Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Another one of those weeks! If there's one thing worse than having a busy weekend that almost results in no podcast, it's having a glut of free time but nothing to podcast. So, in those situations, you just fire up the recorder, start rambling, and before you know it, you have a pretty tight episode of U62: The Targ!

Episode 3.03: Crisis on Saturday Afternoon turned into a nice little ramble about superhero DVDs. Will I get the 2-disc special edition of X-Men Origins Wolverine? Can I wait any longer for Batman/Superman: Public Enemies? And what else is DC/WB cooking up for DTV films? Find out in this week's episode!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Movie News Aggregator

Wow. I feel like I've been neglecting this here blog, if only because I have ideas for stories about my vacation that I want to sit down and write, but I've been putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. So, in the interest of writing a blog entry just for the sake of writing a blog entry, here's some movie news from the past week that's caught my eye.

Thor - Casting is going full-bore on this Marvel comics adaptation. Star of the canceled TV show Kyle XY and general hot chick Jamie Alexander has just joined the cast as Sif, Thor's Aasgardian main squeeze. Also joining the cast, veteran Canadian actor Colm Feore! The official announcement was mum on Feore's role, just that he'll be playing a "shadowy character." To re-cap, Chris Hemsworth, briefly seen as Captain Kirk's daddy in Star Trek, is playing Thor, British actor Tom Hiddleston is playing Loki, and Natalie Portman is playing Jane Foster, Dr. Donald Blake's nurse and Thor's sidekick back when the comic began. The director is British actor/director Kenneth Branagh. This is Branagh's first attempt at directing a major Hollywood blockbuster since 1994's Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

Barbie: The Movie - Thanks to Transformers and GI Joe, and toys becoming the hot new property in Hollywood, this really isn't much of a surprise. But yeah, Universal just signed a deal with Mattel to develop a movie about Barbie. Script, director, writer, star, release date, all TBA.

Ghost Rider 2 - Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Blade writer David S. Goyer just announced that he's in negotiations to write and direct the long-awaited Ghost Rider sequel. You may remember that Goyer was attached to write Ghost Rider about 10 years ago. The plan back then was to re-unite the writer and director of Blade, Goyer and Stephen Norrington. The first Ghost Rider was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote and directed Daredevil.

The Social Network - So, they're making a movie about the origins of Facebook, and how it became one of the fastest-growing dot-coms in the history of the Internet. It might sound kind of lame, but the behind-the-scenes talent really has me excited. The director, none other than Fight Club, Seven, Zodiac, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button director David Fincher! The writer, Aaron Sorkin, who was the writer and creator of The West Wing and SportsNight, two of the most brilliantly-written TV shows ever. They also announced the cast. Jessie Eisenberg will play Mark Zuckerberg, the programmer who created Facebook, and pop star Justin Timberlake will be playing Sean Parker, the founder of Napster who talked Zuckerberg into making him Facebook's founding president.

Sweet Valley High - Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody has revealed her next project. She's going to be adapting the long-running series of tween novels Sweet Valley High for the big screen. Cody was apparently a big fan of the series when she was a youngster, and says that the books were quite influential in her junior high years. No word yet on when it might be hitting the big screen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Latest Targ is Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Still getting back into the swing of things with the ol' podcast. Almost no episode this week because it turned out to be a busy weekend! But I still found 15 minutes in front of the recording equipment to get something on tape!

Episode 3.02: Snurkles goes off on a variety of geek topics, including World of Warcraft, Winnie the Pooh, and the Beatles! It's a pretty good one, if I do say so myself!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Worst of 2008

Let me let you in on a little secret. I hardly rent DVDs anymore. Mainly because I own so darn many, that I figure that rather than rent something, I'll just watch The Dark Knight again. But this evening, I finally made good on something I've been threatening to do, well, all this year.

There were two summer blockbuster that came out last year that I really wanted to see, but I didn't, mainly because the reviews were so horrible that I figured it wasn't worth driving into the city and dropping my $12 to see them. So tonight I rented them. And I just finished watching them.

First up, it was the long awaited return of Mulder and Scully, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. So, it's been 6 years since the end of the show...six years since Mulder and Scully last rode off into the sunset. Scully has gone back to her roots -- in both her training and her faith -- as she now works as an MD at a Catholic hospital. Mulder lives in her basement, in hiding, where he still investigates paranormal activity through the Internet and by clipping articles out of various newspapers. But when an FBI agent mysteriously disappears, the FBI reaches out to Mulder, offering to clear all the charges against him, and bring him in to consult. For you see, a pedophile priest is having psychic visions about this agent's abduction. Is the psychic genuine? Well, Mulder and Scully are the experts in such things, so they're in on the case!

