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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movie Time: Rewind!: Sergeant York

Hey all,

Just been a super busy weekend and I am so far behind on posting that I am not going to get some of the things I wanted to talk about up in time this month. Still I did want to make some time for a new edition of the Rewind, where we turn back the clock and look at a great film from before the year I was born.

As this month celebrates Memorial Day I thought we would take a turn at a war picture. Specifically a film that celebrates the spirit of what Memorial Day is about and for that I chose Howard Hawk's 1941 biographical film, Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennen, and Margaret Wycherly.

This film is just the sort of rousing patriotic sentiment that was so prevalent during the early 1940's. Our country was at war in Europe and movie makers were interested in keeping the patriotic spirit alive. Sergeant York was the story of the most decorated soldier of World War 1, Alvin York (Gary Cooper). York is a poor hillbilly, growing up in the backwoods of Tennessee. York is a bit of a ne'er do well as is given to drinking and fighting, much to the regret of his well meaning mother (Margaret Wycherly). York gets in fights and disrupts life in his small community, until he meets Gracie Williams (Joan Leslie). Between his new love for her and his remorse at the pain he caused his mother, Coopers converts to Christianity after a bolt of lightning strikes him on his horse.

With the help of the pastor (Walter Brennen) York turns his life around, winning a marksman contest to help raise money to buy a farm on a better piece of land. Unfortunately he is drafted into the army and sent to basic training to fight in World War 1. He tries to file as a conscientious objector due to his religious beliefs, but since his church has no official standing, he reports for duty. After completing his training, he is promoted to a corporal due to his excellent marksmanship and service. Still not wanting to fight though, a sympathetic Army Officer gives him a text on US History and a weeks leave. They both discuss the Bible and different point of views on why York should fight, and York takes the leave to think alone atop a mountain at his home.

York agrees to fight but doubts that he could ever kill. Overseas though, York's platoon is pinned under heavy gunfire and his self doubts erase after watching his friends die. Nearly single handily he surrounds the German lines and kills the Germans with such deadly accuracy, that they surrender to him. He also captures a German officer and forces troops still fighting to surrender. All told he captures 132 prisoners and returns with them to camp. York is awarded the Medal of Honor and a national hero. York returns home to huge parades and his wife, and best of all, a brand new farm to raise his family.

The movie was directed by Howard Hawks, one of his generations most versatile directors. He is able to work in noir, crime, action, adventure, comedy and all with ease. Here Hawks takes his times and really transforms the everyman Cooper from an unlikable sod to a national hero and its a change that doesn't feel forced. The war sequences are great as well. He really takes his time and lets the movie unfold. Character actors like Brennen and Wycherly really flesh out the cast and are great foils for Cooper early in the movie. Cooper himself won the Oscar that year for his portrayal and this is a film that helped sediment him into the public as the bigger than life everyman. The man who always stood for whats right even in the worst of odds.

This was the movie that made me really appreciate what Gary Cooper could bring to a role. Understatement was key. He could play the poorest or mos ignorant character, and yet find a deep meaning inside of him. He manages to make a real life hero bigger than life yet he never takes away what the real York accomplished. He kept me believing that the real reason York did these things was not for glory or duty, but because he felt to not act would have been the greater sin. To let his friends die while he sat by an did nothing would not be what God would want. That by him taking a life, he could end the war sooner

Sergeant York is a really good film. A little action and a lot of acting, all inside a wonderful film that makes you think about how you look at the world. Check out Gary Cooper in Sergeant York, voted one of the most inspirational movies of all time, and the highest grossing film of 1941. You won't be sorry.

End of Line.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Hey all,

I wrote most of this quick poem in about 15 minutes on a break at work. I don't know really what inspired it, just the thoughts of walking away from a relationship and how you justify it to yourself. Maybe not my strongest poem in terms of lyrical cord but I did like a few of the couplets that came through. Anyway the title is supposed to be a but of an oxymoron, where the poem is really about burying yourself in lies, and wanting nothing more than to be stripped away from the burdens that hold you down. I don't know if that really comes across but I hope you enjoy. I am going to try to pot up the next installment of The Rewind tomorrow so thanks for sticking with me. Hope you like the poem.


Slowly falling down the line,

An image sent yet trapped in time.

Praying softly for that failed sign,

But I feel its loves lost crime.

The hurt rose up and bubbled forth,

Overfilled with regret and shame.

And everything points true north,

To where I cast the lonely blame.

I walk the path through rain and snow,

Along a trail long over grown,

And all around the wind does blow,

Never fading the seeds I've sown.

I cannot push away the thoughts,

Not so far from my waking mind,

Holding still an image fraught,

Of your memories in kind.

How I wish I could be stripped,

Of all the ways you hurt me so,

This desolate land where I have tripped,

And the thought of you still strikes me low.

Turning down a forgotten road,

My memories a vivid scar,

Carrying this burden bared to load,

This journey now to travel far.

I cannot say goodbye,

All that's left are lost hellos.

My chest heaves with a faintive sigh,

As her voice is carried in the windy blows.

The ghostly dreams that still reside,

Of past pleasures and chance denied.

The salty stain of tears I cried,

And all that's left is how I lie.

End of Line.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

Hey all,

Sorry for not getting this posted sooner, I am battling a bit of a cold and I just have zero energy. Anyway, enough of my whining excuses, onto the film.

