Saturday, December 31, 2011

Drawn to Blade Runner

Recently, friend of the blog Dave C. brought to our attention that a looong out of print book of the incredible, eyeball-melting artwork by "visual futurist" Syd Mead for the seminal sci-fi movie Blade Runner is now available online.

This post from looks at that one of a kind tome.

Syd Mead is a national treasure. Seriously, someone award this man a medal. I bet he could design a really cool one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Imperfect Holiday Gifts

Well, another Christmas season has ended. Soon now-brittle trees will be carted out to the sidewalk for disposal and wreaths and ornaments will be stored away until next year.

And gifts that were exchanged are now…brought back to retailers for full refunds. Yes, despite the well-meaning intentions, some gifts just aren’t the right fit, or just rub people the wrong way, or are just way dangerous and pervy.

We’ve polled retailers nationwide and, hands down, the number 1 returned item this season has been the "Nomad Home Probe" from Roykirk Industries (model #MK-15c).

Here are just a few of the comments culled from return forms:

“This thing tried to mount my Roomba vacuum! What kind of pervert are you people selling?”

“My husband was singing in the living room on the new karaoke set the kids got him for Christmas, when Nomad comes in and zaps him. Now he can’t remember who he is!”

“My Nomad seems to be conspiring with the appliances in my kitchen. I see him hovering around the microwave all the time, calling it “Tan Ru.” I seen I, Robot and I don’t want that to happen to me!

"Nomad keeps “accidentally” floating in on my wife while she’s in the shower. I wouldn’t mind so much, but his antennae are always fully extended, which creeps her out."

“Every time I try to watch Jersey Shore, Nomad yells something about how he must “sterilize imperfections,” then fires an energy bolt at the tv. But then for a half hour afterwards, he hovers around mumbling something about wanting to tap Snookie’s exhaust port.”

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ridley Scott's Return To Science Fiction

Ridley Scott directed two landmark science fiction films, Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982). The former set the standard for sci-fi/horror, while the latter is the best film noir via sci-fi story there is.

Both movies are also rightly known for their trendsetting production design, with their gritty, lived in look and details. To this day, any new science fiction movie cribs from the look of one or both of these films.

Now, three decades later, Scott returns to the genre with Prometheus, a quasi-prequel to Alien. Here's the first real trailer for the film at, which opens June 2012. And here's a very cool trailer screencap breakdown BleedingCool did a few days later.

I love that they used the original Alien trailer's sound effects over this new ad. It just serves to further tie Alien and Prometheus together, and if you didn't know where that sound came from, it is still creepy/scary and totally appropriate for the trailer.Link

Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Trademark of CBS Studion, Inc. No infringement of their rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Thursday, December 22, 2011

GREAT Apes, Indeed

This short bit of video footage, found at, is more thrilling, amazing and moving than the entire recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie (sorry, Andy Serkis).

Just watch it and see.

Seriously. (The action starts at about the 1:05 mark).

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Restoration of Manos


Sorry about shouting that, but, seriously, according to this NPR post, a film school grad - dude named Ben Solovey - wants to restore "Manos," one of the the WORST films ever made.

You were likely introduced to "Manos," as I was, through the glory days of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Is this a good thing, Torgo, or should such wretched celluloid cheese be left alone in all its scratchy, grainy glory?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Odds n Ends

Movie critic Christy Lemire lists her Five Favorite Performances by Robert Downey Jr. I agree with her assessments of Downey's work in Iron Man, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and the hilarious Tropic Thunder. I also agree with her that RDJ's Sherlock Holmes is a waste of celluloid. Rent the BBC's recent 3-episode series Sherlock if you want some adventurous fun with the brilliant detective.

We are all into the late lamented sci-fi western series Firefly here at the BNFOS Orbiting Space Station, and has a fun piece about how artist Dan Dos Santos did the cover art for a recent Dark Horse Comics Serenity issue.

These toy designs that would have been tie-ins to a Tim Burton directed Superman movie are some premium nightmare fuel. Superman is THE FIRST superhero ever. Why the fuck do they want to mess with that simple iconic design? "Underwear on the outside?" That's just the way it is, leave it alone. If a man flew out of the sky, landed in front of you and lifted a car over his head (on a movie screen, natch), if the first thing you say is, "Your underwear is on the outside" you are a complete idiot.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Off-Road Segway

Holy shit, but this is so cool.

You know what a Segway is right? That weird two-wheeled thingy that was supposed to revolutionize transportation, or something. Know anybody who owns one? Didn't think so. (I've only seen it on tv used by mail men or cops.)

Inventor Ben Gulak did the Segway one better: he put tank treads and a 200 cc engine into a Segway-like off-road devil called a DTV Shredder. It's all in this Rolling Stone piece.

I wonder if Ben got his inspiration from the Mandroid in that goofy scifi masterpiece The Eliminators (see my running commentary of that funfest here)?

Monday, November 28, 2011

John Byrne Art

Artist John Byrne has some fun pin ups at his website Byrne Robotics.

If you're an X-Men fan, he revisits a piece he did for the Comics Reader back in the day, where he put the "all new, all different" X-Men into the original team's school uniforms.

Then he flips that idea on its head and puts the Fantastic Four in original X-Men style uniforms. I wonder if there is a "What If?" story hiding in here somewhere.

And lastly, he gives us this great looking "future girl soldier" piece, where the partial coloring gives it a distinctly European or Heavy Metal magazine vibe. I'd love to seem a scifi story done with this woman.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Walking Dead - Fall Finale

AMC's The Walking Dead just aired its fall finale. What a long, strange trip it's been.

Our intrepid band of zombie apocalypse survivors has slowly been coming apart (a little too slowly this season), mostly over the handling of The Search For Sophia, Carol's daughter and Carl's friend, who went missing after the group encountered and evaded that awesome Zombie Herd (TM) on the highway in this second season's opener.

Shane (Jon Bernthal), he with the chest which makes Arnold Schwarzenegger openly weep, is going into uber-survivalist mode: he will do anything - kill anything and anyone - that stands in the way of his safety, and of those under his protection. Of course, this philosophy directly conflicts with the views of his best friend Rick (Andrew Lincoln), the show's star and the erstwhile leader of this ragtag group, who still believes in notions like civilization and respect for other people's viewpoints and property. Rick and Shane will ultimately come to a reckoning - a "Come to Jesus/George A. Romero" moment - and I believe that's gonna be a brutal, ugly thing (which is great for a post apocalyptic survival horror-drama).

