6/29/2010

The best thing about the up-coming Green Hornet film is the superhero car "Black Beauty." Having the right "whip" is important to a superhero and even Batman knows that "chicks dig the car." With the release of the Green Hornet trailer we get more shots of the ride, and we now present the 17 cars superheros drive that we love.

1. Batman's Bat-Mobile 60s

This is the car that sets the standard for all others. The epitome of style and everything has a helpful "Bat..." label on it. Based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, this behemoth still inspires.

6/26/2010

We just got a press release about one of our favorite web series "Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager." The humor of these videos comes from Chad's perfect mix of ego and incompetence. If you've never seen or heard of him, head over to Babelgum to watch it.

You can find out more and read the entire press release after the jump...

6/25/2010

Richard Matheson, the writer of such iconic stories as I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man is being inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame this weekend.
Richard Matheson is among the most prolific and quietly recognizable authors of science fiction short stories, novels and screenplays. His first short story, "Born of Man and Woman," was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1950. Although written as a simple tale of terror, the tale was lauded as a great work of science fiction, earning Matheson immediate fame. Matheson transitioned to TV and film writing in the late 1960s, adapting a number of his stories and novels for the screen. Among his most notable film adaptations are hisfirst novel I Am Legend (1954; filmed originally as The Omega Man, 1971), and The Shrinking Man (1956; filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957) for which he earned a Hugo award. Matheson's publications and film work often explore themes of human existence facing alternate reality and incorporate the paranormal, terror, survival and ardor.
The total list of inductees this year are Octavia E. Butler, Richard Matheson, Douglas Trumbull and Roger Zelazny. They join such illustrious writers as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Edgar Rice Burroughs. The guy is an amazing writer and, if you think you know I Am Legend you owe it to yourself to read the original novel. It's mind-blowing in its scientific explanation of vampirism and sense of isolation.

What do you think about Richard Matheson being in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame?
The Box is a confusing mess of pointless items that eventually waters down the original story and answers no questions.

Imagine you receive a mysterious box covered in expensive velvet. You take the box inside and open it to find a cowbell, a stuffed beaver, two pieces of ribbon and a slide whistle. The note says all will be explained and you wait in anticipation. Watching The Box is kind of like this.

Based on an 1986 episode of The Twilight Zone called "Button, Button", The Box stars James Marsden and Cameron Diaz as a Southern couple living an everyday middle-class existence in 1976. She's a teacher with a twisted foot and he works for as an engineer at NASA. You know. Your average working class family. One day a mysterious man (Frank Langella), with part of his face missing, leaves a box and instructions that if they push the button two things will happen: They will get one million dollars in cash and someone they don't know will die. He leaves them 24 hours to make their decision.

The consequences of their decision make up the bulk of the movie. At first glance, director Richard Kelly sets up a wide array of interesting items for our review. He said that when they decided to expand the original short story into a feature-length movie they decided to explore the origins of the box and the reason for it. By the end of the film, the couple are faced with another moral decision implying that the first one wasn't enough.

Let's go back to the box that you received at the beginning of this review. Imagine as you take all the items out you wait in eager anticipation offinding out what all these things mean. A man comes, takes the ribbon and says that this is a bookmark. He walks away and leaves you explaining nothing else.  Pretty unsatisfying right?

By the end of the movie, only 1% of the basic questions are answered and none of the other questions are answered at all. Its implies that the box comes from aliens that are testing humanity, but why are they only testing people that work at NASA? Why did the lightning burn the guy's face but nothing else. Why is the purpose of having the wife with a twisted foot? What is the average air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

The Twilight Zone episode had a number of advantages over the big budget movie. They had a built in answer for the question of why things happened. They were in another dimension. The characters were set up as extremely poor living in an apartment. They were also set up as slightly morally bankrupt. In the movie they push they button because they don't believe it does anything.

So, in the end, the movie falls way short of its potential. The Box is pointless and empty.

Two out of five stars.

Would you watch The Box?

6/24/2010

David Prowse, the actor who famously played Darth Vader (not the voice) in the original Star Wars trilogy has just posted on his site that he's been banned from the big Lucas Film Star Wars Celebration V (C5) in Orlando.

"It is with regret that I have been informed by my friends at C2 Ventures, Ben and Phillip, that I am not to be invited to C5 this year or any other Lucas Film associated events. After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have 'burnt too many bridges between Lucas Film and myself' - no other reason given...I have also been advised by the promoter of Paris Manga in September that LFL (Lucas Film Limited) have requested no photo opportunities with the 501 Squadron, even though I am commander in chief of the 501"
It's possible this stems from complaints he made to Slashfilm last year that he isn't getting any residual checks because, according to LucasFilms, the films "never made a profit."

