Books for Soldiers

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February 24, 2005

CSI: Tarantino

This will either be really, really good, or it will suck hard. Quentin is going to direct the season finale of CSI. Too bad he's not directing CSI: Miami. Then he could try to reign in David Caruso.

Posted by sferrell at 1:56 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2005

review: "Muppets Overtime"

muppetsovertime.jpg
Check out this short film by two French film students: Muppets Overtime As a friend said, "Kind of creepy," but a tremendous job on the animation in this short. Despite the fact that these CG puppets are meant to be "Kermit" they have a personality all their own--a playful, macabre personality. Yet it's also very touching.

It does make me wonder about one thing: what did they do with Jim Henson's body?

Posted by sferrell at 3:14 PM

review: "Green Lantern: Rebirth #4"

GLantern4.jpgIt's hard to keep a good man down. At least that seems to be the message of this mini-series re-introducing Hal Jordan, the Green Lanterns and much of the mythology of the Lanterns themselves.

So far the story has been strong--though not perfect. Geoff Johns has had a difficult task: retell the Lantern mythology while revamping it so that everything that happened at the end to Hal (becoming a supervillian of nearly unstopable power) wasn't really Hal's fault. It's re-introduced the concepts of what the weakness of the Lantern's rings was caused by, what the weakness in the Corps was, and it's bringing back a number of Lanterns to the DC theater.

Johns did have an especially nice moment in the story involving Green Arrow. It's good to include him so centrally to the story given his close ties to GL: they were sort of the poor man's Superman/Batman team. But unlike Superman and Batman you never quite saw why these two would hang out. Bats and Supers begrudgingly see what they lack in the other, but what do GA and GL see? Green Arrow gets a peak inside the Lanterns' powers in this issue.

Given the scope of the story the minor issues with how it's told are forgivable (he's only got six issues). Less forgivable is some less than spectacular art by Ethan Van Sciver. Something about his style just doesn't fit the story, and I'm not sure what. I find myself looking at the book, especially key, emotional moments and thinking, "Oh, if only it looked a little cooler." The images sometimes look flat, and faces lose character (Hal Jordan sometimes looks like an aged actor). We'll see if that's something intentional by the end (after all, Hal has been DEAD).

I still recommend this, especially when it hits tradepaperback status. I think it will hold up really well as a compelte story.

(Recommended)

(review by Sean Ferrell)

Posted by sferrell at 2:13 PM | Comments (2)

February 22, 2005

"Arrested Development" Bubble-watch, Year 2

AD.jpgSo it begins... again...

Arrested Development's shooting has been shut down, in what looks like the death rattle for the show:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- "Arrested Development" star Jason Bateman and the sitcom's creator, Mitchell Hurwitz, were assessing the cuddle quotient in a show that viewers may soon lose the chance to embrace.

"There are a surprising number of hugs in the show. We just make jokes about how they (the characters) never hug," said Hurwitz. "So even when Michael's mother hugs him, he says, 'What are you doing? Why are you squeezing me with your body?' "

Bateman, who stars as Michael in the acerbic Fox comedy about the dysfunctional Bluth family, offers a solution: "You've got the Pax network if you want a good hug."

But he and the rest of the "Arrested Development" clan might be in need of comfort: Fox is halting production after 18 episodes, shy of the usual 22, bringing the season -- and maybe the series -- to a premature end April 17.

(From CNN)

Let the "save the show" extravaganza begin. My suggestion: give up on FOX. Start hitting WB right now to pick it up. They gave a pretty good run to "Grounded for Life" and AD would certainly keep the 6 million views that it has now.

Anyone have the address for WB on hand?

Posted by sferrell at 3:59 PM

February 20, 2005

Advent Rising Trilogy

advent.jpgWhile watching the trailer for Advent Rising my wife yelled from the bedroom, "What in the heck is that?!"

That, my dear, is the sound of the trailer for the coolest looking game I've ever seen.

For those of you who haven't heard, this is the game that Orson Scott Card signed onto after the creators showed him the story bible. Basically, he wanted to take part because they didn't need his help. The story, the graphics, and the gameplay are apparently so mind-blowing that it should be the biggest game of the year.