I have to admit that I was very excited for Terminator Salvation. Christian Bale is one of those rare actors that can elevate a movie of a role by the tools he brings to a film. He can take a otherwise mediocre project and engage the audience into the action with his dedication to the role. That being said Terminator Salvation needed every bit of Bale to carry it across.

The plot of the movie is pretty simple, the year is 2018 and the machines have taken over the world. John Conner (Bale) is a soldier in the resistance, though not in charge or the organized troops. After a mission goes bad and he looses his squad, the resistance discovers a kill list intercepted from the machines. The top two names on the list are Conner at number 2, and Conner's father, Kyle Reese(Star Trek's Chekov, Anton Yeltsin) at one. Conner knows he has to find his father first in order to save the future, his present, so that he can be born.

In the meantime Marcus Wright( Sam Worthington), a convicted felon from the late 90's, wakes up and stumbles free from the same site that Conner lost his troops at. Wright managed to make it to LA, now completely controlled by the machines, and meets up with Kyle Reese. Not knowing what has happened, Wright wants to find out what happened to him all those years ago, since he was supposed to be dead. Unfortunately Reese is captured and Wright ends up with another member of the resistance. They head back to Conner, but Wright is hurt in the trip by a landmine, and they make a discovery, Wright is actually a Terminator with human parts. He is a robot, but still feels pain and has a human heart.

The information that he gives Conner forces him to attack Skynet central in order to free his father. Conner must battle the machines, and place his trust in the very thing that has tried to kill him since before he was born in order to save his father, and the future.

My biggest impression of this film is that it is a huge spectacle piece. I don't think that you should necessarily expect any revolutionary, its very much a formulaic Terminator piece. A human must team up with a machine to stop other machines and protect on person. I think that when Bale is involved on a project, expectations tend to exceed the actual possibilities of the film. This is by no means a bad film, and I think that some of the criticism is unfair. It's a big budget action flick, gun fights, explosions, man versus machine. Everything you kind of expect from a Terminator franchise.

I think the weakest qualities are both the writing and the direction. I think that many people where expecting a film more along the lines of the Dark Knight, and instead got just another summer action piece. The story is passable, but is nothing that you haven't seen in the previous 3 films. The director is McG, the guy behind the Charlies Angles franchise, and he isn't Chris Nolan. He brings the same things that guys like Michael Bay bring, which isn't necessarily bad, its just more on flash and less on substance. I think a tighter script and a director that is willing to take chances make have carried this film to a strong finish. Not to mention the films ending, which i won't ruin for you, I found uninspired and kind of trite.

One of the things I did like about the film was the casting. Christian Bale is quickly becoming the biggest star in Hollywood and anything he touches is going to get noticed. Surrounding him were very fine character actors. Sam Worthington is a relative newcomer, but is poised to take on bigger roles. Flashes of guys like Michael Ironside, Moon Bloodgood, and Anton Yeltsin where also very good. Bloodgood, most famous for her work on the canceled Journeyman show, brought a very tough femininity to her role. This marks Yeltsin's second blockbuster appearance in a film this summer, again playing a younger version of a famous character. First Chekov in Star Trek, second Kyle Reese in Terminator. My only complaint was the under-use of Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Conner, John's wife. She seemed almost tertiary to the story and I would have liked her to step up more into the action. I also liked that they even threw in some appreciation to the previous films, with some voice over work by Linda Hamilton as Sarah Conner, and even an appearance (in a way) by the original Terminator himself Arnold.

Look, overall I did like this film. While it didn't rejuvenate the franchise like Warner Bros thought it would, it IS a very passable summer movie, and there are plenty of worse ways to drop a couple of dollars at the movies. It's almost worth it for the Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo alone. Other than the ending, the film is a decent action movie and I enjoyed watching it. If you're looking for some explosions and huge special effects sequences, Terminator Salvation isn't a bad take.

End of Line.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Hey all,

Wanted to drop a few quick notes on the latest goings on in the world of vinyl and urban toys. Kid Robot, makers of the Dunny line of vinyl toys, released a new series of figures this past week. They are a very limited edition run of figures all in a theme. Kid Robot usually does a regular series run (numerical), and then a theme run. Some of the themes in the past have been Los Angles (with all LA based artists), Azteca (Hispanic artists), and the last theme was the United Kingdoms, with all artists being from Britain. For this run Kid Robot used a much smaller production scale, making these figures much harder to get and more limited. They tied this limited availability with the theme, Endangered. Each Dunny is modeled after an endangered animal, some modeled after even fictitious ones.

Overall my personal opinion of this set marks it as one of my lesser favorites. There were still a few nice figures in the lot and between Jason and myself we got all but about one we really wanted. To my knowledge there were 16 figures in the run, including the two chases and a color variant. We managed to score the color variant but not the two chases or the more limited 1/40 figures. Still we managed a nice haul to hold over the old addiction until Comic Con.

I also managed this week to finish my Gamma Mutant Space Friends line from Kid Robot after Jason scored an Ion figure off the Kid Robot message boards for me. That means I have the full set of 14 figures, including the limited 1 in 80 Stella (seahorse) and both color way variants.

I hope to post up in the next week or so my own attempts at creating some vinyl art. I bought a couple of blank Mini-Munny's and have been working on painting and designing them. With the second one I am actually photographing my progress. Be on the lookout for finished product next month.

I'll be back tomorrow with my review for Terminator Salvation. Until then, thanks for reading!

