodiac (VIRGO) sign, David's modest and shy, meticulous and reliable, practical and diligent, intelligent and analytical, fussy and a worrier, overcritical and harsh, perfectionist and conservative."

Almost everything right, I think. Conservative? Like Nutcase in a Box conservative?

I don't think so.

02 August 2010

Veteran screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz dies

Screenwriter/director/producer Tom Mankiewicz perhaps best known for his work on the James Bond films and his contributions to Superman: The Movie and the television series, Hart to Hart died on Friday of cancer. He was 68. The son of celebrated screenwriter/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (who won Oscars for both directing and writing for A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve), he began his career in the theater and TV.

But it was writing the book for Georgy Girl that drew him the attention of David Picker and James Bond producer Albert Broccoli. The two were looking for a writer to do a major reworking of Diamonds Are Forever in hopes of luring Sean Connery back to play Bond. He was hired on a two-week guarantee, but eventually stayed on the film for six months and received shared screenplay credit with the original writer, Richard Maibaum. This began a long relationship with the Bond films, as Mankiewicz received sole writing credit on the next, Live and Let Die, shared credit with Maibaum on The Man with the Golden Gun, did an uncredited rewrite on The Spy Who Loved Me, and helped Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert get Moonraker off the ground.

When director Richard Donner was hired to helm Superman: The Movie and Superman II (which were to be filmed simultaneously) he felt the scripts were unwieldy and too campy. He brought Mankiewicz aboard to do a complete overhaul. Mankiewicz stayed on the production for more than a year. Donner gave Mankiewicz a separate credit in the main title: “Creative Consultant.” The Writer’s Guild, however, objected to this on two grounds; first, that the traditional script arbitration process was being bypassed and second, that Mankiewicz’s credit came after the original screenwriters and not before them, implying that his contribution was more important. The dispute went to a legal hearing, yet in the end, Mankiewicz won. His credit remained where it was on Superman: The Movie, but he agreed to have it come just before the listed screenwriters on Superman II.

Warner Bros. then signed Mankiewicz to an exclusive deal that kept him busy “fixing” films. He wrote scenes for Gremlins, and Richard Donner’s The Goonies as well as WarGames. He also wrote the first draft of Batman. Donner then brought him onto Ladyhawke. He received shared screenplay credit and a separate credit as “Creative Consultant.”

Mankiewicz wrote and directed the two-hour pilot for Hart to Hart, which starred Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers. The series ran for five years and later was the subject of eight two-hour network and cable movies. Mankiewicz received his “Creative Consultant” credit on each episode, while directing seven of them. He also directed the final cable movie, Till Death Do Us Hart.

27 July 2010

Books: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (2010)


In the finale of this series, Stieg Larsson pulls out all the bells and whistles to give us a satisfying ending to the arc started in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and continued in "The Girl Who Played With Fire."

In "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest", we begin only moments after the second book ended, with Lisbeth Salander near death after being shot and buried alive by her father and half-brother. Of course, she does survive. But survival comes at a cost. While she’s been cleared of the murders she was accused of in the second book, she still is facing charges related to her attack on her father. But the sinister forces that had her declared mentally incompetent and that had sent her to a cruel institution when she was a child are reactivated due to the events of the second novel. Their goal is too get her locked up again and are working to have her charged with two murders along with the attempted murder of her father, that Russian gangster.

The only one who believes she’s innocent of everything is faithful Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist, who now must risk his life and those who surround him, to prove to the courts that Lisbeth Salander maybe antisocial, violent and stubborn, but she does have a moral code. And that her civil rights were violated and someone needs to pay for that.

The novel works in Cold War conspiracies and along with what was probably Larsson’s life work: some men’s hatred of women, and the threat to Swedish democracy posed by right-wing elements in the security service. Through Salander -whom Larsson said is a twisted version of the popular Swedish children’s heroine, Pippi Longstocking - the author gives voice to those who would do anything and everything to degrade women. Some have accused Larsson of being a misogynist, by creating such female character as Lisbeth -who seems to be bisexual, who gets her ass kicked from time-to-time, without being able to do anything about her victimization and other such things. However, I think that was his point.

The same, I guess, can be said about the subplot in this book dealing with Millennium’s Editor-in Chief, Erika Berger. She takes a new job as editor of a major newspaper and butts heads with the male dominated editorial staff and quickly acquires a stalker who begins sending her notes calling her a “whore.” It has no bearing on the main story, and really seems to be there to show the female readers of his books that he is aware of all those oppressed women in the work place. Norma Rae he might not be, but he understands their issues.

Larsson ties up most of the storylines begun in the first two books, and yet, if I’m not mistaken, there was a hint at where the series would have probably went next -the search for Lisbeth’s twin sister -rumors fueled by Larsson’s long-time girlfriend suggest a fourth book was near completion when the author died in 2004. If there is no more, the trilogy ends with no major plots left unsolved.

In the end, the phenomena that is Stieg Larsson and his bestselling Millennium series can overcome certain aspects of books -the lurid tales of dirty old men who hate women and will do anything -including murder - to keep them down. They are intelligent, well paced thrillers that will make you want to tell your friends and family to read these books.

James Patterson only wishes he could write this good.

24 July 2010

Quote of the Day

The Sherrod affair has unfortunately confirmed my suspicion of the Obama administration: it has no backbone.

The administration seems not to realize that American politics is a contact sport, not a cerebral exercise. An attack demands an immediate counterattack. Smearing Shirley Sherrod was an attack; firing her was not a counterattack, it was a misguided attempt at damage control.

The Democratic position on virtually every issue (including, or especially, the economy) is far stronger than the opposition’s, but the administration’s defense of its policies is tepid at best.

The Sherrod affair shows that the right keeps on attacking, even when it is wrong, and the left keeps on retreating, even when it is right. For this Democratic president and this Democratic Congress, this is not a formula for success.

Charles T. Grant
Minneapolis, July 22, 2010

19 July 2010

Casting Judas Kiss

Julia Morizawa
Tim Foutch
Timo Descamps

Julian LeBlanc

These are five more stars of director J.T. Tepnapa's film JUDAS KISS. Written by Carlos Pedraza and J.T. Tepnapa, the film begins production next month.

Go to www.judaskissmovie.com for more info.