Friday, November 30, 2007

Diversión Anunciada (1)

¿A quién le puede gustar ver anuncios?

En teoría, a nadie. Y aún así somos capaces de pasar minuto tras minuto con nuestros sentidos centrados en el televisor, esperando pacientemente a que nuestra serie favorita vuelva de una pausa que ya se ha prolongado vergonzosamente.
La publicidad televisiva es, básicamente, basura. Se pueden ver muchísimos anuncios durante una pausa normal de quince minutos (sí, 900 segundos). Y el 90% no merecen ni mucho menos el tiempo que desperdiciamos en ellos.

Pero por suerte, de vez en cuando, de entre el gris burullo surge alguna pequeña obra de arte. Uno de esos anuncios que ganan premios de los que nunca hemos oído hablar, y cuya gala transmiten por el Plus de madrugada. De esos que podrían fácilmente clasificarse en dos grupos: los que buscan el impacto visual, y los que buscan la risa.
Como demuestra este post (y los siguientes que vendrán), yo me quedo con el segundo grupo. Si alguien quiere venderme algo, al menos que se lo gane haciéndome reír. Por supuesto no me compro ciegamente cada cosa que me hace reír, porque entonces tendría las estanterías repletas de discos de David Bisbal. Pero pasar un buen rato me hace ver un producto con otros ojos, eso seguro.
Como seguro estoy de que cada uno de los siguientes anuncios os va a hacer pasar entre treinta y sesenta estupendos e inolvidables segundos. Si durante las pausas publicitarias televisivas todos fueran así de brillantes, nadie se levantaría del sillón para ir al baño. Garantizado.


Éste es un ingenioso anuncio de American Express protagonizado por Andy Roddick (el tenista, Fel, el tenista):


Un anuncio sueco que ya es todo un clásico por derecho propio:


Y hablando de clásicos, uno de la cerveza danesa Tuborg:


Realmente hay que tener mala sangre:


Vais a tener que ver éste dos veces, ya os aviso:


Y para acabar por hoy, no os vaya a tardar siglos en cargar Sunny Jhanna con tanto vídeo, Canal + Francia anunciaba así sus grandes estrenos:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Encuesta de Superman VS Batman

Los resultados son los siguientes:
1- Batman 6 (30%)
2- Superman 4 (20%)
2- Superlópez 4 (20%)
4- ¿Qué? Acabo de salir de un coma 0 (0%)
5- Sinceramente... Paso del tema 0 (0%)
De esta encuesta extrapolamos unos datos muy interesantes, nadie ha esta en como en la última semana, de aquí deducimos que los que leemos comics tenemos una buena salud. Siguiendo con esta lógica, nadie pasa del tema, con lo que todos vamos a tener una buena salud y eso está muy bien.
Ahora pasemos a analizar los resultados, como vencedor absoluto tenemos a Batman. Esto se debe en mi modesta opinión a que no es un tipo perfecto, indestructible que ni siquiera se despeina en un combate. Preferimos a un tipo que tiene un lado oscuro, que se juega la vida en cada lucha y que normalmente acaba hecho una pena tras una dura pelea y que no sólo utiliza la fuerza, además el tipo es listo.
En segundo lugar empatados tenemos a los dos supers, la versión española del superhéroe perfecto es un tipo al que le encanta el futbol, su novia lo lleva más recto que a una vela (como a todos por mucho que digan algunos) y siempre se mete en unos lios la mar de cachondos, es una pena que en estos últimos números la temática sea más critica social que aventuras chorras. Y de Superman lo único que puedo decir es que es el superhéroe típico, fuerte, alto, guapo al que todo le sale bien y nadie puede matar con una moral típica de los boyscout, demasiado perfecto para que te puedas sentir identificado con él.
Ya podéis opinar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Arte en directo

Este post está dedicado especial-
mente para Nash, a quien sé le encanta ver este tipo de vídeo. Si seguís este enlace, podéis ver un vídeo de Whilce Portacio dibujando en tiempo real. Portacio es uno de mis dibujantes favoritos, y durante su larga carrera como profesional del mundo del comic ha trabajado en series como Uncanny X-Men, Wetworks, o Batman: Confidential, por citar sólo unos cuantos ejemplos. Echadle un vistazo al vídeo del filipino en acción, y a ver qué os parece.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Review Time!

More comic books to read and enjoy. There're only three this time, and they were a mixed bag. Every single one of them offers quality and crap in pretty much equal parts, which is certainly annoying. So let's see what good ole Finn5fel got on his last visit to the comic book store...

Witchblade #111
Yet another First Born tie-in, but at least this one is more relevant than last month's disappointing issue. The story is good (Ron Marz pulls off a couple of neat time-continuum tricks) and the dialogue is great, but the artwork by Luke Ross is just competent at best (but not even half the time), and that makes the book a little difficult to enjoy. His rendition of the Witchblade looks like art deco more than anything, and the terrible, flat coloring is almost a travesty. It's a good thing Stjepan Sejic's consistent run on the title is about to begin!

Iron and the Maiden #4
The last issue of the miniseries, this installment is little else than an "all hell breaks loose" kind of conclusion, and Jason Rubin won't be getting any awards for best script anytime soon. But the artwork is really cool, especially every single rendition of Angel by Francis Manapul. It just struck me that it actually is the exact opposite from Witchblade #111. While Witchblade has a cool story but mediocre artwork, Maiden has flashy artwork but a neurone-killing script. A happy medium? Sure: have Manapul redraw Witchblade #111, and don't let Ross get anywhere near Dani again.

