Author Archives: Crystal Smalling

Comic Review: Stranger Comics’ –The Untamed #1, A Sinner’s Prayer

theuntamed
Stranger ComicsIf you were given the opportunity to leave hell for seven days, what would you do?

For one man, locked in hell after the death of his wife and daughter, killed when he was, the answer is simple: Vengeance.

As we are taken on this man’s journey, his return to his hometown, it is clear that he is no ordinary man. He once ran the town, Oasis, and was cruel to its people. However, he was not the only one to pay the price.

When first asked to watch/read this comic, I was interested, but I’ve never been a huge comic fan. There are some I have read (Buffy, Fray, X-Men, and others), but I wasn’t as ‘into’ them as some of my friends. However, from the beginning of this animated comic, I was hooked. The art is beautiful, the music heart-wrenching. The story itself opens up with an image reminiscent of various underworld myths. The first one that springs to mind is the ferryman of the Greek river Styx and the dead he would take to Hades. The familiar image of the Reaper is ferrying the protagonist of the story out of the underworld and back to shore. He states that he was only ‘given’ seven days to send seven souls to hell, and that he doesn’t remember what he came back for. Death’s watchers, in the form of crows, follows him on his past.

I use the word protagonist loosely, because such a word can not fully describe this man, this ‘sinner’. He doesn’t react the way the normal ‘good guy’ might; for example, he ignores a woman who begs him for help, instead moving on to visit a blacksmith who reveals more of the man’s story, yet is unable to reap his reward.

After watching this comic, I surprisingly want to know more. What will happen in the next six days? Will he find his vengeance? Will he fulfill his duty to the underworld? Will a girl’s eyes dissuade him? The Untamed is an amazing comic, whether watched or read, and I, for one, will be on the lookout for more. However, I strongly recommend watching the animated version for best results. The music and the artwork, coupled with light animation (bringing to mind favorite cartoons from the early 90s), adds an incredible depth and richness to the story.

The Untamed, A Sinner’s Prayer is written, produced, and directed by Sebastian A. Jones, with art by Peter Bergting. The comic can be found online at this site: http://www.strangercomics.com/asunda/untamed1/ where it is available in both written and animated forms. There is also an amazing gallery of artwork from the comic, as well as an alternate cover. I sincerely recommend this amazing tale to comic readers everywhere.

Joss Whedon fans are reaching their goal to raise $150,000 at the “Can’t Stop The Serenity” Worldwide Charity Events

4-cstslogo
Season Finale Charity Auction offers chance to tour Dollhouse costume department and more

Since 2006, fans of popular cult television and film writer/director Joss Whedon have hosted charity events worldwide to raise money for Equality Now, a charity dedicated to promoting the human rights of beleaguered women and girls. In 2009, they have already raised over $128,000 for charity. This auction aims to reach the goal of $150,000 raised by “Can’t Stop the Serenity” in 2009.

For the fourth year in a row, in over 50 cities across 7 countries, thousands of people around the world have participated in “Can’t Stop the Serenity” fund-raising events to benefit “Equality Now,” a charity organization working to protect the basic human rights of women and girls across the planet. Since 2006, more than a quarter of a million dollars has been raised, and in 2009 we’re aiming to add another $150,000. And we’re almost there.

The final effort to reach that goal is a global charity auction, featuring dozens of prizes that will be much sought after by fans.

One of the auction highlights is a chance to tour the Dollhouse costume department with costume designer, Shawna Trpcic. With the recent news heralding the cancellation of Joss Whedon’s latest television adventure, this is a once-in-a-lifetime never-to-be-repeated chance to get up close and personal with a piece of the Dollhouse. This may be one of the last opportunities for a lucky fan to see the depths of the Dollhouse wardrobe, and explore the many looks of Echo, Sierra, Victor, Adele, Topher, Boyd, Ballard and the rest of the Dollhouse team. Shawna Trpcic is the creative genius behind the unique looks of each of the dolls as they go from persona to persona, and has generously donated this rare chance to take a behind the scenes look into this cult series. In addition to Dollhouse, Shawna is also responsible for costume design on Firefly and Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog.