This CBS news review (CBS does game reviews?? Who knew??) gives a nice wrap-up:

Forgive the comparison, but if you could combine the RPG (Role Playing Game) elements of KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic), the cinematic and great story scaling of the Lord of The Rings trilogy, mix in a little Metroid Prime, with a touch of Aeon Flux (a really cool animated cartoon that aired on MTV years ago), might get close to what Advent Rising offers its players.

And my wife says, "Oh, that's nice."

Posted by sferrell at 10:50 AM

February 18, 2005

That's all folks

loony.jpgI pretty much don't know what to say about this other than it appears to be official: WB is run by Satan.

Who are they re-imagining the Warner Bros. cartoon characters for? Kids? They don't know these characters. Parents? They either (a)don't watch cartoons; or (b) want the cartoons to look like the ones they had as kids. What was the motivation here. (Yes, I know... $$$.) But really, how is this better than just creating a new set of characters? The "descendants" of Bugs, Daffy, etc... does WB know that they are allowed to hire writers to create new characters? Or am I wrong? Are Samurai Jack, Power Puff Girls, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force all descendants of cartoon characters my father forgot to tell me about?

Posted by sferrell at 9:28 AM

February 17, 2005

Sons of Sports Guy

sonofsg.jpgDoes the Sports Gal know? Is there child support involved? Does ANYBODY at SofSG have Photoshop skills? Given the looks of the site (see the image to the left)... no. Seriously though, it's fun to be able to cruise around a forum discussing Mr. Simmons' site (too bad ESPN didn't realize that people actually do stuff like that).


And, 179 registered users can't be wrong.

Can they?

I've said it before, I'll say it again: how long till ABC premiere's Bill Simmons' pilot? What will it be called...

Everybody Loves SportsGuy
I Love SportsGuy
The SportsGuy Show
The Facts of SportsGuy
The Beverly SportsGuy (current favorite)
Dick Van SportsGuy
That SportsGuy Show
King of SportsGuy (SportsGuy of Queens also acceptable)
Arrested SportsGuy
SportsGuy in Charge
Mullets
Who's the SportsGuy?
My Two SportsGuys
SportsGuy Strokes
SportsGuy Ties
Mr. SportsGuy
My Three SportsGuys
All in the SportsGuy
Joni (Hearts) SportsGuy
Welcome Back SportsGuy
WKRSportsGuy in Cincinati

Posted by sferrell at 10:41 PM

"It's dark, and cold, and I'm scarred..."

battlebot.jpgWe've been forwarded the first letter home from Iraq from the US Army's first Robotic Soldier:

Dear Mom,

01001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 0011001001 111011 0011101 001010011110 00110.

Love,
Billy

(Translation:

Dear Mom,

KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS KILL ALL HUMANS.

Love,
Billy)

Posted by sferrell at 10:12 AM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2005

"Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" trailer

hitchhikers.jpgI don't know if it's safe to be as excited as I am by this trailer. I need to lie down.

Posted by sferrell at 9:32 PM

February 14, 2005

review: "The Incredible Hulk #77-78"

hulk 77.jpgWe all know that "Hulk smash." What else do we know? We know that Peter David was arguably one of the best writers that Hulk ever had. He was friend to Hulk. Well, the friend is back.

David's return to The Incredible Hulk is going to be immensely popular (it's not a spoiler to point out that the letter column in issue #78 is filled with people paying HOMAGE to PD while at the same time loading heaps of blame on the previous writer for his efforts--a set of issues I'll let someone else cover). Now that David's back he gets to telling a story that starts off simply enough: Hulk is on an island of monsters.

hulk 78.jpgDavid's writing has two great elements: first it is simple without being simplistic. Hulk is a monster, he has massive strength, and he's more in tune with his fists than any other part of his body. David lets him use them in a story that makes the reader say "huh-wha?!?" without spending lots of time making the characters ponder. They're too busy running for their lives. That keeps the action going and the pages turning.

