Torchwood: Escape To LA

Torchwood - Escape to LA

We open with Esther going to the boarded up home of her sister, Sarah who has become paranoid over the events of Miracle Day. Sarah has locked herself in not even allowing her two children to go outside. Esther begs Sarah to let her see the children, but Sarah refuses. As Esther leaves, she reluctantly calls child protective services on her sister. Just as Esther pulls away a man who works for the mysterious triangle group calls in that he will track her back to Torchwood.

More news is given on the aftermath of Miracle Day as we learn the pharmaceutical companies are making record profits. At the same time, we see more fallout as a man talks about being laid off after having a heart attack.

Team Torchwood arrives in Venice Beach and setups shop in a small apartment as they plan their assault on the Phicorp Los Angeles headquarters.  Rex contacts Dr. Vera asking about medication during a tour she is on inside a once abandoned hospital. A new plan has been struck to send the ICU and critical care patients to that location from all the other hospitals around the area.

Back at the apartment, Gwen contacts her husband to check in on her child and father. The man who tracked Esther takes pictures from a distance. The team discusses Oswald Danes. Jack believes he is an important player and should be tracked while Jily was just in the right place at the right time.

Torchwood - Escape to LA

Danes finds himself being upstaged by small town mayor and Tea Party member, Ellis Hartley Monroe. Ellis started a campaign called “Dead is Dead” the idea is the dead should be treated as such and segregated from everyone else. This played into last week’s episode that showed some peoples fear and hatred of those who should have died. Jily lets Oswald know some of his appearances have been cancelled and Danes will have to do something to get his mojo back.

After Esther asks Rex if he has family in LA and him denying it, he goes to the run down home of his father who has a large supply of Phicorp medications in his bathroom. Rex and his father have an estranged relationship most noted when Rex tells his father that he was injured and shows his wound to which his father says that he has been dying for 15 years and Rex never cared. In the end, Rex leaves having taken some pills from his father.

Team Torchwood finalizes their plan to replace a server within Phicorp that has information they need and the group obtains the means to get past security.

Meanwhile the once abandoned hospital is now overflowing with unwanted patients. Dr. Vera is overwhelmed trying to gain control and take care of everyone. Outside Ellis talks to the media, telling them the hospital is a good place for the people and that they are away from everyone else. Oswald arrives and goes into the hospital giving a speech to the patients saying he is just like them appealing to their feeling of abandonment and that he will fight for them and their rights. The press eats this up much to Jily’s delight. When Ellis returns to her limo, she is drugged and we see it is the triangle group who is behind it.

Torchwood - Escape to LA

Later that night the man who was tracking Team Torchwood tracks down and kills the man who has access to Phicorp’s servers allowing him to follow the group inside. Gwen and Jack make their way to the server room, but as they finish and Jack leaves, the man knocks Gwen unconscious. Jack, makes his way back to her, but is caught off guard and captured. Rex scolds Esther for allowing this to happen and makes his way to them. The man wants to know what made Jack immortal and now mortal, but Jack does not know. Gwen tries to find out whom the man is working for and just as it seems as if he is going to tell, Rex arrives and shoots him several times including once in the throat.

Ellis awakens in a junkyard to a voice coming from the dashboard of the car. The triangle group tells her that her message interferes with their plans and that the families will eliminate anyone who poses a threat to them, Ellis and the car are then crushed by a trash compactor.

Back at the apartment, Esther apologizes for the mistake. Rex tells her it is her final warning. The data from the servers show that Phicorp has been buying up property to create “Overflow Camps” where unwanted patients from around the world would be sent. When Gwen contacts her husband she finds out her father was just sent to one of those camps.

Torchwood - Escape to LA

Again, a very solid episode locking in that Phicorp knew about Miracle Day and most likely is behind it. I wonder if Esther making so many mistakes or her sister being sent to a mental hospital and the kids to foster care will be meaningful to the story or just a reason to feel sorry for her. With Danes, I am still not sold on how important he is even through people follow his word. I hope he becomes more than just a spokesperson for Phicorp because I would like to see Jily have a real purpose than just PR. I like the theme of people being afraid of those who were to die and I feel the overflow camps must have an important purpose, but I guess we will have to just wait to find out.

High School of the Dead

 

highschool-of-the-dead

So, I was recommended this anime from a friend of mine and so far I have gotten to the 8th episode of the series. High school of the Dead is the story of a group of Japanese high school girls, two guys and the school nurse as they try to survive a zombie apocalypse.

I was recommended this anime for one reason originally, the T and A. If you watch the uncensored version you will pretty much everything a anime fanboi would want to see from huge animated breasts to pretty much all the female characters playing with each other in a shower scene, oh ya there are zombies too.

The story starts out fast like many zombie movies with the outbreak starting with someone being killed on the school grounds, but the male lead character soon finds out that it was no random murder and the dead are not staying dead. It was not to long until the entire school was in a panic and overrun with zombies.

highschool-of-the-dead-picture

It took some time for the full cast to meet up as they were in different parts of the school, but once they did their overall goal was to get to safety and find out what was really going on. Now there is a story within all the zombie beat downs and boob and panty shots. Like many zombie movies the story is about how different people deal with the crisis they found themselves in. You can expect the military to be dicks and the cops being useless and people taking advantage to be the assholes they really are.

Honestly, besides the T and A which is nice, I am enjoying their take on a zombie outbreak and even the male characters are cool and interesting especially the chubby nerd turned gun freak. You can find the original Japanese version subtitled or the English dub version as well, but make sure you get the uncensored one, you will thank me later.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ydmmPjW0RQ[/youtube]

The Road Review

The Road - Movie

The Road (2009)
Director: John Hillcoat  Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Michael K. Williams
Certificate: 15  Running Time: 107 Minutes

Tagline: “In a moment the world changed forever”

Let’s face it – as a race, we Humans are pretty stupid. For all our marvelous inventions and innovations, we still have all the violent and aggressive instincts inherited from our less-evolved relatives down through the ages and it’s only a matter of time before we end up destroying ourselves. A good few film-makers have had this notion before and the results have been mixed – for every Terminator or Mad Max there’s been a Steel Dawn or The Postman, but this latest effort comes from a very highly-regarded source. Adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel of the same name, The Road is another post-apocalyptic drama, but rather than featuring wars or heroic deeds, this film is simply about a man and a boy and their struggle to stay alive.

The Road - Movie

Indeed, the cause of the devastation is never explained although it certainly doesn’t take us long to see what sort of state the world is now in. Some sort of natural disaster is a possible cause but it’s more likely the world’s idiotic leaders engaged in some sort of thermo-nuclear exchange, for the world inhabited by the unnamed Man (Mortensen) and Boy (Smit-McPhee) is a bleak, desolate, and grey one, largely without any hint of redemption. We see glimpses of Man’s past life via flashbacks, both shortly before and shortly after the ‘event’ which wiped out much of the life and all of the civilization on the planet, but a vast majority of the film follows Man’s efforts to lead his son down the road of the title to presumed safety at the coast.

The Road - Movie

Despite being devoid of animal or useful plant life for the most part, however, the world isn’t completely deserted. During their travels, in between foraging in deserted buildings for food or anything useful, they do occasionally encounter other people. Some are in a similar situation to them but others have more sinister intentions, including, of course, armed gangs looking to take food, possessions, even people by force. Being forced to live almost every moment in, at best cautious fear and at worst terror and despair, is something that’s hard to even imagine, but seeing the world through the eyes of Man and Boy, you can understand why his wife gave in a long time ago, and that’s testament to the amazing job by the filmmakers. There are plenty of cameos to be found here (an almost unrecognizable Robert Duvall is particularly good) but understandably dominating the screen time are the characters of Man and Boy, so they needed to be portrayed by top actors.

The Road - Movie

As most of us will know already, Viggo Mortensen is a consistently fantastic actor, and one who takes his roles very seriously, so it’s no surprise to find here that he is thoroughly convincing as Man who, while resourceful and intelligent, also struggles desperately to raise his son in completely unthinkable circumstances. Young Kodi Smit-McPhee, too, exudes both innocence and naivety as vulnerable Boy, but also seems wise beyond his years at times as well. This isn’t a film for the ‘graphics tarts’ – near enough the entire film is shot in gloomy shades of grey and brown, but the way the bleak landscape has been captured does a superb job of conveying the desperate plight faced by the protagonists. Buildings crumble, trees gradually topple, as the world gives up trying to support us and fades into nothing. The film does paint a terrifyingly convincing picture of what life really could be like in such circumstances. It’s hardly a feel-good film and it’s not too re-watchable either, but it’s so well made, and acted and packed with emotion, you’ll be hooked while it lasts.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbLgszfXTAY[/youtube]

RKS Score: 8/10

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer poster

(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Director: Marc Webb Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, Chloe Moretz

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 91 Minutes

Tagline: “Boy Meets Girl. Boy Falls In Love. Girl Doesn’t”

I’m sure we’ve all been in the uneviable situation that faces Tom (Gordon-Levitt – 10 Things I Hate About You) in this unconventional rom-com from Marc Webb – that being, his unrequited love for new work colleague, Summer (Deschanel – Yes Man, Failure To Launch). He is attracted to her immediately upon meeting her, a new employee at the greeting card company at which he has an unfullfilling job, but thinks her out of his league. That is until a chance encounter in the office elevator which reveals they have the same taste in music (in this case, The Smiths). And so begins their relationship, building slowly from friendship. But will she ultimately feel the same way as Tom?

500 Days of Summer screenshot 1

The story is told over the titular 500 days, which indicates the period of time since Tom met Summer. They are not followed in any order and the films flits backwards and forwards between them showing at the one end, the good times as the new couple enjoy drunken karaoke sessions, a magical Ikea adventure, and long blissful conversations about nothing in particular, and at the other end, Tom’s broken heart and moping around after their breakup.

The problem is, Tom is one of those people who believes there is one true love out there for him, a soulmate. Summer doesn’t. Tom has spent his life patiently waiting for this one person he believes he will spend the rest of his life with. Summer casually goes from one day to the next without worrying too much about anything. Granted, it doesn’t sound like the ideal recipe for a relationship, but upon meeting Summer, Tom believes he’s met ‘The One’. Knowing the relationship doesn’t last from early on in the film’s run time doesn’t harm the enjoyment of the proceedings too much as the two main characters are appealing, and besides, the film starts off on ‘Day 488’, which still leaves 12 days for them to possibly reconcile!

500 Days of Summer screenshot 2

Despite their diametrically opposing philosophies on love, both characters are very likeable. They each know how the other feels from the start, and neither makes any promises to each other. Helping to endear us to these characters are fine perfomances from the two leads. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will really have you rooting for Tom, and Zooey Deschanel, having recently progressed to leading roles, is making a career out of her, presumably natural, kooky deadpan demeanour, and her Summer, whilst not the quirkiest character she’s played so far, is intriguing and has seldom been lovelier. They have able support too, with McKenzie and Paul as Tom’s two best friends and, Rachel, his wise-beyond-her-years kid sister.

Overall, this is a really entertaining film with decent, if unspectacular, perfomances and likeable characters, which are equally important in my opinion. It has a slightly unsatisfactory ending, but it doesn’t gloss over the imperfections of the protaganists and seems to flourish in the details that many other rom-coms skip over in favour of more grandiose set-pieces (although there is a fantastic song and dance sequence here). Also important, in my opinion, is the soundtrack, which, I’m pleased to say, is top-notch here. Featuring both songs by the likes of The Smiths (naturally), Feist, and Regina Spektor, as well as a decent score, it sets the mood well, although the film does occasionally also use an out-of-place voiceover which pops up now and then just as you’ve forgotten that it exists. This is the first feature from Marc Webb, formally a music promo director, and it bodes well for upcoming projects from him.

RKS Score: 8/10

Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Batgirl CGI Promo

 

BatGirl

Here is a CGI promo that was aired during Cartoon Networks, Batman: The Brave and the Bold that shows a teaser for the upcoming Batgirl show.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW3qrdfRj04[/youtube]

HBO’s Real-Life Superheroes Documentary

HBO's Real-Life SUPERHEROES Documentary

If you haven’t had the chance you need to check out HBO’s latest documentary on real-life superheroes. Currently there are over 300 registered masked superheroes patrolling the streets in the United States and HBO interviewed and went on patrol with a number of them in their documentary series that aired yesterday.

Here is a trailer.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zxCLbPncGk[/youtube]

Anne Hathaway CATWOMAN Photo

Anne-Hathaway-Catwoman-Costume

Our picture of the day comes from Warner Bros upcoming Batman movie, the Dark Knight Rises. The picture shows Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman costume riding Batman’s tumbler. Now WB calls this photo Selina Kyle which could mean the full catwoman suit was not revealed here. As more images are released we will let you know.

Laurence Fishburne to play Perry White in Man of Steel

laurence-fishburne

The hard nose old fashioned newsman, Perry White will be played by The Matrix and CSI star, Laurence Fishburne. The Man of Steel film is set to begin shooting this fall and is scheduled for a summer release, June 14, 2013 to be exact.

We all know Fishburne can play the role of a tough, but noble guy. The question is how do Superman fans feel about this? Does this change matter to you?

I wish they’d play the Deep Cover intro theme when we first see him on screen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA6A79IPN_E[/youtube]

Fallen Skies: What hides Beneath

Fallen-Skies-What-hides-beneath-4

We open to Captain Weaver plagued by nightmares and lack of sleep. As the resistance moves up the timetable of the attack to within 4 days, the lack of word from the other troops and the troubles in making bombs has General Porter concerned. Porter asks Tom to take a scout team into the city to gather intel on the aliens.

