Sunday, December 28, 2008

HAPPY HOLIDAYS



'Tis the season to be jolly and merry. Not work your behind off. Sadly, I'm doing both this holiday season. But I still am making time for family, the dog, and of course, catching up on my favorite all-time show, DARK SHADOWS.

I know, I know... I still haven't told you exactly what I've been working on in the DS realm. It's not the new Johnny Depp movie, I'll say that right now. Super-scribe John August is handling that one (check out his neato screenwriting blog for more info @ www.johnaugust.com ). But I will tell you that it involves a return to 1897, one of original series' greatest storylines, and it will be available for PURCHASE very soon! (Most likely Spring 2009.)

In other news, the 12th issue of "All-Star Superman" finally came out last month, so look for the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN - Tradeback Vol. 2 soon. It was 2008's BEST comic book... And speaking of comic books, I read a lot of new/good ones this year: ECHO, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, SUPERGIRL, INCOGNEGRO. Well, add FABLES (yes, I'm WAAAAAY behind the curve on finding this one!) to the list.

And yes, it's become my new OBSESSION.



Imagine the Big Bad Wolf (Bigby) as a hard-boiled noir detective, Snow White as a business executive, Prince Charming as a womanizing cad... and you've got the makings of comic book / fantasy storytelling at its best. BTW: Thanks to ERIC over at the House of Secrets for turning me onto this awesome series! I barreled through the first 4 tradebacks (approxmately the first 25-30 issues) and just couldn't stop reading.

Seriously, if you've been looking for something to satiate that SANDMAN jones you've been desperate to scratch... give FABLES a shot. I think you'll dig it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WHO IS "THE NEXT DOCTOR?"



It's actor David Morrisey.

But then why is David Tennant so pissed? I can't wait to find out either...

You gotta love Christmas (Specials).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

WATCH "LEVERAGE" TOMORROW!



It's the COOLEST NEW SHOW on Television.

That's right, the fun starts tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 7th) on TNT. It's a story about con artists who just might be fighting on the right side of the law... It's got an awesome cast! C'mon! Any show that has ANGEL's Christian Kane (wonder if his hand ever grew back?) and COUPLING/JEKYLL's supremely talented (and OH so gorgeous) Gina Bellman is a MUST WATCH. Oh. And there might be an Oscar winner on the show, too...



Yes. I'll fess up and admit that I have several good friends working on this show, so I'm a bit biased. But hey, I've already watched the pilot and would've continued to watch this show ever if it were written by strangers.

I think TNT might have another hit on their hands. And as a TV writer, I'm telling you... cable is a really exciting place to be these days. How many of your favorite shows are on the "other" networks these days? Lots of mine are: "Battlestar Galactica," "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," "Weeds," "Eureka" (yes, I'm very much a fan, too!), etc. Don't get me wrong. I can't wait for the new seasons of "Lost" and "24," and I never miss "The Office." And I'm really looking forward to "Dollhouse." I'm also digging the new shows, "Fringe" and "Eleventh Hour."

Hmmm... did I mention I watch a lot of TV?

But I'm glad there are more Networks out there finding success. 1) It means more places writers and aspiring writers can find jobs. 2) It provides for more diverse programming for today's diverse audiences. And now more than ever, that's important for America.

Yes, it's a good time to turn on the TV. See you Sunday night.

PS: Yes... because I'm a TV junkie, I WILL be watching THE LIBRARIAN: CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE beforehand, so there!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A FIERY COLLABORATION



So am I the last person on earth to find out the FIRMAN is Paul McCartney?

I guess so...

Well, I've been sooooo busy writing the last 6 weeks that I've had no life (more on that later). But I did manage to pick up the CD by The Fireman. Apparently, this is the third collaboration between Paul McCartney and producer Youth, but the first one to have vocals. I haven't heard the first two CDs, but this new one (which came out last week) is just... AWESOME.

Man, why hasn't Paul been putting out records like this all along?

It's raw, experimental, full of passion... all the things that Paul hasn't been famous for lately (okay... maybe the last one, but not the first two). It's like the guy who helped create "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" suddenly woke up... or emerged from a time warp... or went back to taking LSD... and started making badassed music again. Needless to say, this one's already gone into high rotation.



Paul... if you're out there listening... TOUR WITH THIS MUSIC. AND PLAY SMALL CLUBS. It's okay if the ticket costs a fortune. I'll pay it!!! And play multiple nights at the same, tiny venue. YES did this on "The Ladder" tour in 1999. I saw them in the intimate setting of LA's House of Blues. They played three nights in a row. I went all three nights (Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday). By Wednesday night, I was soooo spoiled. The entire audience really got a chance to explore the band in an intimate setting (Uh, that didn't come out right.) and really dig deeply into the music. And from what I read about the tour afterward, apparently it was just as rewarding for the musicians to play in smaller venues as it was for the audiences.

OK... back to work.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

WHO IS...



... The Reverend Gregory Trask?

Can you guess now what I've been up to for the last month?

More soon with an announcement on my latest project!

It's GEEK-TASTIC.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CHANGE IS NOW



Yesterday we let our voices be heard.

Today we are called to duty, the substance of which is to Recreate this great nation, these United States of America into a land where every person may be proud and prosperous and help lead this world into peace.

Let the differences that once kept us apart -- our races, creeds, religions, and orientations-- be our greatest strength at this critical hour for we dare not foresake this great challenge called the 21st Century. Let us instead be the Generation Now, answering the call while embracing each other in faith and kindness and transforming ourselves into agents of change, so that our enemies might become friends.

For only with hands clasped can we all form a perfect union.

