2.27.2014

NEW GODZILLA BETTER SPIT BLUE PLASMA

Blue Oyster Cult's funny take on Godzilla from the 70s



Here's the full video

and here's the trailer for the new release

11.20.2013

MURPHY-FALCHUK ... YOU GOTTA CAST BIG MIKE GEIER IN SEASON 4 OF AHS

Here he is in a video for one of his projects Dames A Flame (they would be good in an ep too)



Put him in the cast in the Puddles persona 












here's his contact info: Big Mike Geier

11.14.2013

CALLED IT - STEVIE NICKS AS THE WHITE WITCH ON AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Perfect. All depends upon how they play it. Nicks is reported to be scheduled to appear in episode 10 and I believe there are 13 episodes in all. I had hoped Nicks would appear in the final episode after the final showdown between the dark magic and light magic and take over the Coven with Misty Day and Nan.

Now it sounds like Nicks will not be part of a final battle but the end-point of the Misty Day storyline. In AHS the dark always seems to win, so maybe the white magic will be defeated. 

I'm rooting for The White Witch and Misty Day (in an alliance with Nan and Myrtle Snow).

Visualize the scene - Fiona has vanquished some new enemy in the main parlor of the school who lays dead at her feet ... then the front door flies open and there is a radiance enveloping The White Witch as she enters, flanked by Nan, Myrtle, Misty and Cordelia - a soft glow remaining about The White Witch as she faces down Fiona ... Fiona uses magic but it has no effect - The White Witch easily deflects and evaporates all attempts by Fiona to harm her and her White Coven ... 

Fiona: "Ah, you've returned to us from Fairyland I see"

WW: "Fiona, you stole this coven ... and have overstayed your welcome"

Along the walls of the parlor the portraits of the past Supreme Witches come to life - looking like those glowing projections in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

The White Witch gestures with her hand and Fiona is levitated above the floor

Fiona: "Wha - what's happening?"

WW: "The day of reckoning is upon you Fiona. The spirits of the past Supremes join us"

Fiona seems genuinely scared and looks to the ethereal faces of the past Supremes then back to the White Witch.

A circle of flame springs up around Fiona and the floor boards fall away into a black hole of darkness - terrible sounds emerge and wispy black shadows emanate near the rim of the maw

Fiona: "You can't do this!"

WW: "You've done this to yourself, Fiona, over a lifetime. The coven is now mine - and rid of darkness ... we will dwell in the light"

Fiona is dropped into the blackness screaming and it instantly closes up to be the floor again with a pop of flame signalling the finality of the event.

WW: "Come ladies, I will find you a new home"

11.09.2013

AMAZING - BIG MIKE GEIER SINGS 'ROYALS'

Lighting up the internet, and for good reason - this performance is simply genius. This is Big Mike Geier, in his persona as Puddles - what a talent.

















here is the original upon which it is based, which isn't all that bad either

11.08.2013

AMERICAN HORROR STORY - DID QUENTIN THROW THE ACID?

Bruce Campbell showed up as Ash and channeled himself through Zoe's body to dispatch the dumb zombies they put into the 2-part Halloween episode. We also saw Zoe use some kind of magic force to kill an undead brute once the chainsaw jammed - the show's creators want to dangle all the girls as possibilities as being the new Supreme.

They gave me a scare when Nan almost got devoured by the zombie horde while rescuing her man, but it was a feint. She's fine and still in the thick of things and still the least likely to inherit the top witch's hat the way the show is playing it. The clues to Nan's power and her ultimate ascension have been dribbled out and I went over that in my previous post.

Artsy Myrtle Snow was played by Fiona (using Queenie's help) but Misty Day is always drawn to those who have suffered and need resurrection so she comes shawl'n'all to reopen Myrtle's eyes (after she had been burned at the stake due to Fiona's trickery).

It will likely come out that if Nan did not throw the acid in Cordelia's eyes, then Quentin the wizard did it in yet another conspiracy with Fiona (so Cordelia wouldn't meddle). 

Good witches vs. evil witches is how I see the final showdown of the season happening, with Misty Day and Nan leading the good witches, which will include Cordelia. Queenie has already been turned and Zoe's power is to kill through sex and stop zombies so she will probably end up on the dark side.

The subplot with the butler and his dolls and dead girl witch Madison will hopefully go somewhere and then not be a part of the show - it just feels like so much added atmosphere and nothing substantive.


I would love it if at the very end of the show, after Nan, Misty Day and Cordelia win with their white magic over Fiona and the forces of dark power the reclusive White Witch appears and it is Stevie Nicks herself.

11.01.2013

AMERICAN HORROR STORY - THE NEW SUPREME

Stop reading and don't scroll down if you don't want to know what's going to happen in American Horror Story Coven.