End of Line.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 5

I pleaded with Annie though the door, pounding relentlessly, insistently until she caved in.. or called the cops. Annie was as unpredictable as they come. She was a few years younger than me, 29, but that was old by dancer standards. She had come from a pretty rough life, an abusive step father and drunken mother had led her to run away at 15. She grew up fast on the streets, doing whatever, and whomever, she had to survive. I had picked her up back when I was with the squad working vice. I had felt so bad back then, back when I still cared about my job and the people around me. Before the trial.

I don't know what had made me do it. She had to have been about 17 by then, strung out and working for some sleazy pimp. I had cleaned her up and found her a place to live. Me and a couple of the boys had taken care of her pimp to, made sure to know that Annie was off limits to him. I might have saved Annie back then, but she would save me in the years to come. She would be there when no one else was to drag me up from the mess my life had become. Maybe a part of me knew that one day I'd need her just as bad as she did me.

Annie had tried school and all that but it wasn't for her. When I bottomed out she gave that up and started earning the money or the both of us. I was to far gone to wonder, to far gone to care. She nursed me back to this semblance of life. I found out later that she had been stripping. Annie always depended on herself, and she knew what her body looked like and what men thought. She was working at one of the better clubs now at least but she didn't really care what I thought. She still kept her own place, something I hadn't fought but realize now I should have. It wasn't that long ago that it was me strung out, and I don't think either of us knew what to do when we weren't saving the other. We had one of those love/hate relationships that you read about. We both loved each other, but we hated ourselves to much to let the other in.

My constant banging finally wore her down and she opened the door a fraction, peering out behind the mess of black hair that draped her face from beneath the chain lock. I pleaded for forgiveness, something I was use to doing at this point. I'd had a bad day, a relapse, but told her that things were looking up. I had a job, paid in advance. I showed her the roll of cash stuffed in the envelope. I begged her to let me in. She nodded and closed the door. I head the scratch of the chain coming undone as the door opened. I gave her a big smile and opened my arms. She slapped me again, harder this time. Love's a fickle fucking thing.

At least she left the door open this time.

End of Line.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Word Balloon: Desolation Jones

Hey all!

For my column this month I felt the need to address a writer that I have yet to highlight. Next to maybe only Alan Moore, this author is perhaps my favorite writer currently working in the business. Warren Ellis one of the most prolific creators working in the business today. He creates books for a multitude of publishers currently, Astonishing X-Men for Marvel, Planetary from DC/Wildstorm, Fell for Image, and a slew of books from indie publisher Avatar Press including the ongoing series Gravel, as well as limited series Ignition City and No Hero.

Ellis started writing comics in the early 90's with short runs on Marvel Comics Hellstorm and Excalibur but it was his short run on Wildstorm's Stormwatch that led him to success. An action oriented team book, Ellis spun off the book into a new titled called The Authority, which coined the term Wide screen comics, making the pages seem larger than life in scope and size. He also launched his creator owned book from DC/Vertigo called Transmetropolitan around this time, a finite series that ran for nearly 5 years.

His work is often about the transhuman nature of people, often set in either the future of in an alternate past where people comes to grips with some form of the changing of human values. Whether in No Hero and the ordinary mans quest to be extraordinary or in the Authority, where the world looks at superheroes in a more realistic light. He is a writer singularly plugged into the Internet and the information age around us like no other, often taking his work into dark places and casting the light on parts of the world that don't see it. Warren Ellis addresses the changing values and cultural norms in such a fashion as to allow the normal reader a peek into an increasingly maddening and bizarre world.

He has many great books to choose from and it pains me to say that I am a bit late to the Warren Ellis party, having only discovered his work a few years back. His magnum opus, Transmetroploitan, is currently out of print and I have been scouring the Internet to find a copy recently so I thought I would start with my favorite book of his to date, Desolation Jones.

Desolation Jones was published by DC/Wildstorm in 2005 and was written by Ellis and drawn by J.H. Williams III and Jose Villarrubia and is the story of a former MI6 agent named Michael Jones. Jones service record was littered with conduct and behavioral issues and rather than be dishonorable discharged, he agrees to what he believes to be an innocuous series of tests. Instead he becomes a human test subject for an experiment called the Desolation Test. He is strapped to a bed for a full year and not allowed to sleep. The tests cause numerous physical changes that include a frail physique, grey skin and white hair and scarring. He must avoid contact with the sun as well, though we never learn why. Jones is marked with a biohazard symbol under his arm by the government and eventually retires to Los Angles, a place the US maintains as a virtual prison for burned and retired ex-agents.

Jones takes a job as a private investigator working cases for other intelligence operatives and regularly abuses drugs and alcohol. He also mentally appears to have no emotion or remorse and can kill without regret. He heals poorly when injured but also on occasion displays super human reflexes. He also suffers from hallunications, but these side effects are never pinned to either the Desolation test of the drug abuse.

The story of the first arc is that Jones takes a case for a former colonel who is an affluent collector. It seems one of his daughters has stolen property from him, namely the lost pornographic films of Adolph Hitler. Jones sets out to track down the daughter, but realizes that all is not as it appears and he must unravel the machinations of all three of the colonel's daughter to find the tape. Along the way he is helped out by Robina, a woman skilled in explosives, and Emily, a woman as the result of a CIA test releases pheromones that cause fear and revulsion in people around her (except for Jones who Desolation tests make immune).

