If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Today, I thought I'd highlight a couple of unusual things deserve praise.

The first is Louisiana artist George Rodrigue, whom I discovered back in the early '90s. He has studios in Carmel, California and also in New Orleans (I've been there!). He's probably best known for the Blue Dog paintings, which I just love. Someday, I'd love to be independently wealthy enough to afford one or two of them.

It would go so well with my lava lamp.

The other item isn't exactly new, but if you own a GameBoy Advance and don't have the game, I have to insist you purchase Final Fantasy Tactics Advance right now. After unfortunately getting rather quickly bored with the newest Harvest Moon game, I went back to this one and it's possibly even more enjoyable the second time around. I think I'm just a huge sucker for any and all tactics-related games. Which means I'm getting even more desperate for a game I've mentioned once before - La Pucelle Tactics. Once I have the "videogame room" all set up, it will be mine.

Finally, on the recommendation of a number of people I trust, I picked up the book Sunshine by Robin McKinley for cheap at a book sale. It's a great read for anyone who enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, or really just anyone who likes vampire stories in general.

Oh, and one last thing I nearly forgot. Over the weekend, my father acquainted me with the music of the Blind Boys of Alabama, a gospel/soul group that is just fantastic. I'd recommend starting with their album Spirit of the Century for those interested.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I apologize for the lack of updates over the past week, as I've been out of town for my sister's wedding. Congratulations, Emily and Scott!

If you're going to be spending 18 hours in a car in a pretty short amount of time, there really is no better way to do it than with XM Radio. All of the music is commercial free and there is a radio station for practically every person's particular taste. For me, it just happens to be Cinemagic, which I spent almost the entire trip listening to. Appreciation of theatrical scores is rare, so it really is a treasure to have an entire station devoted to the art. I'm at the point now where I can pretty much identify a Hans Zimmer, John Williams or Alan Silvestri composition simply by the sound. Oh, and Phillip Glass, too, but that's not such a good thing.

Moving back into real life, I have to give a shout out to the most recent episode of Cartoon Network's Megas XLR. If you haven't checked out the series yet, this particular show, entitled The Bad Guy, is a great place to start.

Chicks dig giant robots.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Smarty Jones!

I'm writing the screenplay as we speak.

Bring on the Belmont!

Friday, May 14, 2004

As a child, Peanuts was one of my favorite comic strips. Not the new-fangled, more modern-looking Peanuts, but the early, small-headed cute Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends. The earlier set was somehow just slightly more subversive, and the strip slowly grew a bit tamer as the years went on.

So you're probably wondering why I'm talking about this well-loved comic strip, and the answer is that The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 from Fantagraphic Books will debut on the New York Time Best Seller list at number 19 for the week of May 23rd. I have to admit that I'm pretty excited about the first few sets of books. I adore the old-school style most especially. For those of you more familiar with this Charlie Brown and Snoopy:

Wait a minute, you were the little red-haired girl all along?

...this character design came later in the life of the comic book. But the earlier characters were more, well, oval and squished. And I like them that way.

She's still better than JD Drew.

Switching over to Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network will be airing its annual June Bugs marathon beginning June 4th at 8 a.m. and continuing for 72 straight hours. This Bugs Bunny set will include more than 160 cartoons featuring everyone's favorite rabbit. Except maybe Daffy Duck. He thinks Bugs is despicable.

And on the big WOOHOO! front, Jimmy Buffett's A Salty Piece of Land will be released on May 18th. This latest book by the singer will focus on his strange and unusual experiences traveling the world as a businessman. It's a Following the Equator for the 21st century, if you will. And just in time for my birthday, too! Thank you, Jimmy! (Incidentally, for those of you who might ever wonder where the title of this column comes from, peruse a few of Jimmy's song titles and you might just find the answer.)

