10/30/2009

How many times can we talk about Star Wars and Star Trek in the same week? Well. Every week, but still, it's pretty cool.  In the comments you can agree or disagree.
  1. The Firefly Serenity ship model, which costs $2,495, is way too expensive for the average geek. However, it would look great next to a hundred dollar lightsaber.
  2. The Planet Hulk story line of 2006, which chronicled the expulsion of hulk from Earth and his subsequent rise to power on the planet Sakaar, chronicles the most significant change to the character since the Grey Hulk. "Planet Hulk", the next straight to DVD animated movie, is going to be the must have DVD of 2010.
     
  3. Tricia Helfer and Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica are being featured in the November issue of Maxim. Far from being sexy, the photos of the two bone-thin actresses make us want to eat a sandwich.
  4. Brett Ratner saying that his "X-Men: The Last Stand" "kept the franchise alive" makes about as much sense as Joel Schumacher saying taking credit for "The Dark Knight".
     
  5. FACEOFF: If you could only watch one more Alice in Wonderland adaptation before you die, would it be Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" or SyFy's Alice?
     
  6. We would gladly move to New York again now that they've added LCD televisions that let you see the subway train car's location in real-time.
     
  7. Now that we see pictures of the new Klingons from the DVD of  J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" we're glad they were cut out of the final film.
    ODDSMAKERS:
    Odds that the Klingon's will show up in the next movie.
  8. The guy who posted a Craigslist add for a legless amputee to complete his "Chewbacca carrying C-3PO" costume deserves to get blown up by the Death Star.

10/28/2009

One of the most controversial (a.k.a. geeks hated it, nobody else thought twice about it) scenes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the scene where Indiana survives a nuclear blast at ground zero by hiding in a refrigerator. The scene was so infamous that it spawned the term "nuking the fridge." Considering how much hatred the scene inspired, why would anyone want a collectible action figure of it that costs $175? One would assume the answer would be nobody. So what does it mean that all 600 of them sold out before it was even released? That scene couldn't have been that bad, right? Yes, it was. But the action figure is funny. Never underestimate the power of irony.

10/27/2009

Babylon 5 was an amazing show and, while it's long gone, this video (set to BNL - One Week) sums up everything we loved about the show with all it's bizarre twists and turns.

For all of you people who loved babylon 5, well this is the clip for you, the entire 5 years of babylon 5 done in song!thats right, 2:28 min long and approx 130 cuts this clip was a labor of love between John McCaffrey and lance jackson for a season that gave us much joy. so im putting this up here for everyone to enjoy!  Song By Tom Smith - The Worlds Fastest Finker! (http://www.tomsmithonline.com/)

YouTube - Tom Smith - Five Years

Takes me back.

10/26/2009

How much do you trust Roland Emmerich? The answer to that question will tell you whether you'll like his up-coming adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. Originally a collection of short stories about an organization trying to rebuild after the collapse of the "Galactic Empire".

Roland says that the challenge will be to find a common thread to tell the story.
"There's not one character going through, so Bob Rodat came to me and ... He said, 'We have to consolidate the characters.' And that's what we did, and that's what's worked really, really well in the context. And I think that if Asimov ... would have ... conceived this as a science fiction trilogy or series from the very beginning, he would have done that, too... I think in spirit [the movie is] totally Foundation..."

If you haven't read it, please do, since it's brilliant and has influenced science-fiction for decades since it's original publication in 1952. If you have read it, then you know it hasn't aged well, and while influential is flawed in spots and confusing at times. Still, we can only imagine the three hour mess that anyone would make trying to string it all into a coherent narrative. Much like Frank Herbert's often-tried "Dune" series, there are some stories that work best as books and fair poorly on the screen.

10/23/2009

Here's this week top stories and opinions. In the comments you can agree or disagree. Join in the conversation!
  1. The new Laptop Steering Wheel Desk from "Mobile Office" is guaranteed to cause an accident since someone out there is going to decide to use it to eat and work on their laptop while driving.