I blame the firing of Frank Darabont for the meandering this show has taken in its second season. The first season only had six episodes and then-showrunner Darabont kept the plotting nice and tight. Season two has twice the episodes (13 eps, actually) but they appear to have stumbled a bit with the transition from Darabont to current showrunner Glen Mazzara. The search for Sophia and the stay at Herschel's farm has taken up the most of the entire first half of the current season, with a lot of that "spinning our wheels, going nowhere" feel during much of it.

How many times did they have the scene of the gang gathered around a map on the hood of a car mapping out search grids as they attempted to locate Sophia? It could be its own Internet meme. Plus, Lori's whole "I might be pregnant but I'm not going to tell my husband storyline" was drawn out so much I thought they might finally resolve it after she gave birth to the kid and he or she went off of Post Zombie College.

The last ten minutes of the fall finale, "Pretty Much Dead Already" almost, and I mean almost, makes up for the slow plotting and pacing that came before it, with Shane going bugnuts (he made a lot of sense in that scene - and Bernthal was great) at the barn and those utterly heartbreaking final moments (my jaw was on the floor).

The Walking Dead is perhaps my favorite show on right now, but I sincerely hope that the plotting gets tightened up for the last six episodes of the season. If this episode is any indication, they are on the right track.

Martians And Kung Fu, But No Martian Kung Fu

Here are some new pics from the upcoming and eagerly anticipated JOHN CARTER, directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo and Wall-E). from

I never read the pulp novels, but I recall fondly reading the Marvel Comics adaptation "John Carter: Warlord of Mars," with the curvaceous Dejah Thoris, the four-armed Tharks, and assorted Martian strangeness.

Also found on io9 is this wackass Chinese fantasy kung fu movie called Demon of the Lute. They feature a clip where the hero is first attacked by some ninja-types with hidden trampolines (trampoline fu, as Joe Bob Briggs might say), then a bald dude with an orange goatee. Mr. Orange travels by way of a cannibalized Radio Flyer wagon-as-chariot pulled by a pair of German Shepard dogs.

Mr. Orange - who could film a Rogaine commercial when he magically grows a full head of orange hair that would put Carrot Top to shame - could cut down on the between-meal snacks as they have to speed up of the footage of the dogs pulling the wagon or those scenes would take up the movie's whole runtime.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Run, Run Away!

Movie car chases usually get all the glory, but now has this great piece up featuring "35 of Film's Best Foot Chases."

There's some amazing and even fun stuff here, everything from Ferris Bueller's crazy run home to beat his sister Jeannie, to the cool efficiency of the Bourne films. Also included are foot chases from recent films like Inception, Kontroll and Kung Fu Hustle, and also classic films including French Connection II, Bullitt and Blade Runner.

Lace up your sneakers and join in, won't you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Lizard and a Toaster Watch Movies

Move over Roger Ebert, Nomad & The Gorn are gettin' into the movie review biz.

Star Trek characters copyright 2011 by CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of their rights is intended with this PARODY. Screencaps from

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Show? Out of Danger?

David Letterman isn't known for his movie parodies, so this recent gag is a bit of an oddity.

Dave starts the normal Top Ten List countdown and something gums up the works - perhaps a particle of pre-animate matter caught in a matrix.

He sends a stagehand downstairs to investigate. Now either Letterman is a closet Trekkie, or someone on the writer's staff got a favor called in. And check out the use of James Horner's music in the piece!

(I found this courtesy of a post at the John Byrne Forum.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Title, Movie Title

"James Bond Will Return."

That message has always been appended to the end credits of every James Bond film since the first one in the series, Dr. No, appeared on screen in 1962.

The latest Bond, Daniel Craig, will return to the 007 role in the just announced Skyfall, slated to appear on screens in November 2012. (From the L.A. Times' blog Hero Complex.)

Is it me, or does the title not sound very exotic, very Bond-like? Skyfall? Skyfall? Put it up there next to You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me or even the last film, Quantum of Solace, or even the single word titles like Thunderball or Moonraker (we can leave out Octopussy).

Oh, well, at least it's not Attack of the Clones.

Daniel Craig is back in the fitted tuxedo, Judi Dench returns as M, Javier Bardem is a new bad guy, and they are being directed by Sam Mendes, so Skyfall sounds very promising indeed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Claws Versus Katanas

The Wolverine, the sequel to the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is scheduled to start filming next year.

James Mangold has been enlisted as director. I'm very excited about this. He directed two films I enjoyed very much, Walk The Line and 3:10 to Yuma.

Mangold's strength is characters, and Wolverine is more than just a set of claws and a killer squint. The new movie is set in Japan and will be heavily influenced, apparently, by the seminal comic book mini-series from writer Chris Claremont and artist Frank Miller. It will explore the samurai code, Yakuza, ninjas and lots more according to this post from

With the recent success of X-Men: First Class, which had a huge James Bond vibe in its 1960s setting, and now The Wolverine being set in Japan - "like a foreign language film" per Mangold - maybe they will take more chances with comic book movies and move away from the cookie cutter approach they've long been taking.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween Weekend, You Things From Another World, You

The above pics are from my previous review of the trick or treat episode "Catspaw" from Star Trek TOS.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Recently, I sat down to watch a movie I knew nothing about, other than it starred Clint Eastwood and featured mountain climbing. The movie was The Eiger Sanction, and it was a pleasant surprise.

Eastwood, who also directed, played a college art history professor with the awesome name of Jonathan Hemlock. Unbeknownst to the college and the cute coeds who make googley eyes at the prof, Hemlock is also a government assassin who worked for the shadowy agency C2.

Hemlock is sent to “sanction” or terminate the people who killed one of the agency’s own. He realizes this is pointless, but accepts the work for the money which he uses to buy black market art pieces (hey, everybody got to have a hobby).

I wasn’t expecting the movie to have the “American James Bond” vibe that it did. Most of this was courtesy of Hemlock’s creepy agency boss who goes by the name, Mr. Dragon, played by Thayer David. Dragon is an albino with white eyes and a need for his office to be bathed in red light, a spectrum which he can tolerate. Hemlock and Dragon’s exchanges bring to mind those of Bond and his boss M, but with a bit more venom, as Dragon is a real asshole (both characters know this). Dragon even has a nurse named Miss Cerberus, a combination of Nurse Ratchet and Young Frankenstein’s Frau Blucher, who changes his blood!

