Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, February 28, 2005

Guess I should comment on the Oscars last night.

- Yay! Brad Bird won for the Incredibles! Was there ever any doubt?

And that's really the only comment I have to make. When it comes to predicting the winner for Best Animated Film, I now have an unbeaten streak since the category began. Woo!

Also, last night, I got to watch the much hyped Enterprise episode, Divergence. This resolved last week's cliffhanger and finally explained why Klingons on the original series didn't have bumpy foreheads. You know, this really is something where I wouldn't have minded if they never bothered to explain it. We all understand that they didn't have the budget back in 1966 for bumpy foreheads.

But anyway, if you care, it goes like this: After having a run-in with augments (Khan's genetically enhanced type), the Klingons figured they should create Klingon augments. Side effect of the augmentations: no bumpy foreheads. But, one problem. The Klingon's fiddling created a super-deadly virus that was moving to wipe out the Klingon empire. Dr. Phlox was abducted to develop a cure. And the cure he developed included modifying the Klingon augmentation process to make Klingons resistant to the plague. Plague was cured, but the cure's side effect: no bumpy foreheads.

I'm conflicted. Yeah, the fans are going, "This season ROCKS!! They're finally answering questions like this and turning Enterprise into a true prequel series!" But...but...the sad truth is, Enterprise was never created to be a true prequel series. The idea of setting it before Picard, Kirk, et al was to get continuity off the writers' backs. Plus, with no burden of continuity, bring in new fans.

So, I'm not sure all this continuity whoring is doing anything to win new fans. If anything, it's winning back the fans who were turned off.

But I will admit, the opening special effects sequence will be talked about for years to come. Last week's cliffhanger: The Enterprise had its warp engines sabotaged by Klingon augments. Now, Enterprise is careening through space at maximum warp like a runaway train. The only man who can fix the problem is Trip, and he just transferred to Enterprise's just-launched sister ship, Columbia. So, the problem: how do we get Trip onto the out-of-control Enterprise? Can't use the transporters at warp. And at those speeds, using shuttlecraft or docking is just far too risky. The only option: a space walk at warp speed.

So, we get this spectacular effects sequence of Enterprise and Columbia flying one on top of the other, as a cable is strung between the two and Trip crawls along the cable. It was pretty cool.

Next issue...the Wrath of Kwan

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Latest column's up! Yeah, it's early, but I want to get to that TV in the lounge and dedicate my evening to watching the Oscars. This week, I wonder Has the Time Come?

"I’ve lamented in the past how it seems that the mom and pop toy stores of my youth are no more. Every small town mall across the country used to have at least one small toy store, but now, the malls sit empty. What happened to all the toy stores? Were they victims of the ultra-low toy departments of departments stores? Did the big box retailers come in and swallow them up? No matter. Perhaps they are something whose time has passed. And, instead of mourning their loss, we should be thinking about their reinvention."

Click here to read it all!

Next Issue...Go Brad Bird!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

So, here I am, re-reading ToyFare for the 100th time, listening to music, jumping on and off line to read articles and e-mail people, staring at a blank page, wanting to write this week's column but the muse just ain't singing to me.

In other words, just another TV-less Saturday night in Cold Lake.

I don't know why, but I've been obsessing on playing cards lately. Maybe it has something to do with poker suddenly being the "in" thing. When I went home for the Family Day weekend, I had to go digging through my junk drawers to find my decks of cards. I own three decks:

Batman: The Animated Series playing cards - Given to me by my sister one rainy afternoon at my grandparents. They kept us amused for that afternoon.

X-Men playing cards - Given to me by Mr. Anderson's girlfriend (Yves) as we were waiting in line to see...X-Men.

Star Wars: Episode I playing cards - Stuffed in my Easter basket one spring.

I guess I should learn how play poker. Or at least solitare. It'd give me something to do on these TV-less Saturday nights.

Next Issue...Solitare's more fun with two

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Well, the big news today...Quentin Tarintino will be directing the season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigations. Turns out Tarintino has been a big fan since the first season, and negotiations to get him to direct an episode have been going on ever since. The episode, while written by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, CSI spinoffs creator Carol Mendelsohn, and CSI writer Naren Shankar, is based on an idea that Tarintino pitched. The episode will air May 19.

