Archive for ‘TV and Movies’

February 20, 2012

Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D- Uncle George got it right

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3D Poster

Over the weekend we took the kids to see Star Wars Episode 1. Being a member of the 501st, my husband was on hand for the first release of Episode 1, and was one of the many fans that were disappointed. After so many years of growing up loving Star Wars movies, buying every one of the released and then re-released action figures, and late night runs to Taco Bell to make sure he had a complete set of collectibles, it was disappointing for him and most fans to watch the bad acting and ridiculousness that is Episode 1. I chalk it up to bad marketing. The boys at heart who wanted to relive this great action science fantasy didn’t get what they paid for, and everyone got mad at Lucas. Instead of being mad at sweet Uncle George, I’m glad that he decided to try again and this time around marketed Episode 1 correctly.

The kids were totally stoked to see Episode 1 in 3D. They weren’t around for it the first time, and we are all diehard fans. We knew it was going to be the same silliness that it is; the absurd dialogue of Jar Jar Binks, Jake Lloyd’s terrible acting (which honestly paved the way right into Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin the Mannequin, so whatever), the awkward ick factor of 18 year old Natalie Portman and 10 year old Jake Lloyd. What made this film perfect this time around was not the storyline; it was what came before the movie, a trailer for the new SpiderMan, a friendly reminder for us to put on our glasses by the birds from Rio, and a Scrat short. It was marketed as a children’s movie. I was in the right frame of mind to watch it, because I spent 15 minutes prior getting into the same frame of mind I had when I took the kids to see Up or Cars. We all laughed our way through it, were awed by the depth that the movie was given with the use of 3D, and had a great time, so I say thank you, George Lucas. Thank you for giving my family Episode 1 in 3D and for doing it right.

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February 9, 2012

Smallville to Return with Season 11

(Smallville Season 11, cover #1 by Cat Staggs)

In our last episode our hero donned his cape and took on the official identity of Superman…and then the show went off air. Not exactly what fans were hoping for, after ten years of success. Thankfully DC has decided it’s time for Smallville to return with season 11; however, this time in digital comic form. Yes, DC announced that Smallville writer Bryan Q. Miller will continue to write for the series, it will just have a new delivery method. Beginning April 13th, 2012, with new chapters released weekly thereafter, Smallville fans can get their fix of all their favorite characters, including Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Chloe Sullivan-Queen, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and General Lane. According to DC’s announcement, “SMALLVILLE SEASON 11 creators include print cover artist Gary Frank (SUPERMAN SECRET ORIGIN), digital cover artist Cat Staggs and interiors by Pere Perez (BATGIRL).” Online chapters will be presented in print periodicals, along with an episode guide to the popular television series. Look for the first print issue to hit around May 16th.

February 8, 2012

Hungering for a New Idea in Hollywood

The idea that Hollywood has run out of ideas is running rampant in my head lately. They killed Footloose. Total Recall is being remade, but I’m not complaining because I could look at Colin Farrell for two hours straight even if he weren’t speaking. The Crow is being remade, and there is no way you will ever get me on board with Mark “you’ll always be Marky Mark to me” Wahlberg playing a part that was immortalized by Brandon Lee. Hunger Games is coming out soon, and honestly, if you want to see Hunger Games just watch Battle Royal. Hunger Games is Battle Royale for an American audience, because Battle Royale is full of Japanese crazy over the top-ed…ness. Yes, it’s not a word, but if you watch Japanese films the way I do, you know what I’m talking about. Battle Royale is magnificent, over the top, bloodshed of awesome, and there is no way a large portion of American audiences could appreciate it. It seems there were talks of making an American version of BR, but due to the release of Hunger Games the idea was shelved. Glad I’m not the only one who sees that Suzanne Collins’ idea wasn’t exactly original. I’m delighted she is successful, and the books are great. It just proves the point that there are no original ideas anymore.

Could we all be experiencing Morphic Fields? Could Hollywood be out of ideas, so it’s time to start remaking all the favorite movies of the 80s? Hell, they’re even remaking movies from the 90s. The reasons elude me. At first I thought it was to bring great movies to younger audiences, but we have Blu-Ray for that. I’m out of ideas. Oh wait….ya, so is Hollywood. I think it’s time to start protesting the remake movement, and start calling upon writers to throw out some original content. Please. Hurry. Quick. I heard there’s another American Pie movie coming out.