  2. The "Burger King Windows 7 whopper", which is five inches tall and boasts seven meat patties is a brilliant marketing campaign since everyone and their mother is talking about how unhealthy it is.
    ODDSMAKERS:
    Morgan Spurlock will make a sequel to "SuperSize Me" called "Windows 7 Whopper Me".

  3. Microsoft's profits are down 18%, which means that Bill Gates can only afford to buy and sell every human on the planet for $1.94. This provides some comfort that one day Microsoft will one see that human beings have value.

  4. ODDSMAKERS: The number of people that will go to see "Avatar", an up-coming sci-fi movie from Steven Spielburg, and think their going to see "The Last Airbender", the M. Night Shamalyn film based on the animated show "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

  5. The trailer for Benicio Del Toro's "The Wolfman" looks cool, but it's hard not to with all the quick cuts and driving hard rock music. Frankly, this new movie will do about as well as all the other recent werewolf films. Jack Nicholson we're looking in your direction.
    TOSS UP:
    Which would you rather be chased by Benicio Del Toro's Wolfman or FangFace?

  6. Tonight's episode of "Dollhouse" named "Belonging" will in no way diminish our hope that the show gets picked up by cable television.
    OVER\UNDER: The show will last six more episodes before being canceled

  7. Someone, somewhere will buy the "Transformers AllSpark" Rubik's cube simply to complete his growing collection of Rubik's cubes.
    ODDSMAKERS:
    That man will die happy in a bed made of cubes.

  8. Now that Harlan Ellison has finally reached a settlement in his lawsuit over the Star Trek episode "The City on the edge of forever" he wrote over 41 years ago, he'll finally stop being such an egomaniac.
What do you think? Agree or Disagree?

10/21/2009

The good news is that it looks like a Swamp Thing movie is finally going to be made that respects the original character. Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter, describes the movie in terms that would make any comic book fan smile and nod: "We want a film with real Southern, dark horror overtones, a little bit like a classic Universal horror film." The only problem? He's the same screenwriter who wrote Batman and Robin and Lost in Space. Just don't put nipples on his costume, okay?

10/19/2009

In our first review of SyFy channel movies it's important to establish that we love bad movies, thanks to long nights with MST3K.  That said, there's good bad, and bad-bad.  This movie is bad-bad.  The film is so bad, the writer\director Jack Perez changed his name to the pseudonym Ace Hannah for this film.

"Mega shark vs Giant Octopus" is a surprisingly boring disaster film from the Schlockbuster team of The Asylum. Considering the movie revolves around the promise of a giant shark AND a giant octopus fighting, the movie itself is very small and dull.

The movie starts with a submersible whale-watching in the Arctic ocean. At the same time, a military helicopter accidentally causes an ice cliff to shear off and release a prehistoric shark (Megaladon) and a giant octopus (Enteroctopus Dofleini). The Genius-Scientist-Noone-Believes (GSNB) Emma MacNeil, played by 80's pop star Deborah "Debbie" Gibson, finds one of the beached whales was attacked by a giant shark. Thanks to the help of her old Irish professor, played by Sean Lawlor, and a Chinese scientist, played by frequent television actor Vic Chao, they begin to track a series of sea attacks on an oil rig, a battleship and an airplane(?!).  Thanks to the requisite Military-Commander-Up-to-No-Good (MCUNG) Allan Baxter, played by aging hipster doofus Lorenzo Lamas they concoct a cunning plan.

Their ingenious plan is to lure the creatures to the California coast using glowing bottles of pheromones.  What's supposed to happen when they bring these incredibly dangerous animals to a highly populated area isn't spelled out. What does happen is the beasts go on a rampage and kill thousands of people, destroying the San Fransisco Bay Bridge in the process.  Their response to this is to sigh wistfully like they lost a Boggle championship instead of causing the deaths of innocent people.

