Wednesday, January 30, 2013

To Rock and to Rule

A malevolent rock star kidnaps a female singer to force her to participate in the summoning of a demon and her band must help stop him.

That is a real synopsis of a real movie believe it or not. The name of the film is Rock & Rule. It is a movie that came to my attention by chance. I do not recall exactly when, but close to thirty years ago, my dad happened to record an obscure animated film from 1983 that happened to be broadcast most likely on HBO. Not that I have sufficiently made myself feel old. I’ll go one further and remind everyone that there was a time that there was only one HBO channel. And recorded as on a VCR. Ah the days of the VCR… Sorry.

Anyway, it’s a curios animated film that includes music from Cheap Trick, Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Earth Wind & Fire. It’s a weird animated anomaly that is just good times. Not exactly something made for kids, even though I was a kid when I saw and enjoyed it, but it is a fun flick to watch.

It is the classic struggle between good and evil where a young hero must save his true love. He also learn that his selfishness is holding him back and the woman he loves (well, woman as in female, everyone is descended from something not human in this) completes him more then he knows. Just animated with a killer soundtrack. And yes, a tad cheesy. But cheese can be good.

It had always held a nostalgic place in my heart. And I am glad I found it again. It’s available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The too short life of Doctor Donna.

Donna Noble is like many of us. She thought her life was mundane. Living with her mom and her grandfather, works as an office temp, Donna dreams of something more. And once, she was much more. Much, much more. But she does not remember. Nor can she ever remember. Once, she was a Time Lord.

Donna was different from the new generation of companions in that she was older, in her 30s, and there was never a romantic connection between the Doctor and her. She popped up in his life earlier in the series, but she became his companion at a time when he needed a friend more then anything else. And she became his best friend and arguably the best companion he ever had. There relationship could be described as something close to being brother and sister. They were a good team. He broadened her view of the universe and she kept him grounded.

Donna, the 30 something office temp became Donna the traveler of time and space. At the end of her run on the series, she became a Time Lord and the savior of the universe. She saved all of existence when even the doctor could not. In real terms, she even became greater then the Doctor and was the first Time Lord/Human hybrid. But it was her human side that would be her downfall. A human cannot handle the power and knowledge of a Time Lord. Her heart was willing, but her body would not survive. To save her life, the Doctor had to erase her memory and take away everything that she became or her mind would burn. Tearfully she pleaded that she did not want to go back. But he had no choice. She can never know about her life with the Doctor. Doctor Donna had to die so that Donna Noble could live.    

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giant robots vs. giant Monsters. Pacific Rim

They didn’t come from space. They came from beneath the ocean, from another dimension. Giant monsters, Kaiju, bringing death and destruction can only be stopped by one thing, giant robots, Jaegers. And the Jeagers are going to make sure there is no apocalypse tonight. Or so says Idris Elba in the trailer. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi play a duo of unlikely heroes, a former pilot and a rookie, who man a legendy, but also older model, Jaeger, as humanities last defense.

Pacific Rim is director Guillermo del Toro’s “beautiful poem to giant monsters.” And it does look beautiful. But should we expect anything led from the director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy? The effects look spectacular and this could be the closest to a Godzilla movie that we are going to get for a while. Let’s get ready for an epic battle.

A little bonus for the gamers, Ellen McLain will voice the AI running the Jaeger. This is with permission from Valve Corporation in homage to the AI character, GLaDOS, who McLain also voices in the Portal games.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Fringe Farewell

On Friday we lost one of the only true sci-fi shows on television. It began in 2008 when J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Robert Orci brought us a show that at first seemed like a new version of the X-Files. Fringe followed FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) as she investigates strange phenomenon connected to fringe science. Science on the fringes of what we consider ethical or even possible. Her team consists of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), his assistant Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), and Dr. Bishop’s estranges son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). Initially, the series followed a formula what became what was known as the freak of the week, strange events and often creatures that had to be investigated. Slowly the stories revealed a conspiracy involving these fringe science events, and then the threat from an alternate reality and in the end became the tale of humanities resistance to the oppression of the “Observers”, an advanced race from the future.

