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Review: "Kick-Ass"

Friday, April 16, 2010 - - 0 Comments

NOTE: There will be no "Box Office Preview" this week.  The only genre movie opening is Kick-Ass, and I've seen it. :)


SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


A terrific movie--Kick-Ass succeeds on every level.  It's funny, violent, and incredibly entertaining.  It is a very hard R movie and, yes, Hit-Girl cusses a lot.  But when taken in context with just an ounce of free-thinking, it's perfectly fitting.


WARNING: (VERY, VERY MINOR) SPOILERS BELOW!!!


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Hot damn, what a great movie!  In case you couldn't figure it out from the trailer, Kick-Ass is the story of Dave, a typical nerdy teenager who decides to try his hand at crime-fighting and becomes the superhero, Kick-Ass.  Eventually, Kick-Ass finds himself aligned with fellow "heroes" Red Mist, Big Daddy, and Hit-Girl, in their quest to take down drug kingpin Frank D'Amico.


The cast is terrific: Aaron Johnson brings a real honesty to the title character (and you'd never know he's British), Christopher Mintz-Plasse actually brings a lot more to his character than just another "McLovin" rehash, Chloe Moretz is absolutely fantastic as Hit-Girl, and the always reliable Clark Duke once again fulfills his "best friend" role dutifully.  The only weak link may be Nicholas Cage and I'm still not sure about that--I've been debating it in my head all night.  His role is somewhat small, actually, but instead of the great actor we've seen in films like Leaving Las Vegas or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, we get the campy Cage from crap like Gone in 60 Seconds and The Wicker Man.  But at the same time, it seems to fit his character pretty well so I suppose I can't complain.


The script (by director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) was written simultaneously while the comic book was being written by "Wanted" writer Mark Millar, so even though I haven't read the comic, it feels as though the adaptation must be close.  Incidentally, this is the third film that Vaughn has directed and it's much more Layer Cake than Stardust.  In fact, if you take the violence of Layer Cake and multiply it by 1000, I still don't think you'd come close to Kick-Ass.  It's beautiful violence though, the kind of wonderfully choreographed slow-motion melee that we've come to expect from films like this.


All right, let's talk about Hit-Girl.  Her character alone is responsible for having the film banned in several countries and has led to several protests (even before the film was released, the Australian Family Association attacked the film after an uncensored clip was released in January where Hit-Girl utters the line, "OK, you cunts, let's see what you can do now.")  Is it shocking to see an 11-year-old girl talk that way?  Yes, absolutely.  Is it funny?  Are you kidding?  It's incredibly funny.  Does the film glorify Hit-Girl's behavior?  In a way, yes, but there's a complicated context that needs to be considered here.  Should a young girl behave that way?  No, of course not, but if it weren't for what happened to her parents, Hit-Girl wouldn't be the person she is now.  In a way, every foul thing that Hit-Girl does just adds to the evil of the Frank D'Amico character.  In the end, HE'S the one responsible for robbing this poor girl of her childhood and forcing her to take on this ruthless persona.  And here's the part that really bugs me: all of these governments and advocacy groups are crying foul over Hit-Girl's language but say practically nothing about her violence.  So it's okay for an 11-year-old girl to savagely murder an entire room full of men but there's a problem if she says "fuck"?  That makes no sense.


This really is a great movie and, as your resident uber-geek, I say it's way up there on the list of the top geek movies ever made.  It's the quote that every lazy critic is going to use in his review this weekend, but it's true: Kick-Ass really does kick ass.  Hard.

Spider-Man 4, Riddick 3, He-Man, Scorsese, Copley, Whedon/Avengers, Geographica, Gears of War 3, SyFy, Jack Kirby, X-COM, Han Soap-lo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Tons of news coming in this week.  Let's get right to it:


The New Peter Parker Is...Anybody's Guess
First, HitFix reported that a source told them that Percy Jackson star Logan Lerman was "almost 100% locked" to star as the newly teenaged web-slinger in Spider-Man 4 (expect that title to change...soon).  Then Sony vehemently denied that rumor, stating that Lerman wasn't even on the shortlist.  So who IS on the shortlist?  According to IESB, Zathura and The Vampire's Assistant star Josh Hutcherson is the only known person on the list.  So who will it be?  Who cares?  This whole thing sounds like a train wreck to me.


Riddick 3 Now Has a Title & A Plot
I still can't believe they're actually making another Riddick movie.  I truly thought this thing was dead after The Chronicles of Riddick.  But the film is in pre-production so it's a lock.  Coming Attractions got a look at the script and let loose a few details: the film is titled The Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking (I expect that to change before it hits theaters) and the plot involves Riddick being dumped on an alien world and coming to the realization that he must return to his violent roots in order to escape.  Expect a return to the series' low-budget roots.  I own the Riddick trilogy on DVD but to this day I've never gotten past Pitch Black.  I've tried to watch it at least 5 times now and I fall asleep every time.  I even tried once in the middle of the day while drinking a Mountain Dew and I still fell asleep.  I suppose I could cheat and just watch Chronicles or the little "in-between" anime movie but...I can't.


