12/30/09

Sherlock Holmes

holmes
There have been mixed feelings about Sherlock Holmes (2009) since the trailer showed it as an action film filled with explosions, hammers and shock sticks. On the one hand, this was our beloved character from Baker Street who was far more interested in intellectual pursuits than the cinematic stylings of Michael Bay. But I was hooked from the moment I saw who was playing the Great Detective: Robert Downey Jr. Not just because I have publicly admitted to having a man-crush on him, but because he has the perfect type of sharp, dead-pan wit to match up with British sensibilities. Although he plays it more boisterous and American in Iron Man, I saw the potential. I knew he would be the Holmes I've always wanted to see. And I was right. Robert Downey Jr. plays a Sherlock Holmes that is not only brilliant, but hilarious and completely British

12/22/09

If Superman Was Invented Today, Would Clark Kent Be a Blogger?

SupermanImage via Wikipedia
We've been seeing newspaper sales decline rapidly in the past decade mostly due to their failure to keep up with the Internet. All the most important news is reported instantly over the information superhighway before Jimmy Olsen can yell "STOP THE PRESSES!" This leads to an interesting question about the Man of Steel. With all the modernization of yesterday's superheroes, Peter Parker's genetically altered spider as opposed to radioactive, Wayne Industry's even higher-tech weapons systems, Tony Stark's... everything... neither of these men's jobs have seen such a dramatic downturn in recent days as mild-mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent. What does this mean for the man who, according to popular TV, has been growing up in Smallville for the past decade as opposed to in the 30's? There's no question that Clark taking a job at the Daily Planet in 2009 is a terrible career move. But what else can he do? Would he start a blog?

12/17/09

Avatar

Avatar (2009 film)Image via Wikipedia
There are those who have criticized Avatar from the beginning saying it looked cheesy and fake. I was not one of those people. When they remade King Kong I learned a valuable lesson. Trailers (especially early teasers) almost never use fully rendered graphics. And when you're making a movie like Avatar which is almost fully reliant on the realism of these effects, there is no way you can count on a trailer to give you a full representation of the movie. When the latest, four-minute trailer came out, people were less critical. The real story started coming through and people were ready to give it a chance. They still made fun of it, but I stuck to my guns. I was certain it was going to be great. And then people were finally invited to press screenings. And I was vindicated. The critics (most of them, anyway) loved it. And after finally having seen it myself, I have to say it was well worth the wait.

12/16/09

Hot Tub Time Machine


This is definitely going to be one of the best comedies mankind has ever produced on God's green earth. Which is actually more blue than green... Kind of  a... greenish blue... regardless...

12/14/09

Google... Verses... Apple... FIGHT!



So, the real Google Phone, the Nexus One, has been announced and will be released January 15th. Good for Google. A little late, but good for them. Here's the thing about all of this: I've been a big fan of Google since way before I was a fan of Apple. I mean, I liked Apple, but I wasn't really that much into them until around the time they came out with the iPod with video which was quite a while after Gmail launched. When I heard about the iPhone running Google Maps I let my imaginative mind wander into a happy world filled with Apple hardware and Google software. Steve Jobs would make the awesome, hard-working and beautiful phones that would run smooth, interactive, internet-based Google applications. And then I heard about Android. And my dreams were dashed. MOM AND DAD, DON'T YOU LOVE EACH OTHER ANYMORE!? DON'T GET A DIVORCE! DON'T MAKE ME HAVE TO CHOOSE!!

12/12/09

Giving the Gift of Movies, TV and Awesome Stuff

Christmas gifts.
We talk about a lot of stuff at The Green Asterisk. Movies, TV shows, video games, all the stuff that you love. The problem is that it's tough to keep up with all this stuff and try to keep the bills paid at the same time. Well, just in time for Christmas (or whatever other politically correct holiday who's true themes you choose to ignore) we've opened The Astristore. Powered by Amazon, you can visit this site to check off your gift list and support your favorite blog at the same time. We've got the latest and best of Amazon's Video-on-Demand, DVDs, and Video Games for all consoles. If you were considering giving any of these things as a gift to a friend or loved one, why not buy it through our store and keep The Green Asterisk running? The link to the Astristore is available earlier in this post as well as on the left sidebar. Thanks for supporting the Green Asterisk!

