Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dreamweaver CS5.5 The Missing Manual

I've never been much of an internet website designer. Oh, I've designed my share of FrontPage and Word based sites. In fact, my review site was created in Word. I've a blog and I can fake my way through talking about most web jargon.

I've attempted to start working in Dreamweaver but because of lack of time or difficulty understanding some of its idiosyncrasies I've never created a site using it. I really need to learn it; it's just that the opportunity or proper teaching technique have never been available-until now.

O'Reilly Media, Inc. and author David Sawyer McFarland looks to have solved my dilemma. Their new book: Dreamweaver CS5.5 The Missing Manual, breaks down Dreamweaver into simple to understand terms without all the techno-babble jargon and often confusing geek talk.

Most books on Dreamweaver (or any program for that matter) are written primarily by the people who designed them. Which is fine. But most of us don't speak geek and tend to think things through creatively instead of logically. I know I do.

I want to understand a program enough to let my imagination take hold and create-not flip through pages filled with techno-babble and hard to understand instructions.

This book is the book that should have been in the Dreamweaver program box. It guides you through designing a simple website and helps you build you skills as you progress. In other words, it feeds you milk at first and then meat as you mature in the program's use.

Learn how to use pre-programmed JavaScript, tap into databases, build websites for not only computers but smartphones and tablets as well and discover hidden tips and tricks.

The book is organized in such a fashion that it makes understanding Dreamweaver a joy instead of a job. It's time to weave a dream.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Family Guy

"It seems today that all you see is violence in movies, and sex on TV.

But, Where are those good ol' fashion values...

That we used to rely?

Lucky there's a Family Guy! Lucky there's a man who,
positively can do, all the thing that make us...

...Laugh and cry!

He's Our Family Guy!"
I have to admit that watching Family Guy is one of my guilty pleasures.  I know, it's rude, often crude, politically incorrect and sometimes a little edgy.  But, it's funny and the flashback sequences when Peter remembers something he has done previously are sheer genius.  That said I am equally impressed with new Series One Family Guy figures and playset that Playmates Toys is set to release.
Playmates has done an excellent job of translating the 2D world of Family Guy into stunning 3D figures. 
Everything clicks with these figures, from their telltale expressions, poses, clothing and accessories.  Even the packaging fits perfectly.
Single figures are packaged in sculpted bubble packs that allow the buyer to see the entire figure with accessories and appreciate the excellent sculpts, paint application and articulation.  And here's the real kicker.  Each figure talks!  You heard right!  Simply snap each figure into a compatible playset and each speak some of their most famous catch phrases!  How's that for clever?
Single figures include Stewie in his red jump suit and yellow shirt.  His expression is priceless.  Talk about smug and overconfident.  Included with Stewie is his sippy bottle and his beloved Teddy Bear, Rupert.
Stewie also comes in his Halloween costume: a duck.  This time Stewie is wide-eyed (much like his costume's head) and he even (shutter!) wears a smile!  A pumpkin with handle is included, filled to the brim with candy.
Peter looks as dumb and without a clue as his TV namesake.  His rotund body wears a white shirt with rolled up sleeves, green pants with black belt and brown shoes.  Included with the Peter figure are a triple XXX moonshine bottle and a mug filled with foaming beer. 
Brian stands passively with hands to side as he peers out with suspicious and half closed eyes.  He wears his red collar with tag and comes with a cup of coffee and bone.  "Sorry, I don't do dog shows."
Cleveland wears a complacent expression and comes dressed in a yellow short sleeve shirt, blue pants and brown shoes.  He also comes with a mug of beer.
"Giggity, giggity, Goo!"  Sex addict Quagmire (I swear he looks like Bob Hope) comes with a glass of champagne (it's probably drugged) and wears his trademark red and yellow Hawaiian shirt, blue pants and brown shoes.  His neck is double jointed so he can speak his famous catchphrase.
Lois comes as an exclusive figure in the first Playset: the Griffin Living Room.  Plug any of the figures into the set and they chant their most famous lines.
This miniature set looks EXACTLY like its animated namesake.  On the back wall over the stair rails are a family photo of the Griffins and a photo of Peter and Lois.
Against the stairwell wall are photos of the kids next to a stereo system with potted plant and an end table, with lamp.
Sitting on the green carpet facing Lois is the family TV and stand.  The TV screen shows the Family Guy logo. A partial stair section faces Lois to her left.  It's a remarkable 3D set.
All of the figures are articulated and those with accessories can hold each.  Also in the mix is a Stewie soft foam football-you knew it had to happen.  "Curse you Brian!"

