magic

Exploring: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Exploring: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Expectations:

I'm still curious about The Sorcerer's Apprentice but it this curiosity is transitioning into excitement.

On the Plus side  	 Fandango        - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!

  • The trailer looks cool
  • It's a story of magic in modern society
  • Nicholas Cage and Jerry Brookhimer film:  the action sequences should be full of magical explosions

The movie is a live-action re-imagining of the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice segment in Disney's Fantasia.  I love Fantasia and this being a re-imagining creates some concerns whether they are able to pull it off.

Trailer #2

This trailer is a good intro into the movie.  They show off some of the magic and gives us an idea of what the movie is about.

Trailer #1

This one is mainly only good for additional footage like the neat mini dragon becoming a ring moment.

Release Date:  July 16, 2010

Listed as:  Sorcery, Fantasy, Adventure , Comedy film

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Director:  Jon Turteltaub

Produced by:  Jerry Bruckheimer

Written by:  Screenplay: Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Matt Lopez  Screen story: Matt Lopez, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal  Poem: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Stars:  Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina

The Plot / Story:   A live-action re-imagining of the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice segment in Disney's Fantasia.  An average college student is reluctantly recruited to work for a sorcerer, who gives him a crash course in magic to prepare him for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern Manhattan.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)


Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Exploring: Merlin

merlin-tvNBC will air the first two episodes of the BBC drama show Merlin on Sunday.  Merlin is loosely based on the Arthurian legends of the mythical wizard Merlin and his relationship with Prince Arthur.  The show features a young Merlin who is facing a Kingdom where magic is outlawed and the last dragon is imprisoned.  Watch the trailer below.

Above is the BBC trailer below is NBC's trailer... it's fascinating  to see the differences between the two trailers.  Which one do you think is better?

I'm really looking forward to watching Merlin because the BBC has a track record of producing good shows and because Anthony Head is in it, Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mr. Finch in Doctor Who.

Anthony-head-uther-merlinThe pilot, "The Dragon's Call", is about Merlin at the cusp of adulthood, heading to Camelot where he hopes to find adventure and a use for his hidden talent: Magic.  However at the mythic city, he finds all is not quite as he'd dreamed.

The second episode, "Valiant", is about Camelot's annual sword tournament.  Knights from throughout the realm come to compete.  Among those hoping to win the crown is Knight Valiant. Armed with a magical shield, Valiant will stop at nothing to win his prize.  Merlin tries to expose Valiant as a cheat, but even those closest to him do not believe his claims.  Battling with his faith, friendships and destiny, Merlin attempts to stop Valiant's evil scheme before Arthur becomes the next knight to die.

All thirteen episode of the first season have already aired on the BBC and for those with access they can be streamed online here.

Let me know what you think.  Will you watch Merlin?  If you have watched it should I watch it and why?

For more on Merlin:


Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.

The Fan Spectrum

February last year, I posted for the first time about the Three Types of SF Fans.  Reactions were mixed.  I have thought about it a lot, and I have realized that their are not really three types of SF fans, these are actually parts of a spectrum.

Fans of the Spectacle

Fans who are interested in action and special effects, typically of Space Opera, Disaster/Monster/Action Movies, usually watches movies, some series, rarely reads the books.

These fans are on the coldest end of the spectrum.  They are only interested in being entertained, and simply do not think too much about what they are watching.  Think about your friends who thought the Matrix was just a great action movie with cool special effects.  You know the ones who didn't see all the questions about the nature of reality and how we perceive it.  They are fans of spectacle.

The studios have geared their films more towards this type of fan because there are more of them and they are easier to please.

Admit it though, we all started here.  We may have been young, but each and every one of us first got into Speculative Fiction be we enjoyed the spectacle.  For me, it was dragons and vampires.

This is the first stage of development of every fan.  Our job is to move more people into the second and third phase.

Fans of the Specifics

Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 film Intervie...
Image via Wikipedia

Fans who are interested in the nitty-gritty details and their accuracy or consistency.Typically of Hard Scifi, Military Scifi, and High Fantasy, usually reads the books, watches the series, and nit-picks the movies

For many Scifi fans, this shift happened with Star Trek or Star Wars.  For Fantasy Fans, it is usually Lord of the Rings, and for Horror Fans it was either The Vampire Chronicles or Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Many fan bases stagnate here and die off.  The Studios have started blaming continuity and consistency for their financial short comings, thus the spate of remakes, reboots, and the dread re-imaginings that crop up every year.

