Archive | July, 2011

Metropolis Score

Posted on 26 July 2011 by VinnieAve

This news is about 2 months old but NPR had a story today so I felt I would hang on those great coattails. Apparently, who cares about ComicCon news you want to hear about classic music in old German films. With last year’s release of The Complete Metropolis (most likely the final version of the film as close to possible to Fritz Lang’s original version that was truncated), also comes a recording of the score conducted by the man who oversaw the final restoration. While many films have great scores few have them as through the film as Metropolis, admittedly this due to the nature of film given that Metropolis is a silent film. Not every silent film has a great score but Metropolis is driven by its score. I am listening to it as a write this piece and it manages to evoke the same emotions with the film as it does with the film.

For me the score is the second most interesting part of the film when taken in all of film history and the best part of the film when you don’t put the film into the proper context of film. Metropolis is one of the early science fiction films. It predates Frankenstein (film) for the visual of the mad scientist (this is dubious claim since Frankenstein was often on stage and the image could have come from there). This is a film that has been referenced numerous times and is a building block in the history of modern Scifi film. This score is a wonderful piece that any classical fan could enjoy and really, if you enjoy the movie getting this soundtrack would be a great addition to any collection.

NPR Article

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Avatar: The Legend of Korra Trailer and Comments

Posted on 25 July 2011 by VinnieAve

DM

Many good things came out of SDCC that I will be talking about over the next few weeks but right now I want to talk about the trailer for the sequel to Avatar the Last Airbender, the Legend of Korra. I will get right to the punch, it looks very good. The art looks the same, which is a very good thing. We have not heard any voices (mostly) yet but I think that that will not be a big problem with some of the spoilers that are floating around the net. The design is moderately different as this is taking place in their world’s future post Aang. A couple of points that I noticed:
• The benders seem almost anachronistic among other people. This is undoubtedly on purpose considering what’s been flying around about the premise of the show.
• Aang was definitely revered at some point considering the big honking statue of him that was presented.
• I feel the older female Avatar with the majority of the elements mastered reflects for us a more adult show. I do not think they will lose the younger audience, rather just bring in an older one as well.
• That polar bear has to be dying in a non-northern climate.

Vincenzo Averello

Here’s the Trailer:

This series is sadly only planned to be 26 episodes over two seasons. For one, that means the writers have a general plan for the whole story and it won’t be an infinite show with too many episodic stories. The art style will be the same but given that there will be a steampunk ascetic it should have a different feel from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The world will be very different after the 80+ years of general peace that came from the end of the Fire War of the previous show. This show should be successful among both the fans of the original show and hopefully bring in new fans. I imagine if this show is successful they will make more shows in the Avatar universe. The show has an impressive voice cast but as D mentions we haven’t heard anything voice acting just yet, although I like the idea of J. Jonah Jameson voicing Aang and Katara son.

I think it’s a very interesting move that this series is being made but not featuring any of the original characters. Generally, shows like this seem to fail (Caprica springs to mind), although given that the announcement for this show came maybe 4 days after the live action movie was released last summer this show is still needed to remind us that this is a great and enduring franchise. My only issue (you should I will always have issues) is the title being The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra not Avatar: The Legend of Korra.

Wikipedia Page

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RIP Toyoo Ashida

Posted on 25 July 2011 by VinnieAve

This past Saturday, the anime world lost one of its greatest directors who worked on one of the best known series of the 1980s, Fist of the North Star. Alas, Toyoo Ashida passed away. While he hasn’t done much of note recently, this is a loss to the anime world. For me it’s a time to look back and look at the changes that came from this iconic anime. This show was inspired heavily but other post-apocalypse works such as Violence Jack and the Mad Max films. Originally, the manga was published in the same magazine (and at the same time) as Dragon Ball. This is Shonen Jump of the 1980s (you know where Naruto and One Piece are published). This was what Shonen was at the time.

For people who like over the top crazy shows, this is the one to check out. It is a timeless classic (the animation is a little rough) that is a classic of action anime. I mentioned Violence Jack earlier, this isn’t a Go Nagai show but it has some elements of his work. This is an anime that has been referenced for decades now and will continue to be considered a major work in Japan even if American fans have missed this show (insert rant about people my own age). This is more what was popular in 1980s and 1990s in America. Its things like this (and tentacle porn) that gave anime its bad name. Let’s find out why:

Here’s a link to his classic attack his the standard style of death in the show: ATATATATATATA (embedding disabled)

And here is another trope of the show, this countdown to death after an attack:

Please Note: The DVD’s are currently available from Discotek Media

Source: Anime News Network

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Brief Comments on Spielberg and Jackson’s Rant about 3D Prices

