Friday, November 30, 2007

Juno Review

My friend Lee and I saw an advanced screening for "Juno", about a sixteen-year-old who "accidentally" gets pregnant. Though I initially was hesitant about it (as was
Lee) as it may be extremely sappy, it came across as quite humorous and even

I have compared it to the best of Dan Clowes movie work like "Ghost World" in
style, as well as "Little Miss Sunshine" in attitude, so if you like either of
those films, you will probably enjoy "Juno".

Everyone does a credible acting job, especially people who kind of surprised me
like Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the hopeful adoptive couple. Ellen
Page is really outstanding as the teenage mom to be, with a surly and nasty edge
to her, and she looks young enough to be 16, even though in real life she's actually 20 (21 in February).

It's funny that many in the cast has done a superhero movie. Ellen Page
portrayed Kitty Pryde in "X-Men 3: The Last Stand". J.K. Simmons (who portrays
Juno's father) is best known as J. Jonah Jameson in the "Spider-Man" films. Of
course, Jennifer Garner was Elektra in "Elektra" and "Daredevil". And Jason
Bateman did the voice of Hermes in an episode of "Justice League" (ok, it's a

Other good acting is by Allison "West Wing" Janney as the stepmom and Michael
"Superbad" Cera as the nerdy boyfriend who gets Juno pregnant in the first

We got free t-shirts and split a popcorn and enjoyed a great show worth seeing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beowulf is Amazing!!

Thanks to ASIFA (The International Animated Film Association), I got a free pass to an advance screening of "Beowulf". I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know it was animated, nor did I know that it was in 3-D until a few hours before seeing the picture.

I saw the picture and the Century Theaters in the new annex of the San Francisco Center and boy, are those nice theaters with leather seats and everything. The Center itself rivals the best of Las Vegas in their shopping areas.

Anyway, got the glasses, which were not cheap either. They were heavy duty "Austin Powers" type glasses with polarized lenses, the only way to see 3-D. Forget that "red-blue" stuff. We also got free popcorn and a drink to boot!

Unfortunately, someone didn't tell the projectionist how to run a 3-D film and the film look double-imaged, or basically how it looks without wearing the glasses. Some people gave up quickly and walked out, but the projectionist kept trying.

Eventually, after about a half-hour, the folks from Paramount apologized and said that they did not have a flat print, and they couldn't get the 3-D print to work, so people started filing out.

I was slowly gathering my things, because I never make a hasty exit out of the theater, when suddenly one stubborn guy started yelling and applauding. I quickly put the glasses back on and looked at the screen and it was in F*&%ing #-D!!

Now, I've seen 3-D films before, so the novelty isn't that new for me, but I was concerned more with the story than the effects. Let me tell you, YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM! If you've seen films like "Final Fantasy" or "Polar Express" and how they claim that this was lifelike animation, "Beowulf" blows it all away!! There were times when I thought that this was a live-action film, the animation was so good!

The effects were excellent, the story very entertaining and engaging with some elements of humor, and it was worth waiting for. Too bad 90% of the patrons had already left. They missed a great show and will probably tell their friends that 3-D and "Beowulf" sucks!

My highest recommendation!! 2007 has been the best year for films this decade by a longshot!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ringo in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Should Ringo be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an individual as
much as a member of The Beatles? Of course! If you are just looking at chart
action, Ringo has done more on the charts than George or even John ever did in
the solo years and he was the first ex-Beatle to have two back-to-back #1's
(from the same album, even)!

So what if Ringo doesn't write his own music all the time, he's the Beatle's
Beatle. Ringo is the only one seen hanging around consistently with the other
ex-Beatles. How often did you see John and Paul hang out together, or Paul and
George immediately after the break-up? Ringo was always the glue that held
everyone together and was able to get the others to help him out on his albums
consistently, and really enjoyed being around his "brothers".

Currently, you see Ringo and Paul hanging out together so often, you'd think
they were married!

Ringo is also the only one who could conceivably pull-off the All-Starr Band
concept year after year and keep his ego in check.

Ringo is also known for literally being "Ringo". Even people who don't know all
of The Beatles by name or looks or even know or care about The Beatles seem to
know Ringo by name or sight.

Ringo is also a survivor! When many of his contemporaries have left us (not
always by their own volition), Ringo continues on and on and soon into his 70s!
He battled drug and alcohol addictions, a near fatal car crash, and almost died
in the late 70s from an intestinal problem, yet he survived!

Ringo has never been respected as he has always been perceived as goofy, but
that goofiness is also charming and Ringo is also very lovable and intelligent
as well.

Without Ringo, there would be no Mr. Conductor, no All-Starr Bands, no "I'm the
Greatest" with John and George, no "Octopus's Garden", no "It Don't Come Easy",
no "Photograph", no "Ringo" album!