Constructing Green Lantern From Page To Screen

One of my favorite DC Comics characters is Green Lantern.  I'm talking about the original Silver Age Green Lantern: Hal Jordan.

There was something fascinating and exciting about the idea of an ordinary guy (granted Hal was a test pilot) who is chosen by an alien and his ring to become a guardian of the universe.
The ring gave Jordan unimaginable power that was only limited by his own will and imagination.  Recently the Green Lantern movie hit movie theaters and although it wavered slightly from Green Lantern's comic book origin it stay pretty true to its source-including the introduction of Sinestro and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps and a number of familiar bad guys (check it our for yourself).

Universe Publishing looks at the translation of the comic book to the Silver Screen.  Rumored to have been budgeted at $200 million to make (not including advertising) the Green Lantern movie is one of the most expensive movies ever made, of any genre. 
Ticket sales are steady but not spectacular and yet there are talks already of making a sequel.  Here's hoping.

The book: Constructing Green Lantern From Page To Screen examines all facets of the translation from book to film.  It looks at cast selection, special effects (physical and visual), set construction, world creation, character designs, set designs and the complete revisualization of the entire Green Lantern universe including a new costume (paying homage to the original comic book version), practical character design and so forth.

This is more that just a book about the Green Lantern movie.  This book examines the entire creative process involved in translating a pop culture icon to film and the many steps it takes to do so.  I find it absolutely fascinating.  Each page is packed with photos and informative text.  I could barely put it down.

Ferocious Planet

Someone is definitely NOT having a good day.  Joe Flanigan (Stargate: Atlantis) and John Rhys-Davis (Lord Of The Rings) star in a SyFy original movie released by Vivendi Entertainment on DVD that puts the 'bite' back into exploration.
When the government creates a new device that opens up a doorway to a different/alternate dimension goes awry upon demonstration it transports a group of observers to a dimension populated by some of the most blood-thirsty and ferocious predators ever imagined.

I liken this movie to the classic Harry Harrison book, Death World. Only instead of a spaceship crew being stranded on a predatory planet a group of inexperienced (at least most of them) strangers must band together to try and repair the machine and still manage to stay alive.

This is not a movie for the faint of heart-it's bloody-bloody fun!  If you like seat-of-you-pants, can't-catch-your-breath excitement then Ferocious Planet will satisfy your appetite for gore and blood.  Part of SyFy's Maneater Series, Ferocious Planet is sure to wreak havoc with your sleep.  Pleasant dreams!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hobo And Assassins

From Magnolia Home Entertainment comes two spectacular action films that deliver plenty of blood, guts and mayhem.  If you love samurai martial arts and down-on-the-street, fist-to-face action then you've got to check out the DVD/Digital copy releases: 13 Assassins and Hobo With A Shotgun.

In 13 Assassins legendary Japanese cult film director Takashi Miike delivers a samurai epic like no other.

When a power hungry Japanese Lord wreaks havoc across Japan its left up to a band of warriors to end his tyrannical reign.  13 Samurai face off against hundreds of armed warriors in one of the most spectacular martial arts battles ever caught on film. 

The "Village Of Death' is the final setting in this spectacular martial arts masterpiece that's fast on action and blood-letting.  Extras include an interview with the director, deleted scenes and theatrical trailer.

Rutger Hauer proves he still has what it takes to become one of the most unusual action heroes ever depicted on film.  Armed only with a shotgun and his wits Rutger plays a hobo who hopes to make a new start in a new city.  What he discovers is an urban hell where a ruthless crime lord and his lackeys hold the city and its inhabitants in their icy fingers of fear.

The gang never knew what hit them.  The DVD/Digital Copy 2/Disc set also includes lots of extras like commentaries, featurettes, video blogs, test footage and much more.  It's enough to make a hobo proud.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ThunderCats: The Original Series Season 1, Part 1

With the new ThunderCats animated series set to premiere on the Cartoon Network and the new action figures and playsets set to be released at about the same time, Warner Bros. has released Season 1, Part 1 of the original 1980's ThunderCats episodes on DVD for fans of the series to enjoy.