With the series reaching 100 episodes, it will now most likely go into syndication and more people will be able to enjoy what they have been missing this whole time, mystery, action, suspense, romance, comedy, monsters, drug humor, and tragedy. Not to mention the occasional appearance by Leonard Nimoy. All this combined with excellent writing. There is a lot to love about the show. And as with many shows you grow to love, it is tough to see it go and say goodbye to characters that you come to care about. But as any good fiction, it never really goes away any it can always be relived again and again. And it was moving to see some cast members brought to tears last year at their farewell panel at San Diego Comic-Con. It is a sad thing to see it go but it was a good five seasons.

And now when I see Joshua Jackson I will not think of him as Pacey, he’ll also be Peter to me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The music of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Not a lot of people went out of their way to see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in theaters. I'm glad I did. Not only was it funny, but the action and effects were good. But possibly the best part was the music.

The most amazing thing about the music is that the cast just doesn't play a band in the film, they are actually the ones playing the music and singing. The songs from Sex Bob-Omb are written and composed by Beck and are performed by Michael Cera, Mark Webber, Alison Pill, and Johnny Simmons. Just like actors learning fight choreography for an action movie, the actors had to lear how to play their instruments before filming began. Actress Brie Larson also sings the song Black Sheep from the fictional band The Clash at Deamonhead. The song is from the real band, Metric, whose version is found in the soundtrack. Some people, especially gamers, will also recognize sounds and music from various games such as The Legend of Zelda used throughout the movie.

Critics gave positive reviews, people in the film, music, and gaming industry liked it, but not a lot of people went to see it. Their loss. But it does seem like it has picked up steam on DVD and Blu-ray.

If you have not seen it yet, why not? No, really. Why not?

Garbage Truck

Black Sheep


Summer Time

Monday, January 14, 2013

A world without Wonder Woman

The worlds of fantasy and science fiction are mostly a male dominated area. Especially when it comes to television and movies. When we do find strong women, it is often in the supporting cast. Attempts to make a series or movie with a female lead don’t seem to have been taken as seriously. If anything, the character becomes more sexualized and not as competent. Take for example the Cat Woman movie featuring Halle Barry. Granted, the costume was not the only thing wrong with that movie, but it was a poor start. So where are the women like Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley? Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek have also brought us admirable women, but not leads. There was Captain Janeway, but even then, Voyager was ensemble cast.

We had a recent attempt to bring one of the most powerful and iconic female characters to life.

I still cringe.

Unfortunately the people behind the Wonder Women TV pilot failed to grasp what we desire. We want Wonder Women, Amazon warrior. Not someone running around in a barley fitting Halloween costume with a plotline that was overly complicated and apparently very weak. I am only speaking for what I have heard. The pilot was not good enough to even broadcast and I cannot bring myself to burn money on a copy that you can find at a convention. A Wonder Woman movie has been floating around as well, but nothing has come from it.
Of any character in comics, Princess Diana of Themyscria is currently the closest to having her own movie. But what kind of Wonder Woman will we get?

We've had this?

Maybe something serious like this?

Alex Ross version of Diana in the Kingdom Come miniseries is something to behold as well, but a good picture is difficult to find online. But you get the idea?

I hope whoever is given the green light to bring Wonder Woman to television or film will take this serious women seriously.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Breaking the 4th wall with Wade

Even though Wolverine left a bad taste in our mouths, there is still a desire to see a Deadpool movie. Hopefully one that will respect what we all love about Wade. Instead of, say, silencing a character that is known for and loved for his non-stop talking. So when will Wade Wilson get his moment on the big screen? Even Stan Lee has given Deadpool some love. So what is the hold up?

