Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Con is On

San Diego Comic Con 2018 is underway.

Some rumblings from the get go:

1. Robin blurts out "F--- Batman!" in the trailer for new "Titans" series. What, did Frank ("Are you RETARDED? I'm the GODDAMN Batman!") Miller stop by the set that day?

2. Screencrush looks at the new, female DR. WHO, played by the talented Jodie Whitaker.

3. StarTrek.com has a guide to the Trek side of life at SDCC. I am really digging that mood rock & phaser set from ThinkGeek (you fire the phaser at the rock to "heat it up" [it changes color]). Genius!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jurassic World: Farsical Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

The latest "run the dinosaurs are attacking!" movie is an abysmal failure, adding nothing new to this long in the saurian tooth franchise.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes place three years after the events of Jurassic World, with the abandoned park now overrun not only with island growth but dinosaurs - keep out, no humans allowed. However, the island's volcano (the other movies never mentioned a volcano) is erupting, posing the question, "Should someone save Earth's only remaining dinosaurs, who were extinct until greedy billionaires and unscrupulous geneticists recreated them for fun and profit?"

Enter Claire and Owen (Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt, respectively, back from the last film), who are tasked by Generic Evil Corporate Guy (Rafe Spall), on behalf of Unwitting Sick Industrialist Guy (James Cromwell as the shady partner to park founder John Hammond, whom we have never seen nor heard mentioned before in the previous FOUR JP movies).

Claire and Owen take along Fourteen Year Old Nervous Techie and Animal Girl, face off against Mercenary Hunter Guy and his goons, and...oh, what's the point? We've seen this all before, and done much, much better.  The point is a dollar sign, something the Jurassic Park/World backers and Universal Studios are both chasing. Now a bad movie isn't going to kill anybody, but it can kill - or at least seriously dampen - the movie-going experience. The first Jurassic World movie was released ten years after JP III, showing the world that dinosaurs are still fascinating, enthralling creatures in the public's imaginations. But that will hold water, or plesiosaurs, only so long if you don't have an engaging story and interesting characters, things which are plainly absent in JW:FK.

Fallen Kingdom's story is cherry-picked from previous films in this series: an abandoned park (from JP 2 & 3), the evil industrialists/capitalists (JP2), the protagonists made to return to the park under false pretenses (JP3), the misguided geneticists creating designer dinos (JW), and so on. We might be able to forgive them is they cherry picked from other movies and not so incestuously from within their own franchise.

The most engaging dinosaur in the public's imagination has long been the Tyrannosaurus Rex. After being put through some of the greatest action/suspense/thriller sequences by the master Steven Spielberg in the first two films in the Jurassic Park series, the T-Rex was given the back seat in JPIII to the Spinosaurus, a much bigger dino with a crocodile-like snout. When the series was revived with Jurassic World, the filmmakers got the idea to just invent a new dinosaur called the Indominus Rex, a creature made from the DNA of T-Rex, Velociraptor, and a half dozen other big, angry dinos. This weirdo made no real impression on me and was replaced as the dinosaur du-jour in Fallen Kingdom with another dino-Frankenstein in the form of the Indoraptor, which was the Indominus mixed more closely with the Velociraptor. The Jurassic World films clearly are trying to turn the public's fascination and love toward the Velociraptor (the hero dinos during the JW movies' final sequences) but we ain't having none of it. No matter how smart scientists think raptors were, Tyrannosaurus is still King of the Dinosaurs.

The first three Jurassic Park movies relied heavily on the on-set dinosaurs created by the late Stan Winston and his team. The filmmakers had to constantly cut from Winston's dinos to visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic's computer-generated dinosaurs. As a testament to the fluidity and believability of Winston's creations, especially the T-Rex and Spinosaurus, they matched seamlessly with ILM's digital wonders.  The Jurassic World franchise is all CGI and it shows. The actors are staring at nothing, except maybe a tennis ball or "x" taped to a green screen wall. I no longer believe I am watching real animals on the screen. The wonder is gone.

There will be the inevitable, and already scheduled, Jurassic World III, but I do not look forward to it. Why should I, when it will simply be another loud, frenetic CGI-filled summer blockbuster. So much sound and fury, signifying dino-nothing.




