Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy passed away this morning at the age of 83.

Growing up as a skinny kid who wore glasses, read comic books and did well in school, it is safe to say that Mr. Spock was my hero.

Thank you for all you gave us Mr. Nimoy, not only in your acting, directing and photography, but in your basic humanity and decency.

Live Long and Prosper.





Screencap from Trekcore.com.  Image copyright 2015 by CBS Studios, Inc.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's Gun Fu Time - Equilibrium's Gun Kata Fight Scenes

The movie: Equilibrium.

The stuff: the Gun Kata fights. (You know you love 'em.)


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gary Owens, Voice of Space Ghost, Passes

"Spaaaace Ghooost!"

If you were a kid who watched Saturday morning cartoons in the late 60s and 70s, you recall the battle cry of the intergalactic superhero, Space Ghost.

The voice of Space Ghost, the great Gary Owens, who also found fame as the announcer on the classic Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In passed away on February 12 at the age of 80. 

Mr Owens had a long career as a disc jockey and voice over actor, lending his distinct smooth baritone to hundreds of commercials and TV series such as Roger Ramjet, Dynomutt and Ren and Stimpy's Powdered Toast Man.

More at Variety.com.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, Humans


Star Trek is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2015 by CBS Studios, Inc.  No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Earth Star Voyager - Cheesy 1980s TV Sci-Fi

Hey, Internet.

Here's Earth Star Voyager, the failed TV movie pilot from The Wonderful World of Disney that aired in 1986.  (I dare you to say Earth Star Voyager six times fast.)

I recall it had a very "Teen Star Trek" feel to it, with young cadet types who range in age from 16 to 24 holding down the usual Enterprise bridge crew positions of captain, science officer, navigator, communications officer, and engineer.  They are the crew of the titular spaceship Earth Star Voyager on one of those standard "Earth is falling apart, so we're looking for another planet to colonize" scifi stories.

The movie opens in outer space on a field of stars, so naturally the on-screen card reads "Outer Space 2082."  Disney wanted to make certain you knew where this was taking place.

Despite being directed by James Goldstone, who directed for the actual Star Trek, and featuring Duncan Regehr, this thing is terrible: poorly acted by the child stars, plastic-looking production design (seems to be a lot of off the shelf furniture and whatnot), and sub-par visual effects (that two foot long model spaceship at the beginning looks like a two foot long model spaceship).

Oh, and this cult gem has about the LONGEST plot write up I have ever seen on Wikipedia.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Star Trek 3 Gets A New, Yet Familiar, Writer

Star Trek 3 is getting a rocky liftoff from the launch pad.

First, novice director Roberto Orci, co-writer of the first two Trek films helmed by J.J. Abrams, was removed from the center seat due to "creative differences," only to be replaced by veteran Fast and Furious franchise director Justin Lin.  Orci was also working on ST3's script with new writers Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne.

Now, word came down that neu-Scotty himself, Simon Pegg, will be co-writing Trek Tres with Doug Jung (writer of Confidence).  We don't yet know if they are re-writing the Orci & company script or starting from scratch.

Pegg is a big fan of sci fi in general, and Star Trek in particular, so this hopefully is a step in the right direction.  He did some fine work co-writing Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with Edgar Wright (I wasn't too crazy about their capper to their Cornetto Trilogy, World's End).  Pegg also co-created with Jennifer Stevenson the British cult series Spaced.

This just might be the bumpiest ride that a Star Trek film has taken to the big screen since all the sturm und drang of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  That film was rushed into production with an unfinished and constantly changing script.  It made a ton of money at the box office and launched the film franchise, but it is not looked at fondly by the general public, or even most Trek fans.  It's the only Trek film I own on DVD, so I'm in the minority that loves this movie, warts and all.

We'll find out how this all plays out in summer of 2016.  This is the 50th Anniversary of the franchise - for Gorn's sake I hope they don't screw it up.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sci Fi Movie Cinemagraphs Are Stunning

Cinemagraphs.  If you haven't heard of them, you aren't the only one.  Cinemagraphs are a cross between an animated GIF and a video; a still image where only a small element is given motion.

BuzzFeed showcases 24 science fiction movie cinemagraphs from films as varied as Alien and Metropolis to The Empire Strikes Back and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The image from The Fifth Element of the tear rolling down Leeloo's cheek is particularly affecting because the tear is the only moving item - the actress's face is rocky steady as in a still photograph.




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Groove to Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy Tunes

It's a brand new year.

I'm going to have to put you on the Game Grid.

Or, maybe you'd rather listen to the Daft Punk soundtrack from Tron: Legacy.


