Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The BBC finally announced a few days ago that the first episode of the seventh season of Doctor Who will air on September 1 at 9pm in the USA on BBC America. This announcement came out on August 22 – just ten days before the air date! The titles for the first five episodes were also recently released, as well as descriptions for the first three. I’ll leave out the descriptions, as they are somewhat spoilerific.
The titles of the Season 7 episodes are:
Season 7, episode 1 - Asylum of the Daleks, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran
Season 7, episode 2 - Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Saul Metzstein
Season 7, episode 3 - A Town called Mercy, written by Toby Whithouse, directed by Saul Metzstein
Season 7, episode 4 - The Power of Three, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Season 7, episode 5 - The Angels take Manhattan, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran
Enjoy the Doctor Who Season 7, first five episodes full trailer!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I read so many comics now, both on traditional paper and now digitally via ComiXology on my iPad (more on that in a future post); I don’t have time to keep up with all the fantastic web comics that have been cropping up the past several years. Thanks to the podcaster Stephanie Cooke at TALKING COMICS!, I relented to her continued support of Mike Norton’s web comic Battlepug and read the first few storylines. It was well worth the time it took to read it!
According to Mike, “Battlepug: The Web Comic was born out of desperate scramble to appease iFanboy. They contacted Mike to create a signature t-shirt for a new line of merch. However, Mike had been working exclusively with DC Comics for 4 years and had no original properties that he could reveal to the world yet. He drew the image you see above and had Allen color it. And lo, a BATTLEPUG was born!”
In case you’re like me and are unfamiliar with writer/artist Mike Norton, his web comic blub describes him thus:
Mike Norton has been working in comics for over 10 years now, gaining recognition for projects such as The Waiting Place and Jason and the Argobots. He’s made a name for himself working on books like Queen and Country, Gravity, Runaways, All-New Atom and Green Arrow/Black Canary, Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam, and Young Justice. He is currently drawing Marvel’s Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt, and his own weekly webcomic, Battlepug. He is also very, very tall.
Battlepug starts out with Moll and her dogs Mingo and Colfax, as she narrates the tale of "The Warrior and the Battlepug”. The saga is a tale of a fearless barbarian, his trusty and freakishly large pug, and his adventures as he battles a giant seal and many other assorted giant creatures! The story begins with the barbarian as a young child and his village is attacked, wiping out everyone. He is captured by the Kinmundy Northern Elves and forced to work as their slave until he grows into a man. The giant seal that killed his family years before attacks the Kinmundy and our hero is given his freedom after saving their village. To say more would spoil the surprises that await you on the web pages of Battlepug!
Read the preview pages below and you’ll see how Mike Norton’s cartoonish style is able to not only convey the unique humor of the story, but also the human drama and quirky pathos of the characters.
For more information – or to start reading Battlepug right away – go to: http://battlepug.com/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


In the sixth part of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- which I've titled "Zombeatnik’s Psychic Zone" -- Zombzany gives a less-than-flattering introduction to another modern zombie movie in the marathon, bemoaning the fact that he can’t just run White Zombie again.

Zombzany shows the last of his rare video tapes from his Archives Vault during this marathon. This video is another of his failed TV programs, utilizing a character he created in his early Television days. Zombeatnik’s Psychic Zone was to be a psychic hotline call-in program, where people could call in to Zombeatnik the Hip Psychic to get answers to questions about their problems. Zombeatnik would enter into the Psychic Plane and rap with various dead celebrities to confer with them on his caller’s difficulties. In this this particular episode, Zombeatnik receives a call from an alleged regular client, who Zombeatnik refers to as “Big Daddy” Bill.

Following the Psychic Zone, Zombzany introduces the last zombie film of the marathon. It is without a doubt the worst film of the evening and Zombzany doesn’t even try to hide his contempt of it.

Enjoy Part Six of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- Zombeatnik’s Psychic Zone!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


"If you like your sci-fi light on science and heavy on fiction, Lockout makes for a diverting ninety-five minutes of escapist entertainment."
Science fiction, Action and Thriller
Starring - Guy Pearce/Snow, Maggie Grace/Emilie Warnock, Vincent Regan/Alex, Joseph Gilgun/Hydell, Lennie James/Harry Shaw, Peter Stormare/Scott Langral, Jacky Ido/Hock and Tim Plester/John James Mace
Director(s) - James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Writer(s) - Stephen St. Leger, James Mather and Luc Besson (original idea)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references.
Runtime - 95 min.