And tell those who would doubt in the goodness of humanity that we believe. That each and every soul has meaning, that no man, woman, or child stands alone. That with compassion as our guide, no voice is too small to be heard.

Monday, November 3, 2008

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE...



... for a picture of the REAL Camp Crystal Lake in Connecticut.

I know, I know. Halloween was last week, but I've been working so much the last month that I barely noticed. So here's your Happy-Belated-Halloween photo for 2008. Oh, and did anyone else notice that there were fewer kids out trick-or-treating this year? We usually have close to 200 kids visit us in our neighborhood. This year it was down to 120. Look, I know the economy's bad, but jeez ... don't take Halloween away from the children!!!

As for what I've been working on, aside from a certain TV show, I should have news soon about a supremely geeky horror franchise project that I've been hired to be a part of -- talk about fun assignments! But more on that later. Right now, I'm going to catch up on my sleep...

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE TOMORROW!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TENNANT QUITS "DOCTOR WHO"



It's the end of an era.

I guess we'd all better really enjoy those DW specials next year. They're going to be his last.

Now that he's leaving, where will his Doctor be ranked? The best ever? Second to only Tom Baker? The debate begins NOW.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

THOSE "BUD" GUYS...



Check them out EIGHT YEARS LATER.

Should've gone with a darker beer, guys... say a Sierra Nevada? Or perhaps a microbrew?

AND DON'T FORGET TO VOTE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

OBAMA VS. McCAIN... DANCE OFF!



Hilarious, eh?

But what's most fascinating about this to me is the TECHNOLOGY behind it. I don't know who did this. But whoever did... is seriously talented. But that's not the real point. What's truly amazing is that as someone who works in Hollywood on movies and TV, where MILLIONS of dollars are being spent, someone out there has taken the technology available to anyone and just gone out and DONE something amazing.

Seriously. It's incredible videos like this that are part of an entertainment revolution, one I might add, that has certain sectors of the entertainment industry SCARED S@#TLESS. (I'll let you guess who).

I can't wait to see what happens when the person (or people) behind something like this turn their talents to creating original stories and content for the Internet. Sooner or later, someone out there is gonna come up with the next STAR WARS or GONE WITH THE WIND.

I don't know about you, but I see stuff like this and just get inspired. Plus, it's DAMN FUNNY, too.

Think about it.

(Man, if only they'd had this kind of technology available when I was in film school... )

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"VIXEN" AT LARGE... THIS WEDNESDAY



The DC UNIVERSE HALOWEEN SPECIAL 2008 hits comic shops everywhere this Wednesday, Oct. 22nd.

I had a blast contributing a short story to the collection called "Role Model," featuring VIXEN from the Justice League of America. For those who don't know, Vixen is a Black, female super-heroine who possesses all the powers of the animal kingdom (you know, the strength of a lion, the speed of cheetah, the vision of an eagle, etc.). Although lately... she's gained the ability to absorb the powers of any superhero around her. Which means when she's standing next to Superman, she becomes the strongest person on the planet!

But you don't need to know any of that to enjoy the story. What you should know is that it's a short, hopefully inspiring, story about gender and racial empowerment. Or maybe it's just a story where Vixen kicks some super villain ass. Oh, and like all the stories in the collection, it has a wacky Halloween slant to it.

Hmmm. Are you intrigued?

Would You Like To Know More? (heh.)

The following blurb comes from the project's guru, DC editor Eddie Berganza:

"The leaves are falling, there's a nip in the air, and there're scary little creatures showing up at your door begging for treats…it's Halloween!!! We want to be sure to have the DC Universe Special Halloween '08 ready for that night, so we've got some stops to make along the way. With the aid of Mark (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA/ HEROES) Verheiden and Dennis Calero, we've summoned ghost detectives Ralph and Sue Dibny to be our guides to some spooky places in the DCU.

We start off in Gotham City as Brian Reed and Darick Robertson introduce us to some reluctant trick-or-treaters, who find that what goes "bump" in the night in this city can be very deadly. Then we get dragged to Arkham Asylum by new writer Brad Desnoyer and DMZ's Riccardo Burchielli, where we wind up fighting for our lives against an unexpected ghoul with -- get this -- Two-Face as our hero!

To relax, we try to catch a flick with Eureka's Eric Wallace and newcomer artist Tony Shasteen, but the monsters start coming off the screen, forcing Vixen into action and us to an early exit. I don't wanna mention where we found the Scarecow…that's for Mikey Way (of "My Chemical Romance" fame making his comics writing debut with new artist Mateus) to explain, but we almost lost our heads over this one.

Then it's off to Salem, Massachusetts to check in on Doctor Fate's Tower. Assistant Editor Harvey Richards with Federico Dallocchio does a fine job of reporting that the young Faust has everything taken care of and it's OK to move on. Over in Metropolis, we find that the Daily Planet has some old ghosts to deal with courtesy of SUPERMAN/BATMAN cowriter Mike Johnson with FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT's Matthew Clark.

It's already been a scary trip when we meet up with the Demon and his pal writer/artist Duncan Rouleau as we learn that you really gotta watch who you give candy to in the dark corners of the DCU.

Finally, I try to bring Halloween to Oa, but Trevor Hairsine and I just wind up awakening some deep-rooted nightmares for Kyle Rayner. Next time I'll listen to Geoff Johns and stay on Earth.

And if you thought all of this was exciting, just wait 'til you see what's happening for the DCU HOLIDAY SPECIAL this winter!"


Ooooh -- I can't wait to read the other stories!

OK. Enough shameless promotion!

Go out and BUY IT this week!

And HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WHO SAYS POLITICS CAN'T BE FUN?



It doesn't matter who you vote for.

Just make sure your voice is heard.

Vote.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

TAKIN' IT BACK WITH BARACK... JACK!