Family Guy's Peter Griffin Roams NY Comic-Con

In the future (or at least during the annual New York Comic-Con) everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes. 

Just ask a man named Robert Franzese, who in his own words: "I'm like a nobody—I have a nobody job, making nobody pay—but I go to New York Comic-Con...I'm freakin' Brad Pitt. It makes me feel like a million bucks."

Well, he's not exactly Brad Pitt, but Franzese does don a white dress shirt, green pants and round eyeglasses to dress up as Family Guy head of the household Peter Griffin, complete with a voice impression that would do creator/star Seth MacFarlane proud.

Franzese looks to be having a great time, and the crowds genuinely seem to love him.  

The friggin schweetness was first found at AdWeek.




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Buffy Fights a Demon She Can't Defeat: HD Reformatting

Do you want to watch the acclaimed TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer in High Definition?  It is 2014, after all, well into the 21st century, so why not?

Well, according to this article, titled "What's Wrong With Buffy's HD?" you might want to stick with your old standard definition DVDs.

Apparently the cable channel Pivot has been airing a much-maligned HD version of creator Joss Whedon's Buffy in 16:9 format, so it fills up the whole rectangular screen.  Trouble is, Buffy, which premiered in 1997, was shot in the TV standard-of-the-time 4:3 closer-to-a-square ratio. 

Just as wide-screen theatrical movies have long been bastardized when they aired on old square TVs in chopped up, panned and scanned versions, now the same thing is happening with TV shows being converted to HD screens.

Good grief.  Just slap some black bars on the sides and give me the WHOLE remastered HD picture.  Don't do this bad, often silly, re-framing and cropping; to illustrate what the issue is, just have a little five second intro showing WHY reformatting 4:3 images to the full 16:9 screen is a bad idea (visually, aesthetically, artistically).  I would hope viewers today would be more informed of this kind of thing.  Maybe not.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

May The Names and Faces Be With You

After percolating and circulating on the interwebs for a couple weeks that nifty teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has received a postscript.

JJ Abrams and company, via Entertainment Weekly, finally have put names to faces.  Find out who Finn, Rey, BB and Kylo are here.

Still no word on what the story is, but we'll take what we can.  And doing this "announcement" in the style of the old Topps Star Wars cards is a very fun and cool way to do it.  Props to whomever came up with this idea.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Extraordinary Artist Kim Jung Gi

This is beyond amazing.

Artist Kim Jung Gi freehand drawing in ink - with no sketches laid out - an incredible fantasy tableau.  The control he has in that pen-brush is exquisite. It is truly breathtaking.


James Bond Will Return...

...in SPECTRE, which was announced today.  (See article on Deadline.com)

Yes, it seems that the Daniel Craig-helmed super-spy series is getting back to its roots in a major way by bringing back the fictional terrorist organization SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).

And where SPECTRE goes can Ernst Stavo Blofeld, he of the bald pate and super-fluffy white Persian cat, be far behind?  Even though his character is listed as Oberhauser, acclaimed actor Christoph Waltz is believed to be the new Blofeld in the film.  (If that is the case, I hope it comes across better than the silliness of Benedict Cumberbatch as "John Harrison" who every one KNEW was Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, despite all the denials of the filmmakers.)

The new film appears to be more in the mold of a traditional Bond film: for the first time in a Craig-Bond movie, we will have Q (Ben Whishaw), Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), a new Aston Martin (yea!), Dave Bautista as a classic Bond uber-assassin named Mr. Hinx and James Bond facing off against SPECTRE.  Could a giant hollowed-out volcano base with jump-suited henchmen be far behind?


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Comic Book Art from the 1980s

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I'm a firm believer in that old adage.

The awesome blog Marvel Comics of the 1980s has many pictures worth many thousands of words.  Two posts recently caught my eye there: Favorite Last Pages from the 1980s.

Here is a sample, an incredible piece from Bill Sienkiewicz's run as artist on The New Mutants.


The second post was Favorite Splash Pages from the 1980s.  Below is a fun splash page by penciller Paul Smith and inker Bob Wiacek from The Uncanny X-Men.

(Artwork and characters copyright 2014 by Marvel Comics.  No infringement is intended.)



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Glen A. Larson, Veteran TV Producer/Writer Passes

If you grew up in the 1970s and 80s and watched TV, you owe a big debt to writer/producer Glen A. Larson.

He created series such as Alias Smith and Jones, Quincy, M.E., Magnum, P.I (co-created with Donald Bellisario), The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, Automan, Manimal, Buck Rogers and the original Battlestar Galactica.  He also produced series such as The Six Million Dollar Man and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. 

