6/30/09

THE FUTURE!

Of the Asterisk. Thought I'd do a quick update to tell everyone why we aren't having many updates. There are a lot of things going on in the background. Very soon, all of us will be having a meeting to discuss what we want out of The Green Asterisk and how we'll go about accomplishing it. This is kind of difficult since we all live in different places and some of us are sort of on vacation right now ::coughcoughjosscoughcough::. As soon as everyone is settled into a normal schedule we will meet and then hit the interwebs at full force. Besides that, there is a podcast in the Asterisk's future. In the near future, I'm working on getting onto a certain established podcast, and in the distant future I would like to start the Asterisk's own podcast. The Astricast? We'll see.

We've also added TweetBoard where if you have a Twitter account you can leave your comments and start conversations with me and the rest of the team. Seems pretty sweet. I hope more people start using it. And if you find anything interesting on the blog, I've added links to share it on Facebook or Twitter or any other social networking site. That, too, is sweet.

Just so you know we haven't forgotten about this site. Also, movie reviews will still be coming. Next on the agenda is Public Enemies. A friend of mine asked "When does Christian Bale come out?" I was confused because Public Enemies is a Depp movie. Bale is just... in it.

Do you have any suggestions for the future of The Green Asterisk? Leave them in the comments!

6/25/09

Wilkin's Coffee

So I'm not entirely sure that you all haven't already seen these videos but I just saw some of them for the first time on Attack of the Show! and found them to be absolutely hilarious. It seems that Jim Henson was approached early in his career by a company named Wilkin's Coffee with an offer to create a series of 10 second advertisements. The ads starred Wilkins, and big supporter of Wilkin's Coffee, and Wontkins, who wasn't much of a fan of the brand. Each ad seems to begin with Wilkin's either offering some Wilkin's Coffee to Wontkin's or asking if he enjoys the product, and then viciously punishing him for his negative replies. The extreme violence coupled with the fact that they are essentially muppets is what makes the ads so funny.



The ads remind me of the first act of the Academy Award winning animated short, Rejected. The short film was of course made much more recently so perhaps there was some inspiration involved. Either way, if you enjoyed the ads you'll most likely enjoy Rejected too.

6/24/09

For the Trekkies

I'm not a Trekkie, although I did really enjoy the latest film, but I couldn't help but post a link of this gallery from leenks.com From what I can tell, the gentleman who looks vaguely like Picard has transformed his flat to look like the interior of a starship... glowing lights and all. He'll probably have a hell of a time when it comes time to resell the place, but you have to give him geek cred for his attention to detail.

6/23/09

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Sequels are always hit-or-miss. You're never quite sure if they're doing it just for the money or because there's actually a good story to tell. Michael Bay rarely tells a story anyway - he just blows stuff up. But in this particular case, I think the writers did everything they could to add a little bit of depth and heart to the story that may have been absent from the original. Granted, what depth they added was overshadowed by HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP! ...But I think it was still there. Several times in the middle of a fight scene I had to stop and remind myself how this was relevant to the plot. Not that it wasn't relevant, just that it had been a while since the plot was mentioned and the HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP were distracting me from the point of the scene. If you were able to concentrate on it, the plot fit together fine, but the trouble is concentrating.

Which brings me to my next point: maybe there was just a little too much HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP. Sure, it's awesome to watch Optimus Prime take on 5 Decepticons at once. Sure, it's great to see the Decepticons and The Fallen take out human military forces. It's even great to see tiny little Decepticons go through hilarious antics to further the purposes of Megatron. But at some point you tend to tell yourself, "Alright, I get it... HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP is awesome... Now let's move the story along, please."

And there was a lot of story they could have told, too. They went into a lot of Cybertron lore such as the origin of the Primes (where Optimus' title comes from), the connections between Cybertron and Earth, Transformers that have been on earth since the dawn of man, and so on. It would have been pretty cool for me if they delved a little more into those stories in stead of focusing so heavily on HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP! But as much as they did get into those pieces of lore, it was in itself awesome enough. I really like how they're expanding the world of Cybertron from just a mere toy collection to a grand, sweeping universe with a history all its own.