Second, Hulk's "ignorant self-awareness". What I mean is that Hulk is also an incredibly complex character, and he knows it--he just doesn't know HOW complex. He's like a guy at the bar who's telling strangers "You think you're screwed up!? Listen to what I got at home..." then freaking them out by revealing waaaay too much about himself. He's not concerned about figuring himself out, but it seems to be all he does. He's a walking psycholgists office: both telling and listening to his own set of problems.

Added to this is Lee Weeks's nice artwork. I'm seeing a trend away from the over muscled hyper-strong look and back to simply the "he's-so-big-he's-as-strong-as-he-wants-to-be" Hulk, which I prefer. I don't need to see his inner-anterior-deltoid (a muscle used when making made up muscle-names) to know he can create thunder when he claps his hands. Weeks creates a simple and effective image that conveys the mystery and drama of the exterior and interior fight that Hulk is engaged in.

And all while on a crazy monster island. Good stuff.

(Recommended)

(review by Sean Ferrell)

Posted by sferrell at 8:49 PM

February 10, 2005

review: "Sports Guy Cartoon"

sportsguy.jpgI've been a fan of Bill Simmons' "Sports Guy" column for a while. He's funny (usually) and he's knowledgable, and he's able to connect pop culture to sports in unique ways (although his fixation with "90210" is starting to (1) seem a bit dated; and (2) be kinda creepy in an "axe-sharpening while giggling" sort of way). So when he came out with his Sports Guy Cartoon a while back I thought, "Hey cool!" Then I watched it. Not so cool. But it's getting better. Each episode is basically one joke, so don't anticipate any grand plots, but they can be clever and amusing. They also seem a bit like an audition for something bigger. (So, how's the script for that sitcom pilot going, Bill?)

Posted by sferrell at 9:46 AM

February 8, 2005

Little House on the P-huhwha?!?!

melissa2.jpgLil' Melissa Gilbert is all grown up. Now she needs to cover up.

Posted by sferrell at 9:24 PM

May the Force be... uh, no... nevermind.

starwars6.jpgAs a lover of all things STAR WARS, I'm asking you all nicely to please stop.

p.s. Is this guy trying to be ironic, or is this costume a political statement. Hard to say.

Posted by sferrell at 11:02 AM | Comments (2)

A Brave New World

Okay, we've hit a level of irony that even I can't fully handle. Using Trillian for IM Chat is great. It has a little feature that highlights words in the conversation which links to an encyclopedia and other web links of possible interest. But here's what popped up when I used the word "pencil":

A pencil is a handheld instrument used to write and draw, usually on paper. The writing is done with graphite (except for colored pencils), which is typically covered by a wooden sheath. Pencils may also have an eraser or "rubber" attached to one end. The pencil differs from most pens (other than erasable pens) in that erasing is possible.

Is this for the children? Those for whom the "pen-sill? What is pennn-sill??" will be an archaic tool?

And why stop at pencil? Why not link to "paper", "writing", or "independent thought"?

Posted by sferrell at 10:23 AM

February 7, 2005

Will the real numbmonkey, please stand up.

monkey.jpgSo... who is numbmonkey, and what's he about? For those who want to get to know the man behind the monkey, here's my zseller ratings from Amazon. I think you'll be impressed:

5 out of 5: "Price was excellent. Excellent delivery time. Excellent shape." Date: 2/7/2005 Rated by Buyer: Dan

5 out of 5: "fast shipment - just what I ordered"
Date: 4/16/2003 Rated by Buyer: Reenah

5 out of 5: "As described. Really fast shipping. Thanks!" Date: 4/14/2003 Rated by Buyer: Jill

5 out of 5: "thanks!" Date: 4/22/2002 Rated by Buyer: deevah_909

5 out of 5: "Thanks. Highly recommend." Date: 2/11/2002 Rated by Buyer: maquina

5 out of 5: "Very prompt getting back to me and shipped item quickly." Date: 1/30/2002 Rated by Buyer: jkonecny

5 out of 5: "Very prompt, well packaged...no problems." Date: 1/7/2002 Rated by Buyer: musiclovers11

5 out of 5: "Excellent condition and great cd. Thanks!!!" Date: 12/31/2001 Rated by Buyer: tieta

5 out of 5: "Quick pay, easy transaction."
Date: 12/16/2001 Rated by Seller: dawndavina

And, I don't think it's bragging to point out that those ratings aren't just numbers. Those are "stars", people. Five out five s-t-a-r-s.

