Tagged: Sci-Fi

Jonathan Mostow Talks ‘Surrogates’

Jonathan Mostow Talks ‘Surrogates’

To celebrate this week’s release of Surrogates on DVD, director Jonathan Mostow sat down with the press for a virtual press conference and ComicMix was in attendance. Here are highlights from that conversation. Our review of the film and DVD ran yesterday.

ComicMix: Mr. Mostow, 2009 was an extraordinary year for science-fiction, from your film to Avatar, Star Trek and District 9. Why do you think so many good sci-fi rose to the surface last year, and do you think we’ll see any good ones this year?

Jonathan Mostow: First of all, thank you for mentioning our film in the same breath as those other movies — all of which I loved. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2009 was a good year for sci-fi. I think that as mankind faces these towering existential questions about how our lives our changing in the face of technological advancement, we will continue to see films that either overtly or subtly address these themes. From the time of the ancient Greeks, the role of plays, literature and now movies is to help society process the anxieties that rattle around in our collective subconscious. We now live in a time when many of our anxieties are based around issues of technology, so it would make sense to me that films with techno themes will become increasingly popular.

CMIX: This isn’t your first time dealing with a high concept of man versus machine. Can you talk about why this concept intrigues you?

Mostow: It’s true that I’ve touched on this thematic material before — in fact, I think all my films in some way have dealt with the relationship between man and technology, so apparently, it’s an idea that fascinates me. I assume your question implies a relationship between the ideas in Terminator and The Surrogates , so I’ll answer accordingly… Whereas T3 posed technology as a direct threat to mankind, I see The Surrogates more as a movie that poses a question about technology — specifically, what does it cost us — in human terms — to be able to have all this advanced technology in our lives. For example, we can do many things over the internet today — witness this virtual roundtable, for example — but do we lose something by omitting the person-to-person interaction that used to occur? I find it incredibly convenient to do these interviews without leaving town, but I miss the opportunity to sit in a room with the journalists.


ComicMix Quick Picks (in Six) for December 17, 2009

ComicMix Quick Picks (in Six) for December 17, 2009

Six more windows to close… at this rate, I’ll be down to only two hundred open windows by the end of the year. Sigh…

Crazy Sexy Geeks: The Series – Relaunch Trailer!

A preview of what's coming up on CRAZY SEXY GEEKS: THE SERIES. I do not own the copyright to the song being used, which is by AC/DC. But everything else is all us. Be sure to tune in weekly for interviews with Rob Zombie, Tim Gunn, Phil Jimenez, David Mack, Emma Caulfield, Edward James Olmos, Sheri Moon Zombie, and MORE! We talk pop culture, fashion, super heroes, comics, fantasy and sci-fi novels and lots of other fun stuff. JOIN US!
More in
Review: ‘Primeval Volume Two’

Review: ‘Primeval Volume Two’

The world of Primeval is a duplicitous one, with schemes within schemes, most of which take far too long to play out. When the BBC series was renewed for a third season, they were given a ten episode order and they decided to change things up while introducing new threats, leaving things more muddled than necessary.

Airing this spring in England and here on Sci-Fi Channel, the series garnered good reviews and very solid ratings. However, ITC, facing a cash crunch, canceled the series, paving the way for a big screen adaptation currently being mounted by Warner Bros. For fans, though, they can relive the exploits with [[[Primeval: Volume Two]]], released Tuesday by BBC Video.

The series, about a team of specialists protecting the citizens of the 21st century from prehistoric beasties that have come though spatial anomalies, had two shorter but stronger seasons. Between seasons one and two, an event in the past had dramatic repercussions, removing Claudia Brown from reality. Season two opened with Jenny Lewis, an exact replica of Claudia, newly hired to handle the press and public whenever the creatures got spotted. Given that Claudia had a romance developing with Nick Cutter, this threw the team leader for a loop. While he had feelings for her, she was slow to recognize the same emotions for him. As that developed, Cutter’s ex-wife Helen continued her mysterious comings and goings with some mysterious purpose and as season two ended, she wound up shooting and killing the team’s action ace, Stephen Hart.

Season three continued to stir things up as Cutter wound up being killed and project director James Lester assigned the leadership to the ill-equipped Jenny. After only a handful of assignments, she withdrew from the team and the series. All of a sudden, Jenny’s old pal Danny Quinn talked his way not only on to the team but was named its leader. The team was also rounded out by Egyptologist Sarah Page and Captain Becker, a military escort.

