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"Lost" Recap: "The Package"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - - 0 Comments

SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


Nothing happened.


WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!


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No, seriously--nothing happened.  You could've missed this episode, picked up next week, and not have batted an eye.  It's almost like the producers/writers plotted out how to end the series, figured out they had one extra hour, and said, "Here, let's just fill it with a Sun/Jin episode".  You find out in the side-verse how Jin ended up locked up in that restaurant (and no, it's not compelling at all) and you find out absolutely nothing on the island.


Okay, we did find out that Desmond was who Widmore had hiding in that submarine room but that was literally the very end of the episode so, like I said before, you could've missed this one completely and not have to worry about catching up.


By the way, while we're on the topic of ABC shows, I'm gonna shoot for a "Flashforward" and a "V" recap this week, too...just didn't around to it last week.

"Caprica" Recap: "End of Line"

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SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


The Zoe/Tamara storylines were partially wrapped up and there was a lot of useless junk about the STO.


WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!


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Still don't know what I think about "Caprica".  There are times that I enjoy it but there are many more times that I don't like it.  It reminds me of all of the worst parts of "Battlestar Galactica": the preachy "one true god" episodes, the whole Baltar/prophet thing from the last season, etc.  This was a decent episode in that it had some major developments in the Zoe/Tamara storylines but the B-story was what bugged the hell outta me.  I don't care anything about the STO and I can't stand that teacher character that dragged Zoe and her friends into it in the first place.  Add to that the awful James Marsters (showing his age here, unlike on "Buffy") and you've got one borefest of a storyline.


To be honest, that's all I have to say right now.  It's been 4 days since I watched the episode and I've forgotten most of it.


Thank god "Stargate Universe" returns next week...

Trek Books, ID4 Sequels, Best Worst Movie, Walking Dead, Battlefield Earth, Godzilla, PS3, DSi/DSi XL

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Star Trek Department of Temporal Investigation Book Coming Soon
Christopher L. Bennett announced on his blog that he's working on a new Star Trek book about the Department of Temporal Investigation from the Deep Space Nine episode, "Trials and Tribble-ations".  This is really cool news; time travel has been featured in every Star Trek series and 3 of the movies (including last year's J.J. Abrams' reboot) so there's a goldmine worth of material waiting to be explored.  This one should be out next year but Pocket Books hasn't announced their 2011 schedule yet.


New Cover For Classic Trek Novel
Speaking of the book schedule and the J.J. Abrams movie, Pocket Books were left with a significant hole in their 2010 schedule after Bad Robot respectfully asked them not to release the "Abrams-verse" sequel books scheduled for this summer.  So Pocket decided to re-release some classic TNG books and they've revealed the new cover art for one of them:


(Comparison photo courtesy of Trekmovie.com)

"Nightshade" is a 1992 novel written by Laurell K. Hamilton, years before she went on to become the acclaimed author of the "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" series.  I like the new art but I already own the book so, uh, I probably won't be buying this.  Sorry, Pocket Books.

Independence Day Sequels Get The Greenlight?
IESB claims that Will Smith has signed to star in two sequels to Independence Day, to be shot back-to-back (ala The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean sequels).  This could all pan out to be b.s. but I really hope not. I love ID4 and always have--none of the epic disaster movies that have come since have had the same...shall we say, "charm"?  Here's hoping they get Jeff Goldblum back, as well.


Best Worst Movie Trailer
Okay, I'll admit it: I've never seen Troll 2.  But after watching this trailer, I've added to the top of my Netflix queue.  One of the stars of Troll 2 has created a documentary about the phenomenon surrounding the movie, which has been repeatedly named as the worst movie ever made.  It looks like a fantastic documentary; check it out:


AMC Greenlights Frank Darabont's "Walking Dead"
Frank Darabont (director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist) recently pitched a zombie series to AMC based on the comic book "The Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman and THEY ACTUALLY PICKED IT UP!  Yep, that's right--the same network that brings you "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" is now going to produce a series about a zombie apocalypse!  I'm really psyched about this one--read more about here.


Screenwriter Apologizes for Battlefield Earth
I thought this was absolutely hilarious; J.D. Shaprio, who wrote the adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth (another movie vying for the title of worst movie ever made) wrote a column in the New York Post last week explaining how he came to write such a cinematic crapfest and offering a sincere apology to anyone that has had to sit through it.  I actually feel sorry for the guy; sounds like he did his best but just got ran over by Travolta and the Scientology cult.