Well, first, the man most likely to play the Merc With a Mouth got booked to play The Green Lantern in three movies. Granted, three movies aren’t likely to happen at this point considering The Green Lantern didn’t go over very well. I thought it was pretty good, but it takes more than a few people to like movie to make a movie successful. Also, the movie that introduced Wade on the screen did not do well either. Then there was scheduling conflicts with Ryan Reynolds. Then it’s possible that two failed comic book movies with the same actor in it might cool some people to putting said actor in another flick. But as much as I'd like to think I have a handle on how Hollywood works, sometimes you can never tell what will make it into production and what won’t. With the next two X-Men related movies in the works, maybe Wade won’t be too far away. Oh, in case you don’t keep up with things, the two X-Movies are The Wolverine and X-Men First Class: Days of Future Past.

But on the off chance there is a window for Wade to make it back into the movies, and if Ryan Reynolds can’t find the time, there just may be another man who could bring Deadpool to life. Guy Pierce. Yes, you have seen him in a few movies, but why would I think he could be Wade? He was recently in a movie in which a lot of you didn’t see, Lockout. This is brilliant sci-fi action gem from Luc Besson. You know, the same guy who brought us movies like The Professional, The Fifth Element, and also recently, Colombiana.  But back to Guy Pierce. In Lockout, he played Snow, a wisecracking, badass, secret agent that talked way too much for his own good causing his mouth to get him into trouble, constantly.  Sound familiar? It’s just a thought. Wade’s face is supposed to be disfigured and scarred anyway so as long as he could play the part, anyone can be Deadpool.


Ryan Reynolds


Guy Pearce

So when do we get Deadpool the movie? Hopefully sooner than later. Oh, and check out Lockout. It’s pretty good.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Games Begin… Again

The tale of the 75th annual Hunger Games, aka the Quarter Quell to those who read the book, is now in production. If you have not read the books, Catching Fire is where things start to really get interesting. Katniss, in the books anyway, comes to learn that she is becoming Joan of Arc to a revolution that will soon become a civil war in Panem.

This is the spoiler alert for those who have not read the books.

In Catching Fire, the book, Catniss and Peeta live their now more comfortable lives as Hunger Games winners. They begin to wonder about the kids who they will now be mentors for in the next games when the 75th games will be special. Tributes will be selected from previous winners. There is obviously a different mood leading up to the games since the tributes are veterans and some have known each other for a long time.  Katniss gets a growing sense of something else going on behind the scenes but does not know how deep the conspiracy goes until literally all hell breaks loose at the end. There is even a kind of Empire Strikes Backish ending. Well, I felt it was kind of Empireish.

As with the first film, talented actors has signed on to fill out the cast of characters who Catniss will come to know whether she likes it or not. Among them are:

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Plutarch Heavensbee

Sam Clafin – Finnick Odair

Jena Malone – Johanna Mason

Amanda Plummer – Wiress

Jeffrey Wright - Beetee

Considering how well The Hunger Games turned out with such a limited budget, it will be exciting to see if Catching Fire can live up to it.

And this week, Entertainment Weekly will be showing off the first official photos.

The IT Crowd: Piracy warning

The IT Crowd is probably one of the best TV nerd related series in existence. Possibly better then the Big Bang Theory. I had to find it on DVD from the local library because my access to the BBC is somewhat limited. If you can get a hold of it, watch it and enjoy.

Who will be your Doctor? Part 4

Final Candidates:
I am going to end this little series of articles with something that might cause a bit of conversation. That is if anyone bothers to read or comment for a change. Anyway… The list could be endless as there are a few actors who could handle the challenge of being funny, eccentric, and get a little dark as the next Doctor. But lets think outside the box here. Besides, this is all in fun. And here we go.

Now before you anti-Twilight segments have a heart attack and get to posting your anonymous rage, hear me out. I am not a fan of whatever those were that are considered movies and books. Vampires do not sparkle in my world. However, I have seen Pattinson in interviews and I kinda like the guy. No, not in the Twilight fan way. He has also had other roles that are non-sparkly vampire related. Remember, the guy was a Hufflepuff before he was a Cullen. And consider this, a person with his following might open up more broadcasters to putting Doctor Who on the air for more people to see. It’s great that BBC America exists. But not everyone gets that channel. Bottom line, he is a talented actor with a good sense of humor. And come on, you know it would be funny to see some sort of vampire and werewolf reference on the show.

