Posted on: November 3rd, 2009 Wares, Wears & Werewolves: The Brilliant ‘Nakatomi Inc.’

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Part of living this life, this geeky, culture-centric existence, is collecting. Like the cro-magnon man before us, we hunt and gather and ultimately hoard (substitute furs and herbs with phasers and variant covers). As a collector of all things nerdy, and with a scrutinizing eye no less, very rarely is the find worth the chase; this is not the case with the beautiful product offered at my new favorite website Nakatomi Inc.

MermanwebNakatomi Inc (located at www.nakatomiinc.comnotice the double i’s) is a fairly new online hub for posters, prints, shirts and other accessories aimed at those with their fingers on the pulse or the arts and entertainment (though to be fair, anyone who can appreciate anything on a visual level will find plenty to awe over). Started in January of this year by founder Tim Doyle, Nakatomi Inc. has already gained a reputation for quality, accessibility and a massive overall rad-factor.

If you’re like me, you’re no stranger to ordering prints online – reproductions or original pieces based on sci-fi movies, or quirky actors, things like that. While the majority of these are frame worthy (plenty adorn my wall in expensive mounting), you can’t help but shake that they are reproductions. Just this week I got my hands on some prints from Nakatomi Inc. and I kid you not I was taken aback – hands down, these cats win best in show for quality and presentation, let alone the gorgeousness of the product itself. The paper quality, matched with the inks (every grain a blind-man’s dream), scream original; though most of these prints are in very limited number, you would honestly think that you were holding a piece valued at hundreds of dollars. For all intents and purposes, they should be hundreds of dollars, though almost all of the pieces for sale are less than $60.

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The designs themselves are amazing; though much of the subject material is based on or inspired by the nerdy with a retro flavor, the amount of talent in each piece is unfathomable. I’m having a couple prints framed next week, I guarantee you they will be the highlight of the room. Everything from My Little Pony to Planet of the Apes; nothing is sacred and everything is fodder for some of the most unique and accessible art you will find on the web today. You can even pick up some of your favorite gig posters, an area I find myself more and more interested in. Mr. Doyle’s own comic book, Amazing Adult Fantasy, can also be purchased through their store.

wolfboxHere’s where I’m really going to go “buck wild”… get it… bucks.. as in “money”… hello? The t-shirts. Who isn’t flat out nutso for a killer tee? My heart fluttered and my credit card shook (though their prices are more than reasonable) when I hit the t-shirt page. Classic monsters transform into vibrant chest-warmers, and get this: some of them are sent to you in an old-school VHS tape case (yes, it depresses me to reference VHS as “old-school”). Brilliant. Genius. En route to my back. SPOILER ALERT: You’re all getting one for Christmas this year.

Nakatomi Inc. must be on your ‘watch’ list and in your bookmarks if you have any semblance of awesome. Alongside artist/founder Tim Doyle you will find incredible work from artists such as Paul Pope, Jacob Borshard, Nick Derington and other amazing artists. Nakatomi Inc. also features a really innovative way to get their work out with the “Nakatomi Invitational” – once a month Nakatomi Inc. invites an artist to create an art print and t-shirt, limited to 100 pieces and only available for that month. Check out this month’s invitational from artist Guy Burwell.

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The Devil Dinosaur invades my cubicle!

 

Before I leave you to go and fill your cart, let me say this: I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, far from the aforementioned pulse. I don’t get cool screenings, there’s no real film/geek community, nor is there a “scene”. From the outside looking in, Austin, TX is the greatest place on earth. I’ve dreamed of visiting the world-famous Alamo Drafthouse theater (which coincidentally used to employ Tim, who also curated their equally world-famous merchandise) and setting up shop behind my laptop in this seemingly magical city, as many nerds before me have done. It is with these sentiments that I ask Mr. Doyle this very serious question:

Dear Tim, may I please have your life?

Head on over to www.nakatomiinc.com immediately. They also have a killer blog going on, The Stuff. Tim Doyle’s personal portfolio is also incredible.

Steve Zissou says ‘do it’.

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Posted on: July 21st, 2009 NOW HIRING: Write For GKS!

Woah woah woah… before you storm the doors all at once, let me explain the gig…

Giant Killer Squid is looking for talented, enthusiastic writers to contribute to any and all area of the site’s coverage. This includes, but is not limited to breaking news stories, reviews, editorials, interviews and podcasting in the area of anything nerd – so film, television, comics, video games, toys, etc. GKS is still in a state of infancy so we need your help bringing it from the depths of the net to the pulse of society.

Still interested?

Contact us (via form below) with some info about yourself, what you’re into and any links with samples of previous articles – basic html and image editing abilities is a plus.

GKS is an equal opportunity employer – droids and replicants are welcome here.

(required)
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Posted on: July 18th, 2009 PREACHER: From Page to Screen

After Watchmen finally hit the theaters, comic book fans have been asking themselves what’s next? What’s the biggest, most revered comic book that could be adapted into a movie?

The answer is simple, it’s Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Duh.

But creeping up right behind Dark Knight Returns is what is widely considered one of the greatest self-contained stories ever told in comics, the story of Jesse Custer and his search for God. Literally. That story is the hilarious, violent, gritty ride known as Preacher, created by comic book mainstays, writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon.

preacher2_prev2If you haven’t read Preacher, it tells the story of Jesse Custer, a small-town minister in Texas who gets possessed with the spirit known as Genesis – an entity created when an Angel and a Demon conceive. The second Genesis was born, God up and quit his post in heaven and now walks the earth. Jesse, who now has all of Genesis’s powers including the word of God (anything he says must be obeyed), doesn’t take the news of God’s absence too well and sets out on a country-spanning journey to find God and give him what for. He’s not alone though, joining him on his crusade is his ex-girlfriend Tulip and a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy. I’ll stop there with the synopsis; if you haven’t yet checked this series out, you really should, it’s phenomenal.

Just like Watchmen, Preacher has had a few false starts with live-action adaptation. From 1998 through 2000 Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier were attached to produce a film based on the first story arc of the series for Electric Entertainment, with Rachel Talay directing a screenplay by Ennis himself. The film lingered in developmental hell for a while until being greenlit for pre-production. The film had no shoot date or release date, with problems stemming from the $25 million budget.

For two more years, the Preacher movie hung around in the back. James Marsden (X-Men films, Superman Returns) had been cast as Jesse Custer, and another two years later, a whole six years since Smith and Mosier became involved, the entire project crumbled due to financial issues.

The live-action Preacher film was back to square one, and it wasn’t going to get any better.