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12/9/09

Fall of the Lich King


So, it figures as soon as I go to work I get some Twitter messages saying how awesome the "Fall of the Lich King" World of Warcraft 3.3 patch trailer is. I tried to look it up on the YouTube iPhone app, but I guess so many people were watching it that it wouldn't load for me. I had to wait until I got home to actually see it and even then I couldn't blog about it because I had to go to sleep early. Now that I've actually had a chance to focus on it, I can say this: AWESOME! Ya know what? ...I really wish I had the money to reactivate my WoW account :(

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12/8/09

Falling Back in Love With Google

Google Chrome IconImage via Wikipedia
Well, technically I never fell OUT of love with Google. I've been using Google for pretty much everything ever since they revealed Gmail. I jumped at the chance to use Chrome when it came out. I loved it then, and have been using it ever since, with infrequent spats of Firefox and/or Safari. My marriage with Google, however, had become stale and emotionless. I was with Google every day and it seemed like I was beginning to ignore it. Which is good in a sense... if it's just there and I don't have to pay attention to it, then it's doing its job well.

But now I have a new reason to fall madly in love with Google. And it's all thanks to Chrome Extensions.

12/1/09

Time Transcendent Gadgets


What if we developed the ability not to send objects back in time, but to send signals back in time? Whenever I'm at home I always keep my iPhone connected to its dock for the duration of my stay. This has the unfortunate side effect of having to manually sync it before I leave so I can get all my updated podcasts. Sometimes I don't have time to do that because I've procrastinated or I've forgotten about it and now I have to leave really quickly. What if some time in the future we developed the ability to send a signal from the point in time I disconnect my iPhone back to the point in time when it's appropriate to start syncing so that it finishes just in time for me to disconnect?

11/28/09

Happy Hothmas!


Oh no! I'm doing a Star Wars post directly on the heels of a really, really nerdy Star Trek post! The world is going to explode! Ok, so, here's the deal. The good people over at Teefury made an awesome Christmas/Star Wars shirt. And I made an iPhone background out of it. As you can see from the picture on the right, it is a Rudolphized AT-AT getting wrapped up in Christmas Lights amidst a snow of Empire emblems. More awesomeness can rarely be found on a human torso. The problem is, if you're familiar with Teefury, you know that they only have specials on their awesome shirts for ONE DAY!  OH NO! Well, I made it so you can enjoy Hothmas all year long! If you're cool like me and have an iPhone.

The Differences Between Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek (2009) and What It Says About Society


Like many secular humanists (like Walt Disney) Gene Roddenberry had a very clear utopianistic view of the future. He held to a widely believed philosophy that humanity was only getting better and better which made a whole lot of sense given the amazing advances that had taken place between 1900 and 1966. He presented a universe in which multiple planets come together in a Federation that spreads peace, love and justice throughout the galaxy. Then along came J.J. Abrams, an iconic filmmaker of this generation, and within the first half hour of his Star Trek we see Spock get in a fight with Vulcan bullies, Kirk getting punched out by a group of meatheads (who, in Roddenberry's future, wouldn't exist), and a Romulan ship from the future (the future which is supposed to be "better," right?) completely demolishing a comparatively defenseless Federation ship. This is not the utopianistic ideal that Gene had in mind, is it? So what happened between 1966 and 2009 that put a gravity field under Roddenberry's pie in the sky, splatting it on the floor?

11/27/09

The Astricast: Experiment 1


Today I experiment with podcasting. It's difficult to get a professional-sounding podcast together when you're not getting paid for any of this. Especially since I'd like to get more voices than just me and everyone is so frakkin busy. Nonetheless, in preparation for the day when this is possible, I'm going to mess around with a few experimental podcasts.

In Experiment 1 I talk about my visit to the theater and reflections on the similarities between Ninja Assassin and New Moon.  I know, right? You'll see. I also read an excerpt from Dark Matter, a short story that will be available in Project Universe as soon as I finish up the rest of the short stories in that anthology.

