Agents of SHIELD had a rough first year. They got to some good stuff late in the run, but most people had checked out by then. I look forward to seeing how they re-start the engine for season 2, especially with what I think is a Kree-brained Coulson.
He's writing and directing Star Wars: Episode VIII, and at least doing the treatment for Episode IX. Deadline's report conflicts with what The Wrap says (that he's only confirmed to write treatment on IX), but it's early days.
He also brings the house down when he sings Weird Al at karaoke. This was shot by a mutual friend. I was front of stage center singing my head off.
MacRumors reported a while back on the alleged second update to the Thunderbolt standard since introduction. This news is the reason that even if fancy new Macs I otherwise want come out later this year, I won't get them if they don't have the new "Thunderbolt 3".
The computers I use have Thunderbolt 1, and accessories that use Thunderbolt 2 are only just becoming available. It's also a new form factor connector:
The site says Intel's new Thunderbolt controller, code-named Alpine Ridge, will see power consumption reduced by 50 percent, support for PCIe generation-3, and charging capacities of up to 100 watts. Backward compatibility will be maintained through the use of connector adapters, but the new Thunderbolt connector itself will be reduced in size.
Thankfully, I'm in no danger of needing new computers any time soon. I would be tempted by an amazing new take on the MacBook Air. I've wanted one of the new Mac Pros since they dropped last year. I did buy a new i7 Mac mini back in March for ESN, and only because I couldn't wait.
I hope they don't announce something amazing that has "plain-old" Thunderbolt 2. Then again, the move to an even slimmer MacBook Air would require a move to slimmer Thunderbolt and USB (if there is USB at all) ports, as they're the thickness limiting factors now.
Looks sharp, brutal, and above all, interesting and worth my time...unlike most of what gets cranked into cinemas these days. A synopsis:
Set in downtown New York in 1900, THE KNICK centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff, who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. Steven Soderbergh directs Clive Owen in the entire ten-episode season of the Cinemax original series which debuts August 8, 2014 at 10pm. André Holland, Eve Hewson, Juliet Rylance, Jeremy Bobb, Michael Angarano, Chris Sullivan, Cara Seymour, Eric Johnson, David Fierro, Maya Kazan, Leon Addison Brown and Matt Frewer round out the ensemble cast. The creators and writing team of Jack Amiel & Michael Begler also serve as executive producers, along with Gregory Jacobs, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Sugar and Clive Owen. Michael Polaire produces. Steven Katz serves as supervising producer.
I finally watched An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC telefilm made about the beginning of Doctor Who. David Bradley's performance as William Hartnell (the first Doctor) is absolutely brilliant. The whole thing is pretty great all-around. After the fact, I realized why I got emotional in a couple of places watching kids in the movie "playing" Doctor Who. In real life, one of those kids was Peter Capaldi.
Giant Size 7: The Passionate Task is a giant nerd-fest about digital comics, discoverability, letter columns, and building a sense of community.
- Mark Waid/Chris Samnee Daredevil: for once in a long while, a DD that is fun, and not "covered in knives and scowling". They just renumbered with a new number one. You can either go back to the beginning of the wrong or start with the new volume.
- Groo The Wanderer: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier
- Secret Avengers by Ales Kot: As John put it, the third time is the charm for this book, which never quite found its footing before. A covert ops team of Avengers, including Nick Fury (Jr), Coulson, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, MODOK, and (unofficially) Hawkeye has turned out to be piles of fun already.
- John Byrne Savage She-Hulk: the original solo run of a character originally created to retain rights, but who transformed into a cult favorite among true Marvel zombies.
- Dan Slott's She-Hulk:
- Dan Slott's Silver Surfer: A fun outer-space yarn with amazing art by Mike and Laura Allred.
- Matt Fraction's Fantastic Four and FF: The Allred art on FF in particular helped it outshine Fantastic Four a bit for me. A ton of fun and multi-meta-referential throughout. The "interleaved" TPB Merlin mentioned runs around $12.
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley: A food memoir from the cartoonist daughter of a chef sounds like just what would hit the spot for me. $12 on Amazon
- Bad Machinery by "Jolting" John Allison: John discovered this in the comiXology Submit bundle. Print collections exist from Oni Press as Volume 1: The Case of the Team Spirit and Volume 2: The Case of the Good Boy, both of which run around $15.