During this Hal goes to look for Ben and finds that he has been jumping rope for almost three hours without breaking a sweat. Ben tries to hide this fact from Hal, but he finds out and looks concerned.

Porter meets with Pope who is still recovering in sickbay. Pope tells Porter he can help them make real explosives and while they do not trust him, they give him the go ahead to help. During the conversation, Weaver notices a drawing of a series of buildings that Rick made. Weaver asks Rick how he came to draw them. Rick does not answer but gives the drawing to Weaver.

The next day Pope enters Scott’s lab to assist with the explosives. Pope finds an alien mech that has been disassembled. The mech gun is accidently fired scaring Matt. Pope and Scott notice the giant hole in the wall it makes.

Fallen Skies - What hides beneath

As the team prepares to go on their scouting mission, Tom asks them if they thought Weaver has been acting strange. Weaver enters and asks Tom if he is questioning his right to command to which Tom says no. Weaver tells Tom he will be going on the scouting mission.

Dr. Glass brings Ben in to check on him. Ben’s spikes from the harness are still there and he comments how he and Rick still have them while the other children’s spikes have faded. Dr. Glass notices a hardening of the skin around the spikes that Ben cannot feel when poked with a scalpel.

The scout team reaches their lookout point and views the large structure the aliens are building. The group takes notice that the construction is every human-like and can be taken down by human means. We get to see for the first time a new alien. This alien seems to be the commanders of the skitters, they are talk and slender and look humanoid-like.

On their way back with pictures and intel the team runs into a survivor named, Sonja that after a short while warms up to them and invites them for tea. Weaver stays behind as a lookout as Tom and Hal go to the woman’s house.

Fallen Skies - What hides beneath

Back at the school, Matt goes to talk to Pope against his father’s wishes. Pope tells Matt that the mech’s could have been made by humans as far as their construction and they should not be feared. Pope shows Matt a mech bullet that was man made, scavenged from military bases, but with a mech metal slug that is stronger than a normal bullet.

Meanwhile, Ben talks with Ricky who more and more has lost touch with his humanity. Ricky still believes the skitters love him and will be back for them. Ben tells Rick he hates the skitters and would kill them all of he had the chance.

Tom and Hal talk with Sonja who says she was taken by the aliens to a camp, but then released. She said she talked with the harnessed children, and that the aliens do not want humans on earth. Tom and Hal hear a noise and run outside to see Weaver has left and removed their sparkplugs so they could not quickly follow. As Tom and Hal leave, Sonja asks if they will be back.

Back at base camp, Dr. Glass asks Lourdes to keep a secret and enlists her help to examining the corpse of a skitter. Lourdes notices the anatomy is much like a human. Dr. Glass finds something she feared she would. Inside the skitter is the same harness found on the harnessed kids. Dr. Glass believes the skitters may have originally been something else.

Tom tracks Weave to his home and finds him outback. Weave is distraught and drinking and tells Tom how his wife and kids were taken. Weaver says his youngest child was harnessed and he discovered her in a camp and when he tried to remove the harness, it killed her. Weave does not want to fight anymore, but when a mech attacks and Weaver finds a pair of his wife’s glasses that were not there before he decides to continue the fight.

Fallen Skies - What hides beneath

Tom, Weave and Hal return to Sonja as they figure out the mech was heading straight for them and that Sonja sold them out. A harnessed Karen comes to Sonja’s door asking about Tom and the others. Hal wants to rescue Karen, but they hold him back not knowing who else is out there. Karen leaves food for Sonja in exchange for information and we see one of the new commander aliens are with her. As Tom and the group leaves, they feed Sonja false information knowing she would not want to go with them, but would still give the aliens information on them.

With the group back at the school, Tom says he will leave out Weaver’s breakdown in his report. Lourdes wants Dr. Glass to tell everyone about her findings, but because many people are scared and hateful of the freed harnessed children she does not want to do it, but agrees to tell Tom about it. Before the two can talk, Pope has a demonstration outside.

Pope tells everyone he can make mech busting bullets from melted down mech’s and shows how powerful they are. Seeing this Rick looks frightened and Ben sees him running away.

I really liked the movement in this episode. The fact that the aliens use human technology is interesting and provides the ongoing mystery. Now we have the added mystery that all skitters were harnessed beings of some sort. This could explain why the alien’s care for them as the harnessed will become skitters. Now we get to see the resistance take to the offensive, should be interesting as we are close to the end of this season.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

 

Fallen-Skies-–-Sanctuary-Part-2-1

We open at the ranch where the kids are playing soccer together. When Jimmy refuses to pass the ball to Ben, we are once again reminded that some of the resistance is mistrustful of the rescued harnessed children. We are also introduced to one of the children from the camp named Tessa who developed a liking for Hal. Tessa’s father cautions her not to get to close to Hal and this is a hint that most of the people at the ranch know the deal between Terry and the skitters.

Back at the school the resistance members prepare for a possible skitter attack as one of the civilians Sarah, is due to deliver her baby.

Back at the ranch, Mike takes notice of how much food is available and how life seems easier at the sanctuary, but Terry says they remain vigilant and are ready to go at any moment. Later Terry and Tessa’s father check in on Pope who we learned was forced to give up the information on the 2nd Mass and their location. We also learn that Pope was captured when he tried to steal supplies from the sanctuary and stabbed Tessa’s uncle in the process.

Terry leaves Tessa’s father alone with Pope who had loosened his binds. Pope knocks out Tessa’s father but leaves his alive. While making his escape Pope sees two men from the 2nd Mass dead by a tree.

Meanwhile Tom grows impatient waiting to hear from the escort team and heads out to look for them with Dai.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Back at the Sanctuary, the group sits down for dinner and we learn Terry and Mike were friends from before. Mikes son Ricky begins acting abnormal asking Ben how he could eat “their food.” While cleaning up after dinner, Lourdes finds a backpack and sees it belonged to Eli.

Outside Hal notices most of the guards seem to be patrolling the house and asks Tessa why there are no patrols on the roads to look for skitters. Before the conversation continues, Lourdes interrupts and pulls Hal away to a meeting with Mike.

Lourdes tells Mike and Hal about the backpack and Hal tells them about the lack of patrols for aliens. Mike does not want to mistrust Terry without more proof, but later breaks into the barn and finds Eli’s clothes. Terry discovers Mike and tells him that after nearly being killed by the skitters they were able to work out a plan to trade the children for safety. Mike seems to convince Terry he will be on his side, but later meets up with Lourdes and Hal and leads an escape from the Sanctuary.

During the escape, Hal runs into Tessa and discovers she also knew of the plan. When Hal and the others leave, Tessa calls to her father to stop them. Mike holds them off while the others escape, he says goodbye to his son and as Hal and Ricky run away they hear the shot that kills Mike.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Tom returns from his patrol and tells Weaver that the map Terry gave them is wrong and that they were unable to find the 3rd Mass or the escorts and children.

The children meanwhile make their way toward the school, but stop at a house to rest. Ben tells Hal he can continue moving and is faster than the others. Jimmy still mistrusts Ben, but Hal tells Ben to go back to the school and warn the others.

Ben spots Terry and the others searching from them, but is not spotted himself. Later Ben finds Tom and Dai who went back on patrol and tells them what happened.

Back at the home, Terry and the others catch up and Hal opens fire on them keeping them at bay. Terry tells the others to kill Hal and the others will surrender. Just before Hal is fired upon, Pope shoots one of the men with a sniper rifle.  The others fire back hitting Pope in the leg. Pope spots Tom who takes Pope’s bullets away and tells Terry that Pope is dead and surrenders.

Tom gives himself up to save Hal and in turn tells Hal and the others to come out. The group is escorted back to the sanctuary, but just as they arrive Terry and the others are captured by Weaver, Ben and the 2nd Mass who were waiting for them.

Terry refusing to go quickly pulls a gun and is shot and killed by Tom. Weaver takes the guns from the others but allows them to leave and tells them if they make any more deals with the skitters he will kill them.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Back at the school, Sarah delivered a healthy baby girl and Pope recovers from his gunshot wound. Tom offers Pope his job back as cook, but Pope warns Tom he may try to escape again.

Outside the 2nd Mass has a funeral for Mike. As the group morns the loss of Mike, Ricky tells Ben that it is mankind’s nature to kill and that “we” would never kill their own. Clearly, Ricky does not consider himself human and identifies himself as skitter. Ricky looks at Ben signifying that Ben should feel the same way.

Overall a decent end to the two part story. I do wish there was a bit more to the skitter deal, but we did learn that the skitters may have quotas to get work done and to capture kids. This revelation may lead to some kind of defection within the skitters down the line.

There are only two episodes left and it looks as if they will be really good and answer some important questions. See you next week.

The Walking Dead: Full Season 2 Trailer

The Walking Dead

Finally we get a full season 2 trailer for AMC’s The Walking Dead. This awesome trailer is over four minutes long and recaps some of season one while showing that the land of despair continues in season 2. There’s nothing more to say, sit back and enjoy it then hold your breath until October 16th.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipuXgEQarPI[/youtube]

The Walking Dead Season 2 Teaser Trailer

The Walking Dead

The awesome zombie series from AMC, The Walking Dead is back this October. Check out this teaser for season2!

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUqDgJcbcwE[/youtube]

Fallen Skies: Sanctuary Part 1

 

Fallen-Skies-Sanctuary-3

With Ben and a group of harnessed children rescued, a new threat emerges. While treating a young child named Eli, Dr. Glass is held at gunpoint and robbed of precious antibiotics by his mother and father who no longer feel the school is safe and needed the medicine to bargain with while on the road. Dr. Glass tries to fight the gunman, but is knocked to the floor.

Tom and Weaver chase down the family and a standoff begins when Lt. Terry Clayton, played by Henry Czerny arrives taking the antibiotics back from the family, but allows them to leave unharmed. Clayton, who is from the 7th Mass resistance group tells Tom and Weaver that the skitters have all but eliminated his group and that the aliens are building additional structures and are looking for child slave labor.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Clayton goes on to tell Tom and Weave that the aliens took the children first and the few remaining resistance members are at a ranch. Clayton believes the skitters are heading for Weaver’s base and suggests that they split their group sending the children to the camp while the others move to a new location.

Back at base camp, we learn that Ben has recovered from the harness removal surgery and can now do over 100 push-ups without breaking a sweat. Ben tells his younger brother Matt that while it may sound weird, the skitters were like family to him and sometimes he misses the feeling. Ben explains that when harnessed the skitters know what you need and want and treated them like family. Hal overhears this and later talks to Dr. Glass worried about the fact that his brother now seems different.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Meanwhile the debate over sending the children to the ranch troubles many of the parents who do not like the idea. Even Tom is not sure it is the right thing do to, but he struggles wondering if he is being selfish. Clayton makes the case that it is safer for the children at the ranch. During this, Dr. Glass meets with Maggie who earlier had given her a gun for protection. Maggie takes Dr. Glass to the woods to practice using it. Jimmy, the 14-year-old fighter, volunteers his services and Weave tells him he can join the overnight security detail.

That night while on security duty a skitter mech attacks. Jimmy escapes into a school, but is soon attacked by a skitter who he tries to fight off. Jimmy is saved by Weaver and later recounts his story to Weave and Dr. Glass. Clayton tells everyone they have to leave now as the skitters will be coming. Tom makes the decision to send the children on with Clayton to the ranch and Hal volunteers to help escort them.

The group arrives at the ranch and Clayton sends everyone to bed telling them he will give them a tour in the morning. That night, Clayton visits Eli who wants to see his parents. Clayton takes Eli into the woods where they meet up with Megan who tells Eli she can take him to his parents. When Eli sees that Megan is harnessed he refuses to go, but is hit by a blast from a skitter mech and knocked unconscious.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Megan asks Clayton how many children are at the ranch and an arrangement is made to deliver more children within two days. Clayton returns to the ranch and brings food to a prisoner telling him that the information he gave him on the children was correct. The prisoner raises his head and we see it is John Pope.

While I personally saw the deception a mile a while I do like the fact that the enemy is coming from all sides. During the episode we also saw that some people did not like the fact that liberated harnessed children were allowed to walk amongst them even calling them “Razor backs”. Now we have a group of people who have seemed to make a deal with the skitters for protection in exchange for children. This opens up a new dynamic that could add some real spice to the series.

Next week is part two of Sanctuary and I must say I am really looking forward to it.

Fan Recorded Avengers Teaser Trailer

The Avengers 2012 Marvel Movie

I am sure like many others including myself you will wish you saw this trailer on a nice big screen in a movie theater instead of a fans camera, but I digress.

This trailer shows up after the credits for the Captain America: The First Avenger. Make sure you stay after the credits this weekend to see it, but if you need to see it now, here it is.

The Avengers is set to be released in spring/summer of 2012.

Torchwood: Rendition

Torchwood-Rendition-5

This week we continue the story of the remaining two Torchwood members being taken to the U.S. The episode begins with Jack and Gwen being forced onto a plane bound for America. Agent Matheson allows Gwen’s husband and child to remain behind much to the distraught of Gwen.

