28 December 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

Disclaimer:  I have no prior knowledge of the Green Lantern mythos, other than what I've learned from The Big Bang Theory.

Green Lantern tells the story of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) a test pilot who was selected by the ring of Abin Sur, as Abin Sur lies dying after a run in with Parallax.  Parallax is an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps (its big).  So of course, Earth lies in the path of Parallax, and Hal Jordan is the only one that can stop the destruction of Earth.  Oh, what about the REST OF THE LANTERN CORPS?  Well, apparently humans are young, petulant, etc and they only show up after Hal Jordan kicks the living shit out of Parallax.

I liked it.  Not to the same level as say Iron Man, but I really enjoyed it.  The whole idea of the Green Lantern power (create anything you want with the power of your mind) to me is a bit...easy.  To be able to create anything?  And its as strong as your will?  Eh, seems a bit too much, well the phrase God-like comes to mind.  I also read a review where people were bitching that Jordan at several points creates machine guns.  I say, whats wrong with that?  You can only create what you know, and if that is what you know then so be it.  I especially enjoyed a scene towards the end where he created two F-35s to pull him to safety.

I have a soft spot for superhero movies, and this is no exception.  Its not the greatest, but its not the worse.  I'd suggest it for anybody who likes a decent movie.  I can see if you are a fan of the Green Lantern comics how this might cause you heartburn, but hey, its a movie.

26 December 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (USA) 2011

It was with great curiosity that I wanted to see this version of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.'  I had both read the book and saw the Swedish film.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I far enjoyed this version of the film far more than the Swedish film.  For starters, the American film actually covers quite a bit more of the book than the Swedish film.  Which, I would have thought the opposite.  The other thing that surprised me is that they kept the setting in Sweden.  I would not have been at all surprised had they moved the location from Sweden to somewhere in the USA.

So, to our cast.  Daniel Craig plays the role of Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara plays the role of Lisbeth Salander.  Christopher Plummer plays Henrik Vanger, the man who hires Blomkvist to investigate the disappearance of his niece 40 years ago.  I liked the choice of cast for those three roles; although I kept confusing Rooney Mara with Noomi Rapace (Salander from the Swedish film)  Which, I guess is not a bad thing, and a credit to Rooney Mara's portrayal of the character.

As we see Blomkvist looking into this disappearance, we are also given the story of Lisbeth Salander, a ward of the Swedish state due to issues in her past.  Her story is probably the most...intense of the two, and with the way the film was shot, and dedication to the source material actually caused some in the audience to walk out before the film ended!  Which was sad, because her story is not what the movie was really about, and those people missed out on the rest of the film.  Their loss.

Overall, I thought this was a better film over the Swedish version.  I really liked David Fincher's direction and the soundtrack was spot on.  One minor thing that was changed was the ending of the book.  I like the new twist that they changed it to, but saw no reason why they had to change it.

If you've read the book, saw the Swedish film, enjoy a good suspense/mystery, or are a fan of David Fincher, go see this movie.  Its brutal and raw in parts, but as a whole its a fine film.  I have no doubts that they will be making the last two books in the trilogy into film.  I eagerly await them.

21 December 2011

Awesome Trailers Lie Within...

No explanation needed here... just two awesome trailers that have dropped over the last two days... enjoy.

16 December 2011

Men In Black III (2012) - Trailer Review

Here come the Men in Black....again.  That's right kiddos, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in the black suites to protect us from the scum of the universe.  I don't know bout all of you, but I'm kinda looking forward to this.  They may not be the greatest movies, but I'll be damned if they arn't fun.

Bigger question is though.. will we get a new Will Smith single?

15 December 2011

Bag of Bones (2011)

I can't say I've read every Stephen King novel that's been printed.  What I can say is that I've read Bag of Bones, and if I was forced to write out a top 20 of books, this would be near, if not in the top 10.  Then, for years I was saying that this should be turned into a film.

At last!  It seemed somebody had answered my fervent wishes.  For that story (and early thoughts on this) please see this post:

Bag of Bones - Initial thoughts

Ok, back?  Excellent, let us continue then.

As I write this, I'm a little over half way through watching the first part of the A&E miniseries.

Its a very mixed bag.  It is entertaining for those who have no knowledge of the source material.  My wife is sitting next to me, finding it quite interesting.  And while I share the same sentiment, as a big fan of the book, there is one glaring problem with the movie.

Pierce Brosnan.

Not that he is a bad actor, but he needs somebody to act against.  Talking to an empty room is not one of his strong suites.  Oh, then there is the issue of him being WAY TO OLD FOR THE PART.  Yes, Brosnan (Mike Noonan) is 58 and Annabeth Gish (Jo Noonan) is 40.  Now, it could be me, but the way I read the character of Mike Noonan, I get the feel his is closer to 40 than 60.

