Saturday, August 14, 2010

So Long to "At the Movies"

Nathan C. has talked a bit about this topic, but At the Movies airs its final episode this weekend.

Yes, the show ran for 35 years. Which means it aired as long as I've been alive. It's been spoofed everywhere in popular culture (I liked the Animaniacs episode, in particular), imitated endlessly, and championed movies both big and small. Lots of people are eulogizing the end of the program, and I recommend looking around for those articles.

The show took a hit when Gene Siskel passed in 1999, and another when Roger Ebert had to step away from the cameras in 2006 when he became ill (I never heard what became of Roeper). I felt like the past year, the show was returning to its Siskel & Ebert hey-day under Scott & Phillips after not caring for the awkward Lyons and Mankiewicz team. In an era when you can confirm or deny your suspicions by surfing to, and every jerk with a blogger account can shoot his mouth off (ahem), "At the Movies" fell off as a cultural touchstone. And, of course, Siskel & Ebert had become such icons, losing both left viewers wondering why the rotating cast of characters, etc...

One thing I love in the comment section here at Signal Watch (or back at League of Melbotis), is the spirited debate that can carry on in the comment section when discussing the merits or problems of a movie. Loving movies does not mean that there's a body of work that's always going to be agreed upon, and the two-headed monster of "At the Movies" was always the best indication that even the people who've seen it all won't agree, and those debates aren't concocted just for good TV. The hosts always truly believed what they said, and could mount a spirited defense (or offense), and left it to the viewer to vote with their wallet.

Although I was not likely to tune in every week, I can honestly say the show would often convince me to see or avoid movies (and I still check in with Ebert's online reviews. The man is just a punchy writer) far more than even word-of-mouth from friends and family.*

Sadly, the balcony is now closed. At least on the Buena Vista Television syndicated program. I wouldn't be too surprised to see current hosts Scott and Phillips find a new home and carry on elsewhere. Clearly, they're having a ball.

*You guys are great, but its often tough to come back later and have to explain why I didn't love "Cats and Dogs 3D" after you'd given it such a ringing endorsement.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Batwoman Ongoing Series in November

We interrupt your regularly scheduled websurfing to point to the announcement regarding the date on the all-new Batwoman series.

From Robot 6

If you wonder why I am excited, here's Simon's post from just today on the superlative Batwoman run in Detective Comics, now collected as Batwoman: Elegy.

Checking in...

So. We've been back and blogging here for a while.

Any topics you want to see that aren't being covered? Anything you miss from the good old days at League of Melbotis?

Just ping me in the comments or via email and let me know.

Jamie is back (with Bacon Salt)

My always amazing wife, Troubles McSteans, has posted a new video taste test.

You know what day it is

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Few Items: Brighton Rock, DC Comics Doc, Hoax

Brighton Rock

Went to go see Brighton Rock, a British movie of the film noir genre. Pretty darn good stuff. I found myself oddly immersed in the movie, and really liked the rising intensity of the film.

Weird thing about British noir... a lot fewer guns.

Also, looks like they're remaking the movie with Helen Mirren as Ida.

That sounds like it could be interesting. And you should be allowed to remake most movies every 60 years or so (most, not all).

DC Comics Documentary

Well, pretty clearly I will buy this.

To celebrate 75 years of the various companies that now fly under the flag of DC Comics, Warner Bros. is releasing a doc talking about DC's heroes in comics, media and culture. And there's some terrific Gary Frank art on the cover.

see, terrific Gary Frank art

What Was the Point of That?

It's one thing when you hoax everyone and convince them that maybe you have a Bigfoot in your fridge. After all, if anyone believed you had a Bigfoot in your fridge to begin with, you can probably guess they're used to disappointment at this point, anyhow.