World of Warcraft #1
The anticipated series inspired by the phenomenally successful computer game finally hit the stores. They story by old pro Walt Simonson is pretty much Gladiator in Aazaroth, and even though it's not bad and I understand it's only the first issue, it was by no means great. The artwork by newcomer Ludo Lullaby is very cool though, and it very much reminds me of Joe Mad and the best Chris Bachalo. Unless the story turns out to be really bad, I'll keep getting this book if only for the artwork alone, but I hope the script improves soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Organic #15

Welcome to Organic, the webcomic that has been planned for years down to the last panel. After testing the serum on the Lizard Man, Koori turns on Tomatito in order to find some truth of her own. Had Tomatito been honest with her, or did he make up the whole mad-scientist tale to keep Koori for his sinister purposes? Well, this is Organic, so you decide what happens next!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tapping Into The Games

Gracias a un reciente post de Fel, el otro día me crucé con GameTap, página web centrada en la temática videojuegueril y que por increíble que pueda parecer, desconocía hasta la fecha. Iba buscando algo muy concreto, pero descubrí que GameTap ofrece mucho, mucho más.

Como es bien wikipédicamente definido, GameTap es un servicio de videojuegos creado por la TBS, que permite a sus visitantes disfrutar on-line de multitud de juegos de hoy y de ayer. Y de anteayer. Simplemente descargando un pequeño software y pagando una cuota mensual se puede tener acceso a casi 1000 juegos distintos, con títulos que van desde Space Invaders al último Tomb Raider. Pero lo mejor es que 50 de esos títulos están disponibles gratuitamente cada semana.

Si bien lo que me atrajo a GameTap no fue esto, sino el especial Tomb Raider: GameTap Collection, que incluye la serie animada Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider. Ésta está compuesta por diez episodios de variada temática (y calidad), en los que ha trabajado gente como Jim Lee, Peter Chung o Michael A. Stackpole, por sólo mencionar a unos pocos. Merece la pena echarle un vistazo, aunque sólo sea para pasar el rato.
Y no es la única serie de animación disponible en GameTap. Hasta tienen una de Sam & Max. Desde luego, yo eso es algo que no me querría perder por nada del mundo.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Buncha Movies

It is either because of Thanksgiving or Christmas, or maybe a combination of both, but the fact remains that a lot of movies I wanted to buy are on sale as I type this. I haven't really been buying movies over the last couple of years, spending my money on DVD sets instead. However, I've been writing down what movies I was interested in, and now pretty much all of them are so cheap that I haven't been able to restrain myself. So, over the last few days, I've bought nine movies, none of them over nine bucks, and some of them as cheap as $3.89. Good value? You bet! At any rate, these are (in order of purchase) the movies that I just added to my collection:

Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Match Point
John Tucker Must Die
300 (two-disc special edition)
V for Vendetta (two-disc special edition)
The X-Files: Fight the Future
Peter Jackson's King Kong
The Illusionist
Hot Fuzz

And Casino Royale just went on sale for nine dollars, so I have to go now and get it. Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Up The Sleeve

Altered Carbon was the first book, written back in 2002, of UK sci-fi writer Richard K. Morgan. Now that I've read it, I know for sure I'm coming back for more of his novels. It may be very early to claim, as some critics have made, that we're in front of the new Philip K. Dick. Only time will tell. But I'd dare to say that maybe the truth won't eventually be very far from that assertion.

Altered Carbon presents us the story of U.N. Envoy Takeshi Kovacs, who is hired against his own will by one rich and powerful man to find the truth behind his own suicide. Yes, you got it right. The same person who presumably shot himself in the head, will later hire our antihero, claiming he couldn't have ever possibly killed himself. And that's not because that's something not plausible, but because this, remember, sci-fi noir novel is set on the twenty-fifth century, a time when technology has completely turned around the meaning of life and death. Now, the mind of the people (the people who can afford it, that is) can be transferred from one body, or sleeve, into another, technology providing. People relationships, travelling, or, as I've said before, dying, have not the same meaning anymore. And Richard K. Morgan presents us that future in a way that is rather difficult not to think it could perfectly be the approaching reality we're headed to.

Morgan's prose is elegant, dynamic, and in no means thick or hard to follow. The plot is brilliantly fast-paced, although a bit complex at times, which forced me to revisit some previous paragraphs to refresh mi memories of who was that character or what happened on that place. But in the end it all makes sense, and if the reader doesn't feel cheated at the resolution of this kind of story, then the writer has definitely done a good work.

Also, the characters are excellently-crafted, and it's very easy to dive deep with them into the story. I spent the whole of the book wishing the good guys the best outcome possible and hoping for the bad guys to find a death that doesn't have them coming back eventually. I'll read the already published sequel, but I certainly wouldn't want it to throw dirt over the memory I already got of this book. Anyway, I have enough faith in Morgan's skills as a writer now to go grab the second book as soon as I'm able to.

I can find too many reasons to recommend this book to everyone who likes sci-fi, or noir detective novels. And one of them is that the possible future created by Morgan feels perfectly real, maybe because he throws all kind of bits of information here and there for the sake of the reader, but in no way he turns the reader away from the story he's trying to tell.
And he also is consequent. In a world where death doesn't mean the same anymore, there are consequences, both physical and moral. Well, Morgan points them to us, getting to show enough troublesome insights to arise an infinity of ethical questions. Once again, of course, never disrupting the pace of the plot.

The only not-insane bad point I've read someone making about this book is that it's maybe a bit too long. To say the truth, I really didn't feel so. To me the story starts with a good rhythm, it soon builds up momentum, and it ends just when it needs to do it. There are maybe a few pages, just before the climax, that I read with a little more effort, because the plot had already been almost fully revealed. But, in the end, I enjoyed those pages too. So then again, I should thank good old finn5fel for another one of his recommendations.
Thanked you've been, pal.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Encuesta de la princesa prometida

Estos son los resultados de nuestra encuesta semanal.

