Thursday, June 30, 2005

Finally Apple has caught on to the newest open communication, and this time they are not charging $.99 for it!

So it has happened! Apple has caught on to the Podcasting craze that has been sweeping the nation for years! With the brand new iTunes update, Apple has included a Podcasting subscription playlist feature that is coupled with a new section on the Music Store. It is now even easier to subscribe to any of the numerous podcasts out there! I, personally, have been searching for a suitable podcast app and was angered that Tiger did not come with the ability built in. But weep no more, will I. If you do not have iTunes yet, it may be in your best interest to download it now, if for nothing else other than this brand new feature! Well, have fun checking this out... There are loads of great podcasts out there!


The Best and Worst of Comic Book Movies
(originally published on Cine-Geeks)
This summer, Batman Begins reminded us how damn good comic book movies could be. However, it's nowhere near the greatest comic book movie of all time -- never had a chance, in fact. Fact of the matter is, only after viewing the movie a third time did it finally edge out my number 3 on this list.
I've long argued that making lists of movies is a futile exercise. You can't quantify love. It's simply not possible. I love the movies on the list of greats, and even love one of the ones on the worst list.
However, there are certain criteria that indicate greatness...or faithfulness to the source material. That in mind, I've compiled a list of

The 10 Greatest Comic Book Movies Ever Made (So Far...)

Comic books aren't for kids, folks. The average comic buyer is TWENTY-NINE years old. Tends to mean the kiddy crowd just ain't reading 'em. Comics are our modern myths, to paraphrase David Goyer...and there are great stories to tell. Here's the best of them, but by no means the only good movies in the genre. If I wanted to, I could easily have done a top 20...maybe even more. Films like Superman 2, X-Men, Blade, Blade 2, Creepshow, Hulk, Danger: Diabolik, Flash Gordon, Killer Condom and Spider-Man all got left by the wayside. The Burton Batman movies had their moments as well. More than those, these are the ones that nail their particular reality and run with it to great effect. These are the ones that sometimes even surpass their source material. These are the ones with what it takes to truly be called great movies.