A few points:
1. As far as I could tell, the miniseries has the Noonan's living in or near NYC, when in the book they live in Derry, ME (you know, the town with a certain Pennywise the Clown as a former resident)  No need to change their residence.

2. Jo's death.  In the book she had a massive brain aneurysm.  Here, hit by a bus.  Really? Is it that hard to have a bit of narrative explaining how she died, instead we need to have the bloody death?

The music in this is kinda weird too.  Not the background music, that's fine.  But some scenes where Noonan is listening to the radio or iPod the choices are...odd.  Took me out of the show a bit.

Ok, so the first part was kinda rushed.  Still, I think it got the major themes across.  The second part opens with some exposition by the housekeeper, and gives major hints as to what is going on.

I liked seeing Jason Priestly in it.  Don't see him in enough.  Hell, I would have taken him as Noonan.  A&E has appeared to capture the spooky feel of the book, which is good.

Casting of Mattie and Krya, Max and Max's lady friend were really spot on.  Hell, everybody was cast well except for Brosnan.

Well, I can't go into too much detail about part two, because I run the risk of getting REAL spoilery.  Although I will say it looks like they kept the ending of the book pretty much the same.  Er, they change it a bit, but hey!  There's arterial spray now, so I'm ok with that.

Other than some rough parts, and the serious mis-cast of Brosnan, this was not as bad as I was fearing.  I still thing this, and IT should get a proper theatrical release or at least a subscription cable release.  If you have not read the book, give this a watch.  If you've read the book.... approach with an open mind.  Its not bad, but its not the level it could be.

I'll be reading the book soon.  Its been too long.

14 December 2011

My top 10 movies (with the help of Flickchart)

So, there's this one podcast I listen to called Popspotting.  A bit ago, they talked about a website called Flickchart.  Basic premise of the site is it gives you two movies to choose from.  You pick from the first pair, and then from there it starts to build a list of your favorite movies.  So after rankign 750 movies over 2500+ matchups, I feel pretty comfortable sharing what is my top 10.  Without further ado, here it is:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Star Trek (2009)
  3. Tombstone
  4. The Last Samurai
  5. Batman Begins
  6. The Shawshank Redemption
  7. Apollo 13
  8. Platoon
  9. Inglourious Basterds
  10. The Prestige
I'd say I'm pretty comfortable with that list.  Which does not say it won't change at one point, but for now, there it is.

13 December 2011

The Three Stooges (2012) - Trailer Review

Lookie here!  A trailer for the Three Stooges movie.  I was not sure about this at first, but I kinda like it!  Give it a look see, what do you think?

09 December 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Conspiracy

So, as most of us know, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is not, shall we say, of high quality.  But there was at least one shining moment in the first season.

Quick side note.  The reason I watched this particular episode was inspired after listening to the crew of Starbase 66 decide weather or not the first season of TNG would survive in today's television market.  That episode can be found here: Starbase 66 - Would TNG survive today?  Additionally, this is one episode that I've always hear good things about, so I gave it a go.

Synopsis:  Picard gets a super secret message from one of his fellow Captain pals.  Turns out Picrad's buddy and three others think there is an invasion of the body snatchers type plot going on at the highest levels of Starfleet Command.  Spoiler alert: There is.

I really liked this episode.  It was dark, it was violent.  Okay, Data laughed, but then the computer basically told him to buzz off.  It was good.  It's surprising that this made in on the air as it is quite a bit more violent then the standard Star Trek fare at that point.  I did some research on this episode, and the original plot was to have a standard garden variety military coup in Starfleet.  Gene Roddenberry said no.  That's when the body snatching parasites were brought in.  Also, at the very end of the episode, we see the queen sending a beacon to their home planet.  So here we are thinking that these parasites are going to make a return, taking over bodies and ships and bringing Starfleet to its knees.

These parasites never return.

Bummer, right?  This was probably one of the biggest cliff hangers that was set up on any show anywhere.  Also in my research I found that the Borg were supposed to be the army for this parasite horde.  I like that they never went in that direction though.  The Borg on their own became a formidable adversary in their own right, even if it took Q to introduce them.  I do wish that they could have continued this story.  I always liked it when Star Trek was at its darkest.  Which explains why Deep Space Nine was my favorite.  I'll probably finish watching season one of TNG at some point, but not any time soon.

05 December 2011

Hell on Wheels (2011)

So there are two periods of history that really fascinate me.  The US Civil War, and the period right after with the expansion into the West and construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.  Just my luck then that AMC kindly created a show that caters to both of those interests.