If so, this is criminal. The guy's 76-years-old. He has massive arthritis problems. He's had hip and knee replacement surgery and can't move one of his arms. His main source of income is that he was one of the actors in the most successful movie franchise in history. Emperor Lucas, send the guy a couple of checks or, at least, let him do some photo-ops.

Show support for David Prowse by signing our online petition to LucasFilm.
What do you think of Darth Vader being banned from Star Wars?

UPDATED 3: Fyxt tipo fur da secynd tyme. Thanks Tim. :)
UPDATED 2: There is some really good insights and discussion on this topic thanks to DrJulianBashir on Reddit. I would also like to add that there are some gut-bustingly funny comments there too. If this keeps up, we may have to have a contest to see which is the best one. Great job guys!

UPDATED: Added clarification of Prowse role as Darth Vader and omitted incorrect information on health problems. Changed typos

6/23/2010

The Star Trek corset made by Evening Arwen allows women to be geeky and uncomfortable at the same time...just like when they go to a Star Trek movie surrounded by nerds. Unfortunately, they no longer seem to be available, so breathe long and prosper. [pic from Geekologie]

Simon Pegg, who went on to play Mr. Scott in the Star Trek 2008 movie, once said that every odd-numbered Star Trek film being bad was a fact of life. Is it true? This chart will answer the question.

Do you think the Star Trek flms are doomed to fail?

6/21/2010

The second of the two-part episode, titled "Cold Blood," renewed my faith in Doctor Who and is easily my favorite episode so far.

The episode picked up where the previous one, "The Hungry Earth," left off. The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Dr. Nasreen Chaudry (Meera Syal) were exploring the surprisingly large underground city of the reptilian Silurians. Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) was about to be "decontaminated" and the others struggle under the prediction of their captive underground invader that one of them will kill her.

This episode moved quickly as it showed that not all the Silurians were militantly evil and some were actually trying to help. Even a scene where Amy and Nasreen are brokering a peace treaty with the leader felt exciting and tense because of what was at stake. Star Trek could take a few lessons from this.

Scenes where the Northover family were struggling between the desire to be "the best of humanity," and the natural desire to protect their family was touching. The Doctor was shown at his best as a negotiator and a peace-lover. Its still interesting to me how he acts more distant from the human race than he did in past regenerations.

I'm not going to spoil anything, but the "Time Crack" reappears with heart-wrenching results and one major piece of foreshadowing.

"Cold Blood" was clever, moving and eventful.
4 out of 5 stars.

How do you feel the fifth season of Doctor Who is going so far?

[Image from guardian.co.uk]
One thing that I have found most annoying about the movie Avatar is the chorus of praise for its "scientific accuracy." I don't know of any movie short of Star Trek that has tried so hard to convince its fans that it's based on real science, and fallen so short. So I thought it would be useful to just make an archive showing that the movie is not science-fiction; it's science mixed with fantasy.

I know I promised this week to cover the moon of Pandora, but it's taking longer than I thought since astronomy isn't my specialty, and I want to get it right. So instead, we'll be looking at another famous aspect of Avatar, creatures with six legs.

Most of the dominant lifeforms on Pandora have six limbs, making them what's known as hexapoda (Greek for "six legs"). Some hexapods in the movie are a horse-like creature called the Direhorse, a panther-like creature called a Viperwolf, and a pterodactyl-like creature called a Mountain Banshee. All of them have six limbs.

On Earth, most creatures are tetrapods, meaning they have four limbs. That includes everything from dogs to horses to humans. The only creatures that have six limbs are insects. There's a reason for that; four is a good number of limbs. Not too many, not too few. While one could argue that having four arms would be useful, it's not really necessary. Even if you needed or could use another set of hands, primates solved this problem by having opposable toes on their feet, turning them into a second pair of hands. Adding more limbs would just require more brain-power to control them, and would require a major change in configuration that would mean that it would have to have some benefit.

While no one really knows exactly why insects have six limbs, we do know that it's an advantage to them as opposed to other animals. When a creature runs on two or four legs, only one or two feet remain in contact with the ground at all times. When a six-limbed insect runs on a surface, three limbs usually remain in contact with the ground at all times. For a wall-crawling creature like a fly or a spider, this is an advantage because it means greater stability when clinging to a vertical surface or upside-down. That's not an advantage that other animals need walking upright on a flat surface.