Also there were copious amounts of nerd humor =D. I enjoyed that. I think it was smart of them to realize that the biggest fans of HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP are the geeks in the audience and it was a good move to pander a little to them. Mentions of trolling, conspiracy websites, a cameo by Rainn Wilson, and just a hilarious-because-it's-true rendering of the geek way of life all made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Almost forgot to mention the comic robots. The Twins can be kind of annoying at times (bordering on racially offensive with flash-backs to Jar-Jar Binks), but they're good for a couple chuckles. The funny ones tend to be the tiny ones, though. The twins are the biggest of the tiny with the ability to transform into compact cars. Then there are a few skittering robots that get into hilarious predicaments. It's a bit of slapstick that you could maybe do without, but it appeals to some people.

To sum up: really fun movie, maybe a bit drawn out, but it's OK because of the HUGE FRAKKIN ROBOTS TEARING EACH OTHER TO SCRAP!

6/22/09

Burton's Wonderland

I heard about Tim Burton doing an Alice in Wonderland quite a while ago. Of course Mr. Depp was first choice for the Mad Hatter. But images are just now coming out via USA Today of his concept art for the movie. It will be a sequel of the original story with Alice having grown up to the age of 17. She finds out that some guy is going to propose to her, so she runs away where the White Rabbit finds her and brings her down his rabbit hole once more to a land she doesn't remember at all.

The creatures of Wonderland, who used to live in a peaceful kingdom until the Red Queen took over, are ready to revolt and they want Alice to help them (since she did such a wonderful job the first time around). I assume they want to give power back to the White Queen who is Anne Hathaway in an "eccentric," "over-the-top" roll. In stead of walking, the White Queen hovers around.

Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway is the White Queen and the part of the Red Queen is played by another Burton staple, Helena Bonham Carter. Alice will be played by a young actress by the name of Mia Wasikowska, seen here taking a break on set in-costume.

Head on over to the USA Today article to see Carter and Hathaway along with some stunning zoomable and panable concept images of Wonderland featuring the White Rabbit, some flowers with faces and the Tweedle brothers!

6/19/09

Year One

I totally went and saw Year One today.  And I pretty much liked it. The film takes Quazi-Biblical stories from Genesis and meshes them all into a completely unrelated story about two early humans who buddy up to go on an anachronistic road trip. Let me make this clear to anyone who might condemn this kind of a story as heresy: it's not.  They're just basically playing around in a Biblical sandbox. It's kinda like taking a statue of Lincoln and bringing him to life in today's world, or bringing the story of David to network TV in a modern alternate universe. It's just good fun based on established people/events.

Michael Cera pretty much plays the same character all the time, but I like that character, and it really met the needs of this script.  The same is true of Jack Black.  So, what we're seeing here is not an extensive character study at all, it's really just some guys fooling around in tunics and parodying the Biblical age. It won't get you an Oscar, but it makes for good entertainment.

That said, it's not like the script wasn't solid, or anything.  It actually had a pretty legit story to follow and it followed through to its logical ending. A Judd Apatow film really has to, though, doesn't it? One thing about Judd is that his movie might have some irreverent and hilarious humor, but the story always has heart at its core. There's always some kind of emotional pay-off.

Year One was almost rated R until they went back and re-cut it. There's some sexual humor, some language, basic Apatow stuff (aside from a distinct lack of marijuana). I'm not sure where I was going with that except to just mention that it's on the high end of the PG-13 spectrum. The thing is, though, if you can't handle what this movie has to offer you, then you probably wouldn't get it anyway.

So go see Year One if you want to see some iconic faces of comedy lampoon the ancient age. That's all there is to it.  You won't get a serious study of historic events, you won't get a deep character study, or a compelling analog to modern life.  It's just a fun comedy, and you'll enjoy it.