This season (the third) has been nonstop fun, less enigmatic than season I and much more focused than the scattershot season II. Finally the producers brought in other great actresses to serve as foils for the bravura acting skills of Jessica Lange. They all seem like they're having a ball shooting this show. The lesser-known actors have been doing stellar work as well.

Who will replace Fiona (Lange's character) as The Supreme (top witch) is the throughline of the season, and I've figured it out. [damn you, powers of deduction]


.

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Nan


She enchanted the sexy neighbor boy (either when she first smiled at him from the balcony or when she mixed up a potion in the cake). She lit the curtains on fire and diverted attention from herself saying it was Madison (and she may have telekinetically flung the knife too). 

The Supreme has to manifest multiple powers and Nan is no dummy. She threw the acid into Cordelia's eyes probably to neutralize her not because she doesn't like her. She can read thoughts and feel presences so she knows Misty Day is out there and can heal her later.


Since she can hear spirits and read thoughts she knows she needs to play her cards close to her vest. She will move the chess pieces more skillfully than Lange's Fiona because she doesn't appear to be a threat and I expect a big showdown at the end where she either makes a truce with Angela Bassett's Marie Laveau or kills her too. 


You go Nan.

10.23.2013

AMERICAN HORROR STORY THRILL RIDE

The third season has started out like gangbusters - finally they brought in actresses of equal stature and talent to play against Jessica Lange and it's terrific (Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett). 

This time around it's witches and a witch school and a great set of characters (and not too many this time). Three episodes in and it's been brilliant and wildly entertaining. 

Love what Lily Rabe is doing with her character - channeling Stevie Nicks - it's a hoot, sweet and kind of fantastic. 

A little homage to Misery in Ep 3 when Kathy Bates pushes in the food cart. And great line to close Ep 3 by Lange's character, "This school doesn't need a new Supreme. What it needs is a new rug."  !!!!!

5.22.2013

REVIEW: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS



Merciful Gods! No Tyler Perry. One small victory. Oh, but there is a Capybara-sized Tribble. Warning: All Spoilery Below

Movie opens with a Red Plant Planet prologue featuring bipedal humanoid natives that look like they were dipped in white flour several times and then drew lines on themselves with black marker. Spock vs. the Volcano. Yeah, they couldn't just beam the bomb into it? "Cold fusion?" Er, that involves nuclear power not anything that generates cold. The device freezes the volcano and the built-up pressure doesn't just force the whole mountain up in a shudder? The Enterprise is submerged and a giant fish swims by that looks like grainy b-roll. Egads.


Throughout the movie on the Enterprise we see glimpses of crew aliens with weird heads, colors, eyes and voices. They should've just done one group shot where they all turned to camera and went, "BLULULULULPTHTHWAAAATHULLUBULU" with their tongues and eye-rolls to get it out of the way. Really dumb, especially the guy with the tech-embed in his skull that reminded you of the dude in Empire Strikes Back. 


Kirk gets demoted by Big Daddy Pike for lying on a report, and Pike is limping but not in the Beep-Beep Chair, yet. Spock gets reassigned. How will our heroes get back-together and be on the Enterprise???  Wait 5 minutes. Terror attack in New Caprica (er, future London) where an Alka-Seltzer ring blows up a top secret black ops Star Fleet base. The guy who did it (one of the few black guys in the movie) had been turned earlier by KHAAAAAAN, who donated his super blood to the guy's baby in the story's 2nd prologue. 


So suddenly the Earth-present senior officers of Star Fleet must convene in an exposed tall glass office tower without military hardening. Once again most of the multitudes of seasoned officers are unavailable (didn't hear if they were still in the "Laurentian System" or not). And Robocop is the big Admiral this time around and tells antsy Kirk to speak up. Kirk tells them all, "Isn't it interesting we're all assembled in a known location high up a defenseless office building for this important strategy meeting to stop a terrorist?" 


Cue ScootyPuff Jr. attack by Cumber's Batch (Khan) and it's The Godfather Part II meeting scene where lots of the bosses get shot up. Pike is toast, literally (Spock is there and does the Sudden Emergency Mind-Meld ... but actor Quinto can't seem to get the finger technique down). John McClain, er, McGuyver, I mean Kirk - Kirk, dammit - runs to the side window to get an angle on the ScootyPuff Jr. and improvises a fire-hose and Chrome Super-Soaker (er, Phaser rifle) and throws it into the warp intake/deflector dish/fan system (whatever) and disables the craft. Cumber's Batch shoots Kirk a snooty stare as his swirly-ma-gig transporter lights beam him away. Later they find a flight-data-recorder ... I mean a portable transwarp device (a 300-year-old fugitive can come by a portable version of what just invented in the last movie?). 

