Jersey Shore Cast Definitely Up For A Second Season

I had been hearing here and there that the Jersey Shore cast members were holding out for more money when it came to the second season of Jersey Shore, saying they were the stars and that people were invested in them as characters. It was a pretty big gamble if you ask me. It’s not like New York and New Jersey are hurting for egotistical d-bags who love to drink and fight and crave attention. But, according to THR, it sounds like all the contracts have been signed and the new season will start taping soon. “Soon?” you ask, “but it’s winter at the Jersey Shore!” Yeah, it sounds like the show will be moving locations. The missus and I are guessing that means the show will be going on the road, probably to Spring Break. That’s right, the nearly-30 Pauly and Mike will be probably be fist pumping their way through Mexico or some such place. The THR story noted that all the cast members will be back, but I wonder if that will include Angelina. Here’s hoping the answer is no.

Just Finished Doctor Who Season 4 (2008)

After being thoroughly disappointed by the third season of Doctor Who, I wasn’t super excited to watch the fourth. But as the missus didn’t dislike it nearly as much as I did, we continued on, though not quite as quickly as we did through the other seasons. But, damn, I’m glad we did, because the fourth season of Doctor Who is up there with the first as a favorite in my book. From bringing Donna back into the fold to aliens made of human fat and killer cars to one of the greatest team-up finales of all time, I had a fantastic time this season. I think I liked it so much because the writers seemed to be exploring new territory or at least not as old and tired territory as the previous season, and, considering you’ve got another encounter with a famous author, that’s saying something.

I wasn’t super jazzed about checking out the Roman empire in “The Fires Of Pompeii,” but even that was a pretty entertaining episode. After that, though, things really kicked up a few notches. Throughout the previous season, I spent a good deal of time reading comics and trades while the shows were playing, but season four’s episodes kept me mostly glued to the screen. I will say that Donna living two fake lives so close together in the episodes “Forest Of The Dead” and “Turn Left” was a little boring because, as any longtime fan of sci-fi knows, these episodes don’t really have much lasting effect. I get the idea that the character is supposed to remember that extra life for the rest of theirs, but it’s a little strange seeing two of them two episodes apart. I did like seeing how things would have changed if Donna didn’t show up. It was very “It’s A Wonderful Life” but I didn’t even notice until writing about it the next day.

“The Doctor’s Daughter,” “Silence In The Library,” “Forest Of The Dead,” “Midnight,” “Turn Left,” “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” were all stellar episodes, especially those last two. I kind of figured that Rose would be involved after popping up in strange ways throughout the season, but by also including Martha, Captain Jack and the Torchwood crew, Sarah Jane and her son, the former prime minister, those Rhino guys, the Shadow Proclamation, Micky, Rose’s mom, a Doctor clone, Daleks, Davors and K9 was RAD. I’d say this is up there with one of my favorite season finales of all time. Loved it and it also made me want to check out Torchwood and maybe Sarah Jane Adventures.

Also, real quick, I didn’t think I would like Donna as The Doctor’s companion, but she grew on me very quickly. In fact, her goodness made me realize how kind of boring Martha was. She was cool popping up here and there this season as this badass, but she was rarely like that last season.

So, the Christmas special is up at the top of our Netflix queue and the next special is on Instant. The final two will be released on the 2nd. I’m not sure if they’ll be disc-only or on instant. Does anyone know why some Doctor Who stuff is on instant and some isn’t? I want to check out some of the old stuff, but the very first batch is on disc only and there’s a lot of other newer DVDs I want to check out. Also, if you’re curious to see what’s available on Netflix, check out this handy dandy blogpost over on Netflix that lists every Doctor Who episode and series in order and offers up links for whatever’s available on DVD or instant.

So, when does season five start airing over here?

Just Finished District 9 (2009)

I realized after getting District 9 from Netflix that I didn’t really know what it was about. I knew it had aliens, there was a faux documentary aspect to it and reflected Apartheid. I was blown away by how full this movie is. It’s not just a people vs. aliens movie or an enemies-turned-buddies movie or a rad action movie or a social injustice movie. It’s all of those things and more.

The following description will be SPOILERY, but not super spoilery. Moreso about the plot details I didn’t know going in. 20 years ago a spaceship appeared over South Africa, but no one came out so humans went up and cut in to find these aliens they dubbed the Prawns. Instead of integrating them into society Alien Nation-style, the Prawns are relegated to really shitty lean tos in a place called District 9. Now, the government has a “nicer” place to move them so some agents are sent in to tell the Prawns they’ve got 24 hours to move. Our main character Wikus goes in to do just then. He accidentally found a canister that Prawns had the sprayed him in the face and has started slowly turning him into one of them. He’s taken in by the agency he works for, experimented on and they discover he can use the weapons that came with the Prawns that only they can use. He breaks out, finds the Prawn who had the canister and ends up teaming up with him and his son. The Prawn and his son were trying to get fuel to get a small shuttle back to the ship, but they need the canister back, so they head back into the agency, get the stuff and head back. It gets crazy from there.

There’s still about 30 minutes left after that point, but I don’t want to completely spoil it. Now that I think of it, District 9 has a very video game sensibility to it. It starts off small, explaining the world and then keeps ramping things up and up and up until the crazy ending that can and probably will lead to a sequel. There’s even crazy alien weapons, several different enemies to shoot at (the military-esque guys, the aliens, the African dudes who sell guns and catfood to the Prawns) and one particular bad guy who seems ridiculously hard to kill for no real reason.

A movie like this hinges on two big things: the ability of the actors to make it feel like they’re really interacting with CGI beings and the ability of the special effects team to make CGI aliens that look real. I think they nailed it on both counts. Each of the Prawns have something unique about them whether it’s a different body color or a random, cast-off article of clothing they wear, they each felt like their own individual person.

Okay, even with all the stuff I liked, there were a few things I didn’t. I know the short film that writer/director Neil Blomkamp created and turned into District 9 was a mockumentary, but I don’t know if it really helped this movie. They use talking heads and experts as a way to explain the history and a few things at the end, plus that’s the way they get Wikus into the story, but he would have been there anyway. The movie starts off with the fake documentary format and then bounces back and forth between that later on, leaving it behind for a good chunk only to return at the end. For the most part, it was unnecessary though. I was also wondering why the heck there weren’t a ton of Prawn’s crawling around the final battle back at District 9. Had they already been moved? Did it get mentioned at all? It kind of bugged me that after showing hundreds of these things, that changed to just a handful, until the end of the action before the final comeback of the talking heads.

So, it’s not a perfect movie, but it’s absolutely worth checking out for anyone, who likes any kind of movies. Heck, even the missus liked it!

Hello My Horn, Prepare To Be Tooted

Well, I just realized that what I hoped would be a somewhat clever play on words comes off as more of an unintended masturbation reference. Whoops. Anyway, I’ve been working fairly hard these last few weeks on some projects that are seeing the light of day.

It’s a little late, but this week’s We Like To Watch is up over at Maxim.com. Considering it’s already Friday, there might not be a lot of new info, but you can check out the reruns.

Meanwhile, today’s list over at Topless Robot was written by yours truly. It’s the 5 Best and Worst Animated Comic DVDs. I had fun watching them and writing it and it seems like the regular readers liked it for the most part.

Speaking of animated comic movies, I did a few interviews for Marvel.com with some folks behind the upcoming Planet Hulk DVD, which I’m pretty jazzed about. The first was with writer Greg Johnson and the second was with voice of the Hulk Rick D. Wasserman.

I have also started covering toys and statues for Marvel.com starting with this rad Gambit statue from Sideshow. We’ve got a lot more plans in the works, so keep your eyes peeled.

Anyone got the Photoshop skillz to turn this typewriter into a laptop?

Roseanne Comics Cavalcade: The Endless

The hardest part about snapping these pictures of my television with my phone is getting the comic image in frame. I’ll see it, or see that the action is moving up to the bedrooms and try to get ready, but the characters usually zoom right by the poster, giving me just enough time to glimpse it, but not a lot to snap a picture in. Today’s entry is what I thought was an Endless poster featuring the first family of Vertigo’s amazing Sandman (which I’m re-reading right now). See it over Becky’s left shoulder on the door there? Turns out it’s actually a wall scroll and unlike most of the previous installments of Roseanne Comics Cavalcade, I was actually able to track down the full image and here it is.Very cool.

Doc Double Feature: Surfwise & Helvetica (2007)

Surfwise explores the history of Dorian Paskowitz (whose name is misspelled on the IMDb page oddly enough), his wife and nine children as he took them off the grid, drove around in a camper and traveled the United States surfing wherever he could. Dorian graduated from Stamford and was a doctor for a while until he decided to give it up, screw a ton of women and live a life outside of society. He graded the women on a system out of 100 and Juliette scored a 90, so he stopped with her and they started having a litter of kids, 8 boys and 1 girl.

But Dorian wasn’t ALL about having kids, sex and surfing. He was also about living a very natural life. He didn’t want to eat processed food and he demanded that Juliette not to anything with their first child that an ape wouldn’t do. From there he cut out anything unnatural from their diet and tried to take as many hints about living from animals as he could.

Sounds pretty cool right? The kids didn’t have to go to school, did pretty much whatever they wanted, saw the whole country (and Mexico) and got to surf all the time. Well, it wasn’t all great. That camper is super cramped. Apparently, dad was also a bit of a tyrant at times. Plus, he didn’t really want to have money, so they didn’t always get to wear clothes or eat. And, you know how I mentioned Dorian liked to have lots of sex? Well, that didn’t stop in the camper, so the kids were privy to their parents screwing on a nearly nightly basis (according to them). Add all that up and the apart-from-society mentality and you end up with some kids who don’t really know how to operate in society once they left the camper.

I found this documentary fascinating as it delves into both the good and the bad of a really strange situation and how that has affected the 9 children. All of them claim to have enjoyed parts of their childhood, but also note that they’ve had to really struggle in the real world with their lack of education and socialization skills. They seem to have done alright for themselves either in the world of surfing or entertainment. A few work in Hollywood and a few are in bands, including two who were in that band The Flys who did that song “I Got You Where I Want To” which was a pretty big deal in the 90s.

Helvetica is exactly what it sounds like, a documentary about fonts. There isn’t really much of  story in this one, it just kind of talks about the history and ubiquity of Helvetica, builds it up a lot, then knocks it down and builds it back up. You’d be surprised at how fired up people get about something as seemingly simple as a font, but as I’m coming to learn thanks to all the docs I’ve been watching, nothing’s ever simple. Heck, there’s a whole science and language to typography that most people are completely oblivious to. There’s not a lot else to say about this one, but if you’ve got any interest in this kind of thing it’s definitely worth checking out. If not, skip it.