Yes, it is easier to write a story when you don't have to worry about consistency or continuity, but they are not better stories.  They are just different.

To move a fan from Spectacle to Specifics, find something in a setting or character they like, and talk to them about it.  Encourage them to grow in their fascination, and soon they will delve into the setting more fully, and the spectral shift will happen.

Fans of the Story

Fans who are interested in the story, the characters, and Typically Soft Scifi and Sociological Fantasy, usually reads or watches the series, and watches the movies.

For Fans of the Specifics, the changes George Lucas made to the original Star Wars Trilogy and the prequels went too far.  Fans of the Story were able to see how these changes improved and tightened the narrative.

Fans of the Story are few in numbers, but they are the heart blood of fandom.  They write/perform the filk, the fan fiction, and fanfilms.  They make the fan art, run the conventions, and strive to keep SF on the straight and narrow.

It isn't easy to move from being a fan of Specifics to a fan of Story.  For this shift to happen, the fan has to see the complete series as a seamless whole.  They have to learn how to see past the trees to the forest.  There is no easy way to happen or to bring this about.

When it does happen, it is like magic.  Most of us have had this shift happen for at least one franchise.  Think about the one series that is closest to your heart.  The one you seek out every little tidbit of information about.  For that story, you are a fan of the Story.

Spectral Shift

It is not easy to ask people to make these shifts, or to help other move through the spectrum, but it is vital if fan culture has any chance of surviving.  So for the next thirty days:

  • Introduce your friends to filk.
  • Have a movie night at your house and show a fanfilm.
  • Start a role playing group and uses your favorite setting.
  • Start having friends over to watch your favorite shows.
  • Help just one person find a new series, book, or movie that they will fall head or heels in love with.

If we all do our part, fandom has a long and beautifyl future.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Manga Review: The Tarot Cafe'

The Tarot Café is a manga written and illustrated by Sang-Sun Park. In these books, you meet Pamela, a shop owner who reads tarot cards. Not too unusual of a story. However, her clients are very unusual. After midnight, she receives visits from many patrons of the supernatural world. Vampires, fairies, dragons, magical cats, and other mystical creatures come to Pamela for a reading, some tea, and advice. There is also an underlying plot about Pamela, and how each one of these supernatural guests is to pay her in pearls from a necklace. Once she gets all the pieces, it will lead her to find out the truth about her past. You will not be disappointed by the art which is a mix of goth loli, punk, and fantasy. Each volume has its distinct style. The first volume mixes art-deco art reminiscent of Erte’ with punk images. Now anyone who can do that successfully has to be on the right track. Every character also has a very distinct and original style. Whatever story the character is telling pulls you in so that when their reading is done, you’re wondering if they could be their very own manga star.

Volumes 1-5 are excellent. Reading these, you will meet many of Pamela’s interesting guests as well as learn about the café staff and some loiterers that always hang out there. Volume 6 threw me for a loop. Pamela leaves the café in search of some deep dark secret of her past. Because it is so different than the other books, I didn’t like it at first. Judged on its own, it is an interesting story, but pulls you out of the café into unknown, sometimes confusing territory. Volume 7 reined me back in with an excellent end to the tale, taking you through the underworld and a resolution to Pamela’s secret. The art in Volume 7 is amazing. You will see the underworld and all the creatures that thrive there including pits of bodies in pain, demons, and the pretty evil ones too. Each chapter is introduced with Gustav Klimt-style art work.

The Tarot Café series is very enjoyable as a story and a must for any artist. This full series is available at Amazon.com

Toni Becker Concert Review

I am sorry I didn't get this out sooner. The concert took place on the 22nd. Toni gave me 2 CDs to review and I hoped that I would have the time to review them with the concert, but my time is at a premium, so I worked on the book. I will get the album reviews up soon, but I don't feel that it is fair that I sit on the pics any longer. Her you go:

Toni Becker is a Dove Award Nominated singer/songwriter from Southeast Missouri.


Find more photos like this on Project: Shadow HQ

After a lot of the bands that I have seen at the Wine Rack/Java Stop, it is refreshing to see someone come in with nothing but a stool, a guitar, and a microphone. The intimate nature of the setting, mixed with the great acoustics in here should make for an interesting show to say the least.

The light touch of her fingers on the strings and her rich yet somehow innocent voice resounds in the room. There is a joy and a life in her music that I have rarely heard. Even in a room full of people, she manages to make you feel like she is singing just to you.

