Wonder Woman TV Show on Deep Discount, Also Marvel Movies
July 23, 2014

Amazon’s deal of the week is Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection, all three seasons of the 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter. At 68% off, the set is now available for $37, or about $12 a season. (And it’s apparently been popular, since there’s a short delay in shipping.)

If you’d rather visit the Marvel side of the world, there’s a Blu-ray bundle featuring six X-Men and Wolverine movies, the two Fantastic Four films, Daredevil, and Elektra. Listing at $200, it’s also 68% off for a final price of $65 for 10 discs.

Franklin & Bash Returns August 13
July 22, 2014

I had no idea they were making more Franklin & Bash, but I’ll be watching. I like this summer series full of stupid fun, as two frat-boy-style lawyers (Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar) take on cases in idiosyncratic style. Season 4 debuts August 13 on TNT, as described in this short ad. Glad to see more Malcolm McDowell!

I talked more about the show when I reviewed the Season 1 DVD set, the only one available so far. The show debuted in 2011, and each season runs for ten episodes.

The Movie I’m Most Looking Forward to This Summer: Magic in the Moonlight
July 21, 2014

I am not a Woody Allen fan. It’s not any kind of ethical statement (although shacking up with your much-younger stepdaughter is a tad odd, or at least feudal); it’s that I don’t enjoy movies about middle-aged and older guys freaking out about becoming older and/or single and hitting on younger women as a result.

Yet the movie I’m most excited about seeing this summer is by him. Magic in the Moonlight, out next Friday, July 25, hits several buttons of mine. The first and most important is a great cast. Emma Stone, a favorite, plays a young woman who may or may not be a medium. Stage magician Colin Firth is trying to unmask what he thinks must be a swindle. Also appearing is Hamish Linklater, who will always be “that guy from The New Adventures of Old Christine” to me, but I like him for it.

Next is the setting and visuals. It takes place in the 1920s/30s, and the costumes and scenery are lovely.

Also important are the ideas — there are hints in the trailer below that the characters will be discussing magic and belief and uncertainty and all kinds of interesting concepts. Anyway, I hope I enjoy seeing it. At least, with this kind of film, I won’t have to worry about computer effects taking the place of acting and whether the explosions will be so loud they’ll hurt my ears. (Yes, I know, that’s fogeyism.)

Batman TV Show Promoted on San Diego Con Hotel Keys, Pre-Orders Now Available
July 17, 2014

Now that hotel keys are flat pieces of plastic, they’ve become an advertising medium, since every visitor has to look at them at least once a day. To promote the upcoming DVD release of Batman: The Complete Television Series, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will feature the show on thousands of hotel key cards across more than 40 hotels for the San Diego Comic-Con next week.

Batman key card art

As shown on the card, the package will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digitally on November 11, 2014. Preorders are now available at various online retailers, with a list price of $200 for the DVD set. The Limited Edition Blu-ray preorder is $270, which Amazon currently has at 30% off, for a price of $189. At that cost, how interested will fans be in indulging their nostalgia?

Stripped — The Comic Strip Documentary
July 14, 2014

A product of love, and a couple of Kickstarters, Stripped is available to order this month in the Diamond Previews catalog. Use code JUL14 2704 to get the $19.99 DVD containing an hour-and-a-half documentary in late August.

Stripped poster by Bill Watterson

It’s required viewing for anyone interested in comic strips and/or webcomics, since the makers (Dave Kellett, author of the webcomic Sheldon, and Fred Schroeder) managed to get interviews with many big names. On the traditional newspaper comic side, they talk to Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Jim Davis (Garfield), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), and even Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)! (He’s audio only, although he also contributed the poster art above.)

From webcomics, contributors include Mike & Jerry (Penny Arcade), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Dylan Meconis (Family Man), and more. There are even a few people, such as Keith Knight, who’ve done both, navigating the transition from print syndication to handling his own business digitally. And that’s the meat of this movie: exploring, as the ad copy has it, “how [cartooning] survives the shift from print to pixels.” I don’t know that you’re going to come away with any definitive answer, but clearly, most of these people are thinking about the change, with a whole section of the movie about the demise of newspapers. You’ll likely also come away with a distinct perception of different generations of creators, from those who’ve always had a syndicate handling business for them, to those who took advance of the early days of the web to establish themselves when there wasn’t much out there. One’s even a bit bitter about the changes he’s had to face, but many are reacting to the world the way it is now.

Stripped is a very watchable overview of the field, with some comic strip history, neat glimpses into working habits, and much discussion of how great comics are and fond memories people have of reading them. My favorite part was when the problem of making money as a webcartoonist is illustrated as though it was an 8-bit video game.

You can also buy the movie digitally on iTunes (for $14.99), on DVD from Topatco ($19.99), or digitally worldwide from VHX (with tons of options depending on how much extra unedited interview footage you want to add).

DreamWorksTV YouTube Channel
July 12, 2014

DreamWorksTV logo

DreamWorks Animation has launched a DreamWorksTV YouTube channel aimed at kids ages 6-12. Here’s the trailer:

The selling point is that instead of repurposing existing material, DreamWorks will be “creating original content that is completely native to the digital platform”, such as having Shrek, Puss in Boots, and Kung Fu Panda contribute vlogs (video blogs). Unfortunately, much of the programming doesn’t carry on the movie-quality animation. Instead, they’re promoting live-action sketch shows with kids and scratchy-looking animated shorts.

However, this part of their programming sounds promising to me: “curated “retro” animated series from the DWA media library including Fat Albert, Casper, He-Man, Rocky & Bullwinkle, She-Ra, The Archie Show, VOLTRON, etc.” Here’s the trailer just for those shows, which they’re calling RetroToons:

None of those have been posted yet. They’re also promising a Richie Rich original scripted series debuting later this summer.

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