Godzilla Returns to U.S. Shores
Variety reports that Legendary Pictures has picked up the rights to Japanese company Toho Co.'s iconic character, Godzilla.  I personally never thought Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla movie was that bad, but then again, I'm something of an Emmerich apologist (except for 10,000 B.C.; there's no excuse for that mess).  Still, I'm excited to see another U.S. Godzilla, especially if it means the destruction will be more rampant, as that seems to be the chief complaint about Emmerich's version.  The plan appears to be to have the giant lizard back on the big screen by 2012 (hey, another Emmerich movie!).


No More Linux for Playstation 3 Owners
In a firmware update scheduled for tomorrow, April 1, Sony will be removing the ability to run your PS3 with a different OS--and no, it's not an April Fool's joke.  This unusual ability was actually already removed when the newer PS3 "slim" model came out but it was still supported on older models.  Sony claims that "security" breaches are to blame for the removal of the feature.  That sounds like a big "duh" to me; could they not have anticipated security problems when they included this feature from the get-go?  Now there are labs and universities across the globe that will find themselves with a pile of useless PS3s (many researchers, including the U.S. military, were using PS3s as a cheap way to build powerful computing clusters).  Of course, if any of those labs is looking for a place to dump those PS3s, they're welcome to give me a call...


DSiWare Transfers = No
In a not unexpected but still shockingly ridiculous move, Nintendo announced that anyone who purchased DSiWare content for their DSi but then upgraded to the newly released DSi XL will have to re-purchase that content.  The widely accepted standard for digital content is that if you paid to download that content once, you own it and have the right to re-download it again (maybe not infinitely but at least more than once).  The fact that Nintendo continues to tie their digital content to the particular console is insulting.  I've had my own issues with this policy, as my Wii was stolen in December, along with all of the Virtual Console and WiiWare games I had downloaded.  My Xbox 360 was stolen as well and once I replaced it, I was able to quickly retrieve my Gamertag and all of my downloads and accomplishments.  How about the Wii?  Nope--that stuff is gone for good.  I hope they change their mind on this before the 3DS and the successor to the Wii arrive on the market.



Wii HD, Heidi Montag Movie, Paranormal Activity 2, Iron Man 2 Clip

Saturday, March 27, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Wii HD
No, Nintendo still hasn't announced a new Wii system but a company called VDIGI is now selling an upscaler that will convert your Wii's output to high-definition.  On its own, the Wii outputs in a crappy maximum of 480p but the "VD-W3 Wii HDMI Upscaler Processor" promises to convert that signal to a full 1080p.  Sounds impressive, right?  Here's the thing, though: Wii games aren't designed to be 1080p so you can't just plug this thing in and expect for "Mario Kart" to suddenly look like a PS3 game.  At most, it's just going to clean the image and make it a little smoother.  But here's the other thing: if you have a HDTV, odds are it's already trying to upscale your Wii output.


Okay, so I really sound like Negative Nancy here but I'm actually pretty excited about this.  It's almost sad when I get through playing my Xbox 360 and decide to play Wii--the picture quality is just not good.  So even if this thing only enhances the image a little, I'm still in.  But at a price point of $75, I'm gonna wait until I've read a couple of reviews before I take the plunge.  VDIGI just starting selling them this week so there should be some reviews up soon, I would imagine.


Heidi Montag Has a Killer Rack
Yeah, I know...why the hell am I covering Heidi Montag on a geek blog?  Well, it turns out that Ms. Montag fancies herself a movie mogul now and has even written (!) her first movie.  That's right, she wrote a movie!  Heidi tells People magazine, "I am making the first 3-D beach comedy about a shark that attacks a small beach town and I save the day with my 3-D boobs."  Now, if SyFy were to turn this into one of their great SyFy Originals cheesefests, I would totally watch it.  But there's no way I'm paying $13 at a theater to see that plastic bimbo run around in 3D.  I'll be shocked it the thing gets made anyway...


Paranormal Activity 2 Has a Director
First of all, let me just say that making a sequel to Paranormal Activity is just about the stupidest idea I've ever heard.  But, the first one was cheap and it made a ton of money, so that's just the way things work in Hollywoodland.  There were some big names floating around for this sequel (Brian DePalma, Akiva Goldsman) which, frankly, scared me even more. DePalma may be a legend but if you're gonna sequelize Paranormal Activity, you don't want the sequel to be a slick, stylized production (*cough* *cough* The Blair Witch Project 2 *cough*).  Well, thankfully, they've hired an unknown named Kip Williams.  I still think this is a disaster waiting to happen but maybe this guy can bring a bit of an original spin to it.  We'll see.


Iron Man 2 Clip Online
The BBC's "Top Gear" show has an exclusive Iron Man 2 clip/making-of film on their website.  It's not much but if you're as excited about this movie as I am, anything counts.


Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!
And, finally, I want to wish a happy belated birthday to Mr. Spock himself.  Yesterday, Mr. Nimoy celebrated his 79th birthday.  Live long and prosper!


Review: "District 9"

Friday, March 26, 2010 - - 0 Comments

WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS


Finally got around to watching District 9 yesterday.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  When it first came out it looked like a barely passable run-of-the-mill sci-fi picture.  Then the buzz started to build that it was actually a really good sci-fi movie.  Well, that's all fine and good but, c'mon, The Matrix is a good science-fiction movie, too, but you wouldn't expect it to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  But District 9 was nominated.  The only thing I knew about the movie was that it was some sort of allegory for apartheid.  I'll be honest, the only things I knew about apartheid was that it had something to do with South Africa and, by extension, something to do with Nelson Mandela (maybe I should watch Invictus next).


So I'll start my review with that topic; I really don't think this movie makes a statement about apartheid at all, and, while I haven't read or seen any interviews with the filmmakers, I would be surprised if that was even their intent.  The film does take inspiration for its setting from the South African apartheid, in that it involves a segregated slum set up for aliens, and the attempts made to forcefully relocate them (yeah, I did some research).


However, that's really not the plot of the movie at all.  The real plot of the movie is about one man, Wikus van de Merwe (played by South African actor Sharlto Copley), who is put in charge of the relocation and accidentally becomes infected with a compound that slowly begins to turn him into one of the aliens (called "prawns", their real name is never revealed). The government and the Nigerian mafia want him because he can operate prawn weaponry, something that no other human can do because they are biologically locked to prawn physiology.  In the meantime, one of the prawns named Christopher (Jason Cope) is obsessed with repairing a small ship hidden under his District 9 shack so that he can return to the mothership hovering over Johannesburg and use it return to his home planet.


Now I don't know about you but that sounds like a pretty mundane plot and, essentially, it is.  Where the movie excels, though, is through the clever documentary style in which it was filmed and in the superb performance from Copley in the lead role.  Especially in the beginning of the movie, when the world is still being set up for us, the documentary style is very effective.  If you didn't know better, you'd almost think that an alien spacecraft really did arrive in South Africa in 1982 and the world just went on ticking for the last 27 years.  That's part of the genius of leaving the setting in Johannesburg; I'm sure the filmmakers had to have felt studio pressure to move the action to the United States but they were right to stick to their guns (District 9 is based on a short called "Alive in Johannesburg").  Even though in District 9, aliens have been on Earth for nearly 3 decades, the world outside of South Africa is unchanged (we assume, the movie never implies otherwise).  The aliens showed up but they were nothing but a ragtag group of refugees and their ship was dead.  So they got herded up in a camp and forgotten about.  It's great because it's obviously not reality but there's no reason that it couldn't be, given the circumstances.  I was really impressed with Sharlto Copley; he shows great acting chops and I'm anxious to see his turn as Murdoch in The A-Team movie.  I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of this guy soon.


So in the end, is it a good movie?  Is it worth the hype?  The answers are yes and no.  District 9 is a decent enough movie and deserves to sit on your DVD shelf beside Blade Runner, Star Wars, and, yes, even The Matrix.  But I don't think it's a great, epic, unforgettable movie but any means.  So why all the hype?  I blame overblown politic agendas.  Did anyone see South Park on Wednesday with "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs"?  The same things that episode pointed out regarding "The Catcher in the Rye" and the aforementioned "Scrotie McBoogerballs" happened to District 9.  I think Hollywood wanted to think the movie was a huge statement on injustice and humanity and, honestly, its not.  But the fact that a science-fiction film got the attention that it did is good for the entire genre so you won't hear me complain.


If you haven't watched it yet, give it rent.  Post your comments below--I'd love to know what you thought.

"Lost" Recap: "Ab Aeterno" (SPOILERS)

Thursday, March 25, 2010 - - 0 Comments

At long last, the untold story of Richard Alpert is, well...told.  But what the hell does it all mean?  Let's break it down.


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD


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It turns out that "Richard" Alpert is actually Ricardo Alpert, a slave from the Canary Islands whose ship, the Black Rock (!), crashed on the island in the 1800's, destroying the three-toed statue in the process.  This was, by far, the best episode of "Lost" this season and maybe even last season, as well.  I agree with some reviewers who say it was predictable; I mean, we had pieced together most of these clues before this episode but the execution of the episode was great and Nestor Carbonell did a bang-up job with the lovelorn Ricardo/Richard.


A lot more was revealed between Jacob and his adversary but at the same time, it really wasn't.  I'm getting the impression that the island itself is a type of prison for the Man in Black and that may be its sole (or primary) purpose.  But what or WHO is the Man in Black?  What happened to his body?  I'm sure we'll find out soon but I'm awfully anxious to find out now.


The LA Times has a great article up talking about the episode and several of their readers from the Canary Islands point out that Tenerife is home to the deadliest plane crash in aviation history and a long-standing legend about the mysterious 8th island of San Borondon, which vanishes and can move position in the ocean. Were the "Lost" producers trying to steer us toward this legend or is it just coincidence?  I don't know yet but you can read more about San Borondon here, if you're interested.


Next Week: "The Package"


P.S. Just as I was finishing up this post, Ain't Cool News posted a story indicating that there will be a live "Lost" event in theaters on May 20th, 3 days before the series finale.  Sounds cool.  Also, the finale now has a name: "The End".

Captain America, Avengers, & Nintendo 3DS News

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Since this is the first official post on the blog, I'm playing catch-up just little bit.  This is all news that broke earlier in the week but, hey, you know what they say--better late than never.


Chris Evans is "Captain America"
Marvel made it official on Sunday; they'd offered the part to Chris Evans on Friday and he'd accepted over the weekend.  The internet is abuzz with positive feedback on this casting but I'm not entirely convinced.  It'll be hard to say until we see some footage down the line.  Sure, Evans looks the part but I'm not convinced he can pull off the confident swagger than you need from Captain America.  Not to mention the fact that he's already played a Marvel superhero; has everyone forgotten that he was Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?  Yes, I know the FF rights are all tied up at Fox right now so those movies don't tie into these new Avengers set-up movies but, still, it bugs me.


Louis Leterrier Wants to Direct "Avengers"
Speaking of the Avengers, Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier is now officially on the shortlist to direct the forthcoming Avengers movie.  While the obvious choice would be Iron Man director Jon Favreau, it's not gonna happen.  Favreau already took himself out of the running, leaving Thor director Kenneth Branagh (yikes!), Captain America director Joe Johnston, and now Louis Leterrier.  Or Marvel could just go outside the box and hire a new director altogether.  I'm go out on a limb here and say that the best person for the job would be Johnston.  Looking at his resume, I think his directing style fits best in the Avengers world and I'm pretty optimistic that Captain America is going to turn out well (despite my reservations about the casting).  Leterrier is a great action director, so I'm not gonna be upset if he does land the job but I'm gunning for Johnston.


Nintendo Announces the 3DS
Out of the blue on Monday, Nintendo issued a press release announcing that they were developing a new handheld console which, despite its temporary name, is not just another version of the 5-year-old Nintendo DS.  The 3DS will feature (you guessed it) 3D graphics and will be backwards compatible with all Nintendo DS games.  That's about all that Nintendo had to say about it but leaks are saying that the system uses a Nvidia chipset, features rumble feedback, and an analog control stick.  There's also speculation that a new 3D screen technology from Sharp may be present in the 3DS.


So what do I think?  So far I'm underwhelmed.  Obviously, there's not a lot to go on here but with the Nintendo DS already the best-selling handheld in history with a slew of different versions available (including the new DSi XL which goes on sale this Sunday), I couldn't care less about a new Nintendo handheld right now, 3D or not.  What we really need to here from Nintendo is what they're going to do to follow-up on the Wii.  The novelty has worn and the list of great titles for the system has dwindled.  With Sony & Microsoft gearing up for Playstation Move and Project Natal, Nintendo needs to beat them to market with some kind of announcement, at least.  I'm guessing we'll hear something before the end of the year and in the meantime, Nintendo is promising to have the 3DS fully playable at this year's E3 conference in June.


There's a cool YouTube video floating around that shows what the 3DS might be like.  It's a new Japan-only DSiWare game that uses the DSi's inner camera to track movement and give the appearance of 3D.  It's pretty freaky and, yes, it is kinda cool:



Welcome to geek.shriek

Monday, March 22, 2010 - - 0 Comments

What is geek.shriek? Good question. We'll likely find out together. What I intend for it to be is just a depository for my daily musing regarding movies, video games, toys, books, comics, or whatever nerdy thing I come across during the day.



See, I read waaaay too much news everyday and I have opinions on everything I read. Agree or disagree but stick with me and you'll definitely get an earful. I'll try to provide relevant links and photos when necessary. Bear in mind, this is not intended to be a news site. Getting your news from this blog would be a little like getting your news from The Daily Show (although I hesitate to compare myself with the genius of Jon Stewart). I'm not here to report the news; I'm just here to rant and/or rave about it.

So, with all the introductions aside, stay tuned for a real post in the next day or so...

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