Finally, I have to note that the trailer for The Incredibles is simply brilliant. Along with Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic, it is easily my most anticipated movie of the year. Brad Bird is a genius.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Just to add more sugar to the enticing sweetness of the Nintendo DS, the announcement has come that Animal Crossing (aka Best Game Ever) will be one of the early games available on the system. It's the N64 edition of the game that was never released in the US. Here's a quick look at what the dual screen system of the game will look like:

Decorate your home, catch fish, and dig to your heart's content.

Now, I admit to being a bit obsessive about animation, but this might be taking things a little bit too far. It seems that one of the new crazes in Japan is to recreate one's favorite cartoon characters as...wait for it...a sushi meal.

I was always told not to play with my food.

Poor little Keroppi and Hamtaro. I'm sure they never thought they would come to such unfortunate ends.

Speaking of animation obsessions, I've posted a brand new Drawn That Way. As promised, this week I take a look at recent Academy Award nominee The Triplets of Belleville. Next week, I'll examine Shrek just in time for its sequel to hit the big screen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Although I was never a particularly big fan of the show, 20th Century Fox is producing 22 new episodes of Family Guy. They will begin airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim program starting in 2005.

Speaking of Cartoon Network, the new series Megas XLR isn't half bad. I've seen it described as a cross between Clerks and Iron Giant, and while I wouldn't go quite that far, it's pretty entertaining two episodes into the series. And it even has Bruce Campbell as a part-time villain!

Soon to be seen as Snooty Usher in Spider-Man 2.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I drooled over the Nintendo PSP a few hours ago, but I'll be fair and post a picture of Sony's PSP as well.

Better than anything George Lucas could conceive.

That's a picture from Spider-Man 2 on its screen. It is soooooooo crisp. The graphics on this thing just blow away anything else we've ever seen.

But I still want this more:

And it comes in the best color, Platinum!

And this videogame: La Pucelle Tactics. That's neither here nor there, but as long as I'm talking video games, I thought I'd put it out there.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled movie talk.

Though we usually talk movies here on Box Office Prophets, this week is a pretty big deal for people interested in the gaming industry. E3, an expo where the various developers and programmers unveil their latest games and playing systems, is taking place out in California this week. While the Playstation 2 and the Xbox have their uses (i.e. Final Fantasy and Kung Fu Chaos, respectively), I'm all about Nintendo. Over time, my GameCube has seen tons of action (Animal Crossing alone took up literally months and months of gameplay), but I'm even more devoted to my GameBoy Advance SP. It's such an exquisite little toy - the clamshell design, the tiny size, the convenience, and the fantastic game library have made the little device one of my favorite little shiny things. Despite the fact that I just can't beat the final chapter of Fire Emblem, it's one of my favorite electronic items ever.

So naturally, I've been anxiously awaiting the very first look at Nintendo's brand new handheld system. Codenamed "DS" (for Dual Screen), the new toy is being unveiled during a presentation at E3 today. USA Today has the first look at the new system, and I want one right now. It maintains the easy functionality of the current GameBoy, but also adds a second "touch" screen that can be controlled via stylus. The game that you see in the picture is a Mario Kart racing game - the top part is the actual in-game action, while the bottom shows the race track and the position of all the various competitors. The DS will have Bluetooth wireless communication so that various units can communicate within short range and even offers such innovations as the ability to draw as part of game strategy.

The new system is scheduled to hit the US market in the fourth quarter of 2004, just in time for the holidays. I can't wait.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Here's a small programming note for today's updates - since the finale to Survivor: All-Stars finally got interesting during the last Tribal Council and reunion portion of the show, David and I will be spending a little more time on that portion to make sure it receives its due attention. The recap should be posted later this afternoon for you Survivor fanatics who just can't live without your weekly dose.

Some of my compatriots here at the site seem to have a huge problem with I, Robot due to the fact that it apparently breaks all kinds of Laws of Robotics as put forth by Isaac Asimov. That's a sentiment I actually heard echoed in the movie theater when the trailer aired, as some of the guys sitting behing me at Kill Bill Vol. 2 noted that Mr. Asimov must be turning over in his grave. Speaking as someone only vaguely familiar with Asimov's works, I have to admit I'm baffled by the uproar. If the movie was simply about nice robots that obeyed the laws (A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.) I have to think it would be deadly dull.