- Egos: John has also gotten into this few-issues-in new Image book set in the future.
- Nightcrawler by Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck (All-New Marvel NOW!): Two issues in, this is my Claremont-y comfort food.
- Moon Knight (All-New Marvel NOW!): Warren Ellis should be brought in to revamp every character I like that can't catch a break.
- The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt: This ancient-weapons-bonded-to-their-owners epic reminds Rich of The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr in all the good ways.
- Magneto and Sinestro are Cullen Bunn's dueling recently-launched "classic bad guy antihero" books, and they're both outstanding.
- Black Science by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera just wrapped its first six-issue volume. Think Lost in Space, but instead of a spaceship, they have a transdimensional teleport platform, and things go south very quickly.
- Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour: if the name Buford Pusser means anything to you...that's a good idea of the flavor of Aaron/Latour's magnificent new Image series.
Assorted Odds and Ends
West Coast Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, and Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers all deserve better recognition than they get.
Giant Size 6: Not Just a Boy Scout is truly "giant-size". It's our longest episode yet, and the longest we'll ever do (hold me to this, internet). I didn't split it because it's just that good.
It also features an excerpted interview with Rick Remender, who saved my ass at the last minute when I had trouble getting my intended/planned/booked guest.
Amazon links support the show, ESN, and paying my newly-acquired mortgage. All prices current as of this posting.
To my amazement, I found that almost every single issue of Cap recommended this week is available on Marvel Unlimited! We're working on joining the affiliate program for Marvel Unlimited, so try the trial for now, and watch the Twitter feed for our referral URL.
When possible, support great Local Comic Shops by ordering and shopping with them.
The Winter Soldier
Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting
available on Marvel Unlimited
v5 #1-9, 11-14
ComiXology: book 1 ($13), book 2 ($11) | Kindle: book 1 ($10), book 2 ($9)
Amazon: Ultimate TPB ($14), Hardcover ($22)
The most-visible chunk of Ed Brubaker's astonishingly great run on Captain America. Ed Brubaker's entire eight-year term on Cap is an amazing achievement to denote in Wikipedia articles, but it's also a really great way to immerse yourself in the character.
Marvel NOW! Captain America by Rick Remender
#1-12 available on Marvel Unlimited as of posting
Vol.1: Castaway in Dimension Z, Book 1
ComiXology: bundle ($9) | Kindle ($4, adds #6) | Amazon: Hardcover ($18)
Vol. 2: Castaway in Dimension Z, Book 2
ComiXology: bundle ($9) | Amazon: Hardcover ($18)
Vol. 3: Loose Nuke
ComiXology: bundle ($20) | Amazon: Hardcover ($16, out 29 April 2014)
The current run, written by Rick Remender (interviewed on this episode), is really great, and benefits from reading in collected volumes, much like all the best runs on Cap. ComiXology single-issue pricing is $1.99 for issues 8 months old and older, and standard $3.99 at 8 months and newer. Marvel Unlimited now has the entire Dimension Z arc available.
Written recently by Mark Waid, this is the best origin story to go with. Like his Superman: Birthright (which we discussed way back in an All-New Comic Shack that is soon-to-be-"reprinted" in this feed -Meddlin' Moisés), some of its best parts have been used in the recent movie, but as a read, it's clean, potent, and utterly magnificent.
Jack Kirby in the 70's
available on Marvel Unlimited
ComiXology: individual issues $1.99 each ($16 for Madbomb, $50 for all)
Captain America v1 #193-200
Amazon: TPB ($16)
Captain America v1 #193-214, Annual #3-4, Captain America's Bicentennial Battles
Amazon: Omnibus Hardcover ($50)
Kirby's run was best remembered as kinda weird, but more goofy and "comicbooky" than anything. The art is iconic, and absolutely gorgeous. Comics Alliance does some of the few comics listicles I really enjoy. They did one about Jack Kirby's entire run, which features the creation of Arnim Zola.