Friday, February 16, 2018

Resting Lizard Face


Copyright 2018 by CBS Studios. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Feed your lizards as directed by your veterinarian and clean their habitats daily.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Daft Punk: Spinning Platters and Phasers



Copyright 2018 by CBS Studios. No infringement is implied with this parody. Daft Punk rocks!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Warcraft Movie Review

My review for the movie Warcraft (2016).


With apologies to the millions of faithful Warcraft gamers, I just could NOT take this movie seriously. A bunch of overly muscled and very toothy action figures (called orcs) seek to leave their dying home planet Draenor for a time share in the much nicer other-dimensional world of Azeroth. One of the lower order orcs, Durotan, begins to wonder if this is a good idea, as the reason their planet looks like Detroit after the bomb is because their leader Gul'dan practices a nasty brand of magic, called covfefe, also known as the Fel, which consumes everything around it, like Black Friday shoppers stampeding into Wal-Mart.

Less than five minutes into this eyesore, all I could see whenever one of the orcs spoke is Sweetums from the Muppets BECAUSE ALL THE ORCS LOOK LIKE HIM. Every orc with their big lower canines sounds like they have a speech impediment. They also look like He-Man action figures brought to life, with their ridiculously muscled torsos which should make them collapse into their chests like a personal black hole, or at the very least falling over all the time, especially with the comically large weapons they brandish.

This is a bad, bad, very terrible movie; the story is thin and paint by numbers, with characters who are silly when they are not totally forgettable.  Special shout out to Ben Foster (great in 3:10 to Yuma) who is horribly miscast as a great wizard (here called mages, which is a word they OVERUSE by about a thousand times). There are some actors who only should play contemporary characters (Richard Gere as Lancelot in First Knight, anyone?), when they do period or fantasy pieces they stick out like a sore thumb. I expected so much more from directer/co-writer Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code).

This movie is proof that not everything needs a live action/photo-real adaptation.

Avoid at all costs, unless you have a case of beer, some robot puppets lying around, and a wish to put on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 home edition in your living room.

Warcraft image and Muppets image copyright 2018 by their respective rights holders. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody review.



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fahrenheit 451 comes to HBO

One of legendary author Ray Bradbury's seminal novels is finally coming to television. Or rather, not TV but HBO.

Fahrenheit 451, about a near-future society where censorship is everything and book burnings are conducted by the fire department under orders by the fascist government, is being adapted as a film by HBO; they selected Ramin Bahrani to write and direct. As he will also produce the movie, this must be a passion project for Mr. Bahrani. Starring are Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, the upcoming Black Panter) as fireman Montag and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Man of Steel) as his nemesis Capt. Beatty.

Click this link to CINEMA BLEND to see the first teaser trailer.

Directing E.T.: The Extraterrestrial's Kids

Back in 2012 Entertainment Weekly held a reunion for ET: The Extraterrestrial, the magical 1982 science fiction film, reuniting director Steven Spielberg with now-adult stars Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore. It includes a rare behind the scenes moment where Spielberg is discussing the movie's final scene with a then-10 year old Thomas.

Spielberg could give a master class in directing child actors (or even adult actors). Here is the link to the EW post.


Monday, January 1, 2018

TV Series Finales Viewers Still Don't Get

Happy New Year!

Let us start 2018 by looking back at "TV Show Endings That People Still Don't Understand" (from LOOPER).

This article includes series finales which confused (St. Elsewhere), confounded (The Sopranos), angered (Battlestar Galactica), and delighted (King of the Hill) us.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Ron Moore & Apple, Last Jedi and Disney & Fox

One of my personal writing/showrunner gods, Ronald D. Moore, is going back into space, courtesy of a new as-yet-untitled series from Apple. Mr. Moore is behind the current critical/audience favorite Outlander, and the genius behind one of my all time favorite series, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.  The Ringer has the rundown. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has a Rotten Tomatoes critical rating of 93%, however its audience score is only 56%. So much for that theory that critics hold sway over audiences. Writer/director Rian Johnson has certainly made his mark in the Star Wars Galaxy.  Rotten Tomatoes.

