Hottie of the Day: Deborah Ann Woll


DEBORAH ANN WOLL

Season 5 of HBO’s hit series True Blood just ended over the weekend and the verdict seems to be a season that was better than the previous one though still plagued with some slow moments and uninteresting subplots. It also had what many termed as a WTF cliffhanger that should make Season 6 quite interesting. But this post is not about focusing on the show, but one a particular actress in the show who plays one of my favorite characters since she arrived on the scene.

The latest “Hottie of the Day” is none other than Deborah Ann Woll who plays the immature and naively, sweet baby vamp Jessica Hamby. Better known amongst the show’s fans as “Baby Vamp” the character played by Deborah Ann Woll continues to be a fan favorite. It elps that Ms. Woll’s performance as “Baby Vamp” ranges from alluring, sexy yet also sweet-natured. While she may be a gorgeous redhead to behold it doesn’t mean that Ms. Woll’s acting skills are lacking. She’s not just a pretty face for the audience to gawk at. As evidenced by this season’s episode where she says a final goodbye to her first love, Ms. Woll can act circles around her co-stars when allowed to do so.

I’ve also selected Ms. Woll as the latest hottie because sooner or later site co-founder Lisa Marie will complain that there’s not enough redheads being featured. Good thing True Blood reminded me that there is one hot ginger out there right now for me to pick and profile.

PAST HOTTIES

Which Way Forward For The “Batman” Movie Franchise? Take Four : The Power Of Three


There are those who insist that good things come in multiples of three and there are those who will tell you that bad things tend to come in threes — both camps have a Star Wars trilogy they can point to as evidence for their pet theory, and while neither are strictly correct, on a purely rational level, neither side is technically wrong, either.

So let’s just face facts here and admit there are some good movie trilogies and some bad ones, that within the good ones some better than others, and that within the bad ones some are better than others. All of which brings us back to that rooftop scene we started this “Rebooting Batman'” series with, from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween miniseries, the second page of which is reproduced above (and I apologize for its crookedness, it’s the only scan of this particular page I could find online).

Quite clearly, the latest cinematic iteration of the Dark Knight Detective, as helmed by Christopher Nolan, was a trilogy, and flaws aside, I think that by and large structuring the whole thing this way, whether by accident or design, by and large worked, story-wise. We got a beginning, middle, and end to Batman’s career, and a forth installment probably would have been pushing things a bit much (okay, fair enough, folks who didn’t like the Nolan films probably feel like three was too many, but that’s another matter for another time). I guess I’m in the minority on this, but I would have liked to see Tim Burton get a third crack at the bat-franchise, as well. It certainly would have been better than Batman Forever.

And this is the point at which attentive readers will tell me to back the fuck up for just a minute and pick up on that “all of which brings us back to the rooftop scene” bit. Your wish is my command. Quite clearly, the Harvey Dent/Commissioner Gordon/Batman triumvirate that forms the thematic core of The Long Halloween is what I’d like to see at the center of the entirely-hypothetical next Bat-trilogy I’m building in my head, even if I’d take pretty much no other cues from this particular book whatsoever. I mentioned last time around that giving Bruce Wayne and/or Batman a real life that included some actual friends apart from Alfred would be an idea that I. and a lot of fans out there, would be receptive to. And of course, we all know that the story of Harvey Dent is, ultimately, a tragic one that could translate well into a central theme spread out over three flicks. I’m still working out all the details as to how to do it in my head — like I said in a previous post, I’m very much making this up as I go along — but how about this for starters? In our new Bat-trilogy, Dent, Gordon, and Batman start as uneasy allies, and are pretty firm, honest-to-goodness friends by the end of the first flick. Perhaps even to the point where Batman decides to clue them in on his secret identity (although that’s not, strictly speaking, necessary — just something to keep in mind).

If Warner Brothers were to decide to give this hypothetical “soft reboot”‘s director a three-picture guarantee, absolutely not unheard of in the movie business, then that would seem a natural enough relationship to build a trilogy around, and we can get into Harvey’s inevitable turn for the worse as we move into discussions of (the again completely hypothetical) parts two and three. If the first flick were to be a complete and utter flop, then hey, they can always fire everybody, go back to the drawing board, and us fanboys and fangirls can endlessly debate the “great Batman trilogy that never was,” which is always a pretty fun little time-waster in and of itself, as well.

So, to recap, here’s where we are right now — the next Bat-flicks are going to have a shift in tone toward the more heroic, old-school, brains-over-bran interpretation of the character that will result in a bit less “dark” an overall tone; we’ve established Detroit at the central filming location for Gotham City; we’re going the “soft reboot” route by going back to an earlier point in Batman’s career but not obsessing over the details of his origin too explicitly; and we’re planning for a trilogy of films from the outset, one with a genuine story of friendship between Batman, DA Harvey Dent, and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon at its core.