In addition to Helen’s ongoing threat, a new menace rose in the form of bureaucratic rival Christine Johnson, who wanted access to some artifact that actually came from the future but wound up in the team’s hands.

Over the course of the ten episodes, Helen and Christine played cat and mouse with the team – and the viewers – while each week the team had to keep London safe from creatures great and small, all the while coping with the grief of first losing Hart, then Cutter then Lewis. Personal story arcs, such as the slowly simmering romance between Abby and Connor were tertiary concerns although they were the bits that made us care most about the characters.

In fact, while the creatures were visually fun thanks to improved CGI, too often the chase sequences and fights were too long, robbing the characters of a chance to evolve. Bits between players, such as Connor’s temporary lodging with Lester, were given short shrift in favor of chase scenes that wound up being boring and prolonged.  Becker is never given any depth (or a first name) while Christine wound up being a cardboard opponent.

The writers get credit for changing things up, such as the time a Knight in shining armor chased a creature through a portal and thought modern day London was Hell. On the other hand, Abby’s brother proved an annoying distraction who was better off dispatched by a beast rather than allowed to live another day.

In the end, we learn that Helen has been trying to prevent the hellish future she witnessed from coming to pass and do so in a dramatic fashion. The climax in episode ten actually left the entire team in a predicament demanding resolution which hopefully will come via special, movie or even a novel. As it is, the ten episodes, while entertaining, truly resolve very little, which is a disappointment.

The second volume three-disc set has some episode commentary that sheds a little light on the series overall. The two extras are not nearly enough to provide context for the changes made to the series. One is a look back at Nick Cutter’s journey form first episode to last, which is nice, and then there’s a documentary on the guy who won a design a creature contest, showing how his amazing drawing got used in Episode 8.

There’s a lot to like about Primeval, its setting and its characters but it also suffered from some inconsistency that should have been ironed out well before the third season. With luck, they will be granted another opportunity to come back and enthrall us.

Eating Your Favorite Film in Brooklyn

Eating Your Favorite Film in Brooklyn

If you’ve ever craved cupcakes while watching your favorite movie or set out a themed feast for an afternoon with friends, or just happen to be in Brooklyn for today’s Brooklyn Book Festival, you should meet Daniellan Louie. She got her start baking confections for her friends and family and, in 2006, she opened Ivy Bakery. Now she has a menu with over 300 items, which she makes from scratch herself, specializes in custom orders, and has a list of many impressive clients including Marvel Comics, Columbia Pictures, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

I first ran across mention of Ivy Bakery on Twitter when some friends were tweeting about Princess Bride-themed cupcakes. Since then, I have been following the bakery on Twitter for daily updates on what she is baking ( today’s offerings include: “Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Buttercream shaped like Kingdom of Hearts Key” ). I know that many people in fandom have dietary restrictions, and may be lamenting the lack of cupcakes in their lives, but Ivy Bakery also has many gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, and sugar free items as well as the traditional ones. I recently had a chance to ask Daniellan Louie a few questions about Ivy Bakery, and especially about her awesome movie-themed cupcakes – which she decorates by hand!

What movie-themed cupcakes have you made in the past?
just started making the movie-themed cupcakes this summer, but have
made many cakes related to movie/tv characters. The movie cupcake
collection currently consists of The Breakfast Club, Twilight, and The
Princess Bride, the next set coming in the fall will be The Little
Mermaid. I put a pause on the work because it’s been a very slow and
rough summer. I’ve also done characters like Yoda from Star Wars and
would definitely like to do several sets on popular Sci-Fi movies like
Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter.

If you were to make movie themed cupcakes just for yourself, what movie would you choose?
one of them would be The Princess Bride, but I already made that. For
myself I’d actually be more interested in doing Mario Brothers theme or
classic video games from the past.

If you haven’t yet, would you ever do a Lord of the Rings trilogy triple batch of themed cupcakes?
I haven’t made them yet, but it’s on the to do list, along with Star
Wars, Twilight Series & the Harry Potter Series

Of all the themed items you have made, what was your favorite?
would probably be the first Twilight movie. I think the cupcakes came
out very well, I did a double batch with 24 cupcakes since there were
so many characters.