This isn't Tarintino's first foray into TV. He directed an episode of ER, back when that show was hot and fresh, and he's made a guest shot on Alias. He was also in negotiations once to do an episode of the X-Files but that fell through.

And got some good DVD news today. Look like work has finally begun on a super-special edition of Titanic. This'll follow the same model as The Lord of the Rings. That is, there'll be a 2-disc special edition with a nice selection of bonus stuff, and then a 4-disc super duper mega edition with absolutly everything related to the making of the film. They're shooting for a fourth quarter release, meaning you can give it to me for Christmas.

Oh, and one last bit. Because of the success of Clerks X, Kevin Smith has been running around saying he's going to do Mallrats X and Chasing Amy X.

Next Issue...Less DVDs Please

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I don't know how much time I have left.

Man, I love cryptic opening lines.

What I mean is my laptop is starting to make the same...hiccups that my old laptop used to make shortly before it broke down. I don't know how much longer my laptop has. I personally think it has something to do with those two viruses my computer has picked up, but my computer keeps mysteriously shutting down before a scan can be completed.

Just giving you the heads up, in case things go from bad to worse in the not to distant future.

Anyway, I have to get back in the groove of doing this. Here's today's (Tuesday's) hot new DVD releases! AS always, this is just cut and pasted from Cinescape so I can read it on the air.

EDISON: THE INVENTION OF THE MOVIES (Kino) Where did movies come from? Thomas Edison had more to do with the technical and marketing development of the motion picture than any other individual, and his work is celebrated in this special 4-disc set, which includes over 140(!) films produced by his company between 1891 and 1918, and two hours of interviews with experts. See! The premiere of one of the earliest films ever made, rescued from the Edison lab! See! An 1895 SOUND film! See! A full color 1906 short! Plus early stop-motion, the first tracking shot, early trick films, and more!

GET SHORTY Collector’s Edition (MGM) Just in time for the sequel!

HEAT (Warner Bros.) Underrated Michael Mann action thriller in which L.A. cop Al Pacino tries to keep master thief Robert De Niro from knocking over an armored car. Special edition features additional scenes, commentrak, featurettes and more.

I HEART HUCKABEES (Fox) Frustrated activist Jason Schwartzman employs existential investigators Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman to look into apparent synchronicities, sparking a chain reaction of unusual events in this terrific comedy from David O. Russell. Also available in a 2-disc special edition that includes 2 commentraks, deleted scenes, gag reel, outtakes, featurettes and more. 2-disc special edition also includes more featurettes, Charlie Rose interviewing Russell, deleted scenes, outtakes, music video and more.

PROJECT X (Anchor Bay) Matthew Broderick tries to help chimps trained to fly fighter jets in this silly 1987 adventure. (Saw this movie a lot when I was a kid.)

THE CAT RETURNS (Buena Vista) When a girl saves a stray cat, he turns out to be a Cat King that rewards her generosity in this Studio Ghibli feature. With Making-Of and more.

NAUSICAƄ IN THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (Buena Vista) 1984 classic from anime master Hayao Miyazaki in which a warrior princess battles an invasion of big bugs. Includes featurettes and complete storyboards.

PORCO ROSSO (Buena Vista) Whimsical adventure comedy from Hayao Miyazaki set in an aviation-mad world where a pilot cursed to look like a pig is a great hero. Includes featurettes and complete storyboards.

SOUTH PARK: Complete Fifth Season (Paramount) Just when you think a series should be losing steam - more classic episodes! With commentraks and more. Also available bundled with the first four seasons.

STRIPPERELLA: Season One Uncensored (Paramount) Pamela Anderson voices this satirical stripper/superhero for 13 episodes. (This is a mind-numbingly dumb cartoon. I'm constantly amazed at the A-list of animation talent that went into it.)

Next Issue...The End...?

Monday, February 21, 2005

A day late, but here it is! This week, we've got An Argument for Nothing:

" The concept of busy is a peculiar one indeed. We tend to spend most of our lives running around, doing tasks we don’t want to do and are even less qualified to perform, all so we can look at our friends and family and say, “I am so busy!” But why do we do it? Why do we fill our days with repetitive job after repetitive job? What are we trying to prove?"

Read it all!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Firstly, sorry, but the column's going to be a day late this week. Why? Because the station was kind enough to give me the long weekend off, so I went home to Entwistle. Greetings from the basement!

But there is some good. On my way back, managed to stop at Future Shop and get my whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. *Really* wanted the boxed set, but because I couldn't find it on Boxing Day, I snapped up Fellowship thinking, "Guess I have to buy them individually." And then, the boxed set came out on February 8. But, at least with that, the individual films were marked down to a new, lower price, so I managed to fish Two Towers and Return of the King out of the discout bin. Still got a cool $35 on my Christmas gift card.

It's amazing how much the "wait for the boxed set" mentality is gripping the DVD community. Back when Star Wars came out in September, a lot of my friends at school said, "Nope. I'm not buying it. I'm gonna wait until Episode III comes out, then I'll buy the boxed set of all 6 films." Which was really, kinda, George Lucas's original logic for not wanting to release the films on DVD in the first place.

I'm still gripped by that mentality, though. Saving my pennies right now so I can get The Matrix boxed set, and I'm patiently waiting for the Kill Bill boxed set. This fall, they say.

Anyway, who watched Enterprise back on Friday? They finally explained why Klingons on the original series don't have bumpy foreheads. As you may recall, earlier this season, some augments (Kahn's genetically enhanced breed of humans) went on a rampage and took out a Klingon Bird of Prey. Apparently, this freaked out the Klingons. So, they got their hands on some augment embryos, did a little reverse engineering, and voila! Genetically augmented Klingons, designed to deal with humans. And the side effect: no bumpy foreheads.

Anyway, the whole plot of the show was how this genetic engineering done by the Klingons accidentally created a super-virus, so the Klingons abducted Dr. Phlox to develop a cure. Enterprise is in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, Starfleet's shadowy secret police, Section 31, seems to be involved somehow, and we've leared that Lt. Reed is actually a founding agent! (Although, he's going through a bit of the angtsy, "I keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in!")

I don't know if Enterprise actually has gotten better this season, or if all the continuity whoring to win back the fans just makes it seem better.

Oh, and before I go, a little DVD tidbit. As I'm sure I've said before, Tuesday is when Disney releases their latest batch of dubbed Studio Ghibli films: Naussica of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso and The Cat Retursn. With these DVDs, Disney is setting up a mail-away offer. Buy all 3, and you can get a free copy of either Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service or Castle in the Sky. So if you don't own any of the Disney dubbed Ghibli films, here's your chance to buy three and get one free.

Next Issue...Next Column

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Wow. Just wow.

If you have access to the LA Times, be sure to pick up today's copy. Enterprise fans from around the world put their money together and put a full-page ad in today's edition of the LA Times, urging fans from all over the USA to send in a letter to the head of the UPN Network to renew the show.

And that's not all. They're also planning protests. The first protest will be on Monday in New York City, in front of Viacom's world HQ (Viacom is the parent company of Paramount, and Star Trek.) The next protest is scheduled for Friday the 25th, and it'll be in Hollywood, in front of the landmark Paramount front gates. There's even a rumour going around that, if the Hollywood protest is big enough and loud enough, that the cast of Enterprise might even come out to say hello.

You know, I love to see this kind of democracy in action. But doing it over a cancelled TV show...isn't that a bit much?

Anyway, today Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys mades its DVD debut. That would be movie #7. We've known for a while that it takes place in a city based on Vancouver, and it shows. There's segments of the movie where I was going, "Dude, that's Stanley Park. The Pokemon Center is the Vancouver Library. Whoa! The villain's lair is Science World!" Obviously, the film's creators visitied the same tourist spots I did.

Another interesting facet of the film has to do with the subplot. It caused a bit of a stir in the poke-community when it was learned that this would be the first Pokemon film without a Pikachu short film. (And, as it's the longest Pokemon film, I can see why they decided to drop it.) So, it's interesting to see how they work the hijinks associated with the short films into the subplot.

It was pretty good, though...as far as the Pokemon films go. I'm still wondering if I should do a proper review for the main site.

Next Issue...Destiny Markoxis

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Latest column's up! In this exciting installment, I exact my Final Revenge:

"JOE: Just wait, though. I’ve got two very important pieces of advice for you.


JOE: In the interview, they’re going to ask you two questions. I know the answers you must give to get the most out of the company, and the most out of your time in Japan.

JANE: Dude! I’m all ears. What should I say?"

It's one of those "all dialogue" pieces that Mr. Anderson likes. Read it read it gotta read it all!