Posted by sferrell at 2:22 PM

review: "Black Panther #1"

blackpanther.jpgWhat a cool way to start up a new series. I came to this title not wanting or expecting anything; completely open to whatever they might do. What they've done is created a historical and in some ways hysterical re-introduction to the Wakandan hero, Black Panther.

Writer Reginald Hudlin isn't shying away from social commentary and parody. The racism of colonization, of invasion, and modern day geo-political endeavors are used for dramatic energy and purpose. It's funny too (especially when a US General is told about the time Captain America got his shield handed to him when going toe to toe with BP during WW2).

The mystery of what is going on in Wakanda is interesting and should prove to drive the book, I imagine. The unused oil reserves of Wakanda (they have "some other energy source") are an enticement to Western concerns and the US doesn't seem interested in waiting for Wakanda to invite them over.

As for the art: artist John Romita Jr. has entered that area where you don't even need to mention how great he is except to remind people how great he is. Wonderful stuff. I was sorry it was over so fast, and I look forward to the next installment.

(Recommended.)

(review by Sean Ferrell)

Posted by sferrell at 1:54 PM | Comments (2)

In Zogg we trust

zogg_17.jpg
Bitfurnace has a fantasitic re-write of a kids book introducing the tykes to God. Check out the handbook of the Zogg invasion.The Cuddly Menace

Posted by sferrell at 1:42 PM

February 6, 2005

review: "Detective Comics #803"

detective803.jpgAfter the "War Games" maxi-series bored me to tears I thought about dropping most every Batman title from my shopping list. The problem with War Games, other than the blatantly obvious marketing trickery of it, and the fact that much of the art stank, was that it was over-long (as a direct result of the marketing gimmick making it cover two or three issues of every Bat-Title). By the end very little was happening and it was taking forever for it to not happen. Instead of getting 12 issues of cross-over fun we had to be sold on 36 issues of crap with weak writing, lousy art and commercial excess.

So, what does all this have to do with Detective Comics #803? Not a lot, except this: this is a pretty good Bat-tale. It's dark (very dark actually) and it centers on Batman doing his thing. He's piecing together a mystery, he's angry about where it's leading him, and he's doing nasty things to nasty people to do it. One great scene gives us the Batman we've been missing scaring the be-jeezus out of a bar full of people when he throws a guy through the window and quietly explains that everyone but the guy he wants may leave in an orderly fashion. They leave.

DC needs to cut back on the attempts to get every red cent out of my pocket and let the quality of the merchandise do it for them. They've got some really great books right now (Superman, Superman Batman, the GL mini-series, Teen Titans). Why not get ONE really great writer to handle one or two of the Bat-books, let a rotating bevy of guest writers do the job on one or two others, phase out the rest and make Batman fans hunger for him a bit more. Right now it's like a meat-lover going to an all you can eat barbeque. Sure it's fun, for the first two servings. But then.... ugh.

(Recommended over most of the other Bat-titles.)
(review by Sean Ferrell)

Posted by sferrell at 4:43 PM

February 5, 2005

movie: "Kung Fu Hustle"

kungfuhustle.jpgI don't think I've ever seen a movie that looks quite like this one. Could be pretty funny. KUNG FU HUSTLE looks like a parody and homage to almost every genre of film, including Tex Avery Cartoons and musicals.

Posted by sferrell at 10:10 AM

February 4, 2005

movie: ONG-BAK

ongbak.jpgThis martial arts film looks fantastic. ONG-BAK is introducing us to a new action star. Luc Besson apparently saw this movie, loved it, bought the rights, re-edited and is releasing it world-wide.

