Friday, December 16, 2011

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Surpringly I've seen all the Mission: Impossible movies in the cinemas.

I even saw the second film whilst I was in Canada, which was strange as I live in Australia and the film was shot in Australia.

So when I discovered they were making a fourth Mission: Impossible movie I thought, "I've seen the rest. I may as well see this one too."
I'm glad I did. It was incredibly good.

Here's the trailer

And here's the movie poster

Despite seeing the third movie with me my wife is not a Tom Cruise fan at all.
I'm pretty certain that if he wasn't in this film she would've agreed to come along with me.

Maybe other husbands are finding this too? That their wives aren't willing to seat through what they consider to be a Tom Cruise movie?
Thing is, whilst he is in the movie and is the major drawcard it's the other characters that make this movie as interesting, and as fun, as it is.

What I did like about this movie was the return of Benji (Simon Pegg). He was a great addition to the third movie and if he were to return for a fifth installment (even if Tom Cruise doesn't) I would see it.
Benji has some great lines and is simply fun to watch.

What I didn't like, before seeing this movie, was the addition of Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner).
I simply do not like Jeremy Renner.
It feels to me that Jeremy Renner is being forced on to us by the movie studios as the next big action star.
I have seen Jeremy Renner in a few other films and he was okay. Even if he did see like a bit of a smart ass in them.

He played an interesting character in Agent Brandt here though. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the scenes he was in.

Each Mission: Impossible movie seems to introduce us to a new female agent without delving too much into her character.
Not to be mean by the female of this franchise seem to be somewhat throw-away.
I thought the same thing when Jane (Paula Patton) popped up onscreen. About halfway through the movie though, wow, she has some great scenes and a great story to tell.

And it wasn't until she does a wardrobe change in the front seat of a car do I realise that, wow, she's hot!
What do you think? Agree?
I proached the idea of her being Wonder Woman in a live action movie, on a Wonder Woman message board of all places. Within minutes I was shot down in flames. How dare I suggest such a thing. I mean, she's "only 5'7"! Geez.

As the recident bad guy is Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist). He's role doesn't really come into play until the last act.
But boy what a last act it is!
I thought I'd seen all the kinds of action scenes you could see from this franchise. The finale though, it's a doozy!

Blink and you'll miss him is Agent Hanaway (Josh Holloway - from TV's Lost).
If they had've changed Josh's character with Jeremy's character I would've been happy.

Josh Holloway seems like a better choice to take over the franchise if Tom Cruise decides not to come back. That's just my opinion though.

What I loved, and crinched at, was the scenes at (and outside) the Burj in Abu Dubai.
I'd heard that the scene in question gave test screen audiences vertigo. I can see that. The scene outside the Burj certainly made my toes curl from sheer terror.

All up I give this movie an 8 out of 10.
It's a great addition to the franchise, whilst also being a lot of fun.
Until next time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with... Michel Gagne

Romance. We all want it. Even those who don't wish to admit it secretly crave it.
In the 30's through to the 70's there was a phenomenum in American pop culture of the romance comic. Geared towards young girls and women it was an avenue which flourished well before the era of super-hero comics hit the scene.
In my interview with writer, artist, all-round nice guy Michel Gagne you'll discover the lost treasure and lost artform of the romance comic.
As brought to you by two powerhouses in comic lore. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Michel Gagne.

1. What about romance comics interests you?

A few years ago, while reading a book on the history of comics, I realized that there was an entire facet of Jack Kirby’s (one of my childhood heroes) work that I hadn’t seen: romance.I became curious and wanted to read some of these stories. I started searching on the internet, and at comic stores and book stores, in the hope of finding a book compiling some of this obscure work. To my surprise, there was very little available. The only book I found was the long out of print, Real Love: The Best of the Simon and Kirby Romance Comics by Richard Howell: A volume featuring black and white reprints of thirteen stories, including nine by Simon and Kirby. The featured Simon and Kirby stories were excellent but they only spanned a three year period (1949-1951) while the team’s romance output lasted twelve. Granted, 1949 to 1951, was a potent period in terms of mature storytelling and lavish artwork, but my inquisitive mind wanted a general overview of the entire output, not a mere snippet. My search to find sample reprints from the post code era (1954-1959) turned up nothing. That’s when I started looking for the original comics. Certainly not an easy task.

Romance comics were bought by girls and women who, contrary to their male counterparts, did not have a tendency to collect. The comics were read and discarded. Even though the print runs were some of the highest in the history of American comics, very few copies survived and most of the ones that did are in pitiful shape. I quickly realized that if someone didn’t make an effort to preserve this material, most of it would vanish into oblivion. That’s when it hit me! Perhaps I should be the one to start the ball rolling. I had been itching to do a comic book preservation project for many years and this would be the perfect opportunity. Thus, I made the decision to restore, compile, and edit a book featuring an overview of the entire span (1947-1959) of Simon and Kirby’s romance comics.

2. Where you always a fan of romance comics?

I'm interested in the history of comics and the Simon and Kirby's romance comics played an important role in the evolution of the medium. It could be said that my interest is of an historical nature.

3. How did you get the idea to remaster the comic books into one big volume?

I get frustrated when I see restoration of old comics that are so digitally altered and modernized with garish colors, that they hardly have any connection left with the original material. For my project, I wanted to keep the integrity of the source material. I made a huge effort to stay true to the look of the comics printed on newsprint while restoring the inks to their original vibrancy and repairing color misalignments. The process was done over several years in my spare time. In essence, this book is my personal vision of how golden age comic book compilations should look.

4. What can people expect from Young Romance?

They can expect beautifully draw stories that are fun and varied, by two of comics master storytellers. The book is a well documented piece of American pop art and a true time capsule of an era.

5. What’s coming up next?

I'm finishing the last issue of ZED right now and I'm hoping to get the trade of all ten issues published sometime fairly soon. I'm also always busy with various projects ranging from films to video game. For up to date info on my work, people should check out my website at

I want to thank Michel for his time and enthusiasm with this interview.
If you're interested in Michel's book Young Romance I highly recommend you track it down at all good book retailers, or online. The comic book stores in your local area should be able to get you a copy on request. But I suggest you be quick about it (I already have mine on order).If you'd like to check out Michel's other work please direct yourself to the following sites;

I hope you enjoyed this interview.
Until next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview with... Julie Caitlin Brown

For sci-fi fans, you'll know who I'm taking about when I mention the name Julie Caitlin Brown. However I'm not a sci-fi fan. Well, not really.
I'm not one to sit down for an entire evening watching the sci-fi channel. Although suprisingly I have seen most of the movies that channel airs.

But I digress.
For jazz fans when I mention the name Julie Caitlin Brown, they'll sit up and take notice!
So I hope you enjoy my interview with... Julie Caitlin Brown.

1. What do you love about jazz?

One of the purest forms of expression, jazz requires the artist to listen as well as perform, a truly intuitive expression. I am moved by the intensity of desire I have felt as a singer and as someone listening to jazz.

2. May I ask, what is your training in jazz, or is it a nature talent?

I started singing in front of people at the age of ten, by 13 I auditioned for our award winning high school jazz choir. Our teacher, Mr. Rose, was a talented jazz trombonist and conductor. He had us doing outstanding material for such young singers! We won many State competitions.

3. What is the appeal of performing jazz to an audience?

As I said before, there are dizzying heights of emotional expression in jazz, the audience feels this and as an artist you draw from the audience as they are moved by you, it's a very spiritual experience.

4. You’ve done TV work on Babylon 5. How did you find this experience?

The short answer is a great part, a wonderful cast and crew, but that make up was a killer. Sort of answers your next question, doesn't it?

5. Was the make-up involved in your role a challenge?


6. Have you attended convention for Babylon 5? I’ve heard convention attendees can be pretty out-there.

Many B5 conventions, our fans are the best!

7. What’s coming up next?

I have been working on several very diverse projects, none that I can discuss, but I am proud of my short film that was released in 2010, "Thoughts of Suicide On an Otherwise Lovely Day". You can see the trailer at

8. Is there a charity or event you would like to bring to my readers’ attention?

Always love to support Sunny Hills/Children's Garden in San Anselmo, Ca. They do wonderful work for at risk kids with nowhere left to go.

I want to thank Julie for her patience with this interview. I had initially asked her to do the interview back in July but I had to hold off on running with the interview as my wife was pregnant.
My wife has since given birth, hence the interview is now up and online for all to enjoy!

Please feel free to comment below.

Until next time.