6/18/09

What If All The Jurassic Park Dinos Said "Hey!"?


I imagine Jurassic park would have been billed as a comedy.

6/16/09

What does "Cracked the Story" mean?

So, uh...

Indiana Jones 5...

That's happening...

When interviewed for Transformers 2, Shia said that Steven Spielberg has "cracked the story" on Indiana Jones 5.

So... it's gonna end up even more cracked than Indiana Jones 4?  Is that what we're talking about?

In case you're wondering, I tried to find the most awkward picture of Shia LaBeouf to represent this story.  I do hope I've succeeded.  I mean, he's pretty awkward to begin with.  Have you seen the Transformers 2 trailer?

"Hey, beautiful!  I made you a long-distance relationship kid!  I gotchu a web cam so we can chat 24-7."

I liked him better when he was nervous and nerdy.  Now he's nerdy and douche-baggy.  And I think it's Meghan Fox's fault.

Torchwood. Less is more?

Torchwood, the not so popular British television sci-fi/horror show is set for its third season to start on July 20th in the UK. Torchwood is a spin-off of BBC's longtime success story Doctor who, the longest running sci-fi show ever!

Anyways this season on Torchwood they have decided to cut the number of episodes from 13 in it's two previous seasons due to bad ratings last year to now only a five episode "mini-series" type event starting July 20th and running straight through the week with all five episodes. At the end of season two half the team from Torchwood got cut as well, bringing them from five members to three. As the show goes on budget crisis and such we see more of the borderline characters coming out to play a main role where as before they would sit on the side lines, something I am really looking forward to.

The new season is titled Children of Earth and the plot for it sounds like they got the key in the ignition this season and are ready to re-amp the series. This season is about a government who struck a deal in the 1960s with an alien race and the consequences of it - something that will affect all the children on Earth. As usual the show will be set in Cardiff with a little filming in London. Relationships between the group are set to develop more and the story as usual will try to push the bounds of what they do on television.

So be sure to find the episodes to this, sure to be great addition to the Doctor Who universe July 20th.

Preview!

Until the Doctor returns!
May Harkness save us all.

6/15/09

Choose Your Own Penny Arcade Adventure

It seems that Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, better known as Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade, have been itching to expand on some creative ideas they have been tossing around that aren't in the universe of the standard Penny Arcade strip. Over the past three updates they have introduced three new worlds, each of which they would like to explore at some point in the future. The problem is that they are just too busy with all sorts of secret work that they are contractually forbidden from discussing. They have decided to allow the fans to vote for which story they would like to see more of through the use of an online poll. A story line of the winning comic will be run later this summer during the week that Holkins and Krahulik attend the San Diego Comic Convention. The three choices are "The Lookouts," "Automata" and "Jim Darkmagic."

The Lookouts is based in a world which is covered mostly with a magical forest. Human settlements are few and far between and men must protect the roads that connect them. The Lookouts are a Boy Scout type group in which boys are taught the ways of the forest so that they can eventually take on the responsibilities of men.

Automata is based in a world where technology has led to machine sentience, only to have sentient machines outlawed. The conflict comes from the fact that sentient machines that were created before the law banning their existence have been "grandfathered" in and allowed to coexist with humanity. The main characters of this black and white comic appear to be a human detective and his android partner, living in a mainly anti-android world.

The final offering is based on the infamous Jim Darkmagic, of the New Hampshire Darkmagics. Jim Darkmagic is based on a Dungeons & Dragons character that was played by Krahulik in the Wizards sponsored pod-casts which also featured Scott Kurtz, of PVP Online, and geek legend Wil Wheaton. Jim is an egotistical mage who is more concerned with putting on a show for the fans than with completing the goals of his group, Acquisitions Incorporated.

Its hard to decide which comic I would like to see expanded, but I am personally leaning towards the more fantasy based Lookouts. Automata would also be very interesting if only because of the amount of tension that seems to exist in the world they have created. I am a little less interested in a comic version of Jim Darkmagic as it seems to me to have come across better in the pod-casts.