From Predators to He-Man
Heat Vision reports that Alex Litvak and Michael Finch, the screenwriting pair that dusted off Robert Rodriguez's old draft of the upcoming Predators movie, are the latest writers to take a stab at the new He-Man movie.  As you probably know, this project has been passed around at least a half dozen hands for the latter half of the last decade.  Litvak and Finch apparently impressed the studio and Mattel with their pitch, though, so now it's up to them to live up to that promise with their script.  I, for one, really hope they change the title from Masters of the Universe to He-Man.  Or, at least, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  This could be an awesome movie, if done right.


Martin Scorsese Is Making a 3D Sci-Fi Children's Movie?
I know...WTF?  Still, Scorsese is a brilliant filmmaker and he's actually gotten even better in recent years (IMHO).  So now comes news, via Variety, that Scorsese's next film with be an adaptation of Brian Zelnick's book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", and it will be filmed in 3D.  The story has something to do with a young boy who lives in a Paris train station and gets involved in a mystery surrounding his father and a robot.  Sounds pretty cool, plus the script is by one of my favorite screenwriters, John Logan (The Aviator, Star Trek: Nemesis).  I agree with those who say this 3D gimmick is getting overplayed, especially when it comes to shitty post-production 3D, but I really think that in the hands of truly visionary directors like Martin Scorsese, we could see some amazing things to come.


Sharlto Copley Goes Alien Again
According to Heat Vision, District 9 star Sharlto Copley is signed to star in the film version of an upcoming teen science-fiction novel, "I Am Number Four".  The plot sounds horrible--it has 9 alien refugees from a destroyed planet coming to Earth and disguising themselves as human teenagers.  Here's the thing, though...this movie is to be produced by Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, and directed by D.J. Caruso.  Those are some impressive credentials, and Caruso showed some serious talent with Eagle Eye.  We'll see how this one pans out...for now, I'm cautiously curious.


Joss Whedon Will Direct The Avengers
It's official...well, almost.  Deadline New York reports that Whedon is final negotiations to direct Marvel's Avengers movie.  Yep, I still hate Joss Whedon but, as I said a few weeks ago when this rumor first broke, I'm actually okay with this move.  I've even decided that I don't care if Whedon does a quick rewrite on the script.  The always reliable Zak Penn is the officially credited screenwriter at this point so the most Whedon could do is polish up Penn's work.  As mush as I loathe his writing, Whedon's done some decent work as a collaborator (Toy Story, Speed, Waterworld) so this should pan out pretty well.  Beaks from Ain't It Cool News points out another conundrum that Whedon will have to deal with as The Avengers director: egos.  I hadn't thought much about it but it's true; every star and every agent in Hollywood is always vying for the biggest piece of the pie.  It would be very easy for Robert Downey, Jr. to end up with the biggest role in The Avengers because he has the most star power and, thus far, his Iron Man film has performed best at the box office (and early indications are that Iron Man 2 will shatter box office records).  However, The Avengers should really focus more on Captain America and Nick Fury.  We'll see how it goes--hopefully Marvel can muscle these egos into some restrictive contracts.


Tolkien and Lewis Come To The Big Screen...Again
I've never heard of this, but apparently there's an ongoing book series called "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica" by James A. Owen that features a young J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as adventurers, in which their future epics ("Lord of the Rings", "Narnia") are inspired by said adventures.  That sounds kinda gay to me but it could be cool.  Anyway, The Hollywood Reporter says that Eagle Eye screenwriter Travis Adam Wright is currently at work adapting the first two books, "Here, There Be Dragons" and "The Search for the Red Dragons" for the silver screen.  I just don't know.


New Gears of War 3 Trailer
IGN has the new Gears of War 3 trailer that premiered on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" earlier this week.  The trailer is entitled "Ashes to Ashes" and...it kicks ass.  Seriously.  I love everything about this thing:




FYI: Gears of War 3 hits Xbox 360 in April 2011.  I agree--that's much too far away.

SyFy Originals Move to Tuesday
For years now, SyFy (formerly known as SCI FI Channel) has been airing their original series on Friday nights with limited success.  Well, this October they're going to be changing things up a bit.  TV Week reports that the WWE's "Friday Night Smackdown" is moving to SyFy, which means the network has to shuffle its original shows to another night.  Dave Howe, president of SyFy, says they chose Tuesday due to the success they've had on that night with shows like "Warehouse 13".  And guess what?  I'm actually not opposed to this in the least.  First of all, I'm one of the few people that actually liked the change from SCI FI to SyFy; as a marketing junkie, I can see how it makes perfect sense.  It gives the channel a brand identity instead of some generic genre moniker and it allows them to broaden their programming to show that aren't necessarily science-fiction but DO fit comfortably with the channel's other offerings.  I don't watch wrestling myself but I don't have a problem with it airing on SyFy.  In fact, moving "Stargate Universe", "Sanctuary", and "Caprica" to another night might give them a better chance of finding an audience (let's face it--nobody watches TV on Friday night).  And whereas "Friday Night Smackdown" has taken a beating in the ratings for the last few years (having moved from UPN to The CW to MyNetworkTV), their current ratings would actually be a win on a cable network.  So calm down, fanboys--this is good news.  Oh yeah, one last thing...this does mean that SyFy's current show, "WWE NXT" will be cancelled.  But I think that's a solid trade-off.