The movie, based on a popular novel by “Trevanian” (a European sounding pseudonym for American writer Rodney William Whitaker) is slower paced than contemporary action movies, or even James Bond movies of the time. However, the mountain climbing scenes were well done – no CGI or crappy process shots - with Eastwood and company actually climbing the mountain in Europe, as well as mountains at US locations seen earlier in the film in sequences showing Hemlock training for the Euro-climb.

George Kennedy was a treat as Hemlock's old pal and climbing trainer, Ben Bowman. Here he brings a bit of the fun and energy he had in his Academy Award-winning role in Cool Hand Luke.

The movie is a little on the longish side, it could easily have had 10 minutes trimmed off, but Eastwood was in top form, as were many of the lovely unclothed ladies featured in this R-rated film. And the film is topped off by a nice romantic John Williams score.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Does The Future-NRA Know About This?

The new Fox series Terra Nova is the most expensive show on tv, with an estimated budget of $4 million per episode. But there appears to be an area where they are skimping on the dineros: props.

Now, every sci fi series has had to take "found" objects, modify them, and turn them into futuristic props of some kind. The old Star Trek was famous for taking fancy silver salt shakers and, with some snazzy sound effects, turning them into Dr. McCoy's 23rd century surgical tools.

The prop people on the original Star Wars took a German broom-handled Mauser pistol, added machined parts, a scope, a new muzzle, and created Han Solo's iconic blaster.

But Terra Nova, according to this piece at, apparently took some orange and blue plastic NERF toy guns and...just spray-painted them black to use as guns. They didn't use the NERF guns as the basis of a new cool future weapon, adding cool new parts to it, as the Han Solo weapon above was created; they just took something that was one color and painted it another.

For $4 mil per episode, I would have expected some original designs, manufactured just for the show (after all, in the storyline, the tech comes from 100 years in our future). But, seriously, spray-painted plastic NERF guns? That's something a movie with a $4,000 budget would pull.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Patroling The Highways And Byways In Style

Remember The Highwayman, the jaw-droppingly stupid 80s adventure series starring Sam J. (Flash Gordon) Jones and, in his inexplicable 15 minutes of fame, Australian weirdo Jacko as dudes who patrol the roads of the near-future in a big rig that just happens to covert into a helicopter? (Yeah, it was a Glen (Knight Rider) Larson production.)

Here's the $3 million luxury RV version, but instead of converting to a copter, they added a mini-bar. (from Yahoo News)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marvel Short Kicks Butt

In this Marvel Films short at, we get to see just why Phil Coulson is an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Funny and cool at the same time. It will be included with the Captain America movie DVD out next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Avengers Assemble a Trailer

Here's the newest trailer for The Avengers movie, due out in May 2012 (via

This. Is. Looking. Good.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs - Tribute

Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs passed away earlier this week at the age of 56. Mr. Jobs gave the world its first personal computers (the Apple II), popularized smartphones (the iPhone) and believed in a little computer animation company (Pixar) when others didn't.

The amazing logo above is the work of Hong Kong art student Jonathan Mak Long, which I found in this Yahoo News piece. I love it for its stark simplicity.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Catch 1970s Fever All Over Again!

When I was a junior space cadet, I lived on the movies and tv series of the 1970s.

I feasted on everything from re-runs of Star Trek, Space: 1999 and UFO, first run episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, to Ark II, Space Academy, Return to the Planet of the Apes (animated monkeys!), and, of course, Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings.

Trips to the movies included fare such as Message from Space ("Hey, walnuts!"), Alien and some movie called Star Wars.

Now, there's a blog that helps us re-live those special, polyester-clad days - it's called Space: 1970.

Do stop by, and tell 'em Bad News From Outer Space sent ya.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Terra Nova Limps Across Our TV Screens

Alright, Terra Nova, you and me are gonna have a little chat. I just watched your two hour Fox Network pilot again, and you definitely do not have me hooked. SPOILERS AHEAD.

First of all, WHY do you want me to watch you, for what reason? It’s not the dinosaurs, which, I’m sorry, while they look like decent “Walking With Dinosaurs” caliber viz effects, they are definitely NOT “Jurassic Park”-level effects, which we as an audience are expecting. Seriously, it’s been 18 years since “Jurassic” premiered in theaters and Steven Spielberg is one of your producers. Couldn’t you just use the ILM software from back then?

Also, Spielberg apparently doesn’t want to use the same dinos from the Jurassic movies, so instead of everyone’s fave Tyrannosaurus Rex, we get their limp Cretaeous stand-ins Carnotaurs. In place of Velociraptors we get the goofy “Slashers” with their blade-tipped tails which are an entirely MADE UP species of dinosaur. I’m sorry, but you’re not simply taking liberties with animal traits/abilities (like the spitting dinos in JP), you’re just making shit up. Not cool.

Another Spielberg influence is apparently that we humans cannot be shown killing a dinosaur, even one that is trying its darnedest to slash/chew/eat/devour us. You can fire an A-Team episode's worth of ammo at the suckers but they will never fall -- "their hide is too tough" or some nonsense -- or even be scared off by the sound and muzzle flashes. This is a bunch of baloney.

The physical look of Terra Nova is great. Using amazing Australian locations, with lush jungles, craggy rocks and water falls; you’ve built a wonderful “frontier town” (although it’s just a bit TOO comfy, with its modern buildings, amenities, technology and defensive weaponry).

No, Terra Nova, the real reason I don’t like you is the Shannon family. In the future of 2149 where the story began, with its dwindling resources and severely pollution-damaged earth, there is a two child per family limit. According to the pilot, Jim and Liz Shannon simply decided to have a third child, risking their entire family’s safety in the process. Well, they are indeed found out, and Papa Shannon is sent to prison for a spell. The Shannons knowingly broke the law in having a third kid and they hid her for three years before the Terra Nova project came along to save them all. If Terra Nova didn’t exist what kind of life could their youngest kid have in 2149 (talk about an “illegitimate child” - was she going to live her whole life in the house's airduct?).

It would have been better from a story standpoint if Liz Shannon got pregnant despite taking government-supplied contraceptives, so instead of Jim Shannon telling Commander Taylor they had a third child “because it seemed like the thing to do” which is a witless moron’s answer, he could have said something a bit more profound and sympathetic, e.g., “We did everything we were supposed to; we didn’t plan to have Zoe, but her spirit would not be denied.”