Now, speaking as someone who likes to read books and then watch the movies on which they are based, I do understand the emotions that arise when a beloved piece of fiction is somehow "sullied". It's interesting to be sitting on the other side of the fence now, as I think the effects look sharp and even the premise itself is appealing. I have to think that the "universal moviegoer" looks at the film in much the same way.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Unfortunately, my stinky sense knew what it was talking about. Van Helsing is horrible. The film has some of the worst dialogue you'll ever hear outside of porn, the effects are totally touch and go, and it is far, far too long. It's so ludicrous at points that it almost works as a film so wonderfully bad that it accidentally manages to be entertaining.

And Alan Silvestri should not be allowed to do any musical scores for films for at least five years. Man, did that ever bring the suck.

About a year and a half or more ago, when the project Van Helsing was announced, I was really intrigued by the concept. Having read the excellent Dracula/Van Helsing series -- Covenant with the Vampire, Children of the Vampire and Lord of the Vampires -- by Jeanne Kalogridis, the notion of exploring the mythology of the ancient relationship between the vampire and his human nemesis had all the makings of a Great Idea. Throw in appearances by The Werewolf and Frankenstein's monster and Van Helsing seemed like a can't-miss prospect.

So why, then, does it now have the stench of failure about it? I like Hugh Jackman and I think the casting of Moulin Rouge!'s Richard Roxburgh as Dracula is pretty solid. And even if Kate Beckinsale's accent is a little too "Moose and Squirrel" for my liking, that's the kind of thing I can get past. The horrible dialogue and suspect special effects are just giving me a terrible vibe that is impossible to dismiss. I'll be thrilled if I'm proven wrong later today, though.

I'm actually much more excited to see the Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me, which unfortunately won't be coming to my town for at least a couple of weeks. I've been reading a lot about the fast food industry lately and find the subject matter really fascinating, from the food preparation to the labor practices from upper level management to the second-level food suppliers. If you're at all interested in the topic and are waiting for the film to reach your city, you can bide your time by reading Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser and/or Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, by Eric Critser.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I've posted a new Drawn That Way, and this time it's a look at Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers. If you find that his work intrigues you, I previously examined the gorgeous Millennium Actress as well. As I mentioned yesterday, next week's column will be all about the Triplets of Belleville.

Today's Penny Arcade is very, very funny. I insist you go read it and laugh. In fact, I really can't recommend these guys enough - they're near the very top of my list of shiny things that I love.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Though typically I will be using this space to talk about whatever might happen to be my latest fancy, I'll start things off with a look at some of the latest developments in the world of animation.

Starting things off, for you Pokémon fans (you know you're out there and that you played Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire just as diligently as any Mario game), the sixth feature length movie, Jirachi Wish Maker, will receive a direct-to-video release on June 1st. Along with the film, the DVD will include a short film called "Gotta Dance," a music video titled "Make a Wish," a note from director Kunihiko Yuyama and some art from the film.

For real aficionados of the animation genre, one of the great films of the past year hits DVD this Tuesday. The Triplets of Belleville is a magnificently absurd trip, complete with a musical score that will keep you humming and tapping your toes for weeks. It's a clever and subtle satire that many folks missed simply because it's a product of France and received a very limited theatrical release from Sony Pictures Classics. I'll take a closer look at it with a Drawn That Way next week.

And for those who really love movies, May is Movie Month on Cartoon Network. The ones worth giving a look are The King and I (May 7th at 8 p.m.), Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman (May 8th at 7:30 p.m.), Osmosis Jones (May 9th at 7 p.m.), The Hobbit (May 16th at 7 p.m.), The Powerpuff Girls Movie (May 18th at 7 p.m.), The Lord of the Rings (May 23rd at 7 p.m.), and Return of the King (May 30th at 7 p.m.).



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