In many ways, six legs would hinder normal creatures. For example, insects on Earth that have six legs have them splayed out from the body so they don't get in each other's way. In Avatar, all the creatures have their six legs in line with their bodies, which would cause them to bump into or get tangled up together easily. It seems like the designers knew this, so they tried to adjust for it.

Let's look at the Direhorse, for example. It was a speedy creature in the movie, but take note that they animated the Direhorse to run just like our four-limbed horses with the front two legs moving together and the rear two legs moving in the opposite direction. This would be a recipe for disaster, since the forelegs would only work if they were exactly in sync. The slightest misstep on any of the four forelegs would cause the creature to trip on its own limbs and fall. The Direhorses should run more like cockroaches, alternating three legs at a time. That would actually cause them to run slower than Earth horses, which goes back to our original point…they would be better off with four legs.

Then there's the obvious fact that the Na'vi have only four limbs; two arms, two legs. But that's for another post.

Further Reading:
Avatar's Walking With Hexapods

NEXT WEEK: Pandora (seriously)

What do you think about Avatar's six legged beasts?

The Flawed Science of Avatar
1 - Floating Mountains
2 - The Avatar
3 - Six Legs
4 - Pandora
5 - Chest Nostrils

6 - Unobtainium

6/17/2010

Download these free award finalist ebooks from Tor.com
Now free on the US version of Apple’s “iBooks” store: Tor.com’s four major award finalists from 2009, nicely done up as elegant ePub files for your iPad (and, once iOS 4 ships on June 21, your iPhone).
  • “Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky, Hugo and Locus Award finalist
  • “A Memory of Wind” by Rachel Swirsky, Nebula Award finalist
  • “First Flight” by Mary Robinette Kowal, Locus Award finalist
  • “Overtime” by Charles Stross, Hugo Award finalist
All four are also available for free in Amazon’s Kindle Store and the Sony Reader store; they’ll appear soon in some other channels as well. They’ll stay free until after the Hugo Awards are announced at Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne, Australia, over Labor Day Weekend.
"First Flight" is a really well-done time travel story and I look forward to reading the others. If you, like me, don't own a Kindle you can download the Windows version here (6.2MB). Get them before they expire on September 6, 2010!


Do you like free eBooks? Have you read the novels? Should they win?

6/16/2010

The eighth episode of Doctor Who had thrills, chills and high energy, but felt unfinished.

The episode begins with the Doctor (Matt Smith) accidentally landing in 2020 Wales and embroiled in a mystery involving graveyards with missing bodies, shadowy figures, holes that suck people in and a gigantic "drilly thing." The new season is continuing a trend of reintroducing old villains of The Doctor to the series.

The relationship between Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) is settling into the comfort of a bickering old married couple. It had a cool opening and there was a level of creepiness that felt perfect with various zombie movie tropes. Graveyards, darkness, fog and a church are all staples of zombie cinema.

The reintroduction of the Silurians seemed anti-climactic since they were depending on the audience to recognize them, but they are a formidable enemy. The theme of immigration and land ownership was powerful as the noble Doctor tries to broker a peace treaty between the humans and the Silurians that feel they are the original owners of the Earth and see us as interlopers. More inconsistent use of the Sonic Screwdriver to open some doors, but not others led to the hilarious line "Oi! Don't dis the sonic!"

Amy Pond has a great scene where she shows her trademark fiestiness. Rory shows he's not just a hanger-on and the Doctor has some memorable scenes talking about his tortured past. that never gets old. My only complaint about the episode is that it ended too soon. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

4 out of 5 stars

I thought today's pic of the week (from inquisitr) was hilarious, until I found out "Pride & Predator" was a real film in development and a published novel. Now, it's just scary.  There was a lot of big news this past week, but here are some stories you might have missed.

6/15/2010

 

Tony Alleyne, spent two years converting his studio apartment to live on the Star Trek spaceship "Voyager."

After his wife left him, he spent the next two years modifying his Hinckley, Leicestershire apartment using common home supply store items. "As a young boy, I had always dreamt of living in a spaceship," he said. Better than a wife some would say. Not me of course, but others (love you Honey!).

Voice recognition systems control many items and it has a transporter control with authentic sounds. The only catch is there's no kitchen and no bed, which he calls "overrated." The project took more than time and money after going into bankruptcy from the staggering debt he incurred.