Much like Pattinson, Radcliffe has a following that could raise the profile of Doctor Who in the United States. He also had a good sense of humor and has tackled a wide range of roles. I would be interested to see what he could do with the role. I’d also like to see what kinds of Potter references.

Considering his film career is taking off really well, it’s doubtful you could get him committed to a TV series. But in the future, who knows. He can handle drama, comedy, action, etc. Plus he is easier to defend as a choice than a guy who sparkles in the sun like diamonds. Seriously though, Garfield is another great young actor who could open up the world of Doctor Who to more people who don’t always get a chance to catch a great sci-fi series from the BBC.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Star Lord loses one to Sin City

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has agreed to a role in Sin City which removes him from the list of actors in the running for Star Lord in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Gordon-Levitt will be playing Johnny, a gambler who does not appear in the Sin City comics. Marvel's loss is Frank Miller and Dimensions Films gain.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Y: The Last Man should be a TV series

It’s a world nearly without men. And in the case of the last man, he might just be barley a man. Yorick is no hero. And even he asks how of all the millions of men that could have survived a man killing plague, how is it that he is the one to carry on the species? It’s not a superhero tale. Much like The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man is about how people are trying to survive in a brave new world that no one was prepared for, least of all Yorick.
For a few years now, a film adaptation has been in development with various writers, directors, and actors being attached or rumored to be attached. But with such a huge story ark containing so many things that spans years, can a film or more likely, a series of films even hope to contain the tale? I suppose if you can have successful adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit, it is possible. But are feature films the beast way to present the story? I’d be more interested in seeing Y take the same rout as The Walking Dead and find its way to TV. There are similarities. Both involve groups of people trying to survive in a world after it is ravaged by a plague. And both demonstrate that even when humanity is close to extinction, as long as some people survive, crazy will never go extinct. But neither will hope.

Y: The Last Man comes to us via Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC. It's the same publisher that brought us V For Vendetta and WatchmenEither way the comic comes to life, we have a real opportunity to see a female dominated story. Literally.  Yorick would be the only man in the entire series. And even though he is the title character, it’s through women around him that he is able to accomplish anything. But I’d still rather see it as a TV series. There are plenty of details that would likely be edited out of a feature film that would otherwise enrich a story on television. A man, his monkey, a lethal government agent, and a scientist on a road trip covering different continents may sound like an odd formula for a good story, but it does work. It is very good actually. Even Stephen King called it “The best graphic novel I’ve ever read.”  If the movie stays in perpetual development, maybe someone will try to take it to a network like AMC and give us another great TV show to obsess over. Not on HBO or Showtime hopefully. We already have a Game of Boobs. We don't need a Y: The Last... Never mind. You get the idea.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Who will be your Doctor? Part 3

Doctor Who
Female candidates:
Why not a woman? We are very used to seeing The Doctor as a man. He has been a he 11 times so far. And for some fans it is jarring enough to see another man jump in, it would be harder for a woman to take over and be accepted. But if any womon could, who? This was the hardest part of this list to figure out. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And please not just because “she is hot.”

Okay, maybe not a lot of you know her very well. If you had access to BBC and watched an excellent show called Luther with Idris Elba, you would know her. She portrays Alice Morgan, a highly intelligent cold blooded psycho killer. Well, she actually only kills her parents and a crooked cop on the show, but she can be quite funny in a charming/menacing kind of way.

From royalty to assassins, Helen Mirren has shown she can handle all kinds of rolls. And there is no rule that when the Doctor regenerates he has to be young. Or is there? No seriously, is there? Anyway, she can handle drama and comedy, so why not?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Video Pick: Queen - Flash

Cheesy, yes. But in a good way. Besides, it's Queen. And you should really take the time to enjoy the awesomeness that is Flash Gordon the movie. It is a cult classic of cheesy psychedelic sci-fi with a soundtrack done entirely by Queen. How could you not want to watch this movie?