Another meeting - this time Kirk and Robocop, in the lobby of the Brentwood Getty, (Kirk back to Captain, of the Enterprise, since terror attacks mean never having to pay recompense for lying on official reports). Somehow Robobcop knows Cumber's Batch is on the Klingon homeworld in some ruins (he'd beamed straight there) and Kirk must go do an extra-judicial drone strike with some special torpedoes authorized by an off-the-books secret Star Fleet agency called Section 31 (eye-roll). Why he needs 72 torpedoes for a quick strike is a little baffling (except to fanboys!). Since pretty blondes with perky tits can just waltz wherever they want Carol Marcus joins the shuttle headed up to the Enterprise.

Yet another undocking scene - really, we never need to see Star Fleet headquarters or the goddamn docking bay EVER again. Oh, and Scotty doesn't like the new torpedoes so he quits to go work on the subplot and takes that dumb rock-monster sikekick with him. So Chekov the teenager is asked if knows about the warp engines (I guess the number 2 guy or number 3 guy in the actual Engineering section are unavailable?) and gets Scotty's job! "Put on a red shirt," Kirk tells him and we all cross our fingers that the character will now be killed off.  Spock confronts Blonde Babe (Carol Marcus) on why she's not on a crew manifest and so on as she fiddles with the not-so-secret torpedoes but screw that another distraction gimmick has been thrown in by the writers. And Enterprise is off to warp (this time it leaves blue tracer-bullet trails). 


Almost immediately the Enterprise is at the Klingon homeworld - oops, the Warp Drive conks out just before they get there, so out-of-range of transporters and they'll have to take another shuttle, but a line of dialog later and we find out that Kirk has conveniently stashed an alien shuttle onboard and he, Spock and Uhura pile into it (she does speak Klingon after all, and you'll need that on a secret mission of assassination where you don't want to be seen at all). There is a painfully bad attempt at humor as Uhura and Spock have a high-school level love spat. And I forget the order here but at some point blonde babe Dr. Marcus and McCoy take yet another shuttle (time to spare on this secret mission I guess) to a nearby planetoid that has a breathable atmosphere for humans and open up one of the torpedoes and find - a human body in a cryochamber. KHHHAAAAAAAAN! Nope, not him, but confirmation for the audience that didn't know or hadn't figured it out already that the banned superhumans from Space Seed are back.


Flying through the ruins in old Detroit, er Klingtown, some small Klingon Birds-of-Prey style craft intercept Kirk, et al, in their alien shuttle and the chase is on, but cue Matrix maneuver #1 and the sideways flip takes the alien pancake shuttle through a gap (white sparks, scrape-scrape) and they're safe! Oh no, it was a trick, those crafty Klingons just went around and now, outgunned, they must try to talk their way out of it. Go to work, Uhura! 


She saunters up to the Planet of the Apes gorilla from the Tim Burton version and starts ape-talk - oh wait, that's right, it's a Klingon with a sexy leather helmet and Riddick eye-shine (along with a bunch of other Klingons) and he doesn't like her accent because he picks her up and chokes her. So out barrels Kirk and Spock (and some redshirts? ... really, I don't remember) firing their bullet-like phasers (what happened to the cool beams?) when suddenly and very dramatically against a big fa-bul-ous yellow window Cumber's Batch descends on a rope and makes like Jessie Ventura from Predator and lays waste to the Klingons with his ace fighting ability and midi gun. Almost Jackie Chan-ish the way he dispatches those leather-clad brutes. Klingons gone, CB/Khan now approaches Kirk/Spock/Uhura and is gonna crush them, but he asks about the torpedoes. "Seventy-two!" comes the answer and Khan surrenders

Back on Enterprise Kirk wants answers. Big Big Daddy Robocop lied to him because he's just shown up in so-big, so-black stealth Section 31 ship (but wait, a little earlier Subplot Scotty had received a communicator call halfway across space from Kirk while at a bar with the little Rock Monster and was given coordinates to check out and somehow wrangled a shuttle that can go from Earth to Jupiter without a flight plan or authorization in minutes and find the secret, giant docking bay for the Section 31 Super Black Stealth Ship where he parks his shuttle in plain view then jumps into a flotilla of other shuttles and - nobody saw! Then he managed to sneak aboard the thing too!) 


... and Kirk and Khan and everybody's gotta die, because, damn, our Section 31 uniforms are so stylish and different -  because we're black ops! Blonde Carol Marcus speaks up, "Daddy, I'm here, no kill I." Lots of firing of weapons, Enterprise gets ripped a new one yet again (with cool bodies flying into space like that episode Water of Battlestar Galactica). And she's beamed over and the super-phasers come out and are gonna blast Kirk, Khan, the Enterprise and a Pizza Parlor to oblivion. Meanwhile Dr. McCoy is shooting up a giant rectangular Tribble with Khan blood, because, hey, why not? It's not like it's foreshadowing or anything. DDDggggrrr GrRRrrr Rrrkklunk. Oops, big bad stealth ship phasers went kaput. Subplot Scotty is now Super Scotty having done a bit of sabotage. 

