Sunday, May 31, 2009

So much to blog about, so little time! But Cowboy and Dano are "reading" a National Geographic together (Cowboy explains the pictures to Dano, who points to things and asks, "What's that?"), so I'll take these few minutes to get caught up.

A guy we knew in college, Steve Corona, has a small part in an episode of In Plain Sight on USA tonight at 10 EST. We don't get any TV channels, but I'm going to watch it on tomorrow. Check it out if you can! I'm very excited to know someone in the movie biz.

I went to see Wolverine again today. Mmmmm. Definitely loved it again. So much, that I drove to Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target looking for the soundtrack. I remember when you could buy movie soundtracks at such stores, not so many years ago. Now they just have Hannah Montana and movies I've never heard of. So I ordered it online at I think it will be good writing music. Of course, I'm gearing up to finish my 4th novel, Salem, and this would be better music for writing actiony stuff like Combat! fanfic, but I'll be writing more of that eventually. And I haven't gotten a CD in a long time.

My Huggermugger store is starting to take off -- I've had a whole bunch of sales in the past month, as well as some trades. I've got some cool new items, so stop by and check those out!

Let's see, what else? I got a Burt Lancaster movie out of the library again this week, so I'll no doubt be discussing that later this week. I also got a couple new books out, including Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs -- it's the first of the books that spawned the TV show Bones :-D I'll probably blog about that either here or on my writing blog once I've read it. Speaking of which, I need to go review a book over there, and I think I'll get a start on that now. Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm starting to like Burt Lancaster. A lot.

That makes sense, you say. He's got massive shoulders. He's an Old Hollywood movie star, and Hamlette loves old movies. He made westerns and war movies, and Hamlette loves those kinds of movies. He's got a boyish charm, a quick grin, and a smooooth voice. Of course Hamlette likes him.

But for most of my 29 years, I haven't liked him. I haven't hated him -- I haven't avoided his movies, or at least not often. I just thought he was boring. Vanilla. White bread. Bland and uninteresting. Granted, I'd only seen him in a couple movies, like Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and From Here to Eternity, but he was pretty dull in them, so I didn't bother looking for more.

Then DKoren told me last year that one of her all-time favorite movies is The Professionals, which stars Lancaster and Lee Marvin and is a fun western romp. A few months later, I was at my parents' house and discovered that my dad had two copies of The Professionals. Sometimes that happens to him, because he can't always remember if he has a movie or not. When Johnnycake and I were home, he'd always ask us before buying a new movie, and we could tell him if he had it or not. But now we're gone, so sometimes he finds a movie he thinks looks good, buys it, and then I come to visit and discover he's got two copies of it. Anyway, Dad gave me one of his copies, and I watched it sometime during the winter.

And Burt Lancaster wasn't boring in it! He was sarcastic and sly and sexy, with a twinkle in his eye and a trick up his sleeve.

So I decided maybe I'd have to give him a second chance. But, my life being what it is, I didn't get around to watching one of his movies until this week. I saw Birdman of Alcatraz. And I loved it. And I loved Burt Lancaster. He was subtle, he was angry, he was loud, he was quiet, he was just plain cool. And did I mention he has the broadest pair of shoulders I've seen on a man since, oh, David Boreanaz?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So to celebrate Bobby Darin's birthday today, I was going to link to a whole bunch of videos on YouTube like usual, but I found one that just blows the others out of the water for me, so I'm only posting it. Here's Bobby Darin singing "Sweet Caroline," my favorite Neil Diamond song.

I have never heard this before, and I am now longing to find it on cd somewhere. He sings it so slow, sweet, tender... and then there's that ending! Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Happy 73rd birthday, darling Bobby ♥

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What a summer for fun movies! I went to see Star Trek today, and treated myself to a cherry slushie since it's Mother's Day. Now, I didn't love this like I loved Wolverine, but that's okay. I didn't expect to. In fact, I was quite prepared to hate it if necessary, to erase the whole thing from my memory. Fortunately, I don't have to.

First and foremost, I have to say that the actors portraying Baby Kirk, Baby Spock, Baby Bones, and Baby Scotty (which is how I keep thinking of them) were amazingly good match-ups for those characters' original incarnations. Chris Pine, who played Baby Kirk, had Bill Shatner down pat. The swagger, the grin, the cocky smirk, the captain's-chair-sprawl-and-lean -- he did everything but imitate Shatner's oft-mocked dialog delivery. Of course, since Jim Kirk has ever been my favorite character, I may have been paying a wee bit more attention to details like those, both in the original series and in this ;-) I'd say I was second-most impressed with Karl Urban as Baby Bones. I've loved Urban ever since he played Eomer in the Lord of the Rings, and I have to admit I was really curious about this casting. But he had Bones' drawl, laconic attitude, and perpetually worried expression in spades. Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg were also great as Baby Spock and Baby Scotty, and also had ther moments where they were spot-on perfect, but they had a lot of help from prosthetics or a strong accent to get them into their characters.

Baby Uhura was a beauty, Baby Chekov was cute and smart, and Baby Sulu got a nifty sword. They were all acceptable. Bruce Greenwood made a lovely Capt. Christopher Pike, and I wish he'd had more screentime.

The real surprise in the cast for me was Eric Bana! He acted! Honest! I'm usually bored to tears by him, but he was actually having fun as the renegade Romulan -- he totally needs to play villains from now on.