Despite the ham-fisted acting by most of the cast, the inconsistent futuristic tech and the sheer implausibility of the concept – I loved Lockout! Lockout is one of those sci-fi films that as you’re watching it you are quietly criticizing its considerable improbabilities, all the while laughing at the bad jokes and enjoying the sheer audacity of the paper-thin characters and plot! If that doesn’t qualify Lockout as a bonafide guilty pleasure – well I don’t know the definition of the term.

The previously mentioned “paper-thin plot” begins with CIA agent Snow being interrogated by Secret Service director Scott Langral. Snow has been arrested for the murder of undercover agent Frank Armstrong who was part of a CIA operation to uncover evidence of an agent selling state secrets about the space program. Snow answers every question with a smart-alecky comment, which is promptly followed by a punch to his face by a thug assisting Langral.

[Side note] A sample of this exchange sets the tone of Lockout perfectly:
Langral: Again, what happened in that hotel room? Snow: Oh, it was coupon night and I was trampolining your wife. [Snow is punched in the face] Langral: You're a real comedian aren't you, Snow? Snow: Well I guess that's why they call it the punch line. [Snow is punched again] Langral: You don't like me, do you? Snow: Don't flatter yourself. I don't like anybody. Langral: With that attitude, I can see why nobody likes you. Snow: Oh, come on. People love me. Just ask your wife. [Snow is punched again]

Back to the “paper-thin plot”: The daughter of US President Warnock arrives at the maximum security space penitentiary - MS One - to investigate claims that stasis might affect prisoners' minds, which she believes is leading to psychopathy and dementia. Emilie Warnock is interviewing Hydell, a psychotic murderer-rapist, who steals Emilie’s bodyguard’s hidden gun and uses it to escape to the control room, where he forces the operator to release the rest of the prisoners from stasis. The prisoners take control of the space station, capture the remaining crew of the MS One, and threaten to kill the hostages if they aren’t released.
Snow's agent friend Harry Shaw offers him a chance at clemency if he will go to the MS One and rescue the President’s daughter. Snow agrees, but only if Shaw tells him where Snow's contact Mace is, as he knows where Frank's briefcase containing the stolen secrets is hidden. Shaw informs Snow that Mace has already been incarcerated in MS One and that if he wants the information, he could do it during his mission. Arrangements are made and Snow is shuttled to the station, where he enters in a space suit in free-fall via a secret access panel.

Meanwhile, Emilie has escaped from the rest of the hostages with her bodyguard, but they are soon trapped in a room hiding from the prisoners and the oxygen is running out. Snow locates Emilie and attempts to bring her to the emergency escape pod, but first he wants to find Mace before he escapes himself. Emilie demands to tag along and the two brave massive odds against them in their gambit to find Mace, elude the convicts and escape the space station.
The silly premise of Lockout, which deliberately pays homage to action films like Die Hard and Escape from New York, works for one reason: Guy Pearce’s performance as Agent Snow! Guy Pierce channels the clipped speech of Willis’ John McClane perfectly! Pierce’s dry, droll delivery of the constant barrage of sarcastic dialogue that he is given in Lockout makes it work. Snow recites the entire plot of the film in this speech: “Don't get me wrong. It's a dream vacation. I mean, I load up. I go into space. I get inside the maximum-security nuthouse. Save the President's daughter, if she's not dead already. Get past all the psychos who've just woken up. I'm thrilled that you would think of me.” It shouldn’t work, but it does! Guy is also quite believable in the many action sequences he performs in. In one of the more exciting, yet silly fight scenes, Snow has to jump over a huge chamber, which is producing an artificial field. Just as Snow makes his push, he is grabbed by an inmate and they proceed to exchange blows while fighting against the turning blades of the anti-gravitational devise. This scene is both simultaneously rousing and preposterous; which sums up the entire film in a nutshell.

It is somewhat unfair to criticize the production values of Lockout, as for a film made on a purported budget of $20,000,000 dollars; it looks as if it had a much larger budget. The interiors of the space station look large and are crammed with many dirty details that give it a real feeling of being used and lived in. The CGI is adequate in most areas. The only sequence that didn’t work for me was the early scene where Snow is attempting to escape on a futuristic motor bike. The blurring of the CGI background looked unrealistic and took me out of the scene. Fortunately, the film doesn’t rely on CGI as heavily as more expensive science fiction films for the action sequences and this gives it a slightly more genuine feeling. The designs of the future tech are quite imaginative: particularly the design of the MS One itself. Because of this, one fault that stands out is the shuttle ships. Lockout takes place in the year 2079, yet the shuttles look like slightly modified NASA space shuttles, which first launched on April 12, 1981!
If you like your sci-fi light on science and heavy on fiction, Lockout makes for a diverting ninety-five minutes of escapist entertainment.