Meanwhile, the now freed Oswald Danes does his first television appearance where he breaks down and cries after seeing one of his victims. Oswald begs for forgiveness, which in the end, splits peoples opinion between those who believe he is remorseful and those who do not. Oswald is approached by Jilly Kitzinger, played by Lauren Ambrose who is working for a PR firm and wants to help Danes get his message out as well as make him money. When Oswald is told he is wanted to appear on the Oprah show he turns her down saying he is doing fine on his own.

Back at the CIA, Agent Drummond speaks to Brain Friedkin, played by Wayne Knight about assisting Agent Matheson after receiving a text that he is on the way back with Torchwood. Friedkin dismisses Drummond and beings research on her. While on the plane Agent Lynne updates Friedkin without letting anyone else know she is doing so. Matheson contacts Dr. Juarez asking for medication in exchange for access to examine Jack.

Torchwood Rendition

Dr. Juarez realizes that medical and trauma protocols would need to be redone after a series of patients come into the ER. Vera realizes pain management and treating the minor injuries is first priorities so they can free up beds. She is also made aware of a panel of doctors meeting to discuss Miracle Day and its effects on the earth and heads to the panel.

Friedkin receives a message on his phone with the word “Remove”, he sends the same message to Lynne on the plane who poisons Jacks drink. Vera arrives at the panel and where the doctors discuss how humans still age and that they are “too alive”. One of the effects of living is the human body will become germ incubators and that over time these germs will become resistant to antibiotics.

Friedkin arranges for Matheson and Drummond to be setup by depositing money into their account and deleting Matheson’s files. Drummond steels a colleague’s pass and escapes the CIA building. On the plane, Jack becomes sick and on Gwen’s pressing gets Matheson to search Lynne and find the poison. As Vera continues at the panel, Matheson calls her asking for help to cure Jack. Together the group is able to counteract the poison on the plane, save Jack and take Lynne into custody.

Torchwood Rendition

Vera is met outside the panel by Jilly who offers her services. When Vera refuses, Jilly tells her of about a large stockpile of drugs that Vera does not have access to but hints that she can help with that. Vera takes Jilly’s card and asks if she has samples of the pain medication from her client (Phycor).

Matheson and the other arrive in the U.S. when he receives a call from Drummond telling him they are being setup and that everyone who comes into contact with Torchwood is being deleted. Drummond realizes Matheson is not alone and tells him to meet her outside the airport. Matheson un-cuffs Gwen and Jack who fight off the other agents including Lynne, who was secretly given handcuff keys, escape outside the airport where they meet up with Vera who gives Matheson the drugs and Drummond who provides an escape vehicle for them.

Torchwood Rendition

This was another good episode moving the story along. I am not sure what to expect out of the Oswald story however. The addition of Jilly the mysterious PR rep could be interesting. We now know the CIA is working to get rid of Torchwood, but the question is who sent the message to Friedkin? Perhaps those who watched the earlier seasons can tell me of the triangle symbol we saw before he received the message means anything.

The Miracle itself proves more and more interesting as we see how different cultures deal with the lack of death. We also continue to learn how not dying could quickly lead to the downfall of civilization itself. I cannot wait for the next episode.

Torchwood: The New World

Torchwood-The-New-World-1

I finally got around to seeing what is season four of Torchwood. The new series that premiered on the Starz network is titled, Miracle Day because all over the world people stop dying. I am writing this as someone who has only seen the first episode of season one of Torchwood, but I hope to catch up quick as season four moves along.

Torchwood is a BBC show filmed in the U.K. Miracle Day begins a reboot of the series brining the show to the U.S. along with three regulars to the series. Originally, the new Torchwood was to be shown on the Fox network before the deal fell through.

The show opens with the execution of convicted pedophile and murderer Oswald Danes played by Bill Pullman. Danes is given a lethal injection, but does not die. During this event, an email is sent to various agencies of the U.S. government with the word Torchwood. While being briefed on the incident by colleague Esther Drummond, played by Alexa Havins, CIA agent Rex Matheson, played by Mekhi Phifer  is injured in a car accident.

Torchwood - The New World

Matheson survives and becomes aware of what the media calls Miracle Day and begins working with Drummond to find out how the phenomenon has occurred and its connection to Torchwood. We learn that although people cannot die they can still become sick and be injured. Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman, shows up in the U.S. erasing all mentions of Torchwood onlinw prompting Drummond to search the CIA archive for files which she discovered. Just as Drummond begins to read the files Harkness appears just in time to save her from an assassin who tries to kill her and blows up the archive. Harkness tells Drummond about Torchwood, but the gives her an amnesia pill. However, the next day, Drummonds memories are triggered by a file brought to her on Torchwood by CIA agent Noah Vickers.

Later Oswald, who threatens to launch a lawsuit against the government, is released because technically he served his sentence. Meanwhile, in Wales, former Torchwood operative Gwen Cooper, played by Eve Myles, hides out in a remote location with her newborn daughter. Cooper is called to the hospital after her father suffers a heart attack and learns about Miracle Day. Cooper wants to investigate but is dissuaded by her husband. When Cooper returns home she is confronted by Matheson who with the help of Drummond tracked her down. Before Cooper can escape they are attacked by a helicopter. Harkness arrives to help and the group escapes taking down the helicopter.

Torchwood - The New World

The group arrives at the original Torchwood Institute site where Harkness reveals to everyone that his healing abilities no longer work and he appears to be mortal while everyone else on earth is immortal. As Cooper and Harkness discuss what to do next Matheson, with help of the local police takes the group into custody and announces that he is renditioning Torchwood to the United States.

Overall, I love the premise and not having a full history of Torchwood I feel the idea of making everyone immortal while making Jack mortal is an interesting tactic. Also, during the episode we see that some people were not happy with the Miracle Day saying that these people should be dead and are “Living Corpses.” The show makes sure to answer questions such as, if you remove the head do you still live, the answer is yes. In addition, we learn that by not having daily deaths and continuing to have daily births that society would collapse onto itself within months.

I thought the pacing of the show was well done, as were the visuals except for some of the news report backgrounds. I think a new spin on Torchwood could be a good thing, but I will hold my final judgment until I catch up with the previous seasons. I am just glad it did not end up on Fox or it may not have made it past episode 1.

Anime Song of the Week: 0:00 AM – Tokyo Majin

tokyo20maj

0:00 AM is the theme song for the first season of Tokyo Majin and its a good song if you are interested in anime theme music.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUw9IsjrKbQ[/youtube]
Romaji lyrics:
Time to Die
That Perfect World!Tsuki akari no shita de

Let’s break the spine!

kimi ga furuete ita

Kizu darake kanashi souna kimi no hyoujou
Chinmoku to zattou no naka
Kurui sou de koware souna genjou kai
Kimi wa sou sa kimi no mama ikite

Hajimari wa kimi no naka
subete no yoru ga akeru youni sakebou
Hiza kakae nayamu yori
subete ga asa e mukau youni sakebou

Kimi ga obiete ita
0:00 A.M. [gouzen reiji] hoeru youni sasayaite
Saiaku no joukyou ga ima
mado garasu ni utsuru hoshi ga nagare teta
Me wo toji tara kimi no sora wa ochite iku

Kamereon janakute kokoro kara kawarou

Kagayaki wa kimi no naka
subete no yoru ga akeru youni sakebou
Owari naki kaze ni narou
subete ga sora e mukau made ni sakebou

Dare datte mayou nowa touzen nayan de
maemukunda
Kimi datte karetaku wa nai darou ugoki dasu mae ni
karetaku wa nai darou

Kokoro kara kawarou

Hajimari wa kimi no naka
subete no yoru ga akeru youni sakebou
Hiza kakae nayamu yori
subete ga asa e mukau youni sakebou

Subete no yoru ga akeru youni sakeru youni
Subete ga asa e sadame wo koete mukau youni
sakebou

English lyrics:
Time To Die!
That Perfect World!

Under the moonlight

Lets Break The Spine!

You are trembling

Your visage are full of scars from sorrow
In the midst of silence and bustle
Like being crazy, or maybe broken? so obviously
That is who you are now

As for your beginning,
Lets shout, so that all the night will be uncovered
Rather than holding your trouble with yourself,
Lets shout, so that everything will turn to dawn

You are frightened
Whispering like shouts at midnight
Now at the worst condition
In the glass window appears the star falling
When your eye closed, your sky keeps falling

Dont be like a chameleon but change ourselves from the bottom of our hearts

As for your shining,
Lets shout, so that all the night will be uncovered
Until becomes the endless wind crossing the sky,
Lets shout

Everyone can be puzzled, troubled
And then go forward
Even you, you dont have to be tired before you start,
You dont have to be dejected

Lets change ourselves from the bottom of our hearts

As for your beginning,
Lets shout, so that all the night will be uncovered
Rather than holding your trouble with yourself,
Lets shout, so that everything will turn to dawn

In order to make all the nights uncovered and torn apart,
In order to turn to dawn and overcome the destiny,
Lets shout.

Fallen Skies: Silent Kill

Fallen-Skies-Episode-5-Screenshot-4

This week we finish the “Rescue Ben” story arch as the episode begins with the resistance returning successfully acquiring the drugs needed not only to remove the harness from the children, but critical medical supplies as well. Meanwhile the study of the “skitter” continues as Dr. Glass and Dr. Harris debate the means of which the study should continue. It is confirmed the aliens do communicate via radio transmissions, but that seems to be all they know. It is mentioned that they would not be able to use their transistor radio as an early warning device.

After the skitter makes a noise that was new to Dr. Harris he investigates only to be killed by the alien. Dr. Glass is able to keep the others from killing the alien, but she is given 24 hours to find out what she can or Captain Weaver will kill it himself.

A rescues plan is decided on after a few ideas are tossed around. The rescued harnessed child tells Hal that the children are left with only one skitter at night at that as long as a harness is attached to the child the alien would not notice. After reluctance from Tom, it is decided Hal will attach a harness to himself and sneak in with the other children. However, for Hal to be able to escape with Ben and the others he will need to kill the lone skitter without alerting the others.

Fallen Skies - Episode 5 -Screenshot

We learn that Dr. Glass had a child who was killed during the invasion. Her pain over her son and the need to learn how to silently kill the skitters leads her to make a bold move. Dr. Glass recalls that when punched in the jaw the skitter was knocked unconscious and believes the alien could be killed by stabbing that soft pallet. Dr. Glass stuns the alien and then opens the cage before stabbing the alien with a medical scalpel. Dr. Glass survives the encounter and the alien is killed without much noise giving the rescue team what they need to succeed on their mission.

Hal infiltrates the hospital where the children are being held and finds Ben, the other children and the skitter. We learn strangely enough that the skitter sleeps protecting the children and even caressed their heads as if their own child. Tom and the others worry as it is taking far to long for Hal to signal them, but thanks to an additional entrance provided by Margaret they are able to make their way to Hal.

Meanwhile Hal begins to make his move, but Ben awakens and alerts the skitter. After a brief struggle Hal, with assistance from Margaret and Tom, kill the skitter. We learn after the skitters death that the children feel a bond to the skitter and are saddened by its death.

Fallen Skies - Episode 5 -Screenshot

Six children are taken to Dr. Glass who begins the harness removal process, but only five, including Ben survive. Dr. Glass is saddened by the loss of the child and does not know why it happened. At the end of the episode we see Ben awaken fully remembering that Tom is his father.

I thought the pacing of the episode was better this week as was the continuing stories of the main cast. I regret that Dr. Harris was killed as it seemed for no other reason than to give us a reason to kill it. There was also a side story of one of the resistance members having a baby shower that I assumed was tossed in as a “ one dies as one soon lives” kind of analogy.

I am most curious about the relationship between the skitters and the harnessed children. It does seem as if the skitters care for the children much more than we released. The contrast is when a group of children was killed after one was rescued. Perhaps this will become a plot device in the future or may even cause a divide between the aliens.

Where do we go from here? The next episode is titled Sanctuary and is a two parter so that should be interesting. For those wondering, there are ten episodes in the season so we have five more to go. Even though the ratings are still down it is much less of a drop than before with episode four bringing in 4.20 million viewers and episode five brining in 4.07 million. Also, on July 7th TNT announced that Falling Skies was renewed for a second season of ten episodes so at least we have that to look forward too.

Perhaps cable television is the place for sci-fi after all.

Batman: Year One Trailer

Batman-Year-One-Movie

The next movie in DC animate line-up is Batman: Year one and will star Benjamin McKenzie as Bruce Wayne, Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon, Eliza Dushku as Catwoman and Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Essen. The first trailer has been released for the upcoming film:

Batman: Year One will be released to DVD and Blu-Ray on October 18th and will be premiered by a screening at Comic-Con on July 22nd.

E3 2011: My E3 Guide

E3 2011: My E3 Guide by Ignacio/honorabili

E3 2011

Guide:

Before going, the first thing to do is see if you can get in there for free! Well, the way I did it is by having this website and registering as soon as I could for the event. Starting this year, E3 was capping the number of passes they would give out to media, requiring your website to have 8000 unique visits per month per media pass given out. If you don’t even get 8000 a month then they would make you buy your ticket instead, which could making going to the event really expensive.

Like most of these kind of events, try to book as early as possible, both your travel arrangements and lodging. We booked 9 months before and paid 700 dollars a person for 6 days. We used Orbitz and that price included complete air fare (flew American Airlines), lodging (we stayed at the Ramada Inn in Koreatown, which I found to be a great place and neighborhood), and a rental car (Avis, which broke down and then they tried to rip us off when we returned the car; listen to the podcast to hear Laraque complaining about that!). I really recommend going to E3 especially if you already live in California or nearby, so it’s much cheaper.