Next Issue...Poigniancy

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

So, today, I scrimped and saved my money and I treated myself to a newspaper. And, what did I see on the front page of the entertainment section than the happiest news I'd ever seen?

Silver City in West Edmonton Mall is cutting its ticket prices.

Yup. From $14 down to $11. This is a massive initiative being undertaken by Famous Players Theatres to try and boost attendence. they did it in Ontario last month with huge results! Turns out that the Edmonton Silver City is the last Silver City to cut ticket prices. The manager of Silver City Edmonton says that the experiment in Ontario and other cities has been amazingly successful. Gee, lower ticket prices gets more people to the movies...I agree. It's surprising that it worked.

But, there is some bad news with this good news, though. $11 is the same price that Silver City charged on Tuesdays and for weekday matinees. Since the cheap price is now the same as the regular price, there's only one solution. That's right, do away with cheap prices! Hot ticket Tuesdays and cheap weekday matinees are now a thing of the past at Famous Players theatres.

Next Issue...Rent the DVD
Got a bunch of cool Superman rumors today. Bear in mind, this casting is just rumor, and, as they say, it will be confirmed in the next day or so. Here's what we got:

Daniel Day-Lewis as Jor-El
Famke Jannsen as Lora
Jude Law as General Zod
Kevin Bacon as John Corbin/Metallo

the one that I have doubts about is Famke Jannsen as Lora. See, James Marsden, who played Cyclops in the X-Men movies, took a role in Superman and was promptly fired from X3. Now, Jannsen's been running around telling people that X3 is her next film, so either she's not Lora, or she just hasn't been fired from X3 yet.

And here's another rumour. Quentin Tarintino just might direct an episode of CSI. CSI star George Eads let it slip at a recent awards show. You may remember that Tarintino directed an episode of ER, way back in ER's first season, when it was the hottest thing in TV, and Tarintino was fresh off the hype around Pulp Fiction.

Next Issue...The Toaster Attacks

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Here's something I haven't done in a while. Don't know why I quit. Here's what's new on DVD today:

GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II (Columbia TriStar) This 1993 title, in which Godzilla, MechaGodzilla and Rodan battle over an infant monster, has been mysteriously absent from Sony’s DVD library. But thank goodness, since they’ve since bowed to fan pressure and are issuing Godzilla discs in widescreen with Japanese audio options. This is one of the best G-flicks and features one of the best music scores.

THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO Season One (Anchor Bay) 1981 TV series tarring the greatest American actor, William Katt, as a hapless superhero for the US government.

MIAMI VICE: Season One (Universal) Incredibly popular icon of 1980s cool over substance that applied music video techniques to a standard cops & robbers format.

SHARK TALE (DreamWorks) Hit CGanime underwater redressing of “The Brave Little Tailor”, in widescreen & fullscreen editions with featurettes, bloopers and more.

Me? I'm just waiting for next week's big release: Pokemon 7, baby!

Next Issue...The Working Man

Monday, February 07, 2005

I finally found something I've been looking for to download for 2.5 years.

The teaser for Hulk.

Yeah, the movie could have been better, but I still think it's one hell of a good teaser, and it's a crime they didn't put it on the DVD. You remember the one I'm talking about. Eric Bana's angst-ridden narration about the beast within...the narration ends on a close-up of his eye...the eye snaps open and we see he's turning green...and then something smashes out of the side of the house. It's a great teaser.

What can I say? When it comes to films, I love a good teaser. A good teaser is only supposed to whet your appitite; give you tantalizing glimpses of what's to come. They tease in the way a really good stripper does. Not that I've ever seen a stipper, mind you. I'm guessing it's something similar.

Sony Studios makes good teasers. The teasers for Men in Black, the American Godzilla, and the now legendary World Trade Centre teaser for Spider-Man still stand as my favourites. Pixar makes good teasers, too. Pixar adopted the mentality that all their teasers should be made of original footage. It's like a Pixar teaser is 1:30 short film. I remembere giggling at teaser for Toy Story 2...drooling over the images in the teaser for Monsters, Inc...being awestruck at the teaser for Finding Nemo...and the teaser for the Incredibles was just laugh-out loud funny.

Subject change.