And now Good Guy/Bad Guy buddy cop chapter: Kirk enlists Khan to go with him over to the big bad ship and take it over because Big Big Daddy Robocop has gone mad with power so, of course, take a superhuman mad with power with you to take him down! Fake drama warning, now they must eject themselves through an airlock to the other ship because of course transporters are down and for once they don't want to use a shuttle. They suit up in Daft Punk helmets and are whisked into the vacuum but must carefully dodge all kinds of space debris to get to the other ship's airlock door to which they've managed to perfectly align. If one, two or maybe three pieces of debris had been near or in the way it would have been dramatic if shot and edited properly but the Abrams Overkill Bunch put countless hundreds of bits of debris in the way and we get the 2001 graph-plot of Kirk and Khan using helmet images to avoid it with suit-thrusters or some such (nevermind the fact that the muscle-response time would be well beyond the approach time). 


And over at the other airlock Subplot Scotty has tethered his arm to a convenient bar so he doesn't get spaced when he hits that button (countdown clock gimmick). He hits the button, Kirk/Khan make it in and roll and slide a lot like when that Jake kid crashed on the deck in Phantom Menace ... meanwhile the big, beefy guard hassling Scotty gets sucked out. Amazing that Scotty wasn't torn from his arm, or that his lungs didn't get sucked out and that the guard going out didn't collide with Kirk/Khan coming in ... but I quibble.

Lots of running, some fighting - boy that Khan is good. Khan, Kirk and Scotty make it to the bridge of the Stealth 31 and blam-blam-blam Khan takes out everyone but Big Big Daddy Robocop and the blonde. Remember Bladerunner where Roy (Rutger Hauer) meets Tyrell and grabs his head and crushes it (we hear a crack)? Stolen and used here. Then Khan beats up Kirk (who should have a busted spleen, 10 broken ribs, broken jaw, etc. etc. if it were at all realistic since, hey, he's being pummeled by a superhuman) ... and then in the only truly unexpected moment Khan stomps on blonde Carol Marcus and breaks her leg or something. I think Scotty was cowering. Khan beams Kirk, Scotty and Carol Marcus back to the Enterprise since they just dropped a line of dialog earlier that one man can run Stealth 31. 


Scotty and Chekov (darn, he's still alive) get the Brewery/Collider working and ... Blue Tracer Bullets! The Enterprise warps away toward Earth to tell the truth about what's been going on (like they'll believe Kirk's report this time). Stealth 31 can chase and overtake in warp - coming up from behind (is this to be a rape?), and suddenly weapons fire of light-weapons back-and-forth while traveling ... several ... times ... faster ... than light. Hmmmm. 


Enterprise gets knocked out of its lane and Stealth 31 approaches for the coup de grace. Deal time - borrowing liberally again from original TOS-Kirk and Wrath of Khan-Kirk there is to be some negotiatin'. Khan wants his buddies in those 72 torpedoes stuffed with cryotubes and maybe psychotic mass-murderer will let Kirk's crew live. Somehow in a matter of minutes 72 cryotubes were pulled out of 72 torpedoes and the payloads replaced with readily-available explosives by Dr. McCoy and a nurse or two. Khan beams over what he thinks are his comrades in superhumandom. KabLaAAam! Khan was tricked, "I'm laughing at the superior intelligence, Khan. You're gonna have to come down here!" 

Somehow both ships are now in Earth's atmosphere and falling falling (some visual borrowing from Pitch Black and Battlestar Galactica Exodus Part II). The-Needs-of-the-Many-Kirk runs down to the warp core / Omega 13 and climbs and clambers his way inside a huge Event Horizon chamber and carefully realigns the Dilithium Crystals with his feet and ship's power is back online! This sequence has the Enterprise emerging from the clouds as it had been falling through them to music that sounded a lot like John Adams' Short Ride on a Fast Machine - which was good, because most of the music was pretty lame throughout and overbearing. Somewhere in here Spock calls Spock Prime Rib up on New Vulcan (in the Laurentian system?) for advice. 

Spock rushes to the radiation door of the warp/collider/Omega thing and Kirk is collapsed there dying and the movie shamelessly replays the Spock death scene in Wrath of Khan but with characters reversed. Groan-worthy if it were not for actor Chris Pine's terrific acting. Then Spock unleashes a primal scream - and that is cringe-worthy. 


And Die Star Hard Trek begins, or is it Clone Trek Wars. Cumber's Batch is kinda pissed with his 72 superhuman compatriots all blown to bits (so he thinks) and crashes the hulking remains of Stealth 31 into the Streets of San Francisco - taking out many buildings and probably thousands of people in a groan-worthy and cloying evocation of 9/11. Despite this massive destruction and carnage - on some streets traffic appears normal. 