Check out this groovy jazz tune that tells it like it is!

Go, Barack, go!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A THOUGHT PROVOKING JOURNEY



Yes, I'm a busy bee these days. Between the day job, family, the dog, then a few exciting new projects (more on those in later postings), it's easy to see why great things slip through the cracks all the time. Well, last night I finally got to the DC/Vertigo graphic novel INCOGNEGRO on my reading pile. (You know... that big pile of books on your night stand that never seems to shrink no matter how much you read?).

WOW.

Folks... I'll save my usual hyperbole and just cut to the chase:

READ THIS BOOK.

INCOGNEGRO is a story of racism and redemption in the American South, circa 1920. It is fiction, yet it is truth. It is harsh, but also compassionate. It's also a damn good story with a nice twist in the end. Yes, "All-Star Superman" might be the most fun and enjoyable graphic novel I've read this year, but INCOGNEGRO is the most important.

WARNING: This book is definitely NOT for kids. We're talking 18-and-older, due to intense violence.

Just as a brief primer, I'll say that it's the story of a black reporter who sneaks into the racist South in order to do some very dangerous investigative journalism. It's a story from a time we'd all like to forget about, but dare not. Now if only I could write the screenplay for this movie and Spike Lee would direct it... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Thank you to writer Mat Johnson & artist Warren Pleece for creating this -- also thank you to DC COMICS for having the BALLS to publish this. Don't let their work be for nothing.

GO OUT AND READ THIS BOOK.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

DO YOU LIKE PORN?



NO.

Of course NOT.

And NEITHER do I.

But if we all DID... it would be like this: PG-rated and hilarious!!! And there's even "Firefly" / "Dr. Horrible" 's NATHAN FILLION to boot. Yes, it's all part of director James Gunn's groovy new web series, "PG PORN."

Trust me, you'll never look at a nail gun the same way again...

http://www.pgporn.tv/?loc=interstitialskip

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MY AWESOME DOG



How awesome is my dog?

So I'm playing bass the other day. You know, just noodling around, and I stumble over this really cool groove. As usual, Barney is sitting nearby hanging out. I'm playing, and I hit this really low, LOUD note. He jumps up. I tell him, "It's okay. It's just ROCK." He looks at me kinda funny, then trots over near my amp. I start playing again, really slow, slow notes. And then, ol' Barney begins to sing along. Actually, HOWL ALONG in a low pitch!!!

IT WAS SOOOO AWESOME! I HAVE A MUSICAL DOG!!!

Of course, I thought this was a one-time thing...

CUT TO:

Me playing drums yesterday. And Mr. Barney trots over again, and this time JOINS right in with the howling. Next thing you know, me and doggie are making music! Dude, it's enough to make me cry. It was so frickin' CUTE!!!

Yes, I have the best dog on the planet.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

THE TRILOGY IS COMPLETED...



... AND IT'S NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.

If you like Italian horror movies as much as I do, you already know who DARIO ARGENTO is.

DEEP RED... BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE... TENEBRE... all of them, CLASSICS. Along with Mario Bava (the godfather of Italian horror), Riccardo Freda, and Antonio Margheriti, Argento showed the world that England's Hammer studios wasn't the only place to produce brilliant spookfests in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Argento, however, is the most well-known of the bunch, continuing to produce and direct disturbing and hallucinogenic horror films up to the present day.

Now, at the ripe ol' age of 67, Argento has unleashed another masterpiece upon an unsuspecting world. It's called MOTHER OF TEARS, and it's the conclusion to a trilogy that began almost 30 years ago.

I watched MOTHER OF TEARS this weekend, and was just blown away. It's pure, unfiltered, classic Argento: gory, insane, beautiful, and dreamlike.

WARNING: THIS FILM IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.

We're talking horror fanatics ONLY. Definitely not for the squeamish.

Seriously, folks. If you don't like intensely gory flicks, don't watch this. And if you like straight forward, more coherent plots... forget about it. The stories in an Argento film unfold like a nightmare. They are full of Lynchian dream logic, which means sometimes they just don't make rational sense. Yet they still speak powerfully on a subconscious level. Also, the sheer gorgeousness of the cinematography--an Argento trademark--is tremendously powerful, resulting in a masterful, blood-drenched cacophony that's reminiscent of a car accident. It's horrifying, yet irresistible... you're compelled to look at it.

True horror fans are going to LOVE this movie (as I did). Those looking for heady themes and character arcs should look elsewhere. This is pure, horrific visual splendor.

And how does MOTHER stand up to the earlier entries in the series, SUSPIRIA and INFERNO? Perfectly!!! And that's what's so amazing. Watching this movie was like being transported back in time. The look and feeling of MOTHER might be more like Argento's other masterpiece, OPERA, but the story, characters, and schizophrenic-yet-violent beauty are right on par with Parts I & II. In fact, I'm going out on a limb here to say that I may have liked this one just as much as INFERNO. (Talk to me again after a second viewing. And for the record, SUSPIRIA... the supreme masterpiece of Italian horror, remains unequaled to this day.) BTW: special mention goes to composer Claudio Simonetti, whose score for MOTHER is awesome. Same thing goes for the film's top-notch gore/make-up/visual effects. Wow. They're just phenomenal! Throw in the beautiful and talented Asia Argento (Dario's daughter), and you've got, well... CLASSIC ARGENTO. A small, but pivotal role by DARIA NICOLODI was just wonderful icing on an already very enjoyable cake.

Ultimately, MOTHER OF TEARS isn't just a great ending to the "Three Mothers" trilogy, but it's also one of Argento's BEST films. It's definitely--IMHO--his best since the brilliant and crazy THE STENDAHL SYNDROME (another Dario/Asia collaboration).