2006 rolled around and HBO became involved in adapting Preacher into a television series, each issue being one episode. Now, that sounded awesome; surely that format would be able to take its time and capture the breadth and intricacies of the whole series. The problem being that HBO tapped Mark Steven Johnson to helm the show, the dude that adapted Daredevil and Ghost Rider to the big-screen. Thankfully, 2 years later in August 2008 HBO passed on the project citing it’s tone and religious controversy. Preacher fans will remember feeling quite the tinge of excitement when a picture (see further down) of an actor in full Arseface make-up hit the net. Makes you wonder what the series could have been, even with Johnson at the wheel.

27-sam2The Preacher film seemed all but dead after this string of false starts, but in January of this year Columbia Pictures purchased the film rights. Things are looking better for this stage of the development; acclaimed director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road) is signed on to direct. Although Garth Ennis isn’t on board to write the screenplay for the flick, John August is officially taking that role. August is responsible for such screenplays as Go and Big Fish, with uncredited re-writes for Minority Report and Iron Man. He did also write Jurassic Park III and the Charlie’s Angels films though…

No other details of the film are known as of yet.

Comparing this film/property to Watchmen again, Preacher fans are a feverish, passionate bunch. Every little detail, absolutely everything will be put under a microscope and scrutinized. And just like with Watchmen, it will be impossible to please everyone. The fans typically have their guns loaded before the film even gets released. The casting of these indelible characters will be one of the most talked-about and debated factors of the success of the Preacher film. Yes, I know that when it comes to casting our favorite characters Hollywood almost always messes it up, but I like to have a little faith. For the most part the Watchmen casting was inspired and spot-on, and Heath Ledger proved hordes of fans wrong after they balked at the announcement that he would be playing the clown prince of crime. There’s just no doubt about it, once a fan gets their dream-cast in their head, there’s no one else good enough in their minds until judgment day – the film’s release.

I’ve thought long and hard about the Preacher film for the last few weeks as I’ve been re-reading the series from start to finish, falling in love with it. I’ve come up with what I think is my own personal cast list for Preacher, be it if I were in charge of casting the film. My cast list would look something like this:

Jesse Custer - James Franco
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Jesse Custer is the lead character so much so that if he isn’t just right, the whole thing could fall apart at the seams. So much of everyone’s dynamic and context works solely because of Jesse’s normalcy and natural righteousness. He is as complex as he is ordinary. This will no doubt be a challenging role for any actor looking to do the character justice. Jesse is the everyman, the American man. He’s could charm the pants off you one minute and punch your teeth out the next. I think James Franco (Spider-Man films, Pineapple Express) has the natural screen-presence, acute acting abilities and wide enough range to pull off Custer’s subtleties. He’s also not a super-huge star that would overshadow or oversell the film, but he’s a strong enough young talent that could justifiably land this lead role. He’s also handsome but not too handsome. Jesse’s a good looking farm boy, but he’s more John Wayne than Zac Efron.

Tulip O’ Hare – Elizabeth Banks or Uma Thurman

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Jesse’s ex/current lover Tulip is many things. She’s sexy. She’s a strong woman. She’s also handy with a gun or her fist. She’s also madly in love with, and very much devoted to Jesse and his cause. Chemistry with whomever is playing Jesse is absolutely imperative for the role of Tulip. Any young woman can play sexy and slightly tom-boyish with a lethal side; it takes a specific actress to pull that all off and still melt Jesse’s heart (as with ours). Although my first pick, a common one, lies with Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction), realistically she looks too old for the part. My next best choice is with Elizabeth Banks (40 Year Old Virgin, Zach & Miri Make A Porno). Banks is very good looking, has that sharp sarcastic wit, and could be believable with a gun. I can close my eyes and see Franco and Banks together gelling quite well.

Cassidy – Robert Pattinson or Jonathan Rhys Meyers

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Oh boy, I can see the hate-mail flooding my inbox already. You read that right, I think Robert Pattinson, the star of Twilight and millions of girls dreams nightly, would be a visually perfect Cassidy. Can he pull off Cassidy’s perpetual drunken swagger? I don’t know. His Twilight role (also a vampire) was quite the opposite – stiff and lifeless (kinda like my Saturday night, hey-o), but I have faith in the young people of today; I say give this cat a chance. Being a Londoner, it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to pull of a believable Irish accent. But for those of you who just can’t possibly wrap your mind around separating a young actor from a breakthrough role, I’ve come up with a close-second choice for the smack-talking Irish bloodsucker: Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He’s actually a damn good pick for Cassidy, far more experienced than Robert Pattinson and has had his fair share of actual drunkenness, apparently. For what he has in acting chops over Pattinson, he lacks in physical resemblance of Cassidy, though with some stubble and a pair of Ray-Bans you’ve got your Proinsias Cassidy.

Herr Starr –  James Marsters

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This was by far the toughest character to wrap my brain around in terms of casting. Like Jesse, Starr is one of these incredibly particular characters. He’s very subtle yet so complicated. Starr is just completely unpredictable in how he will react and what he will say. Inadvertently Starr also provides for some of the funniest moments in the book – he has a natural resilience to injury. My first instinct was to cycle through every bald actor in my head, with Bruce Willis being the one I leaned towards the most. Willis is too big for the role of Herr Starr though. I went with a dark horse pick here, but I really think that James Marsters (Buffy, Angel, Smallville) has that stern and subtle strength about him. Shave his head bald and he also looks the part, albeit a few years young. Again, as much as Jesse, the role of Starr is as important as it is delicate.

The Saint of Killers – Ted Levine

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Ask anyone who has read the book who they would get to play the unstoppable Saint of Killers and I guarantee you’ll get the same response: Clint Eastwood. And I totally agree, Eastwood is absolutely perfect for the role. I’m certain a huge part of shaping that character came from Eastwood himself. But as a fan of the comics and movies in general I’m being totally realistic in saying that casting Dirty Harry ain’t gonna happen. No way, Eastwood pretty much acts in 2 flicks a year, both of which he directs. I would eat my shoe if he even read the script. So, who’s next? Now I’d say David Carradine, but he got strung up by tranny hookers in a Bangkok hotel a few weeks ago, and unless life imitates art, he’s not going to many auditions anymore. That leaves Mr. Buffallo Bill, Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs, American Gangster). He’s big. He’s scary. He’s older. He fits the physical profile.

Arseface – N/A

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The last major role for the Preacher flick is one that really doesn’t need a visually-accurate portrayal as the actor will most definitely be  completely covered with facial prosthetics. Although I wasn’t too big on Mark Steven Johnson’s series for HBO, that make-up artist absolutely nailed Arseface. Hire that effects dude and get Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) to appear in flashbacks as a pre-shotgun faced Arseface.

The story of Preacher is so long and dense that it could not be done justice in one 2 hour movie. We as fans are going to have to come to terms with whatever we see adapted is going to be heavily edited and abridged. I suspect the most content will be taken from the first collected story arc Gone to Texas, with bits and pieces of the main storyline of Jesse’s mission to find God borrowed from the eight other collected volumes ending with Alamo. We as fans are so used to having our beloved stories shit on, though Watchmen had a similarly sordid journey to the big screen and that came out exceptionally. It really depends on the team that’s heading the film and how much the studio will allow the property to just be as it is. But regardless, we will always have the books, which are some of the very best ever written.