When you get to the event, get one of the free magazines that is pretty much a quick guide to the event plus the IMPORTANT PART is the map in the center of the magazine. You can simply look at the map and see which booths interest you the most. If you mainly go there to see the next big game, you can easily find them on the main floor in megabooths. If you have media passes, you can go talk to their reception desk and they give you priority to test them, instead of making you wait in line most of the time.

E3 2011 - Konami

Some people like to go to E3 to demo the new games and hardware, mainly from the megacorps. Other people like to go to see what small companies are there and to see what big thing they brought to the show. Many of the small companies or the companies that are not coming out with a big product usually have a booth in the meeting rooms in the Concourse Hall. Those are better for you if you are into networking and seeing more unique things that the public usually cannot. There’s a more private version of that area on the second floor that you can only access if you have a VIP pass. There’s where you can see unreleased stuff more and negotiate business deals.

If you go, don’t expect to sleep much. You pretty much walk and stand most of the day and after the show, if you have connections expect to go to a ton of after parties (there’s one pretty much every day); this is where you can really make connections with developers, vendors, etc. If you go there trying to setup some business deals, bring a stack of business cards and some nice clothes. I made more contacts wearing dress clothes than simply the Obsolete Gamer T-Shirt.

As far as being in L.A., bring a lot of money because things there are PRETTY EXPENSIVE. Most places we went to charge a bare minimum of 3-5 dollars an hour to park, with many places having a 15-30 dollar parking fee, even like going to a local mall. Food at most restaurants will cost you about 20 dollars a person unless you want to eat a lot of fast food. At E3, the food is very expensive and we’re talking like 6 dollars for a pizza slice kind of expensive and 5 dollars for a can of Monster (no Red Bull, which is my crack). A cheapskate trick is to go to the Concourse Hall and munch on the snacks (cookies mainly) and free soft drinks that a lot of the companies have there. Hey! You wanted a real guide, now you know how cheap I am!

E3 2011

When at E3, try not to take breaks. Be smart and go have a meeting where you can sit down to rest, while you keep working and networking. Again, I mainly recommend going to the event if you are in the industry, whether you have a game company, gaming website, resell video games, blog, shoot funny videos (like Mega64), otherwise, you can pretty much watch everything at the show for free on the internet on some of the mega video game sites or directly from the main companies websites, in the form of trailers.

If you are media/press, pick up every free bag of goodies they give you. The best stuff I got was from World of Tanks, which gave me a bunch of toy tanks, a special bag, a World of Tanks T-Shirt, mouse pad, and special game bag, as far as the main floor went, and the biggest gift I got was from Topware which gave me a Collector’s Edition of Two Worlds 2 and a ton of T-shirts. Even if you don’t like a game, who knows, a friend of yours might like it! If you have a gaming website, some of this swag would be great to giveaway in the form of a contest.

My Experience:

E3 2011 - Cooking Mama

The day before E3 I was rushing to get some Obsolete Gamer shirts over to J.A. Laraque’s house as well as a camera I bought him and some micro SD memory cards when the engine of my 1998 Mustang GT decided to die a block away from my house. After pushing the car with some neighbors up my driveway, I had my mom help me to drop the OG gear off at JA’s house. I stayed up pretty late playing League of Legends with my brother and his friends until we lost so badly that I had to go do something else. I remember drinking some rum while watching episodes of The Three Stooges on Hulu.

My old man took J.A. and I to the airport like around 5 PM EST on Tuesday, the first open-to-the-public day for E3 2011 and we quickly met up with Alienware’s Patrick Theodore and Ashley Brito. Even though Orbitz booked us on Alaskan Air, we quickly had to go running with all our luggage to the American Airlines concourse and go through the TSA checkpoint. After seeing old ladies from Miami Beach get checked to see if they have C4 in their shoes, the terrorists won! Anyways, they let us through and after a short while we were on the plane. I played the living shit out of Solitaire on the plane, which going to L.A. we had a 777 (great ride). Laraque played a lot of games on his iPad like Streets of Rage and some Homer Simpson game which was a lot like the original Simpsons arcade game. I slept on the plane but for the duration of this trip I was pretty much tired a lot.

As soon as the plane landed we hauled ass to Avis, and then drove fast to the show. Parked (see me bitch above about the parking, which in this case was 15 dollars cash [be sure to bring a lot of cash]) and then we got some of the food they sell there (again see above if you want to hear me bitching). Afterwards, we walked off into the main floor. My first impression was that this was a huge arcade. Colors and colors everywhere. We saw the Sony Online Entertainment booth, which we have been trolling on the podcast a lot lately, and I got a bunch of the free mints they had there. The only games they had which interested me were Payday (co-op bank robber game) and some Magic The Gathering strategy game, but that game looked pretty dated. I hit up Capcom, then Kalypso, which to my surprise is remaking (and this is much needed) Jagged Alliance and is making Tropico 4, another sequel to one of my favorite dictator sims of all time.

E3 2011 - Square Enix

I had a meeting with Indiecade, which showed me a lot of board games, which we will probably review later on The Inverted Paradox and a couple of Indie games. I got to play this experimental game project called Deep Sea where the game has no graphics and its just you attacking a sea monster based on what you hear only. Pretty original idea and it generates a feeling of solace and dread being stuck on a submarine with a leviathan around you. I also saw a game that was a rogue-like clone and also a cute strategy game called Skulls of the Shogun which is a like like Shining Force and Ogre Battle.

We went to the after the show parties for AMD and also for S2 Games, the makers of Heroes of Newerth. Both parties had free bars and the AMD party had AMAZING food! =P It was fun talking to AMD about the new APU that already got released by now as well as talking about old hardware with some of the people who helped design it, like Marc who helped design my favorite CPU the AMD K6-3. 😀 The AMD party was also very special for me because I got to speak in person with my friend Alfred Giovetti who runs The Computer Show. In the middle of people talking about the latest and greatest we sat for a good while talking about stuff like the rise and fall of Microprose and Interplay and games such as Darklands by Microprose. I recommended he try out Mount & Blade which is a lot like Defender of the Crown mixed with Darklands.

E3 2011

Back to the show, I got to meet up with the people from Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends which let me see upcoming champions (hero units) for that game, one of my current addictions.

The people from World of Tanks gave us some goodie bags which was put to good use in-game (another one of our addictions now).

I got to meet (finally in person) with my long time internet friend Seth Sternberg (8 Bit Weapon) and got to hear them live. We interviewed both band members and you can check out the 8 Bit Weapon interview here.

We stayed in L.A. for 4 days after the show and it was a nice vacation for us.

In conclusion, the E3 experience was a good one and I highly recommend it, especially if you can go there cheap or get somebody to sponsor your trip! ;-]

Thor sequel in 2013

Thor Poster - Godess of War

If the world is still around after 2012 fans of Marvel’s Thor will be able to see him yet again on the silver screen. The unnamed Thor sequel will see actor Chris Hemsworth return, but director Kenneth Branagh will not. Don Payne, who was one of the writers on the original, will be penning the sequel. Thor 2 is set to release in the summer.

 

Fallen Skies: Grace

 

Fallen-Skies-Episode-4-Grace-Screenshot-3

This weeks episode is entitled Grace, but this week’s episode of fallen skies was mainly about communication. Last week we learned that the aliens have some kind of connection with the kids they capture and harness. This week began with the medical team trying to communicate with the captured alien to learn more about it.

Meanwhile, Tom is told his mission to save Ben will need to be in steps. Step 1 is to liberate some motorcycles from a store that outlaw turned cook, Pope knows about. Tom does not trust Pope, but they need his directions so he goes along. On their way to the store, they discover some of the aliens sleeping upside down like a bat under a highway underpass. Pope wants to kill the aliens, but Tom discovers there are sleeping mech’s nearby which will awaken and attack so they push on.

Fallen Skies - Episode 4 - Grace

As anyone could guess as soon as Pope is alone he attacks his guard and escapes. Pope does not kill the guard and instead heads back to the sleeping aliens and kills them. This act teaches us something new about the aliens as they send the harnessed children to attack Tom and the resistance does not want to fight back and instead runs away.

Back at home base, Dr. Glass tries to communicate with the alien using pictures hoping to get it to make a sound to indicate its language. Meanwhile, Tom’s youngest son, Matt is scanning radio frequencies to try to listen for signals. After some more forceful integration, we learn that the aliens send out some type of signal that interacts with radio waves. At the same time, we learn that the aliens can talk through the harnessed children, but before we can learn more the child’s father pulls off the harness ending communication.

Fallen Skies - Episode 4 - Grace

I can already see where this storyline will lose viewers week to week. Like the V remake, people want to see more of a progress than what we are seeing. This week the resistance goes after bikes, next week it is drugs to help the injured. The saving Ben storyline will be dragged out and the escaping Pope adds an X-factor to everything.

I personally hate that just as we have a chance to hear what the aliens want it is taken from us which is a cheap story extender used far too often. Unless we see a major storyline advance, I don’t have any hope for this series.

Fallen Skies - Episode 4 - Grace

Episode 3 dropped down 25% in ratings, but is still holding decent numbers for TNT. The loss of viewership was expected, but we will see how this episode did to tell the future for the series.

 

Top Five Moons

Astonomy is another of my many hobbies, it’s something I find confusing (not having a degree in astrophysics and all) but fascinating nonetheless. So, following on from the recently-touched-upon-theme, I thought I’d try another nonsensical, but hopefully informative Top Five! Hardly what any of you come here for, I know, but I hope some of you might find something of interest here. Let me know if you like it and maybe I’ll occasionally do a few more posts like this… 🙂

5 – Luna

 Luna
I guess I should include this one purely as it’s our own barren, insignificant little rock. It’s the second brightest object in our sky (and can help when walking through dark, spooky places at night) despite actually being very dark, and in a curious quirk of fate it always has the same side facing us, but aside from a few little tit-bits it’s pretty unremarkable. But hey, without it we would have a very different planet and no eclipses!
4 – Miranda
4 - Miranda
This small satellite of Uranus is very interesting from a geological point of view. It was apparently once a Luna-like moon before a smaller, but still not insignificantly-sized object like a moon or asteroid smashed into it, with the resulting colossal explosion shattering the entire moon into pieces before eventually, over many thousands of years, it gradually coalesced into the scarred, patchwork-like moon we know today. All over it are strange geological features that seem out of place and other parts seem to be at right angles to each other. Hope that doesn’t happen again closer to us!
3 – Europa
3 - Europa
One of the large Galilean satellites of Jupiter, Europa is most notable at this stage for what it may be home to. That is… life! Smooth and practically devoid of craters, a thin oxygen atmosphere clings to a surface which is almost entirely covered by ice, riddled with cracks, streaks, and ice-like patterns. It is widely believed, however, that under this layer of ice lies an ocean of warm liquid water which may contain primitive life forms! Let’s hope an impending mission to it reveals some startling truths!

2 – Titan

2 - Titan
The largest of Saturn’s moons and second largest moon in the whole solar system, Titan is unique for being the only natural satellite in the solar system with its own thick atmosphere. So thick in fact, that any details regarding its surface were a mystery until the Cassini-Huygens mission reached it in 2004. What it found was the only large, stable bodies of surface liquid know outside of Earth, in this case consisting of hydrocarbons. Here, it is theorised, life-forms could exist. Titan also has seasons and Earth-like weather including wind and rain, resulting in surface features such as dunes, rivers, lakes, etc. For these and other reasons, Titan is considered the most Earth-like body in the solar system. Plus, if it was visible, imagine the sight Saturn would make in its night sky…

1 – Io

1 - Io
Another of Jupiter’s Galilean moons, Io is closer to Jupiter than Europa and this added proximity has had a dramatic effect on its surface conditions – it’s covered in hundreds of constantly errupting volcanoes! Friction caused by being pulled between Jupiter and the other Galilean moons, coupled with Jupiter’s immense gravity constantly squeezing it, causes intense internal heating and the resultant volcanoes, some of which eject plumes of sulphur hundreds of miles high. This poor old moon is the most geologically active body in the solar system and is effectively being resurfaced every few years!

A Look Back: Sliders

 

Sliders-2

Sliders was a science fiction television series that aired on the Fox network in 1995. The story followed a young brilliant student named, Quinn Mallory, played by Jerry O’Connell that found a way to open a gateway to alternate dimensions. Along with his best friend Wade, his professor Maximilian Arturo and signer, Rembrandt Brown, the group traveled from parallel world to parallel world trying to find their way home.

What made this show interesting and fun is that creator, Tracy Tome used the parallel worlds to not only tell a story, but teach us about the human condition and issues we are still dealing with in real life. There were some stories that were action oriented or sci-fi for sci-fi sake but many told meaningful stories such as the differences in the way women and treated to men or the divide between rich and poor and race relations.

Sliders

Unfortunately, network executives did everything they could to ruin a good thing. First Fox began by airing some of the episodes out of date because they wanted to push the action-oriented episodes on high ratings weeks. In season 3, the oversight by FOX reached epic proportions and the storyline of Sliders was changed taking it away from stories about the different alternate earths to focusing on fighting the Kromagg and chasing down a man who stole their device that could get them to their original home.