Thank you, Dario, for finishing the trilogy with such a fantastic, original, and mind-blowing film. And to those interested in checking it out this Halloween, all I can say is... you've been warned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

THEY'RE BACK



After canceling their summer tour, YES is back.

Go to the link below for more details on the first leg of the tour, which starts this November!!! Sadly, vocalist Jon Anderson is still suffering from throat problems and fatigue, so they'll have a replacement singer this time out. But hey... if that means they'll play songs from "Drama" now, then who cares?!!

http://www.yesworld.com/

I'll tell you, I've seen this band 32 times now. And it's NOT ENOUGH. Now if they'll just announce some SoCal dates for the second leg. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to fly to Ohio...

Hmmm. Maybe I can catch a show AND visit the old neighborhood. After all...

"Toledo is just another good stop along the good king's highway..."

Monday, September 22, 2008

FINALLY... A BOND THEME THAT'S NASTY!!!



There's a new JAMES BOND flick coming out this November, which means it's time for a new BOND SONG.

Now I love Bond songs. Not only are they performed by top artists, but they always find some hilarious, over-the-top way to integrate the film's title--no matter how ridiculous it might be--in a way that's actually cool. Plus, there's usually a lot of big, "wall of sound" type orchestration to add to the fun. Simply put, a good Bond song is like a damn good party: a bit dangerous, but always memorable. But as much as I like them, there's one thing the modern Bond theme songs have been lacking in the last decade or so.

And that's BALLS.

Call me old fashioned, but I love brazen, ballsy anthems like the ones for "Thunderball" and "Live and Let Die." Yes, "For Your Eyes Only" is a great song, but... balls? Sorry. And for the record, I'm not referring to gender here. Shirley Bassey's performance on "Diamonds Are Forever" has ROCKIN' BALLS. By "balls" I'm referring to PURE, ADRENALINE-FUELED BRAVADO.

Well, apparently some folks are up in arms about the new Bond song, "Another Way to Die," which is performed by Jack White & Alicia Keys. They think it sucks. Hmmm. Well, I decided to listen to the song for myself this morning and make up my own mind.

Are they NUTS?!!!! THIS SONG IS F@#KING BADASSED!!!!



Holy crap... this is the BEST Bond song in YEARS. As I write this, I'm now listening to it for the FOURTH time in a row. I just can't get enough of this cut. Take about balls, and they're SEXY, DIRTY, NASTY BALLS, too, thanks to Alicia's uber-awesomeness which gives Jack's riffs the perfect touch of class.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Go to the official web link below and judge for yourself.

http://www.thirdmanrecords.com/?loc=interstitialskip

I think you're gonna dig it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A DREAM FULFILLED



Cool cover, eh?

It's for next month's DC UNIVERSE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2008, and I've contributed a short 7-page story to it called "Role Model." It's a dream fulfilled because I've been reading comics all my life and now, finally, I get to write for a medium that's soooo close to my heart. I had such a blast writing this one--it's a special Halloween themed story starring VIXEN from the Justice League of America--hopefully they'll be more on the horizon.

The DC UNIVERSE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2008 hits local comic book stores on Wednesday, October 22.

Monday, September 15, 2008

REMEMBERING RICHARD WRIGHT



Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright passed away today at age 65 after losing a battle with cancer.

My condolences and best wishes to his family and friends during this time.



Unfortunately, I only saw Pink Floyd just once in 1987 on the "Momentary Lapse of Reason" tour. At the time, I remember thinking that there was no way they would play my all-time favorite PF song, "Echoes." After all, it was just too long and obscure. This was, after all, the EIGHTIES. Four minute pop songs by A-ha ruled the airwaves.

Well... that night in Austin, TX at the second of two nights at the Frank Erwin Center, Pink Floyd OPENED with "Echoes." And I mean, all 27 minutes of it, complete with a weird-ass slide guitar solo in the middle and everything! Needless to say, I was literally transported to another planet and my concert experiences were never quite the same.

When Pink Floyd reunited for Live 8 in 2005, I remember watching the show with my wife. She was blown away at seeing "Comfortably Numb" brought to life by the men who created it, having only experienced the song on the radio. I remember hoping that I wasn't witnessing the final live performance of the Floyd, but also being happy, because if I were seeing their Final Cut... how fitting that it should be one of their greatest ever.

Thanks, Richard, for all the great music and memories. You will be missed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TERRY MOORE OFFERS UP A NEW STRANGER...



Speaking of comic books...

I was at my local comic store, HOUSE OF SECRETS, the other day and I finally picked up Terry Moore's ECHO tradeback. (Some of you may know Terry from his groundbreaking graphic novel series, "Strangers In Paradise.") The cover, a woman standing in some kind of bizarre metal rainstorm, had caught my eye several times... but for whatever reason I never picked up the book. Until now. And boy, am I glad I did.

ECHO is fantastic.

The tradeback pictured above, "Moon Lake," collects the first five issues. So far it's the story of a female photographer who stumbles over some kind of secret military nuclear test. No, it's doesn't change her into the Hulk. But it does change her life forever. I won't spoil the mystery by saying how, but I will say that it's really cool.

What I love best about the book is how deeply it engages you in the main character's messy personal life. She's going through a divorce, something REALLY BAD happened to her family (which I'm dying to find out exactly what in future issues), and now she's hearing the voice of a dead woman in her head. Yet the book still has a wonderful sense of humor, great art, and a sense of honesty that's missing from most literature, let alone comic books, these days.

Apparently the latest issue (#6) just hit stands. Guess I gotta go back to store ASAP...

