Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More Nocturnal Musings

It's after 2 AM and there's a night construction crew about twenty feet from my front door repaving the road. Now, I'd normally be awake now anyway, but the constant rumbling, bright lights, back-up beeping, and periodic seismic tremors that shake this old farmhouse's dirt foundation and rattle the dishes is a bit distracting. I hope Brandi is sleeping through it all okay, otherwise tomorrow's going to be a really tough day for her.

This is another catch-all "musings" post, as I've been a bit busy over the last couple of days, so be prepared for rapid subject shifts.

Friday I picked up the DVD of George A. Romero's latest "Dead" film, Diary of the Dead. Reviews had been mixed, but I am a huge Romero fan – not only of the original "Dead" trilogy, but of films like Martin, The Crazies, Creepshow, and especially Knightriders – so there was no way I wasn't going to add this latest installment to my collection. Brandi and I watched it last night, and I loved it. I thought it was much better than Land of the Dead (tho I liked that one better than most people, I think) and I feel that it's the best of these "camcorder mockumentaries" I've seen so far. Once again, I think Romero proved that he makes the smartest zombie movies, and if you're a Romero fan, you should check it out.

• Ray Harryhausen's birthday was on Sunday. He turned 88 years old. Although he's allowed his name to be attached to some questionable stuff lately – like those horrible Ray Harryhausen Presents comic books from Bluewater – he's still one of my personal gods. His films are magical, and all the moreso because he created their effects scenes entirely by hand and, most often, virtually alone (he sometimes employed a cameraman to shoot his animation). Nowadays it takes a huge crew of people and lots of expensive computers to mimic what the maestro managed on his own with vastly less sophisticated technology. And even with all those people, today's CGI creatures and characters have none of the personality and, well, character, of those he created in his tiny studio in the Sixties and Seventies.

Don't believe me? Watch 20 Million Miles To Earth again and marvel at the physicality and "emoting' of the Venusian "Ymir," and remind yourself that it was a rubber model only about a foot tall. Or spin the Jason And the Argonauts DVD and study the sequence where Jason and his crewmates battle a squad of sword-wielding skeletons. The choreography is as elaborate and precise as any modern kung fu fight scene or classic MGM musical number directed by Busby Berkeley. Like I said: magic.

Happy belated birthday, Mister Harryhausen, sir.

• Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries made its debut last weekend at the Wizard World Chicago comic book convention. I'm told sales were pretty slow for just about everyone – in this economy, I'm not surprised, I guess. I thought the book would be on sale tomorrow, but my publisher tells me that though it's printed and has shipped from the printer, it may still take a couple weeks for the distributor to process it and ship it out to stores. So, I still don't know exactly when it will be on the shelves. It's kind of frustrating... grrrr.

Finally, the first official teaser trailer for the next James Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, made its online debut yesterday. Looks bloody awesome!

And if the production company has that yanked off YouTube, you can also find a better-quality version of it on MSN here.


Bill Spangler said...

Two unrelated thoughts:
Another KNIGHTRIDERS fan? Excellent!
Seeing this James Bond out of control is a genuinely frightening prospect. I love it.

Charles Gramlich said...

solace looks pretty good. I'll let you know when I get a call from my comic store saying femme noir is in.

Craig Zablo said...

I haven't seen Diary yet, but plan to. Glad to hear you dug it since our tastes are usually pretty close.

laughingwolf said...

i hate night construction, too :(

thx for the info, gonna check it out

El Vox said...

I just watched Casino Royale, and eventually I enjoyed it, but wondered after the first 20 minutes whether or not I could get thru it with all the BS action sequences--I'm just not a fan of that and they've gotten more outlandish over the years. Golly I half expected him to start webslinging and swinging from building to building. I know 007 fans perhaps have come to expect that, but I for one, wish they'd keep him more on a human-like level, instead of a God-like one, like a lot of that action, over-the-top stuff. Still once Casino settled down into the outfox card game and a few other sequences I enjoyed the last film, and I do thing the current actor made a pretty good Bond.

Yep, Harryhausen rules, I'm glad he's still around, and the same for Romero. I enjoyed LotD, and these days it doesn't matter what movie you talk about you'll have attractors and those that hated it, even if it is say, No Country For Old Men--where I read some young teen's review as: "Well, I actually like movies with a beginning, middle, and end." And then a one start rating, meaning he hated it. Made me chuckle, and under my breathe say, dumbass :) At any rate, I'll probably check out Diary too as I'm a bit of a horror fan particularly more old school. I saw a couple of good movies that I probably would not have thought I would have like: Nannie McPhee (neat eye popping colour, and pretty cool movie, though not a classic, but cool kid's movie), and Freaky Friday with the young Jodie Foster. And watched Superbad, ugh, hated it! Too crude, and actually I like movies with a beginning, middle, and end... :)