1) Superman: The Movie (1978)
"You'll Believe a Man Can Fly"
You know, after seeing this do. There are one or two things that really could have been improved (like getting a hotter and not batshit crazy Lois...or having Lex Luthor REALLY be a menace to Supes), but this movie was better than we deserved in 1978, and may well be better than we deserve today. Superman is iconic not because of his near-omnipotent power, but because underneath it all, he has an inherent goodness that comes from the best parts of the American character. Superman is the ultimate immigrant story...the pinnacle of American can-do idealism.
The movie itself is an achievement on many levels. The special effects were, at the time, state of the art -- and hold up surprisingly well even today. It's one of the best of Donner's catalogue as a director, and it's a crying fucking shame the studio raped his vision of the sequel.
John Williams' score is wonderful. I honestly don't have the language to describe how amazingly good it is. Every time I hear the opening strains, I get a tingle at the base of my spine. It's pure sonic joy, and it accompanies the movie better than anything he's done before or since (which, considering it's John Motherfucking saying a lot).
Best of all, Christopher Reeve captured every ounce of the Big Blue Boy Scout's earnest charm and goodness. He was the find of a lifetime, and it's a shame he didn't get every ounce of the work he deserved before he was taken from us. His performance anchored the picture and made us all believe that a benevolent alien from another galaxy had been raised in Kansas for the good of all mankind.
The movie is uplifting, exciting and magnificent. It captures the look and feel of the classic comics without giving in to making it a postmodern statement about the character or our world. It's all up on the screen, kids. And it's fantastic.
2) The Rocketeer (1991)
Joe Johnston vexes me. I am terribly vexed. The man makes two excellent movies: this and October Sky, and pretty much the rest of his output is dung-heap fodder. What gives with that, anyway?
With the exception of sexing down the heroine, this movie is the most faithful adaptation of a comic book we're EVER going to see. Period.
Dave Stevens' comics were a great tribute to the pulps and serials of the 40s and 50s, with an obvious ode to Bette Page. The movie captures all of that joy and fun and fast-paced, two-fisted peril and then some. Bill Campbell was perfectly cast as our intrepid hero (looking every bit like the character from the book AND managing to finesse his way through the movie without looking like a he did in Enough). Then, there's Jennifer Connelly. Mmmmmmmmm... Jennifer Connelly... At her most scrumptious. Sure, she's not given much to do other than be the plucky damsel in distress...but that's the genre talking, bub. Besides...I'll take window dressing like that any day. Timothy Dalton was a hoot as the villain (and is a marked improvement over the comic book, even), and Alan Arkin is a touch of class (as he usually is). Add a few choice roles for Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Tiny Ron (in picture perfect Rondo Hatton makeup), Ed Lauter and Jon Polito and you've got yourself an ensemble.
It's a shame the movie didn't do the gangbusters huge business it should have (it opened against Terminator 2). It's great family fare in the vein of Indiana Jones -- fun, light and paced lightning-quick.
3) Batman Begins (2005)
Don't see either of the Tim Burton Batman movies on this list?
Wanna know why?
In spite of how much I loved the Tim-Burton-ness of the two films he made, they ain't Batman. This was. In spades. Focussing on the hero and his journey was a turn that Warner Brothers desperately needed to do, to return the character to its ability to sustain a franchise. The franchise couldn't be sustained by loud, annoying and colorful star-turns with disposable villains. It needs a core character -- the damn hero -- to sustain it. Do James Bond films focus on the villains when Bond's not around? Not a chance. Because Bond is the franchise. And here, it's Batman. Finally, the focus is on Batman.
Sure the movie won't do the business that the studio was hoping for...but there's not a man or woman anywhere in the company who can't look on that film with pride.
By virtue of his two previous films (Memento and the Insomnia remake), Christopher Nolan had some artistic cache in the Hollywood community. He capitalized on this by first getting an ACTOR, not a star, to play Bruce Wayne...and then allowed him to assemble one of the most amazing backup casts I've ever seen put to screen.
Christian Bale...well, I could wax poetic about him for pages. His Bruce Wayne has depth that might not be plumbed even if they shoot fifty movies with him in the role. He's full of rage, regret, anger, duty and most importantly...hope. He wants to change things for the better. He just chooses an aggressive, violent means to that end. He could have become a humanitarian, an artist, or a physician like his father (who left the family business so he could work in the community). Instead, he becomes a brooding avenger of the night streets, preying on those that prey on the helpless. He's scary to watch. And he's the hero.
The standout of the movie for me, both in story and performance, was Thomas Wayne as played by Lunus Roache. He's the human heart of the entire movie...and the sole reason why Bruce doesn't teeter into madness. The moral compass he provided his son, and the sense of responsibility and duty that he entrusted to him are pretty much the core of Batman's being. Roache brought an honest humanity to a character that could have been cliche. He's strong, reassuring and upright without ever being overbearing or condescending. You get the feeling from watching the flashbacks with his character that, had he and his wife lived, young Bruce would have become an even more remarkable man. It deepens the tragedy of their deaths and makes Bruce's quest for redemption all the more important.
Yes, I know that Liam Neeson has played the mentor character before (over and over and over again...including once this summer in Kingdom of Heaven). But, who else could play Henri Ducard? Honestly.
