Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, December 30, 2011

News from Markworld: 2011 Edition

 So, once a year, I decide to e-mail out a letter to friends and aquaintiances just to update them on what's going on in my life.  Since e-mail address change and go defunct and all that, I decided to post it to the blog this year, in the hopes that maybe, some long lost friends who are curious as to what happened to me, may Google my name some night.  Here's my 2011 letter.

News from Markworld: The Chaos in a Box Newsletter.

Good day, ladies, gentlemen, and various other individuals I haven’t e-mailed in over a year.

‘Tis I, Mark Cappis, with my annual note updating you on all the occurrences in my life.  Usually, I send this out at the start of December, to get snail mail addresses and weed out my Christmas card list.  But, life got busy and I wound up putting this off for most of December.  It’s too late now to be a Christmas letter, so I guess it’s a New Years letter.  All for the best, really.  I’ve always felt that New Years was a more universal and inclusive holiday. 

Writing this letter reminds me of the classic fantasy comic book The Sandman.  In one issue, a man comes up with the ultimate scheme to live forever.  When Death comes to collect his soul, he’ll simply say, “No thanks.  I’m not going.”  Death, overhearing this conversation and being a cheeky character, decides to grant this wish for immortality.  Death’s brother, Dreams, not having much of a life, decides to strike up a friendship with this newly immortal person, and they vow to meet every 100 years, have a drink, and catch-up. 

So what I’m trying to say here is, it’s been a hundred years.  Who’s buying this round? 

What’s Going On In My Life

My life is still very much uneventful.  You’ll still find me up in Athabasca, working at 94.1 the River.  I’m still the wacky morning guy, and you can hear me on the air every morning from 6AM to noon.  Back in April, I celebrated 5 years up in Athabasca, and I’m still loving every minute of it.

The job really showed me how important a radio station can be to a community.  You may recall that back in May, Slave Lake was victim to some devastating wildfires that burned down a portion of the town, resulting in the entire town being evacuated.  Athabasca became home to the largest evacuation centre.  Every day, on the air, I’d provide daily updates on what was needed at the evacuation centre, and every day, the listeners would provide it in droves.  It was a very busy couple of weeks, but really reminded me that this job does have certain great powers, and great responsibilities, to paraphrase an old comic book.

This year, I also ended my time with the Magnificent River Rats Festival, Athabasca’s Canada Day celebration and music festival.  I spent two years as treasurer, and I was really starting to find the job very taxing.  I’m proud of my work with the festival, and I’m sure it will be very successful in the years to come.  But rather than kick back and relax, I quickly found something else to fill my time.

Like a lot of other facets of the entertainment industry, radio tends to be full time work for part time pay.  I’ve spent my five years in Athabasca living on a very tight budget, and I had some cost-of-living increases over the past year that threw my budget out of whack.  So, I finally had to break down and, like a lot of my radio brethren before me, get a second job.  I now spend my evenings down at Buy-Low Foods keeping the produce section stocked.  It’s created some interesting reactions from listeners who recognize me.  One assumed I was starting some kind of Dirty Jobs segment on my show and wanted to know when I’d be coming down to her business.  Another seemed genuinely angry that I have to work two jobs and threatened to call my radio boss and demand I get a raise.  I never got a befuddled memo from my radio boss about that, so I’m guessing he never called. 

That’s the main reason why this letter is so delayed.  Between Christmas events that I was broadcasting live from, and working double shifts at the grocery store for the Christmas rush, I was run pretty ragged this December.  But now, I’m looking forward to a quiet January and things settling back into some sense of normalcy. 

Favourite Quote of the Year

“Didn’t you go to NAIT?  Didn’t you run for president?  Dude, your campaign was hilarious.” – An Edmonton Oilers PR exec, when the Oilers came to Athabasca for an event.  Turns out he was taking some business courses at NAIT when I decided to...make an impression.  Let this serve as a reminder that you never know when, where, and what you’ll be remembered for. 

“How on Earth can I find you?”  “Just make a wish.  That seems to work.”

