Tagged: drama

Mindy Newell: Happy Birthday, Isabel!


Just got back from a mahhh-velous soiree at Casa El Deseo held in honor of my niece Isabel’s 15th birthday. Wow. Seems like just yesterday I was the bath witch giving a screaming infant girl her evening absolutions before tucking her into her crib.

That little infant girl has grown into a talented young woman who is not only an orchestral cello player, but also an aspiring professional actress of musical theatre, studying voice, dance, and the theater arts. She also plays a mean piano.

Iz loves Doctor Who.

And the sequential art story form – comics and graphic novels, boys and girls.

I’ve been following the Challenged Comics Summer Reading Challenge vid series hosted by Maddie and Anya Ernst, otherwise known as the “twins, teens, geeks…Tweeks!” found right here on ComicMix, of course. (I’m a huge fan of theirs. You should be, too.) All of these books have been attacked, removed, and/or banned for one stupid reason or another. Here’s the discussion schedule:

  • 7/13: Bone, Volume 1: Out From Bonesville by Jeff Smith
  • 7/20: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • 7/27: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
  • 8/3: The Graveyard Book Volume 1 (the graphic novel) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
  • 8/10: The Color of Earth Book 1 by Kim Dong Hwa
  • 8/17: Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux
  • 8/24: Perepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  • 8/31: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

If you’ve missed July’s entries, don’t worry, there’s plenty of summer left – officially until September 23 this year, the first day of autumn.

I am very proud to say that Isabel has already read two of the challenged graphic novels: Jeff Smith’s Bone, Volume 1: Out of Boneville – which she discovered on her own and, by the way, she’s read the entire collection – and Raina Teglemeir’s Drama, which her mom bought her. (Iz also read Smile when she got braces.)

Like all great books, the reviewers raved.

Of Bone:

“Charming, character-driven fantasy with an elegant design and masterful story-telling in the tradition of Walt Kelly, Charles Schulz and Carl Barks.” – Publisher’s Weekly; “Like Pogo, Bone has whimsy best appreciated by adults, yet kids can enjoy it, too; and like Barks’ Disney Duck stories, Bone moves from brash humor to gripping adventure in a single panel.” – ALA (American Library Association) Booklist;

“Bone has the multi-level writing and artwork of the best Chuck Jones cartoons or early Disney movies. It’s overflowing with subtext about conflicting philosophies of power, cultural imperialism and political responsibility – though not enough to get in the way of its silly fun.” – CMJ New Music Monthly

“One of the best kid’s comics ever.” – Vibe Magazine;

“…Sprawling, mythic comic is spectacular.” – Spin Magazine;

“I love BONE! BONE is great!” – Matt Groening; “Jeff Smith can pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful — so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs.” – Neil Gaiman

Of Drama:

An utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work . . . Irresistible, funny and touching–a must read for all teenage girls” by Kirkus Reviews;

“A charming addition to the body of young adult literature that focuses on the trials and tribulations of the slightly nerdy girl” by Publishers Weekly;

“It hits home partly because there is nothing else out there like it” by The New York Times Book Review.

So here’s a challenge.

Don’t be a schmuck.

Get going, choose your favorite book retailer, brick-and-mortar or on-line, and buy these books for your kid(s) – or yourself. You won’t be sorry. You might even find yourself – *gasp* – having an intelligent discussion with your offspring about them. Y’know. Like in a book club.

And what did I get Isabel to celebrate her big day?

This One Summer.

With the rest of the list to follow.

Happy Birthday, kid!


Tweeks: ComicMix’s Challenged Comics Summer Reading Challenge

It is officially summer for us! Yay!  So, we thought this would be the perfect time to tell you about our summer reading plans.  In this week’s episode, we tell you about the CBLDF and announce our Challenged Graphic Novel Reading Challenge.  Our hope is that kids and parents (and everyone else) will read along with us.  Because you seriously can’t question that book be suitable for library shelves if you haven’t read it, right?

CMCC Picture

This summer we will be reading 8 graphic novels that have been challenged or banned in school libraries and then every week we will discuss one of the titles.  We’ll talk about why it was challenged, how to best talk about the questioned topics or themes in the book with your kids.  We’ll also tell you from a kid’s perspective how we viewed the appropriateness of the books for us, because sometimes adults forget what they could handle and understand when they were our age.

We also hope that you will support everyone’s right to choose what they want to read by doing some sleuthing in your local or school library.  Take a look at our reading list and see which of the books are available for you to check out.  You can post your findings in Social Media like Facebook and Twitter (@ComicMix and @The_Tweeks) with #InTheStacks and/or #ComicMixChallengedChallenge, hopefully generating further discussion. We also think you should check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s site.  We talk more about them in the episode.

So, get to reading!  Our discussion schedule is:

7/13 Bone, Vol 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
7/20 Drama by Raina Telgemeier
7/27 This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
8/3 The Graveyard Book Vol 1 (the graphic novel) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
8/10 The Color of Earth Book 1 by Kim Dong Hwa
8/17 Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux
8/24 Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
8/31 Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

Tweeks: #SDCC Interview with Writer/Artist Raina Teglemeier

14341642465_9cf3a11985_nRaina Telgemeier just might be the best middle grade author in the whole world.  She’s also probably the nicest author in the whole world…and maybe even the nicest person ever.  During San Diego Comic Con, she took some time to sit down with us to talk about her new book Sisters (check out our review Tuesday!), her other books,  what it’s like to write graphic novels for kids and how to get started as a comic artist and writer.  We ask her all the questions her readers want to know in this in-depth interview.  We love our job!

You can hear Game of Thrones (Music from the HBO Series) Season 4 Now

GOT S4 soundtrackNEW YORK, NY (June 9, 2014) – WaterTower Music today announced the release of Game of Thrones (Music from the HBO® Series) Season 4 – the latest soundtrack featuring music from the Game of Thrones series. The album will be released at digital retailers on June 10, just five days before the final episode of the season airs. The album will be also be available in physical CD format on July 1.

The soundtrack music was composed once again by Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Pacific Rim, Person of Interest), who has written the music for the entire series. The soundtrack includes a version of “The Rains of Castamere” as performed by acclaimed Icelandic post-rock artists Sigur Ros in a mid-season cameo appearance. The song, written by Djawadi and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, has appeared sporadically over the course of the series (most famously during the Season 3 episode which featured the fabled Red Wedding), and celebrates the heritage and power of House Lannister.

The 22-song track listing is as follows:

Main Titles
The Rains of Castamere
Breaker Of Chains
Watchers On The Wall
I’m Sorry For Today
First Of His Name
The Biggest Fire The North Has Ever Seen
Three Eyed Raven
Two Swords
You Are No Son Of Mine
The North Remembers
Let’s Kill Some Crows
Craster’s Keep
The Real North
Forgive Me
He Is Lost
I Only See What Matters
Take Charge Of Your Life
The Children

Game of Thrones, the Emmy® Award winning drama series, is based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song Of Ice and Fire, where political and sexual intrigue abound as seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.

Dennis O’Neil: Drama and Spectacle

Journey back into history far enough, and look in the right place, and maybe you’ll come across the common ancestor of drama and spectacle. Something religious, maybe. And as recently as 2,000 years ago, give or take, if you were taking a break from whatever ancient Romans took breaks from and filling a seat at the Circus Maximus, you’d see the chariot races and athletics and you’d also see staged battles.

And, ancient Roman that you are, if you could slip into a time warp and fast forward to what we could jokingly refer to as modern civilization, you might enjoy the movies of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton and the Olympic gymnastics and boxing matches and their surly offspring, mixed martial arts and…

Maybe you’d see the three movies I’ve seen recently and two of these might remind you of the good old days, sitting in the sweltering Italian sun and being entertained by mock combat. You might also enjoy the third movie I’ve seen of late, but not in quite the same way.

Chinese Zodiac stars the beloved and amazing Jackie Chan and, judging by a voiceover he delivers as the end credits roll, it might be his valedictory – not to cinema as a whole, for he will surely act in future movies, but to the kind of comedic action flick he’s been delighting us with for decades, featuring just enough plot to carry Jackie’s awesome stunts/acrobatics/clowning, usually with his face in the shot so you know that it’s really him up there and not a stunt double.

If Jackie needs an heir apparent, I nominate the Thai performer, Tony Jaa, who was inspired by watching the movies of Jackie, Bruce Lee and Jet Li as a youngster. I caught Jaa’s most recent American release, The Protector 2, and am glad I did. Jaa does not display Jackie’s comedic gifts, but his fight scenes, which, like Jackie’s, combine acrobatics and martial arts, are terrific. Doubt me? Maybe you can catch The Protector 2 at your television’s movies-on-demand option, as I did, and decide for yourself.

Which brings us to Batman Begins. We didn’t intend to watch it, but we were channel surfing and there it was and we had time to kill, and what the hey – why not? Of course, we’d seen it five years ago, but surely merited a revisit. Now, let me say it again: Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is excellent. But the fight scenes are among the few problems I had with it. A lot of them are rendered in blurs, closeups and quick cuts, highly kinetic but, for me, of limited entertainment value. Not like Chan and Jaa and Keaton and, no, not even like those sword-slingers in the old – really old – days.

The stuff those guys did has been proving its worth for centuries.

In the final third of the trilogy, Mr. Nolan proved that he can deliver a well-choreographed fracas. I just wish he’d chosen to do so earlier. Imagine what Jackie Chan could have done with that cape!

But the movies are excellent.

Box Office Democracy: “Godzilla”

Box Office Democracy: “Godzilla”

I needed Godzilla to give me more monster fights.  Not monsters destroying cities or people running from monsters but monsters fighting monsters.  They knew that’s what I wanted too because sequences would build to those moments where two kaiju would look at each other, screech, and charge at each other only for the camera to cut away to some human doing some dumb thing or another.  I know that this movie already cost $160 million and that’s with almost no money spent on cast so I have to assume they put all the special effects in that they could but this movie made almost $200 million in its first weekend and I assure you I do not care what the humans are doing in Godzilla, not even a little bit.

The monsters look fantastic.  I tried to parse exactly how they made them through studying the credits and it seems to be some alchemical combination of digital effects and performance capture and I can’t stress enough how perfect and plausible they look.  It probably helps that they are usually in dark smoky environments but it works better than any attempt I’ve seen with the possible exception of Pacific Rim and this is certainly trying for a grittier, more realistic look than Rim was going for.  The climactic fights are over-the-top brutal but all the way through I was impressed at how it looked like these massive creatures had actual weight and interacted with their environment in consistently plausible ways.  A sequel has already been greenlit and I’m beyond excited to see where they go with these monsters.

The humans are another matter entirely.  I mean, I guess they always look like they have weight and they interact with their environment in a plausible manner but I’m not sure they ever really affect the story.  You could take the actions of every human being out of this movie and it would affect the outcome not at all.  Nothing the humans do to stop the rampaging monsters is successful on any level.  In fact, the climactic actions of the main human character, Lieutenant Ford Brody, only serve to save people from a mistake the humans made earlier in the film.  Godzilla is the title character and he solves the problem all by himself.  I never quite got invested in the drama they tried to insert with Brody and his wife or Brody and his son or Brody and some strange other child.  I completely failed to care at all about the faceless, practically nameless, other military operatives.  I only cared a little about Dr. Serizawa because Ken Wantanabe played him and I honestly can’t tell you what happened to that character in the third act.  Everyone just sort of fades away in the backdrop of better monster action.  As much as I want to see them expand on the monster action I want them to throw all the other characters in this movie and start over with every entry.

A common lament about film in the last decade or so is that every film is either a remake or a sequel and no one is willing to try new things.  While there is undeniable truth to this, Godzilla is proof that there are plenty of new ideas and good movies to be made from old properties.  This is as different from the original film as is possible with only passing similarity to what came before.  It would be a huge mistake for anyone to dismiss this as creatively bankrupt when it’s such a fresh take on a property that was honestly run in to the ground by The Toho Company some time ago.  This is a fantastic action movie and one worthy of praise no matter what its origins are.


Longmire Season 1-2 Come to Blu-ray This Month

Longmire Blu-rayThe Walt Longmire book series from award-winning author Craig Johnson has spawned a fine adaptation on A&E and in the coming weeks, fans are in for a treat. First, the first two seasons are making their Blu-ray debut on a combo set from Warner Archive followed by season three premiering on June 2 and then two days later the eleventh novel in the series arrives.

Here are the formal details with some thoughts from Johnson.

BURBANK, CA (May 5, 2014) – Few television dramas have captured the intense cinematic nature of the Southwest like A&E’s hit mystery series, Longmire. Warner Archive Collection is proud to bring those stunning visuals – and equally enthralling stories – to full 1080p HD presentation with the Blu-ray™ release of Longmire, Seasons 1 & 2, on May 27, 2014 via WBShop.com and many online retailers.

Longmire2Warner Archive Collection’s presentation of Longmire, Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray™ includes all 23 episodes in a six-disc set, as well an interesting array of bonus content, highlighted by three fascinating featurettes and two “director’s cut” extended episodes with introductions from the executive producers.

Longmire1Long shadows of secrets and murder hang over Absaroka County, Wyoming, jurisdiction of the tough and brooding Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), in the spell-binding series, Longmire. Struggling since his wife’s death a year ago, and at the urging of his attorney daughter, Cady (Cassidy Freeman), Walt knows he must turn his life around. Aided by a new female deputy, Vic (Katee Sackhoff) and his oldest friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), Walt becomes re-energized about his job and running for re-election – even though his ambitious younger deputy Branch (Bailey Chase) is a rival candidate. The unraveling truth about Walt’s wife death will astonish the stoic lawman and his daughter. While shattering storms darken the skies, Longmire doggedly solves the big crimes of “Big Sky” country.

