Friday, July 31, 2009
Original Image from This Island Earth copyright NBC Universal. Original Apple ad copyright Apple, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody.
*Tip of the space helmet to Bill H. for the "medley of their hit" line.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here are ten of this summer's hottest jams:
Kid Gort (featuring M’ari’a tha R’obot) - "Klaatu Bawitdaba Nikto"
Lady Ripley - "5 Minutes to Self-Destruct (My Love)"
HSIGM (Holy Shit It’s Giant Monsters) - "I’m in Tokyo, Kaiju-bitch!"
Da Thang Frum Anotha Wurld - "Don’t Change Yur Luv On Me"
Outta Spaace - "Sigh Figh Bluez"
Rogers & Gordon - "Tha Space Opera"
Lil’ Binary - "U Take Me From 0 2 1"
The Bot Droid Band - "Don’t Phaser Me, Bro"
Melange Girls - "Worming Your Way (Into My Heart)"
Al.i.en - "M.U.THR.F.UK.R."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
ADVICE FROM QWARTHAK THE CONQUEROR
My 10 year old brother keeps coming into my room and touching and even using my stuff, like my phone and computer (I’m a 14 yr old girl). He doesn’t respect my privacy and my parents aren’t helping matters much (they think his antics are cute and adorable). What should I do?
Signed, Just wants to be left alone in Norwalk
Dear Just wants to be left alone,
You should eliminate your sibling with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Huurgundian frazinator. Privacy is the right of all sentient beings. (Qwarthak even looks the other way when Qwarthak’s lil’ space canine, Mr. Wiggles, is “using the zero-g space toilet.”) After vaporing your sibling, Qwarthak recommends turning the device on your boneheaded parental units for not standing up for your rights. They sound like morons for not recognizing the needs of a teen female human versus a ‘tween male human.
I work for a large corporation and I keep getting pulled into more useless meetings than I can count. I once spent 6 hours in a meeting titled, How to Make Your Day More Productive. After that meeting, I had to work several hours of unpaid overtime just to get everything caught back up. How can I get out of these worthless meetings?
Signed, No Time for Meetings in San Diego
Dear No Time for Meetings,
You should eliminate these meeting organizers with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Zappillian laser. OMG (Oh, My Gorn), if Qwarthak had a X’lliorn dime for every time Qwarthak was forced to sit in a useless meeting….Qwarthak has fooled you as Qwarthak has NEVER had to sit through a meeting thanks to the makers of Bantoovian Blasters (motto, “No, YOU shut up. I INSIST!”). Meetings are the tool of the Devil, or more accurately, the Vice President of Marketing for the Devil…shudder!
My 8 year old son plays soccer and I can’t get over the behavior of so many of the parents. They scream at their kids and hurl expletives against the other children as well as the coaches when they disagree with a ruling. Is there anything I can do about this?
Signed, Tired of Bad Soccer Moms and Dads
Did you see the call that moron made? COME ON! My kid was completely within the rules…Just kidding. You should TOTALLY eliminate these soccer hooligans with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Vrtaarnnan fraz blaster. They say competition is good, but this is just plain bonkers. And to tell a “trade secret,” when Qwarthak is looking for someone to run enfilade fire, Qwarthak looks no further than the wacked out parents at these children’s soccer games. HOO-BOY but they are crazy sumbitches. They remind Qwarthak of nothing so much as very hungry fire ants on the way to an all-you-can-eat rain forest buffet.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Big Three - Kirk, Spock and McCoy - are stuck in a shuttlecraft with Miss Hedford, a real peach of a Fed commissioner, when they crashland on a planet and meet a guy whose girlfriend is a big cloud of electricity. It's all like a very bizarre episode of Sex and the City.
This is the episode to which former ST head honcho Rick Berman said "Continuity? Fuck that!" when they started writing the movie Star Trek: First Contact. Kirk plainly states that Zephram Cochrane is "from Alpha Centauri." You could quibble that ZC just lived there later in life, but that's baloney. You KNOW what Gene Coon meant when he wrote that line.
There's also a kind of internal gaff where Spock doesn't recognize Cochrane when they first meet, but Spocks later says "The name of Zefram Cochrane is revered throughout the known galaxy. Planets were named after him. Great universities, cities." Spocks knows all this but doesn't know what the guy looks like? Come on! Spock's a walking Blackberry, he would know what Zephram Cochrane, "the discoverer of the space warp," looks like. This was a mid-second season episode, so they really couldn't pull a line like, Well we're still developing Spock's character and abilities. Minor quibble but still.
I really like elements of this episode's story. The weird non-humanoid alien that falls in love with a human and he doesn't even realize what’s going on. The alien taking over the body of a human to both prevent both her and itself from dying, and the alien continuing to live but in a way totally foreign to it. I love that stuff.
I just wish they could have had some moments between Commissioner Hedford as herself and Cochrane. (If Kirk could fally madly in love after two hours with Reyna the Robobabe, Cochrane could have spent a few minutes getting to know the Commish before the Companion joins with her.) It's sort of not fair to Hedford that the Companion joins with her and seems to be the dominant force. We know the Companion loves Cochrane, but, in a way, now it's going to force Hedford to love him too. This really is like Sex and the City!