As always, my online footprint is massive, so if you ever want to catch up with me, a quick Google search will turn up all manner of options.

Chaos in a Box.com (my website):  www.chaosinabox.com

Midnight Ramblings (my blog):  chaosinabox.blogspot.com

U62: The Targ (my podcast):  www.chaosinabox.com/targ

My work blog:  www.941theriver.ca

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/chaosinabox

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/chaosinabox

My YouTube Channel, where I sometimes make videos:  www.youtube.com/mcappis911

...And the Adventure Continues...

And that pretty much sums up my 2011.  No runs, no hits, no errors, as my dear ol’ Dad would say.  All in all though, I’m starting to find that Dr. Johnny Fever summed up the radio announcer lifestyle quite accurately on a rerun of WKRP:  “Pushing 40, and still living like a college kid.”  But when all is said and done, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

See you again in 100 years.  Next time, you’re buying.

Mark Cappis

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prometheus Trailer

Well, today, we got our first official look at one of the more mysterious blockbusters coming in the summer of 2012, Prometheus.

Why is this film so mysterious?  As we all know, in this day and age, everything is preqeuls, sequels, and remakes.  So, 20th Century Fox eventually decided to make a prequel to their best-know horror/sci-fi franchise, Alien.  The general concept was to tell the story of the "space jockey," the pilot of the downed ship that our brave humans discover in Alien where they eventually unleash the Alien.

People were ready to shrug this off as just another shameless cash-in for the franchise.  But then, things got interesting.  Fox was actually able to convince Ridley Scott to come on board and direct this.  Scott, of course, director of such blockbusters as Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, the recent Robin Hood and...the original Alien way back in 1979.  This is Scott's return to the sci-fi genre even since he made the cult-classic Blade Runner way back in 1982.  The Alien fanboys have longed for Scott to return to the universe he created, and Scott's involvement brought a new excitement to the project.

So, the development stage went on.  The script was refined.  And then, Scott and the writers and producers started saying that things had taken a turn.  As they continued exploring the story and its possibilites, it evolved into something new.  Scott went on record as saying that the film had changed so much that it was no longer an Alien prequel, but that the fans would be able "to see the strands of Alien's DNA."  Adding to the confusion was that many Fox higher-ups and several of the cast members continued to refer to it as an Alien prequel.

And that's what makes this film so mysterious.  What exactly is it about?  Just how much of a connection is there to Alien?  Yeah, there's been a spoiler-filled script review circling the Internet for months now, and I could go read it, but where's the fun in that?

The first trailer went online today, and the questions continue.

Well, one thing people seem to be agreeing on...based on the visual asthetics in the trailer, it at least takes place in the same sci-fi universe as Alien. Many have pointed out that the trailer itself seems to be an homage to the original trailer for Alien.

Needless to say, I am intrigued by Prometheus.  The mystery that's been surrounding this film is starting to get to me.  What little we see in the teaser does some intriguing...it's almost like Scott finally has the budget, or the special effects technology, to really open up the universe he created, rather than the minimalist approach he had with the original film.

It's gotta a pretty star-studded cast, too.  Noomi Rapace, the original Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, an archeologist heading out to the stars to discover the origins of mankind.  Charlize Theron is along as Meridith Vickers, a corporate figurehead, and Michael Fassbender, who was the young Magneto in X-Men: First Class, is David, the Alien stock character of the cold-hearted android.

I think I'll be seeing this this summer.  It's been enough of a tease so far that I'm hooked.

How exactly does this fit in to the Alien universe?  I guess will find out on June 8. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Trailer for The Hobbit

So.  Let's talk about The Lord of the Rings.  Truthfully, not much of a fan.  Don't get me wrong, the movies are good, and I respect that it sparked this whole trend of "filming the unfilmable" that's getting such upcoming movies as John Carter.

But I've never really been able to get into them because of the books.  I've tried many, many times in my short life to read the books, but I find them so boring.  That's why I've avoided the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings.  From what I gather, all they really did for the extended editions was put in all the exposition and back story that brings the plot to a halt in the books.