In a fit of desperation, they decide to implement the plan that was spelled out in the title of the film.  Since the two are "natural enemies", they lead them to the Artic sea to battle to the death. While this is supposed to be the highlight of the film, any semblance of excitement dwindles away as the same three shots of the shark being choked by the octopus before having a tentacle bitten off and the shark speeding towards the camera are shown over and over again.

Which shows what really hampers the film from reaching its full potential: The budget. We're not even talking about the cheap and boring screen-saver-quality CGI. Even the movie sets are recycled and reused. Besides the fact that the interior of a submarine looks like a warehouse with walls of buttons and switches, there's the improbable fact that the American submarine looks exactly like the interior of the Japanese sub. 

One highlight of the film, however, is the surprising twist in the romantic relationship between the GSNB and the Chinese adviser. I say surprising, not only because it's an inter-racial relationship, but because the two are talking and then, suddenly, start having sex in the closet of the lab.  Some might call that lack of chemistry and acting skills, but I call that passion.

In the end, the best thing to do is read the title, close your eyes and imagine the film that could have been. Mine has ninjas in it.
I consider FOX's Dollhouse a rare moment in sci-fi television. It's a highly intellectual and high-concept TV show with seemingly limitless potential that was set to be canceled, but was saved at the last minute by the fans. That's not the rare part. Happens quite a bit in sci-fi TV. What's rare is that, three episodes into the second season, it's clear to me that the renewal was a mistake. This is a show that is fundamentally flawed and will never survive without significant changes. The producers and writers failed to make those changes, proving that they'll never get it right with a million seasons.

The biggest problem with Dollhouse is one of character. The show's "hero," Echo, is at best a blank slate by design. Her personality changes every week in her missions, and when she's not on assignment, she is an intentionally bland and child-like figure. Worse yet, though the show constantly makes references to her being different and special, so far she seems no different than any of the other actives in the Dollhouse. As a result, we have no emotional investment in her. After a full season, I personally didn't really care about her. This hasn't changed with the new season.

Another problem is that the basic premise of the show is ludicrous. We're supposed to believe that millionaires across the world spend top dollar to hire these actives for missions no one else can do. But most of the missions that the actives have been on have been things that a normal person could have done with the right training. Hostage negotiation, infiltration of a fanatic cult, a bodyguard to a celebrity, these are the missions we've seen on the show. While they have been interesting, I've had a hard time accepting that the dolls would be worth the money in the real world. The only real advantage of using an active is that their mind is wiped afterward, so they won't reveal what they've seen. Prostitution is a much better use for the dolls, something that's been implied is the main source of revenue for the Dollhouse, but doesn't make for good television. At least not on the mainstream networks.

With the low ratings, it looks like Dollhouse will be lucky to survive its second season. And I think that's a good thing. Either the writers need to find a way to give Echo a personality, come up with real reasons to use the Dollhouse, and save the show or let's put Dollhouse out of its misery.

10/16/2009

Here's this week top stories and opinions. In the comments you can agree or disagree. Join in the conversation!


  1. While "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was good for a laugh, the upcoming "Little Women and Werewolves" pushes a good idea over the edge into stupidity and the trend is destroying classic literature.
    ODDSMAKERS: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Frankenstein" will be made within twelve months
  2. Transformers 3 is set to open in 2011, and if Michael Bay makes good on his veiled threats and kicks Megan Fox out of the franchise, it could only make them better.
     
  3. The test footage for the Tron sequel "Tron: Legacy" rivals the original in terms of ground-breaking special effects including a digitally de-aged Jeff Bridges.
     
  4. Anyone purchasing the Tauntaun sleeping bag will find themselves sleeping alone for a long time.
     
  5. Now that Sam Raimi admits that Spider-Man 3 had way too many villains, the next sequel should return the magic to the franchise, but will make less money.
    OVER\UNDER: Spider-Man 4 will make $10 million in it's first weekend.
What do you think? Agree or Disagree?