Back on Enterprise whiz-kid Chekov can beam Spock into the city and the chase is on with one pasty white guy chasing another pasty white guy - unintentional dork hits the screen when actor Quinto's Spock-bangs go bouncing about like a Beatles bowl-cut as he runs. CB/Khan clambers (got to use that word twice!) onto the top of some kind of air-car and Spock swings onto the underside in a physics-defying leap. And Die Hard's John McClain gets beat up repeatedly as they fight and fight and nearly fall off the moving air-car again and again (after 10 times there is no suspense) ... oh wait, it's Spock, that's right.  


Here she comes to save the day: of all people Uhura is beamed down on top of the moving air-car (oh that's right, they jumped from one air-car to an identical one in there somewhere) and shoots a phaser (on stun, obviously) again and again and Khan is just too big a strong hunk-o-man to bring down. Then Spock goes all primal (again) and uses that flight-data-recorder from before (or some piece of metal the same shape and size) and turns out the lights of Cumber's Khan Batch. 

So the Enterprise is all but destroyed, San Francisco is partially in ruins, Stealth 31 is destroyed and now an open secret playground set, Khan has been clobbered, and Kirk is dead. But wait, the Capybara Tribble stirs - it coos, its air-hoses squeezed by off-camera technicians evoke life! And a little Khan blood later and a white-suited Dr. McCoy wakes up a reborn Kirk! I guess he'll be superhuman now and not so indecisive and tentative and sulking and introspective? Cue yet another Star Fleet ceremony (only with ridiculous hats) on the steps of some bank building and Kirk gives a speech. Meanwhile Khan and all his buddies are freezecicles and locked away in Warehouse 13.


The movie closes with Kirk getting to be Captain of another new Enterprise (they just churn these out in a factory somewhere?) and talking up a five-year-mission. End titles begin with a Pine voiceover of the intro from TOS (but his cadence is a bit fast and not punctuated) "Space the final frontier ..." and then some horrid 3-D planets jump at you with each actor's name while a smarmy version of Alexander Courage's original theme plays.


5.06.2013

2017 UNTIL THE NEXT STAR TREK?

Viacom/Paramount needs to cut JJ Abrams loose from the next Star Trek. Abrams is committed to Star Wars VII and that won't even come out until 2015, so four years, people, that's what they expect you to wait for another. There is no reason they can't turn these films around in 18 months if they bring in a new creative team. They can start with cast changes. I always wanted Karl Urban to play Spock long before the reboot was ever announced. Here's what he'd look like in the part. And here's Gabrielle Union as Uhura. 

5.05.2013

4.29.2013

SYFY's DEFIANCE

You know how you get embarrassed for someone else sometimes? You just cringe as they make a fool of themselves. Well, watching Defiance is like that. I've yet to make it through an entire episode. Egads, but this show is bad. Ugly and cheap are the two key words to describe it. You might throw in dumb too. I've read that SyFy spent a lot of money on this ... it sure doesn't show. It looks like a backlot most of the time. I've also noticed several names associated with Battlestar Galactica attached to this show - mostly writers and producers. The main faults with Defiance are the production design, art direction, terrible alien conceptions and costumes, set dressing and cinematography ... and the cast of characters. Every hackneyed archetype and the most cliche dialogue pollute this show. It is a shame to see Graham Greene's talents being wasted in this C-grade claptrap. There is nothing even approaching an original idea anywhere in this show. Hopefully it will die a mercifully quick death.

4.24.2013

JJ PISSES AGAIN ON STAR TREK

The core of being a Vulcan is mental discipline and control of one's emotions. In yet another departure from canon, JJ Abrams version of Star Trek now has not only kissypoo Spock but a screaming Spock. Once again a clear indication that Abrams is utterly dismissive of the original concept for the show and its canon.

What made Amok Time such a compelling episode was Spock's intense efforts to control his emotions per his culture despite the burn of animal lust. For shame.

4.23.2013

IT GETS WORSE: THE JJABRAMIZATION OF STAR TREK

Oooh, "darkness" - guess we better make the bad guy's super-Transformer ship actually dark - as in black (or dark grey), and the bridge will have a black floor instead of a red floor! What a "creative" meeting that must have been between JJ and the production designer and CGI team. (And note the cutout section of the saucer - WTF?)I guess it slipped their minds to give the villain a black cowboy hat.

JJ Abrams really just doesn't like Star Trek because he keeps overlaying non-Trek elements onto it. It is also lazy thinking and writing. First time round we had time-travel and alternate time-line (and red matter) to explain how he was just going to chuck whole elements out the window (our characters earning their positions and the planet Vulcan) and "reimagine" them and now we might be getting mirror universe hooey or, worse, some S.H.I.E.L.D.-like secret organization called Section 31 from the ancillary novels (nothing that has been in the films or any of the good television series). Gah, such hack writing. 

4.07.2013

J'ACCUSE JJ ABRAMS: YOU DON'T GET NOR RESPECT STAR TREK

Let's get this out of the way: JJ Abrams is vastly overrated as a writer and director. As a composer, I like him. As a producer, he's come up with some interesting projects but they rarely are cohesive and usually don't have good endings (LOST, Fringe, Cloverfield).