Now is your chance to sound off on my casting picks, your picks, and Preacher itself.

Fuck communism.

Posted on: July 15th, 2009 DVD FIX: July 14 2009

Hey there fellow squidies, welcome to this weeks selected new releases for July 14 and July 21 2009. It is yet another lackluster selection for this edition, so without further  delay, lets get to it.

New Releases for July 14, 2009

The Haunting in Connecticut (Unrated Special Edition)
The consensus for this film was mixed, some highly praising while others were completely disappointed by it. Based on actual events, follows the tradition of other real life event horrors such as Amityville Horror and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If that’s your thing, definitely worth a gander.

Horsemen
Dennis Quaid has certainly been a busy man these days expanding hisating resume and lately he has ventured off into the realm of thriller/horror. Horsemen is no different as he plays a detective searching for a serial killer using the four horsemen predicted in the book of revelations as their rationale for these killings. I for one will be checking this one out, as a Quaid fan.

[Rec]
This little Spanish horror film is truly awesome. A news team is trapped in a sealed off apartment building where all kinds of terror waitShot almost documentary style, [REC] is further proof that for the most part, us North Americans can’t make horror films worth shit. Chose this over Quarantine, the American remake of [REC].

Click the links below for the above DVD’s available from our friends at Amazon.com
Pushing Daisies: The Complete Second Season
How this show survived and made it to a second season is beyond me, having watched a few episodes in the first season, being somewhat of a Chi McBride fan and a little curious. The concept of a pie maker with the abilty to bring individuals and animals back to life  seemed like a stretch, was a bit of a stretch, give me Eli Stone over this any day.

Robot Chicken: Star Wars – Episode II
Fans if the show, including myself, should find this equally, if not better then the first part. Nuff said.

Watchmen (Director’s Cut)
I will only touch briefly on this one, as Ryan has already done a post in regards to the release of this underrated flick. Giant blue members aside, Watchmen is a comic readers wet dream, a film solely made for the fans of the comic, a rarity among comic book based films. I HIGHLY recommend this one for your viewing pleasure.

So until next time, happy viewing and keep your remote handy.

Posted on: July 10th, 2009 Hot Toys MMSDX02 1/6th Scale Dark Knight Batman

We’ve got some new details on the next deluxe, or as I call them luxury, collectible from collectibles masters Hot Toys. A while ago we showcased the first in a deluxe line of Dark Knight figures from Hot Toys, the MMSDX01 The Joker.

This time, Batman is up for the Hot Toys treatment, with a beautiful, movie-accurate figure worthy of any collector’s cabinet.

The figure includes:

- Figure stands approximately 32cm tall.

- Two functional heads, one including light-up sonar eyes as seen in the film.

- Heads feature the Parallel Eyeball Rolling System (PERS) and translucent iris.

- Three interchangeable facial expressions.

- Fully detailed Batman suit.

- Accessories: the film’s sticky-bomb gun, grapling gun, backpack, holsters, mines, and two interchangeable utility belts.

- Three pairs of interchangeable hands.

- Figure comes with a deluxe LED light-up stand.

No specific release date for the figure has been released yet, but we can expect this pricey item to hit retailers sometime in first quarter 2010.

Check out the gallery below for some pretty incredibly product shots.

Posted on: July 9th, 2009 This Film is Rated ‘S’ for Stupid

Realize it kids, we’re watching the rising sun at the dawn of the dumb.

As a passionate filmophile I’m really terrified right now. I may be young, but I’ve seen a lot of movies during my life and the last couple years have been as disappointing as they have been profound. Profound in the sense that, holy shit, we are being subjected to utter stupidity. Now, I realize that there have been stupid movies since the creation of film and the medium. If you’re going to open the creative channels to any Joe or Jane with a camera and some cash you are bound to get some rat feces in there. I realize we can’t all be Scorceses or Herzogs or Speilbergs, but for God’s sake does every movie that comes out these days have to treat me like I’m a country bumpkin? Sorry, no offence to you country bumpkins out there, we appreciate your patronage. It’s easy enough to say ‘Michael Bay is an idiot’ or ‘Paul W.S. Anderson couldn’t direct drying paint’, but really, are they the one’s to blame? With the exception of Uwe Boll, quite possibly the worst filmmaker alive today – who makes his films through independent financiers and tax breaks – there’s a reason that these people have careers and continue to make this shit.

That reason?

Us. The audience.

The ridiculous amount of people that plunk down their hard-earned cash every Friday to see whatever movie had the most commercials during Dancing With The Stars.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how the medium is starting to thrive again. I love how the movie theater is a part of people’s lives, people’s way of escaping the hum-drum of the weekly grind. That’s not what I’m on about. I truly believe that we as a collective audience, deserve more. I’m just incredibly dumbfounded why we don’t demand it.

Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen is a perfect example. In a mere three weeks, this film has made over $310,000,000 domestically. It is also one of the most poorly reviewed films I’ve seen in a while, and the word of mouth is just atrocious. It truly is one of those films that objectively just fails and treats its audience like they are devoid of any intelligence. So what drives people to go see it? What drove so many people to go to Beverly Hills Chihuahua? These films made so much bank that the old ‘it’s for kids’ argument is moot. Almost as if the seats were lined with cocaine, we line up in hordes to have our lids unscrewed and farted on for over 90 minutes.

I know that films are subjective. I know that opinion is a big factor of determining a film’s quality. I dare you though, dear reader, dear film-goer, to ask yourself why did I like this?

All too often I hear these stupid movies defended or argued as being just entertainment. I go to these movies to turn my brain off and just be entertained. I want to just relax and not have to think. Listen to yourself. You don’t want to think. I understand the idea of escapism, hell I indulge in it more than the average person, but there is something so worrisome about that kind of catharsis that one feels the need to take part in. I for one like to feel involved with what I’m watching, connected to the story being told in front of me. I don’t mean to make any of you feel bad, but I do encourage you as I try to encourage myself to continue asking, why did I like that movie?

C’mon, it’s a popcorn movie or what did you expect, it’s giant fighting robots aren’t reasons for liking films. They are excuses.

Think of it this way: you have a little five year kid. It is dinner time. It wants candy. As a responsible adult, do you feed it candy for dinner? Unless you’re one of the aforementioned country bumpkins, then no. You may give the kid a little candy treat every now and then, but a full meal? No. Because that is unhealthy. My point is that  we are those kids, and the studios are those bad parents. They are giving us candy every single night because we begged and cried and kicked for it. This is the rare occasion where we need to stop being fucking babies, man-up and eat our greens. Guess what? Just like in real life, it’s more healthy! But waaahhh the junk food tastes better!