Mrs. Shannon apparently comes from some means, and the overall vibe is this family gets whatever it wants. They have a third child against the rules, hubbie breaks out of a maximum security prison (apparently due to a lot of money being put in people’s hands), Zoe their little girl is taken from wherever the hell she was being held for two years while Pops Shannon was in the joint, the family is reunited and gets to start all over again in the past. They come across as over-privileged people, and that’s not someone I’d like to root for each week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Couple of Hoods

Star Trek is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2011 by CBS Studios Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Have Foreign Movie Sign! has a fun post looking at foreign movie posters for some very well known American sci-fi movies.

Now most of these movies are iconic films in the genre, but you'd never guess it from these weird ass graphics. It's one thing to use Campbell's Soup cans in the Army of Darkness poster. We get it, foreign ad agency guy: the dude who plays Ash has the same last name as the "Andy Warhol soup." Fun-nee.

The Ghostbusters poster is six kinds of fucked up. What the HELL is that thing supposed to be, a jester?

The Gremlins poster looks like a cheap supermarket greeting card.

King Kong has a shark in one hand, a snake wrapped around the other, and one foot on the Titantic, but at least he's all ferocious and shit.

In the Empire Strikes Back poster, Yoda looks like he's had the contents of six vacuum cleaners dumped on his head, which is the correct look for Yoda in the PREQUELS but certainly not in Empire.

Willow...really, WTMcF?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Next Stop Blue Screen Mountain

Vulture at has this great clip from the new Sarah Michelle Geller series Ringer.

Now if you recall, old Hitchcock movies like North by Northwest had obvious process work, where you could plainly tell that an actor was in the studio and not on location. Same for many of the early James Bond movies where Connery was in a nice cozy English studio for the close ups of him driving his Aston Martins and such.

We see a speedboat in the clip's opening and closing moments, then they cut to Sarah, playing identical twin characters on-board. The problem is that it is OBVIOUS this was shot in a studio. Did they even TRY to match the on location lighting?

If this clip is any indication, the special effects budget is about the same as a Starbucks' vente.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Working For A Living

(With apologies to Chuck Jones.)

Star Trek is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2011 by CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

It HAD To Happen Sooner Or Later

Mainstream movies of the last several years seem to be having more explicit sex scenes; films like Ken Park, 9 Songs, Shortbus, The Brown Bunny, Lust, Caution, Antichrist, and Blue Valentine dip a toe, or other body part, into territory usually reserved for adult films (especially those that feature actual sex and not just the simulated variety).

Now comes the news that a porno company is making a sci fi film, called Horizon, with heavy emphasis on the sci fi. (This is via

Great! Just what we all look for in our porn: more plot!

These porn actors and actresses have enough trouble trying to act in complex scenes involving pizza delivery and cable repair, imagine having to deliver lines about post-apocalyptic conditions on Mercury and alien invasion tactics. The mind boggles.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Up, Up, and AWAAAY!

File this under, "If I had a million bucks just lying around doing nothin'."

Sideshow Toys is offering an amazing Superman figure, based on the likeness of THE Man of Steel, the late Christopher Reeve.

The costume is spot on -- when costume designer Yvonne Blake adapted the blue and red togs from the comics to the real world, she nailed it (compare this version to the costume interpretation in the new Zack Snyder film - guess which one will be remembered the longest). The figure's body is incredible, with just the right amount of musculature to emulate/duplicate the physique that Reeve worked so hard to create (no padded-muscle-suit wearer he).

The range of motion is terrific, based on the gallery pics. The figure looks very life-like in the poses featured.

The one slight flaw is in the figure's expression. The sculptors did an astonishing job, but something about the eyes is not right. Compare this to Hot Toys work on a similar Michael Keaton-Batman figure, wear they got it 110% right.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The (Animated) Adventures of Jonny Quest

Jonny Quest, which ran for only one season in 1964, is one of the greatest animated adventure series ever made.

George Lucas must have seen this series as a geeky kid starting film school, as Jonny's adventures crossing the globe, traveling to exotic lands and encountering "scum and villainy*" (often with a supernatural bent) feel like mini-Indiana Jones tales.

I bring up this beloved series because an enterprising guy named Roger Evans has recreated the opening titles of Jonny Quest with stop-motion animated figures. It's a hoot and a half, and a real work of love. Evans does nearly shot for shot recreations, with some tweaking here and there (e.g., the Quest jet design). Here's the original article at

And the JQ theme by Hoyt Curtain is still one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed for TV!

*yes, I know that's from Star Wars not Indy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Monkeying around with Planet of the Apes

The latest Planet of the Apes movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is still chugging along nicely at the box office, proving to be a surprise hit.

You may remember its original title was Rise of the Apes, but cooler and perhaps hairier heads prevailed at Fox Studios and they put the franchise moniker "Planet of" back in there as it should be.

What you may not know is that in the reboot/rethink process the film went through several possible titles, which are presented here for the first time:

How the Planet of the Apes Got Its Groove Back

Manos: The Hairy Paws of the Planet of the Apes

To Wong Foo, Thanks For the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes vs. Frankenstein and Jesse James

Stop! Or My Ape Will Shoot

Honey, I Shrunk the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes 2: Electric Monkey Boogaloo

Destroy All Monkeys (Planet of the Apes in Japan)

Planet of the Apes: The Banana Hangover

Cowboys & Apes & Aliens

WTF?, Planet of the Apes

Justin Bieber: Never Say Planet of the Apes

Final Destination: The Planet of the 6pes

Tyler Perry’s Madea Straightens Out the Planet of the Apes

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your Time is Up

Writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca and The Truman Show) has a new scifi film coming up called, In Time.

In the near future, units of time are bought and sold. If you want to buy something, you give them minutes of your life, if you want to live longer you have to work very, very hard for those precious extra minutes.

Here's the international trailer for In Time by way of

Friday, August 26, 2011

Droid Safety

Here at the space station, a cute girl with an R2-D2 bike helmet gets our full attention. Now this is an item Uncle George's marketing peeps should have thought of a long time ago....

(This item was originally found at the blog Pop Candy, run by the lovely, talented and geektastic Whitney Matheson.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Replaced have I been, Yes!

Well, the Star Wars Saga Blu-Ray release is coming up on us.

Uncle George decided to replace the puppet Yoda in Episode I: It All Goes Into the Shitter From Here with a CGI version to match the digital Yoda in Episodes II and III.'s article on this has a nice pic comparing the muppet with the digi-version.

