Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Duckman - Seasons 1 and 2 (part II of III)

Moving on from part one to part (and, by extension, disc) two:

Not-So-Easy Riders: (w: Joe Ansolabehere & Steve Viksten; d: Paul Demeyer) Owing $30,000 to the IRS and with less than a day to pay it, Duckman hits the road, with Cornfed in tow. Dogging their trail is the merciless Agent Dennehey (John Spencer, amusing). Though Duckman renouncing material possessions late in the episode isn’t totally convincing, this is still a funny installment, especially in Duckman’s desperate attempts to raise the cash for the back taxes.

It’s the Thing of the Principal: (w: Ron Lux; story: Lux & Eugene Stein; d: Igor Kovalyov) Ajax isn’t himself, lately. There’s a simple explanation for that: he’s in love. Unfortunately, it’s with the cute vice-principal (causing a minor misnomer with the episode title). When the two of them decide to get married, Duckman and Bernice trail them to a hotel, posing as a newlywed couple. The episode detours from the main story to explore the tension (sexual and otherwise) between Duckman and Bernice…which would be a problem if it weren’t so damned funny.

Cellar Beware: (w: Ladd Graham; d: Norton Virgien) Frightened by a sales pitch from home security salesman Terry 'Duke' Tetzloff (John Astin), Duckman quickly has installed the Interlopen Fuhrer 2000, which proves to be too effective when Duckman tries to fix it himself. A good episode, highlighted by Astin’s voice-work, Bernice’s sniping and the escape from the security system’s firepower. [Apparently, this is missing the scene where Duckman breaks into I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy (presumably because Warner Bros. wouldn’t cough up the rights; the song was written for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), but the edit is fairly seamless.]

American Dicks: (w: Jeffrey Astrov & Mike Sikowitz; d: John Eng) The reality series "American Dicks" (pause for laughter) goes to Duckman to solve the show’s 100th case...mainly because a detective’s strike has exhausted all of the other options. I can never get enough of the faux-shaky cam gags that come with a reality TV take-off in animation, and this is no exception. The crossovers with other "American (fill in the blanks)" shows are also amusing.

About Face: (w: Jim Pond & Bill Fuller; d: Raymie Muzquiz) Duckman falls in love with the voice of a helpline worker, but when he meets the woman - named Angela - he finds that her voice is the one beautiful thing about her. A complete makeover could change things, however. In spite of the comic trappings (the emergency montage, the total darkness scene), this is a fine stab at drama, as Duckman starts to feel that he isn’t good enough for the beautiful swan that Angela becomes. The last scene is a heartbreaker.

Joking the Chicken: (w: Jeffrey Astrov, Mike Sikowitz and Michael Markowitz; d: Jeff McGrath) A group of comics asks Duckman to investigate rising comic Iggy Catalpa, whose clean humor seems to win over the public. Some fine satire - courtesy of a Congressional hearing and a rousing speech at the end - and amusing one-liners from Catalpa’s manager, the suspicious Moe Needleman, make this a riot. Though juvenile, the title is also funny.

Features on this disc include:

- 'Six Degrees of Duckman', which allow you to peruse the main characters’ bios, likes, dislikes as well as short reels showing them at their best…or worst.

- 'Designing Duckman', where creator Everett Peck and show runners Ron Osborn and Jeff Reno talk about how the show was developed beyond its former life as a Dark Horse comic.

- 'What the Hell Are You Starin’ At?!' features Peck, Reno, Osborn and the voice actors examining the mythos and characters.

The last disc contains the whole of season two. Stay tuned.

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Is this cracked or what?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Duckman - Seasons 1 and 2 (part I of III)

For years, I’d seen people talking about buying bootleg DVD sets of "Duckman". My thinking was that a true fan of the show would wait for an official release. Thankfully, my patience paid off.

I’d like to say that I’m exactly the wrong person to provide an objective review of "Duckman" - Seasons 1 and 2. (In fact, this guy could provide an objective review, if that’s what you desire.) As I said in the past, I loved the show as a kid and, re-watching the episodes years later, I still love the show. In fact, I can probably count on one hand (and still have fingers left over) the number of "Duckman" episodes I outright hate...and you’ll be hearing about them this winter when Seasons 3 and 4 are released.

For now, though, here are the episodes you can find in the set (by disc; here’s what on the first one):

I, Duckman: (w: Jeff Reno & Ron Osborn; no director credited) Duckman feels that no one cares about him, but a package from a bomber might change his way of thinking. Unlike a number of first episodes of American cartoons that fall apart trying to nail down what they’re about, this is a pretty strong pilot, ably establishing the characters and their relationships. There’s also a hilarious montage of Duckman trying to trace his life through home movies.