I saw on your site that you had a Pac-Man themed cake. Do you get a lot of 80’s pop-culture nostalgia orders?

do, the Pac-Man cake was one of my favorites to make. I’ve also done
Mario Brothers, Sesame Street and a few others that I can’t quite
remember off the top of my head.

 Anime and Manga are very big right now. Have you ever made a cake based on one?
haven’t yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I have a friend who
actually draws a lot of Anime and I’m always saying how we should get
together and do cupcakes or cake designs. It would be fun to do a
Sailor Moon cupcake set, I’m not sure if that’s cool or in, but I
remember watching that when I was younger.

Your client list
is impressive! I’m sure our readers are most interested in the fact
that you have baked for Marvel. Can you tell us what you made for them?

Marvel, I’ve never done any custom designs for them, it was all just
corporate orders, cupcakes, cookies, brownies for the office. But if I
was ever approached to do something I would love to. My friend who used
to work at Marvel suggested I do a set of Marvel/DC Logos for the
different heros and villians.

Have you ever catered for a Science Fiction convention?
No, I haven’t, but I would love to, it would be a lot of fun I bet.

I love following your Twitter feed of what you are baking throughout
the day! Most bakeries don’t seem to be online.  Has your internet
presence made a difference for your business?

Definitely, I like
to keep up to date with what’s going on with pop culture in terms of
technology and the net. If everyone is on Facebook, Ivy Bakery has to
be on Facebook, same with Twitter and all the other networking sites.
Twitter has gotten me a number of new customers and exposure throughout
the country. I have so many people asking about my sweets from other
states and wishing that I was closer to them that I would love to go on
a baking tour and bake for anyone who wanted me to. All I need now is a

Crazy Sexy Geeks: A New Weekly Web-Series

So your parents loved Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man but don’t think comics themselves have anything to offer? Your friends loved V for Vendetta and The Dark Knight and are curious to read comics now but aren’t sure where to start? This is the show to help them all out.

Starring yours truly and New York actor Jose Ramos, “Crazy Sexy Geeks: The Series” is meant to help new people get into comics and other geeky entertainment while also being fun for those already initiated. Each week we will discuss topics such as openly gay super-heroes, why there don’t seem to be many women super-heroes outside of comics, whether remakes are better than sequels, the challenges of film adaptations, and other fun topics that anyone with a smidgeon of pop culture knowledge can enjoy.

This is not your typical comic book video blog where two or three guys sit in a basement or at a friend’s house and just review what came out this week. This is a show where we go out on the street, asking mainstream America what they think about super-heroes, sci-fi films, etc. Likewise, there are professional interviews with folks such as Rob Zombie, Edward James Olmos, novelist David Mack (Star Trek: Destiny, The Calling), and others still to come.

For our first episode, watch us chat with Amber Benson (Tara from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) about female super-heroes, her new novel Death’s Daughter, and what she thinks about the Twilight series.


ComicMix.com and Midtown Comics are not responsible nor necessarily share the views expressed on Crazy Sexy Geeks. If you love Twilight, get mad at Jose and Alan, not anyone else.

Alan Kistler is a freelance online journalist who has been recognized by media outlets as a comic book historian. His additional works can be found at http://KistlerUniverse.com.

#SDCC: Guinness World Record-breaking

#SDCC: Guinness World Record-breaking

One of the vast hordes wandering around the San Diego Comic-Con was Craig Glenday, the Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records, who was busy handing out numerous certificates to various and sundry folks. To wit:

  • Farscape for Most digital FX in a TV series (40-50 per ep, 7 days per ep, 22 ep a year! Season 3 alone: 1109 shots)
  • DC Comics for Longest running monthly comic book (presented to Paul Levitz)
  • Largest gathering of zombies, for the Zombie Parade that wandered the streets of San Diego looking for sweet, sweet braaaains.
  • The most people ever to recite the Green Lantern oath in unison (still checking on that one).
  • The 501st Legion for being the Largest Star Wars costuming group.
  • Largest gathering of Steampunks.
  • Doctor Who for “Most successful sci-fi show on TV”. According to Glenday, the record is based on longevity, DVD sales, spinoff books, iPlayer stats, downloads… (Yes, go ahead and argue that, you know you want to.)
  • Longest line ever: getting into Hall H for the Twilight pa– okay, that last one probably isn’t a record. But I’ll bet it was in the running.
#SDCC: James Cameron presents ‘Avatar’

#SDCC: James Cameron presents ‘Avatar’

In the grand hall denoted only as “H”, swarms of Comic-Con goers were given a treat of global proportions. 24 minutes of James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar was screened for those on hand. Of course all recording devices were banned from use, but that didn’t keep bloggers away from their terminals as soon as the panel was finished. Here’s the low down of what we know was shown:

Jake Sully (being played by Sam Worthington) is shown entering a military briefing, confined to a wheelchair. We’re reassured by a gruff officer that it’s his job to keep them all alive… but (dun-dun-dunnnnnn) he assures the soliders in the room, including Jake, that he won’t be successful.