Longmire3In addition to the cast regulars, Longmire has featured guest performances from such notable actors as Peter Weller (Robocop), Gerald McRaney (House of Cards, Simon & Simon), Xander Berkeley (24, Salem), Shawn Hatosy (Southland), Tom Wopat (The Dukes of Hazzard), Jim Beaver (Supernatural), A Martinez (L.A. Law, One Life To Live, Santa Barbara), Charles Dutton (Roc, Alien3), C. Thomas Howell (Southland, E.T.) and Stephen Culp (Revolution).

Longmire, the TV series, has its roots firmly embedded in the best-selling Walt Longmire book series from award-winning author Craig Johnson. The latest and 11th in the series of novels, A Serpent’s Tooth, arrives June 4. A current resident of Ucross, Wyoming (his bio proudly states “population: twenty-five”), Johnson is an avid fan of the A&E television series, which returns for its third season on June 2. Johnson particularly enjoys the dedication everyone involved with the show has taken in bringing his characters and stories from page to screen.

Craig Johnson“I think the thing that’s been the most amazing to me is the way the producers, directors, actors, designers, and crew have been able to capture the feel of the novels” Johnson says. “It’s not easy to translate perception from one artistic venue to another, but I think Longmire has amplified the integrity, the humor, and the edginess that have made the books a success. There are elements that you can rely on in doing a true western, like the epic romantic quality, but the show goes one step further in portraying the west as it is today; the characters are complex, and the plots not only credible, but compelling – it ain’t your daddy’s western.”

Johnson also notes that Warner Archive’s presentation of Longmire Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray™ will further enhance the cinematic beauty of the series.

“The thing about Longmire is that at its core, it’s a western, and filming a western indoors doesn’t make much sense,” Johnson explains. “Most crime procedurals are shot on a couple of sets – offices, apartments, and such – but Longmire embraces the challenge of being outdoors and does an amazing job of allowing the scenery to speak for itself; you can almost hear the landscape breathe as it becomes a major character in the series. The landscape creates a mood in this show – it’s not perfectly lit and coerced like a lot of television. Visuals are something that Hollywood can do better than a book, and the images that Longmire invokes match up magically with those I have in the novels.”

Longmire, Seasons 1 & 2, on Blu-ray™ extra content features include:

Featurette – The Camera’s Eye: Realizing the World of LongmireLongmire is against a backdrop where every turn of the camera is a perfectly composed frame, mixing nature against the world of Cowboys, Indians, Lawmen, and Villains.  The world Walt Longmire calls home and where the story takes place would not be possible without the skilled artisans behind the camera. This documentary film proves that story may start on the page, but what lands on the frame is what ultimately counts.

Featurette – Longmire Justice: Exploring the Cowboy Detective – Longmire is a bit cowboy, a bit detective, a bit American Indian, and even a bit of the human drama. But the one consistent element that serves the broadest audience, and central to the core of Longmire’s popularity – is the passion we share for carefully crafted stories.

Featurette – Testing Courage: The Storm Defines the Man – Longmire adeptly captures, from episode-to-episode, the subtlety of what it means when a man is challenged to be consistent in his ideal.  It’s a unique piece of entertainment that calls to attention one of the over arcing themes of Season 2.  Can Walt Longmire survive his test of courage?

“Director’s Cut”: Sound and Fury Extended Episode with Introduction by Executive Producers Greer Shepard and Hunt Baldwin.

“Director’s Cut”: The Election Extended Episode with Introduction by Executive Producers Greer Shepard and Hunt Baldwin.

Pre-orders are now available for the Warner Archive Collection presentation of Longmire, Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray™ at shop.warnerarchive.com and wbshop.com, as well as a host of online retailers. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is also releasing Longmire, Season 2 on DVD on May 13, 2014.


The Point Radio: Why NBC’s CRISIS Is Different

NBC’s new hostage centered drama, CRISIS, might seem a bit familiar when you compare it to other shows on the air right now. However, series stars RACHEL TAYLOR and LANCE GROSS quickly point out just why their show is not what you are expecting. Plus ABC drops the axe on ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND and it’s going to be a great year for ELFQUEST fans.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Secrets Of The TV SHOWRUNNERS


SHOWRUNNERS is the first ever feature length documentary film to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners. These are the people are responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on the biggest television drama and comedy series. We have an exclusive preview of the crowd funded project direct from the guys who did it. Plus, it’s been five years to the day since we pumped out the first POINT PODCAST – wait until you hear what the big story was “way back” then!

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.