Now I love, love, love the Stuart Freeborn-created puppet used in The Empire Strikes Back, but boy oh boy, the puppet in Episode I is...just something, ain't it? LOOK AT THAT FUCKING THING! It looks like Yoda's dumb, drunk-n-hopped-up-on-painkillers, "look-alike" cousin.

Adios, fucker.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Timeline of the Planet of the Apes

Being into all things monkey, I heartily recommend this article at Rope of Silicon, where blogger Brad Brevet posts a timeline for the original five Planet of the Apes movies.

Before the Saw series became a yearly Halloween "treat" for the last few years, the period of 1970 to 1973 saw the release of a new Apes movie each year. And while the budgets for each successive movie were slashed considerably, they were able to tell some imaginative, thought-provoking, exciting and fun adventure tales that still hold up today. Original Planet of the Apes screenwriter Rod Serling would have been proud.

Stick them to the Game Grid

Here's the lightcycle chase from Tron, as interpreted by rolls of Duck Tape-brand duct tape, from

Way awesome.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of (Giant) Mice and Men

Ever have that dream where you wake up in the "Land of the Giants" and that creepy giant hand they always used is s-l-o-w-l-y moving in to scoop you up.

Maybe it's just me....

Anywoo, "Land of the Giants" was fortunate enough to feature not one but TWO great main title themes from the Maestro of Movie Music himself, John Williams. Here's Season One, and, my fave, Season Two.


Yup, it's Monday. The start of another work week, or work weak if you prefer.

If you're like me, that's means a grief-filled day. In that spirit, here's an post about the Five Stages of Grief thru the lens of the Schwarzenegger Conan movies.

If you need a sugar rush to get through today's festivities, here's a fun piece from looking at Marvel super-heroes and Hostess Snack Cakes. I particularly like the second item with the Hulk versus the Roller Disco Devils, which are a bunch of dudes in their mid-forties on roller skates, listening to tunes with lyrics like, "Yeah! Yeah! Baby" and "Wo! Wo!"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review the Block!

I’ve been re-reading "Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" by the one and only Joe Bob Briggs. It’s in that spirit that I present the following review. The drive-in will never die!

I took the landspeeder down off blocks, and since it hovered there in the air, I drove it down to the Arclight in Mos Hollywood to catch this little alien invasion flick that was made “across the pond,” as they say, in non-Communist Britain.

It’s called Attack the Block. It’s about these teenagers with funny accents who don’t own Xboxes and don't have much parenting going on, so they go around mugging women for their jewelry.

Then an alien lands smack dab into a car parked on the same street where the Little Thieving Rascals are doing their mugging.

Then the alien critter attacks the lead teenager named Moses.

Then Moses goes all Sammy Sosa on steroids on ET and kills it with a baseball bat.

Then the kids meet up with Nick Frost the neighborhood pot-head, and later the local drug dealer who wants Moses to be his new Number One Guy.

Then MORE aliens fall from the sky, except these are A LOT nastier than the one Moses clubbed.

Then the kids and the woman they mugged have to defend their ghetto block from crazy aliens while staying out of the path of the drug dealer’s bullets.

No breasts (except if you count the female alien, and I don’t). Several excellent beasts with day-glo teeth. Drive-in Academy Award nomination for John Boyega as Moses the Denzel Washington look-alike teen leader. Heads roll. Three quarts human blood. One quart alien blood. One motor vehicle chase with crash. Motorcycle, scooter and bicycle chases with minimal crashes. No kung fu. Samurai sword fu. Baseball bat fu. Kitchen knife fu. Oven fu. Not a lot of plot to slow things down. Excellent tunes from bands I never heard of. Three stars, BNFOS says check it out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Of Capes and Cowls

The amazing folks at have some cool first photos from two very anticipated movies.

First up is the dreamy Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman garb from The Dark Knight Rises. From the pic, it looks like the thieving kitty stole the Bat's wheels.

And here is the first look at star Henry Cavill all suited up as Superman in Man of Steel. I like the tone of the image, what with all the sparks, rubble and busted metal, and I like that they're not using the Brandon Routh version of the costume, but, seriously, what is with the textured look to the costume?

Ever since the first Spider-Man movie, does every superhero costume has to have shit, i.e. a printed pattern, all over it? (Or was it Billy Zane's The Phantom that started the trend? But in that movie the Phantom's costume was more or less "tattooed" with tribal art and skulls, things associated with the character, and not just some silly grid pattern.) Are solid colors simply verboten? That aesthetic even carried over into the 2009 Star Trek film reboot, with the little delta symbol plastered all over their uniforms instead of having it simply be a solid color. The new Spider-Man reboot costume looks like it was made primarily from recycled basketballs due to the silly patterns in it.

Christopher Reeve and his classic costume showed you don't need little textured crap all over everything. It showed you need a very talented actor to bring the character to life. The actor makes the costume work, not vice versa.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pot, Kettle

Star Trek Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencap from

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Transformers 3 Fried My Circuits

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We're Mad about Cracked!

For perhaps the first time in history, we get TWO comic book movies released in the same month: X-Men: First Class came out yesterday and on June 17 Green Lantern will hit the big screen.

To celebrate this momentous moment in human/mutant/alien history, I've been reading some very funny shit on, like "5 Comic Book Movies Way Worse Than Batman and Robin," which includes such gems as the Captain America and Nick Fury tv movies. If you didn't know, tv Cap's shield is just a giant plastic see-thru Frisbee. Why? Perhaps so he can peep at the totally creepy David Hasselhoff and the puppies pic posted in the article.

There's also "The 7 Least-Faithful Comic Book Movies," which pokes the fun at Stallone's Judge Dredd flick (say it with me now, "I EM the law!") and the aforementioned, and much Bat-nipple-adorned, Batman and Robin. Perhaps my favorite comic book movie-related Cracked post is this one: 5 Upcoming Comic Book Movies That Must Be Stopped, which looks at some long in development pictures, including Shazam!, Sub-Mariner, Luke Cage, and two heroes who actually made it to the screen this year, Thor and Green Lantern. Yes, this Cracked article is a few years old, but we hear at Bad News From Outer Space bow to all things funny, and besides that whole space/time continuum is a twisty, bendy river that flows back into itself, or some shit like that.

