Sunny Jhanna

Bienvenidos a Sunny Jhanna, el sitio oficial de Las crónicas de Dae y Ruled by Spiders. ¡Gracias por visitarnos y regresad pronto!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

SDCC07 Highlights

The world-famous San Diego ComicCon ended on Sunday, and for the first time ever it was sold out. The wonderful cable network G4 has been reporting live from the San Diego Convention Center, and their site has been updated several times a day since last Thursday. You can go there and check out all the videos and news, or you can read my summary and follow whatever link looks exciting to you. They all go to the G4 site, so it's not as if there's a lot of variety. But there is a ton of videos!

Attack of the Show host Olivia Munn (I love her) interviews Jon Favreau about the upcoming Iron Man movie.

Steve Carell offers some insights from his new film, the surely hilarious movie based on Get Smart, that legendary TV show. (I saw the preview when I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I laughed out loud.)

Futurama comes back from cancellation with a movie in November.

Sir Ridley Scott talks about the new Blade Runner edition, coming soon to theaters and DVD.
More on that here.

Attack of the Show host Kevin Pereira (I love this guy too) keeps harassing Missy Peregrym from Heroes.

Listen to director Zack Snider's musings about the 300 DVD and his new movie, the eagerly anticipated Watchmen.

There is a Lego Indiana Jones in the making. I bet Halagan will love this little piece of news, so he can visit the official site here. (There is a trailer too!)

Monday, July 30, 2007

¡En dos de!

Por fin se estrenó el viernes The Simpsons Movie, para alegría de unos y decepción de otros. Afortunadamente para mí, me encuentro en el primer grupo, no como Halagan. ¿Por qué? Veamos…

La verdad es que no tenía muchas expectativas cuando fui a ver la película. Me esperaba que fuera un episodio largo de la serie que fuera representativo de lo que normalmente se ve en la serie, y que pudiera ser independiente de la misma: que alguien que jamás haya visto la serie en dieciocho años -lo que sería algo difícil- pueda ir a ver la película y disfrutarla -claro que, si alguien no ha tenido el menor interés en la serie en dieciocho años, es bastante improbable que sea uno de los idiotas que decide pagar por algo que puede tener gratis en la tele-. Por otro lado, diré que hace cinco años que dejé de ver la serie, con lo que tal vez no sufro el hastío que otros fans tal vez padezcan, y alguna broma que pudiera ser repetitiva a mí no me lo pareció; pero eso es más especulativo que otra cosa, claro.

Halagan dice que esta peli se queda a medio camino al tratar de ser más que un episodio, pero lo que yo me pregunto es si realmente es eso lo que han intentado Groening y compañía. He leído en varios sitios que lo que los creadores del fenómeno amarillo no querían hacer era coger cuatro episodios y pegarlos, sino que querían contar una historia que tuviera unidad y que representara lo que la serie es. Y, sinceramente, creo que es eso exactamente lo que han conseguido. La historia tiene unidad y en ningún momento me pareció inconexa o con escenas gratuitas o que no avanzaran la trama o mostraran aspectos de la misma; y el resultado es un episodio largo -que no una amalgama de ellos- que, si bien no es el mejor de la serie -y, admitámoslo: a ver qué dos fans se ponen de acuerdo en cuál es El Mejor-, es divertidísimo como pocos, y representativo de lo que serie ha sido y es.

Los protagonistas son la familia Simpson con poca ayuda de los personajes secundarios. La población de Springfield aparece, pero son secundarios. Y me parece lógico, pues gran parte de la historia trata del núcleo familiar, y de las relaciones entre los miembros de la misma. ¿De verdad alguien querría una película en la que el protagonista es, por ejemplo, Mr. Burns? ¿O Moe? Yo no. Me gusta que estén ahí y que aparezcan, pero no creo que necesiten más protagonismo del que tienen. He leído que una de las primeras ideas para la película, hace ya años, se les ocurrió cuando los guionistas estaban desarrollando el mítico episodio del Krusty Kamp. Alguien dijo que podían alargarlo y convertirlo en una película, cosa que acabaron por no hacer. Y la verdad es que me alegro, porque aunque hubiera sido divertida, no me parece que hubiera sido representativo de la serie.

Con respecto a lo gracioso de la película, me sorprende que Hal y yo hayamos intercambiado completamente las posiciones en que nos encontramos al ver Pirates of the Caribbean 3. En aquélla, yo sonreí y él se rió bien a gusto; en Los Simpson, él ha sonreído, y yo me he desternillado. Y no ocasionalmente, sino cada pocos minutos. Los chistes, las gracias, las bromas y las barbaridades se siguen unas a otras a ritmo implacable, y son todas de un ocurrente y un divertido que ni yo -ni el resto de gente en la sala, por cierto- podíamos dejar de reírnos a mandíbula batiente. Hacía mucho tiempo que no me reía así de a gusto con una película -tal vez Hal y yo tengamos que ver I Know Who Killed Me para carcajearnos juntos, aunque por razones diferentes.

Sobre el aspecto gráfico no hay mucho que pueda decir, aunque me sorprende que Halagan esperara algo diferente. Como ya decían en uno de los trailers, "en el mundo de la perfección y la belleza sin par que las imágenes generadas por ordenador ofrecen, ésta es la película que se atreve a ser fea". Era entonces cuando salía el logo de The Simpsons Movie, y Moe aparecía y exclamaba, los brazos abiertos "In 2D!" Hubiera sido un crimen que hubieran cambiado el estilo de dibujo, coloreado, o animación para la película. Los productores decidieron que la película debía ser como la serie, nada de tratar de embellecerla. Y, sinceramente, a mí me parece muy bien dibujada. Como Futurama.

La película es corta, sí -87 minutos-, pero si hay críticos que dicen que el tipo de historias que nos ofrece la serie no dan para mucho más de veinte minutos, no sé de qué se quejan porque no se haya alargado el asunto más de la cuenta en la pantalla grande. Como ya he dicho antes, la película es representativa de la serie, y hasta en esto se nota.

En resumen, The Simpsons Movie (88% en Rotten Tomatoes), que no muy sorprendentemente ha sido la película más taquillera este fin de semana en los USA -$71,850,000 frente a los $19,062,945 de la número dos, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry-, es lo que yo personalmente esperaba que fuera: un ultradivertido y representativo episodio largo de la serie que no sólo te entretiene, sino que provoca risas constantes con sus docenas de inspirados gags y ocurrentes -e irreverentes- situaciones. Si esperas otra cosa que no sea esto, mejor no vayas a verla. Y si quieres pagar por algo que puedes tener gratis en la tele, entonces ve al cine y pregúntale a Homer qué piensa de ti.

The SimpsD'OH! (Annoyed Grunt)

Ya está, ya puedo morir tranquilo. Ya he visto Los Simpson: La Película. Y sinceramente, ¿qué puedo decir? Pues que no ha sido para tanto.

Todas las series que alguna vez han hecho alguna incursión en pantalla grande han tratado de evitar que el resultado sea uno de sus típicos episodios regulares, solo que de duración extralarga. Hace unos años, por ejemplo, South Park solventó la papeleta con nota alta. Los Simpson, por el contrario, se han quedado por el camino.

