Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, December 31, 2004

Having a very good final day of 2004.

I'm sure I've ranted many times before how Tokyo Mew Mew was one of my favourite animes when I was in Japan and I'd watch it every Saturday morning before going to work. And I'm sure I've also mentioned that 4Kids Entertainment - the same folks who import the Pokemon cartoon and make the new Ninja Turtles toon - are in the midst of translating Tokyo Mew Mew for North America. Well, I did some research today. The translated product has been named Mew Mew Power, and it'll be premiering next month. I downloaded all kinds of promotional gear from the 4Kids website, including the English opening credits sequence.

I was taken aback by the opening credits sequence. I did have the good fortune of watching some of the original Japanese Pokemon opening credit sequences, and when I compared them to the English ones, I saw that they took all footage from the Japanese opening credits, only re-edited it to match the English theme song. But, with the Mew Mew Power opening credit sequence, very little footage remains from the original opening credits. I was watching the whole thing going, "OK, that's from the second episode, that's from the fourth episode, that's actually from the final episode, and that's from the closing credits." And the English theme is kind of lame, too.

But still, can't wait to finally watch the adventures of Ichigo Momoyo in English! I'm sorry, her new English name is Zoey Daniels.

I also managed to catch an episode of the original Star Trek that I've wanted to see for a while now. It was called The Savage Curtain. The Enterprise is taken to the planet Excalbia by Abraham Lincoln. Kirk, Spock, and Lincoln beam down where they meet Surak, the founder of the Vulcan faith. The Excalbians appear and say that they have no concept of good and evil, so they've set up this test. Kirk, Spock, Lincoln, and Surak will form the "good" team. The "evil" team consists of Genghis Kahn, Kahless (the founder of the Klingon faith), Zoya (an infamously evil geneticist), and Col. Green, a warmonger from early 21st Century Earth. So, the good guys and the bad guys proceed to slug it out. Marvel Comics ripped off the concept years later for their now-classic Secret Wars comic.

Now, I'd been wanting to see it for this character of Colonel Green. We don't learn that much about him. According to the Excalbians, he led a genocidal war on Earth. He was power hungry, and his favourite move was to use peace talks as a diversionary tactic.

I wanted to know more about this character because Manny Coto, the guy in charge of Enterprise, seems to obsessed with this character. In every interview, he goes on and on about wanting to do something with Colonel Green. He even said that, when planning his Eugenics Wars arc, Dr. Arik Soong was originally going to be Colonel Green.

So, I had to see this because this character is most definitly headed for Enterprise.

Next Issue...Next Year

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Wow. I must have a touch of the obsessive compulsive disorder. After I mounted my new Clone Wars action figures last night, I noticed that my Star Wars figures no longer formed a perfect, symmetrical grid on my wall. So, I spent most of my morning re-arranging how all my collectable action figures are displayed, just so I could get the Star Wars figures back into a symmetrical grid.

Anyway, let's get to some cool DVD news. I revealed this a few weeks ago, but today I finally got the complete list of bonus materials. On March 15, Paramount will release the 2-disc special edition of....

Star Trek: First Contact

Your bonus materials:
- running commentary with director/star Jonathan Frakes
- running commentary with writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga
- pop up triva commentary compiled by Michael and Denise Okuda
- 3 featurettes on the Star Trek universe, including a tribute to composer Jerry Goldsmith
- 3 featurettes on the Borg
- 6 featurettes on the production, including one dedicated to the design of the Enterprise-E
- 3 scene deconstructions
- storyboard gallery
- teasers and trailers

Huh. No cut scenes. And I was *really* hoping they'd include the long-rumoured Captain Sisko cameo.

Oh, and there's a rumour going around that, on the same day, Paramount will release the much-demanded Star Trek: the Complete Animated Series. No word if this rumour is true, or what bonus stuff there may be.

A couple of quick bits, because Mom just rang the dinner bell:

- Team America: World Police hits DVD on April 5.
- To start hyping The Ring 2, a new The Ring Collector's Set hits on March 8.

Next Issue...Full Tummy

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I was so busy talking about The Lord of the Rings that I forgot to brag about the new addition to my collectable action figure collection.

I'm starting to find that one of the best places to get action figures is The Real Canadian Superstore. Especially when it comes to Star Wars. I don't know why, but Star Wars action figures don't move too well from Superstore, meaning you've got a great chance of getting something obscure from them. It's where I found my Darth Vader.

Now, some of the coolest action figures I'd read about were the Star Wars: Clone Wars figures. These figures were from the series of short cartoons done by Genndy Tartakovsky for the Cartoon Network. Now, for mainstream release, they did the central characters, only "literalized" them. That is, they made them look like real people so they'd look in place next to your existing collection of Luke Skywalkers and Darth Mauls. But, for Target Stores in the USA, they did a store exclusive collection of the Star Wars: Clone Wars figures as they appear in their animated style. Very cool. But they were Target Store exclusives, and there are no Targets in Canada.

So how Superstore started carrying them, I don't know. But, back in October or so, I saw the animated style Star Wars: Clone Wars figures in Superstore. But, they only had Count Dooku and (Clone Wars mercenary) Durge in their animated digs. "Cool, but not what I'm after," I thought to myself. "Now, if they had the animated version of Mace Windu, or main Clone Wars villain Asajj Ventress, well then, now we're talking!"