22 years ago -- Christmas 1989 -- I got this handsome boxed set of The Lord of the Rings, and just by looking at the spines on my bookshelf, you can see all my previous attempts to read the trilogy.  The Fellowship of the Ring is well-worn, like it's been read a dozen times.  The Two Towers is in pretty good shape, like it's been read once or twice.  And The Return of the King is as pristine as the day I tore off the wrapping paper.

However, also in the boxed set is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The HobbitThe Hobbit is beat-up, dog-eared, slightly torn like it's been read a thousand times.  And it has.  Despite my distaste for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit remains one of my favourite books.  It's just such an easier read...it's nowhere near as dense.  My fantasy-loving friends once told me that The Lord of the Rings is simply The Hobbit with every single footstep described in painstaking detail.  I haven't read The Hobbit in a few years...I think I'm due to read it again.

So, then, like a lot of nerds, when The Lord of the Rings started making serious coin at the box office, we knew it was just a matter of time before they made The Hobbit in order to keep the franchise going.  There was some legal stuff to sort out first...the movie rights to The Hobbit were owned by MGM, and The Lord of the Rings was owned by New Line.  Eventually, they figured out the legal stuff and resolved to work together.  Peter Jackson, director of the trilogy, was on board...as a producer.

To direct The Hobbit, Jackson selected Guillermo Del Toro, the director of the Hellboy films and fresh off the Oscar-winning fantasy epic Pan's Labrynth.  The plan at the time was to make two films:  the first one, a straight up adaptation of The Hobbit.  The second one, they were going to pour through all the various appendicies and footnotes that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and concoct an original story to fill in the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

However, MGM was going through some financial woes, and Del Toro got fed up just standing around, waiting for the bankruptcy thing to sort itself out.  So, Del Toro quit the project.  And Jackson said, "Well, I guess it's up to me," and decided to direct The Hobbit.  Also around this time they tossed the original "bridge the gap" film idea...instead, they were just going to cut The Hobbit in two and make two movies.

Of course, we have some returning cast members from The Lord of the Rings.  Sir Ian McKellan is back as Gandalf, Andy Serkis is back as Gollum, Hugo Weaving is back as the Elf king Elrond, and they even worked in some cameos for Elijah Wood as Frodo and Orlando Bloom as Legolas.

Our hero, Bilbo Baggins, will be played by Martin Freeman.  This isn't the first time that Freeman has played a cult-classic literary character...he was also Arthur Dent in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and on the new BBC production of Sherlock Holmes (you know...the one that's supervised by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame), he's Dr. Watson.  He was also Tim Canturbury, the original British version of Jim Halperin, on the original British version of The Office

The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hits theaters on December 14, 2012.  The second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, comes out December 13, 2013.

And the first trailer just went online.

I do get a little goosebumpy watching this. It's truly nice to see a return to this cinematic world. And as I've always enjoyed The Hobbit, I'm more familiar with it.

I think it's time to re-read The Hobbit to get ready for this film.  And who knows?  It might even give me enough of a running start to finally tackle The Lord of the Rings.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

So, if you went to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows over the weekend, you probably saw the latest trailer for the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

The third and final in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy hits theatres Summer 2012, and I like what I'm seeing so far.  Part of me is really, really glad that they're ending this with a third film.  Having grown up with Star Wars and Back to the Future, one thing I learned is that it's best to end a film franchise as a trilogy.  Besides, last time a Batman film went to a fourth, we got & Robin, a name that still sends shudders down the spines of Batman geeks.

But what really gets me is how they're really playing up that this the last one in this particular tale of Batman.  Shouldn't be too surprised, though.  As they pointed out in a recent Cracked.com article, there really is only one reason why you'd want to use Bane in a Batman movie.

The famous scene from Batman: Knightfall where Bane breaks Batman's back across his knee.