Los Simpson: La Película, no es más que un episodio de 80 minutos de duración dibujado como si fuera Futurama, pero en pantalla panorámica. Y, lo peor, es que es un episodio más largo de lo normal de uno de esos episodios más aburridos de lo normal. Si bien me pasé prácticamente toda la película sonriendo, no recuerdo haberme reído con ganas más de cuatro o cinco veces. Y eso es un bagaje muy escaso para el tipo de película del que estamos hablando. Demasiada promoción publicitaria, demasiada expectación, para lo que es el resultado final.

Mi segunda gran queja, tras la alarmante falta de momentos hilarantes, es la poca grandiosidad de la película. Sí, los Simpson viajan y se enfrentan con poderosos enemigos. Pero todo eso ya lo hemos visto en la serie. Durante 400 episodios, hemos visto a la familia Simpson viajar a Australia, Japón o Francia. Homer ha viajado al espacio, ha ganado un Grammy, e incluso ha encarnado a ese famoso superhéroe llamado Pastelman. Si su salto a la gran pantalla pretendía ser impactante, entonces hacía falta algo más, y en esta película ese plus por necesidad no se encuentra por ningún lado.

La trama es demasiado simple, y se pierde en si misma varias veces, tal y como haría uno de los típicos episodios de veintidós minutos durante su primera mitad. Exceptuando quizá el primer gag de todos, no hay NADA en este largometraje que lo pueda diferenciar de un episodio regular. Bueno, como ya he dicho los dibujos están mejor hechos y son panorámicos. Pero eso se sobreentiende. Sólo faltaría.

Por otro lado, la película se centra demasiado en el núcleo familar Simpson, y muy especialmente en Homer, con lo que absolutamente todo el resto de personajes habituales de Springfield han sido imperdonablemente infrautilizados. Ya sé que habría sido demasiado pedir que decenas de todos esos nuestros tan queridos personajes hubieran tenido un papel fundamental en la película, pero al menos me hubiera gustado ver a ciertos secundarios con un lugar más prominente en ella. Porque la película no llega siquiera a la hora y media de duración. ¿Quién ha dicho que las películas de animación no puedan durar un par de horas?
Treinta minutos más no le habrían hecho daño a nadie, creo yo. Bueno, quizá sí a los dibujantes, pero hemos esperado 18 años para disfrutar de esta película. A mí desde luego no me habría importado esperar un par de años mas.

Por suerte o por desgracia, mi negativa opinión sobre esta película no es compartida por todo el mundo. Si queréis leer la otra cara de la moneda, hoy más tarde podréis leer la crítica positiva de Finn5fel. En efecto, hoy tenemos Los Simpson en sesión doble. Como siempre, en Sunny Jhanna.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Marvelous Merchandise

I was reading this month's Wizard Magazine when I came across a few interesting items I thought I'd share with you. In no particular order, they are:

PacMan's skull… or maybe it is his full skeleton. I mean, how funny would it be to own this clever chunk of plastic?

The Abduction Lamp: an incredibly cool lamp with a cow (or a human) being abducted. What can I say, other than the truth is out there?

Goonies action figures. I know Halagan loves this movie, so he might want to get some of these.

At ThinkGeek.com you can find scores of cool products, from the binary pillow (for cutting-edge naps) to the quite interesting 8-bit tie that I wouldn't dare wearing, but that cracks me up. Or the Care of Magical Creatures plush book from the Harry Potter movies (super cute!). Or something Alberto might like: the adorable Monty Python's Killer Rabbits slippers. Or maybe the Blade Runner umbrella. And let's not forget the hilarious JW t-shirt, which everybody at Sunny Jhanna should own.

Anyway, let me know if you get any of these treasures!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's Just Your Soul

I already knew about Reaper because Kevin Smith talks about his experience directing it on Smodcast 8, a fun installment of the director's podcast series, but the trailer has at last been unveiled, and you can see it here.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Reaper is a new TV series that premieres this fall on The CW, home of the wonderful Smallville. Basically, Reaper tells the story of a guy that, on his 21st birthday discovers his parents sold his soul to the devil a long time ago (such nice parents!), and now he's forced to be Satan's bounty hunter, so to speak. And for some reason (maybe some CW exec had seen Dogma, maybe they think this show has the same target audience Smith's films have), they asked Kevin Smith to direct the pilot. As I said before, I first heard of this project on the eighth installment of Smodcast, in which Smith rants about how horrible it was not to have the final word on the product. If you know anything about the director, you'll know he always writes and directs his own movies, so he is used to pretty much doing whatever the heck he wants to do. But not with Reaper. He had been looking forward to doing something like this, to see if he was able to direct something he hadn't written, and even though he kind of enjoyed some of it, he says he doesn't want to do it ever again. For more details about how Smith feels about it, check the podcast.

After listening to all this, I was certainly curious to check out the show --at least the first episode, since that's the one he directed. And now that I've seen the (long) trailer, I must say that it looks like a lot of fun. At least that first episode. I think it has an interesting premise that could be developed into a cool sci-fi/fantasy show. And since we all like fantasy and sci-fi here at Sunny Jhanna, we might want to check it out when it premieres. For the time being, enjoy the preview.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum…

No hace mucho comentaba en el blog de Jorge que el reputado director Robert Zemeckis estaba preparando una película de animación basada en Beowulf, escrita ni más ni menos que por Neil Gaiman y Roger Avary. Y trece días después de mis sesudos comentarios, se ha desvelado el teaser trailer de la película, que podéis disfrutar aquí. Visualmente es una delicia, y las voces de -entre otros- Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie y John Malkovich hacen que también sea un festín para los oídos (o algo igual de cursi). El caso es que aquí tenéis el trailer para vuestro goce y disfrute personal, a ver qué os parece.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Parpadea y te lo pierdes

Ahí va una prueba de que los Blogueadores Oficiales del Reino no somos los únicos obsesionados con Monkey Island, incluso después de haber pasado ya tantos años desde su lanzamiento. Seguid este link y, tras elegir el idioma que más os plazca -inglés y alemán son las únicas opciones, así que más os vale que os plazca uno de los dos- preparaos para descubrir el secreto de la Isla de los Monos más rápido de lo que jamás hubierais imaginado. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

GMeP - Barcelona

Hoy hace exactamente quince años ocurrió esto:



Sí, el 25 de Julio de 1992 dio comienzo la 25ª edición de los Juegos Olímpicos de la era moderna en la ciudad de Barcelona. Todo el mundo coincidió a su finalización en que fue la mejor de las ediciones celebradas hasta ese momento, y debo reconocer que a pesar de disfrutar de la puntual cita olímpica cada cuatro años como el que más, los celebrados en la ciudad condal me siguen pareciendo los mejores J.J.O.O. que se hayan organizado nunca.