TECHNICAL: Acting – 7 Directing – 8 Cinematography – 8 Script – 7 Special Effects – 9
VISCERAL: Visual – 9 Auditory – 8 Intellectual – 6 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 10
TOTAL - 81

Monday, August 13, 2012


Podcast of the Month for August 2012 is:
The Comic Book Podcast|Talking Comics!

I listen to several different comic book podcasts every week. I enjoy listening to these – for the most part – comic book fans discuss the latest comic book news and  - more importantly – their latest favorite comic books from that week. The Comic Book Podcast posted weekly by the folks at Talking Comics is not the oldest of comic book podcasts. In fact, they have only been podcasting since October 12th of 2011. However, they very quickly found their format, their niche, and most importantly their personality and for me that makes them one of the best comic book podcasts.
The podcast is made up of four comic book fans:
Bobby Shortle is the Editor-In-Chief of the Talking Comics website and is the Podcast Host. Bobby describes himself as having “had plenty of podcasting experience and one might even consider him a podcast guru (like the rest of the Talking Comics podcast crew).” In addition to founding and contributing to the Talking Comics web site and podcast, Bobby works on Fanboy Remix, Doctor Whocast and The Man Cave Podcast.
Stephanie Cooke is the Associate Editor/Community Manager of the Talking Comics website and is a Podcast Co-Host. Stephanie describes herself as “a lover of video games armed with a PS3, Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, PSP, and a DS as my weapons of choice. Additionally, she is an avid reader and lover of all things relating to comic books and books in general. While being a fan of so many of the platforms within the geek culture, she also loves to kick it old school with her rad collection of board games. You can always find her rocking out to her favorite music or devouring movies by the handful. Should you be lucky enough, you can also choose to marvel at her epic collections of comic book figures, movie memorabilia and more.”
Steve Seigh is the Executive Editor and is a Podcast Co-Host. Steve describes himself as “a master of video games and an avid concertgoer. He is quite possibly the male equivalent to a crazy cat lady and lives in a magical world called New York. Steve also enjoys long walks on the beach (with his cat, Moo Moo), cooking exotic pancakes and watching movies. When he’s not writing for Talking Comics, you can find him over at JoBlo.com where Steve writes a bi-weekly column all about animation called Ink & Pixel.
Bob Ryer is the resident Comic Book Historian and a Podcast Co-Host. Bob may not contribute to the web site, or participate in the other social media sites for Talking Comics. However, his comic book reading experiences go back to the early days of Marvel and DC and his ready knowledge of the history of comics is a valuable asset to the podcast.
The format for The Comic Book Podcast|Talking Comics is simple: They begin each cast with each podcaster giving their Comic Book Pick of the Week. Most times these picks consist of the latest superhero releases from Marvel or DC, but they do occasionally delve into comics published by Image, Dark Horse, IDW and comic book companies that publish non-superhero comics. Stephanie Cooke is the most ardent supporter of the “Independent” publishers and also recommends web comics from time to time.
Most often they follow this with Comic Book News, where they discus what the latest comic book stories could mean to their fellow comic book fans. In their latest podcast “Issue #43: Marvel Movie News, Marvel Now Teams and July Sales” they spent over forty-five minutes discussing the writer and artists teams that were announced for the forthcoming Marvel Now books!
They then spend time on the podcast by answering questions from listeners who send in various comics related queries via email, Facebook or Twitter. This often reveals more about the tastes of the podcasters than any other segment on the podcast.
Every podcast ends with Bobby reading all the comic book titles released during that week and his fellow podcasters are encouraged to join in with a  yeah or nay!

They also occasionally veer from their weekly format and do entire shows dedicated to specific topics or feature shows dedicated to interviews with comic book creators. On a special podcast titled “Women in Comics Podcast: Trina Robbins” from July 20, they did both. In fact, during the week of July 16 through July 20, they did four separate podcasts featuring Women in Comics and did interviews with Kelly Sue DeConnick, Fiona Staples, as well as the afore mentioned Trina Robbins.
I like this podcast because like my other favorite podcasts it feels like you are getting together with your fellow comic book fans and discussing what your latest favorite comic books are. They definitely focus on the positive side of the hobby and don’t tend to hate on things they don’t like for too long. If you are a comic book reader like me, you should definitely try The Comic Book Podcast|Talking Comics!
For more information on their podcast: http://talkingcomicbooks.com/

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


In the fifth part of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- which I've titled "Mission Improba-bill" -- Zombzany gives a brief introduction to yet another zombie movie in the marathon, apologizing for the lack of the quality of the films thus far.

