Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Star Trek is Copyright 2013 & 2014 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody. Screencaps from Trekcore.com.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Celebrate Movie Posters Of Old

A blogger named Frederick has a terrific fun blog called HELD OVER MOVIES where he puts up old newspaper ads for movies. 

Check it out for a couple reasons: 1. the great rush of nostalgia at seeing ads for pics like Orca, The Spy Who Loved Me, Planet Of The Apes, chop-socky classic Exit The Dragon, Enter The Tiger and something called Superargo vs. Diabolicus, and 2. the thrill of seeing old-style poster designs and paintings (before Photoshopping everything became the norm).

Since Darren Aronofsky's new film Noah is coming out in 2014, this poster for In search of Noah's Ark seemed the perfect thing to post here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Godzilla ROARS In 2014!

Move over, Mothra. Cram it, Cloverfield.  And pack it in you Pacific Rim kaijus. The first - and best - giant monster of them all it coming back to the big screen in May 2014. 

We can only be talking about Godzilla.

The new American Godzilla film is directed by Gareth Edwards (the fun low budget scifi movie, Monsters), with a shooting script by Frank Darabont.

This first teaseer trailer is phenomenal.  Serious, smart, great mood and atmosphere, incredibly realistic visual effects.  And, holy crap, that ROAR at the end is - to use a classic Marvel Comics cover blurb - "senses shattering!"  

This movie should rock so f#@%!*& hard!

Here's the teaser from You Tube:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Three Words That Strike Fear Into Movie Watchers

Here are three words on film posters that strike fear into movie-watchers everywhere: "and Richard Grieco."

Mr. Grieco has been coasting on his status as one of the 21 Jump Street TV brat pack dudes, but, come on now, that show ended over 20 years ago.  Grieco was only on it for one season, plus one season on his character's spinoff show.  Jump Street was nowhere near as influential or popular a show as, say, Miami Vice, so come on people, it's time to stop renting the crap Grieco makes.

Comics Alliance had this to say about "mockbuster" The Almighty Thor, which stars Patricia Velasquez, Kevin Nash "and Richard Grieco" - "Almighty Thor is nowhere near as good as you want a movie starring Richard Grieco as Loki and Big Daddy Cool Diesel Kevin Nash as Odin (with absolutely no effort made to hide his tattoos) to be, but it does feature dinosaurs and Thor with a machine gun."

Other flicks starring some folks "and Richard Grieco" include, A House Is Not A Home and Evil Breed: The Legend Of Samhain.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tom Laughlin: Indie Director/Writer/Actor of Billy Jack Film Series Dies

"I'm going to take this right foot...and I'm going to wop you on that side of your face.  And you want to know something...there's not a damn thing you're going to be able to do about it."

I imagine Billy Jack is having that conversation with St. Peter at the pearly gates.  Yes, you read that right, Billy Jack or rather his earthbound form of actor/writer/director Tom Laughlin has passed, on December 12 at age 82, from this reservation onto the next.

No one did Native American-US Army vet-turned-pacifist-action-hero like Laughlin.  He played the black hat-wearing, denim-clad Billy Jack in four films: The Born Losers (1967), Billy Jack (1971), The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) and Billy Jack Goes To Washington (1977).

As a kid, I loved the first two films in the series.  Laughlin had a likeable, genuine screen presence (although it's obvious when his double, Hapkido master and the movie's fight choreographer Bong-soo Han is being used).  Billy Jack wasn't a superhero, but man, could he open a can of whoop-ass on a bunch of dumb rednecks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Community - A Look At Season Five

Community.  You love it.  You...can be indifferent to it.  I would say without a doubt that it was the most creative series on TV in its first three seasons (under creator and showrunner Dan Harmon), although, admittedly, it wasn't always the funniest.

After Harmon was fired for season four and other producers were brought on to guide the show, I lost interest, but watching the early episodes in syndication has got me wanting to once again sign up for classes at Greendale Community College. 

Here is the trailer, via YouTube for Season Five, which features the return of Dan Harmon to the creative reins of the show.  While I am sad that Donald Glover is leaving the series (the relationship between his character Troy and Danny Pudi's Abed is the true heart of the series)  I cannot wait for the latest paintball episode.

22 Jump Street...Hell, Yeah

Because the 21 Jump Street movie was such a wonderful, funny, raunchy surprise, here for your viewing pleasure is the restricted red band trailer for 22 Jump Street on YouTube:

SNL Puts Guy Fieri Into Christmas

The Christmas season brings to mind a few things:  snow, grandma getting run over by a reindeer, Rudolph specials, presents, and...Guy Fieri?

Well, thanks to the folks at Saturday Night Live you now can add the super-bleached host of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" to your holiday yulelog with their Guy Fieri Full Throttle Christmas Special.

More fun than the actual Guy Fieri himself, SNL's X-Mas special features the "human equivalent of the food (he) makes," with guests like Kid Rock, Criss Angel, Kimbo Slice, Mimi from "Drew Carey" and the dudes from Duck Dynasty.

Check out the insanity here, courtesy of Screen Crush.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Twizzler Goes Star Trekking

Star Trek.  Twizzlers.

Two great things that boldly go together?  Well, apparently someone thought so, which is why we get this Twizzlers candy ad with a Star Trek TOS Enterprise and theme.

A funny thing, though, is they pattern the "warp effect" after the one used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, not the Original Series, which uses the refit Enterprise and has a different musical theme.  But it works better in the context of the commercial (and it's another way to utilize more Twizzlers in the mix), so we'll let it slide.

Oh, well, it's still fun, with some great visuals.  And Twizzlers are still a sweet treat.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Star Trek Scribbles From Long Long Ago

My brother M sent me this pic.  It's from an old notebook* of mine from 1982.  Yup, that's a epic Star Trek Federation versus Klingons battle that I drew/doodled. 

Can't recall who won, though (hopefully, the good guys).

* Yes, kids, before blogs and the Interwebs and tablets and lasers you had to draw shit in spiral-bound school notebooks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bananas: A New "Canvas" For Art

Two words: BANANA. ART.

Japanese “banana engraver” Keisuke Yamada once again shows that any material can be used in the creation of art.  Even delicious potassium-rich bananas.

Check out his great takes on Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, Marge Simpson, the Alien from Alien, and others at Comics Alliance.

Marvel Comics Shined In The 1980s

In the early 1980s, it was a good time to be a comic book reader.  There was a true renaissance going on in those four-color pages and Marvel Comics was at the center of it.  Under the direction of Marvel editor in chief Jim Shooter, writers and artists like Chris Claremont and John Byrne on Uncanny X-Men; Frank Miller working as writer and penciller (then later as breakdown artist for penciller/finisher Klaus Janson) on Daredevil; and Walter Simonson breathed new life into Asgardian mythology in penciling and writing The Mighty Thor. 

These creators, and others with similar passions on other titles, breathed new life into characters that were nearing the end of their second decade of publishing.  Some titles, like X-Men (which had been featuring reprints of earlier tales) and Daredevil were close to being canceled before these young creators took hold of them and revitalized them for a new generation of readers. 

A wonderful blog called Marvel Comics Of The 1980s celebrates that decade of creativity, including those heady early 80s years spotlighting not only the titles and talents listed above, but also gems like Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz's acclaimed run on Moon Knight; David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr.'s seminal Iron Man stories (many facets of which were used in the recent Iron Man big screen movies); and John Byrne's epic run on Fantastic Four, widely viewed as the best run on that title since the 100+ issues from series creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Green Lantern Shines Brightest In 60s Cartoon Series

Ever watch the 2011 Green Lantern movie they made with Ryan Reynolds?  They gave it a huge budget.  Reynolds was certainly a likeable comedic actor.  And they tapped Martin Campbell - who directed the incredible James Bond flick Casino Royale - to helm the film.

The result: total wackness.  Just a dull, boring movie.  Nothing memorable about it, except how unmemorable it was.

Filmation Animation did a Green Lantern cartoon series in 1967.  It was much more fun, faithful to the comic books, and exciting than the big budget movie ever was.  Check out this episode from YouTube.  And yes, the baddie is named Evil Star!

Blog Flim Sketchr Highlights Movie And TV Conceptual Design Art

There's a great blog called Film Sketchr which showcases a range of incredible artwork done for fantasy and science fiction films and television shows.  It includes concept art and paintings, storyboards and more from legends like Harper Goff (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Fantastic Voyage), Ralph McQuarrie (Star Wars: The Original Trilogy and ET), Andy Probert (original Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: The Motion Picture) to legends-in-the-making John Eaves (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Oz The Great And Powerful) and Ryan Church (Avatar and Star Trek: 2009 Reboot).

Check it out here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spider-Man's Foe Kraven The Hunter Needs A Makeover

Spider-Man has faced his share of supervillains both in the 4-color comic book pages and on the silver screen. Green Goblin.  Doctor Octopus.  Sandman.  Venom.  The Lizard.

With Amazing Spider-Man 2 due in theaters in 2014, the villainous Electro will be added to the list.

One baddie we hope will NEVER see the big screen is Kraven The Hunter.  Kraven has simply the WORST costume design probably ever.  He wears an open vest with a lion's head - the big cat's eyes are where Krav's nipples would be (more on this later).  He also wears leopard spotted tights (Leopard.  Spotted.  Tights.) and strappy sandals.  Top this all off with a mustache that makes the Village People insanely jealous, and you have the worst-dressed spider-villain of all time.

Don't believe me, check out this pic:

Oh, and his "eye-nipples" shoot out some kinda jungle date-rape drug or sleeping gas (see panel 4, below).

Art by John Byrne and Dave Hunt, sourced from Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures. Spider-Man and all characters shown are Copyright by Marvel Comics.

Space Ghost Designs

Hanna-Barbera produced a nifty adventure cartoon in the 1960s called Space Ghost. It ran in syndication for a number of years in the 70s which is when I eventually caught it.

Space Ghost was designed by now-legendary comic book artist Alex Toth.  I found these early Space Ghost designs at a blog called Rip Jaggers Dojo. It's always interesting to me to see an artist's design process (that early sketch would have been more cumbersome to animate).  That first sketch with the boots and the underwear on the outside would have made Space Ghost just another standard superhero costume knockoff. 

Mr. Toth's overall creedo of "less is more" prevailed and he nailed it with his amazing final minimalist Space Ghost costume design (among other refinements, no boots, no undies on the outside).

Galoob's ST:TNG Toys Revisited

Remember back in the day when Star Trek: The Next Generation first graced our tv screens?  After years of re-runs of TOS, new Star Trek: TNG episodes meant new Star Trek toys!

Whether you were an avid toy collector or just liked to keep a Data or Geordi action figure sitting atop your desk at work, or a phaser in the drawer to vaporize trespassers to your work station, the fine folks at Galoob Toys sought to please all those folks with some great toys.

The amazing site Trekcore - which this site is forever indebted to for their screencaps of every ST iteration - has a great three-part series looking at the Galoob/ST: TNG connection. It's a must read.

Trekcore's Part 1 of their Galoob retrospective.

Beam Me Up, Flipper

Post-Star Trek TOS, William Shatner guest starred on The Six Million Dollar Man as Steve Austin's friend and a fellow astronaut Josh.

Instead of getting into an accident and getting $6 mil worth of bionics, Josh instead passed through some kind of weird energy field in space and came back with the ability to understand dolphin math (and hear weird computer sounds in the process)!

Yes, apparently Flipper and his buds use sine, cosine and fractions just as much as they gulp down fish treats.

io9 has a terrific clip of these proceedings.  Just wait til you get to the end for the wacked out math stuff.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" Teaser

On May 23, 2014, the X-Men return to the big screen in "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" an adaptation of one of the best storylines in X-Men history.

Adapting the classic John Byrne and Chris Claremont comic book tale is returning director Bryan Singer, who helmed the first two X-Men films.  Here's the first teaser trailer:

Led by the seemingly ageless Hugh Jackman - donning the indestructible claws of Wolverine - this latest movie is practically bursting with on-screen talent.  Returnees from X-Men: First Class include James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult.  They star along with veteran X-franchise actors Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Halley Berry, Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore.  According to Screencrush, we'll be introduced to new mutants including fan-favorite Bishop, Sunspot and Blink.  Oh, and some guy from some little-seen show called Game of Thrones is also in the mix: Peter Dinklage.

The movie probably needs to run about 3 hours - we're talking Lord Of The Rings runtime - to cover all those amazing actors and all those storylines.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Thing With Two Heads - A Movie With Half A Brain

Yesterday we had a Man With Two Brains.

Today, naturally, we get a man with two heads, or more specifically, The Thing With Two Heads.   Yup, this is what happens when you combine an Oscar-winning actor (Ray Milland, for The Lost Weekend), a former NFL football star (Rosey Grier) and a very goofy blaxspoitation script.

Or as the tag at the top of the poster so succinctly puts it, "They transplanted a WHITE BIGOT'S HEAD onto a SOUL BROTHER'S BODY!"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steve Martin Brightens Your Halloween With His Two Brains

Because Halloween is just around the corner (or should that be "coroner?" Bazinga!), it never hurts to have an extra brain or two handy for the candy jar.

Here's a great bit from the Steve Martin classic The Man With Two Brains, with the old subdural hematoma versus epidural hematoma quandry:

Soylent Bell

You like Taco Bell?  Hey, who doesn't, especially since some marketing genius decided they should make taco shells out of Doritos chip flavors like Cool Ranch and the ubiquitous Nacho Cheese.  Brilliant!

Ever wonder about the meat in those tacos,though?  Apparently, Taco Bell prefers to call it "Taco Meat Filling" and, according to this post from Jezebel.com, only about 36% of that "meat filling" is actually, you know, meat (in this case, beef).  The other 64% is stuff like, "water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate."

Yum-my, right?

I predict we are about seven years before Taco Bell, and fast food joints in general, goes full on Soylent Green on us.  

 And, as usual, the American public will just shrug and order fries on the side.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Superman's 75th Anniversary Tribute Video Short

Superman turned 75 this year.

So uber-animation god Bruce Timm and Zack Snyder, director of this summer's Man of Steel, put together an amazing tribute video, which can be found at Entertainment Weekly's site.  (I originally got wind of this at Comics Alliance.)

So many decades, so many great artists; Additionally, it's nice they also included the most famous TV and film versions in there too.

Up, up and away!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Music Beyond The Stars

Ever see The Seven Samurai In Space?  You may remember it as Battle Beyond The Stars, the Roger Corman-produced scifi movie with John Boy Walton (aka Richard Thomas).

It's one of Corman's better releases, with lots of cool aliens, fun spaceship designs (hey, a starship with boobs!) and a nifty early effort from composer James Horner.  (Trivia fuctoid: James Cameron toiled on the movie first as a lowly model maker, but was quickly promoted to production designer/art director and visual effects supervisor.  Plus, Cameron would later select Horner to score his own films, such as, Aliens, Titanic and Avatar.)

Here's the main title theme, courtesy of YouTube:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Now we're cooking with dilithium!

Star Trek is Copyright 2013 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied with this parody.  Screencaps from Trekcore.com. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Simpson's "Treehouse of del Toro Horror"

The Simpson's annual "Treehouse of Horror" (the 24th edition!) is airing on Sunday, October 6, and they have enlisted celebrated filmmaker Guillermo del Toro to create the opening credits sequence.  Del Toro is a true, dyed-in-the-wool genre fan as he includes a wide range of references, everything from Universal Studios' classic 1930s horror creatures, Ray Harryhausen and Hitchcock, Godzilla, the Shining and even Blade II (which he directed - in fact, all of GdT's films get the animated nod), to Bradbury, Poe, Lovecraft and Rod Serling, for starters.

The helpful folks at Screen Crush put together this helpful primer so we don't miss any of del Toro's ghoulish fun.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Agents of SHIELD Needs More Work

Agents of SHIELD.  Or rather, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.  Or, more specifically, Disney's Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.

Whichever way you slice it, I watched the pilot episode of this spinoff from the Marvel Film Universe twice now.  My review: (shrugs shoulders).

It's not horrible, but it was certainly not in the Realm of Greatness that one would expect from a property that has such an amazing pedigree: Buffy/Firefly/Avengers movie god Joss Whedon directed the thing; Joss Whedon co-wrote it; acclaimed comic book writer/veteran tv writer Jeph Loeb is an executive producer; and it's based on classic comic books by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko. 

With all that going for it, it was merely okay.  And that is not okay.

In fact, The Hollywood Reporter enlisted Steranko to review the series for them.  He pretty much nailed it on the head.

Some highlights: "No menace, no tension."  Too many storylines, therefore "who in hell am I supposed to root for?"  "(Jeph) Loeb categorized the series as "SHIELD meets The X-Files." Great premise, but barely in evidence."  And "SHIELD needs to be much tougher, much stranger, much edgier to reach its potential!"

When I was watching Agents of SHIELD, I found my thoughts drifting off to the new Sleepy Hollow series.  YIKES! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Six Million Dollar Mustache

Re-runs of The Six Million Dollar Man are on right now.  I loved this show as a kid.

One thing: HE'S GOT A MUSTACHE! 

Yup, stone cold Steve Austin has a 'stache.  And it's a creepy looking thing: with Lee Major's patented squint, it makes Steve look smarmy, not suave (Tom Selleck's mighty 'stache has nothing to fear).  See for yourself, thanks to YouTube. 

It's probably bionic too. Or perhaps it's made from Bigfoot clippings.  Only Steve Austin's barber (and/or Dr. Rudy Wells) knows for sure.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Army Intelligence Meets Starfleet Command

"It looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise."

How many times have we seen that quote in a news item before?  Well, it's time to roll it out once again, according to this article in the UK's Daily Mail.

It appears that not only is Keith Alexander, the current head of the National Security Agency, a Star Trek fan, but a Star Trek fan who likes to work in an authentic Trek atmosphere (and we're not talking a Class M  planet).

When Alexander headed the US Army's Intelligence and Security Command, he apparently had the unit's workplace modeled after, yes, the "bridge of the Starship Enterprise" complete with a center command chair, a la Kirk and Picard, and a large main monitor screen on the front wall.  

Pretty nifty, but how much of the taxpayer's dime was siphoned for this fantasy workplace.  And, with all that chrome, it also could double as a Ken Adam-designed James Bond villain's lair.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Errand Of BBQ

If you're hungry and out and around Organia on Labor Day, make sure you stop at Ayelborne's for the best in out of this world BBQ.  Tell 'em Bad News From Outer Space sent ya.

Get 50% of any "Piece Threety (3-piece) Meal" when you mention this blog.

Star Trek is Copyright 2013 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied with this parody.  Screencaps from Trekcore.com. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Is How Planet Of The Apes Got Started

Here are three alarms you NEVER want to see go off simultaneously. (However, they do make for the most interesting of days.)

Star Trek is Copyright 2013 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied with this parody.  Screencaps from Trekcore.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shot Glasses At 30 Paces

Wanted a shot of Jack Daniels. 

Didn't have any in the station. 

Posted this instead (from my review of "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"


STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2013 by CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody.  Screencaps from TREKCORE.COM

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Give Ben Affleck A Bat-Chance Internet

I wonder if the Internet has recovered yet from the announcement that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel....

...Nope, the Internet is still as stupid as ever.

Affleck has clearly matured as an actor, and as a filmmaker, since his earlier roles in Daredevil and Armageddon, for example.  He's written and directed acclaimed and award-winning movies, even nabbing the Best Picture Oscar for Argo.

I think Affleck will do fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but a huge and very important part of his performance will be the story he has to work with that David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder concoct (I had problems with Goyer's MoS) and Synder's direction. 

(link to io9.com article)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Live Long and Bazinga

The Trek Collective has a nice piece up about upcoming Star Trek-related figures publicized at last month's San Diego Comic Con.  What caught my eye was this terrific and fun Mego action figure mash up of Star Trek with the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

Now you can have Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj go on adventures with your Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Gorn Mego figures.  See how long it takes before Spock neckpinches Sheldon unconscious.

Too bad they can't include a special Penny figure, in the likeness of the super-cute Kaley Cuoco, in a red Yeoman Rand uniform (with or without beehive hairdo).

Live Long and Bazinga.

pic from TheTrekCollective.com

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Phaser Phrasing!

We love all things Star Trek here, so when some mad geniuses combined the animation from the 1970s' Star Trek: The Animated Series with audio from current FX channel cartoon-for-grown ups series Archer, the result is, STARCHER TREK!

It's goofy, it's silly, but most importantly, it's funny.  And it was posted by the good folks of IO9.

(Also, love the shou touts at the end to Red Letter Media's Mr. Plinkett.  I too wonder sometimes, "What's with all the Ricks," but I am still waiting for Rick Berman's tell all book about his time at the helm of the Star Trek franchise.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013


We now live in a world where SHARKNADO was not only a goofy idea for a cheesy scifi movie, but a world in which SHARKNADO was actually made and broadcast on the airwaves.

It's your world, SHARKNADO, we're all just living swimming in it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bionic Guffaws

I just caught a couple of episodes of the late 1970s sci-fi/action series The Bionic Woman with the lovely Lindsay Wagner in the role of Jaime Sommers.  It airs in the L.A. area on COZI, an over the air station.

Yikes, but I do not remember the stories being so bad.  One was a yuck fest where Jaime teamed with a retired OSI agent with a penchant for wigs and European accents to take down a former Cold War adversary of said agent.  Even the music was so in your face hokey jokey, as if casting a huge spotlight on the goofy proceedings.  But the other episode is the one that took the cake -- hell, it made off with the entire bakery. It involved an evil hair stylist and his mind-control hairdryer!  (Read that sentence again, I dare you.)  Did they just dust off old rejected Get Smart scripts for this show?

Oh, well, Lindsay Wagner was always pretty in each episode, and a much better actress than the goofy scripts allowed.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Treknobabble Meets Takeout

I was just at the mighty Trekcore.com perusing some pics from Star Trek Into Darkness, specifically photos of the new warp core.

The first thing that immediately sprang to my mind was, "Hoisin Sauce Rotator."  I have no idea what this wacky piece of "treknobabble" means, but it makes about as much sense as any of the tech spewed on the various shows.

Now I'm seriously hungry for Chinese food.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen, 1920-2013

Ray Harryhausen, the visual effects maestro, passed away today at the age of 92. 

Across five decades Mr. Harryhausen worked alone to create true movie magic; today it takes legions of technicians, artists, and craftsmen to do what he did.

SciFi and fantasy movie fans will recall Mr. Harryhausen's work in films such as, Mighty Joe Young (1949), Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), the incomparable Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), and his final film, Clash of the Titans (1981).  He is known primarily for his mastery of stop motion animation, but he was often involved in story creation, drawing and designing the various creatures encountered in his movies, and handling many other areas of the special visual effects for his movies.

Mr. Harryhausen's films took us on adventures to all corners of the globe and across the ages.  After watching Jason and the Argonauts or his Sinbad movies, who doesn't want to don a loincloth and head out across the sea in search of the unknown?

We will miss you Ray, but thank you for all the incredible films and thrilling adventures you gave us. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


If you ever wondered what would happen if a bunch of goofballs working at a cable access station, with full run of a chroma key backdrop, spliced their shenanigans into someone's Adobe AfterEffects demo reel I imagine that you'd get something along the lines of MANBORG.

You heard me: MANBORG.  This MANBORG trailer looks incredibly stupid, but Variety and other blogs say it's good dumb - probably extremely dumb - fun.

Now I know for a fact that the mighty MANDROID from The Eliminators would kick MANBORG'S inferior metal ass like an M-1 tank rolling over a Yugo. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Greatest Hits Collection

Screencap hijinks from previous reviews of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS).

STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2013 by CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody.  Screencaps from TREKCORE.COM.Why is there not a Star Trek-themed flavor of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, I mean, rilly?  Something like Orion Slave Girl Green Mint.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trailer of Steel

The Playlist at IndieWire.com has the latest trailer for Man of Steel, the highly anticipated new Superman movie.

I think this looks really good, giving us more of a glimpse of the story of Clark Kent finding his place in our world.  I like Kevin Costner's scenes so far in his role as Jonathan Kent, Clark's human father.  A minor quibble with the trailer is the action scenes looked like they were cut together in a blender.  I hope the sequences in the actual film are much easier on the eyes, more the Steven Spielberg/James Cameron school of action set piece choreography and editing that you can follow, rather than the Michael Bay approach of totally confusing and disorienting action scenes.

Superman should be an inspirational character; he does not solve all our problems but leads by example.  We need him now more than ever.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Apes, Overlords, Ringworlds and The Great Gulf Between The Haves And Have Nots

AintItCool has quite a few interesting news items posted.

The latest big screen version of Tarzan, with Harry Potter film veteran David Yates slated as director, has been put "on hold."  Sad news indeed, as just last year marked the 100th anniversary of the first publication of the seminal pulp story "Tarzan of the Apes."  I wonder if they will ever be able to put on screen images that capture the wonder and awe of some of those great illustrated covers to the many Tarzan novels and comics, featuring the work of such luminaries as, for example, Neal Adams and Joe Jusko

Director Neil Blomkamp's upcoming Elysium finally gets a trailer.  Just as with his District 9, this new film looks to be visually amazing, with a timely and thought-provoking story.  Maybe this movie can get the utterly stupid Meet Dave out of my brain.

And SyFy is stepping up the SciFi with two planned mini-series of classic science fiction tales from two of the greats: Ringworld by Larry Niven and Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.  Holy cow!  This is truly amazing as SyFy has always seemed to shun classic scifi material, especially with their longstanding deal with The Asylum to air that "mockbuster" studio's crapload of ripoffs of big budget studio summer fare such as Transmorphers (to ape Transformers), Alien Origin (Prometheus) and American Warship (Battleship). 

True, SyFy did have the foresight to give the greenlight to Ronald D. Moore's reworked Battlestar Galactica, for which we will be eternally grateful, and therefore, give SyFy some serious wiggle room.  But I have never liked SyFy's fantasy miniseries, such as Tin Man.  They felt to me as simply "TV fare" and not very good TV fare at that, never breaking out of that mold with truly interesting characters, or amazing turns by actors, or with compelling stories.

Friday, March 29, 2013

No CGI Here

Computer Generated Images or CGI are used in many movies today, not just the big budgeted summer blockbusters.

But nothing can take a viewer out of movie as quickly as bad CGI effects.  Some directors, like Christopher Nolan, like to film as much practically and only use CGI to round out a sequence, e.g. Inception's train barreling through a downtown Los Angeles street was accomplished with a real big rig truck with a train facade built around it; CGI was used for the trains wheels and the asphalt churned up by them.

Cracked.com has a fun article about "7 Amazing Movie Special Effects You Won't Believe Aren't CGI" with a look at some way cool non-CGI effects sequences from, among others, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and the classic Tron.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What A Logical Savings

This old Atlantic Bank commercial from the late 1970s featuring none other than Leonard Nimoy is so earnest, that is looks like something that would have appeared in the movie Galaxy Quest.

By Grabthar's Hammer - and Vulcan's moonless sky - what a savings!

Now, WHO's Overacting?

William Shatner shows why he's a truly unstoppable force in this fun ad for the new Star Trek Video Game.

An old friend of this blog helps Mr. Shatner with the game.  Don't worry, this commercial is "mer-ci-ful...and quick."

From the folks at AintItCool.com.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Popcorn Maker Expands

Look like we've scooped the Huffington Post again with this breaking news item.

STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark and Copyright 2013 by CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended with this parody.  Screencaps from TREKCORE.COM. The lovely Droxine is Copyright by her father, Plasus the High Advisor of Ardana's Ruling Council, who wants you and every young space yahoo to know that he is as brave with mortay as you are with a phaser.  So there.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Avengers Assemble For The Harlem Shake!

The latest Internet meme of the "Harlem Shake" has been filling up YouTube and the interwebs with its many zany dance (if you can call it that) interpretations.

I dig this one by YouTuber SpastikChuwawa with tiny Lego Avengers:

Monday, February 18, 2013

That Band From Trek

We love Star Trek.  We love music.

If we were to front a kick-ass band what kind of Star Trek-inspired name could we use?  Here are some ideas:

The Band On The Edge Of Forever (classic rock n roll)

Merciful And Quick (lounge lizard music)

Schmitter and the Incinerators (punk)

The Landing Party (country/western)

Assault Vampires (rap rock)

Vina's Keepers (country)

Are You Archons? (New Wave)

The Van Gelders (folk)

Fizzbin On Tuesday (pop)

King Kodos (classic heavy metal)

Arne Darvin (like Nine Inch Nails weird younger brother)

Lazarus A (pop; we'd tour overseas as Lazarus B)

Khan Noonien Sings (a Neil Sedaka cover band)

Yang and The Comms (NPR-approved songs only)

The Harry Mudd Experience (like ELO, but not)

Horta & The Devils (southern rock)

Feeders of Vaal (3 chords is all)

Thrill Thralls (industrial rock)

Nomad and The Sterilizers (alt rock)

The Quatloos (a Bugaloos cover band)

M'Benga M'Benga (world music)

The M5s (electronic, like Daft Punk)

The Multitronic Units (an acoustic-only folk group, despite the name)

Janice Lester and The Intruders (like the Go Go's, but very unstable)

The Baand of Troyius (Euro-trash)

Doc Severin and the Herberts (plays whatever reaches the audience)

and our favorite,

Bela Oxmyx and The Mobsters (world's greatest bar band)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Powers Of Number Four or I Am Matthew Star

So I'm sitting there watching the film I Am Number Four, a 2011 release about an alien kid with special powers and his guardian hiding out on earth from the evil forces from their home planet who are determined to wipe them out...hey, OMG, this is just a rehash of The Powers Of Matthew Star!

Check it, Matthew Star was a 1982 scif TV show about an alien kid with special powers and his guardian...heck, since this was the 80s, the opening credits of every episode TOLD THE WHOLE STORY.  Here they are, courtesy of Wikipedia:

"Quadris, twelve light years across the galaxy from Earth. It was home for us until an intergalactic armada conquered it. I fought by the royal family's side, but in vain. Even their remarkable powers weren't enough. The crown prince and I escaped to the nearest planet on which we could survive and further his powers in order to some day return to free his people.

"Here on Earth, the prince is known as Matthew Star. He's a typical American teenager. He has friends; people who love him. And me, his guardian. I'm the only one who knows how special he is. Life for us is a series of joys and dangers. Enemy assassins constantly come to destroy us. Alone, we must survive."

That's pretty much the plot of Number Four, minus the planet Quadris (giggle), and the fact that in this story there is more than one kid with the "power cosmic," as Stan Lee would put it.

Number Four annoyed me almost immediately in that the high school kids looked like they were in their 20s, which they mostly were (how very The CW of them).  Its funny how Hollywood is never able to find 16 or 17 year old actors to play 16 or 17 year old characters; it's always people in their mid-20s.

This movie just about put me to sleep right away.  Alex Pettyfer as the put upon Numero Quatro hardly registered as a screen presence (his pecs notwithstanding), Justified's Timothy Olyphant was miscast as Henri the guardian, aka the Louis Gossett Jr role on Matthew Star.  Much better was Teresa Palmer as Number Six who appears in the latter part of the film.  She's pretty, looks like she could be in high school, and had a fun kick-butt character, kind of like a well-adjusted Hit Girl.

The alien Mogadishu or Mogadorians or whatever looked stupid, with their tattooed bald heads, black eyes,  goofy teeth and Matrix trenchcoats - they resemble a Filmation cartoon's animated villain brought to live action life.

I Am Number Four is based on a Young Adult series of novels, but the juvenile tone of the move, the negative response from the critics and shallow box office would indicate that this is not the first film of the hoped-for franchise.

Maybe they could just reboot The Powers of Matthew Star for the big screen.  Or not.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stuart Freeborn - Makeup Legend Passes

Ain't It Cool News is reporting that legendary genre make up master Stuart Freeborn has passed away.  He was 98 years old.

Mr. Freeborn worked on Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey (his Dawn of Man hominid costumes still hold up today), Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and, perhaps most notably, on George Lucas' original Star Wars Trilogy.

For Star Wars, Mr. Freeborn created the Chewbacca costume and crafted the Yoda puppet performed by Frank Oz which was first seen in The Empire Strikes Back.  When you look at a photo of Mr. Freeborn and Yoda, you can see how he put a good deal of himself into the diminutive Jedi Master's final form (and not just the visage of initial inspiration Albert Einstein).

Stuart Freeborn was a very quiet, gentle person, but one whose incredible imagination and skill helped to electrify our movie-going experiences.

Our condolences to Mr. Freeborn's family and friends.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dark Shadows: A Pale Shadow Of Its TV Incarnation

Dark Shadows (2012)

Director Tim Burton and producer/star Johnny Depp decided to take on Dan Curtis' cult Gothic TV soap opera Dark Shadows and pretty much bore us to death.

Writer Seth Graeme-Smith's (famous for the novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) story has absolutely nothing original, or even interesting, to say. He also had way too many characters on his cinematic plate and did not write well for most of them.

In a familiar tale involving bloodsuckers, Depp's 18th vampire Barnabas Collins is let loose upon the 20th century (1972, to be exact) and he makes undead goo goo eyes at the Collins family's new governess, Victoria (Bella Heathcote), who just so happens to be the spitting image of Josette (also Heathcote) the woman he once loved back in the day.  This is supposed to be going on while Barnabas helps the remaining Collins family descendents, led by matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), reclaim the Collins' family standing in their Maine fishing community.

I say "supposed to" because Graeme-Smith appears to have forgotten to write scenes showing Barnabas and Vicky together and falling in love again (unless Burton and his editors cut them all out).  You know, showing them doing something; spending time together and getting to know each other, rekindling the magic, or making new magic (the montage of rebuilding the Collins fishing biz does not count).  Since he doesn't, when it comes to that point in the movie where Barnabas declares his love for Victoria, we, the audience, cry out "Bullshit!"  Hey, if the movie-makers don't care, why the eff should we?  Also, for being a fish out of water tale, there aren't any quotable lines or truly memorable situations involving Barnabas as the 18th century gentleman in the groovy early 70s (Austin Powers had better and funnier scenes contrasting generation gaps).  There were, perhaps, opportunities, but nothing that sticks with you (Barnabas' fascination with teenager Carolyn's lava lamp just seemed like Depp acting silly, as if he was improvising that day).

This is a very minor effort from Burton.  Visually, it looks like someone trying to copy the style of a Tim Burton film, but it doesn't fully commit to the whimsy of an Edward Scissorhands or the Gothic creepiness of his Sleepy Hollow (featuring Johnny Depp without garish makeup!).   It feels a bit like Burton's Planet of the Apes, a workman-like effort where he was a director for hire there.  The tone was all over the place: dead serious at the beginning, morphing to Depp's silly/goofy manner and dialogue in the modern day scenes.  Also there was a suggested oral sex scene with Dr. Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter, in the Helena Bonham Carter role in a Tim Burton movie) and Barnabas that was totally out of place in this PG-13 movie.

The cast, which includes Chloe Moretz as trippy daughter Carolyn and Jackie Earle Haley as Willie the groundskeeper, is mostly fine, with Eva Green being the standout as forever-beautiful witch Angelique (its really her movie).  I think Depp's Barnabas would have been better played without the goofy pancake makeup and raccoon eyes (the heavy makeup, emphasizing the curves in Depp's face, makes him look like a little boy).  After all, original Barnabas Jonathan Frid did an outstanding job, and even became a sex symbol of sorts, without having to go to such lengths.  Someone needs to tell Depp that he doesn't always need to hide behind elaborate makeup and funny costumes when he plays in fantasy films (look at Alec Guinness in Star Wars).  Frid's plastered-to-his-forehead hair was all Depp needed.  The rest of the character should have been handled with, I dunno, ACTING.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Super(man) Photo

I found this over at MTV Geek (from Empire Online).  Henry Cavill certainly looks like he's made of steel.  I just wish they'd have kept the red underwear...and the "S" curl.

Man of Steel. In theaters June 14, 2013.  Please, in the name of Siegel and Shuster, please be an amazing movie.  We sure could use one.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Music For A Sci-Fi Friday

You like your sci-fi movies/TV shows.

You like your music videos.

Squish them together and you get stuff like Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky," featuring the great Sandman ground car from the short-lived Logan's Run TV show, dusty desert locations and stock footage from Galactica: 1980 (which was just footage from the disaster flick Earthquake combined with Cylon Raider spaceship blasting clips from Battlestar Galactica).

You also get Rick Springfield's  sci-fi headscratcher, "Bop Til You Drop."  Whose idea was it to pair the clean cut Springfield and his upbeat pop tune with a grungy, dystopic future setting, replete with decent miniature models (inspired by the movie Dune?), Metropolis-like slave workers, mutant makeup jobs and Rick's future-mullet?

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Love It When A Movie Comes Together

The A-Team (2010)

After years of development hell, the A-Team, the famed - some would say infamous - 1980's action/adventure/comedy TV series finally came to the big screen.  With it came all the gunfights, explosions, action set pieces and comedy bits for which the series was known (multiplied, like, 100 fold).  And that's more than okay by me.

If you watched pretty much any episode of the A-Team's five season TV run, you know the drill: a group of special forces soldiers are framed for a crime they did not commit, they escape and seek to clear their names.  And those names are legendary in the annals of TV action shows: Colonel "Hannibal" Smith, the A-Team's plan-loving leader (now assayed by Liam Neeson); super suave "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper); the muscle and the mechanic B.A. Baracus (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson); and the always hospitalized but ready to slip away in moment's notice uber pilot H.M. Murdock (Sharlto Copley).

Just as in the TV show created by action/comedy vet Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo, when the bullets fly and the explosives, well, explode, we don't see blood and body parts getting splattered all over the place; this isn't Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan, and it never tries to be.  Director Joe Carnahan knows the movie, like its TV progenitor, is a live action cartoon.  That's not a condemnation, just a simple matter of fact; Carnahan never tries to turn it into Narc 2: The Fugitive Years.  

The A-Team is fondly remembered for its characters, and the film version doesn't simply offer us carbon copies but updated versions with the same traits.  Neeson is commanding as always, but can still have a twinkle in his eye just as OG Hannibal George Peppard did.  Cooper does suave and smooth like he was born to it.  Rampage Jackson was a big surprise for me.  No one can replace Mr. T. who came out of nowhere to mesmerize 80s audiences on the big screen in Rocky III as the unforgettable Clubber Lang, and then on the small screen as the loveable tough guy with the "Bad Attitude."  Jackson was  suitably imposing, but also has a knack for comedy.  I'd love to see Jackson and Dwanye (formerly The Rock) Johnson in a movie together.  The biggest surprise was District 9 star Sharlto Copley as the chatterbox Murdock.  I loved that Copley did a huge variety of accents and sort of throw away bits throughout the film.  Not all of it stuck (the whole "Attention passengers" bit during some aerial distress has kind of been done to death), but most of it did.  I loved a recurring joke about Murdock calming down BA by promising to make his favorite dish of coconut curry tapenade.  BA then inquires, "With toast points?"  Like you would serve the dish with anything else?

The main antagonist, a shady CIA dude played by Patrick Wilson, was also a lot of fun.  He was someone so cocksure of himself and his power that everything was just a silly game to him.  He wasn't aloof about it, like the more boring James Bond villains can be, but had a more "regular guy" attitude about himself (his Call of Duty reference was funny and revealing about the character too).  The real disappointment is Jessica Biel as a dogged Army investigator.  Pretty much any young actress could have played her part.  She brought absolutely nothing to the screen.  (This had always been a problem with the A-Team TV show - women were always victims, or things to be seduced by Face.)  I liked Biel in The Illusionist, but have never liked her in any other movie I've seen.  She's one of those actresses who is famous for being famous (and who she was dating), and not really for any standout acting performance.

The whole thing culminates in a huge fireball of action and explosions amid hundreds of shipping containers at the Los Angeles Port.  The A-Team is big, loud, often funny and a pretty good popcorn and big-ass soda movie.  It won't cure any diseases, or win any awards, but it sure made me forget about my head cold for two hours.  And that's a small miracle in and of itself.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bad Movies Will Always Be Bad Movies

So I went next door to the library today as my neighborhood takeout joint prepared the large wonton soup that I ordered (best thing for the frakking cold I picked up on New Years Eve) and I nearly picked up the movie Green Lantern.

But then I came to my senses, because, you know, it was GREEN LANTERN.

Nothing about that movie will have improved since I last watched it, not the dull generic script, not the uninspired action and visual effects scenes, not the lousy cast.  Nuthin'.

Sometimes a head cold will make you do stoopid things.  Thank goodness that Emerald Turd was avoided tonight.