A Fox that turned into a Mouse. No, it's not a forgotten fairy tale, but The Walt Disney Company paying out over $52 billion to buy the majority of 20th Century Fox (movies & TV). Disney has some major, fun new toys to play with: remember, since 2000 the "x" in Fox has stood for the "X-Men".  Indiewire has a breakdown of the soon-to-be former Fox franchises moving to Disney.
 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

War For The Planet Of The Apes Brings New Trilogy To A Satisfying Close

My favorite thing this year was the character of Bad Ape in the thrilling War For the Planet of the Apes, the likely conclusion to the latest Apes trilogy involving the intelligent talking ape Caesar.

As the latest Apes movie was a serious war movie with death and destruction aplenty, the filmmakers included some welcome humor in the form of Steve Zahn's character of Bad Ape.







Avengers Assemble in Infinity War Trailer

Avengers Frickin' Assemble!

Avengers: Infinity War.


Holy shit!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

How To Help Victims of Disasters

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Earthquakes across Mexico.

So many lives lost, so much devastation and destruction, so many survivors trying to pull it back together.

How can you help?

One of the best ways is the American Red Cross

from their website: "We respond to an emergency every 8 minutes. No one else does this: not the government, not other charities. From small house fires to multi-state natural disasters, the American Red Cross goes wherever we’re needed, so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most." Also, "an average of 91 cents of every dollar spent invested in humanitarian services and programs."


Please think about making a donation and help the American Red Cross help those in dire need. 

Thank you.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

(Black) Mirror, (Black) Mirror On The Wall

The TV series Black Mirror is The Twilight Zone of the iPhone era.

BrainPilot on YouTube helpfully posted a list of the 5 Most Powerful Moments from this series (through Nov 2016).  SPOILERS, obviously, if you have not seen the show.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Shorts But Sweet

Short films can really pack a punch, if done well.

With little to no budget these mini-movies can deliver the goods.

Sometimes the directors of these shorts hit the big time and the material is adapted for the big screen. Two such lucky filmmakers are David F. Sandberg with Lights Out, which plays so well with our fear of the dark. His 2013 short film below was adapted into a successful big screen version in 2016, also called Lights Out. Sandberg has Annabelle: Creation out in theaters August 11.


Director Andres "Andy" Muschietti and his sister producer Barbara Muschietti created their extremely chilling short film Mama in 2008. It caught the eye of visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro who produced the 2013 big screen version also titled Mama. Andy Muschietti has the highly anticipated movie version of Stephen King's It coming September 8.


It's not just horror movies that work in the short film realm. Neill Blomkamp adapted his now-classic sci fi short Alive In Joburg (2005) into his acclaimed big screen District 9 (2009).





Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Music of Jonny Quest

One of the greatest, perhaps THE greatest, action adventure cartoons is "The Adventures of Jonny Quest".

Doug Wildey, working for Hanna-Barbera, created a mature, stylish series that is as thrilling now as when it first aired in 1964. The series is notable for many reasons: the incredible voice over work, the well-rounded characters, exotic locations (drawing Calcutta costs as much as drawing a generic Southern California mountainside or cityscape), the imaginative stories featuring robot-spiders, yetis, mummies, and lizard men.

One of the best things about Jonny Quest is composer Hoyt Curtain's incredible jazz-soaked music. If you watched Saturday morning cartoons in the last 50 years, you know the Jonny Quest theme. The incidental music, which producers Hanna-Barbera often chopped up and tracked into other adventure cartoons they produced, is still thrilling.

One of my most favorite Curtain/Quest pieces of music, with those amazing drumbeats accentuated by horn blasts, can be found at the 1:20 to 2:26 mark below. Another fun piece starts at 4:20 to 5:52.


We can't talk about Quest music without mentioning the amazing, thrill a minute main title theme which just screams "adventure!".



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Someone Had To Ask: Why, Japan, Why?

I believe that title says it all. Check out 20 sec to 45 sec.
You can watch the rest, the most bizarre thing might be the cup noodles/Tabasco/kabuki-
diapered-demons vignette which would have David Lynch scratching his head in a wtf manner.

What's on TV Today?