Time passed, and the shelves were always clogged with Count Dooku and Durge.

Until today.

Today, I was browsing through Superstore, and they had *everybody* in the animated style Clone Wars series. Animated Obi-Wan, Anakin, Clone Troopers, and, of course, Dooku and Durge. Got me the last Mace Windu and Asajj Ventress on the shelves! And damn, they look cool.

Next Issue...The Hunt Resumes
And now, I'd like to present...

The Stupidist Conversation I've Ever Had With a Store Clerk

The setting: Future Shop. I'd just finished returning my extra Spider-Man 2 DVD, and I was on the hunt for my Lord of the Rings trilogy. Right after I get my hands on The Fellowship of the Ring and notice they don't have any more on the shelf, I'm approached by a clerk....

CLERK: Can I help you?

MARK: Yeah. Lord of the Rings. All you got out here is Fellowship.

CLERK: Do you want the theatrical editions or the extended editions?

MARK: I want the the theatrical editions. I like those ones more.

CLERK: Are you sure you don't want the extended editions?

MARK: Positive. I want the films I saw in the theatre.

CLERK: But the extended editions have a lot more cool stuff.

MARK: I know. But I like the theatrical versions more. Those are the ones I want. The regular, good ol' theatrical versions.

CLERK: Oh. Well, we're sold out of the extended editions.

Also turns out that the one DVD of Fellowship of the Ring that I grabbed off the shelf was the last Lord of the Rings DVD that Future Shop had. I guess all the hype on the Return of the King: Extended Edition made the whole franchise the "must-have" DVDs of the season. Anyway, grabbed Fellowship, and I'm on my way to completing the trilogy!

(Could have bought the whole trilogy at HMV, but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg. I love HMV for their selection, but they're so damned overpriced.... I only buy DVDs there now if it's a really obscure title I'm after.)

Next Issue...The Seach Continues!

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm back from Christmas break! Went down to Red Deer to hang with the family. And that's why there's no column this week. Didn't right anything before I left, didn't feel like writing anything when I got home tonight. I think you'll live.

Now, I know I said I'd never talk about my family in the columns or in this here blog or anything like that, but this is just too good a story to not share.

As you all know, the one thing I really, really wanted for Christmas was the Spider-Man 2 DVD. I've been dropping subtle hints since August. Well, only if you consider putting up big, bold banners "subtle." When Spider-Man 2 finally came out back on November 30, that's when I tripled my "subtle" hints.

And about two weeks ago, Mom started dropping her own subtle hints. She started going on and on about how she didn't want to buy me DVDs for gifts anymore. Between widescreen, fullscreen, extended editions, and unrated director's cuts, she just has no idea anymore which one is the "right" one. I tried to put her mind at ease. "Just look for those two words - wide screen - and I'll be happy," I said.

And the countdown to Christmas continued, me with my subtle hints that all I wanted was Spider-Man 2, and Mom with her ramblings about how she refused to buy me DVDs.

Christmas morning came. I grabbed the box from my parents. It was about the right size for a DVD. I tore it open and found...a box of chocolates. I thought, "Maybe Mom just used an empty box," but no. A quick look at the underside showed the factory seals were still intact. A quick shake and I heard a very recognizable rattle. It was a box of chocolates. I felt somewhat letdown, as it was the only DVD-sized box under the tree for me, meaning it was clear what happened: no Spider-Man 2 for me. I was then directed towards a second box from my parents, which contained a Future Shop gift card. The meaning was clear: here's the money to buy the DVD you want. The box of chocolates is just for the thrill of opening something on Christmas morning.

But still, that didn't stop me from being whiney all day Christmas. I lamented that I didn't get what I really wanted - Spider-Man 2 - and everyone was stunned. (As I said, I layed the subtle hints on pretty heavy.) Mom just smiled and nodded in her sympathetic, maternal way.

Boxing Day came. My brother and sister-in-law were off to spend their Christmas cash, and I went along. We went to Future Shop, where I promplty grabbed Spider-Man 2 off the shelf and spent my gift card on it. My brother and sister-in-law bought a new printer, a new digital camera, wireless controllers for his PS2, a new exercise bike, etc.

We got back to my brother's place, and we unloaded all of his packages. When all that was done, Mom turned to me and said, "And let me guess...you spent all your money, too." Feeling somewhat proud, I said, "Nope. There was only one thing on my list, and it's the only thing I got: Spider-Man 2."

Mom's Christmas cheer gave way to sheer rage. "What the hell was wrong the the DVD I gave you?" she demanded. Somewhat taken aback, I gently reminded my mother that she didn't give me a DVD. She gave me the gift card and a box of chocolates. "You should have opened the fucking box," she said as she stormed off.

Naturally, I went to the Christmas tree and took a second look at the box of chocolates my parents gave me. Upon a closer, Gil Grisson-style investigation, I noticed that the factory seals had been gently pieced back together and taped up. I cut the tape and opened the box. Inside, were a handful of chocolates to give the box a "box of chocolates" rattle...

...and Spider-Man 2 on DVD.

Mom didn't talk to me for the rest of the afternoon, thinking that I had snubbed her and implied the gift wasn't good enough. I didn't talk to Mom for the rest of the day, because I felt that she played a very cruel Chrismtas joke on me.

