Monthly Archives: June 2013

David Magazine

July 13

I was wondering today, as I was finishing an article, how often I should put up a real blog post. I mean I’ll do reviews as I finish books and see movies. I get that frequency. And when I go to Scotland in two weeks, those should be nightly posts, or summary wrap-ups. I get that, too. But the rest of it, the real stuff, how often do I do that before you get bored of reading it and I get bored of writing it? To ourselves, for the most part, our own lives are boring. While I know I would be excited as hell to meet a favorite actor or singer, for them, it’s part of the same ol’ day in, day out routine. When I was in Hollywood or Vegas, to people who weren’t there my life could have seemed glamorous or cool, but those of us who know what a grind the entertainment industry can be, we know that glamor is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Continue reading

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Review: Man of Steel

Man-of-Steel-poster-SupermanSeeing the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, I am struck by a couple of things, not the least of which is how inured we’ve become to mass destruction. I know much has been made of the 9/11 imagery in the film, and I agree, it’s excessive and, for me, serves no purpose other than to show how short a distance we’ve really come in the last 12 years.

Another thing which strikes me about this film is how lazy the screenwriters are, knowing the iconic nature of the characters involved, they figure we already know all we need to know so if they’re not going to mess with the canon, they don’t give us anything to go on. We know nothing about Lois Lane, The Kents are stereotypical salt of the earth farmers and Perry White has been reduced to a figurehead with bark but no real bite. Continue reading

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Review: X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming on the heels of reading “X-Men – Days of Future Past,” the theme is similar yet, I think, much better executed here. The fact that this is a one-off helps. Chris Claremont didn’t have to worry about monthly continuity, he could simply write the story he wanted to write. But then again, the X-Men have long been the Marvel stand-in for “the Other” so it’s no surprise they are the go to characters when anyone wants to make a point about intolerance and hate. This story has the added bonus of including religious zealotry and hypocrisy. Of course, as a book written in 1982, the resonance it has with today’s America and the ideology which is pushing for a theocratic government is pretty impressive.

So, overall, a bit of an easy target and a simplified answer to a complicated issue… but huge props for calling out racism in any form (and for probably the only time a certain racial epithet was uttered in a mainstream comic book, and uttered by a proudly jewish girl who is under 18 – almost as many discriminated against minorities you can jam into one character).

PS: Thanks to Doc Pockets for reminding me of this one.

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I am Nothing

I am not republican. I am not democrat.
I am not right wing. I am not left wing.
I am not conservative. I am not liberal.
I am not rich. I am not poor.

I subscribe to no one political philosophy.
I think everyone should have the right to live in peace.
I think you should take care of yourself, but if you can’t we should help.
I think if you take without giving, that’s theft.
I think education is more important than weapons, but both are important.

If you are an asshole, I won’t like you, no matter your race, religion or sexual orientation.
If you judge someone based on your preferences, you are an asshole.
If you think being able to piss standing up gives you some sort of privilege, you’re wrong.
If you believe in god show it, don’t tell it.

In the eyes of the world, really, I am nothing.
But I’m all I got, and I’m gonna keep going

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Review: World War Z

So I went and saw World War Z  last night. I liked it.

I understand it has absolutely nothing to do with the  book, which I also understand is quite good and written by the same guy, Max Brooks, who started this whole zombie craze with his book “The Zombie Survival Guide” (and who also happens to be the son of famed comedian Mel Brooks). Not having read the book, and understanding that books and films are two very different animals (teaching a course on literary adaptation will do that to a fella) I don’t think I’m missing anything. I also think that if you went in to this expecting to see a faithful adaptation of the book, you missed out on a fun, exciting and heart-stopping thriller. Continue reading

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Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say, I remember reading these initial books when they came out in 80-81 and I remember being absolutely blown away by them. This was the introduction of Kitty Pryde, who, if you are a comic reader and my age, you had developed a massive crush on at just the right time in your formative years (it didn’t hurt she was Jewish, as I was, so, ya know, there was a bond). So it was with this sense of nostalgia I picked up the compilation

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Behind the Scenes: List of the 100 Best BTS Photos from Iconic Movies

Behind the Scenes: List of the 100 Best BTS Photos from Iconic Movies.

As a film buff, former screenwriter, part-time art department flunkie and now history of film professor, I love this site. To me, 90% of the magic of film is what happens behind the scenes, how it all gets put together seamlessly so when you’re watching it, it’s all happening in real time – regardless of whether the scene were filmed miles or months apart, whether the characters involved were in the same room or they never met in person (or if they ever existed at all).