The Stern/Byrne run, collected in one volume, found all kinds of crazy stuff packed into 7 issues: Batroc the Leaper, all the Barons but Zemo, Cap drafted to run for President, and much, much more. Another milestone hit when "extremely handsome" Steve (Amanda's words) starts to date "the glass-blowing, future lawyer Jewess" (again Amanda) Bernie Rosenthal, who has always been a total dish (Moisés's assessment). The hardcover lists a 224 page count. The TPB? 208 pages. Amazon doesn't mention the difference, and both allegedly collect the same issues.
The U.S. government claims a trademark over the persona of "Captain America", so rather than become their lackey, Steve adopts the black-suited, titular identity of The Captain. John said this could be considered the inception of the modern trend of "screw you, I'm gonna go get a black costume!", aka The Azrael Effect.
Steranko's visuals redefined sequential panel work, and is a good chunk of the reason he was brought over from Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to pitch in for a few issues. Brad says this art is a good chunk of why he became an animator. Amanda says it should be considered more iconic than it is. As of posting, the Masterworks TPB reprint drops on 13 May 2014, so pre-order it!
A Marvel Comics crossover that is very near and dear to John, which finds a bunch of heroes fighting someone else's war. In a weird way, this is an unintended precursor to the world of Private Military Contractors who make up most of the troops in any "first world" war these days. It's from the era before crossovers started numbing brains.
Moisés's first-ever comics crossover, like Secret Wars, featured a cast chock full of heroes and gave a healthy amount of focus on Cap. Read the whole thing, not just issues #3 and #6.
Beware the power of...Doughboy!
Uncanny X-Men #268
available on Marvel Unlimited
This Claremont/Lee-era X-tale has Cap hanging out with Black Widow and Wolverine together again with Cap...for the first time.
Cable and Deadpool #25
available on Marvel Unlimited
Undercover agent "Roger Stevens" spies on Cable and paints murals!
TV, MOVIES, and GAMES
Brad loved these shield-attached-to-a-motorcycle, FLAG-steroid-juicing TV productions and the toys of the era.
Wrong or right, Moisés also loved these games, which hewed so close to the genre they were plastered over. The NES one was a weird choice in that it was basically a ripoff of Contra (jungles, floating platforms, and "shooting" stationary "boxes" for "items". The SNES one was basically Generic Side-Scrolling Beat-Up Game.
THR is reporting Sony circling the duo who previously worked together on The Beach. They're two of the biggest heavyweights in their respective fields, and I'm into them both to the point I'd pay to watch their adaptation of a phone book at this point.
Sources caution that deals are not done. And DiCaprio has committed to star in Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu’s thriller The Revenant for New Regency starting in September.
I met Danny Boyle the year Slumdog Millionaire played the Austin Film Festival in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre. He was warm, humble, and extremely generous with his time speaking not just with me, but many others. In his post-show Q&A, he talked about how "electric" a movie-loving city Austin was, and how he loved screening movies in a city like this (of which there are very few, he noted).
The movie was not the Oscar frontrunner it would later became (this was mid-October), but I told him "if there were an 'awards' narrative I would find compelling, in an age when I've stopped caring about awards shows, it would be this movie coming from behind the pack and winning". I meant it, and I share that because his response was, "I would just love for people to see it and be uplifted and motivated by it, d'you know what I mean?" He grew up very poor and with none of life's advantages early on, and he just hoped it'd be successful enough that some poor kid in a slum in some remote part of the world would be changed by it for the better.
I'm not the biggest fan of the source material, but I'm a huge fan of Boyle's movies because of the infectious energy he bottles in them. Sorkin is a big deal, but in Joe Biden's words, to me, Boyle is "a big fuckin' deal".
My pal Greg Scown passed this along. Written by a former Apple Genius:
During this testing, Facebook kept jumping up on the process list even though I wasn't using it. So I tried disabling Location Services and Background App Refresh for Facebook, and you'll never guess what happened: my battery percentage increased. It jumped from 12% to 17%. Crazy. I've never seen that happen before on an iPhone. The iPod touch exhibits this behavior, to my memory, although I haven't tested it in a while. For the iPhone, the battery percentage is usually pretty consistent.
I have confirmed this behavior on multiple iPhones with the same result: percentage points actually increase after disabling these background functions of Facebook.
Bad, Facebook, bad.
Various things on the list I knew, but I definitely learned a lot reading this.
To support the site, pre-order/order things on Amazon.
Fargo is reissued on Blu-ray with a newly-remastered transfer and needlepoint cover art.