Jack Kirby + Sid and Marty Krofft = EPIC WIN
In the late 1970's, legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby did some work for Ruby-Spears animation and, shockingly, a stockpile of unfulfilled proposals and ideas by Mr. Kirby has been kept locked away in a box by the studio for more than 30 years.  Until now.  The New York Times reports that Ruby-Spears has teamed up with Sid and Marty Krofft (creators of classic fare like "Land of the Lost" and "H.R. Pufnstuf) to help bring these forgotten gems to life.  They're hoping to shop these projects around as possible franchises in Hollywood.  I am thrilled by all of this.  Kirby is a god to me and to think that there are untapped works that he created just sitting around, waiting to be presented to the world, gives me chills.  I highly recommend that you click the link above and take a look at the article; there's some awesome concept artwork there by Mr. Kirby himself that you can look through (click the "Slide Show" link of the left).  Please don't fuck this one up, Hollywood!

A New X-COM Game Is Coming
Bioshock 2 developer 2K announced today that they are developing a new X-COM game for Xbox 360 and Windows to follow one the highest regarded PC franchises of the 1990's.  The game will be a first-person shooter and 2K promises an immersive storyline.  The X-COM franchise, which dealt with an alien invasion, hasn't had a core game in its line since 1998's X-COM: Interceptor.  I never played these back in the day (I was never much of a PC gamer) but I know they were supposed to be the cream-of-the-crop.  Here's hoping this new take continues that tradition.

Wash Your Ass With Han Solo!
In what is definitely the coolest geek product I've seen since the Tauntaun sleeping bag, Luxury Lane Soap has introduced a new bar of soap shaped like Han Solo trapped in carbonite from Return of the Jedi:

Image of Soap in Carbonite - BACKORDER

The soap is 100% natural and fragrance free AND...since these are all made by hand, there is currently a 4-6 week back-order due to the enormous demand.  It is indeed the coolest soap ever.

"Lost" Recap: "Everybody Loves Hugo"

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SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


"Lost" is back on its game, people.  This is a must-see episode.  Great stuff.


WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!


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"Lost" just blew my fucking mind.  Again.  Even though it looked like just another "poor Hurley" episode, this week's "Lost" even managed to top last week's spectacular episode.  Hurley starts off the episode by asking Libby at her grave why she never comes to speak to him like the other dead people.  Not long after that, Ilana blows herself up with dynamite from the Black Rock and, at the behest of Michael, Hurley blows up the entire ship so no more dynamite can be used.  In the side-verse, successful entrepreneur Hurley meets up with side-verse Libby who somehow remembers him from the island.  Desmond shows up to prod Hurley into pursuing Libby and, in a weird parallel of their date on the island, Hurley suddenly has memories of the island, too, after Libby kisses him.  Meanwhile, back in the Lost-verse, Sayid delivers Desmond to the Locke-ness monster who promptly throws him down a well.  Back in the side-verse, Desmond runs his car over Locke in the school parking lot and drives away.


It's pretty clear now that the two universes are connected--but how and why are still big questions.  I'm loving the side-verse Desmond now, as he's becoming this all-knowing Jacob sort of figure, meddling with everyone's lives and apparently causing them to remember the island.  Why did he run over Locke, though?  I have a theory and we'll see how it pans out, but I'm guessing that whatever "loophole" the Man in Black used to change himself into Locke's doppelganger, it involves taking possession or switching forms with the Locke in the side-verse.  Therefore, Desmond's attack is an attempt to hurt and/or kill the Locke-ness monster in the Lost-verse.  I could be wrong--there are several holes in that theory--but I'm sticking with that for now.


I have one minor gripe with the episode and it's another example of the characters not acting like they have any common sense.  When Hurley tells the group that Jacob is standing among them and he has told Hurley they must speak with Locke, Richard challenges Hurley to prove it by telling him to ask Jacob what the island is.  Richard says something to the effect of, "A while back, Jacob told me what the island is.  If he's really here, ask him to tell you what it is."  Hurley's lying, of course, so he simply tells Richard that he doesn't have to prove anything to him.  Here's the thing, though--didn't anybody think to then say, "So, uh...Richard, now that that's settled, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ISLAND ANYWAY?"  Holy Christ--these people's entire lives have been continually ruined by this fucking island for years now and they have a golden opportunity to find out what it is and THEY DON'T ASK?!  That's crazy!


Speaking of "what the fuck is the island", I found it interesting that Michael tells Hurley that the whispers in the forest are the voices of the spirits who are trapped on the island and aren't ready to move on.  What does that mean?  Is the island some kind of limbo between life and death?  This is getting all kinds of interesting...

New Release Tuesday Preview: "Splinter Cell: Conviction", "Nightmare on Elm Street" Blu-ray, "GTA: Episodes From Liberty City" & More

Monday, April 12, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Man, what a crappy week for home entertainment.  Oh well, there were a few titles worth mentioning so here we go:


DVD / BLU-RAY


A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection
Nightmare on Elm Street Collection
Although there's already been a Nightmare on Elm Street DVD collection available for a couple of years now, this new set features new art (actually taken from the upcoming Elm Street remake), and now includes Freddy vs. Jason.  Unfortunately, it DOESN'T include the awesome bonus disc from the previous collection.  Still, if you're like me and don't much care about special features anyway, $50 for all 8 Freddy movies is a pretty good deal.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Blu-Ray)
A Nightmare on Elm Street [Blu-ray]
Also available tomorrow is the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street on Blu-Ray for the first time.  It, too, features art and titlework from the remake (which is seriously insulting in my opinion) but I'm dying to pick this one up.  This is still one of the scariest movies ever made and the high-definition should shed some light on the dark, dreary environments.