Morgan Freeman? Yes, I know he's in everything. But, dammit...he's just a joy to watch in this. Michael Caine? Outstanding. Gary Oldman? Sadly underused, but marvelous in every moment he's onscreen. Tom Wilkinson? My god, this cast was amazing... Cillian Murphy? Can you believe how utterly fucking malevolent he was? And that's BEFORE he put on the mask. Restraint can occasionally be scarier than wigging out, folks. Rutger Hauer? Damn, it's nice to see him back yet again from straight-to-video hell. Ken Watanabe? Pure. Fucking. Class.
The only weak link in an otherwise unbreakable chain is Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. But, let's face it. Batman's a loner. He doesn't have time for the wimmins. So, her performance could be merely adequate and not hurt the whole of the movie at all. She's better than adequate...but not much.
If Nolan is allowed to make a second and third movie...his gods...
4) The Road to Perdition (2002)
Theater director and auteur Sam Mendes (American Beauty) tackles Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner's brilliant graphic novel with a deft and almost effortless hand.
There are so many levels to this story, based in equal parts on Chicago history and the Lone Wolf and Cub samurai tales. Fathers and sons must find where their loyalties lie. Vengeance must be meted out. And a boy, sheltered from truth, must grow to manhood nearly overnight.
Tom Hanks really has never been this good in anything. Since finding success in Hollywood, he's played earnest Jimmy Stewart types near exclusively. Which is great and all...but occasionally, you have to stretch those acting muscles. His Michael Sullivan is truly a sociopath, an unrelenting killer who would eliminate a whole family if it meant leaving no witnesses. However, he also cares deeply about his own family and would do protect his wife and sons.
Paul Newman...well, he pretty much just walks away with this picture. The conflicts his character faces are etched deeply in his face and his mistakes not only weigh heavily on him...but come back to haunt him.
Dammit, I just don't know how to look at Daniel Craig any more after seeing Layer Cake. His character in that movie is the complete antithesis of Connor Rooney. Where Rooney is weak and callow and spineless, he showed such effortless machismo and confidence, one couldn't help but remember Sean Connery in his prime. Where does the real Daniel Craig lie? I have no idea. But it makes me appreciate his performance in this all the more. Connor is the engine by which all the tragedy in the movie moves. And without Craig's performance, the whole house of cards would have fallen.
The prolific Jude Law has a small, but crucial role as a hitman sent after the Sullivans as well, disappearing into a character with unnatural ease. Everything about the movie seems understated which makes the climax that much more wrenching and brutal. Mendes showed he had a unique perspective on the American family with his first movie, and in some ways, this is a continuation of his exploration of familial bonds and how they mold us. It's complex, entrancing and haunting.
5) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I may like the X-Men movies more. I may despise the Spider-Man comics (blindly and wholly without justification, too). But damn, this is about as good as superhero movies get...with a couple exceptions.
Say what you will about Organic Webshooters. Are they any LESS realistic than manufacturing mechanical ones? I think not. Suspend your disbelief, naysayers...and move on. The rest of us did ages ago.
Sam Raimi's been one of the most visually stunning directors working for pretty much his entire career. Add to that a tremendous love for the character and a mile and a half of geek street cred and you just know things are gonna be good.
The script was cobbled together from several different drafts, so it shouldn't possibly work as well as it does. Toby Maguire is every bit the tortured Peter Parker we know from the comics...and his rakish quip-throwing and web-swinging alter ego as well. He plays the dichotomy of the character not for laughs...but because Peter really IS the geeky kid from down the block. He knows the consequences of revealing his identity, so when people find out in this movie, you know it's bad juju.
Alfred Molina isn't the Doc Ock from the comics. He's not as imperious or brash. He's more human. Which makes his transformation into a villain more moving. He simply has nothing left and tries to restart from scratch -- unfortunately he's not thinking all that clearly (courtesy of the four artificially intelligent arms grafted to his body) and he tends to cause major property damage in his quest to redo his experiment.
James Franco gets close to overacting as Harry, Pete's best friend and future nemesis...and when he finally does realize his father's true's chilling. Man, I had the shivers something fierce when I saw it in the theater.
6) Ghost World (2000)
An unconventional comic becomes an unconventional movie. Terry Zwigoff dives into Daniel Clowes' work with verve and style, bringing his skewed universe to the silver screen...and introducing the world to Scarlett Johansen (damn him).
The expansion of Steve Buscemi's character might have been the thing that pushed this film into classic territory. He lends a weary dignity to the movie with his best performance to date, taking a character who had been dismissed with a line or two in the graphic novel and making him flesh and blood.
Whatever happened to Thora Birch, anyway? Did Dungeons and Dragons bury her career?
7) Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetary Man) (1994)
A sumptuous, gorgeous, disgusting and funny horror movie based on the comic Dylan Dog. This movie seems to be the bastard love child of George Romero, Terry Gilliam and Peter Jackson. Michele Soavi teeters between madness and clarity with a deftness that keeps you guessing, as Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett in the role that made him forever a hero in the hearts of geeks) and his assistant Naghi (Francois Hadji-Lazaro) dispose of the recently deceased a second time.
For some odd reason, the inhabitants of his cemetary keep getting up and attacking the living. So, Dellamorte does his duty as the caretaker of the cemetery and returns them to the earth...often with extreme prejudice.
Is it the end of the world? Is it merely a hallucination?
Dellamorte makes some extreme choices about his profession (Why not prevent the dead from reanimating in the first place by killing them properly in the real world outside the cemetery?), but continues to question himself and his sanity.
Oh, and two more words for the guys out there. Anna Falchi...
Discovering this movie in the theater was a treat.