Anyway, it seems that we're both over it now. Probably on Wednesday or Thursday, I'll head into the city and return the Spider-Man 2 DVD that I bought. The only question now is, what trilogy should I blow my gift card on: Lord of the Rings or the Matrix?

Next Issue...Turning into the Grinch

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I just have to share this news.

It's become a growing trend among the entertainment conglomerates to make a video game sequel to a cult classic film that they own. Some of the best examples popping to mind right now are the Evil Dead games and Disney's Tron 2.0. Now, another "video game sequel to a cult classic" has been announced, and it's one that's been rumoured for a long time.

the Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.

Picking up shortly after The Nightmare Before Christmas, Oogie's Revenge tells the tale of the return of Oogie Boogie and his plot to oust Jack Skellington as the King of Halloween. You will play Jack (naturally) as he fights off Oogie's hordes to keep Halloweentown safe. Along the way, Jack will pick up a handy weapon called a "Soul Robber," and make a variety of costume changes; each costume boasting its own unique attacks.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge will be available for PS2 and Xbox, and in stores for Halloween 2005.

and now, Christmas is drawing near. I can tell because there's about 3 dozen different versions of A Christmas Carol on TV. The Guiness Book of World Records says that Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed character in film, with Dracula being a close second. I tell ya, Ebeneezer Scrooge has to at least be in the top 5.

But, my favourite spin on the saga of Scrooge still has to be the holiday episode of The Real Ghostbusters. While coming back from a job on Christmas eve, the Ghostbusters fall through a timewarp and find themselves in Victorian London. Here, they accidentally capture the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future on their way to teach Scrooge a lesson. So, the 'busters get back to the future, dump the spirits into the Ecto Containment Unit, and that's when all hell breaks loose. Because Scrooge never learned the true meaning of Christmas, his attitude caught on, and now, the Ghostbusters live in a time where Christmas does not exist. So, a solution is hatched. Egon builds a special suit that will allow him to go inside the Ecto Containment Unit to rescue the 3 ghosts, while the other Ghostbusters go back through the timewarp to take the place of the 3 ghosts and teach Scrooge his lesson.

Man, I'd love to see that episode again.

Next Issue...Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Got some big release dates I have to share.

First, for Dad, circle Tuesday, March 1 on your calendar. That's the day of the 2-hour final episode of NYPD Blue. Ahh, who could forget NYPD Blue? Created by Steven Bochco with the innocent goal of doing "an R-rated police drama for television," the show was immediatly controversial for it's foul language, gratuitious bare butt shots, and just plain contributing to the moral decay of society. But, once you got past all that, there were some compelling characters and good storytelling going on, making it a darling of critics and the Emmys. Anyway, it's been on for 12 years now, probably lost it's edge about 5 years ago, but it's still pretty good. And it's Dad's favourite show.

The next big day is July 16. Scholastic has announced that this will be the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, aka Harry Potter VI. JK Rowling announced yesterday that she finished it over the weekend and shipped it off to her publisher. This'll be Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, meaning he's now a hormonally charged 16 year old. Apparently in book IV he started getting interested in girls. Hmmm... No one's wondering if there's a "losing his virginity" scene in any of these later books. The big wonderment right now is if it's longer that The Order of the Phoenix (book 5), which came in at 870 pages. Rowling has said in the past that she always intended Harry Potter to be a 7-book epic, meaning this is the second last one. (Although, she has hinted in recent years about maybe doing a 8th book about a grown-up Harry struggling with adulthood.)

And I was reading something interesting in the paper today. It's about the soft drink industy and how "diet" has become a dirty word. "Old, dated, with negative connotations," says the market studies. So, you can start saying good-bye to "Diet Coke" and "Diet Pepsi," as they'll soon be given newer, trendier, current-diet-fad names. The first victim has been Diet Sprite, which now goes by Diet Sprite Zero, soon to be Sprite Zero. In fact, it already goes by Sprite Zero in most of Europe. The name change doubled sales in Greece.

Actually, this article showed that you'll never know when a good pop culture reference will pop up. As a case study, this article mentioned that, in the 1980s, Pepsi changed the name of Caffiene Free Pepsi to Pepsi Free. The article goes on to mention that the name change "even became a set-up for a joke in the classic film Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly, visiting 1955, ordered a Pepsi Free in a diner, only to have the counterman reply, 'If you want a Pepsi, pal, ya gotta pay for it.'"

Next Issue...School's done!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

First things first. Latest column's up! This week, I tell you How to be a Genius:

"I’ve been called a genius many times in my short life, but to tell the truth, I’ve never believed it. I may be smart, intelligent even. At least, that’s what having a degree in physics leads people to believe. But a genius? Never in a million years. I just don’t have the marketing savvy. Being a genius, or at least regarded as one, is just another label we attribute to people, like “savant” or “cool.” Being a genius has very little to do with how smart you are. I’ve known some geniuses who were downright idiots, and I’ve known some very smart people who weren’t geniuses at all. Nope, genius is just another image we project. And, since I’ve suckered many people into believing that I’m a genius, it must be an image I’m good at projecting. So then, let me help you out. Here are the five simple steps to being a genius."