Hell on Wheels tells the story of Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former CSA Army soldier.  Cullen is seeking to avenge the death of his wife, which came at the hands of USA soldiers that were part of General Sherman's March to the sea. (Look that one up... one of the first 'scorched Earth' war tactics.)  So, right from the start, I knew this was going to be an interesting ride. We are first introduced to Cullen as he pretends to be a preacher, and summarily executes a Federal soldier who just gave confession to Cullen.

Intense, right?

So from there Cullen journey's West to join up with the teams building the Transcontinental Railroad.  We learn that Cullen found out some people responsible for his wife's death are working the rail lines.

Let's talk about some of the other players now, shall we?

Colm Meany plays Thomas Durant, one of the builders of the Westward route of the railroad.  Then there's Christopher Heyerdhal who plays The Swede, the head of security for Mr. Durant.  The Swede is quite an interesting character.  I'm not sure what his deal is, but he is one creepy dude.  Going to be a bit of a headache for Cullen.

Then there is Elam Ferguson (Common).  Elam is a former slave who is put under the leadership of Cullen.  Can we say tension?  They do however come to a truce of sorts, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

To summarize: I'm really digging this show.  Its dark and edgy enough to not be allowed on regular broadcast television, but not to over the top with language and violence that it would need to be on premium cable.  Its a show set in my favorite period of American History, a period that is not always given the attention it deserves.  If historical dramas are your thing, then check this out.  Sundays on AMC, following The Walking Dead.

16 November 2011

Once Upon a Time ABC aired a fantasy show....

And now we come to the second fairy tale based show that has been offered up for our viewing pleasure, Once Upon a Time.  The plot behind this offering is this: Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is a bounty hunter in Boston.  Late one night a 10 year old boy, Henry, (Jared S. Gilmore) comes calling and says 'Hi Mom!  I'm the son you gave up for adoption"*  Clearly Emma is a bit freaked and offers to take him home to Storybrooke, Maine.  Turns out, Henry has been reading a book of fairy tales, which reads more like a history of the fairy tale word.

Track change!

In the fairy tale world, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin)  is getting married to Prince James Charming (Josh Dallas).  As one would expect, the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) is less than pleased with this.  So, the Evil Queen makes a threat about some great and powerful curse, then disappears.

Snow White is understandably nervous about said curse, so who do we go visit?  Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), of course because he knows all.

I inturrupt this review of Once Upon a Time to get on my Stargate soap box.  I'll make it quick.  The only good that came out of the cancellation of Stargate: Universe is that it freed Robery Carlyle to play Rumplestiltskin.  The man channels Gollum and chews scenery.  Awesome choice for the role.  And, done.

Rumplestiltskin explains that the curse will send them all to a bad place (our world).  Only way to stop it is to place the child of Snow White (Emma, BTW) in a magic wardrobe so she can come back and save the land of fairy tales.

Each fairy tale character now has a 'real world' counterpart. In that the mayor of Storybrooke is really the Evil Queen!  Oh, and also Henry's adoptive mother.  Awkward and tension filled meetings between Emma and the mayor ensue.

So, in short I really like this.  I might even say I like it a touch better than Grimm.  I was a bit worried at first.  ABC?  Sunday nights?  My fears were un-warranted.  The tone is not as light as one would expect, nor is it as dark as it could be.  The graphics at times were a little wanting, but overall not bad for a TV show.  The two creators of the show spent time as writers on LOST, so the writing is quite strong.  I've cranked through the first three or so episodes so far with my wife (who I think likes it more than I) and we are both looking forward to the continuation of this show.  If you like fairy tales with a twist, this show is for you.

*I may have edited that.

06 November 2011

You'll never guess what I'm doing!

Well, ok some of you might guess if you've noticed anything on Facebook and/or Twitter.  But, I have started studying Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

Muay Thai is kickboxing.  So I'm learning kicks, punches, elbows and knee strikes.  Its a heck of a lot of  fun.  Krav Maga is the Israeli self defense system.  So I learn things like how to break out of choke holds, knife attacks and the like.

So far so good.  Its a great workout.  And hey, if I stick with it I could get a black belt.

Here is the site for the school I am learning at.

ABD - Norwich, CT

Grimm: Great new show or fairy tale legend?

So, this television season has us looking at two similarly themed shows.  Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  Both dealing with the tales of the Brothers Grimm, the two seem have to have very different approaches.  However, since this humble writer has yet to see Once Upon a Time, this will cover my first impressions of Grimm, based solely on one episode.