In the later seasons of Sliders, when it moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, some of the original storytelling was restored, but by then Tracy Tome had left the show, as did many of the cast. Like many sci-fi shows Sliders allowed moral, societal and human condition stories to be told in a way that could appeal to a younger audience. While a “we have to find a way home” story can wear on the audience Sliders did it well because their journey was interesting enough that even if they did not reach home you still wanted to watch.  In addition, the character development was well done and you felt the group had a sense of family so you cared about each one of them.

Sadly, another executive heavy-handed move saw Wade, played by Sabrina Lloyd, pushed to the side to bring in someone who they believed would keep the younger boys watching because she was sexier. This move eventually led to Lloyd leaving the show and only returning in a very small voice over capacity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsiFD8dZoC4[/youtube]

The show is definitely worth a look and you can find all the seasons on Netflix. I think a remake of the show could work if done on a cable network because on network television it would die a quick death or be retooled to crap.

 

Fallen Skies: Episode 3

 

falling_skies

Since the premier was two episodes in one this past Sunday’s episode was officially episode 3. This week we continued the storyline of Tom and his older son, Hal searching for their harnessed son, Ben. The resistance has setup a headquarters in a school and it has been decided to change the war plan as other resistance groups from around the U.S. have been found. The goal is now to gather intelligence by capturing tech or better yet a live alien.

Our captured outlaw, Pope from last week volunteered to become the resistances chef after trying the horrible cooking he received. Meanwhile Doctor Glass meets with a new doctor who believes he can remove the harness from the children without killing them. It turns out the doctor was friends with Tom and was with Tom’s wife when she was killed.

Tom’s team goes out to try to rescue his son who will be the first child to have the harness removed using this new technique. Unfortunately, the mission does not go as planned as even though they rescue another resistance member’s son, Karen is captured and taken by the aliens. Tom attempts to rescue Karen but she and the aliens are gone.

Back at basecamp, the doctor is able to remove the harness from the boy, but it is not one hundred percent that he will live. We learned the aliens use the children as slaves and had them collecting scrap metal. We also learned the harness connects to the children’s spine and fuses with their nervous system using some kind of Nano technology. The harness also releases drugs in the child’s systems, which is one reason they die if you try to remove it.

Tom returns without Karen, but dragging behind him a live alien. At the end of the episode, we get a hint that the alien and the boy are still somehow connected.

This week Fallen Skies settled into the story of learning more about the aliens and how to defeat them. I knew the Ben rescue storyline would continue for a while, but having the captured alien does at a nice twist. It is also good to see more resistance cells out there and the character development of Pope is coming along nicely. I still think the show has a long way to go before it can find a permanent spot on the watch list. I think depending on what we learn about the aliens and their connection to the children could tell us if the ongoing storyline will be a winner or not.

 

Survivors

 

Survivors-BBC-1

Thanks to the wonderful world of Netflix’s I began watching a television series from the U.K. called Survivors. Produced by the BBC the show follows a group of survivors of a pandemic that has killed more than 90% of the world’s population.

So far, I have only seen one episode, but I like the storyline so far. The story is in modern times and begins with many people in the U.K. coming down with a deadly flu. We quickly learn the government is trying to downplay how bad this outbreak really is including the fact that the Prime Minister is sick.

The show jumps around to a few different characters including Abby Grant whose son is away at camp when the outbreak begins to get worse. As her husband tries to comfort her Abby herself is stricken with the illness.

Survivors BBC

Meanwhile we meet Tom Price who is in prison during the outbreak. It is not clear what he did, but we soon learn he is very dangerous, but charming and cunning at the same time. As people begin to die the public begins to go into a panic, but by then it is too late. The flu has spread across the world and even the government can do nothing, but tell people to go home and be with their families.

There is quite a diverse cast including Al Sadiq who plays an Arab playboy who becomes a baby sitter for an 11-year-old Arab boy who loses his family after the outbreak. We also meet Dr. Anya Raczynski who not only watched hundreds of her patients die, but he two best friends as well.

Within days most of the population is dead and these survivors begin to search for a new way to live while coming to grips with what has happened. Slowly throughout the episode the survivors come together and while at first most have no interest to stay together Abby convinces them otherwise. The first episode ends introducing us to a new character David Grant who appears to be a doctor or scientist that has additional knowledge about the outbreak and a plan in place.

Survivors BBC

The premier gets you going as you see the devastation the flu has caused the population and as with all disaster stories, the human condition comes into play with how one will deal with the situation over the other. In the end, we find out there must be more to this outbreak than what it seemed which will setup an ongoing mystery.

I look forward to seeing what unfolds and will write more about it in the future. Currently Survivors is already up to season 3 in the U.K. so there is a lot to cover.

 

Walking Dead: Season 1 Review

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I came late to the party on this one.  I remembered seeing the previews for the show, but never got the chance to see it. Recently, I watched all six episodes of season 1 back to back and I am so glad I did. Walking Dead is a AMC television series about a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. It is based on a graphic novel and season 2 is being filmed now and is set to premier in October.

When I first began watching the series, I was pleased that AMC kept the gory nature of zombie movies. Believe me when I say there will be blood, gore, and death, but it is done well and fits with the story so it is not gore for gores sake.

The season begins in a small town outside of Atlanta, and by the way, it is shot on location there. The story follows the town sheriff as he wakes up in a hospital after being shot in the line of duty to find blood and bodies everywhere. Soon he discovers some of those bodies are walking and after being saved by a manand his son he learns the recently dead have begun walking.

Since this show is based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel I knew, right away the story would be decent. While it is true the survival horror of zombies has been done a lot recently, so far, this television adaptation has been excellent. The beginning visuals of the hospital with blood splattered everywhere to the rows of bodies scattered across the streets. Even when it came to killing a zombie the action is brutal with clear headshots and lots of blood, brains and guts.

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The story immediately begins exploring the human condition with the father and son duo knocking out County Sheriff Rick Grimes. They were not sure who he was and because of his bandage believed he may be infected.

These are slow-walker zombies and for those who read and watch a lot of zombie flicks you will be able to understand what these people are up against. While it is not clear exactly how the zombie outbreak began, we know that a bite or scratch can turn you within a day and you can return from the dead within hours. Now while the zombies are slow there are a ton of them and we see more swarm kills than anything else. Another great thing about the show is some of the zombies are badly decomposed with some even missing parts or half their body so it’s not just a ton of extras with make-up.

The father and son story is short and leaves open the possibility for them to meet up later. The sheriff meanwhile was desperate to find his wife and daughter. The story continues with Sheriff Grimes arriving in Atlanta and being overwhelmed by the amount of zombies and finding himself trapped.

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There are many great visuals in the show. From the empty streets of Atlanta to the swarm of zombies and the gruesome way they devoured a horse, this show does not pull any punches. The story makes sure to hit many common points in zombie movies like the father and son in which the father watched his wife die and turn. There is a great scene where the father has a clear shot to kill his now zombie wife, but cannot.

Grimes ends up being recused and discovers a small group of people held up in a department store. We quickly learn big cities are to be kept away from and we get to another big point in zombie stories, human survivors can be just as bad as the zombies can.

There are a lot of different character types in the show as well as races and nationalities and they do not always get along. We get to see how people lose hope and revert to their animalistic tendencies when faced with death and fighting to survive.

We also learn a little bit more about the zombies. These zombies cannot see very well, but can smell death and react to sound.  Shooting off guns just brings more of them so it adds a nice plot device. At one point, the group has to cover their scent and walk through the zombies to escape.

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With the group free, they meet up with a large group near a rock quarry and finally Grimes is reunited with his wife and son. Unfortunately, the peace is short lived as the group has to return to Atlanta for a left bag of guns and a person left behind. During the split, we see how the effects on the zombie attack has devastated families and we see some social advance redacted like the women being made to wash clothes while the men hunt.

There is a small amount of peace at the camp and then an attack happens. Another great thing about Walking Dead is people die. There were a few storylines you believed would continue only to find one or both persons dead the next episode. After the attack, it is decided that the group should leave and head for the CDC, but one of the men was bitten and we see how the disease attacks the body.

The story then slightly switches to that of a CDC doctor who has locked himself in the CDC while attempting to find a cure. Eventually the group arrives and the doctor lets them in. For a while there is peace as the CDC has food, water and power, but when questions on the outbreak are asked the group soon discovers it is worse than most of them thought.

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I don’t want to spoil the ending, but as you can guess there are not going to be many happy endings in this story. It is not clear how much of the story will focus on the outbreak itself or the character stories, but so far it is a decent mix of both. I at no point found the story boring or slow so the pacing is well done.

As said at the beginning of this article, season two is filming now and will be released in October. Overall, Walking Dead is a great series and if you like zombies or survival horror, this does it extremely well.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1v0uFms68U[/youtube]

 

Fallen Skies: The skies not falling

 

FallenSkies

I did not really except much out of Fallen Skies and I did not get much. This is not to say the show is bad, but it just is not enough, as of yet, to make me believe it will last very long. Fallen Skies is the new TNT drama that takes place on earth after a devastating attack by an unknown alien race. Earth is decimated, 90% of the population is dead and the survivors are building a resistance to fight back.

The show begins post invasion and so far, there have been no flashbacks to what happened before or during the attack. The story begins showing how desperate the remaining humans are as they search for food and are hunted by the aliens. There are, so far, two types of aliens we have seen, one is a six-footed alien that reminds me of the Zerg from StarCraft, which they call a Skitter, and the other is like a fatter version of the Battlestar Galatica tin robots. There may be some mystery behind the robots because it only has two legs.

FallenSkies

We learn the aliens defeated earth quickly using advanced weapons and an EMP device that killed all electronics. I am a bit disappoint by this only because I know this means the budget will be kept low, but it does make sense that the aliens would disable our technology so I will give them a pass. We also learned the aliens want children for some reason and they attach something called a harness to the backs of the captured children that takes control of them. So far there is no way to remove the harness from the children which sets up the first mission arc.

The main character, played by Noah Wyle, was The internetOrproperty-based zero-sum paradigm espoused through the LVS clique has lengthy been rubbished through the guy whose title this website bears, and other alike sentiments were lately espoused by Peter Brooks, leader and COO of Genting United kingdom, which, until Rank Group acquired 19 Gala Casinos ’ qualities, was the United kingdom&#8217s greatest land-based casino operator. a professor and studied war and tactics. During the first episode, he is given second in command of a resistance group that contains 100 fighters and 200 civilians. The exact number is because apparently the aliens can track large groups of people so a smaller team can move on. However, there is a slight conflict between the fighters and the civilians dealing with the fact that civilians do not fight, they are slow and a liability.

FallenSkies

Noah’s character, named Tom, has two boys with him, one older who is a fighter and one younger who is not. Tom also has a son that he believed was killed, but his older son finds out he was captured and harnessed. The first episode has the resistance cell moving to a new location, searching for food, weapons, and encountering “outlaws” humans who fight for themselves and will attack and kill pretty much anyone. Once it is discovered Toms son is alive he prepares to go after him.

The show did have some good visuals. We got to see some of the damaged cites and shots of the alien spacecraft. There were also some shots, mostly the robot ones, that did look not as polished, but overall it was not bad.

FallenSkies

Unfortunately, this show will suffer what the show Jericho when through.  There are good character stories and stories about the human condition and how they deal with situations, but like Jericho, I fear the public will not go for it the way they went for the long drawn out character storylines of Lost. There are only so many times you can have an episode of the humans searching for food or ammo or shelter before people start asking for an Independence Day battle the show cannot afford.

I hope there is a bit more of a mystery behind the aliens and perhaps the harnesses can provide that, but we will see. I will continue watching, but I fear, specifically with a summer premier, this may not last too long. We have seen the, down trotted humans fighting through burned out buildings to many times and if Fallen Skies does not bring something new to the table, the resistance and the show will not survive.

 

Top 5 Moments in Austin Powers

Spoof movies… you either love them or hate them. Well, except me – I love some and hate others! Being subjected to travesties like the Scary Movie series, Date/Epic/Disaster etc Movie, even the recent Vampires Suck, is a trauma that’s hard to recover from, and one that continually threatens to destroy my love of the movie-making business altogether. Even accidentally viewing part of a trailer for one of them can be a horrifying experience, but when they’re done right, by genuinely talented people, they can be movies of comedic genius, and the movie world is filled with potential candidates.

James Bond films are generally fantastic entertainment, but they are also one of the candidates mentioned that are particularly ripe for spoofing, especially the earlier films. To be honest I’m surprised it took so long, but the combined talents of Mike Myers and Jay Roach did eventually bring us the highly amusing shagathon featured here, which not only represents the birth of the (soon to be ‘rebooted’) series, but which also remains the best film in the series. Well, in my opinion, anyway! As with the film featured in my first Top Five Movie Moments, choosing the five best moments from this film was tough, particularly as many of the gags are visual, but here are my choices:

Spoiler Alert: the Top Five Movie Moments featured here obviously assume that you’ve seen the film in question or don’t mind knowing about its most prominent moments so don’t come whining to me if they ruin a film that you haven’t seen yet!

