Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Are you ready for another episode of U62: The Targ? Well, even if you're not, it'll keep until you are!

Tonight, I've slapped together Episode 3.32: Purples Skies and Rainclouds. I'm offering up my thoughts on some classic games known as THINGS, I reflect on one of my favourite places in the world and, after having taken in some of the new Doctor Who, I've got some thoughts to share.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The London 2012 Mascots

I love the Olympics.  Granted, I'm not much of a sports guy, but the concept of the entire world taking some time off to kick a ball around is something I can get behind.

The next Olympics on the horizon are the Summer Games in London, England in 2012.  Now, London's had some trouble with their Olympics already, and that's negative reaction to their Olympic symbols.  Backlash came from all across the world when they unveiled their squiggly logo a few years back:

But, London still had time to recover.  Yesterday, London 2012 revealed their mascots.  Mascots have become an important part of Olympic merchandising over the years.  They say it helps to get the Olympic message out to kids.

So, who gets to join the illustrious comapny of Springy the Springfield Spring, the Atlanta Whatzit, and the Montreal Vampire?

These guys, Wenlock and Mandeville

Right away, the world was united in one question:  what the hell are those things? 

The answer:  they are drops of steel that dropped off the edge of a welder's torch as the last girder was being welded into place at the Olympic Stadium, and they were brought to life by a rainbow.  I am not making that up.

So, this guy is Wenlock, and technically, only he is the mascot of the London 2012 games.  His head is designed to look like the top of a London taxi.  He sports the Olympic rings as friendship bracelets.  He is named for the British town of Much Wenlock, which hosted a sporting competition that inspired the Olympics way back in the 1890s.

This fellow is Mandeville, and technically he's the mascot of the 2012 Paralympic Games.  His head is designed to look like a bicycle helmet.  He's named for the British town of Stoke Mandeville, which hosted the first Paralympics back in 1948.

They both have one eye, because it's supposed to be symbolic of "the single camera lens that allows the world to watch the games."

The reality is they are the ultimate result of design by committee.  They were the result of more than 40 focus groups that determined that kids no longer want "cute and cuddly," instead they want "characters with intriguing backstories that they can interact with."

And interact you can!  With their unveiling yesterday, they also got their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

So, what do you think of the London mascots?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and one-eyed monster jokes. 

Here's the London 2012 website, if you desire to learn more.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Another week goes by, that means I've got another episode of U62: The Targ for you!

Not gonna lie...about 10% of my episodes are constructed over multiple days with loving care. The other 90% of just slapped together at the last minute. Episode 3.31: Information Please is one of the 90%. In this one, we're chatting up how I discovered Doctor Who, reflecting on the Austin Powers trilogy, and the growing trend of superheroes in adult entertainment.

Click here to go download it!

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

New Movie Reviews! Kick-Ass and Iron Man 2

So, as I blogged yesterday, I made it out to the theater to see Iron Man 2 and Kick-Ass.

My reviews are now written and posted. Go read them at the main site!

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

I love it when I record the podcast, and everything clicks. I know what I'm talking about, I like the songs I've chosen, and it just rolls of the tongue. That's exactly what this episode of U62: The Targ is!

Everything was clicking for Episode 3.30: Tea Time. I chat about how one of the most infamous late-night infomercials of all time is messing with my mind, I take a moment to reflect on the 1985 classic The Goonies, and impart an important life lesson about the things I hate.

Click here to go download it!

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Another Day, Another Blu-Ray

A friend of mine once remarked that the majority of my DVDs are the movies that you can watch on basic cable on any night of the week. Those words were running through my mind today when I bought the Blu-Ray boxed set of the Austin Powers trilogy. What can I say? I always liked it, and it was on sale for $25, so I thought, "Why not?"

Things was, I never got the Blu-Ray discs I set out to get. I've always had a soft spot for James Bond, so I thought about grabbing Quantum of Solace, but on the way out of the house, I saw my DVD websites indicated that a newer special edition comes out in a couple of months, so I figured I'd wait. As you may remember, I rented Whip It a couple of weeks ago, and that had the unexpected side effect of being temporarily obsessed with Ellen Page, so I was keeping my eyes open for Whip It. I'm also temporarily obsessed with The Goonies, and you'll find out why in tomorrow's podcast, but I couldn't find it on Blu-Ray.