Other prizes up for grabs is autographed memborabilia from Joss Whedon, Dollhouse‘s Dichen Lachman, the cast of the Emmy Award Winning Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, and Felicia Day’s The Guild, as well as props from Serenity and Dollhouse, rare scripts and more.

The auctions will run until the end of November, and a full list of prizes can be found on the Can’t Stop the Serenity Auction Guide.

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Equality Now to help fight for the rights of women and girls who can’t fight for themselves.

For more information on the auction, see www.CantStopTheSerenity.com or contact:
Jen Cummings
Global CSTS Auction Coordinator
Jen@CantStopTheSerenity.com
About Can’t Stop the Serenity:
Conceived in late 2005 by Christopher “TheOneTrueB!x” Frankonis, “Can’t Stop the Serenity” (or “Serenity Now/Equality Now” as it was known in it’s first year) included over 41 charity screenings in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, most held around June 23 (Joss Whedon’s birthday). All to benefit Equality Now, one of writer/director Whedon’s favorite charities. And all organised entirely by volunteer fans. This staggering achievement raised over US$65,000 and began a movement that is growing stronger each year. In 2007, 42 cities in 7 countries raised over US$106,000. And in 2008, this grew to 45 cities and over US$107,000 for Equality Now. Over $250,000 has been raised for Equality Now to date. In 2009, we are proud to have 55 cities in 7 countries involved in Can’t Stop the Serenity.

About Joss Whedon:
Whedon is a well known proponent of encouraging gender equality, from his mother being actively involved in Amnesty International and helping to found Equality Now precessing his dedication to the organization, to the well known strong female characters he has created in stories like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly and Serenity. “There are two ways to fight a battle like ours.” says Joss Whedon, “One is to whisper in the ear of the masses, try subtly and gradually to change the gender expectations and mythic structures of our culture. That’s me. The other is to step up and confront the thousands of atrocities that are taking place around the world on an immediate, one-by-one basis. That’s a great deal harder, and that’s Equality Now. It’s not about politics; it’s about basic human decency.”

About Equality Now:
Equality Now was founded in 1992 to work for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world. Working with national human rights organizations and individual activists, Equality Now documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support their efforts to stop these human rights abuses. For more information, visit www.EqualityNow.org or contact Amanda Sullivan, Director, Women’s Action Network, Equality Now at (212) 586-0906

About Serenity:
A passenger with a deadly secret. Six rebels on the run. An assassin in pursuit. When the renegade crew of Serenity agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in an action-packed battle between the relentless military might of a totalitarian regime who will destroy anything – or anyone – to get the girl back and the bloodthirsty creatures who roam the uncharted areas of space. But, the greatest danger of all may be on their ship. From the mind of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) comes a new edge-of-your-seat adventure loaded with explosive battles, gripping special effects and fantastic new worlds!

Movie Review: Fame – I Wanna Live Forever!

fame
Buy Fame (2009) or Pre-Order Fame (1980) [Blu-ray]

Nearly thirty years ago the world watched as seven students were admitted to the New York High School of Performing Arts, and began to fight for their dreams. The MGM academy award winning film Fame was born, addressing surprisingly controversial issues for 1980. From homosexuality to teen pregnancy, abortion to drug use, illiteracy to interracial relationships, Fame took its audience through all four years of high school for this small group of students.

In 2009, United Artists brought back the writer of the first film, Christopher Gore, and attempted to recreate a classic. Characters were shuffled around, genders changed, and this time, we watched as ten students this time were admitted to the same high school, and the timeline remained similar to the original, following the characters through to graduation.

In viewing both films, it’s clear that the original was far edgier than the remake. With its heavy themes and unique take on teenagers in the eighties, the movie had more of an impact than its twenty first century counterpart. The remake focuses more on familial relationships, and is clearly more uplifting, with a very brief touch on teenage suicide. The theme of the first was survival; the second, dreams.