As of today, Automata was in the lead as fan choice with 47.8% of the over 17,000 votes so far.

Tennant Who?

David Tennant is probably gonna do a Doctor Who movie even after he regenerates into the next guy. The Tenth Doctor, pictured here in his brainy specs, is arguably the best Doctor of them all. Tennant loves the part, and all Who fans love him in the part. So it's no surprise that even after he "dies" he would be called back into the TARDIS for a few more rides.

The rumor, reported at Airlock Alpha, goes that the BBC is looking seriously into making a few Who movies and David really wants to be in it, but will wait until he reads a solid script. This is not unheard of since the Doctor Who franchise has done stories in the past featuring past generations of the Doctor, what's new is making this type of story into a movie. It represents a whole new direction for the franchise. One for which I am particularly excited.

The origin of this rumor is an unnamed source speaking for the Daily Express, and has not been confirmed either by BBC or David Tennant, so keep your hopes low for now. But don't be surprised if in the future it is announced as fact!

In fact... I'm off to the future right now to confirm.

BRB *Hops in TARDIS*

6/14/09

Eric Bana Travels Through Time Once More


The Time Traveler's Wife, the book on which the movie in this trailer is based, is a story about a man born with a gene that spontaneously shoots him through time. Pretty cool concept. Thing is... it's a romance story. I really don't know how to feel about this. Maybe readers can help me out. On the one hand, it has one of my favorite sci-fi conventions and one of my favorite actors. On the other hand, it's a chick flick. Not to say that chick flicks are necessarily bad... just that... I'm not sure if it makes a good mix with sci-fi. On the other-other hand, this concept has already been visited by Doctor Who in "The Girl in the Fireplace," to much applause.

Of this one thing I am sure: Eric Bana is awesome if for no other reason than he played the part of the awesomest time-traveling Romulan of all time. And now he's dropping the pointed ears and going for a more soft-hearted time traveler. I'll watch it if for no other reason than he's in it. What are your thoughts?

Edit: Here's the other thing about this movie... does he always leave his clothes behind when he travels through time?? Doesn't that make it a little awkward upon arrival? Also, if he jumps to another part of the year, will the earth be on the other side of the sun, leaving him behind in space? (Sorry, that's just a time traveling pet peave of mine.)

Geek Goddess to Grace the Cover of Playboy

I haven't purchased a magazine that required showing identification for about a decade, but thats all about to change. On this past Friday's episode of the G4 network's Attack of the Show!, co-host Olivia Munn announced that she would be gracing an upcoming cover of Playboy magazine. The announcement preceded a behind the scenes look at the photoshoot, featuring Munn in a series of different bikinis, poses, and between shot hilarity.

G4 has posted a video of the segment on their site, which I have embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Munn co-hosts the live show with Kevin Pereira Monday through Friday of each week. The show is known for its popular internet and technology related segments such as Around the Net, a daily count down of interesting online videos; The Feed, a segment featuring interesting news from pop culture; The Loop, an interview segment similar to those found on traditional news programs; Gadget Pr0n, a technology review segment; and many others. If you consider yourself a part of the internet generation and you aren't already a viewer, I highly suggest you check the show out.

Scott



6/13/09

Facebook is Lame.

At least it was until about 5:45pm today when The Green Asterisk suddenly showed up on it! BOOYA! Show your Asterisk pride by becoming a fan of the awesomest geek blog ever. Because anyone who's anyone is both on Facebook and loves us. >.> yeah... That's right... <.<

In other news, welcome all the n00bs! Just waiting on one more blog post from one more n00b before we get back to business as usual. Here's a recap:

Nick: Here's the go-to guy for TV. Well-versed in over 150 series with a focus on sci-fi, he's undoubtedly the best guy for opinions on the best the Tube (or Hulu) has to offer.