I got up at my normal time of oh-dark-thirty, but since it's Saturday, I'm off. So I tuned into over the air station Heroes & Icons, and The Green Hornet TV series was on.  GH and Kato were in the Black Beauty chasing some bad guys in an armored car down dusty studio back lot roads.
When they cut to Green Hornet and Kato inside Black Beauty, and you see Kato driving and GH in the backseat, it really hit me hard for some reason: the Green Hornet is a superhero who has a chauffeur. A. Chauffeur.   What. An. Asshole. Batman didn't sit in the backseat and have Alfred or Robin drive him around Gotham looking for supervillains and all-night Krispy Kreme stores. Green Arrow (while he was still a Batman ripoff in his early years) always had Speedy, his Robin-esque sidekick, sit beside him in the Arrow Car.  Hell, Hutch never sat in the back of the Grand Torino while Starsky tore down Bay City's mean streets chasing after the crooks and vampires (the John Saxon episode).  
But the Green fucking Hornet has got to have a dude chauffeur his wealthy crime-fighting buns around town. And an Asian dude at that.
I also now wonder if Kato was from Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump's "Djhina."

Friday, June 23, 2017

BABY DRIVER Posters Run The Gamut From Cliche to Cool

Great movie poster illustrations are becoming a lost artform.

Here is a quite standard Hollywood poster for the upcoming BABY DRIVER. It's not terrible, with its collage of characters grouped at the top and the slanted angle of the car in the lower half.


Here's an image that could be on a poster, but targets the film's sure-to-be-classic rock song soundtrack. Now THIS is a cool image. It grabs your attention with the graphic of the car zooming out of Baby's ever present iPod.


This next poster I absolutely adore. Simple, clean graphics. No collage, no clutter.






Baby Driver movie and images Copyright 2017 Sony Pictures Digital Productions Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Adam West Is And Always Will Be Batman



Adam West will always be remembered by kids who grew up in the late 1960s and 70s for his winning portrayal of DC Comics' favorite character BATMAN in the series of the same name.

Mr. West passed from this world into immortality on June 9 after a battle with leukemia. He was 88.

The Batman series was famous for many things: it's big name guest stars, bright color scheme, the amazing Batmobile, "POW!" "ZAP!" and other superimposed sound effect/titles, but also for the understated performance of Adam West as Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne.

The series may have been campy, but Mr. West took his role seriously and was seen as a hero by millions of viewers. With respect to the many actors who have played the Caped Crusader over the years, Adam West IS Batman.

Batman character Copyright 2017 by DC Comics. Batman series Copyright 2017 by its respect rights holder. No infringement of those rights is intended.




Friday, May 5, 2017

BBC's THE MUSKETEERS Series Main Title Theme

The Musketeers is a great, old-fashioned romantic adventure series, something sadly lacking on American television in these times. Thank goodness the British and the BBC have not forgotten how to deliver. The series Main Title them by Murray Gold is a rousing, footstomping number. Engarde!


Shed a Tear of Joy Fellow STAR WARS Fans

We can all relate to Adam Scott's birthday wish - to meet his hero LUKE SKYWALKER (Mark Hamill) in the flesh - and his heartwarming reaction to having it fulfilled many, many years later.




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Miguel Ferrer, 1955 to 2017

"I fucking love that guy!"

That exclamation in the sci fi classic RoboCop (1987) forever cemented actor Miguel Ferrer into the hearts and minds of geeks everywhere.

Mr. Ferrer, the son of Hollywood legends Jose Ferrer (the Emperor in David Lynch's Dune) and Rosemary Clooney, and first cousin to George Clooney, passed away on January 19. He was 61. 

Mr. Ferrer had roles on the big screen and on TV: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Miami Vice, Deepstar Six, Twin Peaks, and The Stand to name just a few.

However this blogger really grew to love Mr.Ferrer for his voice over work. His amazingly deep resonant voice gave life to the animated classic Mulan's villan Shan Yu and Aquaman in Superman: The Animated Series. Mr. Ferrer also had a thriving career as a movie trailer announcer, narrating the trailers for such films as The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, U-571, Rent, and Romeo Must Die.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Actress Carrie Fisher Passes Away

The year 2016 does not want to end quietly. With only a few more days left, Carrie Fisher, most famous for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars Saga passed away today; she had suffered a heart attack while flying from London to Los Angeles on December 23. She was 60 years old.

photo: Copyright Lucasfilm 2016. No infringement is intended.


Ms. Fisher was an actress, a much-sought-after script doctor, a best-selling novelist, an advocate for mental health, and a mother.