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

And, with my weekend at a close, I'm once again wondering what to do next in Pokemon. I got my dragons. I got Flygon and Salamance. So, what next? I definitly want to work with Shedinja more. Shedinja is a unique pokemon. It's a Ghost/Bug type. It has only 1 HP, meaning one hit and he's down for the count. But...Shedinja has a special ability called Wonder Guard. Wonder Guard makes Shedinja invulnerable to about 90% of all pokemon. Once he's a little stronger and knows some more powerful moves, I think Shedinja would make a great "big gun."

There's a few more elusive rare pokemon in the Safari Zone I want to snag. Plus, I'm in the midst of making a totally pimped-out secret base. I'm kind of waiting for the Lilycove Department Store to have it's clearance sale so I can get a TV. When I finally get my own place, I hope it's as cool as my secret base.

And I've had a few happy memories. Caught The Royal Tennenbaums on TV last night. I'll always have happy memories of that film. I saw it in Vancouver, right after my job inteview with the AEON Corp. Not wanting to be lonely in the big city, I made plans with a freind of a friend to hang out. The Royal Tennenbaums was her favourite movie at the moment, so we went to see it. Then, we kind of hung out for the afternoon. One of the best afternoons I've ever had. *sigh* Probably the closest I've ever come to having a date in my life, too.

(Of course, if she ever reads that, she'll probably totally freak out.)

Next Issue...Last Day of School!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

And now, the biggest comic book movie news of the day.

David S. Goyer, the man who wrote all 3 Blades, directed #3, wrote Batman Begins, and boasts that he's consulted on every superhero film in development (but Superman), will be writing and directing....

The Flash.

I'll admit, this kind of gets me tingly. I think I've ranted before that I absolutely *loved* the live-action TV show when I was 13, and that was really my only exposure to the character. Well, that and his starring role on Justice League, where he's the token smart-ass.

No word yet on which incarnation of the Fastest Man Alive Goyer will be using, but Goyer has already said that he thinks his Blade: Trinity star Ryan Reynolds is right for the part. Hmm... Reynolds is age & pesonality appropriate for the current Flash, Wally West.

Anyway, I should get back to work. I finally got my Trapinch to evolve into a Vibrava! 10 more levels, and I get a kick-ass Flygon.

Hmmm... I have a friend who works in a sex shop. She sells Vibravas for a living!


Next Issue...Lazy Afternoon

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I just spend a few minutes to wander aimlessly around the school. It'd been ages since I'd done that. I'm constantly amazed at how every thing's connected through pedways; like the school's a big Habitrail. Didn't Shakespear write, "All the world's a Habitrail, and the people are but hampsters?" I don't think so.

But still, I went up to the tower lounge. I like the view up there. Helps me clear my head. (For those not from NAIT, the "Office Tower" is the 8-story office building where the Business Administration courses are taught. The eighth floor is a massive study lounge; the tower lounge.) What can I say? I just like going to high places to relax. Was the same in Japan. My school was on the fifth floor of a 7-story building. I'd eat my lunch on the roof. On a clear day, you could see Mt. Fuji.

And trust me, with the smog from being that close to Tokyo, clear days were rare.

Next Issue...Glorious Flaming End
Show prep for the final show:

- I keep reading of the saga of the Edmonton Food Bank and their website. Their URL used be "edmontonfoodbank.com," but someone wasn't watching too carefully and forgot to renew the registration. "edmontonfoodbank.com" was promptly bought by a Swiss cyber-squatter, and currently re-directs to an ad for a boner pill and a "This domain can be yours!" ad. This Swiss company offered to sell the URL back to the food bank for $300. They lowered the price to $200 when they found out the Food Bank was a charity, not a grocery store. The Food Bank just said, "Screw you," and ran out and registered "edmontonfoodbank.org" and "edmontonfoodbank.ca." Many people in the city have offered to buy the URL for the food bank, but the food bank has said, "Know what? This is really a non-issue for us. We'd much rather you make a donation to us."

(Well, someone must have bought it back for the Food Bank. I just typed in ...foodbank.com and it took me to the Edmonton Food Bank.)

- Another website people are talking about is Komar.org. This is the website for the Komarski family, and they've hooked up their christmas light to their website. If you go to their website between 5 pm and 10 pm Edmonton time, you can turn their Christmas lights on and off over the Internet. They've got a webcam pointed at their house, so you can watch the action.

- Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame is currently in negotiations to do the Wonder Woman movie. He's also the front-runner for X3.

- David S. Goyer, writer/director of Blade: Trinity and writer of Blade, Blade II, and Batman Begins, is in negotiations to write and direct The Mighty Thor. Goyer actually revealed in an interview that he's been contacted and asked for input on virtually every comic book movie currently in development...but Superman.

- What I find odd has to do with what I want for Christmas. I want The Lord of the Rings, and I'd much rather have the theatrical editions, NOT the extended editions. (Sorry, but the 4.25 hour running time on Return of the King: Extended is a bit too much movie for me.) What's surprising me is I can find the boxed set of the extended editions, but not the theatrical editions! Even HMV.com lists the theatrical editions as being an import from the States that'll take 2 weeks to get here. Weird....

Next Issue...Final show.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Wow! I've gotten so used to dumping the new DVDs into my blog here for show prep. You know, if I ever slip and don't get around to dumping, just go to Cinescape. That's where I get all this stuff. Anyway, what's out today:

LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING Extended Edition (New Line) Four-disc set holds Peter Jackson’s special 50-minute longer version of the final chapter in Tolkein’s epic, plus four commentraks, tons of featurettes, galleries, interactive maps, etc., etc. Also available in a collectors’ gift set that includes a 52-minute documentary on composer Howard Shore and a sculpture of Minas Tirith (hey, that’s my favorite character!).