As we all know, negotiations were underway all year to try to get William Shatner to do a cameo on Enterprise. Well, that fell through, and now negotiations are underway with Jonathon Frakes. Rumour has it that the role originally written for Shatner and now being offered to Frakes is role of Enterprise's much talked about but never seen cook, known only as "Chef." What do I think about this?

South Park is filled to the brim with Star Trek references from the overt (the one at the observatory is a scene-for-scene remake of the original series episode Dagger of the Mind) to the subtle (in the one with the home-schooled kids, Kyle's explanation of love was taken directly from one of Captain Kirk's speeches). It's obvious that either Matt Stone or Trey Parker is a huge trekkie.

If anyone at Paramount has a sense of humour, Enterprise's Chef will be played by Issac Hayes.

Next Issue...Chocolate Salty Balls

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Latest column's up! this week's has a bit of an old-school flavour to it. It's called Boys and Their Toys:

"I’ve been an amateur action figure collector for about 13 years or so, and in that time, I’ve achieved certain milestones with my collection. There are certain points where I go, “Whoa. I’ve come a long way, baby.” The first such milestone was, naturally, buying my first figure; a Commander Riker at a Star Trek convention. Then there was the first Star Wars figure, that crazy day in ’94 when I saved my money for three months and then blew it all in one afternoon on action figures, the night I discovered ToyFare magazine…the list goes on. I reached one of those milestones today when I thought, “Ya know, it wouldn’t be too terrible having a Barbie doll in my collection.” "

As always, here's the whole thing!

Next Issue...Always With the Issues

Friday, February 04, 2005

Let me take a minute to do a quick movie news review:

Spider-Man 3 - Sam Raimi recently announced that he has decided on who the
villain will be...but he's not saying. Raimi somewhat cynically revealed
that he can't say who he chose because Marvel and Sony want to announce it
in a big, hype-inducing event.

Kiki's Delivery Service - Disney is doing a live-action remake of the Hayo
Miyazaki classic! Part of the logic behind this is that Eiko Kadano's
original Kiki books are finally being published in English, and some say
that it'll be the next Harry Potter. Disney has put in charge of this the
team of Don Murphy (the producer of The League of Extrodinary Gentlement
and the upcoming live-action Transformers), Mark Gordon (the producer of
Speed, Saving Private Ryan, and The Day After Tomorrow) and Susan
Montford (can't find any credits at the IMDB).

Casino Royale - The name of the next James Bond movie has been revealed!
Martin Campbell, who did GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro, and its upcoming
sequel The Legend of Zorro, is back as director. No word on wether it'll
be based on the original Ian Flemming novel Casino Royale. I don't know.
I think this decision would NOT have been made if it weren't for Quentin
Tarintino running around saying he wanted to do Casino Royale. (He'd been
saying it since Jackie Brown, but for some reason no one took him
seriously until Kill Bill.) In case you don't know, Casino Royale was
the very first James Bond novel. It has almost no action and is 100%
character driven. Bond's assignment is simply to go to the titular casino
and keep tabs on an enemy agent. Tarintino also said that the book is now
so far removed from "the Bond formula" that it'd never be made.

And also...Disney has opened up a brand new animation studio! It's purpose is to do nothing but make Pixar sequels. The first product will be Toy Story 3.

Next Issue...Full of Stars

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Enterprise has been cancelled!
The first series since the original to not complete its seven year run. The show has pretty much been in jeopardy ever since it started. Can't say I'm surprised, though. I guess my first clue was missing the entire second season when I was in Japan...and not caring.
The final episode airs May 16.
Enterprise: Season 1 hits DVD on May 3.
And it goes into reruns this fall.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


So, here I was, hoping to buy The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in one fell swoop. I wanted to get a boxed set, but they kept telling me that one was never released. Bear in mind, I didn't want the extended editions, just the theatrical editions. So, I sighed in disgust, and began buying the films individually. Only one I could find was The Fellowship of the Ring. (The only one I could find in widescreen; everyone else has it in fullscreen.)

Now, doing some online browsing, I see that the boxed set of the theatrical editions comes out next week.


Oh, well. Hopefully with this, stores will finally re-stock on the theatrical widescreen editions so I can complete my collection.

And I'm being picky, too. Hoping to pick it up at Future Shop so I can blow my Christmas gift card on LOTR. Guess I'll have to make a trip home so I can the Future Shops in Edmonton.

Next Issue...I Wonder Why the Wonder Falls on Me