But if I tell you "I have a pair of red shoes at home" and then, that afternoon say "no I didn't!", you're not hoaxing, you're lying. And while lying to certain people (police, judges, waitresses at Macaroni Grill, your spouse) isn't just okay, it's hilarious... simply misrepresenting the truth isn't really a "hoax", nor is it even funny. And when you're running a comedy site, your job is to be funny.

You may recall that yesterday, at wacky links site Randy and I share, we posted about the nutty girl who found a great way to quit her job? And you thought: Wow! That's really great and hilarious! Even if a "garbage dispenser" makes it sound like garbage is coming out of the trashcan, which makes no sense, but... whatever. That girl has moxie!

Only to find out: HA HA, THAT NEVER HAPPENED AT ALL!!! We totally made that thing up, because it WOULD be awesome if it happened. Also, we wanted to take pictures of good looking young women. And while it temporarily drove up hits, and we've forgotten that one basic tenet of comedy is that "it's funny because it's true", we totally bet when people think (which, you know, sounds like, and those guys made it work), you're totally going to think "oh, those cads! They're quite the scamps! I should check in and see what shenanigans and charades they've concocted this time to tickle my funny bone!"

Oh, well.

It was kind of overshadowed by the very real case of the flight attendant popping a cold one and exiting the plane action-hero style. Now THAT GUY is awesome.

No Post. Went to see "The Keep".

I hadn't seen this movie since middle school, but remembered really liking it as a kid.

Music by Tangerine Dream. Ian KcKellan. Gabriel Byrne. Scott Glenn. Directed by Michael Mann. A big, scary fortress of black granite. Nazis.

Why have you never heard of this movie?

Well, its not... very good. It may be telling that movie never received a DVD or Blu-Ray release. Apparently the studio doesn't even have a rental copy, so we watched the studio's archival copy (ie: their one copy. Srsly.). I am starting to think The Alamo must have a pretty special reputation if they're getting archival copies to show.

Then again: this is a movie nobody ever sees, and it SOLD OUT this evening at The Ritz. I kind of wonder how much the studios watch stuff like this they send out to The Alamo, trying to figure out if there's a geek audience out there that wants this stuff. Apparently, that's the reason you can get Monster Squad on DVD at all.

Anyhow, thanks to SimonUK for encouraging me to go.

editor's note: by the way, I still enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I may recognize its kind of odd and flawed, but it sort of fits in my wheelhouse

here's Wikipedia on the movie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I guess they've redesigned Batman's costume a little

So in reading two separate Batman comic-news related bits, I couldn't help but notice that DC seems to have maybe moved to David Finch's Batman: Earth One design for Batman in the mainline titles.

It's not a drastic redesign. Mostly, Batman's belt looks a little different and we see the return of the yellow oval bat symbol on the chest. Also, look! Where are his blue trunks? It's like he's bat-nude!

From the announcement art on Batman: Earth One.

From today's article about Batman, Inc.

Also from the Batman, Inc. article, but it looks like this may be some canned art from Batman: Earth One

article on Batman: Earth One at The Beat.

article on Batman, Inc.

Who knows, though, really. In watching the Robin documentary on the Red Hood DVD, the editors had cut in many shots of the wrong costume, wrong Robin, etc... interrupting the flow of the video for anyone who ever read a Batman comic and wondered "why do they keep showing Tim Drake when they're talking about Dick Grayson"?

My suspicion is that someone has Earth One art lying about and had to use it as its the only art anyone has on hand with the yellow, oval bat symbol Morrison was talking about.

Green Lantern Movie: Kilowog Pic Now Up for Viewing

man, I hope this isn't just someone pulling my leg.

My only surprise is that the eyes aren't black and red, but... whatever.

So, Kilowog is this big, hippo-like guy who is sort of a drill sergeant for newbie Green Lanterns. He lovingly refers to them as "Poozers". Its hilarious. Trust me.

Looks like they kept the look intact, and that's no mean feat. It also speaks well that DC is likely keeping their hands in the mix and that we can expect some fidelity between comics, cartoons and the new movie.

Comic Alliance article.