Jocelyn: Working currently at a video game store, she is the one to see for an opinion on video games of all types and all consoles. As a political science major, she is also the conservative end of the Asterisk's political spectrum.

Scott: Assistant Manager at a movie theater, Scott knows movies well, but his more recent focus is sci-fi and fantasy literature. As an early adopter of both TiVo and Hulu, a computer constructor since the age of 18, and a cautious fan of MMORPGs, Scott is a well-rounded geek who could fire me if I ever pissed him off.

Patrick: The last guy to do an introductory blog (read "hasn't done one yet") is the liberal end of the Asterisk's political spectrum and an avid fan of popular culture. I look forward to reading his introductory blog post because I'd love to see what else he has to offer.

Steve: This is me. I've been here all along. I'm not a n00b, but I should explain my role. I'm the movie geek. It's weird, though, 'cause I really haven't seen all the classic movies that you saw back in the 80's and 90's that were absolutely essential to popular culture. I have seen the most important ones, though, and I'm trying to catch up on Netflix. What makes me the movie guy is that I've seen all the more recent movies and I really am a credited screenwriter. Besides that, I'm always looking for the newest movie news and I always report what's the most interesting.

So, this is the new Asterisk! Full of geek news and opinions and flaunting its stuff on Facebook. Enjoy! And tell your friends!

Greetings

Hello! The first assignment given to bloggers here at the Green Asterisk is to introduce yourself. It's good that an assignment is given otherwise many of us probably wouldn't know where to start. With that problem taken care of, I can move on to the problem of the actual introduction.

My name is Scott. I'm currently a student at St. Petersburg College where I take most of my classes over the internet through their eCampus program. I hope to transfer to USF as part of the Studio Fine Arts program at some point in the upcoming year. I currently work as a manager at a movie theatre. I've worked in my theatre for a total of about nine years, which has been great because I love watching movies. I also like to read and collect hardcover books. I read webcomics and watch television both on my DVR and over the internet (Hulu for the win).

As this site is geek orientated, I shall explain my qualifications. I first read The Lord of the Rings trilogy in 7th grade. I learned how to use the internet when it was first going mainstream. At that point, doubling your modem speed from 14.4 kbps to 28.8 kbps was a must have upgrade, and the move to 56 kbps was even more exciting.

I built my first computer at the age of 18. I then used that computer to upload a stream of webcam pictures from the living room of my first apartment to my first website, apartmentcam.net. I later abandoned apartmentcam.net to start piratica.com which was a community based "art" site, which is another way of saying that a bunch of people would share pron on a message board system. While this was great fun, we eventually abandoned the idea of the site after our users crashed the host's server multiple times due to excessive data load.

I then turned my attention to the online multiplayer version of the Return to Castle Wolfenstein game. My handle was Plan9, which I took from the infamous movie, Plan 9 from Outer Space, by the worst director of all time, Ed Wood. I played competively for about 3 years for clans such as, The Alliance of Soup Nazi's, Short Transvestites on Prozac, Clan Conspiracy, The Duckside, and finally Operation Psycho Patrol. I met many great people through competitive gaming. I would drive 3 and a half hours to Georgia to attend LAN parties with people that I had only spoken to over the internet, and it was some of the best times that I've ever had. I stopped playing first person shooters to play Final Fantasy 11 online. I began playing under the name Plann, which I took to be the elven version of my fps name. I played FFXI for just over 124 real time days in 14 months before quitting. That is about 29% of my time for just over a year. I also slept, worked, and took classes. I don't quite know how I pulled that off, but I did. Due to this, I was very hesitant to begin playing World of Warcraft, and actually held out for over a year. I eventually joined up and played to level 70 with a Night Elf Rogue before retiring.

Oh yeah, I also owned a first generation TiVo, which I purchased while TiVo still had to play infomercials explaining why people would want to pay $500 for a TiVo.

