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It’s interesting that the only two network half-hour comedies that I watch these days… happen to be run by the same individual, Mike Schur.  He made his bones on The Office (where he also played Mose), and he’s one of the show-runners of both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  Here’s are two wonderfully detailed interviews with Mr. Schur, the first of which looks back at the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the second of which looks back at season seven of Parks and Rec, with a focus on the season finale.  These are great interviews and well-worth your time if you’re a fan of either show.

This is a terrific, in-depth interview with Mel Brooks, discussing Blazing Saddles.  Get comfy and enjoy.

R.I.P. H.R. Giger.

I was sad to read of the passing of Efrem Zimbalist Jr.  He had many great roles but for me he will always be the iconic voice of Alfred from Batman the Animated Series and many subsequent DC animated projects.  He was absolutely perfect as Alfred, and when I read the character’s dialogue in any comic book I always hear Mr. Zimbalist’s voice.  I am really heartbroken that we’ll never again get to hear him voice Alfred in any future DC animated film or show.

Speaking of Batman, I’ve gotta say, this first official glimpse of Ben Affleck as Batman (in Zack Snyder’s upcoming untitled Superman Vs. Batman film) is pretty great.  Love the costume.  Love the small bad ears.  Love Ben’s Batman chin.  Love that classic look of the Batmobile.

So, I bashed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in my review.  I’ve been glad to see that I’m not alone in my disappointment with the film.  Click here to read Film Critic Hulk take the film apart.  Click here for io9’s very funny list of Amazing Spider-Man 2 FAQs.  (Their one-sentence answer to the question “What is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 about?” is hysterical and 100% spot-on.)  Finally, this article No One Cares About Peter Parker’s Parents is also 100% spot-on and echoes a point I made in my review.

This is cool: apparently back in the day, Criterion released the first three James Bond films on laserdisc, with commentary tracks featuring candid comments from many of the people involved in the making of the films.  When Bond producer Albert Broccoli objected, the discs were recalled from stores.  Here’s the full story.  Now the commentaries have re-surfaced and are available to download for free here!  I have downloaded them all and look forward to giving them a listen soon.  Should be fun!

This is a cute article, tracking the many appearances of … [continued]

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News Around the Net

Sad news that actor Robert F. Chew, who played Proposition Joe on The Wire, has passed away.  Close your eyes, Joe.

In another piece of sad news, writer Peter David recently suffered a stroke.  Mr. David is a prolific author of novels and comic books, and I have been loving his work for well over twenty years.  His run on DC Comics’ Star Trek series in the eighties is one of the things that got me into comics, and I still think those comics rank among the very best Star Trek stories ever told, in any format.  He’s written a number of Trek novels, as well, with Q-in-Law (with the inspired pairing of Q and Lwaxana Troi) and Vendetta (the best Borg story ever told, and what I so wanted First Contact to be) being my favorites.  For any fellow fans of Mr. David out there, here is how you can help.

In my review of Django Unchained, I compared Quentin Tarantino’s film to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles.  A recent “behind the scenes pic of the day” at aintitcoolnews featured a wonderful shot from Blazing Saddles, and if you’re looking to waste some time, I encourage you to scroll down and read that article’s really fun talkback section, which is filled with quote after quote from that spectacular film.  (Puts me in the mood to pop Blazing Saddles into my DVD player right now…!)

Speaking of Django, apparently there is a teensy tiny connection between Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction.  OK then.

Trekcore has posted an extraordinarily in-depth seven-part interview with Roger Meyer Burnett, one-half of the duo responsible for the wonderful special features on the new Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-ray sets.  Here is part one.  Mr. Meyer is absolutely correct in that, until now, the Star Trek films and TV shows on DVD/blu-ray have NEVER had the type of quality special features that they deserve.  The feature-length documentaries on the TNG season 1 and 2 blu-ray sets are a big part of why they scored so high on my list of the Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012.  They are amazing, and interesting and informative even for a long-term, hard-core Trek fan like myself.  This interview with Mr. Burnett is phenomenal, and will be of interest to all Trek fans out there.  GREAT WORK, Trekcore guys!

With the return of Arrested Development inching ever closer, some great new info has been coming out about the new season.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!  “One giant 700-minute Arrested Debelopment”???   Bring it!

Speaking of the return of beloved TV shows… a Bored to Death movie???  PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN!!!