Posted on 22 July 2011 by VinnieAve

Vincenzo Averello
Most film goers know 3D is a scam 90% of the time and that last 10% it helps make the movie better. Thus far only a handful of movies have had a good 3D release. Of course Avatar is among these and that was the film that did 3D well. Drive Angry was another. I rarely see a film in 3D, most of the time there is no reason. Pirhana 3D was the only film that was post-converted that I’ve thought the 3D was well done (it’s getting a sequel this November).
The rant that is linked below is about the prices of tickets being affected by 3D and that overtime it should balance out with 2D films. I hope this happens, but it won’t be for a long time, as far as I can tell. I hope that 3D stops being seen as a necessity for every single action movie. It can make things better but it can also kill a film. I don’t want to see 3D gone but I want to be a tool that is used with finesse.
http://screenrant.com/steven-spielberg-peter-jackson-rant-3d-ticket-prices-mikee-125010/

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Spoiler Alert: Week of 7/20

Posted on 21 July 2011 by VinnieAve

DM

Uncanny X-men 541 Fear Itself:
OK It is no secret that I am not digging the Fear Itself storyline, but that is all right I will not be chased off a book that easy. We had some good stuff in this issue. We got to see Hope use her powers, and that is a rarity right now. I even think they gave us a hint as to why with a comment that she would burn out quickly using so many powers. The art when magneto sees that he cannot stop Juggie’s unstoppable hammer is pretty awesome. I will say that the psychic attack and its failure were really quite expected. It is a comic book and they had to go there with all the history between the X-men and Juggernaut, but it was easy enough to see it would not be effective.
The skinny: This was a good read and I am looking forward to the next issue
X-Men 15:
I am a confused puppy about this book. This concluded the evolutionary intervention storyline, but in a way I am not sure it does. They did not speak at all about the more evilly aligned mutants who revolted or whether any of them will break from Utopia. Once more Cyclops gets a bad rap for stopping the enemy, who I might add was going to destroy every human being on earth with a wave of his pinky, by the only means available; lethal force via technology. How bleeding heart can you get? “How dare you save us by killing the bad guys Cyclops? We should have let humanity be extinguished!” Anyways…I thought the art was more confusing. The rapid transitions they used as a story-telling tool made sure that you had to read through this issue with a fine toothed comb to make sure you caught the clues as to which time period you were in.
The skinny: eh I thought it was a good conclusion except for being shorted a little. They better f-ing deal with it next issue. Buy it to complete the read otherwise maybe wait for the trade. It will probably be a little less confusing in that format.
X-Factor 222:
Thank Wheaton were getting to the end of this storyline. Not that it has been bad per se but I am getting a little impatient with it to end. X-Factor is still my ultimate mutant soap opera book and this issue does not fail to disappoint. We get witty banter ala Peter David and even some surprise smooches between Monet and Guido. Speaking of whom, aside from said smooches, we still have no clues as to whether he still has a soul post resurrection. Nice surprise guest spot at the end by Jack Russell. I had to turn to Wikipedia, but he is none other than Marvels own werewolf from Werewolf by Night. I would like to point out for my last say on this issue that my bet is Longshot’s luck is still in.
The skinny: If you need me to tell you to read anything by Peter David then you need more help than I can provide you.
Ultimate Fallout Spider-Man No More 2:
This was definitely not the powerhouse issue that #1 was but it was all right. The thing is that this issue was less about Spider-Man’s death and more about the Ultimate universe as a whole. In my mind it did not belong. The first few pages and the last few pages were definitely following up from last issue, but the bulk of the issue with Thor’s daydreams/memories and Rogue on the run were out of place in my mind. I hope the next issue picks up a little.
The skinny: Worth it to see Aunt May tell off Captain America just like he deserves.
Deadman and the Flying Graysons 2:
This must be what it would be like to be able to fast forward through a comic. Dick loses his mother and father just like that along with some collateral damage like the man who should have been Doctor Fate. While all of this happens in the issue, it still carries the feel of not much happening at all. In its own way it is mirroring the entirety of Flash Point; lots of good stuff without much forward momentum.
The Skinny: I recommend it. Not as strong as the first issue but still well worth the $2.99
Fear Itself FF:
A nice one-shot, even for someone who isn’t a big fan of Fear Itself. The actual verbalizations of the thing, while incongruous with the rest of fear itself, make for a reasonably dramatic storyline. If you are a Fantastic F—Sorry Future Foundation fan, this seems a no brainer.
The Skinny: If you are an FF fan then buy this. Otherwise, I do not see much point.