Zombzany, apparently still in a sharing mood, shows another rare video tape from his Archives Vault. This video is a comedy sketch from one of his previous hosting gigs entitled “Mission Improba-bill”. In this sketch, Bill E. Bones plots to eliminate Zombzany so that he and his fellow zombie slaves will be free once and for all from Zombzany’s tyranny. The sketch is an obvious parody of the TV show Mission Impossible, but unlike that program, Bill’s mission is anything but a success.

After the sketch, Zombzany introduces another zombie film. Unlike the others, this one he gives reverent treatment to, as it is Zombzany’s favorite film of all time: White Zombie!

Enjoy Part Five of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- Mission Improba-bill!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


“While Total Recall isn’t the deepest or most complex of science fiction films, it is full of enough exciting action and captivating characters to hold your interest until its spectacular climax!”
Science Fiction, Action and Espionage
Starring - Colin Farrell/Douglas Quaid & Hauser, Kate Beckinsale/Lori Quaid, Jessica Biel/Melina, Bryan Cranston/Cohaagen, Bokeem Woodbine/Harry and Bill Nighy/Matthias
Director – Len Wiseman
Writer(s) - Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback screenplay based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity and language.
Runtime - 118 min
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: Total Recall - despite the title – is not a remake of the 1990 film of the same name. If you were a fan of the original film, also very loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", than nothing I can say will convince you that this new movie is worth spending your time and money to see at the theater. Conversely, if you disliked the 1990 film, there is a chance you will like this film, but still be confused as to why they bothered to make another film with the same title, but with a completely different setting and plot. I don’t have an answer to the later question, but I will attempt to explain why I think Total Recall is a good, if somewhat flawed, science fiction film.
The setting for Total Recall is 2084 in which most of the surface of Earth has been made uninhabitable by a global nuclear war. Two areas are left inhabitable: The former British Isles now run by the United Federation of Britain and the continent of Australia, now dubbed The Colony. Workers commute daily between the two nations via a massive underground gravity elevator which travels through the Earth’s core.
Douglas Quaid is one of those commuters. He travels from his small apartment in the crowded capital of the UFB to a manufacturing complex in The Colony, to work on an assembly line manufacturing armored police robots. Tiring of this life and his recurring nightmares, Quaid visits Rekall, a company that promises to implant memories to help him escape his mundane existence. Instead, before the Rekall procedure even begins, they discover Quaid has already been implanted with memories and accuse him of being a UFB spy. This sets off a series of alarms and Quaid is surrounded by security officers before he can escape. Quaid kills all the officers with unknown skill and escapes home to his wife Lori. When Quaid confesses to Lori what has happened, she reveals the truth about their relationship and Quaid finds himself on the run from his past life that he knows little about.
Total Recall is essentially a futuristic spy story. The memory implantation technology devise is used only to set up the true narrative of Quaid’s previous life [SPOILER] as an agent for the USB and how he was used to infiltrate a resistance movement that is attempting to free The Colony from the USB’s influence. I am not adverse to using futuristic technology as a devise to hang a more conventional plot on and Total Recall does make use of one very important piece of future tech to implement an important plot point on. Unfortunately for me, this bit of technology did not seem plausible to me. The idea that you could boar a hole large enough to fit a “gravity elevator” large enough to transport hundreds of people doesn’t seem feasible to me. The Earth’s core is theorized to be made up of solid iron–nickel alloy under millions of pounds of pressure and has an estimated temperature of 9,800 ° Fahrenheit! Let’s say materials could be made to withstand these significant obstacles, common sense tells you that England is not the geological antipode of Australia. A quick search on an antipodal map shows that the antipode of England is about 1000 km southeast of New Zealand and the antipode of Australia is several 1000s of km west of Spain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! While this works well as a metaphor for the opposition between the UFB and The Colony, it would have been nice if the writers could have done a bit more research to work around these physical improbabilities.
My scientific quibbles notwithstanding, I did enjoy Total Recall overall. The complex relationships between Quaid, his wife and his other love interest make for some fantastic physical confrontations. The plot of Quaid’s past is reveled quickly enough so that the majority of the film is taken over by his conflict with his former and current alliances. The film rushes along at a fantastic rate and culminates with a very satisfying visceral conclusion.
Colin Farrell as our hero Douglas Quaid is serviceable, if somewhat uninspiring. Jessica Biel is believable and fairly complex as Melinda the resistance agent. Kate Beckinsale as Lori Quaid really steals the show! She is terrifying and gorgeous at the same time! The many fight scenes between her and Farrell are both disturbing and realistic at the same time. Another nice character twist is played by Bokeem Woodbine, who plays Quaid’s friend and co-worker at the beginning of the film, but transforms into a completely different character lateR in the film.
The look of Total Recall is deep, rich and very immersive! The digital mat work is seamless and I kept looking at the cityscapes trying to figure out what was a real set and what was digital and I could not. I loved the sleek look of the flying cars, the detailed cacophony of massive infrastructure supporting the towering buildings and the details in the crowded roadways and sidewalks. It did have quite a few similarities to the look of Blade Runner, but there were enough differences to keep it from being a complete knock off.
While Total Recall isn’t the deepest or most complex of science fiction films, it is full of enough exciting action and captivating characters to hold your interest until its spectacular climax!
TECHNICAL: Acting – 9 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 8 Special Effects – 10
VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 10
TOTAL - 91