"I receive many requests for various science fiction applications including 'Star Trek,' 'Dr. Who' and 'Star Wars'," says Alleyne. "The strange thing is most of the inquiries come from people who, for reasons I have yet to understand, expect me to work free of charge. I wouldn't dream of writing to a motor mechanic saying, 'Can you tell me how to fix my car via email because I don't want to pay you to do it'."

It's called the Internet my friend. Enjoy yourself.

In the end it paid off when he sold it on eBay for $838,563 and started a science fiction interior design business called 24th Century Interior Design.

So, no regrets. Living the dream, Man.

No word on if Captain Katherine Janeway has stopped by for an annoying visit.

Would you like to live out your dream of living in a fantasy home? If so, what would it be?

6/14/2010

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the movie Avatar.

One thing that I have found most annoying about the movie Avatar is the chorus of praise for its "scientific accuracy." I don't know of any movie short of
Star Trek that has tried so hard to convince its fans that it's based on real science, and fallen so short. So I thought it would be useful to just make an archive showing that the movie is not science-fiction; it's science mixed with fantasy. We'll start with one of the most complicated ideas in Avatar, the Avatars.

6/13/2010

Star Wars fans are the most passionate fans in the world, but sometimes they go overboard. Here are two examples.

This is the Giant Droid You're Looking For - As a college prank, the Students at Minnesota’s Carleton College transformed their school’s Goodsell Observatory into a giant R2-D2, complete with sound effects.



This Wedding Cake Smells Better on the Outside - Star Wars artist Chris Trevas had a Tauntaun Wedding Cake made up for him, complete with Luke Skywalker stuffed among dangling intestines.


Which of these are a bigger case of overkill?
[Image source: moonlets.org/starwarsblog]

6/11/2010

All blockbuster movies have sexy women in them, but Iron Man has an exceptionally large number of them because of Tony Stark's extra-curricular activities. Here are the hottest pictures of the hottest actresses in the movie Iron Man 2.

1. Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts)
Tony Stark can have any woman in the world, but stunning Gweneth Paltrow stole his glowing mechanical heart. Looking at the picture below, we can see why.
Gwyneth Paltrow in lingerie

6/09/2010

  • An innocent comment from a blogger at io9.com has triggered a grassroots Twitter and Facebook campaign to get former 30 Rock writer and Community performer Donald Glover an audition to play an African American Peter Parker in the new Spiderman reboot.
    Opinion: I actually think it would be a bold choice, but doubt this will happen. Sad to say, I don't think the audience is ready for a black Spider-Man. Peter Parker's problems are the problems of a nerdy white boy.
  • Director Guillermo del Toro has announced that he will be dropping out of the project to create a two-part prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on The Hobbit. Apparently, the problem stems from a development schedule that has gone from three years to six years and would require canceling other projects that del Toro had previously committed to.
    Opinion: Six years?! I can understand his concern, especially having to spend all that time in New Zealand. Nothing against New Zealand, but...come on.
  • There are rumors that the next Indiana Jones film will be the last, and will send Indy to the Bermuda Triangle. The new film would also be grittier and more realistic with less CGI.
    Opinion: Completely worthless. Not even the actors liked this one.
    Oddmakers: What are the odds this will be Indiana Jones' last film?
  • Famed X-Men and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart was knighted at Buckingham Palace, placing him among the ranks of such famed British actors as fellow X-Men actor Sir Ian Mckellan and Sir Lawrence Olivier.
    Opinion: Long overdue. Patrick Stewart is a national treasure.

Geek Store Contest Word: TARDIS

6/07/2010

One thing that I have found most annoying about the movie Avatar is the chorus of praise for its "scientific accuracy." I don't know of any movie short of Star Trek that has tried so hard to convince its fans that it's based on real science, and fallen so short. So I thought it would be useful to just make an archive showing that the movie is not science-fiction; it's science mixed with fantasy. We'll start with one of the most controversial ideas in Avatar, floating mountains.

One of the most beautiful and memorable images in the movie Avatar is the scene where the characters are flying to a new area on Pandora and fly through what are known as the Hallelujah Mountains, mountains that literally float in mid-air. The mountains remain tethered to the ground by enormous vines, like balloons on strings. Waterfalls pour down the sides, dissipating into thin air.

A lot of people thought the idea of floating mountains was ridiculous, but the producers and science wizards behind the movie provided a carefully crafted explanation. They explained that the mountains are laced with unobtainium which floats in the presence of a magnetic field. They also said that the magnetic field in that area is so powerful that it can support the mountains. That's a good explanation, but it doesn't work. Here's why.