The first 12 episodes of the original series are included on a 2-disc DVD set along with a very special feature: Feel The Magic, where fans of the original series talk about their passion for series and their excitement at the upcoming release of the new series.

Episodes include the origin of the ThunderCats and their earliest adventures. Look for the epsidoes: Exodus, The Unholy Alliance, Berbils, The Slaves Of Castle Plun-darr, Pumma-Ra, The Terror Of Hammerhand, Trouble With Time, The Tower Of Traps, The Garden Of Delights, Mandora The Evil Chaser, The Ghost Warrior and The Doomgaze.

Sit back and enjoy the original ThunderCats series that has spawned a huge fan base, produced tons of collectible merchandise and brought the catch-phase, "ThunderCats, Ho!" to living rooms all across America.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Impala, Panzerspahwagen And Thunderbolt

I love vintage car and military model kits and this time around Revell/Monogram has them both!

The second car I ever owned was a Chevy Impala. Although it was a 1967 model year and not a '62 Chevy Impala SS like the Revell model I'm about to review-I still loved the car with its 'squared off' design.

The Revell 1:25 Scale, Level 2 Hardtop 2'n1 California Wheels edition lets model makers customize it to either a red with white roof and full body chrome strips or a hardtop blue with the more traditional chrome splashboards.

Both versions feature characteristic full chrome bumpers, rectangular chrome grill, side-by-side headlights and full interior details. Choose either chrome rims or whitewalls with chrome hubcaps. Both versions have a maxed out V8 engine with full chrome details. Choose to install a custom tachometer, central gearshift console and front bucket seats. Custom or street version-both pack pure Chevy power.

Say what you will about the German military forces in WWII, when it comes to mechanized war machines few could match the German's designs and superior firepower.

The Panzerspahwagen German Reconnaissance Vehicle was the perfect machine for the rugged dessert regions of Africa.

With its eight-wheel drive and steering, armored chassis, maneuverability and lethal weaponry the SD. KFZ. 232 came well equipped and supplied for its crew of three (included in the model kit). Tent poles and a tarp allowed the crew to cool off along with camouflaging the vehicle. Scaled at 1:32 the Level 2 vehicle is easy-to-assemble and provides full paint instructions for customizing it for display.

America's P-47N Thunderbolt fighter plane was a silver bullet that could take a beating and still perform. Known as the JUG, the P-47N could take heavy battle damage and still arrive safely with its pilot. Produced in high numbers, the aircraft was a marvel of aviation efficiency and lethalness. Its silver streamline body made it incredibly maneuverable while its eight machine guns (four per wing), 5-inch rockets and conventional bombs made her a light weight, extremely fast and deadly enemy.

The model provides full interior cockpit details with a pilot, full exterior details (made even more realistic by the historically accurate decals) and can be displayed with landing gear out or folded in. Either way, it makes for an impressive aircraft.

All of the Revell models are a breeze to assemble, paint and decal. Parts detach easily from part trees with very little, if any flashing and minimal trimming.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Krazy Kat & The Art Of George Herriman: A Celebration

Long before Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Garfield, Itchy and Scratchy and dozens of other cat, mouse and cat and mouse teams seen in comic strips, cartoons and the like, there was Krazy Kat and his rodent sidekick and nemesis, Ignatz Mouse.

George Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strip from the early 20th Century might never have come into being if its creator hadn't started a small horizontal strip below his, The Dingbat Family comic strip.

To say that Krazy Kat was a resounding success would be a huge understatement.  Featuring some of the most imaginative narratives ever devised for a comic strip, Herriman placed his characters in a strange, ever-shifting world where the laws of nature took second place to the slapstick brick-to-the-head storyline.  Krazy Kat changed the face of comic strips and the strip's influence can still be felt in comic strips and cartoons to this day.

George Herriman's talent extended not to his beloved strip but to other strips, essays and art.  Krazy Kat & The Art Of George Herriman: A Celebration, is written by Craig Yoe with a foreword (an appreciation) by cartoonist Bill Watterson and published by Abrams Comic Arts.