Íñigo Montoya 5 (33%)
Fezzik 2 (13%)
Ni me he leído el libro ni he visto la película. ¿¡Pasa algo!? 2 (13%)
Humperdinck 1 (6%)
Vizzini 0 (0%)
Westley 0 (0%)
Buttercup 0 (0%)

Esta claro que la inmensa mayoría vota por el mercenario español, un personaje realmente genial muy bien desarrollado y muy divertido, siendo el duelo con Westly una de los mejores duelos de la historia del cine. Su compañero Fezzik esta en un merecido segundo puesto, es un complemento perfecto para Iñigo. Los que no han leído el libro tienen un pase, pero los que no han visto la peli, ya pueden ir al videoclub más cercano. Humperdinck es un buen malo, es un malo sin sentimiento ruin y cobarde como tienen que ser los malos de las pelis para que realmente te caigan mal y no tengas ninguna compasión con ellos. Vizzini no se merece esos cero votos como jefe de los mercenarios esta genial y el duelo de ingenio es una escena realmente divertida. Y como suele pasar, los protas son los menos votados, Westly demasiado perfecto y Buttercup demasiado ñoña. Creo que es lo que pasa con Star Dust no tiene eso personajes secundarios que hacen grandes a las pelis, Robert esta bien pero sale muy poquito y Michelle esta increíble pero no es suficiente.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vástagos reales

Como lo prometido es deuda, y aprovechando que hoy se estrena The Mist, película dirigida por Frank Darabont basada en un relato corto del autor del que hoy hablamos, aquí tenéis el esperadísimo post que he estado anunciando esta semana: mis libros favoritos de Stephen King.

La verdad es que, como ya dije en otro lugar, suelo preferir los relatos más recientes a los clásicos. Tal vez sea porque dichos clásicos los leí hace ya mucho, mucho tiempo, cuando estaba en el instituto; y pese a que aún recuerdo algunos y he releído otros, son los más recientes lo que me han impactado más. Por otro lado, hay que tener en cuenta no sólo lo ridículamente prolífico que el nativo de Maine es, sino la variedad de formatos en que nos vienen sus historias: novelas, novelas cortas, relatos cortos, guiones, libros escritos en colaboración con otros autores, series de libros, libros escritos bajo pseudónimo… Todo esto hace difícil la clasificación, así que supongo que voy a tener que recurrir a alguna de mis sucias tretas y artimañas que Halagan denunció en el pasado. Así pues, para la lista principal voy a considerar sólo las novelas, y luego, en las menciones especiales o subcategorías, habrá otras cosas.

El mejor de todos
El primer problema aparece antes incluso de empezar la lista, pues On Writing es mi libro favorito del autor… y resulta que no es ficción, con lo que no puede estar en la lista de novelas. En esta obra, King habla de su vida, cómo escribir, y del accidente que casi le costó la vida en 1999. On Writing es entretenidísimo, emotivo, interesantísimo, y didáctico, y es sin duda el libro que más veces he leído de la historia. Más o menos. El libro físico sólo lo he leído una vez, pero lo tengo también en CD (ocho horitas de nada) leído por el mismo King, y desde que lo compré en 2002 lo he escuchado un mínimo (y no exagero) de 30 veces, si no más. Ahí es nada.

Novelas
1. Bag of Bones
Novela gótica con amor, escritores y fantasmas, la he leído un par de veces. También la tengo en audio -leída por King-, y la he escuchado cuatro o cinco veces (unas veinte horas).

2. The Talisman/Black House
Escritas en colaboración con Peter Straub, ambas novelas están relacionadas con la serie de La torre oscura, y ambas son fantásticas, con monstruos, magia, acción, y mil cosas más.

3. Misery
¿Qué voy a decir de este libro que no sepáis ya? Uno de los favoritos del autor, en principio iba a ser un cuento corto con un final muy diferente. Y gran adaptación cinematográfica de Rob Reiner, quien ya antes había dirigido Stand by me, film basado en la novela corta de King The Body.

4. The Eyes of the Dragon
Tres veces he leído esta historieta de fantasía, traición y muerte que a Nash no acabó de gustarle, pero que a mí me encanta. Reyes asesinados, príncipes encarcelados, y magos malvados: una mezcla excelente.

5. The Green Mile
Excelentísima novela que Frank Darabont transformó en una excelentísima película, al igual que hizo primero con Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. De nuevo, gracias a la película la historia es de sobras conocida.

6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Un libro bastante corto sobre una niña que se pierde en el bosque y trata de encontrar el camino de regreso a casa. Escalofriantemente real, se lee en un suspiro. Como dato curioso, diré que la niña es fan de los Red Sox (el equipo de béisbol favorito de King), y el libro está estructurado en 9 innings, como un partido del citado deporte.

7. The Dark Tower series
Siete son siete los libros que componen esta extraña pero formidable saga, y supongo que, de quedarme con dos, me quedaría con Wizard & Glass y Song of Susannah (volúmenes cuatro y seis, respectivamente). Y es que esta serie mezcla realidad con ficción, fantasía con western, horror con romance, acción con diálogo, magia con tecnología, y nos regala un puñado de personajes tremendísimos que te impulsan a leer página tras página tras página. Y mira que la serie al completo tiene miles de ellas!

La verdad es que el orden de los libros arriba citados podría cambiar y tampoco pasaría nada. Los he puesto así porque más o menos es así como me gustan, de más a "menos", pero tampoco es inamovible, vamos. Y por citar otros que se han quedado fuera (algunos de los clásicos de los que hablaba antes), tengo que mencionar It, The Stand, The Dark Half, Pet Sematary y el más reciente Cell.