Check it out. I think you'll like it. A LOT.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

WORDS & MUSIC



So, I'm sitting at my writing desk, cranking out pages and listening to CAMILLE.

Who, exactly, is Camille? Well, I didn't know who she was until a month ago either. She's this cool, avant-garde French singer/songwriter who's just fantastic. Not only are the songs excellent, but her voice is just... special. It's not just the range, it's also the way she sings around words and syllables. The way she seems to attack language, but still maintain a fragile clarity at the same time. The way she uses her voice as its own instrument...

Damn awesome stuff.

Sometimes weird, sometimes beautiful, but always inescapably enchanting.

Check out the clip below in which Camille, sans band, uses sampled triggers of her own voice to create a musical bed over which she then sings... WILD, INSPIRING STUFF, eh?!



The picture below is from her first album, "Le Sac des Filles," and it's quickly gone into heavy rotation on my iTunes playlists.



Of course, this got me to thinking -- "What do I listen to when writing?" The thing I've noticed most is that I can't listen to anything with words (in English), because if I do, I end up concentrating too much or getting distracted by lyrics. Which means I write to a ton of instrumental stuff. So without further ado, here are my top ten favorite CDs to write to:



1. "Batman Begins" Soundtrack - Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
2. "Live Evil" - Miles Davis (pictured above)
3. "Symphonic Holocaust" - Morte Macabre
4. "Dusty Trails" (the instrumental tracks) - Dusty Trails
5. "The Amazing Pudding" (and other instrumentals) - Pink Floyd
6. "Le Sac des Filles" - Camille
7. "De Futura" (and anything else this crazy by) - Magma
8. "Ghosts I-IV" + "Various Instrumentals from The Fragile" - Nine Inch Nails
9. "The Fog" & "Prince of Darkness" Soundtracks - John Carpenter
10. "Nocturnes" - Claude Debussy



That Claude's a snappy dresser, eh? Maybe I should try a bow tie sometime...

OK. Time to stop procrastinating and go back to work...

Monday, August 25, 2008

DOCTOR WHO... THE MOVIE?



Oh, PLEASE let it be true.

http://enewsi.com/news.php?itemid=13839

Now, I'm not usually the kind of guy to spread rumors. Especially ones that have been batted around for years. Decades even! But, man... never has the time been MORE RIGHT for a Doctor Who movie. Especially if David Tennant agrees to star in it.

The question is... who would be the companion?

Rose seems like the most obvious choice, but that might piss off Donna, Martha, and Jack. Oh, well. It's just fun to geek out and think about the possibilities. Meanwhile, it's going to be a tough four month wait until the next Christmas Special. Especially since THE CYBERMEN are back!!!

Can't wait...

Friday, August 22, 2008

THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL



We all know how much I love TELEVISION.

However, there just might be two things I love more than TV. A quick glance at this blog site tells you how much I love the progressive rock band YES. But there is something else... another great passion that's held me in its grip since my youth.

FOOTBALL.

Believe it or not folks, this nerdy writer guy who grew up reading comic books, watched "Yog, Monster From Space" 20 times, and can recite verbatim dialogue from obscure Hammer Horror movies... was for a brief period of time a JOCK. That was waaaaaaay back in Middle School and High School. Football was my love and the Dallas Cowboys were my team.



Sure, once I discovered girls I quickly defected to the marching band (saxophone & oboe, thank you!), because that's where all the more intelligent, more interesting, and definitely more--shall we say "experimental" young ladies--hung out.(Trust me... all the things you've heard about band camp are TRUE.) But I never lost that love of America's Game. So when I heard my favorite pro football team was coming back to Southern California for Training Camp 2008, I made sure to drop by to check out the fun. Yes, I should have been writing. But hey, you only live once.

And boy was it worth it!



No, Jessica Simpson was not there -- at least not that I noticed. But Terrell Owens and his crazy pants (note: he's the ONLY player on the field wearing long pants in the middle of Summer!) were there. I'm telling you it's just awesome to see him catch a Tony Romo pass in person. One of these days I've gotta fulfill my other fantasy and go see a Cowboy regular season game in person!

While you're there watching the team practice, you can eat hot dogs, buy tons of NFL gear (Yes, I was wearing my #82 Jason Witten jersey all day!), and best of all... go ogle real SUPER BOWL TROPHIES in person. Yeah, a great time was had by all. Even my wife, who was attending her first NFL camp, had a blast.

Now if the Cowboys can just win a damn PLAYOFF game...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SEASON EIGHT RULES!!!



So I'm sitting around this morning, hanging with the dog and thinking how much I really should be writing... and it suddenly occurs to me: how have I NOT mentioned the GENIUS that is BUFFY: SEASON EIGHT?!!!

Seriously, folks. This is one of the BEST COMIC BOOKS out there today!

If you love BUFFY as much as I do, you're probably already reading this great new series. The conceit is that the comic book picks up right where the end of the BUFFY SERIES left off. It's written and overseen by Joss himself, so these stories are canon. And they're awesome! So what's up with the Scooby Gang? I won't ruin too much, but I will reveal that 1) Dracula returns, 2) A certain skinless member of the Trio is still alive, 3) Xander has moved on from Anya only to experience more tragedy in his love life, 4) Willow... well, is still good ol' Willow, and oh, 5) Buffy has a much more open mind about her sexuality these days.

And Dawn is a GIANT.

If that's not enough to get you to start reading this awesome series...

Dark Horse is starting to reprint the entire run in trade paperbacks, so buy those if you can't find the individual issues. Now if they would only bring back Tara somehow...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A MAN ALONE?



I think I'm the only person in America who saw THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE.

If you've been reading this blog for even the shortest amount of time, you know that I'm a HUGE X-Files fanatic. I've been looking forward to this flick for months. Well, I finally broke away from Eurekaville and caught a late show last week.