February 7, 2012

Anime-niacs

Million dollar effects, loud explosions to rock the sound system, big sweeping cinematography during fight scenes, beautifully framed shots, costume design by Prada, soundtrack by Oakenfold, hot leading characters, and a gripping love story. These are all classic John

Photo Credit

Woo aspects known to be found in his blockbuster movies, but this movie is different, it’s anime. Yes, this movie has kick ass fight scenes, soldiers using MP5 sub machine guns, and a storyline similar to that of today’s cinema blockbusters, but it won’t be seen by the mainstream movie-goer, because it is anime. In Japan, anime is used to refer to all animation, Japanese, American, or otherwise; however, in English we use the word Anime to refer to Japanese animation.

Anime is a four billion dollar a year industry, in the U.S. alone, and is still considered a sub-culture of today’s cinema. Sadly, it’s a genre that people overlook when they are choosing movies. I can remember the anime that got me hooked, my “gateway drug” into a pop culture phenomenon, Ghost in the Shell. During my eighty-two minutes of watching this movie, the fact that it was animated never entered my mind. Ghost in the Shell rolls philosophy and technology into one. The main character in this movie deals with finding her identity, and this was something I could relate to, as a woman in my 20s. The main antagonist in GITS tells our leading lady, “Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you,” and this I found to be a profound issue in today’s society. People are often afraid of change and growth. Anime isn’t afraid to grace subjects like society, growth, politics, and sex. This is very different than the feel good subjects of American cartoons. Anime can touch on these subjects, without worrying about who they might offend, because anime was never meant for American audiences. It just happened to catch on here and gain a cult following. Anime is a growing art form in the US, but in Japan it has been around for decades and deals with intellectually challenging, social, and political issues that people deal with the world over.

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February 6, 2012

Super Bowl 2012 Commercials

I have to say that this year’s commercials did not hold up their end of the awesome Super Bowl commercial bargain. There were a few good ones, but overall it was a slightly disappointing turn out for 2012. Clint Eastwood depressed the hell out of me and Pepsi was slightly disappointing, though Flav-a-Flav added some flavor. I expected a really rad Avengers commercial and did not get it. Coca Cola bears are always sweet, and the fumbling play commercial was cute. NBC The Voice did a good job with this little play on Kill Bill and incorporating the Wilhelm scream. Love Betty White. Chevy Sonic used a little clip from OK Go’s new video. You can see it here, if you haven’t seen it yet. You really should watch it, it’s rad.

Here are a few that I thought were pretty good. You have to go through them all to find out which one is my favorite. Have a favorite of your own? Leave me a comment, so I can see which ones you loved the best.

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January 31, 2012

New Alien Invasion Short Film

A new alien invasion short has hit YouTube, in first person raw footage, Cloverfield style. The film is about 9 minutes long, and chronicles the beginnings of an alien invasion in Britain through the eyes of four different groups of people. Filmed with full production, story boarding, scripts, actors, a BAFTA nominated director, and even some cool CG alien creatures. The visual effects are really good. So, what’s the catch?

The catch is it was all filmed as part of the Xperia Studio project, on an Xperia arc S phone, but you can’t tell. You wouldn’t know it unless you read it. Click here to read about the Xperia Studio and how they are giving innovators their devices to capture “Reality remade.” Check out their videos and be impressed. There is some gorgeous footage available, and they look like high quality documentaries. To add to the radness, it’s less than $400, so it’s obtainable. Want!

Watch Swarm and the Making of Swarm to see what this awesome little Android phone is capable of.

January 27, 2012

Torchwood Isn’t Gone…

Torchwood fans rejoice. The beloved series isn’t gone, its just sitting in a holding pattern. Cultbox, a UK television site, recently did an interview with Eve Myles, Gwen Cooper to Torchwood fans, and she explained that Torchwood isn’t gone, its definitely not forgotten and they will be back…just not this year. Eve told Cultbox interviewer Will Martin:

As far as I know at the moment, everything’s still very much on hold. Russell [T Davies] has things happening in his personal life. John [Barrowman] is very much on the same page as me, in that if and when they need us, they can just pick the phone up and we will be there before they’ve even put the phone down, because it’s something we love doing. Nothing’s going to happen in 2012, I know that much for sure. But who knows what will happen in 2013. Maybe a movie, to kinda draw a line under it. That’s the thing about Torchwood, every series we’ve changed our format. We’ve always had a gap in between, so fingers crossed, because we’ve got such an outstanding loyal fan base. They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it, for the fans to have a bit of closure.

I think this is good. We fans need a little space to understand why you’ve done the things you’ve done, and we will forgive you. These things just take time. (sobs)

I love Torchwood. When hubby and I found out about Torchwood we watched every episode back to back Portlandia style. However, Miracle Day was rough on us Torchwood fans. It was too commercial, too whiny, Gwen was this weird gun toting, baby packing bad https://i1.wp.com/www.cultbox.co.uk/images/160x90/T/TorchwoodMD/tmd%20trailer%20gwen%20baby.gifass, and they tried too hard to make sure we knew Captain Jack was gay. He couldn’t possibly just be pleased as punch with every gender and every species in the universe. HE IS GAY. They just tried too hard to be American. It didn’t work. We want our old Torchwood back. Back in Cardiff where you belong. Back to being a little insecure with yourselves, oh and don’t bring that Rex guy with you. You just leave him right where he is. We will find a Ianto replacement eventually. He is not it.