To subscribe to the podcast, enter "http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGreenAsterisk" into your podcasting program. (For iTunes, click the Advanced menu and select "Subscribe to Podcast...") But if you're not into that, you can listen to Experiment 1 here.

11/21/09

Stargate Universe: Life


This episode of SGU was pretty much what I expected it to be. The title alone conveys an episode full of exposing how the characters are coping with their situation. How they're living "Life." But meanwhile, while exploring the ship, Rush finds a chair that works like the Ancient library that almost killed O'Neill. Rush wants someone to use it to find out how to run the ship, Young doesn't want to risk anyone's life with it. This presents and interesting little dilemma which could very well end in someone having a bit more important of a role. Someone could download the repository of information and be able to tell everyone exactly how to use the ship. And then possibly die. One of Greer's lines is that if it saves the lives of everyone then he'll sit in the chair. But his name isn't "Someone."

Dear FlashForward: It's Not You, It's Me


I have to admit I entered into this relationship reluctantly. I thought you were just another LOST clone trying to capture lightening in the same bottle. Turns out you were a completely original story about throwing normal people into an extraordinary situation and watching them live their lives and learn to love each other while at the same time trying to figure out the mystery. The problem is that my brain just can't handle you being so different and so innovative. I gave you a fair shot, but we're just not working out.

11/18/09

The Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse in a Christian Universe

Not so long ago, the new video game, Left 4 Dead 2 was released at a game store near you. In the trailer for this game, the narrator says "Last time I saw my gramma, she asked me was I still a prayin' man. I told her 'Yes, ma'am.' 'Well,' she says, 'pray harder. 'Cause it ain't workin'.'" In the face of Zombie Apocalypse, it may seem all hope is lost, God has abandoned you and there's nothing for you but to fight or die. But is there room in the Christian worldview for such a possibility? If the whole world's population were purged by a zombie virus, is it possible God could allow it? Or even cause it? Let's take a look...

Heroes: Brother's Keeper


If someone came to me and asked me to rewrite this season of Heroes, I would keep "Brother's Keeper" just as it is and take episodes one through eight and turn them into a double-feature season opener, making "Brother's Keeper" the second episode of the season and squash what has otherwise been a boring, meandering season with a few points of light into an interesting two-parter setup for this awesome episode. But I won't confuse you with that. At least not intentionally.

11/15/09

V: There Is No Normal Anymore


Episode 2 is pretty much a logical following of the first episode. Erica follows up the break-in at the warehouse with a deeper investigation while trying to juggle her knowledge of what's happening with her paranoia about who to trust. Father Landry shows just how naive he is by continuing to try and do the right thing without regard for the fact that anyone could be a Visitor. Chad, the anchorman, establishes some sort of dominance over the information he divulges about the Vs.  "There Is No Normal Anymore" slowly builds the plots and sub-plots established in the pilot. Nothing really new is learned (until the very end), but characters are better defined and motivations are a bit clearer.

11/14/09

Stargate Universe: Time


This is the SGU episode that die-hard fans of the original series have been waiting for. "Time" has all the elements of action and adventure and pure sci-fi goodness that Stargate fans have become accustomed to and still retains the deepness and relatablity of new elements introduced to the franchise by the Icarus project. At the same time, it deepens the mystery of the intelligence of the ship and gives every viewer a better understanding of certain characters, even if it turns out the events that help us understand them... never really happened.

11/13/09

2012


Thousands of years ago, the Mayans took to the task of creating a calendar they would never have to flip. Going off what they knew of the stars, they carved out the demarcation of days, months, years and decades from the time they started all the way until December 21, 2012 when the calendar creator said, "Screw it, I'm done. It's not like any of us will be around this long anyway." I would much rather have seen a story about this slacker of a Mayan calendar creator than sat through nearly three hours of almost falling into various volcanic pits.