I enjoyed the hell (heh) out of this movie. As a fanatic, it gave me exactly what I wanted: intense and intimate scenes of Mulder and Scully six years down the road, some big philosophical questions to ponder, some action, and an awesome ending with a BIG SURPRISE. Like I said, I just DUG this flick. If you are an X-Files fan, go see it.

The performances by David & Gillian are just phenomenal. I read reports that they were having trouble re-connecting with their characters after being away from them for so many years. OK... maybe so. But in the intervening years, they've also become even better actors. This, plus the added time to fine tune performance that comes with making a movie versus the daily-speed-grind of television ultimately equals some acting that just blew me away. Honestly... there's a scene in the middle of the film between Scully and the ex-preacher dude (Billy Connolly) that's just like a master acting class. Awesome stuff.

As for the story itself... it reminded me of something from Season Five or Eight. Very dark. Gruesome. But with a human cause ultimately as the root of the horror. My only big complaint with the film is the fact that the most horrific elements of the plot are not revealed until HALFWAY through the movie. Sorry folks... but in a horror movie, that's a bit too long. That's not to say that there aren't scares early on. In fact, I love the (SPOILER ALERT) opening sequence which intercuts the opening kidnapping with the grisly discover of a body in the snow. There's also a cool action/chase sequence in which (SPOILER ALERT) one of the film's leads dies in a shocking and unexpected manner.

My favorite part of the movie is the film's climax.

(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD -- YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!). Not only does Mulder have to be rescued by Scully -- a nice reversal from the first X-Files movie, FIGHT THE FUTURE, in which the exact opposite occurs -- but SKINNER shows up (Yup, the "hyde!") to kick a little ass. And after all this, the big philosophical question raised in the film -- does Scully believe in science or faith -- is left COMPLETELY OPEN. You get to make up your mind as to what action she takes. Now, as a fanatic, I KNOW in my heart what choice she makes and why. But you might think differently. That's the beauty of the ending. It asks US to choose, engaging us as viewers and letting us participate in the drama. As a result, I found myself pleasantly haunted by the film's ending... I just kept thinking about it for days, contemplating all the thoughts that must have gone through Scully's mind before she did what she did.

It's just great, subtle, but emotionally engrossing writing. And yes, I'm jealous.



OK. What if you don't like The X-Files? Will you like this movie?

PROBABLY NOT.

Unfortunately, I don't think I WANT TO BELIEVE is going to win any new fans. Not now. I think it will fare much better with time, and 5 - 10 years from now folks will see it as a great coda to the series. But right now it's just going to get misunderstood and ravaged by people looking for simple, big-budget, loud, action-oriented Summer fare. Which, BTW, is not an unrealistic expectation. I believe that this film should have been released in October for Halloween, and that doing so would've added another $20 - 30 million to the U.S. box office receipts. That's because it would have given horror fans who can't stand the thought of seeing SAW 5 an intelligent horror alternative. (And no, that's not a knock on the SAW-franchise, because I saw the first one and loved it, and even saw--no pun intended--the second one, too.)

But in the end, none of this matters... because I'm gonna buy this DVD the day it comes out.

So what's my recommendation for the casual viewer?

Hmmm.

If you like "arty horror" or Alan J. Pakula flicks, GO SEE IT in theaters. If you're expecting a more traditional horror-action movie, wait to catch it on DVD where your expectations can be tempered by the comforts of home. And, hey, watching the final bow of this great pop culture achievement in the luxury of your living room might just be more appropriate anyway. After all, the X-Files started life on the small screen. Maybe that's the way you should bid a fond farewell to it...



Finally... I just want to say "THANKS" to Mulder, Scully, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, and anyone else who helped bring me so much joy all these years. It's been a great ride for me, too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

THAT BAWDY 70s SKETCH



I'm officially OBSESSED with THAT MITCHELL AND WEBB LOOK.

And you can be, too. Check it out Fridays on BBC America. The clip above is called "Bawdy 1970s Hospital" and it's second to only the original "Numberwang" as my favorite all-time sketch. (And that's saying something...)

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

CLOSE CAPTIONING WAS NEVER THIS FUN



You don't have to like Joe Cocker or The Beatles...

... to enjoy this lyrical spoof. Just give the song a few seconds to get through the first verse, then get ready to LAUGH.

Monday, July 14, 2008

HOW CUTE IS MY DOG...?!!



Time for an update on the world's cutest dog, BARNEY.

It's been ten weeks now since Mr. B's arrival here at Casa Bassrocker. And he's now made himself quite at home. Not only has he stopped whining when put into his roomy, comfy crate each night... he now goes there on his own. It's become another groovy nap spot for him. He's also gotten used to walking around his new neighborhood, so much so that all the neighbors recognize and love him, too.

That's him lying on his favorite snuggle pillow above.

Oh, and he LOVES people. We've been taking him to obedience classes for 3 weeks now and he's doing great. The classes are outdoors, so he gets a bit distracted at times by Mother Nature. But he's learning all the basics pretty well--sit, lay down, catch, go to your bed, etc.

The classes are run by PAUL OWENS, and if you live in Southern California and need dog training, I recommend him highly! His mantra is "raise with praise," so no choke collars or abuse is used in training the dogs. Just attention, patience, and love. For more info, go to the web address below:

http://www.raisewithpraise.com/

Next up... teaching him how to catch a tennis ball, then a frisbee. More on that as it happens...!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA



Sept. 18th... one of the funniest shows on TV returns!!!

Check out this parody of LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali." You might become a believer...!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MORE ON "METROPOLIS"



Check out the German TV news report on the discovery of missing METROPOLIS footage.