Quizá fue porque realmente fueron los primeros que disfruté completamente, pues no recuerdo haber visto más que un par de pruebas de los anteriores en Seúl. Quizá la razón fue que se celebraban en casa, y, pese a que soy oriundo de la meseta castellana y seguidor del Real Madrid, Cataluña y muy especialmente su capital siempre me han parecido lugares con una identidad y un encanto especiales. Algo tiene Barcelona que destila arte y modernidad.
O quizá la razón fuera el éxito de los deportistas españoles, que lograron un muy meritorio sexto puesto en el medallero final, con nada más y nada menos que 22 entorchados, 13 de ellos de oro. Si hasta ganamos el torneo de fútbol, leches. O quizá tuviera algo que ver aquel increíble equipo que los U.S.A. reunieron para representarles en Baloncesto. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing... Eso sí que fue un Dream Team.

La ceremonia de inauguración de Barcelona '92 fue una maravilla de principio a fin, y no puedo evitar llorar de la emoción cada vez que presencio de nuevo aquel mágico encendido del pebetero del Estadio Olímpico de Montjuïc. Epi tendiendo la antorcha, el atleta paralímpico Antonio Rebollo encendiendo su flecha con ella, girándose lentamente, y, en medio de la negrura de la noche, disparando la saeta y transportando el fuego de la tierra al cielo, cual Prometeo desviado. La noche, el fuego, el arco... En resumen: un momento simbólicamente mágico como pocos se pueden vivir.
Recuerdo que tiempo después se especuló mucho acerca de si aquella flecha en realidad acertó al blanco o pasó de largo... bla-bla-bla... ¿Y qué más da? El efecto era lo importante aquí. Y desde luego no se podría haber conseguido uno más impactante.

Luego vinieron Atlanta '96, Sydney '00 y Atenas '04. Y el año próximo tendrán lugar en Beijing. Pero aún y con todo creo que va a costar mucho desbancar el primer lugar que ocupan las Olimpiadas de Barcelona en mis recuerdos. Simplemente, no podrían haber sido mejores de lo que fueron. O quizá sí... Quizá Freddie Mercury podría haber resucitado por un día aquel 25 de Julio y haber interpretado junto a Montserrat Caballé en la ceremonia de inauguración ese maravilloso tema que compuso para la ciudad. Barcelona.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fin

Antes que nada, un recordatorio probablemente innecesario a estas alturas: en Sunny Jhanna no destripamos películas o libros aunque hablemos de ellos. Así que leed tranquilos, que no os voy a estropear ninguna de las sorpresas de la historia que hoy voy a comentar.

Hace media hora escasa he terminado de leerme Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, el esperadísimo séptimo y último libro de la serie escrita por JK Rowling. Durante los últimos meses, y especialmente estas últimas semanas, he sido más que cuidadoso con lo que leía o las páginas web que visitaba, temeroso de destriparme cómo terminaba la historia. La autora ya nos avisó en su día de que nos preparásemos para ver alguna que otra muerte, y, aterrado de que algún imbécil me revelara lo que no quería saber antes de hora, me recluí y conseguí evitar cualquier spoiler -ya fuera real o imaginado- a la novela relativo.

Una de las preguntas más acuciantes es, supongo, si la espera ha valido la pena. Y dado que es básicamente lo único que puedo comentar del libro sin revelar nada, es de lo que voy a hablar. Y mi respuesta es, sin exagerar, que el libro es magnífico. Independientemente de que uno esté de acuerdo o no con el tan traído y llevado, el tan especulado, final de la saga del mago adolescente, la verdad es que TDH está pero que muy bien escrito y mantiene un ritmo endiablado de principio a fin. Desde las primeras páginas de la historia hasta el final -en la página 759, que no es poco-, la historia te atrapa y no te deja dejar de leer. Acción a raudales, situaciones desesperadas, una historia interesante, peligro por todas partes, y personajes fascinantes y de sobras conocidos se combinan para crear lo que ha sido, sin ninguna duda, una de las mejores lecturas de este año (exhilarating es la palabra exacta para describirlo). Vamos, que acabo de terminarlo y aún no me puedo creer lo bien que me lo he pasado leyendo. Y con eso quiero decir que la novela, como historia, está impecablemente desarrollada. Que pasen cosas que te gusten más o menos, eso ya es otra historia. Pero que todo encaja y que los acontecimientos tienen sentido tanto dentro de este relato en particular como de la serie en general, eso no admite discusión. Evidentemente, me hubiera gustado que algunas cosas fueran diferentes en lo que a la historia se refiere, pero de ningún modo puedo quejarme de la brillante ejecución. Y para los que temen que Rowling siga exprimiendo la serie, diré que el final es inequívocamente cerrado, así que ya podéis dejar de sufrir.

En resumen, The Deathly Hallows es no sólo una excelente conclusión de la historia de Harry Potter, sino uno de los mejores libros de la saga, si no el mejor. Creo que todo el mundo debería leerlo -y los otros seis antes, por supuesto-, y debería hacerlo cuanto antes. Afortunadamente, yo he conseguido leerlo sin que nadie me estropeara nada, pero cuanto más tiempo pase, más y más ocasiones habrá para que, queriendo o sin querer, alguien os diga qué pasa, cómo acaba, quién muere. Y si sois de los que esperáis a las películas -y hay más de una y más de dos y más de tres escenas que no puedo esperar a ver en la pantalla grande con la magia de los efectos especiales-, dicen que quieren estrenarla en 2010. ¿Realmente pensáis que podéis resistir tres años sin que la televisión, la prensa o algún canalla desalmado os haga la gracia y os revele el final? Haceos un favor y no dejéis que eso pase.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Crapfinder

El Guía del Desfiladero (Pathfinder) es una de esas películas que difícilmente habría ido a ver en pantalla grande de no ser por accidente. Nos presentamos en el cine, yo con unos títulos en mente, mi acompañante con otros, y curiosamente lo que queremos ver los dos no tiene pases a una hora que nos venga bien. Típico.

En general, debo decir que El Guía del Desfiladero ha sido una gran desilusión. Lo cual, teniendo en cuenta que no me esperaba realmente nada bueno de ella, es decir mucho. Desarrollada al mismo tiempo que el comic homónimo de Laeta Kalogridis y Christopher Shy, esta película pretende seguir la estela de exitosos estrenos como Apocalypto y 300, si bien carece por completo del ritmo y tensión de la primera, y de la grandeza visual de la segunda. EGdD se queda a medio camino de todo y, sinceramente, no puedo pensar en un solo aspecto que, durante la hora y media larga que dura la película, me haya agradado lo suficiente.

El Guía... carece de las dos cualidades que, hoy en día, hacen grande a una obra narrativa: personajes interesantes, y una buena trama. No voy a entrar a discutir el tema del rigor histórico de la cinta, porque para eso esta película es una historia de ficción y no un documental (a pesar de que ciertas secuencias parezcan extraídas directamente del canal National Geographic). La trama brilla por su ausencia y en algunos casos se presenta demasiado incongruente... lo cual es también mucho decir de algo que no existe siquiera. La cinta se sobrelleva con un ritmo bastante lento (casi Flags of Our Fathers lento), y la previsibilidad de la acción desde el primer minuto de película mata cualquier atisbo de interés que el espectador pudiera albergar.