Novelas cortas
Lo que inglés se conoce como novella es un relato que es demasiado corto para considerarse novel, pero demasiado largo para llamarlo short story. Ejemplos de este tipo de historia los tenemos en libros como Hearts in Atlantis, Four Past Midnight y Different Seasons, cada uno de ellos con cuatro novelas cortas, todas ellas excelentes (excepto por Hearts in Atlantis). Si tuviera que elegir un par de entre todas, me quedaría con Secret Window, Secret Garden (protagonizada por Johnny Depp en la formidable versión cinematográfica), y Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (película con Tim Robbins y Morgan Freeman), con mención especial para The Body y The Library Policeman.

Richard Bachman
De los libros que King escribió como Richard Bachman, me quedo con dos: The Long Walk, y Blaze. The Long Walk narra una grotesca competición fascista/futurista en la que los participantes tienen que caminar una monstruosa distancia... y son ejecutados si se paran en algún momento del trayecto. Blaze, que se publicó el verano pasado, cuenta la historia de un criminal algo retrasado y cómo su brillante idea de secuestrar al bebé de una familia rica termina.

Relatos cortos
En nuestra última categoría tenemos los famosos relatos cortos, muchos de los cuales han sido llevados a la pequeña y gran pantalla con muy diferentes resultados. Los libros que (de momento) recopilan estas historias son Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, y Everything's Eventual, todos ellos ellos magníficos excepto por Skeleton Crew, que no acabó de gustarme cuando lo leí hace siglos. De entre los muchísimos cuentos que podemos encontrar en estas páginas, los cinco que más me gustan de cada colección son:

De Night Shift: The Boogeyman, Quitters, Inc., Sometimes They Come Back, Children of the Corn, y Battleground.

De Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Chattery Teeth, Sneakers, You Know They Got a Helluva Band, Sorry, Right Number, y Umney's Last Case.

De Everything's Eventual: Autopsy Room Four, L.T.'s Theory of Pets, The Road Virus Heads North, 1408, y Riding the Bullet.

Supongo que podría comentar cada historia corta, pero este post ya es considerablemente más largo de lo que esperaba, así que no voy a hacerlo; pero puedo ampliar en los comentarios si alguien tiene curiosidad. Y hablando de curiosidad, ¿qué os parece mi lista? ¿Qué añadiríais y qué quitaríais? ¿Cuántos golpes me daríais por no nombrar The Shining, Carrie, o 'Salem's Lot? Hablad ahora o callad para siempre.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jim Lee Talks

Gametap interviewed legendary comic book artist Jim Lee regarding Lara Croft, and Lee and the gang have posted a few of the videos on their blog, Gelatometti. In these four clips, Jim Lee gives us a tour of WildStorm, talks about Batman, Lara Croft, and other cool stuff, and he even shows a picture he's been working on as a birthday present for a friend… which is late. He actually jokes about it and says he's late in everything he draws, not only work! Anyway, I know I'm always bashing Lee for being slow and not putting out a book monthly, but he is an amazing artist and just such a nice guy that it's difficult to hate him. Anyways, the videos are fun, so just check them out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Organic #14

Bienvenidos una semana más a Organic, el único webcómic que ofrece guiones elaborados, anacronis-
mos, alienígenas, mutantes, cantaores, tomas falsas, Easter eggs, y making-of's, ahora con 100% más color que otras viñetas.

Nuestros intrépidos protagonistas han capturado al espía y se han pasado varias horas interrogándolo. ¿Qué pasará ahora que le han sacado la información que querían y los fluidos regurgitados que no? Se me ocurren varias cosas, pero, como siempre, sois vosotros los que decidís. Y mientras lo hacéis, echadle un vistazo a las versiones a lápiz y a tinta de nuestra viñeta de hoy. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

1141

That's how many pages the edition of The Stand I read is. It is a very long book, and if it actually had any margins to speak of, and a print size which didn't require a magnifying glass to fully enjoy, it might well go up to 1,400 or 1,500 pages, no joke.

It took me a long time to finish it (I started it in August) because I would stop in between chapters to read other books. That's what I did from August to October, so, on November 3rd, I still had almost half of the book left. Then, an urge to be done with the thing possessed me (well, that, and the fact that events started to really unfold), and I read the second half of the book in five days of intensive reading. Go me!

The Stand, as you probably know, tells the story of a man-made virus that breaks out of the lab and wipes out 99% of the world's population. From there, a bunch of survivors start having two very different dreams: one that represents the Forces of Light, and another one that embodies the Foces of Darkness. Depending on their nature, people are attracted to one or the other, and then they start rebuilding organized society.

That is a simple outline of the story, and it leaves many, many details out (1,141 pages worth of detail, actually). The best thing of The Stand, Stephen King's best book according to his fans (I, of course, disagree), is the characters. They're very real and tremendously believable, and we get their backstories and an incredible amount of detail about them that makes the reader feel as if he truly knows these people. The worst thing of The Stand is that sometimes you get more backstory that you can stand (no pun intended), especially when it comes to characters you really don't care about all that much. Do we need sixty pages telling us how the Trashcan Man gets from one particular place to another? Not really. Do we need to know everything Mother Abagail went through as a young girl? I don't think so. Then again, backstories such as Stu Redman's or Nick Andros's are phenomenally compelling, so maybe it's just a matter of personal preference.

I read The Stand back in my high school days, and to this day I still remembered the names of some of the characters and some of their attributes, which goes to show what an incredible job Mr. King did with the book and the fictional people that populate it. Reading it again was a lot of fun, since many parts were better than I remembered, but some others were certainly more boring than I recalled. I had mental pictures of a few places the characters visit, and it was great to see those places again. It was as if I had found a snapshot I had taken long ago and then left in a box rarely opened. The sense of "I've been here before" was exhilarating, and getting to hang out again with Larry and Glen and Ralph and Frannie was awesome. The story itself, however, had a more religious tone than I remembered, and that I didn't enjoy all that much, even though it makes perfect sense in the enclosed universe of the novel.