His second whack at Star Trek is due to come out soon (Star Trek Into Darkness), and it looks pretty terrible. The recent publicity stills features chicks and guns. JJ Abrams clearly does not understand or else intentionally disrespects Star Trek.

Spaceships, aliens, big themes and a journey of discovery - that is Star Trek. [When I reference Star Trek, I refer to the original series (TOS) as it is the only one that matters]

I am so hopeful he'll bow out of the next installment of Star Trek or that Viacom/Paramount will release him after "...Into Darkness" falls below expectations so he can then instead concentrate on reviving that tired Star Wars franchise.

As I noted in my review of his original Star Trek (linked here), he made ridiculous choices in terms of story, characters, casting, special effects and especially in his "re-imagining" of his alternate timeline of the story. The most egregious faults were his brewery subbing as the Engineering section, 40 shuttles, bug-eyed aliens and dwarf rock-monster aliens, the stupid swivel phasers, cheap-looking sets, the nauseating Spock-Uhura romance,  and especially the Plot Scrambler that put the right characters into the right chairs. The new film looks pretty bad, frankly. If the villain turns out to be Khan, Tremaine, Mudd, or a fucking tribble, who cares? It is not Trek- he's making Star Impossible Trek Mission.

Many fans already are quite apprehensive or outright dogging Star Trek Into Darkness given the storyline, trailers and promo visuals. Clearly it is not a spaceship on a journey (remember the "five-year mission"?), there don't seem to be any space battles, our hero (Kirk) is once again tentative and cocky whereas the Kirk of TOS was a man of high achievement and confidence. We get Spock vs. the Volcano for a sub-story that just seems idiotic even in the trailer (they couldn't beam the bomb into the volcano?). And the focus is on the villain - played by Brit-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberbatch (who got cast based upon his work in BBC's Sherlock Holmes reboot). Obviously Abrams and his creative team are trying to recapture the magic of the best of the films, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - which boiled down to a test of wills between good guy Kirk and over-the-top villain Khan (in a brilliant hammy performance by Ricardo Montalban). 

Abrams has had such a full plate over the years what with all his television series and other projects, it is hard to know how many of the bad choices are his. My insider at Paramount tells me that Abrams is very hands-on and often wants changes and to go over something several times before giving approval, so the blame should fall to him. It is his production company and his impramatur. I also blame his writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. They crafted the clunky dialogue and the terrible plot of the first film.  They did some fun campy stuff (Xena, Jack of All Trades) in their early career but their big movies have been pretty lame: Cowboys and Aliens, Transformers, The Island. [Gah! Update: I checked the credits and Damon Lindelof is also a writer on this one - now for sure it will suck]

I sure hope Sumner Redstone of Viacom and Brad Grey of Paramount decide to cut Abrams loose from the next Star Trek. Any number of directors and writers could take over the franchise and keep the basic JJ reboot aesthetic and work with the story developments (and problems) Abrams, et al brought to it. I still think Dean Parisot deserves a crack at a Star Trek film since he's already made the best one (GalaxyQuest). 

To fix it in the third film the new writer and director will need to work with the cheap gimmick of time-travel that Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman injected into the mix with 2009's Star Trek. It is fixable, but hamstrings the process. In my next post on this subject I'll show how it's done.

2.03.2013

ENTERPRISE DESTROYED YET AGAIN

Paramount released a few more frames in their "new" trailer during the Superbowl broadcast (I found it online) and, sure enough, they're destroying the Enterprise once again. How many times now? The original series had an Enterprise in jeopardy, which the intrepid crew rescued (and themselves) again and again. I'm so sick of these characters represented with self-doubt, with traitors among them, and the ship getting destroyed nearly every time out. What an utter lack of imagination. Please, JJ, break your contract and don't do a third Star Trek.

1.24.2013

YEA! NO MORE JJ ABRAMS STAR TREK

Now that JJ Abrams is off to do Star Wars he will be released from doing a third Star Trek if we're lucky. It is doubtful Paramount (Viacom) will still want him on their franchise while he's off at Disney doing Episode VII. I can't stand what  JJ has done to Star Trek - basically I think he's pissed all over it with his stupid variations on the characters, poor writing (Plot Scrambler puts people in the right chairs), and lousy visual choices. Further, he made it for kids, very dumbed-down and with a tentative Kirk and that ridiculous Spock-Uhura relationship.  I couldn't care less what he does with Star Wars. As far as I'm concerned there is only one great Star Wars film (the first) and another that is very good (Empire Strikes Back) - all the others are forgettable (with the exception of the scene of a legless Anakin struggling as he burns next to a river of lava).

 Hey Paramount, hire Dean Parisot for the next Star Trek - he's made the 2nd best Trek movie already (GalaxyQuest). 

1.06.2013

LOOPER ILLOGIC

I'll just list the dumb: 

 1. It is 2044, the future. Young and old versions of Looper character look nothing alike - despite some extensive make-up. Joseph Gordon Levitt has a wide, triangular face and Bruce Willis the perfect oval egg shape.

 2. Looper character is basically a douche-bag with no redeeming qualities, so don't know why an audience would like him 

 3. Young and old versions occupy the same space and time and even touch but don't zap each other into oblivion amid a shower of sparks for some reason.

4 . Production design and set-dressing are terrible - cheap-looking and unimaginative attempt at a dystopian future ... really terrible, especially the street scenes in the city.

 5. Obvious, cliched or gimmicky atmospherics: driving a Miata, wearing ties, eye-drop drugs, 90s nightclub, retro roadside diner, and the blunderbuss. 

 6. Farm Woman lives all alone with the Most Important Kid in the World (MIKW) and must shoo away trespassers regularly but leaves the house and barn open and lives her life like she's in a pharmaceutical commercial. 

 7. Older Looper is determined to make sure he can re-set time so his lady-love won't get whacked 30 years hence in his future-future-past 2074, yet doesn't see as his highest priority protecting his younger self when it has already been established that the mob bosses from the future want first-and-foremost to kill the younger version because that erases the older version. He could have just chained Young Looper to a wall somewhere and done his business and come back to free him later.

 8. Time-Machine looks like a leftover piece of junk (a pressure-chamber with hoses and wires) in an abandoned industrial warehouse - and why wouldn't the future mob bosses send their victims straight to the bottom of the sea or into the incinerator and skip the Looper middlemen (and paying them)? Yet another of Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millennial aesthetic choices in film to make a dull-looking future and special effects (K-PAX, Children of Men) with an insulting simple blur for the time-travel effect.  

 9. MIKW has telekinetic powers - woo. Turns out other people do to, but this is just a plot device to set up the kid's character who will somehow change everything in the future future future ... so the story veers from older Looper wanting to re-set his past to make sure he can live happily past his 30-year expiration date to needing to kill MIKW because he'll destroy everything in the future future future. Dumb. 

 10. You've seen it all before, in Outer Limits episodes, Twilight Zone episodes, and various sci-fi films. 

 Random Dumbness: Kid shows younger Looper secret tunnel to hide from hit-men at farmhouse but they expose it and exit from it once the immediate threat is gone;  Farm Woman is so worried about assassins and regular homeless/vagrant intrusion onto her property that she is always swinging an axe at a tree-stump and wielding her rifle and being alert, but has time to sit in her house with the doors unlocked and open and beckon young Looper for some sex in the middle of the night;  a Miata;  an assassin falls in love with a hardened hooker who seems to have zero feelings?;  everyone misses at close range when they fire guns even after one character talks about how accurate his aim is with his favorite weapon;  jet air-bike thing;  young Looper goes back to his apartment  right away once he finds out his mafia boss wants him dead;  Farm Woman takes forever getting truck loaded to escape and drives off with gas nozzle still hanging out of the truck (full snark on that one: a key example of terrible prod. design choices);  KIKW flips turck and nearly kills his mom and himself rather than just telekinetically making older murderous Looper's weapon go bye-bye. 

#11, and the pièce de résistance: Young Looper decides suddenly to be noble and break the loop by killing himself when nothing in his character nor backstory, especially the future-past life of his older self, would lead you to believe he had that in him or would ever do it. Further, the kid already TK'd a blast wave and why wouldn't he just wish older Looper into the cornfield as he kept coming anyway?

1.03.2013

AMERICAN HORROR STORY GENIUS BIT

AHS got much much better the past few episodes and last night's had a moment of pure genius. Jessica Lange's character has returned to the community room after an intense electro-shock session and while choosing a song on the new jukebox has a vision A better quality imaged version of the vid can be found in this io9 article here

12.25.2012

LEXX: CREATIVITY EXPLOSION

Been re-watching all of LEXX ... amazing how insanely creative that show was and what they were able to achieve with a limited budget. So wonderful how the throughline of the story has a such a resonant and poignant payoff in the final episode ... and along the way they spoof Star Trek, The Wizard of Oz, Brigadoon, Dracula, Survivor, survivalists, Apocalypse Now, internet porn, and so much more ... just genius.  