Las interpretaciones, por otro lado, no es que sean malas, realmente. Demasiado han hecho los actores con el material que se les ha dado. En mi opinión ninguno de los personajes resulta interesante, y prácticamente ni uno solo de ellos puede presumir de tener personalidad propia. Todos son cáscaras vacías, sin nada de valor que aportar a la historia. Y así, como sus personajes, la película parece vacía de espíritu, falta de alma. Demasiado dependiente del éxito de los films en que se apoya como para aportar algo nuevo, o ni siquiera exactamente lo mismo. Lo que sería plagio, pero al fin y al cabo el resultado habría sido mucho mejor.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beauty and the Geek

Judd Apatow's follow-up to his box-office smash The 40-Year-Old Virgin had been eagerly anticipated, but not by me. Truth is, I haven't even seen TFYOV, and yet I found myself going to see Knocked Up. The movie has been doing very well since it opened in June ($138 million so far), and though I enjoyed it, it's far from awesome.

Knocked Up tells the story of Alison (Katherine Heigl), a beautiful young woman that, on a wild night of drunken passion, ends up having sex with Ben (Seth Rogen), a loser who doesn't work and spends all day smoking pot and hanging out with his friends. And, of course, she gets pregnant. From there, the movie displays their struggle with each other and their situation.
The movie is funny at times, cute at times, and surprisingly bitter on more than one occasion. The acting is good, and the story is somewhat interesting. However, there was one thing that I never really bought: how a girl like Alison could (a) hook up with somebody like Ben; and (b) actually like him. I know he is supposed to be the loser/geek that is actually goofy and hopeless in a charming way, but Ben has few -if any- redeeming qualities. I didn't find myself rooting for him to get the girl. On the contrary, I found him spiteful, childish, irresponsible and an overall loser I wouldn't want to have around. Alison, on the other hand, was nicer, but still leaned toward bitchy behavior on more than one occasion (it might have been hormonal), even though I thought she was a far more pleasant and better human being. (And hotter, yes.) But before I finish with the characters, I have to point out Paul Rudd's Pete and Kristen Wiig's Jill: hilarious, especially Pete (he had a much bigger role than she did, so that's not surprising).

Also, the movie was way too long. It clocks in at 2h 9m, and for a comedy about a pregnancy, that is too long (it kind of felt like nine whole months at times). Some parts could have been left on the floor of the editing room, and the movie would have been better.

Still, and despite all the negative comments I just wrote, Knocked Up was entertaining and hilarious at times, so it wasn't a total waste of money; but it definitely is a rental, so if you're interested, just wait until it comes out on DVD.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Blade That Keeps Witching

This new issue delivers yet again the great story Ron Marz has spoiled me with for the last several issues. The cover by Chris Bachalo is a lot of fun and extremely weird, but I love it. I think Bachalo is a tremendously gifted cover artist, and it shows here. The only thing on this issue that didn't blow me away was the interior artwork, because is not drawn by either Adriana Melo or Stjepan Sejic. They got this guy Sami Basri -you can see several of his pages here and here-, and even though he does a good job, I missed the other two artists. I guess Sejic is busy with First Born, and Melo is… I'm not really sure. Maybe she doesn't draw too fast? I don't know. At any rate, Witchblade continues to deliver the goods, and it's a series I recommend everyone!

Friday, July 20, 2007

GMeP: Angel - The Dance Of Joy



I know it's been ages since Finn5fel posted here about his five favourite episodes from the first season of Angel. I haven't posted this before because of some technical problems, but now it seems everything is ready and working properly again. So, I can't let escape the chance to highlight another Great Moment on Screen of TV history. Right out of She, thirteenth episode of Angel's aforementioned first season, here you can enjoy the reason behind all the broodiness of our favourite vampire detective.
Of course, I also feel obligated to mention here my 5 most liked Angel first season episodes, a list not very different from the one Fel brought to us. Here we go:

I Will Remember You
I can't describe this episode better than Fel did, so I won't say much. Being a pro-Xander person as I am, I never liked the Buffy/Angel romance pairing more than in this very moment.

Parting Gifts
Wesley Windam-Pryce is back, and this time he's a new man. Or he pretends to be. I will never forget my surprise when I saw him cross that door for the first time, crossbow on hand. And I can only laugh at the end of the episode, with the hilarious scene:
Wesley: Yes. (starts to leave but ducks back in) No rest for the wicked fighters. Through storm and rain, heat and famine, deep painful gnawing hunger, I go.
Angel: Breakfast?
Wesley: Ooo! I suppose so.

Eternity
For this one episode we get to see the twisted and vicious Angelus again, even though by drug inducement. An actress who sees how her glory days are passing by tries to get a vampire non-life for her, because of the promise of eternal youth. I'll say it again: Angelus!

Five By Five
Faith, just recovered from a coma, arrives to L.A. and soon finds herself under hire... to kill Angel. Vampire with a soul vs. rogue Slayer. Could there it be more fun?

Sanctuary
Faith begins her slow and painful redemption under Angel's supervision. Plus, "Buffy visiting, (...), Detective Kate and her rapidly deteriorating relationship with Angel, the first appearance of Lindsay and Layla as a team, the sudden prominence of Wolfram & Hart, the first hints at the Darla storyline with flashbacks from Angel's past… and a lot of emotional charge and great dialogue". I'm sorry I'm quoting Fel as prominently as shamelessly, but he said it first, and he said it better.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Arramblando, que es gerundio

Ayer tuve la brillante idea de acercarme a Hamilton Place para comprarle a mi hermana un regalo de cumpleaños, así que cogí el coche y me personé en el centro comercial. Una vez cumplida la misión, y dado que no me apetecía volver a casa tan pronto, se me ocurrió pasarme por Best Buy, tienda a la que nunca voy porque los DVDs están siempre carísimos (por ejemplo, las temporadas de Angel cuestan entre 45 y 50 dólares). Y mira tú por dónde, los señores de BB me tenían una sorpresa preparada: The X-Files, esa fantástica serie, estaba de oferta. Y no sólo eso, sino que todas y cada una de las temporadas estaban rebajadas de 42 dólares a… 19.99. Veinte dólares por una temporada de 22-24 episodios de 40-45 minutos de duración es, coincidiréis conmigo, un precio excelentísimo, así que la tentación era más bien fuerte.