8) X2 (2003)
Bryan Singer almost knocked the first X-Men out of the park, but something felt...incomplete. It was really an origin story, and episodic to the degree that it truly needed a sequel to flesh out its universe.
What a sequel he gave us. He and writers Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris might diverge wildly from the 40 years of X-Men canon, but he keeps the spirit of the comics very much alive.
Singer and executive producer Tom DeSanto chose their cast of characters extra carefully the first time around, getting the most interesting of the characters and planning long term for 3-4 movies that would encompass several grand story arcs.
This one should have been the Empire Strikes Back of the series, delving deep into the dark heart of mankind's fear and hatred of that which is different of them.
General William Stryker (Brian Cox) launches an offensive against mutantkind, attacking the school where Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men teach the next generation of young mutants to deal with their fantastic powers.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is still seeking answers to who and what he is...and Stryker seems to have them.
Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) is having problems with her powers. She seems ready to just burst with psychic energy. She and Storm (Halle Berry) seek out a mutant who carried out an attack on the president -- Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming).
Rogue (Anna Pacquin) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) start an uneasy romance, hampered by her inability to experience human contact...and meet his family, who just don't understand his mutant nature.
Magneto (Ian McKellan) and Mystique (Rebecca Romjjin) join forces with the X-Men to stop Stryker.
I've covered maybe half of what goes on...and only glossed over any of it. This movie is big. HUGE. And it pays off surprisingly well, both for comic fans and casual viewers.
So damn much happens in this movie, you'd think it would have to be four and a half hours long. But they shoe-horn so much story and action into the movie because they were setting up even grander and more epic things for the next episode.
It seems at this point to be the franchise's swan song as the utterly bland and worthless Brett Ratner has taken over.
If X-Men 3 is as bad as it promises to be (or as lifeless as Ratner's Red Dragon)...will it hurt what came before it? Only time will tell.
For now, we have one of the most heroic of superhero movies, where even villains like Magneto act out of the noblest of intentions...and where the Mutant Registration Act seems scarily like the child of the Patriot Act. Topical (almost two decades after the story was pitched for the first time in the X-books), heart-wrenching and epic. The end shows such great promise for the future. Once again, let's hope they don't fuck it up.
9) Hellboy (2004)
Like the original X-Men, it seriously BEGS for a sequel. However, Guillermo del Toro got so damn much just dead on with this movie, it demands inclusion on this list.
Ron Perlman owns the character of Hellboy in perpetuity. He's just that damn good. Not only does everything seem to look like it came out of Mike Mignola's imagination, but they also capture the essence of the central character. Perlman's spent too much time in heavy makeup -- he knows how to get his performance out of the rubber and grease paint and it shows beautifully in his elegant portrayal of a demon raised by men to fight evil. Hellboy wants to be among people and can't be. He wants to do good and knows he was created to do evil. He wants to be a faithful son to his surrogate father...and he is. He's larger than life...and still all too human.
John Hurt looks too perfect to play Professor Bloom. Getting an actor of his weighty presence to fill the role just shows you how seriously they took this movie...and why it works so well.
Selma Blair is actually GOOD in a movie??? And she seems to emote Liz Sherman better than Mike Mignola was able to. She's an essential piece of the movie Hellboy universe, the beauty to Perlman's beast (pun intended).
Doug Jones and David Hyde-Pierce are a treat as Abe Sapien. Jones is not that gifted of a performer, better suited to the mime he ended up doing in the Abe suit (If you don't believe me, watch Night Angel and shut the hell up.). Hyde-Pierce provides just the little bit extra that the character needs to seem familiar and yet utterly alien.
10) The Crow (1994)
This movie gained a lot of its audience initially from the tragic fact that Brandon Lee died during filming, and seems to get some of its weight from the pathos of the event.
However, it's still an expertly crafted tale of vengeance in the name of love. Alex Proyas burst onto the scene with this extrordinary looking gem. He translates James O'Barr's stark, bleak and brilliant comic to a likewise bleak cityscape where a dead man might exact his revenge upon those who murdered him and his fiancee.
Brandon Lee's performance is astonishing. His film roles up 'til then didn't showcase his acting ability, instead asking him to perform acrobatics and martial arts (something he could do quite well) and throw out quippy action hero lines (something that just falls flat unless it's Ahnuld or Bruce Willis). Here, his Eric Draven does get all the best one-liners...but only because he realizes that his return from death's clutches is the ultimate joke. He doesn't get any more time with his love until he rights the wrongs of her rape and murder. His harlequin face makeup is the extension of this horrible joke the fates have played on him.
Ernie Hudson has had an uneven career, but his turn as Albrecht, the one honest cop in Detroit deserves mention. He's not flashy at all. Just one of the anchors that tethers the film to our reality. His performance is honest, human and sad without being sappy or saccharine.
Likewise for Rochelle Davis as Sarah. She ends up asking all the right questions of both the Crow and the audience, and is fittingly the narrator of the tale.
The villains of the piece all get their brief moment to shine as the Crow dispatches them one by one, but special mention must be made of Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). He too seems to get the cosmic joke of the Crow...but he has a trick or two to play on his own. He goes dangerously close to over-the-top, but doesn't cross that all-important line that would have rendered his role to parody.