LORD OF THE RINGS: Motion Picture Trilogy (New Line) All three extended editions in a box set.

COLLATERAL (Universal) Contract killer Tom Cruise hires cabbie Jamie Foxx to drive him around on violent errands in this taut thriller from Michael Mann. Includes Making-Of, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, hidden goodies and more.

I, ROBOT (Fox) Alex Proyas takes concepts from Isaac Asimov’s robot stories and glues them into a big budget action f/x movie, with mixed results. Widescreen and fullscreen editions include commentrak, Making-Of, etc.

MARY POPPINS (Buena Vista) A new nanny exhibits bizarre magical abilities in this once state-of-the-art musical fantasy vehicle. Two-disc 40th anniversary edition includes a remastered transfer of this Disney favorite, plus Making-Of, a new cartoon short, interviews, deleted song, games, and more.

QUANTUM LEAP: Complete Second Season (Universal) More of the time travel favorite.

STAR TREK: Complete Third Season (Paramount) Third and final deluxe collection of 24 original series episodes on seven discs, including two versions of "The Cage" and featurettes. Also available bundled with the previous two sets.

TOP GUN (Paramount) Typically overhyped gung ho 1986 Tony Scott jet fighter movie, with stars like Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan providing the charisma. Widescreen and fullscreen special editions comes in either fullscreen or widescreen format. Also available in a TOM CRUISE ACTION PACK with DAYS OF THUNDER and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

FAMILY GUY: Freakin’ Sweet Collection (Fox) Five favorite episodes of the wickedly funny sitcom. Includes commentraks and preview featurettes on the upcoming series AMERICAN DAD.

But the big one for me...

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

YES!! I've been dying to see this one! As you all know, I saw Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla when I was in Japan. Tokyo S.O.S. came out one year later (Dec. 2003) and was designed to be a DIRECT SEQUEL to Against Mechagodzilla. It's like this. After their climactic battle, Godzilla is thought to be dead and Mechagodzilla is in the shop for extensive repairs. But then, Mothra begins attacking Tokyo! And soon, Godzilla returns to do battle with Mothra! The race is then on to get Mechagodzilla's repairs done to fight off both Mothra and Godzilla. But, there are still problems with Mechagodzilla's DNA computer. Will Mechagodzilla fight off these giant monsters...or join them?

Oh, and with all this talk of DVDs, I've got to share the big news I just saw on the 6 o'clock news. Blockbuster Video is abolishing late fees! They say they're doing this to battle increasing competition from cable TV and online rental services (like Mr. Anderson's highly endorsed Zip.ca). Now, it's going to work like this. There's still a due date, and if you miss the due date, you go into a one-week "grace period." If you don't get it back in the grace period, they make you buy the DVD/video game/VHS tape. It starts on January 1 for the Yankees, and the end of March for us.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Well, Wolverine isn't the only character from the X-Men films who's getting his own movie. It was announced today that they'll be making a film all about...


It's being described as "The Pianist meets X-Men." Remember the opening scene of X-Men, where Magneto is being dragged off to the Nazi concentration camp? Well, that's where the movie starts. We then follow Magneto's journey to adulthood, as he learns to control his power, seeks vengeance for his parents' death, has his concentration camp liberated at the hands of a young American soldier named Charles Xavier, how he and Charles became friends and later, enemies.

I'm not too sure that this'll work, but I'll give it a shot.

And I've just been thinking about cartoons. I've been watching my Gargoyles DVD over and over. You know, they've done this very famous comic book called 40 Days of Night, about an Alaskan town that has 40 days of darkness during the year and vampires descending on the town to paint the town red. You could probably do a great Gargoyles take off of that, about Arctic gargoyles who are awake for 6 months then stone for 6 months.

And then there's Jem. You know, we've had a recent rash of manufacture pop stars being exposed, such as the lip synch scandals with Ashlee Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. If done properly, Jem could be a very witty satire of all that. What is Jerrica Benton but the ultimate manufacture pop star?

Next Issue...Cursed with Ideas

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Just a little more show prep:

Watched the new CBC movie A Bear Named Winnie. This told the story of Winnie, the orphaned black bear cub who went on to become a mascot for the Canadian Armed Forces Veterinary Corp and on to the London Zoo where he was the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. It was a little cheezy, a little corny, and it definitly had its flaws.

Firstly, there wasn't far enough plot for a 2-hour movie. You could feel the padding. Especially in the last hour, when the padding wasn't enough and they started throwing in more commercials.

Secondly, it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. It had its great comic moments, like when the soldiers were trying to hide their bear from their commander, and it had off-the-shelf dramatic moments, like seeing the horrors of war. It should have tried to pick one or the other, but instead tried to have it both ways.

The biggest surprise was seeing Gil Bellows in it. You remember him, Billy on Ally McBeal. He played the regiment commander in this film. Reminded me of a Rick Mercer quote: "When a star begins to fade, he does television. When he dies completely, he does Canadian television."

All in all, it was a noble effort, but really there wasn't much there for a movie.