Yo siempre he sido un gran aficionado a la serie, pero gracias al tremendo respeto con que Telecinco la emitió en su día, jamás vi las dos últimas temporadas y media. De hecho, hacía años que no veía un solo episodio de la serie, pero guardaba magníficos recuerdos de las aventuras de Mulder y Scully. Así que, después de debatir un poco conmigo mismo -la mitad que decía cómpralas, y la mitad que decía no las dejes en el estante-, decidí que algo había que hacer al respecto; y dado que no sabía cuánto iba a durar la oferta, mucho me temo que hice lo que a estas alturas ya debéis haberos imaginado: exhibiendo mis dotes de equilibrista/malabarista, apilé las nueve cajas de las nueve temporadas en vertical columna, y me dispuse a pagar con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja. Así que ya puedo decir que tengo otra serie completa, hehehe. Por no hablar de las horas y horas y horas (y horas) de entretenimiento que me esperan frente a la pantalla. Es ahora cuando tengo que decirme a mí mismo aquello de: Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

True to His Word

On the last page of Hack/Slash: the ongoing series, creator Tim Seeley asked everyone to promote the series to help it be a success. In exchange, he said he'd send some original artwork to anybody that did anything toward this goal. I was already going to talk about the book here, but this nice offer only made me more eager to review the book. So I wrote a post about it, and sent Seeley the link to prove what I had done. He said cool, and last week I got my original sketch! So thank you, Tim! You man rock!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Every Little Thing He Does is Magic

Wizards and muggles alike have all been waiting for July 2007 with eagerness and an anxious anticipation hard to describe. The reason? That both the fifth Harry Potter movie and the seventh -and last- Harry Potter book were coming out this month. At the time of this writing, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is only four days away, but the movie came out last Wednesday, and, needless to say, Sunny Jhanna sent one of its Official Bloggers to give an account of the event.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix might be my least favorite book of the series. I am not sure if this is actually true or not, but the fact is that this is the book I remember the least about. Therefore, I didn't have many complaints about what the filmmakers left out of the movie, because I just didn't remember. I read an article on Entertainment Weekly about scenes and subplots that hadn't made it into the movie after seeing the film, and I was like, "Oh, well." In fact, this is the shortest HP movie, which is kind of ironic because it is the longest book. And still, the movie didn't feel rushed like Goblet of Fire, and it certainly didn't seem to have any pointless scenes. It was trim and streamlined, and for that I loved it.

The acting was, I think, much better than in previous installments, which is not to say it was bad before (I've never thought so). It might be because the story in OOTP is darker and more anguished than ever before, but Dan Radcliffe imbues Potter with depth and anxiety, and delivers a solid performance. I also enjoyed Gary Oldman as Sirius Black more than I did in Prisoner of Azkaban, and even Michael Gambon's Dumbledore was more intense than before. And let's not forget Imelda Staunton's Professor Umbridge, a true scene-stealer that makes you laugh and cringe in disgust and horror all at the same time.

Something I also liked about OOTP is how it brings back elements from all previous movies and integrates them: former teachers, old devices we saw once before and then disappeared, different places, supporting characters… Potter's universe never felt as cohesive on screen as it does here, and I thought that was a very inspired idea. And there are also new characters, obviously, whom I thoroughly enjoyed (Luna Lovegood, for instance).

Some critics were saying this movie is way darker than the previous Potter films, and they're right. But then again, the books keep getting darker, so that should come as no surprise. They've also been saying the movie doesn't feel very magical and everything is done competently instead of magically. Well, other than the magic battles, I don't think there's a lot of magic going on, true, but I kind of like the realism and grit this movie shows. Instead of being a pampered magical word, this is a dark, dangerous place, and the students have some "real" problems such as having to take care of themselves or not being able to trust the adults. I always thought the fifth book was about Harry being a true teenager: angry, confused, and lost in the storm of emotions being that age brings. And the movie captures that magnificently, so for that if nothing else, The Order of the Phoenix might just be one of the best Potter movies so far.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Odds and Ends

Some assorted and completely unrelated news...

If you like Edgar Allan Poe and like gothic, mysterious stories with dubious artwork, the Edgar Allan Poo webcomic is about to be released on paper. Check out some sample pages here.


StarCraft II is finally coming to a computer near you. Watch some exclusive footage shown at E3, and then try to close your mouth or you'll drool over your poor laptop.


If you always liked Don Bluth but were, like me, wondering what on Earth had happened to him after Titan AE, check out this interview. It turns out he was sick of the industry and called it quits!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

E3 07

The 2007 E3 is over, but the great folks at G4 not only were there, but have been updating their site throughout the event. Now, join X-Play hosts Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, and Attack of the Show hosts Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, and find out what the best games were at this year's show. Check out, among others, the Indy-looking Uncharted, for the PS3, the hyperreal Call of Duty 4 for Xbox360, the Wii's winner Super Mario Galaxy, and what the experts consider to be the best game of them all (one of those three). Oh, and if you want to see a Jedi take on a whole Star Destroyer, check out this trailer. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Los 100 mejores juegos de la historia

La revista británica Edge ha publicado un especial con los cien mejores videojuegos de la historia, lista que podéis encontrar aquí. Según dice el artículo, los cien elegidos han sido seleccionados mediante "miles de votos de los lectores, profesionales de la industria, y la plantilla de periodistas de la revista Edge". Vamos, que algo de variedad se le debe presumir a la lista, pues no es como si la hubiera escrito yo.
Y es bastante evidente que yo no tuve nada que ver con la confección del documento, pues hay varias ausencias que me parecen imperdonables. Por ejemplo, se ha ignorado el Pang en cualquiera de sus versiones. Por ejemplo, y pese a que sí se ha incluído Puzzle Bobble, se ha ignorado a su hermano mayor -y que tuvo mucha mayor influencia en posteriores juegos-, Bubble Bobble. Aparece una versión de Street Fighter (Street Fighter Anniversary, número 16), pero no Street Fighter II, que fue mucho más revolucionario y tuvo mayor presencia en los salones recreativos de todo el mundo, aunque gráficamente no fuera tan bueno como SFA. Y, sin embargo -y contradiciendo al ejemplo anterior-, se incluye el primer Tomb Raider pero ninguna de sus secuelas, algunas de las cuales son sin duda mejores que el original. Al menos sí han incluído Puyo-Puyo, ese entretenidísimo juego de puzzle, y otros innegables clásicos como Monkey Island (¡pero en el puesto 79!), StarCraft (número 37, y en el reciente E3 se han revelado imágenes de, por fin, la segunda parte), Tetris (número 9), R-Type (en el 34, pero no el original), y Super Mario World (número 5). Pero de Mortal Kombat no hay ni rastro.

Ni qué decir tiene que este artículo me trajo a la memoria los posts que tanto Halagan como yo escribimos hace ya tiempo sobre cuáles eran nuestros juegos favoritos de la historia, y aunque me he reído bastante releyéndolos, no voy a repetirme aquí -ah, Supaplex-. Pero algo más sí debo añadir: cualquier lista que ignore Worms 2 -simplemente el mejor juego de la historia- es una lista que no me puedo tomar en serio. He dicho.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Good Comics Month

Very satisfying reads this month, my friends. Let's see what I got…

Sheena Queen of the Jungle #1
This book is just so-so, actually. I got it because of the cover, which I really like, but I won't be getting any more issues. I guess I'll get Jungle Girl instead, created (but alas not drawn) by Frank Cho: same thing, better artwork.

Witchblade #107
Another great issue of this wonderful series. The Raising the Dead story arc painted by Stjepan Sejic ends here, and things are geared toward this summer's Top Cow event: First Born. Yay!

First Born First Look
The first issue of this limited series comes out next month, but we got the 99-cent first look already, and man it looks good. Stjepan Sejic paints this whole miniseries, and this guy is just great. Witchblade, The Darkness, and other Top Cow characters swing by. Looks good!

Danger Girl: Body Shots #4
A nice last chapter for a series that has been fun and entertaining, and I think better than Back in Black.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #6
This amazing series keeps delivering the goods. The next issue will be the last one, and I am looking forward to reading it. Outstanding!