The book is purely Ellis, diving into the world of human experimentation and the bizarre. It dislodges the underbelly of the seedy pornographic industry and both manages to infuse a sense of disgust and fascination at the same time. Taking the bizarre plot point (the lost porn tapes of Hitler) he weaves a tale purely of the 21st Century and shows why he is one of the most revolutionary writers in comics today, afraid of no barrier or medium.

The art is incredible, from the eerie washed out Jones to the intricate panel/grid layout of each page, the book is gorgeous. Each page is the sum of the art, not just the work inside the panels, but the panels themselves often add to the page. J.H. Williams III is one of the most under-rated talents in comics today.

I cannot honestly say that Warren Ellis is the right author for everyone. He is bold and brash and often woks in a very provocative and uncomfortable medium. He approaches science fiction and fantasy and fuses them for a new generation, never beholden to the trappings of the past. What I think is really great about him though is his versatility. For every book like Desolation Jones or Transmetropolitan that pushes the envelope in terms of what we accept in comics, he can turn around and do very bold mainstream work on a title like Astonishing X-Men, Marvel's flagship X title.

Warren Ellis is possibly my favorite active writer today. Where guys like Alan Moore and Brian K. Vaughn produce such limited fare, Ellis is constantly creating and trying new things. Check out Desolation Jones: Volume I: Made in England and see if you find what I did. I wasn't sorry.

End of Line.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Hey all,

Another poem relatively quickly here. I was inspired by listening to some protest music on the radio so I decided to make my own kind of protest railing against the trappings of life and what our preconceived notions are. Hope you like the poem.


The life we live is not our own,

For within we are but a drone.

Trapped by bonds we cannot see,

Living a life dictated by majority.

To keep us from being what we can be.

Becomes the work of all authority,

Held in check towards a hollow life,

For happiness and freedom becomes our tithe.

Possibility remains without our grasp,

Our conceptions contained deeply clasp.

The government tells us how to act,

Religious convection's still hold some pact.

Society's laws preconceive our notions,

Wealth and possessions become our sole devotions.

To take a life that the world deems right,

A wife, a job, and the trappings of debt's delight.

It holds us down, never to rise up,

With the belief that life's but a half-filled cup.

It's not to late to dream of chance,

Live a life of one's own circumstance.

Breaking free from all the mundane,

And never face mediocrity so plain.

Not held by what's right or wrong,

To make a place where you belong.

When all of color's but shades of grey,

Create a world of vibrant display.

Shirking free of rules and behavior,

Finding peace as your own savior.

Never trapped by problems you cannot fix,

Or pinned to the worlds selfish crucifix.

Not Gods, nor fate, or worldly desire,

Can give you freedom from this mire.

To achieve all that you require,

Is to change the flames of heart's fire.

Dream to live a life without a border,

For within you create your own order.

End of Line.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 4

I watched Mrs. Lomack leave and stood in my inner office a long time. Her scent hung in the air, cloying, but I kept breathing it in. I could feel my gut roiling in displeasure and my brain sounding a warning louder than a prison break, but I stood there. The wad of bills she had passed to me was rolled in my hand and I dumped it into my coat pocket. I tried to shake it off, I had a job to do, two jobs if I meant to get Annie back, and thinking about this dame certainly wasn't going to get me anywhere. As I headed down the stairs I could still smell that scent, like it was following me.

Job or no job, I had to meet Annie first. Had to explain what happened last night. Or at least tell her about this morning. Paying work may go along way into getting me back into her good graces because that stunt this morning was just the tip of the iceberg if she was really pissed. I hailed a cab and made my way over to Annie's place. It was still the early afternoon and she wouldn't be leaving for work for a couple of hours yet, still time to make this right.

As I rode over, I tried to turn my thoughts away from Mrs. Lomack and towards the case. It wasn't the lack of leads or the 7 year old cold trail that bothered me, I'd had harder cases before, it was why Lomack had chosen me. I can understand my name coming up in some circles, but with the kind of money that Lomack had access to, even without the fortune she stood to inherit, she could hire a million guys like me. Something was nagging at me about this case, why she was keeping it low key, or even if she really was. I'd put my finger on it one way or another.

The cab pulled up to Annie's place and I tossed him one of the bills crumpled in my pocket. I told him to keep the change and headed up to the landing. As I went to press the intercom, the door slid open and Annie's landlady came out with a huge bag of trash. I slipped in behind her before the door closed and bounded up the two flights of stairs to Annie's apartment. i knocked on the door a couple of times and I knew that Annie was staring at me through the peephole. I tried to put a smile on and knocked again. Finally the door opened wide and before I could even say her name, Annie slapped me hard across the cheek and slammed the door. Dammit, loves really a bitch.

End of Line.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek

Hey all!

I actually caught Star Trek last weekend but I have been super busy at work this week and I haven't had that much time to write. Today was quite a long day but I still want to get my thoughts down while they still have some semblance of freshness in my mind.

Star Trek starts out on the USS Kelvin, a Federation star ship that encounters a strange lightning storm in space. From within the anomaly, a gigantic Romulan mining ship exits and lays waste to the ship. Commanded by a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) they order the captain of the Kelvin to come aboard, leaving the young first officer, George Kirk in charge. When the captain is killed, Kirk commands the ship to evacuate and pilots the damaged ship manually to cover the escape. Kirk's pregnant wife escapes aboard the shuttle as Kirk pilots the ship into a last desperate suicide run.