Here are some nice [continued]

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And so, at last, we arrive at my final Best of 2012 list!  I hope you enjoyed the rest of my lists.  You can follow these links to see my Top 15 Movies of 2012: click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three.  Click here for part one of my Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2012, and here for part two.  And finally, you can click here for part one of my Top 10 Episodes of TV of 2012, and here for part two.

And now, my final list: the Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012!

10. Great documentaries for not-so-great films: Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises Both of these films disappointed me when I saw them.  The Dark Knight is an extremely well-made film and a great super-hero epic, but it’s a big let-down after the magnificence that was The Dark Knight.  And Prometheus was just a catastrophe.  Nevertheless, the blu-rays of both films contained terrific feature-length documentaries.  Prometheus’ special features are particularly compelling — the 220-minute documentary “Furious Gods: The Making of Prometheus” (directed by Charles de Lauzirika) is extraordinary.  Is it crazy to be so interested in the behind-the-scenes stories of two films that ultimately disappointed me?  Maybe, but I loved these glimpses behind the curtains.

9. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Tea-Bagging in the UK Every few years, Kevin Smith releases a DVD collection of some of his Q&A  sessions, and I always gobble them up.  None have topped the original An Evening With Kevin Smith DVD from 2002, but Mr. Smith’s skill as a spinner-of-yarns is unparalleled, and I adore listening to his lengthy, raunchy, hilarious answers to the audience’s questions about his life, his film-making, and all sorts of other details of his personal life.  (I even saw Mr. Smith live, in Boston, a few years ago!)  This latest DVD is a recording of some of the “Smodcast” podcasts that Mr. Smith recorded with his “hetero life-mate” Jason Mewes, on tour in England.  These shows are nowhere near as great as some of the previous Q&A DVDs — I like Jason Mewes, but I think Mr. Smith is much funnier solo — but these shows are still a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the frank, friendly interplay between Mr. Smith and Mr. Mewes.

8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 — This animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal comic book from 1986 is one of the best of Bruce Timm’s recent direct-to-DVD animated films.  With solid (though not spectacular) animation and a phenomenal voice cast, I was very impressed … [continued]

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News Around the Net!

There’s a great article about Mel Brooks up at Boston.com, because his musical Young Frankenstein is coming to Boston for a two-week run.  I was disappointed by Young Frankenstein when I saw it on broadway, but this brief piece about one of our comedic legends is worth a read.

Here’s a fascinating article about the many different versions of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  I’m a big fan of this groundbreaking film, and I’d love to see the newly-restored 147-minute version.

One of my very favorite web-sites, thedigitalbits.com, has posted a very informative interview with DVD Producer Michael Pellerin.  Mr. Pellerin has been involved with the DVD releases of The Lord of the Rings since the very beginning, and he has some fascinating comments on the recent blu-ray release of the trilogy as well as the material that Peter Jackson has been saving for the eventual ultimate blu-ray super-duper box set.  (Can’t wait for that!)

Speaking of Peter Jackson and The Lord of the RingsDecember 2012 needs to hurry up and get here already!!!

Artist Ron Miller has created a series of breathtaking images entitled the Eight Wonders of the Solar System.  Gorgeous.

I am starting to believe that Ridley Scott is actually going to make the Alien prequel that has been rumored for years.  Mr. Scott spills a lot of beans in this interview with MTV, although it was the folks at HitFix that revealed that he’s actually planning to create TWO prequels.  OK, color me cautiously intrigued.  I’m excited to see Ridley Scott return to the Alien universe for the first time since 1979, though as a rule I think prequels are stupid.

Here’s a great profile of comic book genius Jeff Smith.  Bone is one of the masterpieces of the medium (if you haven’t read it — you really must), and I’m really digging his new series Rasl.

Star Trek geeks: check out this incredible opening movie from the 2009 FedCon Science Fiction Convention.  This gorgeous 4-minute short film, created by Tobias Richter, features an action-packed sequence featuring the U.S.S. Kelvin & redesigned U.S.S. Enterprise from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film.  Pretty awesome stuff.  (Though I still hate the redesigned Enterprise…)

Speaking of Star Trek, I am giddy with excitement over the next batch of episodes in the phenomenal fan-film series Star Trek: Phase II.  (I’ve written before about Phase II here, and here is my review of one of their recent episodes, “Blood and Fire.”)  There’s a great series of teases for these upcoming episodes up at Trekmovie.com, including the revelation that these mad geniuses are planning on including Arex (the … [continued]