The other nice thing about seeing these behind the scenes glimpses is they serve to separate the actors from the characters and the drama of the finished product with the fun and enjoyment usually to be found in the making of.

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Seriously!

And yes, I’m going to Scotland in 2 and a half weeks. This makes me very happy!

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I forgot how to write

I’m sitting down to write something and I think I forgot how to do that. My mind is whizzing, but sitting down to the keyboard and actually picking a project is a chore. I used to be able to crank out material at a prodigious rate and while I think I know what happened, why that changed, that doesn’t excuse it. I need to get over it and just get the job done.

With that in mind, I’m sitting down today to start work on a fantasy adventure story which is in need of a title. This is a new piece. I had thought about going back and picking up the thread of other pieces I’d started some time ago, but I think a fresh start on something new is what I actually need at the moment. By putting it here, in the open, I’m hoping to shame myself into working on it on a daily basis. I can talk the talk, time to get back to walking the walk.

(and yes, I’ve shamelessly stolen the graphic – Thank you!)

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Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature

This is a great glimpse into process but as I sit down today to outline my new writing project, I sit down with a computer and a tablet and a piece of software designed to make these notes. There are places and slots for all these notes.

It’s like email. We still have correspondence, sure, but there’s something sad about not having the “Collected letters of ….” to look forward to anymore. At least the art itself lives on.

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Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, I’m not sure if I’d ever actually read this before. I think I must have because I remember the hammerhead people (and where were they in the recent Oz film?) but I certainly didn’t remember it the same way it was. Like most people, I figure I’m tainted by the iconic 1939 film because the book, while containing most of the same elements as the movie, has much more (and actually, some less). Continue reading

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Macbeth

Macbeth_largeOn July 20th, My friend Jennifer and myself will be in Manchester to see Kenneth Branagh once again take to the Shakespearian stage for the first time in 10 years playing Macbeth. Needless to say, I’m very excited! For not only is it Sir Ken, but playing Lady Macbeth is Alex Kingston (who speaks about here). This is also quite cool because as Whovian, how awesome is it to see Dr. River Song live an in person?

Of course, this is par for Jennifer and I. The last time we got together in the UK the entire trip was filled with Dr. Who references and sightings. And this voyage to Manchester will be coming on the heels of 5 days spent in Edinburgh where we’ll be seeing the sights and looking for monsters. And it’s also the legendary home of, you guessed it… Macbeth. Gotta love theme vacations!

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Review: The Internship

The-Internship-posterWhat can I say? You see a film advertised with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and if you don’t know what you’re going to get going in, you haven’t been paying attention to cinema the last decade. And in that respect, The Internship doesn’t disappoint. Of course, that same reasoning can also be used to explain why the film did poorly at the box office and is getting a paltry 6.4 rating on IMDB and a piss poor 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is NOT a film for anyone looking for deep meaning, clever dialogue or twisty, complicated plot lines. Instead, this is a film for people who want to spend a couple of hours out of the heat, watching characters you know do what’s expected of them and everyone comes out exactly where they’re supposed to be by the end.

Director Shawn Levy, who started his career doing Disney TV, has a features resume filled with nice but innocuous films (Night at the Museum 1&2, Date Night, Real Steel), films you forget while walking to the parking lot, but at least they’re films you could take the family to see.  Continue reading

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Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn’t so much a story as a cautionary tale of what will happen if America (any country, really) lets religion control its politics. There’s not much in the way of plot and smarter people than I have spent a lot more time than I writing about all the allusions and metaphors. I’m glad I read it, finally, though. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t read it because I have a grudge against Margaret Atwood. It’s a personal thing, they way she denounces science fiction and then explains that what she writes is “speculative fiction” because hers doesn’t have space ships in it. I call BS on that.

It’s also interesting in that I’ve recently been on a Dystopian Literature kick and I’m fascinated by the wholesale stealing of ideas from Brave New World to this and This Perfect Day. In the end, though, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed Claire Danes interpretation of it as well. With audio books, the narrator can save a bad one or kill a good one, but in this case, I think Ms. Danes did a great job.

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Blogging?

20130620-142025.jpg

So I’m wondering why we blog and what particular point this particular blog has. I was reading this morning a couple of news-feeds and there were blog posts with interesting bits of information on them, but a lot of it wasn’t sourced and a lot of it was rather inflammatory and it got me thinking about the blogger back in ’07/’08 who wrote, with no foundation of fact (and he said so later) that Obama was a Muslim. This was picked up and widely disseminated by major news outlets with no one bothering to vet the information. Of course, here I am, passing on bits of it as news myself, with no sourcing or validity whatsoever. I remember reading the information, but I’m nowhere that I can search and verify what I remember. Continue reading

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