TV or Not to Be: (w: Bernie Keating; d: Raymie Muzquiz) Duckman seeks out a sacred painting for televangelist Mother Mirabelle, refusing to let a conflict of interest - he thinks that she’s a fraud - get in his way. An interesting mystery angle and an amusing near-death experience mark this outing.

Gripes of Wrath: (w: Michael Markowitz; d: Norton Virgien) A stray comment made by Duckman at a technology fair causes a super-computer to create a perfect society...but can it last? There’s a pretty good sub-plot involving Duckman being a better father to Charles and Mambo, but the third act is the highlight, where society goes to hell. The "pretentious role-playing" dialogue in this scene is a howl.

Psyche: (w: Jeffrey Astrof & Mike Sikowitz; d: Paul Demeyer) Duckman and Cornfed take on a most unusual case: following a pair of buxom twins to see what they do that makes guys drool over them. A trip into Duckman’s subconscious (or psyche; see what I did there?) shows that his reluctance may have something to do with his departed wife, Beatrice. The design of the twins notwithstanding, this episode is quite good, ably mixing humor (the scenes in the surgeon’s office) with deep character study.

Gland of Opportunity: (w: Ron Lux & Eugene Stein; d: John Eng) A trip to an amusement park leads to a trip to the emergency room for Duckman. When he leaves (the hospital) with vigor and lust for life, it’s attributed to the adrenal gland of recently deceased daredevil Vile Kyle. Pretty funny, especially in Duckman pulling his sons from school and the JFK references in Cornfed’s theories about Duckman’s transplant.

Ride the High School: (w: Michael Markowitz; d: Raymie Muzquiz) Even though "he hasn’t mastered the four-slice toaster", Ajax is accepted into a school for the gifted. This is the episode that introduced Duckman’s nemesis, King Chicken (the always delightful Tim Curry), and his scheme is quite clever. Also, the dialogue is sharp throughout.

A Civil War: (w: Bob Kushell; d: Norton Virgien) Sick of being shown up by Cornfed’s skills (though you’d think he’d be used to it, at this point), Duckman fires him. A neat look at the partnership between Duckman and Cornfed, including an amazing look at how it got started.

Features include a commentary on "I, Duckman" and a handful of 30-second spots which advertised the impending premiere.

Stay tuned for my review of disc two.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fox hunt.

The "Duckman" set came out today, and, of course, I bought it. I wasn't lying when I said I promised to review the set. It's just that watching and critiquing 22 episodes isn't an easy task, nor can it be accomplished in one night. For now, though...

Can someone...hell, can anyone explain this fascination with Megan Fox?!

Sure, she was in one of the most (undeservedly) successful films of the decade, which has given a boost to her burgeoning career, and I don't begrudge her that, but...what is the appeal?

Frequenting the Ain't It Cool News talkbacks, whenever her name or a potential future role get mentioned, guys post in slobbering all over her, giving off the impression of people who only use one hand to type.

Really, get a load of this:

"Earth's hottest girl"?! The song was right: it is a small world after all.

I'm just confused why this average-looking young woman has been inflated to Aphrodite-like status. I could pick any five women at Maxim's site who are hotter. Matter of fact:

Damn! Oh, as I was saying, why is Megan Fox considered so hot?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm not the only one.

Was I really the only person who, from time to time, read the name "Palin" in the papers and thought of the guy from "Monty Python"? Be honest.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"And to think: Entertainment Weekly panned us."

As a DVD collector and television viewer, there is always that lingering fear that your favorite show won't be released in complete form.

Thankfully, Paramount has seen fit to assuage me. The first two seasons of "Duckman" will be released a week from today (and I hope to purchase and review the set right here at the, really!), and only moments ago do I get news about the last two seasons.

Here's a small taste from, in my opinion, one of the best episodes from the later years - "Dammit, Hollywood!":

(By the way, they really did. Elitist schmucks.)

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Silly rabbit.

Coming home from work, my mom told me of a rabbit that seemed to be eating one of the bushes she planted a couple years ago. When we got home, I didn't even wait for her to stop the car. I jumped out and right there in the front lawn was a brown rabbit.

I tried to approach it, but that had the effect of scaring it off. The main thing about the rabbit was that one of its back legs looked to be broken. As it scampered to another yard, perhaps to feast on someone else's plant life, I felt a tinge of remorse; the poor creature having to run on a broken leg.

I also felt regret that I didn't have my camera.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Voice is silenced.


One thing I haven't seen mentioned very widely is his announcing of the episode and act titles on Disney's criminally underrated "Fillmore!". The very idea of an animated series receiving act titles made for a nice throwback to the 70s cop shows that "Fillmore!" homaged, and having LaFontaine voice them gave the titles necessary heft.

I would've loved for him do a trailer for one of my films. Again, damn.