10/14/2009

Back in July 7th 2009, the 16-year old "Sci-Fi channel" rebranded itself with the goofy name "SyFy". While the Internet buzzed with comments like "Sounds like the name of a water bottling company," and "Sounds like some kind of mop, blender, or gossip magazine,".

They said in their press releases that the reason was “If you ask people their default perceptions of Sci Fi, they list space, aliens and the future,” Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions “That didn’t capture the full landscape of fantasy entertainment: the paranormal, the supernatural, action and adventure, superheroes.”

The real reason is that you can't copyright the word Sci-Fi since its in common use. “We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” Bonnie said “But we can own Syfy.”

It's been months since the name change, and while I can't argue with the new direction, the name still stinks.  But that's big business for you.  In related news, next week "The Food network" is being changed to "The Fjuuuude network".

10/13/2009

While we hate to talk about movies in development we thought we'd share some news on the ‘Venom’ Movie since this is a classic example of all-concept but no-point. They green-light a Venom movie after the success of Spider-Man 4 (go figure) and spend the next few years trying to figure out what to do with it. Finally, they hit on the idea of making him a hero which did nothing to help the character in the comics and led them to make another character to replace him: Carnage. Yes, Venom became such a nice-guy they had to make a sadistic serial-killer to get back the edge of the villain. No word if Topher Grace will star, but since the studio never wanted him in the role to begin with, it's doubtful.

10/10/2009

Here's this week top stories and opinions.  In the comments you can agree or disagree. Join in the conversation!

  1. The Joker Blogs are getting a lot of attention for it's spot on impression of Heath Ledger's Joker being interviewed by Dr. Quinzel. But, this time next year there will be a bunch of imitaters in the spirit of YTMND looking to cash in on the idea.
    OVER\UNDER: There will be 95 blogs based around the same theme this time next year

  2. The new Doctor Who logo, two new series (K-9, and cartoon) and new doctor are all disturbing signs.  The Doctor Who phenomen is starting to wind down and may have already jumped the shark.

  3. With Marvel announcing a release date and new promotional poster for the "Avengers" movie, and Edward Norton discounting rumors that he doesn't want to replay Bruce Banner, this film is setting up to be the blockbuster of 2012. It will also destroy a number of franchises since people will only want to watch them in one movie and will skip the individual sequels.

  4. The new tool from Google, called Wave, will revolutionalize communication but will also ramp up privacy concerns since it doesn't allow for deleting of content.
    ODDMAKERS: Odds that Wave will replace email in five years.

  5. The Viewmaster movie, based on toy, will be highly original and not at all gimmicky.

What do you think?

10/07/2009

They wanted to make a comic movie so badly...
10. Hulk (2003): It’s a simple idea. Scientist gets blasted with gamma rays and turns into a gigantic, super strong monster when he’s angry. How hard is that to mess up? Director Ang Lee succeeded with spectacular results.

He turned the simple origin into a confusing tangle of pseudo-science involving nanotechnology and bioengineering, gave Bruce Banner the most convoluted childhood in movie history, and had the Hulk fighting a giant poodle. The special effects were awesome, but Lee manages to almost ruin that by having most of the Hulk’s appearances occur at night, obscured by shadows. Give Ang Lee points for the Hulk tank fight in the desert, but the rest was botched. Thankfully, this one got a do-over.

9. Steel (1997) All you need to know about this movie is that Shaquille O’Neal stars in it. If that isn’t enough to dissuade you, picture Shaq in a metal suit of armor that looks like it was made of tin foil and old car parts.

While we can understand getting rid of the character's Man-of-Steel origin, they completely ignored the attempts by the source material to give the character dignity and honor.  His Fortress of Solitude is in a garbage dump and his high-tech armor looks like it was made by Sandford and Sons. The plot, a bewildering story about gangs using high-tech weapons to take over the city, falls flat at the same time it uses every cliche in the book.  Directed by legendary television producer, writer and director Kenneth Johnson, this film is one and only theatrical movie credit and it shows.  "Steel" probably would have made a better television pilot and spared us the price of a ticket.

8. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003): One of the most brilliant graphic novels ever made seemlessly and effortlessly combining comic books with the great literary work of history. Take that idea, take away the deep characterization, intrigue, mystery and originality and you get this movie. The producers were so out of touch with the purpose of the comic that they shortened the name to "L.X.G." to make it "hip and cool" ignoring the irony of the old style Victorian language.

This film wouldn't have been so bad except they changed pretty much everything they could think of.  They left most of the main characters except Crawly Griffin as "The Invisible man" (who was changed to another man because of legal reasons), but they lacked the moral ambiguity and complexity from the novel.  The plot eliminated 90% of the ingenious plot twists instead replacing them with new plot twists that made little sense.  The special effects were dubious at best with a giant rubber suit substituting for the in-human bulk of Mr. Hyde (where's CGI when you really need it). After this movie, the star veteran actor Sean Connery went into retirement from film-making. The movie is that bad.

7. Captain America (1990): Total ineptitude is the only way to describe this film. They took the best Captain America villain, the Red Skull", and wasted him.  Steve Rogers (Captain America) is a skinny guy with absolutely no leading man qualities and his costume is an ill-fitting rubber jumpsuit.  The plot is non-existent and unnecessarily convoluted. No love for the original leads them to make bizarre changes like plastering bad wax makeup on an Italian actor (instead of German) only to switch to a lumpy flesh-colored makeup ten minutes into the film. Just awful.

6. Supergirl (1984): Let’s be honest. Supergirl has never gotten much respect in comic book circles. Maybe it’s the skirt. Maybe it’s the “Superman’s cousin” thing. But she deserved better than this. This movie claims that another spaceship left Krypton around the same time Superman did. Oddly enough, no one noticed or mentioned it until now. This movie was mostly forgettable, but we think the fact that the villain is a phony witch who gains real mystical powers is a sign of how bad it was. Lex Luthor, she wasn’t. Plus, no Superman. What’s up with that?

5. Watchmen (2009): Another bad translation of a classic Alan Moore comic. Unlike “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s” liberal use of the source material, this movie’s sin is the opposite problem – being too faithful to the original graphic novel. It took a twelve-issue miniseries with dozens of characters and a story spanning thirty years and tried to cram it all into a few hours. The result was a mess of unexplained events, flashbacks, storylines that go nowhere, and vaguely defined characters. The bad acting didn’t help. The best way to enjoy this film is to watch the trailer a hundred times.

4. Batman & Robin (1997): A movie so bad that it almost killed an entire movie franchise. It’s hard to know where to begin with how bad this movie was. Do we go with the nonsensical art design (neon-lit guns)? The cheesy dialogue (“The Iceman Cometh!”)? The weird costume decisions like big erect nipples on the Batman suit and funky red hair on Poison Ivy? The odd casting (George Clooney playing George Clooney in a Batman costume, Uma Thurman doing a bad Mae West impression)? A storyline taken from a cartoon with none of the emotional impact? Horrendous interpretations of the characters (Bane turned into a zombified thug, Mr. Freeze doing a sing-a-long with “Jack Frost”)? The only decent thing about this movie is the ice special effects.

3. Fantastic Four (2005): Yeah, it made a lot of money, but was any fan of the comic really happy with it? This movie camped it up almost as much as “Batman and Robin,” but with less style. Goofy characters, a weak romantic subplot, Jessica Alba cast solely for the way she looks in tights, and a Doctor Doom with electrical powers made true fans of FF cringe. We hear they’re making a dark reboot of the series, but the one thing this movie proved is that the Fantastic Four have really silly powers. I mean, stretching? Turning invisible? I’d like to see “dark” versions of that.

2. The Return of Swamp Thing (1989): The original "Swamp Thing" (1982) was awfully good. Meaning it's heart was in the right place, but the special effects and acting were awful.  Plenty of unintentional laughs, but the scene where Swamp Thing is trying to create a formula to reverse his transformation is genuinely heart-breaking. On the other hand, the sequel tried to put a positive spin on becoming a walking salad bar by lightening his mood and adding a love interest with Heather Locklear. The "Un-Men", hybrid animal mutations created by the cloned villain Arcane tried to be true to the comic, but in the end just looked cheap.

1. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987): With all due respect to Christopher Reeve, this was arguably the worst Superman film ever made...at least without Richard Pryor anyway.  Christopher Reeve agreed to put the suit back on on two conditions: One, allow him to use Superman to push his political philosophies on nuclear weapons and war.  So, the cast Lex Luthor as the world's worst arms-dealer selling nuclear-powered super-villians to racial sterotypes from around the world. Two, he didn't want to wear the flight harness that allowed them to shoot the amazing flying effects, but crushed his testicles in the process.  The most immediate consequence of this is that his flying scenes look like he was filmed lying on a table shot straight at the camera.  The other problem with this approach is that apparently this was still too much work for him so they recycled about five minutes worth of video and looped it over and over again through the film. This film had overdone and hackneyed acting set to cheap special effects. A laughable plot with holes Superman could throw the moon through (an actual plot element) and the guest appearance of Jon Cryer. It barely made the list, but we were split on The Shadow (1995) so this won out.

What do you think?

BONUS LINK: Read our list of the Top Ten Best Comic Book Movies of all time.

10/05/2009

Nicholas Cage, who was signed on to play the main villain, Chudnofsky in Green Hornet has decided to step out of the role saying the character was too one-dimensional. He said he "wasn't interested in just being just a straight-up bad guy who was killing people willy-nilly." Despite trying to add some more dimension to the character he added "I had to have some humanity and to try to give it something where you could understand why the character was the way he was but I don't think there was enough time to develop it."

The film, starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, is set to be released in December 2010. No one questions Seth's commitment to the role since he lost 30 pounds to play the newspaper publisher-turned-crimefighter, but, maybe he's too committed. Stephen Chow, the previous director, also left the film citing "creative differences" with him.

The idea of a "Green Hornet" movie is a good one, especially considering how few Asians have made it into comic-book movies (albeit a slightly stereotypical role as a kung-fu fighter). But, I just don't get a good vibe about it.

It seems to be fighting upstream, and that rarely makes for a good film unless the director's name is Terry Giliam.

What do you think? Can this film be saved?

BONUS LINK: Check out a (possibly fake) image of Nicholas Cage as Tim Burton's Superman.

10/02/2009

I decided to rename the "Sci-Fi Snippets" feature to something else since it's not very descriptive. Put your suggestions in the comments if you like.

We present this week's Sci-Fi news and opinions. True or False?
  1. Now that Sci-Fi wire SCI FI Wire has proven without a shadow of a doubt that "Flash Forward" and "Lost" are nothing alike, and it definitely makes the show more original.
    ODDSMAKERS: Percentage of readers that won't click on the attached link.

  2. The make-up and voice effects for Freddy Krueger are vastly different from the original, making him look and sound like an actual burn victim. While the old look was less accurate, Freddy now looks much less scary.

  3. Now that digital make-up has gotten to the level where they can make a 54-year-old actor like Bruce Willis in the "Surrogates" look like he's in his twenties it won't be long before this technique is used to de-age actors on a regular basis.
    ODDSMAKERS:
    Likelihood that Robert Redford that would use this for his next movie.

  4. Dollhouse has had it's worst ratings yet, being called "the lowest-rated show on a major broadcast network". The show is high-concept, but it will guarantee that Joss Whedon will never get another television show on Fox again.
    OVER\UNDER: The ratings will drop below 1.0 next week.

  5. A new portable weapon to deliver pain is being developed. This weapon will be used primarily on members of the African-American community...with the exception of Andrew Meyer.

AddThis

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!