From here, we move quickly to a lab where we meet Jake’s ‘Avatar’, an artificial/alien body that will be piloted by Jake after his DNA is combined (via the Avatar program, natch) with the Na’vi alien race. We meet Dr. Grace Augustine (played by sci-fi fan favorite, Sigourney Weaver),  who helps load Jake into the Avatar machine, after a bit of playful banter.

Cue the special effects. We enter Oz, err, Pandora.


Michael A. Burstein and wife welcome twin girls (UPDATED)

Michael A. Burstein and wife welcome twin girls (UPDATED)

Mazel tov! Reprinting the SFScope announcement:

Award-winning science fiction writer (and SF Scope contributor)
Michael A. Burstein and wife Nomi Burstein welcomed two twin children,
their first, to their family today.

The twins are fraternal, and both are girls. The first baby was born at 9:20AM, weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces, and is 17″ long. The second baby was born at 9:21AM,
weighed 5 pounds 3 ounces, and is 19″ long. The twins were delivered by
C-section at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The attending
physician was Dr. Rafik Mansour. The delivery was originally scheduled
for this Thursday, but was moved up for medical reasons.

As befits a science-fiction couple, the Bursteins are banking the babies’ cord blood for the blood’s stem cells.

Per Modern Orthodox Jewish custom, the babies will not be named
until the parents attend a Torah service at their synagogue,
Kadimah-Toras Moshe in Brighton, which is currently planned for
Saturday 25 July.

Mother and babies are recovering in the hospital.

Congratulations, Bursteins!

UPDATE: Now with pictures!

And yes, that’s a copy of Sci-Fi Baby Names: 500 Out-of-This-World Baby Names from Anakin to Zardoz

‘GrimJack: The Manx Cat’ #1 available from IDW Publishing this August

We might as well make it official:

IDW Publishing is pleased to announce the
upcoming launch of the first series of ComicMix.com properties,
GrimJack: The Manx Cat. For the first time in print, fans can now enjoy
the adventures of GrimJack in 26 full color pages published straight
from the online comic. Writer John Ostrander and artist Timothy
Truman skillfully return to the grim and gritty interdimensional land of
Cynosure, in which gun-for-hire GrimJack holds court in the fabled
Munden’s Bar.

“We’re excited to be bring some of the best ComicMix properties to
real-world books, and GrimJack is a great way to start,” said Greg
Goldstein, chief operating officer of IDW. “The new books are a great
new way to enjoy ComicMix fans to enjoy their favorite comics, and
expose the properties to new fans.”

GrimJack debuted in the mid-80s and rapidly became one of First
Comics’ best-selling titles. Created by Ostrander and Truman, the
series was revived in 2005 for the graphic novel Killer Instinct,
published by IDW, which is also home to the trade paperback reprints of the First Comics’ material.

“It’s sort of a homecoming for us,” GrimJack and ComicMix
editor-in-chief Mike Gold notes. “We’ve had a long and productive
relationship with IDW – absolutely the best I’ve had in my career.
There’s no better choice to restart at the place we took off initially,
with a brand-new GrimJack mini-series.”

GrimJack: The Manx Cat #1 will be available in stores in August. Diamond order code JUN09 0951

About IDW
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books,
graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. As
a leader in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, IDW publishes some
of the most successful and popular titles in the industry including:
television’s #1 prime time series CBS’ CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation
; Paramount’s Star Trek; Fox’s Angel; Hasbro’s
The Transformers, and the BBC’s Doctor Who. IDW’s original horror
series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in
October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film
in its first week of release. In April 2008, IDW released Michael
, the first title from its new children’s book imprint,
Worthwhile Books. More information about the company can be found at http://www.idwpublishing.com.