For a mid-second season episode, Kirk does something really stupid. After establishing that they are stuck on the planet, and Spock discovers the Companion is mostly composed of electricity, Kirk has him whip up a black box thingy that will short circuit the Companion, possibly killing it. Then when Cochrane calls the Companion, Kirk waits until it has ENVELOPED Cochrane before telling Spock to throw the switch. Cochrane is violently thrown to the ground, and this PISSES OFF THE COMPANION to no end (it even turns from yellow to red!). Old ZC saves their hide and later Kirk asks Spock to monkey with the Universal Translator so they can talk to the Companion. WHY THE F--K DIDN'T KIRK DO THIS THE FIRST TIME! Yeah, it added some drama, but it was totally out of character for Kirk do to that. There was absolutley NO RESPECT shown for this totally new life form. Yes, it was holding them prisoner, but it had a reason!
Oh, and Commissioner Hedford was a total BITCH! And this was before the Ooga Booga Sickness took effect. In the beginning of the episode, she's sitting right behind Kirk and Spock who are piloting the shuttlecraft. They CLEARLY explain that something unknown is in their path and won't let them get around it, then that their instruments cease functioning. She responds, "What's happening? I demand to know." and "I insist you make your scheduled rendezvous (with the Enterprise)!" Yeah, just before everything went wonky in the shuttle they established that she has a war to prevent on Canary-in-a-Cage III or wherever. But she obviously never LISTENS, so how could she mediate any sort of conflict?
I liked Cochrane's bachelor pad though. Reminds me of places around here.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. Grimace character copyright McDonald's. Gloop character copyright the respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is implied.
Thanks to Trekcore.com for the Star Trek screencaps.
Friday, July 24, 2009
What did you do, Metaluna Monster? What did you DO?
You have, like, six kinds of guilt written all over your face (and brain, and veins), like the family dog after it’s had complete run of the house for the last four hours while you run a “quick errand.”
Whatever mess you've made, Metaluna Monster, it won’t easily be forgiven or forgotten by either of us (with a brain that size can you forget ANYTHING?). Do you know how HARD it is to get stains out of the carpet? (Have you ever heard of wiping your fucking feet off before entering a spaceship? I mean really.) Dirt, grease, blood. ALIEN blood. OMG (Oh My Gorn), alien blood WILL NOT come out even if you used an entire club soda bottling plant. You might as well buy a whole new carpet.
When I find out what you’ve done, Metaluna Monster, you better not be around. It. Will. Not. Be. Pleasant.
Image from This Island Earth Copyright 2009 by NBC Universal. No infringement of those rights is intended.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There was a gray-bearded fellow in his late 50s seated on a couch. On the coffee table in front of him there was a pitcher of water and a coconut (not cracked open). Behind the couch you could see two spray bottles and a small sack of something (cat food? fertilizer?).
I watched for a few minutes but nothing seemed to be happening. I couldn't tell whether he was selling something (he wasn't picking up or gesturing to anything I could see), waiting for a talk show guest to arrive, or hosting a movie.
But what was up with the coconut?
A widowed advice columnist with three daughters spends an extended weekend at his family reunion and falls in love. The trouble is he falls for his younger brother’s new girlfriend. Sounds just like the plot of DUNE, right?
That’s the premise of this only slightly engaging Steve Carell movie. Hitting the ground running, there are some casting choices that just didn’t take. First, Dane Cook as the younger bro. Now, I’m not one of those Dane Cook haters - I LIKE Cook’s stand up act, but he looks like he’s trying way too hard here and just wants to bust out and do his thing. And I didn’t buy Juliette Binoche as Cook’s girlfriend/Carell’s object of affection for one minute. She’s the new element in this sprawling and very tight family and everyone falls for her, but only because the script was written that way. Nothing she did onscreen warranted that inclusion. She didn’t have any real chemistry with Cook (they were like “caviar and motor oil” according to Boston Globe critic Ty Burr) or more importantly with Carell.
To illustrate this point here is how they meet in the movie: Carell goes to a local bookstore one rainy morning for some newspapers and Binoche, mistaking him for a store employee, asks him for advice on a book. They get to chatting, then having breakfast, and before you know it he’s bared his heart to her. Aside from their initial meeting, where he just pulls random books off the shelves for her, the rest of their meet cute is a series of montages, mostly them LAUGHING about some incident or other. Showing people laughing, but not knowing or experiencing what they are laughing about is a rather easy way out to show people who are supposed to be connecting on some level. But I didn’t buy it. (Steve Carell had real chemistry in The 40 Year old Virgin with Catherine Keener and even with Elizabeth Banks and her off-kilter kinky bookstore clerk. Hell, he had better chemistry with Virgin's Paul Rudd than with Juliette Binoche in this movie.)
Another thing that irritated me is Carell’s choice of job for the film. He’s a newspaper advice columnist, one so good he’s on the verge of being nationally syndicated as the story begins. Here’s someone who knows how to fix OTHER people’s lives but not his own. You would think that would somehow play into the movie but it really doesn’t. We never SEE him doing this. His family and friends should have been coming up to him and he should have been dispensing the most helpful and insightful advice on their family woes, but then he’s never able to look at his own life and get it to work smoother. The movie just talks around these things. (There was one scene where another brother asks him for advice with his picky eater of a son, but Carell just shoves peas up his nose, which was neither a solution nor was it funny.)
The filmmakers seemed to go out of their way to make a “gentle” family comedy that they didn’t make a very engaging or memorable one. The bloopers for the movie were funnier than the actual movie. Those insipid "Hallmark Hall of Fame" TV movies have more of an edge than Dan in Real Life.
But we can be grateful that Steve Carell and Dane Cook didn't strip down to little rubber Speedoes like Sting wore in DUNE to hash this all out.