Sony is releasing four post-1990 Godzilla double feature Blu-rays just in time for Garth Edwards's revival of the franchise. Each movie is on its own Blu-ray disc. All movies include their original trailers, with the only other extras being a featurette on Tokyo S.O.S. and a behind-the-scenes featurette on Final Wars. The movies as they're paired:
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) + Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) + Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) + Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) + Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Special ID, starring the incomparable Donnie Yen as a deep-cover cop on the inside of a gang. Wait until you see what he does with the chain wallet you see on the poster.
Spike Jonze's Her. Blu-ray featurettes include all of the following (DVD only has the boldface one):
- The Untitled Rick Howard Project
- How Do You Share Your Life with Somebody
- Her: Love in the Modern Age
Orange is the New Black: Season 1 comes to 3-disc Blu-ray and 4-disc DVD with the following features:
- “New Kid on the Cell Block” featurette
- “Mother Hen: Red Runs the Coup” featurette
- “It’s Tribal” featurette
- “Prison Rules” featurette
- Gag Reel
- Episode Commentary “I Wasn't Ready” with Producers Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann and Mark Burley
- Episode Commentary “Can't Fix Crazy” with Producers Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann and Mark Burley
The Spike Lee Joint Collection (Volumes 1 & 2) drop on Blu-ray. Volume 1 includes The 25th Hour and He Got Game. Volume 2 includes Summer of Sam and Miracle at St. Anna. According to the studio, each movie is on its own separate disc.
All four movies retain all previous DVD extras and add newly-recorded commentary tracks with Spike Lee and a cohort as follows:
- The 25th Hour: Spike Lee and actor Edward Norton
- He Got Game: Spike Lee and actor Ray Allen
- Summer of Sam: Spike Lee and actor John Leguizamo
- Miracle at St. Anna's: Spike Lee and screenwriter James McBride
Fox Cinema Archives is releasing another wave after wave of MOD DVD oldies starting this week. They star everyone from Cesar Romero to Linda Darnell (playing a version of herself in Star Dust) to Spencer Tracy to Adam West to Natalie Wood:
- Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)
- Esther and the King (1960)
- Dante’s Inferno (1935)
- Cardinal Richelieu (1935)
- I’d Climb The Highest Mountain (1951)
- The Gay Deception (1935)
- Bachelor Flat (1961)
- The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971)
- The Pleasure Seekers (1964)
- Footlight Serenade (1942)
- Marry The Boss’s Daughter (1941)
- Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948)
- That Other Woman (1942)
- Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955)
- Star Dust (1940)
- Decline and Fall of A Bird Watcher (1968)
- Kentucky (1938)
- Forever Amber (1947)
Disc News Digest compiles chunks of disc announcements, including relevant feature and version comparison information for the discerning collector.
One of my favorite things about the metrics I get on the site are the sometimes bizarre search terms people use to find the site. Yet again, the most search engine traffic I get is from people trying to subvert region coding on Blu-rays.
"so many flash points is the planet on the brink"
Hope you've packed a bag. #supertrain
"pocahontas tattoo ideas"
They either ended up on this Frame post, or the super-huge and images-heavy Best in Blu-ray 2012 article I posted last April. There is a 2013 installment coming, and it technically isn't "late" yet. Those things take time.
"moises chiullan brother's death"
"moises chiullan brother's autism"
Whoever searched both of these used Bing.com, and that the most I know about them. This was a weird thing to see, but not as day-derailing as I think it would've been even a year ago.
"does peter weller have a phd?"
Hell yes he does, that's Doctor Peter Weller to you, citizen. I'm posting a Q&A I moderated with him at Dallas SciFi Expo as a Screen Time soon.
"jiro horikoshi evil"
"the wind rises moral repugnance"
Three months ago, I hit back at critics who accused Hayao Miyazaki of artistic thought-crime. People are still talking about this whole "moral repugnance" thing.
"the world's end marmalade sandwich"
Some people are obsessed with this trio. They're like robots.
"expanding earth theory podcast radio interview"
I got a surprise the other day when I read the comments section of the MacWorld posting of an article I wrote about Veronica Mars, Kickstarter, and Ultraviolet. The Chief Technology Officer of UltraViolet parent company Rovi chose to respond publicly and call into question my basic journalistic integrity. After the cut, I've included his lengthy response, and my 1300-word shredding of said response, both of which can be found on the original MacWorld post.
David Sparks and Casey Liss join John and I to talk about getting into comics as an adult. It's a brisk listen, despite the runtime. This is yet another new sub-thread of show types, where we help people on the show off the top of our heads.
You have no idea how sweet, sensitive, and smart a comic book called Sex Criminals can be.
Elizabeth McGovern in a Depression-era picture these days reads as Lady Cora from Downton Abbey having died and been reincarnated as a lady who is more…liberated. The King of the Hill Blu-ray from Criterion (which brings the movie back into print) checks all the boxes.
A review and big re-edit/re-posting of a Soderberghopolis article are forthcoming.
I've pushed off digging through the new Blu-ray of Soderbergh's King of the Hill and The Underneath in favor of swallowing whole this inter-intra-editing-together he's done of the Hitchcock Psycho and the other one from 1998.
Have I told you before how ridiculous you are for not subscribing to his Extension765 newsletter? You are ridiculous. An excerpt of the one that notified me of this magical thing:
Now, Mr/Dr Soderbergh wants everyone to know this post comes from a place of “total affection, openness, and honey bought directly from a beekeeper,” and that “societal norms shift all the time and man-made laws can change with enough money.” To give you more of a sense of context for these comments, he also said, “New studies will show the positive impact of new studies.” He said the more he thought about the Cannibal Cop case the more firm he became in his conviction to fight the Third Amendment, noting it had never been the basis of a Supreme Court ruling, and then, finally, he announced that all celluloid and polaroid black-and-white film would be confiscated under the terms the Pretention Protections Act, a bill which he “authored and saved to a thumb drive this very morning”.
My favorite story about the 1998 Psycho remake is a borrowed one. Nick, one of my dearest friends (and my former boss at the FSU campus cinema) saw it in desperation. I'm likely paraphrasing or embellishing, but trust me and go with it.
He approached the box office window as a fully adult man with not enough scratch to see any movie at the standard adult admission price. He looked the man in the window dead in the eye, his con standing on shaky ground.
"One small child for Psycho, please."
The man at the window was unfazed.
"That'll be one-fifty."
Nick handed over his greenback and a half, took his "CHILD" ticket for Psycho, and proceeded to "enjoy" a feature-length motion picture.
Reviews of Wes Anderson's gorgeous Academy Ratio live action plus a little stop-motion latest The Grand Budapest Hotel (a film I consider a magnificent culmination of his filmmaking process and style [and possibly his best yet]) are embargoed until opening day. Since I can't write a review and remain in accordance with an arcane social contract that wouldn't apply had I physically seen a movie in Berlin instead of Austin, I have to settle for merely posting and commenting on its trailer, which is full of hints of the delightful, laser-precise performances (especially that of Tony Revolori) found throughout the film.
I suppose that I did get spoiled in recording the fully Andersonian podcast that I posted on Monday.
Today, I received an email about the Zubrowka Film Commission. If they made shirts, I would wear one, and proudly. My allegiance is hereby pledged to film-friendly (and nonexistent post-WWII) Zubrowka.
This trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy makes me feel like they really got it right, even though as a piece of marketing, it is aimed at the lowest possible common denominator. They're one of my favorite comic book teams, and this looks like James Gunn has nailed it.
The latest dispatch from Steven Soderbergh's Extension765 mailing list announces him as "Señor Cagamilliones" or, "Mister Shitmillions" in English. This made my day/week/epoch.
His latest "blog" "post" gives an infuriatingly terse and potent bit of appreciation to the genius of Josef von Sternberg. In so doing, Soderbergh reveals how another great filmmaker may have been directly inspired by something we would now consider a mere "DVD" "Special Feature".
The footnotes include favorite quotes from von Sternberg's autobiography for those who can't be bothered to read it (me):
“I have always found it less troublesome to conquer myself than to attempt the conquest of others.” Josef von Sternberg, Fun in a Chinese Laundry
“In our work money has often stood in the way of something that might have lasted a little longer than money ever can.”
“And often I recalled Whistler’s words, whenever I was faced with a task which could not have been foreseen by me when first I read them: ‘It takes endless labor to eradicate the traces of labor.’ "