Friday, April 19, 2013

Poster for Doctor Who season 7 finale: The Name of the Doctor

Thor: The Dark World first poster!

Pop culture roundup: Carmine Infantino; Captain America; Annette Funicello

Diversions of a Groovy Kind shares a nice profile on the late Carmine Infanto from DC Comics' 1970s in-house fanzine. Nice Infantino art featured, too.


Speaking of fanzines, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story posted this cool artifact: A page from Jerry Bails' early 1960s The Comics Reader, which gushed excitedly about the upcoming return of Captain America.


Turns out the late Annette Funicello appeared on a number of Disney comic book covers. The Beat posts several here.

Alex Toth sketchbook drawings

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Posters for upcoming Doctor Who episodes

I like these movie-style graphics.

John Cusack to play Brian Wilson in Beach Boy's biopic?

Well, now I know my wife will want to go see the Brian Wilson biopic with me: John Cusack, who she finds just dreamy, may be in the lead role.

Interesting casting, as Cusack doesn't favor Wilson much at all physically. But he's a good actor and his potential casting give me hope this could be decent.
It is hoped that Cusack, 46, will play the musician in later life, and the film will focus on Wilson's long battle with mental illness. Paul Dano, previously seen in There Will Be Blood, has already been confirmed in the younger Wilson role.

Bill Pohlad is directing the film from a screenplay by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Messenger, Oren Moverman. It is said to be an unconventional look at Wilson's life that "reimagines seminal moments … from his artistic genius to his profound struggles and the love that keeps him alive".

Two Whos! Matt Smith and Dave Tennant pictured filming Doctor Who 50th anniversary special

During the original run of "Doctor Who," the time lord occasionally met some of his former selves. Will that be a case with an upcoming 90-minute 50th anniversary special for the show? Looks like current Doctor Who Matt Smith and his predecessor David Tennant will indeed be featured together.

Pop stuff: Live and Let Die; Miss Minoes

What I've been reading, watching, hearing etc.

Live And Let Die Many of the James Bond movies are available again via Netflix and Amazon streaming and my son and I have resumed our viewing of the whole works, in order.

We love the early Sean Connery entries, of course, and I maintain that "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," with pinch-hitting George Lazenby in as 007, is one of the best films in the series (good story and stunt, great score, best Bond girl, ever, in Diana Rigg). But things took a terrible turn with "Diamonds are Forever," (1971) with Connery's brief return. It's an awful movie with a goofy, pedestrian plot, cheap production values and lackluster performances.

"Let it Be" (1973) doesn't start out much better. Like "Diamonds," it looks cheap, more like a TV cop show than a Bond film. And new Bond Roger Moore doesn't do much beyond arch an eyebrow for the first 45 minutes of the film. Plus, there's a lot of early 70s, queasy-making racial stuff to deal with as Bond takes an oh-so-funny trip to Harlem, where he gets to be the only white guy in a British film production firm's idea of a blaxploitation film (lots of uses of the word "honky," lots of floppy pimp hats).

But in the last third, things finally kick into gear with the awesome speedboat chase (the only thing apart from Paul McCartney's theme tune that I remembered from seeing this film on TV as a kid) and we're back in crazy, campy Bond territory again.

The chase is way too long, but it's funny and fun to watch, and it's followed by a nice confrontation with the film's villain (poorly written by nicely played by Yaphet Kotto, later of "Homicide" fame) in an underground lair complete with shark lagoon and monorail (that's where all the production money went).

My son and I have already watched "Man With the Golden Gun" (1974) out of sequence (it also looks pretty cheap, but Moore and the story are already a good notch or two above "Live and Let Die"), so "The Spy Who Loved Me" is next. It's the first Bond movie I saw in the movie theater. Should be fun to re-visit it. I hope...

Miss Minoes A 2001 Dutch release dubbed into English, this is a fun family film about a cat transformed by mysterious chemicals into a young woman.

In an American film, this scenario would result in all sorts of over-the-top antics and the character taking extreme measures to keep her condition a secret, here everything is refreshingly more simple and subtle. A young reporter who discovered Miss Minoes, the cat woman, doesn't try to keep her a secret.

She's just a woman who's really cat, that's why she sleeps in a box, hangs out on the roof and tends to chase mice and other moving things.

Misadventures, of course, ensue, but not in a manic way, and it's a nice change from the typical, ADHD-paced kids flick.

Along the way, Carice van Houten, in the lead role, does a nice job working cat-like behaviors into her performance -- darting under the table and chasing after moving objects and mice, nuzzling the people she likes, hissing at those she doesn't.

If you've got kids, and/or cats, it'll be a hit. Sensitive-to-language parents should be advised, however, that Dutch people, even little kids, apparently toss the "s" word around with relative abandon.

Actually, there are only three instances of this in the film, but I was a little surprised by them in such an otherwise tame film. Nothing my kids haven't heard me say before.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Superman: Man of Steel trailer

Lone Ranger character posters

Deal alert: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Complete Series $31.99

Today only on Amazon: 8-DVD set in a nifty Mystery Van package for $31.99.

BBC radio this week: Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger; Bram Stoker; Doctor Who; Goon Show; Ray Bradbury

Click the links to hear the following shows.

Arthur Conan Doyle - Professor Challenger: Doyle's irascible academic sets out on a bold mission to be recognised by Mother Earth.

Bram Stoker: The Coming of Abel Behenna - Two rivals in love make a pact. Will it end in betrayal? Read by Dyfed Thomas.

Doctor Who: The Architects of History Pt. 4 - As the Selachians' grip tightens on Moon base, the Time Lord reveals his true purpose.

The Goon Show: The Seige of Fort Night - Seagoon sets off to ask Henry Crun to invent a waterproof gas stove. Stars Spike Milligan.

Ray Bradbury: Dark They Were, and Golden-eyed - How do the Earth people living on Mars cope when they discover there is no way back home?


Yes, even Sean Connery can look goofy sometimes

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Smokey Robinson rarity "What Love Has Joined Together" gets digital re-release

A collector's item on CD and LP, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' What Love Has Joined Together is now available in download form.

The New Yorker has this appreciation:
The album is an oddity in many ways. For starters, it’s only six songs long, with a running time of twenty-seven minutes. It opens with the title song, a reworked and extended version of a Miracles song originally recorded in 1962 and covered by acts such as Mary Wells and the Temptations. Whether that counts as an original is debatable, but it’s the only song on the record that even comes close. The other songs are standards by Stevie Wonder (“My Cherie Amour”), Bacharach and David (“This Guy’s in Love with You,” originally recorded by Herb Alpert), and Lennon and McCartney (“And I Love Her”), along with two Motown chestnuts—Marvin Gaye’s “If This World Were Mine,” which he recorded as a duet with Tammi Terrell, and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” a Brenda Holloway hit co-written by Berry Gordy that was later a huge hit for Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The songs, all similarly themed, all handled at roughly the same tempo, flow together; Robinson’s vocals, high and sweet, float over meticulous harmonies and lavish string and horn arrangements.
I'm a big fan of Smokey and Motown, but I guess not enough of one to have heard this LP.
Now I want to.

New pics from Doctor Who "Hide"

Pics from the latest ep of "Doctor Who."

New Star Trek Into Darkness posters