Sound good? Sound bad? Now’s the time to chime in, and I do appreciate all your comments, both good and bad, so far. On a minor “housekeeping” note, I’ll probably be stepping away from this series for the next week or so as I attend to some business on my “main” site (trashfilmguru.wordpress.com, in case you didn’t know), but will be checking, and responding to, comments on here just the same. A guy’s only got so many hours in a day to write, and I’ve been running a series of comic reviews over there that I really want to wrap up in the next few days before showing the love of my life (yes, that would be my wife) a terrific time for her upcoming 30th birthday. Once that’s all taken care of, I’ll be back to the task at hand here with the next entry in our series, which will focus on which details I’d keep, and which I’d scrap, from the Nolan series of Bat-films. Then we can finally get into the plot of the films themselves proper, followed by arguably the most fun part of all, ideal casting choices for all the characters!

Oh, and maybe we should start bandying about some names as to who we’d like to see directing these flicks in an ideal world, as well? But I did say one thing at a time was going to be the order of the day here, didn’t I? Must try to stick with that — if at all humanly possible!

VGM Entry 29: Mario’s many sequels


VGM Entry 29: Mario’s many sequels
(Thanks to Tish at FFShrine for the banner)

While the Genesis was just getting started, Nintendo developers were pumping out sequels. Super Mario Bros. 2, Final Fantasy II, Mega Man 2, Dragon Quest III, Super Mario Bros. 3… They were coming out right and left in 1988, and most of them were improvements over the originals.

The first thing you might ask is how Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 ended up being released in the same year. Well, they actually came out a mere two months apart. There is a bit more to this story though, and since Super Mario Bros. 2 has by far the best music among NES installments of the series, there should be time enough to tell it.

The first game to be titled “Super Mario Bros. 2” was released in Japan in March 1986. It seems to be readily downloadable today, but if you’re like me and don’t play games much these days you probably only ever encountered it on Super Mario All-Stars (1993) for the SNES, where it was titled The Lost Levels. As you might recall, it wasn’t particularly interesting; it was pretty much identical to the original, music and all, just with new level designs. This was not originally intended to be the case. A much more unique and creative game had been in development, but for whatever reason Nintendo’s market research lead them to believe that an expansion of the original would have greater commercial success. The project in development was passed off to Fuji Television Network and released as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic in July 1987. Koji Kondo’s original work went along with the package, and much of what you are hearing now first appeared in Doki Doki Panic.

Nintendo sensed a different interest in the American consumer and went ahead with the original project. You may have heard at some point years back–I know I had–that the American Super Mario Bros. 2 was just some cheaply refurbished port of a non-series Japanese title, but this is not entirely correct. The projects were one and the same for much of the game’s development. In a very peculiar turn of events by early gaming standards, North America (and Europe) got the real Super Mario Bros. 2, and Japan got the ripoff. It took so long for the game to be released in its intended form, however, that it ended up launching in North America at pretty much the exact same time that Super Mario Bros. 3 came out in Japan.

Musically, Super Mario Bros. 2 improved on Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic by integrating peppier renditions of themes from the original Super Mario Bros. The music is also a lot more crisp, though that might be the consequence of differences between the Famicom and the NES. At any rate, it is probably my favorite early Koji Kondo soundtrack. The main theme remains, arguably unlike the original Mario Bros. theme, unconditionally pleasant. The limitations of the NES are a total non-factor here. I wish I could pinpoint what sort of style it is–I get some distant vibe of jazz and ragtime–but it either falls beyond my knowledge base or proceeds from nothing more than Koji Kondo’s incredible talent for writing instant classics. I mean, I never played Super Mario Bros. 2 back in the NES days, but it feels more nostalgic to me than the original Mario theme.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is a little less interesting in my opinion, if only because its generally laid back pace and Latin/Caribbean beats just don’t feel quite in harmony with what was probably the fastest-moving of the NES Mario games. But Super Mario Bros. 3 was also the most diverse of these soundtracks, switching up its style as needed to suit a greater variety of level designs. In some instances, most notably “Level 2 Theme” (1:09), Konjo employs sounds more akin to his work in the prequel. “Hammer Brothers” (4:28) seems to be inspired by rock and roll, and the beat-laden revision of the original underworld theme, here amusingly titled “Super Mario Rap” (2:30), is undeniably cool.

I suppose Super Mario Bros. 3 can be justly regarded as the “best” NES-era Mario soundtrack, if nothing else for the shear variety of styles Konjo successfully employed. But it lacks any particular really stand-out tracks–the sort of incredibly catchy anthems for which he is best known.