Thursday, August 31, 2006

Duck and cover

Remember the second episode of The X-Files?

You know, the one where they investigate missing test pilots and they end up at a military base that's supposed to be Area 51, but not Area 51?

Remember how the episode was peppered by random events of low flying jet aircraft?

That's how my day is.

Random flybys of military aircraft practicing for the CNE Airshow this weekend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Danger: Diabolikally great flick

(Okay, I apologize for that.)

Anywho, last night I finally got my grubby hands on the DVD for the 1968 ultra-mod caper-flick Danger: Diabolik!. Here's the, somewhat misleading, teaser trailer for it:

You may recognize this as the basis of the Beastie Boys video for Body Movin':

I first heard about this movie a few years back when Scream aired it late one night, featuring a hosted introduction that went over a brief history of the film. I tried to watch the movie, but the pan & scan version they aired was almost unwatchable. Also, as I've just learned, it was also the heavily edited original US cut, and not the cut on the DVD I purchased.

Prior to the Scream airing, all I knew about it was based on a comic, and I knew that it was what the Beastie's based the Body Movin' video, but that was about it. Little did I know that it was directed by famed cinematographer and director, Mario Bava. Bava's eye for style is what makes this romp as good as it is, as there is some amazing camera work in this flick that models the source material. Ang Lee used split screens, wipes, and other optical effects to give a mock comic book look to The Hulk, but Bava uses elements in the shot to block out panels. It's absolutely brilliant, and I'm surprised that I'd never heard about the movie prior to the Scream airing.

The plot of the film is pretty much your standard 60s thief vs. cops, cat and mouse, caper material, with a somewhat counter-cultural twist, and really isn't much to write home about. Where this movie shines, however, is in the amount of style used to tell the fairly straight-forward story. From Bava's exquisite camera work, to John Phillip Law's animated performance, to Ennio Morricone's energetic score this film is a stunning triumph of style over substance. Rumour has it that Paramount was considering shelving the movie permanently, due to the protagonists obvious terrorist tendencies, but thankfully reconsidered.

The DVD itself is amazing. The transfer of the film seems spotless, and the special features are great. There's a 20 minute featurette called "Danger Diabolik: From Fumetti to Film" that features interviews with comic artist Steve Bissette, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, Dino de Laurentiis, Roman Coppola, and Diabolik himself, John Philip Law. For such a short featurette, it gives more info than most longer pieces, and actually enhances the viewing of the film.

Also on disc, aside from a commentary by Law and Bava biographer Tim Lucas, are the trailers and, most importantly, the actual Body Movin' video complete with commentary by Adam Yauch. The features may seem sparse, but the quality of them is absolutely astounding, and makes recent releases like the V for Vendetta special edition look weak by comparison.

The best thing about this disc was the price: $7.99. (More expensive elsewhere.)

Highly, highly recommended.

***.5 out of ****.

(Also, is it just me, or does John Phillip Law look like a manlier version of Jude Law? Despite the family name, they're supposedly not related, which makes this even more curious.)


Who decides the winner of the HD war?


The winner will be the format that has the most porn for the least amount of money. It's why VHS won, it's what helped DVD get going, and it'll be why the next format succeeds.

Porn always predicts where media technology will progress. Ever notice how big the internet has become?

Wonder why?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Two things:

1. I beat my previous Nanaca Crash high score: Also, I found a strategy guide for it.

2. A Bizarro strip, from this past weekend:

Been looking for this for years.

Back in the mid-90s, before the Blair Witch, I saw a report on Encounters about a video that supposedly had been found in an abandoned home. Basically, the video supposedly captured the final hours before the disappearance of a family celebrating Thanksgiving. The hitch: the video showed that they were attacked by Greys. Here's the video:

Part of me wants to believe in this thing. I mean, for a throw-away short film, a lot of money was spent on the UFO. I mean, it seems big enough to actually fit someone in it, plus there's the shots with the aliens standing near it, and that sort of thing isn't cheap. Granted, I haven't seen the footage in years beyond the crappy quality of YouTube, and it could have been a forced perspective trick. That said, it looks too good for such a low budget.