If you're like me, and your German is okay--but very rusty--you'll catch about half. Don't worry. Even if you don't speak Deutsch, the story features CLIPS from the discovered footage.

OH. And two more stills follow.

(Can you say... Eric's new desktop wallpaper?)



Monday, July 7, 2008

A MASTERPIECE RESTORED...?!



METROPOLIS is a masterpiece of world cinema.

And one of my top five favorite films of all time. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it (well over fifty), and how many moments in the movie continue to inspire me today (translation: I'm constantly trying to rip it off). Well, when Fritz Lang's masterpiece premiered in Berlin in 1927... it wasn't hailed as the greatest film of the modern age.

It FLOPPED. Royally.

Critics ripped Lang and the film a new asshole. The film, the most expensive ever made in German at the time, was supposed to be a big "F@#k you" to Hollywood, and demonstrate how German cinema could outdo Chaplin & Co. Well, METROPOLIS was a financial disaster. Worse of all, the film was really, really LONG... (not sure what the original running was, but I believe it was close to 3 hours).

So what happened?



UFA cut the crap out of it and shipped out a shorter, audience-friendly version to the rest of the world. It took years for the film to earn money and gain the reputation it has today. Now some of the footage originally cut from the movie has been found, but only short sequences... you know, bits and pieces.

Apparently that changed recently... as KEY SCENES were found in Argentina.

Now METROPOLIS is getting a full restoration. Soon, audiences (i.e. ME!!!!) will get to see the film at its original, fully-restored length. Lang's vision will at last be restored.

Oh, I can't wait!!!!!!!




For more info, go to the web address below:

http://www.zeit.de/online/2008/27/metropolis-vorab-englisch


Oh, and since I know you're now probably curious... here are Bassrocker's Top Ten Fav Films of All Time:

1. ALIEN
2. ANNIE HALL
3. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI
4. METROPOLIS
5. HORROR OF DRACULA
6. DAY OF WRATH
7. THE SEVENTH SEAL
8. NIGHTS OF CABIRIA
9. HALLOWEEN
10. SOLARIS (1972)

Did I mention I like horror movies?

Friday, July 4, 2008

REVIEW: "THE DARK KNIGHT"

July 18, 2008 is still two weeks away.

But I was lucky enough to see THE DARK KNIGHT in IMAX last Tuesday, complete with a Q & A featuring Director/Producer Chris Nolan and Producers Emma Thomas and Charles Roven. Here's my thoughts.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD (although not too many)

First let me say how much I loved BATMAN BEGINS. It's my favorite superhero movie EVER, with SUPERMAN THE MOVIE and X-MEN 2 close behind. THE DARK KNIGHT is not as good as its predecessor. It is, however, enjoyable and has many memorable moments. Just lower your expectations a bit -- you'll be glad you did and have a better time than I did.

The best part about TDK? Hands down... it's HEATH LEDGER's absolutely brilliant performance as The Joker. Seriously, you're going to hear a ton of hype about it. IT'S ALL TRUE. My God... he's just phenomenal. I could not take my eyes off The Joker every time he appeared onscreen. He's truly a malevolent force of chaos and destruction. An "agent of chaos" as the character describes himself in the film's first of two climaxes.

Yes, that's SPOILER NUMBER ONE. Keep reading if you dare.


As brilliant as The Joker is in this movie, it's TWO-FACE that's going to split audiences. Simply put, the story of Harvey Dent's rise and fall as Two-Face takes up as much time in this movie as does Batman's battle with The Joker.

And that's one of my biggest problems with the movie.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the end of the movie. After a cool battle in which The Joker is finally captured, one which sets the character up to return in subsequent sequels... the movie cuts to a SECOND ENDING, the one which wraps up the Harvey Dent/Two-Face storyline. I'm sorry to say that it's a bit predicable and kinda boring.

I know I'll probably get flayed for saying this, but let me be the first to go on record with a formal complaint about an otherwise GREAT MOVIE: There's waaaaaaaaay too much Harvey Dent/Two-Face. So much so, that the character with the most emotional story, the character with the big arc in the film... IS NOT BATMAN. It's Two-Face.

And that sucks.

I didn't go to see a movie called TWO-FACE'S KNIGHT OUT. I went to a BATMAN movie, and anytime the focus strays too long from our lead character (which the film does... and which is the same mistake that all the 80s and 90s Batflicks made, too) or when the most poignant moments in the film (cliche though they are) belong to a secondary character / villain, I just tune out. Therefore, the ending of this movie was a disappointment for me.

Another recent superhero flick made this same mistake: SPIDER-MAN 3. In that film, WAAAAAAAAAY too much time was spent with THE SANDMAN and his cliche redemptive arc. Conversely, the brilliant conflict set up between Spidey and VENOM was dismissed too soon. It's as if the filmmakers didn't care for the character (ignoring his popularity with audiences) and therefore, just used him as window dressing. Now THE DARK KNIGHT is LIGHT YEARS BETTER than Spider-Man 3. And The Joker is NOT WINDOW DRESSING in the movie by any means.

But it's essentially the same problem in both movies...

It's not that Aaron Eckhart isn't great in the part. He's fine. But there's just too much of him, and his character arc is as old as the hills. The film's one big twist--AGAIN, STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW--is the death of a certain female lead, and acts as the catalyst for Harvey's descent. But to be honest, all of this felt like it should have been saved for a third Batman movie, not this one. This is because the Joker storyline is SO GOOD, SO FULFILLING and SO UNPREDICTABLE... that having Two-Face's ultra-conventional plotline drags down an otherwise brilliant film that breaks with traditional conventions at every turn.