Then the film flashes into the upbringing of the films two stars, the reckless abandon of a young Jim Kirk growing up in Iowa, and a young Spock dealing with the trials of being a half human, half Vulcan in a world that views his heritage as a liability. A perception that ultimately forces an adult Spock (Zachary Quinto) into joining Star Fleet. As Kirk grows older (played by Chris Pine), he gets into more trouble until a Star Fleet Captain named Christopher Pike convinces him to join the fleet and live up to his father's legacy after a particularly rough night.

We are also introduced to Cadet Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldera), who is at Star Fleet with the two of them. When another galactic storm is detected near Vulcan, Star Fleet is scrambled to aide the planet. Kirk, on probation for cheating on a filed test, is snuck aboard the Enterprise by his best friend, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McKoy as he is desperate to be a part of the action. When Kirk hears the distress call, he realizes that the symptoms of the distress call are similar to the ones that killed his father 25 years earlier.

I don't want to spoil the movie from here, but Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew must come together if they want to defeat Nero and his plan to destroy the home worlds of his greatest enemy, Spock himself. Already Kirk and Spock don't get along and through the course of the film, Kirk has to find a way to take control of the Enterprise and set right a timeline that has been shattered by the appearance of Nero, who is from the future and out to get revenge on the man who cost him everything 130 years into the future, Admiral Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

Let's start with the casting. Up and down the board director JJ Abrams hit every character exactly right. From Zachary Quinto playing a wonderful young Spock, keeping his emotions just under the surface, to Chris Pines who manages to play Kirk by channeling the attitude and machismo that made the character so popular, without burdening it with to much of Bill Shatner's traits. Zoe Saldera played Uhura great as well, clearly giving an homage to the great Nichelle Nichols, while keeping her a determined woman more attuned to modern sensibilities. John Cho really sheds the comedic weight of the Harold and Kumar roles as Hikaru Sulu, really grabbing the show in a great sword fighting sequence. Simon Pegg meanwhile really brings some fun and levity during some of the heavy scenes, keeping the sense of fun and adventure alive with brilliant comedic timing that never plays disservice to the role of Chief Engineer Scotty. Anton Yelsin as Pavel Chekov doesn't have a lot of screen time, but he does have a few nice moments that I really hope gets fleshed out in the inevitable sequel. The final bit of casting is my favorite, Karl Urban as the exasperated "Bones" McKoy, brilliantly satirical, the actor (of whom I had very little confidence based in his previous roles) really shown as McKoy, bringing a bit of grim humor to the film, while always maintaining his role as teh pragmatic voice of the crew.

The script is pretty solid, I could nitpick several plot holes (mostly on the sorry state of defense that seem to be surrounding the Star Fleet planets) it manages to pull off a feet I would have thought impossible, namely creating a brand new vision of the Star Trek world, while never discrediting the previous shows or films in the series. The inclusion of Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime (from the future) not only brings a bridge to the reboot for old fans, really allows for a whole realm of possibility re-interpreting some of the great tales that exist in the original universe.

Abrams keeps the film going at a solid pace and allows the characters to breath and grow, never forgetting that its the humanity of Star Trek that makes it memorable, not the size of the spectacle. Still he manages to really modernize the fight scenes into something more relatable, and more importantly, more appreciated, by the fans. The effects and action scenes are a little CGI heavy in some instances, but overall the Trek universe has never looked smarter or more vibrant.

My only real complaints outside of a few unimportant story elements was the lack of character time for the supporting cast. I understand that the center of the tale is Kirk and Spock and the relationship they form, but I felt at times that it took away from the great casting choices around them. Scotty doesn't come into play until over an hour into the film, and Sulu is pretty much a background character after his initial sequence. Bones, very much a centerpiece of the old series, is also relegated to the side cast and I would have really loved to have seen more repartee between Spock and McKoy.

My hope is that now that the initial story is done, they can dedicate a little more time to each actor in the impending sequels. I could also argue that Eric Bana as Nero is still very much a bland villain in the Star Trek universe. Short of Wrath of Khan, Star Trek isn't really known for its villains in its films and Bana could easily have been cast by another actor. Its not that he is bad, far from it, its just that it doesn't really matter who the villain is because the story isn't about that so much as it is about Kirk and Spock and the bonds of friendship they form.

Overall Star Trek is a great movie, fun and exciting with a fairly sharp script. It's a great film for the neophyte Trekker, or a welcome return to the established fan. It's easily worth the price of admission so do yourself a favor and check out Star Trek. I promise it's worth it.

End of Line.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Hey all,

I've had a really hard time writing this poem. I have probably struck about seven or eight failed attempts to write over the last two days until powering through with this poem. I just haven't had that creative spark for writing poetry in the last month or so. Hopefully I can find some good inspiration soon and get back in the saddle. Thanks for reading guys!


Time has come to say goodnight,

And all our last farewells.

Tomorrows not to come again,

Forgotten in the past it dwells.

It's gloom and hate and all goes dark,

The hope I snuffed shall fade to black,

I tried to stay until the end,

Because I know I'll never look back.

Walked away, her back to me.

The luster's gone from once bright eyes,

Further out into the horizon,

The widening gap between us lies.

Into the heart of a braver man,

He'd said the words I'd longed to say.