X-Men #200
I had to get this book because it's the 200th issue. Also, Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos draw the interior pages (Ramos's are, I think, way better than Bachalo's, by the way). And the story is very, very interesting. It's a five-part arc, so I guess I'm in for the whole ride.

Madame Mirage #1
The first issue is out, and it was about time! The story by Paul Dini is quite interesting, the characters are cool, and Kenneth Rocafort's artwork is gorgeous. A series I'm definitely going to follow.

Soulfire: New World Order #0
Another miniseries I will be following, NWO expands the Aspen's Soulfire universe that was introduced in the original Soulfire series by Michael Turner (a series that has spawned three limited series but hasn't been finished yet, by the way). JT Krul writes the story about magic returning to a very technological world, and Francisco Herrera (who could very well be Humberto Ramos drawing under a different name, so very similar are their styles) draws the amazing pictures. And the color is phenomenal! Definitely worth buying!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anchor's Aweigh

It's been almost a year since I posted here my review of the second installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and 47 days since Finn5fel did the same with his review of the third one, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. I finally saw that movie yesterday. And it was about time.

First of all, I have to say that I kinda liked it. Of course, I was ready for the worst, so that doesn't come as very big a surprise. It often happens. Depending on the hype one movie, book or any other sort of art medium has gotten, it tends to please more or less the viewer. If you've only heard the highest compliments to it, it will surely disappoint you on some measure. If you've only heard bad words, it won't seem that bad a piece to you after all. It's the 'ears of the viewer' syndrome.

At World's End is definitely the worst of the three pirates movies to date. And, just like Fel, I hope it will be the last one (what seems improbable, though, if you've seen its last few scenes). It has an unsteady rhythm, and, in my honest opinion, is forty minutes longer than it should have been. It gives too much room to characters that don't need it, and there's a bunch of extremely long scenes (specially Sparrow's introduction) the movie could have won a lot without.
There was a lot of loose ends that needed to be taken care of, and this conclusion to the saga treats each and every one of them, but with extremely different results. Some of them I liked, some of them I didn't. The story, gratefully, doesn't forget a single one of all the characters from the previous movies, and even introduces a few more. But, on treating all of them, the story is inevitably burdened, and loses the consistency the first two indeed had.

I agree with Fel that in this movie the Pirates trademark crossings and double-crossings are carried to such an absurd degree of exaggeration that, instead of attracting the viewers attention (or, at least, mine) they lose it. But I don't think, as he does, that this movie lacks of audacity. It's true that the incredibility factor is in this movie way more scarce than in the two previous installments. But this third film has its own moments, too. Very few, comparing. Granted. But I think it respects the Pirates saga spirit to a certain degree.

I also laughed, more or less, just like with its predecessors. And I gotta admit: the parrot and the monkey I found kind of amusing. They are a bit expendable, but on some occasions they are the ones that provide that incredibility factor I was talking about.

The movie's end, I liked. On regarding both Will Turner/Elizabeth Swann love story and Jack Sparrow's fate. Some of the characters live, some of them die, and some of them... well, do other things. Sadly, the plot, although enjoyable, is extremely predictable. But, then again, this is a Disney/Bruckheimer film, so that goes without saying.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

De pollos y robots

Como fieles seguidores de Buffy, la mayoría de vosotros sabéis quién es Seth Green. El enorme actor lleva ya un par de temporadas a cargo de Robot Chicken, un programa de muñecos animados por él co-creado, y que aquí en los Estados Unidos se emite en Adult Swim, en la cadena Cartoon Network.

Bien, pues resulta que el bueno de Green, junto a su colega Matt Senreich, se sacó de la manga hace bien poco un episodio temático de Robot Chicken: un especial de Star Wars que se emitió el mes pasado. El episodio dura una media hora más o menos, pero está dividido en cuatro partes, cada una compuesta por varios sketches en plan Benny Hill, y podéis verlo en su totalidad aquí. Además, en esta edición online podéis acceder a comentarios de Green y Senreich sobre las distintas escenas apretando la pequeña televisión que aparece en el rincón derecho del vídeo cada vez que uno de estos extras está disponible.

Entre mis gags favoritos no puedo sino destacar la conversación telefónica de Palpatine, las escenas del presidente Bush como Jedi, la competición de chistes de Your Momma, y la escena de Boba Fett. Así que, si queréis reíros a mandíbula batiente, echadle un vistazo a los muñequitos, que no os arrepentiréis.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Curiosidad

Mientras perdía el tiempo en internet mirando vídeos musicales el otro día, me topé con -bueno, confieso: busqué activamente- el vídeo que podéis encontrar aquí, Over It, de Katharine McPhee, y me descubrí pensando que la semifinalista de American Idol es muy guapa. Y entonces se me ocurrió que quizás el Azote de Falsas Beldades tuviera algo que decir al respecto. Excepto por sus facciones tal vez en exceso redondeadas -desde un punto de vista nashil, evidentemente, porque, en lo que a mí respecta, son fantásticas-, creo que la buena de Katharine cumple con el resto de requisitos del modelo de belleza del General alicantino. Pero con Nash nunca se sabe -bueno, sí: siempre se sabe-, así que he decidido usar este post para fastidiar un poco más -muy en mi línea habitual, por otra parte-, y ver qué opina mi Nash favorito. Así que dinos, querido Nash, qué opinión te merece la morena cantante. Porfa.

Monday, July 09, 2007

More Than Meets the Eye

Of course I was going to go see Transformers. I mean, what were you expecting? Truth is, I did not know what I was expecting. I guess I was just hoping the movie wouldn't be too bad. As it turned out, I liked it, but it wasn't an extraordinary film.

The story was mostly an excuse to have big robots on screen, and it definitely didn't need two hours and twenty-three minutes to unfold. Therefore, I thought the movie was too long, and it could have been streamlined to make it shorter. The acting was good -okay, at least-, and Shia LaBeouf was a great choice. After seeing him in Disturbia and Transformers, I'm sure he's going to be wonderful in the new Indiana Jones movie. He was also funny, but so was much of the movie: I sure wasn't expecting to laugh as much as I did; even the Autobots crack wise occasionally! And let's not forget John Turturro: he owns his FBI agent, and he is hilarious.

The robots (and other special effects) look good and very realistic (or as realistic as those huge piles of metal could look, I guess), they have distinct (if slightly stereotypical) personalities, and I'm glad they had Jazz in the movie (as a fan, I wished they would have also had Wheeljack, Grimlock and Blaster, but that's okay).

But the robots weren't the only eye candy in the movie. I spent the whole film trying to decide if Megan Fox looked better than Rachael Taylor, or if it was the other way around. I guess it doesn't matter because, in the end, I didn't really have to choose: I could love them both, hahaha.

