Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mutt Williams says there will be a 5th movie


Indiana Jones and son to return...

Shia LaBeouf confirms Indiana Jones 5

LONDON - Shia LaBeouf has confirmed that Indiana Jones is coming back for a fifth time.

The young Hollywood actor, who joined Harrison Ford in the movie franchise’s fourth installment, said that movie bosses are planning to make a new film in the archaeologist adventurer series, reports The Daily Express.

LaBeouf, who played the history hero’s son and sidekick Mutt, confirmed director Steven Spielberg planned to continue the franchise without Ford.

He says, “Steve just said that he cracked the story on it, and I think they’re gearing that up.”

Ford and LaBeouf have both dismissed rumours that the younger star will be leading the Indiana Jones franchise in the future. (ANI)


Gamers Are Sad says WIRED

This one strikes a little too close to home...

Forget Teens: Gamers Are 35, Overweight — And Sad, CDC says

  • 10:53 am |
  • Categories: Social Media

computerworld_page_logoWhen you think of a hard-core gamer, do you picture a teenage boy battling his friends in World of Warcraft?

Think again.

The average gamer, far from being a teen, is actually a 35-year-old man who is overweight, aggressive, introverted — and often depressed, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (download PDF). The study also shows that when children and teenagers become game players, a trend toward physical inactivity and corresponding health problems extends — and is exacerbated — into adulthood.

“Among researchers, there is growing concern and uncertainty about the health consequences of video game playing,” the CDC reported. “Given the ubiquity of video games — industry estimates suggest that they are played in 65% of American households — these concerns may be justified.”

The study notes that half of gamers are between 18 and 49 years old, while 25% are 50 and older. The CDC also pointed out that of online gamers aged 8 to 34, nearly 12% showed multiple signs of addiction.

The study, based on a 2006 online survey of 552 people between the ages of 19 and 90 who were living in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington state, also shows differences between male and female gamers.

Men reported that gaming gives them a “reason to get together,” while women said they are looking more for a diversion than social interaction. Despite the fact that men and women offered differing reasons for playing, they experienced several of the same health effects.

Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, noted that his concern isn’t just with gaming but with social networks, as well.

“My issue is that it’s not just gaming. It’s social networking. It’s the Web in general,” said McGregor. “We’ve gained so much, but still it puts people in front of a computer screen for hours on end. It gives Americans just another reason to be fat, dumb and lazy.”

According to the CDC, both male and female gamers were more likely to report that they were overweight and had more poor-mental-health days and were less socially outgoing than non-gamers. Women were more apt to report that they experienced depression and other general health issues than women who aren’t gamers. Male gamers, for their part, were more likely to report being obese.

“One interpretation of these findings is that, among women, video-game playing may be a form of digital self-medication…. In short, they can literally take their minds off their worries while playing a video game.” noted the CDC. “Among men, the association among sedentary behaviors, physical inactivity and overweight status observed in children and young adults may extend into adulthood.”


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Meek

Web comics can be a nice thing. There are so many that if you look long and hard enough you can find one that fits into your favorite genre. The problem with them is that the vast majority of web comics are just not good. A while back I was lucky enough to discover one of the best early in its run.

The Meek is an ongoing sci-fi/fantasy about three characters and their... well here's the creator's own words:


The Meek is a science-fiction/fantasy graphic novel in progress, and my largest project to date. The story revolves around three main characters and their struggle to control the fate of mankind. And giant battle salamanders.

The comic is currently updating at least once a week. You can read the comic and related info on its website,
www.meekcomic.com.

About a month ago chapter 1 completed at 45 pages. Chapter 2 launched today!

The Meek is created by alexds1 or also known as Dershing Helmer (see the DeviantArt account here). There are a few things that I really like about this comic. I love the art, and specifically I love how the characters are not particularly beautiful. They are quite ordinary in appearance which makes them more believable and thus, beautiful. I also get a sense of magic in the story, the kind of magic you find in some of the Miyazaki films. This is a tremendous labor of love. At this time it looks like no plans to release The Meek in print. I hope this changes. I, for one, will be purchasing it if it does hit shelves someday.

www.meekcomic.com/

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Batman and Doc Savage

I am excited about an upcoming series from DC Comics featuring Doc Savage and other pulp characters.