To sum it up, I don't regret revisiting this book, because it is an amazing experience, but I do wish it was a bit shorter. I understand this is the complete and uncut version, since King had to cut around five hundred pages the first time the book went to print. However, and even though I don't think there are five hundred pages that need to go, I think at least a hundred and fifty of those pages (maybe two hundred) should have remained unpublished. On the bright side, you rarely come across such a well fleshed-out group of characters, and for that alone The Stand deserves all the praise it's gotten in the past. Stephen King's best book? I don't think so. An excellent book by an enormously gifted author? Definitely.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Swá wæs Bíowulfe

Beowulf opened yesterday, and I of course had to see it. I went to The Rave, and much to my surprise, they were showing the movie in 3D, so I got to feast my eyes on the amazing visuals this movie boasts. Also, I got to look retarded with the plastic glasses on. It's a good thing the lights were out.

I read the epic poem in which the movie is based seven or eight years ago, so I'm afraid I can't say if the animated film is true to the Old English literary work or not. I remembered enough to know parts of the movie were definitely taken from the poem, and to know that other parts were made up. But, as I said, some other scenes I wasn't really sure if they were in the poem or if Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary created them fro scratch. At any rate, the story is quite well known: Grendel is razing King Hrothgar's land, and Beowulf answers the King's summons to kill the beast. But there's much, much more that I won't spoil for you.

As I said before, the visual imagery and the virtual actors are incredible, and the monsters, the animation, and the action scenes are so realistic that is almost impossible to believe. And when you add the neat trick of the 3D, the whole experience jumps to the next level. I mean, you could actually count the pebbles on the ground! Also, there were a couple of times in which the third dimension was so convincingly real that I flinched on my seat. How cool is that?

The critics at Rotten Tomatoes give Beowulf a 71%, a much higher grade than I thought they would give it, so I guess it's widely accepted the movie is cool. And, come to think about it, they also gave Stardust, based on a story written by Neil Gaiman as well, a good grade. Are we witnessing the rise of Mr. Gaiman as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood? If these two movies are any indication of his abilities, I sure hope that's the case!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Café espacial

Ya está en mis manos la primera temporada de BattleStar Galactica. Ha costado, pero por fin la rebajaron de precio en Amazon la semana pasada, y la compré inmediatamente antes de que la oferta terminara o lo que fuera. El caso es que aquí está, en mi estantería, junto a mis otros DVD sets. Todavía me quedan unos cuantos episodios de la quinta temporada de The X-Files, así que esperaré unos días antes de degustar las tan aclamadas aventuras de Starbuck y compañía; pero en cuanto me ventile dicha quinta temporada, me tragaré la primera de BSG antes de ver la película y empezar con la sexta. Y hablando de películas, creo que ya dije en su día que este mes (el sábado 24) emiten Razor, la peli de BSG que precede a la cuarta y última temporada de la serie, que aún no se ha estrenado. (Técnicamente, Razor comprende los dos primeros episodios de dicha temporada, que al parecer también funcionan como película independiente.) Así que, queridos fans de BSG, ¡ya os diré qué me parece la serie!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moore Gone Wild

Surfing the web, I came across a comic strip that's been online since October 2000. I really don't know how I went back to read that first strip, but when I regained consciousness, I discovered I'd past two hours reading strip after strip. I've continued reading them after that, and I haven't still reached the last one. As a matter of fact, it's still hours of eyed-dryness away.

Striptease started as the story of Max and Emily, two old friends who join forces to rock (or try to) the independent comic industry with their new superheroes group: Neato-People. But as the story goes on, new characters and plots are added to the mix, and things really get interesting. Besides, who wouldn't like a few geeky moments from time to time? If you like Buffy, superhero comics or even The Princess Bride, you'll laugh your head off. I know I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diga no a su estrella

Estaba leyendo Entertainment Weekly cuando descubrí algo que no sabía. Según cuenta Dalton Ross en este artículo, resulta que George Lucas no tiene estrella en el famoso Walk of Fame de Hollywood. Sin embargo, eso no es lo más impactante. Lo curioso es que, según comenta el periodista, Lucas se niega a que se la pongan. Al parecer, el sistema por el que los famosillos reciben la estrella se basa en la aprobación de dicha estrella. O sea, que alguien puede nominar a otro alguien, pero es el nominado el que debe validar la candidatura, y eso es lo que Lucas rechaza hacer. Ross dice que los costes de manufactura, instalación y mantenimiento de la estrellita suman la nada desdeñable cifra de 25.000 dólares, pero está claro que Lucas puede permitirse eso y más. ¿Cuál es la razón entonces? ¿Falsa modestia en este ejemplo de megalomanía, o es que no quiere que los fans descontentos se personen en Hollywood y le pisen el nombre literalmente? Misterio.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Loud Idiots

I mentioned The Golden Compass last Saturday and said I'd expand on the topic. Well, get ready for a rant, my dear friends, because that is what is about to ensue.

As an avid book reader, I was well aware of the existence of a series of books called His Dark Materials. This trilogy, written by British author Philip Pullman, has been out for a while (the three volumes were published in 1995, 1997 and 2000, respectively), and had caught my attention a few times during my regular visits to Barnes & Noble. These books seemed to be geared toward a young adult audience though, and I wasn't really all that interested in reading them.

Earlier this year (it might have been late last year), I saw the teaser trailer for The Golden Compass, the movie version of the first book of the series. Thanks to the massively enormous success of fantasy franchises such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, tons of fantasy books are being given the silver screen treatment, and some of them are even watchable. The Golden Compass looked like high quality eye candy, and not only for its impressive visuals, but because of the actors, since Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig lead the cast. The movie looked okay, and I considered maybe going to see it when it opened on December 7th. Maybe. Then I came across a couple of articles on the Internet, and my interest for the books and the movie skyrocketed. And it was thanks to my beloved, always entertaining, Religious Freaks that seem to populate if not most of this country, at least most of the state I happen to live in.