Pirate Radio


It's easy to see how this movie would slip by a mainstream audience unnoticed. The story is clunky and disorganized. It's almost like they took what was intended to be a TV series and chopped it down into several five-minute episodes. They devote a little time to a little story here and a little story there. But the spirit of Rock is captured in this movie. You don't have to understand it, you have to feel it, you have to move with it and groove to it. It's not something you dissect, it's something you let wash over you like the waters of the North Sea. Don't try to find a main character. There is none. Don't try to find a cohesive storyline. If there is one, the movie doesn't focus on it. Don't expect a climactic showdown between Radio Rock and the British government. It just doesn't happen. Approach this movie the same way you approach your favorite Led Zepplin or Beatles or The Who album: put it on, and rock out. Don't try to make sense of it. It doesn't make sense. It just rocks.

Debating Playing Cards With the Murder of Human Action


Community is still funny in "Debate 109," I'm getting bored with FlashForward in "Playing Cards With Coyote," The Office was hilariously depressing in "Murder," and in "Of Human Action," Fringe... WTF?

Welcome to another EXPLOSIVE edition of The Day After.

11/12/09

@Vork Got a Major TV Job!


For those of you who are not in the know, Vork is the Guild Master of the Knights of Good, the guild created by web godess and co-star of Dr. HorribleFelicia Day in her web series, The Guild. I could probably write a lengthy article on how hard it is for iconic figures on the Internet to get jobs in "real" media like TV. Felicia Day has many stories about auditions that never quite panned out. Including a story in which all the crew knew who she was except for the casting director and the producer. That's why I almost squeed with joy when I saw Vork on this week's episode of Glee! I'm quite happy for Vork and I hope we get to see his goofy face on national TV more often. Also, Felicia's face. Because hers is prettier.

11/11/09

Heroes: Shadowboxing


One of the marks of a good episode is when you kill someone off and the viewer still isn't sure what person actually died...

I think I've figured out this season now. This idea has been mulling around in my head since the second or third episode, but it's really become clearer now. It has had a different feel from any other season. Every other season drives forward with a sense of purpose. A heroic (or villainous) sense of purpose. This season, or Volume as they like to name them, is named "Redemption." In order to devote an entire season to this theme, you need to establish that your characters are lost, broken and defeated before you can bring them back and redeem them. And in Heroes, "Shadowboxing," this begins to happen.

11/9/09

The Men Who Stare at Goats


This off-beat comedy is a fish-out-of-water story where the fish is not so much a person in an awkward situation as it is an ideal in a completely alien culture. Loosely based on the First Earth Battalion program run out of the US military in the 80's, it takes the man we all know as Obi-Wan Kenobi, strips him of his Jedi Knight status and reduces him to Padawan under the apprenticeship of newly appointed Jedi Knight, George Clooney. As fun as this story is standing alone, it's even more enjoyable as a commentary on the effect that Star Wars has had on America in general and the military specifically. So that's how I'm going to approach it.

11/8/09

The Implications of Aliens In a Christian Universe

In the first episode of V we see Father Jack Landry, a Catholic priest, struggling to come to terms with the existance of aliens in a world that God created. He is then surprised that the Vatican easily came to a stance that arbitrates "we are all God's creatures." His concerns echo a belief that many of my Christian brothers and sisters have that aliens run counter to God's will and Word. Why??

11/7/09

FlashForward: The Gift


I've been hard on FlashFoward, but I have to hand it to them in this episode, "The Gift." I honestly have no idea now what in the world is going on.

Stargate Universe: Earth


There's a lot going on in this episode. For one thing, we may have a way to dial Earth. For another thing, Eli gets to tell his mom what's going on. ALSO Chloe's got some drama to work through at home. ALSO Telford takes command away from Young. ALSO we see Young's history with TJ. ALSO the communication stones fail awkwardly. ALSO... uh, I think that's it. So, basically, Stargate Universe's newest episode is all about the events happening on and testing out a way back to Earth! Is it too much? Maybe... but it's relatively easy to follow. It's enjoyable.

Fringe: Earthling


I like Olivia. I like Peter. I love Walter... This episode of Fringe is about Broils. The intimidating figure with a unearthly voice that was recognized in the first season as an antagonist is established in this episode as a real human being. A stand-up gentleman. Someone we can trust. Someone with a past. Someone we can know. An Earthling. When they find a man turned to dust, it brings to light an investigation that Broils had worked on 4 years before. Getting to know this guy is like trying to get a Buckingham Palace guard to smile.