Creature of Darkness
Creature of Darkness
Don't know much about this except that it stars former child star Devon Sawa.  Here's an excerpt from the official synopsis: "A group of off-road enthusiasts battle an evil alien during a weekend trip into the wilderness."  Could be a good rental (but it could also be shite).

Infection: The Invasion Begins
Infection: The Invasion Begins
Don't know much about this one either but a reviewer on Amazon says that it's actually very self-aware and tongue-in-cheek.  I like that.  Here's the synopsis: "A mystery surrounds a small town that was wiped out on September 9, 2009. Now, sixty years later, Sarah, the last survivor, sends a reporter a letter suggesting what really happened on that day."  Might have to check it out.

The Daisy Chain
Daisy Chain
Nope, it's not about lesbians at all.  I know, I was disappointed, too.  I don't know anything about this one either except that it stars two-time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton (WTF?).  Here's the synopsis: "Oscar nominee Samantha Morton and Steven Mackintosh are Martha and Tomas, a grieving couple who move to a remote Irish village in the wake of their baby daughter's death. Touched by a traumatized, autistic girl whose entire family has perished in tragic accidents, they open their home to young Daisy. Martha believes that with her love, she can help Daisy...until a disturbing series of strange occurrences leads her to believe that her little girl may not be as innocent as she seems."  Sounds good enough but it also sounds like a rip-off of a dozen other movies I've already seen.  And why the fuck is this called The Daisy Chain anyway?

Ice Twisters
Ice Twisters
Now, this one I remember--it was a SyFy original sometime last year.  I didn't see it but it looked like a decent enough SyFy crapfest.  I wouldn't rent it now but if I was hungover in bed on a Saturday afternoon and it happened to be on, I would totally watch it.

"Haunted": The Complete Series
Haunted
Back when he was still that douchey drunk guy from "Party of Five" and before he was that awesome drunk guy from "Lost", Matthew Fox was in "Haunted" on UPN.  I watched a couple of episodes and I remember that I definitely didn't care for it but it wasn't terrible either.  I'd watch it again.  Thank the gods it got cancelled, though, or else "Lost" would never have been the same.

"Bakugan Battle Brawlers", Chapter 1
Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Chapter 1
I don't know anything about "Bakugan" and I really don't want to.  That said, my 9-year-old daughter thinks it's cool for some reason so I thought someone out there might care that this DVD set was coming out.  I really don't understand why it's called "Chapter 1" when it actually contains episodes 27-39 and, again, I really don't want to...


VIDEO GAMES

(Just a note first: unlike DVD/Blu-ray where I preview even the crappiest of genre titles, I will not be showing every game coming out each week.  That's because bad movies have a certain charm that geeks like me enjoy.  But bad games?  Well, they just suck.  So if I fail to mention that a new shovelware party game collection is coming out on Wii this week, there's a good reason.  Capiche?)

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (Xbox 360)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction
Ubisoft's Xbox 360-exclusive new title is the fifth in the Splinter Cell franchise and has been highly rated in early reviews.  The only one of these types of games I've played is Rainbow Six: Vegas and I know this is pretty different from that so I don't have much of a personal opinion.  I've seen a few commercials on TV, though, and it looks pretty sweet.  I'll probably pick it up in six or seven months when I can get a used copy for cheap with some trades.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City (PS3/Windows)
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
This collection of previously released downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV has already been out on Xbox 360 for a while now but now you PS3 and Windows users can get in on the action, too.  And you don't need a copy of GTA IV to play so if you've already traded yours in, you're good to go.  I was late to the party when it came to GTA IV so I thought it sucked when I finally picked up a copy.  Hence, I have not nor will I play this title either.

"Stargate Universe" Recap: "Divided"

Sunday, April 11, 2010 - - 0 Comments

SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


Another great episode of a show that just keeps getting better and better.  Must see for fans of science-fiction, Stargate, or televised drama in general.


WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!


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In "Divided", Dr. Rush takes the opportunity of having Young and Scott out in a shuttle to team up with Wray and execute a coup d'├ętat with the rest of the civilians onboard Destiny.  The military quickly retakes the ship, though, and we learn that Rush was only trying to keep Young from finding out about an alien tracking device surgically implanted in his chest.


Superb writing and acting all around, which is pretty much the norm on SGU.  I particularly enjoyed the music-filled teaser with Chloe's dream--great stuff.  The tension throughout the episode was absolutely palpable.


The consequences of the actions taken on this episode should be long-reaching.  I can't imagine the tension is going to get any better (especially for Greer) as the season wears on.

Review: "How To Train Your Dragon"

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SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:

One of the best family movies ever made and the second best 3D movie ever made (besides Avatar). Go. See. It. Now. I demand it.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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This is how you make a 3D movie, people! Holy cow, what a great movie--but first, the obligatory summary: How to Train Your Dragon is based on the best-selling book and tells the story of Hiccup, a young Viking who rejects the idea of killing dragons and befriends a dragon named Toothless.

Everything about this movie is great: the story tugs at all the right heartstrings and puts the thrills right where they need to be. The artwork is beautiful; even though the dragons are more "cartoony" than traditionally shown, they and the world they inhabit are wonderfully detailed. The voice acting is superb, too. I went into this one actually not knowing who was in the cast; I was able to peg Jay Baruchel as Hiccup but I was surprised when the end credits started rolling and I realized that the cast also included Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant.