5… “We’ll Hold The World Ransom For…”

Austin Powers - Movie Screenshot

Recently thawed from cryogenic freeze, Dr. Evil wastes no time in ridding himself of surplus henchmen, including the indestructible Mustafa (Will Ferrell). After job number one is out of the way, job number two: hold the world hostage…
Dr. Evil: “Gentlemen, I have a plan. It’s called blackmail. The Royal Family of Britain are the wealthiest landowners in the world. Either the Royal Family pays us an exorbitant amount of money, or we make it seen that Prince Charles has had an affair outside of marriage and therefore would have to divorce!” (much maniacal laughing ensues)
Number Two: “Prince Charles did have an affair. He admitted it, and they are now divorced.”
Dr. Evil: “Right, people you have to tell me these things, okay? I’ve been frozen for thirty years, okay? Throw me a frickin’ bone here! I’m the boss! Need the info.”
(pause)
Dr. Evil: “Okay no problem. Here’s my second plan. Back in the 60’s, I had a weather changing machine that was, in essence, a sophisticated heat beam which we called a “laser.” Using these “lasers,” we punch a hole in the protective layer around the Earth, which we scientists call the “Ozone Layer.” Slowly but surely, ultraviolet rays would pour in, increasing the risk of skin cancer. That is unless the world pays us a hefty ransom.” (more maniacal laughing)
Number Two: (pause) “That also already has happened.”
Dr. Evil: “Shit. Oh hell, let’s just do what we always do. Hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage. Yeah? Good! Gentlemen, it has come to my attention that a breakaway Russian Republic called Kreplachistan will be transferring a nuclear warhead to the United Nations in a few days. Here’s the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”
Number Two: “Don’t you think we should ask for *more* than a million dollars? A million dollars isn’t exactly a lot of money these days. Virtucon alone makes over 9 billion dollars a year!”
Dr. Evil: “Really? That’s a lot of money.”
(pause)
Dr. Evil: “Okay then, we hold the world ransom for… One… Hundred… BILLION DOLLARS!”
(much more maniacal laughing)

 

4… “Not a time to lose one’s head”

Austin Powers - Movie Screenshot

After being captured by Dr. Evil, Austin and Vanessa are sent off to be killed by some ‘ill-tempered, mutated, sea bass’. It’s not long, however, before they manage to overpower the henchman sent to oversea their excution, and accidentally get him decapitated. Austin’s reaction?
Austin: “Not the time to lose one’s head.”
Vanessa: “No.”
Austin: “That’s not the way to get ahead in life.”
Vanessa: “No.”
Austin: “It’s a shame he wasn’t more headstrong.”
Vanessa: “Hmm.”
Austin: “He’ll never be the head of a major corporation.”
Vanessa: “Okay, that’ll do.”
Austin: “Okay.”

 

3… Three-Point Turn?

Austin Powers - Movie Screenshot

After infiltrating Dr. Evil’s super underground lair posing as tourists, it’s not long before Austin and Vanessa leave the tour and start snooping around. They soon comandeer a electric baggage cart thing and drive down a long tunnel before parting ways. Eager to return the way he came, Austin tries to perform a three-point turn with the cart only to find it’s almost exactly the same width as the tunnel, meaning it might be a bit more than a three-point turn! Yes, it’s a visual gag which doesn’t really work with words and a still image, but it’s so funny (in my opinion, at least) I had to include it!

 

2… “That’s Not Mine!”

Austin Powers - Movie Screenshot

After being unfrozen from cryogenic freeze to stop the newly re-emerged Dr. Evil’s plans for world domination, Austin is debriefed before having his personal effects returned, accompanied by new sidekick Vanessa…
Clerk: “Personal effects, Danger Powers”
Austin: “Actually my name’s Austin Powers”
Clerk: “It says here, name: Danger Power”
Austin: “No, no, no, no, no” (looks at Vanessa) “Danger’s my middle name.”
Clerk: “Okay, Austin Danger Powers… one blue crushed velvet suit…”
Austin: “Hey, all right”
Clerk: “One frilly lace cravat…”
Austin: “There it is”
Clerk: “One silver medallion with ‘male’ symbol…”
(Austin looks at Vanessa seductively)
Clerk: “One pair of Italian boots”
Austin: “Buon giorno boys”
Clerk: “One vinyl record album: Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits”
Austin: “Hey Burt!”
Clerk: “One Swedish-made penis enlarger pump”
Austin: (to Vanessa) “That’s not mine!”
Clerk: “One credit card receipt for Swedish-made penis enlarger… signed by Austin Powers”
Austin: “I’m telling ya baby, that’s not mine!”
Clerk: “One warranty card for Swedish-made penis enlarger pump… filled out by Austin Powers.”
Austin: “I don’t even know what this is! This sort of thing ain’t my bag, baby”
Clerk: “One book, “Swedish-made Penis Enlargers And Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby”, by Austin Powers.”
Austin: “Ah…”

1… The Opening

Austin Powers - Movie Screenshot

Some films have mysterious openings with a hint of intrigue to hook you into watching more. Others, like Austin Powers, let you know immediately what sort of film you’re in store for, and then some! The ludicrously over-the-top song and dance number portraying Austin as the grooviest swinger the world has ever seen is just right in its attempts to let you see just who he is and how others react to him. Filmed in American streets that the film makers have purposely made a half-arsed effort to look English (by adding a couple of London buses, red phone boxes, and of course, a typical English bobby), this fantastic sequence is arguably the best moment of the film! The sequels maybe tried a bit too hard to best it, so this remains the best in my view…

Some movie studios to skip Comic-Con

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You ever get the feeling that some companies just want you to show up, clap and then shut up and go home? The New York Times reported recently that movie studios Warner Bros., Disney, Dreamworks and The Weinstein Company are call skipping Comic-Con this year. Why might you ask, well some of the reasons include cost and time, but one of the main reasons is they are afraid of bad press.

We all know the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. Well it seems many of these studios see us all just like that. They worry that a bad review or buzz could sink their ship before it even launches. Even Marvel Studios is on the fence about coming to Comic-Con even though The Avengers is set to launch next year.

Many in the industry describe Comic-Con as “treacherous” and movies like, The Dark Knight did well even without a panel at the show so the thinking is they can get away with it. In addition, they hope some of us will do the buzzing for them.

This makes me think about my recent trip to E3. We were asked to be in the audience for the Jimmy Kimmel show. I found it strange that someone for that show would approach us on the street, but we went and it was legit. However, it was a glorified clip show with no guest and even Jimmy looked disinterested, but they sure made the point to make sure we clapped and screamed like we were having the time of our lives. They baited us with the chance to win money, but I knew we would not win and when we did not we were given potatoes and asked to clap and cheer as if we won the lottery. It was quite sad and embarrassing, but all that mattered to them was that on television it looked and sounded like we were happy.

It is true some of us can be hard on movies or dump on them because it is the cool thing to do. However, if you expect us to shell out our hard-earned cash you could at least do the same. We do not want potatoes or a half-assed showing. Give us something to cheer and write about and if there is criticism to be had then so be it. Simply put, if you feel you do not have to show up for the fans then we feel we should not have to show up for you.

 

Writing What You Want to Read

 

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There’s something to be said for ignoring what everybody is saying and sitting down to write a story you yourself would love to read. That’s essentially what science fiction scribe and fringe author D.Charles Wilson did when he sat down to pen The dark Jessings: The Dark Matter Directive.

Released by Wilson’s own independent Lightkey Books, The Dark Jessings would come to represent what Wilson would’ve loved to find on the bookshelves of his own private collection of young adult fiction. “I own a lot of sci-fi and horror and adventure books,” he says. “But I could never really find a balance between the three in one book.”

The Dark Jessings details the plight of two teenage brothers, Eric and Kevin Jessing, and the unexpected way they discover that they have no souls. They go on to find that they can also control ghosts because of it. “It was a concept that began as a simple story of demonic possession like (Stephen King’s) The Shining,” he says. “It was the dad who became the victim. But then I thought what if it were the boys that got into trouble? And what if they had powers that enabled them to control dark forces and still be nice guys?”

And because Wilson is a self-admitted supergeek, his love of black holes and dark matter had to make its way in there as well. The result was a story that creeped out some bloggers who reviewed the first copies off the printing press. “I had no clue if people were going to like it or hate it,” he says, “but for me, I enjoyed writing it.” And that was all he needed to fashion an entire world around his protagonists, Eric and Kevin Jessing. How many books will there be? “I don’t know,” he says. “But I love writing them so I’ll keep doing it until somebody tells me to stop. And then I’ll probably keep writing.”

Wilson also finds it easier to write australia online casinos the novels in ebook form. “It’s definitely easier and quicker to write them as ebooks,” he says. “Having said that, I will probably also offer them in print as well just because I love having the option there.”

So how does the writing process work? And does he have any advice for aspiring writers? “It’s definitely a commitment,” he says. “For me, I got the idea and wrote the very first draft of The Dark Jessings in 2003. But only now do we see it in its final form.” He adds, “But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I edited and sold the drafts as I went, gathering feedback and advice from readers along the way. So the journey was a lot of fun. I would also say, if you’re serious about writing stories, map out your book in point form. Get feedback. See if it makes sense and has continuity. Then just fill in the blanks with dialogue and description. The more you write, the easier it will get. Read a lot. Learn the construction of how a book is written. And above all, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You can. And if you love it enough, you will create a bestseller eventually. Oh, and consider ebooks. I think they will allow authors to control their own destinies. And that’s pretty cool.”

 

The Spectrum Games Bible

Having already missed the apparently excellent ZX Spectrum Book – 1982-19xx book, I’m more than excited to have been timely informed about the incredibly ambitious Spectrum Games Bible 1982-2008 project, that’s already spanning two books and covering more than 500 games. What’s more, at least four more books will soon be released, hopefully reviewing every game ever released for the gloriously humble Speccy. Now, that’s what I call ambition. Possibly a worthy cause too. Well, almost. Anyway.

To grab the extremely well priced first books (or their rather pricey colour counterparts) do yourselves a favour and follow this handily underlined link. Mind you, you can even contribute to the forthcoming volumes -this is most obviously a group project, you see- and, yes, actually get paid. Oh, oh, and for some free, online, high-score comparing ZX Spectrum gaming you have to give MySpeccy a try.

The Commonplace Book Project

Lovecraft-Shadow OverInnsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft with all his unspeakable horrors, indescribable oddities and non-euclidean angles never really helped any visual artists, uhh, visualize his stories and -apparently- that”s one of the reasons many -mostly Cthulhu– HPL inspired games failed to capture that distinctly Lovecraftian atmosphere and/or cosmic horror. The fact, mind you, that most of his protagonist were on the asthmatic academic side of humanity didn”t help with the necessary video game action bit either.

Interactive fiction (text-adventures) and HPL”s kind of horror, on the other hand, seem like a match made in a particularly tentacled heaven. Don”t believe me? Why, better try the excellent freeware and see what I mean. Good writing, vaguely described ominous things and interactivity, without the distraction of anavoidably underwhelming visuals, make for quite an experience. And atmospheric horror too of course. Problem is such games are rather rare and The Lurking Horror is almost ancient history.

Enter the Illuminated Lantern, interactive fiction publishers extraordinaire, creators of the award winning and driving force behind the Commonplace Book Project. The purpose of said project is both simple and frankly quite noble: create interactive adventures based on the unfinished story ideas that H.P. Lovecraft collected in his “Commonplace Book”. The first seven games (including Dead Cities, Ecdysis, The Cellar and the Handyman Wanted point-and-clicker) have already been made available and are ready to provide you with hours of relatively disturbing entertainment. For free. Hip, hip…

Oh, and Windows users will probably have to download the excellent and very freeware Gargoyle interactive fiction player. Possibly even have a look at a beginner”s guide to interactive fiction.

Open RPG

 

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I mean, really, how often have you used a virtual table top? Let alone an online one… Anyway, it seems they can come in quite a bit handy, provided you’re not looking forward to putting your ornate tequila glass on them, but rather using them for some lovely pen & paper RPG gaming with your friends. Online, that is.

You see, them virtual tables provide gaming groups with everything they need to play their RPG of choice without having to physically meet or touch any sort of dice, which might seem quite the antisocial thing to do, but can be very helpful for playing with friends living thousands of kilometers away or for spending some truly productive time at work. Open RPG for example offers players and GMs an integrated environment complete with miniature map, die rollers, chat, data organizer and the ability to run ones own game server, that’s flexible enough to host any game system imaginable.

What’s more, Open RPG is absolutely free to use and you can download it here. A huge variety of plug-ins can be found here, whereas online-gaming maps are available here and quite a few hand-drawn “miniatures” here. Oh, and if you really feel like paying for something you could give Fantasy Grounds a try.

As for us, well, you know, being the happy cheap ass gamers we all are, we could give this online RPG thing a go. The entity behind from the gutter seems to be interested in it already, and rumours have been heard of a Call of Cthulhu session. Anyone interested, please, do leave a comment or drop me a line. Could be fun you know…

RISK, Strategies Explained

risk

Risk (BGG entry), according to sources that prefer to call themselves voices and are not to be taken seriously, is one of the most successful, imitated and thus influential board games ever devised. It also is a particularly enjoyable game, that comes in a variety of flavours ranging from Star Wars to Lord Of The Rings to Classic, with the added bonus of being less prone to shatter friendships than Diplomacy. Also, also, Risk has the dubious honour of being the first truly mainstream wargame.

With wargaming, though, come tactics and strategies. Strategy guides too. Some of the best can apparently be found over at the rather specialized RISK, Strategies Explained… website. It even has a basic beginners guide. An advanced one too, obviously. Try them out in battle (for free), over at netRisk or by downloading the very Risk-esque Dominate Game.