Oh, look at that. It's not on Blu-Ray yet. I guess I could have just spent $10 to get the regular DVD out of the discount bin.

But those quests went out the window when I was in HMV, perusing some of the TV on Blu-Ray, and I saw a boxed set, Doctor Who: The Complete Specials. This is the series of TV movies that ran throughout 2009, signaling the swan song for David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. I actually haven't seen these yet, so after almost half an hour of staring at the boxed set on the shelf, wondering whether to get them or not, I got them.

But that wasn't all! It was also a movie day, so I had to go check out the first big blockbuster of the summer, Iron Man 2. I've got to admit, I've been disappointed with the films of 2010 so far, so I went into Iron Man 2 with some drastically lowered expectations. And I don't know if it was because of those lowered expectations, but Iron Man 2 completely blew me away. It's funny, it's action packed...I wouldn't say it was better than the first one, though. It's definitely on-par with the first one. Whatever, it was a hell of a ride and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

And then I went across the hall to finally see Kick-Ass. Kick-Ass is an incredibly messed-up film, but messed-up in a good way. As the superhero genre starts becoming more and more mainstream, I'm sure we're going to get more deconstructions like this, where people ask the question, "What would it be like if superheroes started popping up?" I was surprised at how darkly comedic the film was.

If I have one complaint about Kick-Ass, that would be the same complaint that was once raised about the first Shrek film. Around 2/3 of the way through the film, they switch from mocking the cliches of the genre to falling back on them. It really does feel like standard superhero fare at the climax.

But still, a highly enjoyable film.

Complete reviews in the next day or so.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More Marvel Movie Updates

Just a lot of Marvel movie news has come up, so I thought I'd share.
First, the big one on the next X-Men film, the prequel tale X-Men: First ClassMatthew Vaughn, the director of Kick-Ass, has just signed on to direct this one.  And, 20th Century Fox has already locked in a release date:  June 3, 2011.
Fun trivia bit:  Vaughn was actually the original director of X-Men 3 for about one month of pre-production.  He left the project after constant creative differences with the head of Fox.  We can thank Vaughn for giving us Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut and Kelsey Grammer as Beast, because that all happened on his watch.  Vaughn went and gave us Stardust instead.
Another fun trivia bit:  Bryan Singer, the director of the first two X-Men films, was originally going to return to the franchise to direct First Class, and he was announced as the director back at Christmastime.  However, Singer realized that the scheduling conflicted too much with the production of his next film, Jack the Giant Killer, which begins filming in another month or so.  Singer, however, is still involved as a producer on First Class, and has already been deeply involved in the casting. 
While the title has remained the same, the plot of First Class has changed quite a bit.  Originally, it was going to be a New Mutants tale, focusing on some of those other mutants we saw in the background of the trilogy.  Then, it was going to mirror the First Class comic, be kind of a "Year One" tale focusing on the original line-up and their first adventure.  Now, it's a prequel tale, showing how Xavier and Magneto founded the School for the Gifted, and how their big bromance eventually disolved into them being arch-enemies. 
Meanwhile, another big Marvel movie in development, Captain America.
We learned this a few months ago, but yesterday, Marvel finally made the official announcement:  Hugo Weaving, still best remembered to nerds as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy and Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be playing the Red Skull!
To recap:  Chris Evans is playing Steve Rogers/Captain America, Sebastian Stan is playing Bucky Barnes, Hayley Atwell is playing Peggy Carter, and this is one of the  nine films where Samuel L. Jackson is playing Nick Fury.  Director Joe Johnson has said that Cap's old WW2 superteam, the Invaders, show up for the second half of the film, and head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has said that Nick Fury's old WW2 unit, the Howling Commandos, also make an appearance. 
The start filming next month for a July 2011 release.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Reflections on Batgirl

Those who listen to my podcast know that for the past few weeks I've been pouring through the graphic novel Batgirl: Year One.  I recently finished it, so I thought I'd just take a minute to share my reflections and reviews on this storyline.

