Monday, July 19, 2010

Marshall Fine's off base attack on Comic Con proves he's 20 years behind

Frankly, I've never heard of Marshall Fine and he's probably never heard of me. Now, as of this writing, we've heard of each other. He's not going to forget me after this, because I'm blogging specifically to attack his off-base take on Comic Con in The Huffington Post.

Marshall Fine is 20 years behind the times. 20 years ago movie studios could largely afford to ignore comic books as material for movies. But over that time, something funny happened: it seemed Hollywood got remake and sequel happy and, having redone everything from King Kong to Friday The 13th, realized there was this new thing called digital media and people were playing with comic book-style characters on video games.


Then Hollywood listened to Marvel Comics' claim that they actually had good human characters that people would pay money to see in movie form with a good story.

And you know what? Spider-Man proved Marvel Comics right. The first installment was just plain good, and with all of that, the first Iron Man movie was even better, and considered by many to be Oscar Best Picture material for a time in 2009.

To write a blog that asserts comic book movies are in some way low-brow is, in itself low-brow. To dismiss geeks and nerds and Comic Con itself as something weird and undesirable, as Fine does, rather than guys who get laid and are creative and girls who are sexy and are creative, and a convention of the new and exciting, is just a plainly laughable expression of jealously.

Geeks and Nerds rule at the center of an ever-increasing tech pop culture. Comic Con is Mecca. Hollywood knows it.  Marshall Fine, should know it too.

Come on, Rip Van Winkle. Wake up.

Thor / Captain America Marvel Comic Con Panel promises to be huge

Thor's banishment from Asgard
With all of the buzz about Angelina Jolie making an appearance at the famous Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center for Comic Con 2010, some Monday buzz promises to make Saturday just as big an event.

First, there will be an 11:15 AM Comic Con autograph session with the directors and talent of Marvel Studios' Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

That means you'll get to meet Thor's legendary director Kenneth Branagh and stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). Then they're followed by Captain America: The First Avenger director, Joe Johnston, and stars Chris Evans (Captain America) and Hugo Weaving (Red Skull).

To attend the enormous event, you'll have to get a special ticket. Marvel asks you to come by the booth #2329 early Saturday morning to participate in a lottery for the right to go to the sessions.

Marvel Comics Entertainment is making the first theatrical film installment of Thor and of Captain America. So to have an evening panel cryptically titled...

Marvel Studios: Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger— Producer Kevin Feige and special guests give you an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hall H

...means something big is in store for the San Diego Comic Con audience that will certainly gather well before 6 PM and then rush in to get the first seats. And why not?

Thor and Captain America are comic book legends of such magnitude they seem almost real. In the digital age, their on screen presence promises to extend their life by many decades.

The New Set Photo

The new set photo above has been flying around the web and from the looks of it, paints the picture that Thor is a big budget blockbuster.  The speculation is that this is Thor's banishment from Asgard to Earth.   I think Quint of Ain't It Cool News got it right on.

Thor and Captain America in 3-D

I'm personally not a fan of the rush to 3-D for movies, even though, if it's going to be done, Thor and Captain America are perfect vehicles for it. But what's bothersome to me is the impact Avatar had on my eye: they hurt a bit afterwards. Moreover, according to The LA Times, the movies will not be shot in a 3-D way, but use a reportedly more elaborate conversion process.

It's clear Marvel Studios Producer Kevin Feige doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of Clash of The Titans, which was hammered by Avatar Producer / Director James Cameron as a 2-D movie trying to be a 3-D movie, but feels passionate about the need to have 3-D conversion used for both films.

Stay tuned.

Hammer Films back in business and comes to Comic Con San Diego

Hammer CEO, Simon Oakes will come to Comic Con San Diego to discuss Hammer Films presentation of its latest offerings Let Me In and The Resident, and the recent casting announcement of Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe in the movie Women In Black.

If you've wondered where you've heard the name Hammer Films, here's a video hint in the form of a "Tribute to Hammer":

Now you get it? Christopher Lee, who you probably know as Count Doooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Now, as in Hammer Films lore, Lee plays a villain.

In the 1980s Hammer Films stopped production due to a loss of American funding and had remained in hibernation.

Exclusive Media Group has revived the brand and is taking it back to the business of horror movies.

At Comic Con, Hammer Films will produce the panel for Let Me In on Saturday July 24th at 1:30PM in Hall H at San Diego Convention Center.

It's great to have Hammer Films back in action!

Stay tuned.

Jessi Slaughter's Mom talks about Internet harassment to her daughter

The latest in the most awful story of Internet troll harassment done to 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter, is in the form of a long interview Jessi Slaughter's Mom gave to the blog

This blogger was informed of it via a contact at Warner Bros, which owns the division called Telepictures, which in turn produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tyra Banks Show, Extra, and TMZ on television.

Jessi's Mom Dianne Leonhardt spoke exclusively to Here's some of that interview:

momlogic: How did all of this Internet drama start?

Dianne Leonhardt: On Thursday evening, it all started. I got a phone call from a guy [representing] himself as a police officer and inquiring about an alleged missing person -- a kid -- who knew or was associated with my daughter. I asked for the missing kid's name and my daughter said she didn't even know who he was. Something didn't seem right; the call seemed weird. So I asked the "officer" what the police chief's name was, and he hung up. The phone rang again, and I told the guy that if he was a real police officer to send a unit to my door. My daughter became more upset because someone had posted a photo of her over the Internet using her head with someone else's body. My daughter was sitting by the computer, and that's the video where my husband was screaming for all of this to stop. We shut the computer down and we were very upset.

ml: When did the actual police get involved?

DL: We all went to bed that night, and then at 1:15 AM, my doorbell rang. Our dog started barking and we heard bam, bam, bam ... someone was banging on our door. It was the Marion County Sheriff's Department. An officer said an anonymous tip had come in that our daughter was hurting herself. He wouldn't tell us who called the tip in, but he made me wake my daughter up to make sure she was OK. The officer was really rude and my daughter kept denying that she made any videos. She kept saying, "I didn't do any of this!" He was here for about 15 minutes.

The next morning, my husband and I were sitting in our home when the doorbell rang again. Another sheriff's department officer was banging on the door. This time, they had another anonymous tip from someone in California claiming my daughter had female prostitutes coming in and out of our home from ads posted on Craigslist. Again, my daughter denied making any of these videos. In the meantime, my mother-in-law called from Michigan, saying she'd gotten a message on Facebook from a man who sent a photo of my daughter with some other guy. I have no idea how they even found her on Facebook! I put the officer on the phone with her and he took down the information. I then went onto my Facebook page and the same guy had sent me a message, too.

After the officer left, I had messages on my voice mail from a man asking me for sex. The guy left his name and number. I also received a death threat on my voice mail, so we called the police back. It was from a bogus number, so they couldn't trace it. The same number has been calling for the last two days, all day and night. We believe it's the same person.

ml: Were you aware that your daughter had been making and posting these videos online?

DL: Jessica has a webcam and a computer. All of her friends have webcams, too, so they video chat with each other. I knew she'd made a video to apply for "America's Got Talent." She sings and sent an audition video in. I had no idea she was making other videos. I have seen her chatting with her friends, but not making videos.

The rest of the interview, which you can see in its entirety here, reveals a young girl who indeed was taken into protective custody, has apparently lied to her Mom about the videos she made, and is existing in a kind of "hell hole" of a place that is protective custody and with defined hours for the children and visitation times. Jessi told her Mom she didn't make the videos that have her using the term "pop a Glock," and I'm sure her mother would want to know where she got that term from.

What's also disturbing is that Jessi's Mom seems to be in a state of denial about the whole thing. At one point she tells Mom that "I haven't watched the videos" - she should.