Truth be told, I was kind of "meh" towards the whole thing. Maybe The X-Files is just one of those things I've outgrown. Maybe it's because the whole thing really didn't feel like a movie. I agree with one critic I read online who said that, 12 years ago, at the show's peak, it would have been a very good episode. It does feel like a very good episode...but not a movie.

One thing, though, I do feel like addressing. A friend recently tweeted that one of the problems he had with The X-Files all those years ago is he didn't believe that Scully would have been a skeptic for as long as she was. "All 9 seasons and both movies," my friend said. Well, the true fans will remember that Scully did become a full-on believer comes season 8 -- the season Mulder left. And the new character, John Dogget, became the new skeptic. And in this second movie, Scully is once again the skeptic. But this time, her skepticism is rooted in, "I have a normal life now! I don't want to go back to chasing monsters in the dark!"

So, yeah. Good but not great. I'm going to go all Dr. Hackborn on this and give it a 2 out of 4, even though I really want to give it 3.

The other one was Mike Myers' latest comedy, The Love Guru. I've been a fan of Myers comedy all the way back to Wayne's World, so I was hoping that Myers still had it.

Myers latest characters is the Guru Pitka, an American raised in India and now uses elements of Hindu spiritualism to be a self-help guru. The Guru Pitka is soon contacted by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, played by Jessica Alba. It seems that the Leafs' star player has a marriage that's on the rocks, and it's starting to affect his performance on the ice. So, the Leafs' owners wants the Guru Pitka to get the star player to reconcile with his wife, so his game will return to normal, and the Leafs can win the Stanley Cup. Can Pitka save this marriage and finally wind up on Oprah?

Yeah, a lot of the humor is crude and tasteless (the climax involves elephants fornicating), and the plot is rather formulaic, but you know what? I laughed my ass off. And as many a wiser film critic has said, at the end of the day, the only way to judge a comedy is whether you find it funny or not. And I found it funny.

I give it 3 out of 4.

So, come back a year from now, when I rent and review "the worst of 2009," the films I wanted to see this year but the reviews scared me off. Just taking a quick look at things, that'll probably be Terminator Salvation and Land of the Lost.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And the next DC Animated movie is....

Yay! Today, Warner Brothers Animation and DC Comics announced what they're next direct-to-video animated movie is!

Well, the next one is Superman/Batman: Public Enemies which comes out in two weeks. I'm talking about the one after that one. And the next one is....

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

This is a largely original story, drawing from the rich multiple Earths of DC's Silver Age. Although, some are already pointing out that it bears many similarities to Grant Morrison's graphic novel JLA: Earth Two, which re-imagined DC's "parallel Earth populated with evil twins" concept. You heard me right, evil twins.

Here's the plot. One day, the Justice League is approached by Lex Luthor. But this isn't our Lex Luthor...this is a heroic Lex Luthor from a parallel Earth. In this Luthor's world, all the heroes are the villains, and the villains are the heroes. Luthor has come to the Justice League's universe because he's been overpowered by the Crime Syndicate - the evil counterparts to the Justice League - and he needs help. So the Justice League teams up with this good Lex Luthor to defeat the Crime Syndicate! But all is not as easy as it seems, as Owlman - the evil counterpart to Batman - unleashes an evil plot that could mean the destruction of both Earths.

And they even announced the first batch of celebrity voices in the cast. We've got:

- Mark Harmon, currently kicking ass and taking names as Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS is voicing Superman.
- William Baldwin, one of the Baldwin brothers and a big-time heartthrob back in the early 1990s, is voicing Batman.
- Chris Noth, best known as Det. Mike Logan in the Law & Order franchise and Mr. Big in the Sex and the City franchise, voices the heroic Lex Luthor.
- Legendary actor James Woods is voicing Owlman.
- Gina Torres, still best remembered by nerds and Whedonites as Zoe on Firefly/Serenity, is voicing Superwoman, the evil counterpart to Wonder Woman.

It'll be hitting your favourite DVD emporium sometime in the spring.

But let's not forget about Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, coming out in two weeks!

It's looking really cool so far. It's based on the first storyline in the Superman/Batman comic book, written by Jeff Loeb and with art by Ed McGuiness. In fact, for the animation, they tried to adapt McGuiness's style. Anyway, the plot. A gigantic kryptonite meteor is heading towards the Earth, threatening to take out most of the planet's population, and President Lex Luthor decides to turn this negative into a positive. Luthor frames Superman and Batman for the whole thing, declares them public enemies #1, puts a $1 billion bounty on their heads, and starts making plans to conquer what little of the world remains. So, on the run from bounty-hunting supervillains and government-backed superheroes, Batman and Superman seek to clear their names and save the world from Luthor and the meteor.

What makes this notable is, once again, the voice cast. They reunited the big three voices from the Batman and Superman cartoons of the 1990s. Kevin Conroy is back voicing Batman, Tim Daly is back voicing Superman, and Clancy Brown is back voicing Lex Luthor.

Some of the new special guest voices in this film include John C. McGinly, still beloved as Dr. Cox on Scrubs as Metallo, Alison Mack, still beloved as Chloe on Smallville, as Power Girl, and Geordi LaForge himself, LeVar Burton, as Black Lightening.

As I said, two weeks!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Disney Odds and Ends

So, this past weekend, Disney held their first ever D23 event down in California. You know how George Lucas does his "Star Wars Celebration" official Star Wars conventions? Well, D23 is pretty much the same thing...it was the first official Disney convention. As such, a lot of news came out about upcoming Disney projects, and since a former co-worked once called me "Mr. Disney" because of my knowledge of all things House of Mouse, I figured I should comb through the news and highlight what I think are the highlights.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - They made it official at D23...a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film is on the way. Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow, Ted Eliot and Terry Rossio are once again writing the script, Jerry Bruckheimer is once again producing and...that's all that's been announced so far. Summer 2011 is when this'll be hitting theatres. But what got me excited is, as soon as their done making this, the entire creative team goes on to make....

The Lone Ranger - Always had a soft spot for the masked man when I was a kid. As I said, it's the same creative time as POTC. Bruckheimer producing, Eliot and Rossio writing, and Johnny Depp is NOT playing the Lone Ranger...Depp will be playing the Lone Ranger's faithful sidekick Tonto. The search is on for the Lone Ranger! Summer 2013 is when this comes out. But what will be filling the gap in 2012?

John Carter of Mars - Edgar Rice Burrough's other famous pulp fiction character comes to the big screen. (The first one, of course, is Tarzan.) John Carter is a soldier during the American civil war who passes out in a cave one day and wakes up on Mars. Mars -- or Barsoom, as the locals call it -- turns out to be a rich fantasy land with all kinds of dragons to slay and princesses to rescue. Oh, and because of Mars's weaker gravity, John Carter has super-strength. So, Barsoom is pretty much Eternia, John Carter is pretty much He-Man, and Mattel pretty much ripped off the whole thing for Masters of the Universe. But why I'm excited is this is going to be the live-action directorial debut of Andrew Stanton, the brilliant Pixar animator who wrote the Toy Story films and wrote and directed Finding Nemo and WALL-E. Summer 2012!

Toy Story 3 - Speaking of Pixar, there were a few more announcements on Pixar's blockbuster for next year. Newly added to the voice cast are Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg, and James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton. The only new character revealed was Mr. Pricklepants. Mr. Pricklepants is a lederhosen-wearing stuffed hedgehog that "one might buy as a souvenir from Europe." That's who Dalton is voicing. Summer next year.

Yellow Submarine - One of the most controversial announcements was that Disney is looking to do a remake of the classic Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine. Robert Zemeckis, who gave us the Back to the Future trilogy and Forrest Gump, looks to make this his next performance capture epic. Zemeckis, of course, has become the performance capture guru, having given us The Polar Express, Beowulf, and this Christmas's A Christmas Carol. Apple Corps, the company that manages all things Beatles, are officially on-board with the project. 2012 is when they want it in theatres.

The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made - Yup, Disney now owns the Muppets, and they announced that this is the title of the next Muppet movie. What raised eyebrows was that Jim Henson originally proposed a fourth Muppet movie back in 1985 that was called...The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made. The plot apparently had Gonzo as a film director, and his budget quickly got out of control. Frank Oz tried to resurrect the project in Y2K, to little success. This new one is being written by Jason Segel, the writer and star of the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Winnie the Pooh - So, Disney makes their triumphant return to traditional, 2D hand-drawn animation this Christmas with The Princess and the Frog. Their next traditional 2D animated film is going to be an all-new Winnie the Pooh movie. Head of Disney animation John Lasetter revealed what this new Pooh film will be about. Lasetter said that they decided to go back to the source. They poured through all the original A.A. Milne stories and found 5 Pooh stories that have yet to be adapted to another medium. So they took those five stories and wove them together into a singular plot. Christmas 2011.

Star Tours II - Lucasfilm was on hand to make this announcement! Ever since Episode I hit theatres 10 years ago, it's been rumored that Lucasfilm and Disney would be overhauling and/or updating their ever-popular Star Tours ride at Disneyland. And they finally made it official. The new Star Tours will be done with cutting edge computer animation, be in 3D, and incorporate many of the new planets we saw in the prequels. The original Star Tours will be closing next year, and the all-new Star Tours II opens up at Disneyland theme parks in 2011.

Disney's Double Dare You - This is an interesting project. Disney has teamed up with Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro to create this new production arm at Disney, dedicated to creating spooky tales to provide thrills and chills for all ages. Del Toro will have a hand in everything that this label produces. Their first project is a film called Trollhunters, which will be written and produced by Del Toro.

The Bear and the Bow - And I do feel I have to mention this one, because Pixar was making a big deal about it. This Pixar animated film is due out Christmas 2011. Now, Pixar is regarded as the best computer animation studio working today, however, they are starting to get a lot of flak for the fact that they have yet to make a film with a female protagonist. The Bear and the Bow will be their first film where the main character is a heroine. Set in medieval Scotland, The Bear and the Bow follows the adventures of Princess Merida, who decides to renounce her title and become an archer. Sadly, though, this decision has dire consequences for her family, and she's soon on a quest to restore her parents to the throne. This is also Pixar's first film directed by a woman. Director Brenda Chapman who was a writer and storyboard artist on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Chicken Run and Cars.

There was lots more news, but as I said, those were my highlights.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Targ is Back!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Hey! There's been no episode of U62: The Targ for the past three weeks. Why? Because I've been on vacation, that's why! And it's time to tell you all about it!

It was also time to add another click to the old odometer and start re-numbering them. So, may I present Episode 3.01: Back from Vacation, in which I tell you all about my vacation!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Hard Day's Basterds

I do so love spending a day in the city. Especially days like today, where I have my goals in place, but they're spread out enough so I can accomplish several side quests.

First and foremost was to finally see Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarintino's latest opus has been in theatres for almost a month now, but because I was off on vacation and far from theatres, I didn't have a chance to see it until now.

What can I say about Inglourious Basterds? It's awesome. It's fantastic. It's thrilling. It's got Tarintino's trademark over-the-top with everything. However, there were enough scenes that made me go "Meh," so I'm not ranking it as highly as Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill. I give it 3/4 nibs. Full review coming in the days ahead.

I also had to succumb to the hype and pick up one of the Beatles' remastered albums. I just had to pick up A Hard Day's Night. People usually get a charge out of hearing me tell the joke about how, during my time in Japan, I used to close the karaoke bars...and in Japan, that's really difficult to do seeing as to how karaoke bars are open 24/7. But the detail that I usually leave out is that it was songs off A Hard Day's Night that I would belt out. That's how I really discovered the music of the Beatles...a little Hard Day's Night, some Can't Buy Me Love...I found that all of their early stuff was the easiest and most fun to sing.

Plus, as is well-documented, the album doubles as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. I have the DVD of the film...it really is a great film. Very funny, and of course, fabulous music.

But yeah...no DVDs on this trip to the city. We're at a point right now where there's not much in the way of blockbusters that I want to pick up. All the summer blockbusters are going to start coming out on DVD next month, in anticipation of the Christmas shopping rush. And I usually have a list of discount bin stuff that I snatch up, should we be in a blockbuster lull, but the discount bins at my usual haunts seemed strangely empty. But that's OK. Because today, my usual DVD budget was earmarked for another purpose.

I bought a bookshelf!

See, it's like this. I have my extensive DVD collection, and I keep most of it in a bookshelf. It's one of those cheap, particleboard, assemble-yourself bookshelves that you can get for around $50 at most department stores. At around this time last year, the bookshelf became officially full. And ever since, I've been keeping my DVDs in neat little piles all around my apartment.

So today, I bought a second bookshelf. It's another cheap, particleboard, assemble-yourself bookshelf that you can get for around $50 at most department stores. Getting it home, though, required some engineering. As I looked at the box, I started fearing that the bookshelf would be too big to fit into my car. So, I ran over to the hardware department, bought a cheap tape measure for $2, and then ran out to the parking lot to measure up my car and make sure it would fit. Once I had the numbers, and with some clever arranging, I figured that yes, it would fit. And lo and behold, it did!

It's now lying on my apartment floor. Assembling it will be my lazy Sunday project.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Latest on Weird Al

Alright, I've been away from a computer for two weeks, so let's get to it. A lot happened in the world of "Weird Al" Yankovic while I was gone.

First up, the fifth and final song from his Internet Leaks project was released. It's a cute little ditty about a problem of the modern age, called Ringtone.

I like this one. This is some old-school Weird Al, from the guitar solo to the arrangements. This would be right at home on UHF, despite the timely subject matter.

And that's not all!

While I was gone, Weird Al announced the release date of his next album! Sad news, it's not a new album. It's going to the long-awaited Greatest Hits vol. 3. It's called The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic and drops on Oct. 27.

Thing is, this is a 2-disc CD with 38 SONGS on it! In the past, Weird Al could only fit 12 songs onto a greatest hits album. As he explained it once on his website, he still has to pay royalties to the original artists for his parodies. And when he did greatest hits albums in the past, he'd eventually reach a point where royalties paid out to the artists became more than the royalties he'd get, and thus the album become unprofitable. But, his new record label figured out a way around that, hence the massive number of songs.

Anyway, here's the official announcement on Weird Al's blog, where you can see the album artwork and the complete track listing.