Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI Ain't Got Nothing on CJ

In honor of The American Film Institute's List of Top 100 Quotes From Films, I give you: Craig Zablo's List of Top Ten Quotes from Films:

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

- Apocalypse Now


"There can be only one!"

- Highlander


"Send a maniac to catch a maniac."

- Demolition Man


"Game over, man! Game over!"

- Aliens


"Boards don't hit back."

- Enter the Dragon


"Have I not entertained you?"

- Gladiator


"They're coming to get you, Barbara."

- Night of the Living Dead


"You're a big man, but you're out of shape. With me it's a full time job, so please sit down."

- Get Carter


"Somebody chasin' you, Sheriff?"

- Smokey and the Bandit


"What's your mother doin' flappin' around in a cage?"

- Paradise Alley

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Batman Begins... Mixed Feelings

Let me start by saying that EVERYONE that I know that's seen Batman Begins really, really likes it. Most everyone has even gone on to say that it's the best Batman movie yet. They usually conclude by saying how much I'm going to love it.

Well, now that I've seen Batman Begins, I can say that they were partly right.

I'd agree that Batman Begins is the best Batman movie yet. Unfortunately, I can't say that I loved it. Yeah, I liked parts of it a lot, but that still leaves some parts that I didn't. So, if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to check the rest of this post later because it will contain some SPOILERS...

Still with me? OK... let's start of with what worked for me.

The casting was great. Christian Bale makes a very good Batman / Bruce Wayne. Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman were also just right for their roles. [And I had had some doubts about Caine as Alfred.]

The soundtrack was fine. The sets were more realistic and worked well for the "new" direction. And speaking of direction, Christopher Nolan did a fine job, although I would have preferred a little more clarity during the fight scenes. Yeah, I know that he was trying to show how scary it was when you didn't know where Batman was going to be next, and man, can he move fast... still, a little of that went a long way.

Now the things that bugged me...

Bruce Wayne as a kid is such a 'fraidy cat. It's because little Bruce's afraid that they leave the opera and his parents end up killed, and wow, won't that be something to overcome. I did like how they handled Bruce's dad though. He was caring and adventurous and understanding. [Heck, maybe HE should have been Batman.]

So Bruce decides to travel the world and hang with low-life criminals so that he can come to understand their minds. Huh?

The Ras Al Ghul League of Shadows was a cool idea. I liked the line where he talks about destroying Rome, London, and other cities when their decadance became too great. Ok, so now this sinister secret organization is going to take down Gotham. And they're going to do it by releasing a poison in the water supply that has to be activated by a device that they have to steal from Wayne industries?!? That's the best plan that this group could come up with?

And to make matters worse, they have to depend on a mentally ill doctor to hire henchmen to put the stuff in the water pipes? Why not send in a group of his ninja assassins and get the job done right?

And to make matters worse, as soon as Ras throws the switch on the Microwave weapon, the water for blocks on end IMMEDIATELY evaporates? I thought that this was going to be the more REALISTIC Batman?

And before we get to Batman's actions... I didn't like how Bruce Wayne was played as an idiot. Yeah, I understand that Batman is playing him that way so people won't suspect that he's really Batman. It just doesn't work for me. Why not give Bruce some dignity. People aren't going to think that the billionaire playboy is Batman. You don't have to make him come off as a drunken jerk who burns down his own house.

Now for Batman's actions... first of all, Batman shouldn't be flying around Gotham. Swinging on his line I can live with. And don't give me some guff and say, "Oh, but he was gliding." I saw the movie. He was flying. LOL!

Batman is supposed to be a hero. He is supposed to be saving lives. There he was driving that "Batmobile" around destroying overpasses, riding across roof tops, knocking debris off buildings, causing car crashes, flipping police cars. He must have caused the deaths and injuries of dozens of innocent people.

And when Batman said, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Uh, Batman, you're a hero... you're business IS to save people... even the bad guys.

Batman is supposed to be smart. He's the greatest detective alive. His brilliant plan to stop the train from getting to "the critical spot" where it would blow up everything was to give Gordon the keys to the Batmobile so he could get ahead of the train and blow up the tracks. That's the PLAN?!? Meanwhile Batman "flies" up and on to the same train!?!

Huh? Did he somehow forget that Gordon is going to blow up the bridge? Hey Batman, why not just drive the Batmobile yourself and blow up the bridge? You have more experience at these things than Gordon... plus it'll keep you OUT OF THE TRAIN!

A lot of people have been complaining about Katie Holmes' role. The only thing that bothered me is that she's known Bruce since they were kids, and she had no clue he was Batman. She knew him longer than I've known most of my friends and I'd venture a guess that I'd recognize ANY of them in a Batman suit. Especially if they were two feet away from me and talking.

I did like the ending. Things have been set up sweetly for the sequel.

Overall, I know this review sounds really negative. You'd probably think that I hated the movie. I didn't. I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it.