I am still incredibly skeptical, as I can't even decide whether or not the family members actually look like each other. Part of me says no, but the still at the end show that there seems to be some familial resemblance.

Needless to say, the video is remarkably well done, and it does create enough reasonable doubt for it to be quite effective. (Update: I just realized that this wasn't the footage that appeared on Encounters. It's the reinactment that was aired as part of the TV special.)

Also, as an aside, you can watch the TV special/reinactment that appeared on the UPN years later.

For a futher bonus, here's the Alien Abduction episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit!.

Update, nearly 12 hours later: Here's the true story of the 'tape'. It turns out that the FX team who worked on The X-Files did the ship, which was done when they remade the short into the UPN movie.

Presented without comment

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Media rundown

Bi-weekly, maybe?

Watching: Death Trance, my ongoing kaiju-fest (Atragon, War of the Gargantuas, Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2, Godzilla/Mothra/King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, and Godzilla Final Wars), more Venture Bros., more Stargate SG-1, and more Gundam Wing.
Listening (to): Aimee Mann (via the Magnolia soundtrack), The Jesus and Mary Chain, Skinny Puppy, Soundgarden, and more Coast to Coast AM shows.
Reading: The Hobbit and sundry comics.
Playing: Final Fantasy X, Splinter Cell, and various PS2 demos.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A new direction?

I'm considering turning this site into a game tips site. My first experiment will be the following:

Madden 07 (All Platforms)

Get off your fat ass and learn to play football, moron.
Nah, maybe that wouldn't work.

(Note: this is in response to the calls for FAQs on various sites for the game, and for this. I mean, it's a friggin' football game. If you need a FAQ and/or strategy guide, you shouldn't be playing it in the first place.)

In other news, I think I've discovered that I actually like Supertramp.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Truth About Crop Circles

From Ogg's World, by way of Coast to Coast AM.

If there's anybody who reads this, and works for a newspaper, try to get your paper to carry this comic. It's easily the new Farside, and I only wish that I had access to a paper that carries it. (The site, by the way, has been added on the right.)


From Diesel Sweeties, by way of Warren Ellis.

Personally, I love their "Bacon is a Vegetable" shirt, but I really want a "Chewie is my Co-Pilot" shirt.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In the beginning there was.... METAL!

Well, not really, but the movie Death Trance is a heavy-metal, (presumably) post-apocalyptic, samurai/ronin vs. ninja brawler in the vein of Versus. (Directed by the action director of Versus, and staring Tak Sakaguchi, the star of Versus, oddly enough.)

My thoughts? I loved it, maybe even more-so than Versus. This one's a little sleeker, and is arguably better paced. Also, the concept is even wilder than Versus. At the same time, it's not a gore-fest, and there's very little blood spilt in comparison.

Monday, August 21, 2006

*sigh* Here we go again

So, here I think that I've found a place to talk about geek media without worrying about fandumb rearing it's ugly head, and then I get proven wrong. I'm tired of constantly, and consistently, being disapointed by these people.

Okay, now I know....

I really do have to pick up that Robot Chicken season set.

Final Fantasy VII

Voltron Gets Served

Stop the Falsiness

They had me until Franken.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Got wood?

Seduction of the innocent?

You decide, with unintentionally sexual comic book covers.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear McDonalds,

There is no M in sandwich. Don't pronounce it with one.

Thank you,
J Longden

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where, oh where, are the Darwin Awards when you need them?

"Some people should die, that's just unconscious knowledge." - Jane's Addiction, Pig's in Zen
'Ghost riding' becomes dangerous teen car craze

It's not fast or furious but a new phenomenon known as ghost riding -- leaving your car in motion while getting out to dance -- is quickly becoming the latest craze across North America.

Usually on a residential street, a driver and any passengers jump out of a slowly moving vehicle to dance beside or on top of their "whip" (hip hop slang for car). Then, as the car drifts away, the driver runs back to the vehicle and regains control.
Here's the kicker:
Police have blamed at least eight deaths on ghost riding and they have developed their own name for the act.