No. It doesn’t.

There’s been some great films released in the last couple of years to have proved that these blockbuster fun action films can be great without being utterly stupid. Films like The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Star Trek were a total blast and had a really great impact on audiences, critics and the box office dollar. So why is it that we don’t see the stark contrast between one of those and Transformers 2? That’s like taking the Pepsi challenge with one can of soda and one can of beans.

I saw a behind-the-scenes for G-Force the other night, you know, the next CG animal  shit-fest. This time they’ve turned hamsters into covert espionage operatives or something. More than how the kids will love it, I’m terrified of how many parents will enjoy it too. It’s the same reason Beverly Hills Chihuahua succeeded. It makes me weep, it really does. G-Force and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (no lie, that’s the title) will be release on 4,000 screens while Moon and The Hurt Locker get less than a dozen.

Supply and demand reins supreme over survival of the fittest.

Next time you go to the movies, or flip through the DVD racks really ask yourself, why do I like this? You may not realize it, but what you like – or what you think you like – is what is getting these flicks made.

Posted on: July 6th, 2009 This Editor’s Stance on Twilight

twilight-410-largeIf I begin to ramble, forgive me. I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a while now, but haven’t been sure of my approach. It’s been a relatively slow few days for Giant Killer Squid so I’m all for just unscrewing the head and letting it all fall out.

So here we go.

Twilight.

If you’re a regular reader of GKS and/or other film-blogs, you may have noticed that Twilight is absent from any and all news reports here. No reviews, no trailers, no rumors, no posters, no nothing. Granted, 75% of film-blogs are taking the piss out of the film series based on the ridiculously-well selling books, there is a reason for the lack of coverage. It’s not just pure laziness.

To be frank (you can be Shirley), as the editor of Giant Killer Squid, I like to think I know the audience that I write to and for. That’s the thing about writing for the Internet, if your readers aren’t jiving on your stuff, they’re not really your readers are they? I know this is a passive, maybe even naive way of thinking about it, but I completely stand by it. Our readers, our audience comes here for news and commentary regarding film, television, comics and video games. There is a lot of genre crossing, there’s no doubt about it, but we generally lean towards the horror-sci-fi-action-comic-book flavor. That’s not to say that we won’t cover other major news, or share our thoughts on relevant issues and topics, but as a small (starving) website, we like to think we know our target and try to hit a bulls-eye as much as possible in terms of content. To report news on Twilight, even though it is followed feverishly by many, simply doesn’t make much sense for GKS. And this isn’t just about Twilight – it’s for the same reason we don’t run stories on Sex and the City, for example.

Now, I must be completely clear about one thing, I most certainly do not begrudge any other film-sites or blogs for reporting on Twilight. Many, if not most do and I get it. Those editors and writers know their audience more than I know mine I’m sure. I’m also in no way accusing anyone of traffic-baiting, Just want to be clear on that. I get why sites report on Twilight with passive-aggressive dismissal.  It’s news, it’s incredibly talked about, and more importantly, it’s incredibly surfed and clicked.

I guess that’s me making a mountain of a molehill, but I felt it should be addressed to our readers, as I’ve been asked more than a few times about the absence of Twilight. It just don’t fit.

For the record, I have seen the film. Though I wouldn’t deem it unwatchable, I would go as far to say that it is unhealthy, especially for the young teen audience that it is targeted at. The film itself is pretty adequate, the cinematography is quite nice, the locations in particular are beautiful. I’ve seen worse performances for a relatively new cast with young, handsome people. The story, however, is just ridiculous and dare I say stupidly written. There’s nothing subtle at all about anything. It plays out like a knock-off 80’s brat-pack film with subtitles that read ‘SUBTEXT ALERT: ABSTINENCE! DON’T HAVE SEX! PEER PRESSURE IS BAD!’.

We get it. You’re comparing vampirism to sexual urge.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sending a message of abstinence, or at least practicing safe, protected, consensual sex is a noble mission. But it’s not cool when a film preaches unrealistic expectations and characters to a young, impressionable crowd. That’s what I mean by ‘unhealthy’. In the same way that reality dating shows like The Bachelor portray a superficial way to pursue a relationship. The expectations of the opposite sex are approaching laughable as it is, now we need to have fucking diamond skin to nail that girl? It really is just terribly written swill, there’s not an ounce of quality, of meat to be found.

I’ll end it here before this turns into a full-blown review and then to a nation-wide call for book burning. My point is that I mean no ill-will to fans of the book and film, nor to the sites that choose to cover this Twilight phenomenon, but you will never see a Twilight news piece on Giant Killer Squid.

Unless of course, enough of you write in asking for it. Please don’t.

Filed under: Barnacles, Movies | 1 Comment »

Posted on: June 30th, 2009 Watchmen DVD & Blu-Ray Details

blu-rayThe wait is almost over for Zach Snyder’s incredible film adaptation of Watchmen to hit DVD and Blu-Ray. The film will be released to retailers this July 21st and this one is a must-own for fans, Blu-Ray-philes and Watchmen fiends alike. As with most comic-book-super-fan-summer films, this movie will no doubt see an endless amount of releases and re-releases each with the most superficial of differences. But to us mega-fans, does it really even matter.

The film will initially be released in a two-disc Director’s Cut – a theatrical version is available on DVD only – with a third, coaster-worthy digital copy disc. This Director’s Cut has a run-time of over 3 hours; that’s approximately 30 mins of more footage than was shown in the theatrical version. Full details on what these scenes will include are still pretty unknown with the exception being the well-known-filmed on-screen death of the original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason.

Full Disc Specs:

  • Disc 1 (BD-50):
  • Director’s cut of the film (186 minutes)
  • Interactive “Ultimate Watchmen Experience”
  • BD-Live
  • Disc 2 (BD-25):
  • The Phenomenon: The Comic that Changed Comics (30 min.)
  • Real Super Heroes, Real Vigilantes (27 min.)
  • Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World (27 min.)
  • Webisodes (38 min.)
  • Music Video: My Chemical Romance Desolation Row (3 min.)
  • Disc 3 (DVD):
  • Digital Copy – Theatrical version

If you’re more of a collector, there are some special-er editions of this release. Blu-Ray owners can pick up Amazon.com’s exclusive Nite Owl Ship collector’s set which features the three Director’s Cut discs hidden inside a pretty cool looking statuette of Nite Owl’s ship, Archie. Apparently this beaut has lights and sounds. Again, it’s only exclusive to those shopping online at Amazon.com, and has a fairly hefty price tag of $79.99.

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My local Best Buy is also advertising this hideous Rorschach mask packaging for both DVD and Blu-Ray,while HMV UK is offering a similar package with the lifeless face of Dr. Manhattan. Creepy.