As it turns out, Philip Pullman is an atheist, and His Dark Materials reflects his view of the world, his beliefs (or lack thereof), and his dislike for organized religion. The Catholic League didn't seem to care about the novels all that much (maybe they don't read too extensively, or maybe -and more likely- their reading material is narrowly confined to a certain book or group of books that shall remain unmentioned), but then the movie was made. The movie was advertised. A movie that targets kids and young adults and that dares opening in December, close to their beloved special day. What followed shouldn't surprise anybody. These profoundly fanatical, intolerant, and narrow minded people have started a boycott so nobody goes to see The Golden Compass and nobody buys the books. They are warning parents and audiences away, commanding them (in their divine enlightening) not to see the film. Chris Weitz, director of the film, has stated that he has toned down the religious criticism in the movie in order not to upset or alienate these loud idiots, but it doesn't matter: they are not happy, and they never will be. If you go to Amazon and check out the Customer Reviews for these books, you'll see all the recent reviews that give The Golden Compass one or two stars and attack the author and his beliefs. All very open-minded and understanding, as these very respectful people usually are. Do not let your children get anywhere near these books, they warn. This is the anti-Narnia, they cry. (Which can only mean His Dark Materials is great, since the Narnia series -or at least the first book, the only one I've read- is an insulting piece of crap that threatened with giving me brain cancer.) I can imagine their feverish faces, their bulging eyes, their worried looks. Are they so unsure of their beliefs that they want to forbid other people from expressing theirs? Of course they are. These people disguise themselves as good and caring and understanding, when in point of fact they are nothing but dogmatic, intolerant dimwits that aren't happy with making their beliefs the center of their lives, but who want to impose their twisted perceptions and values on everybody else. Why do they feel the need -the urge- to tell other people what to think? Why can't they even consider what other people have to say? Why do they have to be so disgustingly self-righteous and holier-than-thou? And you know what? Since they believe in whatever ridiculous being of their choice and go to church every week, they actually think they are good people. Well, I've got news for you, buddies: you are just a bunch of delusional zealots, and this is my advice to you: you'd be better off believing whatever your want to believe and leaving other people well alone. If you don't want to read the books, don't read them. If you don't want to go see the movie, don't go. But cut your proselytizing and your cheap demagogy. Just because you don't like something or disagree with it, it doesn't mean it should be banned, forbidden, or boycotted. You are the kind of pathetic people that would gladly give up your liberty and freedom to "be protected"; and, even worse, you'd be (you are) ecstatic to cut down on other people's freedoms for the same reason. You, my despised fanatics, are a very dangerous group of people who just won't go away. Of course, none of you is going to read this post, but if you come across it by accident, consider the following radical notion: the next time you feel like telling me how to live my life, just don't.

Needless to say, I rushed to buy not only The Golden Compass but the three books in the series as soon as I read their comments, so their stupid campaign has had (with me) the opposite effect. And, it goes without saying, come December 7th, your dear Finn5fel will be first in line to see the movie, and I don't care if it turns out to be crap (hopefully, it won't). This is just a matter of making your stand, and I will always be opposed to the anti-thinking these nonthinkers advocate and practice. Always.

Monday, November 12, 2007

¡Felicidades!

Sirva este post relámpago, que se salta todas las normas habidas y por haber en Sunny Jhanna, para felicitar a Alberto y Huitzilin por su primer vástago: Olivia.

Un nacimiento no se celebra todos los días, así que de parte de todo el equipo de la Soleada Jhanna (esto es, de todos nosotros tres):


¡Enhorabuena muchachos!

Organic #13

Bienvenidos una semana más a Organic, el único webcómic que bien podría llamarse Anachronistic y no pasaría nada. Tomatito ha revelado su arma secreta y, marcándose una posturita de lo más clásico, ha logrado detener la huida del espía. ¿Qué pasará a continuación? La verdad es que no tengo ni idea, pero, como siempre, ¡tú decides!

Bonus: ¡echadle un vistazo a estos bocetos exclusivos!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buttercup, Baby (Just To Let Me Down)

You got to love The Princess Bride. Just to be clear, I'm talking about the book here (of course you got to love the movie too, but everybody knows that). Such a beautiful story full of lovable characters, sparkling humor and high adventure is not something one crosses paths with every day.

William Goldman's prose is fluid, always straight to the point. He does not get lost himself in meaningless long paragraphs, boring expositions or clichéd dialogues. He just writes and tells. Tells his story, lightly and fast-pacedly. And that's something so rare to find he definitely deserves all the praise he gets.
He also takes to a new level the old 'book inside the book' joke. Cervantes did it, and Michael Ende gave it a new twist in The Neverending Story. Goldman here claims he's only abridging the original text of one S.Morgenstern, reproducing it just as his father used to read to him when he was young. Of course there never were a Morgenstern or an unabridged version of the book, to begin with. But it's nothing short of amazing how Goldman almost makes the reader believe the lie with delightful introductions and annotations all through the story.