I've a cowards fear of bravery,

As their love is out on display.

I'd never said those faithful words,

Nor told her what was trapped within.

Now she's found what I locked away,

Her happiness is my chagrin.

This love trapped inside my soul,

A corruption left to fester,

It's blooming petals gone to rot.

And a pain I just can't sequester.

I hate myself for what I've done,

Resting on my fatal apathy,

It's far to late to take a chance,

But not to suffer this agony.

She's found what she always wanted,

In the arms of another man.

Succumb now to this loss of hope,

And back to where it all began.

Filter please all the past.

The memories must fall away,

That pain of losing her so fresh,

Will hurt me till my final days.

End of Line

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Movie Review: Crank 2: High Voltage

Hey all,

You ever go to a movie so wanting to like it, then just be crushed when it isn't what you wanted? That was me and Crank 2 today. It's a well known fact that I love over the top action movies. Just pure fun and excitement, not trapped by the needs of a strong story or character development. It's just a movie where you can go an have a good time. These are the things I loved in films like Shoot'em Up, The first two Transporter films, and all the like. I was raised on these kinds of films, you know, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal. Either you like the genre or you don't. The first Crank was the closest thing to about as perfect a straight out action flick could be.

It made no pretense to story or anything, just Boom. You're poisoned, you're gonna die in an hour unless you keep your adrenalin up, Boom go kill some shit. That is exactly what I wanted. It finds its own little world and let's you cut lose.

Crank 2 kind of fails...epically. The premise is pretty much the same. At the end of Crank 1, our hero Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) falls out of a helicopter in a final battle with the man who poisoned him. He kills him but crashes into a car on the ground below, bouncing to the asphalt. The film picks up right from there with Chelios being literally shoveled off the sidewalk and wheeled into a hospital. His heart is removed and replaced with a fake one that needs to be constantly stimulated with electricity. Regaining consciousness, he is determined to find the guy who stole his heart, and the action resumes, with Chelious getting into fights and gun battles, constantly looking for his next fix of electricity just to keep him alive.

He runs into his old girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) working as a stripper on the trail of the man who has his heart. He also meets Venus, the twin brother of Kaylos (Ephren Ramirez) who was killed in the first film. All the while his friend, Dr. Miles (Dwight Yoakam) is preparing for Chev to return with his heart to replace it for him.

The action stays pretty much over the top throughout the film, from gun fights in strip clubs where silicone oozes from bullet riddled breasts to a public sex scene at racetrack similar to the firs film. It doesn't lack for action or pacing, it never stops. The story and plot are non-existent and character development isn't what the point of this movie is about. That being said there are several sequences in the film that felt out of place. Especially the Maury Povich style sequence where you get a look at a young Chev Chelios in a weird conversation with his mother. It was like they were trying to add depth to the characters, but it was so out of place it was dis jarring. There is another fight scene when Chev finally catches up to the guy who has his heart at an electrical transformer station and the fight changes to some kind of Godzilla parody. Giant rubber faced versions of Statham and his opponent fighting amongst a miniature set like the old films. It was weird and didn't make sense.

The first film was over the top and impossible, but it stayed with the boundaries that it established, giving it a kind of reasonably and structure. Crank 2 would establish a structure, then blow it away. I never felt like the movie established itself. I am not asking for exposition or some Oscar worthy plotting, just establish some kind of realism, even if it is an absurd one. I think the fact that Crank 1 had done that, the fact that they tried to break any kind of structure in 2 was
Jason Statham continues to perpetuate his tough guy action hero role and is great at dealing with the absurdity and chaos of these types of films, a combination of humor and violence that makes him the go to guy for actions films for this generation. Amy Smart knows her roles and expectations. She knows what brings her to the game and isn't afraid to add some sex appeal or show the goods when its called for. I did like that they amped her toughness in the sequel and she definitely added some humor in the movie, especially with her scenes with the owner of the strip club she worked at (Corey Haim).

You can look for a veritable Easter basket of cameos, from David Carridine as an ancient Triad boss, Lauren Holly (from Dumb and Dumber)as a sexed crazed psychiatrist, and Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell as a young Chev Chelios' mother.

I can't recommend Crank 2: High Voltage. Not really anyway. I couldn't get past my disappointments in establishing a cohesive tone to the movie. It was like a sugar soaked diuretic. Super fast and sweet, but no staying power. It never felt like it needed to create an environment that stayed consistent. It would wax and wane from frenetic and impossible to trying to clutch at a rapidly disintegrating reality. It just didn't find the same balance the first film did and never really got me to by into the vision they wanted me to believe in. I say wait for Star Trek this weekend guys, it looks to have a little more staying power.

Thanks for reading!

End of Line.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 3

Her name was Alison Lomack, of Lomack cosmetics. She was tall and pale, long strawberry blond hair that covered one side of her face, a lone bright blue eye staring out from the other side. Her lips were as red as a freshly washed fire truck and appeared wet and pouty, even when she was talking. She wore a long black dress, cut low in the front and long in the side to accent just the right parts. She was all woman, and I even though every alarm in my head was going off, I couldn't help but invite trouble.

She had asked around, various friends and companies, and my name always cam back to her. Fir the job she needed done, only I had the ability to do it. All because I have one skill that strives above the rest. No matter what the case, no matter what the shit eating circumstance, it comes back to one thing. I can find what is lost. People, objects, things, I can find them. usually though by the time someone gets to me though, the thing they are looking for doesn't want to be found.