Some choice observations from that last article: "The Green Lantern is more of a class or profession than it is a man. Similar to "the sheriff" or "the mayor," or "an asshole,"" "according to the movies the vast majority of gangland activity before 1991 was comprised of double-dutch competitions, choreographed roller skating and breakdancing to save the community center from an evil strip-mall developer,"and "(Sub-Mariner's) powers are roughly equivalent to that of a jacked-up Aquaman, a character most famous for being ridiculously useless."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great Bird

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of these rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Forsooth, Verily It Be Hammer Time!

THOR (2011)

Marvel Studios first gave us a lusty, snarky billionaire who wears a flying suit of armor. Then they presented a nerdy scientist you never, just never, want to get angry, because he turns into a Monster of Mass Destruction. Now the comic book folks go into the next dimension, literally, and give us a superhero god in Thor.

Following the template laid down in 1962 when Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber introduced the character, Thor follows the exploits of the extra-planetary being who, with his compatriots, inspired our ancient ancestors’ belief in the pantheon of god-warriors who reside in Asgard at the end of the rainbow bridge which connects our worlds.

Thor (Star Trek’s Chris Hemsworth) is the headstrong son of Odin, the leader of the gods (Anthony Hopkins) who thinks with his mighty hammer Mjollnir, instead of his head. The Asgardians and their eternal enemy the Frost Giants have had a truce for much of our Earth’s civilized existence, but the Giants make an attempt to steal a powerful object back from Odin’s people. For that brazen maneuver, Thor wants to wipe them out, and going against Odin’s express orders, the cocky warrior leads a team including his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to Jotunheim, the world of the Frost Giants.

They quickly get in over their heads and Odin beams into save their armored hides. For his temerity, Odin banishes Thor to Earth to learn some lessons – after all, he can’t let a hot-head succeed him to the throne. It’s on Earth that the movie seriously slows down. Thor not only has to learn his lesson and get back in time to save Asgard, but he has a limp love story with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a cute physicist who is studying the effects of the bridge that gets Thor and others to earth (she calls it an Einstein-Rosen bridge, Thor sez it's “Bifrost, the rainbow bridge”). He also runs afoul of S.H.I.E.L.D., the shadowy government agency with the tongue twister of a full name.

The movie even takes the time to introduce Clint Barton/Hawkeye the super archer who will appear in The Avengers movie in what is perhaps the stupidest cameo ever committed to film. The appearance is so forced you have to be an Avengers comic book fan to even get it. To the casual viewer, you’re left wondering why some dude with a bow and arrow WHICH HE NEVER USES BTW shows up for 30 seconds. If he used his arrows to pin Thor to the wall, that would have been a decent move, instead he just sits in a crane bucket in the rain, not firing a single arrow. Compare that to Scarlett Johansson's memorable kick butt scenes as super agent the Black Widow in Iron Man 2 (she's also to appear in the Avengers).

Thor is not a terrible comic book movie by any means, Elektra and Catwoman get to safely keep that trophy between them, but it is so jam-packed with story, credited to five writers, that it needs more than its just-under-2-hour runtime to properly cover it all. All the pieces are put in place: the cast is uniformly good under the direction of Kenneth Branagh (which is probably why the Asgard scenes are the most fun with their kings, young princes and palace intrigue), the special effects are top notch (Thor swinging his hammer just as Jack Kirby drew it over 40 years ago brought a smile to my face). But Thor isn’t given a true journey of redemption as he should have been. He’s simply on earth for a few days and comes to the conclusion he’s been a bit of a dick, without actually having to DO anything to get to that life changing point. Loki’s character was also short changed – we don’t know WHY he would turn on Thor and Odin, especially if they’ve shown him nothing but love his whole life (does he just have an inferiority complex?). Being evil is never enough, unless you’re Sauron in Lord of the Rings, and Hiddleston shows some real spark as Loki.

This particular story with the god/fish out of water could have also used much more humor. When you run over a 6'5" ripped dude in the New Mexico desert with your truck and he claims to be the Norse god of thunder, he's either bug nuts insane...or he's not. Kat Dennings was the official comic relief in the earthbound scenes, but this story would have seriously benefited from more laughs, a la Iron Man 1.

The movie proclaims that Thor will return in The Avengers. I’m up for that, but let’s hope that writer and director Joss Whedon is better at juggling his Ocean’s Eleven-type superhero story and character demands.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Favorite Quote of the Day

From the article "The 7 Least-Faithful Comic Book Movies" at

"Gene Hackman (Lex Luther) reportedly refused to be in (Superman III) due to a dispute with the producers. Meanwhile, Richard Pryor was coming off a string of hits and the producers figured he'd make a nice replacement. It was kind of like finding out you have no milk for your cereal, and using bourbon instead."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pucker Up

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of these rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Beamed Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One upon a time, boys and girls, the USS Enterprise stopped by the looney bin in a TOS episode called, "Whom Gods Destroy." It was run by Master Po before he shaved his head, lost his vision and started hanging around with David Carradine.

The inmates were revolting, er, I mean they revolted under the leadership, magnetic smile and smelly fur coat of Garth of Izar (seriously, did he ever dry clean that rag, it must smell like Chewbacca's crotch on a warm day), not to be confused with Garth of IZOD, the clothing magnate of Krypton (company motto, "KNEEEL Before My Shirt's Crocodile!").

Anyhoo, Garth is running the show on Elba II and he's itching to take it on the road, so he needs a ride, and what better wheels than your own friggin' starship (it's even been washed and detailed). But James T. ain't no dope; he and Scotty concocted a safe word based on a popular board game, like Chutes and Ladders or Hungry Hungry Hippos or something.

Garth spends the rest of the story trying to trick Kirk into giving up the secret word (say it really, really loud with me Pee Wee Herman fans: "Queen to King's level one!"). He offers Kirk power, glory, you know the usual stuff. Hell, Garth even throws Batgirl at him. At that point, I'd have squealed the secret recipe to KFC chicken AND Coca Cola, but not Kirk. Move over Superman, cause Jim Kirk is the real Man of Steel!

All's well, that ends well. Kirk and Spock (using Starfleet Academy's little known "Hit Me Over the Head So I Fall Down and Let You Two Fight It Out Until I Can Figure Out Whose Ass I Should Phaser" technique) defeat Garth and his Insane Clown Posse, free the asylum's overseer Dr. Donald "Duck" Cory, zap out all the bad and evilness from Garth and also got to check out the asylum's cafeteria, which actually has a 2 star Michelin Guide rating.