She had just wrapped shooting Episode VIII of the newest Star Wars Trilogy, continuing her role from The Force Awakens (Episode VII)  as General Leia Organa. But she will always be remembered for playing Princess Leia in the Original Star Wars Trilogy: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Princess Leia broke the mold of the damsel in distress. She was smart, tough, commanding, beautiful, and just as handy with a blaster as space cowboy Han Solo. Then as now she was an inspiration.

Condolences to her daughter, mother, family and friends. Carrie Fisher will be missed.



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fantastic Four. Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

The Fantastic Four, once Marvel Comics' flagship title, now a series canceled since 2015, was like the Star Trek of comic books: a group of adventurers boldly going into the unknown frontiers of space and time and other dimensions, meeting the challenges head on and bringing back that knowledge to help mankind.


Art: Anthony Castrillo. Characters Copyright 2016 by Marvel Comics. No infringement of those rights is intended.


Apparently Marvel Comics decided to stop making FF comics as they don't own the (potentially) lucrative film rights, which they sold off to 20th Century Fox for relatively cheap in the late 90s while undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. Why make new stories in the comics which might fuel the competition's movie coffers? It makes (dollars and) sense, but it still stings.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby crafted 102 issues together as writer/co-plotter and artist/co-plotter respectively. They gave us not only our flawed quartet of heroes in Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Ben Grimm/The Thing, Susan Storm Richards/Invisible Woman and Johnny Storm/Human Torch, but Doctor Doom, Annihilus and the Negative Zone, the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the Black Panther, Mole Man, the Watcher, Skrulls, the Puppet Master, the Inhumans (Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton and Lockjaw), the Frightful Four, and so much more.

There's a gold mine of stories there, enough for several movies. Since Fox tried three times to bring the FF to the big screen and failed, maybe in a few years they might sell the rights back to Marvel so that their film arm Marvel Studios might make a truly great Fantastic Four film.

To the Pogo Plane, everyone!

Kong: Skull Island trailer goes BIG

King Kong roars back to life, and onto to the big screen.

Kong: Skull Island looks terrific, with a great cast including om Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman.

The studio behind it, Legendary Pictures is setting the stage for their new GIANT Kong to face off against Godzilla in just a few years.

Let's Get Ready To Crumble!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 Trailer

"Showtime, a-holes!"

That phrase will be on everyone's lips and t-shirts next summer, thanks to Chris Pratt's charisma and the deft writing and directing of James Gunn in reassembling his misfit Guardians of the Galaxy for new exploits in the sequel.

The new trailer has got it all: laughs, spectacle, Baby Groot, button pushing, beautiful multihued people, great 70s rock music. Enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Great Minds Kill Alike

John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to the killtastic John Wick, has a brand new poster, which is reminiscent of a piece of business we did here at Bad News From Outer Space when we re-watched the Star Trek: TOS episode "Bread and Circuses". See for yourself what we're talking about.






Here's the ad for Keanu Reeves latest kill-shot-to-the-head movie.


Star Trek is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2016 by CBS, Inc. No infringement of their rights is intended with this parody post.  John Wick 2 is Copyright 2016 by Summit Entertainment.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Indiana Jones and The Animation Genre

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford have committed to another Indiana Jones adventure for 2019.

I prefer my Indiana Jones at the age he was - late 30s - when we first met him in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. What if we could always have Indy at that perfect age?

Filmmaker Patrick Schoenmaker and friends put together an amazing little teaser trailer showing us a version of Indiana Jones we've never seen, an animated version. With great attention to detail, good character designs, beautiful backgrounds and color scheme, Mr. Schoenmaker proves Indy could live in a different medium, one where Dr. Jones does not have to age.


Indiana Jones character copyright 2016 Lucasfilm/Disney.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Batman Day

So yesterday, September 17, was the third annual celebration called Batman Day.

I don't know if you get a free ice cream cone (Gotham Chocolate Chunks With Extra NUTZ) or free pancakes, or what have you.

Anyway, here is my all time favorite Bat-artist, the late Marshall Rogers. A belated Happy Batman Day, everybody (except cowardly criminals: you will get a Bat-fist to the face on Batman Day).

http://66.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maqjvpOhF21rx5px6o2_500.jpg

Batman: Copyright 2016 by DC Comics, Inc. Original Artwork Copyright its respective rights holder.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hanging With Spider-Man

Teaser poster for 2017's Spidey reboot, done under the successful creative leadership of Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige.