Sunday, December 28, 2014

Buffy Fights a Demon She Can't Defeat: HD Reformatting

Do you want to watch the acclaimed TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer in High Definition?  It is 2014, after all, well into the 21st century, so why not?

Well, according to this article, titled "What's Wrong With Buffy's HD?" you might want to stick with your old standard definition DVDs.

Apparently the cable channel Pivot has been airing a much-maligned HD version of creator Joss Whedon's Buffy in 16:9 format, so it fills up the whole rectangular screen.  Trouble is, Buffy, which premiered in 1997, was shot in the TV standard-of-the-time 4:3 closer-to-a-square ratio. 

Just as wide-screen theatrical movies have long been bastardized when they aired on old square TVs in chopped up, panned and scanned versions, now the same thing is happening with TV shows being converted to HD screens.

Good grief.  Just slap some black bars on the sides and give me the WHOLE remastered HD picture.  Don't do this bad, often silly, re-framing and cropping; to illustrate what the issue is, just have a little five second intro showing WHY reformatting 4:3 images to the full 16:9 screen is a bad idea (visually, aesthetically, artistically).  I would hope viewers today would be more informed of this kind of thing.  Maybe not.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

May The Names and Faces Be With You

After percolating and circulating on the interwebs for a couple weeks that nifty teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has received a postscript.

JJ Abrams and company, via Entertainment Weekly, finally have put names to faces.  Find out who Finn, Rey, BB and Kylo are here.

Still no word on what the story is, but we'll take what we can.  And doing this "announcement" in the style of the old Topps Star Wars cards is a very fun and cool way to do it.  Props to whomever came up with this idea.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Extraordinary Artist Kim Jung Gi

This is beyond amazing.

Artist Kim Jung Gi freehand drawing in ink - with no sketches laid out - an incredible fantasy tableau.  The control he has in that pen-brush is exquisite. It is truly breathtaking.

James Bond Will Return... SPECTRE, which was announced today.  (See article on

Yes, it seems that the Daniel Craig-helmed super-spy series is getting back to its roots in a major way by bringing back the fictional terrorist organization SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).

And where SPECTRE goes can Ernst Stavo Blofeld, he of the bald pate and super-fluffy white Persian cat, be far behind?  Even though his character is listed as Oberhauser, acclaimed actor Christoph Waltz is believed to be the new Blofeld in the film.  (If that is the case, I hope it comes across better than the silliness of Benedict Cumberbatch as "John Harrison" who every one KNEW was Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, despite all the denials of the filmmakers.)

The new film appears to be more in the mold of a traditional Bond film: for the first time in a Craig-Bond movie, we will have Q (Ben Whishaw), Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), a new Aston Martin (yea!), Dave Bautista as a classic Bond uber-assassin named Mr. Hinx and James Bond facing off against SPECTRE.  Could a giant hollowed-out volcano base with jump-suited henchmen be far behind?