Marvel and the Mouse

You’ve probably heard by now that Disney is buying Marvel.

Mickey Mouse depicted in Jack Kirby's trademark style as a metallic or armored superhero complete with ‘MM’ insignia

I don’t have any insight to share at the moment beyond the fact that most of the jokes
— some made as much warily as humorously — are just that: jokes. The Marvel Bullpen won’t be “Disneyfied”. Remember, Disney also owns ESPN and Miramax. Which isn’t
to say there are no ramifications for the entertainment industry.

Have a Cow

a woman in glasses wearing a cow outfit complete with ears and udder

Before last week, I’d never seen a book trailer. No, I don’t mean some kind of large mobile library; I mean a promotional video — like a movie trailer, but, well, for a book. I’ve now seen the one for Libba Bray’s Going Bovine, and you should too. [3:07]

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The Inhuman Condition

District 9 is one hell of a movie.

I knew even less about it going into a screening the other night than I did about the
film Moon before seeing that intriguing slice of science fiction, which I reviewed in July. A very broad synopsis of and general thoughts on D9 come after the graphic, but those who want to enter the experience totally blind (or at least with no spoilage on my part) should bail out now. The bottom line is that, yes, I’d recommend it, with the caveats that it dragged a bit in the middle, still impressive but not gripping until it re-engaged me in its final act, and that anyone who has difficulty seeing vomiting or viscera will have to avert their eyes on occasion.

Close-up of a man's face, grimy with dirt and caked with blood, looking frightened, his right eye blue and his left eye yellow and eerily reptilian

Made Men

I hadn’t tried it yet when writing about Mad Men the other day, but now that I’ve done so I cheerfully direct you to Mad Men Yourself” on the show’s official website.

Here’s me:

stylized art of white male with glasses in open-collared shirt, jacket, and slacks, holding newspaper and steaming coffee mug

You get just enough choices at each stage that the process doesn’t become a chore yet it still manages — in my case, at least — to produce a surprising likeness.

Joe / No Joe

The GI Joe movie opened last weekend.

I didn’t care. On my list to see are District 9, In the Loop, 500 Days of Summer, Funny People, and The Hurt Locker. But GI Joe? Meh.

Now the salient point here isn’t (merely) that trailers for GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra,
like those for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, might as well have advertised CGI Joe: Attack of the Generic Effects-Driven Spectacle. What’s curious for me was how utterly devoid of nostalgia I’ve felt about these films since they were announced, because I’m a pretty easy guy to send back to yesterday — a sight, a sound, or a smell can bring such vivid memories that I feel one short nudge away from actually stepping back into my past like Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five or Christopher Reeve’s character, Richard Collier, in Somewhere in Time.

TV Talk

This post is currently down for maintenance.

Eyes Captured by Castle

Beckett and Castle facing one another in close-up

She’s a reader of rights. He’s a writer of wrongs. They’re New York’s most unlikely crimefighting duo.”

I was thinking of that kind of grand old trope even before it showed up in a promo for ABC’s Castle. The series, created by Andrew Marlowe, wears it well.

He? Richard Castle, best-selling mystery novelist, divorced with a child and a playboy reputation, struggling with writer’s block. She? Homicide detective Kate Beckett, single, stoic, slightly star-struck over meeting Castle but determined not to show it. After his insights help her unit crack a spate of murders based on his books, arrangements are made for him to shadow Beckett as inspiration for his next one — to her consternation, when procedural friction and romantic tension ensue.

You may recall Fillion from his stint a year or so back as husband to Dana Delaney’s Katherine on Desperate Housewives, and he achieved cult fame as a starship captain in the Han Solo mold with the 2002 Fox series Firefly (short-lived, but brought to the big screen in 2005 as Serenity). I’d first encountered him as evil incarnate in the final season of Firefly creator Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so it was strange to see him playing a good-natured gynecologist both on Housewives and in the charming 2007 indie film Waitress (highly recommended, with a delicious turn by Keri Russell in the title role, although terribly bittersweet due to the loss of writer/director Adrienne Shelly before its release).

It’s clear from interviews that the latter roles are closest to Fillion himself, but he pulls off roguish charisma effortlessly. He has real chemistry with all three of the series’ leading ladies: Susan Sullivan, the stage and TV veteran who plays Castle’s fluttery diva of a live-in mother; Molly Quinn as his grounded, insightful teenaged daughter Alexis; and most crucially Stana Katic, a relative unknown who’s absolutely riveting as Beckett. Beckett’s captain and co-workers are far less vividly drawn, but they’ll likely get their turns in the spotlight in the coming season.

6 of 1

Blam’s Blog is a half-year old today.

I’ve just finished reassembling and republishing the last of my vanished entries —
at least all of those that I plan to put back up for the foreseeable future. Those of you who’ve been reading the blog for a while, or visiting and exploring older posts (I’m flattered), know that everything vanished in mid April and that similar yet different problems continue to plague this joint. I still haven’t given up on an alternate platform, but there are only so many hours in the day and, sad to say, most of mine aren’t that productive.

The aforementioned vanishing posts accounted in part for the drop-off after my big push in March, due to both the amount of time it took to deal with the issue and the discouragement wrought by the affair, not to mention our lousy Internet connection.

Also coming into play were plans for another, comics-specific blog and related work on a project that I hope to announce shortly. They’ve siphoned time and focus away from updating this blog as well as from the enjoyable pursuit of reading other blogs.

My thanks to everybody who’s read, commented on, or written privately about Blam’s Blog since its debut in February... I know it’s just a tiny,
tiny, tiny little corner of the cybersphere, but it’s mine.

We Got a Live One Here

So a little while back I finished reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, over 300 pages of prose with chapter-break illustrations from Dave McKean. It was released last year by HarperCollins in the US.

Front cover to main HarperCollins edition of 'The Graveyard Book' in shades of blue with some kind of winged stone marker on grass

The high-concept pitch for the novel would probably be “What if Harry Potter were raised by ghosts in an English graveyard?”

And it would be silly for a number of reasons, the least of which are that the book’s central character, Bod, isn’t a wizard, and that the book was awarded the 2009 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children, which to some is recommendation enough.

R2 Details

I made a comment about this video the other night and realized that it never got
shared here on the blog. It’s called Star Wars Retold (by Someone Who Hasn’t Seen It)” [3:49] and it’s pretty much what the title says except that she’s obviously seen pieces and picked up enough of it through osmosis to get things amusingly close but wrong.

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