Only one episode you ask?  How can one base a show on only one episode?  Well, for starters, it has the recommendation of my wife.  When one considers that this fare is not normally in her viewing repertoire, that is saying something.

So, to the premise.  Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntilo) learns that he is next in line of a long line of fairy tale monster killers.  Which means exactly what you might think it means.  This guy's family has been slaying things such as big bad wolves and the like for centuries.  Side note, they are also decedents of the Brothers Grimm.  Second side note: the Grimms are hunted by (you guessed it) Grimm Reapers.  Witty, I know.

And then one day, Nick's aunt shows up with a trailer load of happy fun time medieval weapons.  Turns out she knows her time is coming to an end and she's arrived to rock Nick's world by informing him that he is to pick up the mantle of the Grimms.  Oh, and in standard storytelling patterns Nick can't tell any one what he is, including his fiance and partner on the Portland Police department.

To the plot of the first episode!  A college student is jogging in her read hoodie sweatshirt, rocking to some 'Sweet Dreams' by the Eurythmics, when BAM she's pulled off the path and disappears.  Nick and his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) are assigned to the case.  In studying his aunt's materials, Nick figures that the girl was attacked by the Big Bad Wolf.  (Your first clue was the red hoodie the college student was wearing).  We meet up with Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) a reformed Big Bad Wolf.  Despite a bit of... animosity between Nick and Monroe, they are able to find the Big Bad Wolf responsible for the murder of the college student and capture of a young girl.  And then, the episode ends with Marilyn Manson's version of 'Sweet Dreams' playing in the background.  Oh, and there are some hints of larger conspiracies and all that, but I'll need that to play out a bit more before I can pass sufficient judgement.

I really like this show.  Yes, its only been one episode that I've watched, but its got a good mix of dark and slightly silly to maintain itself.  I hope that this show carries on a long time.  And given that it does not air on FOX, it should be able to do that.

22 October 2011

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

From the moment I saw the trailer for this film, I knew it would be for me.  A movie set in the 80's?  With awesome 80's music?  Yes please!

So to start with, the main characters all went to Shermer High.  Yes children, that is the same high school attended by such luminaries as the Breakfast Club.

The cast.  Ahh, the cast.  We have Topher Grace playing MIT grad and stuck in neutral Suncoast Video (yay Suncoast!) attendant Matt Franklin.  His twin Wendy is played by Anna Farris.  The there is Dan Fogler who plays car salesmen extreme, and Matt's best friend Barry Nathan.

So, now that the main characters are lined up, we come to the plot.  Wendy's ass hat boyfriend is holding some annual 'lets all get stupid drunk on Labor Day' party.  The scene is set.  At this party, Matt is carrying on the lie he told his un-requited love Tori Fredriking (Teresa Palmer) that he is a hot shot banker at Goldman Sachs.  Spoiler: he isn't.  Right, should have mentioned that Matt ran into Tori at Suncoast where he pretended he did not work at Suncoast.

So at the part, mass chaos ensues, as it does at parties such as these.  There is even a scene near and dear to my heart as Barry wraps a tie around his head and cuts loose... footloose.  Close personal friends of Lord Zupka, and probably some not as close will know I have done this in my rather checked past.

In the end, you can all kinda figure out what happens next.  Matt woos the girl, takes a jump on a trampoline with her, the lie is discovered and he does crazy shit to prove his good intentions.  Oh, and since this is the 80's there was cocaine involved.

I really liked this movie.  I thought all the characters were well written, it captured what I imagine the 80's to feel like, and the music was awesome.  

One last note...I do think this movie must have set some sort of cinematic record, as Michael Biehn (Matt's dad) DOES NOT DIE.  Weird, I know!  Most (if not all movies) I have that star Mr. Biehn, Mr. Biehn ends up dead.

*yes, I was playing 'Take Me Home Tonight by Eddie Money while writing this.  I know you were wondering.

14 October 2011

Star Trek (2009)

So, in a move that could have been either the greatest move known to man, or the biggest flop known to man, a director by the name of JJ Abrams (you know, LOST, Alias, etc) was tapped to bring fresh life to the franchise known as Star Trek.

I remember first hearing about this, and being slightly less than enthused.  A prequel?  Well, ok, but we just had that with Enterprise.  And we all know how that worked out.

But as time went on and more and more details of the movie came to light, the more (cautiously) excited I became.

And then I saw the first teaser.  You know, the one that showed shots of the Enterprise being built, the one with the original December 2008 release date? At that point, I started to feel ok with it. Then the first full trailer came out.

I was hooked.