2 Nibs. Sorry, Pooh-bear.

Next Issue...too early
My latest column is My Latest Letter of Resignation:

"In the grand tradition of quitting jobs I’m not too fond of, I’d like to present my latest letter of resignation. That, and I’m too lazy to write anything original this week. This is my resignation from the Nugget, NAIT’s newspaper. Why I’m quitting is in the letter. "

Find out why I'm quitting!

And I'm working the morning shift tomorrow, 7:30 - 10:30. Let's jot down some show prep. top 10 movies:

Weekend ending 12/12/2004
1. Ocean's Twelve
2. Blade: Trinity
3. National Treasure
4. The Polar Express
5. Christmas with the Kranks
6. The Incredibles
7. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
8. Closer
9. Finding Neverland
10. Alexander

The American Film Institute has listed the top 10 movies of the year:


And the top 10 TV shows:


And some of Tuesday's new DVDs:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended Edition - The final DVD release of the final film. It's the all-new director's cut with 50 minutes of previously cut scenes, bringing the running time to 4-hours! This 4-disc set also has more bonus stuff than you can shake a stick at.

I, Robot - The summer blockbuster starring Will Smith and a bunch of robots. In Widescreen and Fullscreen versions. Quite a bare disc, boasting just a running commentary and a making-of documentary.

Top Gun: Special Collector's Edition - The quintessential 80s action film finally gets the 2-disc special edition treatment. Director's running commentary, making-of documentaries, documentaries on the film's impact, music videos, and all that good stuff. Oh, and in widescreen and fullscreen.

Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Edition - The Disney classic gets the 2-disc special edition treatment! All new running commentary with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, making-of documentary, all-new animated short, pop-up trivia bits, and a long lost cut song.

And that should do it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Gotta jot this down for next month's "Favourite Quotes of the Month."

"Well, that's what happens when there's no hockey. Men start hanging out with each other more, they start talking about their feelings, and before you know it, they're in love with each other. All things considered, I'd much rather be playing hockey." - Hockey star Brett Hull, explaining how the hockey lockout has led to the legalization of gay marriage in Canada on Saturday Night Live.

Friday, December 10, 2004

OK, I just want to take a quick minute to comment on some of the latest trailers I've watched online:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The new movie version of the classic Roald Dahl novel, as brought to the big screen by my man Tim Burton. I can honestly say this is the most fucked up trailer I've ever watched. I mean, it's a striking visual design. We're talking old-school Tim Burton, back in his Beetlejuice/Edward Scissorhands days. What makes it really fucked up is the song. It's a very obvious Danny Elfman tune all about Willy Wonka, and it's sung in some very high pitched, squeaky voices. And Johnny Depp looks very feminine as Willy Wonka. But I'll be there to see it, if only because I love Tim Burton.

War of the Worlds - Ahh, the newest movie version of the H.G. Wells classic. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise. This news would get me excited...if it weren't for the fact that I'm one of the few people on this planet that thought Minority Report was really lame. This trailer, however, does look pretty good. Nice and creepy. It's looking kind of like Independence Day, only deadly serious. And apparently the narration is text taken straight from the original novel! Call me cautiously optimistic on this one.

Cars - OK, the teaser for Pixar's next has been out for a month now, but I thought I'd comment on it. I normally love Pixar, but this teaser has me thinking one thing: "Wow, this actually looks very lame." (I need a new slang term for "not good.") Talking cars. Woo. Cracking lame jokes. Woo. Amazingly, though, this is not the first Pixar teaser that disappointed me. I also thought the first teaser for Finding Nemo was incredibly lame. So, Pixar just gave themselves six more months with this one. Prove me wrong, John Lasseter!

Next Issue...Should Get On That Christmas List

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Hi Mark. Yeah, I'm talking to you. Something tells me you're reading your own blog instead of getting any work done. Anyway, I thought I'd better leave this reminder.

Before you leave school this Friday, be sure to pick up a couple of report covers and a high-quality blank CD. Then, take that blank CD and burn your Client Campaign spots to it for Trouble.

Gotta get this done to give to her on Sunday.

Now, get back to work!
OK, I've got to throw in this show-prep tidbit:

Edmonton's got their new baseball team. This new team is in the Northern League, the Trappers having formerly been in the Pacific Coast League. And what's the name of this new ball club?

The Edmonton Cracker-Cats.

You might be going, "What the hell? How did they come up with this name?" Well, it goes like this. The owners wanted a name that had both a) ties to the oil industry and b) an easily-marketable cute animal mascot. After rejecting the list of 50 names produced by a professional marketing firm, the team owners grabbed the oilpatch dictionary and found the term "cat cracking." Cat cracking is short for catalytic cracking, a chemical process that happens at the start of refinement. The owners turned that around and got Cracker Cats.

I love how the owners found the oilpatch dictionary to be more useful that a team of marketing professionals.

But yeah, the cracker cats have come to town!

Oh, and more movie news. Shrek 3 has been pushed back from November 2006 to Summer 2007. The official reason is the same one being given for Pixar pushing back Cars: Now, in the summer, more kids can go to the theatre to see it, they can have the DVD out in time for Christmas, all meaning more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Next Issue...Coming Out at Christmas

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Show prep: Enterprise - Kir'Shara - Kind of lame.

Future DVD: "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" cartoon streets on March 22. You get all 20 of the original 3-minute shorts.