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. Wall-E is Copyright and a Trademark of Pixar/Disney. No infringement of these rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Monday, April 18, 2011

She Can Kill You With Her Little Finger

Hanna (2011)

What do you get when you make Jason Bourne 16 years old, and a girl? You get Hanna, but you lose a lot in that conversion process.

Hanna, well played by Saorise Ronan, is raised in isolation near the Arctic Circle by her father (Eric Bana). They live in a ramshackle fairy tale cabin. It seems that papa is a former CIA black ops agent, and he's passing all those survival and fighting skills to his daughter: Hanna is a pint-sized assassin.

But what's an assassin without a target? Enter dad's former boss Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett, with an extra large Texas drawl). However, the movie, written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr, is fairly muddy as to exactly why Marissa is doing what she's doing, which leaves an unsatisfying impression with viewers (none of use who watched the movie together could put a finger on what was Marissa's motivation).

Director Joe Wright handles the action scenes well enough, as we knew he could do the quieter moments in this story after directing Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. The major problem is the pacing.

The story resembles The Bourne Identity in that both follow super-assassin main characters who are unsure of their origins. Both stories take our heroes across several countries: Hanna starts in upper Finland, moves to Morocco and then to Germany. It's when she meets this traveling hippie family in Morocco that the movie nearly grinds to a halt. Hanna was raised in isolation in one location by her father and now she's introduced to other people, cultures and places. She also makes her first friend, winningly played as a hyper teen by Jessica Barden.

A lot of the culture clash material was interesting (Hanna discovers electricity, but also the constant noise of our modern society, even at night), but it went on far too long. It was almost as if they took two films, one an action flick and the other a coming of age drama, and edited them together. The story went from heavy action in the beginning to the culture clash to rather dull before remembering its action origins.

Hanna is certainly not a bad movie, but one that may play better on DVD when you can fast forward a bit through the dull parts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guidos and Guidettes in Space

What? It's the latest episode of the hit series TREKKIE SHORE.

Follow the latest exploits of buff, tanned bodies like K-Rok, Spock aka "The Fascination," Dr. McWoWW and everyone's favorite hobbit-sized hunka tipsy love, Yo'Neck, otherwise known as Snookie Don't Confuse Me With the Wookiee.

Set your phasers to tan, orbit da club, and beam 'em down. What?

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from

Buckaroo Banzai: TheNext Generation

You all know Buckaroo Banzai, don't you? Among other things, he was a physicist, neurosurgeon and a rock singer fronting the band the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

Doug Drexler may be the closest thing the world of Star Trek has to Buckaroo Banzai. He started out as a special effects makeup artist (winning an Oscar for his work on the underrated Dick Tracy), moved into graphic design illustration, and then into CGI visual effects.

He has one of the coolest blogs around, Drex Files, wherein he shares the wealth of material on the projects he's worked on, with special emphasis on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

And now he's got another installment of Drex TV, his video blog look at the stuff we fans love. Check it out:

The Master of the Movie Poster Image

Recently, I made a trip to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences building in Hollywood to scope out their exhibition of Bob Peak movie poster artwork. Not familiar with the name "Bob Peak?" Do you recall the posters for such films as Superman: The Movie, Camelot, Apocalypse Now, West Side Story, Every Which Way But Loose, In Like Flint, Rollerball, The Spy Who Loved Me, and the first five Star Trek motion pictures? Then you've seen Peak's amazing work.

Peak has been called the "father of the modern movie poster" for his brilliant designs and use of collage to depict scenes from the films. His use of color and especially light was second to none -- look at the energy in this image Peak created for Prince of the City:

My only disappointment, if you could call it that, was I was expecting to see brush strokes or little smudges on the original artwork. Instead they were absolutely perfect pieces, almost like photographs (there were a few pencil roughs for some of the posters, and those were on slightly crinkled paper). I did find it amusing they had to touch up the Silverado poster. The large main figures are all on horseback, with the horses splashing in water, and there is brush spatter (imagine using a toothbrush to fleck specks of paint) that hit some of the smaller portraits higher up in the actual artwork. Those were touched up for the final poster printing.

If you can't make it out to Hollywood, please check out the Bob Peak website You will be delighted and thrilled.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adjusted for Boredom

The Adjustment Bureau (2010)

Philip K. Dick gets his umpteenth novel/short story adapted to the big screen, this time with extremely limp results.

Matt Damon plays a state representative running for US Senator. He's young, full of ideas and *gasp* folks are saying he has a shot at the presidency. But his career - nay, his whole life - will be derailed if he stays with the beautiful dancer he meets in the unlikeliest of places. As that dancer is played by the luminous Emily Blunt, you can see why a man would want her in his life.

However there are some shadowy figures, who dress like H&R Block agents from the early 1960s, who want to throw a monkey wrench into Damon's plans. Who are these suits and what is their deal? Well, actually we find out about them 20 minutes into the movie, which is a huge misstep on the filmmakers parts. Dick's stories are famous for their paranoia, and what better way to show that paranoia than have a political candidate constantly followed by mysterious men in black (and various shades of grey) who only he can see and who can literally disappear when they step through a doorway just a few paces ahead of you.

The Adjustment Bureau drops the paranoia altogether and merely gives Damon a problem to solve. It was pointed out to me that this story would have been better served if done in a light comedy style, a la Men in Black, and I have to agree. The early scenes with Damon and Blunt are played like a romantic comedy (and they work fine that way), so veering into MIB territory would not have been such a hard thing. Played totally straight though, the story falls apart - this might have made for a decent Twilight Zone episode - but after the explanation of who/what the Adjustment Bureau is, we're left with a big shrug.

This movie should have been adjusted off our big screens and simply never made.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Torch snuffed

The Human Torch, mainstay of the Fantastic Four, was extinguished earlier this month in Marvel Comics.

Put a stopwatch on your computer and see how long this comics' death lasts (my bet, not long at all).

IIRC, Marvel's last big death was Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, which received mainstream press coverage (verrry slow news day, yes). But they had his former sidekick immediately take up the superhero mantle of Cap, and then they brought Rogers back to life shortly after that as well.

I'm glad I gave up reading comics a long time ago with blatant money grabs like this going on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jason X, Audience 0

Jason X (2002)

Turn the lights back on at the Satellite of Love, 'cuz this is Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder, bots and girls.

Yes, when you'e done nine previous movies and your slasher series has become bloated and tired after soaking in Crystal Lake these many years, what else can you do but shoot your unstoppable masked killer into outer space?