Chicago 09: DC NATION: Batman/Doc Savage, JSA, Marcus To

By Troy Brownfield
posted: 09 August 2009 09:33 am ET

Ian Sattler, sporting ten fingers full of multi-colored power rings, warmed up a rowdy crowd as the DC Nation Panel opened on Saturday at Wizard's Chicago Comic-con. The line, possibly the longest of the day, fed into a packed room. Sattler drew applause by ticking off some of the recent DC successes, including Batman and Robin, Blackest Night, and more. He continued to suggest a lot of “awesome” thing coming down the pike.

The panel included Freddie Williams, JG Jones, JT Krul, Francis Manupal, Art Balthazar and Franco from Tiny Titans, Brian Azzarello, and Chris Yost.


Title discussion opened with a JG Jones image of Batman/Doc Savage to be written by Brian Azzarello. The story presupposed a neophyte Batman in a world where Doc Savage is already established. The universe will contain Doc Savage, Blackhawk, The Spirit, Black Canary, and The Avenger (which drew some laughs from fans not familiar with the pulp hero of the singular nomenclature; Sattler joked “Big announcement!”). Sattler explained that it’s a world of blended science (hot air balloons, big computers tommy guns), but no super powers or magic. Rags Morales is drawing the series that follows the special, which drops in November.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Microlite20


As said in a recent post, I've been tossing around three different game systems to settle on for my game with my step-daughter. I was aiming for simple a rule system that supports role-playing more than tactics and combat. The runners up were Savage Worlds, True20 and the old out of print, but still my favorite, Top Secret/S.I. Well... another system as returned to my radar, Microlite20. This fills a lot of what I am looking for in a system. This is basically d20 stripped down and easily functional without a lot of the D&D 3rd ed baggage. There is even a Microlite20 Modern version. Here's a quote from the site:

Microlite20 is a minimalist role-playing game designed to be usable with the majority of d20 supplements, rules and adventures with little or no advance preparation. The rules for character generation, combat, magic and level advancement take up a single sheet of paper, meaning it is perfect for introducing role-playing to new players, gaming one-shot adventures or tailoring into your own game system. Downloads PDF editions of the rules, supplements, adventures, including pocketbook editions. These use the PocketMod folding technique to create miniature books of the rules, spell lists, monsters and more – true backpocket gaming! Core Rules This is the real thing. Also available from the download section as a PDF. The Macropedia Everything else: User-contributed House Rules, suggestions and expansions. Here you will find alternative magic systems, mass combat, and more.

Another terrific bonus to this system over the others is it is totally free. There is also a good deal of support for M20 and people are converting settings often. Another variant that caught my eye is SpyLite. This is to Spycraft what Microlite20 is to Dungeons & Dragons. Basically Microlite20, the espionage version.


Links:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars

The next Doctor Who installment will arrive on the BBC on November 14th. The Waters of Mars looks like it might have a taste of horror.




Russell T Davies helms Waters of Mars as he did the last episode, Planet of the Dead. The two following episodes will closely follow the events in Waters of Mars no doubt leading to the transition between the Doctors. November never seemed so far away.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Which System?

I have a strange issue. I am always rotating between three RPG systems. Can't decide which to use.
My all time favorite game and game system is the long out of print Top Secret/S.I. from TSR. I think it is one of the smoothest percentile based systems I've seen and I think it deserves a retro-clone treatment, like OSRIC or Four Colors (4C) (stripping the system out of the setting and using it as a generic gaming system for most types of games). The biggest mark against TS/S.I. is that the fan base is almost non-existent. There are many out there who love the game, but the number of people who still play and support it is shrinking. That holds a lot of weight for me.

The next game system I can't choose between is Savage Worlds. I have never actually played it, though I've read the rules many times and I really like the concepts- using die types for ability levels (d4 is low as d12 is very good). I even have a few of the campaign setting books. All of the Savage World products are incredibly well made. A good thing for Savage Worlds is that it has a fierce fan base. There are tons of resources to draw from for the system. One thing going against it is how married the system is to tactics and battle maps. My comfort is to rely on this aspect as little as possible. I've always been more about story than about the mechanics of combat. A good alternative for Savage Worlds may be the Cortex system that runs Serenity and Battlestar Galactica RPGs. Cortex is also die types for ability level, but appears to be more geared towards story than tactics.

The last system is True20. This one was a pretty good attempt to take 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons (d20) and strip away a lot of the battle mat tactics out and have a near compatible d20 system. True20 is far easier than D&D and probably moves along much faster, as well. The fan base for True20 is out there, though I don't think it is as big as Savage Worlds. I even tried my had at contributing by starting the unofficial True20 Wiki page.