War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath 1:
A nice epilogue issue with all the trimmings. They really seem to be waiting for the next issue to come up with any real resolutions. Hal is powerless and we know no more about him than in the conclusion issue. We get some schisms in the human green lanterns but nothing we have not seen before. Mogo died so there is bound to be some hard feelings. Apparently, almost every lantern is suffering from their own form of PTSD. I find it amusing that the Guardians are apparently scared and this is when a ring chooses Sinestro to be a lantern. That is just plain good story telling.
The skinny: It is a decent book. Let’s see where it goes from here.
Power Girl 26:
I am not sure if there is going to be another issue of Power Girl or not, but if there is not then this is a good issue to go out in. It has all the things in it that a good Power Girl issue has; Humor, campy villains, and cleavage. I will miss this book a great deal. It was always something to look forward to once a month.
The Skinny: The Queen is dead. A good stand-alone issue in true Power Girl style.
Also be sure to pick up DC Comics The New 52 1 for free at your local comic book store for a sneak peak at Justice League 1 (out August 31) and the skinny on the new titles.

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Are End Credits Dead Time?

Posted on 20 July 2011 by VinnieAve

Vincenzo Averello

I may have been spoiled recently by a series of movies with things that keep people through the end credits. This goes back to when I saw Super 8, each and every film I saw after that up to Harry Potter had this, and when I saw Harry Potter I was disappointed that there wasn’t anything. This sadness got me thinking, “why don’t all movies have something at the end credits.” In general, I like to stay during the credits just to see who did what, but this hard to do if everyone leaves the theater during them; it becomes just easier to leave.

No there is an obvious disadvantage to putting entertainment during the credits, people aren’t going to read them but just watch what else is going on. I also feel this this is an untapped part of the movie. I don’t want anything really special here. Honestly, I was surprised that HP didn’t even have pictures of the main actors in the credits, this was the last film and they really blew it there. It seems that Marvel has at least made a dent in the comic movies now that even Green Lantern had a stinger.

The credits are a bit of free space where you can do something creative or funny or just experimental. Of all of these I think Super 8 did the best job with putting the short film during the credits. If you’re doing a loving remake or re-imagining it’s a good space to put scenes from the original or a way to leave things open after the final sequence. So movie execs don’t treat the end credits like there is nothing important to them, use them for a tribute to your actors, or writers or something.

A lot of these same criticisms can be leveled at opening credits but that’s another rant.

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My Journey through Doctor Who

Posted on 20 July 2011 by VinnieAve

David Rosenthal

Last August, I was really getting in Doctor Who and I was looking around Netflix. I was looking was at all of the old Doctor Who episodes that I haven’t watched yet.  Now when I say old, I don’t mean Christopher Eccleston old; I mean William Hartnell old.  It suddenly dawned on me that I should watch all the Doctor Who that I could get my hands on. Now almost a year later I have finally did what I set out to do.  It has been very interesting and a lot of fun to get a full history of the doctor.  It’s not every day you get to see different actors play the same guy, let alone thirteen different actors over the course of 40 years.

It all started with William Hartnell back in 1963. Even though the Doctor is at his youngest, William Hartnell is the oldest person to play him. The Doctor starts out being a very disgruntled old man.  He was quick to anger and dismissive when dealing with his companions. Though out William Hartnell time, the Doctor had the mindset he was always right and always knew what he was doing. Even though the first doctor had companions, they always seemed to more of a bother to him. We see this right from the start in “An Unearthly Child”. This is the audience’s first meeting with the doctor. The Doctor seems to be more concerned with himself and his own thoughts then with others.  Ian and Barbara are the first two humans to be brought along with The Doctor. The reason why The Doctor brings them along is the fact that he doesn’t want them telling anyone about what they have seen. He doesn’t really ask them if they want to come, he just takes them along for the ride.

When Patrick Troughton came on as the second doctor, there wasn’t a lot that changed in terms of the personality. One of the things that did change is the fact that he seemed to like have the companions around. He stilled could be very annoyed or dismissive with them but there were not much of a burden as before. A good example is in “The Tomb of the Cyberman.”  The two competitions that are with the doctor are Jamie and Victoria. Even though they keep trying to help the doctor and try to come up with ideas; the doctor keeps shooting them down. He seems more annoyed that they are trying to help with the problem instead of letting the doctor think.

John Pertwee was the third actor to come on board as the doctor.  During John Pertwee stint as the Doctor, the Doctor was stuck on Earth. It seemed that during this time, we see the Doctor’s fondness of Earth start. Even though the Doctor is stuck on earth, he doesn’t seem to mind. His time working with U.N.I.T. seems to take his mind off his stay. During the first three doctors, there doesn’t seem much change in personality from actor to actor. The biggest change that we seen from doctor to doctor is how he interacts with the companions.  Over time, he seems less annoyed and frustrated with each companion. It really starts to show with how the doctor interacts with Jo.  Even though he could still be arrogant, he never got annoyed with Jo.

