Saturday, July 28, 2012

Batman Incorporated!

 By Anant Mathur (July 28, 2012)

Since I have a Batman theme going on in my posts this month it's only fitting that the months last post end with a bit of news about the Dark Knight.

If you're a comic book collector and/or an avid reader of them you would know that NEW comic books are released every Wednesday. Last week, on July 25, 2012, DC Comics was suppose to release the third installment of its ongoing comic book series Batman Incorporated. But after the recent catastrophe in Colorado, DC comics has requested all comic book retailers to delay the sales of Batman Incorporated #3 until August 22. It was originally reported as being delayed 'till end of August by DC, but it was recently discovered that the book had already shipped and DC was requesting all comic book retailers to delay the book's sales themselves. The issue was asked to be delayed by the publisher after the Aurora, Colorado, shooting last week. The issue contains some gun-related violence that could be viewed as insensitive in the wake of the mass murder. By the time of the shooting the deliveries of Batman Inc #3 had already shipped.

Before I knew about the delay, I did go looking for it but discovered that retailers are not allowed to sell it for another month even though they have it in stock; hence this post. An interesting approach, by DC Comics, to say the least.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight...Rises!

By Anant Mathur (July 22, 2012)

If you're like me you probably like to see good movies on opening day or weekend. Well, that was the case with me and The Dark Knight Rises - Don't worry I won't give anything away that will likely happen in another post in a few months. 

I've been a big fan of the Nolan brothers (Christopher and Jonathan) ever since they wrote there first film together in 2000 - you may have heard of it - it was called Memento and it forever changed the way film stories were told. Since Memento, I've watched every film the Nolan brothers have been involved with (including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Insomnia and Inception, etc.).

My interest in the Nolan brothers' work goes beyond films. Person of Interest is currently my favourite TV Show, it debut in 2011 and was created by Jonathan Nolan. So, as you can imagine, I was really excited about watching The Dark Knight Rise. The expectations were high and for the most part they were met. I found The Dark Knight Rises to be a little long, but I guess it had to be in order for them to tie up all the loose ends. Hey, at least they didn't make it into 2 movies and charge me twice for two 1.5 hrs movies like some greedy film makers.

As expected the special effects in The Dark Knight Rises will amaze you. The action sequences are eye pleasing and the dialogue is really witty at places. The only place where The Dark Knight falls is in the story which is slow in the beginning but picks up towards the middle. But from there on it's no holds barred and you are in for an outstanding climax with a down right brilliant ending.

If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to see The Dark Knight Rises on the Big Screen. The brilliant cinematography, effects and sound will be lost if you watch it in any other format. It's been a while since I've seen an audience clap at the end of a film, but that was the case with this one.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Catastrophe in Colorado!

By Anant Mathur (July 20, 2012)

As you've no doubt heard by now, last night during the midnight premiere showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado, a gunman wearing a gas mask opened fire inside the theater. Twelve people were killed and many others injured in this needless shooting by a 24 year old psychopath. It's sad that we live in a dangerous world where any lunatic can come into a place where people have come to enjoy and be entertained and do such a horrible thing.

I hope and pray that god gives strength to the families of the people killed and help the injured in dealing with this unfortunate incident.

Steps should now be taken to prevent this from ever happening in the future. Whether that means putting metal detectors in movie theaters or checking people as then go in that remains to be seen. I know in India they check everyone before letting them into cinema halls to see films. Perhaps the reality of the world today means we need to do the same in North America.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Song Recommendations...

By Anant Mathur (July 12, 2012)

Everyone is usually quite familiar with current music, but I find very few people who know about old songs from the 20s to 50s. So from time to time I like to let my readers know about old classics which they may or may not have heard of. If you like old songs or if you wish to learn about old music here is a list of some nice ones. You probably know some of these artists and there are some you've probably never heard of - all of them were very big in their time. In any case, I hope you will give them a listen and enjoy them as much as I do. 
- Eileen Barton

Pop songstress Eileen Barton remains best known for her 1949 novelty blockbuster "If I Knew You Were Comin', I'd've Baked a Cake." Born in Brooklyn, NY, on November 24, 1929, she was the daughter of vaudeville song-and-dance duo Benny and Elsie Barton, joining the family act at age two-and-a-half with a show-stopping rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'." The Bartons appeared twice daily at Broadway's Palace Theatre, sharing marquees with the likes of Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, and Milton Berle. "If I Knew You Were Comin'" proved an overnight sensation that topped U.S. charts for three months, fending off competing versions from singers including Ethel Merman and Georgia Gibbs.

- Fred Astaire

Dancer, actor, and singer Fred Astaire worked steadily in various entertainment media during nine decades of the 20th century. The most celebrated dancer in the history of film, with appearances in 31 movie musicals between 1933 and 1968 (and a special Academy Award in recognition of his accomplishments in them), Astaire also danced on-stage and on television (garnering two Emmy Awards in the process), and he even treated listening audiences to his accomplished tap dancing on records and on his own radio series. He appeared in another eight non-musical feature films and on numerous television programs, resulting in an Academy Award nomination and a third Emmy Award as an actor. His light tenor voice and smooth, conversational phrasing made him an ideal interpreter for the major songwriters of his era, and he introduced dozens of pop standards, many of them written expressly for him, by such composers as Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Arthur Schwartz, Harry Warren, and Vincent Youmans. Although his efforts as a dancer necessarily overshadowed his purely musical work, he made hundreds of recordings over a period of more than 50 years, resulting in several major hits.

- Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians

Lombardo began his musical career in 1924, when he and his brothers Lebert, Carmen, and Victor -- who joined slightly later -- formed a big dance band. Originally, Guy was a violinist for the band, but he soon became its leader and conductor. The band received a moderate amount of success in Canada and soon went to the United States, where they landed a regular gig in Cleveland, OH. While they were performing in Cleveland, they began using the name Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians. After their Cleveland engagement, they moved to Chicago and then New York City, which became their home base after a successful stay at the Roosevelt Grill.

South of the Border Medley
- Charlie Kunz

Charlie Kunz, "the Medley King," was born in Allentown, PA, on August 8, 1896. His father was a master baker who blew the French horn. As a youngster Charlie played piano, church organ, and E-flat alto horn. In 1914 he switched from playing classical to popular dance music. He worked as a milkman, cobbler, ribbon weaver, bookseller, and mechanic. During the First World War he was a boiler riveter and a bombshell builder. By the age of 19 Charlie Kunz was leading his first band and opening for Paul Whiteman and Vincent Lopez at a ballroom in Allentown. He came to England in 1921 with a group led by percussionist Ed Krick. The following year he led Paul Specht's Criterions at the Trocadero Restaurant in Piccadilly. Remaining in England after his friends had all gone home, Kunz formed his first all-British band and began performing at the Lyons Corner House in Piccadilly Circus. He then expanded his ensemble to 14 pieces and played the Grafton Galleries. Kunz sat in on piano with the Dix Band at the Olympia Dance Hall in West Kensington and tickled the ivories at Ma Merrick's 43 Club, an infamous sporting house and all-night den of iniquity operating on Gerrard Street, Piccadilly. Kunz then played the Chez Henri Club in Long Acre, found it to his liking, and stayed on for eight and a half years.
- Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby was, without doubt, the most popular and influential media star of the first half of the 20th century. The undisputed best-selling artist until well into the rock era (with over half a billion records in circulation), the most popular radio star of all time, and the biggest box-office draw of the 1940s, Crosby dominated the entertainment world from the Depression until the mid-'50s, and proved just as influential as he was popular. Unlike the many vocal artists before him, Crosby grew up with radio, and his intimate bedside manner was a style perfectly suited to emphasize the strengths of a medium transmitted directly into the home. 

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


By Anant Mathur (July 03, 2012)
The Amazing Spider-Man releases today, my first memory of Spider-Man is when the original Spider-Man (1967) cartoon was broadcast in India on Doordarshan in the 1980s. I can still remember, it was sponsored by Gold Spot and I loved watching it as a kid. Later on when I got into comic books I read and purchased many Spider-Man comics. I think every teenage boy could relate to Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

Spider-Man is so popular the world over that in 2004 a Spider-Man: India comic was released. It ran for 4 issues featured the Indian version of Peter Parker called Pavitr Prabhakar along with Meera Jain (Mary Jane Watson), Auntie Maya (Aunt May), Uncle Bhim (Uncle Ben), Nalin Oberoi (Norman Osborn), Aadi (Eddie Brock/Venom), Hari Oberoi (Harry Osborn) did not appear but was mentioned.
When the original Spider-Man film series was released a decade ago with Tobey Maguire, I was disappointed by the fact that instead of Spider-Man making his webbing it came out of the wrists automatically after the spider bite. In the comic book, Peter Parker is an amateur scientist and freelance photographer who develops the webbing in his home after he gets bitten by a radioactive spider. But this was not the case in the films - so as a comic book fan this disappointed me and it's one of the things I'm hoping they will rectify in the reboot.

As a fan, I'm really looking forward to the release of The Amazing Spider-Man. All I hope for is that it lives up to the comic book.
© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.