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Zach Snyder has also been dropping hints for a “Black Freighter” cut of the film, essentially the Director’s Cut with the previously released animated story-within-a-story, The Black Freighter, cut into the film throughout the full run-time. This edition, which really only has appeal to hardcore fans, would run approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes. No release date or further details have been released.

I know I will be having one hell of a Watchmen party on July 21st, and you’re all welcome to come over and enjoy Watchmen on Blu-Ray in all it’s glory.

Posted on: June 11th, 2009 SH*T THAT I WANT: Vol. 2

Alright kids, it’s been a couple months and I’ve amassed a whole bunch of consumerables for the second edition of STIW. Here’s the best of the best, in quick and dirty rawdog style:

Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster

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Jesus H. Christ, look at that thing. Nerf really hasn’t been cool since the crotch-bat really… until I came across this beast (almost quite literally), the N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster. The EBF stands for Everyone’s Balls Fucked. I dunno. This is the T-101 of air powered sponge artillery. Some of its features: ammo box, folding tripod, 25-dart belt and 25 SONIC MICRO DARTS. What the hell is a sonic micro dart? I have no clue, but I need to find out. Retails for around $40.

And, according to the image below, you can fire it into another dude’s ass!

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Buy it online.

Mastodon Vans Shoes

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It is scientific fact that footwear could not be any more bad-ass than this. Unless you strapped hatchet-laden corpses to your feet, but that’s illegal and morally deplorable. So instead, Vans – the creators of the equally awesome Iron Maiden shoes (which I own) – stepped up and gave us the next best thing: shoes inspired by artwork from Mastodon’s Blood Mountain record. Though it would’ve been a wet dream to have shoes from Leviathan or even Crack The Skye, I can’t complain, these are fucking epic. Both version come in hi-top or low-top and I have no clue how much they retail for. I paid $30 for the Iron Maiden ones.

More info to come on the official site.

Creative Vado HD Pocket Video Cam

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I’ve been on the market for one of these sexy little pocket cams for a while now, and it seems that pretty much across the board the Creative Vado HD delivers boners to even the most fickle of tech-wieners. This palm-sized camera boasts an impressive 2 hours of recording/playback at 720p, a hefty 8GB of internal memory, a decent 2″ screen and a slide-out USB for pulling out, stuffing in, and unloading all the stuff you’ve just accumulated. That’s what she said.

It doesn’t hurt that the footage this baby captures is really damn amazing from such a compact machine. Better yet is that it retails for less than $230. Check out the official site.

Watchmen Blu-Ray ‘Owlship’ Collector’s Edition

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It’s exciting enough just having Watchmen on DVD and Blu-Ray so soon (July 21), but this gave me a big nerdy one… the Amazon.com exclusive Owlship collector’s set. This bad boy can only be purchased online. Just look at that. What a beaut. The set includes the  special edition 2-disc blu-ray of the film, lame-ass digital copy which no one will use, and a ridiculously awesome miniature Owlship replica that holds the discs and has lights and sounds. The only thing that would make this better is if it had the technology to blow me while I watch the film. But then again, that could be distracting.

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So again, this is an Amazon.com exclusive – pre-order it for $83.99 right now.

Sony 400-disc BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Mega Changer

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This is one of those things that I really want, but will never, ever own. It’s fairly simple in technology, a juke-box for the future, if you will, that stores all of your DVD discs and then you use the remote in your 500 pound, Cheeto-dust smothered hand, to select the movie you want and it cues it up for you. Because five feet really is that far. Regardless of its complete lack of practicality, it is pretty damn cool. And Sony’s gearing up to launch this mega changer that will hold 400 Blu-Ray discs. Are there even 400 Blu-Ray’s available? Oof. I’m so balls deep in Blu-Ray right now. I want this. It will no doubt retail for $1,000,000 and the only people who will have it are Larry Flynt looking oil tycoons obsessed with Indecent Proposal and Dirty Dancing in 1080p.

Check out Engadget’s piece on the 400 disc calorie saver here.

Well that wraps up another volume of SH*T THAT I WANT. If you have any ideas for items for future volumes, or just foudn some really bad-ass stuff that you want, let us know.

Remember, money ain’t no good to a dead man.

Posted on: June 5th, 2009 Three Panel Opera – The Only Webcomic Ever

I’m a dude who loves comics… loves them. Two genres I never got into though are webcomics and anime. To me, webcomics weren’t clever. For the most part I didn’t laugh, and they were far too concentrated on a particular niche crowd. Now, I will never get into anime (nothing against you anime losers), but I would like to present to you a webcomic that defies my initial thoughts on the genre, ThreePanelOpera.com.

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I had the pleasure of meeting the comic’s creators, Ben Rankel and Brandon Ostlund, at this years Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (Ben & Brandon operate from Calgary, AB). Three Panel Opera was one of the featured guests at the show and their booth was a buzzin’. It was there that I found the only webcomic I will ever need. Not because it’s a genre I don’t understand, but because it can’t possibly get better – and I mean that with full compliment to the 3PO guys (Three Panel Opera). I hereby induct Three Panel Opera as honorary members of Team Squid here at GKS.

The art is slick, the colors are bold – and “poppin’” as the kids are singing – and the writing is masterful; these cats manage to drop nerd science weekly in a way that’s totally endearing and not overbearing. 3PO does what all the other genre-related/comedy webcomics wish they could do – be hilarious, reference pop-culture, and showcase artwork that frankly, is the tits.

Check this one out for example. This comic literally cost me a mouthful of coffee:

2009-01-19

Three Panel Opera has been going strong since January 2009, with new comics up every Monday and Friday. I asked Ben, the co-creator, what some of his influences are, and wasn’t surprised to hear the comic strip cowboys like Charles Schultz (Peanuts) and Bill Waterson (Calvin & Hobbes). Those comics were in a time when a lot of other comics weren’t thought out – something that 3PO is showing today. Though on paper (or monitor, rather), 3PO’s comics may have more in common with Calvin & Hobbes than, say, a Charlie Brown strip, you can tell that the heart and craftsmanship is there. Especially in a time when stick figures can make it to t-shirts. But alas, content is king, and in my opinion, 3PO has the throne.

So do make sure that you add ThreePanelOpera.com to your daily routine. Facebook it. Tweet it. Digg it. Snort it. Roll it up and smoke it. Spread the word though, because it just might change your mind on webcomics.

Anime is still fucked though.

Filed under: Barnacles, comics | 1 Comment »

Posted on: June 4th, 2009 [UPDATED] Hot Toys Watchmen 1:6 Scale Silk Spectre

UPDATE

Hot Toys has announced the full specs for the figure, as well as a whole bunch of images.

She stands approx. 30cm tall with over 26 points of articulation. Other features include:

- Movie accurate leather costume, gloves, belt and trenchcoat.
- Interchangeable gloved hands.
- Figure stand.