I've been a proud geek since early high school, but nowadays its a lot less online gaming, IRC chatting, and message boards, and a lot more webcomics, deviantart, and facebook.

I hope that this site will be able to bring some interesting bits of information to your attention through this blog, and I'm excited to have the chance to participate.

Scott

6/12/09

The Jocelyn =)

Ahhh I just heard Ed Helms' voice on a commercial! That made my night!

Ahem, excuse me. I'm Jocelyn and I'm kind of a nerd. Aside from being a Political Science major at the University of Central Florida, I am a gamer and a musician. Well.. I wouldn't call me a musician, but I play a few instruments (bass guitar being my favorite). I'm the biggest Star Wars fan in the world!! As I stated previously, I'm a big time gamer. I worked at GameStop for over a year and half and I play all systems (handheld and consoles) and all game types. Obviously being a Political Science major, I am quite vocal when it comes to my political views.

I think those are all the passions I have. Oh, and the Office is the best show ever! Season 5 on DVD September 8!!!

And that's all you need to know about Jocelyn!

The Jedi

Who am I?

Well maybe I'm not a tomato, but if not then who the heck am I? I am Nick Parham. I have been writing and blogging for a while now, it is a fun hobby and a real stress reliever. See I have frequented this blog and yes there are great articles on Sci-fi (SYFY WTH?) and just straight up news on whats new with the people in the industry.

Movies, music, video games and words are my forte. False environments, new settings, new people and new worlds can be explored with a little film or a few words, and the bounderies are within your imagination... no they are your imagination and I believe that the imagination is the key to the human brain, the thing that holds us back or sets us apart.

Back on track, I am Nick Parham, movie theater employee, avid pc gamer, reader and writer and I believe that I am here to blog because well, I have the know. Television shows are my main focus, I have watched over 150 series, every episode from old to new. I have worked at a movie theater for three long grueling years now, and looking back I dont regret a moment of it. I have seen the hottest, newest, freshest movies out there right on release and it has given me a new outlook on movies, why watch only one genre you like, when there are so many good movies out there?

Well its time to get ready for work, I should have pre-ordered my iPhone 3Gs today but obviously my hours at work didnt think so, so that must wait! as will you for my next post.

I am looking forward to writing more nonsensical BS here often, maybe think over my words before I type them next time but hey its early and work is on its way.

Signing off- Captains Log - Stardate 06122009
Nick P.

6/11/09

Missed News Rundown

So, there are a few things that for one reason or another I failed to blog about, but that really deserve a mention.

First off, there are a few soon-to-be-movies that I'm sure people will have a fun time speculating about.  The first and probably most hilarious is Stretch Armstrong.  Geek Tyrant reports that Steve Oedekerk is set to write a comedic movie featuring Stretch as a reluctant superhero who hates the fact that he has the worst superpower ever. Oedekerk has written such gems as Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.  I like where they're going with this.  Written correctly, this could turn out to be pretty hilarious.

The next movie you'll be interested in is Where's Waldo.  /Film reports that apparently the movie rights to a Where's Waldo film have been bouncing around Hollywood for a while now.  Obviously, there haven't been any creative names put to the project yet, but I would personally love to see the movie that this trailer is attached to:


Last but not least, a movie I have personally been waiting to see produced for a very long time: The Jetsons.  The guy working on this movie is Robert Rodriguez.  This concerns me a little bit because a Jetsons movie could go one of two ways: hardcore sci-fi/comedy or cheesy kids movie (ala The Flintsones).  And Rodriguez's credits include such movies as Shark Boy and Lava Girl, Spy Kids and this summer's Shorts. To his credit, he also has Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Planet Terror in his portfolio.  If he can meet George Jetson somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, I think we'll have something good.

Now onto a movie we already know about.  Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is coming out in IMAX with several more minutes of footage including more robot fighting.  I gotta hand it to Michael Bay: he knows how to blow things up. With robots and in IMAX.

There might be some more stuff that I was thinking about blogging, but I can't remember.  What else can you think of?  Gimme some more news stories in the comments!