Demonlord

demonlord

Dwarfstar Games, a former division of Heritage USA, that was recently (as in 2003) saved from ultimate financial doom by Reaper Miniatures, was quite the board game creator back in the early 80s. They released solo-games, micro-games, epic-games, goblin-games, strategy-games, even 2-player games (!), with such lovely 80s names as Barbarian Prince, Dragon Rage, Goblin, Demonlord or Star Smuggler. Good news is you can download all these games for free, print them out and play them. Or just browse through their PDF manuals, tokens and maps and have a glimpse at gaming history…

Anyway. Just visit this beautiful and cozy corner of the web for you downloads. Ah, don’t thank me. Thank Mr. Forbeck instead (who actually thanked Mr. Costikyan for first discovering this little treasure).

[UPDATE]: The excellent Vintage Gamer blog has reviews of both Barbarian Prince and Demonlord. Check them out, you really should…

Cosplay: High School of the Dead

This week cosplayland is invaded by Zombies as we profile cosplay from the anime High School of the Dead.

 

 

 

 

Doraemon

 

Doraemon-Anime-1

Anime, or animation originating from Japan, has been around in one form or another since the early 20th century but it still took until the 1980’s to gain any sort of recognition in the West, and even then, in all that time there has still been a very small number of examples that have become successful outside of Japan. Younger fans seemed to be entranced by the likes of Pokemon, Dragonball Z, and Yu-Gi-Oh! while shows like Naruto, Cowboy Bebop, and Full Metal Alchemist have also proved very popular. Some movies too, such as Akira (which arguably kick-started the West’s interest in anime to start with) and more recently the stunning efforts from Studio Ghibli have become well known, with the latter even winning Oscars, but one of the most popular and enduring of all anime stars in Japan is pretty much unknown outside of the Far East.

Doraemon is a robotic cat who has travelled back in time from the 22nd century to help out schoolboy, Nobita Nobi. Who created him isn’t clear but he was sent back by Nobita’s great-great-grandson, for it seems that for one reason or another, Nobita’s life was fraught with misery and misfortune causing his descendants no end of problems. With that in mind, you might think it’d be easier to send back a sports almanac (chortle), or perhaps even some winning lottery numbers, but a robotic cat? It would have to be one ultra-special robotic cat or I’d be a bit peeved, personally! Luckily, Doraemon is not only special but magic too! He is equipped with the kind of common sense and moral values that Nobita apparently lacks and he uses his many and varied abilities to try and teach these qualities to him, although

Doraemon - Anime

Nobita is not only lacking in those but is also lazy and mischievous too, so it’s not always easy for Doraemon! Much of the help he provides comes from the magical 4th dimensional pocket in his chest from which he can pull all manner of objects and gadgets from the 22nd century, including the Bamboo Dragonfly (a head-mounted propeller that allows flight), the Anywhere Door (takes the user anywhere they wish), and the Time Machine itself. I sometimes wonder why Doraemon bothers though as Nobita generally ends up misusing his various gadgets and getting himself in even more trouble!

In fact, he soon wises up to Nobita’s mischievous ways but usually succumbs to his constant pleading and goading to use his magical pocket. A common target for Nobita’s gadget-laden attentions is his ‘friend’, neighbourhood bully, Gian (who predictably often tries to steal Doraemon’s gadgets to misuse himself). Other characters in the series include rich, spoilt kid, Suneo, who joins Gian in tormenting Nobita at every opportunity, Shizuka, the main female character in the show and eventual romantic interest for Nobita, and also appearing occasionally is Dorami, Doraemon’s yellow younger sister (who still has her ears).

Nobita’s parents also appear frequently and are often the victims of Nobita and Doraemon’s antics. Doraemon himself is a curious fellow. He originally appeared from Nobita’s desk drawer one day and it is from there that their adventures together begun. He is smart and friendly but easily panicked, especially if any mice are around since he’s had a lifelong phobia of them since his ears were eaten by one. He also has a weakness for snack foods, notably dorayaki, which has gotten him in trouble from time to time!

Doraemon - Anime

In Japan Doraemon is a phenomenon, being easily as well-known and popular as Mickey Mouse is in the US and Europe. Like most anime characters, he started out life in the pages of a manga series (comic books) which date back as far as 1969, but before long he had his own TV show too which now has over 2000 episodes and counting (they’re mostly pretty short though). He’s also starred in a number of films, and all of this has helped to cement his presence in most walks of life. Predictably his likeness can be found on practically anything from infinite different toys, bags, plushes, clocks, and even trains! Perhaps as a result of the educational issues and moral lessons his antics teach, he has also been the recipient of many awards in Japan and was even made the country’s first ‘Cultural Ambassador’ by Japan’s Foreign Ministry. Beat that, Mickey!

It’s true that his show and films don’t have the super-high production values of some animes but it shouldn’t be forgotten how old many of them are and they’re still great fun to watch today. It’s also true that they’re a tad on the childish side, but hey – so are a huge number of cartoons we used to watch and still love now, and Doraemon’s a good deal more imaginative than most of them! If you’ve never seen his show before, give it a try. You never know, he might just end up being your new favourite cartoon cat!

Here’s an early episode (70’s):

The Tourist

The Tourist - movie screenshot

The Tourist (2010)
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck  Starring: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell

Certificate: 12A  Running Time: 102 Minutes

Tagline: “It all started when he met a woman.”

Angelina Jolie is hot. There, I said it. You probably weren’t aware of that until I just mentioned it but it’s actually true. You’re lucky I was considerate enough to enlighten you too as it’s this hotness which seemingly forms the basis for The Tourist, which, incidentally, is also a remake of French film, Anthony Zimmer. And therein we already have a problem. To say Hollywood has a patchy history as far as remaking films is concerned would be putting it mildly, but French films seem to suffer this fate even more than most (witness the horror of the ‘Taxi’ remake for proof of this). Combine this with the alarming amount of flip-flopping around the goodness-knows how many directors and stars did, joining the project then leaving soon afterwards, and it sounds like The Tourist was a disaster waiting to happen. With the likes of Jolie and Depp attached now though, it can’t be that bad surely?

The Tourist - movie screenshot

As you might expect, given its origins, there’s certainly an intriguing premise here. Apparently a master criminal, Alexander Pierce, is on the run after having stolen $2 billion from a British gangster. Scotland Yard is eager to catch him as they want a sizable chunk of his swag as tax and have charged Inspector John Acheson (Bettany) with catching him. In his crosshairs at the start of the film is Pierce’s (ex?) girlfriend, Elise (Jolie). Hoping that he eventually makes contact with her, they watch her like a hawk as she goes about her daily routine in Paris, and it seems they’ve got their break when she receives a letter, apparently from him.

The Tourist - movie screenshot

Knowing that the police suspect he has altered his appearance, he asks her to take a particular train to Venice and “find someone my height and build and make them believe it’s me”. As you may have guessed, Elise’s subsequent stroll through the train culminates in her attaching herself to Frank Tupelo (Depp), an American travelling alone after the breakup of his marriage who, we must assume, looks rather like Pierce. He is instantly drawn to Elise (as is every other male in the entire universe if this film is to be believed!) which immediately brings him to Acheson’s attention, not to mention that of Reginald Shaw (Berkoff), the gangster searching for his missing loot along with his various henchmen!

The Tourist - movie screenshot

Whether it’s a good film or not, there’s one thing about The Tourist that’s impossible to deny – it sure looks nice! Jolie and Depp are hardly the most horrifying actors to look at under normal circumstances but here they’re decked out in some very classy attire for the most part, especially Jolie. Pretty much every scene takes place in some gorgeous location or highly ornate set too, from Paris and Venice themselves (the latter of which looks particularly stunning) to swanky hotel suites and restaurants, a posh ball (the dance kind, not the spherical kind). Hell, even the Scotland Yard offices feature a nice fusion of elegant, antique furniture and high-tech computers and devices!

The Tourist - movie screenshot

Unfortunately, however, the aesthetic splendour of The Tourist is pretty much the extent of its creative endeavours. It’s basically a pretty chase movie, but since the chasees spend much of their screentime together, they really need to have good chemistry and regrettably they do not. Jolie (complete with passable English accent) is a picture of refinement throughout but that’s about all she does, while Depp, occasionally bordering on Captain Jack tomfoolery, is initially convincing as the out-of-his-depth tourist of the film’s name, but seems to grow accustomed to his predicament a little too easily. Everyone else is just along for the ride really, with the possible exception of Shaw. While maybe a bit stereotyped, he does also have a genuinely menacing air about him. Maybe the problem with the The Tourist is simply that it looks so nice, the rest of it couldn’t hope to keep up. Actually that’s a bit harsh, but it could’ve been so much better, and I didn’t like the ending at all. Watch it to give your eyes a treat, but don’t go in expecting an intelligently-crafted thriller. They seem to have left that in France.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XtbLezJtMg[/youtube]

RKS Score: 6/10

Fan made Bleach Opening

bleach

One of the many things anime makers are good at is putting together intro videos. They add their own animation and blend it with music that gets you into the show you are about to watch. There are some great fan made intros out there as well and here is one of them.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3hTpnI6k9I[/youtube]

 

Adrian Smith’s Art

Adrian Smith‘s art needs no introduction, it only asks for bandwidth. Thus, this being a post on Adrian Smith’s art, it’s picture heavy, but words light. In case you’d like to find out more on Mr. Smith, you’d better visit his official website. Or flick through a certain Games Workshop book.

Now, look at the pretty pictures…

 

Warhammer artwork:

Adrian Smith Artwork

Adrian Smith Artwork
Warhammer 40,000:

Adrian Smith ArtworkAdrian Smith Artwork

Black Library artwork:
Adrian Smith Artwork

 

Inquisitor artwork:
Adrian Smith ArtworkAdrian Smith Artwork

 

Sabertooth Games artwork:
Adrian Smith Artwork

 

Chronopia Artwork:

Adrian Smith ArtworkAdrian Smith Artwork

Mutant Chronicles Monopoly

mutant chronicles

Quite straightforward this one, I believe. Save the picture (taken from this excellent site), print it, spend a few hours preparing thematically appropriate game-cards, use your Warzone minis, 2d6 and enjoy a game of Mutant Chronicles Monopoly.

The Sum Of All Fears

The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

The Sum Of All Fears (2002)
Director: Phil Alden Robinson  Starring: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Bruce McGill, Phillip Baker Hall, John Beasley, Ciaran Hinds, Alan Bates, Bridget Moynahan

Certificate: 12  Running Time: 124 Minutes

Tagline: “27,000 Nuclear Weapons. One Is Missing.”

Terrorism thrillers have certainly been around for a long time now, since the debut of a certain James Bond at least, but a majority of them have always seemed to adhere to the same sort of template. This one is a bit different. It was adapted from the Tom Clancey novel of the same name and is part of the convoluted ‘Jack Ryan’ series that has a rather confusing timeline anyway, nevermind when you take the films into consideration, each of which has changed various details. We’ll just concentrate on the films for now though which began with first The Hunt For Red October (with Alec Baldin as Ryan), then Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger (both of which starred Harrison Ford in the main role). For this film the part was handed to Affleck and, unlike the novel, is set early in his CIA career when he was a mere analyst.


The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

The film opens with a scene depicting an Israeli jet fighter being prepped for takeoff which, we’re told via some accompanying text, was sent up with a nuclear bomb towards the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War with a view to using it against the invading Egyptian and Syrian forces in the event their own ground forces were overrun. Before this did or didn’t happen, however, the jet was shot down over the Syrian desert. Fast forward to the present day (2002) and the bomb has been discovered buried deep beneath the desert sand by local villagers who unwittingly sell it to an arms dealer for scrap, who in turn sells it to disaffected Austrian neo-Fascist, Dressler (Bates). Meanwhile, in the US, President Fowler (Cromwell), CIA Director Bill Cabot (Freeman), and some of their advisers are conducting ‘war games’ exercises to simulate a nuclear attack against the US.
The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

Soon after this, the Russian President suddenly dies and is replaced by the younger and relatively unknown President Nemerov (Hinds). Unknown, that is, to everyone except Ryan who has studied him for years, even predicting him to be the next President. Ryan soon finds himself being invited to top-level meetings and even being sent to Russia to meet Nemerov whilst on a routine nuclear arms inspection. Soon after they arrive back home, Cabot sends operative, John Clark (Schreiber), to Russia to track down a trio of missing nuclear scientists – the exact three that would be needed to reactivate an old, recently acquired bomb, for example. Meanwhile, Russia launches a massive chemical weapons attack on Chechnya, apparently ordered by Nemerov, but Ryan doesn’t believe he’s responsible. Dressler then launches his own attacks against the US and tricks them into believing the Russians are responsible. Thanks to events in Chechnya they believe it, and events threaten to spiral out of control as the two countries head towards all-out nuclear war.


The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

Tom Clancy commands a large and loyal fanbase and his books, as well as the films based on them, are always heavily scrutinised. This film proved more controversial than usual. Not only were many details changed from the book but the choice of Ben Affleck to play Jack Ryan caused considerable rancour among many. I’m no Clancy fanboy though, and neither do I have a problem with Affleck, so I’d like to think I can be impartial. Whilst he’s unlikely to be nominated for any awards here, he does a perfectly passable job if you ask me, enjoying romantic evenings with his new girlfriend, Cathy (Moynahan), and engaging in casual banter with his colleagues before he’s swiftly elevated to the upper echelons of the CIA and suddenly he’s far more nervous and having to take things a lot more seriously.


