Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Some spoilery follows after the pic, so the other nine comic book geeks (and anyone else) can skip this section and rejoin us after the cover to Tales of Suspense #39.
No rhyme or reason to the following points; just some stuff I liked and/or noticed. No doubt this has been echoed on every other comics/film/geek blog in the ether, but it's my turn now.
- Changing Tony Stark's initial demeanor from the somewhat serious industrialist of the comics to the over-indulgent playboy/man-child seen in the film was a change for the better. If the early characterization from the comics had been carried over into the film, I doubt very much that the script would have been as strong.
- At the moment, I'm in the middle of reading the 1960's run of Tales of Suspense. While I appreciated the sexual tension between Tony and Pepper Potts, I kind of missed the little love triangle that also included Happy Hogan. Hogan is more or less window dressing in the film, but I guess it's not that big of a deal.
- I really didn't mind the other changes from the mythos like James Rhodes being a military liaison, Obadiah Stane's history with Stark International, and of course, the Afghanistan setting instead of Vietnam. It all felt right.
- The first shot of Stark being his hand around a glass of Scotch was certainly inspired. Although Jon Favreau doesn't think the "Demon in a Bottle" story will figure into the next film, I'd like to see it in Iron Man 3. Maybe combined with the "Armor Wars" storyline as an impetus for Tony to get his act together.
- I might have missed this in the "Special Thanks to" part of the credits, but the Stark logo looks awfully similar to Lockheed-Martin's.
- Speaking of the credits, yes I did stay after for the extra scene. It had already been spoiled for me, but it was still kinda neat.
So there you have it. It was a terrific movie first, a semi-decent adaptation second. Most of my friends aren't nearly as well-versed in the Iron Man mythos and their opinions on the film ranged from good to awesome. It appears to have a bit of staying power too, meaning people are still seeing it. This bodes well for Marvel's first foray into filmmaking. Hopefully The Incredible Hulk will fare just as well.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Over at The Digital Bits, Mark Altman has written a guest column he terms as a eulogy for the late, lamented laserdisc format. For the uninitiated, laserdiscs were the precursor to DVDs, except they were the size of an LP. There are plenty of other differences but this Wikipedia entry can explain it a whole lot better than I can.
Laserdiscs effectively died about 10 years ago when DVDs really began to catch on. However, it was always a niche market despite the superior technology to the prevalent VHS tape. The reason? It was pretty darn expensive. A movie on VHS might cost you $20; the special edition laserdisc would probably cost $80-100. A disc at that price would have at least one audio commentary, possibly alternate versions of the film, featurettes, and possibly some kind of feature where you would run through frame by frame. This is stuff we totally take for granted now with DVD, but it was a big deal back in the day.
My laserdisc journey actually began in 2001 when a friend was selling his player and three trilogies that hadn't made it to DVD at the time: Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars (albeit the special editions). He sold it all for $200 and I eagerly jumped at it. Eventually, my collection grew thanks to a local member of the Home Theater Forum, eBay, and Goodwill finds by Em's aunt and uncle. Now there's nearly 400 discs in my collection.
Even with the plethora of DVDs out there, some stuff will likely never be available again. The deleted scene with Harrison Ford in E.T.? Not likely on DVD. The Quentin Tarantino audio commentary with From Dusk 'Til Dawn? No way, as Tarantino doesn't do commentary as a rule. I can guarantee you will never hear the incredibly frank Albert Broccoli audio commentaries for the first three James Bond films in future DVD editions. This stuff and much much more are why me and my fellow laserdisc fans continue to hold on to this dead format.
At some point, I need to go through my discs and write about them. Would all of you be interested in that?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
In case you weren't aware, it was pretty damn hot over the weekend. Thankfully, Cora's birthday party went off without a hitch yesterday. Held at the Magic Putting Place, the kids played putt-putt golf and then feasted on pizza and cake. A good time was had by all.
In the "What are the odds?" Department, the mother of one of the girls was none other than the intensive care nurse who attended to Miriya during her stay at the hospital! Since there wasn't a whole lot of time when we left the hospital back in March, I took the time to personally thank the good nurse right then and there. She was especially pleased that my baby girl was happy, healthy, and huge :-)
After the party, I tried to unwind in our non-air conditioned house by watching a couple of movies. First up was Downfall, which was a chronicle of sorts of the last ten days of the Nazi regime. It's a decent film although a number of details are omitted or changed to streamline the story. Next up was 300, which I had been meaning to watch since Christmas. It's an interesting movie in a stylistic sense and a great excuse to watch extended fight scenes. Otherwise, the story is pretty weak.
So there you have it.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Metro offered shuttle buses between stations but that was a huge problem for a number of reasons:
- Buses came very sporadically, not surprising because of rush hour traffic.
- A bus holds maybe a train car full of people.
- Trains were still coming every 15 minutes or so, thereby increasing the number of people waiting for buses.
But walk we did, eventually reaching our destination but not before it began raining again. The drive home was okay, marked by intense pockets of rain and the occasional clap of thunder. It didn't help that the carpool driver was "rocking out" to Led Zeppelin (one of the worst rock bands ever) with half of the windshield fogged.
I'm told there's no power at home so I'm typing this in a local pizza joint eating diet-crashing pepperoni pizza. After tonight's ordeal, I'm surprised I haven't ordered a half dozen cannolis to go with it.
EDIT: Here's a link to Metro's press release.
The characters on the television series are quite possibly the most shallow, self-absorbed entitlement whores I've ever had the non-pleasure of seeing, even in fictional form. They "want it all" and feel they should have it all. And even when life is good to them, it still isn't enough.
The worst aspect is that this pattern of behavior has been adopted by American women nationwide as some sort of guide to life. Yay, because the planet needs more jerks. But it's about friendship between women, you say. Great, friends of any gender that are all vapid twits is such a wonderful thing. It's as if high school never ended for these people. If that's the sort of person you see as a guru to life, here's a bit of advice: grow the hell up. It's not all about you.
And for all those that went to the film dressed to the nines (I wish I were making this up), you're just as bad as the Star Wars fans in Jedi costumes i.e., the people you scorned in high school.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
First up are my daughters, Cora and Miriya. That's me holding Miriya, but my head is cut off in the picture and I have no neck.
Aren't they cute? Cora was flower girl for the bridal party and Miriya got to drool on my suit. Hey, that rhymes! I'm a poet and didn't know it.
Next up is a picture of me and Charlie Walker, the first astronaut not employed by NASA. He was on three shuttle flights in the '80s. He and his wife, Susan, are friends of my mother-in-law which is pretty darn cool. Not cool is that he's moving to Tuscon this month.
Not sure what the heck's wrong with my face in that photo. But I'm positive my mouth wasn't full of Gulf, jumbo-sized shrimp (there was a metric ton of those at the reception).
Lastly, here I am doing my "Stephen Colbert's Astronaut Friend" pose:
Even former astronauts are not immune to the bunny-ear gag.