I also noticed that Blogger now has a "behind the jump" feature, so I'll continue this behind the jump.

Monday, May 03, 2010

New YouTube Video! The Shriner's Parade!

I've kind of stopped doing YouTube videos for a while. Many event organizers started worrying about what kind of litigation they might face should I accidentally film someone who didn't want to be filmed, or post an interview of someone who didn't want to be interviewed. It got to the point where, when I showed up at an event with camera in hand, I'd be pulled aside and given a 20-minute lecture about what I could and couldn't film. They just weren't worth the hassle anymore.

But in the past few weeks, I've been getting a few e-mails. I've been running into folks on the street -- people who've just moved to Athabasca -- who go, "Dude! You're videos are AWESOME! They make this town look so great! That's why I moved here!"

So, the residents of Athabasca are afraid they're going to get sued over these. People outside Athabasca think I make the town look so awesome and so cool they just have to get here.

So, while I try to figure out where to go from here, I've thrown together another one. Athabasca just had a Shriner's Parade. Nothing fancy, no libelous interviews, just me filming the parade. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Time for that weekly Sunday ritual, as certain as skipping church to watch football. It's a new episode of my podcast, U62: The Targ!

For your listening pleasure, I made Episode 3.29: Spectral Visions, in which I show off my batch of obscure film scores that arrived in the mail, wax philosophical about one of my favourite cartoons, and reminisce about the 1960s.

Click here to go download it!

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

First Looks and First Pics!

Alright, granted the summer movie season of 2010 is about to being, but the summer movie season of 2011 is already before the cameras, filming so as to be ready for next year!

First up, right after Iron Man 2 hits next week, the next film from Marvel Studios will be their classic spin on Norse mythology, Thor. Here's our first look at the title character, Thor, as played by Chris Hemsworth.

To recap who all is working on Thor:

As already mentioned, Chris Hemsworth is playing Thor. Hemsworth was last seen in last year's Star Trek, playing Capt. Kirk's daddy in the pre-credits sequence.

Tom Hiddleston is playing Loki, Thor's half-brother and arch-enemy.

Oscar-nominee Natalie Portman will be playing Jane Foster. In the original comics, Jane Foster was a nurse employed by Dr. Donald Blake, Thor's human secret identity. From what I gather online, for the movie version, Foster has been changed to a grad student studying Norse mythology whose research is torn asunder when the God of Thunder literally falls from the sky and lands in front of her.

An Oscar winner, Anthony Hopkins, plays Odin, Thor's father and ruler of the Gods in Asgard. Renee Russo plays Frigga, Thor's wife. And in a nice nod to the shared universe Marvel is developing for their films, Clark Gregg reprises his Iron Man and Iron Man 2 role of SHIELD agent Phil Coulson.

The director is the legendary British actor/director Kenneth Branagh. This is Branagh's first attempt at a Hollywood blockbuster since Mary Shelley's Frankenstein way back in 1994.

May 2011 is when this'll hit theatres.

And that's not all. As I've already extensively blogged about, a live-action movie version of The Smurfs has just started filming to come out next summer.

And here's our first look at Hank Azaria as Gargamel!

God, I laughed when I saw that.

The plot has one of Gargamel's latest spells going awry, transporting Gargamel and the entire Smurf village to present day New York City. (The Smurf village gets safely hidden in Central Park.) Neil Patrick Harris plays the New Yorker given the task of helping the Smurfs get back to their own time.

And there's an all-star voice cast voicing the Smurfs:

Jonathon Winters is Papa Smurf
Katy Perry is Smurfette
George Lopez is Grouchy Smurf
Anton Yelchin is Clumsy Smurf
Fred Armisen is Brainy Smurf
Paul Reubens is Jokey Smurf
BJ Novak is Baker Smurf
Kenan Thompsan is Greedy Smurf
Jeff Foxworthy is Handy Smurf

The director on this one is Raja Gosnell, who brought us such legends as Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the live-action Scooby-Doo films. I wonder if this means a talking dog shows up.....

August 2011 is when it's slated to come out, and yes, it'll be in 3D.