Just how UNCONVENTIONAL is THE DARK KNIGHT? Its tone, mood, and brooding atmosphere make the film feel like "SE7EN" with superheroes. How's that for unconventional?

But back to TWO-FACE for a moment. I'd now like to point out a DISTURBING TREND I'm starting to see in the way films are advertised, one which applies to the lack of this villain's presence in the TDK trailer. For now I'm calling it.. THE HYDE.

The "hyde" is that PART of a movie which is NEVER MENTIONED or FEATURED in the advertising campaign. It's a SURPRISE the movie studio is trying to HIDE from us, in hopes that we go into a movie expecting one thing... and when we get this BONUS THING-STUFF-SECRET... that we'll go nuts. It's no coincidence that the "hyde" is another ANTAGONIST or VILLAIN or PLOTLINE with screws with a film's hero in a different way from the main conflict. It also makes the film feel SCHIZOPHRENIC (get it? "Dr. Jekyll and MR. HYDE?") to an audience member, because you feel like your not getting the movie you paid your hard-earned money for, and were dying to see.

HIDING TWO-FACE IN THE TRAILER CONSTITUES A "HYDE." Yes, they show Harvey Dent. But they DON'T show Two-Face. That's like not showing the T-Rex in a trailer for JURASSIC PARK or Darth Vader in STAR WARS.

Are they nuts?

The other problem is that... THE HYDE is often a HUGE PART of a movie, so much so that failing to prepare an audience for it borders on fraud. Just ONE QUICK SHOT of Two-Face in the TDK trailer would have gone a long way to telling folks, "Hey, Two-Face is IN this movie, not just Harvey Dent. And he's a BIG PART of it. In fact, he plays AS BIG A PART as The Joker does." But when you go into the movie expecting The Joker to be the main focus... and HALF THE MOVIE focuses on something barely touched upon, let alone SHOWN in the trailer... well, the studios are setting us up for a frustrating movie experience.

I have a feeling that CHARLIZE THERON in this weekend's HANCOCK is going to be the HYDE that pushes audiences over the edge and PISSES THEM OFF, because (and no, I haven't seen the movie yet) her involvement in the movie is NOT what anyone is expecting.

BUT I DIGRESS.

Another flaw with TDK is its LENGTH. At TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS, it's 30 MINUTES TOO LONG. And the parts where it drags? Yup, you guessed it. The Two-Face stuff. I'm telling you, if you cut Two-Face out of the last 1/3 of this movie and get the length down to 1 hour, 45 minutes, this would be the greatest comic movie of all time, without question.

Again, many of the people I saw the movie with LOVED TWO-FACE. They also thought his VFX make-up was brilliant. I thought it was BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED and give BIG KUDOS to the VFX & MAKE-UP TEAMS. However, it always looked like A GREAT EFFECT to me, and not a character... because his storyline felt like something out of a John Wayne western (and NOT "The Searchers" either...!) It's probably because I just wasn't responding to the character.


OK... to summarize so far: Heath Ledger rocks, the movie's too long, and Two-Face was predictable. The look of the movie is EXQUISITE. Go see it in IMAX. You'll be glad you did, especially during those gorgeous wide shots of downtown Chicago and Hong Kong. However, a WARNING. THIS MOVIE IS EXTREMELY DARK. One of the folks in attendance (a very good friend of mine) announced over dinner after the movie that while she liked the film, she could NEVER see it again. It was just too relentlessly dark, and at times (especially during one particular Joker sequence) too vicious.

IF YOU HAVE KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF 14... I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT LET THEM SEE THIS MOVIE. It's PG-13 for a reason, and... if you ask me, BORDERLINE "R" RATED.

I'm serious, here. This movie is MUCH, MUCH DARKER THAN BATMAN BEGINS. You have been warned.

Will I see it again?

I don't know. I saw BATMAN BEGINS twice in theaters, but I'm not sure if I'll make the effort for this one..

Most likely, I'll wait and purchase it on DVD this Christmas.

Why?

Because to be honest, that's how great The Joker stuff is in the movie. Really. It's haunted me for several days now (in the good way). Also, as a horror geek I'm probably a bit more tolerant of movie violence that the average film-goer.

And what about the filmmakers themselves?


After the movie, I introduced myself and spoke briefly with Chris Nolan and Charles Roven. Chris was very nice, answering questions for all the fans who were there. Charles was also cool, clearly a Hollywood vet basking in what's about to become his latest box office triumph. (FYI: He also produced this summer's GET SMART, which is a really FUNNY, ENJOYABLE flick!)

I asked Chris about the changing aspect ratio of the film: when viewed in IMAX theatre, you'll notice the frame switching from 1:33:1 to 2:40:1 -- according to Chris, the film in conventional theaters will be entirely 2:40:1, same with home video and DVD. However, there is talk of having the aspect switch between the two for the BLU-RAY release, so that true moviephiles get the whole, unexpurgated movie experience on their widescreen TVs.

Well...

That's it. I'll be curious to find out what the general public thinks of this movie... what YOU think of this movie. I predict an astonishingly large opening weekend for THE DARK KNIGHT. I also expect international grosses for the film to be larger than the US box office by as much as 30% - 40%. But I don't expect this movie to have the legs that the first one did. I also think word of mouth will get around about how DARK this movie really is, and that this will keep some folks away.

Overall, I give THE DARK KNIGHT a "B-" compared to an "A" for BATMAN BEGINS. But I give Heath Ledger's performance alone an "A+" for what it's worth.


It's so sad that such a talented individual passed on before getting to enjoy the acclaim for what will become THE performance of his career (this and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, obviously...).

Wherever you are Heath, I hope you're having fun.

And now.. it's your turn to go make up your mind.