I've always been a fan of the darker side of Star Trek. I always had a problem with the shiny happy, TOS and TNG, and to a point DS9, but once the Dominion War started, I was loving every moment of it. But this is not a discussion of those shows.

So as time goes on, and the trailers get more and more awesome, I could not wait for the release.

And now the time has arrived. From the first shot I was hooked. I was really digging the way the film was shot, the way space was space. Up was not up, and down was not down. When an unfortunate crewman was sucked into the vacuum of space, sound stopped. The lens flares got to be a bit much, but its a trifling.

So, we see the birth of Kirk as Kirk's dad pilot's the Kelvin into Shinzon's ship, then we fast forward a couple of years and see young Kirk driving a 60's muscle car and listening to...Beastie Boys. To me that was probably the most jarring bit of the film. It just did not fit. So this part establishes Kirk as a rebel, do his own thing type person.

But lets not forget young Spock. On Vulcan he is busy getting teased by his fellow classmates. A very logical choice of course. Smacks a bit of emotion, teasing a fellow student. But they are students, so we let it pass.

Eventually we see two life changing moments for our two stalward heroes. Pike recruits Kirk to Starfleet, and Spock gives a emotionless middle finger to the Vuclan Science Academy, and goes to join Starfleet.

So the stage is set.  I'm not going to go into too much greater detail, as I don't want to spoil anything.  Kirk and Spock have finally assembled the crew that we know and love so much.  In the end, the good guys win and the bad guys loose.  And I loved every moment of it.

A few gentle criticisms...

Lens flares - a bit much, but not that big of a deal as I managed to ignore the majority of them

Size - As bad ass as the newest design of the Enterprise looked, there were some size and scale issues.  Shuttle bay to bridge in only a few bars of the score?  I think not.

Layout - Where was Uhuru working with those giant steam pipe things?  Kind of a random place for a comms officer.  Med bay and bridge, etc seemed really close to.

Fan boy praise...

Visuals - loved them all.  The movie was shot epically and that only helped the power of the film.

Music - Bloody hell.  Some of the best film music I've ever heard.

So, if you like Star Trek, see this movie.  If you don't like Star Trek, see this movie.  This is more than a Star Trek movie, its a good sci-fi movie.

11 October 2011

The Avengers (2012) Trailer

Oh my good gravy.  The Avengers trailer was released today.  In case you missed it, (which I'm sure you haven't), I've included it below.  Go watch it.  Once or twice, its up to you.

What do I think?  Short form: holy hell that movie is going to be amazing.  I was a touch worried about how Joss would handle it, but stylistically it looks like Iron Man, which is a plus.  In talking with a co-worker, we figure there will be some Kree/Skrull action possibly directed by Loki?  Who cares!  I love the interplay between Stark and Cap, and then Stark and Banner.

All I know, is that I can't wait for May.

06 October 2011

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Mel Brooks is a genius.  Here he tells the story of Bart (Cleavon Little), the sheriff hired to run Rock Ridge.  And by hired to run, I mean force the residents to leave Rock Ridge so the railroad can be run through the town.

Look at me trying to be all professional sounding with this movie.  Not gonna happen.  This is a Mel Brooks send up of the western movie genre.  Also starring Gene Wilder as the washed (in booze) up former gunslinger The Waco Kid and Harvey Korman and Hedley Lamarr.  Mel Brooks plays the govenor, a man with... other things on his mind.

Spawning a famous scene including beans, horse assault, and a collection of the most vile villains ever to be collected on screen, and numerous one liners, it also earned an Oscar nomination for Madeline Kahn.  Eventually all hell breaks loose, the movie smashes right through the fourth wall and comes to an epic conclusion.

A collection of my favorite lines:

Bart: Stampeding cattle
Lamarr: That's not much of a crime
Bart: Through the Vatican?
Lamarr: Kinky...

Reverend Johnson: We will now read from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke (enter brick) and duck.

Reverend Johnson: Now I don't have to tell you good folks what's been happening in our beloved little town. Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded, and cattle raped. The time has come to act, and act fast. I'm leaving. 

And that's all I've got folks.  Check it out if you've never seen it, and if you have, watch it again.

01 October 2011

Initial Thoughts - Person of Interest

Well, I've cranked through two episodes of 'Person of Interest', and so far this person is lacking interest.

Don't get me wrong, the show has some interesting premises.  The idea of a computer system that is collecting information on everybody?  Michael Emerson reprising his role as Ben Linus playing a enigmatic rich dude in control of said system?  Mint.

There's just something... procedural about it so far.  Granted, two episodes in so I need to give it time.  It has great promise and potential.  I would like to see some more conspiracy level plot lines, but I hope that comes as the season progresses.