6/7/09

Stargate Universe Predictions

The makers of Stargate Universe have promised that this new show will be a very different kind of Stargate show.  They're going to be more Battlestar-like, darker, grittier and more realistic.  They have warned that we should be careful who we think will live or die and which cast members are actual regulars.  So because of that, I'm going to make a prediction about who will live and who will die.

These guys are our core.  They will be there at least until the end of the season.

These guys are in peril.  They may or may not live.  Quite possibly they'll die.

This guy is dead.  Plain and simple.  His shirt may as well be red.

6/5/09

N00bs

Over the past few days I've invited a few of my friends to blog along with me.  As I mentioned earlier, this blog is expanding past geek movies into the realm of all movies as well as TV shows and "awesome stuff."  Awesome stuff may be defined as things like video games, gadgets, music and other geekily interesting topics.  I will ask them to introduce themselves in the next few blog entries, so make them feel welcome!  I COMMAND IT!

Land of the Lost

Ok, let's get this out of the way: there are two other versions of this story floating around, one made in the 70's, one in the 90's. When Hulu put the 70's version up, I watched it and totally didn't recognize it because I had watched the 90's version. It wasn't until after I watched the movie, while browsing for a picture to put on this review that I realized that they were two separate shows. Now, undoubtedly, the beloved version of today belongs to the 90's kids. This is the version that people were afraid Will Ferrell was going to screw up, but it seemed to me (although I admittedly don't remember a lot of the 90's show) that the movie was based on the original 70's show. That said, there are several differences, for example, the relationships between the characters. In the movie they're totally unrelated, and the "kids" are much older, so it's okay that that Holly kisses Rick. But I end this comparison by saying what I always say: ALWAYS take a new incarnation of a story as a separate entity unto itself. NEVER judge it based on how much it's like the source material.

Ok, just thought I would get that out of the way so that people don't yell at me and throw rocks when I say it was actually a pretty good movie. I wasn't expecting it to be! I swear I was prepared to fall asleep in the theater, but my laughter kept me up. Usually Will Farrell plays the part of an idiot who thinks he's smart. This time he's a genius who knows he's smart. He tries to play the leader of the team, and in a sense he is a perfect parody of the original Rick Marshall: patronizing and slightly controlling. His PhD does him no good in this land of the lost, but he tries to pretend that it does.

Viewers who aren't well versed in scifi (read: "Non-geeks") will probably feel a little uncomfortable at a couple of the alien story devices, but that's ok. They just have to realize that it's a silly fantasy comedy and none of it is supposed to be any kind of real. What's important is the search for the device that Rick loses and the hilarious events leading to the inevitable end. Just suspend your disbelief a little harder and try to see it as an SNL sketch with a ridiculously huge budget.

So there it is. Please don't hate me. So I laughed at Will Farrell, is that a crime? Go see Land of the Lost and see for yourself. It's really not that bad.

6/4/09

Angels & Demons

I told you I would post a review as soon as I saw Angels & Demons. Sorry it took so long...

It's really easy to see this movie as an apology by Ron Howard (henceforth referred to as Opie) to the Church for The Da Vinci Code, but I don't really think that's the case. It does, in a sense, redeem Opie from the heretical claims in the previous movie, but I believe the intent was not so much to apologize as it was to tell an intriguing story about a man returning to help the very institution his previous research ended up undermining. And this he did well.

Let's get this out of the way: I understand that Angels & Demons is, as The Da Vinci Code, a book by Dan Brown. I've heard different things about the relationship between the two books, that A&D is a prequel to Da Vinci and so forth, but I honestly don't have a clue how the books read or in what order they go because I never read. Ok, I don't never read, but I just haven't read these books. Nor am I very interested in Dan Brown material in general. This review is about the movie as a separate entity.