Sure, Ringo has put out a lot of crap ("Sextette", "Ringo the 4th", a cover of
"Where Did Our Love Go"), but he's always charming and interesting to watch what
he'll do next, which is more than you can say about 90% of others in the music,
movie, TV or animation fields.

Please induct him now!

My Encounter With Stan Lee

Reading Lee's Comics' recent encounter with Stan "The Man" Lee, reminded me of my own
"personal encounter" with him. Check out Lee Hester's blog on one of the links on this page.

I've seen Stan Lee being paraded around many times at the San Diego Comic
Convention (now called Comic Con International) during the 90s and 00s, but one
year (I believe it was 1995, but I've been to San Diego so many times, the
memory clouds as to exactly what year it was), I got to meet the man himself.

Anyway, on this particular occasion, I was doing my usual rounds on the sales
floor scanning the boxes for more elusive Harvey Comics and the like, when I
poked my head behind a half-closed curtain that was close by.

There was some rustling and that's what attracted my attention. Behind the
curtain was Stan Lee! He was packing up some stuff and placing it in a
briefcase. I introduced myself and then asked him what was going on.

Stan said that he just completed a presentation and that he was going to be
going shortly to a signing. I asked him, "Where is everyone?" Stan and I looked
around and realized that no one was around, so I decided to take this
opportunity to chat with him until his "handlers" arrived.

I asked him how the show was going for him and he said, "very well", and then we
started talking about just general stuff like current movies that we liked and
stuff. I also mentioned that I had a "Fantastic Four" book from the 70s with his
signature in it, and he said he probably signed it, because he signed a lot of
books like that in those days.

I mentioned my "Harveyville Fun Times!" publication and he wished me luck with
that as publishing is a difficult field to break into. Soon, someone came up
and said that Stan was needed for his signing. I said good luck to him and that
it was nice meeting and chatting with him. Stan agreed and was led away to his
next event, and I resumed looking through old boxes of books.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Disturbia Review

I had a free pass to see this before it came out, but either in conflicted with something else or I wasn't that interested in seeing it. In any case, I have now viewed it on DVD and it is a very good film. Just don't tell anyone it is really "Rear Window"!

I get annoyed with the dozens of remakes that are made every year and I always say that why don't filmmakers just take the same stories and create new characters and new situations with essentially the same plot, instead of just a straight remake. This is was happened here, and I think the film's better for it.

That's why "Risky Business" is as good as "The Cat in the Hat" (the book at least) and the recent "Martian Child" is as good as "Lilo and Stich" or "Clueless" is as good as "Emma" or "West Side Story" is as good as "Romeo and Juliet", etc., etc.

If you've seen "Rear Window" you know the basic plot, but instead of the voyeur being holed up due to a broken leg, he has a leg brace due to a conviction and cannot leave his home beyond 100 feet or so.

The suspected killer is near by and like "Rear Window", nobody believe the main character's paranoia. The main thing that sets this apart is that the story is updated to the 21st century to include the latest technology and attitudes. This is what really sets everything apart. The women in the film are sexy like in "Rear Window", but they're also strong and have no problem stabbing and kicking instead of just cowering in the corner while their man saves them.

Highly recommended!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Are Comic Books For Kids?

I read an article just now called, "An Audience Worth Fighting For!" by Zach Smith.

While I generally agree with the author's statements, I do disagree with the
statement that "Comic books were originally created for kids." While kids have
been the main readers of comic books since their inception, the realities are
that comic books were created to make money, which is why they aren't targeted
to kids anymore. The people who have money now and are willing to spend on comic
books are fans who grew up with the books, which is why they are targeted to

EC (and Harvey for that matter) did horror comics that many adults read, not
because they wanted to destroy young minds, but because they were making money
at it, and they enjoyed doing them. Sure, there were companies out there
concerned about such things as whether you are warping kids' minds (i.e. Archie)
and that's why they helped initiate the Comics Code, but also "Archie" didn't
sell half as well as those old horror books, so there was some personal interest
vested in getting a Code established.

That's like saying, "Animated cartoons were originally created for kids." I've
watched enough animation documentaries to confirm that most animation was
created by animators to entertain themselves. They really didn't care who was
watching it, and as long as they got their paycheck, they continued to put out
product. Since most "responsible" adults especially from the Great
Depression/WWII era considered spending any money on "frivolous junk" i.e. comic
books, it fell on the kiddies who had no concept of "saving money for a rainy
day", and would eagerly spend, so the books were geared towards them as a

Nowadays, since adults are very willing to spend hundreds, even thousands on a
single book, why print up a cheap 10c book for some kid to read and trash, when
you can print it in a deluxe hardback on glossy paper and charge a big price for
it! The content then has to follow suit so the Comics Code is more of a
formality than anything else.

It is the harsh realities of the industry.