Her husband Brian joined her to sing. There is something magical about a husband and wife singing together. A part of there love floats on each word.

I lost my objectivity when she began singing Landslide. This is probably my favorite song of all time. While her voice has a warmth to it that Stevie Nicks' doesn't, it added to the song, rather than taking away from it.

She has sincerity about her that connected with me. Her voice had a familiar quality, like I had heard it somewhere before, but I am not sure where.

Her cover of These Dreams reminded me of the one on the "The Road Home" by Heart. A great concert, if you get a chance to see her, go check her out.

CDs

"Storybook" (Toni Becker)
"Thin Blue in Between" (Toni Becker)

Check her out

The Official Toni Becker Website

Toni Becker's Myspace

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set is out

51BruyVhEWL._AA240_ For those diehard Fans and those of you who are late on the Harry Potter Scene the new Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set is out it has a bunch of cool stuff listed below compliments of Amazon.

Special Trunk Packaging Two-Disc Editions of Harry Potter 1-5 Harry Potter Interactive DVD Game 5 Collectible Bookmarks 16 Collectible Trading Cards

3 Hours of Special Content

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 2001 International TV Special: A Glimpse Into the World of Harry Potter Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets Revealed

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban: Something Wicked This Way Comes 2004 ABC Special: The Making of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban Interview with Alfonso Cuaron (in Spanish, subtitled)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2005 ITV/Granada Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic 2005 ITV/Granada Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic 2005 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2007 International TV Special: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix: The Rebellion Begins 2007 HBO First Look Special: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix: Fulfilling a Prophecy

Top Ten Artist of the Week (12 Aug 2007 – 19 Aug 2007)

I have been listening to a lot of music lately, the writing is in full swing, so I thought I would share my Top Ten Artists from Project: Shadow’s Music Profile at Last.fm. I must say, I was surprised by the list a little, and as usual there are a lot of ties. My top 10 this week has 13 Artists in it. Not because it is such a luck number but because there are 10 songs tied for the number 4 slot on the chart. 4. Rob Zombie, Nightwish, Ann Wilson, Meat Loaf, Dio, HIM, Leave's Eyes, Type O Negative, Fields of the Nephilim, and Blackmore's Night.

  • Rob Zombie
    • I saw the trailer for the remake of Halloween, at at first I was angry. This is not the kind of film that needs to be remade. Then I saw that Rob Zombie was doing it. I shrugged and thought to myself that it could not be all that bad, and found myself playing more Zombie. My hopes are up.
  • Nightwish
    • What can I say? I am surprised they didn't make it higher on the charts. Slaying the Dreamer is very close to my heart right now as I am writing the next chapter in Fate's Harrow.
  • Ann Wilson
    • Her first solo album is not out yet, but the Podfather played a track on the Daily Sourse Code, and I ran to the Podsafe Music Network right away to check it out. They have 2 tracks from the new album, Hope and Glory, Where to now St Peter (which she sings with Elton John) is an amazing tune, and her cover of the Immigrant Song blew me away. I am looking for ways to feature them in the Podcast.
  • Meat Loaf
    • What? Don't look at me like that! I am writing, I need the drama and Meat Loaf is good to write too. He was in the Tenacious D movie so, he is cool! Back off buddy. j/k
  • Dio
    • For some reason, his Magica album has been in my thoughts lately. Probably because I want to make an animated film out of it.
  • HIM
    • This is all Pandora's fault. I have been listening to Pandora a lot lately, and I am beginning to realize that I kinda really like HIM.
  • Leave's Eyes
    • Legend Land is the soundtrack of my fiction right now. I cannot wait for the next album.
  • Type O Negative
    • I have really been looking for more music like the song Enemy of the State from Roadrunner United, but I have not found anything. If you know of any songs like it, please send me a note. In the mean time, I am I glad to fill my ears with Type O Negative.
  • Fields of the Nephilim
    • The Nephilim are one of the greatest bands ever. What more can I say?
  • Blackmore's Night
    • Pandora recently introduced me to this band. They are an amazingly fresh and exciting. Most of the write ups on them I found call them Gypsy Rock. Medieval meets classic rock, it is an instant winner.

2. Queensryche and Paul Stanley

  • Queensryche
    • One of my all time top artists, for sure, but lately, I have been getting more and more songs stuck in my mind. Man, I wish their tour came closer to me, I would love to see them live again.
  • Paul Stanley
    • Songs like "Live to Win," "All about you," and "Wake up Screaming," have become instant classics for me, I just can't hear them enough. There may not be any more Kiss albums coming, but I hope Paul keeps them coming.

1. Kiss

  • Ok, I am sure you saw that coming. This has been a back to basics week for me, and there is no band closer to my heart than Kiss, and here they are yet again at number 1!

So that is my chart. What is yours? Lets talk in the Forums (link)

Evangelical Taliban v ACLU before the Supreme Court

by C.E. Dorsett Okay actually, the cases are Van Orden v. Perry, 03-1500, and McCreary County v. ACLU, 03-1693 [full story]. They are both cases involving those ghastly Ten Commandments monuments on Government Land! Now I hope the Court follows the tradition and law of the United States and continues to say that these displays are patently unconstitutional, but three justices have already made up their mind, and they are not on the side of the people, they are on the side of the Evangelical Taliban.

I have a strong opinion on these issues. I recite the Ten Utterances every week as part of my prayers, and just look around the site for a while and you will notice that I am a kind of religious person, but what these evangelicals are trying to do is wrong morally, religiously, and politically.

The Moral Argument (1)

It is wrong to force your religious opinions on others using the force of law. We are fighting a war against people that did that in Afghanistan, and are attempting to do it globally. It is amoral at best, and immoral at worse to wage a war to defend democracy from the encroachment of anachronistic, intolerant, solipsistic religion in the world only to allow it to thrive and take over our government here. It is simple: do you support the Taliban or not?

I, for one, believe that a religious state is always a dangerous state, to its citizens and to the world. We where right to topple the Taliban, and we mustn't allow one to entrench itself in this country. (Oops... a little late for that... I guess we'll just have to take this country back from the extremists too.)

The Moral Argument (2)

The double standard: if you want to post a message supporting of ethical conduct, why not post the five precepts of the Buddha?

  1. To undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings.
  2. To undertake the training to avoid taking things not given.
  3. To undertake the training to avoid sensual misconduct.
  4. To undertake the training to refrain from false speech.
  5. To undertake the training to abstain from substances which cause intoxication and heedlessness.

There is nothing objectionable in these five precepts. Nothing to even identify them as being from a particular religion at all. No Sectarian God to obey, no magic words not to say, no holy days to keep... just pure simple morality/ethics. Why not use these or come up with five, or even ten complete no sectarian sentences that will provide moral clarity to our fellow citizens?

Because morality is a front! This has nothing to do with the moral character of society, or acknowledging our history. It is a way for these evangelicals to propagate the myth that they are persecuted for their beliefs. It is about fear and power, because if they were Christians they would know that Christ himself condemned what they are trying to do.

The Religious Argument

To be honest, these “evangelicals” practice some strange New Age religion that claims to be Christian, and claims to be historic, but it relies on dangerous heresies and sociopaths (Darby, Wigglesworth, et al.) to connect itself to Christian history and tradition. I have nothing against a little heterodoxy from time to time to keep the faith on its toes, but you have to be honest. They are not Christian, and what's worse they are in clear violation of the teachings of Christ!

Holding a roman coin in his hand, “he said to them, 'Whose head is this, and whose title?' They answered, “The emperor's.' Then he said to them, 'Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's (Matt 22:20-21).'“ I have ask, in a secular democracy, does your faith belong to God or to the state? Where do the Ten Commandments belong? [Let me remind you that the first four are regulations dealing solely with religious faith (Exodus 20:2-17)] It is blindingly obvious that they belong in the church, not on state ground.

This is the doctrine of the two kingdoms (sometimes referred to as the kingdom of the left, and the kingdom of the right). It is one of the reasons we have separation of Church and State in this country. The Church should not interfere in the Government, and the Government should leave the Church alone.

The Political Argument

It is politically dangerous to validate anything with a seal of divine authority. There is no way to prove or disprove divine inspiration (and many have tried). To tag something as sacred in politics is simply a way to state: “We are too cowardly to debate this issue in the realm of ideas, so I will create an argument that you cannot debate at all.”

In a democracy, this is wrong, and must never be tolerated. What an individual or group believes is on thing, but in civil discourse, religious arguments have no place. Even the Vatican basis its Gospel of Life (anti-abortion/anti-death penalty) on the argument they human life is special, and as a result humans should never kill other humans in any way. They make both a religious and a secular/philosophical argument for their position. One for the church, the other for the state! That is the way it must be.

To mix Church and State in any way is a dangerous and destructive activity for both institution. For the best of both, they should be kept at a safe distance from each other