As a thinker in general, I am automatically attracted to Langdon's (Hanks) profession. It's always intriguing to me to see symbols with hidden meanings come together like a jigsaw puzzle. This doesn't always translate well to film, but I think they did it well in this case. Much of the exposition was done while they were rushing off to save the next victim or find the anti-matter container. That said, exposition is never really the most exciting part of the movie. Interesting, maybe, but not exciting. There are only so many gimmicks you can pull out of your hat before you start thinking "alright, you got the clue, let's move on."

As a Christian I was relieved to see the over-all message of the film was that religion and science are not mutually exclusive. They are not like matter and anti-matter which annihilate each other on contact. The Church is portrayed in a relatively good light in this movie. While they do strive to keep some secrets and are chastised for doing so, it's not ultimately for malicious reasons. There is a great line of dialog delivered by one of the bishops portrayed by actor Armin Mueller-Stahl: "Religion is flawed because we are flawed. That includes me." (That's probably not exactly what he said, but it's close enough.) This is true. Religion, as a separate entity from God himself, is a flawed human institution and should not be used as measure by which to gauge the worthiness of the object of worship. As evangelist Ravi Zacharias always says: "You cannot judge any worldview [or religion] by its abuse." And just because early Church leaders saw science as a threat and abused their power to stifle scientific voices does not mean that science is indeed threatening to the church. The two can easily work in harmony.

The production value of the movie was impressive. The cinimatics left nothing behind. Opie is a great director, and I would expect nothing less of the way one of his movies looks. In this particular story, the actors never really had a good chance to shine. Not that they didn't do well, but there was nothing really impressive about Langdon telling us all about symbology or the doctor following him around only to tell them the bomb is going to explode sooner than she expected. I think the best bit of acting in this film was done by Ewan McGregor who played the part of a priest that was very special to the Pope who died in the beginning of the film. Without giving away too much, the part required a lot of un-preist-like qualities that I think Ewan pulled off very well.

In all, I liked the movie. And that's me speaking as both a Christian and a movie geek. After you see Up, Angels & Demons is a good next stop.

Up

It has taken a while for me to write a review for anything and I'd like to say that it's because I've been taking in the movies I've seen lately and really thinking about them in order to organize my thoughts enough for a review to be useful to you, the reader... but really it's just because I've been slacking.

That said, Up is a wonderful film! It's probably the first movie I've seen on opening day with my parents in a long time. And we all loved it. With this movie, Pixar is only further ingraining their name into the hearts of families everywhere in the tradition of classic Disney movies.

But what I really like about the direction in which Pixar is moving is that their movies truly are good for both kids and adults. Some of the thematic elements in Up would have got straight over a child's head if it weren't for the brilliant combination of animation and music to get the general point across without wrenching out the child's heart. But the adults who know exactly what the story is telling them will connect deeply with Carl Fredrickson, feel his pain, and understand his grumpiness. That's not to say the whole story is a tear-fest. Just a couple parts. And the rest is hilarious.

The pic I chose to represent this movie is one of the dog called Dug. He, along with a pack of other dogs, is fitted with a technological wonder of a collar that translates his thoughts into speech. They are the funniest part of the movie. It's clear that whoever was in charge of animating or writing dialog for the dogs were dog lovers. Just because they're able to speak and are trained well enough to pour wine (messily), doesn't mean they're anthropomorphic. They are dogs, and they, hilariously, do what dogs do.

The animation was beautiful, as is always the case with Pixar, but it never over-shadowed the beautiful, hilarious, heart-warming story, which is also always the case with Pixar.

I don't really have much more opinion to give. I could tell you the story as it is, but I don't want to give it away. I just really suggest you go see this movie wether you have children or not. It's a definite classic and will be one of the top movies this year.

6/1/09

Oh Hai!

See what I did here? It's a completely new site. No more Kerussopolis. 1)people can't remember that name. 2)it takes too long to explain 3)the new name opens up new options.

Everyone enjoy The Green Asterisk! And, by all means, if you have any suggestions for improvement, let me know.