This ridiculously detailed collectible will be available Q3 of this year. Check out the new images below… 

It’s not often I get to give the toys some love here on GKS (not that kind of toy, you pervert), so this little tease makes me giddy for some plastic (get your head out of the gutter, sicko).

A while back we showed you what I called “the coolest toy ever made”, the Hot Toys MMS DX01 1:6 scale Dark Knight Joker. Whew, that toy was a mouthful (seriously, stop being gross). Well months after it’s release, Hot Toys is finally gearing up to release their 1/6 scale collectible figures based on characters from Watchmen.

Only a teaser image has been released as of yet, and so far Silk Spectre (Laurie) is the only character confirmed. What we can bet on, is that this figure will be pretty epic. And sexy. And expensive.

So take a peek at the teaser image below, and we will have more info as we get it, including full specs and images.

Posted on: May 24th, 2009 Spider-Man 4: Villain Roll Call

So the powers that be are developing the fourth installment of the Spider-Man franchise. Let’s trace our steps and establish the status quo:

Spider-Man –  Directed by Sam Raimi,written by David Koepp. Released May, 2002, grossing $822 million (Worldwide). The first Spider-Man was a huge hit, and was a pretty decent comic-book flick, though not without its flaws. If anything, it laid down the necessary groundwork for what potentially could be amazing sequels.

Spider-Man 2 – Directed by Sam Raimi, screenplay by Alvin Sargent. Released June,2004, grossing $784 million (Worldwide). All that groundwork from the first movie? Yeah. It paid off big time. Spider-Man 2 is loudly regarded as the best in the series, and one of the best comic-book films period. It was the perfect balance of character, action, story and suspense. Truly inspired by decades of source material.

Spider-Man 3 – Directed by Sam Raimi, screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent. Released May, 2007, grossing $890 million (Worldwide). It is also the second highest-grossing comic book film of all time, behind The Dark Knight. But does financial success equal quality? Dear God, no. For all the good that the second film did, Spider-Man 3 squashed it like a bug. The film was riddled with throwaway sub-plots, poor character development and the script was derailed almost from the beginning. Audiences were stunned when, after a long and promising lead-up to the film, we were inundated with two different song and dance scenes from our wall-crawler. To make matters worse, the long-in-demand big screen representation of the Venom character was so watered down and misused that even the most passive of fans couldn’t look past it.

There was no doubt about it, the franchise has been left with a bad taste in its mouth.

I can remember the years in-between Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. We were all clamoring for more Spider-Man. We would’ve killed to hear who the next villain would be, or which legendary storyline would be called upon for the next record-breaking sequel. But then 3 happened, and quite frankly, we stopped caring. I did, at least. We’ve since gone on to bigger and better things; certainly not as iconic as  our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, nothing can ever replace him. Batman. Watchmen. These films have filled the void we once had for big-screen, big-budget superhero film. The talk of another Spider-Man died down.

It wasn’t until last September, when Sam Raimi confirmed he’d signed on to direct the fourth (and fifth) films (along with star Tobey Macguire) that the hype machine slowly started to chug once more. Although it’s still not consuming newspapers and websites everywhere, the rumor monster is slowly slogging along, and will no doubt pick up pace once the film really gets into development and closer to the film’s May 6, 2011 release date. Writing Spider-Man 4 is David Lindsay-Abair, who’s previous credits include Robots and Inkheart. A previous draft, which improved the studio, was written by JamesVanderbilt (The Rundown, Zodiac).

Other than that, we really don’t know much else about the flick. There’s a bit of press right now about whether or not Kirsten Dunst will reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson. Raimi, who is often mum about revealing any details in advance of the films (despite rabid fans and fevered journalists) hasn’t been a total vault when it comes to Dunst’s level of involvement.

Personally, I think she’s a terrible Mary Jane, a pretty horrid actress, and the series would be better of with a re-cast, or simply moving away from the character. But ‘money talks’ as they say, and Dunst would be a fool to not return and slap on that fake hair dye and flash the fangs. Hell, she could even play Morbius, the living vampire! They’d save thousands on make-up and costumes!

Which brings me to the meat of this here story. Who’s the big bad gonna be? Though if history has proven anything, baddies is more likely; studios just love having more than one villain. Sells more toys, you see.

At this moment, its really anyone’s guess as to who Spider-Man will showdown against in the fourth film. We’ve already heard rumors of Lizard and Carnage. If anything, Lizard is long overdue, having given audiences some mild exposure to Dr. Curt Conners in two films already. Carnage isn’t outside the realm of possibility, what with the symbiote now part of the continuity. Morbius the living vampire has been brought up by Sam Raimi himself, as a character he’d like to tackle; there’s no denying his attachment to the scary and supernatural.

But why stop there? If anything a hero is only as effective as his spoils, and Spider-Man has one of the greatest galleries of rogues in comics history. There’s really an endless supply of fantastic movie fodder, just waiting to be used. Let’s go down the list, shall we?

lizardLizard

The one armed scientist, Curt Connors experiments with a formula derived from lizard DNA  to regrow human tissue; he tests it himself, and blammo! Human lizard man vs. Spidey!
Odds: 1 in 3. There’s a great chance that Lizard will be one of the villains in SM4, with Curt Connors already established, and a consistent interest from the studio and fans alike. Sam Raimi has also publicly displayed interest in the character.

carnageCarnage

What happens when you (a convicted murderer) share a jail cell next to Eddie ‘Venom’ Brock? You get your own symbiote! Think of Carnage as Venom times ten in the psychopath department.
Odds: 1 in 5. My dislike for the symbiote characters notwithstanding, they’d be foolish to think they could pull this character off  within the parameters of a PG-13 summer blockbuster. I think we’ve seen enough of these slimey buggers, thank you, but there is a lot of rumor buzz around this spawn of Venom. We should all hope Carnage’s name doesn’t get pulled out of the casting hat.

morbiusMorbius

A biochemist with a rare blood disease should never attempt to formulate their own cure. Because just like Michael Morbius, you’ll become a living vampire! This misunderstood villain is a lesser known Spidey rogue, but a fan favorite nonetheless.
Odds: 1 in 3. I think there is a pretty good chance we’ll see Morbius in SM4. In fact, I’d put money on it. Sam Raimi has touted the character, and the things he could apparently do with him, on many occasions. And there’s no doubt Raimi’s affection towards the horror side of things. Personally, I’m not huge on the thought of such a departure from the typical Spidey villain, especially when there’s so many great baddies left untapped. But maybe this is the fodder that will bring Raimi into the flick full-steam and really wow us. Intriguing, most definitely.