Posted by sferrell at 11:30 AM

review: "Superman Batman #17"

supermanbatman17.jpgThis series is arguably one of the top three out there right now. Writer Jeph Loeb has been doing the best characterization for both of these heros. His Superman is somewhat alien and detached, looking for connections; his Batman is angry and removed, looking to break them. They know each other so well, but continue to surprise one another. They look at each other with respect and friendship, but there's also the hint of sadness and even jealousy. A sort of, "Why don't I have more of what he has?" comes from both sides.

This characterization of Batman is especially compelling, and in many ways better than what most of the Batman books have been providing (for the most part it seems that the Batman books are interested in the flair of the villians rather than the motivations of the hero--the current Riddler storyline in Legends of the Dark Knight being one example). With so many Batman books out there it feels like he's overexposed. But Loeb has a Batman who is utterly devoted to his cause AND conflicted. Impressive.

Meanwhile, artist Carlos Pacheco's work is reminiscent of classic comics, everyone rendered in a sort of idealized human form. Combined with the current complicated and dark storyline it forms a sort of Greek tragedy--the man is the father of the boy, who in turn becomes the man. It is emotive and entertaining.

I hope that this team continues (I mean both teams actually: Supes and Bats; Loeb and Pacheco) for a long, long time.

Very highly recommended.

(review by Sean Ferrell)

Posted by sferrell at 10:14 AM | Comments (2)

February 3, 2005

review: "New Avengers #3"

newavengers.jpgWhat can I say? When you see him on the cover, you want more of him in the book. Still, even without much of the Sentry in it, this is a great issue of what should be a great book. I was a fan of the Avengers before. But, like any "group" book, you eventually hit a point where you have more people who are on the team than off the team. In the end, how many heros were considered an Avenger? Last count was around a million.

This reconstruction of the team, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Finch, is not one to miss. (As an aside, am I developing a fixation with Brian Michael Bendis? I can't get enough of his Daredevil books and now this? Should he be worried?) This issue takes a slower, more methodical approach to the story than the previous two issues. The jailbreak on "The Raft", the super-villian high-security prison island, is through and the entire experience is making Captain America realize the necessity of an Avengers team. He convinces Tony Stark that those who helped squash the prison break should be the new team. This issue's story is the round-up of those involved.

One of the nicer elements is the inclusion of Luke Cage. Somewhat of a B-level hero for a long time Bendis has him smartly demanding "to be heard." He clearly wants a leadership role and that's going to be interesting. It's also exciting to see who's approached and what their responses are. Bendis and the editors at Marvel have clearly mapped out a grand scheme of how their top tier heros would respond to each other and Bendis does a great job of capturing it.

All in all a great issue, with just that one minor itch I can't seem to reach... he's on the friggin' cover for crying out loud!

Highly recommended.

(Review by Sean Ferrell)

Read my review of "The Sentry".

Posted by sferrell at 2:52 PM

February 2, 2005

US Doll Captured in Iraq?

dollcaptured.jpgSo, in the horrors of war there's some mischief. Perhaps. You make the call. Yahoo News has been running the photo to the left as part of a story on a possible US soldier captured by Iraqis. This is, sadly, the sort of story we're seeing a lot of.

doll.jpgHowever, is it possible that what Yahoo is running is the capture of a US doll? You make the call. This is the image of the doll from a seller's website. Below are links to both the Yahoo story and the seller's site.

Sad to think that neither our troops or our toys may be safe.


Doll on merchandiser's website

U.S. Soldier (?) in Iraqi captor's hands

Posted by sferrell at 12:14 PM

February 1, 2005

Dhani, Dhani, Dhani...

dhaninew.jpg Dhani Jones, Number 55 of the Philadelphia Eagles has a website that is... is...

How to describe it?

It's not filled with hype about himself. It seems to be filled with odd photos and marketing gimmicks for a guy who looks like a lot of fun to hang out with. He's just made my "People I'd like to invite to dinner" list. Too bad everyone in the NFL doesn't look like they are this funny.

Here's hoping that Dhani makes a splash at the SuperBowl.

Posted by sferrell at 11:40 AM