New DVDs this week: THE ULTIMATE MATRIX (Warner Bros.) Beautifully packaged TEN(!) disc set includes deluxe remastered editions of all three MATRIX movies with all-new commentraks, THE ANIMATRIX, and six discs of documentaries and extras. Also available in a limited edition gift set that includes a Neo bust and 80-page book.

BOURNE SUPREMACY (Universal) Matt Damon is framed for an assassination, leading him into conflict with his old bosses, during which he begins to piece together his past. Wonderful action sequences highlight this hit spy thriller in wide and fullscreen editions. Includes deleted scenes and seven Making-Of featurettes.

DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY (Fox) A by-the-numbers plot doesn’t slow down this hilarious comedy in which Vince Vaughn must lead a group of misfits into a dodgeball tournament to save his gym. Widescreen and fullscreen edition come with commentrak, deleted scenes, alternate ending, featurettes, script and six Easter Eggs. Also available bundled with various other Fox comedies.

STAR TREK VOYAGER Season 6 (Paramount) 26 episodes on seven discs, plus featurettes.

FLINTSTONES Season 2 (Warner Bros.) Yabba dabba DVD set includes commentraks, featurettes, commercials, songs and more.

(O) GARGOYLES: Complete First Season (Buena Vista) Fondly remembered Disney action fantasy series.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Hmm. Here's one of those little bits of movie news that makes me raise my eyebrow. Probably because I read 12 pages of analyses when I got the news.

Pixar's next film, Cars, has been pushed back from November 2005 to June 2006.

Pixar's official statement is that they're starting to move out into summer blockbuster territory, when more kids can go to the movies. (Finding Nemo is their only film that's come out in the summer.) Wall Street says this is a stall tactic; that they're having trouble finding a new distributor after Disney and that they're doing this to buy more time.

But still, the bottom line is we've got to wait an extra 6 months for the next Pixar film.

Stay tuned.

Next Issue...Cars Looks Lame Anyway
Wow. I pride myself on being Mr. DVD - the guy with all the news on all the upcoming releases. So I'm always completely stunned when something slips in under my radar - especially when it's a DVD I'd give my right arm to own. Today, December 7, Disney is releasing....

Gargoyles: Season 1

this 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes from Gargoyles's first season. There's not much for bonus stuff, but what there is is gold. You get:

- Running commentary by Greg Weisman (series creator), Frank Paur (series head writer), and Keith David (voice of Goliath) on the 5-part pilot episode, Awakening.

- The Gathering of the Gargoyles: featurette on the creation of the show

- Greg Weisman's original pitch for the show.

In stores today!

Also out are Batman: The Animated Series - Volume 2 (which works out to be the second half of season 1, I believe) and The Ultimate Matrix Collecton, the huge-ass 10 disc boxed set of the trilogy

Next Issue...Showtime

Monday, December 06, 2004

Here's some valuable show prep:

A British bakery just ran a poll to find the top 10 cheesiest moments in movies. (It's to plug their new cheese crumpets.) There were some expected splits - men leaned towards action films and women towards romances - but the unanimous winner was Leonardo diCaprio on Titanic for his line, "I'm king of the world!" Here's the rest of the top 10:

Entertainment - AP

'Titanic' Tops Cheesy Film Moments Survey

1 hour, 38 minutes ago Entertainment - AP

NEW YORK - Although "Titanic" soared at the box office in 1997, according to a recent United Kingdom survey, it's most memorable line — "I'm the king of the world!" — sunk.

Baker Warburtons posed the question "What are your top three cheesiest moments in film?" to 2,000 U.K. moviegoers in celebration of the launch of their new cheese flavored crumpets.

The line uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio (news) was followed by Patrick Swayze's "Nobody puts Baby in the corner," from 1987's "Dirty Dancing" and Andie McDowell's "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed," from the end of 1994's "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

Warburtons reports that surveyed women opted for romantic comedy moments from films such as "Notting Hill" and "Jerry Maguire" while men preferred silly scenes from action flicks like "Top Gun" and "Braveheart." Despite the gender divide, 33 percent of the overall vote unanimously agreed on the "Titanic" yell as the cheesiest moment.

Here's the list of big cheese moments:

1. "Titanic": Leonardo DiCaprio's "I'm the king of the world!"

2. "Dirty Dancing": Patrick Swayze's "Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

3. "Four Weddings And A Funeral": Andie McDowell's "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed."

3. "Ghost": Demi Moore's "Ditto." to Patrick Swayze's "I love you."

5. "Top Gun": Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise: "You can be my wingman anytime"

6. "Notting Hill": Julia Roberts' "I'm just a girl... standing in front of a boy... asking him to love her."

7. "Independence Day": Bill Pullman's "Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

8. "Braveheart": Mel Gibson's "They may take our lives, but they will not take our freedom!"

9. "Jerry Maguire": Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: "You had me at hello."

10. "The Postman": A blind woman says to Kevin Costner (news): "You're a godsend, a savior." He replies: "No, I'm a postman."

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Latest column's up! It's all about the Mall:

" How I long for the West Edmonton Mall of my youth! When West Edmonton Mall first opened up in the late 1980s, it loved flaunting its claim to fame as the world’s biggest mall. Everything about the mall had to be the world’s biggest. Biggest parking lot, biggest indoor amusement park, more submarines than the Canadian navy! It echoed everything that was wrong with the 80s: greed, excess, and consumerism run amok. "

Here's the whole thing

next Issue...Damn you all to heck!