When Tom Baker comes in as the fourth doctor, this is the first time that we really see a change in the Doctor.  The Doctor really seems to have lightened up and seems more cheerful. He really likes to have his companions around with him.  Also, the fondness for humans and earth really starts to shine though.  The Doctor keeps coming back to Earth as a chose rather being forced to stay on Earth. Tom Baker really brings a new, fresh energy to the role of The Doctor. Baker shakes off the old man feeling of the character and brings lots of charisma to the role.  I really think that is why so many people like Tom Baker. Out of all the older doctors, he is the most charismatic and likable.

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Vin’s Picks (for last week)

Posted on 18 July 2011 by VinnieAve

Since I’ve only once managed to actually review the comics of a given week I’m just going to do a short blurb on a few that I liked or were otherwise notable. The point of this will be to point I what I like or why I liked it, no plot will be revealed.

Booster Gold 46- Decent fighting, good action not really any character development.

The Red Wing 1 of 4- An interesting sci-fi war series. I like the ship designs and the premise. The writing is okay as well.

Captain America #1 – My first Captain America book, good art, good writing, nice action.

Green Lantern #67 – Decent conclusion to the War of Green Lanterns. Decent book worth a look at if you’ve made it this far in the story.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors: If you ignore the events of the War, this book makes sense, it’s a decent one shot and a fun read.

Detective Comics #879- This was a good one shot, that has a good story. I would recommend this for even non-comics writers.

Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager 2 of 3- A decent sidestory that I’ve liked in Flashpoint

Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown 2 0f 3- Another good side-story that seems to have nothing to do with the main story other than to show some far reaching effects.

Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman- It’s okay, it’s good to see Aquaman’s background, explaining the differences from the main Aquaman.

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Trigun Badlands Rumble Review

Posted on 17 July 2011 by VinnieAve

Vincenzo Averello

Earlier this month I posted that I was watching Trigun and gotten through the first fourteen episodes before seeing the movie. The series mainly deals with the main story line in the second half. The short review of the movie is that it’s a long episode. As one of my friend said “it’s a generic anime movie.” It’s not a particularly special thing but it was generally enjoyable. This film has been difficult to see, for some reason it’s only playing in New York the same weekend as Otakon. So if you’re an anime fan in the NY area and not at Otakon see it there, if you’re at Otakon you could see it there too. I made the decision to haul my ass down to Cinema 16:9 in Lansdowne Pennsylvania. This was a great little independent theater, that’s next to a classic palace theater (currently under renovation, it was a little confusing). This is really cool theater, they have video systems in the lobby to play, as well as computers, books, some great movies you could rent.

Okay, back to the movie. The movie takes place during the series so all the main protagonists are there. They aren’t together at the beginning.  We have Vash the Stampede, our main character, a man with the largest bounty on his head (he is a goofball, so people don’t suspect he is the actual person) but he abhors death and will do everything he can to prevent it from happening, Milly & Meryl, insurance company representatives who are here to protect a statue that is the focal point of the city, and Wolfwood, a priest who carries a large cross that doubles as a gun case, and triples as a gun.  20 years before the main story starts Vash stops a robbery but allows the character who would be the main villain.

The film then starts with the Vash coming to the town and then Milly and Meryl show up. It’s been widely rumored that our villain will be attacking the city soon to steal the statue. The first scene where three of the main characters meet up is at a bar full of bounty hunters, here will also meet another protagonist who exists only for this film. She is the sexy 90s anime character Amelia.

I’m not going to really go through the plot of this one mostly because it’s standard fair. Bad guys come do stuff, good guys lose temporarily, then win. There was nothing really super notable here. The animation was also not above and beyond what’s expected now-a-days, so I wasn’t blown away, honestly, I was let down since a lot of the background characters were static or had limited motion, kind of like in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The final verdict is this, if you like Trigun you should enjoy this film, if you have non-Trigun fans watching they should enjoy it but really I don’t see a reason to go out of the way to it. It’s worth a watching. I was hoping for something great and it was decent. I hope that this does well enough to show that there is still a fandom out there for this show.

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IDW Now Let’s You Upgrade Your Vampires

Posted on 17 July 2011 by VinnieAve

Vincenzo Averello

This year at Sand Diego Comic Con if you bring any printed Twilight material you can get a copy of the 30 Days of Night graphic novel. The obvious plan here is to get more 30 Days of Night GNs floating around to build more excitement for the upcoming on-going series. There are some doubts I have about the success of this plan since even though they both deal with vampires, the commonality ends there. After a quick look at Amazon, it is cheaper to get a copy of Twilight and trade it in. I hope the booth next to them is just selling Twilight books just for the purpose of trade-in.
I’ll also say this, it’s a publicity stunt. It’s a cool thing to do. It’s getting press (like this). I haven’t read either of the works (I saw the 30 Days of Night movie) so I can’t say much for quality improvement. I hope this succeeds but I really can’t say for sure.

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