The action was cool, but Michael Bay's trademark bumpy, blurry camera got in the way sometimes, and it was kind of hard to enjoy -hell, to figure out- what was going on. I understand this might seem a somewhat realistic approach, because if you had big-ass robots fighting downtown, the debris and the utter chaos would make things difficult to see, but still. However, and even though I was supposed to be rooting for the Autobots since they're the good guys and had their personalities more developed than their enemies', but the truth is that I didn't find the conflict very compelling. The whole thing felt rather cold, and I found myself thinking that McClane's adventures had been way more engrossing than the robotic mayhem. Maybe I like humans better than machines, because I think I liked the human component in the movie (LaBeouf mainly) better than the robots. Or maybe I'm just weird.

To sum it up, the movie is entertaining if a bit too long, and it's just fun to watch and little else. So get some popcorn and have a good time.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

With Love (Inspiration)

Stephen King always says that story ideas seem to come out of nowhere, and I agree wholeheartedly. Two previously unrelated ideas, he says, get together and create something new under the sun. And I agree again. Maybe you thought my story With Love was rather silly, I won't try to convince you otherwise --because you are right: it was a whimsical, silly thing that didn't change the world or even the comic book industry. But I didn't set to do a stupid story, no I didn't (it just happened that way, hahaha). I wanted to do a humorous story, but I had nothing, really. Then I went online and I started to watch some music videos, and I came across Hilary Duff's With Love. Why not, I thought, and clicked on play. I discovered I kinda liked the song, and then Good Ole Hilary shows up in her trenchcoat, opens it, and… Wham! I had my story. One second I had nothing, and the next second I had everything. I saw Ms. Duff opening her coat and just looking cool and sexy, and I thought "Wouldn't it be cool to have one of my characters do that in a story?" And then I immediately saw it was Dae, and the reason why she was doing it was because she had been following some poor schmuck that was trying to get away from her. She was just appearing in front of him, all iconic and badass, ready to kick some major butt. And I guess since I had been thinking about fire demons lately, it was just natural that she was chasing one of those. But where there's Dae, there has to be Erin, and she showed up with Taranne, because Taranne had obviously been trying to catch the crook for the last few days, but she hadn't worked out a method until today. And the way to do it was so big and obvious it should have been apparent immediately: fight fire with… water.
All that has absolutely nothing to do with the music video, but it all came in a rush as soon as Hilary Duff unfastened her trenchcoat. I was indebted to her, and that's why the title of the story is With Love. I doubt anybody would have made the connection, but you never know: the human brain works in mysterious ways.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

No me toques las narices

Pues resulta que me he unido a un grupo de roleros de pro, y estoy inmerso en una campaña de Dungeons & Dragons, pasando el verano fresquito en una mazmorra. Uno de los personajes es un goblin canallesco y pendenciero dado a los excesos… corporales, por así decirlo. Evidentemente, me faltó tiempo para ponerme manos a la obra -o lápiz al papel- e inmortalizar a tan entrañable criatura. Enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

And Quite Attractive for a Demon

As I said a few posts ago, I've been watching Angel again, and what a great show it is. And it was only natural that I wrote about my favorite episodes. I was going to do the usual Top 10, but since the season is 22 episodes, choosing half of them felt almost like cheating to me. Therefore, and even though choosing ten would have been very easy, I decided to make things difficult for myself and I went for a slim Top 5. And since Halagan already pointed out my useful honorable mention trick, I won't do it this time. So here you have them (in the order they aired), Angel season one's five best episodes:

City of
The first one and still to this day one of my favorite episodes. It's funny, it's dark, it's exciting, it's intriguing, and it has Angel kicking a vampire sitting on a chair through a window. Classic.

I Will Remember You
A gut-wrenching episode, Angel becomes human when Buffy is around, and all of a sudden their forbidden romance can actually happen. Or not: it's just a matter of time. A very emotional, tremendously compelling episode.

Expecting
Cordelia's unexpected -and sort of funny- pregnancy reveals how deeply Angel and Wesley care about her; how the three characters care about each other. And even without all the emotional resonance, this episode would just make the top 5 because of the classic opening scene with Wes and Angel at a party… Dancing. 'Nuff said!

Five by Five/Sanctuary
Come on, don't say I'm cheating: this is clearly a two-parter, and therefore these episodes should be considered just one. And what a great episode this one is. It has it all: Buffy visiting, Faith on the run, Detective Kate and her rapidly deteriorating relationship with Angel, the first appearance of Lindsay and Layla as a team, the sudden prominence of Wolfram & Hart, the first hints at the Darla storyline with flashbacks from Angel's past… and a lot of emotional charge and great dialogue. Not to mention the scene where Faith shoots her crossbow at Angel, and he turns around and catches the flying arrow with his hand. Faith says "That was so cool!", but that is a monstrous understatement.

To Shanshu in LA
The season finale is epic and packed with character interaction. Again, we can see how much Angel has come to care for Cordy and Wesley, and how much these two care about him as well. Plus Lindsay kissing his hand goodbye, and Angel telling him "Don't believe everything you're foretold." Have I already mentioned what a badass the vampire with a soul is?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There's a Rat in My Soup

Brad Bird, the director of the formidable and unspeakably brilliant The Incredibles is back with the Pixar gang for this summer's animated event (never mind penguins or bees), and the result is very good, but not as good as The Incredibles. (Then again, that is unfair, because what could be better than that movie?)

Ratatouille tells the story of Remy a rat that wants to be a cook, and Linguini a hapless boy that finds himself in a kitchen. From here, hilarity ensues.

The animation is, needless to say, out of this world. Pixar's geniuses do it again, and the production quality is unsurpassable (the short movie that comes before the feature, Lifted, is also fantastic and brutally funny). The characters are well defined if sometimes a bit stereotypical, and the French accent comes and go (which is kind of strange, because even though everybody is supposed to be French, only a few of them actually speak with French accents, but I guess that's just me being picky), but their designs are always dead on, and they always look great. The backgrounds are also extremely detailed and mind-blowing in their realism and depiction, and the lighting and other special effects look even more real than their real counterparts.

The themes of the story are some of my favorite ones: chasing your dream, doing what's right, having the courage to defend your view of the world against everybody else; and they're always there underneath the comedy, which makes the story solid and compelling. Obviously, I am bound to like such a movie, and I did.

Rotten Tomatoes gives Ratatouille a 95%, and even though the movie is good, I don't think it's that good. Cars disappointed me, and even though this one is way better than last year's movie, it's certainly not Pixar's best movie. Still, it is a terrific picture I recommend everybody, and you could do worse than finding rats in the kitchen, believe me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Reading List: June

Another month comes to an end, and another (late) list with books and comic books is presented for your consideration. It doesn't look like I've read too much, but keep in mind that A Clash of Kings was twenty-five pages short of 1,000; and Four Past Midnight closed at 730. And both books have very small print and barely any margins to speak of. So let's see...

Prince Valiant, vol. 1
The first volume of Hal Foster's masterpiece, I really enjoyed it. Thanks to my friend Jorge for getting it for me.

The Eyes of the Dragon
I'm not sure if this book by Stephen King can be considered a re-read, because when I first read it about fifteen years ago, it was in Spanish. And I think I even read once after that, but it seems it was before I started my Booklist, so I'm not sure. Still, this is the second time (or maybe the third) I've read this book, but it certainly was the first time in English. And it is great. I also remember giving it to Nash for his birthday years ago, and he didn't like it very much. Still, it's a really cool book, and quite short (especially for Mr King's standards). So Halagan, you should read it!

I, Robot
My first book by Isaac Asimov, I got it shortly after watching the movie for the umpteenth time. I thought the book was great, and I could see how they took bits and pieces to create the storyline for the movie. I think it was done in a very clever and unusual way, because it seems to me the movie is just a story that could happen in the universe portrayed in the book, rather than an adaptation of the stories in the book. Read the book and watch the movie: both are fantastic.

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire Book II)
The second installment in The Karaoke Saga, this book is as thick as the Chattanooga phonebook, I kid you not. I had to take a break after the first three hundred pages (a break during which I read both The Eyes of the Dragon and I, Robot), and then returned to the remaining 600-plus pages with renovated energy. The book is as good as the first one, but I still think some of the information presented we really could do without. But I already know volumes three and four are even longer, so hey: I'll have to take it easy.

Four Past Midnight
This book contains four novellas by Stephen King, two of which I had already read, so this is a partial re-read. And again, the two stories I had already read I read in Spanish a decade and a half ago. (The four novellas were published as two separate books with two stories in each in Spain, as it happens.) The first one, The Langoliers, I knew because of the movie. The film was just so-so, and the same goes for the story: it's okay, but that's it. The second novella, Secret Window, Secret Garden, I knew from the movie as well. This film is fantastic, though, and I recommend it to everybody here; and the story was also very good. This gave me the chance to appreciate what a wonderful job David Koepp did in adapting (and directing) the novella for the big screen. And I was very surprised to find that the ending is not what I was expecting at all, but I won't reveal anything else. The third story, The Library Policeman, was one of the two I had read years and years ago, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially because I barely remembered anything from it. And the fourth one, The Sun Dog, I had also read back in the day, and even though I remembered more things from this one, those memories were faint enough so as not to spoil the fun.

Venom vs. Carnage
The story by Peter Milligan is not the greatest tale ever told. In fact, it is quite average: Venom and Carnage beating the crap out of each other, and then Spiderman and the Black Cat become involved. The story showcases the birth of Toxin, the third symbiote (cause yeah, the Spidey universe needed another drooling creep), and even though the script is far from memorable, the artwork by Clayton Crain blew me away. This guy draws and paints the whole thing, and his skills are nothing short of amazing. So in spite of the mediocre story, I recommend this comic book because of the awesome artwork. Man, Black Cat looks so hot I feel like purring!

Foundation
This book by Asimov was okay, but I was expecting something much, much better. It's repetitive and nothing much really happens. The dialogue is good, but the story is not very compelling. I doubt I'll continue reading the series.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Live Free or Get Your Ass Kicked

Who would have thought that I would enjoy Live Free or Die Hard as much as I did. Well, I, for one, was surprised. I thought the movie would be okay, but I must confess that I enjoyed so tremendously much that I'm seriously considering naming it Best Movie I've Seen in Theaters This Year. But maybe I liked it as much as 300, so it could be a tie. At any rate, I was genuinely surprised.

The story finds John McClane a few years after the last movie, and he doesn't seem to be exactly happy with his life. Then he gets an easy assignment that, needless to say, is not as easy as it first seemed to be. And, from there, all hell breaks loose.

Bruce Willis is fantastic as McClane, as usual. I guess they made this movie because the star badly needed a smash at the box office, given the lackluster performance of his movies of late. The movie made $33 million last week, and I hope LFODH will rake in tons of money, because it deserves it. The other actors are also good -serviceable, at least-, and the widely-criticized plot is just an excuse for the action to unfold. But what an action.

I had read about the incredible stunts, but the audacity and frantic pace caught me with my guard down. The amazing action sequences are just brilliant choreographies of destruction that leave you gasping for air, your eyes bulging with shock. The relentless pace doesn't let you go from the very beginning, and you start to feel McClane's pain and exhaustion. The action is, of course, over the top, but if you go to see a Die Hard movie, you know what you're getting into. Put it another way, don't tell me the stunts are unbelievable: if you buy a ticket for this kind of movie, you know you have to leave your disbelief at home.

And then we have Kevin Smith's character, and boy is he funny. I kept forgetting he was in the movie, and when he finally showed up I had totally forgotten he was supposed to be there, so I was surprised. Put it simply, Smith is the man.

So yeah: if you want to see a great action movie; or if you want to see a supremely entertaining movie; or if you want to see Bruce Willis being badass; or if you want to hear cool one liners one after the other, then go see Live Free or Die Hard. A true surprise that made my day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

With Love (part 6 of 6)

Pues aquí acaba todo. La amenaza ha sido neutralizada, y nuestras valientes espadachinas viven para luchar y hablar por los codos otro día. Aquí podéis ver mi cuarto dibujo favorito, con Taranne dándole un cachete al humillado villano, hahahaha. Espero que os haya gustado la absurda historia, y que al menos hayáis sonreído una o dos veces. Espero también que releáis cada página al menos diez veces, porque esto de hacer un comic completo uno mismo requiere mucho, mucho tiempo; sin duda muchísimo más de lo que se tarda en leer cada página. Menos mal que ya me lo veía venir y traté de limitar el número de páginas -y de viñetas- tanto como pude. Y eso es todo. No os olvidéis de mirar la página a lápiz y a tinta si os interesa, y gracias por vuestra paciencia!

With Love (part 5 of 6)

El bueno de Finn5fel sigue monopolizando Sunny Jhanna en la semana de celebración de los 400 posts -que a estas alturas ya son más-, pero la historia ya se acerca a su fin. Parece que Erin y Taranne sí sabían cómo hacer frente al monstruo flamígero… o eso creen. ¿Qué pasará a continuación? Mientras os mordéis las uñas hasta los nudillos de los nervios, dejaos al menos un dedo entero para manejar el ratón y echarle un vistazo a la página a lápiz con su correspondiente versión a tinta. Y dentro de unas horas, la última parte. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

With Love (part 4 of 6)

He decidido no alargar la cosa tanto como planeaba, así que aquí tenéis el segundo post del día.

¡La caballería ha llegado! Aunque sin caballos… o caballeros. La pobre Dae queda en evidencia, pero ¿acaso saben Erin y Taranne qué hacer? Creo que hacía años -literalmente- que no dibujaba a Taranne, así que ha sido divertido volver a verla por Sanya. Una vez más, podéis ver la página a lápiz aquí, así como la posterior versión a tinta. Y mañana, la quinta parte. Enjoy!

With Love (part 3 of 6)

Aquí tenéis la tercera parte de lo que supongo podría llamarse un webcomic. El dibujo de Dae en la primera viñeta es uno de mis cuatro dibujos favoritos del comic. Dos de ellos ya lo visteis ayer (Dae revelándose, y Dae de perfil mirando hacia arriba), y para el cuarto tendréis que esperar. Así como para el desenlace. ¿Qué pasará? ¿Qué será de nuestra heroína ahora que se le han fundido las espadas? Y la pregunta más importante: ¿cómo demonios podría pasar algo así? De nuevo, aquí podeís ver la página a lápiz y la correspondiente versión a tinta. Y mañana, la cuarta parte. Enjoy!