kravenKraven the Hunter

Sergei Kravinoff, is the world’s greatest hunter, but there’s one game he hasn’t caught yet… Spider-Man.
Odds: 1 in 10. Done right, I think Kraven would make for an awesome Spider-Man flick. It would bring a totally new dynamic to the series, and there isn’t a villain quite like him. What better way to bounce back from the pure cheese of the SM3 than a balls-out game of cat and mouse between Spidey and the world’s greatest hunter. Sadly, I predict the studio wouldn’t know how to market a villain without a mask and wacky superpower, so chances are it won’t happen.

mysterioMysterio

Special effects guru turned super-villain, Quentin Beck uses his mastery of the mad and macabre to cerebrally ruin Spider-Man’s shit.
Odds: 1 in 15. Mysterio is one of my favorite villains, period. When you think about it, he would make the perfect villain for a Spider-Man film, in which you can really lay down some incredible visual effects. His costume is a little goofy, so the odds of this character being done respectfully is pretty slim. I also think that he’s too cerebral for the mainstream (see, dumbass) audience. Back when Spider-Man 3 was filming, Bruce Campbell’s credit in the IMDB page was for Quentin Beck, Mysterio’s true identity; this fueled the rumor mill for ages, and also set in stone that yes, Bruce is perfect for the menace that is Mysterio.

vultureVulture

Adrian Toomes is an old curmudgeonly dude that dresses up in a suit with wings and proceeds to fly around and give Spider-Man shattitude.
Odds: 1 in 4. Before Venom had become the second villain in Spider-Man 3, it seemed as if Vulture was going to hit the big screen; apparently Sir Ben Kingsley had landed the gig, and at one point Larry David had mentioned a possible role in the flick which set off Vulture alarms. But then Avi Arad had to come in and muck it all up by throwing Venom in. With an affinity for the character on a studio level, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to see the old codger in flight on film.

electroElectro

A freak lightning storm turned electrician Max Dillion into a living electrical capacitor. He then turned to a life of crime, and zapping 6 foot spiders, as the villain Electro. And he wore the goofiest mask ever.
Odds: 1 in 25. I highly doubt we’d ever see Electro in a sequel, unless it was a smaller part of a Sinister Six type grouping; even that is a bad idea. There’s just nothing remarkable about ‘ol sparky here.

rhinoRhino

Thug for hire Aleksei Sytsevich gets a super-strong polymer to his skin and set him loose on the town to ram shit all day. Oh, and they gave him horns and the adult-equivalent of animal PJ’s. Maybe that’s why he’s so mad?
Odds: 1 in 30. I can see Rhino on the big screen serving as a throw-away character or cameo, but a major role? Not likely. Dude’s as exciting as soup skin. The 90’s animated series used him really well in the Venom storyline, perhaps the-powers-that-be should have watched that…

hobgoblinHobgoblin

Sounds kinky, doesn’t it? Well, it ain’t. In an effort to milk the Green Goblin’s legacy even more, Marvel created this character. He’s almost identical to the Green Goblin. But orange. And still badass.
Odds: 1 in 20. I used to think that Hobgoblin was a big possibility, and that maybe they would steer Harry Osbourne to that mantle if not the Green Goblin. Instead we got the ‘New Goblin’ in part 3. That was kind of a mind fuck. So for that reason alone, I’m sure the next installment will distance itself, thus negating any chance of the Hob gobbling us at all.

shockerShocker

Herman Schultz was a genius. An ill-driven genius. And as ill-driven geniuses do, Herman turned to a life of crime as the Shocker, armed with wrist mounted gauntlets that shoot concentrated air blasts at a high vibrating frequency.
Odds: 1 in 30. I’m in the minority when I saw I love the Shocker. He fits in the same category as Rhino as a total throw-away, but he would be the perfect way to start a Spider-Man movie. And he’s pretty unique compared to what we’ve seen before in a Spider-Man film. Sadly, I doubt it will happen.

scorpionScorpion

Am I starting to see a formula here? Mac Gargan, private investigator, yadda, yadda,  experiment, yadda, yadda, scorpion powers and suit.
Odds: 1 in 30. He has just as much chance as Shocker. Although he’s a great villain, there just doesn’t seem to be that much meat on the ol sotry-bones for this guy. Though, I have been wrong in the past, and I won’t put anything past the studio that gave us that wretched Venom…

You see, there really is no excuse to cop-out in the villain department. If anything the hard part is sifting through all the awesome stories and history and finding just one to settle with. So far though, we really have only two strong leads: Lizard and Morbius, the Living Vampire. But who knows? Anything can happen in the wild and crazy world of the Spider-Man franchise.

If I were to say anything to Sony Pictures and Avi Arad, it would be this: listen to Raimi and more importantly, trust Raimi. He is confident, and he is passionate, and genuinely I believe he knows where he went wrong with SM3. And really look into your villain this time around. Really think about what could make a truly compelling story, and not just about what will serve your special effects and sell more action figures and popcorn buckets. Kraven could really captivate an audience more than Carnage. Mysterio could dazzle us where Morbius could be too much of a genre switch. Take a hint from Spider-Man 2 and develop single antagonists; although we act it out daily, we really aren’t retards and would like some compelling comic-book storytelling.

Fuck it. Just let me write the damned thing.

What do you think, who would you like to see in the next Spider-Man? More importantly, who do you think will be tackling Peter Parker in May, 2011?

Posted on: May 5th, 2009 Mastodon’s Latest A Feature Film?

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I don’t normally tend to delve into the music world here on GKS, as that’s a whole other beast, but this little musical morsel wet my appetite enough and is pretty relevant to the type of thing we’re all about.

If you’re not aware of the band Mastodon, you should be. They are hands down the most important band working today and are defining and reshaping genres with their latest album, a most amazing opus called Crack the Skye.

You can read an article I wrote about this masterpiece and the band’s greatness over at our favorite site, Forces of Geek.

Now, the album itself is, for all intents and purposes, a concept album; meaning from the first track to the last, a story is told with a constant narrative. It’s incredibly fascinating and fun and could honestly translate well into a film.

Which is what was talked about over at Billboard – the possibility of a Crack the Skye feature…?

Apparently Brann Dailor, the band’s drummer (and responsible for the album’s story/lyrics) has hammered out a screenplay based on the album, with an unnamed director. The article also says that more than one director has expressed interest.

This is amazing news, if it ever becomes a reality, for the album and it’s story is incredibly cool. A film based on the story would be unlike anything we’d ever seen before, and I can only imagine having Mastodon score the beast – listen to the album for yourself and tell me it wouldn’t make for an epic score.

Crack the Skye’s story, according to Brann Dailor on the album’s Wikipedia entry is:

There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin’s body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin’s body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is dead. Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it’s too late. But they end up running into the Devil along the way and the Devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down…there are some obstacles along the way.

Tell me that wouldn’t be an awesome film if done right; I imagine it capturing the tone of Hellboy mixed with Lord of the Rings meets Donnie Darko. Oh how Guillermo Del Toro is made for a project like this.