Everybody knows nowadays how Westley and Buttercup fell madly in love, and how he was captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and she gave herself in marriage to Prince Humperdinck. Everybody knows that Fezzik the giant is the strongest man alive, or how Vizzini is the cunniest Sicilian the world has seen. And how revenge is the only force that drives Iñigo Montoya's life.In sum, everybody knows The Princess Bride story, and that's because of something. It manages to make us remember the joy and excitement we felt back when we were just boys and girls.
And I just can't find a better praise to finish with.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gimme More (Books)

I hadn't bought anything from Amazon in a while, but now that I've finished The Stand (and it was about time), I thought it was time to invest in a few new books. This is what I got:
Slayers, vol. 5: The Silver Beast, which continues chronicling the adventures of Lina and Gourry. Fun stuff!
Jingo, yet another DiscWorld novel. At the rate I'm going, I'll end up with all of them!
Devices and Desires, the first book in the so-called Engineer trilogy, that could be either really cool or really bad.
Servant of the Shard, the first book in R.A. Salvatore's The Sellswords trilogy, which a friend recommended on Thursday saying it stars the bad guys of Drizzt's stories instead of the heroes.
His Dark Materials trilogy, since the movie based on the first book, The Golden Compass, is coming out in December (more on that later).
Hopefully, these will be great and I'll be telling you about them soon!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Grab That Cornice

Assassin's Creed hits the stores on November 13th, and it was about time. Along with Halo 3, this is probably the most anticipated 2007 release in the world of videogames, and deservingly so. If you follow this link you'll find plenty of videos about Ubisoft's amazing looking game, but the one I've directly linked to shows you how mindblowing this game is going to be. The video is eight minutes long, but I recommend you watch it, because it gives you a very good idea of what the game is all about. The coolest part of Assassin's Creed is, in my opinion the possibility of accomplishing each mission in different ways. You can choose to kill everybody a la Rambo, or to sneak in and be stealthy like a ninja and avoid confrontation. Also, everything is very realistic and reality based (you'll understand when you see the video), and the graphics and animation are beyond phenomenal. This video I'm referring to is narrated by Jade Raymond, the producer of the game, who also happens to be a hottie, and she tells us many interesting things about next week's Assassin's Creed. A feast for the eyes!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Más chica selvática

No hace mucho os mostré aquí el número 0 de Jungle Girl, el cómic creado -pero no dibujado- por Frank Cho, en el que una típica maciza perdida en la jungla se pasea en bikini de piel por entre los árboles. Ya sé que dijimos que no estábamos muy impresionados con el invento, pese a que los dibujitos están muy bien, pero no puedo evitar mostraros las primeras quince páginas del número 1, que continúan la no muy apasionante historia de nuestra amiga Jana. Como en la anterior entrega, los dibujos son fantásticos; la historia, sin embargo, es harina de otro costal. Pero es harina gratuita, así que no perdéis nada echándole un vistazo. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

GMeP: LA - All I Want For Christmas



One massively spoilery (do not watch it if you don't want to ruin yourself a delightful experience watching the whole thing) Great Moment on Screen right out the ending of one great movie. Plus beautiful.

A brilliant and neverending cast, the very inspired writing and direction by Richard Curtis, and a not to be believed soundtrack listing, they all make Love Actually a movie really worth seeing, and hearing. Even if it's still not Christmas.

This scene has it all: the resolution to all the character's stories, the real live arrivals lounge airport images, the beautiful Beach Boys song God Only Knows wrapping it all in a nice and warm package (and they couldn't have picked a better song here)... Call me sissy if you want, but I actually love this movie.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Halloween Follow-Up

Para terminar con la desde el principio planeada trilogía de Halloween (riiiiight), aquí tenéis este tontorrón dibujillo que hice el día 31 en una de esas reuniones de profesores que utilizo para garabatear. Como podéis ver, el dibujo está hecho directamente a tinta, pues no tenía más que un bolígrafo a mano (al menos no era el rosa, hehe). Quién hubiera pensado que el bueno de Jason podía ser tan mono!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Organic #12

Bienvenidos una semana más a Organic, el comic con más participación de los lectores de toda la red (siempre y cuando no haya ningún comic en Internet en el que participen más de cuatro personas, claro). ¡El artero Hombre Lagarto se escapa volando en su pterodáctilo! Afortunadamente, parece que Tomatito tiene un arma secreta de poderes hasta ahora insospechados. ¿Qué pasará a continuación? ¿Destruirá Tomatito al esquivo espía con una balada sónica? ¿Se pondrá acaso a lamentar la fuga con una elegíaca canción? ¿Pretenderá hacer que llueva para truncar la huida de su enemigo? ¡Como siempre, tú decides!

Además, este post es especial porque hoy Sunny Jhanna cumple dos añitos. Como lo oís: tal día como hoy, cinco de noviembre de 2005, el blog más irrelevante de la red se estrenó con su primera entrada, y para celebrarlo tenemos algunos extras. En primer lugar, las tomas falsas vuelven a petición popular, y nunca en mejor momento. Echadles un vistazo: Toma falsa 01 y Toma falsa 02. Y en segundo lugar, no os perdáis el cutre-boceto que hice a rotulador mientras veía DCC: Making the Team 2. ¡Impresionante!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gelatometti Battle!

Como bien sabéis, Jim Lee y sus colegas organizan batallas dibujiles en su blog Gelatometti de vez en cuando (pero nunca con suficiente frecuencia!). Normalmente no es Jim, sino alguno de los dibujantes de WildStorm el que se enfrenta o bien a otro dibujante del estudio, o bien a alguna estrella invitada. No son muchas, pues, las veces que el extraordinario Lee se ensucia las manos y se lanza a la arena cual gladiador armado con lápices y pinceles. Pero este fin de semana es una de esas ocasiones. El dibujante que ha osado desafiar al genio coreano no es sino Francis Manapul, excelentísimo artista cada día más popular, y que en sus anteriores batallas contra otros artistas del estudio ha derrotado a todos y cada uno de sus adversarios. Como siempre, los lectores del blog eligen el tema, y el escogido esta vez ha sido la pareja Cloak & Dagger (conocidos en España como Capa y Puñal). Y como siempre, ambos artistas tienen una hora para completar su dibujo y ponerlo en el blog para que los lectores voten. Cuando voté ayer las cosas estaban más reñidas, pero ahora el resultado parece ya encarrilado. Sin embargo, os insto a que os paséis por Gelatometti y votéis por vuestro favorito. Los dos me parecen magníficos -especialmente si tenemos en cuenta que han sido hechos en una hora-, pero el juego de espacios positivos y negativos de Jim Lee me parece magistral. No os lo perdáis!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Casa De Muñecas

Hace tres días, cual liebre cualquiera, saltó la noticia: Joss Whedon vuelve a la televisión.