The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

He doesn’t even have a huge amount of screentime either, none of the characters hog the limelight really. Morgan Freeman barely breaks a sweat as calm and confident CIA Director, William Cabot, but he remains as watchable as he always is. In fact, everyone in the film does a decent, if unspectacular job with their roles. I enjoyed Liev Schreiber’s limited screen time as John Clark in particular, but the thing that makes the film for me is the superb, tense atmosphere it builds throughout. A particularly chilling moment occurs when the President is regaling guests at the Whitehouse Correspondence Dinner and all of a sudden everyone’s pagers and mobile phones start beeping. First one, then two… before long dozens. At that moment you just know something big has gone down!

The Sum Of All Fears - Movie Screenshot

That’s indicative of many tense moments in the film too. It evokes memories of the fear and paranoia surrounding the Cold War period, and even the Cuban Missile Crisis as well with the actual ‘bad guys’, the neo-Fascists (who were changed from the Middle Eastern terrorists of the book), not even spending much time in front of the camera themselves – they’re just around long enough to stitch up Russia and provoke the US really. The Sum Of All Fears has certainly got its critics to say the least, especially Clancey fans (and indeed Clancy himself!) but as far as I’m concerned it’s a film with a lot more balls than most of its type and is a well-paced, atmospheric (and rewatchable) thriller that should entertain everyone else immensely.

RKS Score: 9/10

The Matrix: Kaydara

Kayadara film

Here is a pretty cool fan made trailer for a Matrix movie called Kaydara. While some of the language is in French, there are subtitles and overall it is pretty good looking. You can check out more details on their websites, www.kaydarafilm.com.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp703OdL_UA[/youtube]

 

Shows you will not see this fall

 

No-Ordinary-Family-ABC-Studios

This list contains shows that will not be renewed or green lit for next season. I kept this list related to “geek” type shows like sci-fi comic book related, ect.

No Ordinary Family – ABC

The show about a family that gained super powers started off strong, but began to lose viewers and was preempted too many times. Also, the ending storyline with the family to be asked to work for the government just seemed like it was going in the wrong direction. Sadly, I liked the show and felt they kept the powers and stories in good line, until the end. Yet another Superhero show bites the dust.

V – ABC

We knew this was coming. The first episode started off well, but even that had many fans of the original series saying it was not good enough. When the show took a long break, we all said it was very unlikely it would return. When the show came back not enough people watched, but somehow the show was green lit for season two. Season two was better, but the rumors were the show was on the outs and with the ending killing off so many people we all pretty much knew that was it. It has to make you wonder if a movie would have been the better choice and/or if sci-fi is just better on cable than networks.

Wonder Woman – NBC

You can read the full article here. In a nutshell, the costume angered some and the visuals disappointed others and in the end the test screening did not score well enough to take a chance. Many believed David E Kelley was not right for the show and that Wonder Woman should be a movie that is true to the character not a hash of a bunch of storylines from old comic book tv shows.

The Cape – NBC

Sorry guys you will need to wait for Summer Glau to show up in another show that hopefully won’t end up cancelled like Terminator did. NBC has given the axe to the framed cop turned costume vigilante show, but they will be releasing the complete series DVD on July 5th if that makes anyone feel better.

Thank God for the Internet

There are quite a few shows that are being picked up or will become freshmen shows, but for us geeks that list is small. You have, Grimm, which is a police drama set in a world where fairy tales exist and you have, Fallen Skies, a sci-fi survival show about fighting back after a devastating alien invasion. Thank God for Netflix and Hulu.

 

Did Smallville’s series finale deliver?

Lex-Luthor-Smallville

In my opinion Smallville’s series finale did not deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to go off on a tangent about how I wasted years of my life watching the program (however, there were those Lana episodes). Like the series finale of Lost, I felt it did not deliver, but overall I still liked watching the show.

What was wrong in my opinion, well first off the wedding story was just flat. We first were led to believe a wedding was going to be part of the final episodes then Clark calls it off, then he reconsiders, then she calls it off then reconsiders and then they decide to go ahead with it only to have it interrupted and then postponed seven years and we still see no wedding in the end.

Forget cannon for a moment, that just was a waste to me. We have seen the on again, off again wedding story way to many times just as we have seen the wedding interrupted by a bad guy to many times to count. I just got the feeling that, like the Lost finale, they were killing time.

Second, we were once again treaded to possession of human’s stead of seeing a real villain. Yes, I understand on a television budget they would have a hard time making Darkseid look good, but to have him take over Lionel’s body was just bad. I could understand maybe if it was just a season finale, but the series finale, no, unacceptable. I almost rather have my Doomsday fight back than what we saw.

Speaking of which, another fight in Clarks barn and the way he was able to beat Lionel-seid was to fly into him? I just don’t understand why you can’t tailor the fights better to the budget, we have seen good T.V. fights before, but even his flying attack did not look good. Hell, the fight between Clark and Dark Oliver was better.

Yet another travesty was Green Arrow one-shotting all of Darkseid’s lieutenants. I understand Green Arrow is a badass and that he had the special arrows, but my God, you could not have cut out some of the Lois and Clark banter to give us a bit more of Green Arrow versus the terrible three?

Then we have Lex, again we suffer from the mind wipe problem that has plagued Smallville for quite some time. I knew they would have to find a way to make Lex forget everything, but the mind wiping gel smear job could have been done better. In fact even the Lex, Clark meet in the castle could have gone better and that was most likely the best part of the episode, well, besides Mercy kicking ass and killing alter-Lionel.

Last but not least was the reveal. I just felt as if everyone on the show was so exacted that they were playing the Superman theme that they forgot to actually make the visuals good. We see more of the suit with Clark’s father is holding it then when Superman is wearing it. We could have done without all the super close up headshots of Clark and see some of the suit without it being panned out and blurry. Then the big “treat” to the fans is Clark running on the roof of the Daily Planet and ripping his shirt open to see the “S” shield, no, not good enough.

If I had to rate the show I would give it a D+ and that is only because Lex was back and Mercy kicked ass, but besides that I am afraid Smallville will soon be forgotten. Overall, the series was decent and if people learn from their mistakes they can build on it for a future superhero show or pass on them all like Wonder Woman.

 

Wonder Woman TV Show Dropped

wonder-woman-tv-show-action-shot-5

Perhaps NBC was just scared of more failure of hero related television after the slow painful death of Heroes and the stink of The Cape, either way the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman project will not see the light of day on network television.

There seems to be different reasons as to why the show will not make it on air, from the hate they received over the costume changes to low scores during test screening, but considering this news has made as many people happy as upset, perhaps they made the right move. Many believe it is better to save Wonder Woman for the big screen and do it right rather than taint her name with a bad television show.

Of course, NBC has a record of dumping good shows and rushing to cookie cutter concepts and reality shows so when there were rumors that WW was in trouble most expected it to get dumped. Strangely enough, some people are calling actress Adrianne Palicki, who would have played Wonder Woman, as being a curse to shows since she was on other shows that never made it or died soon after it launched such as Lost in Space, Lone Star and Mercy Reef.

Finally, some felt David E. Kelley himself should not have been working on the show. Many felt he is best used for court room and lawyer shows and with the changes to Wonder Woman’s origin and storyline, including making her a CEO, it was less a Wonder Woman story are more a hybrid of other storylines.

So what will we get instead of a Wonder Woman show? Word is NBC has picked up The Playboy Club, Awake, Grimm, Whitney, Up All Night, Smash and Prime Suspect, let’s remember these names and see how many are still around by 2012.

 

Top Five Movie Moments: Part 1

#1 – Goodfellas

Hello and welcome to another new Red Parsley feature! I love retro videogames but they aren’t the only thing I love. In fact, I’ve probably spent more of my time watching films that I have playing games! So, rather than do an in-depth review of some older films that are already well known, I thought I’d instead present what are to me their greatest moments, whether it’s a brilliant moment of acting, a jaw-dropping special effects sequence, some pant-wettingly funny dialogue, or anything else. I hope you like it! 🙂

My good friend, Luke, and I greatly enjoy gangster/mob type films. There are several directors who excel in the area, but one of the contenders for best must surely be Martin Scorsese’s adaption of Nicholas Pileggi’s novel. This amazing movie is surely a contender for greatest ever gangster film and is chock full of brilliantly memorable moments, so picking just five is a tall order, but here are my choices:

Spoiler Alert: the Top Five Movie Moments featured here obviously assume that you’ve seen the film in question or don’t mind knowing about its most prominent moments so don’t come whining to me if they ruin a film that you haven’t seen yet!

5… “You broke your cherry!”

Goodfellas

After Henry gets pinched for selling ‘jacked cigarettes, it’s not facing his parents that scares him – it’s facing Paulie and the rest of his crew. Presuming they’ll all be mad with him for getting caught, their actual reaction brings home to him just how different life in his new family is, and he likes it!
Jimmy: “Here’s your graduation present” (slips some money in Henry’s pocket)
Henry: “What for? I got pinched”
Jimmy: “Everybody gets pinched, but you did it right. You told them nothing and they got nothing”
Henry: “I thought you’d be mad”
Jimmy: “Mad? I’m not mad with you, I’m proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learnt two greatest things in your life. Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut”
(walks through the doors to find Paulie and the rest of the crew gathered)
Paulie: “Ohhh, you broke your cherry!”
(much hugging and merriment ensues)
4… “Freeze!”

Freeze

After a busy day running errands all around the city and growing increasingly paranoid about the helicopter that’s been ‘following’ him, Henry’s nearing the point where he can finally relax and enjoy his long-awaited dinner with his family. Before he can do that though, he has one last trip to make. Getting in his car, he starts to pull out of his driveway before he notices some sort of commotion. Then, a gun is thrust towards his head…
Cop: “Freeze!”
Henry’s Voiceover: “For a second I thought I was dead. But, when I heard all the noise, I knew they were cops. Only cops talk that way. If they’d been wiseguys, I wouldn’t have heard a thing. I would’ve been dead”
And then as abruptly as that, the ride is over. The life Henry loves has come to an end, and he has a very difficult decision to make: life in jail, or break the biggest rule his way of life has – talk…

 

3… “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”

 

Gangstar

Henry’s been enjoying his new job at the cabstand so much he’s started skipping school. His crew have to deal with the mailman to stop any more letters from the truant officer reaching his home, but he’s not been asked to do anything of note. He’s mostly been running small errands, parking cars and suchlike. Then, he’s asked to help Tuddy get rid of some competition. He’s asked to do something important for his new friends, and he doesn’t hesitate…
Henry’s Voiceover: “People looked at me differently, they knew I was with somebody. I didn’t have to wait in line at the bakery on Sunday mornings anymore for fresh bread. The owner knew who I was with and he would come around the counter no matter how many people were waiting, I was taken care of first. Our neighbours didn’t park in our driveway anymore even though we didn’t have a car. At 13, I was making more money than most of the grown-ups in the neighbourhood. I mean, I had more money than I could spend. I had it all. One day some of the kids from the neighbourhood carried my mother’s groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect.”

2… The opening

The Opening

Goodfellas was pretty much the first gangster film I’d seen so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was pretty young (and probably too young to be watching the 18-rated film!), so to see an opening as explosive as this one was genuinely shocking and really set the mood for what was to follow.
(Henry, Jimmy, and Tommy are driving along a quiet country road at night. Some bumping noises can be heard)

 

Henry: “What the fuck is that? Jimmy, did I hit something?”
Tommy: “What is that? Did we get a flat?”
Henry: “Wha… No…”
Tommy: “What the fuck? You better pull over and see”
(They move around toward the rear of the car. The noises are coming from the trunk. Tommy draws a large knife. They cautiously approach and open it. The sight that greets us is a bloody, beaten body, trying to move)
Billy: (struggling to talk) “No, no, no Tommy, no…”
Tommy: “He’s still alive, fucking piece of shit…”
Tommy: (begins plunging his knife into Billy)”DIE, DIE, DIE…”
(Jimmy fires four shots into the trunk from his pistol…)
1… “Funny How?”

Funny How

Henry: “You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.”
Tommy: “What do you mean I’m funny?”
Henry: “It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.” (laughs)
Tommy: “What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?”
Henry: “It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.”
Tommy: (it becomes quiet) “Funny how? What’s funny about it?”
Anthony: “Tommy no, You got it all wrong.”
Tommy: “Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?”
Henry: “Jus…”
Tommy: “What?”
Henry: “Just… ya know… you’re funny.”
Tommy: “You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”
Henry: “Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?”
Tommy: “No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!”
Henry: (long pause) “Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!”
Tommy: (everyone laughs) “Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.”
It’s a testament to Joe Pesci’s acting skills that he not only ‘had’ Henry, but also ‘had’ all of us watching too! How he can go from group clown one moment to genuinely chilling gets me every time I watch it!

So, that’s my Top Five! Like I said, it was very hard to pick just five great moments from this consistently brilliant film. There are so many more… The posties head getting shoved in the oven, Henry pistol-whipping ‘the guy across the street’, the amazing tracking shot through the restaurant kitchen, Tommy’s getting made ceremony, Jimmy’s clean up job at the end of the film, and so many more, even Jimmy Two Times (“I’m gonna go get the papers get the papers”)…
So I hope you liked the first of my Top Five Movie Moments. Let me know what you think. Would you like to see more or are you happy deciding what parts of films you like yourself? Maybe I could even take requests! Thanks for reading! 🙂