"The only name you can give it is stupid," said one officer.
I'm with the po-po on this one. Mind you, I'll take it a step further, if you're stupid enough to do it, you probably don't deserve to take up any more space on this planet than a pine box does.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Media rundown

Heh, so much for weekly.

Watching- Jin-Roh, Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, V for Vendetta, Ninja Scroll, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Eko Eko Azarak: Wizard of Darkness, Eko Eko Azarak II: Birth of the Wizard, Eko Eko Azarak III: Misa the Dark Angel, Return of Godzilla, and episodes of: Gundam Wing, Venture Bros., Stargate SG-1, and Zatoichi.
Listening (to): Muse, Ministry, and... er, um, Puffy AmiYumi. Plus, MP3s of Coast to Coast AM.
Reading: Sundry comics.
Playing: Shadow of the Colossus, Primal, Project: Snowblind, and Splinter Cell.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm an idiot

Okay, last month I dug into the vault that is my pull-bin at my local comic shop, and I found that I was missing issues from my pick list. I'd sworn that I'd bought them already, but I couldn't for the life of me find them. At that point, I figured I was just imaging things, bought the missing issues, and went about my business.

A few days later, when I actually had the time to read the comics, the stories seemed oddly familiar. At this point, I knew that I had read them, but I didn't seem to own them. I looked again, and again I came up with nothing.

So, today I bought another wad of comics, and couldn't find the first issue of a run that I had bought. I knew I had this one, but I couldn't find it. I dug, and dug, and dug. I was about to give up when I saw the flap of a comic bag sticking out from a stack of long forgotten magazines.
Sure enough, it was Wildcats: Nemesis #1... and the stack of comics that I'd sworn that I'd read before. Eight of them. Sitting there. For months.

I'm an idiot.

Tomorrow, I hope to take these comics to Dan, the co-owner of the shop, and ask him if he'd like to take them off my hands at a heavily discounted price. If not, no big lost and I count it as a lesson learned. If he does, I'll get the two issues I know I'm missing this time. (I know, because I've been digging so much tonight that they can't be anywhere.)

Still, it doesn't change the fact that I'm an idiot.

... they keep dragging me back in.

Heh, so here I am, thinking that I've given up traditional pen and paper role-playing games and then I see an ad for this. It's the Anima RPG, a co-creation of European and Japanese RPG developers with art from the people who did the design work for Final Fantasy XII.

Ah, crap.

I think I might need this one.

Just when I thought I was out....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

You're on Notice!

Alive in Halo

Well, today the director of the upcoming movie based on the game Halo was announced. He's South African born FX technician Neill Blomkamp, who's worked on a number of projects including Smallville and Stargate SG-1, and was the director of the SF short, Alive in Joburg. This is that short.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Anybody got 3 grand they're willing to part with?

From Anime News Network:

The latest toy from Bandai is a big one: a 5-foot, 77 pound Gundam with sound effects and 14 movable body parts. The giant robot will retail for $3,000 when it is released in December in Japan.
No, actually, even I'm not that sad. I'm not even sad enough to make the obvious "does the model come with it" joke, as that look on her face is pretty creepy. She looks almost as real as the Gundam.

And (mostly) agendaless minds speak...

From Cnet:

Are violent video games really a problem?
"Mature-rated video games only account for 15 percent of games sold. Over half of the movies sold by Hollywood are R-rated. The FTC, which does annual reviews of retailers, said that 50 percent self-policed when it came to minors trying to buy M-rated games, compared to only 7 percent of retailers who restrained minors from buying R-rated DVDs. Both youth violence and crime are at a 40-year low in the U.S," Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, and a panelist, said in his opening remarks.

"These numbers quantitatively prove that (the idea of violence caused by video games) is hype-based and not based on any actual statistical progression toward violence. It's not supported by real-world data. It's more a soapbox for politicians," Rocca said.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Remember when...

... CNN could be taken seriously?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I know what it means, but still....