Here’s to looking forward to what Torchwood 2013 has to bring us. Fingers crossed it will be filled with Welsh goodness.

January 23, 2012

Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men is coming soon

I recently mentioned in an article that Kevin Smith was talking about the comic book industry being a male dominated industry. What he was doing during said time was promoting his new show Comic Book Men, which I am completely excited about. Four guys work at a Jersey comic shop, and spend their days having “circular debates about the technical accuracy of the USS Enterprise’s warp-core schematics,” and being obnoxiously educated by fanboys who know everything possible about the history of their favorite comics. With field trips, collectibles and clips from Kevin Smith’s podcast, its real life awesomeness at its best. The age of the geek is upon us, and its so nice to be able to add a little reality TV wit to a Snooki and Kim K worshiping world. Here’s are two preview clips of the show, which airs on AMC, after Walking Dead, on February 12th. This FanGIRL thinks February 12th just became a holiday.

Quick question/Sidenote: The clip says “series premiere February 12th right after the Walking Dead“; however, AMC promises that my favorite post Walking Dead show Talking Dead , the live post show about The Walking Dead with guests like Robert Kirkman and hosted by everyone’s favorite Nerd Overlord, Chris Hardwick, will have a new Episode on Feb. 12. Conflict?? I hope not. You can all play nice if you get into a nice neat and orderly lineup.

January 20, 2012

Joss Whedon’s The Avengers has One Possible Problem

photo courtesy of marvel.com

I’m so excited about the upcoming Avengers movie, and the fact that Joss Whedon is in charge, especially now that I just read the point of view is going to be that of the newly awakened Captain America. There is no doubt this will live up to my every expectation…or is there.

What pray tell would I think is going to be wrong with the film? The Hulk, that’s what. The Hulk has been done twice.  The Hulk has been done badly twice. While the Zak Penn/Edward Norton film was loads better than the Ang Lee/Eric Bana disaster, it still wasn’t great. I did like Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. He’s nice to look at and charismatic, much like the original Bruce Banner, Bill Bixby. (I had such a crush on Bill Bixby when I was a kid.) The CG Hulks have been awful, and it’s sad that they can’t create a Hulk that looks any better than Lou Ferrigno in a pair of ripped up denim hot pants.  Still though, this is an aspect of the film that can be tweaked and fixed. What can’t be fixed is the new casting of Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo.

First of all, he looks too old. Yes, Bill Bixby was 43 when he played Bruce Banner, and Ed Norton’s Banner was played by a 39 year old Ed Norton, so the age progression of the movies is correct, but Norton didn’t look like he was pushing 40. Mark Ruffalo’s shaggy dog hair and weathered (no I will not say rugged) face is just not exuding the gentle spirit that is Bruce Banner. Second, and most importantly, Mark Ruffalo is a downer. I don’t want to leave the theater, after seeing one of the greatest creations in comic movie history, feeling down and dejected. This sad bastard indie icon has the real possibility of inducing misery among movie goers.

I want to trust Joss Whedon. He has created some of what I consider to be the greatest geekdom of all time, and creating awesomeness runs in his family. Also, I’m not going to be swayed from being one of the first in line to see The Avengers just because Mark Ruffalo quite possibly could kill one of my favorite childhood characters, but this is one time I really hope I’m wrong.

January 20, 2012

Studio Ghibli on the Big Screen

Spirited Away

American Cinematheque, the non-profit group “dedicated exclusively to the public presentation of the Moving Picture in all its forms” has a real treat in store for those that are as appreciative of Hayao Miyazaki as I am. LA area theaters The Egyptian and the Aero will be featuring a retrospective of Studio Ghibli, the film genius behind My Neighbor Totoro, Castles in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and so many other must see films. January 26-February 12 viewers can watch Miyazaki’s films on the big screen, as well as see “new 35mm prints of several films that have never been released in North America.” What a rare treat this is for Hayao Miyazaki’s fans. More information can be found on the American Cinematheque website. I would definitely recommend watching The Cat Returns if you haven’t seen it yet. It is truly one of the best that Studio Ghibli has given us.

Side note: Los Angelinos have a real treat in their backyard. Check out other activities on the calendar and you will find screenings of Mad Max and Back to the Future, as well as other cinema gems, like Citizen Kane and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.