Ronnie James Dio: 1942-2010

May 17, 2010

I knew very little about Ronnie James Dio, but did know of his contributions to the metal community and that a number of my friends were fans. Hearing of his death yesterday, there was little I could say that would do justice to the man, but read a number of tributes online and finally settled on this one to repost. It’s from photographer Kyle Cassidy‘s personal Livejournal and details an encounter with the man himself.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s Ronnie James Dio, and then there’s everybody else.

Last week my friend Colin phoned up to say he had tickets to a freaking Black Sabbath autograph session in nowhere New Jersey. Needless to say, I was excited. I knew it was going to be a heard of cattle, but the idea of being able to be within mere inches of The Elf Himself caused me no end of tingling. I hied up there on the appropriate day, purchased my Black Sabbath box set (of which I already own every album, of course — (on cassette, LP and CD) and stood in line with 599 other people. The signing was only scheduled to take an hour so I whistled a happy tune, but the line moved slowly. As we approached the door, someone said “They’re answering questions! And posing for photographs!”

Now I was concerned, worried even. Before I was going to blissfully walk past as they signed my CD and get shoved out the door, but THIS added a whole new level of complexity. WHAT WOULD I SAY TO FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO? It’s like someone saying “Oh, Kyle, Archemedes is on the phone, he says you have 30 seconds to ask him one question.”

So I fretted and worried. I wanted to say something sincere, polite, and brief. Finally, I settled on:

“I hope you wake up happy every morning, knowing that you’ve made the world a better place.”

It was brief, polite, and — sincere. I went back to whistling my happy tune until I was shoved through the door in my little group of five and found myself seemingly alone in the presence of the greatest heavy metal band in the history of the galaxy.

Vinnie and Geezer signed my boxed set. “I loved the GZR” album, I said to Geezer. He nodded. Out of 600 people in line, I was, I’m sure, only the 45th to remember his obscure solo project to him that afternoon. He slid my CD’s over to FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO who looked up at me, stuck out his hand and said:

“THANKS FOR COMING OUT.”

I looked at him and I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t think of a word to say. My mouth hung open, my arms went limp, people behind me in line grumbled, the clock stopped ticking. FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO was looking up at me fully expecting me to say something. I stammered:

“i hope … you … wake up … every … morning ….”

His head knocked back a little and he said,

“I DO. I DO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING.”

“no,” i stuttered, “i mean … i hope … you’re … happy….”

“I’M PRETTY HAPPY ALL THE TIME,” said FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO, giving me a weird look.

“Move along!” said some dude in a black shirt. Tony Iomi shook my hand, signed my cd and said “Mmph!” which normally would have rocked my world like someone calling me up to tell me that I’d won the Pyramids in a contest, but all I could think of was the fact that FREAKING RONNIE JAMES DIO THINKS IM AN IDIOT.

photo (and text) by Kyle Cassidy

I hope you find much Metal on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. \m/

Be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Cassidy’s blog! It’s a great read and features some incredible photography.


Indiana Jones: 3 Hits and a Miss with Shia LaBoeuf

May 17, 2010

I was among the millions who paid to see Indiana Jones 4 based on my love for the character and his previous films, only to be disappointed by the movie and downright appalled by that ridiculous ending. It was really a shame that the movie was so bad because with Spielberg in the director’s seat and the impressive cast it had roped in, they could have made something really special. It almost felt like a betrayal really, when Harrison Ford, Shia LaBoeuf, Cate Blanchett and other members of the crew came out to tell us what a brilliant picture it was. But now LaBoeuf has come out with the truth and it’s pretty surprising all things considered.

Here’s the word from Geek Tyrant‘s Venkman…

I think I have a new found respect for Shia Labeouf. As you know Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a let down for most Indiana Jones fans. But, you might be surprised to know that LeBeouf who played Mutt in the movie didn’t really care for it all that much either.

During a press conference at the Cannes film festival while promoting Wall: Street: Money Never Sleeps, he let what he really thinks about Indiana Jones 4 fly, without holding anything back, he criticizes the movie, himself and the filmmakers. I gotta say, I’m pretty surprised by some of his comments but I agree 100% with him. And he starts off with…

I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished…If I was going to do it twice, my career was over. So this was fight-or-flight for me.

He then addressed the audience that helped contribute to the movies $780 million dollar box-office take and explains that he was not happy with the film.

I think the audience is pretty intelligent. I think they know when you’ve made (slop). And I think if you don’t acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you’re promoting a movie…We [Harrison Ford and LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn’t happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted….We need to be able to satiate the appetite. I think we just misinterpreted what we were trying to satiate.

LaBeouf then criticizes himself even further bringing up the monkey swinging saying,

You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg, who directed]. But the actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it. So that’s my fault. Simple.

I understand a lot of people including myself didn’t care for this Mutt character in the film. But the movie didn’t suck because of Mutt, it was just an all-around incredibly sloppy film. The ball was dropped all over the place, from the writing to the special effects, and the outcome was just a really weak and disappointing film.

So what would Spielberg think of what LaBeouf is saying about his film? He didn’t seem to care, and he held his ground and opinion saying,

I’ll probably get a call. But he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work. And believe me, I talk to him often enough to know that I’m not out of line. And I would never disrespect the man. I think he’s a genius, and he’s given me my whole life. He’s done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball.

Boom. So there ya have it. How honest can ya get? It’s nice to see actors own up to their mistakes, and for LaBeouf to tell it how it is, has given me a new found respect for him.

Now, over at CmdStore.com we’ve got a couple of Indiana Jones figures and toys, from all four movies. Hopefully, if you’re looking for something to reignite your love of the franchise, some Sideshow figures or LEGO sets can help more than the inevitable fifth flick.


Michael Cammalleri Montreal Canadiens Hockey Figure Series 24

May 15, 2010

Michael Cammalleri Figure

The 2010 playoffs are in full swing and Michael Cammalleri appears to the MVP candidate for this season. The Canadiens’ Michael Cammalleri has joined some select company with his playoff scoring binge, matching a mark set by some of Montreal’s greatest stars.

With seven goals in a seven-game victory over the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Cammalleri equaled a team record for tallies in a single playoff series shared by Maurice Richard (1944 and 1958), Jean Beliveau (1956), Bernard Geoffrion (1957), Guy Lafleur (1975) and Marcel Bonin (1959). All but Bonin are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

And Cammalleri, who left the Calgary Flames last summer to sign with the 24-time Stanley Cup champions as a free agent, has a shot at making more history when Montreal moves into the conference final for the first time since 1993, the year of its last Stanley Cup conquest.

Here is a really kewl youtube video of Cammalleri as a Star Wars Jedi:

Michael Cammalleri has been made into an action figure by McFarlane Toys. This NHL Series 24 set also includes the following figures:

Jonas Gustavsson
Jonathan Toews
Tim Thomas
John Tavares
Robyn Regehr

mcfarlane-nhl-series-24


Jonas Gustavsson McFarlane NHL Series 24 Hockey Figure

May 14, 2010

jonas gustavsson

Signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jonas Gustavsson from Sweden could be the next superstar goalie in the NHL.

We’ve followed the guy from Farjestad and he was incredible in his last season in the Swedish league. He was like a freakin’ wall. Its different in the NHL but we will see how he adjust to the North American play. We had a good feeling when Lundqvist went over a couple years ago and we now have that same feeling now.

Here’s a little video clip of Jonas Gustavsson found on youtube:

Jonas Gustavsson has been made into an action figure by McFarlane Toys. This set also includes the following figures:

Michael Cammalleri
Jonathan Toews
Tim Thomas
John Tavares
Robyn Regehr

mcfarlane-nhl-series-24


Battlestar Galactica: Samuel Anders Exclusive

May 13, 2010

Here’s a loo at the new BSG Exclusive figure we’ve got for sale over at Cmdstore.com!

Samuel Anders was a professional athlete before the Cylon destruction of the colonies. Left to fend for themselves, he and a group of other survivors waged war against the Cylon occupation before being rescued by Starbuck and the crew of the Battlestar Galactica. Though his marriage to Starbuck is difficult at times, the pair have overcome the most extreme of obstacles.

That’s the official word from the folks at Diamond Select, the manufacturers behind this awesome new 7-inch figure. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean studios, it features great articulation but a look that also makes it suitable for display on your toy shelf! The fact that it helps bring back fond memories of the now-ended Sci-Fi series just makes it all the sweeter!


Marvel Universe’s IRON MAN: HALL OF ARMOR

May 13, 2010

Marvel Universe has just released a three figure series based on Iron Man 2. Welcome to the Hall of Armor.

Featuring Iron Man Mark IV, Iron Man Mark VI and War Machine, this exclusive series boasts some beautifully-rendered 3 3/4-inch figures standing atop light-up platforms that cast a brilliant glow on the armour, keeping it looking sharp in Stark Laboratories while Tony and Rhodes take a time-out.

Each base takes 3 AAA batteries, but fear not! The batteries are mercifully included so you needn’t worry about that miserable moment when you take a toy home only discovered it’ll take a trip to the store to finally get to playing.

Check ‘em out!

And while you’re here, if you haven’t managed to catch the flick yet, here’s a review from The Onion AV Club:

The primary challenge for all blockbuster franchises is to be big yet fleet. Iron Man is as good a model as any, thanks largely to Robert Downey Jr.’s flamboyantly narcissistic Tony Stark, plus filmmakers who valued pacing and character as much as superhero hardware. But sequels, in their quest for more and bigger action and colorful new villains, tend to take on weight, and suddenly Streetcar Marlon Brando turns into a marble-mouthed beast with an ice bucket on his head. The exceedingly busy Iron Man 2 comes perilously close to that tipping point—call it the Spider-Man 3 axis—but much like its predecessor, it’s a clean, efficient, somewhat generic piece of storytelling, and most of the additions aren’t subtractions. This passes for success in the summer movie season.

Exalted worldwide as a one-man peacekeeping force, Downey’s preening Stark has become so busy erecting monuments to himself that he hands over Stark Industries to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and devotes his energies to Iron Man full time. But he faces serious adversity from within and without: Rogue countries and private competitors like Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) have begun testing their own weaponized robot suits, the Armed Services Committee (led by smarmy Senator Garry Shandling) wants to bring Stark under federal control, psychotic Russian physicist Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) looks to carry out a decades-old family vendetta, and the arc reactor in Stark’s chest cavity is slowly killing him. And oh yeah, there’s his mysterious new assistant Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and a bigger role for military buddy Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle, replacing and upgrading Terrence Howard).

That’s at least two sequels’ worth of incident packed into one, but director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux treat most of the scenes with a light, glancing wit that keeps the bloat at bay. Downey is reliably funny in his runaway egotism, and Rockwell’s Hammer proves the ideal adversary, a creature of equal vanity whose haplessness constantly undermines his raw, nefarious ambitions. The long stretches between action beats would be a problem for other movies of its kind, but as with the first Iron Man, the splashy effects sequences—which ring with the dull clang of metal on metal—are by far the least compelling in the film. The less money on the screen, the better the movie becomes. Is the Dogville set available for Iron Man 3?


The A-Team Movie: Dusting off an old favourite

May 12, 2010

All a movie needs is Liam Neeson doing something cool and I am absolutely sold from the word go. The fact that the A-Team’s got that and District 9’s Sharlto Copley mean that I will definitely be catching it when it opens this summer. But for anyone unconvinced that this won’t be a respectful remake rather than a tongue-in-cheek pseudo-homage, here’s an article from Brand X:

Fox’s $100-million adaptation of “The A-Team” (June 11) takes glee in rehashing certain touchstones of the cheese-tacular ’80s TV action-comedy series.

Where the original Alpha Unit was a quartet of disgraced Vietnam war vets turned soldiers of fortune, the new squad comprises covert operatives who ran missions during the most recent Iraq war and get hung out to dry for crimes they didn’t commit. They’re determined to clear their names from the moment they make their inevitable break out of maximum security prison.

According to the filmmaker, Joe Carnahan, it’s more in the spirit of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” reboot than, say, Ben Stiller’s comedy-arrested “Starsky & Hutch.” “I’m not interested in making the easy, breezy Cover Girl version of ‘The A-Team,’” Carnahan said. But, um, isn’t this a summer popcorn film full of sight gags and big explosions? “We streamlined and stripped it down. But we had to keep some staples,” the director clarified.

Although the project had been gestating with various filmmakers — most notably John Singleton — for almost a decade, Carnahan threw out all the previous scripts and redrafted the action to kick off during the impending American troop withdrawal from the Middle East.

“I thought they were too slavishly devoted to the TV show,” Carnahan said of past scripts. “While I like the TV show, I didn’t think it was any great shakes in terms of heavy drama.”

Former Ultimate Fighting Champion champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s portrayal of B.A., Mr. T’s character in the original, is a prime example. Gone are B.A.’s thick coil of gold necklaces and habit of exclaiming “I pity the fool!” In character on-set, however, a resplendently Mohawked Jackson sported temporary tattoos across his knuckles that read “P-I-T-Y” on one hand and “F-O-O-L” on the other.

Likewise, “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, played by Sharlto Copley, has been updated for the new millennium. “What passed as crazy 25 years ago? It doesn’t hold up,” Carnahan said. “Nowadays, you have Steve-O on ‘Jackass’ strapping on a g-string made out of chicken parts and rappelling over an alligator pit. So you have to reevaluate things like ‘crazy.’”

Copley, who starred in last year’s Oscar-nominated “District 9,” also idolized the team while growing up in South Africa. Still, he held certain reservations about being part of the adaptation.

“At the beginning, I was a bit skeptical to do a movie of a TV show that could come out really dodgy,” Copley said. “But when I heard who they were casting, I thought, ‘This could be really fun!’”

Carnahan glanced out at the principal cast and again defended his remake of the TV classic. “We’re not making an hommage to ‘The A-Team,’” the director said. “We’re taking the base story of four guys wrongfully convicted of a crime, they’re an Alpha Unit, that’s it. That’s the point of departure.”


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