But mostly, we've got to talk about the 3D. Remember when I urged you not to see Clash of the Titans in 3D? Well, now I'm urging TO see this movie in 3D. This is REAL-D: the kind of 3D you don't mind paying $12 a ticket for, the kind of 3D you rush to the theater to see because you know the experience will never be the same again on home video. It's the same immersive 3D you saw in Avatar--where you were sucked into the movie's world and felt like you could climb into the screen and join in. The dragon-flying sequences are particularly exhilarating in 3D, and the ending is to die for.

And, no, it doesn't matter if you don't have kids. Don't give me that shit. This is a good movie, period. It doesn't matter if your 5-year-old nephew has been running around all month in How to Train Your Dragon underoos, you'll still enjoy this movie.

Final thought: Great, great, great, great movie. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so--it currently has a 98% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which is practically unheard of).

What Shows Do I Watch?

Friday, April 9, 2010 - - 1 Comments

I've had a couple of people ask me recently which shows I actually watch since I obviously don't preview or recap every genre show on TV.  So let me break it down for you:


Genre Shows That I DO Watch


"Caprica"
I loved "Battlestar Galactica" (up until the last half of the final season & the atrocious series finale) so I'm continuing to watch "Caprica" week after week.  The show is really hit-or-miss with me, though, and I'm constantly telling myself to stop watching.


"Fringe"
I love, love, love this show--it's one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, I ended up missing a few episodes earlier this season and, since it's not available on-demand, I still haven't caught up.  I'm gonna try and remedy that this summer with reruns and DVDs.


"The Vampire Diaries"
Technically, my Twilight-crazed wife watches this show but I happen to be in the room most of the time.  I don't really care for it but since I've actually seen more episodes than I've missed, I suppose it belongs on this list.


"Heroes"
I almost gave up on "Heroes" after season 3.  I think we can all agree that the show has gone downhill since the end of season 1; however, I kinda liked season 4.  Things were toned back a bit and some of the charm was back.  I'm interested to see what will happen in season 5 after Claire's big reveal.


"Legend of the Seeker"
I started to watch this show and ended up quitting on it because I thought it was just cheesy.  Lo and behold, my wife decided she loved it so she took the time to Netflix the remaining episodes.  We're still behind on most of season 2 and she's seen more of them than I have but I'd call myself a fan.  It's still cheesy but it's the kind of cheese that I like.  (Plus, Jolene Blalock is in the cast now!)


"Lost"
What can I say that hasn't already been said?  The cream of the crop, the best of the best--if it weren't for this show, then half of the other shows on this list wouldn't exist.


"Sanctuary"
This is one of my absolute favorite shows.  I was never that impressed by the commercials but I happened to be home from work on the day of the season 2 premiere and SyFy was running an all-day marathon of season 1.  I got completely caught up and was hooked.  If you aren't watching "Sanctuary", trust me, you don't know what you're missing. (Oddly enough, the only episode SyFy didn't show during the marathon was the series premiere so that's the ONLY episode I haven't seen).


"Stargate Universe"
"Stargate" was one franchise that I never got into, mainly because of my weird obsessive-compulsive need to watch episodes in order.  Occasionally, I would catch an "SG-1" rerun in syndication and I always liked it but I refused to start watching week-after-week until I was able to catch up from the beginning.  Then, before I knew it, there were 10 seasons of "SG-1", two direct-to-DVD movies, five seasons of "Atlantis", and "Universe" was in pre-production!  I quickly realized that "Universe" would have no firm ties to existing mythology so I took that as a starting point, and I'm glad I did.  This is one of the most underrated shows on TV right now--yes, it owes a lot of credit to "Battlestar Galactica" but it's far from being the same show.  (Oh, and for the record, I'm halfway through season 3 of "SG-1" now).


"V"
When I was a kid, the original "V" scared the shit out of me.  The only thing I remember about it was the bloody "V" on the wall and something about lizard people.  That was enough for me to give the remake a try. It's only been on for a few episodes and it's really not bad.  It's not phenomenal either but I'm continuing to stick with it.


"Flashforward"
I really can't stand this show anymore but I'm convinced it's going to be cancelled and I'm still watching because I want to see what's going on before it ends.  The pilot episode was phenomenal but it was filmed with an entirely different writing staff and show-runner.  So starting with episode 2, the show had an entirely different tone and direction.  Ugh...could've been a great show.  Oh well.


Genre Shows That I DON'T Watch


"Doctor Who"
I'm actually a big fan of the old "Doctor Who", thanks to my buddy Joel.  I've seen quite a few episodes from all 7 original doctors, I have bootlegs of the FOX "Doctor Who" TV movie on both VHS and DVD, and I've read several of the 8th Doctor novels.  I just never took the time to get into the new show.  I've seen about half of the first season with Christopher Eccleston but, again, due to my obsessive need to watch things in order, I never watched any of the David Tennant episodes.  Catching up is on my to-do list (all of the seasons are available for instant viewing on Netflix) but in the meantime, I think I'll go ahead and watch the new series with Matt Smith.  Seems like it should be a good jumping-on point.


"Eureka"
This one just never looked that great to me until recently but I feel like it's too late to jump in now.  I may play catch-up at some point.


"The Ghost Whisperer"
The only reason I would even consider watching this show would be to see J-Love's massive boobs jiggle around but I have the internet for that.  And now that Jamie Kennedy is in the cast, you won't see me going anywhere near this nightmare.


"Medium"
No.  Just...no.


"Supernatural"
This show just looked stupid to me but I've heard some good things about it.  The whole Friday the 13th episode they tried to do a few seasons ago sounded like a cool idea but unfortunately it never came to fruition.  Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'm gonna continue to pass on this one.


"Smallville"
As I've said before, I was always more into Marvel, not DC, but Superman is one character that I do know a little about.  Still, when this show premiered, it just looked like a massive raping of the Superman mythos and I couldn't be privy to that.  Ten seasons later and I gather that it actually turned out pretty well.  I'll never know--that's way too much to catch up on.


"Being Human"
"Doctor Who" is about all the cheesy British CGI I can handle but I've heard good things about this one.  SyFy is developing an American version so maybe I'll watch if it translates well.


"Merlin"
Another iconic character having his mythos raped week after week--just doesn't appeal to me.


"Warehouse 13"
I watched the series premiere of this show and didn't like it at all.  I know people who swear by it now so maybe I gave up too early.


"True Blood"
I don't have HBO or Showtime so it's hard to keep up with their shows.  With that said, "True Blood" is a show that I desperately want to see so I'm planning to get caught up very soon.


That's all of the current shows that I could think of.  Did I miss any?

Box Office Preview: "After.Life" & "The Black Waters of Echo Pond"

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There actually aren't any genre movies opening in wide release this weekend, although there are quite a few still playing from the last few weeks (see below).


Two genre movies are opening in limited release this weekend (although neither of them are playing anywhere near me):

After.Life stars Christina Ricca as a woman who refuses to believe that she is dead after a terrible car accident. The funeral director, played by Liam Neeson, convinces her that he can communicate with the dead and she is merely in transition to the afterlife. In the meantime, her boyfriend (Justin Long) has a feeling that all is not right with the funeral director. I've seen the trailer and a couple of clips from this one and it looks pretty good. And, from what I gather, the ending is quite a shock.

The Black Waters of Echo Pond also opens in nationwide limited release, but I'm not so sure about this one. It looks like a weird mix of Cabin Fever and Jumanji. Basically, a group of teenage friends spend the weekend in an old cabin but find an old board game that ends up making them kill each other. Robert Patrick is the only star (and that's not saying much). I'd give it a watch but I'll probably wait 'til it's on disc.

Other Genre Titles Still in Theaters:
Clash of the Titans
How to Train Your Dragon
Alice in Wonderland
Hot Tub Time Machine
The Crazies



Limited Release:

Avatar
Repo Men
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Apes Prequel, Cowboys & Aliens, Green Lantern, Toxic Avenger, Star Trek Online, Breaking Dawn, War of the Gods

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Planet of the Apes Prequel Has New Name & Director
Just yesterday I talked about the fact that the Apes prequel was still alive and now the studio has confirmed it.  Fox will start filming on Planet of the Apes: Caesar this July under the direction of Rupert Wyatt.  Interestingly, the movie is now being listed as a prequel to the Tim Burton remake, NOT a complete series reboot.  Sounds like pure shit to me.


Harrison Ford Returns to Sci-Fi in Cowboys & Aliens
Okay, I guess technically Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull counts as sci-fi but I don't even want to think about that.  Jon Favreau confirms via Twitter that Harrison Ford will star in his upcoming comic adaptation Cowboys & Aliens, alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde.  I love Zathura and Iron Man so I'd be interested in anything Favreau directs but I am REALLY interested in this now.  Not only is Favreau directing with Ford, Craig, and Wilde starring, but the script is co-written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers, TV's "Fringe"), and the film's executive producers are Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard.  This thing is gonna be huge.  I haven't read the comics but I think I'm gonna seek them out now.


First Set Pic From Green Lantern
I don't know dick about Green Lantern--I'll admit that right up front.  I was always a Marvel guy, not a DC guy, so if it's not Batman or Superman then I'm completely in the dark.  Nonetheless, I know Green Lantern's a popular character so there must be something there.  Anyway, the movie (starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan) is currently filming in Louisiana and someone over at ComicBookMovie.com managed to snag a set picture.  There's no confirmation since this isn't an official picture, but most people seem to think this must be Abin Sur's spaceship.  I have no idea what that means but maybe it means something to you:



Akiva Goldsman Remaking Toxic Avenger
I don't understand Akiva Goldsman. The guy wrote Batman & Robin, which is probably the worst comic book movie ever made. But then he won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind and he's written/directed several excellent episodes of "Fringe". Personally, I think the guy's talented and when it came to Batman & Robin, he did what Warner Bros. and Joel Schumacher wanted him to do. At any rate, he's now producing a remake of the Troma classic Toxic Avenger. The film will be a PG-13 family friendly flick in the spirit of Jim Carrey's The Mask. This time Toxie will be "a green superhero for these environmentally conscious times". Yep, Toxic Avenger is yet another eighties movie that I haven't seen so I can't give too much of an opinion but I have to think this is gonna upset a few of the fanboys.


Star Trek Online NOT Coming to a Console Near You
I share this one mainly because it just pisses me off.  From the beginning, Cryptic Studios has said they planned to eventually release console versions of Star Trek Online.  Now they've changed their minds due to "difficulties with the business side of things".  This irritates me because I actually plopped down the $50 for the PC version on the day of release but the quality of the game on my low-end laptop is so poor that I had to stop playing after about a week.  My one saving grace was that I would soon be able to pick up an Xbox 360 version and start fresh.  Now I'm left with a useless game unless I want to throw down $1000 for ANOTHER laptop for the sole purpose of playing STO.  I don't think so.


Bill Condon May Direct Breaking Dawn
The interwebs are buzzing with shock and disbelief today over the news that Bill Condon is close to signing to direct The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.  Look, Condon is a talented writer/director (he wrote the screenplay for Chigaco, wrote/directed Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Dreamgirls) but before that he was the director of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and the writer of low-budget junk like Strange Behavior and Strange Invaders.  Why would he be opposed to Twilight?  It's sort of the best of both worlds: it's heavy drama with a bit of horror mixed in.  Personally, I think this is good news for the franchise.


War of the Gods Gets a Name Change
Tarsem Singh's upcoming Greek mythology movie War of the Gods will now be known as Immortals (presumably to prevent comparison to last week's Clash of the Titans remake).  Also, legendary actor John Hurt has joined the cast, which already includes Mickey Rourke, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Luke Evans, Stephen Dorff, and Henry Cavill.  This news comes via Variety.  Singh's first movie, The Cell, was a real stinker but visually, it was really impressive.  I'm optimistic that this one turns out well.

"Lost" Recap: "Happily Ever After"

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SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


More questions and no answers but still one the series' best episodes.


WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!


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It's weird how last week's episode provided no answers whatsoever and was absolutely terrible yet this week's episode also delivers no answers and manages to be one of the series' best.  Desmond is back, brought to the island by Charles Widmore after being shot by Ben.  Widmore subjects Desmond to a huge electromagnetic shock to see if he can survive a second time.  In the Sideverse, Desmond works for Widmore, has no idea who Penny is, and is tasked with delivering one Charlie Pace to a concert with Widmore's son, Daniel.


Charlie tells Desmond how his life changed when he suddenly fell in love with a mysterious blonde woman while choking on a bag of heroin and now wants to die.  When he yanks the steering wheel and drives the car into the water, the scene bears an uncanny resemblance to Charlie's drowning death in the Lostverse.  So much so that Desmond actually starts to see flashes from the Lostverse, including Charlie's hand with the words "Not Penny's Boat" written on it.  Widmore is married to Eloise Hawking in the Sideverse and when Desmond meets her in person to apologize for not delivering Charlie to the concert, she tells him, "Someone has affected the way you see things," says it's a "violation" and, "You're not ready yet, Desmond."


As he leaves, he is met by Daniel Farraday (known as Daniel Widmore in the Sideverse) who talks to him about true love, shows him a notebook with advanced equations that Daniel shouldn't have known how to write, and tells him where to find Penny.  Back in the Lostverse, Desmond is awakened after the experiment and is suddenly eager to help Widmore.  Sayid shows up, though, and takes out all of Widmore's crew.  Desmond leaves with Sayid.


Finally, back in the Sideverse, Desmond does meet Penny and they make plans for an informal date.  Desmond then makes arrangements to have the flight manifest from Oceanic 815 delivered to him.  Why?  Because he has wants "to show them something".


Damn, what a good episode!  Like I said, no real answers but the questions are becoming more intriguing.  It seems this Sideverse may have a purpose after all.  I was beginning to suspect it was just a filler device by the writers but it seems this alternate reality does exist and it may be of significance to the Lostverse.  I still want to know what the hell Widmore wants with Jin and why he suddenly seems to be a good guy but with only a handful of episodes left, for once I know those answers are coming.

Tron 3, Apes, Robotech, Voltron, RE: 3D, Dark Life, Thing Prequel, Inception, LOTR Blu-Ray, HDMI, Xbox Live Arcade, Fright Night

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - - 0 Comments

Guess who forgot to write his new release Tuesday DVD column this week...?  Oops.  I still have a little Blu-Ray news to report further down today:


Writers Hired for Tron 3
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, writers/producers of TV's "Lost" and the upcoming Tron: Legacy, have already started work on a third film in the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  Disney must be banking on a hit, 'cause Legacy doesn't even hit theaters until December.  I know I'm going to be burned at the stake for admitting this but I've actually never seen Tron.  I know, I know.  Still, I'm excited about Tron: Legacy--it looks cool as hell--so I'm all for continuing the franchise.  And, yes, I'll go add Tron to my Netflix queue asap.


Planet of the Apes Prequel Still On
MTV talked to special-effects artist Aaron Sims and he states that the Apes prequel, titled Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, is still in pre-production.   "They're just starting. There was another director, It's in the process right now," says Sims.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I'm a big fan of the original movie (not so much the sequels or TV series) but I hated Tim Burton's remake.  Fox intends for this to be a reboot of the series, but setting it in the present day as a prequel scares me.


Sylvan White Circling Robotech
I loved "Robotech" when I was a kid; I wasn't maniacal about it but I did enjoy it.  A lot of my friends had the toys and the VHS episodes and whatnot; honestly, I couldn't tell you a thing about it now.  I just don't remember--but I'm eager to see a big-ass $200 million Hollywood version refresh my memory.  Director Sylvan White (of the upcoming DC comic adaptation The Losers) may be the one to bring it to us.  He tells Latino Review, "I'm interested in doing it. The project is not fast tracked. There is no official thing. They sent me a draft and I liked it. It's a work in progress."  Note to Hollywood: fast-track this thing. NOW.


New Animated "Voltron" Coming/Movie Script Tossed Out
Coming Attractions had the opportunity to visit World Event Productions, which is the studio that is producing the new "Voltron Force" cartoon.  Not much info on the new show but they did learn that the movie script by Justin Marks (of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) has been scrapped and the studio is planning to start from scratch with a new writer.  I was a big "Voltron" fan, too, but I have trouble seeing this one translating well to the big screen.  A new animated show is cool news, though.


Resident Evil: Afterlife Trailer
First things first: I hate Paul W.S. Anderson.  The only movie he's made that I even came close to enjoying was Event Horizon and that was a long time ago, so my memory may be failing me there.  I also hated the first Resident Evil movie; so much so that I avoided the sequels like the plague.  Here's the thing, though--he directed this new installment using the new 3D camera system designed by James Cameron for Avatar.  That means this thing is in REAL 3D, and I have such a hard-on for real 3D that I might just have to see this in the theater.  Other than the fact that it's in 3D, though, it really doesn't look that interesting:



Robert Zemeckis/Disney option "Dark Life"
Variety reports that Zemeckis and Disney are hoping to turn the upcoming young adult novel "Dark Life" into a film franchise.  According to Variety, "Book is set in a near-future world in which rising ocean levels and natural catastrophes have led some people to homestead on the ocean floor, and kids to develop supernatural powers. Story centers on an underwater teenage boy and a surface girl who join forces to uncover a government conspiracy."  As long as he doesn't turn it into another performance-capture crapfest, I'm in.  Does anyone remember when Robert Zemeckis was a REAL director?  Back to the Future?  Forrest Gump?  Cast Away?  Then he suddenly decided that sub-par performance-capture CGI was the way to go and cranked out The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol.  Now, granted, I haven't seen any of those movies but they look terrible.  And that's enough for me.

The Thing Prequel is an "Homage"
Want to know another movie I've never seen?  John Carpenter's The Thing.  Sometimes I really am the worst geek ever, I know.  Anyway, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel is gearing up and Shock Til You Drop spoke to one its stars, Joel Edgarton.  Here's what he says:


"Well, it's a prequel and definitely the Norwegian base is modeled on the base you see in the Carpenter film," he told us. "Being a prequel you'll see a lot of tie-ins as to how the base comes to be the way it is in the Carpenter film, being so destroyed, and that evidence you see in the Carpenter film, We'll get a glimpse into that. It's great because you have a bunch of people behind making it—Eric Newman and Marc (Abraham), the producers at Strike (Entertainment), those guys and Matthijs the director, they have such respect for the original film that they're not trying to do a remake, they're just trying to pay homage to the original and also do the right thing with what I think is a real cool way in to doing that, and revisiting the material."


Since I haven't seen the original, I don't really have an opinion here but I know a lot of people were upset at the idea of anyone touching Carpenter's original so maybe this news will appease them a little.


What the Hell is Inception About?
Have you seen the trailer for Christopher Nolan's new film, Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio?  Did it makes sense to you?  Me either, but it does look cool and Nolan's a genius.  The Los Angeles Times spoke to Nolan and he finally revealed some high-level plot details.  If you want to stay spoiler-free, I'd advise you not to click.  But I can tell you that the details are VERY high level so there's not too much spoilage regardless.


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on Blu-Ray
Here's that DVD/Blu-Ray news I promised you.  As of today, the LOTR trilogy is now available on Blu-Ray.  Here's the catch, though--these are the theatrical versions, not the awesome extended versions.  But I gotta admit, I'd almost buy them just to see LOTR in high-def...although I know that's exactly what New Line Home Video wants me to think because they know I'll be perfectly happy to purchase the trilogy AGAIN next year when they finally release the extended versions.  Decisions, decisions...


Expensive HDMI Cables are Bullshit
A great article over at Mint.com confirms my long-held belief that there is absolutely NO REASON to spend a ton of money on expensive HDMI cables (Monster Cable even has a gold-plated version for $250!).  Here's the deal: unlike component cables where the signal CAN degrade depending on the quality of the cable, HDMI is purely digital--meaning the same digital information is transferred from one component to another, regardless of the "quality" of the cable.  Think of it this way: when you use a USB cable to transfer photos from your camera to your computer, don't the photos always come out the same, no matter what cable you use?  That's because the "quality" is in the photo file itself--not the cable.  It's exactly the same with HDMI, so next time find the cheapest ones you can.


Halo 3 and Tomb Raider: Legend Coming to Xbox Live Arcade
Now that there's a 250GB hard drive and USB memory support is available for the Xbox 360, Microsoft is going balls-to-the-wall with their downloadable games.  Coming next Tuesday to Live Arcade is Tomb Raider: Legend and, the following Tuesday, 2007's Halo 3.  My prediction?  This is the beginning of the end for disc-based games.  Within 5 years, we'll be buying all of our games online.  Trust me.


Anton Yelchin Joins Fright Night Remake
Star Trek's new Chekov, Anton Yelchin, will headline Craig Gillespie's remake of the 1985 movie, Fright Night.  The Hollywood Reporter states that Marti Noxon's script keeps many details of the original movie in place.  Jesus Christ--Fright Night is yet another movie that I haven't seen.  I really need to get with the program.

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