V!


I've been excited about this show since I heard about it, but I was still wary. I had heard there was an old 80's miniseries on which it was based. I never saw the miniseries. I decided I wanted to wait and see this new version as an island unto itself. I was not disappointed. In a season full of series trying to take the place of LOST, V is the strongest contender, in my opinion. As much as I love SGU, its connection to the Stargate franchise will just never win as many viewers as it is suited for. V stands to attract even some of the most skeptical with a sexy cast, some pumping action, intriguing mystery, international subterfuge and relatable characters. And what's really awesome is that the show establishes all of these elements in the very first episode.

11/3/09

A Castle of Heroes: Monday's lineup


I may be a little biased about yesterday's episode of Heroes. I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with time travel. For example, xkcd's latest comic was actually a graph that charts interactions between characters in various movies through time and the movie Primer was the punchline. This lead me to watch Primer on NetFlix just because of how complex of a time travel movie it was. I'm not even sure exactly what happened in that movie, but I still love it. Likewise, I'm still trying to figure out all the implications "Once Upon a Time in Texas" had on the Heroes timeline, and because I'm still thinking about it, and because it deals in time travel, I'm hooked.

Oh, also, there's Castle, "Famous Last Words."

I, Astro Boy


Every once in a long while I will walk out of a theater with a sense of awe. The gears in my head are spinning at profound rates while the rocket boosters in my legs propel me home. Astro Boy takes the deep, profound existential questions of what it means to be human vs. a robot and completely ignores them in favor of a ridiculous brand of emotion-driven physics and random Asimovian references that allow you to completely ignore the movie in favor of the questions it fails to ask.

11/2/09

AOL Session Features a Poppier Weezer and Some Interesting Guests


AOL Sessions recently posted 5 new video recordings from Weezer featuring a few songs from their upcoming album Raditude, along with a piano cover of Green Day's "Brainstew," and a beautiful version of "Butterfly" played on the harp. Perhaps the most interesting part of the performances are the musicians that they invited to join in the performances of their new songs: Kenny G (yes, the clarinet guy,) Chamillionaire, and Sara Bareilles.

10/31/09

Stargate Universe: Water


I will never understand military types that try to shoot into living clouds. What do they think a bullet is going to do against a being with less mass than steam? In yesterday's episode of Stargate Universe, "Water," the Destiny is running dangerously short on water. It drops out of FTL in a system with one planet in rage. The ice planet that Eli refers to as Hoth... from Empire Strikes Back?... The second Star Wars movie! Ok, I refuse to call it Episode Five. In this episode the crew seems to really be starting to live with each other. There's a whole lot less panicking. Well... except when a cloud-alien steals all the water and Scott gets stuck on Hoth.

10/30/09

The Popular Social Networking Site, Bookface

New features have been added to the site including the ability to make comments using your Facebook or Twitter profile. The advantage of this being 1) it's stupid-easy to show everyone who you are 2) you can broadcast your comment and that on which you are commenting to the world via these mediums. As a matter of fact, the new comment system in itself is waaaayyyy better than the original. What with the reply threading and whatnot. Anyway... talk all you want! I personally love opinions. Especially when people give them.

Thursday Night Lineup

FlashForward, The Office and Community. One of these things is not like the others. Yesterday FlashFoward brought another LOST cast member into the story in "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps," Michael fell into a "Koi Pond," and Batman visited "Introduction to Statistics." All of these take place around Halloween. Only one of them really hangs on to that theme. One of them is passable while the other two are hilarious. Tired of guessing which one is which? I'll get into it after the jump. (I said it! OMG I said "after the jump!")

10/27/09

Monday Night's Line-Up


The usual suspects: Heroes, House and Castle. The episodes: "Strange Attractors," "Brave Heart," and "Vampire Weekend," respectively. Monday night's lineup is probably one of the best in TV. This is why I love it. But I don't love it enough to buy basic cable. Which is why I watch Monday's programing on Hulu on Tuesday. Welcome to another entry of The Day After.

10/25/09

Is Stargate Universe LOST... in space?


With Syfy's attempt at rebranding, it would be no surprise if they looked toward some of the most popular TV shows of this era as inspiration for their new lineup. Of course, one of the best things they did before they changed their name was Battlestar Galactica. This is a clear inspiration for the darker turn that Stargate has taken, but I wonder how much they've drawn from another popular TV show: LOST.

10/24/09

Stargate Universe: Light


I'll just go ahead and spoil this because it needs to be known in order to understand this episode. In the last episode, the Destiny was sent flying into a star. The best character moments are given in the last hours before looming death. This is true for every story and Stargate Universe does this with a sci-fi flare that really brings out the superior acting abilities of these characters. SGU is just getting better and better and this episode shines a whole new Light on the series.

Sanctuary: Eulogy


If you didn't see last week's episode, then Eulogy will completely spoil the surprise. But while they do a nice job of wrapping up that story line with a pretty bow... the bow is just begging to be untied. While Magnus is dealing with a terrible loss, the rest of the team gets busy bringing in a large cache of new abnormals. And, of course... one of them escapes.

Where the Wild Things Are


When I was a child, I thought like a child and spoke like a child. Now that I've grown I've done away with childish things. But now here I am, a grown man talking about what life was like as a child. There's more than just a sense of nostalgia in Where the Wild Things Are. If you loved the book as a kid, then you will appreciate where director Spike Jonez has gone with this big screen adaptation. But more than that, you will admire the respect he gives to the whole idea and experience of being a child.

10/23/09

FlashForward: Gimme Some Truth


FlashForward, also known as "OMG LOST IS ENDING WHAT DO WE DO!?", enters into its fifth episode shuffling around pretty much the same as the first four episodes. The blackouts which happened world-wide are still being investigated by the FBI. No surprise - I expect that will be going on for the entire season. What's interesting in this episode is that for some weird, stupid political reasons (and pretty much any political reason is stupid) they're being investigated for the unorthodox investigative techniques they're employing in their Mosaic... investigation... /cough... investigate. Also, there's China. So they're still shuffling around... but in Gimme Some Truth, it seems to be getting a bit more interesting.

10/22/09

House: Instant Karma


It is so interesting to see Gregory House in a position where he's not technically in charge. In Instant Karma, House is still waiting to get his license back. Foreman is still in charge, 13 and Taub are still gone and Cameron and Chase have come back to their previous positions in House's diagnostics department. The stage being set, how does House actually work as merely a consult?

Heroes: Tabula Rasa


The return of Sylar! Ok, technically, he returned in the last episode, but here's where we really start to get a sense of what's in store for him. A lot of people seem to be turning away from Heroes, but this episode steps it up a bit. Last we knew, Sylar was risen from Nathan's grave and the police were trying to get him to remember who he was. Obviously, they didn't know how to help him at all, but Samuel Sullivan, ring leader of the Sullivan Brothers Carnival, is able to take him in and help him in ways that non-powered people never could. Sylar gets back on the path of rediscovering himself in Tabula Rasa.

Stargate Universe: Darkness


I usually try to do TV episode reviews the day after they air since that's when they become available to me on Hulu. This weekend was especially busy for me, so you'll forgive me for being a little late, but in this edition of The Day After, we'll take a look at SGU's newest episode: Darkness.

Hackers


Hackers is pretty much the computer-geek movie to see. If you're into computers and consider yourself at all a part of the geek culture, people will pretty much laugh at you if you haven't seen Hackers. I know. They did it to me. So as part of my "At First Sight" project where I watch a bunch of movies from the past that I should have seen when they came out, I added this movie to my NetFlix queue. Aside from the "state-of-the-art" technology being hilariously antiquated, the story itself was good enough, although it didn't end as well as I'd hoped.

10/19/09

Sexism on SGU


I just wanted to respond to an article on io9 saying that SGU has a problem with sexism. First of all, it's been clear from the start that this is not an episodic series, rather it's a continuous storyline. So complaining about character development after only the third episode (second, technically) is like complaining that your 2-year-old doesn't have a job. Secondly, in the build-up to the premeire, all I ever heard about was the female characters. The only interesting characters for me were the female ones and Eli, and this continues to be the case with the exception if Rush also catching my attention.