Alison though was the heir to a huge fortune from the cosmetic firm her husband had owned. He had died of a heart attack last month and left a huge fortune to her, providing she could find his long lost daughter, Elsa. It seems after his marriage to Alison, Elsa had ran off rather than see her father marry some bimbo, as Alison told me. The two hadn't spoken in nearly 7 years, but it seems old age had softened the once brutal Mr. Lomack, and now my fine widow would get no inheritance unless his daughter could be found.

She paid my daily fee for the next three weeks plus a large advancement for expenses, and gave me the only clue she had, that Elsa had been seeing a boy named Roger Horner at the time she left home. When she paid, she leaned forward to let me get a good peak down her dress and ran her hand down my arm, trying to be coy. I'd like to say that it had no effect on me, I'd like to say that I was beyond that sort of thing. I'd also like to say that I didn't have a huge fucking boner in my pants. Those things would be fucking lies though.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Movie Reviews: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Hey all,

Yesterday I headed out to the theatre to catch the new Wolverine film. As a staunch comic book supporter, it's almost contractual that I see any comic book adaptation. To be honest though, I had some very serious concerns going into Wolverine. Concerns about the story, the actors, the characters involved, the director. Pretty much the only thing I was sold on was Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Thankfully, the creators actually managed o find a fun film inside of all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the movie. The movie starts by showing the origins of Wolverine, his birth and the discover of his bone claws after killing a man as a child who he believes has murdered his father, only to find that the man he killed is his father. Running away with his newly discovered brother, they realize that they can only count on each other. The two grow up and come into their mutant powers, healing factors that slow their age and claws, with almost animalistic senses. Traveling through the years it shows them fight in the great wars throughout history, from the Civil War to Vietnam, where they are drafted into a new team of operatives that also are powered like them, led by General William Stryker.

Stryker, played by Danny Huston, is the same villain from X2: X-Men United (played by an older Brian Cox then) has formed a team of operatives who would go onto become major players in the Weapon X program, there is Logan (Wolverine), Victor Creed (Sabretooth and Logan's brother) played by Liev Schriber. Wade Wilson (Deadpool) played by Ryan Reynolds, as well as John Wraith (Will I.Am) David North (Agent Zero/Maverick) portrayed by Daniel Henny. Also on the team is Fred Dukes (the Blob) by Kevin Durand and Chris Bradley (Bolt) by Dominic Monaghan. With so many character its very easy to get lost, but the film stays focused on Wolverine, who quits the team after a mission goes bad. His brother is nearly uncontrollable at this point in his rage and he doesn't like Stryker's increasingly brutal methods.

Retiring to the Canadian outback, he lives in peace for several years with his lover until Stryker shows up, claiming someone is hunting the old unit. Telling Stryker he wasn't interested, he changes his mind when he finds that Sabretooth has killed his lover. He agrees to a procedure that will bond indestructible adamantium to his bones, knowing that it is the only way to beat Victor. The Weapon X procedure is brutally painful but he overhears Stryker telling the doctor to wipe his memory, he breaks free and runs away.

Now he has to track down both Stryker and Creed, knowing that he has been lied to. Returning to his old ally John Wraith, he learns that Stryker is stockpiling mutant prisoners and running tests on them on an unknown island base. Tracking down the one man that escaped, Remy Lebeau (Gambit played by Taylor Kitsch) Wolverine goes to the base to confront his two greatest enemies in a final battle, one that also involves a confrontation with Weapon XI, Deadpool.

The movie is dense, packed with plot and set pieces and it doesn't rest on its laurels at any point. Honestly a few moments more on several scenes would have paid off, not only in terms of character development, but also allowing characters to develop more of an emotional bond with each character. Director Gavin Hood doesn't pull any punches and isn't afraid to kill someone off. He keeps the pace fast and frenetic. The one scene that I would have liked them to spend more time on was the whole Weapon X procedure itself. Such a great story in comic book form it lasts about 10 minutes in the film and honestly is one of the most important elements of the complex origin of the character. If it was up to me the film would have climaxed with his escape from the program and used that a basis for his battles against Sabretooth and the rest of the Weapon Team.

Still the ending itself is plenty action packed for everyone and is satisfactory. Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine and really grounds the movie in his performance. Sure there are some dialog chunks that are heavy handed or sappy and some of the action sequences could have been handled better, especially the fight between Wolverine and Weapon Zero in the helicopter but I can't complain.

There is a surplus of characters in the film and they could have cut a few out to make more screen time for the principals. The mutants that Stryker is experimenting on included a ton of cameos, from Emma Frost and Silver Fox to Cyclops. While I could have gotten along without that subplot, they don't really retract from the story and manage to create a continuity that isn't so unbelievable. I'd have loved a little more screen time for Liev Schriber whose Sabretooth was great. Terrifying and ferocious, he is quite the scene stealer. The inclusion of Gambit was kind of unnecessary as this now dates him to much for a possible appearance in future X-Men films and his role could have shed a little more screen time on one of the other members of Wolverine's team, particularly Dominic Monaghan's Bolt or Agent Zero. Don't waste Gambit on what essentially turns out to be a large cameo.