I think I blogged before that before that Bane was on my shortlist of villains I really wanted to see in this next Batman film.  Bane fits in with Christopher Nolan's realistic take on Batman quite nicely, especially if they go with the animated series interpretation:  a superstrong South American hitman brought in by the mob to settle the Batman problem once and for all.

And besides, Bane really needs to be done justice.  One thing folks forget is that Bane is super-smart.  In his first appearance, the legendary Knighfall storyline, he successfully determined Batman's true identity and set about to thoroughly destroy Batman.  And it really looks like that's what we're going with in this film.

Still scratching my head trying to figure out how Catwoman figures into all this.  But what Selina Kyle whispers into Bruce Wayne's ear has me intrigued.  And with the references to Commissioner Gordon being a "war hero, but we're not at war," is really starting to make think that Gotham City has been lulled into a false sense of security.  One thing that's already been confirmed is that this takes place 8 years after The Dark Knight.  Who knows how kind the past 8 years have been to Batman?

I'm going to throw in the latest poster now, just so I have a kick-ass thumbnail when I post this to all the social networking sites I'll be plugging this blog entry on.

The Dark Knight Rises teaser poster.

All in all, with all the references to this being "The final adventure" and "The legend ends," I'm starting to think that this might be the closest we'll get to a cinematic rendition of The Dark Knight Returns...Batman's final adventure before he retires, dies in action, and/or takes his war on crime to the next level.

How will things end for the Dark Knight?  We'll find out on July 20.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Targ Returns!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Sorry I missed things last night, things got busy and all in my dayjob.  But I'm back now with an all-new episode of U62: The Targ

In Episode 5.05: Cold Hands, Cold Heart, I decide to vent some anger by complaining about the cutting of Christmas specials, the cancelling of my new favourite TV shows, and getting into a Twitter feud with a celebrity.

Click here to go download it!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here Come the Sequels!

It's that time of year.  The trailers for the big blockbusters of next summer are starting to roll out, and as we all know, sequels are still the name of the game.  So let's take a look at a couple of the sequels coming out this summer.  Let's start with the one I'm not so excited about.

Men in Black.  Loved the first movie.  I felt the second one was a tired retread.  It's been 15 years since the first film (holy moly, has it been that long?) and 10 years since the second.  Is it too late for a third?  Well, we'll find out when Men in Black III hits theatres this May.

Men in Black III is known in Hollywood circles right now for being a very troubled production.  They had to shut down production for a few months to work out some kinks in the script.  Executive producer Steven Spielberg even brought in his Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script doctors Jeff Nathanson and David Koepp to iron things out.  So it's going to be interesting to see what kind of film comes out of this.

I already talked about executive producer Steven Spielberg coming back...also back as director is Barry Sonnenfeld.  I've mentioned before that Sonnenfeld is a director due for a comeback.  In the 1990s, he proved he could do blockbusters with Men in Black and The Addams Family films.  He proved he could do character-based comedy with Get Shorty.  But, he did make Wild Wild West, which kind of killed his big screen career.  He's been biding his time with some "brilliant-but-cancelled" television, being responsible for some of my favourite short-lived TV shows, mainly the live-action version of The Tick and Pushing Daisies.  So I'm kind of hoping that Men in Black III re-energizes his big screen career.

Not much is known yet about the plot...just that we find Agent J time traveling back to the 1960s to help out a young Agent K.  Will Smith is back as Agent J, Tommy Lee Jones returns as Agent K, Josh Brolin plays the young Agent K, Emma Thompson plays the new MiB commander, Agent O, with Alice Eve playing the young Agent O.

Men in Black III hits theatres this May.

And now, let's get on to the sequel I am excited about...the second G.I. Joe film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  I've blogged before that I enjoyed the first live-action G.I. Joe film.  While it offered nothing new in the way of action films and there some glaring plot holes, my childhood nostalgia for the property blinded me to the flaws.  And given the cliffhanger that the film ended on, I knew a sequel could be good.