Google Chrome OS screenshot leaked


I'm a bit of a Google fanboy. So naturally I'm looking forward to this Google OS that's been talked about. I've heard it will be based on Linux and will be targeting netbooks. Here's a link to more...

Date My Avatar



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Backup Vocals: Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
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Costumes: Sarah Trost
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Starring:
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Dancers:
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Olmos- We Have A Reason To See Green Hornet

Hollywood Snitch talked with Edward James Olmos and discovered he has a role in the upcoming and underwhelming Green Hornet. I love pulp, but can't muster excitement about this project. Olmos does kindle some enthusiasm in me as he is a kick ass actor. I admit my knowledge of his work doesn't reach far past BSG, but the Adama role carries a lot of weight. So now I am a bit excited to see Green Hornet.

HOLLYWOOD SNITCH EXCLUSIVE: Edward James Olmos joining 'Green Hornet'

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I spoke with actor Edward James Olmos yesterday at Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con. Among discussing his past ("Blade Runner") and present ("Battlestar Galactica" and the upcoming TV film), he dropped he said of his future plans that he will be joining Michel Gondry's "The Green Hornet."

"I'm on my way to do 'The Green Hornet,'" Olmos told me. "It'll be a lot of fun with Seth [Rogen], Nicolas Cage and Cameron Diaz."

No mention on the size of the role or what character, but, nevertheless, this is a big story that will continue to develop, including my full interview with Mr. Olmos.

"The Green Hornet" will star Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz and Taiwanese actor Jay Chou, who was just announced as Stephen Chow's replacement as sidekick Kato. It is scheduled for release in 2010.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spielberg's HALO

The HALO franchise may be about to get one of the strongest names in Hollywood behind it. This would be a very good thing all around.
IESB Exclusive: Master Chief and HALO May Be Coming to the Big Screen Sooner than Expected with a New Big Name Producer
Written by Robert Sanchez Friday, 07 August 2009 19:12 PDFPrintE-mail
HALO, the wildly popular video games that follow Master Chief, a cybernetically-enhanced human super-soldier, and his artificial intelligence (AI) companion, Cortana as they aide future humanity in battling the Covenant, a theocratic alliance of alien races, may be coming to the big screen much sooner than we expected.

IESB has learned exclusively (believe me this is solid and I've confirmed it three times over with studio executives and our close ties to CAA) that one of the biggest producers in Hollywood history is currently in active negotiations to develop the feature film adaptation and no it's not Jerry Bruckheimer or Peter Jackson. It's the man behind Jaws, E.T., Indiana Jones and Transformers, Mr. Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg is blown away by writer Stuart Beattie's take on the game in his script entitled HALO THE FALL OF REACH. This coupled with the fact that his Dreamworks umbrella is looking for a big tent pole to help launch their newly independant studio with distribution over at Walt Disney Pictures after losing Transformers to Paramount in the separation, it's the perfect combination.

Also, Spielberg is a huge gaming fan. His prodigal star Shia LaBeouf has been quoted talking about Spielberg being stuck on the 15th level of BioShock recently,

"I get there and stick my head in to ask if he's ready-and this is classic Spielberg-he says, ‘Nope, Shia. I'm trapped!' " LaBeouf then starts playing both parts-concerned protégé and faraway mentor:

"You're trapped? Steven, what are you talking about?"

"I'm trapped back here. Follow my voice."

"Where are you?"

"Over here... Here... Here!"

LaBeouf kept following the calls until he got to the director's office. And there was the master himself: shoes off, socks on, dressed in shooting gear, but sitting behind a computer, stuck on the fifteenth level of a first-person shooter called BioShock.

"This is like months to get to this level, and he can't get past this one little mysterious spider god, and he's losing his mind. He's like, ‘I can't do it, Shia! I can't do it.' "

Word is CAA, who rep both Spielberg and Beattie, is pushing these negotiations heavily.

HALO belongs to Microsoft and they own all rights to a feature film and happen to have a great relationship with the producer who even unveiled their lastest gaming technology Project Natal at the E3 Expo earlier this year. It doesn't hurt to have Bill Gates as a good friend so I hear.

Stuart Beattie, the writer behind the new concept that Spielberg loves, was quite busy during the 2007 writer's strike when he wrote the script on spec based on the storyline from Eric Nyland's prequel novel to HALO, THE FALL OF REACH. Beattie is also hot off the summer hit G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA which he co-wrote with director Stephen Sommers and others. During the promotional tour for that film, he toldScifi.com that the HALO story is, "an amazing story about this child that no one cares about and who cares for no one else, who kind of ends up saving all of humanity."

Back on April Fools Day of 2008, Latino Review broke the news of the new Beattie script and had a write up on what it was all about,

The script is, first and foremost, a character-driven story about a soldier named John who was kidnapped or "conscripted" by the UNSC when he was just six years old, and then brutally trained to become an elite Spartan warrior known as Master Chief 117.

The script then takes us through the horrific first contact with the Covenant hordes on the doomed colony world of Harvest, and then climaxes with the spectacular fall of the UNSC forward base on Reach, during which every other Spartan is slaughtered.

The script also gives detailed outlines for the second movie, HALO: RISE OF THE FLOOD, which takes place entirely on the Halo ringworld, and the third and final movie, HALO: BATTLE FOR EARTH, which roughly follows the events of Halo 3, the game.

One cool advantage of this first script is that (like the shark in JAWS) you don't even see the Covenant until halfway through the movie. And because all the creatures are CGI creations, this cuts the budget down dramatically and makes a first Halo movie that much more viable. For Halo fans, it's like the prequel that provides all the answers to questions they've thought about for years. For non Halo fans, it's an exciting action movie that provides a clear, concise introduction to a world five hundred years in the future with relatable characters and a terrifying alien menace.

The site also posted 5 pieces of concept art that Beattie came up with to illustrate his vision for the franchise.

Recently, sites have been reporting that the HALO project is completely dead after it halted under the guidance of Peter Jackson and director Neil Blomkamp with 20th Century Fox distributing.

But with Spielberg now in active negotiations, this shit is about to get real!

With Spielberg possibly in the producer's chair (if God willing these negotiations work out), who would be his first choice to direct HALO? Sound off in our comments section below!

Stay tuned to the IESB for future HALO news!


link




Saturday, August 8, 2009

Doctor Who

We have become rather big Doctor Who fans. Like most American kids in the '80s I remember seeing the Tom Baker episodes on PBS, but never understood what was going on so I never got into the show. The giant and ancient franchise was resurrected in 2005 and that was my in. It was not rebooted or re-imaged, it continued. All of the previous events are still part of the history. I've been a fan ever since. We are anxiously waiting for this new incarnation of The Doctor.
Photos of Matt Smith in costume and his new companion, Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillian), have recently popped up:

First Look at Matt Smith as the New DOCTOR WHO


Matt Smith, Karen Gillian - Doctor Who

Check out Matt Smith in costume as the 11th Doctor filming new episodes of DOCTOR WHO.

We have known for a while that David Tennant would not be returning, and also found out that Matt Smith had been chosen to replace him, but now we finally get to see him as the Doctor thanks to BBC (via Scifi Wire).

Next to him is Karen Gillian, who is playing the Doctor's new companion, Amy Pond.

In addition to Matt Smith taking over the role, there were also some additional changes made behind-the-scenes of the show. Steven Moffat is now the new lead writer and executive producer, who will be responsible for the "overall creative direction of the show, as well as plot and character arcs." As a fan of his shows and all his Doctor Who episodes, I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us this new season.

The new Doctor Who series will premiere in Spring 2010 in the UK.

link

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Power of the Dark Crystal

There is a sequel to the The Dark Crystal coming soon. A really promising aspect of this project is who will be directing. Genndy Tartakovsky agreed to do it on two conditions: that the film would use live puppets as well as computer animation, and that Brian Froud would design the characters. The origianal film's cast was entirely created by Froud and were puppets. Tartakovsky is breathing integrity into this movie.

Recently Brian Henson said the following:
The Dark Crystal sequel has a little more information going on for it thus far. The title of the movie will be The Power of the Dark Crystal, and it will take place centuries after the first film. It will tell the story of a girl named Thurma, who is made of fire and lives at the center of the planet. The girl of fire needs to obtain a shard of the crystal in hopes of re-igniting the dying sun. You can click the image above for a description of the sequel from back when it was aiming for a 2008 release date.
I'm really looking forward to this movie.


Monday, August 3, 2009

The Captain Blood Space Opera Makeover

Michael and Peter Spierig (Daybreakers coming early next year) are set to sort of remake of Captain Blood (the 1935 pirate film staring Errol Flynn. Yes, that one!) for WB... except they're setting it in space.