28 September 2011

The Conspirator (2011)

The debut film from the American Film Company, this tells the story of the trial and eventual execution of Mary Surratt, owner of the boarding house where the Lincoln assassination was planned.

Directed by Robert Redford, the film is well shot.  I'm by no means an expert on costumes and such, but the film seemed to be accurate in that regard.

As far as the historical accuracy of the movie... from what I know of the events surrounding the assassination, it seemed to follow along rather well.

Overall, I liked it.  I'm looking forward to the next projects from the American Film Company, 'The Arsenal' (John Brown and the Harper's Ferry raid) and 'Midnight Riders' (Paul Revere and gang)

For another view on this movie, please see this blog post:
Another look at 'The Conspirator'

21 September 2011

2011 TV Season - The Returning Shows

Along with new shows, here is a quick rundown on the shows that are returning for another (or in some cases) final season.

Archer - an animated show on FX, it tells the tale of Sterling Archer, the best agent of ISIS.  Its over the top and pokes fun at the spy genre.

Hawaii Five-O - A reboot of the 60's television show of the same name, this follows the adventures of Garrett and Dan-o Williams.  A bit on the gritty side, it also has a good does of humor coming from Scott Caan (Williams).  Check it on CBS.

The Big Bang Theory - A comedy for geeks and non-geeks alike, this show is entering its fifth season this Thursday.  A telling indicator of how good it is, is that my wife quite enjoys it as well.  Its a show for everybody.

Fringe - Lets all take a moment to thank the TV gods that FOX has managed to keep this on the air.  I mean, its Sci-Fi on FOX, so it should have been canceled LONG ago.  Given the way the last season ended, I don't recommend jumping in at the start of this season, but do pick it up on DVD.

Chuck - Entering its fifth and final season, the perennial fan favorite has made it this long.  Long on the bubble to be cancelled, it always made it through.  Another geek TV staple, it tells the adventures of Chuck (who has a computer in his head (that's the short version)), his new wife (spoiler) Sarah (CIA super spy) and their crew as they take down big bad's like Timothy Dalton!  Who knows what their last season will bring.

House.  Sigh.  So good for so long, and yet recently has not been all that good.  Returning for its 8th ( and probably final ) season, I'll watch.  Even though its faltered, I'm hoping it can go out on a high note.

20 September 2011

2011 TV Season - The New Shows Bonus Edition

So, I thought that I had covered the shows I wanted to see this season.  Until I turned on the TV last night and caught the premier of 2 Broke Girls.

It stars Kat Dennings (Thor) as Max and Beth Behrs () as Caroline.  Caroline is a former massively rich girl, who must now work for a living.  Her journey to find a job leads her to Brooklyn, where she gets a job as a waitress alongside Max.  Hi jinks ensue.

So far, it looks pretty interesting.  Time will tell of course, as it is VERY early in the TV season.  Check it out Mondays on CBS.

2011 TV Season - The New Shows

The 2011 TV season approaches.  Here are the new shows that I will be checking out.

Person of Interest (CBS) 
Starring Michael Emerson (LOST) and Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ), and based on a screen play by JJ Abrams.  Emerson plays a super rich guy who found a way to find people connected to crimes.  He hires Jim Caviezel to help him out.  It looks pretty interesting.  I like the Minority Report basis of this show.  And, given that I'll watch Michael Emerson read the phone book, I'm sold right there.  Starts 22 Sep 11 at 10:00 PM on CBS

Terra Nova (FOX)
Time travel to the time of the dinos?  Sold, I'm in.  Don't recognize any of the actors, other than Stephen Lang (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals. Oh, and Avatar)  But the plot about sending people back in time for some reason is good enough for me to check out.  Starts 26 SEPT 11 at 8:00 on FOX

Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Based on fairy tales, and set in modern day Maine, this stars Jennifer Morrison (House, Kirk's Mom) as a bail bond collector whose son convinces her to help him save the Enchanted Forrest.  Also starts Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin .  Not sure how this will go, as its on Sunday's on ABC.  So either pleasantly dark, or a bit family friendly silly.  I hope for a bit of both.  Check it out starting October 23 on ABC at 8:00 PM.

Hell on Wheels (AMC)
A series based on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and a former Confederate soldier who seeks vengeance?  YES PLEASE!  Oh, extra salsa on this awesome omelet?  Chief O'Brien Colm Meaney stars as well.  The Old West is a big area of interest of mine, and to see a new show based in that time is quite exciting.  I can't wait to see it.  On AMC starting November 6.

So there you have it.  The new shows I will be checking out.  Stay tuned for a review of this shows as they premier, and a similar post to returning shows that I will be viewing.

19 September 2011

I did a 5K (and then some!)

So I crossed off the number one thing on my to do list.  Run a 5K.  The race I took part in was the Hammerfest Sprint-Triathlon  Now, as the phrase 'tri' indicates, there are three parts.  A swim, a bike and a run.  Well, I just focused on the run, which was a little under 4 miles, but more that the 3.1 for the 5K requirement.  It was shortened due to remaining damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

So, my Dad did the swim (.5 mile) and the bike (14 mile)  Our team total was just under two hours.  Not bad, I'd say.  My run time was about 45 minutes, which is right on the pace I've been keeping while practicing for this race.

The dynamic duo


Crossing the finish

11 September 2011

Epic Vacation Part 2 - The Cruise

So once we arrived in Tampa and boarded the ship, our adventure was on!  The first day was a relaxing day at sea, spent exploring our ship the Carnival Legend.

Not much happened, but that brought us to..

Yup, this is the place
We did not do a lot here other than walk around and look at all the shops.  If you want good quality jewelry for a good price, this is the place to go.  We had lunch at Senor Frogs, but what happens at Senor Frogs, stays at Senor Frogs.

Sign outside the port

Altun Ha
This fulfills the #33 on my list, Visit another country with a family member.  I technically did it with three, but Leanda and my sister went off on their own to do some crazy zip line.  While they were off doing that, my brother-in-law and I took a tour of Belize City, and a tour of the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha.

Look kids, its Doc Brown

And here endith the talk for today.  Cozumel was what I remember of it from the first time I went.  Lost of shopping.  Belize was beautiful.  A young country that is fiercely proud of its history and heritage.  The ruins were amazing and almost overwhelming with their age.  I would like to revisit each country again in the future. 

08 September 2011

Epic Vacation 2011

So recently I went on a vacation that consisted of a road trip to Tennessee.  We then went onward to Florida, where we boarded a cruise ship at the Port of Tampa and sailed around the Western Caribbean.  That's a story for a later post, as it will also tie into one of my 61* goals.

The road trip started at about 10PM ish, with a late meal at a local eatery.  From there we pointed our 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis (hey, we ride in style) and headed south west.

Sunrise in Virginia (ish)

Soon after we stopped in Rural Retreat, Virginia and had breakfast at a lovely hole in the wall whose name escapes me.  However, I do remember the AWESOME grits I had there.  And a very tasty meat stuffed omelet.

We finally arrived at our Tennessee destination.  And we slept.

Me in Tennessee

The next day, our guide (my cousin) took us around the area.  Nice area, lots of mountains and green.

I used to have this in plastic.  I love antique shops.
 Oh, and then we went to an awesome place.  A boot store.

They were buy one get two free.  So, we bought some.  And by we I mean, me, my wife, my sister, my brother in law and my cousin.  It was awesome.

The next day we headed out again.  BTW, it seemed to take forever to get through Georgia once we were south of Atlanta.

After lots more driving we finally arrived at our hotel.  We rested and prepared for our cruise.

01 September 2011

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Battle: LA tells a short, well contained story.  One morning, as everybody starts their day, aliens invade.

Then we kick ass.

This is a great little movie.  Not too much to it other than humanity fighting to repel an alien invasion.  There is not even a big 'yay us' ending.  It ends with the main characters going off to start pushing the aliens off the planet.  I don't even think there is anything spectacular or amazing.  Just a nice, tight little movie that chugs along.  I recommend it.

29 August 2011

Black Dynamite (2009)

This movie was brought to my attention by two sources.  CLaP and the boys at Here Goes Nothing.

Boy am I glad I watched this.

This movie is over the top in all the right ways.

One of the best sequences is when Dynamite and his crew figure out what The Man is doing to them.  It was... epic.

I'm going to cut this short.  I run the risk of the descending into a quote fest; and those type of reviews are no fun.

Short version:  If you like over the top action and comedy, Black Dynamite delivers.

27 August 2011

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

While The Wrath of Kahn may be the best of the TOS movies, The Undiscovered Country gives it a run for its money.

Lets start our review by looking at the poster to the left.  Seriously bad ass.  You've got the Enterprise being attacked, and General Chang (none other that Christopher Plummer!) looking all menacing in the background.

As the movie opens, the theme over the credits is my favorite of the TOS movies.  Dark and moody, it sets the tone of the film.  The music comes to an end timed perfectly with the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis.  This starts the set up for the remainder of the movie.

So the USS Excelsior (NCC-200), under the command of one Hikaru Sulu gets tossed around by the shock wave caused by the explosion of Praxis.  If you look closely, you can see Tuvok (from Voyager) in the background.  Not really, he's not added in until that scene from Voyager.  Oh, and hey kids!  Its Yeomen Rand, now a Commander and Comms officer on the Excelsior.

We then cut to the rest of the crew getting briefed by Spock on how only Nixon could go to China and that the Klingon Empire has only 50 Earth years of life left.  So, Kirk and company are off to escort the Kligon Chancellor Gorkon to Earth for negotiations for peace.

So, what do you do when you host a Klingon diplomat?  Break out the Romulan ale of course!  Quote Shakespere and Hitler, and you've got a HELL of a dinner party.

Then it goes to shit.  It looks as if the Enterprise fired on the Chancellor's ship, beamed two crewmen aboard and killed the Chancellor.  And, Kirk and McCoy are blamed, and sent to the Klingon prison planet to die.

Never fear, they meet up with a changeling (not the same race as Odo from what I can tell), escape and make it to (and fans already know where) Kitohmer!  Evil plan concocted by members of Kligon Command and Starfleet officers to prevent peace is thwarted by Kirk and company.  We all live happily ever after.

Few notes.
Apparently, Worf had a ancestor who was an attorney and also named Worf
The Chancelor's party arriving on the Enterprise, really well done
Music, still bad ass and well done throughout.

While again, this may not be the best movie, it is certainly my favorite of the TOS movies.  Tension, action and rel life overtones are abundant and make this an enjoyable ride; a fitting send off to the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A.

25 August 2011

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

What does God need with a starship?  No, really, what does He need with one?  Well, Shatner decided that we needed to find out.

But I'm getting a head of myself.

Star Trek V is probably the least liked Star Trek film known to man.  Let's review some of its.... finer points.

-Spock has a half brother
-We look for God
-Planet of Galactic Peace
-Spock's half brother

Ok, so not terrible.  Well, if you remove the main plot (Spock's brother Sybok wants to find God) its a great movie.  We see the crew enjoying some shore leave, the Enterprise in less than working condition.  A jaunt through the galaxy.  Oh, and Klingons.  Because we can't have a Star Trek movie without Klingons in some form or another.

Sigh.  I dunno.  This is another case of I liked the movie better when I was younger.  I can see the flaws in it from a mile away.  Its a weak point in the series to be sure.  But a fun watch for kicks.

17 August 2011

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Whales.  Fourth Star Trek movie and they go to whales.  Not the worse choice.  They could have searched for God. (see Star Trek V)

Really, not that bad of a film.  Final part of the 'Spock' Trilogy sees the crew deciding to return to Earth and face the whale music for their actions.

So, on their way home a probe of unknown origin starts seriously messing with the Earth.  Sapping power, kicking up storms, looks like Earth is seriously screwed.

Have no fear!  Kirk and company shows up just in time, and with their stolen Klingon Bird of Prey figure out that the transmission coming from said probe is a whale song.  Shit!  We killed off all the whales.  Time for time travel.

So, in our seriously rickity ship, we hit warp holy crap and go back to 1986 (hint: the movie was made in 1986.  Coincidence?)  So we find the whales, placed for our collection at the Oceanic Institute.  There now follows some comedic hi-jinks.  Your pretty standard stuff... Russian Chekov looking for the nuclear wessels.  Cultural misunderstandings.  Using a mouse to talk to the computer.

So, we get the whales into the Klingon ship and back to the present.  Whales make it into the ocean and Earth is saved.

Kirk is yelled at, and by yelled at I mean demoted and given back the job he so desperately wants... commanding a starship.  So, lesson here... be enough of a bad ass, screw up, you still get to do what you want.  The future is going to be AWESOME!

A decent movie, used to be one of my favorites, but I think my opinion of it has dropped a bit.  Has its issues, sure.  Still very watchable.  I  like it.  Another one of my favorite things that I can't wait to show my son.

14 August 2011

Five films that were never (thankfully?) made...

Wired's 5 Films left on cutting room floor

And here we have another list of things on the Internet, and I shall comment on them.  This time its movies that were never made.

Lets start with...

The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe - who was slated to play Poe?  None other than Michael Jackson.  That WTF look you have?  Yup, same one I got.

At the Mountains of Madness - I have no comment, as I am not familiar with the source material

Genghis Kahn - Starring Steven Segal.  I'd watch this, if only because of Segal.  I wish this was made

Redezvouxs with Rama - Again, not familiar with source, but the casting attached. David Fincher to direct, Morgan Freeman involvement.  I'd have to like to have seen this.

Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian - Like you need to ask, I would have been first in line for this. 

So, what are the thoughts of the gathered masses?