Fun bit of trivia, Sam Jones, who stars as Flash Gordon, is a former Marine who now works as a private security contractor for VIPs and executives in high risk areas. And, yes, on occasion a client had suddenly recognized that the intimidating guy with the gun was in that awesome 80s movie. So if you got the money and a burning desire to travel to somewhere sketchy, you can in fact get Flash Gordon as your bodyguard.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who will be your Doctor? Part 2

Doctor Who
American Candidates:
As The Doctor will always more than likely be played by someone British, it could be fun to see what an American can do with the part.

His role as Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy may as well be a demo reel for the part. A man from space, who is slightly off, and  travels the galaxy looking for adventure. Just add travels trough time as well as space and you practically have the Doctor already. I can’t say that I am very familiar with his music, but with what little I have seen of his career as an actor has convinced me that he could do it.

Another alum from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Rockwell is very good and convincingly dumb and slightly insane as Zaphode Beeblebrox, the president of the Galaxy. To me his career seems to fly under the radar even though he has played both comedy and drama with amazing ability in films like Galaxy Quest, Moon, and The Green Mile.  So if he were ever in consideration, he should be placed high on the list.

A veteran of science fiction, Alan Tudyk had played comedic and dark/twisted characters. He is also no stranger to being in TV series that many Americans have not seen that are very good. (Firefly, Dollhouse) He can be both funny and dangerous as the same character and definitely play tortured.

Walkers don’t get no love

I guess it is not too much of a surprise that a “genre” show gets forgotten during award season. Well, first, let’s forget the whole “genre” thing. To be honest, I don’t know what that even means. Every show can be categorized into some sort of genre. So let’s get back to the show I am talking about, The Walking Dead.

It reminds me of Battlestar Galactica in a lot of ways. Battlestar was a sci-fi series, in case you have never heard of it for some reason. Robots, space battles, etc. But it was also a very character driven drama. In other words, it had very good story content and it was about the characters living in this tough situation. The situation just happened to be in space. And it involved a mechanical race hell bent on ending humanity. It is a very good series that even people who were not necessarily into sci-fi really enjoyed. Everyone except anyone in any kind of position to nominated it for an award on a major televised award show. It got awards. Prestigious awards. They were just nothing that a major network would ever air.

Enter The Walking Dead. Yes, it is a TV show involving a zombie apocalypse, but just like Battlestar, the focus is on the characters and their journey. Three seasons in, the series keeps building its audience and its acclaim. The actors are brilliant and the stories are equally so. You could say it is almost a drama that is set in the world of a zombie apocalypse. Actually, they are called walkers on the show, but you get what I mean. It’s better than a lot of the shows out there.  I have not seen the other shows nominated for Best Drama, except for Downton Abby. Hey, don’t judge. It’s a good show too. But it is funny how a show that gets so much love gets so little love from people that “matter” when it comes to awards. The list for Best Actor in a Drama names a lot of great talent, but no one can tell me that Andrew Lincoln is not deserving of a nomination. Comic book related material has made some headway as far as movie awards go. But when will TV awards reflect the obvious. Good is good no matter what form it takes or what it is based on. Is there a bias against sci-fi and comic books? I don’t know. But it seems like it sometimes. Maybe one day The Walking Dead or another “genre” show will get the respect it deserves. But I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t.

Who will be your Doctor? Part 1

It is inevitable that once an actor has been the Doctor for a few seasons, talk will begin as to who will be the next Doctor Who. There have been rumors of regeneration this season but the likelihood that Matt Smith will exit soon is pretty slim. And it’s not like there is a limit as to how long an actor’s tenure has to be on the series.

But in the interest of fun, let’s play along with the speculation. Who could be the next Doctor Who? There are plenty of actors and actresses who could do the job. So who could play the doctor? He biggest criteria would be person’s ability to handle comedy and drama while playing a character with a tortured past who acts with a light heart to mask the pain and anger. I am sure many fans will have many opinions and there may be some obvious candidates. No doubt some of my choices may already be on other lists. But hopefully I can throw something new out there.