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Thank you for voting in the - Which of these films do you plan on seeing in July of 2012 – poll! The results to this month’s poll were slightly less enthusiastic than last month’s; still most of you were excited by at least two of July’s blockbuster movie releases. Of the twelve people who voted, the overwhelming majority voted for one film.  The top vote getter for July was The Dark Knight Rises which received 10 votes (83%)! Coming in at a not-too- distant second place was The Amazing Spiderman with 6 votes (50%). Falling way behind in third place was The Watch with only 2 votes (16%). In last place was Ice Age: The Continental Drift with only one vote (8%).

I didn’t see any of the July genre films at the theater. Of the four films, I was most interested in see The Amazing Spiderman and had every intention of seeing it, but just never found the time. From the many written reviews I read and the several podcast reviews I listened to, I think I might have liked it better than the three previous Raimi Spiderman films, but I think I’d still have some quibbles with it too. The Dark Knight Rises was both a financial and (mostly) critical success. I’m pleased that Christopher Nolan was allowed to complete his vision of The Batman, but I’m hopeful that when DC/Warner reboots the character, they will make Batman a part of a larger DC superhero cinematic universe that will eventually lead to a Justice League film. The Watch was both a financial disappointment and a critical failure. I can only hope that the film goers are finally tiring of these raunchy R-rated comedies, but I have a feeling that the people who like this type of humor did not like it mixed with sci-fi. Ice Age: The Continental Drift topped $100 million in just two weeks, so it’s safe to say that most CGI-animated films will continue to do well at the box office. Based on recent polls on GotG!, it’s also safe to say that readers of this blog are in general not interested in CGI-animated films, so I don’t feel to guilty about not watching or reviewing the vast majority of them.

Thank you all for voting on this month’s poll! There are now twelve of you who may consider yourselves Genre Guardian Generals! Anyone who has seen The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman, The Watch or Ice Age: The Continental Drift at the theater, please leave a quick comment here and let me know what you thought of it.


Once again on the right column of this page, you will see at the top of the column the next poll that I’ve posted. As always, this poll includes the titles and release dates of all the major SF, Fantasy or Horror films that are being distributed to movie theaters in the month of August for 2012. They are: Total Recall (August 3), ParaNorman (August 17), The Apparition (August 24) and The Possession (August 31). As always, I’d appreciate anyone who reads GUARDIANS OF THE GENRE! to place a vote for any of these films that you plan on seeing at the theater.

The only film of these four that I definitely plan on seeing at the theater is Total Recall. For reasons that I stated in my TRAILERTUESDAY! TOTAL RECALL: TOO SOON TO REMAKE? post, I am really looking forward to this film. While the concept and the animation are suitably creepy, ParaNorman just doesn’t interest me. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, who were responsible for Corpse Bride and Coraline – both of which I still haven’t seen, nor will I likely ever see – I’m fairly certain that ParaNorman is a film I can safely pass on as well. The Apparition is the type of slick horror film from Dark Castle that I love to watch around Halloween. Hopefully, the blu-ray disc of The Apparition will be available for rent by then, because that is how I will be watching it. I’m not sure The Possession is worth a rental, as it seems like so many other toothless PG-13-rated horror films that have been pumped out in the last decade or so.
Let me know what films you’ll be seeing on the big screen by participating in this month’s new poll!