And my guess is that I'll like the sequel even better.

"Batman Begins" rates a C

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shoot 'Em Up

I first heard about about "Shoot 'Em Up" a few months ago. Advance word was that it was an awesome action script filled with incredible gunplay. Not only was the script supposed to be the real deal, but there was even a stick figure animation that the writer/director created to show potential backers that he knew what he was doing.

It was recently announced that Clive Owen would be the star of "Shoot 'Em Up." Pretty cool choice, if you ask me. How could that get any better?

Well, Latinoreview has posted their review of the script as well as the stick figure animations that helped sell the script. Man, it does look like a wild ride!

If You Need Another Reason to Go..


Click on the picture above or HERE and get a look at a larger version of this beauty!

Arthur Suydam created the painting which will be turned into prints which will be given away totally free at this year's HeroesCon to all attendees!

And that's just one more reason why Heroes Con is such a great convention!

War of the Worlds and Water

It'd probably take an alien invasion to stop Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" from being a blockbuster hit.

Not even all of the negative publicity that Tom Cruise has been getting in regard to his "enthusiasm" for Katie Holmes could derail this summer crowd-pleaser. "War of the Worlds" is going to score big from opening day and who knows how long the movie will rule at the box office? I doubt that the Fantastic Four will make much of a dent, and truly, what else is coming out this summer to challenge it?

And speaking of Tom Cruise, did you happen to see or hear about the "idiot" that threw water on Cruise? At the London premiere for the "War of the Worlds" a man squirted Cruise with a water pistol disguised as a microphone. Police arrested the prankster as well as three other men who filmed the incident. The four were working on a new comedy show for British TV which targets celebrities for practical jokes. I guess the joke was on them.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Heroes and My Fortune Cookie

Heroes Con is one of the best conventions that you'll find anywhere. It has just the right mix of professional artists, publishers, dealers, media celebrities and fans.

I love the show, because there's something for everyone. In fact, for the last four years we've scheduled our family vacation so that we can attend the show. This year will be no different.

Another great thing about the show is that I get to meet up with friends that I don't get to see as often as I'd like. Some of them are professionals and some are fans, but those lines blur when we're hanging out.

Of course, another benefit of attending the show is that I always get a few new pieces for my SZ Gallery. With literally dozens of artists showing up, the anticipation is half the fun. Well, let's hope it's just half the fun...

... Yesterday I had lunch with John Beatty and John Higashi. We went to a Chinese buffet and my fortune cookie said: "It is sometimes better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

Well, that surely didn't sound good. Still, despite the fortune cookie, I'm expecting to have a blast at the show. If you're in the area, swing by and join in the fun. And if you can't make it, don't worry, you can expect a full report when I return!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kong is Still King

I'm really excited about Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. In fact, until Sin City II or Sly gets a movie rolling, Kong is the movie that I'm looking forward to seeing most.

Peter Jackson has a passion to create Kong. We all [well, most of us anyway], saw what Jackson could do with his Lord of the Rings trilogy. The mind boggles to think what he'll accomplish with Kong.

In most cases, I'd say stay away from remaking classic movies. Unless you can do it better, then what's the point? King Kong is a classic. I doubt that it'll be better than the original and yet, I can't wait to see the sequel.

The original King Kong inspired more than a generation of film makers from Ray Harryhausen to Peter Jackson. Sure, we'll be able to give our opinion of how we think Jackson's Kong stacks up against the original, but we won't know for years if the new Kong has the influence and impact of the first.

That won't really matter though, if we find ourselves lost for a couple of hours on Skull Island or running through the streets of New York as King Kong once again lives!

I have no doubt that Kong is going to be a winner. If you're not sure, then you might want to tune in to see the world premiere trailer. On Monday, June 27th from 8:59:30-9:02 PM ET all nine NBC networks [NBC, SCI FI, USA Network, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, Mun2 and Universal HD] will simultaneously run "an unprecedented motion picture preview."

Even though I'm already sold on the movie, I'll tune in for the trailer... and you can bet that I'll be there the weekend that Kong opens.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Big Fan... But Don't Like Most

I'm a fan of zombie movies. The funny thing is, there are probably only three that I really like... and one of those isn't really a zombie flick.

Ok, before we go further, and to put your mind at rest, they are
1] Night of the Living Dead
2] 28 days later and
3] Dawn of the Dead [the re-make].

Yeah, I know... 28 days isn't truly a zombie movie.

Yes, I know... it's blasphamy to leave out the original Dawn of the Dead.

And yeah, I have seen other zombie movies.

The problem with most of them is that they simply become gore fests. They don't have interesting characters. They focus only on how gross it is that the dead are eating the living or how cool it is when a zombie gets shot in the head.

And while it's true that many [if not most of the] people who dig zombie movies are there simply to see the zombies eat people and get blown away, that's not what I like about the genre.

