So, here I am. It’s late on Sunday evening, I’ve gotta write something for the website, so let’s just sit down and do it.
What can I write about?
Just write the first thing that comes to your mind.
Nothing’s coming to my mind.
Wow. This is a new experience for me. Writer’s block. In the six years I’ve been doing this now, I’ve never run into having writer’s block. I’d usually always have something to say.
Granted, on some of those nights, what I had to say came out pretty crappy. They were half-formed ideas that I just came up on the spur of the moment to just fill a page and a half of space so I’d have something for the week. But not this week.
I have absolutely no ideas.
I guess I could write about writer’s block. Just enough to fill a page, and then I can go outside and seek inspiration.
Is that a page yet?
Well, I’m going to call it one.
I need more angst in my life.
Or more joy.
Either/or. They both give me material.
You have to admit that Star Trek’s expanded universe hasn’t gotten the same kind of respect that the Star Wars expanded universe has. With Star Wars, everything’s done under the auspices of Lucasfilm, making sure everything remains faithful and true. The fans like it, because it fleshes out those funny-looking guys who were running around in the background. Besides, Lucasfilm has also never stepped forward and said, “The expanded universe is not canon.” So, many read the novels and comics thinking that maybe, just maybe, this all really happened.
Continue reading Comics: The Final Frontier
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Directed by Tim Burton
Starring Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelley, Helena Bonham Carter, Deep Roy, and a bunch of other kids.
Now here’s a fond memory of my childhood. My sister became a total geek for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when she was a kid. It was her favourite book and she read it cover to cover many times. She eventually talked me into reading it, and I liked it. I saw the original film (1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) and thought it was a little…weird. Then, a new movie version. I always liked Tim Burton, and it would be an understatement to see what he’d do with the material.
Little Charlie Bucket (Highmore) is a very poor kid who lives in a crumbling house with his parents and grandparents. If there’s one thing he loves more than anything in the world, it’s Wonka chocolate. Naturally, when Willy Wonka announces that he’s planted 5 golden tickets in his Wonka bars to allow 5 children a tour of his top-secret chocolate factory, Charlie is caught up in the fever. He lucks out, gets a ticket, and he’s soon touring the factory with spoiled brat Veruca Salt, hyper-competitive Violet Beauregard, obese Augustus Gloop, and TV-addict Mike Teavee. Leading the tour, of course, is the very eccentric Willy Wonka (Depp). And what unfolds is Charlie’s odyssey to maturity, and Wonka’s shot at reconciliation with his father.
There’s one thing that really sticks out in my mind with this film: Johnny Depp sure acts weird. Now, I get his take on Willy Wonka: he’s a reclusive shut-in who’s forgotten how to interact with people. And, in that aspect, this film actually reminded me a lot of Edward Scissorhands. We’ve even got flashbacks where the father is played by a beloved horror movie star (Christopher Lee). And I’ll admit, the whole “origin of Wonka/reconciliation with his father” subplot that was created for the film really didn’t work for me. But there was a lot I did love: all the kids were spot-on prefect, the look was just fantastic, and Danny Elfman knocked it out of the park with the Oompa Loompa songs. All in all, it was actually pretty good.
At this point in my life, I’ve divided my life into two parts: “before Japan” and “after Japan.” Something about spending a year in another country shifted my viewpoint somewhat. And now, when I do things that I haven’t done since before Japan, they seem slightly different, although wholly familiar. There’s one thing I’ve wanted to do since “after Japan” started, and that’s return to my beloved Canadian Rockies. It’s an opportunity I didn’t have until just a couple of days ago.
Continue reading The Tram
Directed by Tim Story
Starring Ioan Gruffud, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Owens, and Julian McMahon.
Ahh, it’s just not summer anymore without the latest Marvel comics movie adaptation. Let’s take a moment to award some medals to the Marvel films. The Spider-Man and X-Men films take the gold. Daredevil and Hulk go home with the silver. Elektra and The Punisher limp home with the bronze. Where, then, does Marvel’s first family rank?
There’s a cosmic storm heading towards Earth, and Reed Richards (Gruffud) desperately wants to study it. So, with his best buddy Ben Grimm (Chiklis), Richards goes to his old college buddy Victor Von Doom (McMahon), who’s now a cold-hearted millionaire. Von Doom, you see, has a space station that Richards wants to use. Von Doom says yes, and puts together the rest of Richards’ team: Sue Storm (Alba), the chief geneticist of Von Doom Industries and Richards’ old flame, and hotshot pilot Johnny Storm (Owens), and Von Doom himself. They go into space, get bombarded with cosmic rays, and come home altered. Richards is now all stretchy, Sue can turn invisible, Johnny can light himself on fire, and Ben turns into a great stone behemoth; something which causes him great emotional pain. But, a few accidents later where they get to use their powers, and they become media darlings. Von Doom, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. He’s also being changed; his body turning to metal. As the fortunes of the “Fantastic Four” rise, the Von Doom empire starts to fall, and Doom blames one man: that accursed Richards. Before long, we’re poised for a showdown: The Fantastic Four vs. Dr. Doom.
Fantastic Four rates a solid silver: a lot of the favourite elements are there, but it’s not quite firing on all cylinders. Owens and Chiklis are spot-on perfect as the Human Torch and the Thing, but Gruffud and Alba have no romantic chemistry whatsoever. One thing that it does have going for it is a sharp sense of humour. There are a lot of (intentionally) funny moments in this film that sets it apart from the other Marvel adaptations. It’s just plain fun, even if it falls short of the gold.
I’ve lived in Entwistle all my life. In that time, I’ve seen many a project come forward, and many old ones torn down. So, it’s only natural that I would eventually have my own plans for the town. There are things I’d like to build, or at least see them be built. Every time I walk through the town, I pass every vacant lot and see another possibility. And the one that constantly comes to the fore is what to do with Entwistle’s gas station.
Continue reading More Grandiose Plans