I've already blogged about the new cast members and who's working behind the scenes, so I'll just provide a link rather than re-hash myself.  (That would be this link right here.  Clicky click!)  All I can say is...wow.  I love this trailer.  Once again, my childhood nostalgia for the property is making me giggle.  Unlike the Transformers film, I'm getting the feeling that they're trying to advance the story.  I can hardly wait for this one.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation hits theatres on June 29.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Comin' At You in 3D!!

So, with Hollywood trying to tell us that 3D is all the rage, and with remakes also being popular, it was just a matter of time before Hollywood went, "Hey!  Rather than re-make these old films, let's just convert them to 3D and stick them back in theatres!"  So, 2012 is going to kick off with a bunch of 3D re-releases of recent classics.  I just wanted to take a moment to run through some of the trailers.

First up, Disney is giving us Beauty and the Beast:  3D.  Following the success of Disney's 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney announced that they're going to be converting and re-releasing four of their recent classic animated films.  Well...2 Disney films and 2 Pixar films.  The first one out of the gate is Beauty and the Beast.  (The others are Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and The Little Mermaid).

Weird thing about Beauty and the Beast is that this was supposed to be Disney's first 3D conversion.  It was supposed to come out 2 years ago...way back in the spring of 2010.  But for reasons never disclosed, it was postponed.  Couldn't have been because of technical limitations...it's already played overseas!  So Disney's been sitting on this for a while for some reason.

Anyway, Lion King 3D convinced them that they can pull this off, so they're finally releasing Beauty and the Beast 3D.  It hits theatres on January 13.

I love the movies of James Cameron.  Here's a guy that's dedicated to pushing the limits of filmmaking technology to realize his vision.  In fact, we can thank him for 3D films for being all the rage, thanks to his last film, Avatar.  When it became the #1 movie of all time, naturally folks would start thinking that 3D is here to stay.

Well, let's not forget, before Avatar became the #1 film of all time, the record was held by Titanic, also by James Cameron.  I love the story of how Titanic came to be.  Shipwrecks is Cameron's thing.  He loves diving to them.  And he always wanted to see the wreck of the Titanic.  So one day he said, "Hey.  I should make a movie about the Titanic.  I can convince a movie studio that I need to film the wreck for the film, and get them to foot the bill."  So, he walked into a Hollywood producer's office and said, "How's this?  Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic."  He came out with a blank cheque and the rest is history.

Not gonna lie...I like Titanic.  I think it was the first film that used all of modern special effects to recreate a historical period.  Like most of Cameron's films, I respect it for its technical achievments.  I've blogged before that my completely arbirtary made-up tradition is I watch it every New Year's Day.  Because hey, why not?  That being said, though, a 3D conversion is not enough for me to go back to theatres to watch it.

Titanic 3D hits theatres on April 6, 2012, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

And lastly, we come to one of the most beloved film franchises of all...but we're starting with its most reviled film.  When 3D starting becoming big, of course George Lucas said, "Hey!  I think I know what I'm going to do for the next special edition changes to the Star Wars films!"  And he announced he'd be converting all 6 Star Wars films to 3D.  He'd release one a year, starting in 2012.  And he'd be starting with the first one in numerical order which means...we're starting with The Phantom Menace.

Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I seem to have become completely burnt out on Star Wars.  10, nay, 5 years ago, a trailer like this would have given me goosebumps.  But now...nothing.  I feel nothing towards this.

Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace 3D hits theatres on February 12.

Now, that being said, I would kind of like to see this trailer in 3D.  Not the whole film...just this trailer.  Mainly because it evokes memories of the trailer for the Special Editions from back in 1997.

Wouldn't that trailer be fantastic to see in 3D? With the images in the TV in the middle of the screen being in 2D, and then the X-Wing flies out in 3D? Yeah...that would be awesome.

So I'd like to see the trailer in 3D...but not the movie.  

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Targ is Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

It's Sunday!  That means it's time for a new episode of U62: The Targ!

We're trying something brand new for Episode 5.04: Scarecrow's Christmas Mix Tape.  In this super-sized episode, we take a look at some of my favourite Christmas songs to ring in the holiday season!  It's full of music, stories, and Christmas cheer.

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