What appeals to me is the world out of control aspect. I like seeing how the survivors come together from different backgrounds and with different ideas on what should be done next if everyone is to survive.

I'm looking forward to Land of the Dead. I hope that it'll be more like Night than Dawn or Day. You see, a little gore goes a long way in my book.

That's probably why I don't like most zombie movies, but love the genre.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Food for Thought

Christopher Mills posted some "heavy thoughts" over on his web log. In his post, Chris talks about his struggle with being overweight. It's pretty poweful stuff.

My buddy, John Beatty recently posted similar thoughts about his fight against weight gain and had even started a blog to track his efforts to lose weight. I posted here that I thought that was pretty bold, going public with his plan. John has since pulled the plug on his blog, but his battle to lose weight continues [and is going well].

It's strange that Chris and I are in the same boat [although I'd venture a guess that my boat is even bigger] but that we got here by different paths. Chris says that he was skinny for the first half of his life. I was never skinny. As a little kid I was "husky" [man, I hated that word].

In high school I was in pretty good shape. I played football, lifted weights, and was a pretty good wrestler. And consequently I was in shape. I remember a couple of my coaches who were heavy. At the time I thought, "Man, why don't they get in shape? I'll never let myself get like that."

Then I graduated high school and started college. I was no longer playing football or wrestling and had stopped jogging. The first year I gained a bunch of weight. At the end of the year, I started running again... and lifting weights. I got back into wrestling shape... and said "never again... never again will I get overweight."

Yeah, right.

Once you're married, have a job, have kids, heck, as you get older, the weight gain comes easier... as do the excuses to not eat right and exercise. Because really, that's what it comes down to.

Eating right and exercise.

My goal is to get back into shape.

I'll probably never make the 188lb class again, but my goal is small steps back to decent shape.

I don't plan to talk about my progress [or lack of] much here. In fact I'm surprised that I'm even saying this much. I guess the fact that Beatty and Chris were willing to go public, made me at least "weigh in" on the subject.

At any rate, you'll be able to tell from the pictures that I post from time to time how I'm doing. Maybe in a year or two, you'll wonder, "Who is that normal sized guy that kinda looks like Zablo?"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Aliens... Monsters.... UFOs and a Very Big Universe

When I was a little kid, I used to love movies and tv shows about aliens coming to Earth.

If we were lucky, they were friendly and intelligent like Michael Rennie in The Day that the Earth Stood Still. He even looked human.

Then again, so did the aliens in the 60's tv show The Invaders. [I haven't seen an episode in years, and wonder how it would hold up.]

Sometimes the aliens were simply monsters out to wipe us out, like in the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers or War of the Worlds. [And, yes, I'm really looking forward to the update by Spielberg and Cruise.]

Occasionally, there would be just one alien. And boy, were we lucky that there was only one if the alien ended up being like The Blob or The Thing.

Growing up, I not only liked movies and tv shows about aliens, but I also read and watched programs about UFOs.

I still do.

Think how cool it would be if we could find definitive proof of intelligent life in outer space. Uh... as long as they weren't out to wipe us out.

As I get older, I stil retain that sense of wonder about life in outer space. Most likely it's out there. It's just that the universe is such a huge place.

Don't believe me? Click HERE and see.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Michelle Rodriguez Gets LOST

Did you see the final episode of LOST?

If you did, especially if you're a regular LOST viewer, you saw one of the all-time best cliffhanger endings ever!

And now with months to go until the new season, word is starting to leak out about what we can expect.

The great news is that Michelle Rodriguez is going to join the cast as a regular. Rodriguez appeared in the last episode [in a flashback]. I'm a big fan so adding her to one of my "Must See TV" shows is simply a bonus.

If you enjoy LOST, then you may want to check out the official "fictional Oceanic Airlines at, containing secret messages, behind-the-scenes info on the show and a trailer for season two."

And if you want to know how Rodriguez may fit into the continuity, then click HERE, but beware that SPOILERS may be lurking!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Napoleon Bonaparte... A Real Cold Case

Napoleon Bonaparte was at one time a self-proclaimed Emperor who had conquered nearly all of Europe.

Napoleon died an early death from stomach cancer when, despite his military genius, he was defeated and banished to a small island in the South Atlantic over 180 years ago.

Now it appears that Napoleon may not have died from cancer after all. A new toxicological report shows a "toxic form of arsenic, used for centuries as rat poison, was found in Napoleon's hair samples at 37 to 42 times above the normal level." .

You can read the full story HERE.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Rock On... Crazy Frog!

This little fellow is The Crazy Frog. And in case you didn't know it, he's taking the world by storm.

I first read about The Crazy Frog a while back. I thought he was amusing in an irritating way. Then earlier in the week I saw a link posted to this video.

Then I read about him here, and here, and even in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.


What's amazing is that The Crazy Frog ring tone kept Coldplay’s premiere of “Speed of Sound” safely in second place on the UK music singles chart. The Crazy Frog has the #1 selling single?