Quick Hits

I got hit with an awful intestinal or stomach bug over the weekend, and have had a rather unpleasant week as a result. I'll spare you the details, but it definitely cramped the amount of writing, proof-reading, and blog updating that I had wanted to focus on. So, today I just want to make a few bullet points on the geeky stuff I've been ingesting while ill. Warning: this is seriously TV and comic-book heavy, so if that's not your bag, do move on.

  • Spider-Gwen. What an awesome character, and I love the concept and design.
  • Powers finally got its television debut thanks to Sony and their Playstation console last week! This past Tuesday saw the release of Episode 4, which was pretty dynamite. I'm a fan of the comic, and am really enjoying the series. It's not a straight-up adaptation and, instead, takes its cue from the recent Marvel productions and AMC's The Walking Dead. This is definitely Powers, but it puts a slightly different spin on the concept while maintaining the tone and all those cool ideas from the comic. Walker and Pilgrim are well cast, although the portrayal of Deena Pilgrim is more of a hybrid with Enki Sunrise, and I'm waiting for Deena to become the more hilarious, foul-mouthed woman of the comics. At times it definitely feels low-budget, and certain scenes feel very much like it's just two actors on a set. Some of the effects resemble a well-produced YouTube fan video, but maybe if the series is successful enough Sony will give them more money to work with. They definitely aren't putting Marvel money into this, but overall I'm finding it to be a pretty solid adaptation. And Eddie Izzard as Wolfe, a super-powered cult-leader and psycho cannibal, is wonderfully creepy, coming in fresh off his brief run on Hannibal. You can watch Episode 1 at YouTube.
  • Bosch got picked up for season 2 by Amazon! So, that's awesome. And Sleepy Hollow was just renewed for season 3. And Hannibal season 3 is finally coming in June!
  • And have you seen these new trailers of Avengers: Age of Ultron? I love the sight of Cap throwing a motorcycle into a jeep of bad guys. Truly excellent!

[embed]https://youtu.be/0WM915QsOyI[/embed]

[embed]https://youtu.be/JAUoeqvedMo[/embed]

  • I'm currently reading an ARC of Ania Ahlborn's Within These Walls and damn if it's not absolutely terrific. I should have a review up next week and am little more than half-way through at the moment. I'm really, really happy with this book so far, and it's got everything: haunted house, intrepid true crime writer, a cult leader with a history of gory murders, and family angst galore. Such an easy story to fall into and I'm looking forward to digging in much deeper during the weekend.

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Reblog: Dr. Seuss Does Horror - Neatorama

In Whoville, everyone can hear you scream.

DeviantART member DrFaustusAU does all sorts of inventive mashups, using different entertainment franchises and mimicking the styles of other artists. His impressions of Dr. Seuss are particularly good, which he demonstrates by showing Suess-style versions of The Silence of the Lambs, The Last of Us, and other horror movies and video games.

Check out the rest at the link:

Source: Dr. Seuss Does Horror - Neatorama.


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Netflix Recommendations?

netflix-logo Well, I finally caved and signed-up for Netflix. I watched a little bit of Marvel's The Avengers last night and was happy with the audio and picture quality, and then proceeded to lose myself down the rabbit hole of adding items to my watch list and checking out the generated suggestions and then the suggestions from those suggestions, and then more suggestions upon suggestions. Cripes, there's a lot of content on this thing.

So, here's what I've come up with. First off, Snowpiercer, which was one of the reasons I decided to try out Netflix to begin with. It helps, too, that Marvel Studios will be releasing original content straight to the video streaming giant, beginning with a Daredevil series in 2015. House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black are givens from the word-of-mouth surrounding them, so I'll check them out eventually. Some BBC content made its way onto the list, as well, with The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson, and Peaky Blinders. There's some documentaries I've been wanting to check out too, including Dirty Wars, Mission Blue, Burn, The Unbelievers, Gasland, and Blackfish. I've got the first two seasons of Anthony Bourdain's CNN show, Parts Unknown, in the queue, as well.

I think I'm at a pretty healthy starting point (or at least as healthy as any plan that involves being glued to the TV can be...) and it definitely seems like a great service for nine bucks a month. And, like I said, there's all that great Marvel content on the horizon, which I'm really excited for. Plus, the Netflix Original series about Marco Polo looks like it'll be worth a watch when it debuts next month.

Now, I'm putting it out to you - what are your recommendations? What should I add to the watch list? Anything goes; sci-fi, horror, thrillers, TV, movies, foreign productions, whatever. Let's hear it!


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Reblog: The ambient sounds of sci-fi will make you ditch that white noise machine

Source: The ambient sounds of sci-fi will make you ditch that white noise machine. Go to the above source for a few more links, or you can head directly over to YouTube user's crysknife007 for the whole shebang. Interesting and mildly relaxing, but good luck sleeping through twelve hours of Star Trek: TNG's red alert siren!

http://youtu.be/O7FhEpif1cA


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Displate: The Heroes | Art prints on metal by Eddie Rock

It's ridiculous how badly I want need these. Superhero prints on metal sheets. I absolutely love the design work on these renderings. So well done. I think whenever we get the basement remodeled or can clean up some wall space in the office, these will be an instabuy. Especially Emiliano Morciano's Batman print at the bottom. The Heroes | Art prints on metal by Eddie Rock.

Bad-Ass Bonus:

Prints on steel by Emiliano Morciano.

They've also got some terrific looking movie-inspired prints, like typographic displays that form iconic characters out of their famous phrases, as shown in these Drive In Prints. Lots and lots of pop culture art making its way onto my wish-list now...


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BOSCH Pilot

Image
Earlier this month, Amazon Instant Video unveiled their latest round of TV pilots for users to watch and review. Among them was an adaptation of Michael Connelly's eponymous series detective, Harry Bocsh, who has headlined sixteen of the author's twenty-five novels (and had cameo appearances in many of Connelly's other works, and even popped up in a Robert Crais novel). Connelly's fiction is no stranger to adaptation - Clint Eastwood turned Blood Work into a film, and Matthew McConaughey starred in The Lincoln Lawyer. It was only a matter of time before Hollywood set their sights on Bosch.
Thankfully, the wait was worth it.
Co-written by Connelly, the pilot episode has actor Titus Welliver taking on the role of Detective Harry Bosch. The episode itself is a mature bit of drama, atmospherically reminiscent of HBO's The Wire thanks to the inclusion that series' writer and producer, Eric Overmeyer, as well as cast members Lance Reddick (Fringe) and Jaime Hector. It also carries that same slow, jazzy burn that brings the characters front and center. The honest and realistic depiction of cop-life helps deliver the story, as expected given the talent involved here. Prior to becoming a full-time author, Connelly was a crime beat reporter for the Los Angeles Times. His TV work now bears the distinction of being the first series to actually shoot on location inside LAPD's Hollywood station, while real police officers carried out their work.
Welliver fits the role well, and is the perfect choice to lead this show. He imbues Bosch with the right amount of dedication to the job and devotion to the victims, his lone-wolf mentality, and the certainty that he is right and his actions justified. I was never struck by any out-of-character moments, or discordant notes that drew me out of the viewing. Watching Welliver on screen, it never occurred to me that he was not the Harry Bosch I've been reading for well over a decade. I've been supportive of his casting since first learning of it last fall, thinking he would be great and do the role justice. Frankly, he does even better.
During the show's opening moments, Bosh chases down a suspect and kills him in a rain-soaked alley. The pilot picks up two years later, with Bosh caught up in a civil trial, following the LAPD's clearing of the shooting as a good one. In between court scenes, Bosch becomes involved in the discovery of a child's bones. Devoted readers may recognize the story elements from Connelly's novels The Concrete Blonde and City of Bones.
The pilot is clearly aimed at earning Bosch a full series-pickup from Amazon, as the story elements introduced here are left unresolved. The episode merely opens the door on what is intended to be a season-long story arc, and I am now fervently hoping we get to see these plots unravel and resolve. If green-lit for production, I expect this to be another strong entry in a series of terrific cop shows, standing tall with The Shield, The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street. Bosch could very well level the playing field and do for Amazon Studios what House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have done for Netflix. At the time of this writing, Bosch has a 5-star rating with over 4,000 reviews. Amazon would be wise to take heed of this and satisfy their audience's demands sooner rather than later.
So, did you watch Bosch and what were your reactions? Thoughts on any of Amazon's other pilots? Share below!

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Needed: A Cold-Hard Read

It's snowing, the wind is howling, and your skin, should you be foolish enough to brave the outdoors unprotected, grows numb with frostbite and the threat of hypothermia. It's wicked. Horrifying, really. The potential for disaster on icy roads, the dangers lurking in a white-out. The anxiety of cabin fever and nerves fraying as the winter months stretch on and on, an unrelenting grayness broken only by white and, maybe, the occasional glimmer of sun against hard-packed snow. You have no idea what's lurking out there, what sounds are masked by the shrieking winds and your eyes squinting shut against the blasts of cold flurries. But maybe you can sense it...that cold, reaching grasp...the stretch of something evil brushing against you, whisper-soft, sending a shiver down your spine and raising the fine hairs all along the back of your neck.

Winter is a time for horror. The Shining. Dan Simmon's The Terror. John Carpenter's The Thing and John Campbell's Who Goes There? H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness.

I need suggestions. Christopher Golden has a new title out that sounds promising, Snowblind. Anybody read this one yet?

What are your go-to winter-time horror picks? Could be anything - books, movies, TV shows. What are the ones that really creep you and turn your soul to frost? Sound off below!


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"Hannibal" and Cinematography: Looking is Hard

I have to admit that when news of NBC's television series "Hannibal," based on Thomas Harris's famed cannibalistic psychiatrist, made popular by the film "The Silence of the Lambs," I was...well, skeptical would be the most polite description. But the credibility and pedigree behind this adaptation's creator, Bryan Fuller, and the casting of Mads Mikkelsen and Lawrence Fishburne was enough to make me curious. Let's just say I got over any skepticism of this production very, very quickly. This show became one of my absolute favorite new TV series of 2013, to the point of borderline obsession. Every week I was engrossed and sucked in, and oftentimes shocked by what NBC's censors were allowing Fuller and his cast and crew to get away with. "Hannibal" was creative in every aspect - the writing, the risks they took with the characters, the stories and the way they unfolded. "Hannibal" could have too easily become a procedural, weekly homicide investigation show. That was my biggest fear. And while it has procedural elements, it never really felt like a procedural show. "Hannibal" could never be mistaken as another CIS or NCIS clone, and certainly not in the way this TV season's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." could be. Fuller and company were brave enough to do something completely different and get truly psychological with its characters, and freely dive into the dark side of empathy with the show's lead (I hesitate to call him a hero), Will Graham. Tillary does Photography explores the rich cinematography of this series, and is well worth reading. (On a side note, she also does a wonderful write-up on the cinematography of "Sleepy Hollow," another show I wasn't expecting much of and became my favorite for this year's round of new shows.)

If you haven't seen "Hannibal" yet, do so immediately. The second season begins Friday, February 28.


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