I feel a resurgence of the space-swashbuckler/space opera genre coming on. The pulps in general are big now in the gaming industry as well as comics. There has been a lot of discussion and anticipation for the John Carter of Mars, perhaps the father of the space pulps, film coming in 2012. Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are currently back in print (by Dynamite Entertainment and Ardden Entertainment, respectively). Even the innovative Pinnacle Entertainment RPG publisher released their own original space opera setting, Slipstream for the Savage Worlds line.

source: Vareiety

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fallout for real


Fan made Nuka Cola soda machine.

What if the Ghostbusters was made in the '50s?

‘Echo’ Gets A Film Deal; More ‘Bone’ On The Way

Terry Moore and Jeff Smith are the indi comic's stars. Terry Moore is best known for hi's very long series Strangers In Paradise and Jeff Smith, his fantasy Bone. Both of the series ended not too long ago and both creators have movie deals coming, more exciting news from Comic Con...


Those of us lucky enough to check in on the smaller panel “Cartoon Books and Abstract Studios Happy Hour” at the

San Diego Comic-Con last weekend by Jeff Smith (Bone) and Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) were privy to some exciting news from both of the artists, as well as just a fun discussion.

The first news of the day was that Terry Moore’s newest book, Echo has been given a film deal by producer Lloyd Levin (Watchmen, Hellboy II) which means that we will be seeing a film adaptation at some point in the future. Echo is a sci-fi tale that tells the story of Julie Martin, a young photographer whose life gets turned upside down when she gets coated in a layer of metal that gives her strange powers. The series is currently on issue 14, with a planned run of 30 issues. Moore also said that his next goal is to get Strangers in Paradise produced as a TV series.

The other big news of the day came from Jeff Smith, who revealed much to the enjoyment of every Bone fan, that two new books will be coming out in the next two years. The first book comes out next summer, and will be titled Bone Stories: Tall Tales. The story follows Smiley Bone and Bartleby as they tell stories of Big Johnson Bone to three Bone Scouts named Ringo, Bingo, and Todd. The book will be written by frequent Bone collaborator Tom Sniegoski, with art by Smith.
The second announcement by Smith was that we would see a trilogy of prose novels, starting in 2011, written by Sniegoski, with covers and some interior art by Smith. The three novels will go under the title Quest for the Spark and will be an actual sequel to the original series. The crowd was very happy when Smith made these announcements, and I was right there with them.
Smith went on to talk about The Cartoonist, a documentary about his life and work which went on sale at the convention last weekend, which was then debuted at the show on Friday. The rest of the panel was taken up with a great Q&A that was loads of fun for those that attended. This was the most fun I had at my first day of the Con.

Halo Legends

Halo Legends is one of the big things to come out of this years Comic Con. It appears to be a series of short anime films set in the Halo universe. It sounds to me like a similar to Animatrix and Gundam Evolve. I really like this idea, because I find the Halo universe wonderful and solid. But I don't have the time to invest in the games. The books, comics and now these films are a more practical way for people who don't do the electronic gaming to more fully enjoy such a franchise. I hope this leads to a more lengthy animated series.





Wiki:
Microsoft announced at Comic-Con 2009 that it was overseeing production of a series of seven short anime films, together called Halo Legends. Financed by 343 Industries, the animation was created by five Japanese production houses: Bones, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G., Studio 4°C, and Toei Animation. Shinji Aramaki, creator and director of Appleseed and Appleseed Ex Machina, serves as the project's creative director. Warner Bros. will distribute Legends on DVD and Blu-ray in early 2010,[70] Six of the stories are officially part of the Halo canon, with the seventh, made by Toei, is intended to be a parody of the universe.


Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead

STARLOG is reporting new Indiana Jones novels on the way...

MEDIALOG: Indiana Jones vs. the Zombis!


SEQUELS
Indiana Jones returns to bookstores in September in what looks like the start of a new series of novel adventures from Del Rey Books (essentially launched by last summer’s bestselling INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL novelization by James Rollins). Veteran pulpster Steve Perry has written INDIANA JONES AND THE ARMY OF THE DEAD which takes Indy and pal “Mac” Michale (from CRYSTAL SKULL) to Haiti and an eerie encounter with voodoo and a legion of zombis! If zombies (or zombis) are good enough for Marvel Comics and Jane Austen, why not Indiana Jones? Incidentally, the original Indy paperbacks published in the 1990s by Bantam (and written by Rob MacGregor, Max McCoy and the late Martin Caidin) are all pretty good. They were republished last year to tie-in with CRYSTAL SKULL and copies are still available in many bookstores. If you need more Indy, STARLOG recommends them.

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