But for now it’s merely poop shoot, and I doubt anything will happen soon if at all on a Crack the Skye film; but a boy can dream.

Want a taste of what the film could hold? Check out the video for the albums lead single, Divinations. This is utterly epic.

So what are your thoughts – have you heard the album? Yay or nay? What about films based on albums in general?

Posted on: May 5th, 2009 What the Hell Happened To……. Cuba Gooding Jr?

Welcome to the inaugural edition of What the Hell happened to….. where we focus on an actor or actress that had lived their fifteen of fame and then drifted into obscurity and direct to DVD release hell. So sit back and relax, as I take you back and bring you up to date with the has been stars of yesteryear.

Having spent my adolescent years growing up in the 90’s, I have heard and even quoted my share of lines and catchphrases anywhere from “Run, Forrest, Run” to “Sh-wing!”.  One of these lines that really help define this time period had to be from Cuba Gooding, Jr’s role of Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. Say it with me now, “Show Me The Money!”.  So, what the hell happened to Cuba Gooding, Jr?

CGJ

Prior to his Oscar winning role in Jerry Maguire, he was on the path to become one of Hollywood’s all round leading men with small roles in A Few Good Men, Outbreak and  Losing Isaiah. He has even starred along side some of the best in the business with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and Robin Williams.  With all of this, how does one go from winning an Oscar to the depths of bad comedies and crappy straight to DVD action movies? Personally, I blame his agent, did he even read the script for Daddy Day Camp or Norbit before signing is John Henry on the dotted line? Perhaps if we start at the beginning we can trace where it all went wrong.

Pre Jerry Maguire (1984-1995)

Cuba’s big break came in the form of break dancing for singer, Lionel Richie at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, after which he managed to land a few small roles on TV shows such as Hill Street Blues and MacGyver and in Eddie Murphy’s film Coming to America. It would not be until 1991 that Cuba would finally smash the barrier and breakout in Boyz n the Hood as Tre Styles, the film garnered plenty of praise and established Cuba as young talent ready to bust out and take Hollywood by storm. He followed that up in 1992, with a lesser known film called Gladiator (not the Russell Crowe film, I made that assumption too) and a small, yet powerful role in A Few Good Men.

Throughout 1993 and up to the early part of 1995, things looked substandard for Cuba, as he starred in four films and of those, Outbreak was the only one to receive favorable reviews. Daybreak, Judgment Night and Lightning Jack were either panned by critics or dismissed by the general public. The rest of 1995 was a step in the right direction, but still a far cry from Boyz n the Hood. He had a small role along side Laurence Fishburne for the second time in his young career in the HBO movie The Tuskegee Airmen. He would finish the year on a strong note, in the drama Losing Isaiah.

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire should have had the title changed to Rod Tidwell, because Cuba stole the show and made this film it the only reason to watch it. Every time he was on screen with Tom Cruise he dominated, putting Cruise into the unfamiliar territory as secondary character. His Oscar win was well earned and deserved. Cuba showed a charisma unseen in any of roles since Boyz N the Hood. He showed potential and set forth a confident aura. What happened after Jerry Maguire is a mystery no one will ever fully be able to explain, but what we do know is that he has made some bad film choices after Jerry Maguire, of which he never fully recovered.

Post Jerry Maguire (1997-Present)

After Jerry Maguire, it looked as though Cuba would be joining the ranks of acclaimed stars such as Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Kevin Spacey. He made a smart move in selecting As Good As it Gets as his lead off from Maguire, sadly though that would be his only smart career decision for the remainder of the decade. What followed was a seemingly endless pile of flop after flop to close out the decade. What Dreams May Come would be the closest he would come to showcasing his talent and why he was an Oscar winner.A Murder of Crows, Instinct and Chill factor never really brought him back to form nor did they perform well in theater or on DVD/VHS.

Typically with the closing out of a decade you hope to accomplish better things in the next ten years, though there were glimmers of hope, Cuba still has not been able to break out and do something he is much more capable of doing. This new decade he started out strong in Men of Honor, which performed poorly despite the performances of the films two leads Robert DeNiro and Cuba. This was followed by the retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Michael Bay’s long winded, explosion spectacle, Pearl Harbor.

After taking a stab at action and drama’s, Cuba decided to take a try at comedy. This was perhaps this biggest mistake because it lead to some pretty bad comedies from 2001-2003. Rat Race, Snow Dogs, Boat Trip and the Fighting Temptations were all panned by critics and discarded just the same by viewing audiences. After this, he went back briefly to his dramatic roots and portrayed James Robert “Radio” Kennedy, a mentally challenged high school student, in 2003’s Radio. Cuba’s performance was praised, while the rest of the film was ripped apart by critics.

In 2004, Cuba did some voiceover work in the Disney feature Home on the Range, this would be the last Cub film released in theater until 2006, entering the straight to DVD realm  with the releases of Dirty, Shadowboxer and End Game. He would show up on the big screen in Eddie Murphy’s crap fest, Norbit, which was not well received, to say the least. At the end of a dismal 2006 for Cuba, he starred in What love is, the film only made $19,000.00 in its theatrical run and only made it to forty two theaters world wide.

2007 would consist of the same choices, with the exception of a small role in Denzel Washington’s piece America Gangster. Daddy Day Camp and Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends would be a low points in his already diminishing career. He returned to the straight DVD market with Hero Wanted, Harold and Linewatch all during 2008.

Currently he has been in a TV movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story as the title character. Red Tails, another retelling of the Tuskangee Airmen being developed by George Lucas, it is not known if Cuba will be reprising the same role he played in the original, but he ahs confirmed that will be in the film.

In the end what it really boils down to is some poor choices. Had Cuba been more selective and persistent in getting those great roles he may not be in the void of obscurity. But in all fairness, even the greats make a terrible movie every now and then, no one is perfect. Here is hoping Cuba can bounce back and deliver something more then Land Before Time sequels.

Posted on: April 20th, 2009 Countdown to Free Comic Book Day ‘09

blackest_nightWhat’s better than regular comic book day?

FREE comic books, mother hugger, that’s what.

Yes, we are a little under two-weeks away from the first Saturday in May which for hundreds of years has been recognized as Free Comic Book Day.

Geek Christmas.

Gold, frankincense, mur and the mighty Avengers.

This year, Saturday May 2nd is the date – head on over to your local (participating) comic store and get your ace some free funny books. This year’s free comic list ain’t too shabby with some choice books like DC’s Blackest Night #0 and a special Avengers issue. There’s a little something  for everyone, yeah even you, ya Archie readin’ turkey!

So mark your calendars, readers, and be sure not to miss out on FREE having a good FREE time while supporting FREE the biz and perpetuating a great FREE tradition.

All the info you need can be found here.

Did I mention it was free?