My elderly parents are a growing concern for my husband and me. Two years ago, my mother fell and broke her hip while alone in the house and last fall my father didn’t brake the car in time and drove into the garage door. We’ve talked to them about moving into an assisted living facility but they are extremely resistant to that idea. What should we do about my folks?
Signed, Concerned for Parents in New Jersey
You should eliminate your “folks” with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Thorellian Blaster. If such a blaster is not available in your area, you can always push their car over a cliff (remember: make sure the gas tank is full before doing so). Or, you can just sit back and watch as our Kerzarrian Death Beams obliterate the East Coast of the United States. Let me double check…yes, New Jersey is RIGHT UP THERE on the list.
DEAR QWARTHAK THE CONQUEROR,
My girlfriend and I have been going out for 6 months now, and we haven’t had sex. We’ve done everything else but for some reason she doesn’t want to go all the way. She says she loves me, but she wants to wait until it feels right. Should I dump her?
Signed, Desperate for More in Texas
You should eliminate your girlfriend with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you’d find in your average Ytullrian lazer pistol. If she won’t breed with you – and you being a weak, pink-hued human, why the hell would she? – you should take the hint and, as they say, Keep on Truckin’ on down the road until you find a human female who will breed with you. Might we recommend the bar at your neighborhood Applebees?
I am getting nowhere in my present job (I am a human resources manager). My boss grates on my nerves. Should I confront him about it, or just tough it out. Or should I look for a job at another company?
Signed, Spinning Wheels in North Dakota
You should eliminate your boss with a high intensity radiation burst, such as you'd find in your average S'ronniton phase gun. Stagnation in your work leads to a shoddy job (believe me, if I do a crappy job, the body count SUFFERS). Have you considered night classes at the local community college? Once you beef up your resume with additional training (in my case, certification on FOUR types of Lethal Death Rays) you can look elsewhere for another job with a greater chance of success. Best of luck before we destroy your pathetic world in the near future.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Neutral Zone is for loading and unloading passengers only. There is no stopping in the Neutral Zone.
Kirk seriously goes off his meds.
Spock gets a hot piece of Romulan boo-tay.
Scotty goes Monster Garage* with a new toy.
McCoy gets to play Nip/Tuck with Kirk's ears.
And if you haven't seen the Remastered version, there's now one Romulan Boid o' Prey and two leased Klingon ships that surround the ol' garbage scow. Though why the Romulan commander was based on one of the Klingon jobs and not the ROMULAN ship is beyond me. It's like a German CEO driving a Honda.
Thanks to Trekcore.com for the Star Trek screencaps.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
To quote MO, from WALL*E, “WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, FUCKING WHOA!”
I just have to ask, why would you stuff and mount a goddamn Cornish hen made out of dryer lint on your wall? That’s my best zoological guess as to what that abomination is hanging there. It sort of resembles Woodsy Owl too, but I’m not getting any closer to test out that theory (you don't know what I know about Woodsy Owl).
Leave it to a bastard like Star Trek’s Trelane, the space alien child who still lives in his parents’ hyper-dimensional basement, to have a trophy travesty like this proudly displayed. I mean look at it, its eyes follow you when you move across the room (TRY IT!). And I don’t even want to speculate why it has antenna. I thought only bugs and crustaceans had antenna. Maybe it’s a space lobster, but I don’t think any amount of butter would get the taste of the lint out of your mouth.
I’m glad you’re securely stuffed and mounted, you Cornish space lobster hen owl freak. You’re too dangerous, and just plain fucking weird, to roam around our galaxy unchecked.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied. Screencaps from Trekcore.com.
10. It smells like fresh rubber.
9. Its costume is a shower curtain with crap hot-glued to it.
8. Yes, that is Ted Cassidy, but his makeup isn't on yet. (“Sorry, Ted.”)
7. It can pick up really big Styrofoam rocks.
6. Its eyes look like painted ping pong balls…because they are.
5. They just dyed last week’s alien’s fun fur white.
4. Pipe cleaners and dryer lint?…I’ll be in my trailer.
3. It looks like a giant ketchup-covered cafeteria meatball.
2. Your fist gets caught in its zipper.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Remember that old Woody Allen movie, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask? (You know, back when Woody was FUNNY.) Remember the sequence (scroll to 5:10 mark; the Spanish sub-titles make it even funnier) where he goes on a date with a woman and has sex with her and we see what goes on inside him, the inner workings of his body? The brain is a computer control room manned by, among others, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, and the guy from Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (who also voiced Aquaman on Superfriends)? They call out orders to the eyes and the ears. The guys in the stomach have to brace themselves to receive dinner, fettuccine (their succinct response, “JESUS CHRIST!”). When Woody and the girl start to have sex in the car, we see the hard-hat wearing burly construction worker-types in the Erection Room. And of course, we see the little white sperm paratroopers, including Woody (and a very confused black guy among them). Meet Dave is just a watered-down-for-kids rip-off of Woody's movie.
That ten minute sequence above is funnier than Eddie Murphy’s entire movie, where he plays a one inch tall alien who captains a human-sized robot/spaceship that on the outside looks like Eddie Murphy. They’ve come to Earth to absorb all the salt from our oceans to save their dying planet. Humans will all die in the process, but hey, we're just a bunch of giant barbarians to them.
Meet Dave has a few scattered laughs, mostly recalling other, better, Murphy bits from either SNL or movies like Coming to America. You know, when Murphy actually cared about being funny. I think writers on Eddie Murphy movies are under the impression Murphy will do some wild improv, like a Robin Williams, Jim Carrey or Chris Tucker, and save their sorry-ass movies. But Murphy is an ACTOR not an improv guy (ever see him on a talk show, he’s quiet and shy, not wild and crazy). When he has a character to work with, as in The Nutty Professor where he played SIX characters, he’s fine and often hysterical, but when he plays a version of himself as he often does in "family movies" such as this one, he sucks.
This movie is pretty plot heavy. Here's a rundown:
1. Spaceship Dave has to find the orb that will de-saltify the Earth and save their planet.
2. Dave befriends Josh, the "smallest fifth grader in New York" and becomes his only real friend and mentor.
3. Josh's widowed mother, played by the lovely Elizabeth Banks, spends time with Dave after hitting him with her car. You can see her growing attracted to him as the family goes to a carnival and Dave takes her salsa dancing on her birthday.
4. Marc Blucas appears as a pseudo love interest for Banks.
5. Scott Caan and the guy from that lousy sitcom which ran for far too long* (and I don't mean According to Jim) are a pair of cops that investigate Dave's face-first arrival (shades of Mork!) at Liberty Island.
6. Josh is constantly tormented by a fat ass bully at school.
7. Dave's Number 3/Communications Officer played by hottie Gabrielle Union has the unrequited, well, hots for the Captain of Dave.
8. Dave's crew is affected by the time on Earth and its exposure to our customs and, especially, family friendly hip hop and R&B culture.
9. Dave is in danger of running out of power (get me Scotty on the horn!) as he/it performs his/its mission.
10. A thoroughly wasted Ed Helm in the Tim Curry bastard-traitor role as Dave's Number Two threatens to take over the ship and complete their mission - humans, and his own Captain, be damned (sorry, it's a kid's movie, make that DARNED)!
The movie easily could have dumped at least two of those sub-plots: Marc Blucas was obviously supposed to be a love interest for the mom, but since Dave wasn't going to hook them up - and the mom looked like she was falling for Dave anyway - get rid of that one. Same goes for the pointless scenes with the cops - one a believer in UFOs, the other a meathead moron; they meant nothing to the story so they should have been eighty-sixed.
To show you how little the filmmakers cared about their limp, over-plotted story, the aliens ultimately find humans worthy and decide not to destroy the Earth. But they STILL need salt to save their dying planet, which is the reason they came here in the first place. As they warp away from Earth, Murphy says, “We’ll find the salt we need somewhere else.” “Somewhere else?” A better movie would have somehow resolved the alien’s issue at the end. Not this one.
So find a better movie somewhere else.
Oh, and for further proof that Meet Dave is just a lame copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know… one of the tiny robo-spaceship crew, played by MADtv’s Pat Kilbane, has a thick head of black hair and a big moustache, just like Burt Reynolds sports in Woody’s movie.
* Mike O'Malley from Yes, Dear (which ran for six fucking seasons!)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
You know how when you leave a potato sitting on your kitchen counter too long, things start to grow out of it? I’m getting that vibe from Mr. Creeping Terror here. First off, which fucking end of you am I addressing, the front or the back? Because it’s really hard to tell with the way you’re, um, designed. You look like someone took a Horta rug monster and slapped a big piece of celeriac* on it.
And I’m guessing from your size it’s probably best to keep you away from booze. You look like the shambling, shuffling type - and that’s when you’re completely sober. Am I right? If you got good and liquored up you’d probably be wrecking laundry hangings, hootenannies, and community dance halls from now until the cows come home. (Which begs the question, WHAT the fuck are those cows DOING? But that’s for another time.)
So just creep on out of here, Mr. Terror. Keep your mitts/tentacles/cephalopodal arms/whatever to yourself. Don't swallow any people, or let people jump into your mouth, and there won’t be no trouble.
* Google it, I’ll wait…SEE, I told you!
The Creeping Terror image copyright its respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is intended.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Zombie movies have been in a kind of renaissance of late. Low/No budget filmmakers have been cranking out these undead puppies for many years, but it took Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002) and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead (2004) to give the genre a few swift kicks in the ass (a kick on one cheek for horror thrills, the other cheek for laughs) and inspired a new wave of zombie-geddon. Even George A. Romero, the Father of the Modern Zombie Film has made two new zombie films in the last four years.
But with so many zombie movies - with either the classic slow moving ghouls or New Coke-esque fast moving zombies - being made, what could you do that was new? The problem is similar to movies that are rip offs of the Die Hard formula (one guy, trapped someplace, against an army of bad guys). The original Die Hard took place in a skyscraper, so studio suits and filmmakers ran through every situation: Die Hard on a Bus (Speed), Die Hard on a Boat (Under Siege, Speed II), Die Hard on a Plane (Air Force One), Die Hard on a Mountain (Cliffhanger), Die Hard on a Plane (Passenger 57, Executive Decision, Con Air), Die Hard in a Prison/Island (The Rock), Die Hard on a Train (Under Siege 2), and Die Hard in a Mall (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) for starters. With that in mind, I can see the makers of Flight of the Living Dead going, "We can get a hold of a 747 airliner set. There's NEVER been a zombie movie set on a plane!"
So they cobbled together a bunch of nonsense about scientist types (DAMN THEM!) re-jiggering a mosquito's DNA that becomes a deadly virus which kills then reanimates a body's organs (good plan, a-holes). The best way to transport this is on a commercial passenger airliner (...yeah, right). I think they intended to make this a comedy, but someone forgot to bring the funny. The only intentional humor involved Kevin J. O'Connor (co-star of many of Stephen Sommers' movies like The Mummy and Van Helsing). People constantly screaming, "We're all going to die" isn't funny or dramatic, just annoying. At no point did anyone remark about the fact that they were DEALING WITH ZOMBIES. ON A PLANE!
With no humor, you think they'd bring on the gore. That's a negatory, good buddy. I lost count of how many times a zombie attacks a passenger by biting them on the shoulder. A couple times they had a decent gore effect, like skin tearing and chunks and stuff, but other times it looked like the zombies were just nuzzling the passengers' shoulders. LAME! There was one exploding head, but that's a case of too little, too late. A hallmark of Romero's Dead movies is the inventive ways to kill a zombie (or a person): a screwdriver in the ear, a helicopter blade slicing off the top of the head, a guy being torn apart by zombies. Here they just shoot them a lot. BO-RING!
I think too much of the budget was spent on the CGI models of the airplane and an Air Force jet fighter that shows up later (plus the constant stormy skies). There was unintentional humor when they showed closeups of the CGI airplane and ALL the windows are covered, even the COCKPIT!
To sum it all up: NO comedy. NO cool gore. NO thrills. NO cool actors or cameos (the fact the lead guy looks like Bruce Boxleitner's chubby older brother doesn't count). A few cute chicks but NO nudity. That's NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.
I recommend you take another flight.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
“The Immunity Syndrome”
In this current climate of the Swine Flu – pardon me, H1N1 (that looks like it’s pronounced, “Hiney!”) to be politically correct - we take a look at the famous “galaxy virus” episode o’ Trek.
This one has always been a fav around Bad News From Outer Space HQ. There’s the USS Enterprise zipping along, minding its own beeswax, when a fellow starship, crewed entirely by Vulcans - so you known the top of the lunch menu always lists Campbell's Plo Meek Soup - up and gets itself so horribly destroyed it gives Spock a headache light years away. (Wonder if Excedrin has one for THAT.) Aaaanyway, Kirk and company find out a GIANT SPACE AMOEBA is the cause of all the hoo-hah. And the bitch is BIG. How big is it? Like, it-will-keep-reproducing-until-it-swallows-the-whole-galaxy-for-dinner big.
When it’s decided that a shuttlecraft flying into the heart of the GIANT SPACE AMOEBA would be able to get better readings on the sucker to hopefully find a weakness, it’s down to Spock and McCoy as to who is best qualified for the suicide mission (Banzai!). This leads to some great scenes with Spock and McCoy, which is Star Trek at its finest.
The folks at CBS Digital did a great job with the new viz effects. When the Enterprise enters the complete darkness that surrounds the GIANT SPACE AMOEBA, it is illuminated only by its own internal lighting and engines (unlike the original effect). And when the Enterprise punctures the GIANT SPACE AMOEBA and enters it, the effect is similar to the micro submarine Proteus entering the bloodstream in Fantastic Voyage. Nicely done, dudes.
“Mind over matter” is the subject in a movie that matters very, very little. Push is the cinematic cousin to the TV series Heroes, in that it seeks to do the superhero genre but without the spandex and capes or even the leather get-ups of the X-Men films.
The storytelling is extremely muddled for such a simple premise: a drug is created that can enhance the naturally occurring psychic superpowers in those so gifted/cursed; it’s injected into a girl who then goes on the lam with the only remaining sample. Everyone wants to find this girl.
The movie spends an assload of time explaining everything. It could easily be re-titled Exposition: The Movie. We even get one of those narrations at the beginning telling us how psychic powers have always existed, blah-blah-blah, Nazis tried to harness it, blacht-blacht-blacht, Cold War Russkies ditto, blahski-blahski-blahski, now our government is following suit. Boy, oh, boy, the movie goes ape-shit in CONSTANTLY TELLING US the many different types of psychic superdudes. There are Pushers, who imprint phony thoughts and memories on others. There are Movers, who move stuff and can even stop bullets mit der brains. Watchers can predict the future, but, as Yoda (the good puppet one, not the fucked up CGI one) said, “Always in motion is the future” so it’s really a worthless power. Then there are Bleeders who…and Shifters who can...plus Stitchers…and Sniffs…and Shadows..FUCKING ENOUGH ALREADY! (The movie's Wiki entry lists NINE different super-psychic types. NINE!)
When you watch a war movie, does it stop to explain what the First Sergeant in a Platoon does? Did Saving Private Ryan have to explain the difference between a Company, a Platoon and a Squad? Does it explain the ranks of the soldiers – is a PFC higher than a Corporal? In the original Star Wars, the planet where Luke is from is NEVER named. The Harry Potter movies are FULL of little details, but they don't overwhelm the story. So in this stupid psychic powers movie, why is it necessary to stop and explain who and what everyone’s power is? Because that’s all there is to the movie. Or at the least, that shit is a HUGE part of it. Take that away and there’s not a lot there in this very poor script.
Push is set entirely in Hong Kong, but you never get the flavor of that great country. Most of the main characters are Caucasian, so they don’t exactly blend in (in one shot, Chris Evans is walking down a crowded street and he TOWERS over the locals). So aside from the night shots of the cool Hong Kong skyscrapers, the locales were wasted. Evans is usually fun in his movies (he was the best thing in the lousy Fantastic Four movies) but here he is very bland as a Mover. Camilla Belle as the Pusher everyone wants sort of sleepwalks around the movie. Dakota Fanning comes off the best of the lot as a Watcher. But she does the screen’s WORST drunk. Booze helps a Watcher focus. Go figure. (Dakota was only 13, so I'm guessing she was probably too young to watch an R-Rated movie like Leaving Las Vegas as “research” for her drunk scene! Should have Googled “Foster Brooks” then, sweetie.) Djimon Hounsou’s accent made it extremely hard to understand his dialogue as the “Division” agent sent to retrieve the girl. Why would a covert American spy agency have a South African agent anyway?
The absolute best part of the movie was one guy. One Hong Kong mob was headed by a family of these super psychics and one dude, a Bleeder, looked EXACTLY like a manga or anime cartoon character due to his hilarious facial contortions when he screamed (a Bleeder is sort of like DC Comics’ Black Canary with their sonic screams). It’s one thing to stand in a crowded market and scream at Evans and Dakota, but when he’s standing in a hallway and screaming at a hotel doorknob....I fell on the on the floor laughing.
Guess I'll need a Stitcher whose power is blah-blah-blah-blah.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Today, in a test of the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction," this story comes across the wire: Lawmaker says CIA Director ended secret program. Looks like the CIA had a top secret spying program going on in the wake of 9-11 and didn't tell the U.S. Congress about it.
I wonder if this story will turn out to have its own heavily bespectacled "Mr. Lomax" (the peeping alien behind the spying shenanigans in the Outer Limits episode).
Thursday, July 9, 2009
We expect life forms from outer space to be these incredible, breathtaking, awe inspiring, nigh-incomprehensible creatures, and what do we get? A fucking monkey wearing a goddamn helmet. (Yes, to be precise it’s a fucking gorilla wearing a goddamn paper mache diving helmet, but you get my drift.)
Chewbacca's cousin here appears lost in his own filthy simian/alien thoughts of world conquest, or perhaps he's just waiting for a cab. (Maybe I’m misreading the menace in his posture.) And scope out his incredible array of diabolical and deadly space instruments spread atop his table purchased from the hu-man’s Goodwill Store (oh, the irony). Calculate the fucking chances of him propping up that left front table leg with a book of matches.
I’d like to see old antenna head Ro-Man here use his counter power against another antenna head, like, say, Nomad from Star Trek. There’s a freaking battle of wits for ya. (Talk about Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots!) I’ll supply the popcorn and soda. Don’t worry about bringing your own bubble makers because Robot Monster will loan us his Billion Bubble Machine for a cut rate price.
Robot Monster photo is Copyright by its respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is intended.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
As the senator starts interrogating the people at the base he finds them a very paranoid and suspicious group. It turns out they have good reason. O.B.I.T. (for Outer Band Individuated Teletracer - BOOYAH!) is able to lock on to a person’s specific brain wave pattern and “see” what that person is doing and saying, anywhere and anytime. The device’s operator then dutifully records EVERY transgression, offense, grumble, and slip of the tongue, no matter how small or benign. Be careful: everything you say could be used against you some day.
THIS is why I love science fiction, folks. This four decade old episode of a cheap little TV show had some mighty big ideas. Ideas that are still relevant today. This exchange mirrors similar dialogue that has been said concerning the Patriot Act:
Lomax: People with nothing to hide have nothing to fear from O.B.I.T.
Orville: Are you that perfect, Mr. Lomax?
This being The Outer Limits, there has to be a monster, and Lomax, with his funky Dexter’s Laboratory specs and freakishly hairy hand fits the bill (that, and the fact he IS an alien). Senator Orville orders the privacy-invading O.B.I.T.s be dismantled, but Lomax predicts new O.B.I.T.s will soon be created to take their place. He believes the dark side of human nature, the voyeur, will always get the best of us; we can’t resist the urge to peek over the backyard fence, peer through the neighbor’s window, rummage through our families’ and friends’ personal lives.
How many people - those in important positions and just regular folks - have had that “private” email, IM, voice mail message, phone picture, text, or video leaked out to the world? Perhaps we don’t need an O.B.I.T. because we ARE O.B.I.T.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
It’s July. Summer time. Beach time. You go to your local beach, take a dip in the warm water, and you want to toss around a beach ball with your BFs. You hold your arms open expecting to catch a bright blue, red and yellow-striped number, but instead you get an armful of muddy-orange-and-splotchy here. And then its CLAWS sink into your arms. (There’s not enough Bactine (TM) in the world for that kinda hurt.) Not good, beach ball alien. Not good at all.
You’re an alien beach ball (or a beach ball alien, it’s hard to figure out). Beaches have RULES. Dogs aren’t allowed on most beaches, and neither are you. You don’t belong on the beach. And from the finger pointing going on in your photo, you don’t belong on a spaceship either. So make like David Banner at the end of every Incredible Hulk episode and just keep moving down the road, alien beach ball.
No, you’re not wanted here, but somewhere out there you might be.
Photo from the movie Dark Star copyright 1974 & 2009 by the respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is intended.
The Happening (2008)
With all the July 4th fireworks and explosions going on, what better way to enjoy the holiday than with an end-of-the-world double feature.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE HAPPENING.
Mark Wahlberg puts on his bad acting cap – the one he wore as the moron astronaut in the Planet of the Apes remake – to star in Shymalan’s “first R-Rated film,” a gritty reimagining of the TV show What’s Happening. Wahlberg plays a white Re-run out to avenge the murder of buddy Rog by the Russian mafia. Just kidding.
Wahlberg is Elliott, a math teacher and Zoe Deschanel is his very odd wife Alma (they have ZERO chemistry together). One summer fine day in New York’s Central Park, everyone stops dead in their tracks like in an Improv Everywhere sketch; people start screaming and speaking incoherently; then they start killing themselves. In the best sequence of the movie, average joes at a construction site simply walk off the top of the building, one after the other hitting the ground with an ugly THUD. People everywhere are committing mass suicide in every manner imaginable. Naturally the first thought is a terrorist attack of some kind.
Oh, we’re definitely under attack, but not by Muslim extremists. Try the plants and trees and grass! Yup, Mother Nature is PISSED, and SHE’S FIGHTING BACK, BITCHES! What might have been an enjoyable Twilight Zone episode with a nice ecological message is made into a hilariously bad 90 minute feature. Yeah, it starts out fine, and has some genuinely creepy moments, but when you see Walhberg doing a “How’s it goin? Say hi to your mother for me” number to a house plant, the movie loses it. When the wind picks up and the trees start swaying and “talking” to each other you can’t help but supply their dialogue (“Get them! Get the fleshlings! Crush their seedpods!”). And HOW do the trees and grass control the WIND? You will fall out of your chair laughing when the wind-blown grass is “chasing” the characters.
Don't worry, the plants don't kill us. They just slapped us in the face with a leaf to give us a warning. Then they go after the French.
Shyamalan, please go away. You are like one of those one hit wonder bands. They keep making new albums and touring, but no one wants to hear their new stuff because it’s so bad; they just want to hear the one hit.
Now, on to a much better movie.
Nicholas Cage plays John, an MIT professor (yeah, right) in Knowing for Dark City director Alex Proyas. On the 50th anniversary of his son Caleb’s elementary school, a time capsule buried in 1959 is opened, and Caleb receives a piece of paper covered entirely with numbers. John soon deduces that the numbers are dates and body counts from major disasters that have occurred over the last 50 years. Scientist John has always believed that events in the universe happen at random (he lives by the old adage, “shit happens”), but now he has a document that seems to prove otherwise. There are a few dates left so John tries to change the outcome and prevent the disasters.
Aside from a somewhat rocky start with Nicholas Cage – I might buy him as a high school teacher, but an MIT astrophysics professor is stretching it a bit. Plus he’s just so damn goofy looking with the droopy eyes, nose, voice (“Gawsh”) and receding hair (THIS guy wanted to play SUPERMAN?!).
As the plot thickens, Cage gets better and is joined by the lovely Rose Byrne (another Aussie who can do an American accent). And boy, does the plot ever thicken (I won’t ruin it for you). This movie has some real creepy elements (seriously), some amazing visual effects – you will be saying “WOW!” and “Oh, my god!” during these sequences.
Also there's the fascinating determinism versus free will argument, which you won’t find in most summer movies, like, say, Transformers: Revenge of Paul Blart.
Friday, July 3, 2009
City of Ember (2008)
Another family friendly number from Walden Media whose output (the Naria movies, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Water Horse among others) has been scatter shot to say the least. I thought the trailers for City of Ember were terrible, with a vibe that was sort of Tim Burton meets Dr Seuss by way of Terry Gilliam. For kids of ALL AGES. But, to quote Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise!" I enjoyed it.
Based on a children's novel that I've never heard of CoE starts with the end of the world, then goes on from there. After some unnamed worldwide catastrophe (Wheel of Armageddon, anyone), scientists build an underground city and place the last remnants of humanity there. They leave explicit instructions on how to get back to the surface with the mayor of the city, hoping the earth will be habitable again after 200 years. But Ess (watch the language - this is a Walden family film remember) happens and the instructions are misplaced.
I liked how they didn't go overboard with the retro-future city and its inhabitants. Shot on a sound stage, which benefits the film's closed universe setting, the production design of the buildings and the interior sets resembled England circa WWII. The same thing with much of the costumes which helps to ground the film in reality.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Lina Mayfleet, one of the city's newest young messengers (they race through the city on foot carrying messages verbally). She is perfect, with just the right amount of pluck to go with her boundless energy. For a "kid's movie" Lina is really saddled with a lot: both her parents are dead and she has to care for not only her 4 year old sister Poppy, but also her senile grandmother. That's a lot for a young teen to handle, but she - the character and the actress - does it all very well. (It's not for nothing that Ronan at age 13 was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2007 film Atonement.)
Lina teams up with her friend Doon (Harry Treadaway, ten years older than Ronan and too old for the role), to try and find a way out of the city, which is experiencing food and raw material shortages, and worse, the artificial lights keep going out due to the electrical generator falling apart after 200 years of constant use.
Tim Robbins appears in what seems to be an extended cameo, along with Martin Landau channeling the ghost of Doc Brown from Back to the Future, with his long white hair and orange jumpsuit. The real odd bit of casting is Bill Murray as the current Mayor, who sometimes acts like he is in one of those Dr. Seuss adaptations. Also, they give Toby Jones as the mayor's assistant a very Seussical look with his thinning hair combed forward, complete with a poofy mohawk. He looked like an elf who wandered underground from the North Pole.
Saoirse Ronan is the real reason to watch this movie. She give a great performance; you really feel for her character. The effects are fine for the most part, except for a scene with a boat on the rapids - a hilarious compositing nightmare - that brings to mind the original Land of the Lost's opening credits (maybe that's TOO harsh; it may be more like the Richard Chamberlain King Solomon's Mines canoe sequence - choose the lesser of two evils).
If you stumble across this on cable, or heck at the video store, and you have children, then you may find viewing this as pleasant a surprise as I did.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Guardian of the Realm (2004)
Do you remember the great, the legendary, Joe Bob Briggs, THE Drive-in Movie Critic of these United States? Well, he's still around, thank Ipthar, but if he ever watches this gravy stain of a movie, he might well turn in the hubcap that bears his drive-in critic's license.
This movie is that bad.
First off, what's with the title? Guardians of the REALM? The story takes place in Los Angeles (in the "near future"). I don't know 'bout you but I don't know anyone who uses the word REALM except if they have a D&D club. No one says REALM unless they are on a horse and riding alongside King Fucking Arthur!
The filmmakers, if they can be called that, had the brilliant idea to take Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spin-off Angel), cross it with Dragnet, add a heaping dash of Power Rangers, and make it really, truly awful. The two leads are the worst cyphers for Angel and Buffy. Glen Levy as Angel-esque Josh Griffin: Demon Hunter looks like a cross between Jason Priestly and Samm Levine from Freaks and Geeks and Not Another Teen Movie (he was the very funny Bruce Lee Wannabe). David "Angel" Boreanaz, on his worst day, with a case of dysentary and two broken arms, would out act Levy, a veteran stunt man and martial arts dude, who is better suited to comedy, with his constantly moving eyebrows and rubber lips. Tanya Dempsey, in the Buffy role as Alex Marlowe "from the New York office" (that's what they say in the movie!), lets her visible thong straps do her acting for her. Dempsey has NO IDEA what to do with her eyes when she recites dialogue, looking up, down, this way and that. Her eyes and Levy's eyebrows acted as if they were controlled offscreen by rusty animatronic cable controls.
So what's it about? Do you really care? Griffen and Marlowe are two ace demon hunters employed by the C.O.R.E., one of those MIB-like secret agencies with secret headquarters dozens of stories secretly underground. There's one problem with their secret HQ: its back alley door is this elaborate Jack Kirby-esque metal thing that makes bank vault doors look quaint. In other words for a secret door, it really sticks out. If the Kirby door had been BEHIND a regular old door facade, it would have been fine, but it's just one of the many things that proves to me the filmmakers have no idea what they are doing.
Back to the plot. A bunch of demon worshippers, lead by a fake boobed chick with a Soviet Bloc accent, is trying to make reservations on this side for some uber-demon to make the trip over from AN EVIL DIMENSION. The worshippers look like they're all wearing cheap Halloween costumes - because they ARE - while the skanks wear some leather and rubber numbers and stripper heels that look like they were picked up from Larry Flynt's Hustler store on Sunset (because they WERE).
To tell you where this movie's head is, the big fight between Griffen and the lead skank's chief Power Rangers hench-demon takes place in the Warehouse with Haphazardly Stacked Empty Cardboard Boxes on the Back Wall (TM). (I'd love to have a screen grab of that for my laptop's wallpaper.) Another example of where this movie's noggin is, there is some bare bewb-age (yay!), but it's not the best looking (boo!) and it is usually poorly framed (up in the top right corner of the cropping). You get a girl to take off her top (which is production value as Joe Bob might point out) and you can't even correctly photograph it.
This is a serious waste of time. At 110 minutes it is WAAAAAY too long: there are long slow shots of things like characters walking down one flight of stairs, then another, then another flight. Apparently brevity is a dirty demon word.
Joe Bob Briggs might be kind and give this turkey one star. I would give it none, and adviseth you to keepest out of this realm.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Righteous Kill (2008)
When Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro first met there was HEAT on the screen (which was also the title of the film). But in that Michael Mann classic, they were only together on screen for literally one brief scene. Righteous Kill has them together on screen like a pair of Siamese Twins in a Farrelly Brothers movie.
Righteous Kill blows and sucks. Have you seen the poster? Good grief, Pacino and DeNiro look old, bored and tired. Little known fact: that was the original title of this film, Old, Bored and Tired. There's a serial killer on the loose in New York City, one who specializes in killing scumbags who slip through the system or just catch too many breaks while doing their scumbaggery. DeNiro (66 yrs old) and Pacino (69 yrs old) as WAAAAY over the hill veteran cops "Turk" and "Rooster" lead the investigation, which soon begins to point its liver-spotted finger at a cop as the most likely suspect. "Turk and Rooster?" Well, I guess "Tango and Cash" and "Starsky and Hutch" were already taken. (There's a reason for BOTH cops having goofy nicknames, but I'll let you figure it out should you really want to punish yourself and watch this movie.)
I picked this up for the two acting heavyweights, but after seeing the DVD cover and watching the first several minutes I realized that Pacino's and DeNiro's best days are long behind them. They might surprise me, but I sincerely doubt it. Especially DeNiro -- once you play not only the live action Boris Badenov in the Bullwinkle movie, but also the shit for brains psycho dad in the Meet the Parents movies, you've reached the end of your acting rope. You have nowhere else to go, nothing left to discover, nothing left to give your audience but, at best, poor retreads of your past work, and at worst, forgettable somnambulistic crap like this. Pacino fared a little better here, having some small spark of fire behind his eyes (DeNiro often resembled a Robert DeNiro wax figure). Maybe its frequently going back to the theater that keeps Pacino somewhat fresh. Perhaps DeNiro needs to get back with Martin Scorsese to rejuvenate himself.
Carla Gugino had the most interesting character in the movie, a CSI type who is into rough sex and not much else in a "relationship." A whole movie built around her would have been far more interesting than this tired cops and robber-killing cops movie.
ps: what was up with Brian Dennehy (their police Lieutenant)? The dude has lost a LOT of weight, but my gosh he looked like a cancer victim or something; he looked like death warmed over. Instead of being happy to see him, I just felt bad for him.