12.17.2012

EXTENDED STAR TREK TRAILER LEAKS ON RUSSIAN SITE

The extended trailer doesn't have a whole lot more than what's been in the two shorter trailers: It starts off like a car commercial, then they go to Professor X's School for Mutants (oh it's a hospital), some nobodies give a white rabbit stuffed animal to a sick kid ... Cumber's Batch appears and says "I can save her" ... natives chase Kirk and McCoy on the Red Plant planet ... Kirk shoots another dumb-looking CGI creature left over from Lucasfilm and the phaser sounds like a Photon Torpedo (garage-spring clang) ... lots of fake drama: Sulu "We can't take this heat" - then why are you piloting a shuttle craft into a volcano? ... more of the nauseating Uhura-Spock kissy-kissy ... lousy pilot (remember the parking brake?) Sulu clips some rocks and has to dump Spock - who somehow doesn't break all his ribs and legs falling that far ... Sulu and Uhura ditch the shuttle (why didn't they just use a transporter in the first place? ... oh that's right, JJ Abrams' lazy writing is mistaken as drama) ... Kirk and McCoy jump off a cliff and swim like dolphins to the submerged Enterprise (no, really) ... Scotty is now wearing red and we are told the "salt-water is not good for the engines" (oh, dear) ... Spock sets up some overly-complicated volcano-neutralizing device on a rock in the middle of a lake of magma (again, couldn't use transporter to put it there?) ... In sleek but overly decorative Speedo unitards Kirk, McCoy and Uhura are all now back on the bridge and going to save Spock - lots of shouting ... cut back to Spock having a Volcano-gasm ... cut to snippets of what we've seen in the other trailers

12.10.2012

STAR TREK VILLAIN FAKE-OUTS BY JJ ABRAMS

The latest PR for Star Trek (Into Darkness -blechh) is that a glorified extra from the original series (TOS as the die-hards call it) is the new villain. Some think it is a fake-out that it is Khan masquerading as this guy. Lame choice either way. Garth would be a better pick than Khan or this guy Harrison. JJ Abrams is pissing all over the glory that was TOS. Oh, Kirk, look out behind you - giant unnecessary hole in floor.

12.07.2012

BRAVURA ACTING IN BATTLESTAR

Been watching the series again - the mini to midway through Season 2 and it really is a travesty that the superb work done by so many of the actors on the show was never formally acknowledged by the industry. Mary McDonnell should have won at least a couple of SAG/Emmy/Golden Globes and Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer should have won at least one or two as well. James Callis and Michael Hogan in the men's dept. should have at least been nominated. Honorable mention to Lucy Lawless. Such a treasure this show (at least through Season 3).

11.18.2012

BLAND BLOND BOND

Skyfall was entertaining but a weak entry into the Bond franchise. The always watchable Javiar Bardem hams it up deliciously as the villain - doing a more animated, gay twist on his killer from No Country for Old Men. Adele's opening title song is evocative of the best Shirley Bassey versions. Those are two out of the 3 good things about the movie.

They went lo-tech for this entry - no Moonraker lasers or underwater cars and such ... in fact the whole film is a very intentional reboot to the classic roots of the first Connery films, but too obviously so. We can see, you don't need to tell us too.


I sure hope this is the last film with all the touchy-feely emotional bullshit that has ruined the Bond franchise. Fight, fuck, kill ... and see the world, that's the Bond we want. No remorse, no introspection - just a nice dash of wit and élan.

Now that mother is out of the picture (*spoiler* they kill off Judy Dench's M) they've given us a black Moneypenny (who is a bit annoying) and new male M - both meant to evoke the originals (same basic office layout -but now with window!).


The movie excels in the lush color-palette (except for the ugly color of that padded leather door to M's new office) and production design ... beautiful to look at but pretty pedestrian in terms of exposition. All the dialogue about getting old, being too old, made you think you were watching Star Treks II, III and IV - I was waiting for M to say, "Chasing around the galaxy is for the young."


We don't want a Bond that fails his proficiency tests, who has doubt, who gets shot, who has touching memories of his orphanage and cries when Mommy dies.


The new Q (a wasted use of the very capable Ben Wishaw) gives Bond a gun which he promptly loses to a overlarge CGI Komodo dragon and, when on the run, Bond it seems has an extra car stashed away (retro nod) but doesn't have extra weapons? Even Hit Girl in KickAss had a room full of weapons. The improvised weapons of the giant Scottish manse were dumb.


Cliche after cliche, you felt the movie dissapating as you got up from your chair - nothing truly creative, nothing memorable and only one scene that actually got your full attention - when Bardem makes his Frank'n'Furter elevator entrance and proceeds to weird-vibe Bond just by talking while Bond is bound to a chair.


11.09.2012

BSG BLOOD & CHROME IS AWESOME SO FAR

Stupid stupid SyFy Channel. And NBC (since they own BSG). Blood & Chrome's pilot is absolutely terrific. The first two installments of the "web series" (the pilot chopped up) are better than anything that dumb channel has had its line-up in foreva. 
Ep 1

Ep 2

The kid playing Adama is way too good-looking but plays the part well. The production design is bangin' - with just enough difference to cheat the timeline and tie the shows (BSG, Caprica) together. The other actors are all good too. The story moves and there is a very visceral feel to the whole thing. Crisp and smart dialog so far. Kudos to those who made this. You should be working on a series if there was any justice in this world.