As for the plot... it's about time travel. I tried hard not to think about it too much. Leonard Nimoy had a nice chunk of screentime and I was happy for him. Oh, and I probably should mention they had me in tears before the opening credits. Never after, though. I did laugh quite a bit, as did lots of others in the theater. And we clapped at the end :-D

A bit of spoilage:

So, um, Baby Uhura and Baby Spock? Yeeeeeah, what was up with that? I really felt like they just threw that in to spice things up a little and not let Baby Kirk get all the kissing scenes. Totally unneccessary, IMHO, and I wish they hadn't gone there, as it has all sorts of implications and repercussions that I don't want to think about. Now, Baby Uhura catching Baby Kirk hiding under her roommate's bunk in his tighty-whities? That worked for me, because sometimes Uhuhra does get this glint of amusement in her eye when interacting with Kirk, and this works as what she could be remembering.

And, they're sooooo going to have to do another one, because Amanda Greyson is still alive in the series. Yeah, need to fix that. Also, Jim needs a brother. And a dad. Ahem.

So anyway, if I hadn't had my yearly slushie, I'd have given it two Warheads, because it got a bit soggy in that bit where Baby Kirk was running around the Ice Planet Hoth.

Oh, a note about the Romulan ship and Spock's shuttle -- was anyone else thinking Firely? The Romulan ship really reminded me of something the Reavers might fly, and Spock's shuttle's rear section was really remeniscent of Firefly-class ships like Serenity.

So, I'd totally see this again on DVD, and I'm all psyched to rewatch the original series now. I believe I can watch all of them for free on, so I may just start going through the series from the beginning -- there are actually quite a few eps I haven't seen, even though I've loved Classic Star Trek for a couple years longer than I've loved Combat! (not that I've seen all the eps of that, either). Also, I might see if I can get this soundtrack, cuz it had lots of percussion and horns, which I love.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy birthday, Rodolfo Guglielmi!

I know I usually post a bunch of YouTube vignettes in honor of Rudy's birthday, but Dano is insisting we go play outside. Since this is the first day it hasn't rained since Friday, I'm inclined to acquiesce to his request. So I'll just link you to this one, which starts with footage from the 88 American Beauties contest, has random candid footage in the middle, and ends with the best bit from "The Shiek's Physique." Enjoy!
Dude, they're doing an NCIS spinoff! And it's going to star Chris O'Donnell!!!

Thanks to Dano taking a lengthy afternoon nap, I just watched the two latest eps of NCIS on, which provide backstory for the characters in the new show. Ultra cool. I can't wait to watch this new show! And how cool that NCIS, itself a spinoff from JAG, is jumpstarting shows now.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009) -- Initial Thoughts

Halfway through Wolverine this afternoon, I hugged my popcorn bag to me, overwhelmed with sorrow and pity for the tragic hero before me. I actually wanted to hug Wolvie, of course, but the popcorn bag was the best I could do. I didn't relinquish my hold on it until the final credits started rolling.

I was really worried about this movie. I've loved this character since I was in high school, before the movies ever came out, and I've read quite a few comics revolving around him, and if they'd screwed this movie up, I would have been bitterly disappointed. Angry, even. And there were a lot of ways they could have screwed it up.

But they didn't. In fact, I thought they did a remarkably good job of taking Wolverine's long, convoluted, sometimes contradictory, always somewhat ambiguous backstory and making it into a cohesive and comprehensible movie. That's not to say I loved everything about it, but my objections are small, nitpicky, and not worth mentioning. And far outweighed by my approval.

As usual, Hugh Jackman brings just the right blend of ferocity, rage, and vulnerability to the role, nailing Wolvie's swagger and sneer as well as his underlying dignity and honor. Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice; Jackman is the best I can imagine at playing Wolvie, and what he does is very nice indeed.

Most of the other casting is also superb. Liev Schrieber as Sabertooth stands toe-to-toe with Woverine very convincingly. Taylor Kitsch makes a delightful Gambit. Lynn Collins has the right blend of earthy and ethereal beauty to bring Silver Fox to life. And while I prefer Brian Cox's smirking portrayal of Stryker in X2: X-men United, Danny Huston's is adequate (but he lacks his grandfather Walter's fire, I'm afraid.)

The following musings are spoilage-heavy, so read them only is you want to be spoiled.

One of the things I liked best about Wolverine was the way they tied in so many things from the previous three movies as well as from the comics, even some comics that didn't involve Wolvie. For instance, The Blob was first encountered in a very early volume of the original Uncanny X-men back in the 60s. And we see here how Wolvie gets that leather jacket he's wearing years later when he meets Rogue in the first X-Men movie (though he leaves it in Gambit's plane, so we'll see if they have Gambit give it back to him in a sequel or something). Those are my two favorite examples, but there are obviously so many more. And I loved loved loved Professor Xavier making an appearance! Total surprise to me, and it rocked my world. Also, Cyke wasn't very annoying, and that was pleasant :-D

Anyway, if you haven't seen this yet, Stay Through All The Credits.

I'd give this one Warhead, though I actually ate part of a bag of popcorn instead because I was there with a friend and we splurged on treats. Which was a good thing, cuz hugging an empty Warhead wrapper through half the movie wouldn't have had the same comforting effect.

Friday, May 01, 2009

How do I love Wolvie? Let me count the ways.
I love Wolvie to the depth and breadth his
Claws can slash. My love for Wolverine is
More than some swift-passing adolescent craze.
I love Wolvie when his steely, sidelong gaze
Says more than any quip. Yet, when he says,
"Them's fightin' words, Bub," that too is pure bliss.
I love Wolvie, who, with a cigar always
Clamped between his teeth, will sneer and snarl and growl.
I love Wolvie as he wades into a fight,
I love the way he swaggers. I love his howl,
His berserker rage, even his lack of height.
What can I say? The Wolverine can prowl
My territory any day or night.