Saturday, December 04, 2004


The DVD announcement I've been waiting for has finally come. On March 15, 20th Century Fox releases....

The Lone Gunmen: the Complete Series

This 3-disc set will include all 13 episodes from the short-lived X-Files spin-off. Each episode will be presented in its original, widescreen format. (Yeah, turns out the show was filmed in widescreen in anticipation of HDTV, but cropped for regular broadcast.) For bonus materials, there'll be a few featurettes on the creation of the show, running commentary on a few episodes by cast and crew members and, the biggest of them all, the X-Files episode Jump the Shark. Airing in The X-Files' final season, Jump the Shark tied up all the loose ends from The Lone Gunmen and was, in essence, the final episode of The Lone Gunmen.

March 15th, baby!

Also coming out on that day is the 2-disc special edition of Star Trek: First Contact. Here's hoping they include the original DS9 opening with the bonus materials.

Anyway, I'm back from a day in the city. I swung by Cosmic City in West Edmonton Mall. If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift for me, you can get me the GeekMan action figure. I'm sure I've ranted about it before. Made by the Canadian company Happy Worker Toys, GeekMan is a tekkie action figure. He comes with removable glasses, a removable watch, a laptop, a PDA, and stainless steel travel mug.

And now, Happy Worker Toys has released its next two figures: BossMan (a boss action figure) and MoneyMan (an accountant action figure). BossMan comes with three changeable faces (happy, angry, neutral), a megaphone, and a stack of reports. MoneyMan comes with removable glasses, a calculator, a briefcase, stock certificates, and a piggy bank.

Oh, and I finally saw the Incredibles. It kicked ass. I'll have a proper review on the main site later.

Next Issue...The Antarctic Express

Friday, December 03, 2004

December 3, 2004.

Today's date is 12/3/4.

Wrote my first final exam today. My classmates were amazed when I started talking about my lucky hat and I went through my whole final exam ritual. I've always been deeply superstitious when it comes to final exams and midterms. This is the complete ritual:

- I arrive at school wearing my lucky hat. The lucky hat is a Star Trek: First Contact baseball cap I picked up in West Edmonton Mall in the spring of 1997. When I sit down to write the test, the lucky hat is removed from my head and placed in the top left corner of my desk.

- I wear the lucky shirt. The lucky shirt is a souvineer T-shirt from the Dinosaur Show that Edmonton hosted back in 1993. It features a T-rex skeleton that's a glow in all kinds of dark, flourescent colours. It was the last one on the shelf, and from that day forward, I've been deeply paranoid about washing off the T-rex decal. I only wear it about three times a year and wash it just once a year. For 11 years old, it still looks brand new.

- I take my lucky charm of the moment and place it on my desk in the top right corner. Currently, my lucky charm is a Spirited Away keychain that one of my students gave me when I left Japan. Previous lucky charms have included 50¢ coins and Star Trek pins.

- My notes (and textbook, it there's one) for the day's test MUST be in the same room with me. Under my chair is preferable, but if my teacher's one of those paranoid ones who demands that all bags and binders be thrown in a pile in the corner of the room, that's OK. This stems from the fact that I generally bring my notes with me so I can cram right up to the last minute.

- And then, when I receive the test page, I always, ALWAYS sign my full name: Mark Sladen Cappis.

The fact that I've been an honour student for most of my educational career is all thanks to this ritual. I'm certain that the average two hours I spend studying the night before has very little to do with it.

Oh, and some movie news today. After months of rumours, it's finally official. Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, will be directing the live-action movie version of the classic Marvel comic book Namor, the Sub-Mariner. The script was written by David Self, who adapted the graphic novel The Road to Perdition for the big screen.

This really isn't much of a surprise. Columbus has always made it clear that he made his Marvel when he was a kid. He was even attached to direct Fantastic Four for most of the 1990s.

Next Issue...I Finally See The Incredibles.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

So, here's some interesting movie news out of Japan.

Nintendo is looking into opening their own animation studio.

The goal is to produce animated films based on some of the properties they own, so that would be animated movie versions of Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Super Mario.

This is definitly interesting.

Next Issue...Zap Strikes!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

OK, show in half an hour. Let's do some show prep!

- Nick Cassevettes has just signed on to direct "Iron Man." The screenplay was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Spidey 2) and David Hayter (X-Men).

- First Fantastic Four teaser this Christmas!

- Kevin Spacey is Lex Luthor! One of the oldest superman rumours come true.

Enterprise. Part 2 of the Vulcan civil war. Too much talk, not enough action. Archer now carries the Matrix. Surak/Morpheus guides his way. Crazy stuff man.

Stress is what's wrong with society this week.

Next generation DVD is on the way, and it looks like there'll be a format war. Warner Brothers, Universal, and Paramount are supporting "HD-DVD." Sony is supporting their own format, "Blu-Ray." Essentially, the next generation uses blue lasers instead of the regular red. The higher wavelenght and higher energy allows more infomation to be encoded on a disc, thus allowing greater picture and sound quality. First discs and players on the market this time next year.

And don't worry. Everyone's saying that these will still be able to play old discs.