Mr. Larson seemingly defined American television in those periods.

He passed away Friday, November 14 at the age of 77 according to Variety.com.

Thank you, Mr. Larson, for the endless hours of fun and adventure.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To the Falcon Cave, Robin!?

Did the Batmobile/Tumbler make the Kessel Run in less than 3 bat-parsecs?

Check out the video link to Variety.com at the end to find out the latest tit for tat shenanigans between Star Wars: Episode VII director JJ Abrams and Batman v Superman helmer Zack Snyder.  LINK.


Move over Baby Groot, Baby Chewbacca In Da Hizzy

The Award for Cutest Photo EVAR (this week) goes to this ridiculously cute pup in the Chewbacca getup (first seen at SlashFilm.com)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kirby Glass Beats Google Glass

Google Glass?  I'd prefer Kirby Glass.  Just look at that image.  WOW!  Please, someone out there, one of you amazing prop/model makers, make this thing a reality -- maybe not with the all Cosmic Implications that usually come with a creation of Jack Kirby's, but a nice prop replica would be awesome.

I am so surprised that more movies or TV shows are not using Jack Kirby's incredible, even far-out designs, such as the one above from Captain Victory, as inspirations.  With CGI anything is possible now, so what say you, filmmakers, production designers and concept artists? 

(Image copyright its respective rights holder. No infringement is intended.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy is simply the most fun movie to hit theaters in years.  Its soundtrack of classic rock staples only adds to the film's many charms.  Give the tunes a listen, and you'll be groovin' like Dancing Baby Groot in no time.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fan-made Dancing Baby Groot

Guardians of the Galaxy is perhaps the most fun movie to grace multiplexes in many a year.  Jaded cynics can surely find fault with it, but many people, including me, just sat back with a large ice cold beverage and enjoyed the frak outta this movie.

I don't know what kind of merchandising Marvel/Disney has out for the movie, but I know they are kicking themselves they didn't think of this little gem like Patrick Delahanty did: an actual Dancing Baby Groot!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Star Trek Action Figures

As a huge Star Trek fan you'd think I'd have a ton of Trek-related toys, figures, statues, games, books, movies, merchandise, swag, what-have-you.  I do have some of that stuff, but not nearly as much as I might want.  Plus, I simply have no space to properly display things like that if I even had it.

One of the things I have unfortunately had to stay away from is Star Trek action figures.  I am so picky about likenesses, details and such, that I have none of that stuff in my "collection" save for an awesome Mego Gorn figure sent to me by a good friend.

Star Trek fan James Sawyer knows a thing or two about collecting ST action figures.  In fact, here's a neat post from his blog A Piece of the Action, about collecting the figures for the seven main stars of Star Trek.

(photo copyright James Sawyer)





Mad Max: Fury Road - The Road Warrior Returns

The Road Warrior (1982) is one of my all-time favorite movies.  The bleak, desolate world created and brought to life by director/co-writer George Miller, actor Mel Gibson and their amazing team of filmmakers, artists, craftspeople and, lest we not forget, stunt drivers feels so real, you want to shake the dust out of your clothes after watching the movie.

Road Warrior, or Mad Max 2 as it was known in its native Australia and other parts of the world, was so influential that to this day, over 30 years after it was first released, cheap knockoffs are still made that ape aspects of the movie - mainly its football shoulder pad, leather-clad fashions.

I'm always drawn to characters like Max.  A wounded man who just wanted to be left alone after the tragedy he suffered, but who did the right thing when no one else did, or could do.  That fits the mold of many a classic Western film character too (and more than a few characters from Samurai films).

Now, finally, MAD MAX IS BACK.

Mad Max: Fury Road, scheduled for released May 2015, puts George Miller back in command, with Tom Hardy donning the weathered and tattered Main Force Police uniform of Max Rockatansky.  Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron, sporting a very cool mechanical arm, co-stars.

Start revving your engines.  The chase is about to begin...again.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Divert Away From Divergent

Here's some free advice: AVOID THE MOVIE DIVERGENT AT ALL COSTS.

This Harry Potter/Hunger Games/any high school-set story was a terrible crush of a bore.  It's set in a dystopic, post-apocalyptic Chicago just so we can see all the familiar city landmarks overgrown with weeds.

Shailene Woodley, who I enjoyed in the movie The Descendants, is our focus here as Triss, a young girl on the cusp of womanhood who has a decision to make, and it's not what frappaccino to order at Starbucks.  In Future Chicago, everyone is divided amongst five factions: Abnegation (selfless); Dauntless (brawny law enforcement); Erudite (brainiacs/nerds); Amity (peaceniks); and Candor (honesty).

When you come of age you have to take a sort of future SAT test to determine which faction you will belong to -- think the sorting hat scenes from Harry Potter.  The silly thing is, even if the test determines which faction you should be assigned to, you can still just chose whichever faction you want to be in.  So why have the friggin' test in the first place?

This movie is so serious that it is unintentionally funny.  Early on, we are introduced to the various factions.  We see the Erudites teaching school, the Abnegationists running the government, etc.  When the Dauntless people arrive by running up the street grinning and laughing, I fully expected them to break out into song, as if Divergent were channeling Newsies or West Side Story.  Not only do the Dauntless-ites run onto the scene, they immediately started climbing the framework of the L Train, which they seem to ride a lot when they aren't running everywhere.  It was a supremely stupid, silly scene, although 12 years old doubtless thought it was rad.

Triss goes against the SATs/sorting hat and picks Dauntless, and the rest of the movie is her getting schooled at their rock quarry HQ.  When we first see the digs, all the Dauntless kids are hanging out and chatting away; it looked and felt just like high school.  And this movie had that extremely juvenile feel of high school, with the jocks (among an entire faction of jocks) bullying Triss and her other non-steroidal friends.  Plus it included a couple of High School Cafeteria Scenes (TM).

The cast was uniformly pretty and bland (see the usual casting on any show on The CW).  Woodley has large expressive eyes, but she tears up a few times in the movie and, I swear, it was like somebody held up a Fresnel lens in front of her because her eyes become ENORMOUS when she cries.

At some point the movie remembered it should have some kind of plot since the whole waste of movie was Triss training at/for Dauntless High, so they shoehorn in something about a mind-control drug and one faction wanting to take control of the gubmint.  South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hit it on the head in their movie Team America that every movie should have a montage.  Divergent could have seriously benefited from that axiom with all the training nonsense. 

I can't believe there are supposed to be two more movies after this one.  I think they're called Astringent and Detergent.




Ed Wood - Interesting facts about this Tim Burton gem

Well, kids, Halloween is right around the corner.  One of my favorite movies to get me into that Halloween spirit is Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the "worst director of all time."

It's an amazing film, featuring lush black and white photography and a great cast, with Martin Landau winning an Oscar for his moving portrayal of the legendary horror film icon Bela Lugosi.

Film School Rejects has posted an article that pulls 40 interesting items from the DVD commentary track.

Coherence movie - Big Ideas in a Small Package

I have it on good authority that the 2013 indie movie Coherence is a smart, engaging work of sci fi.  The story concerns the strange events that unfold among a group of friends gathered for a dinner party after a comet is sighted.

It's got a big idea in a small package, with a feel reminiscent of the best of the original Twilight Zone TV series.  The film was shot largely at director/co-writer James Ward Byrkit's home; the main cast of eight worked with a loose script and improvised their dialogue.  If you recall, this was how The Blair Witch Project was done, and also the way the great Christopher Guest shoots his improv comedies like Best In Show and A Mighty Wind.

Here's the trailer of Coherence from You Tube:


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Orphan Black's Clone Dance Party

I've heard so many great things about the BBC America series ORPHAN BLACK - the incredible acting from lead Tatiana Maslany, the premise - but I've yet to catch the show.

This visual effects clip of the "clone dance party" makes me want to watch it even more.




Saturday, June 28, 2014

Star Trekking with DC Comics

We love all things Star Trek at the blog here. Back in the day - 1987 to be exact - DC Comics published "Who's Who in Star Trek," a limited series featuring the work of various artists as they gave you the rundown on the most prominent characters in Star Trek up to that point.  Howard Chaykin did the amazing cover artwork (issue No. 1, below).

(art from DC Comics of the 1980s)

The great blog DC Comics of the 1980s has Chaykin's art on display for both issues. 


Star Trek is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2014 by CBS Studios, Inc.  No infringement of those rights is intended with this article.


1980s Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV Intros

Here's a great video posted to You Tube which compiles a ton of fun old sci-fi and fantasy TV series opening titles.  The poster, RwDt09, titled it, "11 INTROS TO TACKY 80s SCI-FI/FANTASY TV," but I recall being enthralled by a least of couple of these lost gems: Manimal (due to Stan Winston's great spfx makeup work) and Wizards and Warriors (which had its comedic charms).

But The Highwayman...any show where Sam J. Jones drives a big rig with a GIANT FREAKING HELICOPTER on the front...yeah, that's the definition of "tacky."



Count how may of these shows had one of those openings that explained the show's premise each and every week (The Phoenix, Matthew Star, Outlaws, Highwayman).