The 10 ( Worst Comic Book Movies Ever Made (So Far...)

There are numerous movies that don't represent comics well, or just fall completely flat on their face because they're made by utter morons. The following are the utter bottom of the barrel. Worse than the boring Judge Dredd of the insanely drug-addled Blueberry. Worse than both Men in Black I and II. Dumber than Return of the Swamp Thing. We're not talking good-intentioned mistakes like The Shadow or The Phantom. We're talking misfires of near collossal proportions. We're talking:

10) Elektra (2005)/Catwoman (2004)
Yeah, that's right. Shatwoman isn't the bottom of the barrel. Not even close. Compared to what comes after it, it's merely a minor nuisance.
Yes. I saw Catwoman in the theater. I HAD to. I considered it a sacred duty. Someone needed to witness it.
It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. But it also wasn't even a hint of good. You'd think it would at least look interesting, seeing as Pitoff worked with Jeneut and Caro...and made a flawed, but gorgeous French movie (the fascinatingly overkinetic Vidoq). Instead it just looks kinda ugly and grimy.
First bitches first...this isn't the comics Catwoman at all. It's the Catwoman from Burton's universe...which wasn't Batman at all. I might appreciate his two forays into comicdom for the sheer Tim Burton-ness of them both, but they aren't remotely close to being Batman. Hell, Joel Schumacher got closer to the comics (at least the cheesy Dick Sprang era) than Burton did -- and his movies were complete dogshit.
No, this is based on the idea that Catwoman was a wronged woman who was rescued from death by cat spirits and thrust on the world to...well, wear rubber and carry a whip (or in this case wear leather and carry a whip). It's like the Crow with cats instead of birds and T&A instead of clown makeup.
Sharon Stone proves finally that her entire career has been a colossal mistake. Halle Berry shows less talent than she did in B.A.P.s. The whole thing devolves into a chaotic mess. Taken as camp, you might have a good time, but you'll hurt for trying.
I actually DID have hope for Elektra. A spin-off from Daredevil, which itself was a mildly successful B-movie about a B-character from the comics (Daredevil has never cracked the top 10 titles in sales for good reason...), you'd think that Elektra would extend that universe a little bit and maybe build on it, right?
Wrongo. Instead we get a pretty much totally seperate story about a female assassin with OCD (because OCD is soooooooooo damn trendy) who's forced to become...Ninja Mommy.
I'm positive there was at least one Elektra story that was worth telling. There has to be. So, who the hell thought this was it? First, you cripple the movie by putting a KID in it. Was this looking for the family audience? When has Elektra ever been a kid friendly comic?
I expected better from Rob Bowman. He cut his teeth on the X-Files on TV (and directed the feature version, too) and proved he can make an interesting fantasy with Reign of Fire. Where did he go wrong? Well, frankly...everywhere on this picture.
The one interesting "good" character (Colin Cunningham's "agent'/sidekick McCabe) dies needlessly. Terrance Stamp is WASTED. Goran Visnjic does nothing but run around and wait for Jennifer Garner's Elektra to notice he's ruggedly handsome and available. Blah blah blah blah blah.
Jennifer Garner, by the way, looks like she's trying to be in a good movie. Maybe. Sorta. But there isn't one for her to be in. Take the last plane to Dullsville and Elektra stands a good chance of being the in flight movie.
9) Virus (1999)
What do you get when you take an Oscar winning Special Effects man, and let him direct an all-star cast in an adaptation of a fairly unknown Dark Horse comic?
Drek. That's what you get. John Bruno's Virus is one of the most listless and dull movies I've ever seen. And no amount of special effects wizardry can save it.
Written by Chuck Pfarrer (who also penned the comic), the movie borrows liberally from other drek, heaps more drek upon it, and then expects you to enjoy the fact that you've just been fed a turd sandwich.
No thanks.
OK, so it's not really an all-star cast. You get Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland and Joanna Pacula. They've all been in better movies. Hell, they've all been in better home movies than this.
Somewhere along the line, it seems like they all realized the movie sucks balls, too...because none of them really try.
8) Aliens vs Predator (2004)
Yes. It's a comic book movie, as the crossover would NEVER have been made but for the goddamn comics. Dark Horse comics STILL pushes out tons of movie/comic crossover titles (Robocop vs Terminator??? Superman vs Aliens??? Tarzan vs Predator???), but they seem to have forgotten an essential truism: Crossovers suck. To blend two series cheapens both of the original items...and it never really works. Ever.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy might have a wee bit of charm due to the comedic stylings of the title stars...but it's NOT a good mummy movie. Sorry. It might work in a Reece's Cup...but not in cinema, folks.
Paul WS Anderson is a lazy hack, and here he truly shows every bit of his incompetance. They could have made this a balls-to-the-wall actioner...and maybe salvaged a tolerable movie out of the mess of a story. Instead it's slow...and dull...and utterly lifeless. The movie is a string of moments gathered from other (better) movies and cobbled together with baling wire and chewing gum. And it shows.
The Predator suits suck. They might as well have had visible zippers. The Aliens are an utter misfire as well, including an Alien Queen that shows about 1/100th the personality and menace that the much cheaper version in James Cameron's Aliens did.
7) Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)/Supergirl (1984)
Bad as Superman III was (and yes, it was almost as enjoyable as a cement enema), these movies make me wish they'd done three or four other movies with Richard Prior as the villain.
I'm sure they both looked good on paper. Let's make a movie about Superman disarming the world. He's Superman, after all. He wants to protect us from ourselves. Or... Let's make a movie about Superman's cousin. C'mon, guys. Hot blonde. In a short skirt. and Spandex...
That's it. they looked great on paper. And if I keep telling myself that, I'll believe there really was a reason either of these yawners ever saw the light of day.
6) Batman Forever (1995)/Batman and Robin (1997)
Gayer than Young Guns.
And that's not even why these movies blow. Sure they're noisy, overdesigned, garishly baroque turds that don't even bear a mild resemblance to the comics. But you know something?
I really fucking hate Chris O'Donnell.
And Alicia Silverstone.
I said it. And I'm not taking it back.
5) Steel (1997)
Um. Shaquille O'Neal. 'Nuff said.
4) The Punisher (1989)
Much as people bitched about the recent Thomas Jane actioner...this Australian shot shitfest with Dolph Lundgren (an actor I actually sorta kinda like most of the time) and Lou Gossett Jr (who honestly deserves better) makes it smell like roses again and again.
I can remember reading once that Stan Lee, after having been treated to an advanced screening of this movie said "It has something to offend everybody". You know something? It does.
The movie is full of blatant stereotypes, cookie-cutter characters with little personality and less motivation and some of the most amoral action ever put to screen.
The Punisher is kind of a one-note character anyway...but he really deserved better than this. So did the audience.
3) The Fantastic Four (1994)
Nah, I'm not bagging on the one coming out this week. Not yet, anyway. I'm talking about the Roger Corman produced/Oley Sassone directed yawnfest which you can only see on foreign out-of-print VHS or Laserdisc...or bootleg here in the states.
There's a reason why, folks. It sucks. Harder than Chloe Sevigny in an "art film".
If you're a REAL Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanatic, should seek it out. Mercedes "Harmony" McNab has a brief cameo as a young Sue Storm.
No, wait. You shouldn't seek it out. It's only available on bootleg. And you shouldn't give someone money for something that honestly wouldn't be worth getting for free just because it's "lost" or "unreleased". How many of you made that mistake with the Star Wars Holiday Special?
Completist geeks do nothing but suffer. Mark my words.
2) Brenda Starr (1989)/Dick Tracy (1990)
Yeah, it's a tie. Garish. Ugly. Utterly vacant and dull. I have a lot of words I could use to describe both of these movies. And none of them are good. Warren Beatty went on to redeem himself with Bugsy, but Brooke Shields career never sprung back from Brenda Starr.
Love Dick Tracy? Watch some of the movies from the 30s and 40s. They might lack the bright colors of the Disney fiasco, but they make up for it with action, story and fun. Things the modern update lacked.
Love Brenda Starr? Get help, bub. You need it.
1) Captain America (1991)
Captain America is an iconic character. In the right hands, the movie could be an astounding, heartfelt portait of the American ideal -- equal parts Superman and Batman. In still another set of the right hands, Cap's story could be a rollicking adventure story with equal helpings of Indiana Jones and James Bond.
Unfortunately, Albert Pyun isn't fit to make coffee for either of those sets of hands.
Who the fuck thought this was a good idea? Really?
It pains me to see Ronny Cox in this. I feel ashamed for Ned Beatty and Darren McGavin and Bill Mumy. Hell, I feel bad for Michael Nouri...and I don't even like Michael Nouri.
Please. For the love of all that is holy in comicdom...avoid this movie like the plague.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Our President is Smart!
Kevin, being such a fucking swell guy, asked me to link to this video of our dear Commander in Chief...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

So... What gives???

OK. I've been harangued a lot over the last week. "When are you gonna update Neurotrash?" "What happened to the headlines?" Blah blah blah blah blah.
Here's the deal: I got so god-damn frothed up over politics in the last few months (mostly due to the continued stupidity, corruption and malfeasance in our government -- state and federal) that it's overshadowed every bit of creative juice that I used to put into this site.
I was reading over 100 news and political feeds a day. From CNN to Oliver Willis' late (and lamented) blog, I was taking in a lot of insane amount of data about what's going on and why. And trimming it down into daily updates took an assload of time. Time I was, at the time, willing to spend.
The amount of rage necessary to sustain daily updates isn't constructive at all. It can occasionally be humorous, yes. But it doesn't do anything for your outlook on the world.
[On a side note, I ran into Mike Coleman (mayor of Columbus and hopefully the next governor of Ohio) again yesterday. Great guy -- I hope he continues to kick ass and take names all the way to the Senate...or even the executive branch of federal service (and I ain't talking Secretary of Education, bozos).]
So, I'm reassessing things. I'm taking a well-deserved break. And I'm working on a few things that require more of my immediate attention. I'll be back. Maybe soon.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

CRACKS IN THE DMCA!!! Lexmark loses its suit to prevent a company from circumventing the security measures in their printers that force you to use Lexmark brand print cartridges. Yes, that's right. There's now federal precedence that circumvention measures might be in the public's best interests. Will the rest of the draconian measure still hold together? (CNET)

So it's true. Apple is dropping the PowerPC chip manufactured by IBM in favor of chips made by Intel. Why? Well, for starters, they want to be able to put faster chips into their laptops, and IBM's been unable to deliver. How the new chip architechture will work with OS X remains to be seen. But Apple seems pretty confident that they're doing the right thing. (Wired)
Forbes doesn't seem to think the switch will do Apple any good. What they don't understand is that Apple made the decision not based on cost, but based on processing speed. (Forbes)
An analysis of why now was the right time to switch to the Intel processor -- a bit too techie for me... (OS News)

After complaints that Apple was abandoning open source, they've opened up a project to develop more open source software (CNET)

The Deep Impact probe is almost ready to crash into the Tempel 1 comet. Fascinating stuff. And it promises to get even more fascinating. (CNN)

A research institute is suing the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute on Drug Use for obstructing research into the medical applications of marijuana. Could this suit finally open the floodgates to medical applications of cannabis at the federal level? (Wired)

Certain cultural subgroups of dolphins use tools. Funky. (CNN)

United Airlines has FAA approval to offer wi-fi internet service on its flights. Of course, they'll charge an arm and a leg for it... (Wired)

Speakers as thin as a sheet of fabric? It could happen sooner than you think... (CNET)

iTunes is more popular now than any other music download service (including pirates) except WinMX (CNET)

Would you let this man through a border crossing? Even after you found a sword, a knife and a chainsaw in his trunk? (CNN)

Fascinating article on the cutural subgroup of the Akihabara district of Tokyo (Washington Post)

Niche DVD rental firms continue to grow in the shadow of Netflix and Blockbuster. The mom and pop shop's not quite dead yet. (CNET)

Yo! PUDDING! (Defamer)

Dr Tom Cruise blog. Too damn funny. (Defamer)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Howard Dean RULES. That is all. (CNN)

Skype is taking their software to the next level - full VOIP service (Wired)

With attacks on judges on the rise, Congress is looking into how to protect the judiciary. The problem is, with idiots like Tom DeLay condoning threats...can we trust Congress to protect them??? (Washington Post)

Are scientists close to developing a vaccine for the Marburg virus or Ebola? Let's hope so. (New York Times)

Live 8 isn't about fundraising. Instead it's about enlightening the populace to debt forgiveness...which could be more valuable to the Third World than humanitarian aid. Bob Geldoff is also planning a protest to coincide with the concerts, which are slated to match the dates of the G8 summit in the UK (BBC)

After 5 weeks, the Mars rover Opportunity is freed from a sand dune to continue its mission. Coolness. (CNN)

Speaking of Mars and Martians...the premiere of War of the Worlds is back on in Japan, in a better venue... (BBC)

Movie Trailers
Alias season 1 japanese dvd preview
Alias season 1 gag reel
Alias season 2 japanese dvd preview
Batman Begins japanese trailer
Full Metal Alchemist: The Movie japanese trailer
Herbie: Fully Loaded japanese trailer
Hitch japanese trailer
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou japanese trailer
Mask 2 japanese trailer (aka Son of the Mask)
Mr Incredible japanese dvd trailer (aka The Incredibles)
Open Water japanese trailer
Stormy Night japanese trailer
Touch japanese trailer
Zeta Gundam: The New Translation japanese trailer

Saturday, June 04, 2005


The 16th anniversary or Tiananmen has come and gone...and still no freedom in China (sigh...) (BBC)

007 worked for NASA??? Wha??? (Wired)

Insert random DUMBASS comment here. A lost work by Alexandre Dumas is published in France. When the hell's it getting translated? (BBC)

New use for satellite photos: show off man's devastation to the planet...including urban sprawl, deforestation and damage to the water table (CNN)

A conservation group has filed a lawsuit against the government to reveal their data about how military sonar might be injuring whales...Hmmm. Do ya think??? (CNN)

The world premiere of War of the Worlds in Japan has been cancelled due to security issues. Like what? Someone has to keep the gay people and the drug companies away from Tom Cruise???

Improv Everywhere stages an "impromptu" U2 rooftop show the day of a concert in NYC...and gets arrested. Awesome. (

Jackie Chan vs the Copyright Pirates. The audience loses. (ABC)

Comics fans are in contempt of women? WHAT??? Someone's stuck in the 90s here. This guy should have been at Wizard World Dallas last year...the women there were, oddly, gorgeous. And plentiful. I think we have Hugh Jackman to thank for that. Or Ryan Reynolds. Whatever. Hot comic fan girls...mmmmmmmmmm. (Neil Gaiman)

Congratulations to Penn Jillette and his wife Emily on the birth of their daughter, Moxie Crimefighter Jillette (Coolest. Name. Ever.) (Neil Gaiman)


Originally uploaded by baristacmh.
I thought, for my initial posting, that something to do with music was most appropriate.
From the press kit for the project...
PARIS - November 15, 2004 - In a collaborative effort between renowned composer,
musician and humanitarian, Julian Civange, and the European Space Agency (ESA), four
songs, representing the first signs of humanity, will arrive on Titan, the major moon of
Saturn, aboard the Huygens probe, sent to study the origins of life and possibly forms of
extra-terrestrial life.

The European Huygens spacecraft will arrive on Titan, Saturn’s main moon, on January
14, 2005 after a long voyage of seven years and nearly four billion kilometres. While the
mission is focused on studying the origins of life, the Music2Titan project will for the
first time offer a glimpse of mankind to the furthest reaches of space.

“Music2Titan reflects a wish to highlight mankind’s existence in the universe through
music and to familiarize people with the spatial exodus and possible existence of extra-
terrestrial life,” said Julien Civange, producer, musician and initiator of Music2Titan. “It
also serves as a way to offer people hope for the future and to make music travel beyond
normal boundaries.”

Music, The Sound Paintings of Space
At the request of the ESA, four pieces of music “made on earth” were composed by the
French musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haéri, and were put on board the Huygens
probe in 1997. The ESA hoped that these pieces of music would arouse the interest of the
general public about this great adventure, and leave a trace of humankind in the

The four pieces of music lasting a total of 14 minutes are respectively called “Lalala,”
“Bald James Deans,” “Hot Time,” and “No Love” and will be available over the Internet,
to the public on the 21st December through an original distribution plan through a major
U.S.-based online music service.

The Cassini-Huygens Mission: A Journey to the Origins of Life
On 15th October 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft launched as a coordinated effort
between NASA, the ESA and the Italian Space Agency (ISA), beginning a mission to
explore Saturn, its rings, its satellites, and above all Titan, the largest and most
mysterious of its moons. Huygens will detach from Cassini at the end of December to
dive into the atmosphere of Titan, which it will reach on January 14, 2005 after seven
years and nearly four billion kilometres.

From there, a system of sophisticated instruments will provide scientists with vital data to
help understand this mysterious region. As the only moon in the solar system with its
own atmosphere, Titan is the best place to study “primordial soup,” the matter from
which life emerged on Earth.

While the public must wait to download and hear the pieces, Siliwood Music invites you
to visit the site where you can
directly follow the progress of the mission.