The Main Characters (includes spoilers):

1980

Doris Finsecker (Maureen Teefy) – A shy girl who’s mother wants her to get in more than she does in the beginning, forcing her to sing for an audition for the drama department. She wants Doris to go because she doesn’t trust public schools, and they can’t afford private. Eventually she finds a boyfriend in Ralph Garcie (who in pure teen movie fashion, annoyed her earlier in the film).

Coco Hernandez (Irene Cara) – The ‘token Hispanic’ present in so many movies of the time period, Coco is portrayed by the singer Irene Cara. Coco is in school hoping to use it to jumpstart her career. Her philosophy is to keep looking for the next best thing. As she tells another student, she believes she’s “doing [her] last dance on this dark little planet”. She’s determined that it be amazing.

Ralph Garci/Raul Garcia (Barry Miller) – Another Hispanic who doesn’t really want to be, Ralph makes it into the school based primarily on his comic routines. Essentially, he’s a jerk, though we discover that the reason he acts this way is only to protect himself from being hurt. Deep down, he’s loyal to his family, wanting to be a comedian in order to make enough money to take care of his sisters.

Montgomery McNeil (Paul McCrane) – The only homosexual student (that we know of) , Montgomery is the somewhat of an outcast who doesn’t care. It’s through him that we watch Doris’ and Ralph’s relationship develop.

Leroy Johnson (Gene Anthony Ray) – An illiterate but talented dancer, Leroy spends most of the film clashing with his English teacher, but in Sophomore year, he is seduced by a transfer student, Hilary, and impregnates her.

Hilary van Doren (Antonia Franceschi) – Transferring in at the beginning of Sophomore Year, Hilary is an upper class ballet dancer. By senior year, she ends up pregnant, but has received an offer to join a dance company. She goes to a clinic for an abortion.

2009

Jenny Garrison (Kay Panabaker) – Again, a shy girl who wants to be an actress. During the course of the film, she enters into a relationship with Marco Ramone, and begins to grow more comfortable with herself.

Denise Dupree (Naturi Naughton) – Her parents enrolled her in the school so that she could enhance her skills as a classical pianist, but while in school, Denise discovers that she is a talented singer. Under the influence of two other students, she records a song, is offered a record contract, and realizes her dream of becoming a singer, following in the footsteps of Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey.

Marco Ramone (Asher Book) – Jenny’s boyfriend, Marco is an extremely talented singer who, in Jenny’s words, things just come easy to.

Malik Washburn (Collins Pennie) – Malik is a rapper who has seen some pretty horrible things in his life, as we learn through the film. Not long before it took place, he saw his sister get shot by crossfire during a gang war. He spends the film sneaking off to school behind his mother’s back, who feels that drama and singing are useless for life.

Kevin Barrett (Paul McGill) – Kevin is a dancer who, according to his teacher, just is not good enough. The only reason he is there is that he loves to dance, and doesn’t want to just be a teacher. In the end, he’s told by his teacher that he should really give it up. Instead of graduating, he returns home to teach dance.

Alice Ellerton (Kherington Payne) – Taking on Hilary’s role of the upper class dancer, Alice falls for the unlikely Victor Taveras, but in the end leaves him – and school – before graduation to join a dance company. She, unlike Hilary, does not end up pregnant.


The Music:

The music of the original Fame is part of what propelled Irene Cara into the limelight. She sang three songs, “Hot Lunch” (originally slated to be the movie’s title, but changed when the producer noticed a pornographic film playing on 42nd street with the same name), “Out Here on My Own”, and “Fame”. All the songs written for the film were designed to tie into its themes, including hope, survival, and the desire to be great and remembered. The final song during the graduation/Senior Showcase is “I Sing the Body Electric”, which is about being comfortable with who you are and at the same time not giving up, and believing that you will go onto greatness.

The remake’s music contains a lot more hip hop and rap, mixed with a few love ballads, sung by Asher Book. Two songs from the original are included, “Out Here on my Own” and “Fame” – though the latter is updated for the year. Both songs are sung by Naturi Naughton. The songs for the new movie are somewhat sexier than the original, and the final graduation song tells you to hold onto your dreams.

Clips from both films:



Favorite Lines:

Original:
“I mean, if I don’t have a personality of my own, so what? I’m an actress! I can put on as many personalities as I want!” – Doris
“To schizophrenia!” – Montgomery

Remake:
“I have talent.” – Malik
“And who on Earth told you that?” – Malik’s Mom
“You did.” – Malik

Preview of the “LOST” Auction at this year’s Comic-Con!

PROFILES IN HISTORY TO OFFER A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE “LOST” AUCTION AT THIS YEAR’S SAN DIEGO COMIC CON

Original Props, Costumes And Set Pieces From The Hit ABC Television Series “LOST” To Be On Display July 23-26, 2009

Calabasas, CA, July 21, 2009- Fans of the hit television show LOST will be getting a sneak preview. No, they can’t see it on TV, but they CAN see it at Comic Con!

ABC is pleased to announce the “LOST” Auction will take place after the series finale in May 2010. “In celebration of our fans around the world, Profiles in History has been selected to auction a selection of original props, set pieces, costumes and collectors’ artifacts from the entire series in order to give our fans a chance to own a piece of one of the greatest, most iconic shows in history. A first look at some of these items will take place at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.”

Profiles in History, the world’s largest Hollywood memorabilia auctioneer, will host this four-day sneak preview at booth #315 at the San Diego Comic Con July 23-26, and conduct this historic auction in May 2010. Kate’s toy plane, Hurley’s winning lottery ticket, Locke’s hunting knife, Sawyer’s letter, Charlie’s guitar, Mr. Eko’s club as well as other key props, costumes and set pieces from the first five seasons of LOST will be on display at Comic Con.

Profiles in History President, Joseph Maddalena: “Profiles in History is thrilled to be holding the LOST Auction. LOST is one of the most iconic TV shows ever created, and we are working in conjunction with ABC to offer fans from around the world an opportunity to own a memento of this amazing show. This is a once in a lifetime auction event that will celebrate one of the most beloved shows in television history.”

For more information about Profiles in History and to download complete catalogs from previous auctions, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.profilesinhistory.com/” o “http://www.profilesinhistory.com/”www.profilesinhistory.com.

About Profiles in History:
Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the world’s leading auctioneer of Hollywood memorabilia. Profiles in History has held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia. Their auctions include costumes, props and set pieces from both vintage and contemporary film, television, and rock ‘n roll. Profiles in History’s location in Calabasas Hills, CA- virtually a stone’s throw away from every major Hollywood studio – ensures a constant flow of fantastic and rare artifacts. With an extensive network of dealers, collectors, and public & private institutions, they are proud to play an important role in the preservation of motion picture history.

Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions highlights include the “Cowardly Lion” costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); a T.I.E. Fighter filming miniature from Star Wars ($402,500); a King Kong six-sheet movie poster ($345,000); the Command Chair from the “U.S.S. Enterprise” ($304,750); Harrison Ford’s hero blaster from Blade Runner ($258,750); the original “Robot” from Lost in Space ($264,500); Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber ($240,000); a Frankenstein one-sheet movie poster ($212,400); the Black Beauty car from The Green Hornet ($192,000); George Reeves’ Superman costume from The Adventures of Superman ($126,500); the H.R. Giger designed Alien creature suit from Alien ($126,500); a full-scale T-Rex head from Jurassic Park ($126,500), the Leaping Alien Warrior figure from Aliens ($126,500), Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ costume from Superman: The Movie ($115,000), C-3PO’s helmet ($120,000), The Wizard of Oz ‘Winkie’ Guard Costume ($115,000); a “Ming the Merciless” cape from Flash Gordon ($115,000) and the Hydraulic screen-used Velociraptor from The Lost World: Jurassic Park II. ($115,000).

Movie Review: Year One

Favorite Quote:

[Zed has eaten an apple from the ‘Tree of Knowledge’]
Zed: I might know everything. Ask me something?
Oh: Where does the sun go at night?
Zed: Pass. Next question.
Oh: Where do babies come from?
Zed: Pass. Next question.
Oh: [noticing a snake] There’s a snake on my foot.
Zed: In the form of a question.
Oh: [scared] There’s a snake on my foot?
Zed: Correct!

When my friend told me he was having a bad week and wanted to go see “Year One” in an effort to cheer up, I was – to be honest – less than thrilled. I’d only seen Michael Sera in “Juno”, and while I liked Jack Black, I wasn’t a huge fan of his. Imagine my surprise to discover that I actually liked this movie.

The story follows a hunter, Zed (Black) and a gatherer, Oh (Sera) who are forced from their village after Zed eats fruit from the forbidden tree of Knowledge. Through a well-written comedy of errors, the two are thrust head long into the pages of the Old Testament itself. Together, they witness Caine killing Abel, Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac, and other biblical events. Zed and Oh even travel to ancient Sodom in an effort to save the women they love from slavery and ritual sacrifice.

While this is not a movie for children, full of suggestive scenes and moments that are somewhat disgusting, adults who are not easily offended will enjoy both the comedy and the metaphysical questions. I think what I enjoy most about this movie is that it will leave you thinking, “Do we make our own destiny, or are we pawns of a higher building?” Watch this film, and decide for yourself.

Movie Review of Disney/Pixar’s “Up”

up

51p4p3zl-jl_sl160_pisitb-sticker-arrow-bigtopright35-73_ou01_Ever made someone a promise, then been unable to fulfill it while they were still with you? Did you fulfill that promise after they were gone? Were they with you?

Up is the tale of just that situation.  Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) made a promise to his wife Ellie long before they married, just after they met as children, that they would go to Paradise Falls and build her clubhouse on the top of the cliff. Unfortunately, they live long lives without ever getting to Venezuela, and Ellie dies. Carl, heartbroken but still determined, decides on the eve that the city is forcing him into a retirement community that he and the house will make it to South America if it kills him.

What he doesn’t anticipate is the addition of one Wilderness Explorer named Russell (Jordan Nagai).


Thus begins the journey of an old man and a young boy, one that takes them through danger and the excitement of making new friends. The movie is graced with talking dogs, elusive dodo birds, and, of course, one man’s childhood hero who proves to be extremely different from his media image.

On a personal note, I took my mother to see this for her birthday – her choice, not mine – and surprisingly, truly enjoyed the movie. It made the two of us laugh and cry, and even spill my NERDS on the floor. This isn’t just a kids’ movie, or even a family movie. This is a movie that spans the generations, because, deep down, all any of us want to do is keep our promises, and see our loved ones happy.

If you enjoy original story-telling that entertains, and are willing to become a kid again and suspend your belief, then Up is truly a movie you need to see. Buy your tickets online here at Fandango.com.

Review of Bones S1 Ep 1 – “Pilot”

bones_s1ep1

Buy Bones: The Complete First Season on Amazon. || Watch Pilot on Amazon On Demand Video || Watch Episodes of Bones on Hulu

Fave Quote:

Dr. Temperance Brennan: What, exactly, am I supposed to be *squinting* at?
Special Agent Seeley Booth: It’s like pornography – you’ll know when you see it.

Do you like smart TV? Do you like sexy actors? Do you enjoy witty dialogue? Mystery? Danger? Comedy?

If the answer to the above questions is “Yes!”, then you will love the Fox Network TV show “Bones”. Starring Emily Deschanel as a forensic anthropologist and David Boreanaz as an FBI agent, Bones is a fantastic character drama with crime procedural mixed in. The show is based on the life of real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, a first in TV dramedies. Click below for a spoilery recap and review of the first episode.

Continue reading