Wolverine is a fun popcorn film and a great way to spend a few hours at the movies. Honestly I hope they make a sequel and focus on the more intimate adventures Wolverine had in Japan following his Weapon X trials. Don't go in expecting Iron Man or The Dark Knight and you'll be fine. It was far better than the last X-Men film or the last Spider-Man. I recommend X-Men Origins: Wolverine, go check it out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Hey all!

As you may or may not know, yesterday May 2 was Free Comic Book Day across the nation. Usually in May around the release of whatever tent pole comic book film adaptation is being released, comic book publishers get together and release free comic books. Most publishers put out one book, a sampling or special story featuring their top creators and characters to get new readers into the industry. Big publishers put out 2 books, one usually more kid friendly and another more teen centric, usually one will highlight whatever film is being put out, like Last year Marvel out out an Iron Man/ Hulk book, this year was Wolverine.

Free Comic Book Day is done for a lot of reasons. Bringing in new readers is crucial and this usually gets a lot of coverage in the media. Comic book readers are getting older. The average reader is in his 20's or 30's these days as kids have so many other options for stimulus. The Internet, video games, television, movies, music, everything is more accessible nowadays. Getting comics into kids hands can help foster many great things, promoting reading and imagination, as well as bring in new blood to a business that sorely needs it.

This year I got an opportunity to do some volunteer work for Free Comic Book Day at my local comic shop. Originally I was going to help box up comics to ship overseas to stationed troops, but they decided that they wanted me helping out with the signings and sketching sessions with the comic creators they had set up to come in. While most of the heavy weight talent they had booked went to their more high profile store, we did have a couple of local talent in for signings. I arrived at 10am for my shift, ready to do some packing, but they told me what my plan was. As the signing didn't start until 12, they asked me to go and hang out at the Free Comics table and talk to the people that came up for their free book. Roger, the guys running the table, was their warehouse guy in charge of back issues and is a bit older. While a nice guy, he isn't great at working up conversations with strangers.

I'm pretty personable and soon I was in charge of the table. I got to talk to people all day about comic books, giving kids free books and watching their faces light up. Talking to regular readers about the good stuff on the table and the current state of the industry. We talked about the new Wolverine movie and different books we all liked. I even got to talk to people that never read comics and introduced them into a new medium of thinking. That was one of the best parts. If they had never read a comic before, I'd ask what type of movies of TV shows they liked and picked something out. We had a different genre of book for everything, romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mystery, action, popular culture, or just plain super hero. It was a blast. So many people commented on how good I was at talking to people and how personable I was. I didn't really think about it at the time, but it was easy when you enjoy what you're doing. Part of my everyday job is being able to relate to different types of people and that definitely helped prepare me for this.

I ended up working the table for 11 hours. To be honest, it didn't feel that long. Talking to the staff and people just came really easy to me. The staff at the store is great, from the owner and assistant manager of the franchise, to the store manager and the sales staff, they all know me and we had such a great series of conversations. One of the artists, Patrick Scherberger, who draws Marvel Adventures (a fun all ages book) drew me a really cool sketch even.

The weirdest time of the day was talking to one girl who had never read comics and was only their to hit the Cold Stone Creamery next door. I was talking to her and found that she had in interest in anime and manga. I gave her a manga sampler and talked to her about some of the selection that they had to offer in the store. She was really excited and even made a purchase. I had made a new customer! The strange part was her telling me about why she was out. She was on her way home when her friends wanted to stop for ice cream. They had just left an adult bookstore and she detailed her purchases to me, including $150 worth of porn and a new vibrator. At first I thought she was flirting with me, but two other staff members told me the same conversation about 20 minutes later. Now I think she was just excited about being in an adult bookstore and wanted everyone to know.

Honestly though, the whole day was fun. I got to talk about comics and hang out with some really great people. I got a little closer to the staff at my store and I got to read all the free books I wanted. The reason I love comics so much is that in them anything is possible. They unlock the imagination and creativity and create a truly singular experience that you can't get anywhere else. Not as static as a book, not as exacting as a film, it lets you fill in the gaps in between. Its a medium that allows you control over the flow of the story, you can savor every panel or flash through the gaps. I can't wait for next year.

End of Line.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Assorted Nuts

Happy May Everyone!

All in all I don't think I had a very good April. My blog output was not up to my standard. I realize that I am just not a morning person or a regular 9 to 5 kind of guy. I feel at my best creatively when I can work on my blog later in the evening. Getting up early means that by the time I get home I am to tired to write, that my brain isn't working on the level that I need for it to be at its maximum efficiency.

I certainly have been thinking a lot about what I am going to be working on this month. I have been trying to do some other things creatively that I hope to have some posts on this month, plus a ton of good movies are coming out. I also really want to put some time back into my poetry, I don't think either of my efforts last month hold up the way I want them to, so I am going to try to refocus on that and have a good effort of two. I have also been working on designing my own interpretations of some vinyl toys that I hope to finish up on this week, I am almost through with one, but on the next one I am going to take pictures and post on my progress.

In terms of my Flash Fiction I hope to have a couple of entries into The Darkest Dawn as well as ramp up into my new Noir Story. Mostly I just want to get back into writing a little everyday, something that I didn't do last month. It felt forced and stilted a lot of the times I sat down to write and I don't want that. Its not like I don't have ideas or things to write about, its just that the passion and fire seemed dimmed. I am going to try to power through that this week and into next and I am hoping that a change of schedule will pay out creatively.

Thanks for staying with me guys.

End of Line.