First of all, any magnetic field powerful enough to levitate tons of rock in the air in the form of mountains would have to be incredibly powerful. In the movie, the only effect of the magnetic field is to mess up the instruments of any vehicle that enters it. In reality, the field would be so powerful that it would tear apart any metal-based vehicle that drove through it. In fact, it would be powerful enough to rip the iron molecules out of the blood, killing any living thing that even came near it.

But one of the biggest problems with the scene are the majestic and powerful waterfalls that plunge down the mountains to be blown away into thin air. Great image, except for the obvious question: where is all that water coming from? Like everything else in Avatar, there's a bogus quasi-scientific answer in the semi-official wiki for that, too. It explains that the water condenses, is absorbed by the mountains, and then dumps over the sides again. The problem is that even a very small waterfall can dump hundreds of gallons of water every hour. There's no way that condensation alone could replenish huge floating waterfalls that quickly.

But hey, it looked cool, right?

UPDATE 06/13/10: Another big flaw with the Hallelujah Mountains is that they kind of undermine the motivation for the evil RDA Corporation. They say they need to destroy HomeTree and attack the Na'vi in order to get at the huge amount of unobtainium they live on. Of course, this is a highly dangerous and destructive course of action that will undermine their relationship with the Na'vi and could led to genocide, so it's an action that would have to be taken after exhausting all options. Like, for example, mining the tons of unobtainium that have to be in the Hallelujah mountains. It would be easier to tow the Hallelujah Mountains out of the magnetic field to get them to drop to the ground, then harvest the mountains before declaring war on the Na'vi.

NEXT TIME: The Avatars

What did you think of Avatar's floating mountains?
[Image source: Moviefone]
Geek Store Contest

6/03/2010

The science-fiction heist film Inception is clouded in secrecy, but the new one sheet character posters for his film Inception are chock full of information if you interpret the titles. So, what do the posters tell us about the film? Let's find out.
  • The Extractor (Leonardo DiCaprio) - Chances are he's not going to play a tool to loosen screws. It's probably a fancy name for a thief who steals thoughts from dreams. In this film though he becomes an implanter of memories.

6/02/2010

  • After watching the dazzling Avatar DVD last week I was left wondering about the sequel. Cameron's hinted at a lot, including delving into the oceans of the scientifically implausible Pandora. I hope they don't run into Jar Jar Binks. [Hero Complex]
  • There's a new trailer for the 1982 classic TRON by DrewboiX and it makes the original movie look hip and cool. Instead of cool in a depressing kind of way. [Gizmodo]
  • The Iron Man Baby video has taken the Internet by storm and is phantasmagorical. "An Iron Man movie parody starring my baby girl. The costume was created by her uncle STROB." The little diaper pin in the back as she faces off against Furries is my favorite part.
  • The creator's of the, now extinguished, television show Lost have finally admitted the truth. They made a lot of the show up as they went along. "It was a combination of both those things," Cuse said in an interview. "There was a big, mythic architecture which included a lot of what's in the finale...that we knew way back in the beginning...We allowed ourselves a lot of flexibility to change things around ... It was impossible to have everything planned out, and so it was kind of built in stages." You can pick yourself up off the floor from stunned surprise. On a completely unrelated note, here's a list of 126 questions the show left unanswered. My favorites are the ones around Walt. [Scifiwire]
  • Happy Anniversary - Twenty years ago this week - June 3, 1983 -  The Matthew Broderick suspense film Wargames opened. The movie, that follows a young hacker as he almost starts World War III was nominated for 11 awards and launched Broderick's career. It also inspired the term "War Dialing" because of a sequence where the computer randomly dials numbers.
Geek Store Contest

    6/01/2010

    My brother and I have spent the last two months populating two stores with funny and original items you are going to love. You can either go to Cafepress.com/geektwins or Printfection.com/geektwins. Both stores are magnificent and feature the same items, but we decided not to limit ourselves to one provider. Try one, or both, and see what you like!

    Yesterday we promised you a great contest starting today. Here are the details:

    The Prize:
    1. A custom "Geek Twins" T-shirt with your name.
    2. Bragging rights.
    3. If you have a website you'll be featured prominently in the top of our sidebar for 30 days. If you have a blog it will also feature your latest post.
    Rules:
    1. For the next 14 days, every post will have a temporary code word. The first to collect the most words wins.
    2. On June 15th send an email with your list of words to geektwins@gmail.com. On June 18th, we'll announce a winner!
    3. To be fair to the other contestants, any code words posted in the comments will be removed.
    The contest starts today with the word WOOKIE.

    Check it out today!

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