Al parecer acaba de firmar un acuerdo con la Fox por siete episodios para un nuevo proyecto que ha desarrollado junto con Eliza Dushku, quien además del papel protagonista también ejercerá de productora. El título: Dollhouse. Y la premisa, la verdad, tiene muy buena pinta, en el mejor estilo Whedon.

Durante al menos siete episodios (esperemos por supuesto que acaben siendo muchos más) podremos ver un mundo en el que los ricos e influyentes viven sus fantasías (sexuales también, pero no sólo) a través de un grupo de hombres y mujeres que pueden ser utilizados como vehículos físicos en los que imprimir diferentes personalidades, conocimientos o habilidades. Muy a la The Island, estos hombres y mujeres poseen personalidades infantiles, cuasi-lobotomizadas, cuando no están siendo utilizados. Por supuesto no tienen memoria de sus trabajos. Ni de prácticamente nada más.
La historia, al parecer, comienza cuando Echo, el personaje interpretado por Eliza Dushku, comienza a recordar...

Yo personalmente no había dedicado ni un solo momento de los últimos tres años a desear en secreto que Joss Whedon volviese a hacer TV. Pero en cuanto me he enterado de la noticia, he caído en la cuenta de las ganas que tenía de algo así. Hace ya demasiado tiempo desde Buffy, Angel o Firefly.
Al panorama televisivo actual, la verdad, no le vendrá mal un poco más de Whedon.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Princess Resurrection

Ayer mencioné aquí el primer tomo de la serie manga Princess Resurrection. Bien, investigando en internet (o sea, perdiendo el tiempo), me he encontrado con esta página que ofrece, entre otras cosas, episodios de series animadas japonesas en japonés con subtítulos en inglés. Y mira por dónde, tienen los primeros cinco episodios de Monster Princess, que es como la serie se llama en su versión anime (Kaibutsu Oujo en japonés). De momento, sólo he visto el primer episodio, y la fidelidad al manga es casi absoluta. Eso sí: este primer episodio cubre la primera de varias historias que el tomo ofrece, lo que me hace pensar que dicho primer tomo ha sido partido en esos cinco episodios que la página tiene. De todas formas, este primer capítulo es entretenido, y la música está muy bien. Si no tenéis nada mejor que hacer, y queréis seguir regodeándoos en el espíritu de Halloween, echadle un vistazo, y decidme qué os parece.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reading List: October

What have I been reading during October, you ask? Other than The Stand, you ask? Well, you came to the right place to find out.

The Diamond Age
This sci-fi book by Neal Stephenson was equal parts great, slow, boring, compelling, imaginative, random, and rewarding. It was a harder read that I'm used to, but I enjoyed it. It tells the story of a little girl, Nell, and how she is educated by an interactive book, The Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. Stephenson gets lost in his detailed descriptions of the future world he depicts easily and frequently, but perseverance is a virtue, and I did enjoy the book.

Moving Pictures
This time, Terry Pratchett makes fun of moviemaking when a group of alchemists creates "moving pictures", thus inventing cinema. It is imaginative and wacky and absolutely hilarious, and I absolutely recommend it to everyone. Also, it is one of the series' standalone books, so you really don't need to have read any other DiscWorld novels to enjoy this one. In fact, this is the book in which Ridcully becomes Archchancellor of Unseen University, and Lord Vetinari's personality is barely fleshed out. This last aspect was quite strange, since I've gotten to love Vetinari and how devious and calculating Ankh-Morpork's Patrician really is. Seeing him like this, before becoming who he is, was like watching an episode from the first season of Buffy now: you recognize the character, but he is not the character he will become. Anyway, a fun, fun read!

Empire of Ivory
I already talked at length about the wonderful fourth book in the Temeraire series here, so go and revisit my rave review.

The Walking Dead, vol. 1: Days Gone Bye
The Walking Dead, vol. 2: Miles Behind Us
The Walking Dead, vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars
The Walking Dead, vol. 4: The Heart’s Desire
A friend let me borrow the first four TPBs of Robert Kirkman's famous zombie series, and I gotta say it lived up to the hype. The story follows a cop who wakes from a coma to discover the whole world has been ravaged by zombies. From there, he starts meeting survivors, and we witness their struggle to survive and get along while creating a new civilization. Oh, and there're lots of zombies being killed every now and then. The story is engrossing, the characters masterfully built, and the dialogue is exquisite. There is, however, a reason why I had never given the series a try before: the artwork really makes my eyes bleed. Amazing story, appalling pictures. I still recommend it, but I won't be spending any money on it.

Princess Resurrection, vol. 1
I guess the Halloween spirit possessed me, and I went ahead and bought the first volume of the manga known as Princess Resurrection (Monster Princess in its anime incarnation). The series, written and drawn by Yasunori Mitsunaga, tells the story of Princess Hime, who can bring people back from the dead, and who lives with her little and super strong android girl Flandre and her semi-immortal servant Hiro, a teenager who becomes semi-immortal after dying in the first few pages of the book. From here, it's Hime toting around her chainsaw and killing invisible men, werewolves, and other creatures. Sounds bloody and creepy and weird? Well, it's also quite funny!