They spent about $13 million on this turd pile. How many hungry and orphaned kids could have been fed and sheltered with that money? A lot, that's how many. Instead we get something that looks exactly like one of those bad Syfy channel movies, with shaky production values and a goofy cast filled with somewhat familiar TV actors.

And the story, good grief, the story - it was just a lame rip-of of Aliens and Alien. You see there were space marines on board a ship full of space college students (WTF, right). The space college students are from Earth 2, and are visiting our ratty, now-uninhabited Earth 1 with their terribly acted space college professor, where they stumble upon Jason Vorhees doing his Good Humor Man impression in cyrogenic freeze. Of course they bring aboard their ship a giant, hockey-masked freak wielding a machete. Jason quickly thaws out and gets down to bi'ness. First the grunts go after hockey head, get hacked and stabbed, and then he goes after the space kids. The majority of the cast was in their 20s it seemed, even the hardened space marines, so the movie should have been titled, Jason versus the Space Kids.

Now some of the sets come across as pretty decent, they look like they were designed and built by pros with a keen eye and love of the genre; others are of the "lets shoot in a dark warehouse with concert scaffolding and stacked boxes" variety (in other words, severely cheap ass). The CGI is TV quality and mostly laughable; the designs of the space ships are crude and look like pre-animation school student work.

But the worst part is that the kills are uninspired. After nine movies where old hockey face has slashed, stabbed and skewered everything that moves, and some of that gore was during the hey day of the 1980s horror craze under latex-master Tom Savini, you expect these kills to be something special. Use some frakking imagination for Freddy's sake! Jason simply stabs more than a few people, which we've seen 17,486 times already (not counting the Friday the 13th rip off slasher flix). Since Jason doesn't talk, the kills need to be "fun" and creative (especially creative). I laughed just once when he was using a coed in a sleeping bag to bash a second coed in a sleeping bag, which the director said was an homage to a previous Friday film (and I ain't talking about the Friday film with Chris Tucker as Smokey neither). Come on, people, you put Jason IN SPACE. IN A SCIENCE FICTION FILM. Have some fun with that!

The only other laff was when Jason comes back and he's all "robocized" with nanites and metal scraps. He was so ridiculously muscular and over-defined he looked like one of those dolls for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Nevertheless (and believe me, this movie is all "less") this is a stupid, stupid movie, and should be watched with many beers, pretzels, chips, assorted nuts, and most of all, lovers of crap cinema.

Take this Persian rug out back and beat the crap from it

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Yet another disappointing summer blockbuster, a bloated, bland and boring adventure film with an American actor playing an Asian character but with a British accent.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays dusty Dastan, the titular prince. After raiding a holy city he is accused of killing his adopted father, the king. So he goes on the lame with a beautiful princess (the beautiful Gemma Arterton) to clear his name and yada, yada, yada. Dastan bounces around his and other cities using obvious Parkour/free running styles, but as this is a modern fantasy film, the quick-cut editing employed takes all the fun out of that amazing technique, so we're not sure if we're seeing CGI, doubles or whatever (look at Casino Royale and, of course, District 13 to see how to properly shoot Parkour for a movie). This ridiculous editing style is used in the many action/fight scenes so those are just a messy blur. When will we see an end to this wretched hyper-editing?

This is one of those movies where they spent far too much time and money building sets, props, costumes and on visual effects that very little was actually spent on story and character. Not one character appealed to me, or said a funny or interesting bit of dialogue (Alfred Molina came close). When you watch the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies you cannot imagine any other actor playing those lead roles. Persia's characters are so flat that ANYONE ELSE could play the roles; save for Molina, they didn't cast any actors with any real spark.

The movie was shot in a sepia tone making everything look the same, which is bad for a desert-based film. People, here's another word for sepia: BROWN. The story supposedly took place over more than a week, but everywhere they went looked exactly like where they just came from, simply more sepia-tinged sand and rocks.

There was no sense of adventure to be had in this mess. Watch the original Jonny Quest to see how to do exotic adventure on a shockingly limited budget (as least compared to a $200 million movie).

Sitting through a lousy movie in this genre only makes me want to watch a good one, like the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies, which had everything Prince of Persia does not: memorable characters, exotic settings, and a true sense of fun and adventure.

ps: As a capper to show you how they completely f-ed up everything, check out the movie's title font. Instead of a design that evokes a sense of the exotic or otherworldliness or adventure - see Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies - we get a dull white font that looks like it's perfect for a contemporary drama!

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Spirit Has No Soul

So I popped in the DVD of The Spirit the other day. I lasted all of about six minutes. Something about the movie just makes me hate it.

Comic book artist/writer Frank Miller adapted the Wil Eisner comic book series for the big screen, but along the way Miller somehow turned it into Sin City 2, which was a huge mistake. (I hate to think he's a one trick pony, but that horse is the one in the barn.) I've never read a complete Spirit book, seeing as how it had its hay day in the 1940s. I've seen panels and pages reproduced in book on comics and it seemed to be a series that loved its two dimensional world, with Eisner playing with panel sizes, compositions, layout, color, sound effects, etc. In the film we just get black and white nonsense. These "green screen" movies work every once in a while, as it did with Sin City and 300, but here I was just annoyed. Perhaps because I didn't care for the characters or was interested in any of the actors the CGI work got all the attention.

The cast was full of big names, but nobody made a real impression with their character. Samuel L. Jackson's big bad The Octopus came across like a third-string Adam West Batman tv series villain. Gabriel Macht was a complete snooze as the Spirit. And the femme fatales, who are such a large part of the comic book series, all fell flat. Didn't care for any of them, including Scarlett Johansson, who is in one of my favorite movies of all time, Lost in Translation.

Oh, and Frank, I'd like my six minutes back, please.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hulk is the Most Animatronic There Is!

SlashFilm has a post about an unused HULK ANIMATRONIC ROBOT that Ang Lee decided not to use in his film version of the Jade Giant.

The Robo-Hulk was created by effects guru Steve Johnson, who has worked his magic on everything from The Howling IV to Spider-Man 2.

I liked the CGI Hulk in Lee's movie just fine, but it looks like this cable-controlled creation would have been a lot of fun. However, Ang still would have told his Hulk story as over-wrought "Greek tragedy" so it would have sucked either way. (sigh)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011 Everybody!

Star Trek is Copyright 2011 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencap from