Sunday, December 23, 2018

Robin Hood seriously wounds Mortal Engines

The audience has spoken.

And they are not happy with Mortal Engines, the new blockbuster produced by Peter Jackson.

Per's projections through December 23, 2018, the $100 million dollar budgeted film about a post-apocalyptic Earth where a variety of cities such as London survive as gigantic mobile platforms on wheels has grossed less than $12 million domestically since its release on December 14.

In a world where resources are scarce, how does it make ANY sense to have to propel your cities on giant wheels and treads? You have to agree that is a seriously goofy premise.

Moviegoers thought it was such a stupid premise because they actually went to see the 14,573rd version of Robin Hood instead. Yes, Robin fcuking Hood, which brought in just over $30 million in North America.

 Perhaps if Mortal Engines had featured Robin Hood were riding atop a fast moving Sherwood Forest-mobile shooting arrows at a furiously zooming Nottingham piloted by the Sheriff it would have gotten more butts in ye olde seats.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Lord Taketh Away TV Series, then the Lord Giveth New Series

Netflix just announced they are canceling the acclaimed and popular series Daredevil, starring Charlie Cox as the titular horn-headed hero. This announcement comes on the heels of the streaming service also canceling their other Marvel Comics series Iron Fist and Luke Cage.

But viewers of quality TV should fret not. Netflix still has their first Marvel series Jessica Jones and the upcoming highly anticipated fantasy series The Witcher. There still are new tales to look forward to on Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access, Game of Thrones on HBO, the once-canceled-by- Syfy-but-picked-up by Amazon The Expanse, The Mandalorian (the first live action Star Wars series) on Disney+, and for those craving superhero action DC Universe is streaming with the Teen Titans, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol for starters.

For the first time, well, ever there may be too many genre shows on TV: The CW is practically The DC Comics Channel with what seems like 19 interrelated DC series, AMC's The Walking Dead is still shambling along despite total viewership dropping to a third of what it was in its heyday and companion series Fear TWD is shuffling along side it. Add in The Punisher, Westworld, Dr. Who, The Man in the High Castle, The Handmaid's Tale, Runaways, The Tick and Happy!, Preacher, the ultra trippy Legion, The Orville, Wynonna Earp, The Good Place, American Horror Story, Krypton and the great Black Mirror to name just a few, and you see what I am getting at. An embarrassment of riches.

So goodbye Daredevil. Until we see you resurrected on the big screen alongside your MCU kin, keep those hallways cleared of thugs and always keep a loaded billy club by your side.
 Pinterest photo by Jose Luis Lajo Sinovas

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Onion: FAA Study Finds 64% Of Engine Failures Caused By Henchman Being Kicked Into Turbine

The Onion has this very important and timely article regarding airline safety mishaps vis a vie super-villain henchmen. LINK

My takeaway from this story is simple: NEVER to fly Blofeld Airlines, Drax Airways, or especially the cut-rate, cheapie service S.P.E.C.T.AIR.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Wrath of The Wraith

I can't believe I went through the entire decade of the 1980s without ever watching the movie The Wraith.

You know the one I'm talking about: the goofy flick about a ghost sports car and its mysterious black-clad driver that challenges the members of a gang to street races. Every video store open during the 80s was required to have this movie's poster pinned up on its walls.

Charlie Sheen drives the movie's well-worn plot of a murdered man who comes back from the grave to avenge himself upon his killers. It's like High Plains Drifter but with Clint Eastwood trading his spotted pony for a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor (according to Wikipedia, a "technology demonstrator vehicle").

The movie opens with a couple of animated balls of light coming down from the night sky (because 80s), zooming across the Arizona highways before colliding to form...The Wraith, an all black sports car, with a black-helmeted, black-jumpsuited asthmatic driver - seriously, as the camera is pulling into a closeup of Mr. Helmet Guy, we hear labored breathing; I guess coming back from the dead is strenuous work. His getup looks like a lovechild of a stillsuit from the movie Dune and a Borg from TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation. Then H.R. Giger puked on it for good measure.

The gang of killers is a hilarious assortment of 80s weirdos and wasteoids: lanky leader Packard Walsh, played by lanky Nick Casavettes, who races hapless motorists for their pink slips (heads up: he always cheats); a strangely coiffed Clint Howard is Rughead (Eraserhead must have been his hairdresser); rounding out the gang are Skank and Gutterboy, a couple of perpetually high tweakers who looked like they were ported over from another 80s' gem, Class of 1984. Note: The Crow, another murdered man returns from the grave for revenge flick also has a gang member named Skank. What are the odds?

This is all just silliness writ large. A pre-Tiger's Blood Sheen makes a good pretty boy, but nothing more. His role requires no acting, just show up, look at prettier Sherilyn Fenn (girlfriend of the murdered boy, and now Packard's "property"), and drive a dirt bike. Spoiler: yes, at the end, we see Mr. Helmet Guy take off his helmet to reveal Charlie Sheen, but, between you and me, I don't believe for a second he drove the sleek ebony Murdermobile in all those races.

Speaking of races, don't expect any true fast or furious action from those in this film. The Wraith's races against the baddies always end with an explosion, and those were fairly decent, but the camerawork and race choreography leading up to the kaboom were substandard: I've seen more intense car chases on the local news.

The movie appears to have been a co-production with a local Dodge dealership because every single car - that's EVERY. SINGLE. CAR - is a Dodge automobile. In this town, Ford spells f-i-g-h-t.

I don't know if I could truly recommend a supernatural car chase movie where the sleazy villain has the name of your grandfather's old sedan (remember the Packard, ya'll?) but I guess if you are sufficiently drunk - and NOT driving anywhere - you could do far worse than to let your eyeballs melt to the sights and sounds of The Wraith.

 (Clint Howard from The Wraith from

Friday, October 5, 2018

Will It Float? The NEW Aquaman Trailer

Ladies and gents, boys and girls, dolphins and porpoises, here is the first LONG ASS trailer for the new James Wan movie FLIPPERBOY!

Just kidding, it's AQUAMAN, starring bro-man/bro-dude/bro-ham/brocephus/bromide/Vincent Van Brogh/Obi-Wan Kenobro...Jason Momoa.

I like the visuals of Atlantis and the variety of aquatic mounts. The turtle sub was cool, too. I NEVER thought I would live to see Black Manta appear in a blockbuster movie.

But I sincerely hope they tone down the surfer-bro aspect of this iteration of Aquaman that was all over Momoa's performance in the execrable Justice League movie.

Bring your mask and scuba gear. We get wet in December.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Haikus Become Starfleet Standard Issue Equipment

Being a lover of All Things Japanese - the food, the culture, samurai traditions, and, yes, Godzilla movies - I hesitate to admit there is one area of the Japanese arts in which I am sadly lacking: the haiku. (I will commit ritual seppuku at the end of this article.)

If you recall your lessons in school, haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines. The first and third lines of a haiku have five syllables, while the second line has seven syllables. In this rigid structure, the lines will rarely rhyme.

Marc Allie, writer of the books I Was Geeky When Geeky Wasn't Cool and The Thing From The Drive In (both available on Kindle), is a master of the haiku. Based on his geek credentials - his books touch on everything from the Superfriends cartoons to Star Wars to Transformers toys - he is also a Star Trek fan. 

Naturally this resulted in Star Trek haikus.

Mr. Allie did a haiku for every. episode. of. The. Original. Series. Plus The Cage, which was the first pilot filmed but never aired during the original 1960s run of the show.

Here is a small sampling of those terrific Trek haikus:
The Corbomite Maneuver
All Our Yesterdays

Mr. Allie - at his website - has also turned his talents to creating haikus for Star Trek: The Animated Series, several Transformers cartoon series, and the Godzilla animated series based on the much reviled in some quarters Emmerich/Devlin movie from 1998. (Yell out "GINO" at a Godzilla convention and see what kind of response you get.)

Give Them A Read Yes
Guaranteed Time Is Well Spent
Live Long And Prosper

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Animal Crackers From Hell

Recently I bought a box of vanilla-flavored animal crackers, a favorite cookie from my youth.

This was NOT the famous red-colored box with circus-themed animals such as lions and elephants.

These animal crackers featured such common animals as horses and pigs; also sheep were included.

And on these sheep, they CLEARLY beared the mark of The BEAST: 666.

 The moral of this story is NEVER buy animal cookies from DAMIEN'S GOOD OMENS BAKERY.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Con is On

San Diego Comic Con 2018 is underway.

Some rumblings from the get go:

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jurassic World: Farsical Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Resting Lizard Face

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

Monday, February 5, 2018

Daft Punk: Spinning Platters and Phasers

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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Warcraft Movie Review

My review for the movie Warcraft (2016).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fahrenheit 451 comes to HBO

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

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

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

Directing E.T.: The Extraterrestrial's Kids

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

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

Monday, January 1, 2018

TV Series Finales Viewers Still Don't Get

Happy New Year!

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

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