The book chronicles the life and work of Herriman and contains some never-seen-before art, rare reprints and essays by the cartoonist.  Cartoon lovers are sure to appreciate the genius of Herriman and his astounding and groundbreaking contribution to the comic strip and cartoon genres.    

Monday, June 20, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

They thought it was safe to come back and invade Earth again and they were right, until they took our hottest women.  They never counted on Duke Nukem still being alive or they may have reconsidered.  Considering the fact that he kicked their collective behinds the first time they invaded, stealing our women made him even madder and that's NOT a good thing.

Everyone's favorite muscle-bound madman with lots of weapons and a serious attitude is back and 2K Games has him in its latest video game starring the sunglass-wearing, king of all tough guys: Duke Nukem Forever.

Pig cops, alien bosses and some serious intergalactic nastiness can't stop the graffiti-writing, beer-guzzling, womanizing and rear-kicking Duke from his appointed rounds-namely taking down the alien invaders.

Big guns, big muscles and even a bigger appetite for the less than savory things of life keep the action fast, furious, pun-filled and egocentric.  Travel though some outrageous scenarios, shoot, ride, jump, stab, disembowel, destroy and create general mayhem as you take a moment to play pool, lift weights and chase the babes.

Duke Nukem on PS3/PlayStation Network (and all other game formats) is rated "M" for mature-if you consider mature voicing a steady stream of obscenities, chasing half-naked women and coming up with new and innovative ways to spill blood and guts. 

Duke Nukem, the one man army, gets his kicks out of freezing his enemies, blowing them up, shrinking them down and squashing them and devising all sorts of 'interesting ' ways to destroy the alien invaders. 

With its over-the-top graphics, pounding soundtrack and quip-a-minute voice track, Duke Nukem takes no prisoners.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Activision gives gamers the opportunity to see all of the Transformers action that takes place just before the events in the Transformers: Dark Of The Moon summer movie blockbuster.

The special Stealth Force Edition cranks up the action, soundtrack and spectacular visual effects in releases for Wii and Nintendo 3DS (also available for all other video game formats).

Rated "T" for Teen, the high octane battle scenario focuses on intense vehicular combat set at high speeds and incorporating high-tech and super-advanced weaponry. Look for upgraded weaponry, defense systems and targeting capabilities while each Transformer (good or bad) makes incredible maneuvers while in crowded environments. Watch as they swoop, dodge and perform some of the most amazing acrobatic fighting sequences while avoiding cars, trucks, buildings and each other!

Graphics are intense and the transformation sequences from robots to vehicles are almost as impressive as those seen in the movie.

Players learn of the origin of Shockwave as they travel through 18 distinct levels placed all over the globe. The Wii version allows players to compete with each other via multiplayer and for in-your-face realism don't miss Nintendo's 3DS version that brings the 3D excitement seen in the movie right to your fingertips along with a Nintendo exclusive character, Lockdown!

The Transformers practically jump off your TV screen as you maneuver, fight, counter-attack and slalom your way through each and every environment in your ultimate goal to win.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fangoria #305, August

Don't miss the giant fold-out posters in this issue of Fangoria magazine, Amicus is remembered, read the First Rites editorial, beware the Monster Invasion featuring Grave Encounters, Prescott Place, Familiar and Cyrus: Mind Of A Serial Killer and see who are the Fangoria Chainsaw Winners.

The Apes are back, with merchandise, get Black And Blue And Red all Over, raise the dead, avoid the Trash Compactor, discover who is the Saint And Sinner and whatever you do, don't Wake The Dead.

Visit the Doctors Of Terror and The Houses Of Horror, Ian Oglivy speaks out, join The Theatre Bizarre, watch The Terror Tube, see what Came From The Crib and take Elvira home. Board The Horror Express, check out a book at The Nightmare Library and tag along with Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stargate Universe: Season 2 Premium Packs

Limited to only 250 Boxes with 15 Premium Packs (all are numbered up to 3750) per Box each Stargate Universe Premium Pack contains 6 Cards broken down in these categories: 2 Autographs, 2 Episode, 1 Destiny and 1 Secrets that are also numbered.

These are the ultimate Stargate Universe Trading Cards where each Pack guarantees excellent and highly collectible cards. In total, randomly inserted Premium Cards include 20 Episode, 9 Destiny, 9 Secrets and 15 Autograph Cards.

Like all of Rittenhouse's Trading Cards the Stargate Universe Premium Pack Cards are printed on the finest paper stock with high gloss ink and brilliant photos.

Instead of telling you about the Cards I received in my Pack, check out the photo above.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sucker Punch

From director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) comes one of the most unusual and unsettling films of the past year. In Sucker Punch, a young girl is wrongly accused and convicted of a crime and sentenced to an asylum for the criminally insane.

As a way of coping with her imprisonment she fantasizes a world within a world within a world where she escapes her surroundings through her imagination, and what an imagination it is!

From walking dead German soldiers to giant samurai to futuristic warrior robots, she (with the aid of other inmates who accompany her on her imaginary quest) ultimately succeeds in her freedom, but not at all the way one would expect.

This movie is visual extravaganza using cutting edge computer generated special effects, impressive acrobatic fight sequences and a constantly shifting point of view that leaves viewers reeling from its visual bombardment of images.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Extended Cut Sucker Punch release has walk-ons by the director, animated shorts, featurettes and much more from Warner Bros. Get ready to be Sucker Punched!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mustang, Ferrari And F-150

From Revell models comes three new hot vehicles that model makers are sure to want to add to their collection. Two of the models are Fords and the third a Ferrari.

There's only one original Pony car and it's Ford's Mustang. Others may try to match it, but none can surpass it.

The 2010 Ford Mustang GT carries on the Pony tradition with its sleek body style and characteristic front grill with Mustang logo.

Gauged at Level 2 skill (requiring glue and paint) the 1:25 Scale model is a blue bundle of horsepower that can also be modified with gold paint and a single black strip running the length of the chassis.

As with all Revell models the Mustang GT is easy to assemble, decal and paint. Parts detach easily from the enclosed parts trees and leave very little flashing to trim.

The Mustang GT features a front hood that opens revealing its solid black V8 engine that cranks out 313 horsepower. Its sweeping new body design lets drivers get the maximum speed from its impressive engine that redlines at 6,000 RPM.

Equally impressive is Ford's '97 F-150 XLT Pick-up Truck. Blue, with an extended cab that easily seats 4/5 passengers, the 'Ford Tough" truck features a sleek rounded body style, wraparound front chrome bumper, extended step-up rear bumper, large front grill, twin side mirrors, a lush interior, heavy chassis for hauling, full-size rear bed with bed liner and chrome wheels. Gauged at Level 2 and 1:25 Scale, the F-150 has plenty of hauling power courtesy of its powerful V8 engine.

If speed is your need the Ferrari 458 italia sports car fit the bill. The ultimate 'boy's toy', the Ferrari 458 manages to squeeze into its rear engine compartment a powerful 4.5 liter V8 engine for a maximum cruising speed of just over 200 miles per hour.

Its tip-forward sleek body style, custom tires and wheels, windswept side mirrors, integrated lights and low open grill make it a red bullet while traveling down the highway. The two-seater also features full interior details and is licensed with full approval from Ferrari. Now that's impressive!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Liv and Copter

Move over Barbie, there are new fashion dolls in town!  Spin Master Toys' new Liv brand of fashion dolls is taking over the store shelves and kids are loving them!

Standing approximately 12 inches tall each of the Liv Dolls are fully-articulated for up to 150 poses and come with full clothes and accessories.  With their slightly larger than life-like heads each doll sports incredible face details from full lush lips for the girls, big expressive eyes and delicate noses and chins.  Packaged in clear rectangular bubble packs the dolls are completely visible through the package making it easy for youngsters to choose their favorite-like ALL of them!

Six figures make up the Making Waves set and they include Hayden in her two-piece bathing suit with purse and sunglasses that set off her blond hair, Katie dressed in a two-piece suit of aqua also including sunglasses and matching purse and Alexis in a single piece white, purple and pink swimming suit with oversize purse and sunglasses.  Her dark auburn hair frames her dark skin face and big brown eyes. 

Daniela looks sweet in her blue jean shorts and aqua and white halter top, bright aqua sunglasses and aqua and white purse.  She also wear aqua earrings.  Sophie is a blond hair beauty dressed in a plaid two-piece swimming suit complete with yellow and orange purse and pink sunglasses and oversize red earrings.  Jake wears long plaid shorts, a red tank top and dark sunglasses that almost matches his deep brown hair.  All of the female figures can switch out wigs (sold separately along with other accessories, including more beach stuff). 

Katie, Alexis, Hayden, Daniela and Sophie are also the stars of Twist & Dance.  Each of the girls come dressed in killer outfits that include purses and hair brushes.  Each figure can also be made to dance by pushing a lever up or down while in their package.  Without it out of their packages.  Each can also have their hair style twisted for completely different hair colors.  

Hayden is dressed in gold pumps with matching earrings and bracelet and is dressed in purple slacks with chiffon ruffled blouse.  Katie is all flash in her silver top, green tights and belt and high top purple tennis shoes.  Alexis is ready to dance with her white and black stripped slacks, pink slip-ons, pink sleeveless top and silver bracelet and earrings.

Daniela is all color is her splash of colors tights and blouse, black high tops, gold and silver bracelets, gold earrings and red hairpiece.  Sophie, with her pink and white hair, aqua shimmering top, ruffled skirt and lace tights and pink high heels is ready to party.  And don't forget her oversize silver earrings, aqua hair ribbon and sunglasses.  Classy!

If you feel like flying high, check out Spin Masters' Pocket Copter Military model that has a four-way controller allowing the min-copter to fly indoors.  Twin rotors provide stability and steering power and the package it comes in makes a perfect storage unit for the copter and its controller.  Who says helicopters have to be big?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kevin, Betty, Archie And Little Archie

Four titles you want to check out from Archie Comics this month cover a wide area of subjects and characters.

Perhaps the most controversial comic book in the batch is Kevin Keller #1. For those of you who have been keeping up with Archie titles the name Kevin Keller is a familiar one. Kevin was introduced over a year ago and he is the first Archie Comics character that is Gay.

Regardless of how you feel about the subject the comic book does break a few barriers and to have it happen in Archie Comics has taken many readers by surprise.

In the first issue a background history story is given about Kevin and his relationship with his friends and especially his family.

Betty #192 continues the Spy Girlz story first introduced in Veronica’s comic book.

Betty and Veronica are high-tech super spies who face off against their arch nemesis Klutzy the Clown who through his TV show has mesmerized and mind-controlled youngsters to misbehave. In the story they also face off against their evil counterparts and you’ll never guess who they are.

In Part 1 off King Of The Last Land! In Archie #621, Archie and his gang find themselves stranded in an underground world complete with dinosaurs and a bevy of beautiful cave girls. But, something lurks in the shadows and paradise may just prove to be anything but.

Little Archie & Friends & Power Pets #155 introduces readers to Justin Beaver along with other animal entertainers Meowly Cyrus, The Jonas Barkers and Lady Arf Arf. But, is all as it really appears? It’s up to Little Sabrina and her cat Salem to get behind the truth of Justin Beaver.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unknown And Red Riding Hood

It’s not often that and actor or actress can reinvent themselves. Liam Neeson has successfully done so into that of an action hero. His last two movies, Taken and The A-Team, demonstrate just how well his transformation has transpired.

In Unknown, Liam one again dons the tough guy hat in the new thriller. In the film, Neeson plays a man whose whole life is stolen from him after he’s in a serious car wreck.

Waking up from a coma, he discovers no one knows him-not even his wife. As the story unfolds he discovers that amnesia is not the problem but a wide-spread conspiracy that sees him tossed about with so many plot twists and mis-directions that he needs a scorecard to keep track of who’s who and what’s what.

Once again Neeson proves that no matter the film he always delivers a solid performance and Unknown is no exception. The Warner Bros. Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo includes lots of fun extras including an examination of Neeson’s transformation into an action hero.

Speaking of transformations. Warner Bros. new Red Riding Hood film turns the popular fairy tale on its ear with Red transformed into a sultry, sexy, blond bombshell, the wolf into a steaming-hot werewolf with a storyline taken right out of the Twilight saga.

This is not your kids’ Red Riding Hood. Throw in a love triangle, a werewolf hunter, mysticism, horror and several other genres, mix them all together and you have, from the director of Twilight, the new, definitely sexier Red Riding Hood.

The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo also includes an alternate ending, additional scenes, a gag reel, music videos and featurettes. “My, what big teeth you have!”

Previews, June

August looks to be a good month for buying all sorts of collectibles and goodies if June’s Diamond Previews is any indication. Check out what new products I recommend.

Comic Books that are worth spinning the rack for included The Bionic Man, Star Wars: Knight Errant, Fables: The Werewolves Of The Heartland, Angel And Faith, Ultimate Comics Ultimates, The Infinite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Baltimore: The Curse Bells, Severed, Bomb Queen VII, Epoch, The Vault, Vescell, Warehouse 13, Snarked, Family Guy, Broken Pieces, Haunted City and The Justice Machine.

Books and magazines to search bookstores for include Malibu Cheesecake, The Spider-Man Vault, The World Of Smurfs, Alter Ego, Comic Heroes and Dracula Illustrated.

There’re tons of toys to play with such as Street Fighter Mini-Figures, DC Heroes Wave 18, Halo, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Futurama, Care Bears, Green Lantern, G.I. Joe, Marvel Universe, Harry Potter, Sesame Street, Wrestling, Transformers, Kubrick Be@rbricks, Metal Gear Solid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Doctor Who and Pop! Ad Icons.
Play on with such games as Small World, Rune Age, Pathfinder, Deadwood and Street Fighter Heroclix.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Supernatural: The Complete Second Season

For the first time the Second Season of the hit TV series Supernatural comes to viewers on Blu-ray.  If you thought Supernatural was good on standard DVD, you've not seen anything until you check it out on Blu-ray!

Monsters never looked creepier, demons and devils more horrific or nasty creatures of the night more real that when you see them on Blu-ray.

Join brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel the United States encountering every type of evil imaginable.  Every legend, superstition and nightmare is investigated and confronted.  Here's the kicker-the brothers don't always win and they and others get hurt, some killed.

Every episode from the Second Season is included along with the original DVD extras and some very special Blu-ray goodies such as an interactive road map, interviews and more on four-discs from Warner Bros.

Season Of The Witch

Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman star as two disenchanted, discouraged and disheartened Crusader Knights who are forced brought back into the service of the church.

Deserting the Crusade after witnessing the slaughter of innocents, Behman (Cage) and Felson (Perlman) come across a Medieval town devastated by the plague.  The disease infested town is thought to be the work of a suspected captured witch who can only be stopped by the monks in a remote monastery.

Behman agrees to transport the suspected witch to the monastery because he believes she would be given a fair trial.  He, along with Felson, a young alter boy, a local scallywag, a young priest and a soldier set out on their journey to transport the witch and save their land from the plague.
Along the way they meet many unholy forces including possessed monks and a demon bend on their destruction.  This is no light and happiness movie.  There's plenty of swordplay, black magic, devil dealings and twists and turns.  It's frightening film made even more frightening by some unexpected events.

Look for Season Of The Witch on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox June 28th.  Extras include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurettes, commentaries and more.

Expose 9

I admit it, I'm jealous.  Who wouldn't be?  Any self-respecting artist or designer is sure to be jealous of the incredible digital artwork in Ballistic Publishing's Expose 9.  

Featuring the 'Finest digital art in the known universe', the book is a visual treat that just keeps getting better, page-after-page. 

In most 'serious' art circles digital art is not considered 'legitimate' art. After all, it's not painted on canvas, no paint mixing is required and the computer does all the 'hard work.'  Yeah, right.  I couldn't disagree more.  I'm sure when acrylic paint was first introduced artists who painted in oils 'poo-pooed' it.

As an artist/designer myself and a teacher of the same, I am in awe of the talent of modern day digital artists.  Not only do they possess traditional art knowledge but also an understanding of the elements and principles of design and an expertise in color theory, composition and the like.  They also must know and understand and utilize computers.

Equally impressive is their grasp and innovative use of 2D and 3D drawing programs with all of their idiosyncrasies.  They require a huge learning curve and take months, sometimes years to master.  Try sitting down and figuring out how Photoshop, 3D Max, Poser, Painter and other high-end, and expensive, art programs work and you'll see what I mean.

I consider myself a descent artist with a good understanding of some programs.  I dabble mostly in Photoshop and the occasional 3D program.  I possess no where near the level of talent displayed by each and every artist represented in Expose 9.

Every conceivable type of digital art is represented from portraits, fantasy, architecture, mechanical renderings, robots, whimsical and so much, MUCH more! Four hundred and forty four pieces of art are contained in Expose 9 with 327 artists represented from countries all over the globe.  

If you are anything like me your first reaction is to be jealous, then envious, then inspired and then appreciative of the tremendous talent represented in this book.  It truly is breath-taking.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SG.U Stargate Universe The Complete Final Season

Television viewers are a fickle lot. Whatever the genre of show, be it crime, drama, comedy, variety or reality, audiences can make or break a budding new show. That is especially true with science fiction shows.

As open-minded and willing to embrace new ideas and concepts as science fiction fans purport to be, they, in general, are very conservative when it comes to truly ground-breaking science fiction TV series.

A perfect example of that is SG.U Stargate Universe. SG.U left the comfortable confines of its predecessors: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. SG.U was a much darker show, where the line between good and evil was blurred and characters often stepped over the line in both directions.

The premise was a simple one: a SG research team stationed on a distant planet is attached. Abandoning the site the residents of the remote site leave via the Stargate. Where they wound up is on an alien ship hurtling millions of light years away through space. The entire show was one of survival and the ship’s occupants attempts to get back to Earth.

Along the way they meet aliens, encounter hostile conditions, struggle to find food and water and slowly begin to unravel the mystery of the ship they are on. It made for a fascinating show with multi-layered characters and intriguing ‘what ifs.’

Unfortunately the show didn’t catch on quickly enough which is a real shame because during the second, and final, season, SG.U found its niche and was producing some of the finest science fiction ever seen on TV. But, audiences translate to money and the sponsors didn’t believe they were getting enough product purchase to warrant supporting the show so the SyFy Channel pulled the plug.

MGM and Fox have compiled on 5-discs the final 20 episodes of the ill-fated SG.U TV series along with lots of extras such as commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and much more. Although the series is gone, fans of the show (I being one) can enjoy truly well-written, acted and conceptualized science fiction.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Simon And Cult

Mention the name Joe Simon and comic book historians or fans immediately associate his name with another comic book great, Jack Kirby. After all, as a team they were responsible for such runaway big hits such as Captain America, Romance Comics and dozens of other ground-breaking series and concepts.

But, Joe was, and is, one of the most influential and innovation comic book creators and artists in his own right sans Kirby.

In Titan Books’ new title, ‘Joe Simon: My Life In Comics’ Joe writes about his long career in comics and how he got his start, where he met Jack Kirby, what he has contributed to the industry over the decades and his life outside of comics. Did you know that Joe is not only a writer and artist but an editor as well? He’s a photographer, worked for newspapers, he’s an entrepreneur, illustrator and a true pioneer in the comic book field.

This book contains a wonderful account of his life and work complemented by his black and white and color illustrations. It makes for a fascinating read by allowing readers to see the man behind the legend.

The Annual Crazy 4 Cult Art Show held in Los Angeles at Gallery 88 has increased in popularity since its debut. Artists, celebrities and other well-known individuals flock to the show and purchase some the finest art by many of the regions premiere ‘alternate’ underground urban artists.

Their theme is to create their own unique vision of a selected cult movie. The response has been phenomenal-so much so that Titan books has produced a new book, 'Cult Movie Art’ containing examples from the last four years.

Look for interpretations of such cult classics as Blade Runner, Donnie Darko, Pulp Fiction and many more well know, and maybe not so well known, movies.

Writer/director/actor Kevin Smith provides the quirky introduction to one of the most eclectic collections of art ever to see print.

Fangoria #304, June

Fangoria magazine hails the Sultan Of Splatter, two posters are included this issue, Monster Invasion brings out The Living Corpse, Kill! and REDD Inc., and the DVD Chopping List is filled with some gory delights.

Kidnapped has people scared out of their wits, exorcisms on the big screen just get a big jumpstart, The Stepfather still has legions of fans, Dark Shadows’ Kathryn Leigh Scott is still shocked by the show’s stay power and Michael Reeves leaves a legacy of violence and relive some Generations Of Gore.

Visit the dark side of Steven Spielberg, Tom Savini delivers some greatest hits and John Amplas was a reluctant vampire. The dead are in Texas, Jason Dark huts ghosts, and Bloody Birthday is the Monster Of The Month.