U.S. Department of Justice is sleeping on this

What Jessi and her Mom and family are going through is totally nuts. She tells this:

DL: I heard there were over a million views online of people looking at these videos. My phone has been ringing nonstop. I have let my phone go to voice mail, and people are calling and leaving crazy messages. A car company called because [someone] used [Jessi's] name requesting information on a vehicle. Domino's Pizza called because [someone] used her name to order hundreds of pizzas online. Pizza Hut called confirming an order for more than $1,000 worth of pizza; a girl left a message on our voice mail saying, "Hope you're enjoying the pizza." Now I am hearing [that] people are saying online that Jessi killed herself! She's an 11-year-old girl! We're trying to figure out what she posted and what she didn't -- what's real and what's not. We've received many threats. This is out of control. People think this is funny, but they don't realize the damage they're doing.

As I've written, what's going on is against the law and it's a total shame the U.S. Department of Justice is not taking a stand against these out and out federal offenses. What's happening to Jessi Slaughter and her family isn't funny. It reflects a very sick society.

Sarah Palin refuses to repudiate the term refudiate; proves Tea Party stupidity

Sarah Palin's going to be angry if you "refudiate" her
Sarah Palin's proving that she's learned something from former President George W. Bush, and that's how to make up words to replace the real ones she can't think of.

Palin's also proving the overall stupidity of the Tea Party Movement in the process, and has wrecked her chances at The White House in 2012, as if they really existed, anyway.

The latest Palin gaffe is the use of "refudiate." As in "They could "refudiate" what this group is saying. What Former Alaska Governor Palin intended to say on Fox News' Sean Hannity's TV show called Hannity, was "repudiate," not "refudiate."

Whatever the case, Sarah Palin's defending herself, and compares herself to Shakespeare on Twitter:

"Refudiate," "misunderestimate," "wee-wee'd up." English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!
about 23 hours ago via web

This mistake has doomed any hope or dream Sarah Palin had of establishing a successful run for President of The United States. Rather than admit her error, she used Twitter to defend it, thus unwittingly fanning the already hot flames around her mistake. What could have been a non-issue after a day, has now been given legs that will last a week.

In this, Palin proves the overall stupidity of the Tea Party people, some who are so intent on finding something wrong with President Obama, they lose all grip on common sense, sometimes to the point of making up words. The result is they paint themselves as not intelligent, and thus, not worth taking seriously.

Overall, I like Sarah Palin, but I continue to see her as a damaged person, rightfully angry over not being taken seriously, and making a lot of money from it.  Bravo.  But I wonder if her efforts are producing new PR blunders that just fuel her anger all over again.

The bet here is Palin runs for President, just to "refudiate" the claims those, like me, make that she can't win.

Sarah's an angry person. Just watch.

Jessi Slaughter placed under police protection due to Internet psychos

Jessi Slaughter
Remember Jessi Slaughter? The young, 11-year-old girl who was the focus on intense badgering by Internet trolls or this blogger prefers to refer to as psychos? Well, she's now under police protection according to Gawker. But first a recap.

Last week, Friday, Google Trends played host to this most popular search term: "Jessi Slaughter given PCP by her father." That claim turned out to be part of a smear that went viral, as many did not know it was fake and used it to make forum entries and blog posts, hence the rise on Google Trends.

What really happened was that 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter was using the live chat system Stickcam to have an exchange with other young teenagers, all of whom use the Internet to say the most vile things about each other. Apparently, Jessi herself became extremely fowl-mouthed in one YouTube video, threatening to "pop a Glock" and make someone's "brain a slushie" if they continued to insult her.

Well, instead of that causing a decrease in harassment, it caused an increase in it. It's also something the U.S. Justice Department and the FCC should step in and investigate because it's an example of how some people are using the Internet to commit harassment crimes and think they can get away with it.

Internel Trolls are Criminals

The commenters associated with this issue should be the first to be discovered (you can be found) and jailed where the offenses are the greatest. There's an old saying that every action causes an equal and opposite reaction; if the Ineternet trollers persist, that response will be jail time.

What they're doing - and I place the so-called TILA ARMY of Tila Tequila in this category - is nothing less than a violation of Section 113 of The Violence Against Women Act which specifically prohibits cyberstalking. In other words, the people of TILA ARMY who've bothered my blogger Nikky Raney, and those who have been harassing Jessi Slaughter, are committing crimes and should be dealt with as criminals, regardless of age.

Jessi Slaughter Received Death Threats

What happened in Jessi Slaughter's case went beyond the usual level of immature Internet trolls writing stupid notes and ventured into the area of phone call death threats. Gawker called Jessi's mother Dianne Leonhardt, who reported that her daughter received not one but several phone call death threats. Someone passed Jessi's real name and phone number around on the Internet, until some really screwed up person elected to demonstrate that they were messed up by calling Jessi.

Jessi Slaughter reportedly in a Safe House

Jessi Slaughter's now in a safe house after an investigation by the Marion County, Florida Sheriff's Office. The one big issue is that the Marion County, Florida Sheriff's Office spokeswoman confirmed that they're investigating a case with details that "match" the Jessi Slaughter case, but did not confirm the death threats.

What she did claim was an investigation into nude photos of the girl on the Internet. That's something Gawker's Adrian Chen wrote he did not see.

I'd not read too much into that Gawker report; such investigations are confidential and the spokeswoman is under no obligation to confirm anything with Gawker. Of course, if Gawker were paying for the information, as some other blogs do, they would get the real story.

A Hoax Story?

One reader sent this email speculating that the Jessi Slaughter case was a "hoax" story:

You wrote a post about the Jessi Slaughter case, and I was kind of
disappointed that you took it at face value. My first response to the
video of her father getting angry was "This is a joke". I am actually
not certain that it is a joke, but I think that it is fairly likely that
it is some type of hoax. I could present several pieces of evidence that
it is, but the overall gestalt of what is going on seems scripted.

My response is I don't see the value of creating such a story, as it now has law enforcement behind it, and at the behest of Jessi's parents. Now, if the story were false, Jessi's parents could be seeing jail time; there's no reason to believe it is.

Stay tuned.

Super 8 not at Comic Con 2010 San Diego, but getting buzz

Super 8, a movie project that Steven Speilberg and J.J. Abrams have reportedly been working on for over a year, is not set to make its debut at Comic Con 2010, San Diego.

That is news, as some websites have tried to peg Super 8 to Comic Con. No way.

As much as I wish Super 8 were on the Comic Con Schedule, it's not. There's nothing to show except the trailer, or more to the point, there's nothing Steven Speilberg and J.J. Abrams want you to see.

In a perfect World, Steven Speilberg and J.J. Abrams would just tell us what Super 8 was really about. But even without that, and given the trailer, we can guess: it's a kind of Godzilla movie.

Whatever's trying to get out of that rail car is huge and powerful enough to do so. My bet is this is another kind of monster movie, but with a twist.

Just what that twist is, I do not know.

Yet. Maybe someone at Comic Con would have an idea.

Stay tuned.

I-580 Oakland shooter Byron Williams was Tea Party sympathizer

According to Bob Egelko and Henry K. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle, the man who terrorized Oakland (causing Adams Point residents to take to online chat rooms about the helicopter and shooting noise) was a parolee named Byron Williams who hated left-wing politicians and had on a bullet-proof vest.  In other words, a Tea Party sympathizer.

That he was on the Oakland stretch of 1-580 may have been no accident, considering Oakland's a hot bed of left-wing political activity. Byron Williams also reads like a Tea Party sympathizer, and not exactly the warm and fuzzy kind. More like the kind that wants to harm you if you disagree with him.

Rush Limbaugh's a Tea Party hero
Is this what we're coming too? A Northern California man who's mother says was upset by "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items." Another Tea Party-type nut?

Doesn't that sound something like Joe Stack, the man who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS Building earlier this year and who was called a Tea Party sympathizer? Or how about the Tea Party Express' Mark Williams, who just last week wrote a racist blog post against the NAACP? Someone white, male, generally middle-aged, at times not economically successful or comfortable, and angry, and who wants to take a gun or a plane (or a blog) to wreck society? All because they say they don't like the left wing political agenda (whatever that is, since the left can't seem to agree on things), when the real issue is they can't get a good job?   Rush Limbaugh, this is your fault.

As I've written before, the USA's got to fix this economy, and the only fast way is with another stimulus package. But I will put a finer point on it: the GOP has two problems: it's becoming known by the company it draws in loony-bin angry older white men like Rush Limbaugh and who want to harm people either mentally or physically, and really because their own economic lot isn't great (except for Rush, who makes a half-billion off hate), and the GOP is not helping President Obama fix the economy. So the GOP and the Tea Party, and its extremist expressions of hate for liberal politics are in a way responsible for encouraging the actions of i-580 Shooter (now he has a title) Byron Williams, and for Joe Stack too.

The GOP better look at itself and start being part of the solution, because it and Fox News are helping to produce domestic terrorists at an alarming rate. Republicans can't just ignore the Tea Party Express, it must totally repudiate it, and the actions of its most hateful members. Fox News has to stop being the place where people like Byron Williams and his Mom get their half-basked anti-American-government ideas, and, I assert, become so riled up they take action against America and its people.

This has to stop.

Degrassi: The Boiling Point by: Nikky Raney

For the past month Teen Nick has been showing the two promos for Degrassi: The Boiling Point during every commercial break.

Tonight, July 19 at 9 pm will be the start of season 10's six week marathon. For six weeks straight every weekday at 9 there will be a new Degrassi. Since last Friday Teen Nick has not aired any show except for Degrassi, because for the past month Degrassi has had its Every Degrassi Ever Marathon. Ever since yesterday at 9 pm there has been a countdown as to how many hours until The Boiling Point kicks off with the two hour movie Degrassi Takes Manhattan.

The promo says that this season will be the most "shocking" season Degrassi has ever had. That's hard to believe since the past seasons have covered school shootings, abortions, molestation, teen pregnancy, and many other controversial topics.

Degrassi also has a brand new cast which makes the die hard Degrassi fans less interested. The Degrassi characters that were watched for 9 other seasons are now graduated from Degrassi, and moving on with their lives. We first watched the cast in middle school, and now there are only a handful from the original season that still occasionally appear.

The promo does make the fans glued to the tv screen. The promo features clips of a brother and sister kissing, a girl waking up in her best friend's wedding dress, a boyfriend punching the previously mentioned brother and other shocking moments.

Degrassi is known for how real it is, and always does a good job of portraying events in the way they would occur in real life scenarios.

Degrassi Nation has been the fan's source for the Degrassi insight and [potential] spoilers. Out of the predictions posted about the upcoming season Degrassi Nation confirmed that at least one of the predictions is true.

Photos courtesy of Degrassi Nation

Included is the prediction video and the two promos that play every commercial break:

(Canadian viewers have already seen the movie as well as the beginning of the season.)

Angelina Jolie comes to Comic Con San Diego, Thursday at 1 PM

Anna Chapman's outing as a Russian Spy
 gives Salt new meaning
Sunday marks the week of Comic Con San Diego, and there's no more exciting event that superstar actress and activist Angelina Jolie's coming to help promote her new movie Salt.

Angelina Jolie will appear in the enormous Hall H at San Diego Convention Center at 1 PM this Thursday. It's a sure bet the San Diego Convention Center will be a frenzied madhouse.

One thing, Sylvester Stallone should thank Sony that its even is at 1 PM and not 4 PM thus competing with The Expendables red carpet and panel to be held at that time. By having two big stars spread out on that one day, Comic Con Thursday promises to be one of the happenings of 2010.

At first, Angelina Jolie was not set to come and present her film about a government agent accused of being a Russian spy (Salt trailer below).

The recent news of 11 Russian spies working in America, including the lovely Anna Chapman, gives new meaning to Salt and just before its release and Jolie's Comic Con appearance.

Also, as hubby Brad Pitt's film Megamind will also be presented, there's a chance he may show up too.

Stay tuned.